Synchronistic chronicle (ABC 21)

The translation on this webpage was adapted from A.K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (1975) and Jean-Jacques Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles (Atlanta, 2004).

Synchronistic Chronicle (ABC 21); British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Jona Lendering.
Synchronistic Chronicle (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 Synchronistic Chronicle (ABC 21) is one of the historiographical texts from ancient Assyria. It deals with the relations between Assyria and its southern neighbor Babylonia (which is called Karduniaš), and is an important source for those who want to study the chronology of this period, as it offers many synchronisms.

The text, which has a strong pro-Assyrian bias, is preserved on three tablets from the library of king Aššurbanipal in Nineveh, and purports to render the text of a boundary stone between Assyria and Babylonia that stood somewhere on the east bank of the Tigris. This may be a literary fiction.

The text must have been composed after the accession of Adad-nirari III in 810, but not much later, because there are no references to later troubles.


Of the three tablets, tablet A (yellow) is the main text; B (pink) and C (blue) are fragments.

Translation of Column 1

B1 […] for the god Aššur

B2 […] his utterance

B3 […] settlements

B4 […] Meli-Šipak[?]

B5 […] forever

B6 […] he makes known the word

B7 […] praise of strength

B8 […] when he ruled all

B9 […] former kings

B10 […] they were seized

B11 […] fall


A1′ Karaindaš, king of Karduniaš [1]
A2′ and Aššur-bêl-nišešu, king of Assyria,

A3′ made a treaty[2] between them

A4′ and took an oath together concerning this very boundary.


A5′ Puzur-aššur, king of Assyria, and Burnaburiaš,

A6′ king of Karduniaš, took an oath and

A7′ fixed this very boundary-line.


A8′ In the time of Aššur-uballit,[2] king of Assyria, Kassite troops[10]

A11′ rebelled against and killed Karahardaš,[8]

A9′ king of Karduniaš, son of Muballit-šerua,

A10′ the daughter of Aššur-uballit.

A12′ They appointed Nazibugaš,[11] a Kassite, son of a nobody, as sovereign over them.


A13′ To avenge Karaindaš, his grandson,[14] Aššur-uballit

A14′ marched to Karduniaš.

A15′ He killed Nazibugaš, king of Karduniaš.

A16′ Kurigalzu the Younger, son of Burnaburiaš,

A17′ he appointed as king and put him on his father’s throne.[3]


A18′ In the time of Enlil-nirari,[4] king of Assyria, Kurigalzu the Younger, was king of Karduniaš.
A19′ At Sugagi, which is on the Tigris, Enlil-nirari, king of Assyria,

A20′ fought with Kurigalzu. He brought about his total defeat, slaughtered his troops and

A21′ carried off his camp. They divided the districts[22] from Šasili of Subartu,

A22′ to Karduniaš into two and

A23′ fixed the boundary-line.


C24′ Adad-nirari, king of Assyria, and Nazi-Marrutaš, king of Karduniaš,[5]

C25′ fought with one another at Kar-Ištar of Ugarsallu.

C26′ Adad-nirari brought about the total defeat of Nazi-Marrutaš and

C27′ conquered him. He took away from him his camp and his standards.

C28′ As for this very boundary-line, they fixed a division of[31]

C29′ their confines from Pilasqu,

C30′ which is on the other side of the Tigris, and Arman of Ugarsallu

C31′ as far as Lullume.

The Assyrian supreme god Ashur. From J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons, and symbols of ancient Mesopotamia (1992).

Aššur (©!!!; from J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons and
symbols of ancientMesopotamia, 1992)

Translation of Column 2

C1’* [Tukulti-Ninurta, king of Assyria, and] Kaštiliašu, king of Karduniaš [6]

C2’* […] in open battle.


B1′ his servants, he made […]

B2′ to Mount Kullar […]


B3′ Enlil-kudurri-usur, king of Assyria, and Adad-šuma-usur, king of Karduniaš,[7] with another

B4′ did battle. As Enlil-kudurri-usur and Adad-šuma-usur

B5′ were engaged in battle, Ninurta-apil-ekur

B6′ went home. He mustered his numerous troops and

B7′ marched to conquer Libbi-ali (the city of Aššur).

B8′ But […] arrived unexpectedly, so he turned and went home.


B9′ In the time of Zababa-šuma-iddina, king of Karduniaš,

B10′ Aššur-dan, king of Assyria, went down to Karduniaš.[8]

B11′ Zaban, Irriya, Ugarsallu and […]

B12′ he captured. He took their vast booty to Assyria.


A1′ […] together they made an entente cordiale.

A2′ […] he went home. After he had gone, Nebuchadnezzar [9]

A3′ took his siege engines and Zanqi, a fortress in Assyria,

A4′ he went to conquer. Aššur-reš-iši, king of Assyria,

A5′ mustered his chariots to go against him.

