‘The Babyloniaca’ of Berossus – by Stanley Mayer

The Babyloniaca of Berossus by Stanley Mayer Burstein sources and monographs sources from the ancient near east  volume 1, fascicle 5 undena publication malibu  1978 ANET FGrH Grayson JCS RLA RE
Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (1948)
Die Fragmente der Grieschischen Historiker (1923-1958)
Texts from Cuneiform Sources, vol. 5, Assyrian and Babylonian
Chronicles (1975)
Journal ofCuneiform Studies
Reallexicon der Assyriologie (1928-1938; 1957-)
Real-Encycloplidie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft
Abbreviations …………………………………………………………. 1
Table of Contents . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ……………3
A. Introduction………………………………………………………..4
1. The Hellenistic Period and Ancient Near Eastern Civilization………………………… .4
2. The Life of Berossus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3. The Babyloniaca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . …6
4. Evaluation ………………………………………………………8
5. The Present Edition………………………………………………… IO
B. Book One: Genesis ………………………………………………….. 13
1. Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2. The Revelation of Oannes…………………………………………….. 14
3. The Great Year……… : ………………………………………….. 15
4. The Moon ……………………………………………………… 16
5. The Walling of Babylon ……………………………………………… 17
6. Unplaced Fragments of Book One ……………………………………….. 17
C. Book Two: The Book of Kings……………………………………………. 18
1. Kings Before the Flood ……….·…………………………………….. 18
2. The Flood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3. Sages After the Flood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .·. . . ……………………………….. 21
4. Dynasties After the Flood…………………………………………….. 21
5. Nabu-Nasir……………………………………………………… 22
D. Book Three ………………………………………………………. 23
1. Tiglath-pileser/Pulu ………………………………………………… 23
2. Sennacherib . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . …….. 23
3. Nabukadnezzar II …………………………………………………. 26
4. The Successors of Nebukadnezzar II ………………………………………. 28
5. The Persians . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
6. Possible Fragments from Book Two ………………………………………. 29
7. Doubtful Fragment ………………………………………………… 30
E. Appendices ………..·…………………………………………….. 31
1. The Authenticity of the Astronomical and Astrological Fragments……………………31
2. Berossus’ Chronology of the Dynasties after the Flood in Book Two……………………. 33
3. Berossus’ Chronology of the Reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon……………………. 36
4. The Ptolemaic Canon……………………………………………….. 38
5. Concordance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39


1. The Hellenistic Period and Ancient Near Eastern Civilization
Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian Empire marks a major turning point in the cultural history of the Ancient Near East. Unlike their Persian predecessors, the Macedonians and Greeks were not part of the Mesopotamian culture area, but true aliens, largely ignorant of and unsympathetic to the values and ideals of
the civilizations of their new subjects. True, Greeks had visited the Near East for centuries as travelers, mercenaries and merchants. They had admired and continued to admire the great antiquity and splendid monuments of. its civilizations and had borrowed various artistic motives and techniques and even so important a tool as writing from the area, but they had been and continued largely to be unable to read and understand the cuneiform and hieroglyphic scripts in which the intellectual traditions of these cultures were recorded. 1
Consequently, they were outsiders, dependent for their knowledge on the observations of travelers such as Herodotus for Egypt or romancers such as Ctesias for Mesopotamia and on such information as they could glean from the guides and other members of the Near Eastern cultures who would associate with them. Not surprisingly, the new masters’ view of their subjects was seriously distorted, being based as it was on a curious melange of shrewd if often biased observations and only partially understood oral tradition.
Among those Near Eastern intellectuals who chose to deal with their new rulers we can isolate two essentially  different responses to the challenge posed by them. One group created a literature, both oral and written, of  protest, composing apocalyptic prophecies of the ultimate defeat of their oppressors on the one hand and elaborating still further the folk histories of the great heroes of their cultures’ past on the other. Thus, new conquests were ascribed to Sesostris and Semiramis and alongside them chauvinistic new legends were formed around such figures as Ramses II and Nectanebo II in Egypt, Taharqa in Nubia, Moses and Abraham in Judea 11 -, and Nebukadnezzar II in Babylonia. The other group, however, more willing to cooperate with their new masters, attempted to educate them hy the publication in Greek of authoritative accounts of their respective countries’ history and culture, accounts in which the factual errors of the popular Greek authorities would be corrected; at the same time they provided an introduction to the authentic traditions of their civilizations. The
compilation of such works was a genuine innovation, involving as it did the determination of what constituted the intellectual core of a civilization and then the presentation of that core in a foreign language in such a way that it would be understood by readers almost totally ignorant of it. The greatest and only completely surviving example of such a work is the Jewish antiquities of Flavius Josephus, but the first of them was the Babylonian history of Berossus, composed about 281 B.C. and dedicated to Antiochus I.

