Neo-Sumerian Terracotta Foundation Cone-Nail with Cuneiform Inscription

SKU X.0562

2500 BC to 2000 BC


6.00″ (15.2cm) high x 4.9″ (12.4cm) wide





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The Inscription of 36 lines is given twice on this nail, once around the shaft in two columns, with division between lines 20 and 21, and once on the head also in two columns divided between lines 20 and 21. The Text is a royal inscription of Lipit-Ishtar, king of Isin in Babylonia (c. 1935 -1924 BCE). It reads: ” Lipit-Ishatr, shepherd who reverences (the town) NIppur, reliable farmer of Ur, ceaseless for (the town) Eridu, high priest the adornment of (the town) Uruk, king of Isin, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, favourite of (the goddess) Ishtar am I. I made to potstands the delight of (the god) Enlil and (goddess) Ninlil in Isin, my royal city, at the gate of the palace, did I, lipit-Ishtar, son of (the god) Enlil when I established justice in the land of Sumer and Akkad.” The king first stresses his concern for the cults of the major cities of Sumer: Nippur, Ur, Eridu, and Uruk, then after giving his titles, he refers to his making of two pot stands to put at his palace gate from which the divine pair Enlil and ninlil would receive some benefit. The Occasion of this dedication was when he established justice in his land. This was the cancellation of certain types of debts to prevent the rich from getting richer and the poor poorer. The head of this nail is incomplete, but the shaft is complete. There is some salt encrustation on the surface. Other copies of this inscription are known to exist, although on cones only. This would then be the only existing nail of such kind ever found. [Translation and interpretation by Prof. W.G.Lambert].

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