Ninive or Ninua (also Niniveh , Arabic نينوى, DMG Nīnawā ; Akkadian Ninu (w) a ; Aramaic ܢܝܢܘܐ Nīnwē ; Hebrew נִינְוֵה 'Nīnəwē ) was a Mesopotamian city in what is now Iraq , on the left bank of the Tigris , at the mouth of the small river Ḫosr (also Khosr , Khoser , Koussour or Arabic نهر الخوصر, DMG Nahr al-Khosr ) within the modern city of Mosul . The oldest remains of the settlement can be found on the ruins of the Kujundschik and Nebi Junus hills (tells) . In the 1st millennium BC The settlement also extended to the surrounding area and reached a total area of 750 hectares . The explored settlement layers let Nineveh date from the ceramic Neolithic to the Islamic period, whereby it is most important in the 7th century BC. As the capital of the Assyrian Empire .
The finds from the oldest layers, which were cut with the help of a 27 m deep probe on the Kujundschik hill, document the cultural horizons of the late Neolithic and Chalcolithic: Proto-Hassuna and Hassuna , Halaf , Late Ubaid , Middle Gawra, Middle and Late -Uruk as well as the older early dynasty (Nineveh 5 culture). In the late Uruk period, the city could have been quite extensive; the Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae assumes that the entire Tell was inhabited with an area of 40 hectares.
3rd millennium BC Chr.
Archaeological and written sources show that Nineveh lived in the 23rd – 22nd centuries. Century BC Belonged to the kingdom of Akkade . The building activity of King Maništūsu at the Ištar temple is documented by a later tradition . One of the most important finds from this period is the bronze head of an Akkadian ruler, which came to light in the area of this temple. Towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC BC Nineveh seems to have belonged to a Hurrian principality.
Ancient Assyrian Period
In the 2nd millennium BC BC Nineveh developed into an important urban and cultic center in which the goddess Ištar was worshiped. As mentioned in the prologue of the Codex Hammurapi , the ancient Assyrian king Šamšī-Adad I (1808–1776 BC) and the ancient Babylonian king Hammurapi (1792–1750) took care of their sanctuary . Šamšī-Adad I prides itself on having renovated the ziggurat Ekituškuga and the Emenue temple in Emašmaš (also Emesmes), the sacred area of the goddess Ištar. In doing so, he found a charter from Maništušu , the son of Sargon von Akkad (see individual record 1).
Central Assyrian Period
In the 15th and early 14th centuries BC Nineveh was under the control of the Hurrian state Mittani . From the 13th century it belonged permanently to the Assyrian Empire, as one of the residential cities of the Assyrian rulers. Particularly intensive building activities are known from the inscriptions of Tiglatpilesar I (1114-1076 BC), who renew the Royal Palace ("Palace of the King of the Four Worlds") and the Ištar Temple, repair the city wall as well as a garden and a Let create a channel. In his inscriptions he mentions his grandfather Mutakkil-Nusku and his father Aššur-rēša-iši as the previous builders of the palace and as the previous builders of the Ištar temple, Šamši-Adad I, Aššur-uballiṭ I and Salmanasser I. At the entrance of the In the royal palace, pictures of the wild animals of the mountains and the great sea were on display, including a picture of a "sea horse" ( akk . Nāḫiru ; = killer whale?) That the king himself had killed. The doors were made of spruce and were covered with bronze. Its walls were covered with glazed bricks in the "colors of obsidian , lapis lazuli and alabaster ". Aššur-bēl-kala , the successor of Tiglat-Pileser I, left a female statue, whose inscription identifies her as belonging to his palace. The statue (94 cm) is now in the British Museum .
Nineveh grew into an important metropolis in the 1st millennium BC. Several Neo-Assyrian rulers report in inscriptions about their building activities in the city. The complete reconstruction took place under King Sennacherib (704-681), who after the death of his father, Sargon II , moved the capital from Dūr-Šarrukin (Ḫorsabad) to Nineveh and made the city the center of his empire. He had a huge city wall built with a length of 12 km. It had several gates, which were named with the names of great deities or other residential cities or provinces in the direction of which they opened. Two main canals coming from the north (from Bawian and Maltai) supplied the city and the surrounding area with water. Under Sennacherib and his two successors, Asarhaddon (680–669) and Assurbanipal (668–632 / 27), new monumental palaces were built on Kujundschik and Nebi Junus (see: Architecture).
