King Nabonidus Clay Cylinder from Ur

King Nabonidus Clay Cylinder from Ur

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The Belshazzar Problem

Of all the books of the Bible, perhaps none has suffered so many attacks from the historical critical school as the Book of Daniel. Virtually every story in the book has been derided as a fanciful post-Exile invention. The composition of the book is usually dated to the Maccabean period, while Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego are regarded as nationalist myths, ancient Israelite versions of Paul Bunyan and Rip Van Winkle. The Jewish protagonists are not the only characters in the book to suffer such abuse the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, is also commonly held to be a mere fable. The reason for this is rather simple: the Book of Daniel says that Belshazzar was the last King of Babylon and that he was killed the night the Persians took the city, after the famous incident of the handwriting on the wall. Ancient historians, however, are very clear that a ruler named Nabonidus was the last King of Babylon, and that he was captured by the Persians, not killed. Thus Belshazzar has been a poster-child for the biblical skeptics who gleefully point to the clear contradiction between secular history and Scripture as proof of the Bible's historical unreliability.

What the Scriptures Say

The Book of Daniel states clearly that at the time Babylon fell, the kingdom was being ruled by one Belshazzar, the "son of Nebuchadnezzar." Scripture states several things about Belshazzar:

" Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his nobles: and every one drank according to his age" (Dan. 5:1).

"And being now drunk he commanded that they should bring the vessels of gold and silver which Nebuchadnezzar his father had brought away out of the temple" (Dan. 5:2).

"That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain . And Darius the Mede succeeded to the kingdom" (Dan. 5:31).

From these passages we can see that Scripture affirms three things about Belshazzar: First, that he was indeed regarded as King of Babylon second, that Nebuchadnezzar was his "father." Finally, that he was the last king, as he was slain on the very night that the Persians took the kingdom. These three points are undeniably attested by Scripture, and calling to mind the teachings of Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Benedict XV that Scripture is inerrant in everything it affirms, even historical facts, we must unhesitatingly affirm the veracity of the Biblical narrative.

The Ancient Historians

The problem, ostensibly, is that the biblical narrative does not agree with what we know of Babylonian history, at least on its face. The history of the neo-Babylonian empire was well-recorded by ancient writers: Herodotus, Berosus, Abydenus, Ptolemy, Josephus and Theodoret all composed histories on the Babylonians and Assyrians. None of them mention any king named Belshazzar in fact, they all agree that the King of Babylon at the time the city fell was not Belshazzar, whom they all fail to mention, but one Nabonidus, a son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar. The ancient historians all agree that the succession of the neo-Babylonian empire ran thus:

1) Nebuchadnezzar
2) Evil-Merodach
3) Negrilissar
4) Labashi-Marduk
5) Nabonidus

It was during the reign of Nabonidus that the city fell to the Persians, and Nabonidus was taken into captivity by Cyrus the Persians. Neither Herodotus nor Josephus nor any of the others mention anybody named Belshazzar. This led the early biblical skeptics of the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment German critical school to attack the historicity of the Book of Daniel.

The Nabonidus Cylinder

This haughty dismissal of the narrative in the Book of Daniel was thrown into doubt by the discovery of the so-called Nabonidus Cylinder in 1854. The artifact is a large clay cylinder, discovered amidst the ruins of Ur by British archaeologist J.G. Taylor and recording the deeds of King Nabonidus later cylinders of Nabonidus were discovered in Sippar in 1888. In total, four cylinders were recovered, all depicting the activities of Nabonidus as the Babylonian Empire teetered towards collapse.

It is in the 1854 cylinder that we see the first extra-biblical reference to Belshazzar. In this cylinder, Nabonidus prays to the moon-goddess Sin that his son may be faithful to her cult:

May it be that I, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, never fail you. And may my firstborn, Belshazzar, worship you with all his heart." [1]

So the existence of Belshazzar was proven definitively. But, the skeptics argued, the Book of Daniel also claimed that Belshazzar was the last King of Babylon, and we know for a fact that Nabonidus was the last king. This had puzzled Christian scholars prior to the 1850's some had tried to posit that Belshazzar was another name for Nabonidus, or attempted other means of reconciling Berosus and Herodotus with Daniel.

Other cylinders in the collection shed light on this. One passage describes how Nabonidus left Babylon for a campaign for an extended period of time and entrusted the government of Babylon to Belshazzar:

"[Nabonidus] entrusted the army to his oldest son, his first born, the troops in the country he ordered under his command. He let everything go, entrusted the kingship to him, and, himself, he started out for a long journey. The military forces of Akkad marching with him, he turned to Temâ deep in the west"[2]

It seems that Nabonidus, though technically King of Babylon, was absent from his kingdom for an extended period and left the reins of power in the hands of his son, Belshazzar. This complements the ancient historians well, for all agree that Nabonidus spent almost ten years of his reign in the Arabian oasis city of Tamya due to conflicts with the Marduk priesthood within Babylon. Thus, like Richard the Lionheart, Nabonidus was an absentee monarch who preferred to entrust actual rule to his son, just as Richard ruled through the agency of John his brother. The only difference between Richard/Nabonidus and John/Belshazzar is that, unlike John, Belshazzar was actually invested with the plenitude of royal authority hence the cylinder says he received "the kingship" in Akkadian, šarrûtu, which means "kingship" or "royal power."

This is not surprising since co-regency was common in the ancient world students of western civilization are familiar enough with it from the examples of the ancient Spartan kings, the dual Roman consulate, and later, the practice of having multiple emperors (Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, for example). In the ancient Semitic kingdoms it was not unheard of either the founder of the neo-Babylonian dynasty, Nabopolassar, had shared power with Nebuchadnezzar, his son. Thus, we cannot find any cultural or historical objection why Belshazzar should not rightfully be called "King of Babylon" he was a co-regent with Nabonidus, just as Galerius was a co-Caesar with Diocletian. Nevertheless, because Nabonidus was the father and Belshazzar the son, Nabonidus is given pride of place in all the king lists.

Son of Nebuchadnezzar?

The narrative of Daniel is not safe yet, however, for Daniel clearly states that Nebuchadnezzar was the father of Belshazzar, while the Nabonidus Cylinders say Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, who was a son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar this would make Belshazzar a maternal grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, but not a son, as Daniel claims.

We need not be troubled by this. Expressions of family relation in Semitic cultures are much looser than they are in the west. Abraham and Lot are called brothers even though Lot is Abraham's nephew Jacob is called the brother of Laban even though he is his nephew. The Pharisees call Abraham their "father" even though he lived 1,800 years prior to their own age. All kings of the House of David are called "sons of David" regardless of how far removed from David they are St. Joseph and our Lord Jesus Christ are both called "son of David", meaning nothing more than that he is of the house of David.

Thus, reading that Nebuchadnezzar is called the father of Belshazzar when he is actually the grandfather should not cause alarm to say Belshazzar is the son of Nebuchadnezzar is to say nothing more than that he is of the house of Nebuchadnezzar, which is certainly true.

Thus, taking into account what we know from the Book of Daniel and the pagan historians, the following is the sequence of events leading up to the seizure of Babylon by the Persians:

  • King Cyrus of Persia defeated Nabonidus in battle outside the city.
  • Nabonidus fled. He later surrendered and Cyrus spared his life.
  • The Persians besieged Babylon, then under the control of Belshazzar.
  • Belshazzar, thinking himself safe behind Babylon's famous triple-walls, did not bother with a spirited defense, but instead feasted and made merry as he was wont to do.
  • The Persians, however, diverted the Euphrates, causing the water-level in a culvert to drop. This allowed them to wade through waist-deep water into the city, and surprised the defenders.
  • The city was taken without a fight. Surprised and caught in a scuffle in the palace, Belshazzar was slain.

This sequence of events is consonant with the histories of Berosus, Herodotus, et al., is faithful to what we know of Nabonidus and Belshazzar from the Nabonidus Cylinders, follows the narrative of the Book of Daniel, and is not at all implausible.

The skeptics who claim the Book of Daniel is unhistorical will need to look elsewhere.

King Nabonidus Clay Cylinder from Ur - History

Did Cyrus the Persian praise the Jewish God?

This clay cylinder is inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform script with an account made by the famous king Cyrus of Persia (559-530 BC). The Cyrus Cylinder records his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and the capture of Nabonidus, the last of the Babylonian kings.

The Cyrus Cylinder is an important discovery in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it speaks of Cyrus the Persian and his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. as mentioned in Scripture.

Cyrus II, the Great was the founder and ruler of the vast Persian Empire from 539 B.C. until his death in 530 B.C. Once Cyrus had defeated the Median king, Astyages and took Ecbatana he expanded his kingdom defeating Croesus, king of Lydia in 546 BC, and then conquered Babylon in 539 BC overthrowing Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. The Persian Empire was formed. Cyrus was a generous ruler allowing various captives to return to their homelands, as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder. Xenophon, Nabonidus and many others gave Cyrus praise for his generous leadership.

Judea had remained a Persian province for the next two hundred years until the time that the Bible records "the decree of Cyrus" giving permission to the Hebrew captives to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple.

Cyrus also restored the vessels of the House of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar II had taken to Babylon, and provided the funds to bring cedar trees from Lebanon.

"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!" - 2 Chronicles 36:22-23

"Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." ' - Isaiah 44:28

"King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem." - Ezra 1:7-11

Material - Baked Clay Cylinder
Persian dynasty
Date: 559-530 BC.
Length: 22.86 cm
Babylon, southern Iraq
Excavated by: Robert Koldeway 1899-1914
Location: British Museum, London
Item: ANE 90920
Room 52, Ancient Iran, case 6, no. 7

British Museum Excerpt

Babylonian, about 539-530 BC
From Babylon, southern Iraq

A declaration of good kingship

This clay cylinder is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus,
king of Persia (559-530 BC) of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and capture of
Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king.

Cyrus claims to have achieved this with the aid of Marduk, the god of Babylon. He
then describes measures of relief he brought to the inhabitants of the city, and
tells how he returned a number of images of gods, which Nabonidus had collected in
Babylon, to their proper temples throughout Mesopotamia and western Iran. At the
same time he arranged for the restoration of these temples, and organized the
return to their homelands of a number of people who had been held in Babylonia by
the Babylonian kings. Although the Jews are not mentioned in this document, their
return to Palestine following their deportation by Nebuchadnezzar II, was part of
this policy.

This cylinder has sometimes been described as the 'first charter of human rights',
but it in fact reflects a long tradition in Mesopotamia where, from as early as the
third millennium BC, kings began their reigns with declarations of reforms.

Cyrus Cylinder Inscription translation:

[. . .] his troops [. . .four] quarters of the world [. . .] a weakling was established as ruler over his land and [. . .] a similar one he appointed over them, like Esagila he made [. . .] to Ur and the rest of the cities, a command dishonoring them [. . .] he planned daily and in enmity, he caused the daily offering to cease he appointed [. . .] he established within the city. The worship of Marduk, king of the gods [. . .] he showed hostility toward his city daily [. . .] his people he brought all of them to ruin through servitude without rest.

