Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bonus 56 - Nebuchadnezzar II’s Brick

Baked brick fragment referring to Nebuchadnezzar II, with part
of an inscription that states: "Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
provider for Esagila and Ezida, eldest son of Nabopolassar, king
of Babylon". Exhibit in the Oriental Institute Museum, University
of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Public Domain
Ancient kings often used inscribed baked bricks1  in their constructions that would include the name, titles and patronymic names of the King. One such ceramic brick bears the name of Nebuchadnezzar II in cuneiform and was excavated by Robert Koldeway from the south-east corner of the southern citadel (Kasr) in the city of Babylon in 1900–1901.2.  It is one of the earliest stamps of Nebuchadnezzar (604–561 BC), and is now on display in Room 6 of the Museum of the Ancient Near East, Pergamum Museum, Berlin (VA 3862).
Quotes from Antiquity

It is translated as:
"King of Babylon, fosterer of Esagilaand Ezida, son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon."3.
Other inscribed bricks have been identified for several Babylonian rulers such as Nabopolassar, Sardanapalus, Esarhaddon (ME 90248), Sennacherib (ME 90210), Sargon II (Vat. cat. 15025)..and Cyrus (ME 118362) 4.  Similar bricks are on display in the British Museum (ME 90081) and the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago (OIM A2502).

1. Koldeway identified three kinds of stamps used to produce the bricks: terra cotta pottery, wood moulded in sand to produce a bronze cast and stone cut moulds. Robert Koldewey, The Excavations at Babylon, trans. Agnes S. Johns (New York, N.Y.: MacMillan & Co., 1914), 75–76.
2. Ibid., vi.
3. Ibid., 75.
4. Ibid., 79–80.