Friday, September 21, 2007

Archaeology Series 3, part 2: :Taylor's prism

Taylor's Prism or Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism-Reproduced from

*Dates to 689 BCE

*Dates of Sennacherib's reign:
701–681 BCE

*Dimensions: 38cm high

13.3cm wide at the top

14cm wide at the bottom

the width of the six panels are:
8, 7.6, 7.52, 8, 7.3, 7.7cm

the hole at the top is 2.3cm

the hole at the bottom is 2.5cm


Adapted from Luckenbill, 1927 translation

Column 1

1Sennacherib, the great king,
2the mighty king,king of the world,king of Assyria,3king of the four quarters,the wise shepherd,4favorite of the great gods,guardian of right,5lover of justice,who lends support,6who comes to the aid of the destitute,who performs pious acts,7perfect hero,mighty man,8first among all princes,the powerful one who consumes 9the insubmissive,who strikes the wicked with the thunderbolt.10The god Assur, the great mountain, an unrivaled kinship 11has entrusted to me, and above all those 12who dwell in palaces, has made my weapons powerful. 13From the upper sea of the setting sun 14to the lower sea of the rising sun, 15he has brought the black-headed people in submission at my feet. 16And mighty kings feared my warfare, 17leaving their homes and 18flying alone, like the sidinnu, the bird of the cave, 19to some inaccessible place.20In my first campaign I accomplished the defeat of Merodach-baladan, 21king of Babylonia, together with the army of Elam, 22his ally, on the plain of Kish. 23In the midst of that battle he deserted his camp, 24and he escaped alone, so he saved his own life. 25The chariots, horses, wagons, mules, 26which he left behind at the beginning of the battle 27my hands siezed. Into his palace, which is in 28Babylon, I entered jubilantly. 29I opened his treasure-house: gold, silver, vessels of god and silver, 30precious stones of every name, goods and property 31without limit, heavy tribute, his harem, 32courtiers and officials, singers—male and 33female—all his artisans, 34as many as there were, his palace servants 35I brought out, and I counted as spoil. In the might of Assur 36my lord, seventy-five of his strong walled cities 37of Chaldea, and 420 small cities 38of their area I surrounded, I conquered, I carried off their spoil. 39The Arabs, Arameans, and Chaldeans 40who were in Erech, Nippur, Kish, Harsagkalamma, 41Kutha and Sippar, together with the citizens, 42the rebels I brought out and counted as booty. 43On my return, the Tu'muna, 44Rihihu, Yadakku, Ubudu, 45Kibrê, Malahu, Gurumu, 46Ubulu, Damunu, Gambulu, 47Hindaru, Ru'ûa, Bukudu, 48Hamrânu, Hagarânu, Nabatu, 49Li'tâu, Arameans who were not submissive— 50I conquered all of them. 208,000 people, great and small, 51male and female, horses, mules, asses, 52camels, cattle and sheep, without number— 53a heavy booty—I carried off to Assyria. 54In the course of my campaign, I received from Nabû-bêl-shumâte, 55governor of the city of Hararate: gold silver, great musukkani-trees, 56asses, camels, cattle, and sheep 57as his onerous contribution. The warriors of 58Hirimme, wicked enemies, I cut down with the sword. 59No one escaped. Their corpses 60I hung on stakes, surrounding the city (with them). 61That district I reorganized: one ox, 62ten lambs, ten homers of wine, twenty homers of dates, 63its choicest, for the gods of Assyria, 64my lords, I established for all time.65In my second campaign, Assur, my lord, encouraged me, and 66against the land of the Kassites and the land of the Yasubigallai, 67who from of old had not been submissive to the kings, my ancestors, 68I marched. In the midst of the high mountains 69I rode on horseback where the terrain was difficult, 70and had my chariot drawn up with ropes: 71where it became too steep, I clambered up on foot like the wild-ox. 72The cities of Bît-Kilamzah, Hardishpi, 73and Bît-Kubatti, their strong, walled cities 74I besieged, I captured. People, horses, 75mules, asses, cattle, and sheep 76I brought out from their midst and counted as booty. 77And their small cities, which were beyond numbering, 78I destroyed, I devastated, and I turned into ruins. The houses of the steppe, (namely) the tents, 79in which they lived, I set on fire and 80turned them into flames. I turned round, and 81made that Bît-Kilamzah into a fortress— 82I made its walls stronger than they had ever been before—

