- Museum number
Basalt stela: rounded at the top, and bearing on its obverse the figure of a king and astronomical symbols (the star of Ishtar-Venus, the winged disc of the sun god Shamash and the crescent of the moon god Sin; the latter is the largest, showing supremity), sculptured in relief within a sunk panel. The king wears a conical headdress and a fringed garment, which reaches to the ankles. In his right hand, which is raised, he holds a short cylindrical object, and with his left hand he supports a ringed staff or standard with its end resting on the ground. The standard has nine or ten rings, or bands, around the lower part of the shaft, and six rings round the upper part; the central part of the shaft, where it would be grasped by the hand, is without rings. The symbol it supported is now broken, but its outline resembles a small crescent. The symbols are carved in the upper field of the panel; the blank space below at one time bore an inscription, but it has been rubbed down and the surface prepared for a new record. A portion of the text, which was engraved on the right-hand side of the stele, has only been partially rubbed down, and the characters may still be deciphered. It is an inscription of a Babylonian king, and recounts how the gods put an end to a period of drought in consequence of the king's good deeds. To indicate the extraordinary prosperity of his country after the return of the rain, the king gives details with regard to the prices at which grain, dates, sesame-seed, wool, and wine changed hands. In each case the amount is stated, which could be bought for a shekel of silver. The edge of the reverse is chamfered off. The lines of the inscription on the right-hand side extend from the edge of the obverse to the edge of the reverse across this chamfered face.
- Production date
Height: 58 centimetres
Width: 46 centimetres
Depth: 25 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Nabonidus was the last Neo-Babylonian ruler; this stela shows his devotion to Sin, the moon god, who he saw as supreme, thus downgrading other gods which caused offence.
- On display (G55/dc7)
- Exhibition history
2013-2014 22 June-6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, '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'
1989 28 May-27 Aug, Germany, Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Europa und der Orient : 800-1900 (Ex Oriente Lux)
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 12149 (Registered as in Register 13/122)
Miscellaneous number: R.99