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The Sun God Tablet

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    91000

  • Title (object)

    • The Sun God Tablet
  • Description

    Limestone tablet: the scene sculptured in relief at the head of the tablet represents Nabu-aplu-iddina being led by the priest Nabu-nadin-shum and the goddess Aa into the presence of the Sun-god, who is seated within Ebabbara. Before the god is the solar disc, resting upon an altar which is supported by ropes held by attendant deities, whose bodies spring from the roof of the shrine. In the field above the Sun-god, and within the shrine, are a lunar disc, a solar disc and an eight-pointed star, the symbols of Sin, Shamash and Ishtar. The god wears a horned headdress and carries the ringed rod in his right hand. The shrine is represented as resting on the heavenly ocean. The engraved text contains a record of Nabu-apla-iddina's re-endowment of the Sun-Temple at Sippar. The inscription is engraved in six columns, three upon the obverse and three upon the reverse; and the upper part of the obverse is occupied by a scene sculptured in low relief; the edges of the tablet are bevelled.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 860BC-850BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 29.21 centimetres
    • Width: 17.78 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        head of tablet
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) ṣal-lam (ilu)Šamaš bêlu rabû
        (2) a-šib E-babbar-ra
        (3) ša ki-rib Sippar(KI)
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) Image of Shamash, the great Lord
        (2) who dwells in Ebabbara,
        (3) which is in Sippar.
      • Inscription Comment

        Label.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        above sun-god
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) (ilu)Sin (ilu)Šamaš u (ilu)Ištar ina pu-ut apsî
        (2) ina bi-rit ili muš-ti-mi innadû(pl. u)
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) Sin, Shamash and Ishtar are set over against the heavenly ocean
        (2) within the divine judge.
      • Inscription Comment

        The label clearly refers to the position of the lunar disc, solar disc and eight-pointed star on the stone. They are clearly over against the heavenly ocean, since the scene rests on it; they are also represented as within the shrine of Shamash, who may be identified as 'ili muš-ti-mi'.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        adjacent to god
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1)agû (ilu)Šamaš
        (2) muš-ši do.
      • Inscription Translation

