Saturday, May 12, 2018


Esarhaddon inscription, Tomb of
Jonah, Nineveh, Iraq. Photograph
Live Science, Public Domain.

Explorations on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq, in the ruins of The Tomb of Jonah, an ancient shrine that was blown up by ISIS (the so-called Islamic State) on July 24, 2014, in the ancient Iraqi city of Nineveh, revealed seven inscriptions that describe the rule of Assyrian king Esarhaddon. (Jarus 2018)

"Jonah, known as Yunus in the Koran, is a religious figure in Abrahamic religions most famous for the story of being swallowed by a 'giant fish,' or possibly a whale. The text says that he preached in the city of Nineveh, which was the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire" (Hugo 2018)

Mosque of the Prophet Yunus.
Photograph Voice of America,
Public domain.

When Iraqi forces reoccupied the ruins they discovered that ISIS had been tunneling beneath the mosque, presumably for artifacts that could be sold on the black market, one of their sources of income. The mosque, and the Tomb of Jonah, had been blown up by ISIS as one act in their campaign to eradicate what they perceive as idolatry and heresy.

Tunnels beneath the Mosque
of the Prophet Yunus.
Public domain.

Tunnels beneath the Mosque
of the Prophet Yunus.
Public domain.

"The seven inscriptions were discovered in four tunnels beneath the biblical prophet's tomb, which is a shrine that's sacred to both Christians and Muslims." (Jarus 2018)

"One inscription, in translation, reads: 'The palace of Esarhaddon, strong king, king of the world, king of Assyria, governor of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the kings of lower Egypt, upper Egypt and Kush.'" (Jarus 2018)

An inscription which was engraved on the back of a fallen Lamassu (a deity with a human head and the body of a bull or lion) reads in translation: "The palace of Ashurbanipal, great king, mighty king, king of the world, king of Assyria, son of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, descendant of Sennacherib, king of Assyria." (Jarus 2018)

Stele of Esarhaddon,
Public Domain.

"Another inscription found under the Tomb of Jonah says that Esarhaddon 'reconstructed the temple of the god Assur (the chief god of the Assyrians),' rebuilt the ancient cities of Babylon and Esagil, and 'renewed the statues of the great gods.' The inscriptions also tell of Esarhaddon's family history, saying that he is the son of Sennacherib (reign 704-681 B.C.) and a descendent of Sargon II (reign 721-705 B.C.), who was also 'king of the world, king of Assyria.'" (Jarus 2018)

Sennacherib is known to biblical scholars  because in the Christian bible the Second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 32, describes how the Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded Judah.

So, while the destruction of historically significant cultural properties should be lamented by all civilized humans, the resulting discovery has added to our knowledge of the early history of the Middle East, and that, at least, is a good thing.

NOTE: Images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.


Hugo, Kristin
2018 Ancient Tomb of Biblical Prophet Discovered in Iraq Contain Engravings Describing Brutal Assyrian Ruler, February 21, 2018, Newsweek,

Jarus, Owen
2018 Beneath Biblical Prophet's Tomb, an Archaeological Surprise, Live Science, Feb. 18, 2018,

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