The BP exhibition


I am Ashurbanipal
king of the world,
king of Assyria

8 November 2018 –
24 February 2019


This exhibition has now closed.

Supported by BP

BP logo

Logistics partner

IAGCargo logo

Supported by BP

BP logo

Logistics partner

IAGCargo logo

The Evening Standard

The Times


‘Staggeringly beautiful’
Time Out

‘a gripping fusion of beauty and brutality’
The Telegraph

‘blockbuster recreation of Assyria’s might’
The Guardian

Warrior. Scholar. Empire builder. King slayer. Lion hunter. Librarian.

King Ashurbanipal of Assyria (r. 669–c. 631 BC) was the most powerful man on earth. He described himself in inscriptions as ‘king of the world’, and his reign from the city of Nineveh (now in northern Iraq) marked the high point of the Assyrian empire, which stretched from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran.

More about the exhibition

Ashurbanipal proved himself worthy of protecting his people through displays of strength, such as hunting lions. Like many rulers of the ancient world, he liked to boast about his victories in battle and brutally crushed his enemies. However, this vast and diverse empire was controlled through more than just brute force. Ashurbanipal used his skills as a scholar, diplomat and strategist to become one of Assyria’s greatest rulers.

Despite his long and successful reign, Ashurbanipal’s death is shrouded in mystery. Shortly afterwards, the Assyrian empire fell and the great city of Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BC, its ruins lost to history until the 1840s. Their rediscovery has allowed us to piece together a portrait of the powerful and complex ruler that was Ashurbanipal.

This major exhibition tells the story of Ashurbanipal through the British Museum’s unparalleled collection of Assyrian treasures and rare loans. Step into Ashurbanipal’s world through displays that evoke the splendour of his palace, with its spectacular sculptures, sumptuous furnishings and exotic gardens. Marvel at the workings of Ashurbanipal’s great library, the first in the world to be created with the ambition of housing all knowledge under one roof. Come face to face with one of history’s greatest forgotten kings.

Get the exhibition book and shop the range here.


Audio commentary

Discover more about Ashurbanipal’s world in our exclusive curators’ commentary, available to buy from iTunes and Google Play.



See the exhibition free
as a Member


Adults £17*, under 16s free
2-for-1 tickets for students on Fridays

This exhibition has now closed.



Opening times

8 November 2018 – 24 February 2019
Last entry 80 minutes before closing
Full opening times 

Getting here

Room 30, British Museum,
Great Russell Street, London,

Group visits

Special group rates available
Bookings +44 (0)20 7323 8181



Lead image: Relief of Ashurbanipal hunting on horseback. Nineveh, Iraq. Assyrian, 645–635 BC. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

* prices may vary