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Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period

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Babylonian Kinglist, obverse; photo Marco Prins.
Babylonian Kinglist (BM 35603 obv; British Museum)
The Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period (also known as "King List 6") is an important historiographical document from ancient Babylonia. It mentions the length of the reigns of several kings, beginning with the accession of Philip Arridaeus, the brother of Alexander the Great, in June 323, and continuing to the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164). Together with the Uruk King List, the Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period is a useful text for those who are reconstructing the chronology of Babylonia in the late fourth to mid-second centuries.

The cuneiform tablet (BM 35603 = Sp. III 113) is in the British Museum. On this website, you will find a new transciption and translation by Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), who has recently restudied this tablet as part of his publication of the Babylonian Chronicles of the Hellenistic Period. He also took the photos.

Thanks to Tom Boiy.

Babylonian Chronicles
Description
Text and translation
Commentary

Literature




Babylonian Kinglist, reverse; photo Bert van der Spek.
Babylonian Kinglist (BM 35603 rev; British Museum; **)

Description of the tablet

The tablet measures about 80 x 65 mm and is written in a late Babylonian script. The only exception is the archaic spelling of the AG sign. As Grayson has suggested, this suggests that "the original editors observed that the scribe was conscious of the antiquity of the king list tradition in Babylonia and of the fact that he was perpetuating this tradition in his own time". Some lines continue on the right edge. This is indicated by a vertical stroke (|) in the transliteration.

Since either Demetrius I or Demetrius II (161-150 and 145-125 BCE) is mentioned on the left edge the tablet was probably inscribed in his reign.

Previous editions:

  • A. Sachs and J. Wiseman in Iraq 16 (1954) 202-212. 
  • A.K. Grayson, from the Reallexikon der Assyriologie, s.v. "Königslisten und Chroniken".
  • Del Monte 1997 (TBE) p. 208-211
  • Glassner 2004 (CM) no. 4, p. 134-135

Note:

There are very strong indications that the following text needs to be revised.
  • The third line on the obverse may actually be "when the king was not in the country", and the sign [...]MU may be read as UMU. In other words, Antigonus Monophthalmus has no Babylonian regnal years.
  • The tablet contains lacunae where the regnal years of Seleucus II and Seleucus III should have been mentioned; the restoration offered below is almost certainly incorrect.
Professor Bert van der Spek will revise this tablet as soon as possible.

TEXT: OBVERSE
line numbers with link refer to commentary
TRANSLATION
1[.. .. m] A-lik-sa-an-d[ar .. .. .. |(.. ..) ] [...] Alexand[er III] [...]
2[mP]i-/lip\-su ŠEŠ-šú šá mA-lik-sa-| a[n]-/dar\ x [Ph]ilip, brother of Alexander, […].
3 [..]MU LUGAL ina KUR NU TUK mAn-ti-gu-nu-us For [n] years there was no king in the country. Antigonus,
4 [l]úGAL ERÍN.MEŠ KUR ú?-ma-'i-ir general-in-chief of the army, ruled the land.
5mA-lik-sa-an-dar A ša mA-lik M[U]? 6 Alexander [IV], son of Alex[ander III]: 6 years?.
6 MU 7 k[ám] ša ši-i MU I kám mSi-lu-ku LUGAL Year 7 (SE = 305/304 BCE), which is year 1: Seleucus (I Nicator was) king.
7 MU 25 IN.AG He reigned for twenty-five years.
8 MU 31 ká[m] KINmSi LUGAL ina KUR Ha-ni-i GAZ Year 31, Ulűlu [= month VI]: Se(leucus I), the king, was killed in the land of the Hanaeans.
9[M]U 32 kám mAn A ša mSi LUGALMU 20 IN.AG Year 32 [280/279]: An(tiochus I Soter), son of Se(leucus I, was) king. He reigned twenty years.
10[M]U 51 kám GU416 mAn GALNAM.MEŠ Year 51: Ajaru [= month II], on the sixteenth day, An(tiochus I), the great king, died.
11 [M]U 52 kám mAn A ša mAn LUGAL <MU> 15 I[N.AG?] Year 52 [260/259]: An(tiochus II Theos), son of An(tiochus I was) king. [He reigned] 15 <years>.
12 [M]U 66 kám IZI ina E.KI i[t]-te-e[š-me] Year 66, Abu [= month V]: It was heard in Babylon
13 [vac.] um-ma mAn A šá mAn LUGAL GAL-ú /NAM!\.[MEŠ] as follows: "An(tiochus), the son of An(tiochus), the great king, has died."
14 [MU] 67 kám mS[i ... A šámAn LUGAL MU .. IN.AG] [Year] 67 [245/244]: S[e(leucus II Callinicus), the son of An(tiochus II was) king. He reigned 20? years]
15 [(...)] [...]

