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Judicial Chronicle (BCHP 17)

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BCHP 17: The Judicial Chronicle, obv. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 17: Judicial Chronicle (obv)  (British Museum).**
The Judicial Chronicle concerning Temple Robberies is a historiographical text from ancient Babylonia. It describes events in 34 and 90 SE (i.e., 278 and 222 BCE) and therefore belongs to the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great. For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.

The cuneiform tablet (BM 47737 = 81-11-3, 442) 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 version. 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

BCHP 17: The Judicial Chronicle, lower edge. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 17: Lower edge (lines 16-18)

Description of the tablet

The tablet has the form of a Neo-Babylonian business document and is fairly well preserved. The entire left edge and the greater part of the upper and lower edges are still extant; only the right edge is lost. The original size of the tablet was c. 9.5 x 7.6 cm. The upper edge, as preserved, measures 7 cm, but must have been c. 2.5 cm. longer. The left edge is entirely preserved and measures 7.6 cm. The length of the preserved part of the lower edge is 5.8 cm. 
BCHP 17: The Judicial Chronicle, reverse. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 17: Reverse (lines 19-33)

The thickness of the upper end at the left edge is 1.5 cm, at the highest point which will have been the middle of the tablet, 2.0 cm, and at the right end 1.8 cm. The thickness of the lower edge at 2.5 cm is also 1.8 cm; hence the conclusion that c. 2.5 cm is missing at the right end at the upper part. The length of line 1 is 6.5 cm, line 6 measures 5 cm. The entire length of line 1 probably was 9-9.5 cm, which gives an extra space of c. 5 signs. It is not known whether the right edge was inscribed; the left edge was not. This reconstruction of the tablet fits in with the content of the tablet.

We like to express our gratitude to F. Joannès, who allowed us to republish this document.
 

BCHP 17: The Judicial Chronicle, upper edge. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 17: Upper edge (lines 34-35)

Previous editions

  • F. Joannès, "Une chronique judiciaire d' époque hellénistique et le châtiment des sacrilèges à Babylone" in: J. Marzahn, H. Neumann, A. Fuchs eds., Assyriologica et Semitica. Festschrift für Joachim Oelsner anlässlich seines 65. Geburtstages am 18. Februar 1997. AOAT 252 (Münster 2000), 193-211.
  • J.-J. Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles, edited by Benjamin R. Foster (Atlanta 2004), no. 37, p. 256-9.