1For examples of late Hellenistic school texts in Greek and cuneiform suggesting that some Greeks attempted to learn cuneiform, see Edmond Solberger, ‘Graeco-Babyloniaca,’ Iraq, 24 (1962) 63-72. laFor Nebukadnezzar II and Taharqa see Megasthenes, FGrH, 3C2, 715 Ff I and 11. For Ramses II see Hecataeus of Abdera, FGrH, 3A, 264, F 25.47-49; Tacitus, Annales 2.60; and for Nectanebo II see Ps. Callisthenes, Historia Alexandri Magni, 1.1-14.
For Moses and Abraham see in particular Eupolemus, FGrH, 3C2, 723 F 1; Pseudo Eupolemus, FGrH, 3C2, 724 Ff, 1-2; and Artapanus, FGrH, 3C2, 726 Ff, 2-3. For this literature see Martin Braun, History and Romance in Graeco-Oriental Literature (Oxford, 1938); and Samuel K. Eddy, The King Is Dead: Studies in the Near Eastern Resistance to Hellenism 334-31 B.C. (Lincoln, 1961).
2Berossus, FGrH, 3Cl, 680 Tt 1-3. For his priorlty to Manetho see Manetho, FGrH, 3Cl, 609 T 11; and Oswyn Murray, ‘Herodotus and Hellenistic Culture,’ Qassical Quarterly, 66 (1972) 209. Paul Schnabel, Berossus und die babylonisch-hellenistische Literatur (Leipzig, 1923) 8-10, dated the work to between 293 and 280. The more precise date of ca. 281 is based on the chronological discussion in Appendix 2. I have followed Schnabel (16) in assuming that the title of the book was Babyloniaca and that the correct spelling of his name was Berossus (3-5). In regard to the latter, however, G. Komor6czy, ‘Berosos and the Mesopotamian Literature,’ Acta Antiqua, 21 (1973) 125, has recently proposed that the form Berosos is correct and that it should be interpreted as meaning ‘Bel is his shepherd.’ Unless otherwise noted all subsequent dates in this study are B.C. 

