Lion of Babylon (Statue)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Lion of Babylon (أسد بابل) is a stone sculpture that was found in the ancient city of Babylon, Iraq. Carved out of black basalt stone, it is about two meters long, while its length is not more than one meter. The depiction of the Babylonian lion is based on the Asiatic Lion, which used to be found in Arabia, eastern Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia, Pakistan, and from east of the Indus River to Bengal and the Narmada River in Central India.


The basalt Lion of Babylon statue at Babylon, Iraq, notice the absence of "eagle's wings". Discovered in 1876 it may have been built by either Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BCE) or Hittites. It was found by a German expedition near Babil Gardens in Iraq, but many people are unaware of the story of this statue, which is what we will tell you in this article.

The Babylonian Lion, also known as the Mesopotamian Lion or the Asiatic Lion influenced a vast numbers of depictions.

circa 600 BCE

It is located north of the reconstructed remains of the ancient Babylon and north-east of the the Saddam Hussein's Babylonian Palace. The Lion of Babylon is an ancient Babylonian symbol and symbolically represented the King of Babylon. The depiction is based on the Mesopotamian lion, which used to roam in the region.

Restoration Efforts

circa 600 BCE

In 2013 The World Monuments Fund worked with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities to make improvements to the site. The Lion was cleaned and partially restored, the base of the statue was replaced, and a security barrier was added. The Lion is the symbol of Babylon, and represents Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, love and war. Meant not only to symbolise Babylon, but to instill fear in enemies, it seems fitting that a single stone lion, albeit poorly preserved, is the only true remainder of Babylon that stands in Iraq today.

Other Depictions and Influences

circa 600 BCE

The Processional Path
The Babylonian Lion, a symbol of power, strength and royalty, it was extensively depicted on the Processional Path and the Ishtar Gate.

circa 500 BCE

Dadan Lion Tombs
The Lions' Tombs of Dadan are believed to carry Mesopotamian influence, and are the proud iconic figures of this ancient Arabian oasis. The use of Lions as an allegory of protection and its Mesopotamian symbolism can be seen as far as eastern Arabia.


See Also


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