The Banquet Stele of Assurnasirpal II (c. 865 BCE)

Background: Inscribed on a stone pillar next to his throne room, the banquet stele of Neo-Assyrian ruler Assurnasirpal II (r. 883–859 BCE) describes the extravagant ten-day celebration he hosted on the occasion of the palace’s completion and demonstrates his power over subject lands.
(102) When Ashur-nasir-apli, king of Assyria, consecrated the joyful palace, the palace full of wisdom, in Kalach [and] invited inside Ashur, the great lord, and the gods of the entire land; 1,000 fat oxen, 1,000 calves [and] sheep of the stable, 14,000 . . . sheep which belonged to the goddess Ishtar my mistress, 200 oxen which belonged to the goddess Ishtar my mistress, 1,000 . . . -sheep, 1,000 spring lambs, 500 ayalu-deer, 500 deer, 1,000 ducks [i¸s¸sūrū- rabûtu], 500 ducks [usū], 500 geese, 1,000 wild geese, 1,000 qaribu-birds, 10,000 pigeons, 10,000 wild pigeons, 10,000 small birds, 10,000 fish, 10,000 jerboa, 10,000 eggs, 10,000 loaves of bread, 10,000 jugs of beer, 10,000 skins of wine, 10,000 containers of grain [and] sesame, 10,000 pots of hot . . . , 1,000 boxes of greens, 300 [containers of] oil, 300 [containers of] malt, 300 [containers of] mixed raqqatu-plants, 100 [containers of] kudimmus, 100 [containers of] . . . , 100 [containers of] parched barley, 100 [containers of] ubuhšennu-grain, 100 [containers of] fine billatu, 100 [containers of] pomegranates, 100 [containers of] grapes, 100 [containers of] mixed zamrus, 100 [containers of] pistachios, 100 [containers of] . . . , 100 [containers of] onions, 100 [containers of] garlic, 100 [containers of] kunipb ˇus, 100 bunches of turnips, 100 [containers of] biˇnbiˇnu-seeds, 100 [containers of] giddū, 100 [containers of] honey, 100 [containers of] ghee, 100 [containers of] roasted abšu-seeds, 100 [containers of] roasted šu’u-seeds, 100 [containers of] karkartu-plants, 100 [containers of] tiatu-plants, 100 [containers of] mustard, 100 [containers of] milk, 100 [containers of] cheese, 100 bowls of m-ïzu-drink, 100 stuffed oxen, 10 homers of shelled dukdu nuts, 10 homers of shelled pistachios, 10 homers of . . . , 10 homers of h ˇabbaququ, 10 homers of dates, 10 homers of titip, 10 homers of cumin, 10 homers of sahūnu, 10 homers of . . . , 10 homers of andahšu, 10 homers of šišanibu, 10 homers of simberu-fruit, 10 homers of h ˇašú, 10 homers of fine oil, 10 homers of fine aromatics, 10 homers of . . . , 10 homers of na¸s¸sabu-gourds, 10 homers of zinzimmu-onions, 10 homers of olives; when I consecrated the palace of Kalach, 47,074 men [and] women who were invited from every part of my land, 5,000 dignitaries [and] envoys of the people of the lands Suhu, Hindanu, Patinu, Hatti, Tyre, Sidon, Gurgumu, Malidu, Hubushkia, Gilzanu, Kumu, [and] Musasiru, 16,000 people of Kalach, [and] 1,500 zar-ïqū of my palace, all of them—altogether 69,574 [including] those summoned from all lands and the people of Kalach—for ten days I gave them food, I gave them drink, I had them bathed, I had them anointed. [Thus] did I honour them [and] send them back to their lands in peace and joy.
Documents 5-8 Background: Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire in 550 BCE. Under Darius the Great, the empire reached its height and stretched from Eastern Europe, across parts of Africa, the Middle East, and to the Indus River Valley. It is
considered by many historians to be the world’s first superpower. It was known for not only its sheer size, but also the success of its leaders in creating one united government despite the diversity of its many subjects.

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