The Fire of Asshurnbanipal


This is just idle speculation, but

I'm sure some of you all have read the story, but for those that haven't, it is a Cthuhlu-esque tale written by REH and set in the 1930's. The two main characters discover a lost city in the arabian desert. Inside the city they discover a fabulous gem, the "Fire of Asshurnbanipal".

The gem is a great, ruby-like stone, strangely shaped and cut. The magician that stole the gem in ages past was called Xulthltan.

So is this gem supposed to be the Heart of Ahriman and was the ancient mage Xaltotun?

Just idly wondering, as I try to recover some sanity points at the end of a long day...
there's two versions of this story available , one with cthulhu mythos references and one written as a straightforward adventure story ( both versions by REH ) . Interesting thoughts though , could be good for a combined modern ( ish ) / flashback to the Conan era campaign , something I've always fancied trying , where a modern day prompt brings memories of past lives / racial memories out , something else REH was fond of . Could be a good sneaky way of introducing reluctant players to the Conan RPG .
"Fire of Asshurnbanipal".

Assheartburnwhat? Not the greatest of REH names
Anonymous said:
Assheartburnwhat? Not the greatest of REH names

It's not a Howard name. Its the name of a historical Assyrian king. He reigned sometime around 669-625 B.C. Here is some information about him, from

Asshurbanipal, Esarhaddon's successor, was undoubtedly the greatest of all Assyrian monarchs. For generalship, military conquests, diplomacy, love of splendor and luxury, and passion for the arts and letters, he has neither superior nor equal in the annals of that empire. To him we owe the greatest part of our knowledge of Assyrian-Babylonian history, art, and civilization. Endowed with a rare taste for letters, he caused all the most important historical, religious, mythological, legal, astronomical, mathematical, grammatical, and lexicographical texts and inscriptions known to his day to be copied and placed in a magnificent library which he built in his own palace. "Tens of thousands of clay tablets systematically arranged on shelves for easy consultation contained, besides official dispatches and other archives the choicest religious, historical, and scientific literature of the Babylonian-Assyrian world. Under the inspiration of the king's literary zeal, scribes copied and translated the ancient sacred classics of primitive Babylonia for this library, so that, from its remains, can be reconstructed, not merely the details of the government and adminitration of the Assyria of his time, but the life and thought of the far distant Babylonian world." (G.H. Goodspeed, Hist. of the Babylonians and Assyrians, pp. 315, 316.) Of this library, which must have contained over forty thousand clay tablets, a part was discovered by G. Smith and H. Rassam, part has been destroyed, and part yet remains to be explored. Here G. Smith first discovered the famous Babylonian accounts of the Creation and of Deluge in which we find so many striking similarities with the parallel Biblical accounts. Asshur-banipal was also a great temple-builder -- in Nineveh, Arbela, Tarbish, Babylon, Borsippa, Sippar, Nippur, and Uruk. He fortified Nineveh, repaired, enlarged, and embellished Sennacherib's palace, and built next to it another palace of remarkable beauty. This he adorned with numerous magnificent statues, sculptures, bas-reliefs, inscriptions, and treasures. Assyrian art, especially sculpture and architecture, reached during his reign its golden age and its classical perfection, while Assyrian power and supremacy touched the extreme zenith of its height; for with Asshurbanipal's death Assyrian power and glory sank into the deepest gloom, and perished presumably, to rise no more.

Asshurbanipal's military campaigns were very numerous. He ascended the throne in 668 B.C. and his first move was against Egypt, which he subdued, penetrating as far as Memphis and Thebes. On his way back, he exacted tribute from the Syrian and Phoenician kings, among whom was Manasses of Juda, who is expressly mentioned in one of the king's inscriptions. He forced Tyre to surrender, and subdued the Kings of Arvad, of Tabal, and of Cilicia. In 655, he marched against Babylonia and drove away from it a newly organized, but powerful coalition of Elamites, Chaldeans, and Arameans. He afterwards marched into the very heart of Elam, as far as Susa, and in a decisive battle he shattered the Elamite forces. In 625, Shamash-shum-ukin, Asshurbanipal's brother, who had been appointed by his father King of Babylonia, and who had till then worked in complete harmony with his brother, rebelled against Asshurbanipal. To this he was openly and secretly incited by many Babylonian, Elamite, and Arabian chiefs. Asshurbanipal, however, was quick to act. He marched against BabyIonia, shut off all the rebels in their own fortresses, and forced them to a complete surrender. His brother set fire to his own palace and threw himself into the flames. The cities and fortresses were captured, the rebels slain, and Elam completely devastated. Temples, palaces, royal tombs, and shrines were destroyed. Treasures and booty were taken and carried away to Assyria, and several thousands of people, as well as all the princes of the royal family, were executed, so that, a few years later Elam disappeared for ever front history. In another campaign, Asshurbanipal advanced against Arabia and subdued the Kedarenes, the Nabataeans, and a dozen other Arabian tribes, as far as Damascus. His attention was next attracted to Armenia, Cappadocia, Media, and the northwestern and northeastern regions. In all these he established his supremacy, so that from 640 till 626, the year of Asshurbanipal's death, Assyria was at peace. However, most scholars incline to believe that during the last years of the monarch's reign the Assyrian Empire began to decay.

Asshurbanipal is probably mentioned once in the Old Testament (I Esdras, iv, 10) under the name of Asenaphar, or, better, Ashenappar (Ashenappal) in connection with his deportation of many troublesome populations into Samaria. He is probably alluded to by the Second Isaias and Nahum, in connection with his campaigns against Egypt and Arabia. According to G. Brunengo, S.J. (Nabuchodnossor di Giuditta, Rome, 1886) and other scholars, Assuhrbanipal is the Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar) of the Book of Judith; others identify him with the Sardanapalus of greek historians. In view, however, of the conflicting characters of the legendary Sardanapalus and the Asshurbanipal of the cuneiform inscriptions, this last identification seems impossible. Besides, Asshurbanipal was not the last king of Assyria, as Sardanapalus is supposed to have been.