Top Ten Stelae

Top Ten Stelae

File:Baal thunderbolt Louvre AO15775.jpgFile:Healing Stela of Horus.jpgFile:Anthropomorphic stele no 25, Sion, Petit-Chasseur necropolis 13.jpg

       A stele is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living, inscribed, carved in relief (bas-relief, sunken-relief, high-relief, and so forth), or painted onto the slab. It can also be used as a territorial marker to delineate land ownership.

  1. Stele 51 Depicting Yuknoom Took’ K’awiil (731 AD)
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  2. Stele of Naram-Sin, King of Akkad (2,310 BC)
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    This stele depicts Naram-Sin, King of Akkad and grandson of Sargon the Great, celebrating his victory against the Lullubi. It was comes from Zagros in present day Iran. One Mesopotamian myth has it that the goddess Inanna abandoned the former capital of Akkad following Naram-Suen’s plunder of the Ekur (temple of the god Enlil) in Nippur. In his anger, Enlil brought the Gutians down from the hills east of the Tigris, to bring plague, famine and death throughout Mesopotamia. To prevent this destruction, eight of the gods decreed that Agade (Akkad) should be destroyed to spare the remaining cities. This may be the first instance in history when a king was depicted as a god.
    Links: Top Ten Akkadian Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sargon_of_Akkad, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naram-Suen_of_Akkad,
  3. Dream Stele
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    The Dream Stele of Thutmose IV, also called the Sphinx Stele, was erected in the first year of his reign, 1401 BC. As was common with other New Kingdom pharaohs, it makes claim to a divine legitimization to pharaohship. Partial text: “Now the statue of the very great Khepri [the Great Sphinx ] rested in this place, great of fame, sacred of respect, the shade of Ra resting on him. Memphis and every city on its two sides came to him, their arms in adoration to his face, bearing great offerings for his Ka. One of these days it happened that prince Thutmose came travelling at the time of midday. He rested in the shadow of this great god. [Sleep and] dream [took possession of him] at the moment the sun was at zenith. Then he found the majesty of this noble god speaking from his own mouth like a father speaks to his son, and saying: “Look at me, observe me, my son Thutmose. I am your father Horemakhet-Khepri-Ra-Atum. I shall give to you the kingship [upon the land before the living]…[Behold, my condition is like one in illness], all [ my limbs being ruined]. The sand of the desert, upon which I used to be, (now) confronts me; and it is in order to cause that you do what is in my heart that I have waited.”
    Links: Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Stele,
  4. The Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu i (“Stele of Revealing”)
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    The Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu i (also known as the Stele of Revealing) is a painted, wooden offering stele, discovered in 1858 at the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Dayr al-Bahri by François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette. It was originally made for the Montu-priest Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu i, and was discovered near his coffin ensemble of two sarcophagi and two anthropomorphic inner coffins. It dates to 675 BC, the period of the late 25th Dynasty, early 26th Dynasty. This artifact resides in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo (inventory number A 9422). The stele is made of wood and covered with a plaster gesso, which has been painted. It measures 51.5 centimeters high and 31 cm wide. On the front Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu i as a priest of Montu can be seen; he is presenting offerings to the falcon-headed god Re-Harakhty (“Re-Horus of the Two Horizons”), a synchronistic form of the gods Ra and Horus, who is seated on a throne. The symbol of the west, the place of the Dead, is seen behind Re-Harakhty. Above the figures is a depiction of Nut, the sky goddess who stretches from horizon to horizon. Directly beneath her is the Winged Solar Disk, Horus of Behdet. The stele is also known as the “Stele of Revealing” and is a central element of the religious philosophy Thelema founded by Aleister Crowley.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stele_of_Revealing,
  5. Kurkh Monolith
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    The Kurkh Monolith is an Assyrian monument that contains a description of the Battle of Qarqar at the end. Today it stands in the British Museum but it was originally found at the Kurdish village of Kurkh, near the town of Bismil in the province of Diyarbakır, Turkey. The Monolith stands some 2.2 m tall, and roughly covers years one through six of the reign of Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (859-824 BC), although the 5th year is missing. Some scholars believe that the scribe who wrote the Monolith was sloppy, and have pointed out a number of possible errors in the text, like the identification of Byblos as Que. The Monolith mainly deals with campaigns Shalmaneser made in western Mesopotamia and Syria, fighting extensively with the countries of Bit Adini and Carchemish. At the end of the Monolith comes the account of the Battle of Qarqar, where an alliance of twelve kings fought against Shalmaneser at the Syrian city of Qarqar. This alliance, comprising eleven kings, was led by Irhuleni of Hamath and Hadadezer of Damascus, describing also a large force led by King Ahab of Israel. The Monolith is also the first time that the Arabs make an appearance in world history, fielding a contingent containing dromedaries led by King Gindibu.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurkh_Monolith,
  6. Adad-Nirari Stele
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  7. Stele of Shamshi-Adad V of Assyria (820 BC)
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  8. Raimondi Stele
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    The Raimondi Stela is one of the finest surviving examples of contour rivalry, one of the fundamental techniques used in Chavin art. Contour rivalry makes images appear differently depending on the angle from which they are viewed, enabling a single art work to communicate several messages. The image on the Raimondi Stela, viewed from one angle, shows a forbidding deity looking up at his head-dress of snakes and volutes and holding two staffs in his hands. Yet, seen upside down, the head-dress is transformed into a row of smiling faces and the deity appears to be a grinning reptile, flanked by more beaming heads where the staffs once were. The concept is thought to reflect the fascination with duality which underpinned much of ancient Andean culture.
