Babylonian clay tablets

Babylonian clay tablets

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Babylonian clay tablets
Dates: 560-527 B.C.
Quantity: 0.6 Linear feet (1 folder, 1 card box)
Coll. Number: ms1348

Biographical/Historical Note

"The ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Hittites wrote on tablets made from water-cleaned clay. Although these writing bricks varied in shape and dimension, a common form was a thin quadrilateral tile about five inches long. While the clay was still wet, the writer used a stylus to inscribe it with cuneiform characters. By writing on every surface in small characters, he could copy a substantial text on a single tablet. For longer texts he used several tablets, linking them together by numbers and catchwords as is done in modern books."--"Publishing, History of" from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-28599 (Viewed January 28, 2010)

Nergal-shar-usÌĐur (called Neriglissar in classical sources), one of the last kings of Babylonia, 559-556 B.C.--From the New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1997.

"Nabonidus, also spelled Nabu-Na'id ("Reverer of Nabu") king of Babylonia from 556 until 539 BC, when Babylon fell to Cyrus, king of Persia. After a popular rising led by the priests of Marduk, chief god of the city, Nabonidus, who favoured the moon god Sin, made his son Belshazzar coregent and spent much of his reign in Arabia. Returning to Babylon in 539 BC, he was captured by Cyrus' general Gobryas and exiled."--"Nabonidus" from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9054607 (Viewed January 28, 2010)

"Cyrus II, born 590-580 BC, Media, or Persis [now in Iran], died c. 529, Asia, by name Cyrus The Great, conqueror who founded the Achaemenian empire, centred on Persia and comprising the Near East from the Aegean Sea eastward to the Indus River. He is also remembered in the Cyrus legend - first recorded by Xenophon, Greek soldier and author, in his Cyropaedia - as a tolerant and ideal monarch who was called the father of his people by the ancient Persians. In the Bible he is the liberator of the Jews who were captive in Babylonia."--"Cyrus II" from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9028433 (Viewed January 28, 2010)

"Cambyses II, flourished 6th century BC, Achaemenid king of Persia (reigned 529-522 BC), who conquered Egypt in 525; he was the eldest son of King Cyrus II the Great by Cassandane, daughter of a fellow Achaemenid. During his father's lifetime Cambyses was in charge of Babylonian affairs. In 538 he performed the ritual duties of a Babylonian king at the important New Year festival, and in 530, before Cyrus set out on his last campaign, he was appointed regent in Babylon."--"Cambyses II" from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9018784 (Viewed January 28, 2010)

"Babylonia [was an] ancient cultural region occupying southeastern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern southern Iraq from around Baghdad to the Persian Gulf). Because the city of Babylon was the capital of this area for so many centuries, the term Babylonia has come to refer to the entire culture that developed in the area from the time it was first settled, about 4000 BC. Before Babylon's rise to political prominence (c. 1850 BC), however, the area was divided into two countries: Sumer in the southeast and Akkad in the northwest."--"Babylonia" from Encylopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9011620 (Viewed January 28, 2010)

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is in southwestern Asia on the Caspian and Arabian seas and the Persian Gulf. Area: 1,638,057 sq km (632,457 sq mi). Pop. (est., excluding about 1.6 million Afghan refugees): 61,271,000. Cap.: Tehran. Monetary unit: Iranian rial, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a fixed rate of 3,000 rials to U.S. $1 (4,742 rials = ℗Đ1 sterling). Rahbar (spiritual leader) in 1995, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei; president, Hojatolislam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani."--"Iran" from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9112761 (Viewed January 28, 2010)

"During ancient times, the lands now comprising Iraq were known as Mesopotamia ("Land Between the Rivers"), a region whose extensive alluvial plains gave rise to some of the world's earliest civilizations, including those of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, and Assyria. This wealthy region, constituting much of what is called the Fertile Crescent, later became a valuable part of larger imperial polities, including sundry Persian, Greek, and Roman dynasties, and after the 7th century became a central and integral part of the Islamic world. Iraq's capital, Baghdad, became the capital of the 'Abbasid Caliphate in the 8th century. The modern nation-state of Iraq was created following World War I (1914-18) from the Ottoman provinces of Baghdad, Al-Basrah, and Mosul and derives its name from the Arabic term used in the premodern period to describe a region that roughly corresponded to Mesopotamia ('Iraq 'Arabi, "Arabian Iraq") and modern northwestern Iran ('Iraq 'ajami, "foreign [i.e., Persian] Iraq")."--"Iraq" from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9106326 (Viewed January 28, 2010)


Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of 15 Babylonian clay tablets; eight of these have been authenticated by Edgar J. Banks and deciphered enough to approximate their subject matter. They are: 1.) Found at Warka, a contract tablet bearing the name of Nergalsharezer (Neriglissar), King of Babylon, 562 B.C., and dated in the second year of his reign, or in 560 B.C.; 2.) Found at Warka, a contract tablet bearing the name of Nabonidus, the last Semitic king of Babylon, 556-538 B.C., and the father of the Biblical Belshazzar, dated in the seventh year of his reign, 549 B.C.; 3.) Found at Warka, a contract tablet bearing the name of Cyrus, the first Persian king of Babylon, 538-529 B.C., the tablet is dated in the seventh year of his reign, 531 B.C.; 4.) Found at Warka, a contract tablet bearing the name of Cambyses, son of Cyrus, King of Babylon, 529-522 B.C., and dated in the second year of his reign, 527 B.C.; 5.) From Drehem, the tablet was first written and then sealed with a cylindrical seal to prevent any alteration in the writing; 6.) From Drehem, a list of objects presented to the temple; 7.) From Drehem, it is a part of the temple records of that city and related to objects presented to the temple for sacrificial purposes, it comes from one of the early kings of the Ur dynasty; 8.) From the temple at Johka, a part of the temple records, it is dated on the bottom edge. The other tablets are as of now undeciphered, but still form an interesting record of a vanished culture.


Index Terms

Antiquities (object genre)
Babylonia--Kings and rulers.
Cambyses, II, King of Persia, d. 522 B.C.
Clay tablets--Specimens.
Cyrus, King of Persia, d. 529 B.C.
Drehem (Extinct city)
Drehem (Extinct city)--Religion.
Iran--Antiquities.
Iran--Kings and rulers.
Iraq--Antiquities.
Nabonidus, King of Babylonia, 6th cent. B.C.
Neriglissar, King of Babylonia, d. 556 B.C.
Sacrifice--Iraq--Drehem (Extinct city)
Tablets.
Temples--Iraq--Drehem (Extinct city)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Babylonian clay tablets, 560-527 B.C. MS 1348. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.


Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is available by special permission only. Please contact Head of Manuscripts Dept. for further inquiry.


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 
BoxFolder
11Clay tablets