A NEO-BABYLONIAN CLAY CUNEIFORM FOUNDATION CYLINDER
REIGN OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR II, 604-562 B.C.
Barrel-shaped, with 67 lines of Babylonian cuneiform written in two columns, recording the rebuilding of the Temple of Ninkarrak in Sippar, reading: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, the wise, the provider, favorite of Marduk, governor of Sumer and Akkad, who established the foundation of the lands; the revered ruler whom Marduk, the great lord, has chosen to renew the sacred sanctuaries and maintain the cities as his calling, into whose hands Nabu, the victorious son, gave the staff of prosperity to extend the lands for man's guidance; the understanding and reverent, the maintainer of Esagila and Ezida, the first-born son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon. When Marduk, the great lord, joyfully created me and called me to the kingship with an eternal name, I thought reverently of him and of his divinity. But I continue humbly to worship Nabu, his legitimate son, patron of my kingdom; I praise his glory. I endowed Esagila and Ezida, their favored palaces, with gold, silver, precious jewels and tall cedars, and made them shine forth like the innermost heavens. I beautified in splendor the holy sanctuaries of the great Gods, according to the wish of their hearts. Ebabbar, the brilliant shrine, dwelling place of Shamash, the judge, which, inside Sippar, had fallen into ruins since olden times, (I did what) no former king had done: the lord Shamash ordered me, the prince, his favourite, to build it. I looked for and found its old base, and I put its foundation on top of the old base; I built Ebabbar as in the old times, I completed it and made it shine like the day. I made Shamash and Aya occupy their lofty dwelling place in joy and celebration. In those days, Eulla, the temple of Ninkarrak in Sippar, that since olden time, (since) distant years, the temple had not been kept in good repair, so that its ground plan had become obliterated and its outlines unrecognizable, covered with dust, (which) was no longer named together with the sanctuaries of the gods, (whose) regular offerings were cut off, they ceased to be mentioned, the cereal offerings were discontinued. Because I kept holding (as praying gesture) the fringe of the cloak of my lord Marduk, the lord Marduk loves me, and he handed me over (the task of) the renewal of the cultic places and the repair of the ruins. During my legitimate reign, the merciful Marduk chose to look with favor upon that temple, and Shamash, the august judge, ordered its renewal. To me, the shepherd who reveres them (Marduk and Shamash), they told me to build (it). I found its old cornerstone and took notice of it. The name of Ninkarrak, whose throne is in Eulla, was inscribed on the back of a dog (figure) and was there plainly to be seen. Over the old cornerstone I established the foundation for Ninkarrak, my beloved mistress, guardian of my soul, who brings prosperity to my kinsmen; for her I rebuilt Eulla, her temple in Sippar. Its tithes I enriched and its offerings I restored. Ninkarrak, august lady, look at my handiwork with joy, and may good things about me be planted on your lips. Bestow upon me a life (extending) down to distant days, satisfaction in old age, physical well-being and joy of heart! Before Shamash and Marduk, make my deeds agreeable, put a good word in for me!"
9 1/16 in. (23 cm.) long