Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556–539 BCE.
circa 556 BCE
Nabonidus in relief (facing right) showing him praying to the moon, sun and Venus (British Museum). He seized power in a coup, toppling King Labashi-Marduk. He also angered the priests and commoners of Babylon by neglecting the city’s chief god, Marduk, and elevating the moon god, Sin, to the highest status. In fact, Nabonidus left the capital for ten years to build and restore temples – mostly to Sin – leaving his son, Belshazzar, in charge. While leading excavations for the restoration effort, he initiated the world’s first archaeological work.