Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Sunday, April 1, 2012
“Monarchs in Mesopotamia”
Location is wheelchair accessible
The exhibit demonstrates the lives and leadership of roughly a dozen monarchs and displays a wide array of materials, from the laws and administrative texts of Hammurabi to the legends of Sargon of Akkad. The exhibit displays, often in dramatic form, the myriad qualities of a ruler. Exhibit-goers can read of Rim-Sin’s straightforward justice as he orders a murderer to be killed in the same way as his victim: by being forced into a burning oven. Or visitors can see the pebble-like writing of prison-camp accounts under Rimush’s rule. In gentler terms, one can gaze upon the tablet bearing the world’s first epic poem and read of Gilgamesh’s quest for eternal fame.
The display also includes a cylinder commemorating the building activity of Assyrian King Assurbanipal, who was renowned for establishing the first systematically organized library in the Middle East. There are tablets depicting Nabonidus’ attempts at a religious revival and accounts of Rim-Sin’s participation in staged marriage rituals. Visually, the exhibit is as diverse as its content. Ranging from large, bead-like cylinders and brick-like prisms to tablets roughly the size of a quarter, Monarchs in Mesopotamia highlights the fascinating content of the writings of these rulers on a variety of rare and valuable cuneiform tablets and demonstrates the richness and variety to be found among Babylonian rulers.
The Monarchs in Mesopotamia exhibit, the latest display of treasures from the Yale Babylonian Collection in Sterling Memorial Library, is currently on view in the exhibit cases in the SML Nave (facing the stacks elevators).