Scena lova na leve, kralj Ashurbanipal

Scena lova na leve, kralj Ashurbanipal


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Oznaka: ashurbanipal

Podrobnost alabasterskega bareljefa, ki prikazuje leva, ki je zaboden v vrat. Lev je skočil in dosegel kritično točko zelo blizu kraljevega voza. Kraljevi služabniki so s kopjem nataknili levji vrat, da bi ustavili leva, kralj z desno roko zabada leva globoko v njegov vrat. Levov boleč izraz obraza je bil upodobljen zelo nežno. Iz sobe C Severne palače, Niniva (sodobni Kouyunjik, Mosulska oblast), Mezopotamija, Irak. Približno 645-535 pr. Britanski muzej, London. Fotografija © Osama S.M. Amin.

Kdor je imel privilegij dostopa do severne palače asirskega kralja Ašurbanipala v Ninivi, se je lahko imel za del nečesa brezčasnega. Zahvaljujoč velikemu delu Hormuzda Rasama (1826-1910), ki je odkril veliko število alabasterskih reliefov, ki so nekoč krasili stene kraljeve palače (zgrajene okoli leta 645 pr. N. Št.), Prizore lova na leve Asircev!

Te izjemne rezbarije, tako dinamične in polne gibov, so tako realistične in tako izpopolnjene in so nekateri najbolj izjemni starodavni artefakti, ki so jih kdaj našli. Odkril jih je Rassam leta 1853 in so od leta 1856 shranjeni v Britanskem muzeju. Rassam je v svoji avtobiografiji navedel, da je bila ena delitev delavcev po 3-4 urah trdega dela nagrajena z velikim odkritjem čudovit bas-relief v popolnem stanju ohranjenosti ”. Rassam je svojim ljudem po več kot 2000 letih naročil, naj v kopi izkopajo veliko luknjo, našli so ostanke kraljeve palače. Blatne opeke so seveda popolnoma izginile, toda sami reliefi, ki so jih nekoč krasili, so na srečo preživeli.


Prizor lova na leve, kralj Ashurbanipal - zgodovina

Lov na kraljeve leve je bil zelo stara tradicija v Asiriji in širši regiji Mezopotamije. Najstarejša upodobitev vladarja, ki lovi leve, najdemo na izklesanem bazaltnem spomeniku iz leta 3000 pred našim štetjem. Prikazuje dve bradati figuri, ki nosita diademe (vrsto krone), ki ju je mogoče identificirati kot "kralje duhovnike". Eden ubija leva s sulico, drugi pa streli v leva s svojim lokom in puščico. V Asiriji je bil lov na leva pomemben simbol kraljevine, asirski kraljevski pečat pa je prikazal kralja, ki je ubil divja leva.

Predstavlja lov

Lov na kraljeve leve je bil upodobljen na bronastih trakovih, ki so krasili monumentalna vrata, kamnitih obeliskih, ki so beležili kraljeve dosežke, in na izrezljanih stenskih ploščah, ki so krasile notranje prostore asirskih palač.

Nekatere najbolj spektakularne upodobitve lova so našli v palači kralja Ašurnasirpala II (883–859 pr. N. Št.) V mestu Nimrud (na severu današnjega Iraka). Prikazujejo kralja, kako lovi leve in divje bike s svojega vozička, nato pa sledi obredni prizor, ko je kralj mrtve živali prelil z darovanjem vina. Več kot 200 let kasneje je kralj Ashurbanipal oživil lov na kraljeve leve in okrasil svojo Severno palačo v mestu Nineveh (tudi na severu današnjega Iraka) s sijajno izrezljanimi reliefi, ki kažejo na njegovo moč kot pogumen lovec. “

Kralj bojevnika

Ashurbanipal se je svetu predstavil kot herojski kralj in trdil, da so mu bogovi dali izjemno moč in moškost. V okviru svojega vojaškega usposabljanja so mladega prestolonaslednika naučili voziti vozove, jahati konjenike in razvijati spretnosti, kot je lokostrelstvo. Za razliko od prejšnjih asirskih vladarjev pa je Ašurbanipal le redko, če sploh, vodil svoje čete na pohod.

Ashurbanipal je namesto tega razglasil svojo moč kot bojevnik na seriji izrezljanih alabasterskih plošč iz njegove severne palače, ki prikazujejo kralja, ki lovi leve. Tu je Ashurbanipal prikazan kot popoln akcijski junak, ko ubija divje leve na konju, peš ali z zadnjega dela vozička z različnim orožjem. Hotel je pokazati bogovom in svojim podanikom, da je herojski bojevnik.

Stvari kaosa

Asirska besedila beležijo, kako so levji kugi ovirali ceste in nadlegovali pastirje in pastirje z napadom na živino na ravnicah. Kraljeva dolžnost je bila osvoboditi svojo deželo nevarnih divjih živali. Ashurbanipal se je na svojem kraljevem vozu odpravil na ravnino, da bi se soočil s hudo gorsko pasmo levov, vendar je bil obkoljen in napaden. Izpolnjujoč svojo vlogo junaškega lovca, se Ashurbanipal ponaša, kako je razpršil ponos in vsakega leva ubil z eno puščico, da bi povrnil mir na ravnicah.

V stepi, razširjenem kraju, so me napadli besni levi, divja gorska pasma in obkolili voz, vozilo mojega kraljevskega veličanstva. Po ukazu boga Ašurja in boginje Ištar, velikih bogov ... Razpršil sem čopor teh levov.

Kot božansko imenovani zaščitnik Asirije je bila kraljeva dolžnost vzdrževati red v svetu, tako da je premagal sile kaosa, ki so vključevali tuje sovražnike in nevarne divje živali, kot je lev. Asirci so mislili, da njihov svet obsega civilizirano središče, ki se nahaja v asirskih mestih, obdanih s sovražnim, nedotaknjenim obrobjem. Kjer koli je vladal kralj, sta vladala mir in blaginja, medtem ko je tuje dežele trpel kaos. Z lovom na leve, bitja nedotaknjenega zaledja, je Ashurbanipal pokazal, kako bi lahko razširil svoj nadzor nad puščavo. Obdan z ritualno simboliko in junaško dramo, je bil lov na kraljevega leva še posebej učinkovito sredstvo za obveščanje o sposobnosti kralja kot pastirja svojega ljudstva, da zaščiti svojo čredo.

