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Exceedingly Rare Sumerian Green Chalcedony Cylinder Seal of King Kurigalzu II, Kassite, 14th Century BC

A chrome chalcedony cylinder seal with seated profile figure and Sumerian cuneiform inscription in eight columns; depicting a seated bearded divine figure facing left, holding a trident, three right-facing locusts above; the eight lines of scholarly Sumerian cuneiform text with a prayer to Ninurta for the prosperity of Kurigalzu’s reign. The seal fitted with an antique gold pin passed through the original longitudinal perforation and a loop to enable it to be worn as a pendant. Translation (by Professor Lambert) for each column:

(1) dkur-da-ru gada gìr / ‘Ninurta, powerful lord’
(2) saĝ kal šà-aš-DU / 'special chief, foremost’
(3) ururu mah an-ta-ğál / 'the lofty city (?) being in heaven’
(4) ur-saĝ dili-ni rib-ba / 'champion on his own standing out’
(5) [diğir] ní-su-ši ri-a / 'the god moving with a halo of terror’
(6) ku-ri-gal-zu / ’(on) Kurigalzu’
(7) nun nì tuku-tuku-zu / 'the prince who reveres you’
(8) bala šà dùg-ga ğar-bi / 'place a reign of sweet heart’.

The extremely rare green variety of chalcedony was only known to the ancients and the Romans, until circa 3rd century AD, when it disappears from history. It is only known from small worked pieces such as beads and intaglios. The source has been recently discovered as being from northern Turkey (Anatolia). The color derives from the presence of chromium.

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