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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

The Sargon Vase


The Sargon Vase


Height: 8.500 cm
Diameter: 6.200 cm (at handles)

ME 90952


This unique glass jar was discovered in the nineteenth century by the excavator Henry Layard. Although it comes from the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC), it actually dates to a later period. A cuneiform inscription on it reads: 'Palace of Sargon King of Assyria', hence its modern name. The inscription is accompanied by an engraving of a lion. The lion, often occurring with inscriptions of Sargon II (reigned 722-705 BC), is probably an official mark indicating that the article derives from or belongs to Sargon's palace or treasury.

The jar has no close parallels either in Assyria or in neighbouring areas. It may be of Phoenician origin, and the cuneiform inscription may have been added for its new Assyrian owner.

Glass vessels are known in the ancient Near East from as early as the second millennium BC. They were made by building glass up around a clay core, which was afterwards removed. By the time this jar was produced however, glass vessels were being cast, probably by the lost wax technique, and then finished by grinding and polishing.

On display: Room 55: Mesopotamia