Akitu Chronicle (ABC 16)

Mixed-breed King Esarhaddon and his mother (Relief from the Louvre)



(Texts: All Artefacts, Color Coding, & Writings in Bold Type With Italics Inside Parenthesis, are Added by Editor R. Brown, not the Authors, Translators, or Publishers!)

(gods in blue)


The Akitu Chronicle (ABC 16) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Babylon. It deals with the war between the Babylonian king Šamaš-šuma-ukin and his brother Aššurbanipal, king of Assyria. Its name is derived from the fact that the author shows a special interest in the celebration of the Akitu festival.

The text of the Akitu Chronicle is preserved on a table, BM 86379 (original registration number unknown), which measures 45 mm wide and 62 mm long. It is well preserved, there being a small piece missing from the upper right-hand corner and a few surface flaws.

1 For eight years under Sennacherib,

2 for twelve years under Esarhaddon,

3twenty years altogether, Bêl stayed in Baltil (Aššur)

4 and the Akitu festival did not take place.

5 The accession year of Šamaš-šuma-ukin [2] (668/667): In the month Ajaru

6 Bêl (Marduk) and the gods of Akkad went out from Baltil (Aššur) and

7 on the twenty-fourth [1] day of the month Ajaru, they entered Babylon.

8 Nabû and the gods of Borsippa went to Babylon.


9 The sixteenth year of Šamaš-šuma-ukin (652/651): From the month Ajaru until the month Tebêtu

10 the major-domo conscripted troops in Akkad.

11 On the nineteenth day of the month Tebêtu hostilities began between Assyria and Akkad.

12 The king withdrew before the enemy into Babylon.

13 On the twenty-seventh day of Addaru the armies of Assyria and Akkad

14 did battle in Hiritu. The army of Akkad

15 retreated from the battlefield and a major defeat was inflicted upon it.

16 However, there were still hostilities and warfare continued.


17 The seventeenth year (651/650): There were insurrections in Assyria and Akkad.

18 Nabû did not come from Borsippa for the precession of Bêl

19 and Bêl did not come out.


20 The eighteenth year (650/649): Nabû did not come from Borsippa for the precession of Bêl

21 and Bêl did not come out.


22 The nineteenth year (649/648): Nabû did not come and Bêl did not come out.


23 The twentieth year (648/647): Nabû did not come and Bêl did not come out.


24 After Kandalanu [2], in the accession year of Nabopolassar (626-625),[3]

25 there were insurrections in Assyria and Akkad.

26 There were hostilities and warfare continued.

27 Nabû did not come and Bêl(Marduk) did not come out. Nabû did not come and Bel did not come out.

Note 1:
Lines 1-8 are identical to ABC 14, lines 34-40, but the date is different.

Note 2:
King of Babylonia (647-627), possibly identical to Aššurbanipal.

Note 3:
In this year, two Assyrian officials named Sin-šumlišir and Sin-šar-iškun ruled Babylon. They were expelled by Nabopolassar.