Šamaš-šuma-ukin (ABC 1)

Tiglath-Pileser III on a relief in the British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Tiglath-Pileser III on a relief in the British Museum


(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 bluemixed-breed demigods in teal…)


The Chronicle on the Reigns from Nabû-Nasir to Šamaš-šuma-ukin (ABC 1) is one of the historiographical texts about ancient Assyria and Babylonia. It deals with the resistance of an increasingly stronger Babylon, supported by Elam, against Assyria, beginning with the reign of the Babylonian king Nabû-Nasir (747-734) and culminating in the accessions of Aššurbanipal in Assyria and Šamaš-šuma-ukin in Babylonia in 668.

The text is preserved on two copies that are now in the British Museum; one of these copies was written in 499 BCE, the twenty-second year of king Darius I the Great. (It is the only Neo-Babylonian chronicle that is preserved on more than one copy.) The best of these measures 193 mm long and 158 mm wide, which is extremely large; this made it possible to create two columns (cf. ABC 7, the Nabonidus Chronicle, which may have been written by the same scribe). It is from Babylon. The other fragments are from Sippar and may belong to one and the same broken, large tablet. A parallel text that contains variant information can be found here.

Column I

Column II

Column III

Column IV

Translation of Column I

1 “The third year of Nabû-nasir (745/744), king of Babylon:

2 Tiglath-Pileser [III] ascended the throne in Assyria.

3 In that same year the king of Assyria went down to Akkad

4 plundered Rabbilu and Hamranu

5 and abducted the gods of Šapazza.


6 In the time of Nabû-nasir Borsippa

7 committed hostile acts against Babylon but the battle which Nabû-Nasir

8 waged against Borsippa is not written.[1]


9 The fifth year of Nabû-nasir (743/742): Humban-Nikaš

10 ascended to the throne in Elam.


11 The fourteenth year (734/733): Nabû-nasir fell ill and went to his destiny in his palace.

12 For fourteen years Nabû-nasir ruled Babylon.

13 Nabû-nadin-zeri, his son, ascended the throne in Babylon.


14 The second year (732/731): Nabû-nadin-zeri was killed in a rebellion.

15 For two years Nabû-nadin-zeri ruled Babylon.

16 Nabû-šuma-ukin, a district officer and leader of the rebellion, ascended the throne.

17 For one month and two days, Nabû-šuma-ukin ruled Babylon.

18 Nabû-mukin-zeri, the Amukanite, removed him from the throne and seized the throne for himself.


19 The third year of Nabû-mukin-zeri (729/728): Tiglath-pileser,

20 having come down to Akkad,

21 ravaged Bit-Amukanu and captured Nabû-mukin-zeri.

22 For three years Nabû-mukin-zeri ruled Babylon.

23 Tiglath-pileser ascended the throne in Babylon.


24 The second year (727/726): Tiglath-pileser went to his destiny in the month Tebêtu.
25 For <eighteen>[2] years Tiglath-pileser ruled Akkad.

26 and Assyria. For two of these years he ruled in Akkad.

27 On the twenty-fifth of the month Tebêtu, Šalmaneser in Assyria

28 and Akkad ascended the throne. He ravaged Samaria [the capital of Israel].


29 The fifth year (722/721): Šalmaneser went to his destiny in the month Tebêtu.

30 For five years Šalmaneser ruled Akkad and Assyria.

31 On the twelfth day of the month Tebêtu, Sargon ascended the throne in Assyria.

32 In the month Nisannu, Marduk-apla-iddina [3] ascended the throne in Babylon.


33 The second year of Marduk-apla-iddina (720/719): Humban-Nikaš, king of Elam,

34 did battle against Sargon, king of Assyria, in the district of Der,

35 effected Assyria’s retreat, and inflicted a major defeat upon it.

