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Large Babylonian or Persian Incantation Bowl

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Near Eastern: Pre AD 1000: item # 1209643

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Large Babylonian or Persian Incantation Bowl
Large Babylonian or Persian Incantation Bowl written in Mandaic script, circa 6th - 8th Century CE. Found in The Holy Land. FULLY TRANSLATED, this bowl asks for health and welfare of dwelling of Nihye, son of Niway and Mihroy daughter of Maskoy. Intact with earthen encrustation due to age. Entirely legible script pigment, and in excellent condition. 11" diameter. In 539 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, with a military engagement known as the Battle of Opis. The famed walls of Babylon were indeed impenetrable, with the only way into the city through one of its many gates or through the Euphrates, which ebbed beneath its thick walls. Metal gates at the river's in-flow and out-flow prevented underwater intruders, if one could hold one's breath to reach them. Cyrus (or his generals) devised a plan to use the Euphrates as the mode of entry to the city, ordering large camps of troops at each point and instructed them to wait for the signal. Awaiting an evening of a national feast among Babylonians (generally thought to refer to the feast of Belshazzar mentioned in Daniel V), Cyrus' troops diverted the Euphrates river upstream, causing the Euphrates to drop to about 'mid thigh level on a man' or to dry up altogether. The soldiers marched under the walls through the lowered water. The Persian Army conquered the outlying areas of the city's interior while a majority of Babylonians at the city center were oblivious to the breach. The account was elaborated upon by Herodotus and is also mentioned by passages in the Hebrew Bible. Cyrus later issued a decree permitting captive people, including the Jews, to return to their own land (as explained in 2 Chronicles 36), to allow their temple to be rebuilt back in Jerusalem.


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