Details of the Statue of Idrimi showing the biography written in cuneiform which covers it.
This sculpture dates to the 16th century BCE, and was excavated by Leonard Woolley in the ruins of a temple at the site of Tell Atchana (ancient Alalakh, modern Turkey). You can view the full sculpture here. The statue is of Idrimi, a king of Alalakh, and is covered with his biography in cuneiform:
The statue is inscribed in faulty Akkadian, using a poor cuneiform script, with an autobiography of Idrimi. It is a unique type of text signed by the scribe who wrote it. Idrimi was one of the sons of the royal house of Aleppo, which was subject to the powerful kingdom of Mitanni. The territory of Aleppo included the smaller city state of Alalakh. Following a failed revolt, Idrimi and some of his family fled to Emar (now Meskene) on the Euphrates, which was ruled by his mother’s family.
From there he went south to live among nomads in Canaan (the earliest known reference to this land). Here he gathered troops and received popular support and help from his family. In time he made overtures to Parattarna, the king of Mitanni, who recognized his control of Alalakh. The inscription states that he had been ruling for thirty years when he had the statue inscribed, though it has been suggested that the text was actually added to the statue about three hundred years after Idrimi. The inscription ends with curses on anyone who would destroy the statue. (BM)
Courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photos taken by Klaus Wagensonner. ME 130738A.