The ancient sacred stones of Babylon – Mystery Science

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  The ancient sacred stones of Babylon – Mystery Science

The wealth of the culture of Babylon is truly amazing, some of its aspects continue to be very interesting topics. There is one in particular that attracts attention, it is a few stones that they were considered sacred by members of that civilization.

What did these stones represent? Why were they sacred? What functions did they fulfill within the community? know them details that revolve around these sacred stones of Babylon, reveal the greatness of a society that at one point became the dominant power of its time.

Kudurrus: sacred stones

The Kudurrus were a ovoid carved stones which served to delimit a property or a piece of land. They had an official character because they came from the king himself, who granted or gave the land to important people, sometimes he could also do it to entire communities.

The phrase Kudurru comes from ancient Akkadian Mesopotamia– and literally means limit or border. The term therefore applies very well to the functions that were given to these stones, which after being cut became a legal title.

The names and functions of court officials, the king and the new owner of the land were engraved on the surface of the stones. So you could keep a record of the land which the monarch granted to the people during his government.

In addition to its legal status, considered him a “religious document» to whom magical powers were attributed. The Babylonians claimed that sacred stones were protected by the gods, especially those that appeared to be written on them. An exact copy made on clay tablets was kept in temples for official preservation.

kudurru stone babylonThe Michaux Stone, named after the French botanist who discovered it in 1782, is written in the Akkadian language using cuneiform symbols. Public domain

Divine symbols of Babylonian religious beliefs

According to the records of various historians, The Kudurrus religious beliefs have also been revealed of the Babylonians. This statement is based on the fact that the sacred places of Babylon were protected in the temples of worship.

As per usual have been placed in prominent places, not only for the people who visited the temple, but also for the gods. Because the images engraved on the stones prove their close relationship with the divine kingdom, to which the Babylonians worshipped.

Taking into account that polytheism was practiced in Babylon, it is easy to understand that in the Kudurrus, the different deities that were part of their beliefs were represented. Even the order they occupied in the carvings shows which deity was most important to them.

Deities represented in sacred stones

The ancient sacred stones of Babylon – Mystery ScienceSome kudurrus and the deities they show. Camas Articuladas Corte Ingles

According to modern scholars of ancient Babylon, the gods responsible for preserving order and life of the universe, appear represented in the sacred stones. Each of them occupies its place according to its hierarchy, they can be differentiated because they have different symbols.

Likewise, the established order – in terms of deities – in the Kudurrus showed who had the greatest supremacy. For example:

  • The astral deities occupied the front row, standing out first Sin, the god of the moon. Then Shamash the god of the Sun and finally Ishtar the goddess of Venus.

  • The second row was reserved for Anu the sky god, Enlil the air deity, Ea the fresh water god, and Ninhursag the earth goddess.

  • Then there were three other rows which were equally important, there were the gods in charge of making the land fertile, the deities of the underworld and the warrior gods respectively.

Together, all of these deities were important in Babylon, which is why in some cases they all appeared in one line. But they were also found Kudurrus with stripes separating them from each other.

A contract between humans and gods!

The ancient sacred stones of Babylon – Mystery ScienceA kudurru, boundary marker, from ancient Mesopotamia. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The nature of the sacred stones established a contract between the person or community receiving the land and the gods. This is evident from the content of the text distributed in two parts. The first of them bore inscribed the clauses of the concession and the beneficiary.

You may also be interested: Ancient Mesopotamian tablets mention witches, wizards and exorcists.

The second part of the writing in the Kudurrus, contained a series of curses that would fall on people that for some reason they violated the agreement or broke the contract that involved the Babylonian gods.

At the time, the kudurru served as an act, particularly related to land, granted by the king to a person. In these stones, the gods responsible for the preservation of the universe were also represented, making it an official and sacred contract. Those who dared to break it risked divine punishment. Today, examples of these stones are displayed in museums around the world, such as the Louvre and the British Museum.

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