© 1982 Erich Lessing/Culture and Fine Arts Archives

Victory and defeat appear side by side in this scene from the conquest of Lachish. The relief artist has used the city gate as the visual pivot of the narrative. At the left, the full pitch of battle rages, and the gatehouse is stormed. At right, defeated Lachishites leave through the gate for exile after the surrender—the result, a dramatic and evocative pictorial narrative of the historic events.

A battering ram (lower left) climbing the siege ramp is protected by an Assyrian soldier in the body of the ram, who pours water over the ram itself so that it won’t catch fire from the Barrage of torches being thrown down by the defenders.

The reader will note considerable variation in color among the relief photographs in this issue. These variations are explained by lighting conditions, by the fact that some are photographs of the original stone reliefs while others are of exact castings, and by actual differences in color of the original stone.