The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 117 of 138
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Sidelights on the Scriptures.
#23. The Nineveh Gallery.--Sennacherib.
pp. 5, 6
"The Bas-reliefs which line the walls of this room were excavated by Sir Henry
Layard from the mound of Kouyonjik, Nineveh, between the years 1845-1854; a
large number of them were fractured by the action of fire when Nineveh was
destroyed by the allied forces of the Babylonians and Medes about B.100: 609. As far
as possible the fragments have been laid in their proper places; no attempt at
restoration has been made" (British Museum Guide).
We draw attention to the following:--
No. 2, ASSYRIAN GALLERY.--This is considered to be a Phoenician ship; note the
ram, the double bank of rowers, and the shield fastened to the upper deck to protect the
soldiers and crew. Several fish are depicted, also a crab. The detail that is introduced
into these carvings is not merely ornamental. We quote from Canon Rawlinson's The
First Great Monarchies:--
"It was under Sennacherib that the practice obtained of completing each scene by a
background, such as actually existed. . . . the species of trees' is distinguished in
Sennacherib's bas-reliefs; gardens, fields, forests, seeds, are carefully represented. Wild
animals are introduced, as stags, boars and antelopes; birds fly from tree to tree, or stand
over their nests feeding the young who stretch up to them; fish disport themselves in the
Nos. 4-8.--A battle in a marsh, and the registration of prisoners and spoil.
Nos. 20-26.--This is part of a series, representing the assault of the city of. . . .
Alammu (? Jerusalem).
Nos. 41-42.--These slabs depict the various attendants bringing in food for the
banquet; one figure is of particular interest as it shows a man carrying in each hand a rod
upon which locusts are fixed, like beads on a thread; these are the locusts that formed the
fare of John the Baptist while in the wilderness. Many think of the locust bean when they
read about John, but it was the insect that was eaten.
Nos. 51-56.--These illustrate some of the architectural activities of Sennacherib. In
No. 52 the king is shown standing in a chariot on the top of a mound, superintending the
work. A colossal bull, such as we have seen in the Assyrian transept, is being dragged up
the slope by force of gangs of men, each man has a small rope over his shoulder which is
attached to the large one; other gangs of captives toil up the sloe with earth and stone. In
No. 55 the artist has placed among the reeds a sow with nine little pigs; men are shown
carrying picks, saw, spades, etc., and a drag carts laden with ropes and beams.
We quote Canon Rawlinson again:--