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Chronographic Documents Concerning Bagayasha (BCHP 18 A/B)

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The Bagayasha Chronicle, combined. Photos Bert van der Spek. BCHP 18: Bagayasha Chronicle, fragments A and B combined
(British Museum).
The Babylonian Chronographic document concerning Bagayasha ("Bagayasha Chronicle"; BCHP 18) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It describes a punitive action by a Parthian prince against the city of Babylon, and its consequences.

On this website, a first reading is proposed by Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Irving Finkel of the British Museum.* Please notice that this is a preliminary edition. This web publication is intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to contact Van der Spek).

Summary of events

Bagayasha (= the prince?) arrives in Babylon. He came for a punitive action. He asked account of the peliganes (council of elders), the generals are present, mention is made of plundering, politai, “people who live in the palace” (perhaps people had fled into the palace or are captured in the palace). People leave their houses. It must have been a gruesome situation.
Babylonian Chronicles

Text and translation
General commentary
Philological commentary
Summary of events

Fragment C


The Bagayasha Chronicle, fragment A. Photo Bert van der Spek. BCHP 18: Bagayasha Chronicle, fragment A
(British Museum).

Much about mourning and supplications. Babylonians, people of the land, women, the šatammu of Esagila, slaves of the king, a few politai, the governor (pāhatu = epistates) wear mourning. The people who are in the palace raise a cry of distress. At seems as though they have acted treacherously, but have changed their intentions and are now set free:

“The doors […] and in the garrison (EN.NUN) of the king you have to enter (š]u-ri-ba-a)!”

Perhaps the request is, that the plundering soldiers go back to their garrison. The doors are opened. The šatammu and the Babylonians …. to the prince [provided animals?]

The Bagayasha Chronicle, fragment B. Photo Bert van der Spek. BCHP 18: Bagayasha Chronicle, fragment B
(British Museum).

18' – 25'

PN-xx-nu, possibly the son of Bagayasha, to the prince [intercedes?]. He may be the general of Akkad. Many offerings and valuables are presented. Joy of heart in the land. PN leaves to his camp.

The šatammu with 5 Babylonians, the pahatu with 5 [politai are summoned? PN = general of Akkad] returns (GUR); politai, who are in Babylon, returned or are brought back (GUR-ra).

26'- 27'
He (= the general) makes Parthian troops enter the garrison. 20 brought-in people he deported. … he takes the road to the city of Sha-pi-Adad.

DAY 10: The general (stratēgos) of Babylonia [assembles] the Subarian (=Parthian) troops of the garrison. [At the command of (?)] Bagayasha they went out.

DAY 9 and 10: the people of the land [and the people] who live in the palace went into X?.

The Bagayasha Chronicle, edge. Photo Bert van der Spek. BCHP 18: Bagayasha Chronicle, fragment B, edge
(British Museum).

DAY 11: [The prince enters Borsippa]. The šatammu of Ezida provides offering animals for this prince and he makes offerings for Nabū and Nanaia. Some decision is taken as regards the silver of the temple of the gods of Sha-pi-Adad. The prince leaves Borsippa.

PN-Nabium (??) arrives. Long report about fighting. Conquest of “that city” (Sha-pi-Adad?).

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Babylonian Chronicles