Sardanapalus (särdənăpˈələs) [key], in the Persica of Ctesias, an Assyrian monarch who lived in great luxury. He was besieged in Nineveh by the Medes for two years, at the end of which time he set fire to his palace and burned himself and his court to death. Byron wrote a tragedy on the theme. The identity of Sardanapalus is a complete mystery, as the facts given in the legend certainly do not fit those of the life of Assurbanipal, with whom some have tried to identify him.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.