        Headdress of Shamash; rod of do.
      • Inscription Comment

        Label.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        column three
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) na-di-e parakkê(pl.)
        (2) uṣ-ṣur uṣurâti(pl.)
        (3) šul-lum parṣê(pl.)
        (4) u bil-lu-di-e
        (5) kun-ni sat-tuk-ki
        (6) šur-ru-uḫ nindabê(pl.)
        (7) bêlu rabû(u) (ilu)Marduk
        (8) ḫaṭṭa i-šar-ta
        (9) ri-ʾ-ut nišê(pl.) e-pi-ši
        (10) u-mal-lu-u ḳa-tuš-šu
        (11) (ilu)Šamaš bêlu rabû ša ištu ûmê(pl.)
        (12) ma-ʾ-du-ti
        (13) it-ti Akkadî(KI) ik-me-lu
        (14) is-bu-su ki-šad-su
        (15) ina palî (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (16) šar Bâbili(KI)
        (17) sa-li-ma ir-ši-ma
        (18) u-saḫ-ḫi-ra pa-ni-šu
        (19) u-ṣur-ti ṣal-mi-šu
        (20) ṣir-pu ša ḫa-aṣ-bi
        (21) šikin-šu u si-ma-ti-šu
        (22) ina e-bir-ti
        (23) (nâru)Pu-rat-ti
        (24) ša bal-ri erêb-Šamši
        (25) in-na-mir-ma
        (26) (m. ilu)Nabû-nadin-šum
        (27) šangû (alu)Sip-par (amêlu)barû
        (28) ina zêri (m.)E-kur-šum-ušabši(ši)
        (29) šangû (alu)Sip-par (amêlu)barû
        (30) uṣurti ṣal-mi šu-a-tum
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) to found shrines,
        (2) to fashion sculptured reliefs,
        (3) to preserve statutes
        (4) and ordinances,
        (5) to establish regular offerings,
        (6) to increase free-will offerings,
        (7) the great lord Marduk
        (8) with a righteous sceptre
        (9) to undertake the rule of the peoples
        (10) had invested,-
        (11) Shamash, the great lord,
        (12) who for many days
        (13) with Akkad had been angry
        (14) and had averted his neck,
        (15) in the reign of Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (16) the king of Babylon,
        (17) had mercy
        (18) and turned again his countenance.
        (19) A model of his image,
        (20) fashioned in clay,
        (21) his figure and his insignia,
        (22) on the opposite side
        (23) of the Euphrates,
        (24) on the western bank,
        (25) were found,
        (26) and Nabu-nadin-shum,
        (27) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
        (28) of the seed of Ekur-shum-ushabshi,
        (29) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
        (30) that model of the image
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        column one
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) (ilu)Šamaš bêlu rabû(u)
        (2) a-šib E-babbar-ra
        (3) ša ki-rib Sip-par(KI)
        (4) ša ina e-ša-a-ti
        (5) u dal-ḫa-a-ti ša (mâtu)Akkadû(KI)
        (6) (amêlu)Su-tu-u (amêlu)nakru lim-nu
        (7) u-saḫ-ḫu-u
        (8) u-ḫal-li-ḳu uṣurâti(pl.)
        (9) par-ṣu-šu im-ma-šu-ma
        (10) ši-kin-šu u simâti(pl.)-šu
        (11) i-na ḳâtâ(II) ip-par-šid-ma
        (12) la na-ṭil ma-na-ma
        (13) Si-im-maš-Ši-pak šar Bâbili
        (14) šikin-šu iš-ta-al-ma
        (15) pa-ni-šu la id-din-šu
        (16) ṣa-lam-šu u simâti(pl.)-šu
        (17) la i-mur-ma
        (18) ni-ib-ḫa ša pa-an (ilu)Šamaš
        (19) u-šat-ri-ṣa-am-ma
        (20) satukki-šu u-kin-ma
        (21) (m.)E-kur-šum-ušabši(ši)
        (22) šangû Sippar(KI)
        (23) (amêlu)barû u-ša-aṣ-bit
        (24) ina dannati u ḫu-šaḫ-ḫi
        (25) ša (ilu)Kaš-šu-u-nadin-akhi šarru
        (26) satukku šu-a-tum
        (27) ip-pa-ri-is-ma
        (28) ba-ṭil sur-ḳi-nu
        (29) ina E-ul-maš-šakin-šum šarri
        (30) (m.)E-kur-šum-ušabši
        (31) šangû Sip-par(KI) (amêlu)barû
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) Shamash, the great lord,
        (2) who dwells in Ebabbara,
        (3) which is in Sippar,
        (4) which during the troubles
        (5) and disorders in Akkad
        (6) the Sutu, the evil foe,
        (7) had overthrown,
        (8) and they had destroyed the sculptured reliefs,-
        (9) his law was forgotten,
        (10) his figure and his insignia
        (11) had disappeared,
        (12) and none beheld them.
        (13) Simmash-Shipak, king of Babylon,
        (14) sought for his figure,
        (15) but he did not reveal himself to him..
        (16) His image and his insignia
        (17) he did not find,
        (18) but the enclosure which is before Shamasht
        (19) he erected,
        (20) and he established his regular offerings,
        (21) and Ekur-shum-ushabshi,
        (22) the priest of Sippar,
        (23) the seer, he settled (there).
        (24) During the distress and famine
        (25) under Kashshu-nadin-akhi, the king,
        (26) those regular offerings
        (27) were discontinued,
        (28) and the drink-offering ceased.
        (29) In the reign of Eulmash-shakin-shum, the king,
        (30) Ekur-shum-ushabshi,
        (31) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
      • Inscription Comment

