HOME

TheInfoList




Nineveh (; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē; akk, ) was an ancient
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n city of
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountai ...
, located on the outskirts of
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
in modern-day northern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
. It is located on the eastern bank of the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
River and was the capital and largest city of the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
, as well as the largest city in the world for several decades. Today, it is a common name for the half of Mosul that lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and the country's
Nineveh Governorate Nineveh Governorate ( ar, محافظة نينوى, syr, ܗܘܦܪܟܝܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ, Hoparkiya d’Ninwe, ku, Parêzgeha Neynewa ,پارێزگای نەینەوا) is a governorate A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is ...
takes its name from it. It was the largest city in the world for approximately fifty years until the year 612 BC when, after a bitter period of civil war in Assyria, it was sacked by a coalition of its former subject peoples including the
Babylonians Babylonia () was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ...
,
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
,
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...
,
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
and
Cimmerians The Cimmerians (also Kimmerians; Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
. The city was never again a political or administrative centre, but by
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
it was the seat of a Christian bishop. It declined relative to Mosul during the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
and was mostly abandoned by the 13th century AD. Its ruins lie across the river from the modern-day major city of
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
, in Iraq's
Nineveh Governorate Nineveh Governorate ( ar, محافظة نينوى, syr, ܗܘܦܪܟܝܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ, Hoparkiya d’Ninwe, ku, Parêzgeha Neynewa ,پارێزگای نەینەوا) is a governorate A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is ...
. The two main tells, or mound-ruins, within the walls are Tell Kuyunjiq and Tell Nabī Yūnus, site of a shrine to
Jonah Jonah or Jonas, ''Yōnā'', "dove"; gr, Ἰωνᾶς ''Iōnâs''; ar, يونس ' or '; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ar ...

Jonah
, the prophet who preached to Nineveh. Large amounts of
Assyrian sculpture Assyrian sculpture is the sculpture of the ancient Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; s ...
and other artifacts have been excavated there and are now located in museums around the world.


Name

The English placename Nineveh comes from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
' and
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
''Nineuḗ'' () under influence of the
Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek ...

Biblical
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
''Nīnəweh'' (),''Oxford English Dictionary'', 3rd ed. "Ninevite, ''n.'' and ''adj.''" Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2013. from the
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
' ( ''Ninâ''). or
Old Babylonian Old Babylonian may refer to: *the period of the First Babylonian dynasty (20th to 16th centuries BC) *the historical stage of the Akkadian language of that time See also

*Old Assyrian (disambiguation) {{disambig ...

Old Babylonian
'. The original meaning of the name is unclear but may have referred to a patron goddess. The
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
for ''Ninâ'' () is a fish within a house (cf.
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...
''nuna'', "fish"). This may have simply intended "Place of Fish" or may have indicated a goddess associated with fish or the Tigris, possibly originally of
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language cal ...
origin. The city was later said to be devoted to "the goddess
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
of Nineveh" and ''Nina'' was one of the and names of that goddess. Additionally, the word נון/נונא in
Old Babylonian Old Babylonian may refer to: *the period of the First Babylonian dynasty (20th to 16th centuries BC) *the historical stage of the Akkadian language of that time See also

*Old Assyrian (disambiguation) {{disambig ...

Old Babylonian
refers to the
Anthiinae Anthias are members of the family Serranidae and make up the subfamily Anthiinae. Anthias make up a sizeable portion of the population of pink, orange, and yellow reef fishes seen swarming in most coral reef photography and film. The name Anthiin ...
genus of fish, further indicating the possibility of an association between the name Nineveh and fish. The city was also known as ''Ninuwa'' in
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...
; ''Ninawa'' in
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...
; in
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Syriac
; and ''Nainavā'' () in
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...

Persian
. ''Nabī Yūnus'' is the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
for "Prophet
Jonah Jonah or Jonas, ''Yōnā'', "dove"; gr, Ἰωνᾶς ''Iōnâs''; ar, يونس ' or '; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ar ...

Jonah
". ''Kuyunjiq'' was, according to , a Turkish name, and it was known as ''Armousheeah'' by the Arabs, and is thought to have some connection with the
Kara Koyunlu The Qara Qoyunlu or Kara Koyunlu ( fa, قره قویونلو, az, Qaraqoyunlular ), also known as the Black Sheep Turkomans, were a Persianate society, Persianate Islam, Muslim Turkoman (ethnonym), Turkoman monarchy that ruled over the terri ...
dynasty. These toponyms refer to the areas to the North and South of the Khosr stream, respectively: Kuyunjiq is the name for the whole northern sector enclosed by the city walls and is dominated by the large (35 ha) mound of Tell Kuyunjiq, while Nabī (or more commonly Nebi) Yunus is the southern sector around of the mosque of Prophet Yunus/Jonah, which is located on Tell Nebi Yunus.


Geography

The remains of ancient Nineveh, the areas of Kuyunjiq and Nabī Yūnus with their mounds, are located on a level part of the plain at the junction of the Tigris and the Khosr Rivers within an area of circumscribed by a fortification wall. This whole extensive space is now one immense area of ruins overlaid by c. one third by the Nebi Yunus suburbs of the city of eastern Mosul. The site of ancient Nineveh is bisected by the Khosr river. North of the Khosr, the site is called Kuyunjiq, including the acropolis of Tell Kuyunjiq; the illegal village of Rahmaniye lay in eastern Kuyunjiq. South of the Khosr, the urbanized area is called Nebi Yunus (also Ghazliya, Jezayr, Jammasa), including Tell Nebi Yunus where the mosque of the Prophet Jonah and a palace of Asarhaddon/Ashurbanipal below it are located. South of the street Al-'Asady (made by Daesh destroying swaths of the city walls) the area is called Jounub Ninawah or Shara Pepsi. Nineveh was an important junction for commercial routes crossing the Tigris on the great roadway between the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
and the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
, thus uniting the East and the West, it received wealth from many sources, so that it became one of the greatest of all the region's ancient cities, and the last capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.


History


Early history

Nineveh was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. Texts from the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...

Hellenistic
period later offered an
eponym An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives derived from eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Word usage The term ''eponym'' functions in multiple ...
ous
Ninus Ninus ( el, Νίνος), according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman E ...

Ninus
as the founder of Νίνου πόλις (Ninopolis), although there is no historical basis for this.
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...

Book of Genesis
10:11 says "Nimrod", possibly meaning Sargon I, built Nineveh. The context of Ninevah was as one of many centers within the regional development of
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountai ...
. This area is defined as the plains which can support rain-fed agriculture. It exists as a narrow band from the Syrian coast to the Zagros mountains. It is bordered by deserts to the south and mountains to the north. The cultural practices, technology, and economy in this region were shared and they followed a similar trajectory out of the neolithic.


Neolithic

Caves in Zagros mountains to adjacent to the north side of the Ninevah Plain were used as
PPNA Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Ancient Anatolians, Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating to years ago, that is, 10,000–8,800 BCE. Archaeological remains are located in ...
settlements, most famously
Shanidar Cave Shanidar Cave ( ku, Zewî Çemî Şaneder ,ئەشکەوتی شانەدەر, ) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehi ...
. Ninevah itself was founded as early as 6000 BC during the late
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
period. Deep sounding at Nineveh uncovered soil layers that have been dated to early in the era of the
Hassuna Tell Hassuna is a tell, or settlement mound, in the Nineveh Province (Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێ ...
archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specific period and region that may constitute the material culture remains of a particular ...
. The development and culture of Ninevah paralleled
Tepe Gawra Tepe Gawra (Kurdish for "Great Mound") is an ancient Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ...
and
Tell Arpachiyah Tell Arpachiyah (outside modern Mosul Nineveh - Mashki Gate Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, Mûsil ,مووسڵ, syr, ܡܘܨܠ, Māwṣil) is a major city in northern Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق ' ...
a few kilometers to the northeast. Nineveh was a typical farming village in the
Halaf Period The Halaf culture is a prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...
.


