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From Nabû-Nasir to Šamaš-šuma-ukin (ABC 1)

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Tiglath-Pileser III on a relief in the British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Tiglath-Pileser III on a relief in the British Museum.
The Chronicle on the Reigns from Nabû-Nasir to Šamaš-šuma-ukin (ABC 1) is one of the historiographical texts about ancient Assyria and Babylonia. It deals with the resistance of an increasingly stronger Babylon, supported by Elam, against Assyria, beginning with the reign of the Babylonian king Nabû-Nasir (747-734) and culminating in the accessions of Aššurbanipal in Assyria and Šamaš-šuma-ukin in Babylonia in 668.

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).

The text is preserved on two copies that are now in the British Museum; one of these copies was written in 499 BCE, the twenty-second year of king Darius I the Great. (It is the only Neo-Babylonian chronicle that is preserved on more than one copy.) The best of these measures 193 mm long and 158 mm wide, which is extremely large; this made it possible to create two columns (cf. ABC 7, the Nabonidus Chronicle, which may have been written by the same scribe). It is from Babylon. The other fragments are from Sippar and may belong to one and the same broken, large tablet. A parallel text that contains variant information can be found here.
Column I
Column II
Column III
Column IV

Translation of Column I

1 The third year of Nabû-nasir (745/744), king of Babylon:
2 Tiglath-Pileser [III] ascended the throne in Assyria.
3 In that same year the king of Assyria went down to Akkad
4 plundered Rabbilu and Hamranu
5 and abducted the gods of Šapazza.
6 In the time of Nabû-nasir Borsippa
7 committed hostile acts against Babylon but the battle which Nabû-Nasir
8 waged against Borsippa is not written.[1]
9 The fifth year of Nabû-nasir (743/742): Humban-Nikaš
10 ascended to the throne in Elam.
11 The fourteenth year (734/733): Nabû-nasir fell ill and went to his destiny in his palace.
12 For fourteen years Nabû-nasir ruled Babylon.
13 Nabû-nadin-zeri, his son, ascended the throne in Babylon.
14 The second year (732/731): Nabû-nadin-zeri was killed in a rebellion.
15 For two years Nabû-nadin-zeri ruled Babylon.
16 Nabû-šuma-ukin, a district officer and leader of the rebellion, ascended the throne.
17 For one month and two days, Nabû-šuma-ukin ruled Babylon.
18 Nabû-mukin-zeri, the Amukanite, removed him from the throne and seized the throne for himself.
19 The third year of Nabû-mukin-zeri (729/728): Tiglath-pileser,
20 having come down to Akkad,
21 ravaged Bit-Amukanu and captured Nabû-mukin-zeri.
22 For three years Nabû-mukin-zeri ruled Babylon.
23 Tiglath-pileser ascended the throne in Babylon.
24 The second year (727/726): Tiglath-pileser went to his destiny in the month Tebêtu.
25 For <eighteen>[2] years Tiglath-pileser ruled Akkad.
26 and Assyria. For two of these years he ruled in Akkad.
27 On the twenty-fifth of the month Tebêtu, Šalmaneser in Assyria
28 and Akkad ascended the throne. He ravaged Samaria [the capital of Israel].
29 The fifth year (722/721): Šalmaneser went to his destiny in the month Tebêtu.
30 For five years Šalmaneser ruled Akkad and Assyria.
31 On the twelfth day of the month Tebêtu, Sargon ascended the throne in Assyria.
32 In the month Nisannu, Marduk-apla-iddina [3] ascended the throne in Babylon.
33 The second year of Marduk-apla-iddina (720/719): Humban-Nikaš, king of Elam,
34 did battle against Sargon, king of Assyria, in the district of Der,
35 effected Assyria's retreat, and inflicted a major defeat upon it.
36 Marduk-apla-iddina and his army, who to the aid of
37 the king of Elam had gone, did not reach the battle in time so Marduk-apla-iddina withdrew.[4]
38 The fifth year of Marduk-apla-iddina (717/716): Humban-Nikaš, king of Elam, went to his destiny.
39 For twenty-six years Humban-nikaš ruled Elam.
40 Šutur-Nahhunte, his sister's son, ascended the throne in Elam.
41 From the accession year of Marduk-apla-iddina until the tenth year
42 Assyria was belligerent towards Marduk-apla-iddina.
43 The tenth year (712/711): Marduk-apla-iddina
44 wrecked and plundered
45 Bit-[...]ri.

>> To Column 2 >>

Note 1:
This means that thee author of the chronicle was unable to find a description that he could include.

Note 2:
The scribe left a some room unused because he was unable to find the number of regnal years. 'Eighteen' is a reconstruction.

Note 3:
The Biblical Merodach-Baladan. In fact, his accession took place in the next year.

Note 4:
In other sources, both the Assyrian king and his Babylonian colleague claim victory.

Assyrian and
Babylonian Chronicles


Mesopotamian Kings

Online 2006
Latest revision: 1 April 2006
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