On account of their complaints, the lords of the gods became furiously angry and left their land the gods, who dwelt among them, left their homes, in anger over his bringing into Babylon. Marduk [. . .] to all the dwelling places, which had become ruins, and the people of Sumer and Akkad, who were like corpses [. . . .] he turned and granted mercy. In all lands everywhere he searched he looked through them and sought a righteous prince after his own heart, whom he took by the hand. He called Cyrus, king of Anshan, by name he appointed him to lordship over the whole world.

The land of Qutu, all the Umman-manda, he cast down at his feet. The black-headed people, whom he gave his hands to conquer, he took them in justice and righteousness. Marduk, the great lord, looked joyously on the caring for his people, on his pious works and his righteous heart.

To his city, Babylon, he caused him to go he made him take the road to Babylon, going as a friend and companion at his side. His numerous troops, in unknown numbers, like the waters of a river, marched armed at his side. Without battle and conflict, he permitted him to enter Babylon. He spared his city, Babylon, a calamity.

Nabonidus, the king, who did not fear him, he delivered into his hand. All the people of Babylon, Sumer, and Akkad, princes and governors, fell down before him and kissed his feet. They rejoiced in his sovereignty their faces shone.

The lord, who by his power brings the dead to life, who amid destruction and injury had protected them, they joyously blessed him, honoring his name.

I am Cyrus, king of the world, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world, son of Cambyses, the great king, king of the city of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, the great king, king of the city of Anshan great-grandson of Teispes, the great king, king of the city of Anshan eternal seed of royalty whose rule Bel and Nabu love, in whose administration they rejoice in their heart. When I made my triumphal entrance into Babylon, I took up my lordly residence in the royal palace with joy and rejoicing Marduk, the great lord, moved the noble heart of the residents of Babylon to me, while I gave daily attention to his worship.

My numerous troops marched peacefully into Babylon. In all Sumer and Akkad I permitted no enemy to enter. The needs of Babylon and of all its cities I gladly attended to. The people of Babylon [and . . .], and the shameful yoke was removed from them. Their dwellings, which had fallen, I restored. I cleared out their ruins. Marduk, the great lord, rejoiced in my pious deeds, and graciously blessed me, Cyrus, the king who worships him, and Cambyses, my own son, and all my troops, while we, before him, joyously praised his exalted godhead. All the kings dwelling in palaces, of all the quarters of the earth, from the Upper to the Lower sea dwelling [. . .] all the kings of the Westland dwelling in tents brought me their heavy tribute, and in Babylon kissed my feet.

From [. . .] to Asshur and Susa, Agade, Eshnunak, Zamban, Meturnu, Deri, with the territory of the land of Qutu, the cities on the other side of the Tigris, whose sites were of ancient foundation - the gods, who resided in them, I brought back to their places, and caused them to dwell in a residence for all time, And the gods of Sumer and Akkad?whom Nabonidus, to the anger of the lord of the gods, had brought into Babylon?by the command of Marduk, the great lord, I caused them to take up their dwelling in residences that gladdened the heart. May all the gods, whom I brought into their cities, pray daily before B?l and Nab? for long life for me, and may they speak a gracious word for me and say to Marduk, my lord, "May Cyrus, the king who worships you, and Cambyses, his son, their [. . .] I permitted all to dwell in peace [. . .]

Translated by R. W. Rogers [1912]

Cyrus I in Wikipedia (Old Persian Kuru?), was King of Anshan in Persia from c. 600 to 580 BC or, according to others, from c. 652 to 600 BC. He should not be confused with his famous grandson Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus II. His name in Modern Persian is کوروش, while in Greek he was called Κύρος. Cyrus was an early member of the Achaemenid dynasty. He was apparently a grandson of its founder Achaemenes and son of Teispes, king of Anshan. Teispes' sons reportedly divided the kingdom among them after his death. Cyrus reigned as king of Anshan while his brother Ariaramnes was king of Parsa. The chronological placement of this event is uncertain. This is due to his suggested but still debated identification with the monarch known as "Kuras of Parsumas". Kuras is first mentioned c. 652 BC. At that year Shamash-shum-ukin, king of Babylon (668 - 648 BC) revolted against his older brother and overlord Ashurbanipal, of king of Assyria (668 - 627 BC). Cyrus is mentioned being in a military alliance with the former. The war between the two brothers ended in 648 BC with the defeat and reported suicide of Shamash-shum- ukin. Cyrus is mentioned again in 639 BC. At that year Ashurbanibal managed to defeat Elam and became overlord to several of its former allies. Kuras was apparently among them. His elder son "Arukku" was reportedly sent to Assyria to pay tribute to its King. Kuras then seems to vanish from historical record. His suggested identification with Cyrus would help connect the Achaemenid dynasty to the major events of the 7th century BC.

Cyrus in Easton's Bible Dictionary (Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf., "Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2). Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28 45:1). God employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some knowledge of their religion. The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr. 36:22, 23 Ezra 1:1-4 4:3 5:13-17 6:3-5). This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg., "Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes" (Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus (Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the daily services in the temples continued without a break. In October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile, Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated honourably and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.

Cyrus in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Koresh, from the Persian kohr "the sun," as Pharaoh from phrah "the sun." Founder of the Persian empire. Represented as the son of Mandane, who was daughter of Astyages last king of Media, and married to Cambyses a Persian of the family of the Achaemenidae. Astyages, because of a dream, directed Harpagus his favorite to have the child Cyrus destroyed but the herdsman to whom he was given preserved him. His kingly qualities, when he grew up, betrayed his birth. Astyages enraged served up at a feast to Harpagus the flesh of his own son. Harpagus in revenge helped Cyrus at Pasargadae near Persepolis, 559 B.C., to defeat and dethrone Astyages, and make himself king of both Medes and Persians. Afterward Cyrus conquered Croesus, and added Lydia to his empire. In 538 B.C. he took Babylon by diverting the course of the Euphrates into another channel, and entering the city by the dry bed during a feast at which the Babylonians were reveling, as Isaiah 21:44Isaiah 21:27 Jeremiah 50:38 Jeremiah 51:57 foretell He finally fell in a battle against the Massagetae. (See BABYLON.).

Cyrus in Hitchcock's Bible Names as miserable as heir

Cyrus in Naves Topical Bible (King of Persia) -Issues a decree for the emancipation of the Jews and rebuilding the temple 2Ch 36:22,23 Ezr 1 3:7 4:3 5:13,14 6:3 -Prophecies concerning Isa 13:17-22 21:2 41:2 44:28 45:1-4,13 46:11 48:14,15

Cyrus in Smiths Bible Dictionary (the sun), the founder of the Persian empire --see 2Ch 36:22,23 Da 6:28 10:1,13 --was, according to the common legend, the son of Cambyses, a Persian of the royal family of the Achaemenidae. When he grew up to manhood his courage and genius placed him at the head of the Persians. His conquests were numerous and brilliant. He defeated and captured the Median king B.C. 559. In B.V. 546 (?) he defeated Croesus, and the kingdom of lydia was the prize of his success. Babylon fell before his army, and the ancient dominions of Assyria were added to his empire B.C. 538. The prophet Daniel's home for a time was at his court. Da 6:28 The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple, 2Ch 36:22,23 Ezr 1:1-4 3:7 4:3 5:13,17 6:3 was in fact the beginning of Judaism and the great changes by which the nation was transformed into a church are clearly marked. His tomb is still shown at Pasargadae, the scene of his first decisive victory.

Cyrus in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE 1. Genealogy of Cyrus: The son of the earlier Cambyses, of the royal race of the Achemenians. His genealogy, as given by himself, is as follows: "I am Cyrus, king of the host, the great king, the mighty king, king of Tindir (Babylon), king of the land of Sumeru and Akkadu, king of the four regions, son of Cambyses, the great king, king of the city Ansan, grandson of Cyrus, the great king, king of the city Ansan, great-grandson of Sispis (Teispes), the great king, king of the city Ansan, the all- enduring royal seed whose sovereignty Bel and Nebo love," etc. (WAI, V, plural 35, 20-22).

Cyrus [the brilliancy of the suri], a prince, conqueror and statesman of great renown, and an instrument chosen by Jehovah to execute his purposes of
mercy toward the Jews (Isa. 44 : 28 45 : 1 Dan. 6 : 28). The early life of Cyrus is involved in obscurity. According to the common legend, he was the
son of Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, the last king of Media, and Cambyses, a Persian of the royal family of Achaemenidae. In consequence of a dream,
Astyages, it is said, designed the death of Cyrene. his infant grandson, but the child was spared by those whom he charged with the commission of the
crime, and was reared in obscurity under the name of Agradates. When he grew up to manhood his courage and genius placed him at the head of the Persians.
The tyranny of Astyages had, at that time, alienated a large faction of the Medes, and Cyrus headed a revolt which ended in the defeat and capture of the
Median king, B. c. 559. After consolidating the enqire which he had thus gained, Cyrus entered on that career of conquest which has made him the hero of
the East. His conquests extended over all Western Asia, but the most brilliant of them was that of Babylon, B.C. 538. After the reduction of Babylon he
ordered a return to their own land of the Jews, who had been seventy years in captivity, and furnished them very liberally with the means of rebuilding
their temple (Ezra 1 : 1-4). Hitherto, the great kings with whom the Jews had been brought into contact had been open oppressors or seductive allies, but
Cyrus was a generous liberator and a just guardian of their rights. He fell in battle B. c. 529, and his tomb is still shown at Pasargadae, the scene of
his victory over Astyages. [Westminster Bible Dictionary]

Persia, the great empire founded by Cyrus, whicli at the period of its greatest prosperity comprehended all the Asiatic countries from the Mediterranean
to the Indus, and from the Black and Caspian seas to Arabia and the Indian Ocean. It was divided into several provinces. The Medes and Persians are
generally mentioned in Scripture in conjunction, and most probably were kindred branches of that great Aryan family, which under different names ruled the
A-ast region between Mesopotamia and what is now known as Burmah. In the time of Cyrus (b. c. 558) the Persian empire held sway over both Media and
Persia. The most interesting circumstance to the biblical student connected with this empire and its royal master was the permission granted by Cyrus to
the captive Jews to return to their own land (2 Chron. 36 : 22, 23 Ezra 6:3-5 Isa. 44 : 28). He was the special instrument also in the hand of the
Almighty in fulfilling the threatenings against Babylon (Isa. 45 : 1-4 46 : 1, 2 47 : 1-15 Jer. chs. 50, and 51). The Persian monarch who permitted
the Jews to rebuild their temple was Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 6 : 1-15). Upon his death (b. c. 485) Xerxes, the Ahasuerus of Esther and Mordecai and the
defeated invader of Greece, ascended the throne. After a reign of twenty years Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus, who, reigning but seven pionths, was
succeeded by Artaxerxes Longimanus, the king wlio stood in such friendly relations toward Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 7 : 11-28 Neh. 2 : 1-9). This is the
last of the Persian kings who had any special connection with the Jews. The empire was finally overthrown by Alexander the Great. In later ages the name
and power of Persia revived, and at the present time the ancient country of Cyrus has a Mohammedan sovereign and most of its inhabitants are bigoted
adherents of Islamism. [Westminster Bible Dictionary]

