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The East India House Inscription

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    129397

  • Title (object)

    • The East India House Inscription
  • Description

    Stone tablet; engraved cuneiform inscription; 10 + (obv) 72 (rev) 60-65 ll per col; side and edges 65 + 19 ll.

  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 604BC-562BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 56.51 centimetres
    • Width: 50.16 centimetres
    • Depth: 9.52 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Translation

        Extracts; 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the exalted prince, the favourite of the god marduk, the beloved of the god Nabu, the arbiter, the possessor of wisdom, who revernces their lordship, the untiring governor who is constantly anxious for the maintenance of the shrines of Babylonia and Borsippa, the wise, the pious, the son of Nabopolasser, king of Babylon','To Marduk, my lord I make supplication; Oh eternal prince, lord of all being, guide in a straight path the king whom thou lovest and whose name thou hast proclaimed as was pleasing to thee. I am the prince, the favourite, the creature of thy hand. Thou hast created me and entrusted me with dominion over all people. According to thy favour lord, which thou dost bestow on all people, cause me to love thy exalted lordship. Create in my heart, the worship of your divinity, and grant whatever is pleasing to thee because thou hast my life','By thy command, merciful Marduk, may the temple I have built endure for all time and may I be satisfied with its splendour; in its midst may I attain old age, may I be sated with offspring; therein may I receive the heavy tribute of all mankind; from the horizon of heaven to the zenith, may I have no enemies; may my descendents live therein forever and rule over the people'.
      • Inscription Comment

        Describes religious devotion and civic achievements of Nebuchadnezzar including his many building works in Babylon and Borsippa including his great temples of E-Sagila and E-Zida, various smaller temples, the city walls and royal palaces in Babylon.
  • Curator's comments

    Found among the ruins of Babylon before 1803 and eventually presented to the Museum of the East India House; it has since been known as the East India House Inscription. 1 R 53 says, "... a slab found at Babylon and presented by Sir Harford Jones Bridges, then Resident at Baghdad, to the Museum of the East India House."
    S. A. Pallis, The Antiquity of Iraq, p. 45, "reached London in 1801."
    Bezold, Bab.ass. Literatur, p. 127, "presented by H. Jones to Sir Hugh Inglis."

    Another version of this inscription existed in the Arthur M. Sackler Collection and was published by R. Wallenfels: "A New Stone Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II", 'From the Banks of the Euphrates: Studies in Honor of Alice Slotsky' (Indiana 2008), pp.267-318. It was offered for sale through Christie's in New York on 8 June 2012 (lot 48) but was not sold.

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  • Bibliography

    • Ball 1887a bibliographic details
    • Rawlinson H C & Norris E 1861a pls. 53-58 and 59-64 (copy) bibliographic details
    • Langdon S H 1912a pp. 120-140, no. 15 bibliographic details
    • Ball 1888a pp. 87-129 (transliteration and translation) bibliographic details
    • British Museum 2011a pp.190-91, cat.164 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G55/dc5

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2013 22 June-2014 6 Jan, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
    2013 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
    2012 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
    2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
    2008 13 Nov-2009 15 Mar, BM, G35, 'Babylon: Myth and Reality'
    2008 26 Jun-5 Oct, Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum-Pergamonmuseum, 'Babylon, Myth and Truth'
    2008 14 Mar-2 Jun, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 'Babylon'
    1990 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.13
    1990 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.13

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1938

  • Acquisition notes

    Reported to Trustees 26 March 1938; donation on condition that a plaster cast be transferred to the Indian Museum in Calcutta with any necessary costs being borne by The British Museum. The cast that was despatched was one that was formerly on display in the Babylonian Room (90847). The original inscription was deposited by the India Office on 20 May 1938.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    129397

  • Registration number

    1938,0520.1

  • Additional IDs

    • 90847 (Cast Number)
    • EIH (siglum)
COMPASS Title: The East India House Inscription

Unknown

COMPASS Title: The East India House Inscription

Image description

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