Odrska očala

Čeprav se je Ashurbanipal predstavljal kot lov na živali v naravi, so bili lovski prizori, ki so okrasili Ashurbanipalovo palačo, uprizorjeni dogodki v parkih za igre mesta. To so bili javni spektakli, primerljivi z igrami v rimski areni. Prizor s stenske plošče prikazuje majhnega dečka, ki je iz kletke izpustil leva, ki je bil ujet za namen lova. Pred levom ga varuje manjša kletka.

Na drugi plošči lovsko areno tvori krog stražarjev s kopji in ščiti, za katerimi je vrsta lokostrelcev. Dodatni stražarji držijo na povodcih ostrih mastifov, ki preprečujejo, da bi levi pobegnili iz arene.

Navdušeni gledalci tečejo po bližnji gomili, da bi si bolje ogledali dogajanje. Nekateri nosijo kože, morda prodajajo vodo množicam.

Levi so bili morda razmeroma krotki. Asirci so v parkih z divjadjo in vrtovih za zabavo hranili leve skupaj z drugimi živalmi, kot so jeleni in gazele. V stenski plošči iz Ashurbanipalove palače se levinja in lev z veličastno grivo sprostita v idiličnem vrtu, v drugem prizoru (spodaj) pa na videz ukroten lev hodi skupaj z glasbeniki.

Ne glede na resničnost lova je Ashurbanipal zagotovo zahteval pogumno zmago! V enem prizoru asirski konjenik, ki ga varujejo podvodniki na vozu, moti ležečega leva. Ashurbanipal (prikazano spodaj) se približa z leve in zgrabi leva za rep ter se pripravi udariti z buzdonom po glavi. V priloženem napisu je zapisano:

Jaz, Ašurbanipal, kralj sveta, kralj Asirije, sem med izvajanjem svojega prinčevskega športa prijel leva, ki se je rodil v stepi za rep in po ukazu bogov ... razbil lobanjo s topuzom, ki je bila v moja roka.

Politično in versko sporočilo

Ta del z večje stenske plošče prikazuje vrhunec lova na kraljevega leva. Lev je bil smrtno ranjen s puščico, ki mu prebode telo tik nad ramo. Čepi na trn, napenja vsako mišico, da bi ostala pokonci, ko ji iz ust priteče kri. Čeprav je trpljenje levov grozljivo videti, je umetnik odlično ujel žival v njeni smrtni muki in vidimo naturalizem, ki ga v asirski umetnosti redko srečamo. Vendar je verjetno, da je umetnik ujel levjo agonijo, ne iz usmiljenja, ampak da bi simboliziral kraljevo zmago nad nevarnimi in kaotičnimi silami, ki jih je lev predstavljal.

Kraljeva moč, da premaga te sovražnike civilizacije, je bila del njegove božanske pravice in lov je imel globok verski pomen. Kralj je v imenu bogov očistil deželo nevarnih in kaotičnih sil. Na tej stenski plošči je mogoče videti, kako Ashurbanipal toči vinsko ponudbo boginji bojevnici Ishtar po levih, ki jih je ubil. Napis se glasi:

Jaz, Ašurbanipal, kralj sveta, kralj Asirije, ki sta mu bog Ašur in boginja Ištar podelila izjemno moč, sem postavila silovit lok boginje Ištar - bojne dame - nad levi, ki sem jih ubila. Naredil sem jim daritev in jih prelil z žganjem vina.


Več o Ashurbanipalu in njegovem cesarstvu lahko odkrijete na razstavi BP Jaz sem Ašurbanipal: kralj sveta, kralj Asirije, v muzeju do 24. februarja 2019.


Lovi asirskega leva

Zdi se, da je bilo več kot tisočletje pred temi reliefi ubijanje levov v Mezopotamiji rezervirano za kraljevske člane, kralji pa so to pogosto prikazovali v umetnosti. Dejavnost je morda imela versko razsežnost. Preživelo pismo na glineni plošči zapisuje, da ga je moral lev, ko je vstopil v hišo v provincah, ujeti in z ladjo odpeljati kralju. Azijski lev, ki je danes preživel le v majhni populaciji v Indiji, je na splošno manjši od afriške sorte, mnogo poznejši zapisi pa kažejo, da njihovo pobijanje v bližini, kot je prikazano v reliefih, ni bil nemogoč podvig. Ko se uporablja meč, se zdi verjetno, da je, tako kot v zadnjem času, dejanska tehnika ta, da je "morilec levov svojo levo roko zavil v ogromno preje iz kozje dlake ali šotora" in skušal leva da ga napadne, medtem ko ga je meč v desnici odposlal. Ta oblazinjena obramba ni nikoli upodobljena. [8] Bolj pogosto kralj strelja puščice v leva, če ga le -ti ne uspejo ustaviti in skoči, lovci blizu kralja uporabljajo svoja sulica. [9]

Prejšnji kralj, Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883-859), ki je v svoji palači v Nimrudu kakšnih 200 let pred tem postavil druge reliefe za lov na leve, se je v napisih okoli leta 865 pred našim štetjem hvalil, da "bogova Ninurta in Nergal, ki ljubita moje duhovništvo , mi je dal divje živali ravnic in mi ukazal lov. 30 slonov, ki sem jih ujel in ubil 257 velikih divjih volov, ki sem jih podrl s svojim orožjem, napadlo s kočije 370 velikih levov, ki sem jih ubil z lovskimi kopji ". [10] Ashurnasirpal je prikazan s streljanjem na leve s svojega vozička, zato je bil to morda bolj običajen lov na odprtem ali pa je tudi v areni. [11]

V kasnejših reliefih ujete leve spustijo v zaprt prostor, ki ga tvorijo vojaki, ki naredijo ščitno steno. Nekatere prikazuje, da jih spremljevalec v manjšem zaboju, ki sedi na vrhu, spusti iz lesenih zabojev in dvigne vrata. [12] Kljub lovu so mezopotamski levi preživeli v puščavi do leta 1918. [13] [14]

Levi so bili včasih vzgojeni v ujetništvu. Ashurnasirpal II je v napisu, ki se ponaša s svojim živalskim vrtom, izjavil: "S svojim srčnim srcem sem ujel 15 levov iz gora in gozdov. Odnesel sem 50 levjih mladičev. Pastel sem jih v Kalhu (Nimrud) in palače moje dežele v njihove mladiče sem vzgojil v velikem številu. " [15]


Umetniku je bilo naročeno, da ustvari reliefe, ki ne le zapisujejo večletne akcije za zadušitev levove nadloge, ampak povečujejo boj

Ko je bila zgrajena nova rezidenca za najnovejšega prebivalca asirskega prestola, kralja Ašurbanipala, ki je vladal od leta 699 do 631 pr.n.št., je bil umetnik pooblaščen, da okrasi stene Severne palače z reliefi, ki ne predstavljajo le kronike večletnih kampanj za zadušitev leva. bič, a povzdigujejo boj. Če je trajalo 10 let, je bil rezultat popotnica estetskih inovacij, ki bi se v kulturni zgodovini izgubila skoraj tako hitro, kot je bila končana.

