Student Reader

Nineveh Southwest Palace (Royal Palace of Sennacherib)

Nineveh is famed for its reliefs, many of which survived.

The reliefs at Nineveh were different from those at Dur Sharrukin and Nimrud. Palace reliefs were originally in a life-like scale, with large figures taking up much space. At Nineveh, lots of figures were crowded together against very detailed backgrounds. Musculature was not as detailed, as the reliefs were just trying to communicate what happened and where. The magnificent and powerful figures found in Nimrud's reliefs are absent from Nineveh. The reliefs at Nineveh used illustrations rather than inscriptions to detail locations and times.

For example, a torture scene in a Southwest Palace reliefs clearly shows victims wearing western-style clothes. There is much more activity in the reliefs at Nineveh than the reliefs at Nimrud. Incidentally, this also makes Nineveh's reliefs much more informative of material culture.

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

Left image: Relief fragment of cavalrymen along a stream in mountainous terrain. Alabaster. Neo-Assyrian, reign of Sennacherib (704-681 BC). From Nineveh, Southwest Palace of Sennacherib, Room XXXVIII. Gift of John D Rockefeller Jr 1932. Metropolitan Museum, 32.143.16.

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

Left image: Protective spirit (lahmu) guarding a door. Neo-Assyrian, reign of Sennacherib (704-681 BC). From Nineveh, Southwest Palace of Sennacherib. British Museum, WA 124792. Image © L M Clancy 2009.

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

Left image: Protective spirit (ugallu, great lion). Neo-Assyrian, reign of Sennacherib (704-681 BC). From Nineveh, Southwest Palace of Sennacherib. British Museum, WA 124826. Image © L M Clancy 2009.

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

Left image: Two guardian figures. Neo-Assyrian, reign of Sennacherib (704-681 BC). From Nineveh, Southwest Palace of Sennacherib, Room 32. British Museum. Image © L M Clancy 2009.

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

nineveh royal southwest palace of sennacherib neo-assyrian relief

Campaigning in southern Iraq. Assyrian ~640-620 BC. From Nineveh, SW Palace. Court XIX panels 10-12. British Museum. A central band of river, the Tigris or Euphrates, separates two otherwise independent compositions.

Above, the Assyrians attack a town on a small island and carry booty from it. Below the Assyrian king in his chariot watches as prisoners are brought in and heads and booty are piled up in a palm grove.

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