Chalcolithic

In 5000 BC Nineveh transitioned from a Halaf village to an Ubaid village. During the Late Chalcolithic period Ninevah was part one of the few Ubaid villages in Upper Mesopotamia which became a proto-city
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʼUgart''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt''; he, אוּגָרִית ''Ugarit'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident ...

Ugarit
, Brak, Hamoukar, , , and regionally at Susa, Eridu, Nippur. During the period between 4500 and 4000 BC it grew to 40ha. The
Ghassulian Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle and Late Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant (c. 4400 – c. 3500 BC). Its type-site, Teleilat Ghassul (Teleilat el Ghassul, Teleilat el-Ghassul, Tulaylat al ...
s who migrated to
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
circa 4800 BC came from the Zagros mountains to the immediate northeast of Ninevah, according to genetic studies. The greater Ninevah area is notable in the diffusion of metal technology across the near east as the first location outside of Anatolia to smelt copper. Tell Arpachiyah has the oldest copper smelting remains, and Tepe Gawa has the oldest metal work. The copper came from the mines at
Ergani Ergani ( ota, عثمانيه ''Osmaniye'', ku, Erxenî), formerly known as Arghni or Arghana, is a district of Diyarbakır Province of Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on ...
.


Early Bronze Age

Nineveh became a trade colony of Uruk during the
Uruk Expansion Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia) situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern Samawah, Muthanna Governorate, Al-Muthannā, ...
because of its location as the highest navigable point on the Tigris. It was contemporary and had a similar function to
Habuba Kabira Habuba Kabira (Tell Qanas) is the site of an Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah ...
on the Euphrates. By 3000 BC,
Kish civilization The Kish civilization or Kish tradition is a time period corresponding to the early East Semitic languages, East Semitic era in Mesopotamia and the Levant. Coined by Ignace Gelb, the epoch began in the early 4th millennium BC. The tradition encomp ...
had expanded into Ninevah. At this time, the main temple of Ninevah becomes known as Ishtar temple, re-dedicated to the Semite goddess
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
, in the form of Ishtar of Ninevah. Ishtar of Nineveh was conflated with Šauška from the Hurro-Uratarin pantheon. This temple was called 'House of Exorcists' (
Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

Cuneiform
: 𒂷𒈦𒈦 GA2.MAŠ.MAŠ; : e2 mašmaš). The context of the etymology surrounding the name is the Exorcist called a Mashmash in Sumerian, was a freelance magician who operated independent of the official priesthood, and was in part a medical professional via the act of expelling demons.


Ninevite 5 period

The regional influence of Nineveh became particularly pronounced during the archaeological period known as ''Ninevite 5'', or ''Ninevite V'' (2900–2600 BC). This period is defined primarily by the characteristic pottery that is found widely throughout northern Mesopotamia.Ian Shaw
''A Dictionary of Archaeology''.
John Wiley & Sons, 2002 p427
Also, for the northern Mesopotamian region, the ''Early Jezirah'' chronology has been developed by archaeologists. According to this regional chronology, 'Ninevite 5' is equivalent to the Early Jezirah I–II period. Ninevite 5 was preceded by the Late
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the protohistoric Protohistory is a period between prehistory and history during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing, but other cult ...
. Ninevite 5 pottery is roughly contemporary to the Early Transcaucasian culture ware, and the
Jemdet Nasr period The Jemdet Nasr Period is an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specific period and region that may con ...
ware. Iraqi ''Scarlet Ware'' culture also belongs to this period; this colourful painted pottery is somewhat similar to Jemdet Nasr ware. Scarlet Ware was first documented in the
Diyala River The Diyala River ( ar, نهر ديالى ; ku, Sîrwan; fa, , ) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the grou ...

Diyala River
basin in Iraq. Later, it was also found in the nearby Hamrin Basin, and in
Luristan Lorestan Province (also written Luristan, Lurestan, or Loristan, fa, استان لرستان) is a province of western Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in ...
. It is also contemporary with the
Proto-Elamite The Proto-Elamite period, also known as Susa III, is the time from ca. 3100 BC to 2700 BC in the area of Elam. In archaeological terms this corresponds to the late Banesh period, and it is recognized as the oldest civilization in Iran. The Prot ...
period in Susa. File:Painted Jar - Ninevite 5.jpg, Painted Jar - Ninevite 5 File:Painted bowl - Uruk-Nineveh 5 transition.jpg, Painted bowl - Uruk-Nineveh 5 transition File:Jamdat Nasr Period pottery - Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago - DSC06949.JPG, Jemdet Nasr ware File:Vaso cerámico del periodo protoelamita - MARQ 01.jpg, Proto-Elamite ware 3100BC File:Saxsı küp, Təpəyatağı.JPG, Kura-Araxtes Culture


Late Bronze Age

The city of
Ashur Ashur () was the second son of Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سام, Sām ''Sḗm''; : ሴም, ''Sēm'') was one of the in the and the . The children of Shem were , , , and , in addition to unnamed daughters. , the patriarc ...

Ashur
was founded circa 2500 BC this is the beginning of Assyria. At this time Ninevah was still an autonomus city-state. It was incorporated into the Akkadian Empire. The early city (and subsequent buildings) was constructed on a
fault line In geology, a fault is a Plane (geometry), planar fracture or discontinuity in a volume of Rock (geology), rock across which there has been significant displacement as a result of rock-mass movements. Large faults within the Earth's Crust (geolo ...
and, consequently, suffered damage from a number of earthquakes. One such event destroyed the first temple of Ishtar, which was rebuilt in 2260 BC by the
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...
king
Manishtushu Manishtushu (𒈠𒀭𒅖𒌅𒋢, ''Ma-an-ish-tu-su'') was the third king of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akk ...
.After the fall of Ur in 2000BC Ninevah was absorbed into the rising power of Assyria.


Old Assyrian period

The historic Nineveh is mentioned in the
Old Assyrian Empire The Old Assyrian Empire was the second stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of the city of Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫ ...
during the reign of
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad ( akk, Šamši-Adad; Amorite language, Amorite: ''Shamshi-Addu'' ), ruled 1808–1776 BC, was an Amorite conqueror who had conquered lands across much of Syria, Anatolia, and Upper Mesopotamia.Some of the Mari letters addressed to Sha ...

Shamshi-Adad I
(1809-1775) in about 1800 BC as a centre of worship of
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
, whose cult was responsible for the city's early importance.


Mitanni period

The goddess's statue was sent to Pharaoh
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
of Egypt in the 14th century BC, by orders of the king of
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform Hittite cuneiform is the implementation of cuneiform script Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the ear ...

Mitanni
. The
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n city of Nineveh became one of Mitanni's vassals for half a century until the early 14th century BC.


Middle Assyrian period

The Assyrian king
Ashur-uballit IAshur-uballit I ''(Aššur-uballiṭ I)'', who reigned between 1365 and 1330 BC, was the first king of the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BC). After his father Eriba-Adad I (1392-1366 BC) had broken Mitanni influence over Assyria, Ashur-uballit ...
reclaimed it in 1365 BC while overthrowing the Mitanni Empire and creating the
Middle Assyrian Empire The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
(1365–1050 BC). There is a large body of evidence to show that Assyrian monarchs built extensively in Nineveh during the late 3rd and 2nd millenniums BC; it appears to have been originally an "Assyrian provincial town". Later monarchs whose inscriptions have appeared on the high city include the
Middle Assyrian Empire The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
kings
Shalmaneser I Shalmaneser I (''Shulmanu-asharedu''; 1274–1245 BC or 1265–1235 BC) was a king of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοπ ...

