Dur-Sharrukin

Last updated
Dur-Šharru-ukin
ܕܘܪ ܫܪܘ ܘܟܢ (in Syriac)
دور شروكين (in Arabic)
Lammasu.jpg
A human-headed winged bull known as a lamassu from Dur-Sharrukin. Neo-Assyrian Period, ca. 721–705 BC
Iraq adm location map.svg
Archaeological site icon (red).svg
Shown within Iraq
Alternative name Khorsabad
Location Khorsabad, Nineveh Province, Iraq
Region Mesopotamia
Coordinates 36°30′34″N43°13′46″E / 36.50944°N 43.22944°E / 36.50944; 43.22944 Coordinates: 36°30′34″N43°13′46″E / 36.50944°N 43.22944°E / 36.50944; 43.22944
Type Settlement
Length 1,760 m (5,770 ft)
Width 1,635 m (5,364 ft)
Area 2.88 km2 (1.11 sq mi)
History
Founded In the decade preceding 706 BC
Abandoned Approximately 605 BC
Periods Neo-Assyrian Empire
Cultures Assyrian
Site notes
Excavation dates 1842–1844, 1852–1855 1928–1935, 1957
Archaeologists Paul-Émile Botta, Eugène Flandin, Victor Place, Edward Chiera, Gordon Loud, Hamilton Darby, Fuad Safar
Condition Destroyed/irreparably damaged
Public access Inaccessible

Dur-Sharrukin ("Fortress of Sargon"; Arabic : دور شروكين), present day Khorsabad, was the Assyrian capital in the time of Sargon II of Assyria. Khorsabad is a village in northern Iraq, 15 km northeast of Mosul. The great city was entirely built in the decade preceding 706 BC. After the unexpected death of Sargon in battle, the capital was shifted 20 km south to Nineveh.

Assyria major Mesopotamian East Semitic kingdom

Assyria, also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant. It existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC - spanning the periods of the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BC to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East.

Iraq republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Mosul City in Iraq

Mosul is a major city in northern Iraq. Located some 400 km (250 mi) north of Baghdad, Mosul stands on the west bank of the Tigris, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank. The metropolitan area has grown to encompass substantial areas on both the "Left Bank" and the "Right Bank", as the two banks are described by the locals compared to the flow direction of Tigris.

Contents

History

Lamassu found during Botta's excavation, now in the Louvre Museum. Human headed winged bull profile.jpg
Lamassu found during Botta's excavation, now in the Louvre Museum.
Mesopotamia in the Neo-Assyrian period (place names in French) Villes assyriennes.PNG
Mesopotamia in the Neo-Assyrian period (place names in French)

Sargon II ruled from 722 to 705 BC. The demands for timber and other materials and craftsmen, who came from as far as coastal Phoenicia, are documented in contemporary Assyrian letters. The debts of construction workers were nullified in order to attract a sufficient labour force. The land in the environs of the town was taken under cultivation, and olive groves were planted to increase Assyria's deficient oil-production. The great city was entirely built in the decade preceding 706 BC, when the court moved to Dur-Sharrukin, although it was not completely finished yet. Sargon was killed during a battle in 705. After his unexpected death his son and successor Sennacherib abandoned the project, and relocated the capital with its administration to the city of Nineveh, 20 km south. The city was never completed and it was finally abandoned a century later when the Assyrian empire fell. [1]

Phoenicia ancient Semitic civilization

Phoenicia was a thalassocratic, ancient Semitic-speaking Mediterranean civilization that originated in the Levant, specifically Lebanon, in the west of the Fertile Crescent. Scholars generally agree that it was centered on the coastal areas of Lebanon and included northern Israel, and southern Syria reaching as far north as Arwad, but there is some dispute as to how far south it went, the furthest suggested area being Ashkelon. Its colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean, such as Cádiz in Spain and most notably Carthage in North Africa, and even the Atlantic Ocean. The civilization spread across the Mediterranean between 1500 BC and 300 BC.