Manj kot dve desetletji po zaključku dela leta 635 pr. N. Št. Je Ninevo leta 612 pr. Ponovno odkritje pozabljenih reliefov je bil izjemen dosežek iraškega asiriologa iz 19. stoletja Hormuzda Rasama, ki je med letoma 1852 in 1854 nadzoroval njihovo izkopavanje in pomagal pri njihovi selitvi v Britanski muzej, kjer so od takrat na ogled. (Nedavna odločitev univerze v Aberdeenu, da Nigeriji vrne beninski bron, je pritisnila na druge britanske institucije, ki hranijo kolonialno razseljene zaklade, da te predmete pošljejo nazaj v regije njihovega rojstva.) Zasedajo lastno galerijo, ki jo lahko skozi Google Zemljevide v svojem tempu (in ob kateri koli uri), razdrobljenih plošč ni mogoče brezbrižno sprehajati (ali se pomikati) mimo.

Ob spominjanju na akcijski prizor so lokostrelci ujeti v večnem trenutku zamrznjenega časa (Zasluge: Alamy)

Puščice te najprej udarijo. Spuščene v brezčasnem izklesanem zraku, ki zdaj prebada akrobatsko oko njegovih neokrnjenih ciljev, zdaj še kamnitih, perje do tetive, stisnjeno med osredotočene kraljeve prste, puščice poganjajo zamrznjeno dejanje vizualne pripovedi naprej. Podobno kot igle, ki povezujejo čas, obešene gredi obstajajo hkrati v preteklosti, sedanjosti in prihodnosti. Zagotavljajo logiko pripovedovanja zgodb o kraljevem stalnem pojavljanju v sceni za prizorom.

Ravno ta občutek stop-motion spajanja je vzbudil domišljijo ameriškega pesnika 20. stoletja Williama Carlosa Williamsa, ko se je v zgodnjih dvajsetih letih 20. stoletja srečal z reliefi. "Glej! Ashur-ban-i-pal", piše Williams v zgodnji pesmi, ki pametno odmeva viharju letečih in padajočih puščic, ki ločujejo reliefe s presežkom vezajev, črtic in klicajev, "je kralj lokostrelec na konj ... z izvlečenim lokom-obrnjenimi levi/stojijo na zadnjih nogah,/ogoljeni očnjaki! njegove gredi/ščetine v vratu! "

Rezbarije združujejo človeka in zver kot vredna nasprotnika (Zasluge: Getty Images)

Williams ujame fantastično kakovost reliefov, kako prikazujejo večni trenutek, ko je puščica naenkrat še sprožena ("z nategnjenim lokom"), hkrati pa za vedno zadene svojo tarčo ("ščetine v vratu" ! "). Tu se čas sesuje. Tako tudi v nekem smislu sovraštvo med ubijalcem in ubitim. Skoraj tako je, kot da kralj in levi, ki jih nenehno duši-antagonisti, ki jih starodavni kipar upodablja z vsaj toliko junaštva in naklonjenosti kot avgustovski protagonist lova-zasedajo področje zunaj tukaj-in-zdaj (oz. tam in potem) in so v bistvu manj smrtni nasprotniki kot duhovni refleksi drug drugega, utripi istega mitskega srca.

Tu se razkrije pomen Ashurbanipalovega sijočega uhana in postane ključni del sestavljanke ne le pri razumevanju kompleksnega odnosa med tema dvema komplementarnima silama, lovcem in lovcem, temveč pri reševanju samega Ashurbanipala pred večno nesmiselnostjo. Konec koncev, če je kralj resnično tako mogočen, kot kažejo alabasterski reliefi, zakaj se levi vračajo, plošča za panelom, leto za letom, kraljujejo za vladavino? Kipar, ki je oblikoval estetsko strategijo rezbarij, se je z drugimi besedami soočil s monumentalno uganko, ko je razložil, kako vsemogočni vladar ne more premagati svojega sovražnika enkrat za vselej-dilema, da je uhan in samo on v ikonografiji del, mu pomaga premagati.

Simbol leva in kralja

Na prvi pogled se zdi, da je nakit komaj kaj več kot zavajajoče preprost sončni simbol, ki cveti z bodečimi bleski, okras, ki poudarja kraljevo nesporno briljantnost. Poglejte bližje in sijoči cvetni lističi, ki koničasto streljajo iz središča uhana, ne odmevajo samo naostrenih konic puščic, na katerih je pogojena kraljeva moč, ampak tudi kremplje in zobe, ki mu grozijo, da ga bodo preplavili. Uhan je nekakšen sestavljeni emblem, ki v sebe vpija večnost odpornega sonca, nepremagljivost kralja in grozljivost sil, ki jih on in samo on imata dovolj močno, da jih obdržita.

Obstajajo vsi razlogi za sum, da bi sodobni opazovalci mavčnih reliefov takoj prepoznali dvojni uhanec uhana - sklic na orožje lova in na njegovo divjo tarčo. V mezopotamskih mitologijah tistega časa je bilo sonce sinonim za lokostrelca boga Ašurja, od koder izhaja tudi kraljevo ime. Preživeli kamniti medaljoni pred ploščami Lion Hunt prikazujejo krilatega Ašurja, z lokom v roki, obkroženega in ustoličenega na soncu. V zameglitev te povezave med soncem in lokostrelcem in njeno zapletenje je tudi starodavna povezava med soncem in levom, člen, ki sega v sam začetek astroloških znamenj tisočletja pred vladavino Ašurbanipala. "Starodavna povezava boga sonca z levom," se po mnenju folklorista Aleksandra Krappeja, ki je prvi prevedel zbrane zgodbe bratov Grimm, "odraža v spoznanjih o zodiaku, nedvomno mezopotamskega izvora". Sonce se bere s puščicami in kremplji.