The Kings of Israel (all wicked)

Jeroboam I (933-911 BC) twenty-two years

Baasha (910-887) twenty-four years

Ahab (875-854) twenty-two years

Jehoram (Joram) (854-843) twelve years

Jehu (843-816) twenty-eight years

Jehoahaz (820-804) seventeen years

Jehoash (Joash) (806-790) sixteen years

Jeroboam II (790-749) forty-one years

Pekahiah (738-736) two years

Pekah (748-730) twenty years

The Kings of Judah (8 were good)

Rehoboam (933-916 BC) seventeen years

Abijam (915-913) three years

Asa (Good) (912-872) forty-one years

Jehoshaphat (Good) (874-850) twenty-five years

Jehoram (850-843) eight years

Athaliah (843-837) six years

Joash (Good) (843-803) forty years

Amaziah (Good) (803-775) 29 years

Azariah (Uzziah) (Good) (787-735) fifty-two years

Jotham (Good) (749-734) sixteen years

Ahaz (741-726) sixteen years

Hezekiah (Good) (726-697) 29 years

Manasseh (697-642) fifty-five years

Josiah (Good) (639-608) thirty-one years

Jehoahaz (608) three months

Jehoiachim (608-597) eleven years

Jehoiachin (597) three months

Zedekiah (597-586) eleven years

Some Scriptures mentioning the name "Cyrus"

Ezra 5:17 - Now therefore, if [it seem] good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which [is] there at Babylon, whether it be [so], that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

Ezra 4:3 - But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

Ezra 5:14 - And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that [was] in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto [one], whose name [was] Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor

Ezra 6:14 - And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished [it], according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

2 Chronicles 36:23 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? The LORD his God [be] with him, and let him go up.

Ezra 1:7 - Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods

Ezra 4:5 - And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Daniel 10:1 - In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar and the thing [was] true, but the time appointed [was] long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

Isaiah 45:1 - Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates and the gates shall not be shut

Ezra 1:2 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah.

Ezra 3:7 - They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

Daniel 6:28 - So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Isaiah 44:28 - That saith of Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

Ezra 1:8 - Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

Daniel 1:21 - And Daniel continued [even] unto the first year of king Cyrus.

Ezra 6:3 - In the first year of Cyrus the king [the same] Cyrus the king made a decree [concerning] the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid the height thereof threescore cubits, [and] the breadth thereof threescore cubits

Ezra 1:1 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,

2 Chronicles 36:22 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD [spoken] by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,

Ezra 5:13 - But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon [the same] king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.

Some Scriptures mentioning the word "Persia"

Ezra 4:7 - And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia and the writing of the letter [was] written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.

Ezra 4:3 - But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

Ezra 9:9 - For we [were] bondmen yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

Ezra 6:14 - And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished [it], according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

2 Chronicles 36:23 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? The LORD his God [be] with him, and let him go up.

Daniel 10:1 - In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar and the thing [was] true, but the time appointed [was] long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

Ezra 1:2 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah.

Esther 1:3 - In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, [being] before him:

Ezra 3:7 - They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

Ezra 4:24 - Then ceased the work of the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Daniel 10:20 - Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

Esther 10:2 - And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

Daniel 11:2 - And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia and the fourth shall be far richer than [they] all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.

Esther 1:14 - And the next unto him [was] Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, [and] Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, [and] which sat the first in the kingdom)

Esther 1:18 - [Likewise] shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus [shall there arise] too much contempt and wrath.

Ezra 1:8 - Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

2 Chronicles 36:20 - And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:

Ezra 7:1 - Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

Ezekiel 27:10 - They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee they set forth thy comeliness.

Daniel 8:20 - The ram which thou sawest having [two] horns [are] the kings of Media and Persia.

Ezekiel 38:5 - Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them all of them with shield and helmet:

Ezra 1:1 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,

2 Chronicles 36:22 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD [spoken] by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,

Ezra 4:5 - And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Daniel 10:13 - But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Persia in Easton's Bible Dictionary an ancient empire, extending from the Indus to Thrace, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in Persia. Cyrus II., king of Anzan, finally united the divided power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.

Persia in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Ezekiel 27:10 Ezekiel 38:5. "Persia proper" was originally a small territory (Herodot. 9:22). On the N. and N.E. lay Media, on the S. the Persian gulf, Elam on the W., on the E. Carmania. Now Furs, Farsistan. Rugged, with pleasant valleys and plains in the mid region and mountains in the N. The S. toward the sea is a hot sandy plain, in places covered with salt. Persepolis (in the beautiful valley of the Bendamir), under Darius Hystaspes, took the place of Pasargadae the ancient capital of its palace "Chehl Minar," "forty columns," still exist. Alexander in a drunken fit, to please a courtesan, burned the palace. Pasargadae, 40 miles to the N., was noted for Cyrus' tomb (Arrian) with the inscription, "I am Cyrus the Achaemenian." (See CYRUS.) The Persians came originally from the E., from the vicinity of the Sutlej (before the first contact of the Assyrians with Aryan tribes E. of Mount Zagros, 880 B.C.), down the Oxus, then S. of the Caspian Sea to India. There were ten castes or tribes: three noble, three agricultural, four nomadic of the last were the "Dehavites" or Dali (Ezra 4:9). The Pasargadae were the noble tribes, in which the chief house was that of the Achaemenidae. Darius on the rock of Behistun inscribed: "from antiquity our race have been kings. There are eight of our race who have been kings before me, I am the ninth." frontELAM on its relation to Persia.) The Persian empire stretched at one time from India to Egypt and Thrace, including all western Asia between the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Caspian, the Jaxartes upon the N., the Arabian desert, Persian gulf, and Indian ocean on the S. Darius in the inscription on his tomb at Nakhsh- irustam enumerates thirty countries besides Persia subject to him, Media, Susiana, Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdiana, Chorasmia, Zarangia, Arachosia, Sattagydia, Gaudaria, India, Scythia, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, Armenia, Cappadocia, Saparda, Ionia, the Aegean isles, the country of the Scodrae (European), Ionia, the Tacabri, Budians, Cushites, Mardians, and Colchians. The organization of the Persian kingdom and court as they appear in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, accords with independent secular historians. The king, a despot, had a council, "seven princes of Persia and Media which see his face and sit the first in the kingdom" (Esther 1:14 Ezra 7:14). So Herodotus (iii. 70-79) and Behistun inscription mention seven chiefs who organized the revolt against Smerdis (the Behistun rock W. of Media has one inscription in three languages, Persian, Babylonian, and Stythic, read by Grotefend). "The law of the Persians and Medes which alters not" (Esther 1:19) also controlled him in some measure. In Scripture we read of 127 provinces (Esther 1:1) with satraps (Esther 3:12 Esther 8:9 Xerxes in boasting enlarged the list 60 are the nations in his armament according to Herodotus) maintained from the palace (Ezra 4:14), having charge of the revenue, paid partly in money.

Persia in Hitchcock's Bible Names that cuts or divides a nail a gryphon a horseman

Persia in Naves Topical Bible An empire which extended from India to Ethiopia, comprising one-hundred and twenty-seven provinces Es 1:1 Da 6:1 -Government of, restricted by constitutional limitations Es 8:8 Da 6:8-12 -Municipal governments in, provided with dual governors Ne 3:9,12,16-18 -The princes were advisors in matters of administration Da 6:1-7 -Status of women in queen sat on the throne with the king Ne 2:6 -Vashti was divorced for refusing to appear before the king's courtiers Es 1:10-22 2:4 -Israel captive in 2Ch 36:20 -Captivity foretold Ho 13:16 -Men of, in the Tyrian army Eze 27:10 -Rulers of Ahasuerus Es 1:3 -Darius Da 5:31 6 9:1 -Artaxerxes I Ezr 4:7-24 -Artaxerxes II Ezr 7 Ne 2 5:14 -Cyrus 2Ch 36:22,23 Ezr 1 3:7 4:3 5:13,14,17 6:3 Isa 41:2,3 44:28 45:1-4,13 46:11 48:14,15 -Princes of Es 1:14 -System of justice Ezr 7:25 -Prophecies concerning Isa 13:17 21:1-10 Jer 49:34-39 51:11-64 Eze 32:24,25 38:5 Da 2:31-45 5:28 7 8 11:1-4

Persia in Smiths Bible Dictionary (pure, splended), Per'sians. Persia proper was a tract of no very large dimensions on the Persian Gulf, which is still known as Fars or Farsistan, a corruption of the ancient appellation. This tract was bounded on the west by Susiana or Elam, on the north by Media on the south by the Persian Gulf and on the east by Carmania. But the name is more commonly applied, both in Scripture and by profane authors to the entire tract which came by degrees to be included within the limits of the Persian empire. This empire extended at one time from India on the east to Egypt and Thrace on the west, and included. besides portions of Europe and Africa, the whole of western Asia between the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Caspian and the Jaxartes on the north, the Arabian desert the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean on the south. The only passage in Scripture where Persia designates the tract which has been called above "Persia proper" is Eze 38:5 Elsewhere the empire is intended. The Persians were of the same race as the Medes, both being branches of the great Aryan stock. 1. Character of the nation. --The Persians were a people of lively and impressible minds, brave and impetuous in war, witty, passionate, for Orientals truthful, not without some spirit of generosity: and of more intellectual capacity than the generality of Asiatics. In the times anterior to Cyrus they were noted for the simplicity of their habits, which offered a strong contrast to the luxuriousness of the Medes but from the late of the Median overthrow this simplicity began to decline. Polygamy was commonly practiced among them. They were fond of the pleasures of the table. In war they fought bravely, but without discipline. 2. Religion. --The religion which the Persians brought with there into Persia proper seems to have been of a very simple character, differing from natural religion in little except that it was deeply tainted with Dualism. Like the other Aryans, the Persians worshipped one supreme God. They had few temples, and no altars or images. 3. Language. --The Persian language was closely akin to the Sanskrit, or ancient language of India. Modern Persian is its degenerate representative, being largely impregnated with Arabic. 4. History. --The history of Persia begins with the revolt from the Medes and the accession of Cyrus the Great, B.C. 558. Cyrus defeated Croesus, and added the Lydian empire to his dominions. This conquest was followed closely by the submission of the Greek settlements on the Asiatic coast, and by the reduction of Caria and Lycia The empire was soon afterward extended greatly toward the northeast and east. In B.C. 539 or 538, Babylon was attacked, and after a stout defence fell into the hands of Cyrus. This victory first brought the Persians into co.

