CM 52 (Nabu-šuma-iškun)

The following, very fragmentary text from Uruk, is a chronographic document dealing with the history of Babylonia in the eighth century BCE, and especially the demise of king Nabû-šuma-iškun, who died in 748, after he had broken all written and unwritten laws of his civilization. The text was already damaged in Antiquity: the scribe notes several breaks in the original he was copying.

For a very brief introduction to the literary genre of chronicles, go here. More information can be found in Jean-Jacques Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles (Atlanta, 2004), in which this is text CM 52.

Translation of Column i

[i.1'] Marduk-apla-usur ...] the Chaldaean.

[i.2'] '... the Tigris ...

[i.3'] ... a messenger ... he killed and ....

[i.4'] ...

[i.5'] Forced labor and corvée were imposed and ... slave.

[1.6'] and bread, the food offering for the fifth day that he had seized, he used up and ..

[i.7'] the boat Idhedu ... for the Esagila.

Translation of Column ii

[ii.2'] ...
On a propitious day, from Babylon, Nabû-šuma-iškun turned his attention toward his country but

[ii.3'] on the order of the BREAK lords Nabû and Marduk, he went into the ... inside the house and

[ii.4'] no longer went into battle nor started into the field.

[ii.5'] In the third year, again, he brought the statue of Nanaya, the goddess of the Ezida, the beloved of Nabû, into the Bit mummi but

[ii.6'] kept Nabû in Babylon and had the ceremonies of the evening before and those of the day if the eššešu-festival celebrated in only one day.

[ii.7'] He covered the fine garment of Nabû with the fine garment of Bêl of the month Šabatu.

[ii.8'] Dressed as the latter, he proposed Bêl's marriage to Tašmetu.

[ii.9'] Unshaven, he mutilated the fingers of his apprentice scribe, and, wearing fine gold, he entered into Bêl's cella of offering ....

[ii.10'] A leek, a thing forbidden in the Ezida, he brought to the temple of Nabû and gave to eat to the one "entering the temple" (i.e., the priest).

[ii.11'] Ea, the lord of wisdom, whose dwelling place was founded with pure heaven and earth,

[ii.12'] he made him get up from the dwelling place, which befitted his great divinity, and made him sit in the exalted gateway of Bêl.

[ii.13'] He removed Madanu, "Bêl of Babylon", his favorite god, from his seat and made him leave.

[ii.14'] Without the authority of ...  this city, he did as he pleased,

[ii.15'] of ...-ri, son of ..., who

[ii.16] He ... BREAK ...

['ii.17'] ... she who sits on the throne ... seven lions.

[ii.18'] ... he unleashed and ... allowed to roam freely.

[ii.19'] He had her grasp ... he had her leashed.

[ii.20'] He had ... of Ištar ... disconnected.

[ii.21'] ... to the granary of the verdant countryside he offered ... a dust storm ....

[ii.22'] He presented ... Belet-duri ....

[ii.23'] ... Nabû, detained several nights in Babylon and ... seated among ... without destinies.

[ii.24'] ... Babylon ... which he destroyed by fire.

[ii.25'] ... the great lord Marduk ... he went to Marduk in place of the king and

[ii.26'] ... he spoke ... was placed.

[ii.27'] ... kept in order ...

[ii.28'] ... the kneeling lord ... he made sing.

Translation of Column iii

[iii.1] ... Nin ...

[iii.2] When the proud lord, the freedom of Babylon, Borsippa, and Cutha

[iii.3] and the sworn agreements of Enlil-ina-mati, the son of KU... BREAK, the governor of Larak, in their time had established

[iii.4] and when he had offered sacrifices at Babylon, Borsippa, and Cutha before Bêl, Nabû, and Nergal.

[iii.5] Year after year, he made unbearable their burden of slaughter, robbery, murder, corvée, and forced labor.

[iii.6] In only one day, he burned alive sixteen Cutheans at Zababa's gate in the heart of Babylon.

[iii.7] He delivered inhabitants of Babylon to Hatti and Elam as a token of respect.

