I Am Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria
In his time during the seventh century BCE, King Ashurbanipal of Assyria was the most powerful man on earth. He described himself in inscriptions as "king of the world," and his reign from the city of Nineveh (now in northern Iraq) marked the high point of the Assyrian empire, which stretched from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran. Ashurbanipal projected an image as ruler worthy of protecting his people through accounts and stone reliefs showing feats of strength and courage--notably, hunting lions. Like many rulers of the era, he boasted about his victories in battle and his brutality in crushing enemies. However, this vast and diverse empire was controlled through more than force. Ashurbanipal used his skills as a scholar, diplomat and strategist to become one of Assyria's greatest rulers. This exhibition tells the story of the Assyrian king through the British Museum's collection of Assyrian treasures and rare loans that together allow for a portrait of a complex leader.