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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sardanapalus was, according to the Greek writer Ctesias of Cnidus, the last king of Babylon.

The death of Sardanapalus was the subject of an erotic painting by the 19th century French painter Eugène Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus, which was itself based on the play Sardanapalus by Byron, which in turn was based on Diodorus. Ernest Hartley Coleridge, in his notes on the works of Byron, states, "It is hardly necessary to remind the modern reader that the Sardanapalus of history is an unverified if not an unverifiable personage.... The character which Ctesias depicted or invented, an effeminate debauchee, sunk in luxury and sloth, who at the last was driven to take up arms, and, after a prolonged but ineffectual resistance, avoided capture by suicide, cannot be identified."

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