Nebuchadnezzar II Babylonian cylinder sets new world record

A Nebuchadnezzar II Babylonian cylinder made $605,000 in a dedicated auction at Doyle New York on April 9.  

It achieved an increase of 21% on a $500,000 high estimate and smashed the previous record for a Babylonian cylinder, which was set at £264,000 ($441,302) at Bonhams London in 2011.

The lot was created in 604-562 BC and is the largest cylinder of its kind ever found. It was discovered in the ruins of Sippar, a city on the banks of the Euphrates River in what is now Iraq.

Nebuchadnezzar cueniform cylinder
The cueniform cylinder was created in the late 7th or early 6th century BC


Nebuchadnezzar II (circa 634-562 BC) waged successful military campaigns throughout the Middle East and North Africa to build the neo-Babylonian empire.

He is most famous for constructing the legendary Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, although their location and existence has never been satisfactorily established.

Clay cylinders like the example sold were designed to ingratiate kings with the gods.

It describes, in cuneiform script, the rebuilding of the temple of Shamash and was buried within its foundations.

Perhaps the best known example, the Cyrus cylinder, is held in the collection of the British Museum in London.

Created in 539 BC, it extols the lineage of Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid leader who conquered Babylon.

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