home   :    index    :    ancient Mesopotamia    :    Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles

Synchronistic chronicle (ABC 21)

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Synchronistic Chronicle (ABC 21); British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Jona Lendering.
Synchronistic Chronicle (British Museum)
The Synchronistic Chronicle (ABC 21) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Assyria. It deals with the relations between Assyria and its southern neighbor Babylonia (which is called Karduniaš), and is an important source for those who want to study the chronology of this period, as it offers many synchronisms.

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, which has a strong pro-Assyrian bias, is preserved on three tablets from the library of king Aššurbanipal in Nineveh, and purports to render the text of a boundary stone between Assyria and Babylonia that stood somewhere on the east bank of the Tigris. This may be a literary fiction.

The text must have been composed after the accession of Adad-nirari III in 810, but not much later, because there are no references to later troubles. 


Of the three tablets, tablet A (yellow) is the main text; B (pink) and C (blue) are fragments.

Translation of Column 1

B1 [...] for the god Aššur
B2 [...] his utterance
B3 [...] settlements
B4 [...] Meli-Šipak[?]
B5 [...] forever
B6 [...] he makes known the word
B7 [...] praise of strength
B8 [...] when he ruled all
B9 [...] former kings
B10 [...] they were seized
B11 [...] fall
A1' Karaindaš, king of Karduniaš [1]
A2' and Aššur-bêl-nišešu, king of Assyria,
A3' made a treaty[2] between them
A4' and took an oath together concerning this very boundary.
A5' Puzur-aššur, king of Assyria, and Burnaburiaš,
A6' king of Karduniaš, took an oath and
A7' fixed this very boundary-line.
A8' In the time of Aššur-uballit,[2] king of Assyria, Kassite troops[10]
A11' rebelled against and killed Karahardaš,[8]
A9' king of Karduniaš, son of Muballit-šerua,
A10' the daughter of Aššur-uballit.
A12' They appointed Nazibugaš,[11] a Kassite, son of a nobody, as sovereign over them.
A13' To avenge Karaindaš, his grandson,[14] Aššur-uballit
A14' marched to Karduniaš.
A15' He killed Nazibugaš, king of Karduniaš.
A16' Kurigalzu the Younger, son of Burnaburiaš,
A17' he appointed as king and put him on his father's throne.[3]
A18' In the time of Enlil-nirari,[4] king of Assyria, Kurigalzu the Younger, was king of Karduniaš.
A19' At Sugagi, which is on the Tigris, Enlil-nirari, king of Assyria,
A20' fought with  Kurigalzu. He brought about his total defeat, slaughtered his troops and
A21' carried off his camp. They divided the districts[22] from Šasili of Subartu,
A22' to Karduniaš into two and
A23' fixed the boundary-line.
C24' Adad-nirari, king of Assyria, and Nazi-Marrutaš, king of Karduniaš,[5]
C25' fought with one another at Kar-Ištar of Ugarsallu.
C26' Adad-nirari brought about the total defeat of Nazi-Marrutaš and
C27' conquered him. He took away from him his camp and his standards.
C28' As for this very boundary-line, they fixed a division of[31]
C29' their confines from Pilasqu,
C30' which is on the other side of the Tigris, and Arman of Ugarsallu
C31' as far as Lullume.
Assyrian and
Babylonian Chronicles


Mesopotamian Kings

The Assyrian supreme god Ashur. From J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons, and symbols of ancient Mesopotamia (1992).
Aššur (©!!!; from J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons and
symbols of ancientMesopotamia, 1992)