    Links: http://heritage-key.com/category/tags/deity,
  9. Metternich Stele
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    The Metternich Stela is a magico-medical stele that is part of the Egyptian Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It dates to the 30th dynasty of Egypt around 380-342 BC during the reign of Nectanebo II. The province from which the stele originated is unknown. The stela belongs to a group of stelae known as the “Cippi of Horus” or ‘Stelae of Horus on the crocodiles.’ These types of stelae were used to protect the ancient Egyptian people from dangerous animals such as crocodiles and snakes. The Magical Stela is one of the largest and most complete of this kind. It is theorized that in the reign of Nectanebo II, a priest named Esatum traveled to the burial place of the Mnevis bulls at Heliopolis. There he noticed certain inscriptions that he thought were interesting and ordered them to be copied onto a large block of stone. There the stela was created and stood for many years until Alexander the Great conquered the Persians in Egypt and it was brought to Alexandria. For over two thousand years, the stela was missing until it was discovered in a wall that was excavated in a Franciscan monastery. The stela was then presented to Prince Metternich in 1828 by Muhammad Ali Pasha, the ruler of Egypt, before being purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art where it was known for many years as the Metternich Stela. The Magical Stela is by far one of the more impressive artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not only is it a piece of art, but served a medicinal use back in the ancient Egyptian times. This use was complex for it involved the reciting of spells and actions involving the piece to heal the celebrant. It combined stories of the gods and how they could be used within the sick to heal them. It is an amazing piece and sheds much light to the legends of the ancient Egyptian gods and their stories.
    Links: Sculptures, Top Ten Egyptian Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metternich_stela,
  10. Nabonidus Relief Showing him Praying to the Moon, Sun and Venus
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    Description:
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  11. Izapa Stele 5
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    Izapa Stela 5 presents perhaps the most complex relief at Izapa. Central to the image is a large tree, which is surrounded by perhaps a dozen human figures and scores of other images. Izapa Stela 5 is one of a number of large, carved stelae found in the ancient Mesoamerican site of Izapa, in the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico along the present-day Guatemalan border. These stelae date from roughly 300 BC to 50 or 100 BC, although some argue for dates as late as 250 AD. Also known as the “Tree of Life” stone, the complex religious imagery of Izapa Stela 5 has led to different theories and speculations concerning its subject matter, including the possibility it suggests Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.
    Links: Top Ten Mexican Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izapa_Stela_5,
  12. Khaldi
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    Ḫaldi or Khaldi was one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). His shrine was at Ardini. The other two chief deities were Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa. Of all the gods of Ararat (Urartu) panthenon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to him. His wife was the goddess Arubani. He is portrayed as a man with or without a beard, standing on a lion. Khaldi was a warrior god whom the kings of Urartu would pray to for victories in battle. The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons, such as swords, spears, bows and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons.’