Persia in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE pur'-sha, (parats Persia in Assyrian Parsu, Parsua in Achemenian Persian Parsa, modern Fars): In the Bible (2 Ch 36:20,22,23 Ezr 1:1,8 Est 1:3,14,18 10:2 Ezek 27:10 38:5 Dan 8:20 10:1 11:2) this name denotes properly the modern province of Fars, not the whole Persian empire. The latter was by its people called Airyaria, the present Iran (from the Sanskrit word arya, "noble") and even now the Persians never call their country anything but Iran, never "Persia." The province of Persis lay to the East of Elam (Susiana), and stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Great Salt Desert, having Carmania on the Southeast. Its chief cities were Persepolis and Pasargadae. Along the Persian Gulf the land is low, hot and unhealthy, but it soon begins to rise as one travels inland. Most of the province consists of high and steep mountains and plateaus, with fertile valleys. The table-lands in which lie the modern city of Shiraz and the ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae are well watered and productive. Nearer the desert, however, cultivation grows scanty for want of water. Persia was doubtless in early times included in Elam, and its population was then either Semitic or allied to the Accadians, who founded more than one state in the Babylonian plain. The Aryan Persians seem to have occupied the country in the 8th or 9th century BC.

PERSEPOLIS, an ancient city of Persia, situated some 40 m. N.E. of Shiraz, not far from where the small river Pulwar flows into the Kur (Kyrus). The site is marked by a large terrace with its east side leaning on Kuhi Rahmet (" the Mount of Grace "). The other three sides are formed by a retaining wall, varying in height with the slope of the ground from 14 to 41 ft. on the west side a magnificent double stair, of very easy steps, leads to the top. On this terrace are the ruins of a number of colossal buildings, all constructed of dark-grey marble from the adjacent mountain. The stones were laid without mortar, and many of them are still in situ. Especially striking are the huge pillars, of which a number still stand erect. Several of the buildings were never finished. F. Stolze has shown that in some cases even the mason's rubbish has not been removed.' These ruins, for which the name Kizil minare or Chihil menare (" the forty columns or minarets "), can be traced back to the 13th century, are now known as Takhti Jamshid (" the throne of Jamshid "). That they represent the Persepolis captured and partly destroyed by Alexander the Great has been beyond dispute at least since the time of Pietro della Valle.2 Behind Takhti Jamshid are three sepulchres hewn out of the rock in the hillside, the facades, one of which is incomplete, being richly ornamented with reliefs. About 8 m. N.N.E., on the opposite side of the Pulwar, rises a perpendicular wall of rock, in which four similar tombs are cut, at a considerable height from the bottom of the valley. The modern Persians call this place Nakshi Rustam (" the picture of Rustam ") from the Sassanian reliefs beneath the opening, which they take to be a representation of the mythical hero Rustam. That the ' Cf. J. Chardin, E. Kaempfer, C. Niebuhr and W. Ouseley. Niebuhr's drawings, though good, are, for the purposes of the architectural student, inferior to the great work of C. Texier, and still more to that of E. Flandin and P. Coste. Good sketches, chiefly after Flandin, are given by C. Kossowicz, Inscriptiones palaeopersicae (St Petersburg, 1872). In addition to these we have the photographic plates in F. Stolze's Persepolis (2 vols., Berlin, 1882).

Lettera XV. (ed. 'Brighton, 1843), ii. 246 seq.

occupants of these seven tombs were kings might be inferred from the sculptures, and one of those at Nakshi Rustam is expressly declared in its inscription to be the tomb of Darius Hystaspis, concerning whom Ctesias relates that his grave was in the face of a rock, and could only be reached by means of an apparatus of ropes. Ctesias mentions further, with regard to a number of Persians kings, either that their remains were brought " to the Persians," or that they died there.' Now we know that Cyrus was buried at Pasargadae and if there is any truth in the statement that the body of Cambyses was brought home " to the Persians " his burying-place must be sought somewhere beside that of his father. In order to identify the graves of Persepolis we must bear in mind that Ctesias assumes that it was the custom for a king to prepare his own tomb during his lifetime. Hence the kings buried at Nakshi Rustam are probably, besides Darius, Xerxes I., Artaxerxes I. and Darius II. Xerxes II., who reigned for a very short time, could scarcely have obtained so splendid a monument, and still less could the usurper Sogdianus (Secydianus). The two completed graves behind Takhti Jamshid would then belong to Artaxerxes II. and Artaxerxes III. The unfinished one is perhaps that of Arses, who reigned at the longest two years, or, if not his, then that of Darius III. (Codomannus), who is one of those whose bodies are said to have been brought " to the Persians "2 (see Architecture, fig. 12). Another small group of ruins in the same style is found at the village of Hajjiabad, on the Pulwar, a good hour's walk above Takhti Jamshid. These formed a single building, which was still intact goo years ago, and was used as the mosque of the then existing city of Istakhr.

Since Cyrus was buried in Pasargadae, which moreover is mentioned in Ctesias as his own city,' and since, to judge from the inscriptions, the buildings of Persepolis commenced with Darius I., it was probably under this king, with whom the sceptre passed to a new branch of the royal house, that Persepolis became the capital 4 (see Persia: Ancient History, V. 2) of Persia proper. As a residence, however, for the rulers of the empire, a remote place in a difficult alpine region was far from convenient, and the real capitals were Susa, Babylon and Ecbatana. This accounts for the fact that the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until it was taken and plundered by Alexander the Great. Ctesias must certainly have known of it, and it is possible that he may have named it simply IIEpvac, after the people, as is undoubtedly done by certain writers of a somewhat later date.' But whether the city really bore the name of the people and the country is another question. And it is extremely hazardous to assume, with Sir H. Rawlinson and J. Oppert, that the words and Pdrsd, " in this Persia," which occur in an inscription on the gateway built by Xerxes (D. 1.14), signify " in this city of Parsa," and consequently prove that the name of the city is identical with the name of the country. The form Persepolis (with a play on 71-ports, destruction) appears first in Cleitarchus, one of the earliest, but unfortunately one of the most imaginative annalists of the exploits of Alexander.

It has been universally admitted that " the palaces " or "the palace " (rd ,3aviXeca) burned down by Alexander are those now in ruins at Takhti Jamshid. From Stolze's investigations it appears that at least one of these, the castle built by Xerxes, bears evident traces of having been destroyed by fire. The locality described by Diodorus after Cleitarchus corresponds in important particulars with Takhti Jamshid, for example, in being supported by the ' This statement is not made in Ctesias (or rather in the extracts of Photius) about Darius II., which is probably accidental in the case of Sogdianus, who as a usurper was not deemed worthy of honourable burial, there is a good reason for the omission.

' Cf. also in particular Plutarch, Artax. iii., where Pasargadae is distinctly looked on as the sacred cradle of the dynasty.

4 The story of Aelian (H. A. i. 59), who makes Cyrus build his royal palace in Persepolis, deserves no attention.

5 So Arrian (iii. 18, 1, lo), or rather his best authority, King Ptolemy. So, again, the Babylonian Berossus, shortly after Alexander. See Clemens Alex., Admon. ad gentes, c. 5, where, with Georg Hoffmann (Pers. Martyrer, 137), Kai is to be inserted before ll paacs, and this to be understood as the name of the metropolis.

mountain on the east.' There is, however, one formidable difficulty. Diodorus says that the rock at the back of the palace containing the royal sepulchres is so steep that the bodies could be raised to their last resting-place only by mechanical appliances. This is not true of the graves behind Takhti Jamshid, to which, as F. Stolze expressly observes, one can easily ride up on the other hand, it is strictly true of the graves at Nakshi Rustam. Stolze accordingly started the theory that the royal castle of Persepolis stood close by Nakshi Rustam, and has sunk in course of time to shapeless heaps of earth, under which the remains may be concealed. The vast ruins, however, of Takhti Jamshid, and the terrace constructed with so much labour, can hardly be anything else than the ruins of palaces as for temples, the Persians had no such thing, at least in the time of Darius and Xerxes. Moreover, Persian tradition at a very remote period knew of only three architectural wonders in that region, which it attributed to the fabulous queen Humai (Khumai) - the grave of Cyrus at. Murgab, the building at Hajjiabad, and those on the great terrace.' It is safest therefore to identify these last with the royal palaces destroyed by Alexander. Cleitarchus, who can scarcely have visited the place himself, with his usual recklessness of statement, confounded the tombs behind the palaces with those of Nakshi Rustam indeed he appears to imagine that all the royal sepulchres were at the same place. In 316 B.C. Persepolis was still the capital of Persis as a province of the great Macedonian Empire (see Diod. xix, 21 seq., 46 probably after Hieronymus of Cardia, who was living about 316). The city must have gradually declined in the course of time but the ruins of the Achaemenidae remained as a witness to its ancient glory. It is probable that the principal town of the country, or at least of the district, was always in this neighbourhood. About A.D. 200 we find there the city Istakhr (properly Stakhr) as the seat of the local governors. There the foundations of the second great Persian Empire were laid, and Istakhr acquired special importance as the centre of priestly wisdom and orthodoxy. The Sassanian kings have covered the face of the rocks in this neighbourhood, and in part even the Achaemenian ruins, with their sculptures and inscriptions, and must themselves have built largely here, although never on the same scale of magnificence as their ancient predecessors. The Romans knew as little about Istakhr as the Greeks had done about Persepolis - and this in spite of the fact that for four hundred years the Sassanians maintained relations, friendly or hostile, with the empire.

At the time of the Arabian conquest Istakhr offered a desperate resistance, but the city was still a place of considerable importance in the 1st century of Islam (see Caeiphate), although its greatness was speedily eclipsed by the new metropolis Shiraz. In the 10th century Istakhr had become an utterly insignificant place, as may be seen from the descriptions of Istakhr, a native (c. 950), and of Mukaddasi (c. 985). During the following centuries Istakhr gradually declines, until, as a city, it ceased to exist. This fruitful region, however, was covered with villages till the frightful devastations of the 18th century and even now it is, comparatively speaking, well cultivated. The " castle of Istakhr " played a conspicuous part several times during the Mahommedan period as a strong fortress. It was the middlemost and the highest of the three steep crags which rise from the valley of the Kur, at some distance to the west or north-west of Nakshi Rustam. We learn from Oriental writers that one of the Buyid (Buwaihid) sultans in the 10th century of the Flight constructed the great cisterns, which may yet be seen, and have been visited, amongst others, by James Morier and E. Flandin. W. Ouseley points out that this castle was still used in the 16th century, at least as a state prison. But when Pietro della Valle was there in 1621 it was already in ruins. [Encyclopedia Britannica 1911]

Buried treasures

But just when it looked like all the evidence was stacked against Scripture, a series of archaeological discoveries showed that Belshazzar did exist after all, and the details given about him in the Bible are profoundly correct.

First, in 1854, four clay cylinders with identical inscriptions were excavated from Ur. 7 These Nabonidus Cylinders contained Nabonidus&rsquo prayer to the moon god for &ldquoBelshazzar, the eldest son&mdashmy offspring.&rdquo 8 Thus, Belshazzar&rsquos existence was confirmed&mdashas Nabonidus&rsquo firstborn son and heir to his throne.

Then, in 1882, a translation of another ancient cuneiform text, the Nabonidus Chronicle, was published. According to this document, Nabonidus was a mostly absentee king, spending 10 years of his 17-year reign living in Tema, Arabia (725 km / 450 miles away from Babylon). The king left Belshazzar, whom the text calls &ldquothe crown prince&rdquo, to take care of affairs in Babylon during that time. 9 Also, the Chronicle explained that Nabonidus was away from Babylon when it fell. Two days earlier he had fled from the Persians when they defeated him at Sippar, so Belshazzar was the highest authority in Babylon at the time of its capture.

