Assurnasirpal - The Assyrian King

Assurnasirpal is not considered to be one of the great Assyrian kings, like Assurbanipal, but he had all the characteristics of a typical ruler of that time. The film focuses on the Assyrian era mostly through the medium of his life. We start from Nineveh - present-day Mosul, a town in northern Iraq - with its magnificent walls and gates. The town plan gives a good impression of the vivid life of Nineveh and its great importance as the center of a superpower. With the help of enormous reliefs of carved stone at the museum, we familiarize ourselves with the king's favorite hobby - lion hunting, a typical leisure activity for the well-off at that time. Warfare was almost a science and war strategy, as well as the highly advanced technology, with its equipment for wall-breaking purposes, and tanks, was surprisingly modern. The victorious king organized parades and feasts which were then memorialized in carved stone.

The Assyrians admired and honored power; the well-shaped muscles of human figures were emphasized in their art and the king was portrayed as a mighty bull with a pair of wings - an early form of propaganda. The Assyrians were also skilled constructors, especially expert in town and city culture. Their buildings were decorated with glass bricks and there were parks, squares and fountains between the blocks. Both the public buildings and the private houses were decorated with many reliefs and wall paintings, and the furniture, beds and so on were decorated with splendid ivory carvings. King Assurnasirpal founded his villa at Nimrud some 60 miles south of Nineveh along the course of the River Tigris. It was actually a town with its palace, temple, fortress and harbor. Several texts with relatively detailed descriptions of the events of the king's life and life at Nimrud in general have been preserved for posterity there. Material for this film was shot at Nineveh, Nimrud and the museums of Iraq.


Part of the series Ancient Cultures of Mesopotamia



Director: Antti Kaskia

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Catalog number #23

25 minutes Color

Age Range: 14 to Adult

Closed Captions and Interactive Transcript

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