2. The life of Berossus
By the early centuries of our era Berossus had become a legendary figure. He was credited with the invention of a common type of sundial and honored in Athens for his prophecies with a statue in one of the city’s gymnasia. A family was even invented for him including a wife, Erymanthe, and a daughter, appropriately
one of antiquity’s famous sibyls, Sabbe, the Babylonian sibyl.3 Unfortunately, however, the known facts about Berossus’ life are, in contrast to the legendary, few and undramatic.
In the preface to his Babyloniaca Berossus stated that he was a contemporary of Alexander the Great, and this taken together with the fact that he wrote his book about 281 and lived for a time after that year allows us to set the date of his birth no earlier than about 350. In addition, he identified himself as a priest of Bel of Chaldaean origin. This implies, and the fragments of his book confirm, that he received a normal scribal education in the traditional Sumerian and Accadian classics. 4 Further, his ability to write in Greek, his familiarity with popular Greek conceptions of the Babylonian past, and the very fact of his writing a book such as the Babyloniaca for the instruction of Antiochus I points to his being a member of the Seleucid court, (perhaps one of the Chaldaean astrologers consulted by Seleucus I and his predecessors.5 Finally, some time after 281 Berossus abandoned Babylon and settled on the Ptolemaic island of Cos where, we are told, he became the first to give formal instruction to the Greeks in Chaldaean astrology.6 .
Scant though they are, these few facts about Berossus’ life in contrast to the later “Berossus legend” are helpful in the understanding of his book. They identify Berossus as an individual suspended between two cultures, Babylonian and Greek. Steeped in the traditions of Babylon and of its priesthood and proud of them, Berossus still accepted the new Greco-Macedonian regime as legitimate and had adjusted himself to it. For such a person the ignorance of the Greeks and Macedonians he associated with must by itself have been annoying, but Seleucus I’s deliberate policy of degrading Babylon and its shrines by transferring most of its population to his new capital city of Seleucia on the Tigris and the consequent friction between him and the priesthood can only have been deeply disturbing.7 It is tempting to think that Berossus saw in the accession of Antiochus I, long resident in Babylon as governor of the upper satrapies, the possibility of reversing this policy and wrote his book in the hope that a true account of the Babylonian past and its significance and of the proper relationship between the Chaldaean priesthood and a king might aid in inducing Antiochus to
repudiate his father’s policies. If so, then Berossus’ abandonment of Babylon in old age for Cos,
3 Berossus, FGrH, 3Cl, 609 Tt 5c-7. For the supposed Babylonian sibyl and her connection to Berossus see Aurelio Peretti La sibilla babilonese nella propaganda ellenistica (Florence, 1943) 43-71. As for the sundial, Berossus cannot have been its inventor since its special peculiarity, namely, its being adjusted for different latitudes, presupposes scientific knowledge not available in his time (cf. D. R. Dicks, Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle [London, 1970)252 n. 282. Vitruvius, it should be noted, remarked only that Berossus ‘is said [dicitur )’ to have invented it.)
4 The use of to genos in FGrH, 3Cl, 680 T 3 and natione in T 5a-b suggests that Berossus used Chaldae~ in its proper ethnic sense rather than as a term specifically designating the Babylonian priesthood as is common in classical texts such as, e.g., Diodorus 2.29.1-5. For his education see Komor6czy, 127-128. In the Seleucid period cuneiform literary texts were copied and preserved by a small group of scribal families (Godefroid Goosens, ‘Au declin de la civilization babylonienne: Uruk sous !es Seleucides,’ Bulletin de la classe des lettres et des sciences morales et politiques, Ser. 5, 27 [Brussels, 1941] 226-230;
Mark Elliot Cohen, An Analysis of the Balag-Compositions to the God Enlil Copied in Babylon during the Seleucid Period [Diss. University of Pennsylvania, 1972] 17-31). For a general survey of the intellectual life of Seleucid Babylonia drawn primarily from classical sources see Joseph Bidez, ‘Les ecoles chaldeennes sous Alexandre et !es Seleucides,’ Volume offert a Jean Capart, Annuaire de l’institut de philologie et d’historire orientales, 3 (Brussels, 1935) 41-89.
5 Diodorus 2.31.2 and Appian, Syriaca 58 (for the meaning of Magi in this passage see Eddy, 115 n. 30).
6 Berossus, FGrH, 3Cl 680 T 5a-b. For a different dating of Berossus’ stay on Cos see Komor6czy, 126, n. 10.
7 For the building of Seleucia on the Tigris and its effect on Seleucus’ relations with the Babylonians see Strabo 16.1.5;
Pliny 6.122; and Appian, Syriaca 58; and Eddy, 115-116.

an island controlled by Antiochus’ bitter enemy Ptolemy II, probably implies two things: first, his final decision to embrace Greek culture and second, the disappointment of his hopes for Antiochus I despite that king’s public affectation of traditional Babylonian forms. 8 Be that as it may, the book he wrote for his former sovereign became the model for all subsequent attempts by Hellenized non-Greeks to explain their culture to their Greek neighbors, and it is to the  remains of it that we must now turn.

3. The Babyloniaca

In its original form Berossus’ Babyloniaca is lost. Indeed, in antiquity the work as a whole was little read since, with few exceptions, all ancient writers who profess to quote Berossus appear to have known not his complete book but rather an abridgement of it made in the first century by the Greco-Roman scholar Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor. Polyhistor’s work consisted of two separate and distinct parts, a history of Babylon and a history of Assyria. As seems to have been true of all of Polyhistor’s books, this work was not an original composition but rather a series of excerpts from the accounts of the leading authorities on Babylon and Assyria arranged chronologically so as to form two complete but separate histories. For the Babylonian portion of his work Polyhistor relied almost entirely on Berossus, preserving the basic organization of his book but abridging it, possibly excluding strictly non-historical material such as Berossus’ allegorical and astrological interpretation of creation and occasionally interpolating material on Babylon from other authors. 10 Unfortunately, Polyhistor’s work is also lost in its original form but an abridgement of the Babylonian section of it was made in the early fourth century A.D. by Eusebius of Caesarea, and this survives in the first book of his Chronica. It is on this abridgement of Polyhistor’s abridgement of Berossus together with excerpts from Polyhistor’s book made by Josephus in the first century A.D. and by Abydenus in the second century A.D. 11 -the latter also preserved by Eusebius-that we largely depend for our knowledge of the contents of Berossus’ book. Fortunately, it is clear that both Polyhistor and Eusebius worked by omitting detail so that the structure of Berossus’ work remains, and from that it is possible to form a good idea of the character of his book.

