Collection online

stela

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    90837

  • Description

    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.

    More 

  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 554BC-539BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 58 centimetres
    • Width: 46 centimetres
    • Depth: 25 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        right side
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) ip-še-ti-ia damḳâti(pl.) ḫa-diš ip-pa-lis-ma
        (2) a-ra-ku ûmê(pl.) i-ki-ša-an-ni ina a-mat ilâni(pl.)
        (3) šar ilâni(pl.) (ilu)Adad sunnu u-ti-ra-am-ma
        (4) (ilu)E-a u-paṭ-ṭi-ra naḳ-bu-šu meš-ru-u
        (5) nu-uḫ-šu u ḫegallu ina mâti-ia iš-ku-un
        (6) 1 GUR 90 (ḳa)šeʾatu(?) a-na 1 šiklu kaspi 1 GUR 210 (ḳa) suluppu
        (7) [a]-na 1 šiklu kaspi 110 (ḳa) šamaššammu a-na šiklu kaspi
        (8) 30 (ḳa) šaman li-e a-na 1 šiklu kaspi 5 ma-na šipâti(pl.)
        (9) a-na 1 šiklu kaspi ištên(en) ma-na [ . . . . . ] a-na 1 šiklu kaspi
        (10) [karâ]nu (abnu)rêš šadî(i) ša ina ki-rib mâti-ia i-ṣa-a-nu
        (11) 30 (ḳa) karânu a-na 1 šiklu kaspi maḫiru ina ki-rib mâti-ia
        (12) [du-u]ḫ (?)-d[u (?)] u(?) meš-ru-u ina mâti-ia iš-ku-un
        (13) [ . . . . . . . . . . ] Akkadî(KI) i-piš-tu ilâni(pl.) ib-bal-kit
        (14) [ . . . . . . . . . . ]- . . . . rabîtu(tu) u (ilu)[ . . . . . ] šar ilâni(pl.)
        (15) [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ] u ša ri [ . . . . . . . . . . ] ib-ši (?)-ma
        (16) [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]
        [The rest of the text is wanting.]
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) My good deeds he beheld with joy,
        (2) and he gave me length of days. At the word of the gods
        (3) the king of the gods, Adad, brought back the rain,
        (4) and Ea opened his springs; wealth,
        (5) prosperity and abundance he established in my land.
        (6) One 'gur' and ninety 'ka' of grain (was sold) for one shekel of silver; one 'gur' and two hundred and ten 'ka' of dates
        (7) for one shekel of silver; one hundred and ten 'ka' of sesame-seed for one shekel of silver;
        (8) thirty 'ka' of . . . . .-oil for one shekel of silver; five manehs of wool
        (9) for one shekel of silver; one maneh of [ . . . . . ] for one shekel of silver.
        (10) The tops of the mountains in my land he filled with vines;
        (11) thirty 'ka' of wine for one shekel of silver was the price current in my land.
        (12) [Ful]ness and abundance in my land he established.
        (13) [ . . . . . . . . . . ] of Akkad, the work of (?) the gods, he crossed
        (14) [ . . . . . . . . . . ] the mighty [ . . . . . ], and [ . . . . . ], the king of the gods,
        (15) [ . . . . . . . . . . ] there was [ . . . . . ] and
        (16) [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]
        [ The rest of the text is wanting.]
        [The rest of the text is wanting.]
  • 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.

  • Bibliography

    • King 1912a no.XXXVII, p.128, pl.XCIIIf bibliographic details
    • British Museum 2011a pp.210-11, cat.190 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G55/dc7

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    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)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1825

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    90837

  • Registration number

    1825,0503.99

  • Additional IDs

    • 12149 (Registered as in Register 13/122)
    • R.99
Basalt stela of Nabonidus in traditional dress with religious objects in his hands; in front of him are divine 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.

Basalt stela of Nabonidus in traditional dress with religious objects in his hands; in front of him are divine 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.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: WCO26474

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...