Who was Ashurbanipal? – The British Museum Blog: Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847–1928), The Diversion of an Assyrian King. Oil on canvas, 1878.
As part of his military training, the young crown prince was taught to drive chariots, ride cavalry horses, and develop skills such as archery. He also learnt how to hunt lions. In Assyria lion hunting was a royal ‘sport’. Although this perhaps seems cruel to modern eyes, killing lions represented the king’s ability to protect his nation against all that was wild and dangerous in the world.