Library of Ashurbanipal
The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. It is a collection of 20,000 to 30,000 cuneiform tablets containing approximately 1,200 distinct texts. The materials were found in the archaeological excavation of ancient Nineveh, capital of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia. A first discovery was made in late 1849 in the so-called South-West Palace, which was the Royal Palace of king Sennacherib (705–681 BC). Three years later, Hormuzd Rassam, Layard's assistant, discovered a similar "library" in the palace of King Ashurbanipal (668–627 BC), on the opposite side of the mound. Unfortunately, no record was made of the findings, and soon after reaching Europe, the tablets appeared to have been finally mixed with each other and with tablets originating from other places. Thus, today there is almost no possibility to reconstruct the original contents of each of the two main "libraries".
So, King Ashurbanipal (ca. 668-627 B.C.) was the ruler of ancient Assyria at the height of Assyrian military and cultural power. Through military conquests Ashurbanipal also expanded Assyrian territory and its number of vassal states. Ashurbanipal was known as a successful martial commander. Ashurbanipal's intense interest in collecting divination texts was one of his driving motivations in collecting works for his collection. He sent scribes into every region of the Neo-Assyrian Empire to collect ancient texts and copy them, mainly from Babylonian sources. All findings were kept in the great library in the city of Nineveh.
The majority of the tablet corpus (about 6,000) included colloquial compositions in the form of legislation, foreign correspondences and engagements, aristocratic declarations, and financial matters. The remaining texts contained divinations, omens, incantations and hymns to various gods, while others were concerned with medicine, astronomy, and literature. For all these texts...