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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

last Chaldean king of Babylon (Dan. v), from Hebrew Belshatztzar, a contraction of Akkadian Bel-shar-usur, literally "Bel-protect-the-king" (see Bel).


Belshazzar (; Biblical Hebrew בלשאצר; Akkadian: Bēl-šarra-uṣur; Greek: Balthazar, from Akkadian, meaning "Protect His Life"; or, possibly, "[May] Bel Protect the King";) was Coregent of Babylon, governing the country after his father, King Nabonidus, went into exile in 550 BCE. Belshazzar died after Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 BCE.

According to the Book of Daniel, Belshazzar holds a last great feast at which he sees a hand writing on a wall with the Aramaic words mene, mene, tekel, upharsin, which Daniel interprets as a judgment from God foretelling the fall of Babylon.

Belshazzar (Handel)

Belshazzar ( HWV 61) is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel. The libretto was by Charles Jennens, and Handel abridged it considerably. Jennens' libretto was based on the Biblical account of the fall of Babylon at the hands of Cyrus the Great and the subsequent freeing of the Jewish nation, as found in the Book of Daniel.

Handel composed Belshazzar in the late Summer of 1744 concurrently with Hercules, during a time that Winton Dean calls "the peak of Handel's creative life". The work premiered the following Lenten season on 27 March 1745 at the King's Theatre, London with Ann Turner Robinson as Daniel, John Beard (tenor) as Belshazzar/Gobrias and Henry Theodore Reinhold as Cyrus. The work fell into neglect after Handel's death, with revivals of the work occurring in the United Kingdom in 1847, 1848 and 1873.

Belshazzar (novel)

Belshazzar is a novel by H Rider Haggard set in Ancient Babylon. He had just finished at the time of his death and it was published posthumously.

Belshazzar (disambiguation)

Belshazzar was a Babylonian leader.

Belshazzar may also refer to:

  • Belshazzar (Handel), Handel's oratorio
  • Belshazzar (novel), novel by H. Rider Haggard
  • Belshazzar (unit), bottle size

Usage examples of "belshazzar".

Far off in the blue distance, heat-hazed so that it appeared to be a dreamy mirage on the horizon, was the city of Belshazzar the Great, its thick stone walls overleaped by its many ziggurats and palatial towers.

Belshazzar was flanked by Nubian giants whose black bodies gleamed like polished ebony.

When her plight was explained to him, Belshazzar granted her the right to marry or not as she wished, with a nifty bit of stage business involving a cylinder seal rolled over a clay tablet, shown in tight close-up (Imarte interrupted her lecture long enough to remark approvingly on its verisimilitude).

That old Babylonian, Belshazzar, had nothing on us moderns after all, did he?

Then the letter that Villefort had showed to him recurred to his mind, and every line gleamed forth in fiery letters on the wall like the mene tekel upharsin of Belshazzar.