ListMoto - Nabonidus Chronicle

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The Nabonidus
Chronicle is an ancient Babylonian text, part of a larger series of Babylonian Chronicles
Babylonian Chronicles
inscribed in cuneiform script on clay tablets. It deals primarily with the reign of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, covers the conquest of Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus the Great, and ends with the start of the reign of Cyrus's son Cambyses, spanning a period from 556 BC to some time after 539 BC. It provides a rare contemporary account of Cyrus's rise to power and is the main source of information on this period;[1] Amélie Kuhrt describes it as "the most reliable and sober [ancient] account of the fall of Babylon."[2] The chronicle is thought to have been copied by a scribe during the Seleucid
period (4th-1st century BC) but the original text was probably written during the late 6th or early 5th century BC.[3] Similarities with the Nabonassar to Shamash-shum-ukin Chronicle, another of the Babylonian Chronicles, suggest that the same scribe may have been responsible for both chronicles. If so, it may date to the reign of Darius I of Persia
Darius I of Persia
(c. 549 BC–486 BC).[2]


1 Description of the tablet 2 The text 3 Analysis 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Description of the tablet[edit] The Nabonidus
Chronicle is preserved on a single clay tablet now kept at the British Museum
British Museum
in London. Like the other Babylonian Chronicles, it lists in an annalistic (year-by-year) fashion the key events of each year, such as the accession and deaths of kings, major military events, and notable religious occurrences. It follows a standard pattern of reporting only events of immediate relevance to Babylonia, making it of somewhat limited utility as a source for a wider history of the region.[2] The tablet itself is fairly large, measuring 140 mm wide by 140 mm long, but is significantly damaged with its bottom and most of the left-hand side missing. The text was composed in two columns on each side, originally consisting of some 300-400 lines. What remains is extremely fragmentary; little more than 75 lines of text are still legible.[1] The missing portions consist of most of the first and fourth columns, along with the bottom of the second and the top of the third. There appears to have been a colophon at the bottom of the tablet, but it too is largely missing.[4] Although the writing is of a good standard, the copying was decidedly imperfect and the scribe made a number of errors that are visible in the text.[5] The tablet was acquired by the British Museum
British Museum
in 1879 from the antiquities dealers Spartali & Co. Its original place of discovery is unknown, though it has been presumed that it came from the ruins of Babylon. It possibly represents part of an official collection of annals in the possession of the Achaemenid
governors of Babylon.[6] The text, known at the time as "the Annals of Nabonidus", was first discussed in print by Sir Henry Rawlinson in the Athenaeum magazine of 14 February 1880, with the first English transliteration and translation being published two years later by Professor T. G. Pinches in the Transactions of the Society for Biblical Archaeology (1882).[5] It has since been translated by a number of scholars, notably Sidney Smith,[5] A. Leo Oppenheim,[7] Albert Kirk Grayson,[4] Jean-Jacques Glassner,[8] and Amélie Kuhrt.[9] The text[edit] The text of the chronicle begins presumably with the accession of Nabonidus
in 556 BC, though the start of the text is so poorly preserved that none of this portion is legible. It mentions campaigns by Nabonidus
against a place named Hume and unnamed localities in "the West" (Arabia?). Cyrus's pillaging of Ecbatana, the capital of Astyages, is recorded in the sixth year of the reign of Nabonidus. The chronicle goes on to describe in several entries the self-imposed exile of Nabonidus
in the Arabian oasis of Tema (mentioned as Teiman in Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
fragment 4Q242 known as the Testimony of Nebonidus dated to 150 BC.[10][11] and the disruption that this caused to the Akitu (New Year) festival for a period of ten years. The king spent ten years in Arabia
and left Babylonia administered by his son, Bel-shar-usur ( Belshazzar
of the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament). The eighth year is purposefully left blank; apparently the scribe did not have any significant events to record for that year. Another campaign by Cyrus is recorded in the ninth year, possibly representing his attack on Lydia
and capture of Sardis. Much of the rest of the text is fragmentary. A possible reference to fighting and Persia appears in what is presumably the entry for the sixteenth year. A long surviving section describes the events of Nabonidus's seventeenth and final year as king, when Cyrus invaded and conquered Babylonia. The celebration of the Akitu festival is recorded, indicating Nabonidus's return to Babylon. The chronicle provides no information on why Cyrus chose to invade Babylonia
at that time but records that the gods of various cities "entered Babylon", apparently referring to an in-gathering of cultic statues in advance of the Persian invasion – perhaps a measure taken by Nabonidus
to prevent the Persians capturing the divine idols. It provides a terse description of the Battle of Opis, in which the Persians decisively defeated Nabonidus's army, massacred the retreating Babylonians and took a great haul of loot. The Persian army went on to capture the cities of Sippar
and Babylon
itself without further conflict.[12] Cyrus is reported to have been received with joy by the city's inhabitants and appointed local governors. The gods that had previously been brought to Babylon
were returned to their home cities on the orders of Cyrus. The legible portion of the text ends with a lengthy period of mourning for the lately deceased king's wife (presumably meaning the wife of Cyrus, as Nabonidus
was no longer king by this time[13]) and a mention of Cambyses, the son of Cyrus. Only a few scattered words are legible in the remainder of the tablet.[14] Analysis[edit] The Nabonidus
Chronicle appears to have been composed by the (Babylonian) priests of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon. It has been characterised as "a piece of propaganda at Cyrus's service" [15] and as possibly "the result of the propaganda of the priesthood of Marduk to vilify Nabonidus".[16] Julye Bidmead attributes the priests' hostility to Nabonidus's unsuccessful attempts to introduce the worship of the moon god Sîn. In particular, the chronicle repeatedly asserts that the Akitu festival could not be held because of Nabonidus's absence. This is dubious, as others could have participated in the celebration in Nabonidus's place. The chronicle is seen as part of a series of pro-Persian documents, including the Cyrus cylinder and Verse Account of Nabonidus, that attack Nabonidus
for alleged religious infidelity and contrast his actions with those of Cyrus and Cambyses.[16]. However Amélie Kuhrt describes it as "the most reliable and sober ancient account of the fall of Babylon."[2] See also[edit]

