(BM 35603 obv; British Museum)
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
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.
Text and translation
(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.
A. Sachs and J. Wiseman in Iraq 16 (1954)
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
There are very strong indications that the following
text needs to be revised.
Professor Bert van der Spek will revise this tablet
as soon as possible.
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.
line numbers with link refer to commentary
.. m] A-lik-sa-an-d[ar .. .. .. |(..
brother of Alexander, […].
[..]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.
[IV], son of Alex[ander III]: 6 years?.
MU 7 k[ám] ša ši-i
MU I kám mSi-lu-ku
||Year 7 (SE
= 305/304 BCE), which is year 1: Seleucus
(I Nicator was) king.
MU 25 IN.AG
||He reigned for twenty-five years.
MU 31 ká[m] KINmSi
LUGAL ina KUR
||Year 31, Ulűlu
[= month VI]: Se(leucus I), the king, was killed in the land of the Hanaeans.
32 kám mAn
A ša mSi
||Year 32 [280/279]: An(tiochus
I Soter), son of Se(leucus I, was) king. He reigned twenty years.
51 kám GU416
||Year 51: Ajaru
[= month II], on the sixteenth day, An(tiochus I), the great king, died.
[M]U 52 kám mAn
A ša mAn
<MU> 15 I[N.AG?]
||Year 52 [260/259]: An(tiochus
II Theos), son of An(tiochus I was) king. [He reigned] 15 <years>.
[M]U 66 kám IZI ina E.KI i[t]-te-e[š-me]
||Year 66, Abu
[= month V]: It was heard in Babylon
[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
|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?
[MU 8]7 kám mSi [...]
||[Year] 87 [225/224]: Se(leucus
III was) [king. He reigned 3 years]
/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.
||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)
|5 [vac.] u mAn A.MEŠ LUGAL
||and An(tiochus), his son!, were kings!.
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
MU 1 ME 37 kám KIN UD 10 kám mSi
||Year 137, Ulűlu
[= month VI], the tenth: Se(leucus IV), the king, died...
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.
[MU B]I ITI APIN mAn u mAn A-šú
||The sam[e year], Arahsamna
[= month VIII]: An(tiochus
IV) and An(tiochus), his son, [were] kings.
[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.
[MU 1.ME.40] + 3 kám An
||Year 143 [169/168]: An(tiochus IV was sole) king.
|14 [MU 148 kám] GAN it-te-eš-me šá
||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
|2 [...] A x [...]
||[...] A x [...]
|3 [...] x x [...]
||[...] x x [...]