Translation of Column 2

C1'* [Tukulti-Ninurta, king of Assyria, and] Kaštiliašu, king of Karduniaš [6]
C2'* [...] in open battle.
B1' his servants, he made [...]
B2' to Mount Kullar [...]
B3' Enlil-kudurri-usur, king of Assyria, and Adad-šuma-usur, king of Karduniaš,[7] with another
B4' did battle. As Enlil-kudurri-usur and Adad-šuma-usur
B5' were engaged in battle, Ninurta-apil-ekur
B6' went home. He mustered his numerous troops and
B7' marched to conquer Libbi-ali (the city of Aššur).
B8' But [...] arrived unexpectedly, so he turned and went home.
B9' In the time of Zababa-šuma-iddina, king of Karduniaš,
B10' Aššur-dan, king of Assyria, went down to Karduniaš.[8]
B11' Zaban, Irriya, Ugarsallu and [...]
B12' he captured. He took their vast booty to Assyria. 
A1' [...] together they made an entente cordiale.
A2' [...] he went home. After he had gone, Nebuchadnezzar [9]
A3' took his siege engines and Zanqi, a fortress in Assyria,
A4' he went to conquer. Aššur-reš-iši, king of Assyria,
A5' mustered his chariots to go against him.
A6' To prevent the siege engines being taken from him, Nebuchadnezzar burnt them.
A7' He turned and went home.
A8' This same Nebuchadnezzar with chariots and infantry,
A9' went to conquer Idi, a fortress[8] of Assyria. Assur-reš-iši
A10' sent chariots and infantry to help the fortress.
A11' He fought with Nebuchadnezzar, brought about his total defeat, slaughtered his troops and
A12' carried off his camp. Forty of his chariots with harness were taken away and
A13' Karaštu[?], Nebuchadnezzar's field-marshal, was captured.
A14' Tiglath-pileser I, king of Assyria, and Marduk-nadin-ahhe, king of Karduniaš.[10]
A15' Twice Tiglath-pileser drew up[16] a battle array of chariots, as many as were by the Lower Zab,
A16' opposite Ahizûhina, and
A17' in the second year he defeated Marduk-nadin-ahhe at Gurmarritu, which is upstream from Akkad.
A18' Dur-Kurigalzu, Sippar-ša-Šamaš
A19' Sippar-ša-Anunitu,
A20' Babylon, and Upû, the great urban centers,
A21' he captured together with their forts.
A22' At that time, Ugarsallu
A23' he plundered as far as Lubda.
A24' He ruled every part of Suhu as far as Rapiqu.
A25' In the time of Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria,
A26' Marduk-šapik-zeri was the king of Karduniaš.
A27' An entente cordiale
A28' they together made.
A29' At the time of Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria,
A30' Marduk-šapik-zeri, king of Karduniaš, passed away.
A31' Aššur-bêl-kala appointed Adad-apla-iddina, son of Esagil-šaduni, son of a nobody,
A32' as sovereign over the Babylonians.
A33' Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria,
A34' married the daughter of Adad-apla-iddina, king of Karduniaš, and
A35' took her with a vast dowry to Assyria.
A36' The peoples of Assyria and Karduniaš
A37' were joined together.

>> To columns 3 and 4 >>

Note 1:
The first seven lines of table A contain a serious chronological problem. King Aššur-Bêl-nišešu ruled from 1407 to 1399. Puzur-aššur, who ruled in c.1500, was the eighth king preceding him, and can therefore not be presented after Aššur-Bêl-nišešu. The other two kings were Kassites ruling in Babylonia.

Note 2:
King Aššur-uballit ruled from 1353 to 1318. The revolt of Nazibugaš took place in 1323. The events that are described over here are also mentioned in Chronicle P (ABC 22), which offers different names.

Note 3:
Kurigalzu II ruled until 1298.

Note 4:
Enlil-nirari succeeded Aššur-uballit as king of Assyria in 1317 and remained on the throne until 1308.

Note 5:
Adad-nirari I was king of Assyria from 1295 to 1264; Nazi-Marrutaš was king Babylonia from 1297 to 1272.

Note 6:
Only the name Kaštiliašu (1222-1215) is legible. The name of his opponent is a conjecture, and the identification with the fourth king called Kaštiliašu is hypothetical.

Note 7:
Enlil-kudurri-usur was king of Assyria from 1186 to 1182; he was succeeded by Ninurta-apil-ekur (1181-1179). Adad-šuma-usur was king of Babylonia between 1206 and 1177.

Note 8:
Zababa-šuma-iddina briefly was king of Babylonia in 1158; Aššur-dan ruled Assyria from 1178 to 1133.

Note 9:
The rule of Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylonia lasted from 1125 to 1104; his Assyrian contemporary Aššur-reš-iši ruled from 1132 to 1114.

Note 10:
Tiglath-pileser I became king of Assyria in 1114 and ruled to 1176. Marduk-nadin-ahhe was ruler of Babylonia from 1099 to 1082.

Note 11:
The Assyrian Aššur-bêl-kala's rule lasted from 1073 to 1056; his contemporary Marduk-šapik-zeri became king of Babylonia in 1081 and passed away in 1069.

Online 2006
Latest revision: 1 April 2006
home   :    index    :    ancient Mesopotamia
Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles