nebuchadnezzar

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“Hey Rex,

You featured my Goldwing build at one point last year - http://garageprojectmotorcycles.tumblr.com/post/92050236706/mordecai 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
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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.

William Blake, Nebuchadnezzar, 1795/c.1805, colour print, 54.3 x 72.5 cm, Tate Collection. Source

The story of King Nebuchadnezzar II is described in the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel. Legend has it the Babylonian king became so obsessed with his own image that he was punished by God for his extreme pride. Nebuchadnezzar eventually lost his mind, his behaviour comparable to that of a wild animal. This seems to be what Blake decided to focus on in his depiction of the king.

He was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. (Daniel, 4:33)

The fate that befalls Nebuchadnezzar has been variously interpreted down the centuries… The combination of distressing visions, sleep disturbances, and collapse in personal and social functioning provides a dramatic early example of a state that has some similarities to modern-day schizophrenia. (Source: Mick Power, Madness Cracked)

Image credit: Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake, 1795/c.1805. Blake Archive, Tate Britain. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Babylonian Loaf-Shaped Weight

This mina weight in diorite is modelled on the shape of a sugar loaf. Weights in Mesopotamia came in a few standard shapes, such as the one above and weights shaped like ducks. On this weight is an inscription in cuneiform that states the weight to be a copy of one that Nebuchadnezzar II had made based on the standard of the Ur III king, Shulgi. The name of the owner of the weight, Marduk-shar-ilani (“Marduk is the king of the gods”), also appears in the inscription. (Source)

Neo-Babylonian(?).

British Museum.

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.

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“The Ishtar Gate is named so, because it was dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, although Nebuchadnezzar pays homage to other Babylonian deities through various animal representations. The animals represented on the gate are young bulls (aurochs), lions, and dragons (sirrush). These animals are symbolic representations of certain deities: lions are often associated with Ishtar, bulls with Adad, and dragons with Marduk. Respectively, Ishtar was a goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex, Adad was a weather god, and Marduk was the chief or national god of Babylon.”[x]