home   :    index    :    ancient Mesopotamia

Mesopotamian chronicles


Babylonian cuneiform tablet, mentioning the fall of Jerusalem in 597 BCE. British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Cuneiform tablet mentioning the capture of Jerusalem in 597 (text; British Museum)
The Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles are historiographical texts from ancient Mesopotamia. Although they contain references to the earliest times, they deal especially with the second half of the second and the entire first millennium down to the first century BCE (cf. this table). On this page, you will find
  • links to translations of all known chronicles; they are meant as a first introduction and for ready reference, but it is advisable not to quote them without consulting a printed edition, because many readings are still uncertain;
  • new editions of the chronicles of the Seleucid and Parthian period; several of them have not been published before.
The main editions are:
  1. A.K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (1975 =ABC);
  2. I. Finkel & R.J. van der Spek, Babylonian Chronicles of the Hellenistic Period (= BCHP);
  3. Jean-Jacques Glassner, Chroniques Mésopotamiennes (1993) (translated as Mesopotamian Chronicles, 2004) ( = CM);
  4. C. B.F. Walker, "Babylonian Chronicle 25: A Chronicle of the Kassite and Isin Dynasties", in G. van Driel e.a. (eds.): Zikir Šumim: Assyriological Studies Presented to F.R. Kraus on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (1982).
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

Related
Mesopotamian Kings
Chronology
Literature
Finkel and Van der Spek. Irving Finkel (L) and Bert van der Spek (R) in the "Arched Room" of the British Museum, discussing one of the chronicles
The second of these books has not been published yet, but is being prepared by Irving Finkel of the British Museum (London) and Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam (Holland).* Their results are presented here for the first time, so you will also find scholarly editions of the texts, which presuppose some knowledge of the Akkadian language. This online-publication is intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to contact Van der Spek).

Below, you will find an overview of chronicles, more or less in their chronological order. For those who are unfamiliar with the subject but are interested, the "reader's editions" ought to be accessible. These are simplified translations. After reading a bit about the conventions of publication, the "scholarly editions" ought to be accessible too.
 
Sumerian
Assyrian
Babylonian or mixed



CM 1+2
Sumerian King List
Translation
ABC 18 CM 3
Dynastic chronicle
Translation

CM 5
Assyrian King List
Translation

CM 6
Royal chronicle of Lagaš
Translation
ABC 19 CM 38
Weidner chronicle
Translation
ABC 20 CM 39-41
Early kings chronicle
Translation

CM 7
Tummal chronicle
Translation

CM 48
Uruk chronicle concerning the kings of Ur
Translation

CM 8
Assyrian Eponym List (second millennium)
Translation
ABC 23 CM 50
Market prices chronicle
Translation
ABC 21 CM 10
Synchronistic history
Translation
ABC 22 CM 45
Chronicle P
Translation

CM 11
Enlil-nirari chronicle
Translation

CM 12
Arik-den-ili chronicle
Translation

CM 46
Walker chronicle
Translation

CM 13
Tukulti-Ninurta chronicle
Translation

CM 14
Aššur-reša-iši chronicle
Translation

CM 15
Tiglath-pileser I  chronicle
Translation
ABC 24 CM 47
Eclectic chronicle
Translation
ABC 17 CM 51
Religious chronicle
Translation

CM 9
Assyrian Eponym List (first millennium)
Translation

CM 52
Chronographic document concerning Nabu-šuma-iškun
Translation
ABC 1 CM 16
Period from Nabu-Nasir to Šamaš-šuma-ukin
Translation
ABC 1B CM 17
Period from Nabu-Nasir to Esarhaddon
Translation
ABC 14 CM 18
Esarhaddon chronicle
Translation
ABC 15 CM 19
Šamaš-šuma-ukin chronicle
Translation
ABC 16 CM 20
Akitu chronicle
Translation
ABC 2 CM 21
Early Years of Nabopolassar chronicle
Translation
ABC 3 CM 22
Fall of Nineveh chronicle
Translation
ABC 4 CM 23
Late years of Nabopolassar chronicle
Translation
ABC 5 CM 24
Early Years of Nebuchadnezzar chronicle
Translation
ABC 6 CM 25
Third year of Neriglissar chronicle
Translation
ABC 7 CM 26
Nabonidus chronicle Scholarly edition
Translation

