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ASHURBANIPAL ON HORSEASHURNASIRPAL II fragment

ASHURNASIRPAL II
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ASHURNASIRPAL II

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Ashurnasirpal II was king of Assyria from 884 BC-859 BC.

Ashurnasirpal succeeded his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II, in 884 BC. He conquered Mesopotamia and the territory of what is now the Lebanon, adding them to the growing Assyrian empire. He was renowned for his brutality, using enslaved captives to build a new Assyrian capital at Kalhu (Nimrud) in Mesopotamia, where he refounded the city and built many impressive monuments. He was also a shrewd administrator who realised that he could gain greater control over his empire by installing Assyrian governors rather than by depending on local client rulers paying tribute.

He was succeeded by his son Shalmaneser III.

King Ashurnasirpal II's palace was built and completed in 879 BC in Kalhu, which is in modern-day Iraq slightly north of Baghdad. The palace walls were lined with reliefs made from alabaster, a type of stone. These reliefs bore intricate carvings, mostly portraying the king and winged genies. Each also had text inscripted in it. This text was the same or very similar on each relief and is therefore called the Standard Inscription. The Standard Inscription begins by tracing Ashurnasirpal II's lineage back three generations and recounts his military victories, defines the boundaries of his empire, tells how he founded Kalhu, and built the palace. Many of these reliefs are now on display in several museums in the United States and Europe.


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