This clay tablet is one of the episodes of the epic of creation. It narrates how god Anshar summons the gods together for a banquet. They celebrate god Marduk's appointment as champion; Marduk defeated Tiamat in the primeval chaos. From the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (modern-day Ninawa Governorate, Iraq), northern Mesopotamia. Neo-Assyrian period... [continue reading]
Occasionally, cuneiform text scribes encounter difficult or rare words. The list on this clay tablet explain such words. From the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (modern-day Ninawa Governorate, Iraq), northern Mesopotamia. Neo-Assyrian period, 7th century BCE. (The British Museum, London).
These two almost similar letter tablets were excavated at the city of Borsippa and were mailed from Nineveh. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal ordered his emplyees to find local copies of particular compositions, which the royal library at Nineveh lacks. The king's scribes could then write new copies in the Assyrian script. Neo-Assyrian period, 7th century... [continue reading]
This large and partially broken clay tablet tells us how Ishtar, goddess of love and war, decided to descend and enter the underworld. During her long journey, she was gradually stripped of her attributes, therefore, she lost all of her divine powers. She was pronounced dead by Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld. Ea, god of wisdom, eventually intervened... [continue reading]
This fragment of a clay tablet narrates in 17 lines of cuneiform inscription the origin of Sargon and recounts how as a baby he was found in a basket floating in a river. Sargon reigned from 2334-2279 BCE. From the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (modern Ninawa Governorate, Iraq), northern Mesopotamia. Neo-Assyrian period, 7th century BCE. (The British Museum, London).
A copper-alloy amulet of Pazuzu; the king of the demons of the wind. He has a human body, 4 wings, lion forepaws, vulture's feet, and rattle snake tail. Pazuzu is often depicted with his right hand pointing upward and left hand pointing downward. Very often, Pazuzu was depicted in amulets; he drives away other bad spirits and protects humans, although... [continue reading]
This is the 4th tablet of the story of Etana, which tells us how Etana was carried to Heaven on the back of an eagle. Etana did this long journey in order to find the plant of birth. He was a Sumerian king of Kish. This story is one of the few mythological motifs that can be recognized with confidence in the Mesopotamian art. Neo-Assyrian period, 7th century... [continue reading]
This limestone statue is the only discovered statue which depicts a completely naked woman. It is very likely that the statue represents an attendant of goddess Ishtar or Ishtar herself in her role as a goddess of love. The cuneiform inscriptions on the back of the statue mention that the Assyrian king ordered such statue to be erected for the enjoyment... [continue reading]
This black stone statue was found inside one of the palaces at Kar Tukulti-Ninurta (modern-day Tilul Al-Aqar, Salah Aldin Governorate, Iraq). Monkeys were imported to Mesopotamia from Africa or India; they are not native to Mesopotamia. Several Assyrian kings had the hobby of collecting exotic animals (either tribute or booty). Reign of the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta... [continue reading]
Only the upper half of this clay statue of a naked woman has survived. It represent a worshipper. Traces of red color (original paint) can still be seen. She has an elaborate hair style and wears a 4-strand necklace and broad bracelets. Date and site of excavation are unknown, but probably she was found in in a temple at the city of Isin (modern-day Ishan Al-Bahriyat... [continue reading]