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The Uruk King List


Uruk King List, obverse (from Festschrift Von Soden)
The Uruk King List, obverse (from FS Von Soden; !!!)
The Uruk King List (also known as "King List 5") is an important historiographical document from ancient Babylonia. It mentions the length of the reigns of several kings, beginning with Kandalanu (647-627) and continuing to the Seleucid king Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226/225). Together the Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period, the Uruk King list is a useful text for those who are reconstructing the chronology of Babylonia in the late fourth to mid-second centuries.

Unless it was stolen when the museum was looted in April 2003, the cuneiform tablet (IM 65066) is in the Bagdad Museum. On this website, you will find a slightly adapted transcription by A.K. Grayson, from the Reallexikon der Assyriologie, s.v. "Knigslisten und Chroniken". The photos on this page were taken from Grayson's article in the Festschrift Von Soden.

Chronological notes have been added; the right-hand column is a modern approximation of regnal dates.

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Uruk King List, reverse (from Festschrift Von Soden)
The Uruk King List, reverse (from FS Von Soden; !!!)

Description of the tablet

This list of kings of Babylonia and their regnal years, which appears on a fragment from the middle of a small tablet found at Uruk, covers in its preserved portion the period (obverse) from Kandalanu (647-627 BCE) to Darius I (522-486 BCE) and from (reverse) Darius III (335-331 BCE) to Seleucus II (246-226/225 BCE). The script is late Babylonian and the tablet was obviously inscribed some time after the reign of Seleucus II.

Previous editions:

  • R. Borger, Archiv fr Orientforschung25 (1974-1977) 165ff.
  • J.J.A. van Dijk, Vorlufiger Bericht ber die Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka 18, pages 53-60.
  • G.F. Del Monte, Testi dalla Babilonia Ellenistica. Volume I. Testi Cronografici (1997 Pisa, Roma)
  • A.K. Grayson, from the Reallexikon der Assyriologie, s.v. "Knigslisten und Chroniken".
  • A.K. Grayson, 'Assyrian and Babylonian King Lists,' in: Lišan mithurti. (Festschrift Von Soden) (Kevelaer : Neukirchen-Vluyn : Butzon & Bercker; 1969) Plate III.

TEXT: OBVERSE
Lacuna
TRANSLATION
Lacuna
DATES


1' /MU 21\ [mAššur-bni-apli] Aššurbanipal 21 years
668-631
2' ša-niš /m\Šamaš-šuma-ukn Šamaš-šuma-ukn at the same time
667-648
3' MU 21 mK[an-da]-la-an Kandalanu 21 years
647-627
4' MU 1 m dSn2-šumu-lšir2 Sin-šumlišir 1 year
626
5' u m dSn2-šarra-iš-ku-un and Sin-šar-iškn

6' MU 21 m dNab-apla-usur Nabopolassar 21 years
626-605
7' [M]U 43 m dNab-kuddur-usur Nebuchadnezzar [II] 43 years
604-562
8' [M]U 2 mAml-dMarduk Amel-Marduk 2 years
561-560
9' [MU] /3\ 8 ITI m dNergal2-šarra-usur Neriglissar 3 years, 8 months
559-556
10' [(...)] 3 ITI mLa-ba-ši-dMarduk Labaši-Marduk [accession year] 3 months
556
11' [MU] /17?\ m dNab-n'id Nabonidus 17? years
555-539
12' [MU x mK]ur-aš Cyrus [the Great] [x years]
539-530
13' [MU x mKambu-z]i-i Cambyses [II] [x years]
530-522
14' [MU x mDaria-m] Darius [the Great] [x years]
522-486
Lacuna
Lacuna



TEXT: REVERSE
TRANSLATION



1' [š] MU š-nu- mNidin-dB[l] [...] whose second name is Nidin-Bl [...]
336??
2' [M]U 5 mDa-ra-a-muš Darius [III Codomannus] 5 years
336-331
3' MU 7? mA-lik-sa-an-dar Alexander [the Great] 7? years
331-323
4' MU 6 mPi-il-ip-su Philip [III Arridaeus] 6 years
323-317
5' MU 6 mAt-tu-gu-un Antigonus [the One-eyed] 6 years
317-311
6' MU 31 mSi-lu-ku Seleucus [I Nicator] 31 years
311-281
7' MU 22 mAn-ti-'u-ku-su Antiochus [I Soter] 22 years
281-261
8' MU 15 mAn-ti-'u-ku-su Antiochus [II Theos] 15 years
261-246
9' [MU] [...] mSi-lu-k[u] Seleucus [II Callinicus] [... years]
246-225
Lacuna
Lacuna




Obv.1-2:
The reconstruction of lines 1-2 was proposed by R.Borger. Aššurbanipal was king of Assyria in 668-631, and appointed his brothers Šamaš-šuma-ukn and Kandalanu as kings of Babylonia.

Obv.4:
Sin-šumlišir and Sin-šar-iškn acted as some sort of Assyrian governors.

Obv.6:
According to the Babylonian chronicle known as ABC 2, the Babylonian general Nabopolassar was recognized as king on 23 November 626.

Obv.10:
Labaši-Marduk probably ruled just 3 months at the end of 556, but the tablet leaves space for something like MU 1.

Rev.1:
The Uruk King List is the only evidence that the reign of the Achaemenid king Darius III Codomannus was preceded by a ruler named Nidin-Bl. A scribal error is likely, but it must be noted that the chaotic transition from Artaxerxes III Ochus to Darius III leaves sufficient room for a short-lived Babylonian rebellion: in Egypt, a native ruler named Khababash revolted, in the far west, the Yaun were restless, and according to the Dynastic prophecy even Darius started his career as a rebel satrap.

Rev.7':
Twenty-two years is probably a scribal error.

Rev.9':
All editions have /20\ but the tablet is badly damaged. A photo can be found in A.K. Grayson, "Assyrian and Babylonian King Lists" in: W. Rllig (ed.), Lišan mithurti. Festschrift Wolfram Freiherr von Soden zum 19.6.1968 gewidmet von Schlern und Mitarbeitern (1969); plate III.

Jona Lendering 2005
Revised: 3 April 2006
 

 
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