Free Photos, July 2002
-a special feature of the BiblePlaces newsletter-
The following photos are of the famous
Lachish Reliefs of Sennacherib at the British Museum. The photographs on this page were all taken by
Mark Borisuk. We thank him for allowing us to share these
excellent images. All of these pictures are linked to the
high-resolution version and can be used freely for personal and
Slab 5, left
The procession continues on this
scene with more Assyrian soldiers carrying booty. Here the first
three Assyrian soldiers follow the deportees. The first Assyrian
soldier carries a scepter deliberately upside down. The next two
hold large ceremonial chalices, similar to much smaller vessels found in
the excavations. More deportees are shown in the bottom
register. Two women lead two girls who are followed by a man
directing two oxen hitched to a cart. The cart is filled with the
family's possessions and two small children sit on top. The oxen's
ribs are visible, probably reflecting the desperate situation of the
Slab 5, right; Slab 6 left
the top right another man with an ox-pulled cart is shown. Riding on
the cart are two women, one holding an infant. The lower column
includes two Judeans stretched out on the ground. Their ankles are
grasped by Assyrian soldiers who apparently just flayed these men alive.
Slab 6, right, Slab 7
Trees are depicted at the top,
including what may be schematized olive trees and a grapevine. The
upper column shows Assyrian soldiers leading three Judeans without
headdresses. These men have curly hair and curly beards who may
have incited the city's inhabitants to resist Assyria until the
end. Some of these men are shown being tortured, and one man on the
bottom tier is being stabbed in the shoulder while the Assyrian soldier
grabs his hair.
Slabs 7, 8, 9
scene focuses on King Sennacherib. These three slabs made up the
northern side of the room and measure about about 15 feet
altogether. Slabs 1-6 filled the western wall and Slabs 10-12 the
northeastern portion. No slabs have been preserved of the southern
or southeastern walls.
leads to King Sennacherib who is seated on his royal throne in front of
his tent and facing the city. The procession is likely led by the
Tartan, the commander-in-chief of the army. Above the officials'
heads is an inscription identifying Lachish as the object of this
campaign: "Sennacherib, king of all, king of Assyria, sitting on his
nimedu-throne while the spoil from the city of Lachish passed
before him." Behind the king two eunuchs hold fans made of
Slab 8, right
face was destroyed in antiquity and his wrists, which were probably
adorned with bracelets, were carved out (now restored with gypsum).
The bracelets signified his kingship and the rosette decorations on them
were official Assyrian emblems. The defacing of the king's image
was thus intended to symbolically reject his right of rule and may have
occurred at the time of his assassination by his sons in 681 B.C. (cf. 2
Slab 8, right
Sennacherib's throne was mentioned in
the inscription and obviously transported to Lachish from Assyria.
The throne was decorated with ivory (cf. Solomon's "throne of
ivory"; 1 Ki 10:18), a fashion imported originally from Syria and
Phoenicia. Twelve identical men support the throne and each have
long hair and long beards. The throne also has a footstool which
enables the king in his elevated position to rest his feet comfortably.
Go to the beginning of the Lachish reliefs!
Related Web Sites
Reliefs - the official page of the British Museum, which houses the reliefs.
Includes a picture of Slabs 10-12 (not depicted on this website).
Assyrian Reliefs from "The Palace With No Equal" - On the website
of the University of Lethbridge with a general description of the reliefs and
links to some drawings of the slabs.
History, University of Wisconsin - some images of the reliefs, apparently
only available to users on the school's network.
of Lachish - brief description of the battle from Norwich University.
- with mention of the possibility of these reliefs depicting something other
than Sennacherib's 701 campaign. By the University of Texas.
Brief Reexamination of the Degree of Specificity in Sennacherib's Battle Reliefs
of Lachish - by Paul Ash. This detailed and well-illustrated article
was submitted to the Israel Exploration Journal for publication (but not
accepted). The paper's conclusion: "the details in topography and
clothing have not in any way been drawn to depict specifically ancient
Lachishites or Judahites."
Campaigns in Israel and Judah - an illustrated survey
Ussishkin, David. The Conquest of Lachish by Sennacherib.
Tel Aviv, Israel: Tel Aviv University Publications, 1982. Excellent work
describing the reliefs as well as the archaeological excavations which
correspond to the ancient Assyrian depictions. This book was the
source for the descriptions on this page.
Russell, John Malcolm. Sennacherib's "Palace
without Rival" at Nineveh. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.