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wall panel / relief

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    118934

  • Description

    Gypsum wall panel relief: in the upper register a city, depicted in plan and in a series of three elevations, is attacked by the Assyrians. Of the three elevations, the uppermost, at the top of the slab, is now completely effaced. The middle one recedes from the lower on the left-hand side, but coincides on the right, a fact which precludes the interpretation as an upper storey, or even as a middle line of defence. The two walls might, in this kind of representation, be the two walls, of different length, meeting at the corner represented in plan; but this leaves the third wall unexplained. Apparently only women remain in this middle section of the defence, ready to surrender. In the lowest elevation archers are seen in embrasures, fighting behind a parapet which also serves as the outline of the plan of the city. In other embrasures there are round-topped objects which may represent doors, for inside the city plan, in the centre, two Assyrian soldiers, defending their heads with shields, cut through such an object with daggers, while on the left four others carry away the booty already seized, a couch and two sacks of goods. To the right lie enemy dead, and an Assyrian soldier is driving an ox away. The plan is used for yet another type of picture; two auxiliaries, wearing crested helmets and crossed bands, have advanced from behind a palisade to force a breach at the corner of the city wall, and are attacking the brickwork, represented in plan, with their lances, while defending themselves with their shields. The mixture of elevation and plan in this scene, though characteristic, is unusual in Assyrian work by reason of its complexity.

    The inscription on the centre band gives 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second.

    In the lower register a procession of Assyrian soldiers carries away statues of the gods.It is very doubtful whether the head of the first deity was turned full-face, and the head-dress has completely disappeared. The honourable treatment accorded these gods and the types represented show that these were deities recognized by the Assyrians; the first two are forms of Ishtar, the fourth is the weather god, whether his name be Adad or some other form. It is not impossible that the scenes in both registers depict incidents in the campaign against the Chaldaeans to which the text on the centre band refers. It may be that the lower scene shows statues of Babylonian gods returned to their own cities by the Assyrians.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 728BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 272 centimetres
    • Length: 254 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        centre band
      • Inscription Translation

        The 'erib-biti' priests of the temples of Esagila, Ezida, and Emeslam brought me the 'rihati' of Bel Nabu, and Nergal. ... I richly adorned them and they went their way to their own land.
      • Inscription Comment

        Describes resettlement of prisoners after Assyrian campaign of 745BC. Written in 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second.
  • Curator's comments

    Attached to 1856,0909.212 (BM.118931)The inscription on the centre band gives 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second, 'Annals', ll. 8-30.
    An original drawing of this relief is in the British Museum's 'Original Drawings of Assyrian Sculptures' collection: Or.Dr.III, 'S.W. XVIII: "Siege of a triple-walled city"', and is published in Layard (1849), ‘Nineveh and its Remains’, vol. II, p. 372 (part) pl. XC, and Layard (1849) 'The Monuments of Nineveh', vol. I, pl. 66.

    The drawing published in Layard, 'Monuments', vol. I. pl. 66, and in 'Nineveh and its Remains', vol. II, facing p. 451, depends on a restoration generally correct but not certain in every detail.

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  • Bibliography

    • Barnett & Falkner 1962 p.29, pls. LXXXVIII & XCI bibliographic details
    • Smith 1938d plate 10 bibliographic details
    • Layard A H 1849a vol. 1, pl. 66 (drawing) bibliographic details
    • Layard A H 1849b vol. 2, p. 372 (part), pl. XC (drawing) bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G8

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1884

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    118934

  • Registration number

    1884,0726.1

Alabaster wall panel; relief; attack on enemy town by army of Tiglath-Pileser III, perhaps in Syria; inscription.  Alabaster wall panel; relief: in the upper register a city, depicted in plan and in a series of three elevations, is attacked by the Assyrians. Of the three elevations, the uppermost, at the top of the slab, is now completely effaced. The middle one recedes from the lower on the left-hand side, but coincides on the right, a fact which precludes the interpretation as an upper storey, or even as a middle line of defence. The two walls might, in this kind of representation, be the two walls, of different length, meeting at the corner represented in plan; but this leaves the third wall unexplained. Apparently only women remain in this middle section of the defence, ready to surrender. In the lowest elevation archers are seen in embrasures, fighting behind a parapet which also serves as the outline of the plan of the city. In other embrasures there are round-topped objects which may represent doors, for inside the city plan, in the centre, two Assyrian soldiers, defending their heads with shields, cut through such an object with daggers, while on the left four others carry away the booty already seized, a couch and two sacks of goods. To the right lie enemy dead, and an Assyrian soldier is driving an ox away. The plan is used for yet another type of picture; two auxiliaries, wearing crested helmets and crossed bands, have advanced from behind a palisade to force a breach at the corner of the city wall, and are attacking the brickwork, represented in plan, with their lances, while defending themselves with their shields. The mixture of elevation and plan in this scene, though characteristic, is unusual in Assyrian work by reason of its complexity.    The inscription on the centre band gives 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second.    In the lower register a procession of Assyrian soldiers carries away statues of the gods.It is very doubtful whether the head of the first deity was turned full-face, and the head-dress has completely disappeared. The honourable treatment accorded these gods and the types represented show that these were deities recognized by the Assyrians; the first two are forms of Ishtar, the fourth is the weather god, whether his name be Adad or some other form. It is not impossible that the scenes in both registers depict incidents in the campaign against the Chaldaeans to which the text on the centre band refers. It may be that the lower scene shows statues of Babylonian gods returned to their own cities by the Assyrians.

Group of Objects

Alabaster wall panel; relief; attack on enemy town by army of Tiglath-Pileser III, perhaps in Syria; inscription. Alabaster wall panel; relief: in the upper register a city, depicted in plan and in a series of three elevations, is attacked by the Assyrians. Of the three elevations, the uppermost, at the top of the slab, is now completely effaced. The middle one recedes from the lower on the left-hand side, but coincides on the right, a fact which precludes the interpretation as an upper storey, or even as a middle line of defence. The two walls might, in this kind of representation, be the two walls, of different length, meeting at the corner represented in plan; but this leaves the third wall unexplained. Apparently only women remain in this middle section of the defence, ready to surrender. In the lowest elevation archers are seen in embrasures, fighting behind a parapet which also serves as the outline of the plan of the city. In other embrasures there are round-topped objects which may represent doors, for inside the city plan, in the centre, two Assyrian soldiers, defending their heads with shields, cut through such an object with daggers, while on the left four others carry away the booty already seized, a couch and two sacks of goods. To the right lie enemy dead, and an Assyrian soldier is driving an ox away. The plan is used for yet another type of picture; two auxiliaries, wearing crested helmets and crossed bands, have advanced from behind a palisade to force a breach at the corner of the city wall, and are attacking the brickwork, represented in plan, with their lances, while defending themselves with their shields. The mixture of elevation and plan in this scene, though characteristic, is unusual in Assyrian work by reason of its complexity. The inscription on the centre band gives 12 fines of one column, the commencement broken, and the beginnings of 11 lines of a second. In the lower register a procession of Assyrian soldiers carries away statues of the gods.It is very doubtful whether the head of the first deity was turned full-face, and the head-dress has completely disappeared. The honourable treatment accorded these gods and the types represented show that these were deities recognized by the Assyrians; the first two are forms of Ishtar, the fourth is the weather god, whether his name be Adad or some other form. It is not impossible that the scenes in both registers depict incidents in the campaign against the Chaldaeans to which the text on the centre band refers. It may be that the lower scene shows statues of Babylonian gods returned to their own cities by the Assyrians.

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Object reference number: WCO26597

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