Cylinder of Nabopolassar with Commemorative Building Inscription



Cylinder of Nabopolassar with Commemorative Building Inscription


Clay, text


625-605 BC


Neo-Babylonian Period, Reign of Nabopolassar
Mesopotamia, Babylon
Mesopotamian, Babylonian


3 7/8 x 2 1/16 in. (9.8 x 5.2 cm)

Object Number



"I, Nabopolassar, King of Babylon, the appointee of Nebo and Merodakh as for Imgur-Enlel, the Great Wall of Babylon, which before weakened and settled on its original base, I firmly [set] its foundation wall...[missing] a mountain its summit I verily raised. Oh, Wall! Remind Marduk, my lord of the favor [I have done for him] . . . ."

Cuneiform ("wedge-shaped") writing is Mesopotamia's most important contribution to the rest of the ancient Near East. Its invention revolutionized the way business and trade were conducted and offered the first opportunity for mankind to record written history. Cuneiform and its principal writing medium, the clay tablet, remained in use for over 3,000 years. Scribes adapted cuneiform script for writing many Near Eastern languages and used it to record business transactions, legal codes, and literary, commemorative, and dedicatory texts.

This barrel-shaped cylinder of clay is inscribed with a commemorative text that records the repair of the city wall of Babylon by Nabopolassar. In the text, Nabopolassar invokes his own name as king of Babylon, described the weakening and settling of the Great Wall of Babylon on its original base, and touted his repair and rebuilding of the foundation wall which "like a mountain its summit I verily raised...Oh, Wall! Remind Marduk, my lord [patron god of Babylon] of the favor". Kings and officials commonly deposited inscribed tablets of this shape into recesses built below or within new or repaired constructions in Mesopotamia. Their deposit sanctified and protected the constructions as well as allowed the king or official to record his name and deeds for the gods and posterity.

Credit Line

Collected by William A. Shelton, funded by John A. Manget


A Preview of the Collections, Schatten Gallery, February 15 - April 4, 1982|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2001 - Present
William A. Shelton, Dust and Ashes of Empire (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1924), 111-13.|
Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology: A Preview of the Collections, Atlanta, Georgia, February 15 - April 4, 1982 (Atlanta: The Museum, 1982), 8.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum Handbook (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 1996), 34.|
Peter Lacovara and Jasper Gaunt, "From Pharaohs to Emperors: Egyptian, Near Eastern & Classical Antiquities at Emory," Minerva 17 (January/February 2006), 9-16.|
Joel M. LeMon, "Through the Museum with the Bible," SBL Forum, May 2006.
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2006.|
Clyde E. Fant and Mitchell G. Reddish, Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible through Archaeological Artifacts in World Musuems (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Companry, 2008), 192-94.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2011.
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“Cylinder of Nabopolassar with Commemorative Building Inscription,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed July 11, 2020,

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