    Links: Top Ten Urartian Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaldi_(god),
  13. Stele of Adda-Guppi
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  14. Stele of Thutmose I, Cairo Museum
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    Thutmose I (sometimes read as Thothmes, Thutmosis or Tuthmosis I, meaning Thoth-Born) was the 3rd Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. He was given the throne after the death of the previous king Amenhotep I. During his reign, he campaigned deep into the Levant and Nubia, pushing the borders of Egypt further than ever before. He also built many temples in Egypt and built a tomb for himself in the Valley of the Kings; he is the first king confirmed to have done this (though Amenhotep I may have preceded him). He was succeeded by his son Thutmose II, who in turn was succeeded by Thutmose II’s sister, Hatshepsut. His reign is generally dated from 1506 to 1493 BC, but a minority of scholars, who feel that astrological observations used to calculate the timeline of ancient Egyptian records and thus the reign of Thutmose I, were taken from the city of Memphis rather than from Thebes, would date his reign from 1526 BC to 1513 BC.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thutmose_I,
  15. Theispas
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    Theispas (also known as Teisheba or Teišeba) of Kumenu was the Araratian (Urartian) weather-god, notably the god of storms and thunder. He was also sometimes the god of war. He formed part of a triad along with Khaldi and Shivini. The ancient Araratian cities of Teyseba and Teishebaini were named after Theispas. He is a counterpart to the Assyrian god Adad, and the Hurrian god, Teshub. He was often depicted as a man standing on a bull, holding a handful of thunderbolts. His wife was the goddess Huba, who was the counterpart of the Hurrian goddess Hebat.
    Links: Top Ten Urartian Artifactshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theispas,
  16. Canal SteleTo facilitate commerce, Darius built a navigable waterway from the Nile to the Red Sea (from Bubastis [modern Zaqaziq] through the Wâdî Tûmelât and the Bitter Lakes); it was marked along the way by four great bilingual stelae, the so-called “canal stelae,” inscribed in both hieroglyphics and cuneiform scripts.
    Links:
  17. Stele of the Vultures
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    The Stele of the Vultures is a monument from the Early Dynastic III period (2600–2350 BC) in Mesopotamia celebrating a victory of the city-state of Lagash over its neighbor Umma. It shows various battle and religious scenes and is named after the vultures that can be seen in one of these scenes. The stele was originally carved out of a single slab of limestone but only seven fragments are known today. The fragments were found at Tello (ancient Girsu) in southern Iraq in the late 19th century and are now on display in the Louvre.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stele_of_the_Vultures,
  18. The Antakya Stele
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    In the Archaeological Museum of Antakya (Turkey), one can see a stone stela that was discovered in what is now a suburb of the city. It was erected by the Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III (810-783) as a boundary marker between two of his vassal kings, Ataršumki of Arpad and Zakkur of Hamath. It seems that the latter had to give up a piece of land surrounding a village named Nahlasi and a stretch of land in the fertile valley of the Orontes. It is remarkable that the Assyrian king and his general dictate the terms of the treaty and invoke Assyrian gods in what was a local dispute. The stela consists of two parts. The upper half shows king Adad-Nirari, his general Šamši-ilu, and a column. This may be an asherah, a pole that signified the presence of a deity. The lower half contains a beautifully carved inscription, which consists of four sections: The king’s titles: the normal beginning of an inscription in the ancient Near East; The terms of the treaty: the village Nahlasi will be part of kingdom of Ataršumki of Arpad; A statement of fact: the king has released the village from its obligation; A statement that anyone who alters the terms, is cursed. This is, again, a common part in a Near Eastern text from Antiquity. The date is not known. Adad-Nirari visited the region in 796, but the fact that his commander-in-chief Šamši-ilu is mentioned prominently, suggests that he was in fact responsible for dictating the terms. This makes any date between 810 and 783 possible.
    Links: http://www.livius.org/as-at/assyria/treaty.html,
  19. Mesha Stele
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    The Mesha Stele is a black basalt stone bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC ruler Mesha of Moab in Jordan. The inscription was set up about 840 BC as a memorial of Mesha’s victories over “Omri king of Israel” and his son, who had been oppressing Moab. It is the most extensive inscription ever recovered that refers to ancient Israel (the “House of Omri”). It bears what is generally thought to be the earliest extra-biblical Semitic reference to the name Yahweh (YHWH), whose temple goods were plundered by Mesha and brought before his own god Kemosh. French scholar André Lemaire has reconstructed a portion of line 31 of the stele as mentioning the “House of David.” The stone is 124 cm high and 71 cm wide and deep, and rounded at the top. It was discovered at the site of ancient Dibon (now Dhiban, Jordan), in August 1868, by Rev. Frederick Augustus Klein (1827–1903), a German CMS missionary. Local villagers smashed the stone during a dispute over its ownership, but a squeeze (a papier-mâché impression) had been obtained by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, and most of the fragments were later recovered and pieced together by him. The squeeze (which has never been published) and the reassembled stele (which has been published in many books and encyclopedias) are now in the Louvre Museum.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesha_Stele,
  20. Amenhotep II Stele
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    A stele, originally from Elephantine and now on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, recording Amenhotep II’s successful campaign against Syria, and dedicating war booty and prisoners to the Temple of Khnum.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amenhotep_II,
  21. Links: Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stele,