Fragment of a stone stele dedicated by Itur-Ashdum

First Dynasty of Babylon, about 1760-1750 BC
Probably from Sippar, southern Iraq

King Hammurapi at worship

The cuneiform inscription states that a high official called Itur-Ashdum dedicated a statue of a lamma to the goddess Ashratum in her temple on behalf of King Hammurapi (reigned 1792-1750 BC). The figure carved to the left of the inscription may represent Hammurapi with his right arm raised in worship. According to the text Hammurapi would have been facing a figure of Ashratum across the inscription.

Hammurapi was a ruler of the kingdom of Babylon. In his twenty-ninth year he began a series of military campaigns that led to his taking control over all of southern Mesopotamia and extending briefly north to Nineveh on the River Tigris, and Mari on the middle Euphrates.

Hammurapi eventually destroyed Mari, and as a result the city's royal archives of cuneiform tablets were buried and preserved. They do mention Itur-Ashdum, as an official under king Zimri-Lim of Mari, in the period before Hammurapi expanded his kingdom. It is possible that this is the same man who set up this stele having entered the service of the Babylonian king.

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More information


J.E. Reade, Mesopotamia (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)

S. Dalley, Mari and Karana: two Old Babyl (London, Longman, 1984)

D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Height: 45.000 cm
Width: 40.640 cm
Thickness: 5.080 cm

Museum number

ME 22454


Excavated by Hormuzd Rassam


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