BCHP 3 (Diadochi Chronicle)

The Babylonian Diadochi Chronicle (BCHP 3; a.k.a. ABC 10, Chronicle 10) is one of the Mesopotamian chronicles written in ancient Babylonia in the Hellenistic Period. It deals with the history of the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great).

Diadoch Chronicle, Obverse

The Babylonian Diadochi Chronicle (BCHP 3; a.k.a. ABC 10, Chronicle 10) is one of the Mesopotamian chronicles written in ancient Babylonia, dealing with the history of the Diadochi (the successors of Alexander the Great). To be more precise, the first column deals with the First Diadoch War, while the fourth column documents the Babylonian War between the generals Seleucus and Antigonus Monophthalmus.

On this webpage, a new reading is proposed; the official publication will be in I.L. Finkel,  R.J. van der Spek, R. Pirngruber, Babylonian Chronographic Texts from the Hellenistic Period (2020; = BCHP; Writings of the Ancient World).

Previous editions

Description of the tablet

Diadoch Chronicle, Reverse

The tablet as preserved consists of two fragments, which were edited as separate fragments in the previous publications. Irving Finkel, however, found out that the fragments join. The upper part (BM 36313) is almost completely destroyed, probably by a spade when the tablet was dug up. The upper edge of it, however, is preserved, so that we have an idea about the length of the tablet and the number of lines. The lower part (BM 34660) is inscribed on both sides.

The total length of the tablet as we have it is 17 cm, the upper fragment ca. 7.5 cm, the lower part 9.5 cm. The width is about 6 to 6.5 cm. The upper edge is inscribed with the last lines of the reverse. The thickness of the tablet at the left side is 2 cm, at the right side 3.8 cm. The thickness only increases, so that at least the right half of the tablet is lost, but probably more.

Probably two thirds to three fourths of the tablet are lost. Cornelia Wunsch, who studied the tablet intensively, concluded that it is most likely that the tablet was a four-columned document. In two lines we are able to reconstruct the entire content: rev. 14’ and 32’. So we know that the lines of the columns consisted of approximately 28-29 signs (single vertical wedges, being a personal marker or the sign for ana = "to", not included).

At the lower side of the tablet is not much lost, in view of the curvature, which returns to nearly the thickness of the upper edge. Since there are traces on the very end of the tablet, which seems to be the beginning of the edge, line 41' might well be the last line of the obverse.

I suggest a new numbering of the lines, which takes the traces of the upper part into account and gives a better idea of the size of the original text. The line numbering of Grayson's edition is added between brackets.


Obverse, column i

[Obv.i.1-6] [Missing]

[Obv.i.7-11] [Traces only]

[Obv.i.12] [.. .. .. .. ..] x x x [...]x[.....]

[Obv.i.13] [.. .. .. .. they esta]blished? x x [.....]

[Obv.i.14] [.. .. .. Nica]nor? utensils  x x [.....]

[Obv.i.15] [.. .. .. .. ..] x the x [functionary of] Baby[lon?.....] 

[Obv.iv.16] [.. .. .. .. .. b]attle x [          ] x [.....]

[Obv.i.17] [Month .. .  That month] 21[nd day                  ] x [.....]

[Obv.i.18] [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.19] [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ] x [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.20.(1')] [.. ..] x x x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x x [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.21.(2')] they [.. ..]ed and their valuables and the valuables of the [.. ..]house of B]/orsippa?\ [ they .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Month ... Seleucus/Docimus?]

[Obv.i.22.(3')] to the office of satrap of the land /of Akkad\note [was? appoi]nted and on the 20th day the [x-functionary  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Obv.i.23.(4')] That same! month the king did battle with the satrap of Egyptnote and the land  [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.24.(5')] The troops of the king were slaughtered. Month VIII, day 10 (14 November 320) [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Obv.i.25.(6')] the satrap of Akkad entered Babylon.note That month, debris [of Esagila was (not?) removed.]

-------------------------------

[Obv.i.26.(7')] Year 5 of Philip (319/18), unknown month. The king [left] Antigon[us in charge (...) and he]

[Obv.i.27.(8')] went to the land Macedonia and did not return.note In a later part? [of the year?.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Obv.i.28.(9')] After that (the lines?) are destroyed. Fire consumed it. Seleucus, the satrap [of Akkad, .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

-------------------------------

[Obv.i.29.(10')] Year 6 of Phi(lip = 318/7), month VI (15 Sep. – 14 Oct. 318). The satrap of Akkad a levy of silver [for .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.30.(11')] and all the troops of Akkad conducted. Silver upon interrogation they gave; [(...) he destined it for the troops of]

[Obv.i.31.(12')] the land of Akkad. The gates of Tabi-supuršu, the wall of Borsip[pa, he repaired/destroyed/opened? .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.32.(13')] That year Philip was pre[sent] in Macedonia [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]note

-------------------------------

[Obv.i.33.(14')] Year 7 of Philip (317/6), month VII (3 – 31 Oct. 317). The troops of the king, which in order to make a str[ong guard entered the palace, but the satrap of Akkad by doing]

[Obv.i.34.(15')] [bat]tle captured the palace of Babylon from them and the [x]-person(s) [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.35.(16')] the satrap of Akkad dest[royed] the fence of reed.[ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.36.(17')] The Hanaeans of the king in order to make a strong guard between [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.37.(18')] Lat]er Antigonus [.. .. .. ed] the satrap [of Akkad (...)] 

