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There were several Assyrian kings named Assur-bani-pal, also spelled Asurbanipal, Assurbanipal (most commonly), Ashurbanipal and Ashshurbanipal, but the best known was Assurbanipal IV.

This king, whom the Greeks called Sardanapalo, reigned in the 8th century BC, ca. 668 - 625 BC. His reign denoted the time of the apogee of the Assyrian Empire. Assurbanipal ruled with an iron hand, crushing Egyptian insurrections as well as the one his own brother led against him in Babylon. He also conquered Elam, Phoenicia, Armenia and a great part of the Arab territories, and overcame the city of Susa. During his rule the Assyrian splendour was not only due to its military power but also to the culture and art. Ashurbanipal created a library at Nineveh in which he gathered all cuneiform literature available by that time, and made build several temples and monuments.