        Sketches the varying fortunes of the Temple of Shamash in Sippar; rites and offerings were periodically interrupted and images and symbols of the god were lost; during Nabu-apla-Idina's reign, a terracotta model of them was discovered on the far side of the Euphrates and taken to the king who commanded a new gold and lapis image; he also made a lavish grant to the priest who brought the model and confirmed and extended the priviledges of the temple; the tablet was discovered by Nabopolasser 250 years later, who placed it for safety, with his own name added, in a pottery box (displayed above in gallery).
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        column two
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) šarri bêli-šu im-ḫur-ma
        (2) gi-ni-e (ilu)Šamaš
        (3) ba-ṭil iḳ-bi-ma
        (4) 1 ḳa akâli(pl.) 1 ḳa kurunni
        (5) kurmat (amêlu)šak-ni ša E-sag-gil
        (6) ina libbi gi-ni-e (ilu)Bêl
        (7) a-na (ilu)Šamaš u-kin-ma
        (8) (m.)E-kur-šum-ušabši(ši)
        (9) šangû (alu)Sip-par
        (10) (amêlu)barû i-rim
        (11) ištên(en) kirû irṣit(it)
        (12) Alu-eššu(KI)
        (13) ša ki-rib Bâbili(KI)
        (14) a-na (ilu)Šamaš iddin-ma
        (15) pân (m.)E-kur-šum-ušabši(ši)
        (16) šangû Sip-par(KI) (amêlu)barû
        (17) u-šad-gil ar-ka-nu
        (18) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (19) šar Bâbili(KI)
        (20) ni-bit (ilu)Marduk
        (21) na-ram (ilu)A-nim u (ilu)Ea
        (22) mu-ṭib lib-bi (ilu)Ṣarpanitu
        (23) zi-ik-ru ḳar-du
        (24) ša ana šarru-ti as-mu
        (25) na-aš pit-pa-ni iz-zi-tim
        (26) sa-kip (amêlu)nakru lim-nu
        (27) (amêlu)Su-tu-u ša šur-bu-u
        (28) ḫi-ṭu-šu-un
        (29) ša ana tu-ur gi-mil
        (30) (mâtu)Akkadî(KI) šu-šub ma-ḫa-zi
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) went before the king, his lord,
        (2) and " The temple-offerings of Shamash
        (3) have ceased," he said;
        (4) and one 'ka' of flour and one 'ka' of sesame wine
        (5) the allowance of the director of Esagila,
        (6) from the temple-offerings of Bel
        (7) he appointed for Shamash,
        (8) and to Ekur-shum-ushabshi,
        (9) the priest of Sippar,
        (10) the seer, he granted them.
        (11) A garden in the district
        (12) of Alu-eshshu,
        (13) which is in Babylon,
        (14) he gave to Shamash,
        (15) and to Ekur-shum-ushabshi,
        (16) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
        (17) he entrusted it. At a later time
        (18) Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (19) the king of Babylon,
        (20) the elect of Marduk,
        (21) the beloved of Anu and Ea,
        (22) who rejoices the heart of Sarpanitu,
        (23) the valiant hero
        (24) who for kingship is well fitted,
        (25) who bears a terrible bow,
        (26) who overthrew the evil foe,
        (27) the Sutu,
        (28) whose sin was great,
        (29) whom to avenge
        (30) Akkad, to make cities habitable,
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        column four
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina[(na)]
        (2) šarri bêli-šu u-kal-lim-ma
        (3) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (4) šar Bâbili(KI)
        (5) ša epêš(eš) ṣal-mi šu-a-tum
        (6) ḳa-bu-šum-ma
        (7) šu-ud-gu-lu pa-nu-uš-šu
        (8) ṣal-mu šu-a-tum i-mur-ma
        (9) pa-nu-šu ir-ti-šu
        (10) i-te-li-iṣ
        (11) kab-ta-as-su
        (12) ana epêš(eš) ṣal-mi šu-a-tum
        (13) u-zu-un-šu ib-ši-ma
        (14) ina ni-me-ki ša (ilu)E-a
        (15) ina ši-pir (ilu)Nin-igi-nangar-bu
        (16) (ilu)Guškin-banda
        (17) (ilu)Nin-kur-ra (ilu)Nin-zadim
        (18) ina ḫurâṣi ru-uš-ši-i
        (19) (abnu)uknî ib-bi
        (20) ṣa-lam (ilu)Šamaš bêli rabî
        (21) ki-niš u-kan-ni