Če gledamo skozi objektiv večvalentnega uhana, je alabasterski levji lov več kot le kronika ene same akcije odstrela obstojnega škodljivca. To je stvar brezčasnega mita, ki neuspeh v popolnem premagovanju levov spremeni v veličastno zmago. Nenadoma se zlahka spregledajo razcveti, ki jih je starodavni kipar uvedel v svojo mojstrovino. Lovec in lov se opredeljujeta, da sta medsebojni zobniki v neskončnem motorju obstoja. Leva je treba apoteozirati, da bi povzdignil kralja. Ne glede na to, kako brutalna je zverska bitka med njima, se življenje samo opira na boj. Reliefi jasno kažejo, da sta kralj in lev eno.

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Lov na leva

Lov na leva je bil že od antičnih časov elitni ritual. V starem Egiptu so bili lovi na leve običajno rezervirani za faraone. Ti lovi so skoraj povzročili iztrebljanje populacij levov v Severni Afriki do leta 1100 pr.

Umetnine so se ohranile in prikazale, da je faraon Amenhotep III v enem lovu ubil več kot 100 levov.

V starodavni Asiriji je bil lov na leve obredna dejavnost, namenjena le kraljem. Ti lovi so bili simbol dolžnosti monarha, da ščiti in se bori za svoje ljudstvo.

Asirski kralji so lovili leve v politične in verske namene, da bi pokazali svojo moč. Kralj bi ubil leva s kočije s svojim lokom, puščico ali sulico. Medtem pa bi kopje in lokostrelci vedno zaščitili kralja pred levom.

Lov na leva je očiten tudi v grški mitologiji in umetnosti. Levi so bili na grškem polotoku prisotni vse do klasičnih časov.

Ugled lova na leve je dokazan pri prvem delu Herakla, umoru nemejskega leva. Levi so bili upodobljeni kot vidni simboli kraljevskih članov, na primer v Levjih vratih do trdnjave Mikene.

Danes je lov na leva predmet polemik, saj je lev trenutno ranljiva vrsta, nekatere podvrste pa so ogrožene. V naravi preživi manj kot 20.000, kar je 60% manj kot v zadnjih dveh desetletjih.


Lov na leva iz Ashurbanipala

Kraljevski Lov na leva iz Ashurbanipala je prikazan na znameniti skupini asirskih  palace  reliefov iz severne palače Nineveh, ki so zdaj razstavljeni v sobi 10a britanskega  Muzeja. Na splošno veljajo za "vrhunske mojstrovine asirske umetnosti". [1] Prikazujejo formaliziran ritualni "lov" kralja Ašurbanipala (vladal 668 - ok. 631/627 pr. N. Št.) V areni, kjer so ujete azijske in#8197lvove izpustili iz kletk, da bi jih kralj zakol s puščicami, sulicami ali meč. [2] Narejeni so bili okoli leta 645–635 pred našim štetjem in so prvotno tvorili različna zaporedja, postavljena po palači. Verjetno bi bili prvotno pobarvani in so bili del svetle barve celotnega dekorja. [3]

Plošče ali ortostate iz Severne palače so izkopali Hormuzd  Rassam v letih 1852–54 in William  Loftus v letih 1854–55, večina pa je bila poslana nazaj v Britanski muzej [4], kjer so bili priljubljeni pri širši javnosti in umetnostni zgodovinarji od takrat. Levji realizem je bil vedno hvaljen, čeprav patetika, ki jo sodobni gledalci ponavadi čutijo, morda ni bila del asirskega odziva. Človeške figure so večinoma vidne v formalnih pozah v profilu, zlasti kralj v njegovih več nastopih, vendar so levi v najrazličnejših pozah, živi, ​​umirajoči in mrtvi. [5]

Rezbarije prihajajo iz poznega obdobja približno 250 let, v katerih so nastajali asirski palačni reliefi, in prikazujejo slog na najbolj razvit in najboljši način [6], preden je prišlo do upada. Ašurbanipal je bil zadnji veliki asirski kralj in po njem vladavine končal neoasirski  Empire se je spustil v obdobje slabo zabeležene državljanske vojne med njegovimi potomci, generali in uporniškimi deli cesarstva. Do leta 612, morda le 25 let po tem, ko je bilo to narejeno, je cesarstvo razpadlo, Niniva pa je bila opustošena in požgana. [7]

