CM 53 (Chronographic Document concerning Nabonidus)

The Chronographic Document concerning Nabonidus is a cuneiform text that describes events from the second and third years of the reign of Nabonidus (r.556-539). 

The following chronographic document is a damaged part of what may have been a Babylonian chronicle from the Seleucid or Parthian age. It describes events from the second and third years of the reign of Nabonidus (r.556-539). 

For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.  More information can be found in Jean-Jacques Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles (Atlanta, 2004), in which this is text CM 53.       

Chronographic Document concerning Nabonidus

[1] [The second year of Nabonidus:note  (...)  

"an entu-priestess [...] heaven and earth [...] whom he asked me [...] among the women of my country?"  


"Is she [...], whom a god will beget?"  


"Is she [...], whom a god will beget?"  


"[...] Šamaš and Adad, the great gods?"  


And the he wrote and [...] Sin responded to him [...].  (...)  

[2] His face became pale. [...] The scribes brought in front of him from Babylon the basket containing the tablets of the series Enuma Anu Enlil in order to consult them, but no one whatsoever heeded nor understood their content without his explanation. A stela of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, son of Ninurta-nadin-šumi, on which appeared the representation of an entu-priestess and were described the rites, rules, and ceremonies relating to her office, was brought with other tablets from Ur to Babylon, in ignorance of what Sin, lord of kings, wished in giving them to him. He took a good look at the tablets and was afraid. He was attentive to Sin's commandment and [...]. He dedicated, En-nigaldi-Nanna, his daughter, his child, to Sin, lord of the kings, whose word is unchangeable, in the office of entu-priestess. 

[3] in the month of Ululu, [...] of this same year, in the Ebabbar, the temple of  Šamaš, which is in Sippar, and in which kings among his predecessors had searched in vain for ancient foundation -the ancient dwelling place [...] of his kingship that would make his heart glad- he revealed to him, to his humble servant who worshiped him, who was constantly in search of his holy places, the sacred enclosure of Naram-Sin, Sargon's son, and, in this same year, in a propitious month, on a favorable day, he laid the foundations of the Ebabbar, the temple of  Šamaš, above the sacred enclosure of Naram-Sin, Sargon's son, without exceeding or shrinking a finger's breadth. He saw Naram-Sin's inscription and, without changing its place, restored it and appended his own inscription there. 

[4] He saw in this sacred enclosure a statue of Sargon, the father of Naram-Sin: half of its head was missing, and it had deteriorated so as to make its face hardly recognizable. Given his reverence for the gods and his respect for kingship, he summoned expert artisans, restored the head of this statue, and put back its face. He did not change its place but installed it in the Ebabbar and initiated an oblation for it. 

[5] For Šamaš, the great lord, his lord, he constructed this Ebabbar in joy and gladness. He caused 6,000 strong cedar beams to be laid out for its ceiling. He made this temple shine like the day and raised its topmost height like a high mountain. For the entrance, he brought outstanding cedar doors, bronze doorsteps, bolts, and sockets, and he finished his work. 

[6] In [...] to Šamaš, the great lord, [...], in the temple [...], in the month of [...], on the Nth day, after the offerings, he initiated an oblation according to the rite of his lord. They let him dwell in the dwelling place that makes his heart glad. 

[7] A messenger arrived from Hatti land and repeated the information: "[...]"

[8] The great gods [...] heart's content [...] distant, the road through the mountain [...] a road of death, he donned his weapons against the people of Hatti. 

[9] In the month of Ajaru, the third year,note he took the head of his troops at Babylon, and, having mustered them, in thirteen days he reached [...], and he cut off the heads of the people who lived in Ammananumnote and their [...] and he piled them up in a heap. He hung the king on a stake and [...] he allocated the town [...] of a mountain, Ammananum, which is situated in the middle of the mountains, orchards [...], their shadow [...] he let Girra burn all of it [...] whose tops were distant [...] he turned into ruins for all time [...] entrance ways [...] day, he left [...].

[10] (...) 

[...] his [...] he listened and [...] and fell upon him [...], he spoke with him [...], stretched his hand and [...] his rites [...] with him [...] battle array [...] his troops [...] he bore arms and toward [...] double hours, difficult roads, through territory full of difficulty, dwelling places, the crossing of which is impossible and where no foot is set [...] at the mention of his name [...] plants [...] the king of Dadanu [...] distant [...] he wiped off and 

[Broken off]