Survey of Inscribed Objects

One hundred and thirty inscriptions are assigned to Sargon II in this book, although a handful of these might be open to question. A further ten inscriptions are tentatively — and at times arbitrarily — assigned to him (text nos. 1001–1010). In addition, one inscription of his wife Ataliya (text no. 2001), two of his brother Sîn-aḫu-uṣur (text nos. 2002–2003), and eight of various individuals who held office either certainly or likely during his reign (text nos. 2004–2011) are included in the volume. These inscriptions are found on a variety of objects:

Object Type Text No.
Stone wall slabs 1–8, 23–42, 73, 81
Stone paving slabs 10–22, 95, 2002
Stone colossi 9, 41, 107?, 1008
Stone altars 49
Stone tablet 47
Stone vessels 77 exs. 2–7
Stone steles 103–106, 108, 115, 117, 1009–1010, 2010–2011
Stone axe head 2008
Stone coffer 2005
Stone fragments (uncertain) 93–94, 1007
Clay prisms 63, 74–75, 82–83
Clay cylinders 43, 64, 76, 84–88, 109, 111–114, 125, 129, 1006, 2009
Clay tablets 48, 65, 72, 89–91, 101–102, 1001
Clay cones 67, 92, 1003–1004
Clay plaques 66, 1005?
Clay bowls 59–60
Bricks 50–56, 68–70, 95–98, 110, 123–124, 126–128, 1005?
Glazed bricks 57–58, 71
Metal tablets 44–46
Metal door jamb covers 99
Gold bowl 2001 ex. 1
Electrum mirror 2001 ex. 3
Bronze lion weights 78–79
Bronze macehead 62, 2003
Seals (including impressions and sealings) 1002, 2004, 2006–2007
Beads and eyestones 61, 100, 118–122, 130
Glass vessel 77 ex. 1
Rock crystal jar 2001 ex. 2
Ivory writing board 80
Rock face 116

Stone Wall Slabs

Inscriptions of Sargon II are found incised on the fronts of large sculpted wall slabs (or orthostats) that lined some of the most important rooms, corridors, and doorways in the palace at Dūr-Šarrukīn (modern Khorsabad), with each text incised in a band running across the middle of the front of the slab and with relief scenes depicted both above and below the band of inscription.[3] This arrangement follows in the tradition of the inscribed wall slabs of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859) and Sargon's own father Tiglath-pileser III (744–727), although some of the wall slabs of those rulers depicted just one scene (normally a human or semi-divine individual) with the inscription running across and over the middle of the scene. The wall slabs of Ashurnasirpal II bore a single display (or summary) inscription, which is represented by hundreds of copies,[4] while those of Tiglath-pileser III bore annalistic texts that stretched over a series of slabs.[5] The wall slabs from Sargon's palace bear both annalistic and display inscriptions.[6] In brief, the former present the king's military campaigns in chronological order, while the latter commonly present any military actions mentioned in some geographical order.[7]

The wall slabs in five or six rooms are known to have had versions of his annals and at least six rooms had display inscriptions:

Annals     Rooms II, V, XIII, XIV, throne room (=Court VII), and an unknown room (text nos. 1–6 respectively)
Display     Rooms I, IV, VII, VIII, and X (text no. 7); Room XIV (text no. 8)

It is worthy of note that Room XIV had both an annals inscription and a display inscription (text nos. 4 and 8) on its walls. Sometimes part of the inscription going around a room was found on slabs in one or more of the doorways leading into the room.[8]

These slabs were found for the most part by the work of P.E. Botta and V. Place at Khorsabad in the 1840s and 1850s, although a few were also found by the work of the Oriental Institute in 1929–1935. Regrettably, most of the items discovered by Botta and Place, and in particular the wall slabs with reliefs and copies of Sargon's annals and display inscriptions, as well as various other inscriptions and records, were either reburied at the site or lost in 1855 while being sent to Paris when the boat and rafts carrying them were attacked by local tribesmen and sank in the Tigris near Qurna. Vivid descriptions of the disaster are presented by M.T. Larsen in his Conquest of Assyria (pp. 344–349) and see also J.E. Reade's article on "Assyrian Antiquities Lost in Translation" (JCS 70 [2018] pp. 167–188). Since there were at least five exemplars of the display inscription, two or more of each of the five main paving slab inscriptions, and numerous exemplars of the bull inscription (see below), we can compare Botta's copy of one exemplar against that of another exemplar when one copy seems unreliable, and the basic text of these inscriptions is almost always certain, although the particular reading of parts of any one exemplar and its variants may be open to question. The fact that we are dependent for the most part upon Botta's copies for the various versions of the annals (except for text no. 5 which was found by the later American excavations) and for the Display Inscription from Room XIV is unfortunate, even when paper mache (papier mâché) impressions (squeezes) of the inscriptions made by Botta still exist (see below). For example, as far as I am aware, not one single original sign of the annals from Room II (text no. 1) — an inscription that was likely over five hundred lines long — is known to be preserved today, although some parts of the text may remain in situ at Khorsabad.