Perhaps no greater obstacle exists to the proper understanding of Berossus’ book than the insistence that it was primarily a history. 12 In his preface Berossus claimed that he was making available to Greek readers books preserved at Babylon containing “the histories of heaven (and of earth) and sea and the first birth and the kings and their deeds.” ·This can only mean that Berossus intended to expound the contents of a body of literature of which the accounts of “the kings and their deeds” formed only one part and that not necessarily the most important; and in fact this is confirmed by a glance at the organization of the Babyloniaca in which the first book, entitled “Genesis”, contained an account and interpretation of creation while the historical material about

8 Antiochus I set up the last known Babylonian royal inscription and rebuilt temples in Babylon and Borsippa (ANET, 317). The limited character of his ‘pro-Babylonian’ policy, however, is pointed out by Eddy, 117-118. There is·no evidence to support the theory that Antiochus I commissioned the ‘Babyloniaca’ to provide support for his policies either at home or against Egypt (cf. C. F. Lehmann-Haupt, ‘Berossus,’ RA, 2 [1938] 3; Murray, 208). Equally unlikely is Schnabel’s theory (8) that it was a ‘thank-offering’ for Antiochus’ pro-Babylonian policy since that does not take into account the polemical tone of the work.9  This is made clear by Alexander Polyhistor, FGrH, 3A, 273 F 81 and especially by Abydenus, FGrH, 685 F 7 (for his relationship to Polyhistor see below note 11). 10
some of these additions are still preserved in the fragments such as an allusion to the chronicler called Ps. Apollodorus (Berossus, FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 3.10), an account of the building of the tower of Babel and of the war of the Gods and Titans after the Flood (Alexander Polyhistor, FGrH, 3A, 273 F 79.4), a note about Pythagoras (Abydenus, FGrH, 685
F 5.7), and two notes about Nebukadnezzar 11, one from Megasthenes and one credited vaguely to ‘the Chaldaeans’ (Abydenus, FGrH, 3Cl, 685 F 6.11-12). For a good brief account of Polyhistor and his methods see Ben Zion Wacholder, Eupolemus: A Study of Judaeo-Greek Literature (Cincinnati, 1974) 44-52.
11 Schnabel (164-167) showed that both Josephus and Abydenus relied on Polyliistor for their knowledge of Berossus.
12 CT. Murray (208-210) for an unfortunate attempt to fit both Berossus and Manetho into the ‘Herodotean tradition’ in ·Greek historiography. For a more balanced view see Robert Drews, ‘The Babylonian Chronicles and Berossus,’ Iraq, 37 {1975) 53-54.

Babylon was confined to book two, “the Book of Kings,” and book three. Significantly, Abydenus notes on beginning his account of the kings of Babylon, i.e., the material in book two of the Babyloniaca, that he has finished with the “wisdom” (sophias) ?f the Chaldaens. The Babyloniaca, therefore, was more than a history of Babylon; it was a general introduction to Babylonian culture as a whole, beginning, It is important to remember, not with “history” but “wisdom”. In fact, for Berossus “history” was subordinate to “wisdom”. (contrary to the conventional Greek view of the early Hellenistic period, that civilisation was a historical phenomenon, the product of human action and to be explained in naturalistic terms.13 Berossus held to the traditional Mesopotamian view that civilisation was not a product of history at all, Instead, its core was a body of basic principles dealing with the various areas of civilized life known to the gods and communicated by them to man at a particular place, Babylon, at a particular time, 432,000 years before the Flood. Before man received this knowledge, he lived as an animal without law; after he received it he was civilized. Civilization, thus, was the result of divine revelation, not human activity. Moreover, insofar as the basic principles of civilization were concerned, that revelation, which Berossus dated to the first year of the reign of the first king of Babylon, was complete. It contained “everything which is connected with the civilized life.” In short, the beginning of history was also its end since everything thereafter could 1 only be, and quite explicitly was, preservation, exegesis and application of that initial revelation to life.14

