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(died c. 539 BC) Coregent of Babylon. Though he is referred to in the book of Daniel as the son of Nebuchadrezzar, Babylonian inscriptions suggest that he was the eldest son of King Nabonidus. When the king went into exile in 550 BC, the kingdom and most of its army were entrusted to Belshazzar. In the biblical story Belshazzar holds a last great feast at which he sees a hand writing on a wall the Aramaic words mene, mene, tekel, upharsin, which Daniel interprets as a judgment from God foretelling the fall of Babylon. Belshazzar died after Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 BC.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Belshazzar, visit Britannica.com.