The Death of Sardanapalus - Delacroix, 1827. Detail.
Sardanapalus, the last king of Assyria, was supposed to have lived in the 7th Century BC. He is portrayed by Greek writer Ctesias of Cnidus as a decadent figure who spends his life in self-indulgence and dies in an orgy of destruction. His legendary decadence later became a theme in literature and art, especially in the Romantic era.