A monumental Neo-Assyrian black basalt royal stele of Adad-nerari III of Assyria
Circa 805-797 B.C.
Comprising the lower two-thirds of the stele of rectangular cross-section, the front carved in high relief with a standing figure of the king in prayer, depicted in profile from the waist down, shown wearing a long fringed robe, with bare feet, holding a staff before him, the neat regular cuneiform text inscribed across the body of the king is preserved with the beginnings of lines 9-10 and lines 11-20 in their entirety, each line separated by horizontal rulings, with several lines continuing onto the raised border, the text translating:
'.....in the city of Arwad in the midst of the sea. I ascended Mount Lebanon. I cut strong logs of cedar. At that time, I placed those cedars from Mount Lebanon in the gate of the temple of the god Salmanu, my lord. The old temple, which Salmanu-asared (Shalmaneser I), my ancestor, had built, had become dilapidated and I, in a stroke of inspiration, built his temple from its foundations to its parapets. I placed the cedar roof beams from Mount Lebanon on top. When this temple becomes old and dilapidated may a future prince renovate its dilapidated parts and return the inscription to its place.'
With a further 25 lines of cuneiform text using highly literary language inscribed on the side of the stele and dedicated to Nergal-eres, the governor of the Assyrian province of Rasappa; each line separated by irregularly applied rulings, less deeply and evenly arranged than the principal inscription, with at least one line missing from the beginning of the text, the dedication translating:
'.......who resides in Dur-Katlimmu, the holy shrine, his beloved abode, the great lord, his lord. Negal-eres, governor of the country of Rasappa, the city of Nemed-Issar and the city of Apku, had a golden sword made and made and presented an image of Adad-nerari III, king of Assyria, his lord, to the god Salmanu, his lord, who protects the throne of his priesthood, to give into his hands the sceptre that shepherds the people, for the well-being of his seed, the well-being of the people of Assyria and the well-being of Assyria, to scatter his adversaries, to destroy his fierce foes, to subdue his enemy princes. Whoever discards this image from the presence of Salmanu puts it into another place, whether he throws it into water or covers it with earth or brings and places it into a taboo house where it is inaccessible, may the god Salmanu, the great lord, overthrow his sovereignty; may his name and his seed disappear in the land; may he live in a contingent together with the slave women of his land', 54in (137.5cm) high; 29½in (75cm) wide; 10½in (27cm) deep
- This lot has been withdrawn