The $ 1.7 million, 3,500-year-old tablet, which tells part of the world’s oldest story, will be returned to Iraq by the United States on Thursday (September 23) after being confiscated by Hobby Lobby.
The so-called “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet”, which is engraved with a part of “Gilgamesh Epic”, one of the oldest known religious documents in the world, was released from a museum in Iraq after the start of the Gulf War in August 1990. It was looted. According to UNESCO, a UN cultural institution, it entered the US arts market “illegal” in 2007.
Hobby Lobby, a retail chain of arts and crafts, bought a tablet at an auction in 2014. It will be on display at the Steve Green Bible Museum in Washington, DC, the owner of the billionaire, but the US Department of Justice seized the object in 2019 and announced it in July 2021. The artifact entered the country “contrary to federal law” and would order the official delivery of the tablet.
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The tablets handed over to the Smithsonian Institution’s Iraqi authorities were among the 17,000 ancient relics to be returned, many of which were looted and smuggled abroad after the 2003 US invasion.
“By returning these illegally acquired objects, authorities here in the United States and Iraq have allowed Iraqi people to reconnect to their history page,” UNESCO Secretary-General Audrey.・ Azley, Said in a statement.. “This extraordinary return is a great victory over those who destroy heritage and traffick it to raise money for violence and terrorism.”
The war has significantly increased the destruction of cultural heritage worldwide in the last decade. According to Interpol, Traffickers smuggle illegally acquired artwork from conflict zones and sell it for spectacular amounts.
Beginning as a series of five Sumerian poems about the adventures of the mythical hero Gilgamesh, the “Gilgamesh Epic” was spliced into 12 Akkadian epics decades and even centuries later. The story tells how Gilgamesh, the benevolent king of Uruk, fights the giants and later becomes friends. He then feuds with the gods and embarks on a quest to conquer death.
Part of the epic story was first discovered in ancient ruins in 1853. Mesopotamia The Ashurbanipal Library in Nineveh (now northern Iraq) and its mysterious cuneiform were first translated by George Smith. Part of Smith’s translated story described the Flood, a ship moored at the top of a mountain, and a bird sent out in search of arid land. Smith was so excited about the story that he was reportedly excited and undressed.
A sensation arose when Smith discovered a flood story very similar to Noah’s Ark in the Bible, and soon he was sent back to dig up the missing part of the tablet. The debris he found completed the story of the flood, and in most cases the “Epic of Gilgamesh.”
The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet is so named because it contains part of an epic story about Gilgamesh’s mother, the Sumerian goddess Ninsun. The tablet was one of the thousands of smuggled artifacts handed over to federal authorities by Hobby Lobby, and Hobby Lobby was also forced to pay a $ 3 million fine.
“We should have been more scrutinized and carefully asked how the acquisition was processed,” Hobby Lobby’s Green said during the tablet seizure.
In his speech, Iraqi Minister of Culture Hassan Nadem said the return of the relic was “unprecedented.”
“This is the largest return of ancient relics to Iraq,” Nadem said.[It is] It is the result of months of efforts by Iraqi authorities in collaboration with the embassy in Washington. “
Originally published in Live Science.
US to return ‘priceless’ 3,500-year-old Epic of Gilgamesh tablet to Iraq 20 years after it was stolen Source link US to return ‘priceless’ 3,500-year-old Epic of Gilgamesh tablet to Iraq 20 years after it was stolen