        (22) ina te-lil-ti
        (23) ša (ilu)E-a u (ilu)Marduk
        (24) ma-ḫar (ilu)Šamaš
        (25) ina E-kar-za-gin-na
        (26) ša kišâd (nâru)Pu-rat-ti
        (27) pi-šu im-si-ma
        (28) ir-ma-a šu-bat-su
        (29) niḳê bi-bil lib-bi
        (30) ša gumaḫḫê(pl.) paḳ-lu-ti
        (31) immerê marûti damḳûti
        (32) kab-ru-ti ik-ki-ma
        (33) ina dišpi karâni u upunti
        (34) u-daḫ-ḫi-da (iṣu)šigarê(pl.)
        (35) i-na u-mi-šu
        (36) ša (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (37) š[ar] Bâbili(KI)
        (38) lib-ba-šu iḫ-du-ma
        (39) im-me-ru zi-mu-šu
        (40) eli (m. ilu)Nabû-nadin-šum
        (41) šangû Sip-par(KI) (amêlu)barû
        (42) it-ru-ṣa bu-ni-šu
        (43) ina bu-ni-šu nam-ru-ti
        (44) zi-me-šu ru-uš-šu-ti
        (45) damḳâti(pl.) inâ(II)-šu ḫa-diš
        (46) ip-pa-lis-su-ma
        (47) 1 ḳa akâli(pl.)1 ḳa kurunni
        (48) gi-ni-e (ilu)Šamaš la-bi-ri
        (49) ga-du kirî
        (50) ša E-ul-maš-šakin-šum šarru
        (51) (m.)E-kur-šum-ušabši
        (52) šangû Sip-par(KI) (amêlu)barû
        (53) i-ri-mu
        (54) ina libbi akâli(pl.) kurunni
        (55) mirsi šêr alpi
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) to Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (2) the king, his lord, showed,
        (3) and Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (4) king of Babylon,
        (5) who the fashioning of such an image
        (6) had given him as a command
        (7) and had entrusted to him,
        (8) beheld that image
        (9) and his countenance was glad
        (10) and joyful was
        (11) his spirit.
        (12) To fashion that image
        (13) he directed his attention,
        (14) and through the wisdom of Ea,
        (15) with the craft of Nin-igi-nangar-bu,
        (16) Gushkin-banda,
        (17) Ninkurra, and Nin-zadim
        (18) with sumptuous gold
        (19) and bright lapis-lazuli
        (20) the image of Shamash, the great lord,
        (21) he carefully prepared.
        (22) With the rite of purification
        (23) of Ea and Marduk
        (24) before Shamash
        (25) in Ekarzagina,
        (26) which is on the bank of the Euphrates,
        (27) he washed his mouth,
        (28) and he took up his dwelling (there).
        (29) Offerings, the desire of the heart,
        (30) consisting of huge oxen
        (31) and fat sheep, pure
        (32) and of great size, he offered,
        (33) and with honey, wine and flour
        (34) he made the storehouses to abound.
        (35) At that time
        (36) the heart of Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (37) the king of Babylon,
        (38) rejoiced,
        (39) his countenance was bright;
        (40) upon Nabu-nadin-shum,
        (41) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
        (42) he turned his gaze.
        (43) With his bright gaze
        (44) and shining countenance
        (45) and gracious eyes joyfully
        (46) he looked upon him;
        (47) and one 'ka' of flour and one 'ka' of sesame-wine,
        (48) the ancient dues of Shamash,
        (49) together with the garden
        (50) which Eulmash-shakin-shum, the king,
        (51) to Ekur-shum-ushabshi,
        (52) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
        (53) had presented (he restored);
        (54) and from the flour, sesame-wine,
        (55) syrup,1 flesh of oxen,
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        column five
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) šêr immeri nûnê(pl.)
        (2) U-SAR(pl.) ša ana eš-ši
        (3) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (4) šar Bâbili(KI)
        (5) a-na (ilu)Šamaš (ilu)Aa
        (6) u (ilu)Bu-ne-ne
        (7) u-kin-nu a-ḫu ziti šarri
        (8) kurmat šangî ina immerê(pl.)
        (9) niḳê šarri ša kal šatti
