Richmond students visit major exhibition at the British Museum – I am Ashurbanipal: King of the world, King of Assyria


On Saturday 24th November a group of students, accompanied by Neil Mackie, Teaching Fellow in History and American Studies at Richmond, went to see I am Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria, at the British Museum.  The trip was subsidised by Richmond’s Student Affairs team.

This major exhibition tells the story of Ashurbanipal  (r. 669–c. 631 BC), ‘the most powerful man on earth’, through the British Museum’s unparalleled collection of Assyrian treasures and rare loans.

Richmond student, Abi Kingsnorth, reflects on the trip:

Exhibits by the British Museum are always a great opportunity to see historical artefacts from all over the world, and the Ashurbanipal exhibit was no exception.

The Assyrian stone carvings are incredibly intricate and show a great deal about the strength and abilities of the Assyrians, and their love for lions.

The British museum had also set up projectors to show how the carvings may have been coloured, which made the carvings look even more impressive. 

The exhibit also included multiple letters and documents, hand carved in stone and clay in a miniscule size. It is almost unbelievable how small they were able to carve the writing and so precisely using only the naked eye!

The exhibit also addressed the saddening loss of historic artefacts in Mosul, Iraq, due to the takeover but Islamic State/Daesh. Many priceless Assyrian antiquities have been smashed but the British Museum has been training Iraqi historians to deal with the damage and attempt to restore and record objects and sites before they can be destroyed completely. It was nice to see that history is important to people across the world. 

We had a great time examining real historic artefacts and discussing the exhibit with other students and Neil; going with a group really brings the history to life!