Some of the relief scenes found above and below the inscribed panels had short epigraphs (or captions) on them in order to identify the place depicted or to briefly describe the scene (text nos. 23–40), as was done on decorated relief slabs from the palaces of Tiglath-pileser III at Kalḫu and Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal at Nineveh.[9] Many of Sargon's wall slabs, as well as some of the stone colossi, also had a short inscription on the back, an inscription that was frequently written in a sloppy manner, with numerous errors (text no. 41; see also text no. 42). Sometimes the inscription on the back of a slab is written upside down, suggesting that it was incised off-site, before the slab was put in place in the palace and the front of the slab carved.[10]

Inscribed wall slabs have been found at two other sites in addition to Khorsabad. One discovered at Nebi Yunus (within ancient Nineveh) bears an annalistic inscription of Sargon II and the sculpted image of an Assyrian eunuch (text no. 81). Unlike the decorated wall slabs from Khorsabad where the inscription is in a central panel with relief scenes both above and below that panel, the image of the eunuch on this slab protrudes into the inscription, separating the beginning of the lines from their ends. Moreover, a ridge indicating the top of the slab appears to be immediately above the inscription and the head of the eunuch. As noted by E. Frahm, rather than having been erected at Nineveh in the time of Sargon, it is conceivable that this slab was brought to Nineveh from another site by one of Sargon's successors to the throne or in modern times.[11] In addition, two unsculpted stone slabs with text no. 73 were mounted on the wall of the palace at Kalḫu; however, these were relatively small slabs and were situated above larger slabs with the standard inscription of Ashurnasirpal II.

Stone Paving Slabs

Approximately thirty stone paving slabs incised with inscriptions have been found in the entryways of doors in the palace complex at Dūr-Šarrukīn. Those discovered within the main palace area bear one of five or six display inscriptions ranging from 23 to 150 lines in length (text nos. 10–14 and possibly 15). None of those found by Botta and copied by him (Monument de Ninive 3 pls. 1–21) are available for collation today, being either lost in the Tigris disaster in 1855 or left at the site.[12] Botta did make a squeeze of the inscription on one of these paving slabs and that squeeze is still extant today in the Louvre (text no. 11 ex. 2; Botta, Monument de Ninive 3 pl. 5c). Six inscribed paving slabs were found in what was originally thought to be the palace harem, but which was in fact the palace religious quarter, with the shrines of six deities (Ninurta, Ninšiku, Sîn, Adad, Ningal, and Šamaš). Place discovered two of these slabs (text nos. 16–17), but luckily, he did not attempt to send them to Paris and instead reburied them at the site. They were found in situ during the later work of the Oriental Institute, which also unearthed the other four slabs. Each paving slab has a 7–9 line inscription calling upon one of the deities to bless Sargon (text nos. 16–21).[13]

In addition to the palace complex, two other buildings within the citadel area had inscribed paving slabs: the temple of the god Nabû and the residence of Sargon's brother Sîn-aḫu-uṣur. Nine exemplars of a fourteen-line inscription (text no. 22) were found within the temple of Nabû during excavations by the Oriental Institute and either one of these or a tenth exemplar was discovered during more recent work by Iraqi archaeologists.[14] The inscription on these slabs calls upon the god Nabû to bless the king. Three exemplars of a seven-line text identifying Sîn-aḫu-uṣur as the builder of the house (text no. 2002) were found on stone slabs in doorways of Palace L (or Residence L), a building that was only exceeded in size within the citadel area by the palace complex itself.

