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Press Release

Ancient Babylonian Clay Cylinder Goes to Auction in New York on April 9

Doyle New York Will Auction a Rare and Important Artifact from the Reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Babylonian King Who Destroyed Jerusalem's Temple of Solomon and Built Babylon's Hanging Gardens

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A rare and important ancient Babylonian artifact will be auctioned in New York on April 9. A large clay cylinder with a cuneiform inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II will highlight Doyle New York's auction of Rare Books and Autographs.

Rare and Important Nebuchadnezzar II Babylonian Clay Cylinder, circa 604-562 BC. Length 8 1/4 inches. Estimate: $300,000-500,000. To be auctioned at Doyle New York on April 9. Image courtesy of Doyle New York

The cylinder describes the rebuilding of the temple of Shamash in Sippar by Nebuchadnezzar II, who was King of Babylon from 605-562 BC. At 8 1/4 inches (20.8 cm) in length, the cylinder is the largest example to come to market in recent times and is expected to sell for $300,000-500,000. In 1953, it was sold through Dawson's of Los Angeles.

Nebuchadnezzar II was responsible for the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon in 587 BC. All of the ritual objects contained in the Temple, including the fabled Ark of the Covenant, were lost, and the Jewish population was carried away into captivity in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar II is featured in the Bible's Book of Daniel, and Psalm 137 laments the Babylonian Captivity.

In Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II built the monumental Ishtar Gate, now reconstructed in Berlin's Pergamon Museum, and the legendary Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

It was customary for the kings of Babylon to publicly cement their relationship with the gods by restoring their temples. These accomplishments were recorded in cuneiform writing on clay cylinders, which were buried in the foundations of the restored temples. These cylinders were enduring commemorations of the king's fealty to the gods, and they enhanced the appearance of legitimacy for the ruler with his subjects.

The most famous of these clay cylinders is the Cyrus Cylinder, named for the Persian King Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon in 540 BC and subsequently released the Jews from capitivity. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in Babylon in 1879 and is now in the collection of the British Museum in London.

The public is invited to view the Nebuchadnezzar II cylinder on April 4 through 7 at Doyle New York, located at 175 East 87th Street in Manhattan. The auction catalogue may be viewed online at DoyleNewYork.com.

Doyle New York logo

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140403/NY97745 
Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140327/NY92349LOGO-b

SOURCE Doyle New York

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