Judith Dekel

The siege of Lachish. Discovered in 1850 by Austen Henry Layard, these wall reliefs from the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, on the eastern bank of the Tigris, depict the Assyrian siege of the Judahite city, from the initial attack (shown here) to the display of booty before the king.

Originally measuring about 8 feet tall and 80 feet long, the relief is now broken into 12 slabs. The blue panel shown here depicts the city besieged—with the inner city wall at top, siege engines attacking the outer gate and prisoners streaming out of the entryway. Details of the scene are shown on the cover of this issue and elsewhere in this article.

Sennacherib’s annals provide an equally vivid description of the Assyrian assault: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) by means of well-stamped ramps, and battering-rams brought (thus) near (to the walls) (combined with) the attack by foot soldiers.”