Assyrian Art: Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions
Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions, gypsum hall relief from the North Palace, Ninevah, c. 645-635 B.C.E., excavated by H. Rassam beginning in 1853 (British Museum)
Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker & Dr. Beth Harris
A Military Culture
Feats of Bravery
Like all Assyrian kings, Ashurbanipal decorated the public walls of his palace with images of himself performing great feats of bravery, strength and skill. Among these he included a lion hunt in which we see him coolly taking aim at a lion in front of his charging chariot, while his assistants fend off another lion attacking at the rear.
Royal Lion Hunt, North Palace, Nineveh, 645-635 B.C.E. (British Museum)
The Destruction of Susa
One of the accomplishments Ashurbanipal was most proud of was the total destruction of the city of Susa. In this relief, we see Ashurbanipal’s troops destroying the walls of Susa with picks and hammers while fire rages within the walls of the city.
Military Victories & Exploits
In the Central Palace at Nimrud, the Neo-Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III illustrates his military victories and exploits, including the siege of a city in great detail. In this scene we see one soldier holding a large screen to protect two archers who are taking aim. The topography includes three different trees and a roaring river, most likely setting the scene in and around the Tigris or Euphrates rivers.
Wall relief from Nimrud, the sieging of a city, likely in Mesopotamia, c. 728 B.C.E. (British Museum)
Where and When