At least three stone slabs were found by R. Campbell Thompson in the temple of Nabû at Nineveh that had an inscription identical to one found on bricks from Nineveh (text no. 95 exs. 4–6). The text identifies Sargon as the builder of the temple of the gods Nabû and Marduk.

Stone Colossi

A large number of stone bull colossi were discovered in the palace and city gates at Dūr-Šarrukīn that bore the same inscription (text no. 9), a text with a summary of Sargon's military achievements and a lengthy description of the construction of the city, and in particular its palace and city wall. It normally required two bull colossi to bear one copy of the text (i.e., a pair of colossi flanking one doorway), but at least two bulls appear to have each borne the whole inscription. Many of these were lost in the Tigris disaster in 1855, but fortunately Botta had made squeezes of the inscription on most of the bulls that he had found and copied. In view of the large number of exemplars of the text, the existence of these squeezes, and the fact that some of the stone colossi still exist today (in whole or in part), the basic text of the inscription is clear. Some of these colossi also have on the back of them the same display inscription that is found on the backs of numerous wall slabs (text no. 41).[15]

F. Thureau-Dangin identified a stone fragment with an inscription of Sargon found at Tell Ahmar (ancient Til-Barsip) as being from a bull colossus (text no. 107). In addition, Layard states that he found a pair of stone lions in the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh that had a "nearly illegible" inscription (text no. 1008). The information on his discovery and the text on the objects are unclear and it is not impossible that the lions (or possibly bulls) actually came from Khorsabad.

Stone Steles

Sargon left a large number of stone steles recording his military achievements at various points throughout his realm and beyond, from Najafabad (near Isfahan) in the east to Cyprus in the west. The two best preserved were found in Cyprus (text no. 103) and in western Iran (text no. 117), and each has an image of the king on its front, in addition to an inscription. However, most of the steles exist today in only a fragmentary condition (text nos. 104–106, 108, and 115), possibly because local inhabitants intentionally destroyed them in ancient times when the Assyrians lost control of the areas in which they had been erected. The steles were set up at different points throughout his reign. The Acharneh Stele (text no. 106) and the Tell Tayinat Stele (text no. 108) may have been set up following Sargon's victory over Hamath in 720; the text of the former stele actually refers to the erection of at least three steles in the west. The Najafabad Stele (text no. 117) commemorates Sargon's campaign into the Zagros in his sixth regnal year and thus was likely set up in that year (716); unusually, the inscription on the stele was poorly written, perhaps the work of a less experienced scribe/carver.[16] Sargon may have had the stele from Ashdod (text no. 104) made following the capture of that city in 711. Since the so-called Beirut Stele (also known as the Borowski Stele and Hamath Stele; text no. 105) mentions the submission of kings from Cyprus, it must have been written after that occurred, likely in or around 708. The Cyprus Stele (text no. 103) refers to Sargon's third year as king of Babylon and thus must date to 707 at the earliest.[17] Too little is preserved of the stele fragment found at Qal'eh-i Imam, near Lake Zeribor in Iranian Kurdistan (text no. 115), to allow us to be certain about its date of composition, although it has been suggested that it was composed in 716.[18]

Small fragments of what may have been steles of Sargon were found at Samaria (text no. 1009) and Carchemish (text no. 1010). If they can be attributed to Sargon, the one from Samaria might have been erected after his involvement with that city in his accession year (722) or in his second regnal year (720), and the one from Carchemish might have been set up in his fifth regnal year (717), following the defeat of its ruler Pisīris.

Two steles of non-royal individuals are also included in this volume. The first has a relief depicting the goddess Ištar of Arbela and was erected at Kār-Shalmaneser, also known as Til-Barsip (modern Tell Ahmar), by the governor of that city Aššur-dūr-pāniya (text no. 2010). The second, found at Turlu-Höyük, bears an image of the storm god and was set up by one Bēl-iddin, who is given no title (text no. 2011). An Aššur-dūr-pāniya is attested in several letters from the reign of Sargon and this stele is possibly to be attributed to that individual. The exact date of the latter text remains unknown, although the scholars who initially published the piece suggest that it may come from the time of Sargon II.

