TOWER OF BABEL BRICK

MS 1815/1
MS Short Title TOWER OF BABEL BRICK
Text TOWER OF BABEL BRICK NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF BABYLON, GUARDIAN OF THE TEMPLES ESAGILA AND EZIDA, FIRSTBORN SON OF NABOPOLASSAR, KING OF BABYLON
Description Blockprint in blind in Neo Babylonian on clay, Babylon, 604-562 BC, 1 brick, 33x33x9 cm, single column, (11x15 cm), 7 lines in cuneiform script blindprinted into the wet clay, within a lined rectangle, prior to baking.
Context Bricks with this inscription were found during the excavation of the great Ziggurat. It stands just north of Esagila, the temple of Marduk, also mentioned in the inscription.
Commentary The ziggurat in Babylon was originally built around the time of Hammurabi 1792-1750 BC. The restoration and enlargement began under Nabopolassar, and was finished after 43 years of work under Nebuchadnezzar II, 604-562 BC. It has been calculated that at least 17 million bricks had to be made and fired. Babylon with the ziggurat was captured by Kyros 538 BC, Dareios I 519 BC, Xerxes ca. 483 BC, and entirely destroyed by Alexander I the Great 331 BC. It is this tall stepped temple tower which is referred to in Genesis 11:1-9, and became known as "The Tower of Babel". The bricks are specifically mentioned in Genesis 11:3: "Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire. - For stone they used bricks and for mortar they used bitumen". The black bitumen is still visible on the back of the present baked brick. These bricks are considered so important and interesting that British Museum had their copy on exhibit with special handout descriptions, from where parts of the present information is taken. For a stele illustrating The Tower of Babel, see MS 2063. Nebuchadnezzar II was the founder of the New Babylonian empire. He captured Jerusalem in 596 and 586 BC, burnt down the temple and all of Jerusalem, carried its treasures off to Babylon, and took the Jews into captivity (2 kings 24-25). Nebuchadnezzar II is the king who is named more than 90 times in the Old Testament. Daniel 1-4 is almost entirely devoted to the description of his greatness and reign, his rise and fall, and submission to God.
Published Andrew George, ed.: Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection, Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology, vol. 17, Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection, Cuneiform texts VI. CDL Press, Bethesda, MD, 2011, text 79, p. 181, pls. LXVIII, LXX.
Exhibited 1. The Bibliophile Society of Norway's 75th anniversary. Bibliofilklubben 75 år. Jubileumsutstilling Bok og Samler, Universitetsbliblioteket 27.2 - 26.4.1997; 2. XVI Congress of the International Organization for the study of the Old Testament. Faculty of Law Library, University of Oslo, 29 July - 7 August 1998.
Place of origin Babylonia
Dates 604-562 BC

Location