        (10) (šêru)sûnu (šêru)mašku
        (11) (šêru)arkatu (šêru)buʾânê(pl.)
        (12) mi-šil (šêru)kar-ši
        (13) mi-šil (šêru)kir-bi
        (14) 2 (šêru)kur-sin-nu
        (15) diḳar (šêru)mê(pl.) šêri
        (16) ina niḳê alpê(pl.) u immerê(pl.)
        (17) ša ka-ri-bi
        (18) kîma pi-i an-nim-ma
        (19) ina libbi 5 išḳêti(pl.)
        (20) (amêlu)TU-E-u-tu
        (21) 2-TA išḳêti(pl.) akâli(pl.)
        (22) kurunni mirsi
        (23) šêr alpi šêr immeri
        (24) nûnê(pl.) U-SAR(pl.)
        (25) (amêlu)nâš-paṭru-u-tu
        (26) u u-na-at lib-bi
        (27) kîma pi-i 2 (amêlu)TU-E-LAL
        (28) ina gi-ni-e i-ṣi
        (29) u ru-ud-di-i
        (30) ina parṣi ali upunti
        (31) ka-ri-bu u mim-ma
        (32) šu-ru-ub-ti
        (33) E-babbar-ra
        (34) ma-[l]a ba-šu-u
        (35) a-ḫu [zit]ti šarri
        (36) kurmat (amêlu)[šan]gî
        (37) u 2-TA iš[ḳêti(pl.)]
        (38) kîma pi-i 2 (amêlu)TU-E(pl.)
        (39) ṣubâtu damḳu kalama
        (40) ša (ilu)Šamaš (ilu)Aa
        (41) u (ilu)Bu-ne-ne
        (42) . . . . . (ṣubâtu)pu-ul-ḫu
        (43) (ṣubâtu)kar-bit
        (44) (ṣubâtu)še-ri-ʾ-tu
        (45) (ṣubâtu)ḫul-la-nu
        (46) (ṣubâtu)ni-bi-ḫu
        (47) (ṣubâtu)ta-bar-ru
        (48) (šipâtu)ta-kil-tu
        (49) (ṣubâtu)kar-bit rabîtu
        (50) u te-lit ka-ri-bi
        (51) (arḫu)Nisannu ûmu 7(KAM)
        (52) (ṣubâtu)še-ri-ʾ-tu
        (53) (arḫu)Aaru ûmu 10(KAM)
        (54) (ṣubâtu)še-ri-ʾ-tu
        (55) (arḫu)Ululu ûmu 3(KAM) (ṣubâtu)kar-bit
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) flesh of sheep, fish,
        (2) and garden-produce, which anew
        (3) Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (4) the king of Babylon,
        (5) for Shamash, Aa,
        (6) and Bunene
        (7) appointed, the share pertaining to the king
        (8) (he set apart for) the priest's sustenance. Among the sheep,
        (9) the royal offerings for the whole year,
        (10) the loins, the skin,
        (11) the hinder-part, the muscles,
        (12) half the abdominal organs,
        (13) half the thoracic organs,
        (14) two knuckle-bones,
        (15) and a vessel of meat-broth,
        (16) from the offerings of cattle and sheep
        (17) of the sacrificial priest
        (18) (were divided) in accordance with the following list:
        (19) from five allowances
        (21) two allowances in flour,
        (22) sesame-wine, syrup,
        (23) flesh of oxen, flesh of sheep,
        (24) fish, and garden-produce,
        (25) (were assigned to) the company of "dagger-bearers,"
        (26) and furnishings therewith
        (27) corresponding to (the share of) two . . . . . -officials.
        (28) From the temple-dues, be they small
        (29) or great
        (30) by the decree of the city, the flour
        (31) of the sacrificial priest, and all
        (32) the tribute
        (33) of Ebabbara
        (34) there is,
        (35) the share pertaining to the king
        (36) is for the priest's sustenance,
        (37) and two allowances
        (38) corresponding to (the share of) two . . . . . -officials.
        (39) Festal garments of every kind,
        (40) for Shamash, Aa
        (41) and Bunene (he presented), viz.,
        (42).....a 'pulkhu'-garment,
        (43) a 'karbit'-ga.rment,
        (44) a 'sheriʾtu'-garment,
        (45) a laced garment,
        (46) a 'nibikku'-garment,
        (47) light purple wool,
        (48) dark purple wool,
        (49) a great 'karbit'-garment,
        (50) and the 'telit' of the sacrificial priest;
        (51) for the seventh day of Nisan
        (52) a 'sheriʾtu'-garment;
        (53) for tne tenth day of Iyyar
        (54) a 'sheriʾtu'-garment;
        (55) for the third day of Elul, a 'karbit-garment;
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Cuneiform
      • Inscription Position