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[Obv.i.38.(19')] [Year 8 of Phi]lip (316/5), month IV (25 June – 24 July 316) Antig[onus .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]note

[Obv.i.39.(20')] [.. .. .. .. ..] who (was) in the palace of the king, whi[ch ?.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.i.40.(21')] [.. .. .. .. .. ..]s people [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Obv.i.41.(22')] [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..] x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Lacuna of 0-4 lines.]

Obverse, column ii

[Obv.ii] [Lost]

Reverse, column iii

[Rev.iii] [Lost]

Reverse, column iv

[Rev.iv.n'] [Lacuna 4-8 lines]

[Year 7 of Antigonus, the General (311/10) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Rev.iv.1'] [.. .. .. .. .. ..] x x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.2'] [the ea]st [bank] and the west bank [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Month I/II]

[Rev.iv.3'] [Seleu]cus spoke as follows:note “Year 7 of Antig[onus the general as year 6 of Alexander, son of]

[Rev.iv.4'] /idem [i.e. Alexander] and\ Seleucus the general you (pl.) will count.”note Month Sim[anu (III = 31 May – 29 June 311) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.5'] Seleucus [.. .. ..]ed the šatammu of Emeslam [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.6'] He did not capture the palace. That month, 30 talents of silver, which/of [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.7'] Month Âbu (V = 29 July – 27 Aug.). Seleucus, in order to capture the palace, to [X went, the defenses with water/like a deluge]

[Rev.iv.8'] he levelled (??) and he did not dam the Euphrates. To [x he left. Patrocles as general]

[Rev.iv.9'] within it he entrusted. Month Ulûlu (VI = 28 Aug. – 25 Sep.), Seleucus from Babylon to [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.10'] which (is) on the Tigris went up.note In order to make a sortie to Pers[is he crossed the river and he .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.11'] In the month Arahsamna (VIII = 26 Oct. – 24 Nov. 311) there was goodwill and .. .. in respect to the enemies[.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Rev.iv.12'] The troops of the land of Gutium and the troops of the /king\ [showed] gr[atitude to the satrap of Akkad.]

[Rev.iv.13'] That year, debris of Es[ag]i[l] [was] n[ot! removed]

-------------------------------

[Rev.iv.14'] Year 7 of Alexander, the king, son of idem [i.e., Alexander] and [Seleucus, the general, (310/9). Month Âbu (V = 17 Aug. – 15 Sep. 310). The troops of]

[Rev.iv.15'] Antigonus [did] battle with the troops of Se[leucus .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]note

[Rev.iv.16'] [From] the month Âbu until the month Tebêtu (X = 12 Jan. – 10 Feb. 309) [in the surrounding area of Babylon]

[Rev.iv.17'] they did [bat]tle with each other . [In the month Tebêtu, on the 8th day]

[Rev.iv.18'] [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ] x x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.19'] [.. .. .. .. Ant]igonus broke in (sg) and to x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.20'] [.. .. ..] between Esagila and Etur[kalamma .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.21'] [.. .. An]tigonus with numerous troops [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.22'] [wi]thRev him entered (sg). From the 8th day of the month Te[bêtu? (X = 19 Jan. 309) Antigonus attacked, but]

[Rev.iv.23'] he did not capture the [.. .. of] the bit harê. In the month Šabatu (XI = 30 Jan. – 28 Feb. 309), day [n, he .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. That month] 

[Rev.iv.24'] there was weeping and mourning in the land. The south wind [blew? .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..  Antigonus]

[Rev.iv.25'] from Babylon went/took out. He plundered city and countryside. The property [of  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. he took away. Month XII,]

[Rev.iv.26'] day 2 (2 March 309), he went down to Cuthah and he plundered [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.27'] the people retreated. [He set] fire to the storehouse of Nergal. [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.28'] [A]rchelaos [he appointed] to the office of satrap [of Akkad; .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.29'] [in the surrounding a]rea of Babylon he entrusted him. That same year, barley: 6 litres;note dates [n litres …. …. . Barley and dates]

[Rev.iv.30'] they requisitioned [illeg]ally. That year, numerous houses in the district [of …… were destroyed. The property of .....]

[Rev.iv.31'] [from B]abylon they took out. Debris of E[sagil was (not?) removed].

-------------------------------

[Rev.iv.32'] [Year 8] of Alexander, the king, son of idem, and Seleu[cus the General (309/8). Month ?, day n]

[Rev.iv.33'] [the satrap of  A]kkad went to Borsippa and barley: 6 litres, [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Rev.iv.34'] [.. .. .. ..] of the neighbourhood of Borsippa and within the la[nd?  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..  A certain Babylonian]

[Rev.iv.35'] [to the office of shatammu] of Esagila he entrusted. Day 12, 13, 1[4  ….. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..  Babylonians]

[Rev.iv.36'] [.. .. .. ..] they assembled. The Babylonian(s?) aforementioned [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.37'] [.. .. .. .. .. en]tered (pl.). There was weeping and mourning in the land. [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..] 

[Rev.iv.38'] [verb] and he? plundered city and countryside. [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.39'] [.. .. .. .. .. ..] the Babylonian(s?), half of th[em? .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.iv.40'] [.. .. .. .. .. ..]-la, who in the first year of A[lexander .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Lower edge.1] [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..] the king, to the [Babylon]ian[s? .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Lower edge.2] [.......]

[Left edge.1] [(max. 24 signs) A]rchelaus and the troops of Antigonus to [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Ledt edge.2] [ca. 12 signs)] Month Âbu, day 25 (= 10 Aug. 309) [……. did] battle with the troops of Seleucus [(……)]