Assyrian Reliefs - West Asian Projects
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Assyrian Reliefs

Siege of Nineveh
Assyrian carving of the siege of Nineveh (600s BC)

When the Assyrian kings of what is now Iraq and Syria (ancient Mesopotamia) built their great palaces in the 700s and 600s BC, artists carved long stories into the walls, like stone comic books. These stories showed the wars that the kings fought - marching out to war, besieging cities, taking prisoners, bringing home the loot.

In this picture you can see the walls of Nineveh, a city in Mesopotamia, with a long ladder up against the walls so the Assyrians can get in. Archers are shooting over on the left side, and at the top men who have been shot are falling off the towers.

Suppose you, too, wanted to decorate the walls of your palace with stories about great moments in your life? What would you illustrate? Which scenes would you draw? Take a long roll of paper and draw your own achievements - the season when your soccer team won the trophy, the year you learned to ride a bike, the camping trip your family went on, the time you chased off the bullies... Or, if you don't want to write about yourselves, you could all work together to illustrate something that happened in your city or your school: the band performance? an important football game? a political protest?

Put up your stories around the walls of your classroom, about eye level, and you'll have your own Assyrian palace!

More about Assyrian palaces

Bibliography and further reading about the Assyrians:

Molding clay bricks
Bicycle racing
Backgammon project
West Asian games home

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 30 April, 2017