Clay Prisms

Prior to the time of Sargon II, Assyrian royal inscriptions on clay prisms are only known with certainty from the reign of Tiglath-pileser I (1114–1076).[19] Five inscriptions from the reign of Sargon are found on prisms, although all of these are poorly preserved. All those prisms whose original shapes are clear or can be determined with some degree of certainty have eight columns. One inscription comes from Aššur (text no. 63), two from Kalḫu (text nos. 74–75), and two from Nineveh (text nos. 82–83), although there is some question as to whether or not one of the pieces said to come from Nineveh (text no. 83) was actually found at that site. It is possible that these five prisms represent only two distinct inscriptions, at least with regard to the text before the building section, one inscription being text nos. 63 and 82, and the other being text nos. 74–75 and 83. The inscription on text nos. 63 and 82 is annalistic in form, dating the campaigns according to the king's regnal years (palû), although when preserved, these are always one or two years lower than those given in the annals found on wall slabs in the palace at Khorsabad (see below). Text no. 74 and apparently text no. 83 bear display inscriptions, while text no. 75 is so fragmentary that it is impossible to state what type of inscription it has. The building section of text no. 82 appears to commemorate the construction of a ziggurrat, possibly the one of Adad at Nineveh, and those of text nos. 74–75 the construction of the new city Dūr-Šarrukīn; the building reports are not preserved on the other pieces. Text no. 82 was composed no earlier than the king's eleventh regnal year (711) and text no. 74 no earlier than his sixteenth regnal year (706). The other inscriptions are much less well preserved, but since text no. 74 describes work on the palace at Khorsabad it also likely dates to around the completion of that city in 706. The latest event mentioned in text no. 63 took place in 713, but if this text were a duplicate of text no. 82, it would also have been written no earlier than 711. Text no. 83 mentions Sargon's campaign to Babylonia and the presentation of offerings to the gods of Babylonia, and thus must date to Sargon's twelfth regnal year (710) at the earliest.

Clay Cylinders

The inscription of Assyrian royal texts on clay cylinders really begins in the time of Sargon II, although one small exemplar of an Assyrian vassal from the time of Aššur-rēša-iši II (971–967) is attested.[20] A number of texts on cylinders of stone or semi-precious materials are known from earlier periods, although these are normally quite small in size.[21] Several of Sargon's royal inscriptions are found on barrel-shaped cylinders (text nos. 64, 84, 86–87, 111–114, 125, and 2009) and on prismatic (i.e., multi-faceted) cylinders (text nos. 43, 76, 85, 88, 109, 129, and 1006).[22] Some of the latter-type are also larger in the center than they are at the ends (in particular text no. 43), while others are mostly the same size from one end to the other (e.g., text no. 76). Clay cylinders with inscriptions from the time of Sargon have been found at a number of sites: Dūr-Šarrukīn (almost all exemplars of text no. 43), Aššur (text no. 64), Kalḫu (text nos. 76 ex. 2 and 1006), Nineveh (text nos. 43 ex. 5, 84–88, and possibly 76 ex. 1), Carchemish (text no. 109), Melid (text nos. 111–114), Tell Ḫaddad (text no. 129), Tell Baradān (text no. 76 ex. 5 and text no. 2009), and possibly Chenchi (text no. 43 ex. 55) and Uruk (text no. 125). Over fifty exemplars of the Khorsabad Cylinder inscription (text no. 43) have been found at Dūr-Šarrukīn, for the most part from within the palace area. Unusually, there are two versions of this inscription, an earlier version that has 67 lines of text, ten fewer than the later (and less common) version that has an additional passage in the middle of the inscription. Apart from text nos. 43 and 125, all the cylinder inscriptions are only partially preserved and it is possible that some actually come from duplicate inscriptions (text nos. 84 and 85, and text nos. 86 and 87) or even from the same cylinder (text nos. 111 and 112). Like typical Babylonian royal inscriptions, the two cylinder inscriptions from Babylonia — text no. 125 from Uruk and text no. 2009 from Tell Baradān (written in the name of Nabû-bēlu-ka''in, the governor of the city Arrapḫa) — do not commemorate or mention military actions, but instead concentrate on religious and building matters. Otherwise, all the cylinder inscriptions mention in some manner the king's military achievements, except perhaps text no. 1006.

