Lion of Babylon (statue)

Lion of Babylon is a stone sculpture, over 2600 years old, that was found in the ancient city of Babylon, Iraq. It was discovered in 1876 by a German archaeological mission.[1]

Lion of Babylon
Lion of Babylon in 1909
Lion of Babylon from the left side [1]

The statue may have been commissioned by the Chaldean Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (605–562 BC),[2] but most experts now belief it is of Hittite origin, made during a Hittite occupation of the city.[3]

DescriptionEdit

The statue is made out of black basalt; it depicts a Mesopotamian lion standing above a lying human. The statue is two meters in length and the platform upon which it stands is one meter high. The lion weighs about 7000 kg. The statue's height is 1 meter.[4]

On the back of the lion is a carved depression, in which it is believed that a saddle was originally placed, on which a figure of Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, love, and war,[5] may have sat or stood.[6][7]

Modern historyEdit

The statue had been damaged over the years due to lack of protection, getting climbed on by tourists that left marks on the statue, or natural causes like erosion which Archaeologists had already feared was going to happen without the right protection of the statue.[8] However, the most significant damage, as seen today, to the face and jaw was caused in 1917, as witnessed by Private Robert John Morgan of the Army Service Corps during World War I.

..."An Officer of the British Army, who was a conjuror, one day when he was looking around, he stopped by this statue and commenced to take coins from the mouth of this Lion. Seeing this done by the Officer the local Arabs thought that it was full of these coins. So, when night came, they got together and armed with large sledge hammers smashed the head as they sought for the remaining coins but found to their surprise a solid stone body."

In 2013 the World Monuments Fund worked with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities to make improvements to the site. The Lion was cleaned and partially restored, the base of the statue was replaced, and a security barrier was added.[9]

SymbolismEdit

The Lion of Babylon is a historic theme in the region. The statue is considered among the most important symbols of Babylon in particular and Mesopotamian art in general.[10] The statue is considered a national symbol of Iraq, it has been used by several Iraqi institutions such as the Iraqi Football Association.[11]

The lion was meant to put fear into their enemies, by showing a lion trampling a man to scare their enemies.[12]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Symbolism, MENA (2018-12-26). "The Lion of Babylon". MENA symbolism. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  2. ^ Zeed, Adnan Abu (30 June 2016). "Prized Lion of Babylon joins list of crumbling Iraqi antiquities". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Ancient Iraq: Lion of Babylon – Google Arts & Culture". Google Cultural Institute. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Ancient Iraq: Lion of Babylon – World Monuments Fund". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  5. ^ "Ancient Iraq: Lion of Babylon – World Monuments Fund". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  6. ^ "Ancient Iraq: Lion of Babylon – Google Arts & Culture". Google Cultural Institute. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Babylon, Iraq". www.atlastours.net. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  8. ^ "Ancient Iraq: Lion of Babylon – World Monuments Fund". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  9. ^ "Ancient Iraq: Lion of Babylon – Google Arts & Culture". Google Cultural Institute. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Babylon Chronicle, A 1932 photograph of the Lion of Babylon from the". Tammuz.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  11. ^ "الاتحاد العراقي لكرة القدم". Ifa.iq. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  12. ^ "Lion of Babylon [Detail]". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2020-04-29.