Hidden under the biblical prophet Jonah’s tomb in the ancient city of Nineveh, now modern-day Iraq, archaeologists have discovered tunnels that hold seven clay tablets from 2,700 years ago, which tell stories of the Assyrian “King of the World,” Esarhaddon.
The tablets were found buried along four separate tunnels which had been dug by ISIS, or those affiliated with the organization, beneath the hallowed shrine of Jonah in a location which has long been a revered site for Muslims and Christians alike.
As ISIS were in control of this region from June, 2014, to January, 2017, looters made their way to the tomb and dug the tunnels hoping to find ancient treasures left behind by the Assyrians. Fortunately for archaeologists, many items were still left behind, including the remnants of a palace.
Stone statues can still be seen here, as well as various murals with depictions of bulls on them that were created out of white marble, according to the Daily Mail. But perhaps the most exciting find of all was the cuneiform tablets left behind by those who wrote endearingly of King Esarhaddon, proclaiming him as king of the entire ancient world, as Live Science report.
These tablets spoke of the location under Jonah’s tomb as being “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.”
— Live Science (@LiveScience) February 19, 2018
At one point in time, being the leader of Kush also meant that you controlled Egypt, and having defeated Kush, it was King Esarhaddon’s decision to personally appoint other rulers to look after Egypt.
Another cuneiform tablet reveals that Esarhaddon had strong feelings about bringing back the worship of Assyrian god Aššur, and even went so far as to reconstruct “the temple of the god Aššur and rebuilt the ancient cities of Babylon and Esagil,” while at the same time saying that he had also “renewed the statues of the great gods.”
In the past, archaeologists have explored other inscriptions found around the tomb of Jonah, and between the years 1987 to 1992, they found one clay tablet in the shape of a prism which described the military prowess of King Esarhaddon of Nineveh, characterizing him as “the one who treads on the necks of the people of Cilicia.”
It used Esarhaddon’s own words, proclaiming himself as one who “surrounded, conquered, plundered, demolished, destroyed and burned with fire twenty-one of their cities together with small cities in their environs.” This particular cuneiform tablet specifically addresses the king’s happy conquest of the city of Sidon, which is now a part of Lebanon. Those who chose to defy the might of Esarhaddon during this battle were ceremoniously tossed into the Mediterranean Sea.
Biblical prophet’s tomb blown up by Isis reveals the inscribed remains of a once opulent palace https://t.co/c3tqNH8zih
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) February 23, 2018
With only a small number of cuneiform tablets having been found in the past which relate to King Esarhaddon’s life during this period of time in Nineveh, the recent discovery of these ancient writings found in tunnels under the biblical tomb of Jonah are sure to be studied for a long time to come.