TEXT

TRANSLATION

1 mu 34.kam mAn u mSe lugal.meš iti apin [iti bi ud .. kam] Year 34th, Antiochus (I) and Seleucus kings, month Arahsamna (VIII = 22 October-20 November 278 BCE). [That month, nth day,]
2 e.ki.meš sale.ki.meš ù erín.meš [šá .. .. .. .. ..] Babylonian men, Babylonian women and soldiers [of .. .. .. .. ..,]
3 šá ina /sar\-tú ana giškiri6 šem.li ku4-/ú\[.. .. .. dEn] who had entered the Juniper garden illegally and had stolen5 [property of Bêl],
4 dgašan-dinnin tin.tir.ki ù dingir.me[š gal.meš (.. .. .. .. ..)] Bêltia, Ištar of Babylon and the [great] gods [(.. .. .. .. ..)]
5 iš-šu-ú ina izi qa-lu-ú  v [ (probably blank)] were burnt with fire. 
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6 mu 90.kam iti gu4 iti bi ud 17 [kam .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] Year 90th, month Ululu (VI). That month, day17[th (19 September 222 BCE), PN]
7 ù 1-en šeš-šu! ana muh-hi h[i?-&i .. .. .. .. .. šá] and one brother of his, concerning a cr[ime (of  theft) which]
8 dù-’  ina a-šá-bi šá mdU.gur.suh.[sur šà.tam É.sag.gíl] they had committed, in the presence of Nergal-(ina-)teši-[etir, the shatammu of Esagila and],
9 E.ki.meš ukkin šá É.sag.gíl /ù\ [ina é @ib-te-e-ti (or: a-na tar-@a)] the Babylonians of the kinishtu of Esagila /and\ [in the jail (or: in front)]
10 šá di.kud.meš šá é.dingir.meš ina ku-tal k[á .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] of the judges of the temples behind the [….. Ga]te,
11 ina gišsim-mil-tum šá maš-a-a-al-tum š[u?-lu-ú-ma šá-lu-ú] were h[anged?] on a rack of interrogation [and were interrogated.]
12 uk-tin-nu-ú u4-mu bi ina izi qa-lu-/ú\ [ (probably blank) ] They were convicted. That day they were burnt with fire.
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13 mu 90 kam iti gu4 iti bi šà.tam /É\.[sag.gíl ù] Year 90th, month Ajaru (II = 8 May-6 June 222 BCE). That month, the shatammu of E[sagila and]
14 E.ki.meš ukkin šá É.sag.gíl aš-šú [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..] the Babylonians of the kinishtu of Esagila, because of [a theft] entered[16]
15 ana é bu-še-e /a\-šar dingir.meš gal.me[š .. .. .. .. .. ..] the treasury, the territory of the great gods [(…)].
16 ku4-’ kù.babbar [kù.g]i na4ga-la-l[a-nu .. .. .. .. .. ..] Silver, [gol]d, precious ston[es and .. .. .. .. ..]
17 šá ana aš-ri dingir-ú-tú mah.meš ina /lìb-bi\[-šú na-šu-ú] which (belong to) the territory of the godhead, in great number [were stolen].
18 iti bi  x[.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] That month [the thieves …]
19 šá ina /lìb-bi\ [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] who [had stolen] from [the treasury aforementioned]
20 @ab-/tu-’ \ ina [é @ib-te-e-ti šá di.kud.meš šá é.dingir.meš] were arrested (and) captured[21] in [the jail of the judges of the temple].
21 dib iti bi ud 2+[x.kam mden.numun.]giš l[úkù.dim mdEn .. .. ..] That month, day 2+x[th  Bêl-zera]-lišir, the goldsmith, Bel-xxx,]
22 kab.sar paq-d[u šá] /é.dingir?\[meš .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] the jeweller, the trust[ee of] the temple[s  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
23 ù mdEn-šá-ra-a /ma-?ar ká\[.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] and Bêl-šarâ, the gate keeper [of the treasury]
24 ina gišsim-mil-tum šá maš-a-a-al-[tum ina a-šá-bi šá di.kud.meš] were interrogated[27] on the rack of interroga[tion in the presence of the judges]
25 šá é.dingir.meš šà.tam É.sag.gíl [ù E.ki.meš ukkin] of the temples, the shatammu of Esagila, [the Babylonians of the kinishtu]
26 šá É.sag.gíl un.meš kur ki.ta [ká?  .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] of Esagila (and) the people of the land, below [the ... Gate]
27 ina ki-tim ki-da-nu šá-lu-ú mdEn.numun.[giš kù.dim] outside (the wall). (However,) they could not convict29  Bêl-zera-[lišir, the goldsmith]
28 šá kù.babbar u kù.gi iš-šu-ú u mdEn.[.. .. .. kab.sar] that he had stolen the silver and the gold, nor Bel-[xxx, the jeweller],
29 ù ma-@ar ká ul u-kin-nu-ú ana [é @ib-te-e-ti @ab-tu-’] nor the gate keeper, (but) [they were kept] in [jail].
30 ud 7 mden.numun.giš kù.dim ina é @ib-te-/e\[-ti ug7] Day 7th, Bêl-zera-lišir, the goldsmith, [died] in jail.
31 bad-su šu-@a-tú ina izi qa-la-at u4-m[u bi .. .. .. ..] His corpse was carried out and burnt with fire. [That] day, Bêl-xxx,]
32 kab.sar 2 dumu.meš-šú <>ma-@arù [.. .. .. .. ..] the jeweller, his two sons, the gate keeper and [his sons]
33 lìb-bu-ú igi-ú šá-lu-ú uk-tin-nu-ú ina i[zi qa-lu-/ú\] were interrogated as previously, were convicted (and) [burnt] with fi[re].
34 dam mdEn-šá-ra-a ma-@arina? [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..] The wife of Bêl-šarâ, the gate keeper, .. [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
35 šá KUR-da-at ana egir u4-mu KI  iti bar m[u .. .. .. .. ..] who was captured? afterwards, [was convicted?] around? month Nisanu,  ye[ar 91?]
to part two (commentary)
Bert van der Spek © 2005
Revised: 31 March 2006
 
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