ChrisO / Wikimedia Commons Nabonidus Chronicle tablet

Next, the Persian Verse Account of Nabonidus, published in 1924, stated that, as &ldquohe started out for a long journey&rdquo, Nabonidus &ldquoentrusted the kingship&rdquo to &ldquohis oldest (son), the firstborn.&rdquo 10 So Belshazzar clearly functioned in the role of a king for years while his father was away.

Furthermore, a variety of other ancient cuneiform texts were found in the early 1900s which also mentioned Belshazzar, including a tablet from Erech in which both he and his father Nabonidus were jointly invoked in an oath, suggesting that both had royal authority. 11

The story behind the world's oldest museum, built by a Babylonian princess 2,500 years ago

In 1925, archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered a curious collection of artifacts while excavating a Babylonian palace. They were from many different times and places, and yet they were neatly organized and even labeled. Woolley had discovered the world's first museum.

It's easy to forget that ancient peoples also studied history - Babylonians who lived 2,500 years ago were able to look back on millennia of previous human experience. That's part of what makes the museum of Princess Ennigaldi so remarkable. Her collection contained wonders and artifacts as ancient to her as the fall of the Roman Empire is to us. But it's also a grim symbol of a dying civilization consumed by its own vast history.

The Archaeologist

Ennigaldi's museum was just one of many remarkable finds made by Leonard Woolley, generally considered to be among the first of the modern archaeologists. Born in London in 1880, Woolley studied at Oxford before becoming the assistant keeper at the school's Ashmolean Museum. It was there that Arthur Evans - himself a renowned archaeologist for his work with the Minoan civilization on the Greek island of Crete - decided that Woolley would be of more use out in the field, and so Evans sent him to Rome to begin his excavating career.

Although Woolley had a longstanding interest in excavation, he had little or no formal training in how to actually go about doing it. He would be left to teach himself on the job, and many of the techniques and approaches he came up with would prove hugely influential to future archaeologists. Just before the outbreak of World War I, he excavated the ancient Hittite city of Carchemish alongside his younger colleague T.E. Lawrence, who would soon cast aside his archaeological career for his more famous role as. well, as Lawrence of Arabia. You can see the two together in the photo on the left.

But it was Woolley's work in the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur that would really cement his legacy. Beginning in 1922, Woolley excavated huge swaths of an ancient city-state that had endured for thousands of years, from the ancient Sumerian civilization of 3000 BCE to the Neo-Babylonian Empire of 500 BCE. One of his biggest discoveries - you might call it the Sumerian equivalent of King Tut's tomb - was the tomb of Shubad, a woman of great importance in 27th century Sumer whose tomb had remained undisturbed through the ensuing 4,600 years.

However, it was the discovery of something from the very end of Ur's existence that interests us in this particular case. And for that, we might as well go straight to the words of Leonard Woolley himself.

The Discovery

In his book Ur of the Chaldees, Woolley recounts his excavations of a palace complex in Ur. This particular palace dated to the very end of the city-state's long history, right before the absorption of its territories into the Persian Empire and the eventual abandonment of the city around 500 BCE. This was the time of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and while Babylon was (unsurprisingly) the capital of this empire, the now ancient city of Ur was still important both for its strategic location near the Persian Gulf and for its legacy as a once great power.

As Woolley explains in his book, he and his team were quite confident that they were excavating Ur from its latest period, which is why the artifacts they found in one particular chamber (a photo of which is on the left) made so little sense:

Suddenly the workmen brought to light a large oval-topped black stone whose top was covered with carvings in relief and its sides with inscriptions it was a boundary-stone recording the position and the outlines of a landed property, with a statement as to how it came legally into the owner's hands and a terrific curse on whosoever should remove his neighbor's landmark or deface or destroy the record.

Now, this stone belonged to the Kassite period of about 1400 BC Almost touching it was a fragment of a statue, a bit of the arm of a human figure on which was an inscription, and the fragment had been carefully trimmed so as to make it look neat and to preserve the writing and the name on the statue was that of Dungi, who was king of Ur in 2058 BC. Then came a clay foundation-cone of a Larsa king of about 1700 BC, then a few clay tablets of about the same date, and a large votive stone mace-head which was uninscribed but may well have been more ancient by five hundred years.

What were we to think? Here were half a dozen diverse objects found lying on an unbroken brick pavement of the sixth century BC, yet the newest of them was seven hundred years older than the pavement and the earliest perhaps sixteen hundred.

In this single room, Woolley had discovered at least 1,500 years of history all jumbled together, a bit like if you randomly found a Roman statue and a piece of medieval masonry while cleaning out your closet. Left to their own devices, these objects would never be found together like this. Somebody had messed around with these artifacts - they just couldn't have guessed how long ago and to what purpose that tampering took place.

Nabonidus, Babylonian King and Archaeologist

Nabonidus (556 – 539 B. C.) was the last of the Neo-Babylonian Kings. He was the son of a nobleman named Nabu-balatsu-iqbi and a votress of the god Sin from the city of Harran[1]. His predecessor, Labashi-Marduk, was overthrown by a group of conspirators who placed Nabonidus on the throne in his place[2].

Nabonidus spent a large portion of his reign restoring temples and collecting antiquities found during the course of this restoration work. Bertman has called him “the world’s first archaeologist”[3] (although the Egyptian Prince Khaemwaset would probably be a better claimant to that title). Near a wall built at Ur by Nebuchadnezzar, one of Nabonidus’ Neo-Babylonian predecessors, Leonard Woolley found a headless diorite statue from a much earlier period in history. Woolley speculates that this may be one of the antiquities collected at Ur by Nabonidus[4] in the home of his daughter, who was a priestess there.

Woolley also found hidden in the brickwork of Ur’s ziggurat some clay cylinders with inscriptions from the reign of Nabonidus. The inscriptions stated that Nabonidus had completed the Ziggurat, which had been started centuries earlier by Ur-Nammu and his son Shulgi[5]. There is also a record of Nabonidus finding the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin while restoring the ziggurat[6]. Another text relates how Nabonidus, while restoring a shrine, found the foundation deposit of Nebuchadnezzar (604 - 562 B. C.)[7].

Nabonidus had the misfortune to rule at the same time as Cyrus II of Persia. Nabonidus allied himself with Cyrus against the Medes and soon found his ally was every bit as dangerous as the Medes. For some reason Nabonidus spent most, if not all of the years three through eleven of his reign outside of Babylon, possibly as far away as what is now Saudi Arabia[8]. During this time Cyrus gathered his strength and Nabonidus soon saw Babylon incorporated into the Persian Empire.

[1] Roux, Georges. Ancient Iraq, New York: Penguin Books, 1992, p. 381

[3] Bertman, Stephen. Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, New York: Facts on File, 2003, p. 47

[4] Woolley, Leonard, and E. R. S. Moorey. Ur of the Chaldees, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, revised 2nd
edition, 1982, p. 123

The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which king Nabonidus of Babylonia (556-539 BC) describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar . But it is almost certainly more significant because it proves the existence of a son named Belshezzar , who is mentioned in the Book of Daniel.

(cylinder of Nabonidus )

As for me, Nabonidus , king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead

and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar , the eldest son -my offspring-

instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake,

may he be sated with a life of plenitude.

[i.1-7] I, Nabonidus , the great king, the strong king, the king of the universe,

(Esagila, Marduk’s residence towering over Babylon)

the king of Babylon, the king of the four corners, the caretaker of Esagila and Ezida,

for whom Sin ( Nannar ) and Ningal in his mother’s womb decreed a royal fate as his destiny,

the son of Nabû-balâssi-iqbi , the wise prince, the worshiper of the great gods, I:

[i.8-ii.25] Ehulhul, the temple of Sin in Harran, where since days of yore

( Sin / Nannar , “the great lord”)

Sin , the great lord, had established his favorite residence –

his great heart became angry against that city and temple and he aroused the Mede,

destroyed the temple and turned it into ruin –

in my legitimate reign Bel ( Marduk ) and the great lord, for the love of my kingship,

( Marduk reconciled, his son Nabu , & semi-divine Babylonian king)

became reconciled with that city and temple and showed compassion.

In the beginning of my everlasting reign they sent me a dream.

the luminary of heaven and the netherworld, stood together.

(semi-divine king spoken to by Marduk )

Marduk spoke with me:

‘ Nabonidus , king of Babylon, carry bricks on your riding horse,

rebuild Ehulhul and cause Sin , the great lord, to establish his residence in its midst.’

Reverently, I spoke to the Enlil of the gods, Marduk :

‘ That temple which you ordered me to build, the Mede surrounds it and his might is excessive.’

(giant god Marduk speaks out orders to his king)

The Mede whom you mentioned, he,

his country and the kings who march at his side will be no more.’

At the beginning of the third year [Summer 553], they aroused him,

Cyrus , the king of Anšan, his second in rank.

He scattered the vast Median hordes with his small army.

He captured Astyages, the king of the Medes, and took him to his country as captive.

( Marduk & Sin , giant gods of Mesopotamia )

Such was the word of the great lord Marduk and of Sin ( Nannar ),

the luminary of heaven and the netherworld, whose command is not revoked.

I feared their august command, I became troubled,

I was worried and my face showed signs of anxiety.

I was not neglectful, nor remiss, nor careless.

( Nannar’s temple in Ur)

For rebuilding Ehulhul, the temple of Sin , my lords, who marches at my side, which is in Harran,

( Ashurbanipal & father Esarhaddon at Marduk’s temple)

which Aššurbanipal , king of Assyria, son of Esarhaddon , a prince who proceeded me, had rebuilt,

I mustered my numerous troops, from the country of Gaza on the border of Egypt,

near the Upper Sea [the Mediterranean] on the other side of the the Euphrates,

to the Lower Sea [the Persian Gulf],

the kings, princes, governors and my numerous troops which Sin ,

( Samas , Ishtar , father Sin , & son Papsukal damaged)

Šamaš ( Shamash / Utu ) and Ištar ( Inanna ) – my lords – had entrusted to me.

And in a propitious month, on an auspicious day,

which Šamaš and Adad revealed to me by means of divination,

by the wisdom of Ea ( Enki ) and Asalluhi ( Ashur ),

( Ningishzidda / Kulla places the foundation pegs , Master Architect of the world’s greatest monuments)

with the craft of the exorcist, according to the art of Kulla ( Ningishzidda ),

the lord of foundations and brickwork, upon beads of silver and gold,

choice gems, logs of resinous woods, aromatic herbs and cuts of cedar wood,

in joy and gladness, on the foundation deposit of Aššurbanipal , king of Assyria,

who had found the foundation of Šalmaneser [ III ], the son of Aššurnasirpal [ II ],

I cleared its foundations and laid its brickwork.

I mixed its mortar with beer, wine, oil and honey and anointed its excavation ramps with it.

More than the kings -my fathers- had done, I strengthened its building and perfected its work.

