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Cuneiform Tablets of the JRL


(under construction)
The rich holdings of the John Rylands Library cover a wide range of manuscripts of different periods and places, including, with 1164 pieces, the third largest collection of cuneiform artifacts in the UK. The lion’s share of these objects are 1,030 economic records dating to the Ur III period (ca. 2100-2000 BC) giving a representative cross section of a centralized Babylonian economy at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. Most of these documents have only been known from early hand copies or catalogues. The collection contains more modest numbers of earlier documents, most notably 23 administrative texts dating to the Old Akkadian period (ca. 2340-2200 BC) and written in a very fine scribal hand. Additionally, the JRL has a sizeable collection of Old Babylonian letters. Sumerian literature of the Old Babylonian period is represented among others by an outstanding manuscript of the composition “Gilgamesh and Aga”, for which compare the University of Oxford’s online edition. Finally, JRL has several royal inscriptions dating to various periods of Mesopotamian history. Most noteworthy are a large cone-shaped inscription of the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BC) as well as a fine example of a votive inscription by Gudea of the Lagash II dynasty (ca. 2100 BC) inscribed on serpentine.