The Cassite Dynasty

The Babylonian Collections of the University Museum

By: Leon Legrain

Originally Published in 1944

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From the east and the west new people were soon to invade Mesopotamia. From the Taurus range the Hittites descended on Babylon, and brought to an end the brilliant dynasty of Hammurabi. In upper Mesopotamia, between the Chabur and the Tigris, and even eastward beyond it, Hurri invaders founded a new kingdom. The Mitanni for awhile rivalled the growing power of Assyria, and its kings corresponded with the Pharaohs of Egypt. From the distant hills of Persia a new people, the Cassites, extended their foreign rule over Babylonia, a rule which was to last for over five hundred years. Their official letters to the Egyptian court have been recovered-written in cuneiform- at El-Amarna on the bank of the Nile. In Babylonia, temples were still repaired by their order, as is shown by numerous bricks stamped with the name of Kurigalzu (1345B.C.). But the poverty of the material is an index of the low degree of prosperity of the land. Large estates were granted to foreign governors and local tax collectors. The deeds recorded on black diorite boulders-called kudurrus-are one of the most characteristic monuments of the Cassite period and were even preserved under the kings of the following native dynasty of Babylon. The fine example from Nippur (cf. Figure 8) in the Babylonian Section of the University Museum is dated at Nebuchadnezzar I (1000 B.C.) and was published by William J. Hinke (A New Boundary Stone of Nebuchadnezzar I from Nippur, 1907). At the top of the stone are engraved the figures of the enthroned gods and of their symbols, stars, weapons and animal emblems. They represent the deities invoked in the deed as protectors of the rightful owner, and ready to put their ban and curse on any intruder. A large collection of administrative documents of the Cassite period has been found at Nippur.

Cite This Article

Legrain, Leon. "The Cassite Dynasty." Museum Bulletin X, no. 3-4 (June, 1944): 60-61. Accessed April 12, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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