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The Alexander Chronicle (BCHP 1): Notes

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Bust of Alexander the Great, from Delos, now in the Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Marco Prins.
Bust of Alexander the Great, from Delos, now in the Louvre.
The Babylonian Alexander Chronicle (BCHP 1; a.k.a. ABC 8, Chronicle 8) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It deals with events from the reigns of the Persian king Darius III Codomannus and his Macedonian successor Alexander the Great.

The cuneiform tablet (BM 36304) is in the British Museum and was first published by A.K. Grayson in 1975 in a book called Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles. On this website, a new reading is proposed by Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). The official publication can be found in Achaemenid History XIII (2003). An alternative reading, not by Van der Spek, is proposed here.


Note 1:
Cf. Livy I 39.3: Tanaquil to her husband after the prodigy of the child with the flames around the head: scire licet hunc lumen quondam rebus nostris dubiis futurum; also attested in Virgil (suggestion C.H.M. Kroon, Amsterdam).

Note 2:
Del Monte 1997, 207.

Note 3:
The temple of Serapis must be the temple of Marduk. It is the only sensible place and Ptolemy, Arrian's source, evidently equated this Babylonian head of the pantheon with his own creation: Serapis. Another argument may be found in Plutarch of Chaeronea (Alexander 73), where the poor stranger who was destined for the role of substitute king was said to be released by Serapis. In this case too, it can only have been done by the clergy of BÍl (cf. Bosworth 1988, 172; Lendering 2004, 348-351).

Babylonian Chronicles
Text and translation
Alternative reading


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