Bust of Alexander the Great, from Delos, now in the Louvre.
Alexander Chronicle (BCHP 1; a.k.a. ABC 8, Chronicle 8) is one
of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia.
It deals with events from the reigns of the Persian king Darius
III Codomannus and his Macedonian
The cuneiform tablet (BM 36304) is in the
British Museum and was first published by A.K. Grayson in 1975 in a book
called Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles. On this website, a new
reading is proposed by Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam
(Netherlands). The official publication can be found in Achaemenid History
An alternative reading, not by Van der Spek but
published in Lendering (2004), is proposed here.
BCHP 1: Alexander Chronicle (obverse; **)
In Van der Spek's reconstruction, the horizontal lines in this tablet are
interpreted as indications of years. However, as Van der Spek himself says
(above), on several tablets the lines
indicate months. The following text shows what happens when we read the
obverse of the Alexander Chronicle in this fashion:
The weakness of this reconstruction is line 8, where two months are dealt
with in one line. This may have happened in line 10 too. It can not be
excluded that the events now mentioned in months VIII and IX in fact belong
to IX and X.
[Month IV (July): Darius
the king, from] his throne they removed him. Be[ssus]
[sat on the throne and Artaxerxes]
as his name they named him [note], and Alexander
and his troops
the rebel king. Alexander with] his few troops with the troops [of Bessus
[Bessus] killed [Darius the king]. The Hanaean troops, his troops, which
[... from Babylon
(???) to (?) ] Darius, the king, had gone, [were released.]
[Month V, d]ay 15] Kidinnu
was killed by the sword. In the month VI (September), on the [nth]
day [X happened]
[Month VII (October): The king was in] the land of Ú-zu-ia-a-nu,
a city of the land of Gutium.
[Month VIII (November): From] the palace of Babylon they brought
out their goods
[.......... for] the making of the xx [............]
[................] for the performance of the festival of Bêl
to the [Babylon]ians they gave.
[Month IX (25 Nov - 24 Dec): ........]-Bêl, his son, to the
office of satrap
[he appointed .............] evil to the king they plotted.
Month IV, Du'ûzu,
suits the date given by Arrian
of Nicomedia for the death of Darius, Hecatambaeon.
Bessus is immediately called Artaxerxes, and not after several weeks,
as Arrian says.
Ú-zu-ia-a-nu may or may not be identical to Susia,
modern Tus, north of Mashad.
This may refer to the official version of the execution of Philotas