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Σαρδανάπαλος). The last king who reigned over the Assyrian Empire of Nineveh. The account given of him by Ctesias asserts that he passed his time in his palace unseen by any of his subjects, dressed in woman's apparel, and surrounded by concubines. At length Arbaces, satrap of Media, and Beletys, the noblest of the Chaldaean priests, resolved to renounce allegiance to such a monarch, and advanced at the head of a formidable army against Nineveh. But all of a sudden the effeminate prince threw off his luxurious habits and appeared an undaunted warrior. Placing himself at the head of his troops, he twice defeated the rebels, but was at length worsted and obliged to shut himself up in Nineveh. Here he sustained a siege for two years, until at length, finding it impossible to hold out any longer, he collected all his treasures, wives, and concubines, and placing them on an immense pile which he had constructed, set it on fire, and thus destroyed both himself and them. The enemies then obtained possession of the city. This is the account of Ctesias, which has been preserved by Diodorus Siculus and which has been followed by most subsequent writers and chronologists (see Diod.ii. 21; Syncell. p. 359; C. D. xviii. 21), and has been taken as the subject of a very spirited dramatic fragment by Lord Byron entitled Sardanapalus. The death of Sardanapalus and the fall of the Assyrian Empire were placed B.C. 876. Modern writers however have shown that the whole narrative of Ctesias is mythical, and must not be received as genuine history. It is contradicted by the statements in Herodotus and the Christian writers. Sardanapalus is to be identified with the King Ashurbanipal, of whom many cuneiform records survive, and who made two successful expeditions against Egypt (B.C. 670-650); but was defeated in B.C. 646, when Cyaxares, King of Media, and the governor of Babylon took Nineveh and destroyed it, Sardanapalus perishing in the flames. See Bezold's Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Kougunjik Collection in the British Museum, 3 vols. (1889-93); and the article Assyria.

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