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The Diadochi Chronicle (BCHP 3): Related texts

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Coin of Seleucus, struck 310 BCE in Babylon. British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Coin of Seleucus minted in 310 in Babylon (British Museum)
The Babylonian Diadochi Chronicle (BCHP 3; a.k.a. ABC 10, Chronicle 10) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It deals with the history of the Diadochi, the successors of Alexander the Great, and the Babylonian war between the generals Seleucus and Antigonus Monophthalmus. For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.

This page offers a preliminary new edition by Bert van der Spek, Free University, Amsterdam (Holland), and Irving L. Finkel, British Museum, London, who are currently working on a new edition of all published and unpublished chronicles of the Hellenistic period. This publication on the Livius website is intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to find the e-mail-address of Van der Spek).

Babylonian Chronicles
Previous editions
Text and translation
Related texts


The return of Seleucus I

Fragment of Column 3 of Diadochi Chronicle? (BM 35920)

1’ /šá ana\ q[é-reb …..] /who in\[to]
2’ ITI BAR ITI BI mS[i-lu-uk-ku ……….] Month Nisannu (I = 3 April – 1 May 311 BC). In that month, S[eleucus ….]
3’ ša ina MU 1.KAM mAn-t[i-gu-nu-suGAL ERÍN.MEŠ ......] whom in year 1 (of Alexander) Ant[igonus, the general, had deposed and who]
4’ TA E.KI ZÁH GUR UD 1 […………] from Babylon had fled, returned. Day 1? [……….]
5’ @al-tum E.KI x […………] battle (in?) Babylon [………..]


This small fragment (width 38 mm, height 28 mm) is part of a tablet containing more than one column. Preserved is a small part of a right column. Traces of the left column are preserved. It may be part of the Chronicle of the Diadochi if this was indeed a four columned tablet.

The fragment seems to deal with the return of Seleucus to Babylon after his earlier flight. In that case this fragment must belong to the lower part of col. II and deal with year 7 of Antigonus Monophthalmus = year 6 of Alexander IV (311/10), the year in which Seleucus returned, in any event before month III. It gives us the information that Seleucus arrived before the walls of Babylon around the first of Nisannu = 3 April 311.

The awkward thing is that the flight of Seleucus is dated to year 1 of Antigonus. This poses two problems.

  1. So far only one doubtful reference to year 1 of Antigonus, which would be 317/6 BCE, exists (AD V, no. 53; cf. review Van der Spek, Bibliotheca Orientalis forthcoming). In addition, chronicle ABC 10 describes this year and the following year as years 7 and 8 of Philip respectively.
  2. Seleucus is supposed to have fled from Babylon in summer/autumn 316 (Bosworth 2002: 213 and 282), which would be year 2 of Antigonus. Perhaps we should review this idea and restore the gap under Philip year 7 accordingly. Then Seleucus’ flight would have occurred before the end of year 1 of Antigonus = year 7 of Philip = 27 March 316.
A better solution is perhaps "that year 1" is not the year 1 of Antigonus, but year 1 of Alexander IV (i.e. 316/5), and that Antigonus is the subject of the sentence.

Astronomical diaries of the same period

AD I, p. 220-229, No. –321 (BM 34093 + BM 35758)

