• The name Sardanapalus is probably a corruption of Ashurbanipal, (Surbanapli > Sardanápalos) an Assyrian emperor, but Sardanapalus as described by Diodorus bears little relationship
    with what is known of that king, who in fact was a militarily powerful, highly efficient and scholarly ruler, presiding over the largest empire the world had yet seen.

  • Parts of the story of Sardanapalus seem to be related in some degree to events in the later years of the Assyrian Empire, involving conflict between the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal
    and his brother Shamash-shum-ukin, who controlled Babylon as a vassal territory, on behalf of his brother.

  • Alleged tomb On the eve of the battle of Issus (333 BC), Alexander’s biographers say, Alexander the Great was shown what purported to be the tomb of Sardanapalus at Anchialus
    in Cilicia, with a relief carving of the king clapping his hands and an cuneiform inscription that the locals translated for him as “Sardanapalus, son of Anakyndaraxes, built Anchialus and Tarsus in a single day; stranger, eat, drink and make
    love, as other human things are not worth this” (signifying the clap of the hands).

  • “[17] In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens describes the French Court, and by extension the French Monarchy and upper class: “It had never been a good eye to see with–had
    long had the mote in it of Lucifer’s pride, Sardanapalus’s luxury, and a mole’s blindness…”.

  • He was probably killed defending his city in the sack, though records are fragmentary.

  • In this account, Sardanapalus, supposed to have lived in the 7th century BC, is portrayed as a decadent figure who spends his life in self-indulgence and dies in an orgy of

  • While Sardanapalus has been identified with Ashurbanipal,[4] his alleged death in the flames of his palace is closer to that of his brother Shamash-shum-ukin, who became infused
    with Babylonian nationalism and formed an alliance of Babylonians, Chaldeans, Elamites, Arabs and Suteans against his master in an attempt to transfer the seat of the vast empire from Nineveh to Babylon.

  • Its former subjects took advantage of these events and freed themselves from the Assyrian yoke.

  • [11] The death of Sardanapalus was the subject of a Romantic period painting by the 19th-century French painter Eugène Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus, which was itself
    based on the 1821 play Sardanapalus by Byron, which in turn was based on Diodorus.

  • [6] The actual Fall of Nineveh occurred in 612 BC after Assyria had been greatly weakened by a bitter series of internal civil wars between rival claimants to the throne.

  • The character which Ctesias depicted or invented, an effeminate debauchee, sunk in luxury and sloth, who at the last was driven to take up arms, and, after a prolonged but
    ineffectual resistance, avoided capture by suicide, cannot be identified”.

  • Ctesias’ book Persica is lost, but we know of its contents by later compilations and from the work of Diodorus (II.27).

  • Sardanapalus (/ˌsɑːrdəˈnæpələs/; sometimes spelled Sardanapallus) was, according to the Greek writer Ctesias, the last king of Assyria, although in fact Ashur-uballit II (612–605
    BC) holds that distinction.

  • He is portrayed as a criminal who ordered one hundred prisoners of war to be executed and burned his palace with all his concubines inside.

  • Sardanapalus returned to Nineveh to defend his capital, while his army was placed under the command of his brother-in-law, who was soon defeated and killed.

  • [15] Franz Liszt began an (incomplete) opera on the subject in 1850, Sardanapalo, Act 1 of which had its world premiere only in 2018, almost a century and a half after the
    composer’s death.

  • The legendary decadence of Sardanapalus later became a theme in literature and art, especially in the Romantic era.

  • His lifestyle caused dissatisfaction within the Assyrian empire, allowing a conspiracy against him to develop led by “Arbaces”.

  • Ashur-uballit II succeeded him as the last king of an independent Assyria, ruling from Harran, the last capital of Assyria until 605 BC.


Works Cited

[‘1. The historical library of Diodorus the Sicilian: in fifteen books. To which are added the fragments of Diodorus, and those published by H. Valesius, I. Rhodomannus, and F. Ursinus, Volume 1, p. 118-23
2. ^ de Fátima Rosa, Maria (2020). “The Legend
of Sardanapalus: From Ancient Assyria to European Stages and Screens”. In Ming Kong, Mário S.; Monteiro, Maria do Rosário; Pereira Neto, Maria João (eds.). Intelligence, Creativity and Fantasy: Proceedings of the 5th International Multidisciplinary
Congress (PHI 2019), October 7-9, 2019, Paris, France. London and Leiden: CRC Press. pp. 325–330. ISBN 978-1-000-73420-1.
3. ^ Malley, Shawn (2012). From Archaeology to Spectacle in Victorian Britain: The Case of Assyria, 1845-1854. Farnham, England
ad Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-4094-7917-8.
4. ^ Marcus Junianus Justinus. “Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus”. His successors too, following his example, gave answers to their people through their
ministers. The Assyrians, who were afterwards called Syrians, held their empire thirteen hundred years. The last king that reigned over them was Sardanapalus, a man more effeminate than a woman.
5. ^ Georges Roux – Ancient Iraq
6. ^ Sarah Melville,
tr., in Mark William Chavalas, ed. The Ancient Near East: historical sources in translation 2006:366:
7. ^ Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great (1973) 1986:163, noting Aristobulus and Calisthenes
8. ^ Vlassopoulos, Kostas (2013). Greeks and Barbarians.
Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-107-24426-9.
9. ^ Sandnes, Karl Olav (2004). Belly and Body in the Pauline Epistles. Society for New Testament Studies. Vol. Monograph Series 120. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge
University Press. pp. 65–67. ISBN 978-1-139-43472-0.
10. ^ “Cassius Dio — Epitome of Book 80”.
11. ^ Sarha, Jennifer (2020). “Assyria in Early Modern Historiography”. In Grogan, Grogan (ed.). Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East
in Early Modern Europe. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 235–255. ISBN 978-0-19-876711-4.
12. ^ Kleiner, Fred S. (2016). “Death of Sardanapalus”. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: A Global History. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning. p.
807. ISBN 978-1-305-54484-0.
13. ^ Davidson, Thomas (1969). Bakewell, Charles M. (ed.). The Philosophy of Goethe’s Faust. New York: Ardent Media. p. 129.
14. ^ Atherstone, Edwin (1828). The Fall of Nineveh: A Poem. London: Baldwin and Gradock.
15. ^
Rushton, Julian; Rushton, Julian (2001). The Music of Berlioz. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-19-816738-9.
16. ^ Cook, Nicholas; Ingalls, Monique M.; Trippett, David (2019). The Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital
Culture. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. xiii. ISBN 978-1-107-16178-8.
17. ^ Thoreau, Henry David (2004). Walden and Civil Disobedience. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Simon and Schuster. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-4516-8636-4.
18. ^
Dickens, Charles (1859). A Tale of Two Cities. Vol. II. Philadelphia, PA: T. B. Peterson and Brothers. p. 267.
19. ^ Lindskoog, Kathryn (1997). Dante’s Divine Comedy: Paradise. Journey to joy. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-86554-584-7.
20. ^
Gorky, Maxim (2000). The Lower Depths. Toronto, ON: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 9. ISBN 9780486411156.
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