Column 2

1and settled in it people of the lands my hands had conquered. 2The people of the land of the Kassites and the land of the Yasubigallai, 3who had fled before my arms, 4I brought down out of the mountains and 5settled them in Hardishpi and Bît-Kubatti. 6Into the hand of my official, the governor of Arapha, 7I placed them. I had a stele made, and 8the might of my conquering hand which I had 9established upon them, I had inscribed on it. 10I set it up in the midst of the city.The front of my yoke I turned around and 11took the road to the land of the Elippi. 12Before me Ispabâra, their king, 13abandoned his strong cities, his treasurehouses, 14and fled to the distant parts. 15Over the whole of his wide land I swept like a hurricane. 16The cities Marubishti and Akkuddu, 17his royal residence-cities, together with 34 small towns 18of their area, I besieged, I captured, I destroyed, I devastated, 19I burned with fire. The people, great and small, male and female, 20horses, mules, asses, camels, 21cattle, and sheep, without number I carried off. 22I brought him to nothing; I diminished his land. 23Sisirtu and Kummahlum, 24strong cities, together with the small towns in their areas, 25the district of Bît-Barrû in its totality, 26I cut off from his land and added it to the territory of Assyria. 27Elenzash I turned into the royal city 28and stronghold of that district. 29I changed its former name, calling its name Kar-Sennacherib. 30Peoples of the lands my hands had conquered 31I settled in it. To my official, 32the governor of Harhar, I handed it over. Thus I extended my land. 33-35On my return, I received the heavy tribute of the distant Medes, whose name none of the kings, my fathers, had ever heard. 36I made them submit to the yoke of my rule. 37In my third campaign, I went against the Hittite-land. 38Lulê, king of Sidon, the terrifying splendor 39of my sovereignty overcame him, and far off 40into the midst of the sea he fled. There he died. 41Great Sidon, Little Sidon, 42Bît-Zitti, Zaribtu, Mahalliba, 43Ushu, Akzib, Akko, 44his strong, walled cities, where there were fodder and drink, 45for his garrisons, the terrors of the weapon of Assur, 46my lord, overpowered them and they bowed in submission at my feet. 47I seated Tuba'lu on the royal throne 48over them, and tribute, gifts for my majesty, 49I imposed upon him for all time, without ceasing. 50From Menachem, the Shamsimurunite, 51Tuba'lu the Sidonite, 52Abdi-liti the Arvadite, 53Uru-milki the Gublite, 54Mitinti the Ashdodite 55Budu-ilu the Beth Ammonite, 56Kammusu-nadbi the Moabite, 57Malik-rammu the Edomite, 58kings of Amurru, all of them, numerous presents 59as their heavy tribute, 60they brought before me for the fourth time, and kissed my feet. But Sidka, 61the king of Ashkelon, who had not submitted 62to my yoke, the gods of his father's house, himself, his wife, 63his sons, his daughters, his brothers, the seed of his paternal house, 64I tore away and brought to Assyria. 65Sharru-lu-dari, son of Rukibti, their former king, 66I set over the people of Ashkelon, and 67I imposed upon him the payment of tribute: presents to my majesty. 68He accepted my yoke. In the course of my campaign, 69Beth-Dagon, Joppa, 70Banaibarka, Asuru, cities 71of Sidka, who had not speedily bowed in 72submission at my feet, I besieged, I conquered, I carried off their spoil. 73The officials, nobles, and people of Ekron, 74who had thrown Padi their king—bound by oath and curse of Assyria— 75into fetters of iron and 76-77had given him over to Hezekiah, the Judahite—he kept him in confinement like an enemy— 78their heart became afraid, 79and they called upon the Egyptian kings, the bowmen, chariots and horses 80of the king of Meluhha [Ethiopia], a countless host, and 81these came to their aid. 82In the neighborhood of Eltekeh, 83their ranks being drawn up before me,