Viewed in this perspective, the organization of Berossus’ book becomes clear and logical. After an autobiographical preface explaining Berossus’ intent in writing the Babyloniaca, book one contained a summary of the geography of Babylonia, a description of man in the state of nature living “without laws just as wild animals,” and then an account of the appearance in the first year of the reign of Alorus of the divine messenger Oannes and his communication to man, presumably via Alorus, of the critical revelation. In the remainder of the first book the content of this revelation, essentially a paraphrase of Enuma Elish, was first presented in the form of a speech by Oannes and then explained in terms of its being an allegorical account of the creation of the universe and of man himself. The basic principles of civilization having been communicated to man, history in the sense not of human creative activity but rather of the preservation and implementation of those principles began; and that clearly was the main theme certainly of book two and probably of book three as well.
Book two was divided into three parts corresponding to the three periods of history since the appearance of Oannes: the 432,000 years encompassed by the reigns of the ten kings before the Flood, the crisis of the Flood, and then the account of the reigns of the kings after the Flood which was carried in book two down to some point within the reign of Nabu-Nasir. Polyhistor, judging Berossus’ book as a work of history, censoriously noted that he merely listed the kings with their dates together with occasional inexact remarks about the deeds of some of them. 15 In part, this was due to the limitations of the sources available to Berossus for the period covered in book two; the treatment in book three for the period between Nabu-Nasir and Alexander where he could draw on texts such as the Neo-Babylonian chronicles was much fuller. More importantly, however, this schematic treatment of the history of Babylon also reflected Berossus’ a-historical view of that past. It was the unbroken continuity both of the basic principles of civilization revealed to Alorus by Oannes and of the Chaldaeans who were the custodians of that tradition-Alorus, we are told, was a Chaldaean as clearly were all the other pre-Flood kings-that Berossus wished to emphasize, not the essentially unimportant deeds of individual kings. Thus, the key development of the period before the Flood was the revelation by further divine messengers of their proper interpretation of Oannes’ message-presumably the interpretation given by Berossus in book one-to various of the ten kings. The essential point of the account of the Flood was, of course, the survival of man himself, but Berossus also emphasized that Xisuthrus,
13 For a thorough treatment of this subject see Thomas Cole, Democritus and the Sources of Greek Anthropology, American Philological Association Monograph 25 (1967). 14 w. G. Lambert, ‘Ancestors, Authors and Canonicity,’ JCS, 11 (1957) 9.
15 Apud Berossus, FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 3a, lines 13-18.

acting on instructions from Cronus, that is, Ea, also succeeded in preserving the precious books containing the principles of civilization so that it also survived the Flood and began again. The remainder of book two is very fragmentary but it seems to have dealt first with the gradual re-establishment of civilization by the Chaldaeans during the first ten generations after the Flood and then simply with establishing the fact of continuity through the bald listing of the sequence of the kings and dynasties of Babylon down to Nabu-Nasir.
In book three the chain of dynastic continuity was continued from Nabu-Nasir down to Alexander. Unfortunately, the fragments do not allow us to determine if Berossus offered an overall interpretation of this latter period beyond registering the fact of continuity. It is clear that he did downgrade the period of Persian rule, giving only a brief summary of it. It is equally clear that the reigns of Sennacherib and Nebukadnezzar II were singled out for particularly extensive treatment. In part this may have been because these kings were familiar to the Greeks, the former occurring in Herodotus and the latter having become something of a folk hero. It is, however, probable that more was involved. Throughout the fragments of book three there is a clear tendency to explain the fates of individual kings in moral terms. Evil kings meet violent and deserved ends. It is, therefore, tempting to suggest that the emphasis on these two rulers, the former who had tried to destroy Babylon as had Seleucus and had been assassinated by his sons just as Seleucus had been by a supposed friend, and the latter who had piously honored all the temples of the city, cooperated with the Chaldaean priests and had a long and glorious reign, was not simply the result of a desire to deal with subjects known to be of interest to Greek readers. 16 Rather, Antiochus on finishing the book would not only have been enlightened about the true nature and antiquity of his subjects’ culture, but he also would have learned from the contrasting fates of these two monarchs how a king should behave toward the temples and priests of Babylon and what rewards he might expect for so doing.

