Paul Emile Botta

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser

"Systematic explorations in Assyria may be said to have been inaugurated in 1843 by Paul-Emile Botta (French vice-consul residing at Mosul), at Kuyunjik (site of ancient Ninive), and at Khorsabad." - Catholic Encyclopedia: Oriental Study and Research: Assyro-Babylonian Research

Paul Emile Botta

Paul Emile Botta and Assyria

In 1841 Paul Emile Botta became famous for his discovery of Sargon's Palace in the ruins of ancient Khorsabad. He was appointed the Consular Agent in the city of Mosul, which was an Ottoman province in Mesopotamia. He was part of a secret project to discover the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Botta began excavating at the mounds of Kuyunjik, and later moved the excavators to another mound which he thought to be Nineveh, but turned out to be ancient Khorsabad, the capital of king Sargon II. He found Sargon's magnificent palace which was over 25 acres square (Nearly 1 mile square). His Assyrian shipments were brought to the Louvre in France. One large shipment sunk at sea and was lost after several attempts to recover it.

"Botta's discoveries aroused the whole archaeological and historical world with enthusiasm. A tremendous impulse was given to the study of the Orient. The French government, highly gratified at the surprising success of its consul, supplied him with ample means for further research. With enthusiastic efforts and energy Botta prosecuted his discoveries until he succeeded in revealing what afterward proved to be the palace of the great Sargon (722-705 B. C.), probably the most magnificent palace the world has ever seen, covering an area of more than twenty-five acres."

- The Monuments and the Old Testament: Oriental Light on Holy Writ by Ira Maurice Price - 1907