Column 3

1they offered battle. With the aid of Assur, 2my lord, I fought with them and 3brought about their defeat. The Egyptian charioteers and princes, 4together with the Ethiopian king's charioteers, 5my hands captured alive in the midst of the battle. 6Eltekeh and Timnah 7I besieged, I captured, and I took away their spoil.
8I approached Ekron and slew the governors and nobles 9who had rebelled, and 10hung their bodies on stakes around the city. The inhabitants 11who rebelled and treated (Assyria) lightly I counted as spoil. 12The rest of them, who were not guilty of rebellion 13and contempt, for whom there was no punishment, 14I declared their pardon. Padi, their king, 15I brought out to Jerusalem, 16set him on the royal throne over them, and 17imposed upon him my royal tribute.
18As for Hezekiah the Judahite, 19who did not submit to my yoke: forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as 20the small towns in their area, 21which were without number, by levelling with battering-rams 22and by bringing up seige-engines, and by attacking and storming on foot, 23by mines, tunnels, and breeches, I besieged and took them. 24200,150 people, great and small, male and female, 25horses, mules, asses, camels, 26cattle and sheep without number, I brought away from them 27and counted as spoil. (Hezekiah) himself, like a caged bird 28I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. 29I threw up earthworks against him— 30the one coming out of the city-gate, I turned back to his misery. 31His cities, which I had despoiled, I cut off from his land, and 32to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, 33Padi, king of Ekron, and Silli-bêl, 34king of Gaza, I gave (them). And thus I diminished his land. 35I added to the former tribute, 36and I lad upon him the surrender of their land and imposts—gifts for my majesty. 37As for Hezekiah, 38the terrifying splendor of my majesty overcame him, and 39the Arabs and his mercenary troops which he had brought in to strengthen 40Jerusalem, his royal city, 41deserted him. In addition to the thirty talents of gold and 42eight hundred talents of silver, gems, antimony, 43jewels, large carnelians, ivory-inlaid couches, 44ivory-inlaid chairs, elephant hides, elephant tusks, 45ebony, boxwood, all kinds of valuable treasures, 46as well as his daughters, his harem, his male and female 47musicians, which he had brought after me 48to Nineveh, my royal city. To pay tribute 49and to accept servitude, he dispatched his messengers.
50In my fourth campaign, Assur, my lord, gave me courage, and 51I mustered my numerous troops and gave the 52command to proceed against Bît-Yakin. In the course of my campaign, 53I accomplished the overthrow of Shuzubi, the Chaldean, who sat in the midst of the swamps, 54at Bitûtu. 55That one, the terror of my battle fell upon him, and 56tore his heart; like a criminal he fled alone, and 57his place was seen no more.
The front of my yoke I turned and 58and I took the way to Bît-Yakin. 59That Merodach-baladan, whose defeat I had brought about 60in the course of my first campaign, and whose forces I had shattered, 61the roar of my mighty arms 62and the onset of my terrible battle he feared and 63he gathered together the gods of his whole land in their shrines, 64and loaded them into ships and fled 65like a bird to Nagite-rakki, which is in the middle of the sea. His brothers, 66the seed of his father's house, whom he had left by the seashore, 67together with the rest of the people of his land, 68I brought out of Bît-Yakin, from the midst of the swamps and canebrakes, 69and counted as spoil. I turned about and ruined and devastated his cities; 70I made them like ruin-heaps. Upon his ally, the king of Elam, 71I poured out my terror. On my return, 72I placed on his (Merodach-baladan's) royal throne, 73Assur-nâdin-shum, my oldest son, offspring of my knees. 74I placed him in charge of the wide land of Sumer and Akkad.
75In my fifth campaign, the warriors of Tumurru, 76Sharum, Ezama, Kibshu, Halgidda, 77Kua, and Kana—whose abodes 78-79were set on the peak of Mt. Nipur, a steep mountain, like the nests of the eagle, king of birds—were not submissive to my yoke. 80I had my camp pitched at the foot of Mt. Nipur and 81with my choice bodyguard

