The Inscription of 36 lines is given twice on this
nail, once around the shaft in two columns, with
division between lines 20 and 21, and once on
the head also in two columns divided between
lines 20 and 21. The Text is a royal inscription of
Lipit-Ishtar, king of Isin in Babylonia (c. 1935
-1924 BCE). It reads: " Lipit-Ishatr, shepherd
who reverences (the town) NIppur, reliable
farmer of Ur, ceaseless for (the town) Eridu, high
priest the adornment of (the town) Uruk, king of
Isin, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad,
favourite of (the goddess) Ishtar am I.
I made to potstands the delight of (the god) Enlil
and (goddess) Ninlil in Isin, my royal city, at the
gate of the palace, did I, lipit-Ishtar, son of (the
god) Enlil when I established justice in the land
of Sumer and Akkad."
The king first stresses his concern for the cults
of the major cities of Sumer: Nippur, Ur, Eridu,
and Uruk, then after giving his titles, he refers to
his making of two pot stands to put at his palace
gate from which the divine pair Enlil and ninlil
would receive some benefit. The Occasion of this
dedication was when he established justice in his
land. This was the cancellation of certain types of
debts to prevent the rich from getting richer and
the poor poorer. The head of this nail is
incomplete, but the shaft is complete. There is
some salt encrustation on the surface. Other
copies of this inscription are known to exist,
although on cones only. This would then be the
only existing nail of such kind ever found.
[Translation and interpretation by Prof.