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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Cuneiform Tablets : Old Babylonian Cylinder with Cuneiform Inscription
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Old Babylonian Cylinder with Cuneiform Inscription - PF.5531
Origin: Mesopotamia
Circa: 1900 BC to 1700 BC
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high
Collection: Ancient Writings
Medium: Clay

Additional Information: Art Logic--Christie's (New York) 1999

Location: United States
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Terracotta "mace head" shape cylinder, hollow ovoid form, broad flat end, and a small circular aperture on the rounded end. The inscription is written in two columns around the entire piece.

The inscription commemorates King Sin- iddinam's dredging of the Tigris River to improve the water supply for his city and country. It concludes with a statement of the daily food rations that workers received. The whole project was undertaken at the behest of and to the glorification of the great gods, and to the eternal credit of Sin-iddinam who "established my name for far off, distant days." The inscription is known from a number of copies. Sin-iddinam was the 9th king of the dynasty based in the southern Mesopotamian city Larsa, and is believed to have reigned c. 1849- 1843 BC.  The inscription translates as follows:

Sin-iddinam, might man, supplier of (the city) Ur, King of Larsa, king of Sumer and Akkad, the king who built the Ebabbar Temple, the temple of (the sun god) Utu, who restored the regulation of the temples of the gods, am I.

When (the gods) An, Enlil, Nanna and Utu granted to me a pleasant reign of justice whose days were long, by my wide-ranging wisdom which was brought to perfection and which excels, in order to provide clean water for my city and country, to extol my ways and to glorify publicly for later days my heroism, I prayed intently to (the gods) An and Enlil. When they had accepted my firm petition, they commissioned me with their unchanging work to dredge the Tigris River and to restore it, thereby making a name for myself for many days to come.

Then, at the command of An and Inanna, by the good will of Enlil and Ninlil, with the help of my god Ishkur, and by the exalted strength of Nanna and Utu, I magnificently dredged the Tigris, the well-supplied river of Utu in my great achievement. I directed its flow to the border. The line I had chosen, and regulated its might to the swamp, thus supplying uninterrupted water, an unceasing source of prosperity for Larsa and my country.

After I had dredged the Tigris, the great river, the wages of a man were: 1 kor of barley, 2 quarts of bread, 4 quarts of beer, 2 shekels (weight) of oil, this is what they received each day. I let no man have neither less nor more. With the labor of my hand I finished that task.

By the command and decision of the great gods I restored the Tigris, the broad river, and established my name for far off, distant days."
- (PF.5531)


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