"on which paper-thin Assyrian animals cavorted"

Assyria was a kingdom in Mesopotamia whose rulers managed to establish several empires during the pre-Christian period.

Art work produced during the later stages of the Assyrian civilisation (1500BC-612BC) includes carved stone relief work, often depicting animals; lions and horses were particularly popular choices of subject.

 

Assyrian relief carving depicting a royal lion hunt (645-635 BC)
Public DomainAssyrian relief carving depicting a royal lion hunt (645-635 BC) - Credit: Capillon, Wikimedia Commons