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definition - Sippar

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Sippar

                   

Coordinates: 33°03′32″N 44°15′08″E / 33.058829°N 44.252153°E / 33.058829; 44.252153 (Sippar)

  Being close to Babylon, Sippar was an early addition to its empire under Hammurabi.

Sippar (Sumerian: Zimbir) was an ancient Near Eastern city on the east bank of the Euphrates river, located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah in Iraq's Babil Governorate, some 60 km north of Babylon and 30 km southeast of Baghdad.

Contents

  History

Given that thousands of cuneiform tablets have been recovered at the site, relatively little is known about the history of Sippar. As was often the case in Mesopotamia, it was part of a pair of cities, separated by a river. Sippar was on the east side of the Euphrates, while its sister city, Sippar-Amnanum, was on the west.

While pottery finds indicate that the site of Sippar was in use as early as the Uruk period, substantial occupation occurred only in the Early Dynastic period of the 3rd millennium BC, the Old Babylonian period of the 2nd millennium BC, and the Neo-Babylonian time of the 1st millennium BC. Lesser levels of use continued into the time of the Achaemenid, Seleucid and Parthian Empires.

Sippar was the cult site of the sun god (Sumerian Utu, Akkadian Shamash) and the home of his temple E-babbara.

Sippar has been suggested as the location of the Biblical Sepharvaim in the Old Testament, which alludes to the two parts of the city in its dual form.[1]

  Rulers of Sippar

In the Sumerian king list a king of Sippar, En-men-dur-ana, is listed as one of the early pre-dynastic rulers of the region, but has not yet turned up in the epigraphic records.

In his 29th year of reign Sumu-la-El of Babylon reported building the city wall of Sippar. Some years later Hammurabi of Babylon reported laying the foundations of the city wall of Sippar in his 23rd year and worked on the wall again in his 43rd year. His successor in Babylon, Samsu-iluna worked on Sippar's wall in his 1st year. The city walls, being typically made of mud bricks, required much attention. Records of Nebuchadnezzar II and Nabonidos record that they repaired the Shamash temple E-babbara.

  Classical Speculation on Sippar

Xisuthros, the "Chaldean Noah" in Sumerian mythology, is said by Berossus to have buried the records of the antediluvian world here—possibly because the name of Sippar was supposed to be connected with sipru, "a writing". And according to Abydenus, Nebuchadnezzar II excavated a great reservoir in the neighbourhood.

Pliny (Natural History 6.30.123) mentions a sect, or school of Chaldeans called the Hippareni. It is often assumed that this name refers to Sippar (especially because the other two schools mentioned seem to be named after cities as well: the Orcheni after Uruk, and the Borsippeni after Borsippa), but this is not universally accepted.[2]

  Archaeology

  Hammurabi clay cone from Sippar at Louvre

Tell Abu Habba, measuring over 1 square kilometer was first excavated by Hormuzd Rassam between 1880 and 1881 for the British Museum in a dig that lasted 18 months. [3] Tens of thousands of tablets were recovered including the Tablet of Shamash in the Temple of Shamash/Utu. Most of the tablets were Neo-Babylonian. [4] [5] [6] The temple had been mentioned as early as the 18th year of Samsu-iluna of Babylon, who reported restoring "Ebabbar, the temple of Szamasz in Sippar", along with the city's ziggurat.

The tablets, which ended up in the British Museum, are being studied to this day.[7] As was often the case in the early days of archaeology, excavation records were not made, particularly find spots. This makes it difficult to tell which tablets came from Sippar-Amnanum as opposed to Sippar.[8] Other tablets from Sippar were bought on the open market during that time and ended up at places like the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania.[9] [10] Since the site is relatively close to Baghdad, it was a popular target for illegal excavations.[11]

In 1894, Sippar was worked briefly by Jean-Vincent Scheil.[12] The tablets recovered, mainly Old Babylonian, went to the Istanbul Museum. In modern times, the site was worked by a Belgian team from 1972 to 1973. Iraqi archaeologists from the College of Arts at the University of Baghdad, led by Walid al-Jadir with Farouk al-Rawi, have excavated at Tell Abu Habbah from 1977 through the present in 24 seasons.[13][14] [15] After 2000, they were joined by the German Archaeological Institute. [16] [17]

