Carved in Stone, Thrown to the Lions, and Defaced…

I told you in my last last blog all about how the ancient Egyptians thought that if something was carved in stone, it was true forever, and how therefore if they didn’t like part of history, they simply never recorded it – because then it never happened. They also applied this to statues, so if they didn’t like someone they chipped the face off (hence ‘defaced’).

Scenes on walls, in the city of Nineveh – found when the ruins of the city were discovered.

There was lots of stuff in the British Museum which at first glance (to me) looked completely boring, but when I listened to the explanation of what I was looking at, was very interesting. We saw things like the wall tiles from the city of Nineveh (of Jonah in the whale fame).

An interesting story was the defeat of Lachish, by a chap called Sennacharib. Sennacharib was a great warrier, and there were walls of carved stone, showing the triumphal defeat of Lachish, people being taken as slaves, the king bowing down to Sennacharib – a huge ego stroke, in other words. Except, Lachish was a small, weak, city. Conquering it was not such a big deal for someone as powerful as Sennacharib – so what wasn’t he saying? What was missing from the engarvings on the palace walls? Well, this is the time that Sennacharib was holding the city of Jerusalem in seige, and in fact, one panel lists all the plunder taken from the temple. After the defeat of Lachish, the plan was to return to Jerusalem, finish the job, and lead away King Hezekiah in chains.

But in the Old Testament, we read that God sent an angel, who went to where the army was camped outside of Jerusalem, and killed 185,000 men. When the people of Jerusalem woke up and looked out, there were thousands of dead bodies. However, although we have the Assyrian records – which show that Sennacharib sent an army of 200,000 men as the advance army to Jerusalem – there is nothing else recorded. Nothing. He simply reminded everyone of his triumph at Lachish, and had it carved in stone. Because if nothing was ever carved about Jerusalem, it never happened…(You can read the story in Isaiah 37.)

Lions were a symbol of strength in Babylon.
The tiles would be baked in furnaces, so the colour remains even today.

My favourite part of the tour was the stuff relating to Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar. Now, in the early part of Daniel, we read that his friends were put into a fiery furnace, as a punishment. When we looked at the artefacts from the time, this made perfect sense, because Nebuchadnezzar was keen on coloured clay wall tiles – and these would all need to be fired in furnaces – so they would be readily available for the odd execution when needed! Many of those tiles depicted lions, and we learned that lions were a big deal to those Babylonians, and represented great strength. They would certainly have captured them, and kept them for viewing, so again, Daniel being thrown into a den of lions makes perfect sense!

There was lots more that we saw and heard, too much really to take in. I need to do a second tour – or buy the book from the museum bookshop and walk round by myself. It really was, hugely interesting.

Thank you for reading. Hope you have an interesting week.
Take care.
Love, Anne

PS. I have always written a diary on holiday, so last Christmas, I decided to find all my old diaries and blogs, and make a book for my children. However, several other people also asked for a copy, so I have written a public version – it’s available on Amazon and has been described as “The Durrells meet Bill Bryson!”

The paperback version is currently available for £9.99, but as I will need to buy copies for book fairs, I will need to cover my postage costs, so this price is for a very limited time (I think it will be around £12 in the future, but I wanted to let you, my blog readers, know that they can buy it for the cheaper price, until March). It is also available as a Kindle book.

Why not buy a copy today? I think it will make you laugh.

The US link is here:

The India link is here:

The UK link is here: