Ancient Near East: Inscriptions
Babylonian Clay Tablets, with cuneiform inscriptions
Samples of Babylonian Clay Tablets, with cuneiform inscriptions, dating from 2350 B.C. These tablets are original temple receipts. [Florida State Univ.]
Cuneiform Inscription on a smal Babylonian clay tablet
An expert working at the British Museum has confirmed the existence of an important Biblical figure after deciphering a cuneiform inscription on a small Babylonian clay tablet.
Austrian Assyriologist Dr Michael Jursa made the breakthrough discovery confirming the existence of a Babylonian official mentioned in the Old Testament and connected to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
The clay document is dated to the 10th year of Nebuchadnezzar II (595 BC) and names the official, Nebo-Sarsekim. According to chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he was present at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC with Nebuchadnezzar himself.
Cuneiform Inscriptions of the University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota owns nineteen artifacts inscribed in cuneiform, the script of ancient Mesopotamia. This collection, which is kept in Special Collections and Rare Books at the Elmer L. Andersen Library, comprises sixteen clay tablets, two clay cones, and one inscribed and sealed clay tag. These documents include sixteen administrative records from various cities of Sumer in the Ur III period (late 3rd millennium BCE), and three short royal inscriptions from the cities of Isin and Uruk in the early Old Babylonian period (early 2nd millennium BCE). Most of the texts were published four decades ago by Tom B. Jones, then professor of ancient history at the University of Minnesota, and John W. Snyder. They are now made available to the public in new editions, including transliterations, translations, and photographs, through digital media.
In the late fourth and third milleniums B.C. a people called the Sumerians began to develop a writing system called "cuneiform" ("wedge-shaped"), written on wet clay with a sharpened stick, or stylus. At first the Sumerians used a series of pictures ("pictograms") to record information having to do with business and administration, but went on to develop a system of symbols that stood for ideas and later sounds (usually syllables). In the later stages of Sumerian writing there were about 600 signs that were used on a regular basis.
Darius the Great: Naqš-i Rustam inscription
Darius I (Old Persian Dârayavauš): king of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king Gaumâta, fought a civil war (described in the Behistun inscription), and was finally able to refound the Achaemenid empire, which had been very loosely organized until then. Darius fought several foreign wars, which brought him to India and Thrace. When he died, the Persian empire had reached its largest extent. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.
Darius was buried at Naqš-i Rustam. The double inscription on his tomb (see picture) reads as follows:
Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar
The reign of Nebuchadnezzar extended from B.C. 604 to 561. In B.C. 598 he laid siege to Jerusalem (2 Kings xxiv.) and made Jehoiachin prisoner, and in 588 again captured the city, and carried Zedekiah, who had rebelled against him, captive to Babylon (2 Kings xxv.). Josephus gives an account of his expeditions against Tyre and Egypt, which are also mentioned with many details in Ezek. xxvii.-xxix.
The name Nebuchadnezzar, or more accurately Nebuchadrezzar (Jer. xxi. 2, 7, etc.), is derived from the Jewish Scriptures. But in the inscriptions it reads Nebo-kudurri-ussur, i.e., "may Nebo protect the crown"; a name analogous to that of his father Nebo(Nabu)-habal-ussur. ("Nebo protect the son") and to that of Belshazzar, i.e., "Bel protect the prince." The phonetic writing of Nebuchadnezzar is "An-pa-sa-du-sis," each of which syllables has been identified through the syllabaries. The word "kudurri" is probably the (Hebrew - KeTeR) of (Page 251) Esther vi. 8, and the (Greek - kidaris) of the Greeks. The inscriptions of which a translation follows was found at Babylon by Sir Harford Jones Bridges, and now forms part of the India House Collection. It is engraved on a short column of black basalt, and is divided into ten columns, containing 619 lines.
Write Like a Babylonian
see your monogram in cuneiform, the way an ancient Babylonian might have written it. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
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