Soldiers of the Royal Guard. This stone wall relief was excavated in the ruins of ancient Assyria by A.H. Layard in 1850.
This stone panel was excavated from the South-West Palace of king Sennacherib of Assyria. It dates about 700 BC. It depicts soldiers who were the royal bodyguard of the mighty Sennacherib, the same king who ordered the attack on Jerusalem in 2 Kings 19.
Material - Limestone Wall Panel
Date: 700-695 BC
Height: 160 cm (62.992126 inches)
Width: 111 cm 43.7007874 inches
Depth: 9 cm (extant) 3.54330709 inches
Nineveh, northern Iraq
Excavated by: Henry Layard 1846-1851
Location: British Museum, London
"Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, all of these were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh." Isaiah 37:36-37
British Museum Excerpt
Stone panel from the South-West Palace of Sennacherib
Nineveh, northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 700-695 BC
Soldiers of the royal guard
This panel was one of a group found, out of position, somewhere between the palace of King Sennacherib (reigned 704-681 BC) and the Temple of Ishtar, the principal goddess of Nineveh. The panels may have lined a bridge or corridor used by the king when visiting the temple.
The scene shows the king and his entourage in formal court dress. The two figures on this panel formed part of the king's bodyguard. The archer on the left is one of the lightly-armed soldiers who were probably drawn from the Aramaic-speaking communities in and around the Assyrian heartland, which the Assyrians had conquered. The Assyrians incorporated soldiers from all parts of the empire into their forces. The spear-man on the right wears a turban fastened by a headband with long ear-flaps, and a short kilt curving upwards above his knees. His clothing tells us that he comes from around Palestine. An almost identical uniform is worn by the men of Lachish, in the kingdom of Judah, as represented in panels showing Sennacherib's siege of the city in 701 BC from another part of the palace.
Height: 160 cm
Width: 111 cm
Depth: 9 cm (extant)
The palace was excavated by A.H. Layard (1846-51) and by many later archaeologists
Room 88a, Assyrian art
J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from Assyria in the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1995), pp. 70-71, no. 18
R.D. Barnett, 'The siege of Lachish', Israel Exploration Journal, 8 (1958), p. 164, plate 32B
"But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? [hath he] not [sent me] to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria." - 2 Kings 18:27-30
"And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead." - 2 Kings 19:35-37
"Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations. For he says, "Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, As I have done to Samaria and her idols, Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?"' Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks." For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man." Isaiah 10:5-13