Shalmaneser I
(1274–1245 BC) and
Tiglath-Pileser I Tiglath-Pileser I (; from the Hebrew language, Hebraic form of akk, , Tukultī-apil-Ešarra, "my trust is in the Ashur (god), son of Ešarra") was a Kings of Assyria, king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period (1114–1076 BC). According t ...
(1114–1076 BC), both of whom were active builders in
Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫܘܪ ''Āšūr''; Old Persian ''Aθur'', fa, آشور: ''Āšūr''; he, אַשּׁוּר: ', ar, اشور) ...

Assur
(Ashur).


Iron Age


Neo-Assyrians

During the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
, particularly from the time of
Ashurnasirpal II Ashur-nasir-pal II (: ''Aššur-nāṣir-apli'', meaning " is guardian of the heir") was king of from 883 to 859 BC. Ashurnasirpal II succeeded his father, , in 883 BC. During his reign he embarked on a vast program of expansion, first conqueri ...
(ruled 883–859 BC) onward, there was considerable architectural expansion. Successive monarchs such as
Tiglath-pileser III Tiglath-Pileser III (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_ ...
,
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_.ht ...
,
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_. ...

Sennacherib
,
Esarhaddon Esarhaddon, also spelled Essarhaddon, Assarhaddon and Ashurhaddon (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviatio ...

Esarhaddon
, and
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal, also spelled Assurbanipal, Asshurbanipal and Asurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbrevi ...
maintained and founded new palaces, as well as temples to Sîn,
Ashur Ashur () was the second son of Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سام, Sām ''Sḗm''; : ሴም, ''Sēm'') was one of the in the and the . The children of Shem were , , , and , in addition to unnamed daughters. , the patriarc ...
,
Nergal Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali (Sumerian: d''KIŠ.UNU'' or ; ; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its lite ...

Nergal
,
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

Shamash
,
Ninurta Ninurta ( sux, 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒅁: , "Lord Urta" meaning of this name not known), also known as Ninĝirsu ( sux, 𒀭𒊩𒌆𒄈𒋢: , meaning “Lord Girsu”), is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian god associated wit ...
,
Ishtar Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian '' ...

Ishtar
,
Tammuz Dumuzid ( sux, 𒌉𒍣𒉺𒇻, ''Dumuzid sipad'') or Dumuzi, later known by the alternative form Tammuz,; he, תַּמּוּז, Transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: ...
,
NisrochNisroch ( arc, ܢܝܼܫܪܵܟ݂; el, Νεσεραχ; la, Nesroch; ) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, an Assyrian god in whose temple King Sennacherib was worshiping when he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer (, ). The name i ...

Nisroch
and
Nabu Nabu ( akk, cuneiform: 𒀭𒀝 Nabû syr, ܢܵܒܼܘܼ\ܢܒܼܘܿ\ܢܵܒܼܘܿ Nāvū or Nvō or Nāvō) is the ancient Mesopotamian patron god of literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writ ...

Nabu
.


Sennacherib's development of Nineveh

It was
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_. ...

Sennacherib
who made Nineveh a truly magnificent city (c. 700 BC). He laid out new streets and squares and built within it the South West Palace, or "palace without a rival", the plan of which has been mostly recovered and has overall dimensions of about . It comprised at least 80 rooms, many of which were lined with sculpture. A large number of were found in the palace. The solid foundation was made out of limestone blocks and mud bricks; it was tall. In total, the foundation is made of roughly of brick (approximately 160 million bricks). The walls on top, made out of mud brick, were an additional tall. Some of the principal doorways were flanked by colossal stone ''
lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu'' from Dur-Sharrukin. University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Syrian limestone Neo-Assyrian Period, c. 721–705 BCE ''Lama'', ''Lamma'' or ''Lamassu'' (Cuneiform: , ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: lammař; later in Akkadian l ...

lamassu
'' door figures weighing up to ; these were winged Mesopotamian lions or
bull A bull is an intact (i.e., not castrated Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning ...

bull
s, with human heads. These were transported from quarries at Balatai, and they had to be lifted up once they arrived at the site, presumably by a ramp. There are also of stone Assyrian palace reliefs, that include pictorial records documenting every construction step including carving the statues and transporting them on a barge. One picture shows 44 men towing a colossal statue. The carving shows three men directing the operation while standing on the Colossus. Once the statues arrived at their destination, the final carving was done. Most of the statues weigh between . The stone carvings in the walls include many battle scenes, impalings and scenes showing Sennacherib's men parading the spoils of war before him. The inscriptions boasted of his conquests: he wrote of Babylon: "Its inhabitants, young and old, I did not spare, and with their corpses I filled the streets of the city." A full and characteristic
set shows the campaign leading up to the siege of Lachish Set, The Set, or SET may refer to: Science, technology, and mathematics Mathematics *Set (mathematics), a collection of distinct elements or members *Category of sets, the category whose objects and morphisms are sets and total functions, respect ...
in 701; it is the "finest" from the reign of
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_. ...

Sennacherib
, and now in the British Museum. He later wrote about a battle in
Lachish Tel Lachish ( he, תל לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Tel Lachis), known in Arabic as Tell ed-Duweir (), is the site of an ancient Near East, ancient Canaan, Canaanite and Israelite city, now an archaeological site and an National parks and na ...
: "And
Hezekiah Hezekiah (; he, חִזְקִיָּהוּ ''H̱īzəqīyyahū''), or Ezekias, ''Ḥazaqia'ú'' 'ḫa-za-qi-a-ú'' el, Ἐζεκίας Septuagint">/nowiki>Septuagint:_Εζεζία.html" ;"title="Septuagint.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Septuagint"> ...

Hezekiah
of Judah who had not submitted to my yoke...him I shut up in Jerusalem his royal city like a caged bird. Earthworks I threw up against him, and anyone coming out of his city gate I made pay for his crime. His cities which I had plundered I had cut off from his land." At this time, the total area of Nineveh comprised about , and fifteen great gates penetrated its walls. An elaborate system of eighteen canals brought water from the hills to Nineveh, and several sections of a magnificently constructed aqueduct erected by Sennacherib were discovered at Jerwan, about distant. The enclosed area had more than 100,000 inhabitants (maybe closer to 150,000), about twice as many as
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
at the time, placing it among the largest settlements worldwide. Some scholars such as
Stephanie Dalley Stephanie Mary Dalley FSA (''née'' Page; March 1943) is a British scholar of the Ancient Near East. She has retired as a teaching Fellow from the Oriental Institute, Oxford. She is known for her publications of cuneiform texts and her invest ...
at
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
believe that the garden which Sennacherib built next to his palace, with its associated irrigation works, were the original
Hanging Gardens of Babylon The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World 324px, Timeline and map of the Seven Wonders. Dates in bold green and dark red are of their construction and destruction, respectively. The Seven Wonders of ...

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
; Dalley's argument is based on a disputation of the traditional placement of the Hanging Gardens attributed to
Berossus Berossus, "Marduk, Bel is his shepherd"; el, Βήρωσσος) was a Hellenistic civilization, Hellenistic-era Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and Babylonian astronomy, astronomer who wrote in the Koine Greek language, and who was acti ...
together with a combination of literary and archaeological evidence.


