Did You Know Large Wine Bottles Have Special Names?

Wine bottle names are… odd. Once you get large enough, the wine holders become named after biblical kings:

  • 1.5 L Magnum: Equivalent to two standard 750 ml bottles.
  • 3.0 L Double Magnum: Equivalent to two Magnums or four standard 750 ml bottles.
  • 4.5 L Jeroboam : Equivalent to six standard 750 ml bottles.
  • 6.0 L Imperial: Equivalent to eight standard 750 ml bottles or two Double Magnums. Why they stopped using kings here I don’t know.
  • 9.0 L Salmanazar: Equivalent to twelve standard 750 ml bottles or a full case of wine!
  • 12.0 L Balthazar: Equivalent to sixteen standard 750 ml bottles or two Imperials.
  • 15.0 L Nebuchadnezzar: Equivalent to twenty standard 750 ml bottles.

Interestingly, I looked around and could not find why the names are what they are. The names just appeared, I guess, and everyone agreed to use them.

ISHTAR GATE, Babylon, Iraq

Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon was a mud-brick city, but dazzling blue-glazed bricks faced the most important monuments, such as the Ishtar Gate, really a pair of gates, one of which has been restored. The gate consists of a large arcuated (arch-shaped) opening flanked by towers, and features glazed bricks with reliefs of animals, real and imaginary. The Babylonian builders molded and glazed each brick separately, then set them in proper sequence on the wall. On the Ishtar Gate, profile figures of Marduk and Nabu’s dragon and Adad’s bull alternate. Lining the processional way leading up to the gate were reliefs of Ishtar’s sacred lion, glazed in yellow, brown, and red against a blue ground.


A brick from the Tower of Babel, c. 604-562 BC

In Neo Babylonian, 7 lines in cuneiform script blindprinted into the wet clay, within a lined rectangle, prior to baking. Part of the inscription says:

“Nebudchadnezzar, King of Babylon, Guardian of the Temples Esagila and Ezida, Firstborn Son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon.”

Bricks with this inscription were found during the excavation of the great Ziggurat (aka Tower of Babel). It stands just north of Esagila, the temple of Marduk, also mentioned in the inscription. The ziggurat in Babylon was originally built around the time of Hammurabi c. 1792-1750 BC. The restoration and enlargement began under Nabopolassar, and was finished after 43 years of work under Nebuchadnezzar II, 604-562 BC. It has been calculated that at least 17 million bricks had to be made and fired. Babylon, along with the ziggurat was captured by Kyros in 538 BC, Dareios I in 519 BC, Xerxes ca. 483 BC, and entirely destroyed by Alexander I the Great in 331 BC.

It is this tall stepped temple tower which is referred to in Genesis 11:1-9, and became known as “The Tower of Babel.” The bricks are specifically mentioned in Genesis 11:3: “Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire. - For stone they used bricks and for mortar they used bitumen.” The black bitumen is still visible on the back of the present baked brick.

Nebuchadnezzar II was the founder of the New Babylonian Empire. He captured Jerusalem in 596 and 586 BC, burnt down the temple and all of Jerusalem, carried its treasures off to Babylon, and took the Jews into captivity (2 kings 24-25). Nebuchadnezzar II is the king who is named more than 90 times in the Old Testament. Daniel 1-4 is almost entirely devoted to the description of his greatness and reign, his rise and fall, and submission to God.

World History: Ishtar Gate

The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BCE by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the gate was constructed using glazed brick with alternating rows of bas-relief mušḫuššu (dragons) and aurochs (bulls), symbolizing the gods Marduk and Adad respectively.It was excavated in the early 20th century and a reconstruction using original bricks is now shown in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. [x]

Nebuchadnezzar is a colour monotype print with additions in ink and watercolour portraying the Old Testament Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II by the English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake. Taken from the Book of Daniel, the legend of Nebuchadnezzar tells of a ruler who through hubris lost his mind and was reduced to animalistic madness and eating “grass as oxen”.