        column six
      • Inscription Transliteration

        (1) (arḫu)Tašritu ûmu 7(KAM) (ṣubâtu)kar-bit
        (2) (arḫu)Araḫsamma ûmu 15(KAM)
        (3) (ṣubâtu)še-ri-ʾ-tu
        (4) (arḫu)Addaru ûmu 15(KAM) (ṣubâtu)kar-bit
        (5) napḫar 6 ṣubâtu damḳu ša kal šatti
        (6) na-dan-šarri
        (7) ša (ilu)Šamaš (ilu)Aa
        (8) u (ilu)Bu-ne-ne
        (9) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (10) šar Bâbili(KI)
        (11) (m. ilu)Nabû-nadin-šum
        (12) šangû Sip-par(KI) (amêlu)barû
        (13) arad-su i-rim
        (14) u ana paḳ-ri lâ base(e)
        (15) ik-nu-uk-ma
        (16) ana u-um ṣa-a-ti iddin[(n]a)
        (17) ina ka-nak dup-pi [š]u-[a-t]u
        (18) (m. ilu)Marduk-šum-ukîn
        (19) apil (m.)Ḫab-ban (amêlu)ka-lu
        (20) (m.)Ittabši(ši)-ilu
        (21) apil (m. ilu)E-a-ri-man-ni (amêlu)sukallu
        (22) (m. ilu)Marduk-tabik-zêri
        (23) apil (m.)Tu (?)-ba-laṭ-Ištar (amêlu)ša-ku
        (24) u (m. ilu)Marduk-bâlaṭ-su-iḳ-bi
        (25) apil (m.)Arad-(ilu)E-a
        (26) (amêlu)bêl paḫâti iz-zi-az-zu
        (27) Bâbilu(KI) (arḫu)Nisannu ûmu 20(KAM)
        (28) šattu 31(KAM) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (29) šar Bâbili(KI)
        (30) gab-ri (abnu)kunuk šarri
        (31) ša šip-ri-e-ti
        (32) man-nu ar-ku-u
        (33) ša ina ekalli šal-ṭiš
        (34) iz-za-az-zu-ma
        (35) ni-din-ti šarri
        (36) (ilu)Nabû-aplu-iddina(na)
        (37) u-paḳ-ḳa-ru-ma
        (38) ana ša-nim-ma i-šar-ra-ku
        (39) ina libbi akâli(pl.) nu-šur-ra-a
        (40) išakan-nu-ma ana piḫâti i-man-nu-u
        (41) lu-u ana ram-ni-šu utâr-ru
        (42) u ina mim-ma ši-pir limuttim(tim)
        (43) (abnu)narû šu-a-tu
        (44) a-ḫal-la-ḳu
        (45) amêlu šu-a-tum
        (46) ina a-mat (ilu)Šamaš (ilu)Aa
        (47) u (ilu)Bu-ne-ne
        (48) bêlê(pl.) purussi
        (49) ilâni(pl.) rabûti(pl.)
        (50) šum-šu liḫ-liḳ
        (51) lil-la-ḳit zêr-šu
        (52) ina un-ṣi u bubûti
        (53) na-piš-tuš liḳ-ti
        (54) lim-ḳut šal-mat-su-ma
        (55) ki-bi-ra a-a ir-ši
      • Inscription Translation

