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Babylonian Chronicles: The fall of Nineveh

This is the text of a chronicle, also known as Chronicle 3 or ABC 3, that describes the final years of the Assyrian empire. This chronicle is the central part of one large text that began with the Early Years of Nabopolassar Chronicle (ABC 2) and ended with the Late Years of Nabopolassar Chronicle (ABC 4).

The translation was adapted from A.K. Grayson and can be found in Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles (1975); some readings were adapted from Jean-Jacques Glassner, Chroniques Mésopotamiennes (1993).

The text of this chronicle is inscribed on a medium-size tablet, BM 21901 (96-4-9, 6), which measures 132 mm long and 69 mm wide. At one time it was broken into four pieces and, although the fragments have been joined, there are several surface flaws as well as a large lacuna in the center of the tablet.

Chronicle 3

The tenth year of Nabopolassar [616-615 BCE]: In the month Ajaru, Nabopolassar mustered the army of Akkad and marched along the bank of the Euphrates. The Suheans and Hindaneans [people living south of Harran] did not do battle against him but placed their tribute before him.
In the month Ābu the army of Assyria prepared for battle in Gablini and Nabopolassar went up against them. On the twelfth of the month Ābu [24 July 616] he did battle against the army of Assyria and the army of Assyria retreated before him. He inflicted a major defeat upon Assyria and plundered them extensively. He captured the Manneans, who had come to the Assyrians' aid, and the Assyrian officers. On the same day he captured Gablini.

In the month Ābu the king of Akkad and his army went upstream to Mane, Sahiri and Bali-hu. He plundered them, sacked them extensively and abducted their gods.
In the month Ulūlu the king of Akkad and his army returned and on his way he took the people of Hindanu and its gods to Babylon.
In the month Tašrītu the army of Egypt and the army of Assyria went after the king of Akkad as far as Gablini but they did not overtake the king of Babylonia. So they withdrew.
In the month Addaru the army of Assyria and the army of Akkad did battle against one another at Madanu, a suburb of Arraphu [modern Kirkuk], and the army of Assyria retreated before the army of Akkad. The army of Babylonia inflicted a major defeat upon the Assyrian army and drove them back to the Zab river. They captured their chariots and horses and plundered them extensively. They took many [lacuna] with them across the Tigris and brought them into Babylon.

The eleventh year [615-614]: The king of Akkad mustered his army, marched along the bank of the Tigris, and in the month Ajaru he encamped against Aššur. On the [lacuna] day of the month Simanu he did battle against the city but he did not capture it. The king of Assyria mustered his army, pushed the king of Akkad back from Aššur and marched after him as far as Takrita'in, a city on the bank of the Tigris. The king of Akkad stationed his army in the fortress of Takrita'in. The king of Assyria and his army encamped against the army of the king of Akkad, which was stationed in Takrita'in, and did battle against them for ten days. But the king of Assyria did not capture the city. Instead, the army of the king of Akkad, which had been stationed in the fortress, inflicted a major defeat upon Assyria. The king of Assyria and his army turned and went home. In the month Arahsamna the Medes went down to Arraphu and [lacuna].

The twelfth year [614-613]: In the month Ābu the Medes, after they had matched against Nineveh [lacuna], hastened and they captured Tarbisu, a city in the district of Nineveh. They went along the Tigris and encamped against Aššur. They did battle against the city and destroyed it. They inflicted a terrible defeat upon a great people, plundered and sacked them. The king of Akkad and his army, who had gone to help the Medes, did not reach the battle in time. The city was taken. The king of Akkad and Cyaxares the king of the Medes met one another by the city and together they made an entente cordiale. Later, Cyaxares and his army went home. The king of Akkad and his army went home.

The thirteenth year [613-612]: In the month Ajaru the Suheans rebelled against the king of Akkad and became belligerent. The king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Suhu. On the fourth day of the month Simanu [11 May 613] he did battle against Rahi-ilu, a city which is on an island in the middle of the Euphrates and at that time he captured the city.
He built his [lacuna] The men who live on the bank of the Euphrates came down to him. [lacuna] he encamped against Anati and the siege engines he brought over from the western side [lacuna] he brought the siege engines up to the wall. He did battle against the city and captured it. The king of Assyria and his army came down and the king of Akkad and his army went home.

The fourteenth year [612-611]: The king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Assyria. The king of the Medes marched towards the king of Akkad and they met one another at [...]u. The king of Akkad and his army crossed the Tigris; Cyaxares had to cross the Radanu, and they marched along the bank of the Tigris. In the month Simanu , the Nth day, they encamped against Nineveh.

From the month Simanu until the month Ābu -for three months- they subjected the city to a heavy siege. On the Nth day of the month Ābu they inflicted a major defeat upon a great people. At that time Sin-šar-iškun, king of Assyria, died. They carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple and turned the city into a ruin heap The [lacuna] of Assyria escaped from the enemy and, to safe his life, seized the feet of the king of Akkad.

On the twentieth day of the month Ulūlu [14 September 612] Cyaxares and his army went home. After he had gone, the king of Akkad dispatched his army and they marched to Nasibina [Nisibis]. Plunder and exiles [lacuna] and they brought the people of Rusapu to the king of Akkad at Nineveh. On the [lacuna] of the month [lacuna] Aššur-uballit [II] ascended to the throne in Harran to rule Assyria. Up until the [lacuna] day of the month [lacuna] the king of Akkad set out and in [lacuna]

The fifteenth year [611-610]: In the month Du'ūzu the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Assyria victoriously. He marched about of [lacuna] and Šu[lacuna], plundered it and carried of its vast booty.
In the month Arahsamna the king of Akkad took the lead of his army personally and marched against Ruggulitu. He did battle against the city and on the twenty-eighth day of the month Arahsamnu he captured it. He did not leave a single man alive. [lacuna] He went home.

The sixteenth year [610-609]: In the month Ajaru the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Assyria. From the month Simanu until the month Arahsamna he marched about victoriously in Assyria. In the month Arahsamna the Medes, who had come to the help of the king of Akkad, put their armies together and marched to Harran against Aššuruballit, who had ascended the throne in Assyria. Fear of the enemy overcame Aššur-uballit and the army of Egypt that had come to help him, and they abandoned the city, and crossed the Euphrates. The king of Akkad reached Harran, fought a battle, and captured the city. He carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple. In the month Addaru the king of Akkad left his troops and their camp, and went home. The Medes, who had come to help the king of Akkad, withdrew.

The seventeenth year [609-608]: In the month Du'ūzu Aššur-uballit, king of Assyria, with a large army from Egypt crossed the river Euphrates and marched against Harran to conquer it. They captured [a town on the road to Harran]. They defeated the garrison which the king of Akkad had stationed inside. When they had defeated it they encamped against Harran. Until the month Ulūlu they did battle against the city but achieved nothing. The king of Akkad went to help his army but did not join battle. He he went up to Izalla and the numerous cities in the mountains [lacuna] he set fire to their [lacuna]
At that time the army of [lacuna] march as far as the district of Urartu . In the land [lacuna] they plundered their [lacuna] The garrison which the king of [lacuna] had stationed in it set out. They went up to [lacuna]. The king of Akkad went home.

In the eighteenth year [608-607]: In the month Ulūlu the king of Akkad mustered his army and [lacuna].
Let the one who loves [the gods] Nabū and Marduk keep this tablet and not let it stray into other hands.

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