The magnificent buildings of Nineveh were destroyed after the city in the month of Abu (July / August) 612 BC. After a three-month siege by allied troops of the Median ruler Kyaxares and the Babylonian king Nabopolassar was taken. The Assyrian king Sîn-šar-iškun was killed according to the Babylonian "Chronicle 3". During the uncovering of the Ḫalzi and Adad gates, numerous skeletons of the fallen defenders were found. Further traces of the conquest can still be seen on some palace reliefs, on which the faces of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal were deliberately damaged.
Captured enemy kings were displayed at the gate of Nineveh.
Greek sources ( Ktesias of Knidos ) know a city of Ninos, which is said to have been founded by the mythical ruler of the same name, Ninos . According to Strabo (Geographika 16, 2), Ninos was in Aturia , a region on the other side of the Lycus on the other side of Arbela (16, 3). This city is commonly identified with Nineveh.
Between 1808 and 1820 Claudius James Rich , resident of the East India Company in Baghdad, visited Mosul four times. Rich examined the hill of Kuyunjik, from which he created the first detailed description with a plan, which was very important for the subsequent excavators.
In 1842 Nineveh was rediscovered by Paul-Émile Botta and excavated in parts. Finding nothing promising in his eyes after three months of work, he turned to Khorsabad . The time of the first British excavations on Tell Kujundschik (1845–1855) was heralded by Austen Henry Layard and C. Rassam. During the first, extremely successful campaign, a number of Neo-Assyrian temples and palaces were discovered.
At the end of the 19th century, the discovery of cuneiform tablets with the "biblical" Flood story (fragments of the Gilgamesh epic) by George Smith caused a sensation and gave further excavations on Tell a boost. This triggered a real hunt for the tablets (“tablet hunt”), which C. Rassam's brother Hormuzd Rassam also joined. Most of the clay tablet finds come from the library of Aššurbanipal . In the early 20th century the excavations were continued by the British Richard Campbell Thompson . In 1931–32, R. C. Thompson and Max Mallowan made a deep cut that reached the layers of Nineveh 1 (now known as the Hassuna period). The sequence of layers of the deep cut:
- Nineveh 5 - painted ceramics, early Dynastic, 2900–2360 BC Chr.
- Nineveh 4 - Djemdet Nasr time, corresponds to Tepe Gaura X-VIII
- Nineveh 3 - Obed (Obed 3/4)
- Nineveh 2 - Eastern Halaf
- Nineveh 1 - Hassunna
During the fighting of the two world wars, Tell Kujundschik was used as a base camp by the Turkish and British military because of its strategic location. Nevertheless, the damage caused in the war is estimated in research to be less than that which Thompson's excavations mean for archeology. Overall, little care was taken with the graphic documentation of architectural remains during this controversial era of excavations.
After the Second World War, it was quiet around Nineveh for a long time until the Iraqi Antiquities Administration began to restore palaces and temples and to carry out several rescue excavations in 1965. Large areas were uncovered again and roofed over to protect the reliefs. The government declared the entire site within the city walls an archaeological park and issued a strict construction ban.
The last excavations so far between 1987 and the outbreak of the Second Gulf War were carried out by an American team led by David Stronach . The Iraqi archaeologists have restored parts of the city wall and some city gates, most recently with the support of the US Army.
Destruction by the Islamic State
At the end of February 2015, archaeological finds, mostly statues from different periods of the Assyrian empire, were destroyed in the Museum of Mosul by the Salafist terrorist militia Islamic State (IS). Also "at the archaeological excavation site (in Nineveh) the fanatics attacked a gatekeeper figure with the compressed air drill." Markus Hilgert , director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin until May 2018 , called for a protection program that also included the training of Syrian and Iraqi archaeologists and restorers should. A project financed by the Federal Ministry of Education for three years also envisages “ better illuminating the black market with ancient works of art. [...] Because the excavation pieces that the Islamic State does not destroy, they are sold. "
In April 2016, IS destroyed the Nergal Gate using military equipment. In January 2017, the site in the eastern part of Mosul was recaptured by the Iraqi armed forces.
