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Recent Discovery Contains Oldest Depiction of the Tower of Babel 309

smitty777 writes "The recent discovery of the Tower of Babel stele by a team of scholars shows what might be the earliest depiction of the ancient Tower of Babel. The stele belongs to Martin Schøyen, who also owns a large number of pictographic and cuneiform tablets, some of the earliest known written documents. The tablet (reconstruction) depicts King Nebuchadnezzar II, under whom Babylon was a cultural leader in astronomy, mathematics, literature and medicine. It's also interesting to note the somewhat recent Slashdot article linking the common ancestry of languages to this area."
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Recent Discovery Contains Oldest Depiction of the Tower of Babel

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  • Pretty Lame (Score:5, Funny)

    by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @01:39PM (#38516836)

    The tower comes up to his waist.

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @01:47PM (#38516934)

    That tablet has a glossy black surface and rounded corners

    • That tablet has a glossy black surface and rounded corners

      No, that's what I would call very prior art.

      • Prior art doesn't matter anymore. The US is now a first-to-file country. And since Apple was the first to file a patent on glossy black surfaces with rounded corners, ancient Mesopotamians are now banned from importing or selling their stela in the US. Also, it helps that Apple can hire better lawyers than extinct civilizations can.

  • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @01:48PM (#38516950)

    "Babylon was a cultural leader in astronomy, mathematics, literature and medicine. It's also interesting to note the somewhat recent Slashdot article linking the common ancestry of languages to this area."

    From the other article:

    The relationship that emerges suggests the actual point of origin is in central or southern Africa, and that all modern languages do, indeed, have a common root."

    Dear Slashdot editors: Do you know where Babylon and Central/Southern Africa are?

    I'd also bet money that the timeline is also completely wrong. Babylon existed a few thousand years ago. The origin of language is much, much older.

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @02:00PM (#38517094) Journal

      This article is pretty blood suspicious. First of all, it isn't the Tower of Babel, it's the ziggurat of Babylon. The Babel story may indeed reference the ziggurat of Babylon, or not, but no serious scholar goes around calling it the Tower of Babel.

      The origin of language nonsense reveals that this is clearly the creation of some Biblical literalist. The breaking of the tongues story from Genesis is myth. No linguist has seriously believed it in well over two hundred years, and pretty much everyone accepts that humans developed full language in Africa. The language Nebuchadnezzar spoke; Akkadian, was an Afro-Asiatic language, and those languages likely developed either in the Arabian Peninsula or in East Africa, most certainly not in Mesopotamia.

      Come on Slashdot editors. What's next, an article about humans and dinosaurs living together, or Biblical Flood confirmation stories? Is this the low that the post-Taco era is going to sink to?

      • What's next, an article about humans and dinosaurs living together

        Nah, Slashdot's always late. They won't post that story until dinosaurs actually do go extinct. (Birds: Class Aves, Branch:Avialae. Order: Saurischia Superorder:Dinosauria Yes, "Dinosauria" means exactly what you should think it does. Source [wikipedia.org] BTW)

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Ziekheid ( 1427027 )

        Well, look at who wrote the summary, his nick is smitty777. 777 is, for a lot of Christians, a meaningful number as in the opposite of 666, it's the number closest to their God.
        Coincidence? Maybe, but in combination with the false summary I'd say chances are pretty big smitty777 has his own agenda when posting this Christian propaganda.

        • 1) 666 is the number of man, short of perfection, which would be 777.

          2) I completely missed the Christian propoganda. Could you explain it to me pleeze? I b confuzed.

          • Good catch by GP: 777 [wikipedia.org]. I think he's onto something because it reminded of the significance of 7 [wikipedia.org] in my youthful church days. It would seem 777 is a natural contrast to 666.
          • The reference to the Tower of Babel and the whole origin of language line gives it away. Can you think of anyone besides of Christian Biblical literalist (except maybe a Muslim literalist or, if they exist in any quantity, a Jewish literalist) who would call an image of a ziggurat on a steal the "tower of Babel" or who would suggest that this is where languages came from immediately afterwards.

          • Wouldn't that be 668, the neighbor of the beast? Or 667, the guy who lives across the street from the beast, or perhaps even 666B, the guy who lives in the apartment loft above the beast (no doubt against local zoning law)? Seems that all of those would fit the condition of "closer".