YouTube Enciklopedična

Transkripcija

(jazz glasba) Dr. Zucker: Mi smo v Britanskem muzeju v Londonu in si ogledujemo vrsto veličastnih nizkih reliefov. Dr. Harris: Ti prikazujejo zelo dramatičen lov na leva in asirskega kralja, ki ubija leve. Dr. Zucker: Asirci so se pojavili v Mezopotamiji pred 1.000 pr.n.št., vendar so povečali svojo moč in do takrat, ko so bili ti reliefi narejeni v sedmem stoletju pred našim štetjem, so bili Asirci prevladujoči in res na vrhuncu svoje civilizacije. Dr. Harris: Asirci so imeli več kraljevskih palač in več glavnih mest. Ninevah, Nimrudu in Khorsabadu. Prizori, ki jih zdaj gledamo, so iz kraljeve palače v Ninevah. Dr. Zucker: Ti bi okrasili hodnik. Bi šli skozi prizor in videli bomo različne trenutke v času. Dr. Harris: Asirski kralji so okrasili svoje palače s temi nizkimi reliefi, ki prikazujejo prizore bitk, prizore lova. Vse to govori o moči asirskih kraljev, vendar je ta nabor reliefov še posebej naturalističen in dramatičen. To velja za mojstrovino asirskega kiparstva. Dr. Zucker: To je lov na leva. Pomembno je razumeti simboliko. Levi, ki so bili domorodni v Mezopotamiji in dejansko nekoliko manjša vrsta, ki je zdaj izumrla, so bili simboli nasilja narave in kralja, ki je ubil leve. Mimogrede, veljal je zakon, ki je rekel, da le kralj lahko ubije leve. Kralj, ki je ubijal leve, je bilo pomembno simbolno dejanje, ki je govorilo o tem, da kralj ohranja naravo v zavetju in varuje svoje mesto. Dr. Harris: Čeprav vidimo, da kralj tukaj ubija leve, jih ubija v areni. Ne ubija jih v naravi. Dr. Zucker: Pojdimo skozi zgodbo. Na eni strani hodnika vidimo kralja, ki se pripravlja na lov. Dr. Harris: Kralja lahko prepoznamo zaradi posebne krone, ki jo nosi, in je tudi večji od ostalih treh številk, ki mu pomagajo, da se pripravi na lov. Opazimo eno figuro z vladavino, ki vleče konje, dve drugi figuri, ki se obračata v isto smer kot kralj. Na levi strani je očitno poškodovan. Dr. Zucker: Resnično sem vzeta s konji. Dr. Harris: No, konji so predstavljeni toliko bolj naravoslovno. Dr. Zucker: Še posebej, če pogledate muskulaturo obraza, oči. Obstaja ogromno podrobnosti. Harris: In čustva. Videti je, kot da se upirajo, da bi se za ta lov zavzeli. Dr. Zucker: Vidimo lahko, da se ena od teh uzd zategne, in vidimo dve drugi figuri, ki poskušata upreti konje. Vse to se dogaja v zaprtem prostoru in lahko vidimo druge spremljevalce, ki pri teh živalih držijo nekakšno oviro. Dr. Harris: Zdaj so predstavljeni pod prizorom s kraljem, vendar smo jih mislili razumeti kot okoli kralja. Imamo človeške figure, ki kljub temu, da hodijo naprej, vseeno predstavljajo formalnost v svojih pozah, nenavadno pa neformalnost, mislim, pri konjih. Dr. Zucker: To bomo videli tudi v predstavitvi levov, ki so predstavljeni povsem ločeno od večjega občutka formalnosti, ki ga prikaže kralj ali njegovi spremljevalci. Imamo to razdelitev med človekom in nadzorom človeka, nato naravo in njeno divjino. Ko se premaknemo na sredino plošč, vidimo zelo drugačen prizor. Umaknili smo se, naš pogled je bolj oddaljen in zdaj vidimo številke, ki so precej manjše. Vidimo hrib z veliko figurami na njem. Dr. Harris: In na samem vrhu, kar se zdi spomeniku kralju, ki prikazuje relief lova s ​​kraljem na vozu, ki ubija leve, zato je to upodobitev lova. Zucker: To je olajšanje. Obužujem to. Harris: Ta prizor se zdi kaotičen. Številke gestikulirajo na različne načine, plezajo na različne načine, nekatere gledajo nazaj, druge gledajo naprej. Dr. Zucker: Zdi se, da hitijo v hrib. Morda bežijo, morda poskušajo zavzeti boljši položaj za opazovanje lova, to so lahko gledalci. Mislimo, da vidimo moške in ženske, v resnici pa je to tako star del tega ugibanja. Dr. Harris: Seveda bi bilo to veliko lažje prebrati v palači, kjer je bil naslikan relief. Dr. Zucker: Te so bile naslikane zelo živo. Res bi izstopali. Ko se pomaknemo v desno, pridemo na areno za sam lov. Vidimo lahko, da bo leve držala dvojna vrsta vojakov, ki imajo ščite in sulice, nato pa v njej, da se zagotovi, da levi sploh ne pridejo tako daleč, obstaja še ena vrsta solidarjev z mastifi. Imajo kopja in ti psi bodo poskrbeli, da levi ne bodo šli mimo. Dr. Harris: Čeprav so te številke predstavljene ena nad drugo, smo jih mislili razumeti kot vrste v globinah v vesolju. Dr. Zucker: Všeč mi je predstavitev psov. Vidite jih, kako se napenjajo ob povodcu. Dr. Harris: Zdaj moramo hoditi do drugega konca, da vidimo, kako so levi vstopili v areno. Vidimo še eno dvojno vrsto kraljevega čuvaja in nato vidimo otroka, ki v lov na leve izpusti zelo grozečega leva. Dr. Zucker: To je torej popolnoma izmišljen lov. Je pod nadzorom. Kralja vidimo na vozu. On strelja puščico. Puščico vidimo v zraku, nato pa seveda vidimo leve, ki umirajo okoli nas. Dr. Harris: Ranjeni, prebodeni, nekateri na tleh, nekateri skoki navzgor, predstavljeni s takšno simpatijo. Dr. Zucker: Raznolikost je neverjetna, podrobnosti so neverjetne. Opazili boste, da je kralj v neki nevarnosti. Lev je bil ranjen, vendar se vrača v napad, a njegovi pomočniki zavzemajo hrbet. Dr. Harris: Vse to govori o moči, avtoriteti kralja nad naravo in predstavlja to moč svojemu ljudstvu. (jazz glasba)


Asirija: obleganje Lahiša - soba 10b

Asirija: obleganje Lahiša - soba 10b 710–692 pr

Lachish je bilo eno glavnih mest Judovega kraljestva na jugu Levanta, leta 701 pred našim štetjem pa ga je zavzel asirski kralj Sennacherib (704–681 pr. N. Št.). Obleganje je sledilo zavrnitvi Lahiša, da bi se poklonil Asirskemu cesarstvu (s sedežem v sodobnem severnem Iraku) in je omenjeno v Svetem pismu.

Številne reliefne skulpture, razstavljene v sobi 10b, prikazujejo zajem mesta, skupaj z izborom predmetov in orožja, uporabljenega pri obleganju. Na ogled je tudi "prizma" z asirskim prikazom kampanje.


Kdo je bil Ashubanipal?

Kljub vsemu, kar je storil kot asirski kralj, mladi Ašurbanipal ni pričakoval, da bo prevzel prestol. Njegov oče Esarhaddon ga je leta 672 pred našim štetjem imenoval za prestolonaslednika po smrti najstarejšega brata Ašurbanipala. To je pomenilo preskok starejšega Šamaš-šum-ukina, ki je namesto tega prevzel manjši naslov kralja Babilona, ​​velike mestne države (in nekdanje glavne oblasti v regiji) pod asirskim nadzorom.

Ashurbanipal, katerega ime pomeni "bog Ashur, je ustvarjalec dediča", je prejel pouk o kraljevanju, od kraljeve dekoracije in lova do uprave in usposabljanja za vojno. Naučil se je boriti, streljati z lokom, jahati konja, voditi voz in obvladal veščino, ki je bila stoletja povezana z asirskim bojevnim kraljem: lov na leve.

Zakol levov je predstavljal kraljevo sposobnost, da zaščiti svoje ljudstvo pred svetovnimi nevarnostmi, zato bi bili lovi javni dogodki. "Razbesnelim levom sem prebodel grlo, vsak s po eno puščico," je zapisal Ashurbanipal, v kamnitih reliefih pa ga vidijo, kako jih zadavi z golimi rokami.

