The Taylor Prism of King Sennacherib, Nineveh

Illustration

by
published on 31 March 2014

This prism records the first eight campaigns of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (704-681 BCE).

This six-sided baked clay document (or prism) was discovered at the Assyrian capital Nineveh, in an area known today as Nebi Yunus. It was acquired by Colonel R. Taylor, British Consul General at Baghdad, in 1830 CE, after whom it is named. The British Museum purchased it from Taylor's widow in 1855 CE.

As one of the first major Assyrian documents found, this document played an important part in the decipherment of the cuneiform script.

The prism is a foundation record, intended to preserve King Sennacherib's achievements for posterity and the gods. The record of his account of his third campaign (701 BCE) is particularly interesting to scholars. It involved the destruction of forty-six cities of the state of Judah and the deportation of 200,150 people. Hezekiah, king of Judah, is said to have sent tribute to Sennacherib. This event is described from another point of view in the Old Testament books of 2 Kings and Isaiah. Interestingly, the text on the prism makes no mention of the siege of Lachish which took place during the same campaign and is illustrated in a series of panels from Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh.

Neo-Assyrian era, 691 BCE, From Nineveh, Mesopotamia, Iraq. (The British Museum, London)


About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

Remove Ads

Advertisement

Image License

Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Read the licensing terms for more information on how to use this image legally.

Commercial Use

The photographer is selling a commercial use license for this image:

30USD

If you are not sure whether your project is commercial then please contact the editors by email () for clarification.

Commercial Licensing Terms

By purchasing this image you agree to the following terms and conditions:

You may use this photograph in a commercial digital or print publication, including but not limited to:

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Books
  • Websites
  • Presentations
There are no limitations on print runs or website impressions.

Upon purchasing this image, you may not re-sell this image, including but not limited to digital downloads or printed items where the image is the dominant content (such as postcards, for example).