Sennacherib’s “Palace Without a Rival,” at Nineveh. Sennacherib could already count several palaces among the grand structures of his capital city, and he boasted of innumerable military victories. Yet, apparently, he considered the conquest of Lachish his finest hour, because shortly after this singular victory in 701 B.C., he built a new, monumental palace whose interior architectural focus was a huge room covered with reliefs depicting every stage of his victory over the Judean city.

The room containing the Lachish reliefs was part of a ceremonial suite, shaded in the plan. Its side rooms were also decorated with reliefs, but the focal point of this vast suite was the reliefs covering the back wall of the Lachish Room—reliefs that showed the storming of Lachish, the deportees, and the spoils of war.