been proposed. In its original form this document gave a list, arranged in dynasties, of the Babylonian kings, from the First Dynasty of Babylon down to the Neo-Babylonian period. If the text were complete we should probably be in possession of the system of Babylonian chronology current in the Neo-Babylonian period from which our principal classical authorities (see sect. II.) derived their information. The principal points of uncertainty, due to gaps in the text, concern the length of Dynasties IV. and VIII.; for the reading of the figure giving the length of the former is disputed, and the summary at the close of the latter omits to state its length. This omission is much to be regretted, since Nabonassar was the last king but two of this dynasty, and, had we known its duration, we could have combined the information on the earlier periods furnished by the Kings' List with the evidence of the Ptolemaic Canon. In addition to the Kings' List, other important chronological data consist of references in the classical authorities to the chronological system of Berossus (q.v.); chronological references to earlier kings occurring in the later native inscriptions, such as Nabonidus's estimate of the period of Khammurabi (or Hammuribi); synchronisms, also furnished by the inscriptions, between kings of Babylon and of Assyria; and the early Babylonian date-lists.
|Dyn. I.||Dyn. II.||Dyn. III.|
|" (1905)||c. 2400-2100||c. 2100-1700||c. 1700-1150|
|Delitzsch (1907)||c. 2420-2120||c. 2120-(1752)||(1752-1176)|
|" " (1903)||2296-2009/8||2008/7-1691||1690-1115|
In view of the uncertainty regarding the length of Dynasties IV. and VIII. of the Kings' List, attempts have been made to ascertain the dates of the earlier dynasties by independent means. The majority of writers, after fixing the date at which Dynasty III. closed by means of the synchronisms and certain of the later chronological references, have accepted the figures of the Kings' List for the earlier dynasties, ignoring their apparent inconsistencies with the system of Berossus and with the chronology of Nabonidus. Others have attempted to reconcile the conflicting data by emendations of the figures and other ingenious devices. This will explain the fact that while the difference between the earliest and latest dates suggested for the close of Dynasty III. is only 144 years, the difference between the earliest and latest dates suggested for the beginning of Dynasty I. is no less than 622 years. A comparison of the principal schemes of chronology that have been propounded may be made by means of the preceding table. The first column gives the names of the writers and the dates at which their schemes were published, while the remaining columns give the dates they have suggested for Dynasties I., II. and III. of the Kings' List. The systems with the highest dates are placed first in the list; where a writer has produced more than one system, these are grouped together, the highest dates proposed by him determining his place in the series.
Omitting that of Oppert, which to some extent stands in a category by itself, the systems fall into three groups. The first group, comprising the second to the sixth names, obtains its results by selecting the data on which it relies and ignoring others. The second group, comprising the next four names, attempts to reconcile the conflicting data by emending the figures. The third group, consisting of the last two names, is differentiated by its proposals with regard to Dynasty II. It will be noted that the first group has obtained higher dates than the second, and the second group higher dates on the whole than the third.
Oppert's system represents the earliest dates that have been suggested. He accepted the figures of the Kings' List and claimed that he reconciled them with the figures of Berossus, though he ignored the later chronological notices. But there is no evidence for his “cyclic date” of 2517 B.C., on which his system depended, and there is little doubt that the beginning of the historical period of Berossus is to be set, not in 2506 B.C., but in 2232 B.C. The two systems of Sayce, that of Rogers, the three systems of Winckler, both those of Delitzsch, and that of Maspero, may be grouped together, for they are based on the same principle. Having first fixed the date of the close of Dynasty III., they employed the figures of the Kings' List unemended for defining the earlier periods, and did not attempt to reconcile their results with other conflicting data. The difference of eighteen years in Sayce's two dates for the rise of Dynasty I. was due to his employing in 1902 the figures assigned to the first seven kings of the dynasty upon the larger of the two contemporary date-lists, which had meanwhile been published, in place of those given by the List of Kings. It should be noted that Winckler (1905) and Delitzsch (1907) gives the dates only in round numbers.
A second group of systems may be said to consist of those proposed by Lehmann-Haupt, Marquart, Peiser, and Rost, for these writers attempted to get over the discrepancies in the data by emending some of the figures furnished by the inscriptions. In 1891, with the object of getting the total duration of the dynasties to agree with the chronological system of Berossus and with the statement of Nabonidus concerning Khammurabi's date, Peiser proposed to emend the figure given by the Kings' List for the length of Dynasty III. The reading of “9 soss and 36 years,” which gives the total 576 years, he suggested was a scribal error for “6 soss and 39 years”; he thus reduced the length of Dynasty III. by 177 years and effected a corresponding reduction in the dates assigned to Dynasties I. and II. In 1897 Rost followed up Peiser's suggestion by reducing the figure still further, but he counteracted to some extent the effects of this additional reduction by emending Sennacherib's date for Marduk-nadin-akhē's defeat of Tiglath-pileser I. as engraved on the rock at Bavian, holding that the figure “418,” as engraved upon the rock, was a mistake for “478.” Lehmann-Haupt's first system (1898) resembled those of Oppert, Sayce, Rogers, Winckler, Delitzsch and Maspero in that he accepted the figures of the Kings' List, and did not attempt to emend them. But he obtained his low date for the close of Dynasty III. by emending
- These three dynasties are usually known as the First Dynasty of Babylon, the Dynasty of Sisku or Uruku, and the Kassite Dynasty; see sect. v.
- See Oppert, Comptes rendus de l'Acad. des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres (1888), xvi. pp. 218 ff., and Bab. and Or. Rec. ii. pp. 107 ff.
- See Sayce, Early Israel, pp. 281 ff., and Encyc. Brit., 10th ed., vol. xxvi. p. 45 (also his account above).
- See Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria (1900).
- See Winckler, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens (1892), Altorientalische Forschungen, i. Hft. 2 (1894), and Auszug aus der Vorderasiatischen Geschichte (1905).
- See Delitzsch and Mürdter, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens (1891), and Delitzsch, Mehr Licht (1907).
- See Maspero, Histoire ancienne des peuples de l'Orient classique, tome ii.
- See Peiser, Zeits. für Assyr. vi. pp. 264 ff.
- See Rost, Mitteil. der vorderas. Gesellschaft (1897), ii.