William Blake


“Hey Rex,

You featured my Goldwing build at one point last year - Finished another project which I though I’d share with you. This time it’s a 1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado The build - I’m always on the hunt for that unloved barn find rotting away, when I found this Guzzi, I felt like I hit the jackpot. Because you almost never see one of these on the road today. The vision was to create a bike which was mechanically perfect and durable to be a daily rider and simple and elegant enough to go unnoticed. Kind of like subtle make up on a beautiful woman. With this build I did not want to over restore the bike. Because I didn’t want to be upset to ride it every day, in the sun, rain, sleet whatever. I purposefully did not paint some parts of the bike and cleaned the engine area carefully so that it would keep some of its patina from when I brought it home from a barn in an awful state of rust and and scattered parts.  I thought the snow we had was a perfect setting to take some photos of the black bike. The bike was painted carbon black (the blackest black there is) with subtle white coke bottle grips. The pin striping was removed to give it a clean and simple look and let its natural lines shine without the clutter. The 70s Guzzi logos were replaced with Guzzi decals from the 1940s. Everything was adjusted on the original frame to keep the lines on the bike low slung. You will notice the blacked out details. Full mechanical overhaul included a transmission rebuild. It has 96K miles on the clock and its life story is of no garage queen. You can even see some bug splatter on the headlight in these pics. I ride this bike and ride it hard. In a way you have to with a brute like this. Most of the time, It’s like riding a rhinoceros. But when you drop it into 5th and twist it up to 70mph, all you hear from that big Guzzi twin is the sound of a human heartbeat.    The design, rebuild, paint, mechanicals, electrics, adjustments… I did all the work myself, in my garage. I call it the Nebuchadnezzar.   Best, Kusal” One word……C L A S S

King Nebuchadnezzar; Ishtar gate; 575 BCE; Architecture, clay brick; Neo-Babylonian

When King Nebuchadnezzar II  took the throne he launched a building campaign to restore the city of Babylon. Under Nebuchadnezzar rule Babylon become one the ancient worlds greatest cities. Followers of the Christian Faith may recognized Nebuchadnezzar has the “king of kings” who exiled the Jews from the bible in the book of Daniel. The Ishtar gate was built in part with his building campaign; he also built it as a display. Today, it is considered one of the seven wonders of the world.The gate in the photo above is only part of one of eight double gates that surrounded the city of Babylon. It is the smaller part of the double gate; the other gate would have been almost twice the size. However out of all the gates, this gate was the most important. The part that leads up to the gate, called the Processional Way, is lined with tiled relief sculptures of lions. These lions represented the goddess Ishtar. She was considered the goddess of war, wisdom, and sexuality. Two other animal form are sculpted into the gate, and ancient bull known as an auroch (as seen above in the second photo) and a composite beast known as a Dragon. The auroch represented the god Adad, the god of storms, harvest, and fertile land. The Mesopotamian dragon is associated with the god Marduk. Marduk was the patron god of the city whom Nebuchadnezzar II directly link himself to.

This gate was built bricks molded from the clay of the river valley. The blue color was created with a technique called faience which involves the use of copper. This technique was also used by the Egyptian and other parts of the ancient world. The first fragments of the wall were found in 1851. Thorough excavation began in 1899 and the brick form which the gate was constructed were found in 1902. The quality and quantity of pieces found by archaeologist sparked the idea of reconstruction. Today the restored gate is displayed in Berlin at the Staatliche Museum.

Dr. Zucker, Steven, and Beth Dr. Harris. Neo-Babylonian Art: Ishtar Gate and Processional Way. Smarthistory. N.p., 13 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. 

King, Leo. “The Ishtar Gate.” Ceramics Technical 26 (2008): 51-53. Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 29 Sept. 2013.

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art through the Age: A Global History. 14th ed. Vol. 1. Boston: Clark Baxter, 2012. Ebook Reader.