home   :    index    :    ancient Greece    :    Diadochi     :     translated by R.J. van der Spek

The Diadochi Chronicle


BCHP 3, the Chronicle of the Diadochi, obverse. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 3, the Chronicle of the
Diadochi, obverse
(British Museum)
The following texts, the first part of a cuneiform text known as Diadochi Chronicle, offers  a Babylonia perspective on the wars between the death of Perdiccas in 320 and the defeat of Antigonus Monophthalmus near Babylon in 308.

This website contains the reading by Bert van der Spek of the Amsterdam Free University. A more scholarly edition can be found here.

Obverse, column I


First twelve lines unintelligble
13 [.. .. .. .. they esta]blished x x [.....]
14 [.. .. .. Nika]nor utensils  x x [.....]
15 [.. .. .. .. ..] x the x [functionary of] Baby[lon.....]
16 [.. .. .. .. .. b]attle x [          ] x [.....]
17 [Month .. .  That month] 21[nd day                  ] x [.....]

Three lines unintelligible

21 [Year 4 of Philip (320/19)]. They [.. ..]ed and their valuables and the valuables of the [.. ..]-house of B]orsippa [they .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Month ... Seleucus]
22 [was appoi]nted to the office of satrap of Akkad [1] and on the 20th day the [x-functionary  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
23 That same month the king did battle with the satrap of Egypt and the land  [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] [2]
24 The troops of the king were slaughtered. Month VIII, day 10 (14 November 320) [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 
25 the satrap of Akkad entered Babylon. That month, debris [of Esagila was (not?) removed.] [3]


26 Year 5 of Philip (319/18), unknown month. The king [left] Antigon[us in charge of Asia and he]
27 went to the land Macedonia and did not return [4]. In a later part [of the year.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 
28 After that (the lines) are destroyed. Fire consumed it. Seleucus, the satrap [of Babylonia, .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]


29 Year 6 of Phi(lip = 318/7), month VI (15 Sep. – 14 Oct. 318). The satrap of Babylonia a levy of silver [for .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
30 and all the troops of Babylon conducted. Silver upon interrogation they gave; [(...) he destined it for the troops of]
31 the land of Babylon. The gates of Tabi-supuršu, the wall of Borsip[pa, he repaired/destroyed/opened .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
32 That year Philip stayed in Macedonia [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] [5]


33 Year 7 of Philip (317/6), month VII (3 – 31 Oct. 317). The troops of the king, which in order to make a str[ong guard entered the palace, but the satrap of Babylon by doing]
34 [bat]tle captured the palace of Babylon from them and the [x]-person(s) [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
35 the satrap of Babylon dest[royed] the fence of reed.[ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
36 The Macedonians of the king in order to make a strong guard between [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
37 [Lat]er Antigonus [.. .. .. ed] the satrap [of Babylonia (...)] 


38 [Year 8 of Phi]lip (316/5) [6], month IV (25 June – 24 July 316) Antig[onus .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
39 [.. .. .. .. ..] who (was) in the palace of the king, whi[ch.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
40 [.. .. .. .. .. ..]s people [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 
41 Five lines unitelligible
 
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine



Seleucus I Nicator. Bust at the Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Marco Prins.
Seleucus I Nicator (Louvre)
Note 1:
The satrap is Seleucus. The tablet has the archaism 'Akkad' to describe Babylonia.

Note2:
The line almost certainly reports the campaign of Perdiccas, the highest representative of king Philip, against Ptolemy, satrap of Egypt.

Note 3:
Seleucus arrived in April. The Esagila, the temple of the Babylonian supreme god Marduk, was very old, and Alexander the Great had promised to rebuild it (text). Seleucus and his son Antiochus continued the project.

Note 4:
After the death of Perdiccas, Antipater had divided the empire (settlement of Triparadisus, 320). He had gone back to Macedonia, taken king Philip with him. At home, Antipater died of natural causes, late in 319.

Note 5:
Perhaps the lacuna contained the remark that a new regent for the king was appointed, Cassander.

Note 6:
King Philip was already dead (not mentioned in this chronicle), but since there was no successor, his regnal years were still used to date documents. The badly damaged information relating to this year and the preceding one must refer to Antigonus' war against Eumenes and Seleucus' escape from Babylon. 






to part two (the Babylonian war)




 home   :    index   :    ancient Greece    :    Diadochi    :     Babylonian Chronicles