How do we know about the move to Kalhu in 879 BC? >> There are very, very many sources about it. It moved because Assurnasirpal, the king who moved the Assyrian capital to this new capital city of Kalhu. Assurnasirpal, he used the opportunity to have a new, clean white canvas. And he built lots of buildings, of course, and he used the opportunity to inscribe his inscriptions on these buildings. And one [COUGH] such source this would be this here. As you can see, there is an inscription running across the figure here. In this case, it's an 18 lines long inscription, but there are others where the inscription is slightly longer or slightly shorter. >> I recognise this. We saw something very similar to this when we were filming your welcome video at the Egyptian Museum here in Munich. How many slabs of this nature are there? >> Yeah, indeed. In the Egyptian Museum in Munich there are a number of such slabs, and they are from Kalhu, that's correct. This image here is a reproduction of a slab that is kept in the British Museum, and the British Museum has most of these slabs. In total, there would have been more than 400 slabs like that. Many show a winged gentleman, like this one here. But there are others from the throne room of Assurnasirpal’s palace that show narrative scenes of conquest, of sieges, of military successes, or of people encountering the king, meeting with the king. And that was the decoration of the throne room. The rest of the official quarters of the palace would have been decorated with these winged figures. They are angels, Assyrian angels, and they are meant to purify and protect this building and the people within it. And when the palace was first excavated in the mid-19th century by a British explorer and diplomat called Henry Austin Layard, this was the early days of archaeology, so funding worked in [LAUGH] ways quite different from today. And he more or less operated a subscription model. So the British Museum was [LAUGH] his most important funder, but others could also aid with his efforts. And in return, they got then things that he found, most prominently [LAUGH] these wall slabs. So that’s why various museums in Britain have copies of such wall slabs. But that’s why some are in India, in Mumbai, in Australia, in the United States, or in Munich for that matter. But they all have one thing in common, and that's this inscription here, which we call Assurnasirpal Standard Inscription. And while the length of the cuneiform lines can vary, the text is always the same, yeah? So the scribes that inscribed the inscription, they were at liberty to arrange the text as they saw fit. And there's great variation in this regard, but the text in terms of content was fixed. And I'll read some of it to you, so that you get a sense why this is a good source about the move. So in the last part of the inscription, Assurnasirpal explains how he moved the capital. And he says, “the ancient city of Kalhu, which Shalmaneser I, King of Assyria, a prince who preceded me had built, this city had become dilapidated. It lay dormant. I rebuilt this city. I took people which I had conquered from the lands over which I had gained dominion, (then he enumerates all these lands). So I took people from these lands and settled them therein. I cleared away the old ruin hill, and dug down to water level. I sank the foundation pit down to a depth of 120 layers of brick. I founded therein a palace of cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, terebinth, and tamarisk as my royal residence, and for my lordly leisure for eternity.” >> [LAUGH] >> So he focuses on the fact that this is now the place from where he governs the empire. And he focuses on the fact that the people he settles in this new city are people that he had assembled from all over the territories of the Assyrian Empire. That he is the one who chooses them. And that's, in a nutshell, of course, what we've described as the key idea behind this move away from the old elites from Assur to a new place where he is the lord in command. He doesn't mention here that he leaves Aššur behind, the god Aššur. He doesn't mention that, because of course in this inscription he very much styles himself the delegate of Aššur, the ruler who rules on Aššur’s behalf. But that would have clear to anyone anyway, that Aššur, the god, was left behind in the city of Assur where his one and only temple remained. So it's inscriptions like this that tell us from Assurnasirpal’s point of view about this move. This is a short inscription, inscribed more than [LAUGH] 400 times, of course, in these wall slabs that served to decorate the palace. But there are longer inscriptions as well, some visible, some buried deep in the foundations of the new city. And those that were buried were meant to be uncovered by later Assyrian kings when they renovated the city. They were meant to look for these inscriptions, treat them with respect, read them, of course, reflect on the deeds of their predecessor, Assurnasirpal, and then bury them again together with their own new inscription. So the visible ones are the ones that would have been seen at least by people visiting the palace. Whether that means that they would stop, pause, and read the inscription, that's an entirely different matter. You can see that this cuneiform is well visible, but probably the idea was less that people would stop and read. More, the king wished to just show his power because by having 400 of these slabs produced he, of course, could highlight how vast his workforce of scribes and stone masons was, yeah? And it's safe to say that there wouldn't have been a ruler in the world at that time who could have controlled quite so many literate craftsmen as Assurnasirpal. So that's certainly one of the messages that he wished to communicate. Look how educated my people are. Look what I can do. Look how many of these scribes, stone masons I control, yeah. >> So one last question, can you tell me a little bit about this particular hat which I have not seen so much before? >> Yeah, that's a good question. I said that this gentleman is an Assyrian angel, yeah? So he is a god. One of the lesser deities of course, but he is a god. And he's an intermediary between the great gods of Assyria and the people of Assyria, so a guardian angel, let's say. And he wears this hat in order to highlight that he is divine, yeah? So this type of hat, which is a round cap with pairs of cow horns- >> Interesting, okay. [LAUGH] >> So it's of course shown from the side. That's a type of hat that is reserved for deities only, yeah? And so this hat by itself is used as a symbol for a god as well. But then it's usually shown from the front, and then you can see more clearly that it's pairs of horns. Why [LAUGH] cow horns are seen as an emblem of divinity, I can't tell you. No one knows really. Of course, ancient Mesopotamia is the region where cattle were first domesticated, but this is of course many thousand years before this time. And the cap with the horns is an old symbol by that time. So by that time, it attested for well over 1,000 years. And so it's nothing new at all, it's a traditional symbol at that time. We don't know why these cow horns are associated with the gods, but the reason why, in Christianity, horned creatures are seen as demons is definitely linked to the fact that in ancient Mesopotamia and other pagan societies, creatures with horns were very, [LAUGH] very much seen as deities.