Olive species of plant

The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning "European olive", is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found in the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands and Réunion. The species is cultivated in many places and considered naturalized in all the countries of the Mediterranean coast, as well as in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Java, Norfolk Island, California, and Bermuda. Olea europaea is the type species for the genus Olea.

Sennacherib King of Assyria

Sennacherib was the king of Assyria from 705 BCE to 681 BCE. He is principally remembered for his military campaigns against Babylon and Judah, and for his building programs – most notably at the Akkadian capital of Nineveh. He was assassinated in obscure circumstances in 681 BCE, apparently by his eldest son.

Destruction by ISIL

On 8 March 2015 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant reportedly started the plunder and demolition of Dur-Sharrukin, according to the Kurdish official from Mosul Saeed Mamuzini. [2] The Iraqi Tourism and Antiquities Ministry launched the related investigation on the same day. [2]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Salafi jihadist terrorist and militant group

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, officially as the Islamic State (IS) and by its Arabic language acronym Daesh, is a Salafi jihadist militant group and former unrecognised proto-state that follows a fundamentalist, Salafi doctrine of Sunni Islam. ISIL gained global prominence in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre.

Deliberate destruction and theft of cultural heritage has been conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant since 2014 in Iraq, Syria, and to a lesser extent in Libya. The destruction targets various places of worship under ISIL control and ancient historical artifacts. In Iraq, between the fall of Mosul in June 2014 and February 2015, ISIL had plundered and destroyed at least 28 historical religious buildings. Valuable items from some buildings were looted in order to smuggle and sell them to America to finance ISIS activities.

Features

Plan of Dur-Sharrukin, 1867 Victor Place Khorsabad.jpg
Plan of Dur-Sharrukin, 1867
Plan of Palace of Sargon Khorsabad Reconstruction 1905 Plan of Palace of Sargon Khosrabad Reconstruction 1905.jpg
Plan of Palace of Sargon Khorsabad Reconstruction 1905
Reconstructed Model of Palace of Sargon at Khorsabad 1905 Reconstructed Model of Palace of Sargon at Khosrabad 1905.jpg
Reconstructed Model of Palace of Sargon at Khorsabad 1905
Khorsabad brick, Assyria. Babylonian; Louvre Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection S03 06 01 017 image 2340.jpg
Khorsabad brick, Assyria. Babylonian; Louvre Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection

The town was of rectangular layout and measured 1758.6 by 1635 metres. The enclosed area comprised 3 square kilometres, or 288 hectares. The length of the walls was 16280 Assyrian units, which according to Sargon himself corresponded to the numerical value of his name. [3] The city walls were massive and 157 towers protected its sides. Seven gates entered the city from all directions. A walled terrace contained temples and the royal palace. The main temples were dedicated to the gods Nabu, Shamash and Sin, while Adad, Ningal and Ninurta had smaller shrines. A temple tower, ziggurat, was also constructed. The palace was adorned with sculptures and wall reliefs, and the gates were flanked with winged-bull shedu statues weighing up to 40 tons. Sargon supposedly lost at least one of these winged bulls in the river.

Nabu Mesopotamian god of literacy and scribes

Nabu is the ancient Mesopotamian patron god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes and wisdom.

Sin (mythology) god of the moon in Mesopotamian mythology

Sīn or Suen or Nanna was the god of the moon in the Mesopotamian religions of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with the Semitic Sīn. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sīn's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. A moon god by the same name was also worshipped in South Arabia.

Ningal goddess of reeds in Sumerian mythology

Ningal was a goddess of reeds in the Sumerian mythology, daughter of Enki and Ningikurga and the consort of the moon god Nanna by whom she bore the sun god Utu, his sister Inanna, and in some texts, Ishkur. She is chiefly recognised at Ur, and was probably first worshipped by cow-herders in the marsh lands of southern Mesopotamia.