        (1) for the seventh day of Tisri, a 'karbit'-garment;
        (2) for the fifteenth day of Marcheswan
        (3) a 'sheriʾtu'-garment;
        (4) for the fifteenth day of Adar a 'karbit'-garment;
        (5) in all, six festal garments for the whole year,
        (6) the gift of the king
        (7) for Shamash, Aa
        (8) and Bunene,
        (9) Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (10) king of Babylon, presented
        (11) to Nabu-nadin-shum,
        (12) the priest of Sippar, the seer,
        (13) his servant;
        (14) and that there should be no suit for recovery,
        (15) he sealed it
        (16) and presented it for ever.
        (17) At the sealing of this document
        (18) Marduk-shum-ukin,
        (19) the son of Khabban, the priest,
        (20) Ittabshi-ilu,
        (21) the son of Ea-rimanni, the minister,
        (22) Marduk-tabik-zeri,
        (23) the son of Tubalat-Ishtar, the officer,
        (24) and Marduk-balatsu-ikbi,
        (25) the son of Arad-Ea,
        (26) the governor of the province, are present.
        (27) At Babylon, the twentieth day of the month Nisan,
        (28) the thirty-first year of Nabu-aplu-iddina,
        (29) king of Babylon.
        (30) Copy of the king's sealed document
        (31) of administration.
        (32) Whosoever in the future
        (33) into the palace as ruler
        (34) shall enter,
        (35) and the gift of King
        (36) Nabu-aplu-iddina
        (37) shall annul,
        (38) or shall present it to another,
        (39) or shall make deductions from the allowances,
        (40) or shall reckon it as the property of the governor,
        (41) or shall appropriate it for himself,
        (42) or by any evil act
        (43) this tablet
        (44) shall destroy,
        (45) as for that man,
        (46) by the command of Shamash, Aa
        (47) and Bunene,
        (48) lords of the decision,
        (49) the great gods,
        (50) may his name perish,
        (51) may his seed be destroyed,
        (52) through oppression and hunger
        (53) may his life come to an end,
        (54) may his corpse be cast aside
        (55) and may he have no burial!
  • Curator's comments

    In set with 1881,0428.33 (BM.91002). Moulded and cast; cast priced at 14 shillings by D. Brucciani (1910) and catalogued as "tablet sculptured in relief with a scene representing the worship of the Sun-god in the temple at Sippar, and inscribed with a record of the restoration of the temple, and particulars of the services to be held". The cast is listed as available in the British Museum Facsimile Service 'Catalogue of Replicas from British Museum collections' (n.d.), in the series "Boundary Stones and Memorial Tablets".The text of Nabu-aplu-iddina's tablet, may be summarized under the following nine sections:
    (i) Col. I, l. 1-Col. II, l. 17a: Sketch of the varying fortunes of Ebabbara (after its destruction by the Sutu), during the reigns of Simmash-Shipak, Kashshu-nadin-akhi, and Eulmash-shakin-shum.