After the reconquest , a system of tunnels was discovered underneath a shrine dedicated to the prophet Jonah , which was blown up by IS in 2014 , and which is believed to have been built by IS fighters to look for art treasures that they could sell to finance their activities. The remains of a temple from the 6th century BC were found in the tunnels. BC, including a marble tablet with a cuneiform dedication that refers to King Asarhaddon .
The most important architectural findings of Nineveh were uncovered on the hill Kujundschik: sanctuaries of the goddess Ištar and the god Nabû as well as two royal palaces, southwest palace and north palace, those of Sennacherib (704-681 BC) and Assurbanipal (668-632 / 27 BC). On Nebi Junus, Sennacherib built the palace known as the military palace or armory ( akk . Ekal māšarti ). Outside the two main hills, in the center of Neo-Assyrian Nineveh, the lower city palace of King Asarhaddon (680-669 BC) was partially excavated.
During the reign of Sennacherib, first fourteen, then fifteen and finally eighteen city gates are described in cuneiform texts. The city wall itself was built in the years 702–690 BC. BC and had a length of approx. 12 km. It consisted of an inner main wall, which, according to cuneiform tradition, rested on a limestone foundation, and an outer stone wall. Based on the texts and excavation results, the inner wall can be reconstructed as approx. 15 m thick and approx. 25 m high. The outer stone wall in the area of gate 4 is 11 m thick and its remains indicate an original height of 4.5 m.
Outside the city wall was a defensive moat, which was probably at least partially filled with water from the surrounding canals. Even today, most of the wall is visible as a rampart around the city ruins.
So far, not all of the city gates mentioned in the texts could also be archaeologically localized or identified. In a text from 690 BC The city gates are called by their proper names. Gate 1 was probably located on the southwest corner of the city wall. Gates 2 to 7 all face either south or east, gates 9 to 11 to the north and 12 to 18 to the west. Excavated were Gate 2 (Aššur Gate), Gate 3 (Ḫalzi Gate), Gate 4 (Šamaš Gate), Gate 9 (Adad Gate), Gate 10 (Nergal of Tarbiṣu Gate), Gate 11 (Sîn Gate ) and Gate 12 (Ea gate). In the chambers of the Ḫalzi and Adad gates, numerous skeletal remains of the defenders came to light when the city was conquered in 612 BC. Were fallen.
Austen Henry Layard discovered during his first campaign, among other things, the palace of the Neo-Assyrian King Sennacherib, the so-called Southwest Palace . Layard identified its builder by inscriptions as "the son of the builder of Chorsabad". Although Layard was able to uncover large parts of the palace in his second campaign and later excavations opened up further areas in the northwest and southwest, only a good half of the building has so far been excavated. The rest is probably no longer there.
In 1904 Richard Campbell Thompson began excavations at the Southwest Palace, which he continued in 1930. However, the documentation of his excavations is poor. Exact floor plan drawings of the south-west palace are due to the first excavators - above all A. H. Layard. Iraqi archaeologists have integrated the ruins of the South-West Palace into a museum.
The Royal Palace on Kujundschik, known as the Southwest Palace, was built by Sennacherib at the beginning of his reign and called "Palace that Has No Equals " (ekallu šāninu lā īšû) . The uncovered remains extend over an area of approx. 150 × 200 m. The complex was originally much larger, but the entire entrance area with the front courtyard on the northeast side was poorly preserved and was hardly examined. From there you could enter the 56.3 × 13.1 m large throne room. Behind this were the central courtyards 6 and 19 with surrounding rooms, which served representative purposes. Both the throne room and other main rooms were adorned with stone wall reliefs, which both Sennacherib and his grandson Ashurbanipal had installed. Their entrances were provided with relief panels on which winged divine hybrids , known from Assyrian texts as aladlammû ( lamassu ) and apsasû , were depicted as gatekeepers. In room 36, which belonged to the largest wing of the palace, there was a cycle of images depicting the conquest of the city of Laḫiš by Assyrian troops in 701 BC. Shows (now in the British Museum). In the same group of rooms, in room 41, part of the famous Assurbanipal library came to light. In the west at court 64 was a living area with the apartment of Queen Tašmētum-šarrat, Sennacherib's main wife, occupied by a lion inscription. On the west and south sides of the building were connected to large terraces, which offered a view of the river and the city. The palace facades that opened onto the terraces may have had pillar-supported portals, similar to those shown on relief BM 124938 from room H in the north palace.
