Nabonidus, King of Babylon

Giulia Francesca Grassi

Abstract


It may seem anomalous to devote this column, which should contain the portrait of someone who contributed to the issue’s main topic, to the last Neo-Babylonian king, having at disposal a considerable number of renowned scholars, explorers, philologists, and archaeologists who could well have deserved this attention: Pietro Della Valle, Carsten Niebuhr, Georg Friedrich Grotefend, Paul-Émile Botta, Austen Henry Layard, Robert Koldewey, and Ernest Renan are just some of the many possible illustrious candidates.



There is basically one reason for the choice of Nabonidus: he is one of the very few characters involved with cultural heritage as both agent and object. As agent, he has been considered the first archaeologist ever, and—even if his description as “archaeologist” may be extreme—his use of the past for ideological purposes is undeniable; as object, he—or rather his acts, attitudes, and dispositions—were reinterpreted and transmitted to modern times through different literary testimonies.


Keywords


Nabonidus; Neo-Babylonian Dynasty; Biblical and Parabiblical Literature; Greek Historians; Archaeology; Ancient Near East in Modern Culture

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2014.3.3146

Giulia Francesca Grassi holds an MA in Sciences of Cultural Heritage (Archaeology) from the University of Udine, and a PhD in Sciences of Antiquity from the same university. She is currently a research assistant in the Department of Semitic Studies at the University of Marburg. Her main research interests include
Semitic epigraphy, Aramaic, the interactions between the Ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world, and anthroponomastics. She is the author of several articles on these topics, and authored the book Semitic Onomastics from Dura Europos. The Names in Greek Script and from Latin Epigraphs (Padua 2012).
email: giulia.grassi@staff.uni-marburg.de