Ašurbanipal se je nenavadno ukvarjal tudi z znanjem. Znal je brati in pisati - v sumerskem, akadskem in aramejskem jeziku - ter študiral matematiko in cenjeno prakso vedeževanja na olje. Pokazal je tako inteligenco in sposobnost za vodstvo, da bi prevzel vodstvo sodišča, ko je potoval njegov oče.

Na poti v Egipt je umrl Esarhaddon, zaradi česar je Ashurbanipal postal kralj leta 668 pr. Dedovanje je potekalo brez težav, zahvaljujoč pogodbi, ki je bila vsiljena asirskim podložnikom, ki so jo prisilili v zvestobo, in prisegi na zvestobo, ki jo je dvorjanom prisilila njegova babica Naqi'a-Zakutu. Na prestol je prišel z imperijem na vrhuncu in nadaljeval ekspanzionistično pot svojih predhodnikov.


Beli obelisk Ashurnasirpala I.

Julija 1853 je Hormuzd Rassam izkopaval območje na ruševinah nasipa Kuyunjik (Niniva, Mezopotamija, današnja Mosulova gubernija, Irak), enega najpomembnejših mest v osrčju Asirskega cesarstva. Območje je bilo odprt prostor med zunanjim dvoriščem palače asirskega kralja Sennacheriba in templjem Ishtar. Približno 200 čevljev severovzhodno od palače je Rassam izkopal jarek, ki se je spustil približno 15 čevljev od površine nasipa. Na tej točki so njegovi delavci našli velik, 4-stranski monolitni steber, ki je bil obelisk, nekoliko belkaste barve. Obelisk je ležal ob straneh. Umetnik C. D. Hodder, ki je spremljal Rassam na njegovi odpravi, je izdelal risbe štirih strani obeliska in situ. Zdaj je znan kot Beli obelisk Ashurnasirpala I in je shranjen v Britanskem muzeju.

Beli obelisk Ashurnasirpala I na ogled v sobi 6a Britanskega muzeja. To je stran A. Za njo in levo je črni obelisk Shalmaneserja III. Na ozadju in na desni sta tudi Lamassu iz severozahodne palače Ashunasirpala II in rekonstruirana vrata Balawat. Asirski, verjetno okoli 1050 pr. Iz Mezopotamije, Nineveh (današnja Mosulova gubernija, Irak), med palačo Sennacherib in templjem Ishtar. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Rassam shipped the obelisk to modern-day Basra Governorate (on the Arabian/Persian Gulf), on the southern end of Iraq. In March 1854, the shipment reached Bombay, India, and from there, the obelisk was transferred to the United Kingdom. On a cold February day in 1855 the Obelisk arrived at London. The British Museum’s registration number was 1856,0909.58 but it is now BM/Big number 118807. The obelisk was cleaned by W. G. Langford, a conservation officer in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities, and photographed by the British Museum photographers while still wet.

The obelisk was made of white limestone. It has a height of 285 centimetres, a width of 70.48 centimetres, and a depth of 42.54 centimetres. It is rectangular, with 4 sides. The obelisk tapers gradually from bottom to top the latter has a ziggurat-like shape. Near the base, there are ancient saw marks. The lower 25-30 centimetres are devoid of any scene or inscriptions but are rough, unfinished, and seemed to be inserted into a pedestal, originally.

Each surface was carved with low-reliefs scenes and divided into 8 horizontal registers therefore a total of 32 “frames” can be observed. Although the surfaces of the obelisk is considerably weathered and eroded, but fortunately it is still “complete” and did not suffer any deliberate damage (the fate of many other victory monuments of ancient Near Eastern rulers, once their domination was overthrown from without or within). On sides A and D, there are Akkadian cuneiform inscriptions.

Immediately after its discovery, the monument was attributed to the Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BCE). This is because the name of Aššur-nāṣir-apli appeared within the text, admittedly without titles or patronymic. However, the British Museum says that the obelisk belongs to the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal I (reigned 1049-1031 BCE).

Because the internet does not provide clear-cut, modern colour images of all sides and scenes of the obelisk, I said to myself, why not draft an article about it and share my Nikon710 images with the rest of the world? Therefore, it is beyond this article to discuss whether this monument belongs to Ashurnasirpal I or II. I’m a consultant neurologist, not an archaeologist.

The White Obelisk has had a strange history in the scholarship of Assyria. In studies of Assyrian art it has either been ignored or described as a crude work with sketchy representations arranged in an incomprehensible composition, the product of an incompetent craftsman. The inscription, on the other hand, has been frequently discussed, always in regard to the critical problem of its date. The King is shown in his chariot, fighting (upper registers) and hunting (lower registers), and taking part in ritual ceremonies. The middle scenes show booty and tribute being brought, but their order is uncertain. This is an early example of Assyrian narrative reliefs that developed into the palace reliefs of later periods.

The obelisk is on display and is erected within Room 6a, beside the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. When you stand in front of the obelisk to read the accompanying description, you will be facing Side C the Kurkh monoliths are immediately behind you. The obelisk stands within one of the corners of a platform. Therefore, it is easy to see and take photos of sides C and D sides A and B would be far away from view and you needs a good zooming lens, like mine AF-S Nikkor 28-300 mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR.

Unlike the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (which bears a figure of an ancient ruler of Israel, Jehu, who was mentioned in the Bible and therefore drew the attention of the world), this White Obelisk seems to be overlooked by many museum visitors, social media, and even Flickr. In addition, the owner of the White Obelisk is controversial (Ashurnasirpal I or II?). I stood after shooting all faces of the Obelisk and observed those who approached the platform on which the White and Black Obelisks were displayed. I watched visitors for about 15 minutes. Noone shot a single photo of the White Obelisk, and surprisingly, there was no eye contact with it, either. I asked three different people (from South East Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America, respectively), who were very close to the White Obelisk about it. Their answers were: “I did not notice it” “It is just a dull-colored block of stone, nothing is interesting about it” and finally “I don’t know, maybe because it is within a crowd of monuments”.

I searched out the internet in order to find images and fine details of the White Obelisk (zoomed-in, very close shots, not an image of the Obelisk as a whole), which can be easily accessible by the public, students and activists. But I found only 2 images on an archival website, with a large watermark on both of these pics. On the other hand, I read a few scholarly articles about the White Obelisk and all of the images of the White Obelisk within the articles were “Photos of the British Museum.”

