To read more about cylinder seals, an excellent introduction is Dominique Collon’s First Impressions: Cylinder Seals in the Ancient Near East. For more detailed discussions, see the series Catalogue of the Western Asiatic Seals in the British Museum: Cylinder Seals, which has five volumes dedicated to particular periods (Vol. 1: Uruk through Early Dynastic; Vol. 2: [...]
Anna Glenn is a graduate student specializing in Assyriology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins.
Description A bearded man grapples with two winged quadrupeds. The animals stand on their hind legs, bodies facing the man, heads turned away. In the field are a star and a rhomb. Discussion This seal represents a typical “contest scene” of the first millennium B.C.E., popular in 8th – 7th c. B.C.E Assyria and Babylonia. [...]
The island of Cyprus, located in the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria, was a major center of trade during the Late Bronze Age, ca. 1450-1050 B.C.E. Cypriot traders traveled all around the Mediterranean world, selling primarily copper in exchange for other commodities. It was during this period that Cypriot craftsmen first produced their own [...]
Description The figures on this seal can be divided into two groups. The first group consists of a robed figure, raising one hand, facing the sun god Šamaš, who holds a saw-toothed knife. Between the two figures is a sun-disc and crescent. The second group of figures consists of a lion-demon, holding an inverted human [...]
Description A clean-shaven man is presented before a seated, bearded god. In the spaces between the figures are a cluster of three drill-holes, a crescent moon, and a tall, narrow-necked jar on a small table. An inscription, written in cuneiform, reads: a-ḫa?-ni-šu // arad₂ nu-ur₂-dšul-gi Discussion The scene on this seal represents the standard “presentation [...]
Description A bearded, kilted figure, holding a mace, stands facing a suppliant goddess. The goddess wears a flounced robe and a multi-horned headpiece, with a necklace counterweight hanging down her back. In the space between the figures are a double lightning fork, a bull standing on a dais, a sun-disc and crescent standard, and a [...]
Description Four figures sit facing left, arms raised in front. Their bodies are simple L-shapes, made with drill-holes and filled out with a cutting tool; their heads are single drill-holes, with lines hanging down behind representing ponytails. In the spaces between the women are unidentified, circular objects. Discussion The scene on this seal is typical [...]