Clay Tablets

Clay tablets and tablet fragments with inscriptions of Sargon have been found at a number of sites: Aššur (text nos. 65 and 72), Nineveh (text nos. 89–91 and 101–102), and probably Dūr-Šarrukīn (text no. 48; see also text no. 1001). Most of these are only fragments, but two important texts are relatively well preserved: Sargon's lengthy letter to the god Aššur (text no. 65) reporting on his campaign into Mannea, Urarṭu, and Muṣaṣir in his eighth regnal year (714), and the so-called Aššur Charter (text no. 89), recording his accession to the throne and granting of privileges to the city Aššur, as well military actions in his second regnal year (720). The other tablet fragments describe military (text nos. 72, 101–102, and likely 91), building (text no. 48), or dedicatory (text no. 90) actions.


Bricks with inscriptions of Sargon have been found at a number of places in addition to the major centers of Dūr-Šarrukīn, Aššur, Kalḫu, and Nineveh, including especially Carchemish, Babylon, and Uruk. The inscriptions may be inscribed or stamped; sometimes an inscription is found in both manners (text no. 50). At times, the text may be inscribed within an area that has been impressed, thus providing a border for the inscription, and in some scholarly literature such texts are described as stamped, rather than — more accurately — inscribed. While most of the inscriptions of Sargon are written in the Akkadian language, two of the brick inscriptions from Assyria are in Sumerian, one commemorating the construction of Dūr-Šarrukīn (text no. 53) and one work at Aššur (text no. 70). The latter inscription is also known from an Akkadian version (text no. 69). Three brick inscriptions from Babylonia are in Sumerian, one recording work at Babylon (text no. 124) and two work at Uruk (text nos. 127–128).

Bricks with the same three-line inscription stating that they came from Sargon's palace have been found at Dūr-Šarrukīn, Kalḫu, Nineveh, Karamles, Tag, and possibly Djigan (text no. 50). Since Sargon would have had more than one palace, this may not seem odd, but numerous bricks with inscriptions commemorating the building of Dūr-Šarrukīn and/or structures located there (e.g., the temple of Sîn and Šamaš) have also been discovered outside of Dūr-Šarrukīn, in particular at Kalḫu and Nineveh (text nos. 51 and 53–55). These bricks may have been taken to those places during the reign of Sargon or possibly after his death, when Dūr-Šarrukīn was basically abandoned and perhaps partially demolished.

Texts record the construction of the new capital Dūr-Šarrukīn (text nos. 51–54), its palace (text nos. 52–53, and see text nos. 50 and 56), and the temple of Sîn and Šamaš (text nos. 54–55). Numerous bricks from Aššur record the building of a structure for the god Aššur (text no. 68) and the paving of a processional way in the temple of that god (text nos. 69–70). Brick inscriptions commemorate work on the temple of the god Nabû (or the gods Nabû and Marduk) at Nineveh (text nos. 95–96 and possibly 97). The brick inscription from Carchemish is very short, merely indicating that the brick came from the palace of Sargon (text no. 110), while some of the brick inscriptions from Babylonia can be quite lengthy. Two brick inscriptions record construction at Babylon, one twenty-five lines long describing work on the quay wall and city walls and one eighteen lines long describing work on the city walls (text nos. 123 and 124 respectively). The three brick inscriptions from Uruk all refer to work on the Eanna temple (text nos. 126–128). Unusually, one of these latter inscriptions (text no. 126) is written in three columns of four lines each.

Glazed Bricks

Glazed bricks from friezes with cuneiform inscriptions of Sargon have been found at both Dūr-Šarrukīn and Aššur (text nos. 57 and 71 respectively), although all the friezes are in a poor state of preservation. Those from Dūr-Šarrukīn whose provenance is known come from the palace complex or Palace F, while those from Aššur were found in the temple of the god Aššur. Glazed brick panels are already mentioned in the texts of Tiglath-pileser I (1114–1076) and Ashurnasirpal II (883–859),[24] and individual glazed bricks with all or parts of inscriptions are attested from the reigns of Tukultī-Ninurta II (890–884), Shalmaneser II (858–824), and (possibly) Tiglath-pileser III.[24] In addition, ten glazed brick friezes from the palace at Khorsabad bear what is generally thought to be an inscription written in Assyrian 'hieroglyphs' or 'astroglyphs' (text no. 58). At times, that inscription is found in a shorter or abbreviated form (exs. 7–10). Such 'hieroglyphic' inscriptions are also attested in the time of Sargon's grandson Esarhaddon (680–669).[25]

