BCHP 8 (Juniper Garden Chronicle)

The Chronicle concerning a service field (bît ilki) near the Juniper garden ("Juniper Garden Chronicle"; BCHP 8) is one of the Mesopotamian chronicles written in ancient Babylonia in the Hellenistic Period.

Juniper Garden Chronicle, Obverse

The Chronicle concerning a service field (bît ilki) near the Juniper garden ("Juniper Garden Chronicle"; BCHP 8) is one of the Mesopotamian chronicles written in ancient Babylonia in the Hellenistic Period. The cuneiform tablet (BM 32266 = 76-11-17, 1994) is in the British Museum.

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).

Description of the tablet

Juniper Garden Chronicle, Reverse

The fragment is the lower left part of a larger tablet. The lower left edge is preserved and has a thickness of 2 cm. as has the worn out lower edge. The broken upper edge measures 3.5 cm. The written surface of the obverse measure 5x5 cm, of the reverse 6x6 cm. Not too much is lost on the right edges: see Rev. lines 21’ and 22’.

The script of the tablet has a resemblance with the other documents of the early third century and it is likely that this tablet belongs to the same group (i.e., the Antiochus and Sin, Ruin of Esagila and Antiochus and India chronicles).

Commentary

The nature of this tablet is not easy to establish. In view of line 22’ it seems to be a chronicle, but the rest of the tablet more looks like a kind of court proceeding and has much in common with the Ruin of Esagila chronicle (BCHP 6). The substance of the conflict seems to be that a certain Greek mustered people (temple personnel) who worked on a service estate of a temple (for the army). The complaint may have been that the service was supposed to be done for the temple, not the king. The story has a happy end thanks to the digging of a new canal for the irrigation; possibly not more than a mere eyewash.

It is difficult to date this tablet. It seems that the Antiochus and Sin Chronicle (BCHP 5 = ABC 11), the Antiochus and India Chronicle (BCHP 7 = ABC 13A) and this one were written by one and the same scribe. All three have the same peculiar spelling for the word "Greek" as E-man-na-a, instead of the common Ia-man-na-a-a. Furthermore in two chronicles mention is made of India. The removal of the debris of Esagila is mentioned in two of the documents. All three may then deal with Antiochus, the crown prince.


Obverse

[Obv.1'] [.. .. .. ..]s of the god [ X .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.2'] [.. .. .. ..] .. .. .. [ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.3'] [.. .. .. fo]r the offe[ring of .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.4'] [.. .. .. ] and? the son? of the king to Babylon [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.5'] [.. .. ..] of the king? concerning the silver [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.6'] [..] .. .. .. and silver jewelry [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.7'] /in\ the workshops they received and x[.. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.8'] in the Juniper garden in the service estate[.. .. .. .. .. the service (ilku)]

[Obv.9'] in the service estate he will perform.? To the [...] temple/estate? [.. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.10'] and 2 temple enterers x [.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Obv.11'] [Traces]

Reverse

[Rev.12'] [ the] temple enterers  .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

[Rev.13'] and a certain Greek to the service estate of the /god\ [.. .. .. .. .. for]

[Rev.14'] the service to the gods, which within the [...] temple/estate?  x[ .. .. .. people]

[Rev.15'] from its environment he mustered. Month /x\. That month [.. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.16'] weeping and mourning in the service estate [he/was established. The gates of]

[Rev.17'] Esabad they locked. x x x with? stone and x[.. .. .. .. .. ..]

[Rev.18'] [fr]om 22 Šabatu (XI) until the end of Addaru (XII) within the se[rvice] estate

[Rev.19'] [in] the Juniper [gard]en in front of the Uraš? Gate t[o? the .. .. ..]

[Rev.20'] [a mo]at to the water in the ir[rigated land]

[Rev.21'] [they dug.] In joy a festival and dancing party in the [service] estate [was held].

[Rev.22'] [That month, deb]ris of the procession road of Bêl was re[moved].

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[Rev.23'] [Traces; remainder lost.]