People > Sennacherib


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Sennacherib was a prominent king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who reigned from 705 to 681 BCE. He is best known for his military campaigns, including his conflicts with the Kingdom of Judah and his interactions with ancient Egypt. Sennacherib’s reign was marked by efforts to consolidate and expand Assyrian power, as well as significant building projects, particularly in Nineveh. Here is an overview of Sennacherib and his interactions with ancient Egypt:


  1. Neo-Assyrian Empire:

    • The Neo-Assyrian Empire was one of the most powerful empires of the ancient Near East, known for its military might, administrative efficiency, and cultural achievements.
    • Sennacherib succeeded his father Sargon II and continued his policies of expansion and consolidation.
  2. Early Reign:

    • Sennacherib faced several challenges at the beginning of his reign, including rebellions in Babylonia and the need to secure Assyrian dominance over subject territories.

Military Campaigns

  1. Campaigns in the Levant:
    • Sennacherib conducted multiple campaigns in the Levant to reassert Assyrian control over rebellious states and to counter the influence of Egypt in the region.
    • One of his most famous campaigns was against the Kingdom of Judah in 701 BCE, which is well-documented in both Assyrian records and the Bible.

Interactions with Ancient Egypt

  1. Egyptian Support for Rebellions:

    • Egypt, during the 25th Dynasty (Kushite Dynasty), often supported rebellions against Assyrian rule in the Levant. This included providing military aid and forming alliances with local rulers.
    • The Egyptian pharaoh Shebitku, and later Taharqa, were particularly active in supporting anti-Assyrian coalitions.
  2. Campaign against Judah (701 BCE):

    • In response to a rebellion led by King Hezekiah of Judah, who was supported by Egypt, Sennacherib launched a major military campaign to subdue the revolt.
    • Sennacherib's army laid siege to Jerusalem and captured several cities in Judah, including Lachish. However, Jerusalem itself was not captured.
    • According to biblical accounts (2 Kings 19, Isaiah 37), a miraculous event (often interpreted as a plague or divine intervention) forced Sennacherib to withdraw from Jerusalem. Assyrian records do not mention the specific reason for the withdrawal but do claim a successful campaign.
  3. Battle of Eltekeh:

    • During the same campaign, Sennacherib faced an Egyptian-Canaanite coalition at the Battle of Eltekeh. He defeated the coalition, demonstrating Assyria’s military superiority.
    • This victory curtailed Egyptian influence in the region and reaffirmed Assyrian dominance.
  4. Diplomatic Maneuvering:

    • Sennacherib's interactions with Egypt were not limited to military engagements. He also engaged in diplomatic efforts to manage relations and mitigate Egyptian interference in the Levant.
    • These efforts included alliances, treaties, and possibly attempts at securing favorable terms with local rulers to undermine Egyptian support.

Building Projects and Cultural Contributions

  1. Reconstruction of Nineveh:

    • One of Sennacherib’s most notable achievements was the reconstruction and expansion of Nineveh, the Assyrian capital. He transformed Nineveh into a magnificent city with extensive walls, palaces, temples, and gardens.
    • The “Palace Without Rival” was one of his grandest projects, featuring elaborate reliefs depicting his military campaigns and achievements.
  2. Irrigation and Infrastructure:

    • Sennacherib also focused on improving infrastructure, including the construction of canals and aqueducts to enhance irrigation and water supply in Nineveh and surrounding areas.


  1. Historical Significance:

    • Sennacherib’s reign is significant for his military campaigns, particularly his conflicts with Egypt and the Kingdom of Judah, and his ambitious building projects in Nineveh.
    • His efforts to consolidate Assyrian power and mitigate Egyptian influence in the Levant had lasting impacts on the region’s political dynamics.
  2. Assyrian Records and Biblical Accounts:

    • The Assyrian annals, including the Prism of Sennacherib, provide detailed accounts of his campaigns and achievements. These records, along with biblical accounts, offer a comprehensive view of his interactions with Egypt and the Levant.
    • The differing perspectives in Assyrian and biblical records highlight the complexities of historical interpretation and the multifaceted nature of Sennacherib’s legacy.
  3. Cultural and Architectural Legacy:

    • Sennacherib’s transformation of Nineveh set new standards for urban development and monumental architecture in the ancient Near East. His innovations in infrastructure and city planning influenced subsequent rulers and civilizations.


Sennacherib was a powerful and influential king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who reigned from 705 to 681 BCE. His reign was marked by significant military campaigns, including conflicts with Egypt-supported coalitions in the Levant and the famous siege of Jerusalem. Sennacherib’s interactions with ancient Egypt were characterized by both military confrontation and diplomatic efforts to limit Egyptian influence. His ambitious building projects, particularly the reconstruction of Nineveh, left a lasting legacy in Assyrian architecture and urban planning. Sennacherib’s reign significantly impacted the geopolitical landscape of the ancient Near East, solidifying Assyrian dominance and shaping the region’s history.

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