A sizeable Assyrian clay cylinder  Circa 1105-1076 B.C.
Lot 238*
A sizeable Assyrian clay cylinder Circa 1105-1076 B.C.
Sold for £32,900 (US$ 53,306) inc. premium

Lot Details
A sizeable Assyrian clay cylinder  Circa 1105-1076 B.C.
A sizeable Assyrian clay cylinder
Circa 1105-1076 B.C.
The elongated form solid, except for a narrow hole running through the middle, now silted up, inscribed with twenty-two lines of Middle Assyrian cuneiform describing achievements of King Ashur-kette-lesher, who added a wall and city gate with chariot house to his capital city of Tabetu, in the state of Mari on the upper Habur, '....and due to the enemy action of Chaldeans and Arameans he built a ....wall for that gate', '....Whoever changes the inscription and puts his name in place of my name, my Adad, Sin and Marduk, the great gods of heaven and earth, detroy his seed and name from the land of Mari. In the month of Arahsamna, 20th day, limu Mudammiq-bel, Ashur-kette-lesher, king of Mari, constructed this wall and gate', 7¼in. (18.5cm.) long, 2in. (5cm.) diam., six lines of inscription worn at one end

Footnotes

  • Including the above example there are three known cylinders that refer to the reign of king Ashur-kette-lesher, a minor dignitary who ruled, apparently independently, during the reign of Tiglath-pileser I. The other two cylinders, from the collections of the Biblelands Museum, Jerusalem and excavated at Tell Bderi, respectively, describe the occupation and fortification of two hills by king Ashur-kette-lesher.

    In general terms it was already known that towards the end of the reign of Tiglath-pileser I, Arameans were invading northern Mesopotamia as migrants, but this document tells us that there were two groups: Chaldeans and Arameans. This is the very first mention of Chaldeans in any ancient source. There remains much mystery about the king of Tabetu, Ashur-kette-lesher. He has an Assyrian name, and dates by the Assyrian limu officers, but calls himself a king and acts apparently independently, but he was certainly only a petty king. His inscription has plenty of grammatical failings, and some of the terms used for the gate and wall are hitherto unknown, and not yet understood. Probably then he tacitly acknowledged the overlordship of Tiglath-pileser I and was allowed to continue without interference. Such kings are virtually unknown, and that increases the importance of this cylinder.

    A full translation and more detailed academic notes accompany this lot.
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