Column 4

1and my relentless warriors, 2I, like a strong wild-ox, went before them. 3-4I surmounted gullies, mountain torrents and waterfalls, dangerous cliffs in my sedan-chair. 5Where it was too steep for my chair, I advanced on foot. 6Like a young gazelle, I mounted the highest peakss pursuing them. 7Wherever my knees found a resting-place, 8I sat down on some mountain boulder and drank the cold water from a waterskin 9for my thirst. To the summits 10of the mountains I pursued them and brought about 11their overthrow. I captured their cities and carried off their spoil, 12I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire.
The front of my yoke 13I turned. Against Maniae, king of Ukku 14of the land of Daie, who was not submissive, I took the road. 15-17Before my day, none of the kings who lived before me, had traveled the unblazed trails and wearisome paths which run along these rugged mountains. 18At the foot of Mt. Anara and Mt. Uppa, mighty mountains, 19I had my camp pitched, and on a house-chair I 20together with my seasoned warriors, 21made my wearisome way through their narrow passes, 22and with great difficulty climbed to the highest peak of the mountains. 23That Maniae saw the clouds of dust raised by the feet of my armies, 24abandoned Ukku, his royal city, 25and fled to distant parts. 26I besieged Ukku, I captured it, and took away its spoil. All kinds of goods and merchandise, 27the treasure of his palace, 28I carried away from it and counted it as booty. Furthermore, 33 cities 29within the bounds of his province I captured. People, asses, cattle 30and sheep, I carried away from them as spoil. 31I destroyed, I devastated, and I burned with fire.
32In my sixth campaign the rest of the people of Bît-Yakin, 33who had run off before my powerful weapons like wild asses, 34who had gathered together the gods of their whole land in their shrines, had 35crossed the great sea of the rising sun and 36in Nagitu of Elam had established their abodes; 37in Hittite ships I crossed the sea. Nagitu 38Nagitu-di'bina, together with the lands of Hilmu, Billatu 39and Hupapanu, provinces of Elam, I conquered. 40The people of Bît-Yakin, together with their gods, and the people 41of the king of Elam, I carried off; 42not a rebel escaped. I had them loaded in vessels, 43brought over to this side, and started on the way 44to Assyria. The cities which were in those 45provinces I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. Into tells and ruins 46I turned them. On my return, Shuzubu, 47the Babylonian, who during an uprising in the land 48had turned to himself the rule of Sumer and Akkad, 49I accomplished his defeat in a battle of the plain. 50I seized him alive with my own hands, I threw him into bonds and fetters of iron and 51brought him to Assyria. The king of Elam, who 52had gone over to his side and had aided him, I defeated. 53His forces I scattered and I shattered his army.
54In my seventh campaign, Assur, my lord, supported me, 55and I advanced against Elam. Bît-Ha'iri and 56Rasâ, cities on the border of Assyria 57which the Elamite had seized by force during the time of my father 58—in the course of my campaign I conquered and I despoiled them. 59I settled my garrisons in them 60and restored them to the borders of Assyria. 61I placed them under the commandant of Dêr. The cities of Bubê, Dunni-Shamash, Bît-Risia, 62Bît-ahlamê, Duru, Kalte-sulai 63Shilibtu, Bît-Asusi, Kar-Zêr-ikîsha, 64Bît-Gissi, Bît-Katpalani, Bît-Imbia, 65Hamânu, Bît-Arrabi, Burutu, 66Dimtu-sha-Sulai, Dimtu-sha-Marbîti-etir, 67Harri-ashlaki, Rabbai, 68Râsu, Akkabarina Tel-Uhuri, 69Hamranu, Naditu, together with the cities 70of the passes of Bît-Bunaki, tel-Humbi, 71Dimtu-sha-Dume-ilu, Bît-Ubia, 72Balti-lishir, Tagab-lishir, 73Shanakidate, the lower Masutu, 74Sar-hudiri, Alum-sha-bêlit-bîti, 75Bît-ahê-iddina, Ilte-uba, 7634 strong cities, together with the small cities 77in their areas, which were countless, 78I besieged, I conquered, I despoiled, I destroyed, I devastated, 79I burned with fire, with the smoke of their conflagration 80I covered the wide heavens like a hurricane. 81-1The Elamite, Kudur-nahundu, heard of the overthrow of his cities,