After Ashurbanipal

The greatness of Nineveh was short-lived. In around 627 BC, after the death of its last great king
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal, also spelled Assurbanipal, Asshurbanipal and Asurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbrevi ...
, the Neo-Assyrian empire began to unravel through a series of bitter civil wars between rival claimants for the throne, and in 616 BC Assyria was attacked by its own former vassals, the
Babylonians Babylonia () was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ...
,
Chaldea Chaldea () was a small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BCE, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population Babylonia Babylonia () was an ...
ns,
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
,
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...

Persians
,
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
and
Cimmerians The Cimmerians (also Kimmerians; Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
. In about 616 BC
Kalhu Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪܕ ar, النمرود) is an ancient Assyrian people, Assyrian city located in Iraq, south of the city of Mosul, and south of the village of Selamiyah ( ar, السلامية), in the Nineveh Plains in Upper Mesopotamia ...
was sacked, the allied forces eventually reached Nineveh, besieging and sacking the city in 612 BC, following bitter house-to-house fighting, after which it was razed. Most of the people in the city who could not escape to the last Assyrian strongholds in the north and west were either massacred or deported out of the city and into the countryside where they founded new settlements. Many unburied skeletons were found by the archaeologists at the site. The Assyrian empire then came to an end by 605 BC, the Medes and Babylonians dividing its colonies between themselves. It is not clear whether Nineveh came under the rule of the Medes or the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
in 612. The Babylonian '' Chronicle Concerning the Fall of Nineveh'' records that Nineveh was "turned into mounds and heaps", but this is literary hyperbole. The complete destruction of Nineveh has traditionally been seen as confirmed by the Hebrew ''
Book of Ezekiel The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets Nevi'im (; he, נְבִיאִים ''Nəḇî'îm'', "Prophets" literally "spokespersons") is the second major division of the Hebrew Bible (the '' Tanakh''), between the Torah (inst ...

Book of Ezekiel
'' and the Greek '' Retreat of the Ten Thousand'' of
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens mont ...

Xenophon
(d. 354 BC).Stephanie Dalley (1993), "Nineveh after 612 BC", ''Altorientalische Forschungen'' 20(1): 134–147. There are no later cuneiform tablets in Akkadian from Nineveh. Although devastated in 612, the city was not completely abandoned. Yet, to the Greek historians
Ctesias Ctesias (; grc, Κτησίας, ''Ktēsíās'', fifth century BC), also known as Ctesias the Cnidian or Ctesias of Cnidus, was a Hellenic civilization, Greek physician and historian from the town of Cnidus in Caria, who lived during the time that ...
and
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
(c. 400 BC), Nineveh was a thing of the past; and when Xenophon passed the place in the 4th century BC he described it as abandoned.


Later history

The earliest piece of written evidence for the persistence of Nineveh as a settlement is possibly the
Cyrus Cylinder The Cyrus Cylinder or Cyrus Charter is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian language, Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia's Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid king Cyrus the ...

Cyrus Cylinder
of 539/538 BC, but the reading of this is disputed. If correctly read as Nineveh, it indicates that
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
restored the temple of Ishtar at Nineveh and probably encouraged resettlement. A number of cuneiform
Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. Elamite works disappear from the archeological record after Alexander the Great ...
tablets have been found at Nineveh. They probably date from the time of the revival of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite Linear Elamite is a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Br ...

Elam
in the century following the collapse of Assyria. The Hebrew ''
Book of Jonah The Book of Jonah is a book of the Nevi'im ("Prophets") in the Hebrew Bible. Set in the reign of Jeroboam II (786–746 BC) but written in the Babylonian captivity, post-exilic some time between the late 5th to early 4th century BC it tells ...
'', Stephanie Dalley asserts was written in the 4th century BC, is an account of the city's repentance and God's mercy which prevented destruction. Archaeologically, there is evidence of repairs at the temple of Nabu after 612 and for the continued use of Sennacherib's palace. There is evidence of syncretic
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...

Hellenistic
cults. A statue of
Hermes Hermes (; grc-gre, Ἑρμῆς) is an Olympian deity in ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology. Hermes is considered the herald of the gods. He is also considered the protector of human heralds, travellers, thieves, mercha ...

Hermes
has been found and a Greek inscription attached to a shrine of the
Sebitti The Sebitti or Sebittu are a group of seven minor war gods in Neo-Sumerian, AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, ...
. A statue of dated to the 2nd century AD has also been found. The
library of Ashurbanipal The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great monarch, king of the Assyrian Empire, is a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC, including text ...

library of Ashurbanipal
may still have been in use until around the time of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
. The city was actively resettled under the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
.Peter Webb, "Nineveh and Mosul", in O. Nicholason (ed.), ''
The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity The ''Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity'' (ODLA) is the first comprehensive, multi-disciplinary reference work covering culture, history, religion, and life in Late Antiquity. This was the period in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East ...
'' (Oxford University Press, 2018), vol. 2, p. 1078.
There is evidence of more changes in Sennacherib's palace under the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
. The Parthians also established a municipal mint at Nineveh coining in bronze. According to
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, in AD 50 Meherdates, a claimant to the Parthian throne with Roman support, took Nineveh.J. E. Reade (1998), "Greco-Parthian Nineveh", ''Iraq'' 60: 65–83. By
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
, Nineveh was restricted to the east bank of the Tigris and the west bank was uninhabited. Under the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...

Sasanian Empire
, Nineveh was not an administrative centre. By the 2nd century AD there were
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...

Christians
present and by 554 it was a
bishopric In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
of the
Church of the East The Church of the East ( syc, , ''ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā''), also called the Persian Church, East Syrian Church, Babylonian Church, Seleucian Church, Edessan Church, Chaldean Church, or the Nestorian Church, was an church of the , based ...
. King
Khosrow II Khosrow II (aka. Chosroes II in classical sources; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; Modern Persian Persian (), also known by its exonym and endonym, endonym Farsi (, ', ), is a Western Iranian languages, Western Iranian language belong ...
(591–628) built a fortress on the west bank, and two Christian monasteries were constructed around 570 and 595. This growing settlement was not called
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
until after the Arab conquests. It may have been called Hesnā ʿEbrāyē (Jews' Fort). In 627, the city was the site of the Battle of Nineveh between the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
and the Sasanians. In 641, it was conquered by the Arabs, who built a mosque on the west bank and turned it into an administrative centre. Under the
Umayyad dynasty The Umayyad dynasty ( ar, بَنُو أُمَيَّةَ, Banū Umayya, Sons of Umayya) or Umayyads () were the ruling family of the Muslim caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Isla ...

Umayyad dynasty
, it eclipsed Nineveh, which was reduced to a Christian suburb with limited new construction. By the 13th century, Nineveh was mostly ruins. A church was converted into a Muslim shrine to the prophet
Jonah Jonah or Jonas, ''Yōnā'', "dove"; gr, Ἰωνᾶς ''Iōnâs''; ar, يونس ' or '; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ar ...

Jonah
, which continued to attract pilgrims until its destruction by ISIL in 2014.


Biblical Nineveh

In the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...
, Nineveh is first mentioned in Genesis 10:11: "
Ashur Ashur () was the second son of Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سام, Sām ''Sḗm''; : ሴም, ''Sēm'') was one of the in the and the . The children of Shem were , , , and , in addition to unnamed daughters. , the patriarc ...
left that land, and built Nineveh". Some modern English translations interpret "Ashur" in the Hebrew of this verse as the country "Assyria" rather than a person, thus making
Nimrod Nimrod (; ; arc, ܢܡܪܘܕ; ar, نُمْرُود, Numrūd) is a Hebrew Bible, biblical figure mentioned in the Book of Genesis and Books of Chronicles. The son of Cush (Bible), Cush and therefore a great-grandson of Noah, Nimrod was describe ...

