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The Siege of Lachish

The Lachish relief is a set of carved stone panels, depicting the Assyrian conquest of the Judean city of Lachish in 701 BC. The relief was commissioned to decorate a room in the South West palace of Sennacherib in Nineveh. The relief was discovered by Austin Henry Layard in 1845 – 47. The seige depicted in these reliefs is mentioned in the Bible, see 2 Chronicles 32:9.
 
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The Lachish Relief

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

This room at the British Museum has been created to the same dimensions as the room in Sennacherib's palace. The relief depicting the siege measures a total length of around 30 metres.

 

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Assyrian Archers at Lachish

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

 

 

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Assyrian Spearmen at Lachish 

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

The spearmen also carry round wicker shields. This makes them more mobile than the archers who used much larger shields, and shieldbearers, when closer to the wall.

 

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Assyrian Battering Ram and Defenders

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

Notice the flaming torches being thrown from the wall by the defenders. One of these torches has set the Ram on fire and an Assyrian ram operator is trying to put it out using a ladle full of water. In this photo, one can also see the ladders the Assyrians were using to try and scale the wall. 

 

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Removing Captives and Spoils of War

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

In the upper part of this photo can be seen Assyrian soldiers carrying away the treasures plundered during the battle. In the lower section, captives

are seen being deported with little children riding in the cart.

 

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Flaying the Rebels

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

Following a seige, some rebel leaders would be punished by torture as a warning to others. This photo shows two men being flayed or skinned alive.

 

 

 

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The King's Chariot

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

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Assyrian Horsemen

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

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Assyrian Battering Ram (close up)

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

Notice the flaming torches being thrown from the wall by the defenders. One of these torches has set the Ram on fire and an Assyrian ram operator is trying to put it out using a ladle full of water. In this photo, one can also see the ladders the Assyrians were using to try and scale the wall. 

 

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Assyrian Archers with Siege Shields

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

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Lachish Relief Inscription

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

This inscription is located near the image of Sennacherib observing the siege and reads:

 

Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, sat upon a (nîmedu) -throne and passed in review the booty taken from Lachish (ANET 288).

 

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Assyrian Spearmen

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

 

 

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Assyrian Slingers

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

Slingers were a significant sector of the army. A well trained slinger could aim very accurately and hit a target in excess of 100 metres with precision. This meant that they were great for driving defenders off the wall while infantry like the spearmen climbed ladders to try and enter the city.

 

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Assyrian Archers (close up)

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

Like the slingers, the archers were able to force defending soldiers off the wall thereby making it easier for others to enter the city on ladders or by climbing through breaches in the wall. They could also lessen the risk of expensive equipment like rams being destroyed by defenders on the wall. 

 

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Assyrian Siege Camp

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Room XXXVI, Southwest Palace of King Sennacherib, Nineveh, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

This photo shows Assyrian soldiers, tents and other equipment inside their military camp. This camp itself is surrounded by a defensive wall with towers so it may be defended if help arrives for the besieged city. Because of the unsanitary and crowded conditions, at times people in these camps would be hit by plague.

 

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Assyrian Sling Stones

 

Date: 701 BC.

Place: Tel Lachish, Israel.

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

These sling stones were discovered during excavations at the city gate at Lachish. They are made of stone. Sling stones were often shaped by hand to make them a consistent weight and size. This helped with accuracy.

 

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Bone Arrowheads

 

Date: 700 - 681 BC.

Place: Tel Lachish, Israel.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

These arrowheads were possibly created during the siege when metal supplies were running low.

 

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Sennacherib of Assyria

 

Date: 721 - 705 BC.

Place: Courtyard of the Palace of Sargon II, Khorsabad, Assyria.

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

 

In this relief, Sennacherib is still crown prince and had not yet become king. Sargon II was the father of Sennacherib (see Isaiah 20:1).

 

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City Gate

 

Place: Tel Lachish, Israel.

 

This photo shows the remains of Lachish's city gate revealed during excavations.

 

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Approach to the City Gate

 

Place: Tel Lachish, Israel.

 

Many city gates in the Biblical world had their outer gate built into the right side of the entry courtyard. Because most people were right handed, they carried their weapons in their right hand and shields in their left. This meant that anyone approaching the gate would have their right side exposed to the defenders on the wall.

 

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Siege Ramp (side on)

 

Date: 701 BC.

Place: Lachish, Israel.

 

This siege ramp is one of several ramps built by Sennacherib and the Assyrians during the siege. They were constructed of wood and stone and were used to haul battering rams higher up a city wall where they were much weaker than lower down. They also lessened the slope of mound the city was built on or the glacis (sloping foundation) around the base of the wall.

 

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Siege Ramp (front on)

 

Date: 701 BC.

Place:Lachish, Israel.

 

See image above for explanation.

 

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View from Tel Lachish

 

Place: Lachish, Israel.

 

This view from near the city wall at Lachish gives some idea of the view the defenders would have had of an approaching army.