Ashurnasirpal II

Ashurnasirpal II
(ca. 883 b.c.-859 b.c.)
   The first great king of the so-called Neo-Assyrian Empire that emerged in the early first millennium b.c. Ashurnasirpal first consolidated the territorial gains made by his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II. Then, circa 877, the new Assyrian monarch moved westward in hopes of reaching the Mediterranean coast. An excerpt from his annals confirms that he achieved this goal:
   At that time I marched along the side of Mount Lebanon, and to the Great Sea. ... In the Great Sea I washed my weapons, and I made offerings unto the gods. The tribute of the kings of the seacoast, of the people of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos . . . silver, gold, lead, copper, vessels of copper, garments made of brightly colored wool . . . maple-wood, boxwood, and ivory . . . I received as tribute from them, and they embraced my feet. on the way back to Assyria, Ashurnasirpal and his soldiers sacked and plundered many towns, firmly establishing the now familiar Assyrian reputation for terror and cruelty. "Three thousand captives I burned with fire," he boasts in his annals. "Their corpses I formed into pillars [piles]." Other typical atrocities included cutting off noses, ears, fingers, and impaling people on sharp stakes. Surprisingly, however, this clearly sadistic ruler was also a great builder. At Kalhu (modern Nimrud) he erected temples, military barracks, and dozens of other structures; and it was said that he inaugurated these works with a feast that fed almost seventy thousand people for ten days.
   See also: Assyrian Empire; Nimrud

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

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