In this relief, created around 645 BCE or so, excavated two thousand four hundredsome years later in 1853 or so in what’s now Iraq, brought to The British Museum, we see the ruler Ashurbanipal lounging and listening to tunes while to the left the decapitated head of Teumman, king of Elam, hangs from a tree.

Ashurbanipal was a rough guy. Also at The British Museum you can find this relief of his dudes flaying and torturing captured Elamites:

And at the Vatican Museum they’ve got one of bodies floating in the river flowing his arrival somewhere:

But Ashurbanipal did create a magnificent library, which (of course) they’ve hauled off to The British Museum as well.

In the library was a tablet that told some of the story of Gilgamesh, including an account of a great flood. It’s said that when George Smith was translated this tablet, and realized what he’d found, he started shouting and taking his clothes off.

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