Babylonian, early 9th century BC
From Sippar, southern Iraq
This stone tablet shows Shamash, the sun-god, seated under an awning and holding the rod and ring, symbols of divine authority. The symbols of the Sun, Moon and Venus are above him with another large sun symbol supported by two divine attendants. On the left is the Babylonian king Nabu-apla-iddina between two interceding deities.
The cuneiform text describes how the Temple of Shamash at Sippar had fallen into decay and the image of the god had been destroyed. During the reign of Nabu-apla-iddina, however, a terracotta model of the statue was found on the far side of the Euphrates and the king ordered a new image be constructed of gold and lapis lazuli. The text then confirms and extends the privileges of the temple.