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Abbael’s Gift of Alalakh (AT 1) (2.127)

(500 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary This Old Babylonian text from Alalakh Level VII records the background behind the gift of the city of Alalakh as a reward for military efforts. Gifts of lands and towns are also reported in Joshua 13 where, as in  AT 1, they serve as a recollection of past events. See also Joshua 20 and 21 and the towns of asylum and of the Levites, both of which are presented as gifts of towns from the tribes to these groups. A similar gift of towns appears in  AT 456. Bot…

Nur-Adad (2.99B)

(159 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary A Sumerian clay cone records Nur-Adad’s construction of Enki’s abzu temple at Eridu. Nur-Adad (2.99B) ( 1–3) [For] the god En[ki], lord of Eridu, [his] lord, ( 4–8) Nur-[Adad], mighty man, provider of Ur, king of Larsa, subduer of the foreign land for the god Utu, ( 9–16) when he had restored Ur and Larsa, had resettled their scattered people in their residence, their captive people … the foundation tru[ly …

Karnak, Campaign From Sile to Pa-Canaan, Year 1 (2.4A)

(1,857 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary To celebrate his northern wars, about 1294/85 bce, Sethos I placed three registers of scenes on either side of the north doorway into the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak temple in Thebes. On the east side, the registers read from bottom to top (normal in the New Kingdom), but the top register is lost. On the west side opinions differ as to whether one should read als…

The Calaḫ Annals (2.117A)

(2,314 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary In the final years of Tiglath-pileser’s reign,1 the royal scribes composed what became the final “full” edition of his Annals, made up of seventeen palû’s (or regnal years). This edition was inscribed between two registers of reliefs on stone slabs already in place decorating the walls of Tiglath-pileser’s palace at Calah (Nimrud). However, the palace was…

Nabonidus (2.123)

(33 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary The Sippar Cylinder of Nabonidus Nabonidus’ Rebuilding of E-lugal-galga-sisa, The Ziggurat of Ur Nabonidus (2.123)

The Cylinder Inscription (2.118H)

(238 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary Discovered at Khorsabad, the text is inscribed on four barrel cylinders (two in the Louvre at Paris and two in the British Museum in London). The inscription commemorates the founding of Sargon’s new capital at Dūr-Šarrukīn. The Cylinder Inscription (2.118H) ( lines 19–20)1 (Sargon) who subjugated the extensive land of Bīt-Ḫumria (Israel), who inflicted a decisive defeat on Egypt at Rap…

The Amman Theatre Inscription (2.26)

(240 words)

Author(s): Aufrecht, Walter E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Ammonite Inscriptions Commentary This two-line inscription is on a fragmentary, triangular, black basalt stone measuring × cm at its widest. The surface of the stone is rough and pitted. A word divider in the form of a short stroke is found between the first and second words. The inscription is in the Archaeological Museum, Amman, Jordan (No. J 11686).1 It has been dated paleographically to the late 6th century bce.2 The Amman Theatre Inscripti…

Summary Inscription 9–10 (2.117F)

(983 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary The text is written on a large, very fragmentary clay tablet1 (18.4 cm wide) which was recovered in excavations at Nimrud in 1955. The reverse of the tablet preserves narrations of Tiglath-pileser’s Levantine campaigns, arranged geographically and set off by rulings across the surface of the tablet. Summary Inscription 10 (K 2649),2 following Tadmor’s designation (1994:180), is a tiny fragment (2.×.…

Ur-dukuga (2.97)

(258 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary A Sumerian cone inscription of Ur-dukuga, the thirteenth king of the Isin I dynasty (who reigned ca. 1830–1828 bce), records the construction of a temple of the god Dagan in the royal city of Isin. Dagan was an important Mesopotamian and West Semitic deity with major cult centres at ancient Tuttul (modern Tell Biʿa near the junction of the Euphrates and Balih rivers) and Terqa (m…

The Tomb Biography of Ahmose of Nekheb (2.1)

(2,678 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Ahmose, the son of Baba and Abena, was a highly decorated naval officer from ancient Nekheb. In his tomb biography, he offers one of the most important historical witnesses to the rise of the 18th Dynasty. His distinguished career lasted from the reign of King Ahmose (1550–1525 bce) into that of Thutmose I (1504–1492 bce). Most significantly, his references to the battles against Avaris remain the only surviving…

Larsa Dynasty (2.LARSA)

