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699-612 BCE

Mesopotamia / Kings /
Assyria / Kings /

Legendary king of Assyria, apparently the amalgamation of the 3 or 4 last rulers of Assyria: Ashurbanipal (669-ca. 631 BCE); Ashur-etil-ilani (ca. 631-ca. 627); and Sin-shar-ishkun (ca. 627-612). The historicity of his is highly questionable.
The background are the writings of the Greek 1st century BCE historian Diodorus Siculus, placing Sardanapalus as the last of 30 Assyrian rulers. In his account, Sardanapalus leads a decadent life, among which he dressed in women's clothes.
His role in becoming the last Assyrian ruler, is one where he first defeats armies of the Medes, Persians and Babylonians, only to be caught by the flood of the Euphrates river. Realizing that he was doomed, he orders a great pyre to be built in his palace, then having himself burnt to death together with the entire royal court.

By Tore Kjeilen