AN OLD BABYLONIAN TERRACOTTA CUNEIFORM BARREL
Reign of Sin-Iddinam, 1849-1843 B.C.
Of ovoid form with a flat base and rounded top open at the center, nearly encircled with an inscription that reads, "I, Sin-Iddinam, mighty man, provider of Ur, king of Larsa, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, king who built the Ebabbar, temple of the god Utu, who restored the rites of the temples of the gods, when An, Enlil, Nanna and Utu granted to me a good reign of justice whose days are long, by means of my broad wisdom, supremely established, which excels, in order to establish good water for my city (and) land (and) to make magnificent my ways, praise (and) valor for the future, I prayed ardently to the gods An and Enlil. They having agreed to my firm entreaty commissioned (me), by their unalterable word to dig the Tigris, to restore (its banks, and) to establish my name for a long life-span. At that time, by the decree of the gods An and Inanna, by the supreme might of the gods Nanna and (Utu), by means of my triumph I grandly dug there the Tigris, the river of abundance of the god Utu. I connected its intake to the border, the boundary of my choice, and directed its great (course) straight into a swamp (thereby) providing perpetual water, unceasing abundance for Larsa, my land. When I dug the Tigris, the great river, the wages of each worker were: 1 gur of barley, 2 sila of bread, 4 sila of beer, 2 shekels of oil, in one day so they received this. I let nobody take less or more. By the decree (and) decision of the great gods, I restored (the banks) of the Tigris, the broad river, (and) set up my name for the distant future"
5¾ in. (14.6 cm) high
Antiquities, Christie's New York, 18 December 1997, lot 30