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Greek Community Chronicle (BCHP 14)

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BCHP 14: The Greek Community Chronicle. Photo Bert van der Spek.
BCHP 14: The Greek Community Chronicle (British Museum).**
The Babylonian Chronicle concerning the Greek Community in Babylon ("Greek Community Chronicle"; BCHP 14) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylonia. It is important because it mentions how the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes settled Greeks in Babylon. For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here.

The cuneiform tablet (BM 33870 = Rm IV 432) is in the British Museum. 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).

Description of the tablet

The shape and script of the tablet have much in common with the previous one (Politai Chronicle; BCHP 13, BM 46120, small fragment to be published, mentioning Seleucid era 140 and 141). Probably the same scribe made both tablets. Originally it must have been a more or less square tablet, describing one or two Seleucid years. The upper and left edges are preserved, the right edge is crumbled off, but not much is missing. At the lower side not many lines seem to have been lost. The reverse is lost except for a few traces. The preserved length of the tablet is 5.7 cm, the width 6.7 cm, the thickness 2 cm.

Previous edition: Van der Spek 2004, no. 5, with discussion.

Babylonian Chronicles
Text and translation


@ = tsade; & = tet
line numbers with link refer to commentary
1. MU 1 ME 49KAM man LUGAL ITU D[U6?  (UD ...)] Year 149 SE, Antiochus (V) king, month Ta[šrîtu (VII = 10 October – 8 November 163 BCE), day n.]
2.Ia-’-man-na-a-a-ni MU-šú-nu p[u-li-&a-nu] The Greeks, as they are called, the p[olitai],
3. šá ina IGI-ma ina qí-bi šá man LUGAL ina E.[KI KU4.MEŠ] who in the past at the command of king Antiochus (IV) [had entered] Baby[lon]
4. u Ì.GIŠ ŠÉŠ.MEŠ l[ì]b-bu-ú pu-l[i-&a-nu] and who anoint with oil just like the pol[itai]
5. šá ina URU Si-lu-ki-/\-a-a URU LUGAL-ú-t[u] who are in Seleucia, the royal city,
6. šá ina muh-hi ídMAŠ.GÚ.GÀR u ÍD LUGAL on the Tigris and the King’s Canal,
7.KI šá-kin7uUN.MEŠ KUR šá ina E.KI L[Ú.NE GAR.MEŠ] with the governor (šaknu) and the people of the land who are in Babylon [did] b[attle].
8.UD 8.KAM ina qí-bi šá pa-hat E.KI [ERÍN.MEŠ u] Day 8 (17 October 163), at the command of the governor (pahat = epistates?) of Babylon [the ...... and]
9. SAL?.MEŠ šá ina lìb-bipu-/li-&a-nu\ the women? who among the politai,
10.UN.MES KUR l[ú]/bu??-le? \-e TA E.K[I] the people of the land, (and) the boulê?? from Babylon
11. ina KI.TA /E\.KI aš-šú LU.NE KI [šá-kin7] into the region below Babylon because of the battle with the [governor]
12. [u] ÉRIN.[MEŠ-šú .. ..] ana E.KI KU4.MEŠ [... ...] [and his] troop[s, had gone?,] into Babylon returned. [...]
13. [.. .. .. .. ..] šá  pa-hat [.. .. .. ..] [.......................] which the epistates [...]
14. [.. .. .. .. ..] /UN.MEŠ KUR\[.. .. .. ..] [.......................] / the people of the land\
Remainder lost
to part two (commentary)
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