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Photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Sargon Foundation Cylinder - (22 of 44)

Sargon was the king of Assyria, who captured Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC (2 Kg 17:1-6). The conquest of Israel was begun by Shalmaneser, and completed by Sargon.

This prism-shaped cylinder is a foundation cylinder, which would be buried in the foundations of a public building or temple as it was built, found in Sargon's capital city, Khorsabad. These normally included dedications of the building to the gods and the part the king played in the building’s construction or restoration. Assyrian kings also included the annals of their reigns, describing their military conquests and other construction projects.

The cylinder is an octagonal hollow barrel, with round holes at both ends. It is 23.5 cm long and has a diameter of 12 cm. The sixty-seven-line text is inscribed on the eight faces of the cylinder.

The first part of 33 lines, describes the king, his qualities, religious merits, and achievements on the battlefield.

The second part of 34 lines is the heart of the inscription. In it, the king describes the building of the new city in the first person.