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"Politai" Chronicle (BCHP 13)
||The first Babylonian
document on the politai (Greek citizens of Babylon),
the Politai Chronicle (BCHP 13), is one of the historiographical
texts from ancient Babylonia.
The tablet can be dated to SE
140 (=172/1 BCE) ands belongs, therefore, to the reign of the Seleucid
IV Epiphanes (175-164). For a very brief introduction to the literary
genre of chronicles, go here.
The cuneiform tablet (BM 46120 = 81-7-6,572) 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
Boiy (2004: 204-9) argues that the first reference
to politai in the diaries was in the diary concerning the visit
III the Great to Babylon
in February 187 BCE (month XI, 124 SEB).
During that visit, the king made offerings in the temple, visited the New
Year Temple (Day One Temple) and received (?) the robe of Nebuchadnezzar.
It is stated:
Boiy argues that politai must have been mentioned in the break in view of the fact that pahatu and politai are mentioned very often together in the Astronomical diaries. The argument is reasonable, but confirmation of the suggestion by other documents is required.
This chronicle is the first non-diary text which
mentions the politai. The first certain attestation of politai
in the Diaries is the diary of Month V 143 SEB concerning the victories
of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in Egypt and the performance of a pompê
(procession) by the politai:
Antiochus IV conquered Egypt in the summer of 169 BC and the news of his victories reached Babylon in month Abu (V), 143 SEB = 17 August- 15 September, 169 BC (= month XI [Gorpiaios] 143 SEM).
See for more information the Greek Community Chronicle (BCHP 14).
The upper edge is very difficult to read. Our transliteration is very uncertain.