Mesopotamia 1500–539 BC (Room 55)

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery

The civilisations of Babylonia and Assyria flourished during the first millennium BC. Political developments resulted in the incorporation of the entire Near East into a single empire, while increased international contact and trade influenced the material culture of the region.

Room 55 traces the history of Babylonia under the Kassites and the growth of the Babylonian state and empire until it was taken over by the Persian King Cyrus in 539 BC.

“Boundary Stones” carved with images of kings and symbols of the gods record royal land grants. The development of the Assyrian state and empire, until its fall in 612 BC, is illustrated by objects excavated in its palaces. Mesopotamia’s highly-developed literature and learning are demonstrated by clay tablets from the library of King Assurbanipal (668-631 BC) at Nineveh, written in cuneiform script.