An Assyrian Lamassu in London

The Myth Reading Group returns.

Wednesday 17 October 2018
5.00 – 6.30 pm
Room NTC.2.05

Lamassus from the North-West Palace (Room B, the Throne Room) of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, in modern-day Nineveh Governorate, Iraq. An eagle-headed Apkallus from the Ninruta Temple at Nimrud appears at the left and, above it, another human-headed Apkallu from the North-West Palace was placed. 9th century BC. The British Museum, London.

Lamassus from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. 9th century BC. Now in the British Museum. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Our founding director, Leon Burnett, opens the new year of myth-exploration. The topic for this term is Animals and Mythical Creatures.

In the build up to the Great Exhibition (1851), one of the landmark events of Queen Victoria’s reign, a massive mythological creature from Assyria, part bull and part human, was imported into London setting up an improbable encounter between a fallen empire and a thriving one. Dante Gabriel Rossetti – poet, painter, translator – was on hand to capture the moment and proffer an insight, in his poem ‘The Burden of Nineveh’, into this meeting of myth and materialism. In the opening session of the Myth Reading Group, we shall consider the context, then and now, of a lamassu in London.

Text: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ‘The Burden of Nineveh’ (1870)

Secondary material:

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