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Ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos




Head of a Lion, Temple Guard
 
AO 19807             Richelieu room 3
 
 
The head shown here must have belonged
to a life-size pair of cat statues, sitting with
their mouths open wide, ready to spring
on an intruder but harmless to
theincumbents of the temple.
 
Placed on both sides of entrances
to holy places, they guarded the way in.
 
The Bible uses the lion as
a symbol  of Babylon (Daniel 7:2-4).
 
“Israel is a scattered sheep.
Lions themselves have done the dispersing.
Neb·u·chad·rez´zar the king of Babylon
has gnawed on his bones.” - Jeremiah 50:17

Head of a Lion, Temple Guard of Babylon

The Processional Way was the major route of the city, leading via the Gate of Ishtar (the goddess for whom the lion was the animal attribute), to the temple of Marduk. A procession of priests walked along this route during New Year Festival ceremonies. An allusion to the procession of Akîtu is made in Isaiah 46:1: “Bel has bent down, Ne´bo is stooping over; their idols have come to be for the wild beasts and for the domestic animals”. These gods were no longer to be carried with honour but dragged along like common baggage.

Lion passant of Babylon

 
Lion passant
 
AO 21118
 
Richelieu room 6
 
 
This decorative glazed-brick panel,
which the sun lit up, comes from the Marduk Processional Way, the ‘Babylon road’ whose official name was “May the arrogant person not cross”.

The Bible uses the lion as a symbol  of Babylon

In Babylon, near to the Ishtar Gate, hundreds of cuneiform tablets dating from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar have been found. “On four tablets, the name Jehoiachin appears, with reference to the distribution of rations. It is spelled in different ways: Coniah and Jeconiah. He is called ‘king of the land of Jahudu’. […] These tablets therefore confirm the captivity of this king from the land of Judah.”
André Parrot A197
 
Captive Jews deported to Babylon with King Jehoiachin were able to passively witness these ceremonies (2 Kings 24:8-16) 
Two hundred years before it was created, the Prophet Isaiah was to announce that the redeemed of the Lord would return to Jerusalem, by “a highway; and the Way of Holiness it will be called. The unclean one will not pass over it. […] No lion will prove to be there.” - Isaiah 35:8-10.
 
See also The Babylonian Captivity, Eugène Delacroix    RF 4774
 
 

Lion passant of the Processional Way in Babylon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 





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