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Ptolemy III Chronicle (BCHP 11)

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BCHP 11: Ptolemy III Chronicle, obverse. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 11: The Ptolemy III Chronicle (obverse) (British Museum).**
The Chronicle concerning the invasion of Ptolemy III (the "Ptolemy III Chronicle"; BCHP 11) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It tells how king Ptolemy III Euergetes invaded Mesopotamia and laid siege to Babylon in 246/245 BCE. For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.

The cuneiform tablet (BM 34428) 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 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).

Babylonian Chronicles
Description
Text and translation
General commentary
Summary
Commentary obverse
Commentary reverse
Related documents

Literature

BCHP 11: Ptolemy III Chronicle, reverse. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 11: The Ptolemy III Chronicle (reverse) (British Museum).**

Description

  • Bm 34428 = Sp. II: many joins, presumably by Th.G. Pinches
A part below the middle of the tablet is preserved. Right and left edges are intact, upper and lower sides are broken off. In view of the curvature of the tablet, not many lines have been lost at the bottom end, though the lower edge may have been inscribed. The thickness at the lower side is 3 cm, at the upper end it is 4 cm. The length of the tablet is 7.8 cm, the width 15 cm. The script is clear.
TEXT: OBVERSE
line numbers with link refer to commentary
TRANSLATION
n' [GAN ITI BI [Kislîmu [IX = 26 November-25 December 246 BCE]
1' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] .. .. [.. .. .. .. .. ..]  [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] .. .. [.. .. .. .. .. ..]
2' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. LU]GAL /KUR Me-luh-ha\ ana [muh-hi] [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Ptolemy, the ki]ng of Egypt, arrived[3’] at
3' [URU Si-lu-ki-'-a URU LUGAL-ú-tú šá ina muh-hi ÍD] UD.KIB.NUN.KIsic u ÍD LUGA[L KU4 ?] [Seleucia, the royal city, which is on the] Euphratessic and the Royal Cana[l].
4' [GAL sik-kat šá ina É.GAL ERÍN.MEŠ LU]GAL šá ina E.KI la-IGI mPi-x[x]x[(x)] [The chief guardian who was in the palace] [sh]ut in5’ [the army of the ki]ng, which was in Babylon, before P[tolemy?].
5' [i-s]i-ir KÁ.M[EŠ .. .. .. .. .. ..]x KUR-ma i-di-il (vacat) The gates [.. .. .. .. .. ..]x he captured and locked.
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6' AB ITI BI UD 15 [KAM]  [l]ú[ERÍN.MEŠ KUR] /Ha-ni-i\ [šá l]a a-dir DINGIR.MEŠ šá AN.BAR  [giš]TUKUL Tebêtu [X = 26 December 246-23 January 245 BCE].  That month, day 15 [t]h, (9 January), the Hanaean troops, who did not fear the gods, who were clad in iron panoply,
7' lab-šu-'  ú-nu-t[u] MÈ [u kal-b]a-na-tum MAH-tum TA URU Si-lu-ku-'-a transferred[8’] battle equipment [and] numerous [siege en]gines, from the city of Seleucia,
8' URU LUGAL-ú-tú šá ina muh-hi ÍD UD.KIB.NUN.KIsicana E.KI KU4.MEŠ-ni UD 19.KAM the royal city, which is on the Euphratessic, to Babylon. Day 19th (13 January)
9' LÚ.NE KI GAL bir-tum šá dGAŠANNi-n[ú]-a
DÙ-uš-'  UN.MEŠ šá ina bir-tum
they did battle with the commander of the Bêlet-Ninua Citadel. The people who were in the citadel,
10' [i]p-la-hu-ma TA bir-tum UD.DU.MEŠ ana É.GAL LUGAL KU4.MEŠ UD BI UN.MEŠ became frightened and they went out from the citadel. They arrived at the palace of the king. That day, the people
11' [T]A ERÍN.MEŠ KUR Ha-ni-i ina AN.BAR gišTUKUL mah-@u-’  ITI BI UD 24.KAM were slaughtered with iron weapons [b]y the Hanaean troops. That month, the 24th day (18 January), 
12' /1+en\ NUN SIG-ú šá ki-ma LUGAL šá TA KUR Me-luh-ha il-li-ku ina ERÍN.MEŠ a certain renowned prince, a representative of the king, who from the land of Egypt had come (= Xanthippus?), with troops
13' MAH.MEŠ šá AN.BAR g[išTUKU]L lab-šu-' TA URU Si-lu-ki-'-a URU LUGAL-ú-tú in great numbers, who were clad in iron panoply, from Seleucia, the royal city,
14' [š]á ana mu[h-hi] Í[D UD.KI]B.NUN.K[I] /ana\ E.MEŠsic KU4.MEŠ-ni UD 26.K[A]M ana É.SAG.GÍL which is on the Euphratessic, arrived at Babylon. On the 26th day (20 January) into Esagila
15' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x x x x [ina l]ìb-bi É.SAG.GÍL [he entered.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] .. .. .. That [d]ay, Esagila
edge edge
16' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] .. [..] [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] .. [..]
lacuna lacuna

