The king, on foot, wearing his elegant costume and accessories, grips the lion’s neck firmly with his left hand while the right hand stabs a sword rapidly and deeply into the lion’s belly. This history belongs to the whole world and humanity, not only to Iraq. He has been hit by four arrows; blood gushes from the entry and exit points of the arrows. Photo © Osama S.M. As well as the animals, depicted with “extraordinary subtlety of observation,”[20] the carving of the details of the king’s costume are especially fine. The lion also appears to vomit blood! Ashurbanipal hunting lions. Note the exquisitely carved embroidery, armlets, earring, and costume. Antiquity in travel, photos, interviews & more, Reade J. Assyrian sculpture. Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available from Audio guide Desk in the Great Court. An ancient clay tablet records that when a lion entered a house in the provinces, it had to be trapped and taken by boat to the king. Amin. The lioness has received three arrows; blood can be seen gushing from the ensuing wounds. Osama is very interested in Mesopotamian history and always tries to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world. The other side of the corridor had similar scenes with the royal chariot in action shown twice. This is part of the above image. The lions were depicted in many attitudes of fighting death (receiving and hit by arrows, spears, and/or swords) or they were already dead. They are not complete. His left hand rests on his sword’s hilt. The arena of shields is shown, with a crowd of people either climbing a wooded hill for a good view, or getting away from this dangerous activity. [23], Another group of reliefs, some originally located on the upper floor and some in a small “private gate-chamber,”[24] are set out in three registers with a plain strip between them, with the figures much smaller. This private chamber-gate was decorated with relatively small scale hunt scenes, arranged in three parallel horizontal registers. Huntsmen with large mastiff dogs and spears wait within the arena for any lion that comes too close to the shield-wall. Last modified April 03, 2014. Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions - Assyrian Factual Information. Lions were not uncommon in the Ancient Near East.King Ashurbanipal of Assyria noted that the hills abounded with lions who were killing cattle and humans alike. Circa 645-635 BCE. Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions (Assyrian). This is one of the very anxious moments which was carefully conveyed to us by the artist! Osama graduated from Baghdad University, College of Medicine and was the valedictorian student in internal medicine. Lions were depicted as prominent symbols of royalty, as in the Lion Gate to the citadel of Mycenae. Ground-lines are clearly indicated, which is not always the case, and indeed some lions are given individual ground lines when forming part of a larger scene. The register is part of three relatively small-scale registers. Panel from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal. None of the scenes here depicts a royal charter. The eyes of the king and his attendant were intentionally damaged after the fall of Nineveh. The palace decoration of Ashurbanipal. Photo © Osama S.M. Circa 645-635 BCE. The king holds his spear and the horses’ rein with his left hand. Most palace reliefs occupied the walls of large halls, with several rooms in sequence. Circa 645-635 BCE. Student In ancient Assyria, this was symbolized in the lion hunt, when the king went out to kill lions. Amin. King Ashurbanipal was the last great Assyrian leader. He learned to fight, fire a bow, ride a horse, lead a chariot, and mastered a skill associated for centuries with being an Assyrian warrior king: lion hunting. The King's role was to protect his people from enemies. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. 30 elephants I trapped and killed; 257 great wild oxen I brought down with my weapons, attacking from my chariot; 370 great lions I killed with hunting spears.”[10] Ashurnasirpal is shown shooting arrows at lions from his chariot, so perhaps this was a more conventional hunt in open country, or also in an arena. The British Museum, London. Circa 645-635 BCE. Amin. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Next lesson. Whoever was privileged to gain access to the North Palace of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, could consider himself part of something timeless. Lion hunting has been an élite ritual since ancient times. Rassam ordered his men to dig a large hole in the mound; after more than 2,000 years, the remains of a royal palace were found. The British Museum, London. Lions are representative as the power of nature, and as … The first documented scene of lion-hunting dates back to 3000 BCE; it was about a ruler who was hunting lions. Circa 645-635 BCE. Please enable JavaScript in your web browser to get the best experience. Amin. From Room S of the North Palace, Nineveh (modern-day Kouyunjik, Mosul Governorate), Mesopotamia, Iraq. Our mission is to provide a … Honour & Fleming, 76–77; Reade, 72–79, 73; Frankfort, 186–192; Hoving, 40–41. This website claims no authorship of this content; we are republishing it for educational purposes. The human figures are mostly seen in formal poses in profile, especially the king in his several appearances, but the lions are in a great variety of poses, alive, dying, and dead. From Room S of the North Palace, Nineveh (modern-day Kouyunjik, Mosul Governorate), Mesopotamia, Iraq. This relief shows Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions. Overall, there are 18 lions/lionesses in this Room. This relief shows Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions. Had the king really faced these aggressive animals so closely and threatened his life? The Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal, a set of Assyrian palace reliefs from Ashurbanipal's palace, can be seen at the British Museum in London. You are welcome to review our Privacy Policies via the top menu. From: North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Nineveh, Iraq. Nineveh was the oldest and most populous city of the Assyrian Empire, which was located on the east bank of the Tigris opposite modern Mosul in Iraq. Circa 645-635 BCE. Circa 645-635 BCE. He made copies of the cuneiform inscriptions written on the Palace’s reliefs and sent them to Henry Rawlinson (1810-1895), the British consul in Baghdad. The king himself is busy with another furiously attacking lion. The king is identified by his conical head cap. Retrieved from Other reliefs showed the king, his court, and “winged genie” and lamassu protective minor deities. [3], The slabs or orthostats from the North Palace were excavated by Hormuzd Rassam in 1852–54, and William Loftus in 1854–55. It appears, though that the king had the lions caught for him, and … They depict the release of the lions, the ensuing chase and subsequent killing. The animals’ facial expressions and eyes were depicted in a very realistic way of horror, defeat, and agony. Amin. Apart from the king, his courtiers, and some of his visitors, who else could have accessed them? Detail of an alabaster bas-relief showing Ashurbanipal’s horses. In ancient Assyria, hunting lions was considered the sport of kings, symbolic of the ruling monarch's duty to protect and fight for his people. The British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S.M. Amin. Other animals were also shown being hunted, and the main subject for narrative reliefs was the war campaigns of the king who built the palace. 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