One of the Earliest Drawings of the Tower of Babel Found on Ancient Stone Tablet
A carving of the Tower of Babel has been found on a stone tablet dating back over 2,500 years.
It comes from the newly published book Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions And Related Texts In The Schøyen Collection.
The collection is owned by Norwegian businessman Martin Schøyen, who has amassed over 13,000 ancient manuscripts and tablets.
One of the images shows King Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled Babylon 2,500 years ago, standing next to a huge ziggurat – a pyramidlike structure dedicated to the god Marduk that some scholars believe is the Tower of Babel of Biblical fame.
Professor Andrew George writes that this drawing is one of ‘the stars in the firmament of the book’.
The depiction of Nebuchadnezzar is one of only four in the world.
Babel, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a 'scene of noisy confusion'.
Interestingly, the phrase 'Tower of Babel' is not mentioned in the Bible, but is described as 'the city and its tower'.
Professor George says: ‘The others are carved on cliff-faces in Lebanon at Wadi Brisa (which has two reliefs) and at Shir es-Sanam.
‘All these outdoor monuments are in very poor condition and their depictions of the king are much less impressive than that on the stele [stone tablet].’
Elsewhere in the book is an interesting translation of a 3,000-year-old copy of the law code of Mesopotamian king Ur-Nammu.
Within this scholars discovered an ‘eye for an eye’ rule, predating Hammurabi’s famous 1780BC code by hundreds of years.
However, Ur-Nammu’s version was less cruel and stated that blinding someone should result in a fine, not the losing of an eye.
Bar tabs were also enshrined in law. If, for example, you told a ‘female tavern-keeper’ to put a beer on a tab in the summer, she could order you to pay a tax in the winter – though it doesn’t specify how much.