Nimrod
, rather than Ashur, the founder of Nineveh.
Sir Walter Raleigh Sir Walter Raleigh (; – 29 October 1618), also spelled Ralegh, was an English statesman, soldier, writer and explorer. One of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era, he played a leading part in English colonisation of North America ...

Sir Walter Raleigh
's notion that Nimrod built Nineveh, and the cities in Genesis 10:11–12, has also been refuted by scholars. The discovery of the fifteen
Jubilees The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work of 50 chapters, considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews), where it is known as the ''B ...
texts found amongst the
Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are and religious first found in 1947 at the in what was then , near in the , on the northern shore of the . Dating back to between the and the , the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered ...

Dead Sea Scrolls
, has since shown that, according to the Jewish sects of Qumran, Genesis 10:11 affirms the apportionment of Nineveh to Ashur. The attribution of Nineveh to Ashur is also supported by the
Greek Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible, various biblical apocrypha, an ...
,
King James Bible The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an English translations of the Bible, English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and publ ...

King James Bible
,
Geneva Bible The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminol ...

Geneva Bible
, and by Historian
Flavius Josephus Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish ...

Flavius Josephus
in his
Antiquities of the Jews ''Antiquities of the Jews'' ( la, Antiquitates Iudaicae; el, Ἰουδαϊκὴ ἀρχαιολογία, ''Ioudaikē archaiologia'') is a 20-volume historiographical work, written in Greek, by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the 13th ye ...
(Antiquities, i, vi, 4). Nineveh was the flourishing capital of the Assyrian Empire and was the home of King
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_. ...

Sennacherib
, King of Assyria, during the Biblical reign of King
Hezekiah Hezekiah (; he, חִזְקִיָּהוּ ''H̱īzəqīyyahū''), or Ezekias, ''Ḥazaqia'ú'' 'ḫa-za-qi-a-ú'' el, Ἐζεκίας Septuagint">/nowiki>Septuagint:_Εζεζία.html" ;"title="Septuagint.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Septuagint"> ...

Hezekiah
(יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ) and the lifetime of Judean prophet
Isaiah Isaiah ( or ; he, , ''Yəšaʿyāhū'', "God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trus ...

Isaiah
(ישעיה). As recorded in Hebrew scripture, Nineveh was also the place where Sennacherib died at the hands of his two sons, who then fled to the vassal land of ''`rrt''
Urartu Urartu () is a geographical region commonly used as the exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...

Urartu
. The book of the prophet
Nahum Nahum ( or ; he, נַחוּם ''Naḥūm'') was a minor prophet Minor may refer to: * Minor (law) In law, a minor is a person under a certain age, usually the age of majority The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as recogn ...

Nahum
is almost exclusively taken up with prophetic denunciations against Nineveh. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold. Its end was strange, sudden, and tragic. According to the Bible, it was God's doing, His judgment on Assyria's pride. In fulfillment of prophecy, God made "an utter end of the place". It became a "desolation". The prophet
Zephaniah Zephaniah (, ) is the name of several people in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exc ...

Zephaniah
also predicts its destruction along with the fall of the empire of which it was the capital. Nineveh is also the setting of the
Book of Tobit The Book of Tobit () ''Tōbith'' or ''Tōbit'' ( and spellings are also attested) itself from he, טובי ''Tovi'' "my good"; Book of Tobias in the Vulgate from the Greek ''Tōbias'', itself from the Hebrew ''Tovyah'' "Jah, Yah is good" is ...
. The
Book of Jonah The Book of Jonah is a book of the Nevi'im ("Prophets") in the Hebrew Bible. Set in the reign of Jeroboam II (786–746 BC) but written in the Babylonian captivity, post-exilic some time between the late 5th to early 4th century BC it tells ...
, set in the days of the Assyrian empire, describes it as an "exceedingly great city of three days' journey in breadth", whose population at that time is given as "more than 120,000". Genesis 10:11-12 lists four cities "Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen", ambiguously stating that either Resen or Calah is "the great city." The ruins of Kuyunjiq,
Nimrud Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪܕ ar, النمرود) is an ancient Assyrian city located south of the city of Mosul, and south of the village of Selamiyah ( ar, السلامية), in the Nineveh plains in Upper Mesopotamia. It was a major Assyri ...
, Karamles and
Khorsabad Dur-Sharrukin ("Fortress of Sargon"; ar, دور شروكين, Syriac Language, Syriac: ܕܘܪ ܫܪܘ ܘܟܢ), present day Khorsabad, was the Assyrian capital in the time of Sargon II of Assyria. Khorsabad is a village in northern Iraq, 15 km ...

Khorsabad
form the four corners of an irregular quadrangle. The ruins of the "great city" Nineveh, with the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as consisting of these four sites. The description of Nineveh in Jonah likely was a reference to greater Nineveh, including the surrounding cities of Rehoboth, Calah and Resen The Book of Jonah depicts Nineveh as a wicked city worthy of destruction. God sent Jonah to preach to the Ninevites of their coming destruction, and they fasted and repented because of this. As a result, God spared the city; when Jonah protests against this, God states He is showing mercy for the population who are ignorant of the difference between right and wrong ("who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand") and mercy for the animals in the city. Nineveh's repentance and salvation from evil can be found in the Hebrew
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages o ...
, aka the Old Testament, and referred to in the Christian
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
and Muslim
Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious t ...

Quran
. To this day,
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Syriac
and
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
churches commemorate the three days Jonah spent inside the fish during the Fast of Nineveh. The Christians observing this holiday fast by refraining from food and drink. Churches encourage followers to refrain from meat, fish and dairy products.


Archaeology

The location of Nineveh was known, to some, continuously through the Middle Ages.
Benjamin of Tudela Benjamin of Tudela ( he, בִּנְיָמִין מִטּוּדֶלָה, ; ar, بنيامين التطيلي ''Binyamin al-Tutayli'';‎ TudelaTudela may refer to: *Tudela, Navarre, a town and municipality in northern Spain ** Benjamin of Tudel ...

Benjamin of Tudela
visited it in 1170; Petachiah of Regensburg soon after.
Carsten NiebuhrKarsten or Carsten is a both a given name and a surname. In Greek the name means "anointed". It is also known to be derived from a Low German form of Christian. Notable persons with the name include: Given name ;Carsten: * Carsten Niebuhr (1733 ...

Carsten Niebuhr
recorded its location during the 1761–67 Danish expedition. Niebuhr wrote afterwards that "I did not learn that I was at so remarkable a spot, till near the river. Then they showed me a village on a great hill, which they call Nunia, and a mosque, in which the prophet Jonah was buried. Another hill in this district is called Kalla Nunia, or the Castle of Nineveh. On that lies a village Koindsjug."


Excavation history

In 1842, the French Consul General at Mosul, Paul-Émile Botta, began to search the vast mounds that lay along the opposite bank of the river. While at Tell Kuyunjiq he had little success, the locals whom he employed in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the ruins of a building at the 20 km far-away mound of
Khorsabad Dur-Sharrukin ("Fortress of Sargon"; ar, دور شروكين, Syriac Language, Syriac: ܕܘܪ ܫܪܘ ܘܟܢ), present day Khorsabad, was the Assyrian capital in the time of Sargon II of Assyria. Khorsabad is a village in northern Iraq, 15 km ...

Khorsabad
, which, on further exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of
Sargon II Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_Press_.ht ...
, in which large numbers of reliefs were found and recorded, though they had been damaged by fire and were mostly too fragile to remove. In 1847 the young British diplomat
Austen Henry Layard Sir Austen Henry Layard (; 5 March 18175 July 1894) was an English traveller, archaeologist, cuneiformist, art historian, draughtsman, collector, politician and diplomat. He is best known as the excavator of Nimrud Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪ ...