(92 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary The city of Larsa (modern Sinkara) struggled with Isin for hegemony over the land of Sumer and Akkad in early Old Babylonian times. The site has been dug by a series of French expeditions in 1933–34 and 1967 (directed by A. Parrot), 1969–70 (directed by J.-Cl. Margueron) and since 1970 (directed by J.-L. Huot). The names of fourteen kings of the Larsa dynasty are known; they reigned from ca. 2025–1763 bce. Larsa Dy…

The Aswan Dedicatory Inscription (2.41)

(731 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Aramaic Dedicatory Inscriptions Commentary Usually known as the Aswan sandstone stela, this six-line building dedication inscription (Cairo J. 36448) was published by de Vogüé in 1903 ( TAD D17.1). It is 44.2 cm wide (frontally), 27.5 cm high and 12.5 cm thick (in depth) and is engraved in cursive script whose proximate forerunners are attested in a clay tablet of 571/570 bce (Louvre AO 21063; SSI 2:116–117; cf. the letters aleph, beth, h…

Neo-Babylonian Inscriptions (2.AK.A.5)

(308 words)

Author(s): Beaulieu, Paul-Alain
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions Commentary After the fall of the Assyrian Empire at the end of the 7th century bce, power shifted back to Babylon, whose rulers inherited most of the territories formerly ruled by the kings of Assyria. During this relatively short but brilliant period (626–539 bce) the kings of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty embellished their capital with numerous architectural wonders. They also extensively rebuilt the temples of Babylonia,1 which had been left in a …

Bilingual Edict of Ḫattušili I (2.15)

(2,623 words)

Author(s): Beckman, Gary
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Edicts and Proclamations Commentary The reign of one of the earliest Hittite Great Kings, Ḫattušili I, was plagued by dissension within his own family, culminating in several plots against his rule by members of the younger generation. In this document, which is presented in both Hittite and Akkadian in parallel columns,1 Ḫattušili justifies his disinheritance of one adopted son, Labarna, and the nomination of another, Muršili, as successor …

A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46)

(197 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This well-preserved inscription on a white limestone block is particularly important historically because of the detailed chronological synchronism it gives. It comes from the site of Tell esh-Shuqafiya in the eastern delta of lower Egypt and is dated to 34 bce.1 The Nabataeans were active in Egypt and have left many inscriptions there. A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46) Dedication ( lines 1–4a)…

The Sarcophagus Inscription of ʾEshmunʿazor, King of Sidon (2.57)

(1,796 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary This black basalt sarcophagus, manufactured in Egypt and imported to Phoenicia, was found in 1855 in a shallow, rock-cut tomb in the Sidonian necropolis. After a false start on the head of the coffin itself, the stonecutter engraved the full inscription on the lid. ʾEshmunʿazor became king at the death of his father, Tabnit, in the mid-fifth century bce. He was an infant at the time of his accession and lived to reig…

Isin Dynasty (2.ISIN)

(104 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary Hegemony over the land of Sumer and Akkad eventually passed from Akkad (e) to Ur ( COS COSB.2.138–141) and from Ur to Isin with the collapse of the Ur III state ca. 2004 bce. Isin, the new center of power, was located at modern Ishan Baḥriyat. The site has been excavated since 1973 by an expedition of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft under …

Ibbi-Sin (2.141B)

(324 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary An inscription known from an Old Babylonian tablet copy deals with Ibbi-Sin’s fashioning of a golden šikkatu vessel (Sumerian BUR-ŠAGAN, Akkadian pūr šikkatu) “a large container used for the storage of oil” from gold that had been taken as booty from Susa. An idea of the kind of motifs that may have decorated this vessel may be gained by studying the iconographic elements adorning Early D…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 2 (2.47B)

(783 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The second pithos from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, like the first, is decorated with a number of drawings, including a cow, an archer with his bow drawn, and a group of five human figures, standing with their hands extended as if in worship or supplication. The pithos also bears four separate inscriptions. First is a complete Hebrew abecedary, with the letters pe and ʿayin re…

Karnak, Campaign Against the Hittites (undated) (2.4E)

(1,318 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Originally, two whole registers on the west half of this wall dealt with northern wars of Sethos I: the bottom one, a clash with the Hittites, and the top one the king’s attack on Qadesh and Amurru. It is significant that the two are separated by a middle register that focuses on a wholly different locale — a war in the west with the Libyans. This suggests th…
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