36 Marduk-apla-iddina and his army, who to the aid of

37 the king of Elam had gone, did not reach the battle in time so Marduk-apla-iddina withdrew.[4]


38 The fifth year of Marduk-apla-iddina (717/716): Humban-Nikaš, king of Elam, went to his destiny.

39 For twenty-six years Humban-nikaš ruled Elam.

40 Šutur-Nahhunte, his sister’s son, ascended the throne in Elam.

41 From the accession year of Marduk-apla-iddina until the tenth year

42 Assyria was belligerent towards Marduk-apla-iddina.


43 The tenth year (712/711): Marduk-apla-iddina

44 wrecked and plundered

45 Bit-[…]ri.

Note 1:
This means that thee author of the chronicle was unable to find a description that he could include.

Note 2:
The scribe left a some room unused because he was unable to find the number of regnal years. ‘Eighteen’ is a reconstruction.

Note 3:
The Biblical Merodach-Baladan. In fact, his accession took place in the next year.

Note 4:
In other sources, both the Assyrian king and his Babylonian colleague claim victory.

Translation of Column II

1 The twelfth year of Marduk-apla-iddina (710/709): Sargon went down to Akkad and

2 did battle against Marduk-apla-iddina.

3 Marduk-apla-iddina retreated before him and fled to Elam.[1]
4 For twelve years Marduk-apla-iddina ruled Babylon.

5 Sargon ascended the throne in Babylon.


6-11 [2] The first year of Sennacherib (704/703) […] Marduk-apla-iddina […] [too broken]

12 The second year of Sennacherib (703/702), he went down to Akkad. Before Kiš, he joined battle with Marduk-apla-iddina. Before him, Marduk-apla-iddina retreated and fled to Guzummanu. In Babylon, Sennacherib entered the palace of Marduk-apla-iddina and the royal treasury […] he plundered, but

19 Sennacherib did not disperse the Babylonians.

20 He pursued Marduk-apla-iddina

21 […] the territory […] but Marduk-apla-iddina remained undiscoverable. Sennacherib plundered his land and

22 Larak and Sarrabanu he took.

23 When he withdrew, Sennacherib put Bêl-ibni on the throne in Babylon.


24 The first year of Bêl-ibni (702/701): Sennacherib

25 ravaged Hirimma and Hararatum.


26 The third year of Bêl-ibni (700/699): Sennacherib, to Akkad

27 he went down and plundered Akkad.

28 He led away to Assyria Bêl-ibni and his officers.

29 For three years Bêl-ibni ruled Babylon.

30 Sennacherib, Aššur-nadin-šumi, his son,

31 he put on the throne in Babylon.


32 The first year of Aššur-nadin-šumni (699/698): Šutur-Nahhunte, king of Elam,

33 was seized by his brother, Hallušu-Inšušinak and Hallušu-Inšušinak shot the door in his face.[3]

34 For eighteen years Šutur-Nahhunte ruled Elam.

35 Hallušu-Inšušinak ascended the throne in Elam.


36 The sixth year of Aššur-nadin-šumni (694/693): Sennacherib

37 went down to Elam and Nagitum, Hilmu,

38 Pillatum, and Huppapanu, he ravaged and

39 plundered. Afterwards, Hallušu-Inšušinak, king of Elam,

40 marched to Akkad and entered Sippar at the end of the month Tašrîtu.

41 He slaughtered its inhabitants. Šamaš (Shamash / Utu) did not go out of Ebabbar (his residence in Sippar).

42 Aššur-nadin-šumni was taken prisoner and transported to Elam.

43 For six years, Aššur-nadin-šumni ruled Babylon.

44 The king of Elam put[45] Nergal-ušezib in Babylon

45 on the throne. He effected an Assyrian retreat.


46 The first year of Nergal-ušezib (693/692): On the sixteenth day of the month Du’ûzu

47 Nergal-ušezib captured Nippur, plundered and sacked it.

48 On the first day of the month Tašrîtu the army of Assyria entered Uruk and

Note 1:
He was to return later.