Austen Henry Layard
explored the ruins. Layard did not use modern archaeological methods; his stated goal was "to obtain the largest possible number of well preserved objects of art at the least possible outlay of time and money." In the Kuyunjiq mound, Layard rediscovered in 1849 the lost palace of Sennacherib with its 71 rooms and colossal
bas-relief Relief is a sculptural technique in which the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background o ...
s. He also unearthed the palace and famous
library of Ashurbanipal The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great monarch, king of the Assyrian Empire, is a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC, including text ...

library of Ashurbanipal
with 22,000 cuneiform clay tablets. Most of Layard's material was sent to the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
, but others were dispersed elsewhere as two large pieces which were given to
Lady Charlotte Guest Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Guest (née Bertie; 19 May 1812 – 15 January 1895), later Lady Charlotte Schreiber, was an English aristocrat who is best known as the first publisher in modern print format of ''The Mabinogion The ''Mabinogion'' ( ...
and eventually found their way to the
Metropolitan Museum The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. Its permanent collection contains over 2 million works, divided among 17 curatorial departments. The main building at 1000 F ...
. The study of the archaeology of Nineveh reveals the wealth and glory of ancient Assyria under kings such as
Esarhaddon Esarhaddon, also spelled Essarhaddon, Assarhaddon and Ashurhaddon (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviatio ...

Esarhaddon
(681–669 BC) and Ashurbanipal (669–626 BC). The work of exploration was carried on by
Hormuzd Rassam Hormuzd Rassam ( ar, هرمز رسام; syr, ܗܪܡܙܕ ܪܣܐܡ; 182616 September 1910), was an Iraqi Assyriologist of Assyrians in Iraq, Assyrian origin. He is known for making a number of important archaeological discoveries from 1877 to 1 ...

Hormuzd Rassam
(a modern Assyrian), George Smith and others, and a vast treasury of specimens of Assyria was incrementally exhumed for European museums. Palace after palace was discovered, with their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace, the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture, and the magnificence of their monarchs. The mound of Kuyunjiq was excavated again by the archaeologists of the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
, led by
Leonard William King Leonard William King, F.S.A. (8 December 1869 – 20 August 1919) was an English archaeologist and Assyriology, Assyriologist educated at Rugby School and King's College, Cambridge. He collected stone inscriptions widely in the Near East, taught As ...
, at the beginning of the 20th century. Their efforts concentrated on the site of the Temple of
Nabu Nabu ( akk, cuneiform: 𒀭𒀝 Nabû syr, ܢܵܒܼܘܼ\ܢܒܼܘܿ\ܢܵܒܼܘܿ Nāvū or Nvō or Nāvō) is the ancient Mesopotamian patron god of literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writ ...

Nabu
, the god of writing, where another cuneiform library was supposed to exist. However, no such library was ever found: most likely, it had been destroyed by the activities of later residents. The excavations started again in 1927, under the direction of Campbell Thompson, who had taken part in King's expeditions. Some works were carried out outside Kuyunjiq, for instance on the mound of Tell Nebi Yunus, which was the ancient arsenal of Nineveh, or along the outside walls. Here, near the northwestern corner of the walls, beyond the pavement of a later building, the archaeologists found almost 300 fragments of prisms recording the royal annals of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal, beside a prism of Esarhaddon which was almost perfect. After the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, several excavations were carried out by Iraqi archaeologists. From 1951 to 1958 Mohammed Ali Mustafa worked the site. The work was continued from 1967 through 1971 by Tariq Madhloom. Some additional excavation occurred by Manhal Jabur from the early 1970s to 1987. For the most part, these digs focused on Tell Nebi Yunus. The British archaeologist and Assyriologist Professor
David Stronach David Brian Stronach (10 June 1931 – 27 June 2020) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of s ...
of the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
conducted a series of surveys and digs at the site from 1987 to 1990, focusing his attentions on the several gates and the existent mudbrick walls, as well as the system that supplied water to the city in times of siege. The excavation reports are in progress. Most recently, an Iraqi-Italian Archaeological Expedition by the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna and the Iraqi SBAH, led by prof. Nicolò Marchetti, begun (with three campaigns having taken place thus far in the Fall between 2019 and 2021) a long-term project aiming at the excavation, conservation and public presentation of Eastern Nineveh (NINEV_E project). Work was carried out in eleven excavation areas, from the Adad Gate - now completely repaired (after removing hundreds of tons of debris from ISIL's destructions), explored and protected with a new roof - deep into the Nebi Yunus town. In three areas a thick later stratigraphy was encountered, but the late 7th century BC stratum was reached everywhere (actually in two areas in the pre-Sennacherib lower town the excavations already exposed older strata, up to the 11th-century BC until now, aiming in the future at exploring the first settlement therein). The site is greatly endangered with dumping of debris, illegal settlements and quarrying as the main threats.


Archaeological remains

Today, Nineveh's location is marked by two large mounds, Tell Kuyunjiq and Tell ''Nabī Yūnus'' "Prophet
Jonah Jonah or Jonas, ''Yōnā'', "dove"; gr, Ἰωνᾶς ''Iōnâs''; ar, يونس ' or '; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ar ...

Jonah
", and the remains of the city walls (about in circumference). The Neo-Assyrian levels of Kuyunjiq have been extensively explored. The other mound, ''Nabī Yūnus'', has not been as extensively explored because there was an Arab Muslim shrine dedicated to that prophet on the site. On July 24, 2014, the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are ...
destroyed the shrine as part of a campaign to destroy religious sanctuaries it deemed "un-Islamic," but also to loot that site thorugh tunneling. The ruin mound of Kuyunjiq rises about above the surrounding plain of the ancient city. It is quite broad, measuring about . Its upper layers have been extensively excavated, and several Neo-Assyrian palaces and temples have been found there. A deep sounding by Max Mallowan revealed evidence of habitation as early as the 6th millennium BC. Today, there is little evidence of these old excavations other than weathered pits and earth piles. In 1990, the only Assyrian remains visible were those of the entry court and the first few chambers of the Palace of Sennacherib. Since that time, the palace chambers have received significant damage by looters. Portions of relief sculptures that were in the palace chambers in 1990 were seen on the antiquities market by 1996. Photographs of the chambers made in 2003 show that many of the fine relief sculptures there have been reduced to piles of rubble. Tell Nebi Yunus is located about south of Kuyunjiq and is the secondary ruin mound at Nineveh. On the basis of texts of Sennacherib, the site has traditionally been identified as the "armory" of Nineveh, and a gate and pavements excavated by Iraqis in 1954 have been considered to be part of the "armory" complex. Excavations in 1990 revealed a monumental entryway consisting of a number of large inscribed orthostats and "bull-man" sculptures, some apparently unfinished. Following the
Mosul liberation Mosul liberation refers to the victory of a major military campaign launched by the Iraqi Army The Iraqi Army, officially the Iraqi Ground Forces (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4t ...
, the tunnels under Tell Nebi Yunus were explored in 2018, in which a 3000-year-old palace was discovered, including a pair of reliefs, each showing a row of women, along with reliefs of ''
lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu'' from Dur-Sharrukin. University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Syrian limestone Neo-Assyrian Period, c. 721–705 BCE ''Lama'', ''Lamma'' or ''Lamassu'' (Cuneiform: , ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: lammař; later in Akkadian l ...

lamassu
''.