A6′ To prevent the siege engines being taken from him, Nebuchadnezzar burnt them.

A7′ He turned and went home.

A8′ This same Nebuchadnezzar with chariots and infantry,

A9′ went to conquer Idi, a fortress[8] of Assyria. Assur-reš-iši

A10′ sent chariots and infantry to help the fortress.

A11′ He fought with Nebuchadnezzar, brought about his total defeat, slaughtered his troops and

A12′ carried off his camp. Forty of his chariots with harness were taken away and

A13′ Karaštu[?], Nebuchadnezzar’s field-marshal, was captured.


A14′Tiglath-pileser I, king of Assyria, and Marduk-nadin-ahhe, king of Karduniaš.[10]

A15′ Twice Tiglath-pileser drew up[16] a battle array of chariots, as many as were by the Lower Zab,

A16′ opposite Ahizûhina, and

A17′ in the second year he defeated Marduk-nadin-ahhe at Gurmarritu, which is upstream from Akkad.

A18′ Dur-Kurigalzu, Sippar-ša-Šamaš

A19′ Sippar-ša-Anunitu,

A20′ Babylon, and Upû, the great urban centers,

A21′ he captured together with their forts.

A22′ At that time, Ugarsallu

A23′ he plundered as far as Lubda.

A24′ He ruled every part of Suhu as far as Rapiqu.


A25′ In the time of Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria,

A26′ Marduk-šapik-zeri was the king of Karduniaš.

A27′ An entente cordiale

A28′ they together made.

A29′ At the time of Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria,

A30′ Marduk-šapik-zeri, king of Karduniaš, passed away.

A31′ Aššur-bêl-kala appointed Adad-apla-iddina, son of Esagil-šaduni, son of a nobody,

A32′ as sovereign over the Babylonians.

A33′ Aššur-bêl-kala, king of Assyria,

A34′ married the daughter of Adad-apla-iddina, king of Karduniaš, and

A35′ took her with a vast dowry to Assyria.

A36′ The peoples of Assyria and Karduniaš

A37′ were joined together.

Note 1: The first seven lines of table A contain a serious chronological problem. King Aššur-Bêl-nišešu ruled from 1407 to 1399. Puzur-aššur, who ruled in c.1500, was the eighth king preceding him, and can therefore not be presented after Aššur-Bêl-nišešu. The other two kings were Kassites ruling in Babylonia.

Note 2:
King Aššur-uballit ruled from 1353 to 1318. The revolt of Nazibugaš took place in 1323. The events that are described over here are also mentioned in Chronicle P (ABC 22), which offers different names.

Note 3:
Kurigalzu II ruled until 1298.

Note 4:
Enlil-nirari succeeded Aššur-uballit as king of Assyria in 1317 and remained on the throne until 1308.

Note 5:
Adad-nirari I was king of Assyria from 1295 to 1264; Nazi-Marrutaš was king Babylonia from 1297 to 1272.

Note 6:
Only the name Kaštiliašu (1222-1215) is legible. The name of his opponent is a conjecture, and the identification with the fourth king called Kaštiliašu is hypothetical.

Note 7:
Enlil-kudurri-usur was king of Assyria from 1186 to 1182; he was succeeded by Ninurta-apil-ekur (1181-1179). Adad-šuma-usur was king of Babylonia between 1206 and 1177.

Note 8:
Zababa-šuma-iddina briefly was king of Babylonia in 1158; Aššur-dan ruled Assyria from 1178 to 1133.

Note 9:
The rule of Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylonia lasted from 1125 to 1104; his Assyrian contemporary Aššur-reš-iši ruled from 1132 to 1114.

Note 10:
Tiglath-pileser I became king of Assyria in 1114 and ruled to 1176. Marduk-nadin-ahhe was ruler of Babylonia from 1099 to 1082.

Note 11:
The Assyrian Aššur-bêl-kala’s rule lasted from 1073 to 1056; his contemporary Marduk-šapik-zeri became king of Babylonia in 1081 and passed away in 1069.

Translation of Column 3

A1 At the time of Adad-nirari, king of Assyria,[1]
A2 Šamaš-muddamiq, king of Karduniaš,

A3 drew up a battle array at the foot of Mount Yalman and

A4 Adad-nirari, king of Assyria, brought about the defeat[A5]of Šamaš-muddamiq,

A5 king of Karduniaš, and

A6 conquered him.

A7 His chariots, and teams of horses, he took away from him.

A8 Šamaš-muddamiq, king of Karduniaš, passed away.

A9 Nabû-šuma-iškun,[2] son of [Šamaš-muddamiq, ascended his father’s throne?].