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Pharmboy ( 216950 )

          I don't know if it is "Christian propaganda" or not, but how the hell is it "News for Nerds, Stuff That Matters"? I mean, is it made of Legos, does it run Linux, or at the very least, is SCO or the RIAA suing them?

        • You got me dude...you've uncovered a vast conspiracy between me and that hotbed of right wing propaganda - The Discovery Channel! BTW, if you had managed to read the article, they also allude to this reference as well. Because it's relevant.

          • If that's the case, then you're completely wrong.....the Tower of Babel depicted in the Bible is at 1500BCE at the absolute latest. The one in this Slashdot article was built ~600BCE.

            IF this is the Tower of Babel mentioned in the bible, it basically proves that the bible is wrong.
            • I think you're making a logical leap that is unfounded. It could be that either the king is taking credit for something that was already built, or that the scholars are wrong about it being the original tower. I do agree with you about the timing of the original tower, though.

            • by thomst ( 1640045 )

              phantomfive opined:

              If that's the case, then you're completely wrong.....the Tower of Babel depicted in the Bible is at 1500BCE at the absolute latest. The one in this Slashdot article was built ~600BCE.

              No, the ziggurat in TFS is the rebuilt Tower. The original was destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 689 BCE, and rebuilt by Nabopolassar and his successor Nebuchadnezzar II after Esarhaddon became king of Assyria.Three hundred or so years later, Alexander III had the much-neglected Etemenanki (the Babylonian name for the Tower) demolished in preparation for rebuilding it - a project that fell through after his unexpected death in June, 323 BCE.

              IF this is the Tower of Babel mentioned in the bible, it basically proves that the bible is wrong.

              It does nothing of the sort. Otoh, i

      • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gm a i l . c om> on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @02:55PM (#38517756)

        Biblical literalist? Hardly. Nebuchadnezzar had nothing to do with the Tower of Babel, and it's clear the author has only passing knowledge of either bible story. The article manages to completely mangle both philology and biblical theology. It's stupid enough for everyone to hate.

        • If you read the article you read: "'Here we have for the first time an illustration contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar II's restoring and enlargement of the Tower of Babel, and with a caption making the identity absolutely sure,' the Schøyen Collection stated on its website."

          They're not saying Nebuchadnezzar built the original Tower of Babel, they're saying it looks like he might have (tried to) restore it (rebuild it). "Calling himself the 'great restorer and builder of holy places,' he also reconstru
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      There was one single common language that could be understood by all the human beings. All the present day languages are off shoots of that language. That much is true, and scientifically proven. And that seems to agree with the Tower of Babel myth.

      But that common language existed between 75K and 100K years ago, at that time there were probably 2500 human beings in the world, and the place was eastern Africa. The language had lots of click sounds, and its closest extant remnants are the Andamanese spoken i

      • Nobody actually knows any of that for sure. It is not generally accepted, it is conjecture, and as no linguistic link has been made between the "click" languages of southern Africa and any other language outside of the region, this is what most linguists would call a flight of fancy. We're talking about a discipline that largely rejects Nostratic due to insufficient evidence, so I don't think you'll find many linguists who would accept your account, and any linguist who did would be at the very margins of t

        • I'd like to add that nobody is quite sure if there was a mother tongue. The neural hardware for language may have existed for a considerable length of time prior to the first fully-formed languages, so you could have had different H. sapiens populations moving from proto-language to full language independently. If there was a single mother tongue, nobody knows what it sounded like.

          • Of all the different languages spoken by man around the world, I would say there are at least two words that come the closets to sounding universal. Mamma and Daddy. It should come to no surprise that these are among the first two words a baby learns when growing up. The most important no doubt.

            Ya, I was kinda blown away by that little discovery myself.

            • My understanding is that linguists consider these examples of false cognates. They do not represent surviving words from the progenitor language, but rather are due to the fact that they tend to be the simplest sounds a young child can produce. Largely because it seems highly unlikely that just two cognates survive from the mother tongue, and not more.

