This fragment was part of a large terracotta plaque which depicts a bull in front of a tree. The cuneiform inscriptions on the bull's thigh mention that the plaque was dedicated by a man named Sin-Eriba to Gula, goddess of healing. From Mesopotamia, Iraq. 1100-900 BCE. (The British Museum, London).
This is a close-up image of the upper part of a copper figurine of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur. The lower half of this foundation figurine is not shown but it was inscribed with cuneiform inscriptions which mention that the figurine is dedicated to Inanna (Ishtar) and records the restoration of her temple at Uruk. Ur-Nammu depicts himself as a temple builder and carries... [continue reading]
The cuneiform inscriptions on this tablet mention the name of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur and founder of the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur. From the temple of Inanna at Uruk, southern Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. Neo-Sumerian period, 2112-2095 BCE.
This carved stone face probably belonged to a head of a sphinx. The Assyrian king Sennacherib ordered several colossal statues to be made in his new palace. Such giant statues were thought to have a supra-natural protective power. From the south-west palace at Nineveh (modern Ninawa Governorate, Iraq), northern Mesopotamia. 700-695 BCE. (The British Museum).
The cuneiform inscriptions mention that Enannatum, king of Lagash, reminds the gods of his prolific temple building achievements in the city of Lagash. From Girsu (modern-day Tell Telloh, Dhi-Qar Governorate, Iraq), Mesopotamia. Early dynastic period (early dynastic III), circa 2400 BCE. (The British Museum, London).
In this gypsum wall relief, the Assyrian king Sargon II, who holds a long staff, greets a high official (who still holds a sword at his side), in very close proximity, almost touching him. This official is probably his son, Sennacherib, the crown prince. From the palace of Sargon II at the city of Khorsabad (ancient Dur-Sharrukin), northern Mesopotamia. Iraq. Neo-Assyrian... [continue reading]
This gypsum relief, which depicts an archer, was part of a larger wall relief that demonstrates the Assyrian army and Sargon II's attack on the city of Amqaruna (Biblical Ekron) in central Palestine, probably in 720 BCE. The archer holds a bow and arrows and wears a loin-cloth with fringe; obviously he is not an Assyrian soldier (an enemy?). From the palace... [continue reading]
This gypsum wall relief of a protective spirit (sage) was found at the palace of Sargon II at the city of Khorsabad (ancient Dur-Sharrukin), northern Mesopotamia. Iraq. Neo-Assyrian period, 710-705 BCE. (The British Museum, London).
This partially broken clay tablet is the first tablet of Maqlu (Akkadian, which means burning), the Akkadian series of incantation. These spells were directed against demons and witches. The spells involved the manufacturer of wax figurines; these will then be burned in certain ceremonies. From the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (modern-day Ninawa Governorate... [continue reading]
Since very ancient inscriptions would often come to light during building and restoration work, Mesopotamian scribes possessed some understanding of the pictographic origin of their script. The text on this clay tablet is an attempt to provide contemporary characters with their original counterparts. From the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (modern-day... [continue reading]