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Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. Is an archaeological finding of enormous importance for biblical archeology. It is a limestone structure covered with bas-reliefs from Nimrud, western Iraq.

High around 197.85 cm wide and 45.08 cm is currently on display at the British Museum after being discovered by Sir Austen Henry Layard in 1846. It is currently the invoice obelisk Assyrian most comprehensive ever found and it is important for the first historical depiction of an Israelite. It is representing twenty scenes in bas-relief, divided into five series. Each of the series is the subjugation of a foreign king who offers his tribute to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, bowing before him and making him homage. Each of the five series occupies four panels together with cuneiform inscriptions. The second series of bas-reliefs presents the oldest pictorial evidence of a sovereign Jewish, the biblical King Jehu, king of Israel, who is portrayed in the act of kissing the ground in front of the head of the Assyrian as a sign of his submission took place around the ‘ 841 BC. This ancient Israelite king departed close alliance with the Phoenicians to become a vassal of Assyria. Mentions of his kingdom are in the II Book of Kings.

According to this source Jehu was a usurper, who took possession of the throne of Israel after the death of Ahab son of Omri, who fell in battle against the sovereign of Damascus to Ramoth-Gilead. At the top and at the base of the obelisk are the inscriptions relating to the military campaigns of King Shalmaneser III relating to each year of his reign, until the thirtieth. Some elements lead to think that the obelisk was commissioned by the commander in chief of the royal army, Dayyan-Assur.

Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III.

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Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III.