The Ancient Kingdom of Idu

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Photo: Art from the Anciient Kingdom of Idu

Credit: Courtesy Cinzia Pappi

 

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient city called Idu, hidden beneath a mound in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The excavation produced several cuneiform inscriptions and works of art that show the level of culture that existed in Idu thousands of years ago.

Below is an excerpt from the news report announcing the discovery:

The art and cuneiform inscriptions the team uncovered provide glimpses of the ancient city’s extravagant palaces.

When Idu was an independent city, one of its rulers, Ba’ilanu, went so far as to boast that his palace was better than any of his predecessors’. “The palace which he built he made greater than that of his fathers,” he claimed in the translated inscription. (His father, Abbi-zeri, made no such boast.)

Two works of art hint at the decorations adorning the palaces at the time Idu was independent. One piece of artwork, a bearded sphinx with the head of a human male and the body of a winged lion, was drawn onto a glazed brick that the researchers found in four fragments. Above and below the sphinx, a surviving inscription reads, “Palace of Ba’auri, king of the land of Idu, son of Edima, also king of the land of Idu.”

Another work that was created for the same ruler, and bearing the same inscription as that on the sphinx, shows a “striding horse crowned with a semicircular headstall and led by a halter by a bearded man wearing a fringed short robe.

You can read the news report in its entirety here. The report also contains nine photos of works of art discovered at the site.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

 

 

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