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81-1The Elamite, Kudur-nahundu, heard of the overthrow of his cities, 2terror overwhelmed him, the (people of) the rest of his cities 3he brought into the strongholds. He himself 4left Madaktu, his royal city, 5and took his way to Haidala which is in the distant mountains. 6I gave the word to march against Madaktu, his royal city. 7In the month of rain, extreme cold set in and the 8heavy storms sent down rain upon rain and 9snow. I was afraid of the swollen mountain streams; 10the front of my yoke I turned and took the road to 11Nineveh. At that time, at the command of Assur, my lord, 12Kudur-Nahundu, the king of Elam, in less than three months 13died sudenly on a day not of his fate. 14After him, Umman-menanu, 15who possessed neither sense nor judgment, 16his younger brother, sat on his throne.
17In my eighth campaign, after Shuzubu had revolted, 18and the Babylonians, wicked devils, had 19closed the city-gates—their hearts planning resistance; 20Shuzubu the Chalden, a weakling hero, 21who had no knees, a slave, subject to the governor of the city of 22the city of Lahiri; the fugitive Arameans gathered around him, the runaway, 23the murderer, the bandit. Into the marshes 24they descended and started a rebellion. But I completely surrounded him. 25I pressed him to the life. Through fear and hunger 26he fled to Elam. When plotting 27and treachery were hatched against him, 28he fled from Elam and entered Shuanna. The Babylonians 29placed him on the throne—for which he was not fit— 30and entrusted to him the government of Sumer and Akkad. 31They opened the treasury of the Esagila temple and the gold and silver 32belonging to Bêl [Marduk] and Sarpanit, they brought forth the property of the temples of their gods. 33And to Umman-menanu, king of Elam, who had 34neither sense nor judgment, they sent them as a bribe (saying): 35"Gather your army, prepare your camp, 36haste to Babylon, stand at our side, for 37you are our trust." That Elamite— 38whose cities I had conquered and turned into ruins 39on my earlier campaign against Elam— 40without thinking 41received the bribes from them, gathered his army and camp, 42collected his chariots and wagons, and hitched his horses 43and mules to them. The lands of Parsuash 44Anzan, Pasheru, Ellipi, the men of Yazan, 45Lakabra, Harzunu, Dummuku, 46Sulai, Samuna, the son of Merodach-baladan, 47the lands of Bît-Adini, Bît-Amukkanu, Bît-Sillana, 48Bît-Sâlatutu-akki, the city of Lahiru, the men of Bukudu, 49Gambulum, Halatum Ru'ua, 50Ubulum, Malahu, Rapiku, 51Hindaru, Damunu—an enormous vassal army 52he called to his side. The largest portion of them 53-55took the road to Akkad. Closing in on Babylon, they exchanged courtesies with Shuzubu, the Chaldean king of Babylon, and brought their army to a halt. 56Like the onset of locust swarms of the springtime, 57they steadily progressed against me to offer battle. 58With the dust of their feet covering the wide heavens, 59like a mighty storm with masses of dense clouds, 60they drew up in battle array before me in the city of Halulê, on the bank of the Tigris. 61They blocked my passage and offered battle. 62-65As for me, I prayed for victory over the mighty foe to Assur, Sin, Shamash, Bêl, Nabû, Nergal, Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Arbela. 66They quickly gave ear to my prayers and came 67to my aid. Like a lion I raged; I put on 68a coat of mail. A helmet, emblem of victory, 69I placed upon my head. My great battle chariot, 70which brings the foe low, 71I hurriedly mounted in the anger of my heart. The mighty bow, 72which Assur had given me, I seized in my hands; 73the javelin, piercing to the life, I grasped. 74Against all of the armies of wicked enemies, 75I cried out, rumbling like a storm. I roared like Adad. 76At the word of Assur, the great lord, my lord, on flank and front 77I pressed upon the enemy like the onset of a raging storm. 78With the weapons of Assur, my lord, and the terrible onset of my attack, 79I stopped their advance, I succeeded in surrounding them, 80I decimated the enemy host with arrow and spear. 81I bored through all of their bodies. 82Humban-undasha, the field-marshall 83of the king of Elam, a trustworthy man, commander 84of his armies, his chief support, together with his nobles 85who wear the golden belt-daggar 86-87and whose wrists are encircles with thick rings of shining gold 88like fat steers who have hobbles put on them,