CM 53
Chronographic document concerning Nabonidus
Translation



Cyrus Cylinder
Scholarly edition
Translation
ABC 9 CM 28
Artaxerxes III chronicle
Translation
ABC 8 CM 29 BCHP 1 Alexander chronicle
Scholarly edition
Translation


BCHP 2 Alexander and Arabia chronicle
Scholarly edition

ABC 10 CM 30 BCHP 3 Diadochi chronicle
Scholarly edition
Translation

CM 31 BCHP 4 Alexander and Artaxerxes Fragment
Scholarly edition
Translation
ABC 11 CM 32 BCHP 5 Antiochus I and Sin temple chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 6 Ruin of Esagila chronicle
Scholarly edition

ABC 13A CM 36 BCHP 7 Antiochus, Bactria, and India chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 8 Juniper garden chronicle
Scholarly edition

ABC 12 CM 33 BCHP 9 End of Seleucus I chronicle
Scholarly edition

ABC 13 CM 34 BCHP 10 Seleucid Accessions chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 11 Invasion of Ptolemy III chronicle
Scholarly edition

ABC 13B CM 35 BCHP 12 Seleucus III chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 13 Politai chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 14 Greek Community chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 15 Gold theft chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 16 Document on land and tithes
Scholarly edition


CM 37 BCHP 17 Judicial chronicle
Scholarly edition



BCHP 18A/B Chronographic document conc. Bagayasha B/A
Scholarly edition



BCHP 18C
Chronographic document conc. Bagayasha C
Scholarly edition



BCHP 19 Chronicle concerning an Arsacid king
Scholarly edition



BCHP 20 Euphrates chronicle
Scholarly edition










Additional documents




CM 42
Kings of the Sealand  
Translation

CM 43
Samsuiluna fragment  
Translation

CM 44
Another Samsuiluna fragment  
Translation

CM 27
Fragment of a Neo-Babylonian chronicle  
Translation
      Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar   
Translation



Dynastic Prophecy  
Translation



Antiochus Cylinder
Scholarly edition


CM 4
Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period
Scholarly edition
Translation



Uruk King List
Scholarly edition
Translation









Astronomical diaries






Diary concerning Artaxerxes II Mnemon
Scholarly edition




Diary concering Gaugamela
Scholarly edition
Translation



Diary concerning the second year of Philip Arridaeus
Scholarly edition




Diary concerning the seventh year of Alexander IV
Scholarly edition




Diary concerning SE 66
Scholarly edition




Diary fragment on Demetrius and Arabia
Scholarly edition




Diary fragment on "messengers of the politai"
Scholarly edition




Arsacid diary fragment on politai
Scholarly edition


There are no scholarly editions of the non-BCHP-chronicles on this page, nor will there ever be, because that would be a copyright infringement. For the original (usually Akkadian) text and commentaries, you must therefore consult Grayson's or Glassner's book. The translations offered here are free adaptations from ABC and CM; the spelling of personal names has been harmonized, variants have been ignored, explanatory notes have been added, uncertain readings have not been indicated. In short, these pages are no subsitute for ABC or CM.

*
This edition of the Babylonian Chronicles of the Hellenistic Period has been facilitated by a grant of a sabbatical year to Bert van der Spek funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

**
We want to express our gratitude to the trustees of the British Museum who allow us to publish these chronicles and to put photographs on line. Most pictures are made by Bert van der Spek. The museum is not responsible for the quality of the photographs.

Jona Lendering © 2004
Latest revision: 9 August 2006
 
home   :    index    :    ancient Mesopotamia