Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sargon II

Figure 1 - Sargon II - Louvre Museum
Sargon II came to the Assyrian throne in 721 B. C., probably after staging a coup against his brother, Shalmaneser V. Sargon conquered Samaria (the capital of Israel) and established relations with the Phyrigian King Midas. Midas, however, later instigated a revolt by Carchemish against Sargon, a revolt that Sargon quickly put down. The Assyrian King would later campaign against the kingdom of Urartu, an empire about which little is known.

When Sargon was not campaigning, he was busy building his new capital at Khorsabad. The gates of the city and the royal palace were guarded by winged bulls (or "Lamassu") a picture of which can be seen in my previous post. The walls of the palace were decorated with huge stone slabs carved in high reliefs, showing scenes of feasting, military campaigning and punishing rebels.

The representation of Sargon shown here is fairly typical of Assyrian royal representations. The king is shown with the long, elaborately curled hair and beard that other Assyrian kings are shown with. He also wears earrings, a bracelet and a conical "crown".

Reference: Collins, Paul. Assyrian Palace Sculptures, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008).

Photo copyright 2012 by John Freed

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