The north palace was northwest of the Ištar temple. Evidence of the existence of a palace at this point is provided by inscribed bricks and building documents of several Central and Neo-Assyrian rulers (e.g. Shalmaneser I, Tiglath Pileser I or Assurnasirpal II) that were found in the vicinity of the Ištar and Nabû temples . These old facilities were partially destroyed in the course of later construction work on the Nabû Temple. Sennacherib built the bēt redûti (probably a palace for the crown prince) at this point .
Assurbanipal had the last structure built from scratch. A founding prism, which was found during excavations inside the palace, mentions the year 646 BC. BC when construction began. The time was not chosen by chance, since 648 BC. BC Babylon and 647 BC BC Susa were conquered by the Assyrians under Ashurbanipal. Thus the palace could be a testimony to his triumph. None of the datable wall reliefs within the palace shows scenes after 643 BC. BC, which can be seen as an indication of the year of completion.
Since the palace was badly damaged by erosion and resettlement and less than half of the palace has been excavated, no precise statement can be made about its size. The minimum size was 125 × 250 m. The main entrance is believed to be on the eastern corner of the palace, as the remains of a gate came to light there. In the north-eastern wing was the front courtyard, from which three monumental entrances led to the throne room, the walls of which were decorated with reliefs. Only a few rooms of the interior have been excavated. An orchard in the area of the complex has been handed down with inscriptions.
The first excavations in the North Palace were carried out by Austen Henry Layard in 1845-7 and 1849-51. It was not until a century later, in 1949, that new investigations took place here under the direction of Max Mallowan . In 1956, the Iraqi Antiquities Service began with the reconstruction of the palace. This work lasted, with interruptions, until 2002.
Military Palace on Nebi Yunus
The palace on Tell Nebi Yunus, the smaller hill of Nineveh, has not yet been adequately explored. According to the inscriptions of Sennacherib and his son Asarhaddon, it is a military palace (ekal māšarti) , the appearance of which was described in detail in their texts.
It was integrated into the southwestern city fortifications. The earliest evidence is the stamped bricks of King Adad-nerari III. (810–783 BC), although no building remains are known from this period. The complex, which has only been archaeologically examined in a small area, is dated by building inscriptions from Sennacherib, Asarhaddon and Assurbanipal. Most of the material unearthed appears to have come from after Sennacherib's reign. The main gate was found in 1954. Winged bulls in the entrance area had already been exposed in 1852-53. They were examined again in 1989-90 by the State Organization for Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq.
The inadequate archaeological evidence can be supplemented by information from the royal inscriptions, which provide various information on construction, decoration and function. In them, for example, King Asarhaddon describes that the palace housed horses, mules, donkeys, camels, military equipment, military equipment and even captured enemies, which the king examined in the first month of each year. In addition, the palace was richly decorated with exotic stones and woods, ivory, glazed bricks and precious metal, which, together with the evidence of a throne room and the mention of a botanical garden, not only seem like a purely military complex, but also like a royal residence leaves.
Nineveh in the Bible
In the Old Testament of the Bible including the Apocrypha , Nineveh is mentioned more often. Nimrod , a great-grandson of Noah , is mentioned as the founder of Nineveh in Genesis 10.11 EU . 2. Kings 19.36 EU names it as the residence of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. The book Nahum contains prophecies about the downfall ( Nah 2 EU ) of Nineveh, known as the great whore ( Nah 3 EU ). The book of Jonah tells of the mission of the eponymous prophet to Nineveh, who proclaimed God's judgment on the city, so that the city turned and repented of its evil ways. So God did not do the evil that he threatened them. In the book of Zefanja there is an alien ruling against Nineveh. The downfall of the city is announced:
The city becomes the mockery of passers-by, who whistle and clap their hands for the joy of its destruction.
