Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II (Room B, panel 17 bottom)

Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, 883-859 BC

The review of prisoners and captured goods

This alabaster relief depicts the typical conclusion of Assyrian battle scenes: a review of the captured goods and prisoners. Assyrian records give very precise numbers for such booty which suggests that scribes were an important element of any military campaign. They are shown at work on a relief from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib, also in The British Museum.

Assyrian officials and soldiers bring enemy prisoners to the king; one wearing a wide headband is picked out for special attention. The captured goods are shown apparently floating in mid-air but this was a stylistic device or simply because the sculptors did not use exact perspective. The booty includes cauldrons and a pair of ivory tusks. Large quantities of ivory and metal work (vessels, horse trappings, furniture fittings) were stored in certain rooms at the palace at Nimrud.

The scene continues to the left. 

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More information


E.A.T.W. Budge, Assyrian sculptures in the B-1 (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1914)


Museum number

ME 124539


The palace was excavated by A.H. Layard (from 1845)


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