Ο "Nebuchadnezzar" του William Blake είναι η αναπαράσταση της τρέλας από την οποία καταλήφθηκε ο βασιλιάς της Βαβυλώνας Nebuchadnezzar II (Ναβουχοδονόσορας) , όπως περιγράφεται στο Βιβλίο του Δανιήλ στη Βίβλο, ως τιμωρία από το Θεό για την ματαιοδοξία του και τους διωγμούς και τα δεινά των Εβραίων που προκάλεσε. Κατά την περίοδο της παραφροσύνης του, που κράτησε 7 χρόνια, τριγυρνούσε στα τέσσερα, γυμνός, σε πλήρη εξαθλίωση, σαν ζώο και έτρωγε χόρτο σαν τα βόδια. Αυτή η απεικόνιση βγήκε σε κάμποσες εκδοχές, η πρώτη εμφανίστηκε έντυπη στο ποίημά του “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”:
"Nebuchadnezzar" is a colour print portraying the Old Testament Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II by William Blake. Taken from the Book of Daniel, the legend of Nebuchadnezzar tells of a ruler who through hubris lost his mind and was reduced to animalistic madness and eating "grass as oxen". Many versions have been made since its first appearance in “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”
According to William Blake’s biographer Alexander Gilchrist, in this print the viewer is faced with the "a mad king crawling like a hunted beast into a den among the rocks; his tangled golden beard sweeping the ground, his nails like vultures' talons, and his wild eyes full of sullen terror. The powerful frame is losing semblance of humanity, and is bestial in its rough growth of hair, reptile in the toad-like markings and spottings of the skin, which takes on unnatural hues of green, blue, and russet." (Wikipedia)
Nebuchadnezzar II was a ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty, who reigned between 605 BC and 562 BC. According to the Bible, he conquered Jerusalem, and sent the Jews into exile. He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. He is featured in the Book of Daniel that discusses several events of his reign, in addition to his conquest of Jerusalem.
While boasting over his achievements, Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by God. The king loses his sanity and lives in the wild like an animal for seven years (by some considered as an attack of the madness called clinical lycanthropy or alternately porphyria). After this, his sanity and position are restored and he praises and honors God.
A clay tablet in the British Museum describes Nebuchadnezzar's behavior during his insanity: "His life appeared of no value to him... then he gives an entirely different order... he does not show love to ... family and clan does not exist." There is no record of acts or decrees by the king during 582 to 575 BC. (Wikipedia)