Therefore, and because this wonderful monument was brought from my land, Mesopotamia/Iraq, and because of the lack of modern high-quality images that can be reached by anyone, I decided to document all aspects of the White Obelisk, using a superb camera and lens. Yes, we all agree that the surfaces and frames of the scenes were eroded and weathered, and that it is difficult to enjoy the art of it, but who knows…maybe someone…after 1, 10, or perhaps 100 years will find my pictures invaluable for his work.

Now, enjoy the scenes. The surfaces of sides B and D are narrower than those of A and C. I will describe the scenes and registers, horizontally, from top to bottom.

Register 1: There are 4 scenes, when combined all together, they form a single horizontal frame.

Top of side D. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. The ziggurat-like top of the obelisk. There are Akkadian cuneiform inscriptions on the lower 2 blocks of the steps the text is the 2nd column of the whole inscription the 1st column lies on the upper part of side A. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 1D: Here, the figures of the king and two kinsmen appear to walk on a mountain in front of a royal chariot. A single figure follows behind. At the extreme left side of frame 1A (shown below), there is a single standing figure faces towards this group which descends the mountain. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Top of side A. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. There are Akkadian cuneiform inscriptions on the lowest block of this ziggurat-like top. This is the column or text A of the inscriptions. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Frame 1A: The king within his royal chariot rides towards the right side. Before the king, there are two standing archers, who take aim at a city. The city and its walls appear on a mound. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Top of side B, which does not contain any cuneiform inscription. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 1B: This seems to be a virtual repetition of frame 1A. The length of this frame appears to be shorter however, this was accommodated by overlapping. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Top of side C. This upper end of the obelisk, similar to that of side B, lacks cuneiform texts. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 1C: The king within his royal chariot moves forward and approaches 2 cities. Each city lies on a hill or mound. A figure of an enemy soldier appears under the rearing horses. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 2: We have 4 frames but one can recognise 3 scenes, actually. Two of them are forming single episodes, each one frame in length one is a single episode which has extended over two frames.

Frame 2D: This appears to be a repetition of frame 1A. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 2A: This should be combined with frame 2B in order to understand what had been depicted, as a whole single frame/scene. There is an outdoor ceremony, under an arbor of trees, adjacent to a river. Six ranks of men appear to move forward and approach the figure of the King and his courtiers. To the left side, there is a city which is flanked by trees and stands on a low mound. A similar tree marks the end of the scene to the extreme right side of the frame. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 2B: This should be combined with frame 2A in order to understand what is had been depicted, as a whole single frame/scene. There is an outdoor ceremony, under an arbor of trees, adjacent a river. Six ranks of men appear to move forward and approach the figure of the King and his courtiers. To the left side, there is a city which is flanked by trees and stands on a low hill. A similar tree marks the end of the scene to the extreme right side of the frame (in this eroded image). Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 2C: On this frame, there are soldiers and horses which appear to move forward to the right and approach a city. The city lies on a low mound. Behind the soldiers, we can recognise a laden table. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 3: We can recognise 2 separate scenes. One scene constitutes a single episode which was depicted within one frame. The other scene is composed of two episodes, extending over 3 frames.

Frame 3D: Once again, this frame is a repetition of frame 1A. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 3A. Frames 3A, 3B, and 3C should be combined altogether to formulate the whole episode. The depiction should be inspected from right to left. The first episode runs over one-and-a-half frames. In front of a table, the King sits under a baldachin, outdoors (in this image). One of the King’s courtier stands directly before him. In two registers, to the right, we can recognise individuals sitting facing each other, while other figures stand in front of laden tables. In the second episode, 2 ranks of men stand behind a bull the bull appears to be brought to sacrifice. The depiction of the body of the animal is divided between frames 3B and 3A. In front, the King, who is accompanied by a servant, approaches a cultic apparatus in front of a building on a low mound. Inside this structure, the King stands without his headgear before a seated goddess. Above the scene is the epigraph quoted above designating the scene as a ritual for the goddess Ishtar (this is shown in this image). Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 3B. Frames 3A, 3B, and 3C should be combined altogether to formulate the whole episode. The depiction is skimmed from right to left. The first episode runs over one-and-a-half frames. In front of a table, the King sits under a baldachin, outdoors. One of the King’s courtier stands directly before him. In two registers, to the right, we can recognise individuals sitting facing each other, while other figures stand in front of laden tables. In the second episode, 2 ranks of men stand behind a bull the bull appears to be brought to sacrifice. The depiction of the body of the animal is divided between frames 3B and 3A (the body of the bull can be seen on the far left side of this image). In front, the King, who is accompanied by a servant, approaches a cultic apparatus in front of a building on a low mound. Inside this structure, the King stands without his headgear before a seated goddess. Above the scene is the epigraph quoted above designating the scene as a ritual for the goddess Ishtar. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 3C. Frames 3A, 3B, and 3C should be combined altogether to formulate the whole episode. The depiction is skimmed from right to left. The first episode runs over one-and-a-half frames. In front of a table, the King sits under a baldachin, outdoors. One of the King’s courtier stands directly before him. In two registers, to the right, we can recognise individuals sitting facing each other, while other figures stand in front of laden tables (this is shown in this image). In the second episode, 2 ranks of men stand behind a bull the bull appears to be brought to sacrifice. The depiction of the body of the animal is divided between frames 3B and 3A. In front, the King, who is accompanied by a servant, approaches a cultic apparatus in front of a building on a low mound. Inside this structure, the King stands without his headgear before a seated goddess (appears in this image). Above the scene is the epigraph quoted above designating the scene as a ritual for the goddess Ishtar. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 4: We can recognise 1 scene, which occupies all four frames (4D, 4A, 4B, and 4C).

Frame 4D: Three ranks of dignitaries approach a figure of the King (to the left of this image). The King stands under a baldachin. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 4A: Frames 4A, 4B, and 4C should be combined to understand the remaining part of the scene. Gesturing right to the procession, a man leads an enemy figure preceding a horse-drawn wagon (this is seen in this image). Behind them, we can find 6 ranks of men carrying goods. The latter group is followed by three ranks of horses driven by a single man. The bodies of the leading horses were divided between frames 4B and 4C. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 4B: Frames 4A, 4B, and 4C should be combined to understand the remaining part of the scene. Gesturing right to the procession, a man leads an enemy figure preceding a horse-drawn wagon. Behind them, we can find 6 ranks of men carrying goods (in this image). The latter group is followed by three ranks of horses driven by a single man. The bodies of the leading horses were divided between frames 4B (can be seen on the far right in this image) and 4C. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 4A: Frames 4A, 4B, and 4C should be combined to understand the remaining part of the scene. Gesturing right to the procession, a man leads an enemy figure preceding a horse-drawn wagon. Behind them, we can find 6 ranks of men carrying goods. The latter group is followed by three ranks of horses driven by a single man (seen in this image). The bodies of the leading horses were divided between frames 4B and 4C. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 5: Once again, the whole scene in one episode extends over four frames. However, the movement in this register starts from left and proceeds to the right. The scene starts from frame 5C and ends in 5B (at the king).

