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Alexander and Artaxerxes fragment (BCHP 4)

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Document on land and tithes (obverse). Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 4: Land and tithes (obv) (British Museum).**
The Fragment referring to Alexander the Great and an Artaxerxes is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It is highly enigmatic, but clearly refers to events after the Macedonian conquest. For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.

The cuneiform tablet (BM 36613 = 80-6-17, 343) is in the British Museum. On this website, a reading is proposed by Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Irving Finkel of the British Museum.*  Please note that this is a preliminary edition. This web publication is therefore intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to contact Van der Spek).

Babylonian Chronicles
Description
Text and translation
Commentary

Literature

 

Previous editions:

  • Sachs 1977: 144-7 (with copy, transliteration and translation; photo in full scale p. 144)
  • Glassner 2004 (CM no. 31): 246-9.

Description of the tablet

No edges are preserved, one side is destroyed. The height is 5.3 cm, the length of line 6 is 4.9 cm, line 8 5.3 cm. It is impossible to estimate the loss at the left and the right of the tablet. The remaining text is clearly written.

Text and translation

line numbers with link refer to commentary
@ = tsade
 
1' [..................................] x [..........] [..................................] x [..........]
2' [..........................K]ÚR?ina IZI x[...........] [.............................the ene]my? with fire [ ..........]
3' [.............................]x-ú u ERÍN.MEŠ [...........] [..........................] ... and the troops [.........]
4' [..........................AN.BA]R?šá ŠUII-šú SAHAR.HI.A TA d[ur?..........] [................... iro]n? of his own hands the debris from the w[all? of(?) ......]
5' [....................-M]EŠ? id-de-ku-ú u4-mu [šu-ú ..........]  (or: u4-mu [šá ..........]) [...............the x]s? were/they removed. [That?] day [..........]    (or: The day [when .......])
6' [...............MU x K]AM mÁr-šú A šá mÚ-ma-kuš šá mÁr-tak-šat-s[u (LUGAL) MU-šú na-bu-ú ........] [........... year x]th of Arses, son of Ochos, who [is called (king)] Artaxerxes, [..........]
7' [...........] KU4-ú ù É dA-nu-ni-tum lìb-bi UR[U UD.KIB.NUN.KI (?) ..........] [....................] enteredpl and the temple of Anunitu inside the cit[y of Sippar ..........]   (or: inside Er[idu])
8' [........ mA-lek-sa-a]n-/dar\-ri-is LUGAL šu-dur-' at-tu-nu DUMU.MEŠ E.[KI ..........] [.........................for? Alexan]der, the king, they were mourning?. You Babylonians [..........,]
9' M]EŠ u É.MEŠ ana NÍG.GA É.SAG.GIL u DUMU.MEŠ E.KI GU[R.MEŠ? ...........] [.... the ....]s and the houses to the possession of Esagila and the Babylonians (will) retur[nsg/pl? .........]  (or: retur[nedsg/pl?..........)
10' [.............]x É.SAG.GIL DÙ-uš-u' ú-qu x x[..........] [.......] Esagila they (will re)build?” (or: rebuilt). The army [....
11' [................. ERÍ]N.MEŠ i-@u-tu x[..........] [....................] few [troo]ps [...........
12' [..........................]/.. ..\[..........] ...................... 
Remainder lost
Remainder lost
to part two (commentary)
Bert van der Spek © 2005
Latest revision: 28 August 2006
 
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