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Step Gate of the Armory

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Jamie Novotny
Contributors: Jeffrey Becker
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Feb 10, 2018 09:10 AM History
Nineveh's western wall had seven (or eight) gates: the Armory Gate (later Step Gate of the Armory) was the fifth gate from the northern city wall. The Neo-Assyrian king Sennacherib constructed it and gave it the Akkadian ceremonial names Pāqidat-kalāma ("The One Who Regulates Everything") and Lū-dāri-bānûša ("May Its Builder Live Forever").

36.348673, 43.158599

unlocated, gate (of a city), city gate


The gate is mentioned in Akkadian inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian king Sennacherib dating to 697-691 B.C. Texts written between 697 and 695 B.C. state that it was the third and last gate of the western stretch of wall; an inscription dated to mid-694 B.C. reports that it was the fourth and penultimate western city gate; and a text from 691 B.C. records that it was the eighth gate of the ten north- and west-facing gates. By 691 B.C., it was the fifth gate south from the northwest corner of Nineveh.

In inscriptions dating to 697-694 B.C., the everyday name of the gate was abul ēkal māšarti ("Armory Gate") and its ceremonial name was Pāqidat-kalāma ("The One Who Regulates Everything"). Sometime between mid-694 and early 691 B.C., the common and ceremonial names of the gate were changed to mušlālum ēkal māšarti ("Step Gate of the Armory") and Lū-dāri-bānûša ("May Its Builder Live Forever") respectively. The name change presumably reflects the fact that Sennacherib had rebuilt the new and improved armory on top of a high, mud-brick terrace. Moreover, it is possible that the location of the gate also moved at that time. The Armory Gate that is mentioned in texts dating to 697-694 B.C. might have been located about 200 m south of the old armory, while the Step Gate of the Armory that is named in a text from 691 B.C. is thought to have been located at the northwest corner of the armory. By early 691 B.C., the former Armory Gate had become the Barhalzi Gate.

Part of the Step Gate of the Armory may have been excavated. A row of limestone orthostats carved with men leading horses discovered near in the northwest corner of Nebi Yunus is thought to have belonged to a passageway that connected the armory to the Step Gate of the Armory. The gate, although not securely identified in the archaeological record, was probably located about 2,600 m from the northwestern corner of Nineveh, as suggested by Corona satellite imagery (1967-68) and an aerial photography of Nineveh taken in 1929. The mound under which the gate lies is clearly visible in a photograph of the northwest corner of Nebi Yunus taken in 1927 or 1928. 

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Jamie Novotny, and Jeffrey Becker, 'Step Gate of the Armory: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2018 <> [accessed: 25 February 2024]

            {{cite web |url= |title=Places: 130506468 (Step Gate of the Armory) |author=Novotny, J. |accessdate=February 25, 2024 11:07 am |publisher=Pleiades}}