Height: 56.510 cm
Width: 50.160 cm
Thickness: 9.520 cm
Presented by H.M. Secretary of State for India
The East India House Inscription
Neo-Babylonian dynasty, about 604-562 BC
From Babylon, southern Iraq
The religious devotion and building works of Nebuchadnezzar II
After the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC to the armies of Media and Babylonia, the Neo-Babylonian Empire eventually stretched from the border of Egypt to the Gulf. The Neo-Babylonian dynasty was founded by Nabopolassar (625-605 BC), but it was his son, Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC), who was mainly responsible for this expansion. He rebuilt the capital city on a grand scale to glorify his reign and the supreme god of Babylon, Marduk. He rebuilt the great temples called Esagila and Ezida, along with various smaller temples, the city walls and royal palaces in Babylon.
The chief building material was mud-brick, and baked bricks, some of which were glazed. It has been estimated that 15 million baked bricks were used in the construction of official buildings. Today, Babylon has disappeared, except for some remains which cover some 850 hectares (2100 acres). The city may have originally been twice that size.
This stone block with finely carved cuneiform was found in the ruins of Babylon before 1801, when it was presented to the representative of the East India Company in Baghdad, hence its modern name. It records Nebuchadnezzar's wish to glorify Marduk through his many building works in the capital and the nearby city of Borsippa.
R.F. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian litera (London, D. Appleton and Co., 1901)
D.J. Wiseman, Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon (London, Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, 1985)