Lachish Battle Reliefs

These bas-relief panels that show the Assyrian King Sennacherib’s capture of the Judean fortress of Lachish come from the king’s so-called Palace Without Rival at his capital city of Nineveh (currently in northeastern Iraq).  The panels decorated an inner room of the palace in its administrative wing. The palace was excavated between 1847 and 1851 by Austen Henry Layard, a young British adventurer and part-time lawyer. Many of his finds, including the Lachish reliefs were shipped from Nineveh to the British Museum, London.

The events depicted on the panels took place in 701 BCE during the king’s 3rd campaign, along Phoenician coast and against the cities of Philistia and Judea, and during which he defeated the Egyptian army and lay siege to King Hezekiah’s Jerusalem. Isaiah, Chapter 36 chronicles this siege and Sennacherib’s successes are recounted on stone and clay cylinders and prisms found at Nineveh, providing unique correlations among the biblical texts, contemporary Assyrian documents, and excavated evidence. However, among all the king’s inscriptions, the battle with Lachish is not specifically mentioned.



  • Barnett, Richard D.; Erika Bleibtreu and Geoffrey Turner. 1998. Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, Trustees of the British Museum, British Museum Press: London. (2 vols.)
  • Collins, Paul. 2009. Assyrian Palace Sculptures, Austin TX: Univ. of Texas Press (copublished with the British Museum Press).
  • Layard, Austen Henry. 1853. Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. London: J. Murray.
  • Layard, Austen Henry. 1849. Nineveh and its Remains. 2 vols. London: J. Murray.
  • Russell, John M. 1998. The Final Sack of Nineveh: the discovery, documentation, and destruction of King Sennacherib’s throne room at Nineveh, Iraq, New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.
  • Russell, John M. 1991. Sennacharib’s Palace without Rival at Nineveh, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
  • Ussishkin, David. 2014. Biblical Lachish: a tale of construction, destruction, excavation, and restoration. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.
  • Ussishkin, David. 2003. “Symbols of Conquest in Sennacherib’s Reliefs of Lachish – Impaled Prisoners and Booty,” pp.207-17 in T.F. Potts et al. (eds.), Culture Through Objects: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of P.R.S. Moorey, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ussishkin, David. 1982. The Conquest of Lachish by Sennacherib. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Publications.
  •  Official Lachish website

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