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Demetrius and Arabia fragment

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Coin of the Seleucid king Demetrius I Soter.
Demetrius I Soter
The Diary fragment on Demetrius and Arabia, is a very brief  historiographical text from ancient Babylonia. The tablet can not be dated but may belong to the reign of the Seleucid king Demetrius I Soter (161-150).

The cuneiform tablet (BM 34433) is in the British Museum. On this website, a new 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 version of what will be the diary's very first 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
Text and translation




It is difficult to say which king Demetrius was intended here. It is probable that this Demetrius was in Babylon. We suggest that the diary refers to Demetrius' victory over Timarchus, who had been satrap of Babylonia and had proclaimed himself king after the death of Antiochus V Eupator, who had been murdered by the same Demetrius. If so, the diary refers to 161 BCE. Timarchus was hated by the Babylonians and Demetrius was hailed Sôtêr, "savior" by the Babylonians on that occasion (Appian of Alexandria, Syrian wars, 47).

For the meaning "by", see comment at the Invasion of Ptolemy III Chronicle r. 5’, 8’, 10’, 14’ and Gold Theft chronicle (BCHP 15), obv.6.

Reading suggested suggested by professor H. Hunger from Vienna.

 ... BÀ]D šá mSe-lu-ku, “the wall of Seleucus”. Unfortunately, the traces are difficult to read. One might imagine a reference to "the wall of Seleucus" (BÀD šá mSe-lu-ku LUGAL, AD III, p. 206, No. -133B r.19; cf. photo plate 214).

GAR-at = šaknat = fem stative of šak?nu, to establish. Hence a feminin noun must be the subject.

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