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Juniper garden chronicle (BCHP 8)
Coin of Antiochus I Soter (Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara)
concerning a service field (bît ilki) near the Juniper garden
garden chronicle"; BCHP 8) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient
The cuneiform tablet (BM 32266) 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 chronicle'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).
Text and translation
of Esagila chronicle (BCHP 6). The substance of the conflict seems
to be that a certain Greek mustered people (temple personnel) who worked
on a service estate of a temple (for the army). The complaint may have
been that the service was supposed to be done for the temple, not the king.
The story has a happy end thanks to the digging of a new canal for the
irrigation; possibly not more than a mere eyewash.
It is difficult to date this tablet. It seems that the Antiochus and Sin chronicle (BCHP 5 = ABC 11), the Antiochus and India chronicle (BCHP 7 = ABC 13A) and this one were written by one and the same scribe. All three have the same peculiar spelling for the word "Greek" as lúE-man-na-a (Antiochus and Sin chronicle [BCHP 5] rev. 2’; Juniper garden chronicle [BCHP 8] rev. 5’ and this one rev. 13’), instead of the common lúIa-man-na-a-a.
Furthermore in two chronicles mention is made of India (Antiochus and Sin chronicle [BCHP 5] obv. 14 and Juniper garden chronicle [BCHP 8] obv. 14). The removal of the debris of Esagila is mentioned in two of the documents (Antiochus and Sin chronicle [BCHP 5] obv. 5; Juniper garden chronicle [BCHP 8]: rev. 22’). Finally the Juniper Garden is mentioned in Antiochus and India chronicle (BCHP 7): rev. 8 and the Gold theft chronicle (BCHP 15) obv. 8 and rev. 19.
All three may then deal with Antiochus, the crown prince (Antiochus and Sin chronicle [BCHP 5] obv. 6, 10, rev. 3’, 6’ and 11’; Antiochus and India chronicle [BCHP 7] rev. 10’ [name alone]; Juniper garden chronicle [BCHP 8]: obv. 14’ [title alone?]. The Ruin of Esagila chronicle (BCHP 6) also concerns Antiochus, the crown prince, but in this document the word "Greek" is spelled kurIa-a-ma-nu (obv. 7’).
The spelling lúE-man-na-a-a is also attested in Astronomical diary No. -324 A Obv’ 15, unfortunately in a broken context, concerning months I-VI of the 12th year of Alexander the Great = 7 April to 30 September 325 BCE. The name of that scribe is partly known: he was the astronomer [....]-Bel?, son of Mušallim-Bel, probably the same person or the brother of Bel-apla-iddin, son of Mušallim-Bel, descendant of Mušezibu (= possibly Belephantes, the Chaldaean who warned Alexander the Great for his predicted death in Babylon; Van der Spek 2003, 333; Lendering 2004, 344). The writing with lúE-ma-na-a-a is attested in an administrative document (BM 79001) dated to year 4 or 5 of Antigonus Monophthalmus.
Obv. 8’, 9’, Rev. 13’,
Obv. 8’, Rev. 19’
The Rahimesu Archive:
CT 49, 150 (= Van der Spek 1998c, no. 13): 23-26 (1 XI 218 SE = 24 January 93 BC): "the Juniper Garden, surrounding the temple", probably referring to the temple mentioned before: Eturkalamma, the temple of Ištar. Same formula in BRM I 99 (= Van der Spek 1998c, no. 18) : 26-28 (14 XII2 218 SE = 15 April 93 BC)
From this chronicle we learn now (if correctly
the Juniper garden, containing the House of Deliberation,
the Store House (old and new), and the temple
of Ištar of
Babylon, was situated near the Uraš Gate. There
room for a so called "service estate" (bît