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1quickly I cut them down and defeated them. 2I cut their throats, 3and I cut off their precious lives like a string. Like the many waters 4of a storm, I made their gullets and entrails 5run down upon the wide earth. My prancing 6steeds harnessed for my riding plunged 7into the streams of their blood as (into) a river. The wheels of my war chariot, 8which brings the wicked and evil low, 9were spattered with blood and filth. With the bodies of their warriors 10I filled the plain like grass. Their testicles 11I cut off and tore out their privates like the seeds 12of cucumbers of Siwan. I cut off their hands. 13The heavy rings of brightest gold which were on their wrists 14I took away. With sharp swords 15I pierced their belts and took away 16the belt-daggars of gold and silver which were on their persons. The rest of his nobles, together with Nabû-shum-ishkun, 17son of Moerodach-baladan, who was frightened at my onslaught 18and had gone over to their side, my hands 19seized in the midst of the battle. The chariots and their horses, 20whose riders had been slain at the beginning of the terrible battle, 21and who had been left to themselves, 22kept running back and forth 23for two double-hours; I stopped their headlong flight. 24That Umman-menanu, king of Elam, 25together with the king of Babylon and the princes of Chaldea, 26who had gone over to their side, the terror of my battle 27overturned their bodies like a bull. They abandoned their tents; 28and to save their lives, they trampled 29the bodies of their soldiers; they fled like young pigeons 30that are pursued. Their hearts were torn; 31they held their urine, but let their dung go into their chariots. 32In pursuit of them, 33I dispatched my chariots and horses after them. 34Those among them who had escaped, who had fled for their lives, 35wherever they [the charioteers] met them, they cut them down with the sword.
36After that time—after I had completed the palace 37in the midst of the city of Nineveh for my royal residence, 38had filled it with beautiful furnishings, to the astonishment of all the people— 39the side-palace, which the former kings, 40my ancestors, had built 41for the care of the camp, the stabling of the horses, and general storage, 42had no terrace, that its site was too small, 43that its construction had not been skillfuly done, that, as the days went by, its foundation-platform 44had become weak, its foundation had given way and its roof had falen in. 45I tore down that palace in its entirety. 46A large tract of land in the meadows 47and environs of the city I confiscated, according to plan, 48and added to it. The site of the former palace 49I abandoned. With the ground of the meadows 50which I had seized from the riverflats, I filled in a terrace, 51I raised its top 200 tipki (thickness of brick) on high. In a favorable month 52on an auspicious day, on the top of that terrace, 53following the cunning of my heart, a palace of limestone 54and cedar, of Hittite workmanship also a 55lofty palace of Assyrian workmanship, which 56far surpassed the former one in size and beauty, 57according to the plan of wise architects, 58I had them build for my royal residence. 59Mighty cedar beams, the product of Amanus, the shining mountain, 60I stretched over them. Door-leaves of liari-wood I 61covered with a sheathing of bright bronze and set up 62in their doors. Out of white limestone, 63which is found in the land of the city of Baladai, 64I had mighty statues fashioned and 65positioned on the right and left of the entrances. For the equipment of the 66black-headed people, the stabling of horses, mules, colts, 67riding camels, chariots, wagons, carts, quivers, 68bows and arrows, all kinds of battle equipment: 69teams of horses and mules which 70possessed enormous strength, and were broken to the yoke. 71I greatly enlarged its court of the gates. That palace, from its foundation 72to its coping, I constructed, I finished. A stele 73with my name inscribed on it I set up in it. In the days to come 74among the kings, my sons, whose name Assur 75and Ishtar shall name for the rule of land and people, 76when that palace shall become old and ruined, 77may some future prince restore its ruins, look upon 78the stele with my name inscribed on it, anoint it with oil, 79pour out a libation upon it, and return it to its place. Then Assur and Ishtar 80will hear his prayers. He who destroys my inscription and my name— 81may Assur, the great lord, the father of the gods, 82treat him as an enemy, 83take away the scepter and throne from him, and overthrow his rule. 84The month of Tammuz; eponym of Gahilu, 85governor of Hatarikka.

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