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Ashurbanipal’s Conquest of Thebes, 663 BCE

Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria“Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it. … Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength and it was infinite…. Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity- her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets…” (Nahum 3-8-10).

In 663 B.C. the Assyrians celebrated the greatest triumph in their whole history. King Ashurbanipal conquered the capital of Upper Egypt No-Amun, which the Greeks called Thebes. According to Homer it had 100 gates and until then it had been regarded as impregnable. It was an event which caused an enormous stir in the world of the ancient orient, in the “Fertile Crescent” itself and as far as Greece. The Assyrians plundered the metropolis, whose temples contained boundless wealth. “I conquered the whole city… silver, gold, precious stones, the whole contents of its palace, coloured vestments, linen, magnificent horses, slaves, both men and women, two great obelisks of shining bronze weighing 2,500 talents; I took the temple gates from their place and brought them to Assyria. Enormous spoils of priceless worth did I take with me from Thebes,” exulted Ashurbanipal.

The Assyrian war machine had made a tabula rasa of the far famed temple-city on the Nile. Excavations fully confirm the description of the catastrophe given by the prophet Nahum and by the victor himself. The capital of Upper Egypt never again recovered from this blow.

Werner Keller. The Bible as History. Bantam Books. New York. 1982. p.293-294.

See also-

Mordechai Cogan, The Raging Torrent, Carta, Jerusalem, 2008. p.150-165.

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