 
TEXT: REVERSE
TRANSLATION
1 [MU 8]7 kám mSi [...] [Year] 87 [225/224]: Se(leucus III was) [king. He reigned 3 years]
2[MU] /90\ kám mAn LUGAL ina AŠ.TE T[UŠ-ab] Year 90 [222/221]: An(tiochus III the Great), the king, as[cended] the throne.
3[MU] 35 IN.AG He reigned for 35 [years].
4 [TA] 1.ME.2 kám EN 1 ME 19 mAn [(..)] From the 102th year [210/209] until (year) 119 [193/192] An(tiochus) [the king?]
5 [vac.] u mAn A.MEŠ LUGAL and An(tiochus), his son!, were kings!.
6MU 1.ME.25 kám SIG ina E.KI it-te-eš-me Year 125, Simanu [= month III]: It was heard in Babylon: 
7 um-ma UD 25 kám mAn LUGAL ina KUR NIM.KI GAZ as follows: "On the twenty-fifth day An(tiochus III), the king, was killed in Elam".
8 MU BI mSi A-šú ina AŠ.TE TUŠ-ab MU 12 IN.|AG The same year: Se(leucus IV Philopator), his son, ascended the throne. He reigned for twelve years.
9 MU 1 ME 37 kám KIN UD 10 kám mSi LUGALNAM.MEŠ| ana IGI Year 137, Ulűlu [= month VI], the tenth: Se(leucus IV), the king, died...
10 ITI BI mAn A-šú ina AŠ.TE TUŠ-ab MU 11 IN.AG The same month: An(tiochus IV Epiphanes), his son, ascended the throne. He reigned for eleven years.
11 [MU B]I ITI APIN mAn u mAn A-šú LUGAL.MEŠ The sam[e year], Arahsamna [= month VIII]: An(tiochus IV) and An(tiochus), his son, [were] kings.
12 [MU1.ME].42 kám IZI ina a-mat mAn LUGAL mAn LUGAL A-šú di-ik-ku [Year 1]42, Abu [= month V]: At the command of An(tiochus IV), the king, An(tiochus), the king, his son, was killed.
13 [MU 1.ME.40] + 3 kám An LUGAL Year 143 [169/168]: An(tiochus IV was sole) king.
14 [MU 148 kám] GAN it-te-eš-me šá mAn L[UGAL NAM.MEŠ] Year 148, Kislîmu [= month IX]: It was heard that An(tiochus IV), the k[ing died].
15 [...] x x x [...] [...] x x x [...]

 
TEXT: UPPER EDGE
TRANSLATION
1 [(...)] [(...)]
2 [...] A x [...] [...] A x [...]
3 [...] x x [...] [...] x x [...]

 
TEXT: LEFT EDGE (pictures)
TRANSLATION
1[...] /m\Di A šá /m\Di? [...] [Year ...] De(metrius II Nicator), son of king De(metrius I Soter), [was king...]
2[...] x m/Ar?\ LU[GAL ...] [...] x Ar(saces)? k[ing? ...]




To part two (commentary)




 
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Babylonian Chronicles