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Nebuchadnezzar’s stone book goes to auction

Fine Books magazine reports that a Babylonian cuneiform cylinder from the rule of Nebuchadnezzar II is going to be auctioned on April 9 in New York. The clay cylinder is also offered for sale on AbeBooks at just over £1 million.

The book/stone details the rebuilding of a temple by Nebuchadnezzar II around 604-562 BC. The cylinder is 8.25 inches in length and comes from Sippar, an area that housed a number of Babylonian temples.

Apparently, it was customary for the kings of Babylon to restore temples in order stay in the good books of the gods. These accomplishments were then written in cuneiform on clay cylinders and buried in the foundations of the temple. A famous example of these stone books is the so-called Cyrus Cylinder, now housed in the British Museum.

Nebuchadnezzar II also created the Tower of Babel, the Stepped Pyramid (also known as the Ziggurat) and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

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