The prophet Nahum from Elkosch also describes the impending destruction. The city will go up in flames, the inhabitants perish by the sword, while the queen and maidens will be led away and the people will be scattered over the hills. The walls of the palace are said to be destroyed by the waters of the diverted river. The city will fall like a ripe fig, no matter how safe it feels.
“ 5 Behold, I want to you, saith the Lord of hosts ; I lift the hem of your robe over your face, and show your nakedness to the peoples, and your shame to the kingdoms. 6 I throw rubbish at you, disgrace you and make a spectacle of you, 7 so that all who see you will flee from you and say, Nineveh is devastated; who wants to feel sorry for her? And where should I look for comforters for you? "
In later Old Testament writings, in the Book of Jonah, which was probably not written until the Hellenistic period, as well as the books of Tobit and Judit , which are by no means older, the memory of Nineveh as the Assyrian capital has been continued. The city now stands as a literary symbol of all great powers, under whose predominance Israel stood (as with Jona), or as the capital of the (negatively) idealized, Israel dominating or threatening great power (as with Tobit and Judit). The fact that the city has become a literary topos for the threatening great power in general is shown in the Book of Jona and in the Book of Judith in the fact that the Nineveh image is connected with elements from other great powers. In the Jonah book, elements were incorporated into the image of Nineveh that were originally associated with the Persians (Nineivites' belief in one god; joint decree of the king and his great officials; inclusion of animals in penance); in the book of Judith, Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, is represented as the residence of Nebuchadnezzar , who was not king of Assyria but of Babylon. At the same time he has a field captain with the Persian name Holofernes . In the Book of Jonah, Nineveh is linked to the elements of two great powers with which Israel has dealt in its history, the Assyrians and the Persians. In the book of Judith, Nineveh is a residence as part of an image of great power in which elements from three great powers have entered, the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Persians.
Nineveh among writers of classical antiquity
Xenophon described in the Anabasis (III, 4,10-12) the ruins of Nineveh under the name Maspila, which he had probably seen himself, but he connects them with the rule of the Medes and the conquest by Cyrus II. Herodotus (I, 178) reports of a city of Ninos on the Tigris, after the fall of which the seat of kingship was moved to Babylon.
Later authors such as Ktesias of Knidos report that Ninos was founded by King Ninos (like Babylon by Belos ), but otherwise have little concrete information to report. The description of the tomb of Ninos at Diodorus suggests that at that time the whole of Tell was equated with the ruins of the tomb. Strabo (Geographika 16,2) reports on the city of Ninos , which was founded by King Ninos, the husband of Semiramis . Larger than Babylon, it was in Aturias, divided from Arbela by the River Lycus. Ninos was destroyed after being defeated by the Medes.
On the archeology and history of the city
- Ernst Heinrich : The palaces in ancient Mesopotamia . In: Monuments of Ancient Architecture . tape 15 . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-11-009979-9 .
- D. Kertai: The Architecture of Late Assyrian Royal Palaces . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-872318-9 .
- Paolo Matthiae: Nineveh, the splendid capital of Assyria . Hirmer, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-7774-8240-4 .
- D. Pickworth: Excavations at Nineveh: The Halzi Gate . In: Iraq . tape 67 , 2005, ISSN 0021-0889 , p. 295-316 .
- JE Reade: Ninive (Nineveh) . In: Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Aräologie. tape 9 : Nab-Nuzi. 1998-2001. de Gruyter, Berlin (inter alia), ISBN 3-11-017296-8 , pp. 388-433 .
- JM Russel: Sennacherib's Palace without Rival at Nineveh . The University of Chicago Press, Chicago / London 1991, ISBN 0-226-73175-8 .
- David Stronach, Kim Codella: Niniveh . In: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archeology in the Ancient Near East . tape 4 . Oxford University Press Inc., New York (et al.) 1997, ISBN 0-19-506512-3 .