In addition to the great city, there was a royal hunting park and a garden that included "all the aromatic plants of Hatti [4] and the fruit-trees of every mountain", a "record of power and conquest", as Robin Lane Fox has observed. [5] Surviving correspondence mentions the moving of thousands of young fruit trees, quinces, almonds, apples and medlars. [6]

Robin Lane Fox Historian, educator, writer, gardener

Robin James Lane Fox, FRSL is an English classicist, ancient historian and gardening writer known for his works on Alexander the Great. Lane Fox is an Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford. Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at New College from 1977 to 2014, he serves as Garden Master and as Extraordinary Lecturer in Ancient History for both New and Exeter Colleges. He has also taught Greek and Latin literature and early Islamic history.

Quince species of plant

The quince is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae. It is a deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossoms and other ornamental qualities.

Almond species of plant

The almond is a species of tree native to Mediterranean climate regions of the Middle East and Southern Asia. Almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.

"On the central canal of Sargon's garden stood a pillared pleasure-pavilion which looked up to a great topographic creation: a man-made Garden Mound. This Mound was planted with cedars and cypresses and was modelled after a foreign landscape, the Amanus mountains in north Syria, which had so amazed the Assyrian kings. In their flat palace-gardens they built a replica of what they had encountered." [7]

<i>Cedrus</i> genus of plants

Cedrus is a genus of coniferous trees in the plant family Pinaceae. They are native to the mountains of the western Himalayas and the Mediterranean region, occurring at altitudes of 1,500–3,200 m in the Himalayas and 1,000–2,200 m in the Mediterranean.

Cypress name applied to many plants of different genera

Cypress is a common name for various coniferous trees or shrubs of northern temperate regions that belong to the family Cupressaceae. The word cypress is derived from Old French cipres, which was imported from Latin cypressus, the latinisation of the Greek κυπάρισσος (kyparissos).

Nur Mountains mountain range

The Nur Mountains, formerly known as Alma-Dağ or the ancient Amanus, is a mountain range in the Hatay Province of south-central Turkey, which runs roughly parallel to the Gulf of İskenderun.

Archaeology

Dur-Sharrukin foundation cylinder Sargon II foundation cylinder.jpg
Dur-Sharrukin foundation cylinder
Palace of Dur-Sharrukin Palace of Khorsabad.png
Palace of Dur-Sharrukin
Sargon II (left) faces a high-ranking official, possibly Sennacherib his son and crown prince. 710-705 BCE. From Khorsabad, Iraq. The British Museum, London Sargon II (left) faces a high-ranking official, possibly Sennacherib his son and crown prince. 710-705 BCE. From Khorsabad, Iraq. The British Museum, London.jpg
Sargon II (left) faces a high-ranking official, possibly Sennacherib his son and crown prince. 710-705 BCE. From Khorsabad, Iraq. The British Museum, London

Dur-Sharrukin is roughly a square with a border marked by a city wall 24 meters thick with a stone foundation pierced by seven massive gates. A mound in the northeast section marks the location of the palace of Sargon II. At the time of its construction, the village on the site was named Maganuba. [8]

The site was first noticed by the French Consul General at Mosul, Paul-Émile Botta in 1842. Botta believed, however, that Khorsabad was the site of biblical Nineveh. The site was excavated by Botta in 1842-44, joined in the later stages by artist Eugène Flandin. [9] [10] Victor Place resumed the excavations from 1852 to 1855. [11] [12]

A significant number of the items recovered by the French at Dur-Sharrukin were lost in two river shipping incidents. In 1853, Place attempted to move two 30-ton statues and other material to Paris from Khorsabad on a large boat and four rafts. All of the vessels except two of the rafts were scuttled by pirates. In 1855, Place and Jules Oppert attempted to transport the remaining finds from Dur-Sharrukin, as well as material from other sites being worked by the French, mainly Nimrud. Almost all of the collection, over 200 crates, was lost in the river. [13] Surviving artifacts from this excavation were taken to the Louvre in Paris.