City wall and gates

The ruins of Nineveh are surrounded by the remains of a massive stone and mudbrick wall dating from about 700 BC. About 12 km in length, the wall system consisted of an ashlar stone retaining wall about high surmounted by a mudbrick wall about high and thick. The stone retaining wall had projecting stone towers spaced about every . The stone wall and towers were topped by three-step
merlon A merlon is the solid upright section of a battlement A battlement in defensive architecture, such as that of city wall A defensive wall is a fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for t ...
s. Five of the gateways have been explored to some extent by archaeologists: * Mashki Gate (ماشکی دروازه) Translated "Gate of the Water Carriers", (''Mashki'' from Persian root word ''Mashk'', meaning waterskin), also ''Masqi Gate'' (Arabic: بوابة مسقي), it was perhaps used to take livestock to water from the Tigris which currently flows about to the west. It has been reconstructed in fortified mudbrick to the height of the top of the vaulted passageway. The Assyrian original may have been plastered and ornamented. It was bulldozed along with the Adad Gate during
ISIL {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st ...
occupation. * Nergal Gate Named for the god
Nergal Nergal, Nirgal, or Nirgali (Sumerian: d''KIŠ.UNU'' or ; ; Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its lite ...

Nergal
, it may have been used for some ceremonial purpose, as it is the only known gate flanked by stone sculptures of winged bull-men (''
lamassu 300px, ''Lamassu'' from Dur-Sharrukin. University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Syrian limestone Neo-Assyrian Period, c. 721–705 BCE ''Lama'', ''Lamma'' or ''Lamassu'' (Cuneiform: , ; Sumerian language, Sumerian: lammař; later in Akkadian l ...

lamassu
''). The reconstruction is conjectural, as the gate was excavated by Layard in the mid-19th century and reconstructed in the mid-20th century. The lamassu on this gate were defaced with a jackhammer by
ISIL {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st ...
forces. * Adad Gate Adad Gate was named for the god
Adad Hadad ( uga, 𐎅𐎄 ), Adad, Haddad (Akkadian language, Akkadian: Wiktionary:𒀭𒅎, 𒀭𒅎) or Iškur (Sumerian language, Sumerian) was the Weather god, storm and rain god in the Ancient Semitic religion, Canaanite and ancient Mesopotamia ...
. A reconstruction was begun in the 1960s by Iraqis but was not completed. The result was a mixture of concrete and eroding mudbrick, which nonetheless does give some idea of the original structure. The excavator left some features unexcavated, allowing a view of the original Assyrian construction. The original brickwork of the outer vaulted passageway was well exposed, as was the entrance of the vaulted stairway to the upper levels. The actions of Nineveh's last defenders could be seen in the hastily built mudbrick construction which narrowed the passageway from . Around April 13, 2016,
ISIL {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st ...
demolished both the gate and the adjacent wall by flattening them with a bulldozer. * Shamash Gate Named for the Sun god
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

Shamash
, it opens to the road to
Erbil Erbil, also called Hawler ( ku, ھەولێر ,Hewlêr ar, أربيل, Arbīl, syr, ܐܲܪܒܹܝܠ, or ''Arbel'') and known in ancient history as Arbela, is the capital and most populated city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It has around 1.5 ...

Erbil
. It was excavated by Layard in the 19th century. The stone retaining wall and part of the mudbrick structure were reconstructed in the 1960s. The mudbrick reconstruction has deteriorated significantly. The stone wall projects outward about from the line of main wall for a width of about . It is the only gate with such a significant projection. The mound of its remains towers above the surrounding terrain. Its size and design suggest it was the most important gate in Neo-Assyrian times. * Hali Gate Near the south end of the eastern city wall. Exploratory excavations were undertaken here by the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
expedition of 1989–1990. There is an outward projection of the city wall, though not as pronounced as at the Shamash Gate. The entry passage had been narrowed with mudbrick to about as at the Adad Gate. Human remains from the final battle of Nineveh were found in the passageway. Located in the eastern wall, it is the southernmost and largest of all the remaining gates of ancient Nineveh.


Threats to the site

Already in 2003, the site of Nineveh was exposed to decay of its
reliefs Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the ...
by a lack of proper protective roofing, vandalism and looting holes dug into chamber floors. Future preservation is further compromised by the site's proximity to expanding suburbs. The ailing
Mosul Dam Mosul Dam ( ar, سد الموصل), formerly known as Saddam Dam (), is the largest dam in Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...
is a persistent threat to Nineveh as well as the city of Mosul. This is in no small part due to years of disrepair (in 2006, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cited it as the most dangerous dam in the world), the cancellation of a second dam project in the 1980s to act as flood relief in case of failure, and occupation by
ISIL {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st ...
in 2014 resulting in fleeing workers and stolen equipment. If the dam fails, the entire site could be under as much as 45 feet (14 m) of water. In an October 2010 report titled ''
Saving Our Vanishing Heritage''Saving Our Vanishing Heritage: Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites in the Developing World'' was a report released by Global Heritage Fund on October 17, 2010. It illuminated five accelerating man-made threats facing global heritage si ...
'',
Global Heritage Fund Global Heritage Fund is a non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or ...
named Nineveh one of 12 sites most "on the verge" of irreparable destruction and loss, citing insufficient management, development pressures and looting as primary causes. By far, the greatest threat to Nineveh has been purposeful human actions by
ISIL {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st ...
, which first occupied the area in the mid-2010s. In early 2015, they announced their intention to destroy the walls of Nineveh if the Iraqis tried to liberate the city. They also threatened to destroy artifacts. On February 26 they destroyed several items and statues in the Mosul Museum and are believed to have plundered others to sell overseas. The items were mostly from the Assyrian exhibit, which ISIL declared blasphemous and
idolatrous Idolatry is the worship of an idol or cult image, being a physical image, such as a statue, or a person in place of God. In Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam, idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other th ...
. There were 300 items in the museum out of a total of 1,900, with the other 1,600 being taken to the
National Museum of Iraq The Iraq Museum ( ar, المتحف العراقي) is the national museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that Preservation (library and archival science), cares for and displays a collection (a ...

National Museum of Iraq
in
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
for security reasons prior to the 2014
Fall of Mosul The Fall of Mosul occurred between 410 June 2014, when Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgents, initially led by Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, defeated the Iraqi Army The Iraqi Army, officially the Iraqi Ground Forces (Arabic ...
. Some of the artifacts sold and/or destroyed were from Nineveh. Just a few days after the destruction of the museum pieces, they demolished remains at major UNESCO world heritage sites
Khorsabad Dur-Sharrukin ("Fortress of Sargon"; ar, دور شروكين, Syriac Language, Syriac: ܕܘܪ ܫܪܘ ܘܟܢ), present day Khorsabad, was the Assyrian capital in the time of Sargon II of Assyria. Khorsabad is a village in northern Iraq, 15 km ...

Khorsabad
,
Nimrud Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪܕ ar, النمرود) is an ancient Assyrian city located south of the city of Mosul, and south of the village of Selamiyah ( ar, السلامية), in the Nineveh plains in Upper Mesopotamia. It was a major Assyri ...
, and
Hatra Hatra was an ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as low ...

Hatra
.


Rogation of the Ninevites (Nineveh's Wish)

Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
of the
Ancient Church of the East The Ancient Church of the East ( syr, ܥܕܬܐ ܥܬܝܩܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ''ʿĒdtā ʿAttiqtā ḏMaḏnḥā''; ar, كنيسة المشرق القديمة, ''Kanīsat al-Mašriq al-Qadīma''), officially the Ancient Holy Apostolic Catholic Chur ...

