Building Activities at Nineveh

Most of Sennacherib's building activities at Nineveh were discussed in Part 1 (pp. 16–22), so only a few projects will be described here. The building reports included in texts inscribed on stone bull (aladlammû) and lion (apsasû) colossi and clay tablets more or less duplicate the building reports known from clay cylinders and prisms.[45]

Royal Palaces and Houses

In addition to building the "Palace Without a Rival," Sennacherib appears to have had a second palace constructed on the citadel of Nineveh, in the northeastern quadrant, north of the temples. No contemporary inscriptions of Sennacherib record the building of this palace, but at least two texts of his grandson Ashurbanipal written on clay prisms state that Sennacherib built the "House of Succession" (bīt ridûti), a royal residence that Ashurbanipal completely rebuilt to be his own palace. That building is often referred to as the North Palace as it is located on the northern part of Kuyunjik.[46] The nature and extent of Sennacherib's work on this palace and the dates it was carried out are unknown and, therefore, no further details can be provided here.

Numerous bricks attest to Sennacherib building a house for his son Aššur-šumu-ušabši (text nos. 98–100); this building is located in Area SH ("Sennacherib's House"), which is near the city wall, about 500 m north of Kuyunjik.[47] Bricks (text no. 101) discovered in a palatial building excavated about 600 m northeast of Nebi Yunus attest to another project of Sennacherib at Nineveh. Since those inscriptions have not yet been published, we do not know the function of that building.


45 Inscriptions on stone bull and lion colossi, sculpted wall slabs, decorated threshold slabs, door sockets, bricks, and clay tablets refer to work on Sennacherib's palace, including a wing for his wife Tašmētu-šarrat. See text no. 39 lines 11–75a, text no. 40 lines 1'–46'', text no. 41 lines 1'–11'', text no. 42 lines 12b–55'a, text no. 43 lines 6b–105a, text no. 44 lines 32b–72a, text no. 46 lines 106b–163a, text no. 47, text no. 49 lines 7b–3''', text no. 50 lines 8b–11', text no. 51, text no. 52 lines 4b–6, text nos. 73–79 and 86–93, and text no. 138 rev. i' 1'–ii' 16. An inscription on a fragment of a clay tablet (text no. 151 rev. i 1'–13') preserves part of a passage describing the construction of Nineveh's walls and gates. Stone slabs and bricks attest to Sennacherib's work on Nineveh's main (or great) inner wall, Badnigalbilukurašušu ("Wall Whose Brilliance Overwhelms Enemies"), and outer stone wall, Badnigerimḫuluḫa ("Wall, Terrorizer of Enemies"); see text nos. 81–84 and 94–97. A small tablet (either an archival copy or a draft) is inscribed with a short, monumental inscription recording work on the armory (text no. 152 obv. 4b–17). Copies of inscriptions on fragments of clay tablets preserve reports on the rebuilding of the citadel wall, the construction of bridges and aqueducts, the creation of botanical gardens and marshes, and the widening of the city's squares and streets; see text no. 136 rev. i' 1'–16', text no. 138 rev. ii' 17–36, and text no. 151 obv. i' 1–12.

46 Borger, BIWA p. 72 Prism F vi 22–25 and Prism A x 51–54. Less than half of the North Palace has been excavated; this is in part due to the fact that the level of the floor is not far below the surface of the mound and in part due to the fact that much of the building has been destroyed by erosion and numerous post-Assyrian occupations. The "House of Succession," which was presumably smaller that the one built by Ashurbanipal, may have originally been northwest of the Ištar temple Emašmaš. For further information on that palace, see Reade, RLA 9/5–6 (2000) pp. 416–418 §§14.4 and 14.7.

47 For further information, see Reade, RLA 9/5–6 (2000) p. 420 §15.4.

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny

A. Kirk Grayson & Jamie Novotny, 'Building Activities at Nineveh', RINAP 3: Sennacherib, The RINAP 3 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2019 []

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