The site of Khorsabad was excavated 1928–1935 by American archaeologists from the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Work in the first season was led by Edward Chiera and concentrated on the palace area. A colossal bull estimated to weigh 40 tons was uncovered outside the throne room. It was found split into three large fragments. The torso alone weighed about 20 tons. This was shipped to Chicago. The preparation and shipment of the bull back to the Oriental Institute was incredibly arduous. The remaining seasons were led by Gordon Loud and Hamilton Darby. Their work examined one of the city gates, continued work at the palace, and excavated extensively at the palace's temple complex. [14] Since Dur-Sharrukin was a single-period site that was evacuated in an orderly manner after the death of Sargon II, few individual objects were found. The primary discoveries from Khorsabad shed light on Assyrian art and architecture.

In 1957, archaeologists from the Iraqi Department Antiquities, led by Fuad Safar excavated at the site, uncovering the temple of Sibitti. [15]

See also

Notes

  1. Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000 - 323 BC, (Wiley-Blackwell) 2006, ISBN   1-4051-4911-6
  2. 1 2 "Ancient site Khorsabad attacked by Islamic State: reports". Toronto Star . 8 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  3. Fuchs, Die Inschriften Sargons II. aus Khorsabad, 42:65; 294f. See the discussion by Eckart Frahm, "Observations on the Name and Age of Sargon II and on Some Patterns of Assyrian Royal Onomastics," NABU 2005-2.44
  4. Hatti: in this context, all the areas to the west of the Euphrates controlled by Neo-Hittite kingdoms.
  5. D.D. Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, vol II:242, quoted in Robin Lane Fox, Travelling Heroes in the Epic Age of Homer 2008, pp26f.
  6. Lane Fox 2008:27; texts are in Luckenbill 1927:II.
  7. Lane Fox 2008:27, noting D. Stronach, "The Garden as a political statement: some case-studies from the Near East in the first millennium BC", Bulletin of the Asia Institute4 (1990:171-80). The garden mount first documented at Dur-Sharrukin was to have a long career in the history of gardening.
  8. Cultraro M., Gabellone F., Scardozzi G, Integrated Methodologies and Technologies for the Reconstructive Study of Dur-Sharrukin (Iraq), XXI International CIPA Symposium, 2007
  9. Paul Emile Botta and Eugene Flandin, Monument de Ninive, in 5 volumes, Imprimerie nationale, 1946-50
  10. E. Guralnick, New drawings of Khorsabad sculptures by Paul Émile Botta, Revue d'assyriologie et d'archéologie orientale, vol. 95, pp. 23-56, 2002
  11. Victor Place, Nineve et l'Assyie, in 3 volumes, Imprimerie impériale, 1867–1879
  12. Joseph Bonomi, Ninevah and Its Palaces: The Discoveries of Botta and Layard, Applied to the Elucidation of Holy Writ, Bohn, 1957 (2003 Reprint, Gorgias Press LLC, ISBN   1-59333-067-7)
  13. Robert William Rogers, A history of Babylonia and Assyria: Volume 1, Abingdon Press, 1915
  14. OIC 16. Tell Asmar, Khafaje and Khorsabad: Second Preliminary Report of the Iraq Expedition, Henri Frankfort, 1933; OIC 17. Iraq Excavations of the Oriental Institute 1932/33: Third Preliminary Report of the Iraq Expedition, Henri Frankfort, 1934; Gordon Loud, Khorsabad, Part 1: Excavations in the Palace and at a City Gate, Oriental Institute Publications 38, University of Chicago Press, 1936; Gordon Loud and Charles B. Altman, Khorsabad, Part 2: The Citadel and the Town, Oriental Institute Publications 40, University of Chicago Press, 1938
  15. F. Safar, "The Temple of Sibitti at Khorsabad", Sumer13 (1957:219-21).

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References