That temple from its foundation to its parapet I built anew and I completed its work.

(cedar timbers shipped from Enlil’s sacred Cedar Forests of Lebanon)

Beams of lofty cedar trees, a product of Lebanon, I set above it.

Doors of cedar wood, whose scent is pleasing, I affixed at its gates.

With gold and silver glaze I coated its wall and made it shine like the sun.

I set up in its chapel a ‘wild bull’ of shining silver alloy, fiercely attacking my foes.

At the Gate of Sunrise I set up two ‘long haired heroes’ coated with silver,

destroyers of enemies, one to the left, one to the right.

( Ningal & her spouse Nannar , patron gods of Ur)

-my lords- in procession from Babylon, my royal city,

and in joy and gladness I caused them to dwell in its midst, a dwelling of enjoyment.

I performed in their presence a pure sacrifice of glorification,

presented my gifts, and filled Ehulhul with the finest products,

and I made the city of Harran, in its totality, as brilliant as moonlight.

[ii.26-43a] O Sin , king of the gods of heaven and the netherworld,

without whom no city or country can be founded, nor be restored,

when you enter Ehulhul, the dwelling of your plentitude,

may good recommendations for that city and that temple be set on your lips.

May the gods who dwell in heaven and the netherworld

constantly praise the temple of Sin , the father, their creator.

( Nabonidus , semi-divine son to Nabu , & named after Nabu )

As for me, Nabonidus king of Babylon, who completed that temple,

may Sin , the king of the gods of heaven and the netherworld,

joyfully cast his favorable look upon me and every month,

in rising and setting, make my ominous signs favorable.

May he lengthen my days, extend my years, make my reign firm,

conquer my enemies, annihilate those hostile to me, destroy my foes.

May Ningal , the mother of the great gods, speak favorably before Sin , her beloved, on my behalf.

his shining offspring, recommend me favorably to Sin , the father, their creator.

May Nusku , the august vizier (of Enlil’s ), hear my prayer and intercede for me.

[ii.43b-46] The inscription written in the name of Aššurbanipal , king of Assyria,

I found and did not alter.

I anointed it with oil, performed a sacrifice, placed it with my own inscription, and returned it to its place.

[ii.47-iii.7] For Šamaš ( Utu ), the judge of heaven and the netherworld,

( Utu ruins of Utu’s ziggurat residence E-babbar)

concerning Ebabbar [‘shining house’], his temple which is in Sippar ,

which Nebuchadnezzar , a former king had rebuilt and whose old foundation deposit

he had looked for but not found -yet he rebuilt that temple and after forty-five years

the walls of that temple had sagged- I became troubled, I became fearful,

I was worried and my face showed signs of anxiety.

While I led Šamaš out of its midst and caused him to dwell in another sanctuary,

I removed the debris of that temple, looked for its old foundation deposit,

dug to a depth of eighteen cubits into the ground and then Šamaš , the great lord,

revealed to me the original foundations of Ebabbar, the temple which is his favorite dwelling,

(giant semi-divine King Naram-Sin looking at a landed craft of the gods on a mountainside)

by disclosing the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin , son of Sargon ,

which no king among my predecessors had found in three thousand and two hundred years.

In the month Tašrîtu, in a propitious month, on an auspicious day,

(giant god Adad gives his orders to his semi-divine king)

which Šamaš and Adad had revealed to me by means of divination,

upon beds of silver and gold, choice gems, logs of resinous woods,

aromatic herbs, and cuts of cedar wood, in joy and gladness,

on the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin , son of Sargon (The Great),

not a finger’s breadth too wide or too narrow, I laid its brick work.

Five thousand massive beams of cedar wood I set up for its roofing.

Lofty doors of cedar wood, thresholds and pivots I affixed at its gates.

Ebabbar, together with E-kun-ankuga [‘pure stairway to heaven’], its ziggurat,

I built anew and completed its work.

I led Šamaš , my lord, in procession and, in joy and gladness,

I caused him to dwell in the midst of his favorite dwelling.

( Naram-Sin & father Sargon the Great , semi-divine kings of Akkad)

[iii.8-10] The inscription in the name of Naram-Sin , son of Sargon , I found and did not alter.

I anointed it with oil, made offerings,

placed it with my own inscription and returned it to its original place.

[iii.11-21] O Šamaš , great lord of heaven and the netherworld,

( Ningal , semi-divine king, damaged goddess, king repeated, & Sin )

light of the gods -your fathers- offspring of Sin and (spouse) Ningal ,

when you enter Ebabbar your beloved temple,

when you take up residence in your eternal dais, look joyfully upon me, Nabonidus , king of Babylon,

the prince your caretaker, the one who pleases you and built your august chapel,

and upon my good deeds, and every day at sunrise and sunset, in the heavens and on the earth,

make my omens favorable, accept my supplications and receive my prayers.

With the scepter and the legitimate staff which placed in my hands may I rule forever.

[iii.22-38] For Anunitu ( Inanna )the lady of warfare,

( Inanna , Goddess of Love & War , with bow & quiver)

who carries the bow and the quiver, who fulfills the command of Enlil her father (grandfather),

who annihilates the enemy, who destroys the evil one,

who precedes the gods, who, at sunrise and sunset, causes my ominous signs to be favorable-

I excavated, surveyed and inspected the old foundations of Eulmaš, her temple which is in Sippar –

Anunitu , which for eight hundred years, since the time of Šagarakti-Šuriaš ,

king of Babylon, son of Kudur-Enlil ,

and on the foundation deposit of Šagarakti-Šuriaš , son of Kudur Enlil ,

I cleared its foundations and laid its brickwork.

I built that temple anew and completed its work.

Anunitu , the lady of warfare, who fulfills the command of Enlil her father,

(giant gods Utu & sister Anunitu / Inanna capture little disloyal earthlings)

who annihilates the enemy, who destroys the evil one, who precedes the gods,

I caused her to establish her residence.

The regular offerings and the other offerings

I increased over what they were and I established for her.

[iii.38-42] As for you, O Anunitu ( Inanna ), great lady, when you joyfully enter that temple,

look joyfully upon my good deeds and every month, at sunrise and sunset,

petition Sin ( Nannar ), your father, your begetter, for favors on my behalf.

( Inanna petitions father Sin for favors for her semi-divine king)

[iii.43-51] Whoever you are whom Sin and Šamaš will call to kingship,

and in whose reign that temple will fall into disrepair and who build it anew,

may he find the inscription written in my name and not alter it.

May he anoint it with oil, perform a sacrifice, place it with the inscription

written in his own name and return it to its original place.

May Šamaš ( Shamash / Utu ) and Anunitu ( Inanna ) hear his supplication,

( Inanna & twin brother Utu destroy their kings enemies)

receive his utterance, march at his side, annihilate his enemy

and daily speak good recommendations on his behalf to Sin , the father, their creator.

As to Nabonidus :] law and order are not promulgated by him,

he made perish the common people through want,

the nobles he killed in war, for the trader he blocked the road.

For the farmer he made rare the [unintelligible],

there is no [lacuna], the harvester does not sing the alalu-song any more,

he does not fence in any more the arable territory. [lacuna]

He took away their property, scattered their possessions, the [lacuna] he ruined completely,

their corpses remaining on a dark place, decaying.

Their faces became hostile, they do not parade along the wide street,

you do not see happiness anymore, [lacuna] is unpleasant, they decided.

( Nabonidus , semi-divine son to Nabu , named after Nabu )

As to Nabonidus , his protective deity became hostile to him.

And he, the former favorite of the gods is now seized by misfortunes.

Against the will of the gods he performed an unholy action, he thought out something worthless:

he had made the image of a deity which nobody had ever seen in this country,

he introduced it into the temple, he placed it on a pedestal he called it by the name of Moon.

It is adorned with a necklace of lapis lazuli, crowned with a tiara,

its appearance is that of the eclipsed moon,

the gesture of its hand is like that of the god Lugal-[unintelligible],

its head of hair reaches to the pedestal,

and in front of it are placed the Storm Dragon and the Wild Bull.

When he worshiped it, its appearance became like that

of a demon crowned with a tiara, his face turned hostile [lacuna].

His form not even Eamummu (unidentified?) could have formed,

not even the learned Adapa (Biblical Adam ) knows his name.

Nabonidus said: ‘I shall build a temple for him,

I shall construct his holy seat, I shall form its first brick for him, I shall establish firmly its foundation,

(E-kur, Enlil’s ziggurat residence in Nippur)

I shall make a replica even of the temple Ekur ( Enlil’s ziggurat residence in Nippur) .

I shall call its name Ehulhul for all days to come.

When I will have fully executed what I have planned,

I shall lead him by the hand and establish him on his seat.

Yet till I have achieved this, till I have obtained what is my desire,

I shall omit all festivals, I shall order even the New Year’s festival to cease!’

And he formed its first brick, did lay out the outlines, he spread out the foundation,

made high its summit, by means of wall decoration made of gypsum and bitumen

he made its facing brilliant, as in the temple Esagila

he made a ferocious wild bull stand on guard in front of it.

After he had obtained what he desired, a work of utter deceit,

had built this abomination, a work of unholiness – when the third year was about to begin-

he entrusted the army [?] to his oldest son, his first born,

the troops in the country he ordered under his command.

He let everything go, entrusted the kingship to him, and, himself, he started out for a long journey.

The military forces of Akkad marching with him, he turned to Temâ deep in the west.

He started out the expedition on a path leading to a distant region.

When he arrived there, he killed in battle the prince of Temâ,

slaughtered the flocks of those who dwell in the city as well as in the countryside.

And he, himself, took residence in Temâ, the forces of Akkad were also stationed there.

He made the town beautiful, built there a palace like the palace in Babylon.

He also built walls for the fortification of the town and he surrounded the town with sentinels.

The inhabitants became troubled.

The brick form and the brick basket he imposed upon them.

Through the hard work they [lacuna] he killed the inhabitants, women and youngsters included.

Their prosperity he brought to an end.

All the barley that he found therein [lacuna]

His tired army [lacuna] the hazanu-official of Cyrus …

… the praise of the Lord of Lords and the names of the countries

which Cyrus has not conquered he wrote upon this stele,

while Cyrus is the king of the world whose triumphs are true

and whose yoke the kings of all the countries are pulling.

( Nabonidus text on large stone tablet)

Nabonidus has written upon his stone tablets:

‘I have made him bow to my feet, I personally have conquered his countries,

his possessions I took to my residence.’

It was he who once stood up in the assembly to praise himself, saying:

‘I am wise, I know, I have seen what is hidden.

Even if I do not know how to write with the stylus, yet I have seen secret things.

The god Ilte’ri (unidentified?) has made me see a vision, he has shown me everything.

I am aware of a wisdom which greatly surpasses

even that of the series of insights which Adapa has composed!’

Yet he continues to mix up the rites, he confuses the hepatoscopic oracles.

To the most important ritual observances, he orders an end as to the sacred representations in Esagila –

representations which Eamumma (unidentified?)himself had fashioned-

he looks at the representations and utters blasphemies.

When he saw the usar-symbol of Esagila, he makes an [insulting?] gesture.