1 MU 2.KAM mPi-il-/ip-su\ [LUGAL BAR … Year 2 of Philip, [the king. Month Nisannu (I = 4 April - 3 May 322) …..
Month V  
13’ ….. [x gi]š?-ri šá bit-qu  šá DA É.GIŠ.HUR.AN.KI.A GIN TA /15\? [….] …. [… the bri]dge of the sluice next to the temple Egišhurankia. From the 15?th (14 August 322) [….]
14’ /DA\ É.GIŠ.HUR.AN.KI./A x\ šìr? SAHAR.HI.A šá É.SAG.GÍL a<-na> ? BAL.RI? dUTU ŠÚ id-de-ku-ú [….] next to the temple Egišhurankia, [….]. Debris of Esagil was removed to the west bank [….]
27’ T[A?] U[GU? …. m]dEN.A.MU A šámGU-im-dEN A mMu-še-zi-bu šá ana TIN ZI-šú iš-&uršá NÍG.GA [xxxx] Fr[om? ….] Bel-apla-iddin, son of Mušallim-Bêl, descendant of Mušezibu, which he wrote for his good health, which (was) the property of [….]
28’ x [….] SAR-ma  (blank) …. [….] written.
Upper + right edge 
EN.NUN šá gi-né-e šá TA BAR EN TIL KIN šá MU 2.KAM Pi-il-ip-su LUGAL Diary from month I to the end of month VI of year 2 of Philip, the king.


Bel-apla-iddin is perhaps identical to the Belephantes mentioned by Diodorus of Sicily 17.112.3 [text]. Cf. Van der Spek (2003) p.333.

AD I, pp. 230-1, no. –309 (BM 40591 = 81-4-28, 136)

Alexander, son of idem [=Alexander], year 7, month V  17 Aug. – 14 Sep. 310 BC
9 …. na-su in] 23 IGI hat-tum ina KUR GAR-an GE6 25 ina ZALÁG [SI]N?ina IGI? [SAG A nn mm] […………] (ideal) first appearance (of Jupiter) on the 23rd (8 September 310). Panic occurred in the land. Night of the 25th, last part of the night, [the moo]n? was [….] in  front? of [epsilon Leonis].
10 […………x]+1 MUL.GAL šá ma-gal KUR u meš-hi TUK-ú /TA? MUL\ x [.. .. ..] […………]…. a meteor, which was very bright and had a tail [….] from ….[….]
11 […………] /ITI 4 BÁN\ 2 qa TA 20 EN TIL ITI še-im u Z[Ú.LUM.MA] [That month, the exchange value (of 1 shekel of silver) was for barley: at the beginning] of the month: 26 litres; from the 20th to the end of the month: barley and d[ates]
12 […………] ina piš-ki TI-qí ka-si(!) 1 GUR sah-le10 [.. .. ..] [were cut off from the market; the satrap??] requisitioned it extrajudicially; mustard: 180 l.; cress: [n l.] 
13 [………. i-n]u-šú MÚL.BABBAR 24 ina SAG ABSIN IGI dele-bat ina UR-/A\[.. .. ..] [sesame: n l.; wool: n pound. At] that time, Jupiter’s first appearance on the 24th in the beginning of Virgo; Venus was in Leo.
14 […………] ERÍN.MEŠ mAn-ti-gu-nu-su @al-tum ina UR[U .. .. ..] […… That month,] the troops of Antigonus fought in the city [of Babylon]
Reverse; colophon  
11’ [EN.NUN šá gi-né-e šá TA ITI MN EN TIL ITI APIN MU 7.KAM mA-lek-sa-an-da]r LUGAL /A\ [mKI.MIN mSe-lu]-ku l[úGAL ERÍN.MEŠ] [Diary from month ? to the end of month VIII, year 7 of] king [Alexand]er, son of idem; Seleucus (being) g[eneral.]
Upper edge  
[en.nun šá gi-né-e šá TA ITI MN EN TIL ITI APIN MU7.KAM mA-lek-sa-an-da]r LUGAL A mKI.MIN mSe-lu-/ku\ l[úGAL ERÍN.MEŠ] [Diary from month ? to the end of month VIII, year 7 of] king [Alexand]er, son of idem; Seleucus (being) g[eneral.]


In view of the curvature of the tablet (photo Plate 39 of AD I) not manysigns seem to be lost on the right part of the tablet, but at least 20 signs seem to be lost at the beginning of the tablet in view of the restoration of line 11’, which can be reconstructed from Astronomical diary –308, dated to year 8 of king Alexander and Seleucus the general.
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