By DAVID K. MOORE
One of the oldest written works in the Library dates from the ninth century B.C. and is not on animal skin or a form of paper but etched into a brick.
The brick is part of the clay tablet collection in the Hebraic Section. This drawing and transliteration of an Assyrian brick from the city of Kalhu was provided by Kristin Kleber, a doctoral student at the Seminar fuer Altorientalistik of the Free University of Berlin, Germany. She recently accepted an invitation to visit and provide translations to Johannes Renger, professor and chairman at the Seminar, who is editing a book that will include Ms. Kleber's work.
Shalmaneser III ruled the Assyrian Empire in 858-823 B.C., after the death of his father, Assurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.).
The brick has been positively identified by Ms. Kleber's translation as coming from a ziggurat (stepped pyramid) in the city of Kalhu. Assurnasirpal II established the new capital city of Kalhu (today's Nimrud, in Iraq) upriver from the old capital of Asshur. It was established to centralize his bureaucracy, as well as to provide housing as a means of rewarding his loyal followers. Construction began in 879 B.C. with a wall enclosing 90 acres, a citadel and temple complex of five acres dominating the city. Assurnasirpal II inaugurated the new city by a banquet complete with 47,000 guests. The construction was completed by the son Shalmaneser III, as evidenced by the brick translation. So proud were the kings of their construction projects that it was common practice to stamp the bricks with dedicatory inscriptions. The city was first excavated around the mid-19th century. Bible students will recognize this city under the name of Calah when reading Scriptures.
Mr. Moore is an acquisition assistant in the Northern European Acquisitions Section.