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Astronomical Diary Concerning Bagayasha and Timotheos

BM 48888
In this chapter two documents concerning the Parthian prince Bagayasha (Bacasis) are presented. Both documents are probably part of the historical section of an astronomical diary.

The first document survives in two pieces: A and B, which can be found here.
Of the second document only one single piece survives (C). It can be found on this page, and the tablet is:
  • C: BM 48888 (= 81-11-3, 1599)
Babylonian Chronicles

Fragment A and B


BM 48888 (edge)
All tablets can be found in the British Museum. On this website, a first reading is proposed by Bert van der Spek of the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Irving Finkel of the British Museum.* Please notice that this is a preliminary edition. This web publication is intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to contact Van der Spek).

Description of the Tablet

The text offered on this page is a small piece belonging to an astronomical diary, but in view of the script it is certainly not the same diary as BCHP 18 B and A. However, as the tablet mentions Bagayasha as a man for whom sacrifices were made for the life of the king and for his life, we must conclude that he was a very important person on equal footing with the king. The text must date to approximately the same period, i.e. 135-132 BC.

The tablet also mentions a certain Timotheos. We know of a Timotheos, son of Hyspaosines, who probably was satrap of Babylonia in 125 and 124 BC, an oddity as his father Hyspaosines, king of Mesene, was temporarily king in Babylon in 127, but was driven out. We do not know whether this text is about the same Timotheos, nor do we know whether this Timotheos was already satrap in the 130s BC. In view of all uncertainties we better refrain from drawing too far reaching conclusions.

Of the original tablet part the lower right part of the reverse of the tablet survived. The width of the fragment is 5.5 cm, the height 4.9 cm. The right edge is preserved and for the greater part uninscribed. Lines 6’, 7’ and 8’, however, continue on it (marked by |). The thickness of the right edge is 2.7 cm. The size of the missing part at the left side is hard to establish.

1’. […. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x
[…. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x
2’. […. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x 2? KŠ GIN [.... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] on the 2th? it (the river) rose one half cubit,
3’. [….] /.. .. .. .. .. .. ..\ EN 26 8 U L [....] /.. .. .. .. .. .. ..\ until the 26th, it receded 8 fingers.
4’. [….] š ana muh-hi D MAŠ./G\.GR UD.DU [.... from Seleucia?] which is on the Tigris went out.
5’. [….] x lpa-hat E.KI u l/pu\-li-ța-nu [....] the governor (epistates) of Babylon and the politai
6’. […. KUR ma-d]i-/na\-at š NIM.MA.K[I] /?\ URU.MEŠ M|AH.MEŠ [.... the dist]rict of Elam and the numerous cities
7’. [ ....]/x x\--t/ x (x) [K]U4?  l\Š.TAM .SAG.|GIL u lE.KI.M[EŠ] [of  .... ] x x x x x x [ente]red.?? The shatammu of Esagila and the Babylonians
8’. [ .... ana bul-țu š mA]r-š-ka-a L[UGA]L u ana bul-țu š mBa-ga-a|-a-š-ʼ [.... for the life of A]rsaces, the king, and for the life of Bagayasha
9’. [.... ]x š-su- UD 8 mŢi-ʼ--țu-su [....letters ....]x were read out loud. Day 8, Timotheos
10’. [....  lUK]KIN š .SAG.GIL 1-en /GU4\ 3 S[ISKUR.SISKUR.MEŠ] [.... entered Babylon .... The shatammu of Esagila and the kin]ishtu of Esagila [provided]  one ox and four of[fering sheep in ..... . Offerings to Bel, Beltija, and the great gods]
11’. [.... ] u ana bul-țu SILIM-š GAR-an [.. .. .. ..] [for the life of the king] and for his own wellbeing he (=Timotheos?) performed. [.. .. .. ..]
12’. [.... ]x /lERN.MEŠ\ x x (x) [.. .. .. .. .. ..] [.... ]x /troops\ x x (x) [.. .. .. .. .. ..]
Rest destroyed

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Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2011
Revision: 28 Dec. 2011
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