Erich Lessing

Victorious Assyrian soldiers carry the decapitated heads of their enemies in this relief (compare with photo of Huwawa amulet) from the palace of the Assyrian king Assurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.) in Kalhu (modern Nimrud, in Iraq). A common belief in ancient Mesopotamia was that headless corpses were damned to wander aimlessly throughout eternity—making beheading the ultimate degradation.