[b-hebrew] Nabonidus

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Wed Apr 15 01:05:12 EDT 2009

Dear List,

See link and article below on new information on Nabonidus.



A new inscription of the Babylonian king Nabû-na'id from Tayma (Saudi Arabia)

During the current season of excavations of the Orient Department of the German Archaeological Institute and the General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities at the oasis of Tayma, a further cuneiform text has been discovered. The fragment mentions for the first time the name of the last Babylonian king Nabû-na'id at Tayma, according to the epigrapher Hanspeter Schaudig, University of Heidelberg. The text was found near a building which may have been a former temple.

The newly discovered text joins with an inscribed fragment made of sand-stone found in 2006. The flat and circular carrier of the inscription may have been a pedestal for a stele, since the word before the king's proper name means "image" or "statue".

In previous seasons, three fragments of cuneiform inscriptions have been found as well as a stele of Mesopotamian type representing a royal figure and three astral symbols (crescent, winged sun-disk and star). Iconography and text of the stele can be attributed to Nabonidus but its name is not preserved.

The stele has been on display on the occasion of the Babylon exhibition in Paris, Berlin and London in 2008 and 2009 and will soon be returned to the Tayma Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.

In the surroundings of Tayma, a number of Taymanitic (Thamudic) rock inscriptions mention "Nabonidus, king of Babylon" (NBND MLK BBL). Most of these inscriptions are located at ancient water sources in the desert, as explains Ricardo Eichmann, head of the German component.

The last Babylonian king Nabû-na'id (556-539 BC) spent ten years of his reign at Tayma and exercised control over the region of Tayma and several adjacent oases. Apart from the recent epigraphic record, no other remains at the site have been unequivocally identified as being from king Nabonidus or from his period.

Archaeological excavations at Tayma have been conducted since 2004 under the direction of the General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and the Orient Department of the German Archaeological Institute (field director Arnulf Hausleiter).

The German component has been supported by the German Research Foundation / Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn (DFG).

Further information about the project can be obtained at www.dainst.org/index.php?id=3258.

photo credit: DAI, Dr. Arnulf Hausleiter

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