Greenstone seal

Akkadian, about 2250 BC
From Mesopotamia

Belonging to the servant of a prince

This seal dates to a time when much of Mesopotamia was united under the control of the rulers of Agade (Akkad). The struggle between wild animals and heroes was a popular design on seals of this period. It is a standard Mesopotamian theme, representing the symbolic struggle between divine order and chaotic savagery.

The inscription records the name of the owner but it is not clear; it possibly reads Amushu or Idushu. He is described as the servant of Bin-kali-sharri, a prince. The seals of two of his other servants are also known. Bin-kali-sharri was one of the sons of Naram-Sin, king of Agade (Akkad) (reigned 2254-2218 BC).

Naram-Sin was the grandson of Sargon (reigned 2334-2279 BC), the founder of the Akkadian dynasty. The kings of the dynasty expanded their control beyond their city state of Agade through military conquest. A major building at Tell Brak in north-eastern Syria has been found with bricks stamped with the name of Naram-Sin, testifying to the extent of Akkadian control. Naram-Sin was succeeded by another son, Shar-kali-sharri (2217-2193 BC). After Shar-kali-sharri's reign a period of instability helped to bring the empire to an end.

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More information

Bibliography

D. Collon, Catalogue of the Western Asi-1 (London, 1982)

Dimensions

Height: 4.100 cm
Diameter: 2.770 cm (max.)

Museum number

ME 136842

WCO24300

Location

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