[iii.8] He made the inhabitants of Babylon with woman, children, and servants go out and settled them into the countryside.

[iii.9] He heaped up the houses of Babylon's inhabitants BREAK BREAK into piles of rubble, and he turned them into royal property.

[iii.10] The main street, the avenue of Šarur, his lord's beloved, who passes through the streets of his city in the month of Ululu,

[iii.11] its passage he blocked off and turned into royal property, making him pass into a cul-de-sac.

[iii.12] He seized Mudammiq-Adad, son of Adad-šuma-ereš, his court opponent, without having committed either a crime or a rebellion, and

[iii.13] his people, as many as there were, he carried off to the Chaldaeans and the Aramaeans, as a sign of respect.

[iii.14] His towns, his fields, his houses, his gardens, and everything that belonged to him, as many as there were, he appropriated for himself.

[iii.15] The man Iltagal-il of the town Dur-ša-Karbi, which is on the bank of the Euphrates, came to his presence and swore agreements and oaths, but

[iii.16] he committed insult and unspeakable slander, that are forbidden of princes, against him and counted his town as booty.

[iii.17] In the sixth year, he turned his attention toward the Esagila, the palace of the Enlil of the gods (i.e., Marduk), with a view to restoring it, but

[iii.18] the possessions of the Esagila, as much as was there, what earlier kings had brought there,

[iii.19] he took out, gathered them into his own palace, and made them his own:

[iii.20] silver, gold, choice and priceless stones, and everything that befits a deity, as much as was there.

[iii.21] According to his good pleasure, he made offerings of them to the gods of the Sealand, of the Chaldeans, and of the Aramaeans.

[iii.22] He would adorn the women of his palace with them, and would give them to Hatti and Elam as signs of respect.

[iii.23] At the beginning of the seventh year, he marched on the Bit-Dakkuri for evil.

[iii.24] Afterward, Nabû-šuma-iškun, the Dakkurean, in violation of the sworn agreements and the oath taken by the great gods,

[iii.25] ordered out horses, troops, and chariots and sent them to go on campaign with him.

[iii.26] He distributed bread, beer of the first quality, and flour to all his camp.

[iii.27] In the month of Addaru, the twentieth day, the days of games in honor of Šamaš and Marduk, he felt no fear with regard to the sworn agreements and oaths.

[iii.28] The people, as many as were lying like cattle in a meadow, made merry and celebrated.

Translation of Column IV

[iv.2'] ...

[iv.3'] ... Bêl ...

[iv.4'] ... Sin ... he made get up.

[iv.5'] ... in the room ...

[iv.6'] ...

[iv.7'] ... Babylon ... he ... them.

[iv.8'] ... Babylon.

[iv.9'] ... he ... and ... they knelt.

[iv.10'] ... they made go up .... "I want to send ...".

[iv.11'] ... the great lord Marduk ... looked angrily at ... Ezida and

[iv.12'] ... they made ... attack him and he plundered its ...

[iv.13'] ... his survivors ... confined and

[iv.14'] ... the fugitives ... he returned and

[iv.15'] ... Akkad ... he burned.

[iv.16'] ... Borsippa, ..., Dilbat, and Cutha.

[iv.17'] ... toward those who are in the vanguard, ... he stole their goods.

[iv.18'] ... he marched to Larak and ... the governor of Larak.

[iv.19'] ... sworn agreements and oaths before the great gods, seven times, ... entered into with him.

[iv.20'] ... those people, without having committed any crime ... he seized and

[iv.21'] ... he took them away and ... made them live on the steppe.

[iv.22'] ... toward the Bitter Waters ... them.

[iv.23'] ... he reached ... and Nabû who, before ... kept hold of Babylon.

[iv.24'] ... he caused to be done ... Ekur not ... he made him do but

[iv.25'] Marduk, the great lord, and Nabû, the exalted crown-prince, commanded his scattering ...

[iv.26'] ...

[iv.27'] ...

[iv.28'] ... BREAK ...


Upper edge

[Upper edge] [Remains of a colophon]