Metal Tablets

Three of Sargon's inscriptions are inscribed on metal tablets, one of bronze (text no. 44), one of silver (text no. 45), and one of gold (text no. 46). A fourth metal tablet was apparently found, but was lost in the Tigris disaster in 1855, and no real information is known about it. These four had been placed in a stone box located within one of the walls of the royal palace at Dūr-Šarrukīn and the three preserved today all record the construction of that city.[26] Assyrian royal inscriptions on gold tablets are already attested from the time of Shalmaneser I (1273–1244), Tukultī-Ninurta I (1243–1207), Ashurnasirpal II (883–859), and Shalmaneser III (858–824),[27] and on silver tablets from the time of Tukultī-Ninurta I and Ashurnasirpal II,[28] as well as on lead tablets from the time of Tukultī-Ninurta I.[29]

Bronze Lion Weights

Weights with brief labels indicating that they belonged to a king have a long tradition in Mesopotamia, going all the way back to the third millennium. Most of these weights are made of stone and in the shape of a duck,[30] although one in the shape of a lion is known from the time of Shalmaneser III.[31] In 1846, Layard discovered sixteen bronze weights in the shape of lions in the North-West Palace at Kalḫu. Thirteen of these bear Akkadian proprietary inscriptions, one of Tiglath-pileser III (Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 Tiglath-pileser III no. 63), nine of Shalmaneser V (Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 Shalmaneser V nos. 1–9 and note no. 1003), one of Sennacherib (Grayson and Novotny, RINAP 3/2 text no. 211), and two of Sargon II (text nos. 78–79). Most, including the two of Sargon, also have brief Aramaic inscriptions on them indicating the weight of the object.

Rock Face

Three Assyrian rulers before Sargon II have left us royal inscriptions incised into rock faces, although the tradition of Mesopotamian rulers leaving inscriptions or reliefs on cliff faces goes back to the third millennium. Tiglath-pileser I and Shalmaneser III had two and five inscriptions respectively carved on rock faces in Turkey, mostly near the source of the Tigris River,[32] and Tiglath-pileser III had one made at Mila Mergi in Iraqi Kurdistan.[33] In addition to the inscription, a relief depicting the ruler is found with one of the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser I, at least two of those of Shalmaneser III, and the inscription of Tiglath-pileser III. A relief and inscription of Sargon were carved into a cliff face at Tang-i Var in Iran in order to commemorate a campaign to Karalla led by Assyrian officials in 706 (text no. 116). Like the relief of Tiglath-pileser III at Mila Mergi, the one at Tang-i Var depicts the Assyrian king, but unlike the one of Tiglath-pileser, part of the inscription is written across the king's body.


Inscriptions of Sargon are found on a variety of other objects of stone, clay, metal, and other materials. Apart from a stone tablet from Khorsabad that bears a twenty-five-line inscription recording the construction of that city (text no. 47), the inscriptions on the other stone objects (altars, vessels, axe head, coffer, and unidentifiable objects) are either short or very fragmentary. When it is possible to determine the nature of the inscription, it often simply states to whom the object belonged (text no. 77) or had been dedicated (text nos. 49 and 2005), although it might mention the actual construction of the object or some edifice (text nos. 93, 1007, and 2008). As far as I am aware, apart from one stone altar from Kalḫu from time of Ashurnasirpal II and one from Nineveh from the time of Shalmaneser III,[34] the sixteen stone altars from the temple of the Sebetti at Dūr-Šarrukīn (text no. 49) are the only other altars with inscriptions of Assyrian kings upon them. The inscriptions on clay cones record the construction of temples at Aššur and Nineveh (text nos. 67 and 92; cf. text nos. 1003–1004), while the clay plaques bear a brief proprietary inscription (text no. 66; cf. text no. 1005). The inscriptions on clay vessels (text nos. 59–60) are poorly preserved and their nature is not clear.[35] Surprisingly, the only two inscriptions in this volume that clearly bear dates indicating when they were written are found on clay cones from Aššur (text nos. 67 and 1004), although only one of these is sufficiently well preserved to allow us to identify the year (text no. 67).[36] A number of metal objects (copper covers for door jambs, gold bowl, electrum mirror, and bronze macehead) also bear short proprietary (text nos. 99, 2001 exs. 1 and 3, and 2003) or dedicatory (text no. 99) inscriptions.

