Nineveh

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Nineveh

(nĭn`əvə), ancient city, capital of the Assyrian Empire, on the Tigris River opposite the site of modern Mosul, Iraq. A shaft dug at Nineveh has yielded a pottery sequence that can be equated with the earliest cultural development in N Mesopotamia. The old capital, Assur, was replaced by Calah, which seems to have been replaced by Nineveh. Nineveh was thereafter generally the capital, although Sargon built Dur Sharrukin (Khorsabad) as his capital. Nineveh reached its full glory under SennacheribSennacherib
or Senherib,
d. 681 B.C., king of Assyria (705–681 B.C.). The son of Sargon, Sennacherib spent most of his reign fighting to maintain the empire established by his father.
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 and AssurbanipalAssurbanipal
or Ashurbanipal
, d. 626? B.C., king of ancient Assyria (669–633 B.C.), son and successor of Esar-Haddon. The last of the great kings of Assyria, he drove Taharka out of Egypt and firmly established Necho in power there only to have Necho's son
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. It continued to be the leader of the ancient world until it fell to a coalition of Babylonians, Medes, and Scythians in 612 B.C. and the Assyrian Empire came to an end. Excavations, begun in the middle of the 19th cent., have revealed an Assyrian city wall with a perimeter of c.7.5 mi (12 km). The palaces of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal, containing magnificent sculptures, have been discovered, as well as Assurbanipal's library, including over 20,000 cuneiform tablets. Monuments there were destroyed by Islamic StateIslamic State
(IS), Sunni Islamic militant group committed to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that would unite Muslims in a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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 militants in 2015. The city is mentioned often in the Bible.

Bibliography

See S. Glubok, ed. Digging in Assyria (1970).

Nineveh

 

(now the mounds of Kuyunjik and Nebi Yunus), an ancient city of Assyria, on the left bank of the Tigris River in what is now Iraq. Nineveh came into existence as a settlement in the middle of the fifth millennium B.C. and later expanded into a city. In the 15th and 14th centuries B.C., it was dependent upon the state of Mitanni. It was the capital of Assyria at the end of the eighth and in the seventh century B.C., under the rulers Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal. At that time, Nineveh stretched for 4 km along the Tigris, and its main street—the processional road—was 26 m wide. The city was laid out according to a strict plan, which, by special order, builders were forbidden to violate. During the reign of Ashurbanipal, the famous royal Kuyunjik library-repository, housing more than 30,000 cuneiform tablets, was built in Nineveh. In 612 B.C., Nineveh was destroyed by the combined forces of the Babylonians and the Medes.

Excavations from the 1840’s to the 1930’s uncovered a number of cultural layers, the first of which dates from the fifth millennium B.C. Among the items found were polychrome pottery from the end of the fifth and from the fourth millennium B.C.; a sculpted bronze head, presumably a portrait of Sargon the Ancient of Akkad, from the second half of the third millennium B.C. (now in the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad); and inscriptions. In the excavated palaces of the Assyrian rulers Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal (eighth and seventh centuries B.C.), numerous bas-reliefs were found, as well as statues of winged bulls and lions, keepers of the gate. The depictions on the bas-reliefs, now housed in the British Museum in London, are distinguished by their dynamic movement and lifelikeness. The bas-reliefs from Sennacherib’s palace primarily depict military and building scenes, while those from Ashurbanipal’s palace are primarily of hunting scenes.

REFERENCES

Flittner, N. D. Kul’tura i iskusstvo Dvurech’ia i sosednikh stran. Leningrad-Moscow, 1958.
Paterson, A. Assyrian Sculptures: Palace of Sinacherib [parts 1–2]. The Hague [1912–13].
Meissner, B., and D. Opitz. Studien zum Bit Hilâni im Nordpalast Assurbanaplis zu Nineve. Berlin, 1940.

Nineveh

townspeople repented for wickedness by fasting and donning sackcloth. [O.T.: Jonah 3:5–10]

Nineveh

the ancient capital of Assyria, on the River Tigris opposite the present-day city of Mosul (N Iraq): at its height in the 8th and 7th centuries bc; destroyed in 612 bc by the Medes and Babylonians
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