Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Cyrus Cylinder

It was nice of the British Museum to lend this to me.  Although technically they loaned it to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the Asian Art Museum let me have a peek and snap the following picture.

What really surprised me was how small the Cyrus Cylinder is.  It is less than a foot long, but contains the famous inscription of Cyrus giving his edict that all the exiles of Babylon could return to their home countries.  Thus, the cylinder dates to about 530 BC.  The same edict is abbreviated and given in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23.  Below is the opposite side.

I really wish I could read the Babylonian cuneiform language inscriptions.


Delirious said...

Wow, that is awesome!

I wouldn't be surprised if you suddenly announced you were taking a class to learn to read Babylonian Cuneiform inscriptions. :)

Looney said...

Babylonian classes are somewhat rare and you typically need to be admitted to a tier one university to get into one, so I don't think this is likely. Meanwhile, I am struggling to get time for all the other classes.

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Amazing artefact. It is amazing how they could write in such a small object - really crafty. It also goes to show that they had time in their hands (no distractions).


Dee Ice Hole said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Ursula said...

In general size matters, though not when you are a cylinder.

The one thing springing to my mind when I hear 'Babylon' is Hammurabi. And, of course, all that mayhem that ensued when we started not to understand each other. It's one of the reasons the English were banished to England. By some non sequitur English now the world's lingo.


Looney said...

U, with all the English new-speak coming from California, we can look forward to a new language mess!

My Hebrew Professor did his ph.d. work translating stacks of cuneiform legal transactions into scholarese. It is amazing what people can develop a passion for.