Monday, September 24, 2007

Archaeology Series 14: Cyrus Cylinder

When Cyrus captured Babylon in 538 B.C., he decreed: "All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord, the God of the heavens given to me, and he has appointed me to rebuild for Him a temple in Jerusalem which is Judaea - whoever among you from all His people - the Lord his God is with him and he may go up" (II Chronicles 36:23; cf. Ezra 1:2-3). Thus, his own inscription confirms the Biblical record, proclaiming: "I returned to the sacred cities ... the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long time, the images which used to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations." The text is still incomplete, but composed of two fragments, the larger one belonging to the British Museum, the smaller one to the Yale Babylonian Collection. The two are joined together in this plaster cast.

Yale Library

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