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Akitu Chronicle (ABC 16)

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King Esarhaddon and his mother attend the refounding of Babylon. Relief from the Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Marco Prins.
King Esarhaddon and his mother (Relief from the Louvre)
The Akitu Chronicle (ABC 16) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It deals with the war between the Babylonian king Šamaš-šuma-ukin and his brother Aššurbanipal, king of Assyria. Its name is derived from the fact that the author shows a special interest in the celebration of the Akitu festival.

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 of the Akitu Chronicle is preserved on a table, BM 86379 (original registration number unknown), which measures 45 mm wide and 62 mm long. It is well preserved, there being a small piece missing from the upper right-hand corner and a few surface flaws.


1 For eight years under Sennacherib,
2  for twelve years under Esarhaddon,
3 twenty years altogether, BÍl stayed in Baltil (Aššur)
4 and the Akitu festival did not take place.
5 The accession year of Šamaš-šuma-ukin [2] (668/667): In the month Ajaru
6 BÍl and the gods of Akkad went out from Baltil (Aššur) and
7 on the twenty-fourth [1] day of the month Ajaru, they entered Babylon.
8 NabŻ and the gods of Borsippa went to Babylon.
9 The sixteenth year of Šamaš-šuma-ukin (652/651): From the month Ajaru until the month TebÍtu
10 the major-domo conscripted troops in Akkad.
11 On the nineteenth day of the month TebÍtu hostilities began between Assyria and Akkad.
12 The king withdrew before the enemy into Babylon.
13 On the twenty-seventh day of Addaru the armies of Assyria and Akkad
14 did battle in Hiritu. The army of Akkad
15 retreated from the battlefield and a major defeat was inflicted upon it.
16 However, there were still hostilities and warfare continued.
17 The seventeenth year (651/650): There were insurrections in Assyria and Akkad.
18 NabŻ did not come from Borsippa for the precession of BÍl
19 and BÍl did not come out.
20 The eighteenth year (650/649): NabŻ did not come from Borsippa for the precession of BÍl
21 and BÍl did not come out.
22 The nineteenth year (649/648): NabŻ did not come and BÍl did not come out.
23 The twentieth year (648/647): NabŻ did not come and BÍl did not come out.
24 After Kandalanu [2], in the accession year of Nabopolassar (626-625),[3]
25 there were insurrections in Assyria and Akkad.
26 There were hostilities and warfare continued.
27 NabŻ did not come and BÍl did not come out. NabŻ did not come and Bel did not come out.

Note 1:
Lines 1-8 are identical to ABC 14, lines 34-40, but the date is different.

Note 2:
King of Babylonia (647-627), possibly identical to Aššurbanipal.

Note 3:
In this year, two Assyrian officials named Sin-šumlišir and Sin-šar-iškun ruled Babylon. They were expelled by Nabopolassar.

Assyrian and
Babylonian Chronicles


Mesopotamian Kings

Online 2006
Latest revision: 1 April 2006
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