 
TEXT: REVERSE
TRANSLATION
one line lost one line lost
1' [.. .. .. ..] .. .. [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. PAD.dINNIN GIM GIŠ.HUR] [.. .. .. ..] .. .. [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Offerings in the]
2' /KUR\ Ia-man-nu ina lìb-b[i É.SAG.GÍL DÙ-uš-'   .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] Greek fashion1’  withi[n Esagila they performed. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
3' ana E.KI.MEŠ SUM./'\ TA É.SAG.GÍL DU6.DU-ma ana /É\?[.. .. .. .. ..] they gave to the Babylonians. From Esagila he (Xanthippus?) went up and to the [.. ..] temple [he went].
4'kap-du NINDA.HI.A ina lìb-bi i-ta-kal ú-nu-tuit-x x x [LÚ.NE] Immediately he ate bread within it. Battle equipment he brought in. They did[5’] [battle]
5' KI GAL sik-kat šá ina É.GAL DÙ-uš-'  ŠUII-su NU TAG šu-ut ERÍN.MEŠ [TA] with the chief guardian, who was in the palace. He (the chief guardian) was not hurt himself, but the men of the army
6' LÚ.ERÍN.MEŠ-šú ina AN.BAR kak!-/ku\ muh-hu-@u-'  di-ku-' were beaten with iron weapons by[5’] his (= Xanthippus') troops and they were slaughtered.
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7' [ZÍZ?] ITI BI ana LÚ.NE K[I l]úGAL sik-kat šá ina É.GAL ERÍN.MEŠ KUR Ha-ni-i x[.. .. .. ..] [Shabatu (XI)?; 24 January-22 February 245]. That month, in order to do battle wi[th] the chief guardian, who was in the palace, the Hanaean troops [attacked (again).]
8' [ŠUII-su N]U DILI TAG šu-ut [ER]ÍN.MEŠ TA ERÍN.MEŠ-šú ina AN.BAR kak-ku  di-ku-'  [(.. ..)] [He himself] was not hurt at all, but the men of the army were slaughtered by his troops with iron weapons.
9' [ITI BI UD ] 6 [+x].KAM m[Si]-lu-ku pa-hat URU Si-lu-ki-'-a ina qé-re[b? E.KI KU4] [That month, day] 6 [+x]th [Se]leucus, the epistates of Seleucia, with[in? Babylon arrived.]
10' [ERÍN.MEŠ-šú T]A? [l]úGAL ERÍN.MEŠ ina E.KI ina AN.BAR KAK.MEŠ di-i-ku-' [.. ..] [His troops] were slaughtered [b]y the general in Babylon with iron weapons!? [.. ..]
11' [.. .. .. .. ERÍN.M]EŠ-šú šá ana muh-hi-šú ma-nu-ú ina URU Si-lu-ki-['-a] [.. .. .. .. .. ..] his [troop]s, who were assigned to him in the city of Seleuci[a], 
12' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]x-su-nu ina SILÀ.MEŠ URU Si-lu-ki-'-a d[i?-i-ku-'] [.. .. .. .. .. .. ] their […..?]x in the streets of Seleucia were sl[aughtered…..?]
13' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. l]úGAL sik-kat šá ina É.GAL ERÍN.MEŠ KUR [Ha-ni-i] [That month, day nth, in order to do battle with] the chief guardian, who was in the palace, the [Hanaean] troops
14' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. šu-u]t?  ERÍN.MEŠ TA ERÍN.MEŠ MEŠ-t[im .. .. ..] [attacked. He himself was not hurt, but the men of the] army [were slaughtered] by the numerous troops [.. .. ..]
15' [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. I]a-man-nu-a-a u 1-/en\ [ .. .. ..] [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. the G]reek and a certain [.. .. .. ..]
Remainder lost Remainder lost
to part two (commentary)
 
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