A10 Adad-nirari, king of Assyria, fought[A11] with Nabû-šuma-iškun

A11 king of Karduniaš, and defeated him.

A12 […]banbala, Huda[…]

A13 […] numerous cities

A14 […] he conquered. Their vast booty

A15 he took to Assyria.

A16 […] his land, he enclosed him.

A17 […] he received from him. They gave their daughters to one another in marriage.

A18 Together they made an entente cordiale.

A19 The peoples of Assyria and Akkad were joined together.

A21 They established a boundary to Til-ša-Abtani and Til-ša-Zabdani

A20 from Til-Bit-Bari, which is upstream on the Zab.


A22 In the time of Šalmaneser, king of Assyria,

A23 Nabû-apla-iddina was the king of Karduniaš.[3]

A24 An entente cordially

A25 together they made. At the time of Šalmaneser, king of Assyria,

A26 Nabû-apla-iddina, king of Karduniaš, passed away.

A27 Marduk-zakir-šumi ascended his father’s throne.

A28 Marduk-bêl-usate, his brother, rebelled against him.

A29 He seized Daban. Akkad

A30 they equally divided. Šalmaneser, king of Assyria,

A31 went[A32] to the aid of Marduk-zakir-šumi,

A32 king of Karduniaš.

A33 Marduk-bêl-usate, the usurper,

A34 Šalmaneser defeated him and the rebellious troops who were with him.[4]
A35 […] Cuthah, Babylon

A36 […]


C1′-2′ Together they made an entente cordiale.

C3′ The people of Assyria and Akkad were joined together.

C4′ […]

C5′ They fixed a boundary line by mutual consent.


C6′ Šamši-Adad, king of Assyria, and Marduk-balassu-iqbi, king of Karduniaš,[5]

C7′ […] Šamši-Adad, king of Assyria,

C8′ brought about the defeat of Marduk-balassu-iqbi.

C9′ He filled the plain with the corpses of his warriors.


The god Marduk and his snake dragon. From: J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols of ancient Mesopotamia (1992)

Marduk and his snake dragon (from J. Black & A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols ofancient Mesopotamia,1992; ©!!!)

Translation of Column 4

A1 Šamši-Adad enclosed him and captured that city. Baba-aha-iddina

A2 he took together with his property and the treasure of his palace to Assyria.

A3 Der, Lahiru, Gananati,

A4 Dur-Papsukkal, Bit-Riduti, Me-Turan,

A5 and numerous [other] cities of Karduniaš

A6 he captured, together with their districts, their gods, and booty.

A7 Anu the Great, Humhumya, Šarrat-Deri, Bêlet-Akkadi,

A8 Šimalaya, Palil, Annunitu and Mar-Biti

A9 of Maliku he carried off. To Cuthah, Babylon,

A10 and Borsippa he went up and made pure sacrifices.

A11 He went down to Chaldea and the tribute of the kings

A12 he received of Chaldea. His officers

A13 received the tax of Karduniaš […]

A14 he made. They fixed the boundary-line.


A15 Adad-Nirari, king of Assyria,[6] and […], king of Karduniaš,

A16 bowed down […]

A17 in […]

A18 […] his craftsmen the gods.

A19 He brought back the abducted people and

A20 granted them an income, privileges, and barley rations.

A21 The peoples of Assyria and Karduniaš were joined together.

A22 They fixed the boundary-line by mutual consent.

A23 Let a later prince, who in Akkad

A24 wishes to achieve fame, write[A25] about the prowess of his victories.

A25 Let him turn to this very stela

A26 continually and look at it that it may not be forgotten.

A27 Let the […] vizier heed all that is graved thereon!

A28 May the praises of Assyria be lauded forever!

A29 May the crime of Sumer and Akkad

A30 be bruited about in every quarter!


A31 Palace of Aššurbanipal, king of the universe, king of Assyria.[7]

Note 1:
Adad-nirari II of Assyria ruled from 911 to 891; the reign of his opponent, Šamaš-muddamiq of Babylonia, can not be dated.

Note 2:
A mistake. Šamaš-muddamiq was succeeded by Nabû-šuma-ukin.

Note 3:
Šalmaneser III ruled from 858 to 824; Nabû-apla-iddina can not be dated accurately.

Note 4:
The inverted word order is typical for the
Astronomical Diaries on which the Chronicles are based.

Note 5:
Šamši-Adad V succeeded Šalmaneser as king of Assyria in 823 and ruled until 811. Marduq-balassu-iqbi died in 813 and was succeeded by Baba-aha-iddina, whose first regnal year was 812.

Note 6:
Adad-nirari III was king of Assyria from 810 to 783. He succeeded Šamši-Adad V.

Note 7:
Aššurbanipal was king of Assyria from 668 to 631 (or 627). The tablets were found in his library.