Note 2:
For the reconstruction of lines 6-18, see John Brinkman, “The Babylonian Chronicle revisited” in T. Abusch,  J. Huehnergard, P. Steinkeller (eds.): Lingering over words. Studies in ancient Near Eastern literature in honor of William L. Moran (1990 Atlanta).

Note 3:
Probably, this odd statement means that he was taken prisoner.

Translation of Column III

1 plundered the gods and inhabitants of Uruk.

2 After the Elamites had come and carried off[3] the gods

3 and inhabitants of Uruk Nergal-ušezib[2] in the district of Nippur on the seventh day of the month Tašrîtu
4 did battle against the army of Assyria. He was taken prisoner in the battlefield and

5 transported to Assyria. For one year -precisely: six months- Nergal-ušezib

6 ruled Babylon. On the twenty-sixth day of the month Tašrîtu

7 the subjects of Hallušu-Inšušinak, king of Elam, rebelled against him. The door in his face[1]

8 they shut and they killed him. For six years Hallušu-Inšušinak ruled Elam.

9 Kudur-Nahhunte ascended the throne in Elam. Afterwards Sennacherib

10 went down to Elam. From Raši to

11 Bit-Burnaki, he ravaged and plundered it.

12 Mušezib-Marduk ascended the throne in Babylon.


13 The first year of Mušezib-Marduk (692/691): On the seventeenth day of the month Âbu,

14 Kudur-Nahhunte, king of Elam, was taken prisoner in a rebellion and killed. For ten months

15 Kudur-Nahhunte ruled Elam. Humban-nimena in Elam

16 ascended the throne. In an unknown year Humban-nimena

17 mustered the troops of Elam and Akkad[16] and battle against Assyria in Halule

18 he did. He effected an Assyrian retreat.


19 The fourth year of Mušezib-Marduk (689/688): On the fifteenth day of the month Nisannu

20 Humban-nimena, king of Elam, was stricken by paralysis and

21 his mouth was so affected that he could not speak.

22 On the first day of the month Kislîmu the city of Babylon was captured. Mušezib-Marduk

23 was taken prisoner and transported to Assyria.

24 For four years, Mušezib-Marduk ruled Babylon.[2]
25 On the seventh day of the month Addaru Humban-nimena, king of Elam, died.

26 For four years, Humban-nimena, ruled Elam.

27 Humban-haltaš ascended the throne in Elam.


28 The eighth year of there not being a king in Babylon (681/680):[3] on the third day of the month Du’ûzu,

29 the gods of Uruk went from Elam to Uruk.

30 On the twenty-third day of the month Tašrîtu, at the noon hour, Humban-Haltaš, king of Elam, at

31 became paralyzed and died at sunset. For eight years Humban-Haltaš

32 ruled Elam.

33 Humban-Haltaš the second, his son, ascended the throne.

34 On the twentieth day of the month Tebêtu, Sennacherib, king of Assyria,

35 was killed by his son in a rebellion. For twenty-four years Sennacherib

36 ruled Assyria. After the twentieth day of the month Tebêtu

37 the rebellion continued in Assyria until the second day of the month Addaru.

38 On the eighteenth day of the month Addaru Esarhaddon, his son, ascended the throne in Assyria.


39 The first year of Esarhaddon (680/679): when[40] Nabû-zer-kitti-lišir, governor of the Sealand,

40 had gone upstream, he encamped against Ur, but did not capture the city.

41 Instead he fled from the Assyrian officers and went back into Elam.

42 In Elam the king of Elam took him prisoner and put him to the sword.

43 In an unknown month the governor […] in Nippur.

44 In the month Ulûlu, Ištaran (Ninurta) and the gods of Der

45 went[45] from […] to Der […].

46 went to Dur-Šarrukin […]. [4]

47 In the month Adarru […].


48 In the second year(679/678): the major-domo [conscripted troops in Akkad…]

49 In that same year Arza was captured and sacked. The people were plundered, the king and his son were taken prisoner.

50 There was a slaughter in Buššua and there was a slaughter of the Cimmerians in Šubuhn.] [5]


Note 1:
This remarkable statement probably means that he was taken prisoner.

