Dynastic Chronicle

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L. W. King’s line-art for a fragment (K. 8532) of the Dynastic Chronicle.[1]

The Dynastic Chronicle, "Chronicle 18" in Grayson's Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles[2] or the "Babylonian Royal Chronicle" in Glassner’s Mesopotamian Chronicles,[3] is a fragmentary ancient Mesopotamian text extant in at least four known copies. It is actually a bilingual text written in 6 columns, representing a continuation of the Sumerian king list tradition through to the 8th century BC and is an important source for the reconstruction of the historical narrative for certain periods poorly preserved elsewhere.

The text[edit]

From the extant pieces, the work apparently begins with a list of nine antediluvian kings from five cities, so much resembling that of the Sumerian King List that Thorkild Jacobsen considered it a variant,[4] and an account of the flood before proceeding on with that of the successive Babylonian dynasties. Due to the poor state of preservation of the center of the text, there are a great many gaps (lacunae, or lacunas), and the narrative resumes with the post-Kassite king Simbar-Šipak (ca.1025–1008 BC), the final discernible king being Erība-Marduk (ca. 769–761 BC) although it certainly would have continued, possibly until Nabû-šuma-iškun (ca. 761–748 BC), leading William W. Hallo to suggest it to be a composition during Nabû-nāṣir's reign (747–732 BC).[5]

The text dwells on the final resting place of the kings, leading some to propose that the legitimacy of rule determined the location of the burial.[2]


The following collation should be considered preliminary as small fragments continue to be identified, where 1A, 1B and 1C probably come from the same tablet although they do not actually join[2]:139 and others, such as 79-7-8, 333+ (copy 2 below) have their identification disputed.[6]

Copy Museum Reference Find Spot
1A K. 11261 + K. 11624 [7] + K. 12054 [6] Nineveh
1B K. 8532 + K. 8533 + K. 8534 + K. 16801[8] + K. 16930 + ? K. 19528 Nineveh
1C 81-7-27, 117[9][10] Nineveh
2 79-7-8, 333 and 339 (unpublished duplicate)[11] Nineveh
3 BM 35572=Sp. III, 80[12] Babylon
4 BM 40565=80-11-12, 1088[12] Babylon

External links[edit]

The Dynastic Chronicle at Livius
CDLI links to tablet fragments are provided in the table (above).


  1. ^ L. W. King (1907). Chronicles Concerning Early Babylonian Kings, Vol. II: Texts and Translations. Luzac and Co. p. 145.
  2. ^ a b c A. K. Grayson (1975). Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles. J. J. Augustin. pp. 139–41.
  3. ^ Jean-Jacques Glassner (2004). Mesopotamian Chronicles. Society of Biblical Literature. pp. 126–135.
  4. ^ John Van Seters (1997). In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and the Origins of Biblical History. Eisenbrauns. p. 71.
  5. ^ W. W. Hallo (1984/85). "The Concept of Eras from Nabonassar to Seleucus". Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society (16/17): 149. Check date values in: |year= (help)
  6. ^ a b W. G. Lambert (1973). "A new fragment from a list of antediluvian kings and Marduk's chariot". In Martinus Adrianus Beek. Symbolae biblicae et Mesopotamicae Francisco Mario Theodoro de Liagre Böhl dedicatae. Brill. pp. 271–274.
  7. ^ W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard (1965). Cuneiform texts from Babylonian tablets in the British Museum. / Part XLVI, Babylonian literary texts (CT 46). The trustees of the British Museum. No. 5
  8. ^ W. G. Lambert (Oct 1974). "The Home of the First Sealand Dynasty". Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 26 (4): 208–210. doi:10.2307/1359442.
  9. ^ Johns, PSBA 40 (1918), p. 130.
  10. ^ J. A. Brinkman (1999). Dietz Otto Edzard, ed. Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie: Meek - Mythologie. 8. Walter De Gruyter. p. 7.
  11. ^ Rykle Borger (1994). "The Incantation Series Bīt Mēseri and Enoch's Ascenson to Heaven". In Richard S. Hess,David Tsumura. I Studied Inscriptions from Before the Flood: Ancient Near Eastern and Literary Approaches to Genesis 1-11. Eisenbrauns. p. 225.
  12. ^ a b Irving L. Finkel (Apr 1980). "Bilingual Chronicle Fragments". Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 32 (2): 65–80. doi:10.2307/1359669.