Height: 122.000 cm
Width: 168.000 cm
Room 10c: Assyria: Khorsabad
Stone panel from the Palace of Sargon II (Façade N, no. 24)
Khorsabad, northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 710-705 BC
A charioteer and horse
This alabaster relief of a charioteer and horse decorated the magnificently sculptured palace of the Assyrian king, Sargon II (721-705 BC). Late in his reign Sargon built a new capital city known today as Khorsabad, with this palace, which he called Dur-Sharrukin (the city of Sargon). One of the main courtyards showed the king receiving tribute and this relief is part of a series which showed tribute being brought to the king from Syria or Turkey, the western fringes of his empire.
Sargon II was a usurper: he was probably the son of a concubine of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC), and overthrew his half-brother Shalmaneser V (726-722 BC) to become king himself. The name Sargon adopted on his accession means 'True King', in a rather obvious claim for the legitimacy of his position. Nevertheless, Sargon seems to have continued the imperial policies of the two previous kings, consolidating Assyrian rule in existing provinces and extending it elsewhere as the opportunity arose. One of his monuments has even been found in Cyprus. He led military campaigns every year of his reign and eventually died in battle.
A.H. Layard, Nineveh and its remains-1, vol. II (London, J. Murray, 1849)