Ancient Church of the East
,
Chaldean Catholic Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = , abbreviation = , type = , main_classification = Eastern Catholic , orientation ...
,
Syriac Catholic Church The Syriac Catholic Church ( syc, ܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܩܬܘܠܝܩܝܬܐ, ʿĪṯo Suryayṯo Qaṯolīqayṯo, ar, الكنيسة السريانية الكاثوليكية), also known as Syriac Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch, is an Ea ...
,
Syriac Orthodox Church #REDIRECT Syriac Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate 2k18.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = Cathedral of Saint George , caption = Cathedral of Sai ...
,
Assyrian Church of the East The Assyrian Church of the East ( syc, ܥܕܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ ܕܐܬܘܖ̈ܝܐ, ʿĒḏtā ḏ-Maḏnḥā ḏ-ʾĀṯūrāyē, ar, كنيسة المشرق الآشورية), officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ( sy ...
and
Saint Thomas Christians The St Thomas Christians, also called Syriac language, Syrian Christians of India, ''Marthoma Nasrani'', ''Malankara Nasrani'', or ''Nasrani Mappila'', are an Ethnoreligious group, ethno-religious community of Indian Christians in the state o ...
of the
Syro-Malabar Catholic Church lat, Ecclesia Syrorum-Malabarensium , native_name_lang=, image = St. Thomas' Cross (Chennai, St. Thomas Mount).jpg , caption = The ''Mar Thoma Sliva'' or ''Saint Thomas Cross'', the symbol of the Syro-Malabar Church. ...
observe a fast called ''Ba'uta d-Ninwe'' (ܒܥܘܬܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ) which means ''Nineveh's Prayer''.
Copts The Copts ( cop, ⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, translit=niremənkhēmi; ar, الْقِبْط, ) are an ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who a ...

Copts
and
Ethiopian Orthodox The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( am, የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን, ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is the largest of Eastern Christianity's branch of Oriental Orthodox ...
also maintain this fast.


Popular culture

The English Romantic poet Edwin Atherstone wrote an epic ''''.Herbert F. Tucker, Epic. Britain's Heroic Muse 1790–1910, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2008, p. 256-261. The work tells of an uprising against its king Sardanapalus of all the nations that were dominated by the
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n empire. He is a great criminal. He has had one hundred prisoners of war executed. After a long struggle the town is conquered by Median and Babylonian troops led by prince Arbaces and priest Belesis. The king sets his own palace on fire and dies inside together with all his concubines. Atherstone's friend, the artist John Martin, created a painting of the same name inspired by the poem. The English poet
John Masefield John Edward Masefield (; 1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967) was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate A poet laureate (plural: poets laureate) is a poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such o ...
's well-known, fanciful 1903 poem '' Cargoes'' mentions Nineveh in its first line. Nineveh is also mentioned in
Rudyard Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling ( ; 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)''The Times ''The Times'' is a British daily Daily or The Daily may refer to: Journalism * Daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical pub ...

Rudyard Kipling
's 1897 poem '' Recessional'' and in
Arthur O'Shaughnessy Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy (14 March 184430 January 1881) was a British poet and herpetologist. Of Irish descent, he was born in London. He is most remembered for his '' Ode'', beginning with the words "We are the music makers, / And we a ...
's 1873 poem ''
Ode An ode (from grc, ᾠδή, ōdḗ) is a type of lyrical stanza. It is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally. A classic ode is structured in three maj ...
''. The 1962 Italian
peplum Peplum originates in the Greek word for 'tunic' and may refer to one of the following: *Sword-and-sandal films, a genre of Greco-Roman era costume adventure films, mostly made in Italy, also known as "peplum". *Péplum (novel), ''Péplum'' (novel), ...
film, '' War Gods of Babylon'', is based on the sacking and fall of Nineveh by the combined rebel armies led by the Babylonians. In Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, Jonah must travel to Nineveh. In the 1973 film ''
The Exorcist ''The Exorcist'' is an American media franchise A media franchise, also known as multimedia franchise, is a collection of related media in which several derivative works have been produced from an original creative work of fiction, such as a film ...
''
Father A father is the male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reprod ...
Lankester Merrin Father Lankester Merrin is a fictional character in the novel ''The Exorcist (novel), The Exorcist'' (1971), one of the two main protagonists in The Exorcist (film), the 1973 film adaptation, and several prequel and sequel films. In the novel M ...
was on an archeological dig near Nineveh prior to returning to the United States and leading the exorcism of Reagan MacNiel.


See also

*
Cities of the ancient Near East The earliest cities in history were in the ancient Near East, an area covering roughly that of the modern Middle East: its history began in the 4th millennium BC and ended, depending on the interpretation of the term, either with the conquest by ...
*
Destruction of cultural heritage by ISIL Deliberate destruction and theft of cultural heritage Cultural heritage is the legacy of cultural resources and intangible attributes of a group or society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social r ...
*
Historical urban community sizes This article lists historical urban community sizes based on the estimated populations of selected human settlements from 7000 BC – AD 1875, organized by archaeological periods. Many of the figures are uncertain, especially in ancient times. ...
*
Isaac of Nineveh Isaac of Nineveh (; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michae ...

Isaac of Nineveh
*
List of megalithic sites A ''list'' is any enumeration An enumeration is a complete, ordered listing of all the items in a collection. The term is commonly used in mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity ( ...
*
Nanshe In Sumerian mythology, Nanshe ( sux, ) was a goddess, the daughter of Enki , image = Enki(Ea).jpg , caption = Detail of Enki from the Adda Seal, an ancient Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC , deity_of = God of creation, intel ...

Nanshe
*
Short chronology timeline The short chronology is one of the chronologies of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1728–1686 BC and the sack of Babylon to 1531 BC. The absolute 2nd millennium BC dates resulting from these re ...
* Tel Keppe


Notes


References

:: * * * * ** ** ** ** ** * ** ** ** * * * - Nineveh 5, Vessel Pottery 2900 BC * - Early worship of Ishtar, Early / Prehistoric Nineveh * – Early / Prehistoric Nineveh


External links


Joanne Farchakh-Bajjaly photos
of Nineveh taken in May 2003 showing damage from looters
John Malcolm Russell, "Stolen stones: the modern sack of Nineveh"
in ''Archaeology''; looting of sculptures in the 1990s
Nineveh page
at the British Museum's website. Includes photographs of items from their collection.

A teaching and research tool presenting a comprehensive picture of Nineveh within the history of archaeology in the Near East, including a searchable data repository for meaningful analysis of currently unlinked sets of data from different areas of the site and different episodes in the 160-year history of excavations
CyArk Digital Nineveh Archives
publicly accessible, free depository of the data from the previously linked UC Berkeley Nineveh Archives project, fully linked and georeferenced in a
UC Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

UC Berkeley
/
CyArk CyArk is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is one of the 29 type ...
research partnership to develop the archive for open web use. Includes creative commons-licensed media items.
Photos of Nineveh, 1989–1990


Babylonian Chronicle Concerning the Fall of Nineveh
Layard's Nineveh and its Remains- full text
{{Authority control Populated places established in the 6th millennium BC Populated places disestablished in the 13th century Ancient Assyrian cities Destroyed cities Archaeological sites in Iraq
Assyria {{Cat main, Assyria Upper Mesopotamia Ancient Syria Bronze Age countries in Asia Iron Age countries in Asia Former countries in the Middle East Former empires in Asia Archaeology of Iraq Archaeology of Syria Wikipedia categories named after ...
Assyrian geography Hebrew Bible cities Nineveh Governorate Former populated places in Iraq Mesopotamia Jonah Tells (archaeology) Hassuna culture Nimrod Book of Jubilees Old Assyrian Empire