He assembled the priestly scholars, he expounded to them as follows:

‘Is not this the sign of ownership indicating for whom the temple was built?

( Marduk , Mushhushu animal & spade symbols, or rocket)

If it belongs really to Bêl ( Marduk ), it would have been marked with the spade.

Therefore the Moon ( Nannar )himself has marked already his own temple with the usar-symbol!’

And Zeriya, the šatammu who used to crouch as his secretary in front of him,

and Rimut, the bookkeeper who used to have his court position near to him,

do confirm the royal dictum, stand by his words, they even bare their heads to pronounce under oath:

‘Now only we understand this situation, after the king has explained about it!’

In the month of Nisannu, the eleventh day, till the god was present on his seat [lacuna]

[lacuna] for the inhabitants of Babylon, Cyrus declared the state of peace.

His troops he kept away from Ekur.

Big cattle he slaughtered with the ax, he slaughtered many aslu-sheep,

incense he put on the censer, the regular offerings for the Lord of Lords he ordered increased,

he constantly prayed to the gods, prostrated on his face.

To act righteously is dear to his heart.

To repair the city of Babylon he conceived the idea and he himself took up hoe,

spade and water basket and began to complete the wall of Babylon.

( Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon )

The original plan of Nebuchadnezzar the inhabitants executed with a willing heart.

He built the fortifications on the Imgur-Enlil-wall.

The images of the gods of Babylon, male and female, he returned to their cellas,

the gods who had abandoned their chapels he returned to their mansions.

Their wrath he appeased, their mind he put at rest,

those whose power was at a low he brought back to life because their food is served to them regularly.

Nabonidus ‘ deeds Cyrus effaced and everything Nabonidus constructed,

all the sanctuaries of his royal rule Cyrus has eradicated,

the ashes of the burned buildings the wind carried away.

( Nabonidus chronicle, ancient cuneiform written text)

The Ziggurat of Ur

During the whole of our digging season (1923-24) the greater number of the workmen have been engaged upon the clearing of the Ziggurat, and before the work closed down this, the most imposing of the monuments of Ur, was fully exposed as it had not been since its destruction in the fifth century B. C.

The Ziggurat of Ur in the process of excavation.
Image Numbers: 8734a, 8735b

In each of the chief cities of Mesopotamia there stood of old one of these ziggurats or staged towers whose ruins today dominate the lower mounds that were temples or palaces. They were great solid structures rising up tier above tier, each stage smaller than the one below, so that the whole had the effect of a stepped platform stairways or sloping ramps led from the ground level to the summit, and thereon was set a little shrine dedicated to the city’s patron god. The amount of labour that went to the building of such a tower was immense, and one wonders why it should have been incurred so regularly in every great town. The explanation seems to be that the Sumerians were originally a hill folk, accustomed, as all hill folk are, to putting up their temples and their altars on “high places” and “on every high hill” when they moved down into the plain of Mesopotamia, where the flat alluvium stretches unrelieved to the horizon, they felt the need of the “high place” where God could be properly worshipped and so set to and built artificial mountains whereby man might approach nearer to heaven. The tower of Babel was meant to storm the throne of God with prayer at close quarters rather than by force of arms.

The ruins of Khorsabad have given us the remains of one ziggurat fairly well preserved and Herodotus has left us a description of that of Babylon the Greek’s account is none too clear, but he evidently is describing a building very different to that represented by the ruins, and we can only gather that whereas the idea of all the ziggurats was the same, in plan and in ornament they varied much one from another. Therefore the clearing of that at Ur, the best preserved of all the ziggurats in Mesopotamia, was bound to be a work of great interest.

Much of the history of the monument was already known, for in the middle of last century Mr. Taylor, excavating on behalf of the British Museum, had found the inscribed clay cylinders whereon Nabonidus, last king of Babylon, had recorded how he had repaired and completed the tower begun but left unfinished by Ur-Engur and his son Dungi, kings of Ur about 2300 B. c. We knew therefore that we should have to deal with buildings of that early date and of the sixth century B. c. Actually of Dungi we have found no trace, and we can only conclude that his work was limited to the upper structure which was swept away to make room for the new buildings of Nabonidus it is safer to assume this than to suppose that Nabonidus was in error, for the king was a keen archaeologist, fond of digging up the foundation-records of his predecessors and basing his statements upon their written evidence that he did so here is sure, for at the corner of the second stage of Ur-Engur’s work, below an unbroken pavement laid down by Nabonidus, we found a hole driven right into the heart of the brickwork, a hole that could only have been made by the later king’s workmen searching for the old foundation-deposits.

The lower Stage of the Ziggurat of Ur after excavation.
Image Numbers: 143972, 8735a

Even without the later foundation-cylinders (further examples of which were found by us this year) it would have been possible to assign to each king his own part in the building, for the royal stamps on the bricks left no doubt on the subject, except indeed where the later builders re-used some of the material taken from the earlier walls. The whole of the lowest stage is due to Ur-Engur, and everything visible above it to Nabonidus. There is nothing to tell us what the upper part of the original ziggurat was like that of the sixth century B. C. can be reconstructed in all its essential lines.

The lowest stage is a rectangle, the short ends straight, the longer sides slightly convex, as if to give an appearance of greater strength to the centre, where the building was highest. It is solid throughout, of crude brick inside with a thick facing of baked bricks laid in pitch for mortar to secure a bond, reed mats dipped in pitch were laid between the brick courses at regular intervals. The quality of the bricks and of the bricklaying is astonishingly good, and much of the wall face is as clean and new looking as when it was first built. The surface is relieved by shallow buttresses a further variety is afforded by the numerous “weeper-holes” running right through the thickness of the burnt brick wall for the drainage of the filling which without this precaution would have swelled with the infiltration of the winter rains and burst the casing.

One of the Stairways on the Ziggurat of Ur.

On three sides the ziggurat walls rise straight and unbroken from the ground, but on the NE side are the stairs leading to the summit. There were three flights of a hundred steps each a central flight, and from either corner of the ziggurat a flight running up against the wall face, the three converging at the top in a broad gateway through the parapet of the second stage the two angles between the central and the side stairways are filled by solid platform towers whose flat tops were probably decorated with statues. The whole conception is very dignified, and the threefold approach must have lent itself well to such ritual processions as we may imagine to have formed part of the Moon god’s worship. That there was a second stage to Ur-Engur’s tower is certain, and we have found remains of it in situ, but from Nabonidus’s account we may perhaps infer that there were no more than two but though its design may not have satisfied the Babylonian king the building such as it was planned must have been completed in the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur during the next eighteen hundred years royal builders who did much work in the city carried out minor repairs to the ziggurat and if the top had been left unfinished would certainly have worked there too, but neither we nor Nabonidus found any evidence for their having done so. We must conclude that Ur-Engur’s building whose lower part survives today was completed at least during his son’s reign, and that when Abraham lived at Ur he looked up daily to a ziggurat which was then a finished monument.

In the sixth century B.C. Nabonidus respected most of what was left of the ancient building. He put down new brick treads for the staircases, but he did not alter their design, and it was only on the top of the structure that he swept away the older ruins altogether to make room for something more suited to his tastes. Three stages set on the old base gave greater height to the platform on which the shrine was to be built these were not of the same proportions as the lowest stage, but left at either end a platform much wider than along the sides, and on the NE side there was no lowest stage at all, the entrance from the triple stairway giving directly on to the second platform. Entering here one turned to the left and went down a short flight of steps to the lowest platform at the SE end of the ziggurat (like all such, the ziggurat of UR is orientated with its corners, not its sides, to the cardinal points of the compass), and passing to the centre of this up a broad staircase to the top platform of all, while smaller flights led to the third platform by which one could walk right round the building. Theoretical reconstructions of ziggurats in the past have always aimed at a perfect symmetry such as the groundplan would seem to dictate the ruins at Ur present to us a structure curiously irregular and almost lopsided. But this irregularity is calculated. The top of the ziggurat is treated as a thing in itself, without reference to the surroundings, which indeed were too far below to matter everything is subordinated to the effect to be obtained from the lowest platform at the SE end, where the spectator has before him the stepped terraces and the main and side stairways, all the lines centering on the shrine above. From below, the only view that really mattered was that of the NE face, for all the other sides were more or less encumbered and concealed by other buildings here therefore the lowest stage was carried up higher and the passage from the stairway to the lowest platform was hidden by a parapet which masked the real lack of balance on the two sides only two upper terraces were visible with the shrine crowning the whole.

A Stairway of the Ziggurat of Ur.
Image Numbers: 8736a, 8736b

In a previous report I described a large courtyard that lay below the ziggurat on the NE side. The floor of this lay at a lower level than the ziggurat, which really stood high on an artificial terrace held up by the boundary wall of the court, and it was from the court that the best view of the ziggurat was obtained. To some extent we can recover at least the main features of this view. The courtyard, with its paving of brick and asphalt, stretched this way and that for a hundred yards and was some sixty yards wide the bounding wall was decorated with attached half columns fronted by a colonnade the whole was whitewashed. Above this rose the terrace on which stood the ziggurat isolated and huge. The lower part was all painted black the three staircases ran up to a great doorway at the top of the main stage which here, in its centre, was higher than at the two ends, so that all the lines, the actual side walls of the ziggurat with their slight batter, the parapet with its sharper break, and the steep-pitched converging stairs, all led the eye upwards and inwards over the black parapet shewed the upper terrace of bright red brick, and on the top of all the shrine built of glazed bricks of brilliant sky blue. The scheme both of colour and line has been carefully thought out the vertical lines of the white columns below, the converging lines against the black mass of the first stages of the tower, the plain red step leading up to the blue shining cube of the shrine, all contribute to the effect, and make of the ziggurat of Ur an architectural monument worthy of our admiration and of Nabonidus’s pride.

The new buildings whereon the king of Babylon relied for the perpetuation of his name did not last long, and today they are a sorry ruin luckily enough remains to establish their original character (though few but Mr. F. G. Newton, who fortunately was the architect of the Expedition, could have solved all the riddles of the scanty walls and broken floors), and, though the upper part has suffered much, though the shrine has wholly disappeared and of the stepped terraces but little has survived, yet the massive base with its triple staircase that Ur-Engur built more than four thousand years ago is the most imposing of the ancient monuments of Iraq.

NOTE.-Mr. Woolley, in this report, does not give the dimensions of the Ziggurat at Ur. According to plan prepared last year by Mr. Newton, the lower stage measures 130 by 195 feet and the height of the tower is 92 feet.

The Tower of Babel, or the Ziggurat of Babylon, is described on an ancient Babylonian tablet translated by George Smith. According to this document, the Tower of Babel had seven stages. The lowest tower measured 300 feet square and the whole was 300 feet in height. Nothing is left of this tower at the ruins of Babylon. Its sides faced East, West, North and South, whereas the Ziggurat of Ur has its corners towards these points of the compass.

