Height: 17.500 cm
Width: 10.600 cm
Thickness: 3.500 cm
Room 55: Mesopotamia
Stone tablet of Nabu-apla-iddina
Babylonian, about 870 BC
From Sippar, southern Iraq
The restoration of some land
This stone tablet is a copy of a deed recording the restoration of certain lands by the Babylonian king Nabu-apla-iddina to a priest of the same name. On the top of the stone are 13 symbols of the gods designed to protect the legal statement. Both the king, wearing the typical Babylonian royal hat, and the priest, who has hand raised in salute, are shown on the obverse with labels identifying them. The cuneiform text dates the deed to the 20th year of Nabu-apla-iddina's reign and says it was sealed with the royal seal in Babylon in the presence of five high officials.
The ninth century BC was marked by a recovery after terrible problems of the preceding hundred and fifty years when Aramaean tribes raided the Babylonia. The cities of Uruk and Nippur were sacked, and the temples of Sippar so thoroughly destroyed that the cult ceased. The line of kings on the Babylonian throne was now relatively stable and Nabu-apla-iddina was able to restore the divine image of Shamash to his temple in Sippar. To add to the peaceful conditions a treaty with the northern kingdom of Assyria had been drawn up in 891 BC, cemented by a dynastic marriage between the two royal families.
L.W. King, Babylonian boundary stones and (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1912)