Babylonian Chronicle Nabonidus


^ a b Oppenheim, A.L. "The Babylonian Evidence of Achaemenian Rule in Mesopotamia". In Gershevitch, Ilya (ed), The Cambridge History of Iran: Vol. 2 : The Median and Achaemenian periods, p. 535. Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-521-20091-1 ^ a b c d Kuhrt, Amélie. " Babylonia
from Cyrus to Xerxes", in The Cambridge Ancient History: Persia, Greece, and the Western Mediterranean, C. 525-479 B.C, pp. 112-138. Cambridge University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-521-22804-2 ^ Clyde E. Fant, Mitchell G. Reddish, Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible Through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums, p. 228. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008. ISBN 0-8028-2881-7 ^ a b Grayson, Albert Kirk. Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, p. 21. J.J. Augustin, 1975 ^ a b c Smith, Sidney. Babylonian Historical Texts Relating to the Capture and Downfall of Babylon, p. 98. Taylor & Francis, 1975 (reprint). ISBN 3-487-05615-1 ^ Prince, John Dyneley. A Critical Commentary on the Book of Daniel: Designed Especially for Students of the English Bible, p. 219. J. C. Hinrichs, 1899 ^ Oppenheim, A. Leo.Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton, 1950. ^ Glassner, Jean-Jacques. Mesopotamian Chronicles. Society of Biblical Literature, 2004. ISBN 1-58983-090-3 ^ Kuhrt, Amelie. The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources of the Achaemenid
Period. London: Routledge, 2007. ISBN 0-415-43628-1 ^ In the book " Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
Today" Teiman TYMN mentioned in Dead Sea Scrolls' fragment 4Q242 known as the testimony of Nabonidu [1] ^ Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period ^ Briant, Pierre. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, p. 41. Eisenbrauns, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57506-120-7 ^ Brosius, Maria. Women in Ancient Persia, 559-331 BC, pp. 26-27. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-815255-8 ^ Grayson, A.K. Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, pp. 21-22, 104-111. Eisenbrauns, 2000. ISBN 1-57506-049-3 ^ Wiesehöfer, Josef (trans. Azodi, Azizeh). Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD, p. 49. I.B.Tauris, 2001. ISBN 1-86064-675-1 ^ a b Bidmead, Julye. The Akitu Festival: Religious Continuity And Royal Legitimation In Mesopotamia, p. 132-137. Gorgias Press LLC, 2004. ISBN 1-59333-158-4

External links[edit]

Image and description of the Nabonidus
Chronicle (British Museum) Catalogue entry for the Nabonidus
Chronicle (British Museum) Mesopotamian chronicles: Nabonidus

v t e

Cyrus the Great

Teispids, Achaemenid


Cambyses I Mandane of Media Cassandane Amitis


Cambyses II Bardiya Atossa Artystone


Persian Revolt Hyrba Persian Border Pasargadae Pteria Thymbra Sardis Opis


"Cyrus" (name) Pasargadae Cyrus Cylinder Cyropaedia Tomb Cyrus in the Bible

Cyrus's edict

Cyrus in the Quran


Kay Bahman Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Day Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
(screenplay) Ciro riconosci