Cite This Article

Woolley, C. Leonard. "The Ziggurat of Ur." The Museum Journal XV, no. 2 (June, 1924): 107-114. Accessed June 17, 2021.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

King Nabonidus Clay Cylinder from Ur - History

Since very ancient times, man has tried to get as close as possible to his gods. The people of Southern Mesopotamia and Elam and later the Americas, did this by building monumental structures that reached upward to heaven to house their gods and to be Temples for their gods worship. Tombs not Temples>. Though Human bodies are almost always found buried beneath ancient Temple structures, sometimes a great many.

Here we will trace the history of the great Ziggurat of Ur. Beginning at about 5200 B.C. the first Ur Ziggurat was built. It is believed to have resembled the later Eridu Ziggurat (pictured below) which was built in 4100 B.C.

Over the many thousands of years, successive kings added to the Ziggurat, so that by the time of king Ur-Nammu, thirteen layers of temples had been added with material from each previous addition, used as a platform for the next one on top of the other.

Ur-Nammu, wishing to build the greatest Ziggurat yet built, directed that previous construction be dug away to form the platform for his new ziggurat.

Construction Note: The core of a Ziggurat is solid and made of mud brick, the sides and tops (or terraces) is made of waterproof baked brick. The Temples on the top of the Ziggurat had colorful glazed bricks and tiles.

The terraces were often decorated with trees and other flora planted in containers.

Each king who built an addition, had each and every brick stamped with an inscription identifying himself as the builder of the addition.

Ur-Nammu did not live to see the completion of his Ziggurat, It was completed by his son Shulgi in about 2100 B.C. The Ziggurat was dedicated to the Akkadian Moon God "Sin", and was called 'Etemennigur', which means 'House whose foundation creates terror'.

In 1854 the British Consul at Basrah, J.E. Taylor began an excavation of the ziggurat area. Taylor found four clay cylinders, one at each corner of the ziggurat, which identified the site as Ur.

These cylinders were written for the Babylonian king Nabonidus who reigned from about 555 B.C. to 539 B.C. The text on these cylinders revealed that the ziggurat had been rebuilt by Nabonidus.

The cylinder reads
I am Nabonidus, king of Babylon, patron of Esagila and Ezida, devotee of the great gods. E-lugal-galga-sisa, the ziggurat of E-gish-nu-gal in Ur, which Ur-Nammu, a former king, built but did not finish it (and) his son Shulgi finished its building. On the inscriptions of Ur-Nammu and his son Shulgi I read that Ur-Nammu built that ziggurat but did not finish it (and) his son Shulgi finished its building.

Now that ziggurat had become old, and I undertook the construction of that ziggurat on the foundations which Ur-Nammu and his son Shulgi built, following the original plan with bitumen and baked brick. I rebuilt it for Sin, the lord of the gods of heaven and underworld, the god of gods, who lives in the great heavens, the lord of E-gish-nu-gal in Ur, my lord.

Sin, lord of the gods, king of the gods of heaven and underworld, god of gods, who lives in the great heavens, when you enter with joy into this temple may the welfare of Esagila, Ezida and Egishshirgal, the temples of your great divinity, be always on your lips. And let the fear of your great divinity be in the heart of your people so that they will not sin against your great divinity.

Let their foundations be established as the heavens. As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sin against your great divinity, and give me life until distant days. And as for Belshazzar my firstborn son, my own child, let the fear of your great divinity be in his heart, and may he commit no sin may he enjoy happiness in life.

It cannot be discounted that the Hebrew myth of the Tower of Babel was inspired by Nabonidus's additions to the Ur-Nammu Ziggurat, rather than the Ziggurat of Eridu, as suggested by David Robl. Upon completion, the Ur Ziggurat was indeed a huge structure.

Nabonidus was ethnically an Amorite, just like the Hebrews, Cyrus will free the Hebrews from Nabonidus's Babylonian captivity.


According to Josephus, c.Ap.I.20, who was quoting from Berosus, it indicates that Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded in the kingdom by his son Evilmerodach, who reigned badly for two years and was put to death by Neriglissor, the husband of his sister, who then reigned for four years. Neriglissor’s son Laborosoarchod, reigned after his father for nine months, but was murdered. His murderers elevated Nabonnedus, one of the conspirators, to the throne. In Nabonnedus’ seventeenth year Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians, but Nabonnedus was not killed in Babylon, he had fortified himself in Borsippa, which Cyrus also conquered and sent Nabonnedus to Carmania where he lived out the rest of his life.

According to this and other reports there were four kings after Nebuchadnezzar
-- his son, Evilmerodach,
--his son-in-law, Neriglissor,
--his grandson (daughter’s son) Laborosoarchod,
--and the last king who, to all appearances was not related to Nebuchadnezzar, namely Nabonnedus who was not put to death by Cyrus at the fall of Babylon.

With these facts in view, historians and critics cast great doubt on this story found in Daniel, as there seemed to be no historical evidence of a king Belshazzar, a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, who perished in the Babylonian take-over.

However, in the 20th century archaeologists found a cuneiform table, called the "Persian Verse Account of Nabonidus". Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus. After ruling Babylon for three years (553 B.C.), Nabonidus departed the great city and spent ten years in Tema in Arabia, during this time Nabonidus appointed Belshazzar as the ruler of Babylon. Significantly, when the Persians conquered Babylon, Nabonidus was not there, but Belshazzar was!

Yet, this still does not link Belshazzar to Nebuchadnezzar-- at least not through his father.

Several commentators believe the “queen mother” which appears in Daniel 5 is Nitocris. Who is Nitocris? She is actually quite a famous daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and most likely the mother of Belshazzar.

Herodotus: From The History of the Persian Wars
I.185 Nitocris, a wiser princess than her predecessor, not only left behind her, as memorials of her occupancy of the throne, the works which I shall presently describe, but also, observing the great power and restless enterprise of the Medes, who had taken so large a number of cities, and among them Nineveh, and expecting to be attacked in her turn, made all possible exertions to increase the defenses of her empire. And first, whereas the river Euphrates, which traverses the city, ran formerly with a straight course to Babylon, she, by certain excavations which she made at some distance up the stream, rendered it so winding that it comes three several times in sight of the same village, a village in Assyria, which is called Ardericea and to this day, they who would go from our sea to Babylon, on descending to the river touch three times, and on three different days, at this very place.

She also made an embankment along each side of the Euphrates, wonderful both for breadth and height, and dug a basin for a lake a great way above Babylon, close alongside of the stream, which was sunk everywhere to the point where they came to water, and was of such breadth that the whole circuit measured four hundred and twenty furlongs. The soil dug out of this basin was made use of in the embankments along the waterside. When the excavation was finished, she had stones brought, and bordered with them the entire margin of the reservoir. These two things were done, the river made to wind, and the lake excavated, that the stream might be slacker by reason of the number of curves, and the voyage be rendered circuitous, and that at the end of the voyage it might be necessary to skirt the lake and so make a long round. All these works were on that side of Babylon where the passes lay, and the roads into Media were the straightest, and the aim of the queen in making them was to prevent the Medes from holding intercourse with the Babylonians, and so to keep them in ignorance of her affairs.

I.186: While the soil from the excavation was being thus used for the defense of the city, Nitocris engaged also in another undertaking, a mere by-work compared with those we have already mentioned. The city, as I said, was divided by the river into two distinct portions. Under the former kings, if a man wanted to pass from one of these divisions to the other, he had to cross in a boat which must, it seems to me, have been very troublesome. Accordingly, while she was digging the lake, Nitocris be. thought herself of turning it to a use which should at once remove this inconvenience, and enable her to leave another monument of her reign over Babylon. She gave orders for the hewing of immense blocks of stone, and when they were ready and the basin was excavated, she turned the entire stream of the Euphrates into the cutting, and thus for a time, while the basin was filling, the natural channel of the river was left dry. Forthwith she set to work, and in the first place lined the banks of the stream within the city with quays of burnt brick, and also bricked the landing-places opposite the river-gates, adopting throughout the same fashion of brickwork which had been used in the town wall after which, with the materials which had been prepared, she built, as near the middle of the town as possible, a stone bridge, the blocks whereof were bound together with iron and lead. In the daytime square wooden platforms were laid along from pier to pier, on which the inhabitants crossed the stream but at night they were withdrawn, to prevent people passing from side to side in the dark to commit robberies. When the river had filled the cutting, and the bridge was finished, the Euphrates was turned back again into its ancient bed and thus the basin, transformed suddenly into a lake, was seen to answer the purpose for which it was made, and the inhabitants, by help of the basin, obtained the advantage of a bridge.

I.188: The expedition of Cyrus was undertaken against the son of this princess, who bore the same name as his father Labynetus, (Nebonitius) and was king

According to Herodotus, Nitocris completed many of the works started by Nebuchadnezzar . She was credited with great wisdom and she was chief of public affairs, occupying the throne. She fortified the city as the Medes and Persians were advancing, and her son was on the throne when Cyrus ordered the taking of Babylon!

From the story found in Daniel 5, we know she was well acquainted with Nebuchadnezzar, and that she obviously could walk in to the king without being invited and tell the king what to do.

The Bible simply calls her “the queen” Daniel five also speaks of Belshazzar’s wives being at the party, but this woman exhibited authority that distinctly set her apart as "the queen".

So let‘s see if these pieces can come together-- we know Neriglissor was married to Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter.

Then in an entry in Easton’s bible dictionary on Belshazzar we find Belshazzar is the son of Nabonadius by Nitocris widow of Nergal-Sharezer (Neriglissor).

Nebuchadnezzar dies, his son Evil-Merodach comes to the throne. Nitocris’s (Nebuchadnezzar daughter)marries Neriglissor. Her husband, Neriglissor usurps the throne using his wife to establish legitimacy. Since Nitocris was such a high profile princess, the people would have known her, and accepted her. But then her husband, Neriglissor, dies and is replaced by their son. There is an uprising and apparently this son is killed.

Nitocris swings into action and marries the aspiring Nabonidius, securing her position and giving him a legitimate claim to the throne.

But now is it possible that Belshazzar was an adopted son of Nabonidus? a son of queen Nitocris from her previous marriage? After all Nabonidius only reigned 17 years, which is not a long enough time to produce a son old enough to take over the reign of Babylon after the third year and oversee Babylon for at least 10 of those years.

Why was the king away from Babylon so much? Could there have been an arrangement made between him and Nitocris which included giving her the reign of Babylon through her son Belshazzar? It is almost as if Nabonidius took the rest of the empire but left the reign of the capital of Babylon itself for the queen and her son.

It is also most interesting that Herodutus credits Nitocis with building fortifications which the historian Berosus credits to Nabonidius.

The above probability fit’s the story of Daniel. The queen would have been an extremely important figure, well acquainted with her father, King Nebuchadnezzar, and the main consistent center of power in the years following him. It would explain why she could walk in and tell the king what to do. It would also explain how Daniel was in one sense still considered an advisor in the kingdom (the queen wanted it so) but almost forgotten by the king.

Watch the video: SIMON LEACH - 7 steps to making a cylinder! (July 2022).


  1. Zuka

    Quite right! I think this is a great idea.

  2. Bebeodan

    When I come back here again, why all this shit was not here. Beg. Otherwise I won't talk to you anymore

  3. Justin

    I fully agree with the author

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