  Notes

  1. ^ G. R. Driver, Geographical Problems, Eretz Israel, vol. 5, pp. 18-20, 1958
  2. ^ "It is usually assumed that the Hippareni refers to Sippar (Ptolemy's Sippara), but even that requires proof, since the change of ‘s’ to ‘h’ is strange." —R. D. Barnett (1963). "Xenophon and the Wall of Media". The Journal of Hellenic Studies (The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 83) 83: 1–26. DOI:10.2307/628451. JSTOR 628451. 
  3. ^ [1] Hormuzd Rassam, Asshur and the Land of Nimrod: Being an Account of the Dicoveries Made in the Ancient Ruins of Nineveh, Asshur, Sepharvaim, Calah, [etc]..., Curts & Jennings, 1897
  4. ^ Erle Leichty, Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum: Tablets from Sippar 1, vol. 6, British Museum Publications, 1986, ISBN 0-7141-1115-5
  5. ^ Erie Leichty and A. K. Grayson, Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum: Tablets from Sippar 2, vol. 7, British Museum Publications, 1987, ISBN 0-7141-1122-8
  6. ^ Erie Leichty et al., Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum: Tablets from Sippar 3, vol. 8, British Museum Publications, 1988, ISBN 0-7141-1124-4
  7. ^ [2] Nebo-Sarsekim Cuneiform Tablet at Archaeology.org
  8. ^ Anne Goddeeris, Economy and Society in Northern Babylonia in the Early Old Babylonian Period, Peeters Publishers, 2002, ISBN 90-429-1123-9
  9. ^ [3] Hermann Ranke, Babylonian Legal and Business Documents from the Time of the First Dynasty of Babylon; Chiefly from Sippar, University of Pennsylvania, 1906 (reprinted by Nabu Press ISBN 1-144-69277-6)
  10. ^ Karel Van Lerberghe, Old Babylonian legal and administrative texts from Philadelphia, Leuven : Departement Oriëntalistiek, 1986, ISBN 90-6831-063-1
  11. ^ E. A. Budge, By Nile and Tigris: A Narrative of Journeys in Egypt and Mesopotamia on Behalf of the British Museum Between the Years 1886 and 1913, John Murray, 1920
  12. ^ V. Scheil, Une Saison de fouilles a Sippar, Le Caire, 1902
  13. ^ Lamia al-Gailani and Walid al-Jadir, Seal Impressions from Sippar, Sumer, vol. 37, pp. 129-144, 1981
  14. ^ F. N. H. Al-Rawi and Stephanie Dalley, Old Babylonian texts from private houses at Abu Habbah ancient Sippir : Baghdad University Excavations, Nabu Publications, 2000, ISBN 1-897750-07-2
  15. ^ W. al-Jadir and Z. Rajib, Archaeological Results from the Eighth Season at Sippar, Sumer, vol. 46, pp. 69-90, 1990
  16. ^ Abdulillah Fadhil et. al., Ausgrabungen in Sippar (Tell Abu Habbah). Vorbericht über die Grabungsergebnisse der 24. Kampagne 2002, in: Baghdader Mitteilungen (BaM) 36, pp. 157-224, 2005
  17. ^ Abdulillah Fadhil et. el., Sippar - Results of prospecting 2004/24, in: Sumer, A journal of archaeology in Iraq and the Arab world, vol. LII, no. 1&2, pp. 294-357, 2004

  See also

  References

  • Rivkah Harris, Ancient Sippar : a demographic study of an old-Babylonian city, 1894-1595 B.C., Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, 1975
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi, Tablets from the Sippar Library I. The "Weidner Chronicle": A Suppositious Royal Letter concering a Vision, Iraq, vol. 52, pp. 1–15, 1990
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi and A. R. George, Tablets from the Sippar Library II. Tablet II of the Babylonian Creation Epic, Iraq, vol. 52, pp. 149–158, 1990
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi and A. R. George, Tablets from the Sippar Library III. Two Royal Conterfeits, Iraq, vol. 56, pp. 135–149, 1994
  • Luc Dekier, Old Babylonian real estate documents from Sippar in the British Museum, University of Ghent, 1994
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi and A. R. George, Tablets from the Sippar Library IV. Lugale, Iraq, vol. 57, pp. 199–224, 1995
  • John MacGinnis, Letter orders from Sippar and the administration of the Ebabbara in the late-Babylonian period, Bonami, 1995, ISBN 83-85274-07-3
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi and A. R. George, Tablets from the Sippar Library V. An Incantation from Mis Pi, Iraq, vol. 57, pp. 225–228, 1995
  • F. N. H. Al-Rawi and Andrew George, Tablets from the Sippar Library, VI. Atra-hasis, Iraq, vol. 58, pp. 147–190, 1996
  • A. C. V. M. Bongenaar, The Neo-Babylonian Ebabbar Temple at Sippar : its administration and its prosopography, Nederlands Historisch-Archeologisch Instituut te Istanbul, 1997, ISBN 90-6258-081-5
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi and A. R. George, Tablets from the Sippar Library VII. Three wisdom texts, Iraq, vol. 60, pp. 187–206, 1998
  • F. N. H. al-Rawi, Tablets from the Sippar library X: A dedication of Zabaya of Larsa, Iraq, vol. 64, pp. 247–248, 2002
  • Andrew George and Khalid Salim Ismail, Tablets from the Sippar library, XI. The Babylonian almanac, Iraq, vol. 64, pp. 249–258, 2002
  • Theophilus Goldridge Pinches, The Antiquities found by Mr. H. Rassam at Abu-habbah (Sippara), Harrison and Sons, 1884
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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