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Gold theft chronicle (BCHP 15)

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BCHP 15: the Gold Theft Chronicle, obverse. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 15: Gold theft chronicle (British Museum).**
The Chronicle Concering the Theft of Gold from the Day One Temple, or Gold Theft Chronicle (BCHP 15), is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. The tablet can be dated to SE 150/151 (=162/1 BCE) ands belongs therefore to the brief reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus V Eupator (164-162). For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.

On this website, a new 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 version of what will be the chronicle's very first edition. This web publication is therefore intended to invite suggestions for better readings, comments and interpretations (go here to contact Van der Spek).

Babylonian Chronicles
Text and translation


BCHP 15: the Gold Theft Chronicle, reverse. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 15: Gold theft chronicle (British Museum).**

Description of the tablet

Again a small one-column tablet, BM 32510 (= 76-11-17, 2251), more or less square, dealing with a brief period, one year at most.

The preserved length of the tablet is 4.0 – 4.9 cm, the width is 4.5 cm, the thickness 1.7 cm. The upper edge is crumbled off, but signs of line 1 are preserved. The left edge is preserved, but uninscribed; the right edge is also preserved.  Eight lines continue on the right edge. The lower edge is mutilated and was possibly inscribed. The lower end of the reverse was left blank with room for 1.5 or 2 lines.

1 [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] /x x\[.. .. | ..] /x x x\ [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x x [.. ..]
2 [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ina q-b]i š 1+en lSIG š |lGAL ERN KUR URI.KI [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. at the comma]nd of a certain dignitary of the satrap of Akkad
3 [K.GI ana .. .. .. .. .. ..lUK]KIN?š .SAG.GL na-din [gold? to? .. .. .. .. .. .. the assem]bly? of Esagila was given.
4 UD BI ina UD.1.KAM ul-te-ri-bu- GAR.MEŠ|-š That day into the Day-One-temple they made it enter (and) they put it there.
5 ni-gu-t ina KUR GAR-nu  UD 13.KAM mBa-ra-bu-|ut-dEN SIMUG A festival they held. Day 13th, Barabut-Bel, the smith,
6 š TA lš-kin7 š LUGAL š TA MURUB4 MU KUR who had been pursued? by the governor of the king since the middle of the year, 
7 ana UGU K.GI MU-a-tim @a-bit ITI BI was imprisoned on account of the gold aforementioned. That month,
8 UD 21.KAM ina q-bi š 1+en lSIG š lGAL ERN | KUR URI.KI day 21th, at the command of a certain dignitary of the strategos of Akkad,
9 lEN pi-qit lza-zak-ku u lE.KI.MEŠ l|UKKIN š.SA[G.GL] the trustee (bl piqitti) (of), the financial official (zazakku) and the Babylonians of the Council (kiništu) of Esa[gila],
10 K.GI MU-a-tim TA UD.1.KAM ul-te-|@u-š one had brought outside the gold in question from the Day-One-Temple.
11 ina KI.L.MEŠ š lK.DIM š ina IGI-ma ina lb-bi-|š-nu L When it was weighed[12]  with the weight stones of the house of the goldsmiths, with which it had been weighed in the past,
12 ki-i L-š2/3 6  K.GI in-da-&u it was diminished by 2/3 mina and 6 shekels [26.5 shekels].
13 ITI BI UD 12!.KAM lšar-ra-q[ ] /MU-a\-tim That month, day 22!? the thie[ves ] afore[mentioned]
14 ana [email protected] lSIG MU-a-tim u l/GAL.ERN.MEŠ\ in the presence of the dignitary in question and the x x x
15 u l? x x x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] and the.. .. x x x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]
edge mutilated, possibly inscribed
edge mutilated, possibly inscribed

1 u l Š?.T[AM  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .] and the šat[ammu of Esagila]
2 u lE.KI.MEŠ l[? .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] and the Babylonians (of) the [Council of Esagila?, the judge]
3 š LUGAL ina gišI.LU m[a]-[š-a-a-al-t] of the king on a rack of inter[rogation]
4 iš-š-al-š-nu-t uk?-t[in-nu-š-nu-t] interrogatedsg them and con[victed them.]
5 lšal-lat-su-nu ina KI.TA E.K[I  .. .. .. ..] Their prisoners [were taken to GN] below Babyl[on and]
6 ina IZI BIL.MEŠ ITI BI [UD  .. .. ..] were burned with fire. That month [day  .. .. ..]
7 lpu-li-&e-e GIŠ GI x[.. MEŠ] the politai wooden?? [.. ..]
8 š M.MEŠ AN.TA E.KI ana [email protected][a x (x)] of the ships? above Babylon in fro[nt (of x (x))]
9 .GAL /LUGAL\ ig-da-š-ru- of the palace of the king they repaired?
10 [.. ..] x x [.. ..] al-te-me [Month MN. /That month\ I heard
11 [um-ma-a  mA]n-ti-'-uk-su [as follows:  A]ntiochus,
12 [LUGAL GAZ??] (vacat) [the king, was killed??] (vacat)

to part two (commentary)

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