The walls of King Sennacherib’s immense royal city of Nineveh survived ancient destructions and millennia of neglect and could still be clearly understood during the early decades of the 20th century. The city is now encompassed by the modern Iraqi town of Mosul. When Sennacherib made his home there, he greatly expanded and modernized his capital by adding double fortification walls totalling nearly 25m (80’) thick and running 12km (nearly 8 miles) around his city, a vast system of canals to bring water in the city, as well as new roads, bridges, and gardens.

His crowning achievement was his Palace Without Rival, as he calls it in his inscriptions. It was supposedly over 500m (1500’) long, so large that even today it hasn’t been completely excavated or fully understood. The palace has been investigated since it was first discovered in the 1840s by Austen Henry Layard. What we know from 170 years of research is that the most important rooms of the palace were carved with inscriptions describing his military campaigns and narrative wall reliefs depicting the king’s victories, including his destruction of the citadel at Lachish, given a entire room in the administrative wing of the palace. This 2nd video in the series focuses on the town and palace at Nineveh, as the backdrop for the Lachish battle reliefs (discussed in detail in the 3rd video in this series).



  • Barnett, R.D. 1976. Sculptures from the north palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (668-627 B.C.). London: British Museum Publications Ltd.
  • 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.
  • Reade, Julian. 1998.  “Ninive (Nineveh),” Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 9:388-433.
  • 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.

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