Frame 5C: The overall organization as well as the core subject of this register repeat those of register 4. Frames 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D form the whole scene. The King stands and 4 ranks of individuals approach the King. Those men are followed by an enemy figure and a horse-drawn wagon. The latter precedes (exactly as in register 4), a group of men carrying booty and goods. Following them, are two horses, a horse driver, and 2 bulls. There is a herdsman bringing up the rear (shown in this image). The location is marked by 2 three-stemmed plants. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 5D: The overall organization as well as the core subject of this register repeat those of register 4. Frames 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D form the whole scene. The King stands and 4 ranks of individuals approach the King. Those men are followed by an enemy figure and a horse-drawn wagon. The latter precedes (exactly as in register 4), a group of men carrying booty and goods. Following them, are two horses, a horse driver (in this image, the 2 horses and the driver appear), and 2 bulls. There is a herdsman bringing up the rear. The location is marked by 2 three-stemmed plants. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 5A: The overall organization as well as the core subject of this register repeat those of register 4. Frames 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D form the whole scene. The King stands and 4 ranks of individuals approach the King. Those men are followed by an enemy figure and a horse-drawn wagon (shown in this image). The latter precedes (exactly as in register 4), a group of men carrying booty and goods. Following them, are two horses, a horse driver, and 2 bulls. There is a herdsman bringing up the rear. The location is marked by 2 three-stemmed plants. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 5B: The overall organization as well as the core subject of this register repeat those of register 4. Frames 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D formulate this scene. The King stands (in this frame 5B, to the far right) and 4 ranks of individuals approach the King. Those men are followed by an enemy figure and a horse-drawn wagon. The latter precedes (exactly as in register 4), a group of men carrying booty and goods. Following them, are two horses, a horse driver, and 2 bulls. There is a herdsman bringing up the rear. The location is marked by 2 three-stemmed plants. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 6: There are 2 scenes. One of them occupies a single frame while the other one consists of two episodes, which extend over and fill in 3 frames.

Frame 6B: Frames 6B, 6A, and 6D form one scene that is (similar to register 3) split into two adjacent and sequential episodes. The scene moves from right to left. To the right, 3 horse-drawn chariots move to the left (starting in this image), following 4 ranks of men. In this image, the 2nd chariot was divided between frames 6B and 6A. In front, the figure of the King and his courtiers walk up a hill to a city gate. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 6A: Frames 6B, 6A, and 6D form one scene that is (similar to register 3) split into two adjacent and sequential episodes. The scene moves from right to left. To the right, 3 horse-drawn chariots move to the left, following 4 ranks of men (who appear in this image). The 2nd chariot was divided between frames 6B and 6A. In front, the figure of the King and his courtiers walk up a hill to a city gate. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 6D: Frames 6B, 6A, and 6D form one scene that is (similar to register 3) split into two adjacent and sequential episodes. The scene moves from right to left. To the right, 3 horse-drawn chariots move to the left, following 4 ranks of men. In front, the figure of the King and his courtiers walk up a hill to a city gate (shown in this image). Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 6C: This is a variation of frame 1A. It shows the King riding his royal chariot. The chariot heads away from a walled-city. Two figures appear to crouch down in fear, just before the horse of the chariot. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 7: Here, we can recognize 2 scenes. Each scene is composed of 2 episodes, and in turn, each one of them extends over one-and-a-half frame.

Frame 7D: Frames 7D and 7A form a single scene. This scene appears a repetition of the scene in register 3. To the right, there is a banquet (or probably a meeting) seated and standing figures were depicted on this scene (shown in this image). To the left, in frame 7D, there are laden tables. The King sits before these tables. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 7D: Frames 7D and 7A form a single scene. This scene appears a repetition of the scene in register 3. To the right, there is a banquet (or meeting) seated and standing figures were depicted on this scene. To the left, in frame 7D, there are laden tables. The King sits before these tables (in this image). Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 7B: Frames 7B and 7C form a single scene. The King’s chariot (in this image) moves to the right in what appears to be the same landscape of register 5. The chariot approaches a group of men walking on their feet(the men appear in frame 7C). Behind this group, we find 2 registers of sheep, a herdsman, and 2 tents. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 7C: Frames 7B and 7C form a single scene. The King’s chariot moves to the right in what appears to be the same landscape of register 5. The chariot approaches a group of men walking on their feet. Behind this group, we find 2 registers of sheep, a herdsman, and 2 tents (shown in this image). Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

Register 8: We can recognize 4 scenes having the same arrangement of register 1.

Frame 8D: The king rides a royal chariot and hunts caprids (sheep and goats). The base of the obelisk is below the scene. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 8A: Although the content of this frame is very eroded, but it perhaps shows that the King, within his royal chariot, is approaching a city. A lion was depicted behind the chariot he is rampant and spreads his paws. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 8B: The King within his royal chariot is hunting bulls. Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin. Frame 8C: From his chariot, the King hunts equids (horses, donkeys, zebras). Detail of the White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. Assyrian, probably about 1050 BCE. From Mesopotamia, Nineveh (modern-day Mosul Governorate, Iraq), between the palace of Sennacherib and the Ishtar temple. Britanski muzej, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.

The following were used in order to draft this article:

  1. Personal visits to the British Museum. . by Holly Pittman. This is a very wonderful article, with many illustrations and descriptions of the scenes. by Edmond Sollberger. Here, you will find the transliteration of the cuneiform text, in addition to elaborate discussion on the history of the Obelisk.

After imagining the obelisk in its original standing place. I asked myself several questions: who made the carvings and how long it took to finish the obelisk? Who were the people who transferred and erected it 3000 years ago, and how many were involved? How many people saw it and understood its meaning? Why it was not deliberately vandalized/damaged after the fall of Nineveh? Why it was lying on one side when it was found did someone push it or did it just fall down from weathering? What was the date when the obelisk had collapsed? How many years were needed for 5 meters of mud to gather on top of the obelisk?

Finally: “All what we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe. Viva Mesopotamia!


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