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Antiochus, Bactria, and India (BCHP 7)
(British Museum, London)
concerning Antiochus, Bactria, and India ("Antiochus and India
chronicle"; BCHP 7 or ABC 13A) is one of the historiographical texts
It is important because it mentions a Seleucid
crown prince, probably the future king Antiochus
I Soter, ordering repairs in Babylon
and preparing for war.
The cuneiform tablets (BM 32310 [76-11-17, 2039] + 32398 [S† 76-11-17,2131] + 32384) are 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 edition. This web publication is intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to contact Van der Spek).
Text and translation
GeneralThe tablet has lost too many pieces, so that every reconstruction must remain provisional.
The date of the tablet is difficult to recover, but there are some clues. A king Seleucus is mentioned, and a certain Antiochus. That makes the time of Antiochus, the Crown Prince, a suitable option. In addition, the crude hand writing of the scribe is very similar to the other tablets dating to Antiochus, the Crown Prince. Finally, the word "Greek" is written lúE-man-/na-a-a\ (rev. 5’), an idiosyncratic spelling, which also occurs in other documents of this period. Hence, it is likely that this tablet dates to the period.
Though details are not clear, the document seems to record repair work on the Esagila, which was indeed a concern of Antiochus I (cf. Antiochus and Sin chronicle [BCHP 5] and Ruin of Esagila chronicle [BCHP 6]). The fact that Seleucus is in Syria and that Bactria and India are mentioned as well, make it sure that the tablet postdates Seleucus' return from India ca. 302 BCE. We know that Antiochus took part in the Battle of Ipsus in 301. The chronicle may relate these events, but it is not at all certain. Another option would be the battle of Corupedium (281 BCE), but Antiochus was not present there. He ruled the Eastern satrapies on behalf of his father.
Finally, the First Syrian War comes to mind (ca. 274 BCE). In that period Antiochus was king, and the Astronomical diaries report that Antiochus went from Sardes to Ebir Nari in order to fight against the troops of Egypt. On 24 Addaru 38 SE (26 March 273) "the satrap of Babylonia brought out much silver, cloth, goods, and utensils from Babylon and Seleucia, the royal city, and twenty elephants, which the satrap of Bactria had sent to the king, to Ebir Nari, to (ana muhhi) the king" (AD I, p. 345, No. –273B ‘Rev. 30’- 32’).
If we have to date our chronicle in this period, we must assume that ...]Si LUGAL in obv.13’ is not Seleucus, so that the si must be the end of some Akkadian word, or the end of a name. Royal names ending in si, relevant for this period, are difficult to find. In the Diadochi Chronicle Pi-líp-i-si (obv. 26=7’) and Pi-il-i-si (obv. 33=14’) are preserved for Philippos (Philip III Arridaeus).
Antiochus and Seleucus are never spelled with
If a Ptolemy
was intended, we should expect "king of Egypt", rather than "king". In
no Akkadian text the name Ptolemy is completely preserved. The fact remains
that the chronicle's script is similar to the other documents that belong
to the period of Antiochus as crown prince.
The interpretation of this line is difficult. The first sign can be LÚ (lit. "man", as determinative used for occupations and ethnic identities) or the second part of LUGAL. kap-du is difficult to read, and ana a-ma-ru is uncertain as well. The signs ma and ba are hardly distinguishable in the late script.
e-bir ÍD = ebir nâri = "the other side of the river, Transpotamia, Transeuphratene". It is the name of the satrapy west of the Euphrates and comprises Syria and Palestine. Aramaic ‘Abar Nahara. Antioch on the Orontes was located in this satrapy. If taken literally, the phrase may refer to Asia Minor as well.
This phrase occurs more often. Cf. Ruin of Esagila Chronicle (BCHP 6).