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Nab-šuma-iškun

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The following, very fragmentary text from Uruk, is a chronographic document dealing with the history of Babylonia in the eighth century BCE, and especially the demise of king Nab-šuma-iškun, who died in 748, after he had broken all written and unwritten laws of his civilization. The text was already damaged in Antiquity: the scribe notes several breaks in the original he was copying.

For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.  More information can be found in Jean-Jacques Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles (Atlanta, 2004), in which this is text CM 52.

Translation

Column i

Marduk-apla-usur [...] the Chaldaean.
[...] the Tigris [...]
[...] a messenger [...] he killed and [...].
[...]
Forced labor and corve were imposed and [...] slave.
and bread, the food offering for the fifth day that he had seized, he used up and [...].
the boat Idhedu [...] for the Esagila.

Column ii

(...)
On a propitious day, from Babylon, Nab-šuma-iškun turned his attention toward his country but
on the order of the BREAK lords Nab and Marduk, he went into the [...] inside the house and
no longer went into battle nor started into the field.
In the third year, again, he brought the statue of Nanaya, the goddess of the Ezida, the beloved of Nab, into the Bit mummi but
kept Nab in Babylon and had the ceremonies of the evening before and those of the day if the eššešu-festival celebrated in only one day.
He covered the fine garment of Nab with the fine garment of Bl of the month Šabatu.
Dressed as the latter, he proposed Bl's marriage to Tašmetu.
Unshaven, he mutilated the fingers of his apprentice scribe, and, wearing fine gold, he entered into Bl's cella of offering [...].
A leek, a thing forbidden in the Ezida, he brought to the temple of Nab and gave to eat to the one "entering the temple" (i.e., the priest).
Ea, the lord of wisdom, whose dwelling place was founded with pure heaven and earth,
he made him get up from the dwelling place, which befitted his great divinity, and made him sit in the exalted gateway of Bl.
He removed Madanu, "Bl of Babylon", his favorite god, from his seat and made him leave.
Without the authority of [...]  this city, he did as he pleased,
of [...]ri, son of [...], who
He [...] BREAK [...]
[...] she who sits on the throne [...] seven lions.
[...] he unleashed and [...] allowed to roam freely.
He had her grasp [...] he had her leashed.
He had [...] of Ištar [...] disconnected.
[...] to the granary of the verdant countryside he offered [...] a dust storm [...].
He presented [...] Belet-duri [...].
[...] Nab, detained several nights in Babylon and [...] seated among [...] without destinies.
[..] Babylon [...] which he destroyed by fire.
[...] the great lord Marduk [...] he went to Marduk in place of the king and
[...] he spoke [...] was placed.
[...] kept in order [...].
[...] the kneeling lord [...] he made sing.

Column iii

[...] Nin [...]
When the proud lord, the freedom of Babylon, Borsippa, and Cutha
and the sworn agreements of Enlil-ina-mati, the son of KU[...] BREAK, the governor of Larak, in their time had established
and when he had offered sacrifices at Babylon, Borsippa, and Cutha before Bl, Nab, and Nergal.
Year after year, he made unbearable their burden of slaughter, robbery, murder, corve, and forced labor.
In only one day, he burned alive sixteen Cutheans at Zababa's gate in the heart of Babylon.
He delivered inhabitants of Babylon to Hatti and Elam as a token of respect.
He made the inhabitants of Babylon with woman, children, and servants go out and settled them into the countryside.
He heaped up the houses of Babylon's inhabitants BREAK BREAK into piles of rubble, and he turned them into royal property.
The main street, the avenue of Šarur, his lord's beloved, who passes through the streets of his city in the month of Ululu,
its passage he blocked off and turned into royal property, making him pass into a cul-de-sac.
He seized Mudammiq-Adad, son of Adad-šuma-ereš, his court opponent, without having committed either a crime or a rebellion, and
his people, as many as there were, he carried off to the Chaldaeans and the Aramaeans, as a sign of respect.
His towns, his fields, his houses, his gardens, and everything that belonged to him, as many as there were, he appropriated for himself.
The man Iltagal-il of the town Dur-ša-Karbi, which is on the bank of the Euphrates, came to his presence and swore agreements and oaths, but
he committed insult and unspeakable slander, that are forbidden of princes, against him and counted his town as booty.
In the sixth year, he turned his attention toward the Esagila, the palace of the Enlil of the gods (i.e., Marduk), with a view to restoring it, but
the possessions of the Esagila, as much as was there, what earlier kings had brought there,
he took out, gathered them into his own palace, and made them his own:
silver, gold, choice and priceless stones, and everything that befits a deity, as much as was there.
According to his good pleasure, he made offerings of them to the gods of the Sealand, of the Chaldeans, and of the Aramaeans.
He would adorn the women of his palace with them, and would give them to Hatti and Elam as signs of respect.
At the beginning of the seventh year, he marched on the Bit-Dakkuri for evil.
Afterward, Nab-šuma-iškun, the Dakkurean, in violation of the sworn agreements and the oath taken by the great gods,
ordered out horses, troops, and chariots and sent them to go on campaign with him.
He distributed bread, beer of the first quality, and flour to all his camp.
In the month of Addaru, the twentieth day, the days of games in honor of Šamaš and Marduk, he felt no fear with regard to the sworn agreements and oaths.
The people, as many as were lying like cattle in a meadow, made merry and celebrated.

Column iv

(...)
[...]
[...] Bl [...]
[...] Sin [...] he made get up.
[...] in the room [...].
[...]
[...] Babylon [...] he [...] them.
[...] Babylon.
[...] he [...] and [...] they knelt.
[...] they made go up [...]. "I want to send [...]".
[...] the great lord Marduk [...] looked angrily at [...] Ezida and
[...] they made [...] attack him and he plundered its [...].
[...] his survivors [...] confined and
[...] the fugitives [...] he returned and
[...] Akkad [...] he burned.
[...] Borsippa, [...], Dilbat, and Cutha.
[...] toward those who are in the vanguard, [...] he stole their goods.
[...] he marched to Larak and [...] the governor of Larak.
[...] sworn agreements and oaths before the great gods, seven times, [...] entered into with him.
[...] those people, without having committed any crime [...] he seized and
[...] he took them away and [...] made them live on the steppe.
[...] toward the Bitter Waters [...] them.
[...] he reached [...] and Nab who, before [...] kept hold of Babylon.
[...] he caused to be done [...] Ekur not [...] he made him do but
Marduk, the great lord, and Nab, the exalted crown-prince, commanded his scattering [...].
[...] 
[...] 
[...] BREAK [...]
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Upper edge

[Remains of a colophon]
Assyrian and
Babylonian Chronicles

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Online 2006
Latest revision: 31 March 2006
 
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