The design on the Sumerian
cunieform stamp is based on a Neo-Babylonian stele commemorating a
temple official, Adad-etir, set up in Babylon by his son
There are three divine symbols, a winged solar disc
representing the sun-god Shamash, a crescent of the moon-god Sin and a
lion-headed mace on a pedestal. The text reads: “May Marduk, the great
lord, in anger look upon him, and his name and his seed may he cause
to disappear. May Nabu, the scribe of all, curtail the number of his
days. But may the man who protects it be satisfied with the fullness
A picture of the whole stele can be found at: L.W.
King, Babylonian boundary stones and memorial tablets (London,
Trustees of the British Museum, 1912), pp. 115-16, plate XCII.
The design shows the evolution of the cunieform
sign for barley, še (pronounced she, as in shed). The first
sign is a pictograph from approximately 3000 b.c. The next sign is
more abstract and has been rotated 90°. It dates from about 2500 b.c.
The last sign is Late Assyrian from about 650 b.c. Here the sign has
been simplified and rotated an additional 45°
The Austrian stamp issued
in 1965 shows a clay tablet with a cunieform text. A head of
anAssyrian king or god is in the background. The clay tablet comes
from the second millenium b.c.