Found at Drehen near Nippur
This is a temple record for the receipt of 4 sheep, 1 kid, 1 lamb and 1 ox. It is dated 2350 B.C.
Found at Jokha, the ancient Umma in central Babylonia
This is an example of a sealed temple record. After the tablet was written and while the clay was still soft, the temple priest rolled his engraved cylindrical stone seal over the tablet. The impression of the seal made it impossible to change the record. The seal impression is the raised characters and contains the name of the scribe, his father and the statue of the seated sun god. It is dated 2350 B.C.
Found at Jokha, the ancient Umma, in central Babylonia
In perfect condition, this is a messenger tablet. It is a list of provisions supplied for the temple messenger for his journey through the country. Such tablets are rare and highly valued because the writing is among the finest yet discovered. They are always small. It is dated 2350 B.C.
Found at Warka, known in the Bible as Erech (Genesis, Chapter X, Verse 10)
This is a votive cone made by a temple priest. It was sold to a visiting pilgrim who then thrust it into the mortar between the bricks of the temple wall of the goddess Ishtar for the welfare of the king. The inscription reads: "For Sin-ga-shid, the mighty hero, King of Erech, King of Amanu, in the temple of the goddess Ishtar which he built in the royal residence of his kingdom." It is dated 2100 B.C.
Found at Babylon
This is an unusually good contract tablet from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon from 605 to 562 B.C. This tablet, which is of about average size, bears the king's name. The inscription reads: "the month of ?, the 7th day, the year 20th of Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon." That was the year 585 B.C.
The Babylonian Empire
Babylon was actually two empires that both rose to great glory and fell. The kingdoms of these empires are divided into the Old Empire and the New Empire.
The Old Babylonian Empire was first mentioned about 2200 B.C. The first ruler of this empire was King Sumu-abum. The kingdom was just one of the lesser city-states in Sumeria until the reign of King Hammurabi. King Hammurabi, was the most famous king of this dynasty due to his harsh code of justice. Babylon grew and prospered under Hammurabi's reign. After his death weak rulers followed and the Empire fell apart. Despite the deterioration occurring in Babylon, the city, Babylon remained a cultural and social power.
The New Babylonian Empire rose in about 626 B.C. The rise of the new empire is credited to the Babylonian military leader, Nebopolassar. He led the Babylonians to take control of Babylonia and the Assyrians. Allied with the Medians, they were able to bring about the fall of the Assyrian Empire. Nabopolassar then, with the help of his son Nebuchanezzar II rebuilt the city of Babylon to its greatest glory.
Cradled by the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in what is today Iraq, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia established the earliest known society in which people could read and write. The script the Sumerians invented and handed down to the Semitic peoples who conquered Mesopotamia in later centuries is called cuneiform. This picture language, similar to but more abstract than Egyptian hieroglyphics was written on clay tablets with long reeds while the clay was still wet. The fresh clay then hardened and a permanent record was created. As with all cultures, writing greatly changed Mesopotamian social structure and the civilization's relationship to its own history. Writing allowed laws to be written such as the famous Code of Hammurabi, king of Old Babylonia from 1795 to 1750 B.C.