    (ii) Col. II, l. 17b-Col. Ill, l. 10: The mission of Nabu-aplu-iddina and his defeat of the Sutu.

    (iii) Col. III, l. 11-Col. IV, l. 11 : The finding of a clay model 4 of the Sun-god's image on the western bank of the Euphrates.

    (iv) Col. IV, ll. 12-21 : The fashioning of a new image of the Sun-god, after the clay model, by the priest Nabu-nadin-shum, at Nabu-aplu-iddina's command.

    (v) Col. IV, ll. 22-34 : The installation of Nabu-nadin-shum.

    (vi) Col. IV, l. 35-Col. VI, l. 16 : Nabu-aplu-iddina's ordinances for the re-endowment of Ebabbara, (a) with regard to the maintenance of priests and officials (Col. IV, l. 47-Col. V, l. 38), and (b) in respect of festal garments (Col. V, l. 39-Col. VI, l. 13).

    (vii) Col. VI, ll. 17-29 : List of witnesses to the king's deed of gift, and date.

    (viii) Col. VI, ll. 30-31 : Description of the foregoing text in Sections vi and vii.

    (ix) Imprecatory clauses intended to prevent the violation of the deed or the destruction of the record.

    See now Woods, JCS 56 (2004) pp23-104. Original by Nabu-apla-iddina, reburied by Nabonidus.
    The tablet was found in an earthenware box or coffer (1881,0428.34.b (BM. 91004)). In the coffer with the tablet were two clay impressions of the sculptured relief (1881,0701.3422 (BM. 91001) and 1881,0428.33 (BM. 91002)), on the back of one of which, 1881,0428.33 (BM. 91002) is an inscription of Nabopolassar. On the sides of the coffer is an inscription in Neo-Babylonian characters, which reads 'ṣal-lam (ilu)Šamaš bêl Sippar(KI) a-šib-bi E-babbar-ra', "Image of Shamash, the lord of Sippar, who dwells in Ebabbara." It is clear that the coffer was made by Nabopolassar as a receptacle for the tablet. It has been assumed that the clay impressions of the sculptured scene were intended to protect the latter from injury. But it appears far more probable that Nabopolassar placed them in the coffer to enable some future ruler, in case the tablet should be broken, to restore the scene; in doing so he would have been influenced by the fact that Nabu-aplu-iddina was enabled to restore the Sun-god's missing statue from a clay model found on the bank of the Euphrates, as related on the tablet.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Woods 2004 bibliographic details
    • Slanski 2000 bibliographic details
    • Seidl 2001 bibliographic details
    • Slanski 2003 196-221 bibliographic details
    • Rassam H 1897a 402 and pls.facing pp.402 and 404 bibliographic details
    • De Meyer L 1980a no.60, pp.102-103 bibliographic details
    • King 1912a no.XXXVI, pp.120-27, pl.XCVIII f bibliographic details
    • British Museum 2011a p.186, cat.159 bibliographic details
    • Lippincott 1999 p.31, cat.019 bibliographic details
    • Zawadzki S 2006 pp. 140-152 bibliographic details
    • Barnett & Wiseman 1960a pp.40-41, no.18 bibliographic details
    • van Buren E D 1931a pp.61-62 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G55/dc2

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
    2009 Oct 25-2010 Jan 24, Germany, Oldenburg, Landesmuseum fur Natur und Mensch, 'Ex Oriente Lux?'
    2009 March 12-August 30, Italy, Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, 'Galileo: Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope'
    2008 26 Jun-5 Oct, Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum-Pergamonmuseum, 'Babylon, Myth and Truth'
    2008 14 Mar-2 Jun, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 'Babylon'
    1999 1 Dec-2000 24 Sep, London, The Queen’s House, The Story of Time

    Babylonian Room, table-case C

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1881

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    91000

  • Registration number

    1881,0428.34.a

  • Additional IDs

    • 12137 (old big no)
COMPASS Title: Tablet of Shamash

Unknown

COMPASS Title: Tablet of Shamash

Image description

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