With regard to stamp and cylinder seals and impressions, a clay sealing with a stamped impression of what may be a royal seal (text no. 1002) appears to have been found at Khorsabad in the mid-1800s, but its present location is not known and it is thus unavailable for collation. A cylinder seal of unknown provenance and a clay bulla from Nimrud with the impression of a cylinder seal bear proprietary inscriptions of governors (text nos. 2006–2007); a stamp seal impression with a proprietary Aramaic inscription of one of Sargon's eunuchs was also found at Khorsabad (text no. 2004). The brief inscriptions on a glass vessel (text no. 77 ex. 1) and a rock crystal jar (text no. 2001 ex. 2) are also proprietary in nature. One of the most interesting objects bearing an inscription of Sargon's is an ivory writing board found at Kalḫu (text no. 80). The inscription states that it belonged to the palace of Sargon and that that king had had the astrological series Enūma Anu Enlil written upon it and the board deposited at Dūr-Šarrukīn.


3 For the inscribed wall slabs of Sargon, see in particular J.M. Russell, Writing on the Wall pp. 111–115.

4 The so-called "Standard Inscription" of Ashurnasirpal II; see Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 268–276 A.0.101.23.

5 See Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 pp. 4–8 for the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III on wall slabs.

6 E. Frahm (Sanherib pp. 42–43 and ISIMU 6 [2003] pp. 145–149 and 157–160, especially p. 159 n. 63) has suggested that Nabû-zuqup-kēnu, a royal scribe well attested in the reign of Sennacherib, might have been responsible for composing some of the royal inscriptions in the later years of Sargon's reign, especially his Khorsabad Display Inscription (text no. 7).

7 With regard to these two types of inscriptions, see in particular Grayson, Orientalia NS 49 (1980) pp. 150–155.

8 Text no. 1 sections 21–22 and any sections after section 37; text no. 2 sections 20–21; text no. 7 ex. 3 sections 7–8; and text no. 8 sections 5–6.

9 Epigraphs are found on wall slabs in Room II (with the associated Door H1; text nos. 23–28), Room V (text nos. 29–32), Room VIII (text nos. 33–35), Room XIII (text no. 36), Room XIV (text nos. 37–39), and an unknown room (text no. 40). For the epigraphs of Sargon in general, see in particular J.M. Russell, Writing on the Wall pp. 115–122. For the epigraphs on the wall slabs of Tiglath-pileser III, see Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 pp. 143–146 Tiglath-pileser III nos. 55–57. For the epigraphs on the wall slabs of Sennacherib, see Grayson and Novotny, RINAP 3/2 pp. 100–121 nos. 53–77 and for those of Ashurbanipal, see Novotny and Jeffers, RINAP 5/1 pp. 311–349 nos. 24–58.

10 For the inscriptions on the backs of the slabs, see the article by B. André-Salvini in Caubet, Khorsabad pp. 15–45 and J.M. Russell, Writing on the Wall pp. 101–103.

11 AoF 40 [2013] pp. 52–53.

12 A paving slab with one of these inscriptions (text no. 10 ex. 4) was also found during the Oriental Institute excavations of Palace F, Dūr-Šarrukīn's military base (ekal māšarti).

13 For the inscribed paving slabs of Sargon, see in particular J.M. Russell, Writing on the Wall pp. 108–111.

14 Some of the exemplars were threshold slabs while others were on top of platforms flanking stairs or on the treads of stairs.

15 For the inscription of Sargon on stone colossi, see in particular J.M. Russell, Writing on the Wall pp. 103–108.

16 The edition of the Najafabad Stele presented here is the result of collaboration between the author and A. Fuchs.

17 For an overview of Sargon's various steles, see Frame, Subartu 18 pp. 49–68.

18 Radner and Masoumian, ZA 120 (2020) p. 91.

19 Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 7–31 A.0.87.1, pp. 38–45 A.0.87.4 ex. 7, and p. 60 A.0.87.14. Note also Grayson, RIMA 1 p. 182 commentary to A.0.77.1 with regard to Ass 875, which may be a prismatic cylinder of Shalmaneser I (1273–1244), although E. Weidner called it a prism. For a possible prism inscription of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859) from Tell Billah, see Grayson, RIMA 2 p. 191.

20 See Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 126–128 A.0.96.2001 (inscription of Bēl-ēriš, an Assyrian vassal at Šadikanni).

