ABC 20 (Chronicle of Early Kings)

The Chronicle of early kings (ABC 20) is a historiographical text from ancient Babylonia.

Although the Chronicle of early kings (ABC 20) purports to offer information about the oldest period and the Old-Babylonian empire, it was probably written much later. One anachronism is the reference to Babylon during the reign of king Sargon of Akkad. However, in outline, much information is more or less correct.  The last seven lines of tablet A are identical to the beginning of tablet B, so we can be confident that we have a more or less complete text. Related subject matter can be found in chronicle CM 41.

For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here. The translation on this webpage was adapted from A.K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (1975) and Jean-Jacques Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles (Atlanta, 2004).

Tablet A

[A.1] Sargon, king of Agade, came to power during the reign of Ištarnote and

[A.2] he had neither rival not equal. His splendor, over the lands

[A.3] it diffused. He crossed the sea in the east.

[A.4] In the eleventh year he conquered the western land to its farthest point.

[A.5] He brought it under one authority. He set up his statues there

[A.6] and ferried the west's booty across on barges.

[A.7] He stationed his court officials at intervals of five double hours and

[A.8] ruled in unity the tribes of the lands.

[A.9] He marched to Kazallu and turned Kazallu into a ruin heap,

[A.10] so that there was not even a perch for a bird left.

[A.11] Afterwards, in his old age, all of the lands rebelled again and

[A.12] surrounded him in Agade. Sargon went out to fight and brought about their defeat.

[A.13] He overthrew them and overpowered their extensive army.

[A.14] Afterwards, Subartu attacked Sargon in full force and called him to arms.

[A.15] Sargon set an ambush and completely defeated them.

[A.16] He overpowered their extensive army

[A.17] and sent their possessions into Akkad.

[A.18] He dug up the dirt of the pit of Babylon and

[A.19] made a counterpart of Babylon next to Agade.

[A.20] Because the wrong he had donenote the great lord Marduk became angry and wiped out his family by famine.

[A.21] From east to west, the subjects rebelled against him

[A.22-23] and Marduk afflicted him with insomnia.

[A.24] and Marduk Naram-Sin,note son of Sargon, marched to Apišal.afflicted him with insomnia.

[A.25] He made a breach in the city wall and Riš-Adad

[A.26] he captured, the king of Apišal, and the vizier of Apišal.

[A.27] He marched to Magan and captured Mannu-dannu, king of Magan.

[A.28] Šulgi,note the son of Ur-Nammu, provided abundant food for Eridu, which is on the seashore.

[A.29] But he had criminal tendencies and the property of Esagila and Babylon

[A.30] he took away as booty. Bêl caused caused [...] to consume his body and killed him.

[A.31] Irra-imitti,note the king, installed Enlil-bani, the gardener,

[A.32] as substitute kingnote on his throne.

[A.33] He placed the royal tiara on his head.

[A.34] Irra-imitti died in his palace when he sipped a hot soup.

[A.35] Enlil-bani, who occupied the throne, did not give it up and

[A.36] so he was sovereign.

[A.37] Ilu-šumma was king of Assyria at the time of Su-abu.

[A.38] Battles.

Translation of tablet B

[B.obv.1-7] [Identical to tablet A 31-36.]

[B.obv.8] Hammurabi,note king of Babylon, mustered his army and

[B.obv.9] marched against Rim-Sin [I], king of Ur.

[B.obv.10] Hammurabi captured Ur and Larsa and

[B.obv.11] took their property to Babylon.

[B.obv.12] He brought Rim-Sin in a ki-is-kap to Babylon.

[B.obv.13] Samsu-iluna,note king of Babylon, son of Hammurabi, the king

[B.obv.14] [...] he mustered and

[B.obv.15] [...] Rim-Sin [II] marched to [...]

[B.obv.16] [...] he captured and

[B.obv.17] [...] in good health in his palace

[B.obv.18] [...] he went and surrounded [...]

[B.obv.19] [...] his people [...]

[B.obv.20] [...]


[B.rev.1] [Lacuna]

[B.rev.1'] [...]

[B.rev.2'] '[...] Iluma-ilu [...] 

[B.rev.3'] [...] he made [...]

[B.rev.4'] he did battle against them [...]

[B.rev.5'] their corpses [..] in the sea [...]

[B.rev'.6'] he repeated and Samsu-iluna [...]

[B.rev.7'] Iluma-ilu attacked and brought about the defeat of his army.

[B.rev.8'] 8' Abi-ešuh,note son of Samsu-iluna, set out to conquer Iluma-ilu.

[B.rev.9'] He decided to dam the Tigris.

[B.rev.10'] He dammed the Tigris but did not capture Iluma-ilu.

[B.rev.11'] At the time of Samsuditananote the Hittites marched against Akkad.

[B.rev.12'] Ea-gamil,note the king of the Sealand, fled to Elam.

[B.rev.13'] After he had gone, Ulam-Buriaš, brother of Kaštiliašu, the Kassite,

[B.rev.14'] mustered an army and conquered the Sealand. He was master of the land

[B.rev.15'] Agum, the son of Kaštiliašu, mustered his army and

[B.rev.16'] marched to the Sealand.

[B.rev.17'] He seized Dur-Enlil and

[B.rev.18'] destroyed Egalgašešna, Enlil's temple in Dur-Enlil.