To the reliefs
- RD Barnett: Sculptures from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (668-627 BC) . British Museum Publications Ltd, 1976, ISBN 0-7141-1046-9 .
- RD Barnett, E. Bleibtreu, G. Turner: Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh . British Museum Press, London 1998, ISBN 0-7141-1126-0 .
- D. Ussishkin: The Conquest of Lachish by Sennacherib . In: Publications of the Institute of Archeology, Tel Aviv University . tape 6 . Tel Aviv 1983, ISBN 965-266-001-9 .
To the inscriptions
- AK Grayson: Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles [= ABC] . Winona Lake 2000, ISBN 1-57506-049-3 (first edition: 1975).
- AK Grayson: The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia. Assyrian Periods . tape 1 : Assyrian Rulers of the Third and Second Millennium BC (to 1115 BC) [= RIMA 1] . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1987, ISBN 0-8020-2605-2 .
- AK Grayson: The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia. Assyrian Periods . tape 2 : Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC (1114-859 BC) [= RIMA 2] . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1991, ISBN 0-8020-5965-1 .
On the role of Nineveh in the Bible
- Walter Dietrich : Nineveh in the Bible . In: Theopolitics. Studies in theology and ethics of the Old Testament . Neukirchener, Neukirchen-Vluyn 2002, ISBN 3-7887-1914-1 .
- Meik Gerhards: Nineveh in the Book of Jonah . In: Johannes Friedrich Diehl, u. a. (Ed.): Make me an altar of earth. Festschrift for Diethelm Conrad on his seventieth birthday . Hartmut Spenner, Waltrop 2003, ISBN 3-89991-010-9 .
At Nineveh with writers of classical antiquity
- Reinhold Bichler , Robert Rollinger: The hanging gardens at Nineveh - the solution to a riddle? In: Robert Rollinger (Ed.): Von Sumer bis Homer, Festschrift for Manfred Schretter on his 60th birthday on February 25, 2004 . Ugarit-Verlag, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-934628-66-4 .
- Nineveh in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (English)
- Nineveh . In: Ancient.eu, March 6, 2011 (English)
- Images of Nineveh . In: Livius.org (English)
- Nineveh - Jonas' unloved travel destination . In: BibelAbenteurer.de
- The rise and fall of the city of Nineveh . In: OE1.ORF.at , April 8, 2017
- In a building inscription by the ancient Assyrian king Šamšī-Adad I , Grayson, RIMA 1, A.0.39.2, i 10.
- A prince of Nineveh with the Hurrian name Tišatal visited the central Mesopotamian city Ešnunna during the reign of the king Šū-Sîn of Ur : RM Whiting, Tiš-atal of Ninive and Babati, uncle of Šu-Sin, Journal of Cuneiform Studies 28 (1976 ) 173-182.
- Grayson, RIMA 2, A.0.87.2; 10; 11; 12.
- Grayson, RIMA 2, A.0.89.10.
- Grayson, ABC, 94 (lines 38-46)
- Kathryn F. Kravitz, A last-minute revision to Sargon's Letter to the God. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 62/2, 2003, 81-95
- : Rolf Brockschmidt: Propaganda with compressed air drill , in: Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, March 2, 2015, p. 20.
- Will Worley: Isis destroys gates to ancient city of Nineveh near Mosul . In: The Independent . April 12, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
- Reuters.com: Iraq special forces chief says mission accomplished in east Mosul
- Peter Walker: Ancient 2,600-year-old Mosul palace discovered by archaeologists Could collapse under Isis destroyed shrine. The Independent of March 9, 2016.
- Pickworth 2005
- A comprehensive description of the palace and its furnishings as well as the history of research can be found in Russel 1991; Heinrich 1984, pp. 173–179 and Kertai 2015, pp. 122–147 explain the structure of the palace.
- Ussishkin 1983.
- Barnett 1976, Pl. XXIII.
- Heinrich 1984, pp. 179-181; Kertai 2015, pp. 167-184.
- Kertai 2015, pp. 147–153.