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Austen Henry Layard is best known as the excavator of Nimrud and of Nineveh, where he uncovered a large proportion of the Assyrian palace reliefs known, and in 1851 the library of Ashurbanipal. The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Assyrian Empire, is a collection of thousands of clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC. Among its holdings was the famous Epic of Gilgamesh.

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In this work, Layard describes his experiences upon his return to the region for a second expedition.

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Cover image: Babylonian lion from the Ishtar Gate, collection of the Louvre. Cover designed by Availle. This design is in the public domain.