            • It's also no coincidence those are the first sounds a baby can generally articulate. The baby made a buh or duh sound? Clearly it is referring to me.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @03:18PM (#38518038)

        Wow, a posting in which every single claim is false. (I am a linguist.) There's no evidence that there was ever a single common language which is the source of all present day languages. Scientific hypotheses do not get "scientifically proven" (there's only falsification, kids, not "proof"). The dating (75K-100K years ago) is just pulled out of someone's ass, the population numbers for that period don't match anything I've ever seen and would appear to also be made up. Since we don't know that there was this "original language", it's properties can hardly be known (phonemic make-up, whether it had 'clicks' or not). The claims about Khoisan and Andamenese are laughable on their face (if the languages existed 75K years ago, and all modern languages are "daughters" of this original language, aren't they all equally "close" "extant remnants"? like 75K years close?, of course you could claim that some languages have changed more than others, but that would entail that language change is not a constant --- probably true, by the way --- but would, unfortunately for the author, likewise entail that you can't date how long ago the languages were spoken; only the assumption of a constant rate of change could let you do that). If the "clicks sounds were the first ones to be lost as languages evolved" why are they still there in some languages? There is no such concept as "more evolved" and "less evolved" languages. Sanskrit has fewer phonemes than Tamil. The languages of Micronesia have large phoneme inventories, not small ones as asserted here.

        Jeesh. Read a fucking book or something.

        • Jeesh. Read a fucking book or something.

          I speak Tamil and I know enough of Sanskrit. Your statement that Sanskrit has smaller number of phonemes is clearly wrong. In vowels, Tamil counts 12 but it has really 10 (ai and aw are not really vowels). Sanskrit counts 14 including kru and one more, but it too has basically 10 distinct vowel sounds. In consonants, tamil has 18, Sanskrit has 4 versions of ka (ka, kha, ga, gha), 4 versions of cha (sa,sha, cha, ja), 4 versions of da (ta, tha, dha, da) and 4 versions of pa (pa, fa, ba, bha). Tamil has just o

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @01:59PM (#38517088) Homepage Journal

    is a warning against multiple company outsourcing.

  • Tower of Babel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stargoat ( 658863 ) * <stargoat@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @02:07PM (#38517176) Journal

    It's funny how much the Tower of Babel looks like every other ziggurat (tell) ever dug up in the Middle East. Oh wait....

    When the fuck will people grow up and realize that not every city unearthed with breached walls is Jericho, not every cross dug up is the True Cross, not every Roman spear is the Dolourous Lance, not every Babylonian leader is King Nebuchadnezzar, and not every old cup is the Holy Grail? It's awesome enough that there is an old Babylonian cuneiform tablet without it also fitting into Biblical narrative.

    • Re:Tower of Babel (Score:4, Informative)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @02:12PM (#38517222) Journal

      The submitter is an idiot. The whole "origin of language" bit demonstrates that well enough. WTF is wrong with Slashdot editors?

      Ah well, I remember a time when every conman selling a perpetual motion machine could get a submission here, so maybe things haven't changed that much. Maybe next week we'll have an article on Noah's Ark being found, that would be about right if this is the standard.

      • Slashdot had plenty of articles on Atlantis being found too. Slightly different, since the records of its existence is are a little more recent and a little more reliable, but just as hyperbolic and inflaming.

    • You forgot one of the most popular of all: Not every boat-shaped feature on a mountain is the ruin of Noah's Ark.
      • I thought about adding something to that effect, but I like the way you wrote it better than I was able to frame the statement.

  • by amanicdroid ( 1822516 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @02:31PM (#38517460)
    Recent Discovery Contains Oldest Depiction of Cthulu
  • If you're ever near a ziggurat, be sure to run if any part of it catches fire. As is widely known, ziggurat smoke causes cancer.
  • by plsenjy ( 2104800 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @04:08PM (#38518588)

    This is a good example of the infotainment Discovery and all of its subsidiaries have used to replace what was once great, informative programming. Remember the long, droll documentaries you used to watch on the History Channel that were fascinating, somewhat layered, and informative? That all changed the day David M. Zaslav (former head of NBC, http://corporate.discovery.com/leadership/david-zaslav/ [discovery.com]) took the helm in 2007. Since then the organization has worked tooth and nail to dissolve its reputation as a place to learn something by replacing any programming focused on science, history, or biology with Big Log Muckers, UFO specials, End-of-the-World simulations, When Animals Attack and anything that can go out on a limb to find scientific proof for Biblical anecdotes. It follows the logic that those who are watching television are uneducated and then offers the lowest common demoninator in order to lull larger audiences. What a blight that man's leadership is.

  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2011 @06:46PM (#38520298) Homepage

    May contain mind virus. :P

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!