Astounding Ancient Assyria: The Grand Palace of Assurnasirpal

Astounding Ancient Assyria: The Grand Palace of Assurnasirpal

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“The Assyrian historian Albert Kirk Grayson published a translation of these texts in 1991 in the book "Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC" (University of Toronto Press). Grayson translated these eight copies as reading, "I brought them [the monkeys] to my land Aššur. I bred herds of them in great numbers in Calah [and] displayed [them] to all the people of my land.” The inscription also mentions how Ashurnasirpal II captured lions. "With my outstretched hand and my fierce heart, I captured 15 strong lions from the mountains and forests. I took away 50 lion cubs. I herded them into Calah and the palaces of my land into cages," the inscription reads, as translated by Grayson.”

Sculpted reliefs depicting Ashurbanipal II hunting lions.

Sculpted reliefs depicting Ashurbanipal II hunting lions. ( Fair Use )

Researchers went back to the city in 2016 and have begun to examine what is left. Although many of the artifacts like the impressive lamassu, will never be recovered, specialists around the world believe that there are still priceless pieces hidden within the ruins.

A Powerful Ruler

Assurnasirpal II was a powerful ruler whose reign was well-documented. There are hundreds of texts related to different parts of his life and kingdom. This allows researchers to conclude that his reign was one of the most significant in the history of these lands. He ruled Assyria between 883 and 859 BC. His reign was full of battles and is remembered as a time of immense Assyrian expansion. Assurnasirpal II conquered Asia Minor and many other lands. His kingdom stretched from the land of the Hittites in the North to the Euphrates in the South.

Ashurnasirpal II sitting on a throne.

Ashurnasirpal II sitting on a throne. ( Public Domain )

Despite heavy damages and dangers associated with excavations, the palace continues to be an object of research. It is likely that there are still some uncovered secrets left by Assurnasirpal II and his people just waiting to see the light of day once again.

Top Image: Ashurnasirpal II Killing Lions, from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud (Calah), Iraq c. 850 B.C

By Natalia Klimczak


Assyrian reliefs and ivories in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: palace reliefs of Assurnasirpal II and ivory carvings from Nimrud by Vaughn E. Crawford, Prudence O. Harper, Holly Pittman, available at:

Assurnasirpal II by Joshua J. Mark, available at:

The Greatest Party Ever Thrown: Ashurnasirpal II’s Kalhu Festival by Joshua J. Mark, available at:

Inscription About Ancient 'Monkey Colony' Survives ISIL Attacks by Owen Jarus

Assurnasirpal II, king of Assyria (r. 883-859 BC), available at:


Cool. I like ancient art, and the ancient desert cities of stone. Would be quite a sight to see, whatwith the lack of ugly advertisements, and ugly signs, and ugly whatnot.

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