(reigned ca. 704-681 b.c.)
   The son of the Assyrian king Sargon II and in his own right one of the more accomplished monarchs of the Assyrian Empire. From the very beginning of his reign Sennacherib found himself beset by rebellions and other unrest. Almost immediately following Sargon's death, the Egyptian pharaoh convinced the kings of Judah, Sidon, and other Palestinian states to launch insurrections against the Assyrians. one of Sennacherib's generals managed to put down these minor revolts. But then the Chaldean (Babylonian) usurper Merodach-Baladan organized an anti-Assyrian coalition of Babylonians, Arabs, Elamites, and others. Sennacherib drove Merodach-Baladan away, but three years later the Babylonian returned. Again Sennacherib asserted himself in Babylon, chasing away Merodach-Baladan, and this time he installed the Assyrian crown prince Ashur-nadin-shumi on the Babylonian throne. Still more trouble occurred in Babylonia in about 694 b.c., however, as the Elamites invaded and captured Babylon. Sennacherib besieged the city, and after he captured it he inflicted a severe punishment on its inhabitants, as a passage in his annals boasts:
   The city and its houses, from its foundation to its top, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. The wall and outer wall, temples and gods ... I razed and dumped them into the Arahtu Canal. Through the midst of that city I dug canals, I flooded its site with water. . . . That in the days to come the site of that city . . . might not be remembered, I completely blot-teditout.
   One of Sennacherib's most famous exploits was his invasion of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah, described in the Bible:
   Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who was besieging Lachish [south of Jerusalem] with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah ... saying ... "On what are you relying, that you stand siege in Jerusalem? ... Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? ... No god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand. . . . How much less will your god deliver you out of my hand?!" (2 Chronicles 32.9-15)
   Sennacherib's siege of Lachish, mentioned in the above passage, was shown in considerable detail in some impressive relief sculptures found at Nineveh in the nineteenth century by noted Assyriologist Austen Henry Layard. The Assyrian sculptors who created these reliefs, which are now in the British Museum in London, worked from sketches made by Sennacherib's campaign artists, who watched the siege from a nearby hill. Further confirmation for the siege came from the excavations conducted from 1973 to 1987 at Lachish by Israeli archaeologist David Ussishkin. He found the remnants of the Assyrian siege ramp and large numbers of Assyrian weapons. Lachish eventually fell to Sennacherib. Fortunately for the Hebrews, however, Jerusalem survived and the Assyrians withdrew after Hezekiah agreed to pay a huge sum of money and other valuables, including his harem and musicians, to Sennacherib.
   Sennacherib also earned fame for enlarging and beautifying Nineveh. His so-called Palace Without Rival, which rose in the northern part of the city, was particularly noteworthy. Despite such positive domestic accomplishments, Sennacherib was hated by many in his own capital and even in his own family. In about 681 b.c. one of his sons assassinated him, and another son, Esarhaddon, succeeded to Assyria's throne.

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

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