The Dragon of the God Marduk.

Nebuchadnezzar II (who reigned c.604-562 BC), the king of Babylon, started a series of ambitious building projects including the richly decorated Ishtar Gate (575 BC). A long processional avenue linked the sacred gate to the temple of the city god Marduk and his famous temple tower, known from the Bible as the Tower of Babel. The façades of the Ishtar Gate were decorated with reliefs on glazed bricks, representing dragons (Akkadian: mušḫuššu ; from Sumerian: MUŠ.ḪUS, lit. “reddish snake” sometimes also translated as “fierce snake” ), Marduk’s emblem, and bulls (aurochs) symbolizing the weather god Adad. The processional route away from the city was decorated with lions, the animals of Ishtar, goddess of love and war. They were to guard against advancing enemies, as is indicated by the name of the gateway: “Ishtar conquers its enemy”.

This dragon is preserved at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (DK). Cm 115 x 164

Pierre Fritel (1853-1942), ‘Les Conquérants’ (The Conquerors), 1892

This is how some see the march of history, “great men” plowing through the dead to bring the world “progress”, changing destinies through the sheer force of their “will.” I say that’s a bunch of noise but I have anarchist leanings so my worldview might be a bit biased when it comes to celebrations of power and of those who claim to hold it.

“In the centre of the van rides Julius Caesar, whom Shakespeare has pronounced “the foremost man of all this world.” On his right are the Egyptian called by the Greeks Sesostris, now known to be Rameses II, Attila, “the Scourge of God,” Hannibal the Carthaginian, and Tamerlane the Tartar. On his left march Napoleon, the last world-conqueror, Alexander of Macedon, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, that “head of gold” in the great image seen in his vision as interpreted by the prophet Daniel, and Charlemagne, who restored the fallen Roman Empire. Straight onward, mounted on horseback or riding in chariots, march these mighty men of the past at the head of armies whose lines of spears stretch back into the dim distance. On either side lie prostrate the naked bodies of those who have yielded their lives that these men might exercise power. The Conquerors, their hosts and their victims all belong to the world of the dead. Yet their power and glory are made fearful realities. Their influence and work are felt to pervade the world, to reach even to us, the living spectators. They are presented as dead, yet living and sending forth a mighty effect upon ages yet to come. The mighty sacrifices by which the glory of the world is achieved are here realized as never before.”

“The Library of Historic Characters and Famous Events of All Nations and All Ages”, Volume 3, ed. by A.R. Spofford, Frank Weitenkampf, and J.P. Lamberton, Philadelphia: William Finley & Co., 1894.

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.


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.

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.

JAY-Z, Trevor Noah and Dave Chappelle, photographed at Rihanna’s third annual “Diamond Ball” at Cipriani Wall Street on Thursday evening. Hov is wearing a Burberry Londonslim-fit wool and mohair-blend tuxedo blazer ($1,300) and tuxedo pants ($450)—a set he last wore at the Grammy Awards in February.

Hov had purchased a table for his Roc Nation family at a reported cost of $150,000. The event was held in support of the Roc Nation singer’s non-profit Clara Lionel Foundation, which benefits impoverished communities across the globe by supplying healthcare and education programs.

In support of his little sister Jay donated and signed a $35,000 “Nebuchadnezzar” bottle of his Armand de Brignac Rosé champagne. It is one of the most rare bottle formats in the world, with its 15 liter contents equivalent to 20 standard bottles. The champagne sold for $75,000 during the live auction. During the benefit Hov was also seen signing pairs of Rih’s Puma x FENTY x CLF “Creeper” sneakers to be auctioned off.

Hannigram → Matrix AU for #HannibalOdyssey

Will Graham, alias Corax, is a computer programmer and hacker who is freed from the Matrix by the legendary Morpheus. Joining the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, Will quickly captures the attention of Hannibal—who turns out to be none other than The Wendigo, a hacker mastermind Will has idolized for years. 


“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

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