|ܕܘܪ ܫܪܘ ܘܟܢ (in Syriac)|
دور شروكين (in Arabic)
A human-headed winged bull known as a lamassu from Dur-Sharrukin. Neo-Assyrian Period, ca. 721–705 BC
|Location||Khorsabad, Nineveh Province, Iraq|
|Length||1,760 m (5,770 ft)|
|Width||1,635 m (5,364 ft)|
|Area||2.88 km2 (1.11 sq mi)|
|Founded||In the decade preceding 706 BC|
|Abandoned||Approximately 605 BC|
|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|
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, 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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.The Iraqi Tourism and Antiquities Ministry launched the related investigation on the same day.
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.
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. 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 is the ancient Mesopotamian patron god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes and wisdom.
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 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 Hattiand the fruit-trees of every mountain", a "record of power and conquest", as Robin Lane Fox has observed. Surviving correspondence mentions the moving of thousands of young fruit trees, quinces, almonds, apples and medlars.
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.
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.
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."
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 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).
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.
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.
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.Victor Place resumed the excavations from 1852 to 1855.
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.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. 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.
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and was the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Today it is a common name for the half of Mosul which lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris.
This article concerns the period 729 BC – 720 BC.
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. A son of Tiglath-Pileser III, he came to power relatively late in life, possibly by usurping the throne from his older brother, Shalmaneser V. Sargon II suppressed rebellions, conquered the Kingdom of Israel, and, in 710 BC, conquered the Kingdom of Babylon, thus reuniting Assyria with its southern rival, Babylonia, from which it had been separate since the death of Hammurabi in 1750 BC.
Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located 30 kilometres (20 mi) south of the city of Mosul, and 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of the village of Selamiyah, in the Nineveh plains in Upper Mesopotamia. It was a major Assyrian city between approximately 1350 BC and 610 BC. The city is located in a strategic position 10 kilometres (6 mi) north of the point that the river Tigris meets its tributary the Great Zab. The city covered an area of 360 hectares. The ruins of the city were found within one kilometre (1,100 yd) of the modern-day Assyrian village of Noomanea in Nineveh Province, Iraq.
A lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a human head, the body of a bull or a lion, and bird wings. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity. A less frequently used name is shedu, which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu. Lammasu represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations.
Paul-Émile Botta was an Italian-born French scientist who served as Consul in Mosul from 1842, and who discovered the ruins of the ancient Assyrian capital of Dur-Sharrukin.
Assyriology is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of not just Assyria, but the entirety of ancient Mesopotamia and of related cultures that used cuneiform writing. The field covers Sumer, the early Sumero-Akkadian city-states, the Akkadian Empire, Ebla, the Akkadian and Imperial Aramaic speaking states of Assyria, Babylonia and the Sealand Dynasty, the migrant foreign dynasties of southern Mesopotamia, including; the Gutians, Amorites, Kassites, Arameans, Suteans and Chaldeans, and to some degree post-imperial Achaemenid Assyria, Athura, Seleucid Syria, Assyria, and Assuristan, together with later Neo-Assyrian states such as Adiabene, Osroene, Hatra, Beth Nuhadra and Beth Garmai, up until the Arab invasion and Islamic conquest of the mid 7th century AD. Some Assyriologists also write on the further Assyrian continuity of the Assyrian people as well as the Mandaeans into the present day.
Aššur, also known as Ashur and Qal'at Sherqat, was an Akkadian city, capital of the Old Assyrian Empire, of the Middle Assyrian Empire, and for a time, of the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911–608 BC. The remains of the city lie on the western bank of the Tigris River, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab River, in modern-day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District of the Saladin Governorate.
Balawat is an archaeological site of the ancient Assyrian city of Imgur-Enlil, and modern village in Nineveh Province (Iraq). It lies 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast from the city of Mosul and 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the south of the modern Assyrian town of Bakhdida.
Muṣaṣir Assyrian KURMu-ṣa-ṣir and variants, including Mutsatsir, Akkadian for Exit of the Serpent/Snake ), in Urartian Ardini was an ancient city of Urartu, attested in Assyrian sources of the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
The Department of the Middle East, numbering some 330,000 works, forms a significant part of the collections of the British Museum, and the world's largest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraq. The collections represent the civilisations of the ancient Near East and its adjacent areas.
Athura, also called Assyria, was a geographical area within the Achaemenid Empire in Upper Mesopotamia from 539 to 330 BC as a military protectorate state. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept generally interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its people, without any administrative implication.
Jean-Baptiste Eugène Napoléon Flandin, French orientalist, painter, archaeologist, and politician. Flandin’s archeological drawings and some of his military paintings are valued more highly by museum authorities than his purely artistic paintings. He is most renowned for his famous drawings and paintings of Persian monuments, landscapes, and social life made during his travels with the architect Pascal Coste during the years 1839–41. Flandin’s observations on the state of Persia and international politics in the mid-19th century also continue to provide important documentary information.
Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC.
Edward Chiera was an Italian-American archaeologist, Assyriologist, and scholar of religions and linguistics.
The Annals of Sargon II are a series of cuneiform inscriptions detailing the military actions of the Assyrian ruler Sargon II between 738 BCE and 720 BCE.
Stephanie Mary Dalley FSA is a British scholar of the Ancient Near East. She has retired as a teaching Fellow from the Oriental Institute, Oxford. She is known for her publications of cuneiform texts and her investigation into the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and her proposal that it was situated in Nineveh, and constructed during Sennacherib's rule.
Félix Thomas (1815-1875) was a French architect and painter born in Nantes, France in 1815. After graduating from high school Clemenceau, he studied architecture and drafting at the Polytechnique before being admitted to the Beaux-Arts where he studied art under Louis-Hippolyte Lebas. His skills as a draftsman led him to work as project architect on several major archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia and Assyria during the early 1850s. Archaeological work provided opportunities for Thomas to demonstrate his skills as an illustrator and interpreter of historic architectural buildings and he co-authored an important early book on the archaeology of Nineveh in Assyria. He turned to full-time painting in his later life and is noted for works within the Orientalist genre.
The Sargonid dynasty is an academic name for the final ruling family of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, beginning with Sargon II's ascent to the throne in 722 BC until the death of Sîn-šarru-iškun and the fall of the kingdom in 612 BC at the hands of a coalition of invaders. The dynasty was the last of the great Assyrian kings and came at the end of a 1500-year period of Assyrian ascendancy.
Assyrian sculpture is the sculpture of the ancient Assyrian states, especially the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911 to 612 BC, which ruled modern Iraq, Syria, and much of Iran. It forms a phase of the art of Mesopotamia, differing in particular because of its much greater use of stone and gypsum alabaster for large sculpture.
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