Records of the Past, 2nd Series, Vol. III

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Records of the Past, 2nd Series, Vol. III

By A. H. Sayce

Introduction- Contract-Tablets Relating to Belshazzar

The three contracts which follow are among the numerous cuneiform documents of the same class the publication of which we owe to the indefatigable labours of Dr Strassmaier. They are published in his Babylonische Texte: Inschriften von Nabonidus, i., iii., Nos. 184, 581, and 688, and are interesting on account of their references to Belshazzar, the eldest son of Nabonidos, whose name is written in Babylonian Bilu-sarra-utsur, "O Bel, defend the king." It is especially curious to learn from one of them that the heir-apparent to the throne had to conform to the same legal obligations as the meanest of his subjects. Security was exacted by him for the payment of a debt, a portion of the security being a house inhabited by a Persian. As Persian slaves are mentioned in other deeds of the period it is possible that the Persian in question was a slave. At all events the notice of him proves that there were Persians living in Babylon before the conquest of the country by Cyrus. The third document, it will be observed, is dated six years before the overthrow of Nabonidos and the entrance of Cyrus into Babylon.



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