21 See for example Grayson, RIMA 1 pp. 51–55 A.0.39.2 (noting Reade, NABU 2000 pp. 86–87 no. 75) and p. 122 A.0.75.2; Grayson, RIMA 3 pp. 194–196 A.0.103.5–7.

22 Prismatic cylinders are sometimes referred to as prisms or multi-faceted cylinders since they have several distinct faces like a prism; however, the inscription on these objects runs from one end of the object to the other, while the inscriptions on prisms run from one side of the face (or column) to the other. Thus, each face of a prismatic cylinder has only a few lines while one on a prism has many more lines, but lines that tend to be much shorter in length than those on the prismatic cylinders.

23 Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 54–55 A.0.78.10 lines 66–67; Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 289–290 A.0.101.30 lines 30–32.

24 Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 184–185 A.0.100.15 (brick or tile); Grayson, RIMA 3 p. 157 A.0.102.100 exs. 1, 6, and 11, p. 168 A.0.102.112, and p. 169 A.0.102.114; Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 p. 159 no. 1007. See also Grayson, RIMA 3 p. 250 A.0.0.1094–1096.

25 Leichty, RINAP 4 pp. 238–243 no. 115.

26 A stone tablet with an inscription also commemorating the construction of Dūr-Šarrukīn was found with these metal tablets (text no. 47). See Brinkman in Curtis, Bronzeworking Centres pp. 144–150 and 158–159.

27 Grayson, RIMA 1 p. 196 A.0.77.7, pp. 253–256 A.0.78.11 exs. 2–3, pp. 256–257 A.0.78.12 ex. 1, pp. 259–260 A.0.78.14 exs. 1 and 4, pp. 260–261 A.0.78.15 ex. 1, and pp. 264–265 A.0.78.17 ex. 1; Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 341–342 A.0.101.70 ex. 1; and Grayson, RIMA 3 pp. 99–100 A.0.102.26.

28 Grayson, RIMA 1 pp. 253–256 A.0.78.11 exs. 5–6, pp. 256–257 A.0.78.12 ex. 2, pp. 259–260 A.0.78.14 ex. 3, pp. 260–261 A.0.78.15 ex. 2, and pp. 264–265 A.0.78.17 ex. 2. Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 341–342 A.0.101.70 ex. 2.

29 Grayson, RIMA 1 pp. 253–256 A.0.78.11 exs. 4 and 7–10, and pp. 259–260 A.0.78.14 exs. 5–6.

30 For example, Frayne, RIME 3/2 pp. 154–155 E3/–53; Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 181–182 A.0.100.10 (Tukultī-Ninurta II) and pp. 358–359 A.0.101.107 (Ashurnasirpal II); and Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 pp. 150–152 Tiglath-pileser III nos. 61–62.

31 Grayson, RIMA 3 pp. 169–170 A.0.102.115.

32 Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 61–62 A.0.87.15–16; Grayson, RIMA 3 pp. 90–96 A.0.102.20–24. Note that M. Worthington suggests that one of the inscriptions attributed to Tiglath-pileser I (Grayson, RIMA 2 p. 61 A.0.87.15) may actually be of later date, possibly from the time of Shalmaneser III.

33 Tadmor and Yamada, RINAP 1 pp. 89–92 Tiglath-pileser III no. 37.

34 Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 351–352 A.0.101.98 (from Kalḫu); Grayson, RIMA 3 pp. 153–154 A.0.102.95 (from Nineveh).

35 It is not impossible that one or both of the clay bowls are actually clay cones (sikkatu).

36 At least one exemplar of a text on prismatic cylinders (text no. 76 ex. 2) has a date written on the left end of the piece, but only the day is preserved and the eponymy was clearly not given.

Grant Frame

Grant Frame, 'Survey of Inscribed Objects', RINAP 2: Sargon II, Sargon II, The RINAP 2 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2021 []

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The RINAP 2 sub-project of the University of Pennsylvania-based RINAP Project, 2020-. The contents of RINAP 2 were prepared by Grant Frame for the University-of-Pennsylvania-based and National-Endowment-for-the-Humanities-funded Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period (RINAP) Project, with the assistance of Joshua Jeffers and the Munich Open-access Cuneiform Corpus Initiative (MOCCI), which is based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Historisches Seminar (LMU Munich, History Department) - Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Ancient History of the Near and Middle East. Content released under a CC BY-SA 3.0 [] license, 2007-21.
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