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Nineveh’s Quick Collapse===
[[File: Delacroix_sardanapalus_1828.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left|1828 Painting “Death of Sardanapalus” By Eugene Delacroix Depicting the Fall of Nineveh]]
The stable and effective reigns of Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal were followed by a short period of instability that was brought forth by court intrigues. Ashurbanipal’s successor was the little documented Ashur-etel-ilani (ruled 627-623 BC), whose short reign led to a succession crisis in the Assyrian royal house. Important members of the nobility opposed Ashur-etel-ilani and eventually usurped the king in favor of a royal eunuch named Sin-shum-lishir (the years of his reign are imprecise). <ref> Kuhrt, Amélie. <i> The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 BC.</i> Volume 2. (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 541</ref> The succession problems in the Assyrian royal house contributed to the decline of their empire and that of their capital city of Nineveh, but the final blow came from outside Assyria.