Note 2:
Babylon was sacked by Sennacherib, an event that is not recorded in this chronicle.

Note 3:
In fact, Sennacherib ruled over the country, but he was not recognized, because he had sacked Babylon.

Note 4:
The capital of Assyria.

Note 5:
Restoration based on
ABC 14.

Translation of Column IV

1 The third year [of Esarhaddon] (678/677): […]-ahhe-šullim, the governor of Nippur, and

2 Šamaš-ibni, the Dakkurean, were transported to Assyria and executed in Assyria.


3 The fourth year (677/676): Sidon was captured and sacked.

4 In that same year: the major-domo conscripted troops in Akkad.


5 The fifth year (676/675): On the second day of the month Tašrîtu the army of Assyria

6 captured Baza[5]. In the month Tašrîtu the head of [Abdi-Milkutti] the king of Sidon

7 was cut off and conveyed to Assyria. In the month Addaru the head of [Sanduarri] the king

8 of Kundu and Sissu was cut off and conveyed to Assyria.


9 The sixth year (675/674): The king of Elam entered Sippar and a massacre took place. Šamaš (Shamash / Utu)

10 did not come out of Ebabbar. The Assyrian marched to Milidu. On the seventh day of the month Ulûlu

11 Humban-haltaš, king of Elam, without becoming ill, died in his palace.

12 For five years, Humban-haltaš ruled Elam.

13 Urtak, his brother, ascended the throne in Elam.

14 In an unknown month Šuma-iddina, the governor of Nippur,

15 and Kudurru, the Dakurrean, were transported to Assyria.


16 The seventh year (674/673): On the fifth day of the month Addaru the army of Assyria was defeated in Egypt.

17 In the month Addaru, Ištar (Inanna) of Akkad and the gods of Akkad

18 left Elam and entered Akkad on the tenth day of the month Addaru.


19 The eighth year of Esarhaddon (673/672): On the TEXT BROKEN[1] day of the month Tebêtu

20 Šubria was captured and sacked.

21 In the month Kislîmu its booty entered Uruk.

22 On the fifth day of the month Addaru the king’s wife died.


23 The tenth year (671/670): In the month Nisannu the army of Assyria marched to Egypt TEXT BROKEN [1]

24 On the third, sixteenth and eighteenth days of the month Du’uzu

25 -three times- there was a massacre in Egypt. It was sacked and its gods were abducted.

26 On the twenty-second day Memphis, the royal city, was captured and

27 abandoned by its king [Taharqo]. The king’s son and brother were taken prisoner.

28 The city was sacked, its inhabitants plundered, and its booty carried off.


29 The eleventh year (670/669): In Assyria the king put his numerous officers to the sword.


30 The twelfth year (669/668): The king of Assyria marched to Egypt but

31 became ill on the way and went to his destiny on the tenth day of the month Arahsamna.

32 For twelve years Esarhaddon ruled Assyria.

33 Šamaš-šuma-ukin and Aššurbanipal, his two sons, ascended the throne in Babylon and Assyria respectively.


34 The accession year of Šamaš-šuma-ukin (668/667): In the month Ajaru
35 Bêl and the gods of Akkad went out[36] from Aššur

36 and on the fourteenth/twenty-fourth of the month Ajaru they entered Babylon.

37 In that same year Kirbitu was taken and its king captured.

38 On the twentieth day of the month Tebêtu, Bêl-etir, judge of Babylon, was taken prisoner and executed.


39 The first edition, written according to the pattern tablet, checked and collated.[2]

40 Tablet of Ana-Bêl-eriš, son of Liblutu,

41 descendant of Ur-Nanna. Written by Ea-nadin, son of

42 Ana-Bêl-eriš, descendant of Ur-Nanna. Babylon,

43 the N+6th [day of the month …], the twenty-second year of Darius, king of Babylon and all lands.

Note 1:
This means that the scribe had no access to a correct copy.

Note 2:
This is the colophon of the text.