Erich Lessing

Trudging barefooted into exile, the defeated inhabitants of Lachish carry away their few remaining possessions. The women and girls, right, wear long simple dresses and long shawls that cover their heads and reach the bottom of their dresses; they bear sacks over their shoulders and jugs in their hands. Behind them, a man with a fringed scarf wound around his head drives two emaciated oxen—the ribs of one showing through its skin—which pull a loaded cart (partially out of the photo).

This relief appears on one of 12 slabs that depict the Assyrian monarch sennacherib’s successful siege of Lachish and its aftermath, part of his campaign against Judah in 701 B.C.E. The slabs adorned the walls of Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, in Assyria. Although Lachish fell to Sennacherib, Jerusalem was spared, but the cost was so great that Judah would never quite regain its former glory.