Ancient Replicas - Sennacherib's Prism

Walls and Towers
Decorative Items

Assyria

Alabaster lion from entrance to temple of Ninurta at Nimrud, reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC)
Assyrian Lion

Winged bull with human head, from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad
Winged Bull Guardian

Tiglath-Pileser III Fragment of a gypsum tablet from the palace of Nimrud.
Tiglath-Pileser III

Sargon II in Royal Fashion Limestone Sculpture
Sargon II

Relief of Siege Scene with Battering-Ram and Impaled Bodies, gypsum, Palace of Tiglath-pileser III
Battering Ram

Relief depicting the siege of a fortified city
Siege Relief

Detail of Hebrew captives playing music, from Lachish, wandering through a mountain forest, accompanied by an Assyrian warrior carrying a club
Hebrew Captives

Relief of Ashurbanipal Stabbing Lion With Sword
King Stabbing Lion

Relief of King Ashurbanipal Reposing with His Queen in the Royal Garden
Ashurbanipal Feasting

Relief of Tiglath-Pileser III in Chariot
Tiglath-Pileser in Chariot 

Relief of Slaves in a Quarry
Forced Quarry Labor

Stone Sculpture of a Winged Lamassu,  from Khorsabad
Winged Lamassu

Winged human-headed bull colossus from Khorsabad
Human Headed Bull

Stone Sculpture of Hero Grasping Lion, from Khorsabad
Hero Grasping Lion

Sargon II and a high official
Sargon and High Official

Sargon II and his Tartan
Sargon II and Tartan

Relief from Ashurnasirpal II's palace at Nimrud of a winged genius with an eagle's head
Eagle-Headed Deity

Assyrian Archers
Assyrian Archers

Assyrian King Blinding Prisoners
Blinding Prisoners

Impaled Prisoners
Impaled Prisoners

King Jehu Relief
Jehu Relief

Assyrian King Hunting
King Hunting

Lachish Captives
Lachish Captives

Assyrian Slinger (Stonethrower)
Assyrian Slinger

Trodden Under Foot
Trodden Under Foot


Ashurbanipal Hunting

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III
The Black Obelisk

Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism of Baked Clay also know as the Taylor Prism
Sennacherib's Prism

Assyrian Soldier Holding Shield
Assyrian Soldier 1

Assyrian Soldier Holding Spear
Assyrian Soldier 2


Babylon

The Striding Lion on the Ishtar Gate of Babylon
The Striding Lion

The Weld-Blundell Prism
Weld-Blundell Prism

 

 

This beautifully preserved six-sided hexagonal prism of baked clay, commonly known as the Taylor Prism, was discovered among the ruins of Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire. It contains the victories of Sennacherib himself, the Assyrian king who had besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah, it never mentions any defeats. On the prism Sennacherib boasts that he shut up "Hezekiah the Judahite" within Jerusalem his own royal city "like a caged bird." This prism is among the three accounts discovered so far which have been left by the Assyrian king Sennacherib of his campaign against Israel and Judah. British Museum. The Taylor Prism discovery remains one of the most important discoveries in  Biblical Archaeology.

Interesting note: Egyptian sources make mention of Sennacherib’s defeat in the conflict with Judah, but gives the credit for the victory to an Egyptian god who sent field mice into the camp of the Assyrians to eat their bowstrings and thus they fled from battle.

(See 2 Kings 19; 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 37)

"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD. 'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'" Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses--all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh." Isaiah 37:33-38 

Material - Baked Clay 
Neo Assyrian (Reign of Sennacherib)
Language: Akkadian (Cuneiform)
Text: Records the first 8 campaigns of King Sennacherib
Date: 691 BC 
Dates of Sennacherib's reign: 701–681 BC
Height: 38.5 cm 
Width: 16.5 cm (max.) 
Width: 8.57 cm (faces) 
Depth: 
Nineveh, northern Iraq
Excavated at Nebi Yunus
It was acquired by Colonel Taylor and Sold to the British Museum in 1855
Location: British Museum, London
Item: ANE 91032
Room: 69a, Temporary Displays

Biblical Reference: 2 Kings 18:13-19:37; Isaiah 36:1-37:38

British Museum Excerpt

The Taylor Prism

Neo-Assyrian, 691 BC
From Nineveh, northern Iraq

Recording the first 8 campaigns of King Sennacherib (704-681 BC)

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, after whom it is named. The British Museum purchased it from Taylor's widow in 1855.

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 BC) 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. 

The British Museum


For the Oriental Institute Prism of Sennacherib refer to the Bible History Online article.