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Transcriptions into Cuneiform

(5,144 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
When Assyria expanded beyond the Euphrates in the mid-9th century B.C.E., she eventually faced forces from Israel and so she began to include Hebrew royal names and place names in her records. For almost two hundred years before that Assyria had been too weak to advance so far west, so no Hebrew names earlier than Omri’s occur in cuneiform texts. Only royal names and toponyms appear until later in the 8th century, because hardly any older administrative or legal documents survive in Assyria (Mil…

Assyrian King Lists (1.135)

(1,646 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Lists of Assyrian kings have been found at Assur, Nineveh and Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad). The ‘Assyrian King List’ is known in five copies, none complete, two being only …

Hebrew Weight Inscriptions (2.81)

(361 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Weight Inscriptions Commentary Four hundred or more inscribed stone weights have been found, mostly in the area of Judah and made in the eighth and seventh centuries bce. They are flat-based dome-shaped stones, with values engraved on the top. (Two weights have their values marked in ink which suggests the numerous uninscribed stones of the same type may have…

The Babylonian Chronicle (1.137)

(1,597 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary The series of cuneiform tablets known as The Babylonian Chronicle covers the years from 745 bce into the late Seleucid period (2nd century bce). Entries follow a chronological order, introduced by the year of reign of the king of Babylon, although not every year is included. Warfare is the most common topic, within Babylonia and beyond, the accessions and deaths of kings are noted, the celebration or laps…

The Tell Dan Stele (2.39)

(1,003 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Three fragments of a basalt stele were found at Tell Dan in 1993 and 1994, re-used as building stones in structures dated on archaeological grounds to the eighth century bce. The pieces fit together, with gaps. Across the smooth face run parts of thirteen lines of clearly incised Aramaic letters, with word-dividers, of a style best placed late in the ninth century bce. An unknown number of lines is missing at the beginning and end, nor is the length of the lines known, Millard, Alan

Babylonian King Lists (1.134)

(1,345 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Lists of rulers with lengths of reign were needed by scribes for calculating how long ago legal deeds had been concluded. They also enabled kings to learn when their predecessors had built temples or palaces which they were rebuilding. For a royal family they could supply a genealogy and justification for kingship although in Babylonia there were many changes of dynasty, in contrast…

Assyrian Eponym Canon (1.136)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary From the nineteenth century bce onwards, Assyrian documents bear dates in the form “day X, month Y, līmu Personal Name.” The līmu, “eponym,” was an official who gave his name to the year. Little is known about the operation of the system before the first millennium bce and nothing of its origin. (It may be compared with the systems of archons in Greece and consuls in Rome.) For the system to operate, scribes had to have lists…

The Hazael Booty Inscriptions (2.40)

(631 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Four brief dedicatory inscriptions refer to “our lord Hazael” who is to be identified as the usurper who took the throne of Damascus from Ben-Hadad (Assyrian Hadad-idri; cf.  COS COSB.2.125A) and ruled ca. 842–800 bce; see Pitard 1987:145–160; Sader 1987:231–260. A. A trapezoidal bronze plaque cast with figures in relief, a horse’s nose-piece, was unearthed at the Hera temple in Samos in…

The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath (2.35)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary H. Pognon bought parts of a basalt stele in north Syria which he published in 1907–8; they are now in the Louvre (AO 8185). Now 1.03 m. high, 62 cm. wide, the squared block was originally taller, the upper part carved with a figure in relief of which only the feet resting upon a dais or stool survive. Below the sculpture an inscription was engraved in Aramaic, starting on the front (a), continuing on the left (b) and righ…

The Weidner Chronicle (1.138)

(1,682 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Excavations at Ashur yielded a damaged tablet which was announced by E. F. Weidner in 1926 and so is called after him. Since then four smaller pieces of other copies have been identified and recently an almost complete tablet was recovered from Sippar, adding greatly to the interpretation of the text, although many uncertainties and gaps remain. The composition is set in the form of a letter from a king of Babylon to a king of Isin in the 19th century bce, but p…

Hadad-yithʿi (2.34)

(1,849 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary In February 1979 a farmer uncovered a life-size basalt statue of a man at the edge of Tell Fekheriye on a branch of the Habur river, opposite Tell Halaf. The standing figure is carved in Assyrian style, without any emblems of rank. On the major part of his skirt are 38 ruled lines of Assyrian cuneiform script, set vertically (as on the Law-stele o…

Seals and Seal Impressions (2.WS.D.1)

(456 words)

Author(s): Tigay, Jeffrey H. | Millard, Alan R.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions Commentary Seals were used for stamping the names of their owners on clay bullae to seal letters and documents (1 Kgs 21:8; Isa 8:16; 29:11; Jer 32:9–14; Job 38:14; Esth 8:8; cf. Gen 38:18, 25; 41:42; Jer 22:24; Song 8:6; Esth 3:10), on pottery vessels to indicate ownership or some other type of relationship, and for other purposes. Hundreds of seals and seal impressions, containing inscriptions in Hebrew, Phoenician, Ammonite, …