Text #9313"Babylonian Chronicles", in .
The Babylonian Chronicles are many series of tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography. The Babylonian Chronicles were written from the reign of Nabonassar up to the Parthian Period, by Babylonian astronomers (“Chaldaeans”), who probably used the Astronomical Diaries as their source.
Almost all of the tablets were identified as chronicles once in the collection of the British Museum, having been acquired via antiquities dealers from unknown excavations in the 19th century. All but three of the chronicles are unprovenanced.
The Chronicles provide the “master narrative” for large tracts of modern Babylonian history.
The chronicles are thought to have been written in Babylon during the Achaemenid period, c. 550–400 BCE. They are thought to have been transferred to the British Museum after 19th century excavations in Babylon, and subsequently left undeciphered in the archives for decades. The first chronicle to be published was BM 92502 (ABC1) in 1887 by Theophilus Pinches under the title “The Babylonian Chronicle”. This was followed in 1923 by the publication of the Fall of Nineveh Chronicle (ABC 3), in 1924 by Sidney Smith’s publication of the Esarhaddon Chronicle (ABC 14), the Akitu Chronicle (ABC 16) and the Nabonidus Chronicle (ABC 7), and in 1956 by Donald Wiseman’s publication of four further tablets including the Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle (ABC 5).