4. Evaluation

In the past Berossus has usually been viewed as a historian and considered as such his performance must be pronounced inadequate. Even in its present fragmentary state the Babyloniaca contains a number of surprising errors of simple fact of which, certainly, the most flagrant is the statement that Nabopolassar ruled Egypt.
Beyond revealing such slips, the fragments allow no doubt that Berossus offered only the most superficial explanations of the events he recorded and made no attempt to compensate for the biases of his sources. In a historian such flaws would be damning, but then Berossus’ purpose was not historical, it was apologetic. He intended that his book would change Greek ideas about Babylon, and this it signally failed to do. It was little read and even when read, it had little impact as can be seen from the fact that Polyhistor, Berossus’ most sympathetic reader, relied on Ctesias for the history of Assyria, accepting the chronology of and repeating the stories about Semiramis that Berossus took such pains to refute. 17
For us this failure of the Greeks to appreciate the value of the Babyloniaca is surprising. If Berossus exercised little criticism on his sources, the fragments make it clear that he did choose good sources, most likely from a library at Babylon, and that he reliably reported their contents in Greek. Thus, in book one he essentially followed a version of Enuma Elish for the story of creation; a Sipparian recension of the Flood story seems to have been used in book two while most of the material in book three, both in terms of its style and content, seems to be based on texts similar to but not identical with those we call the Neo-Babylonian chronicles. Two recent discoveries, moreover, the Uruk Apkallu list published by Van Dijk, and a “historical” text from Ashurbanipal’s library, have established beyond question that even Berossus’ king list with its linking of kings and Apkallus in the pre-Flood section and its omission of the first dynasty of Kish in the post-Flood section 16 .

Cf. Eddy (125-127) for the possible contemporary relevance of Berossus’ treatment of Nebukadnezzar. Unfortunately, the incompleteness of the fragments dealing with the reign of Sennacherib makes certainty on this point impossible.
Alexander Polyhistor, FGrH, 3A, 273 F 81. Abydenus, FGrH, 3Cl, 685 F 7. Schnabel (150-153) recognized that Polyhistor relied on Ctesias for his history of Assyria. For an analysis of the Ctesian tradition about Assyria see Robert Drews, ‘Assyria in classical Universal Histories,’ Historia, 14 (1965) 129-142; and The Greek Accounts of Eastern History (Cambridge, Mass., 1973) 108-111.

on the one hand, and his seemingly unparalleled inclusion of a full Flood narrative between the sections of the list on the other faithfully reflect cuneiform texts of the First Millennium. 18 Such literary sources account for the great bulk of the content of the Babyloniaca with oral tradition such as that about the origin of the Hanging Gardens, archiVal material and even the Greek authors he wished to refute providing the rest. In the Babyloniaca therefore the Greeks had a solid basis for forming an accurate opinion of Babylonian culture and history. Why did they not take advantage of it, or, to be more precise, why did not those Greek intellectuals who dealt with the history and “wisdom” of the Near East take advantage of it?
Part of the reason, certainly, was that the book was not the sort to attract any type of Greek reader of the early Hellenistic period. It was written in extremely poor Greek 19 and filled with lists of strangely named kings said to have ruled for incredible periods of time. In addition, it was a history of Babylonia in which only those kings of Assyria were mentioned who had also reigned as kings of Babylon. But Greek understanding of Near Eastern history ever since Herodotus had been based on the idea of the succession of empires-Assyrian, Median, Persian and now Macedonian. Within that framework Babylon played no significant role, being treated as an Assyrian colony by Ctesias when discussed at all. 20 The subject of the Babyloniaca therefore offered little to compensate for its failings as a work of literature. These, however, are only superficial reasons for the lack of interest in the book shown by Greek readers. There was another and more fundamental obstacle to its being read, understood and appreciated. The Babyloniaca was not a Greek book. It was a Babylonian book written in Greek,_and that was quite a different thing.

Careful reading of the fragments of Berossus’ book leaves no doubt that it was not only written in poor Greek, but that the Greek was little more than a veneer covering an essentially unexplained Babylonian content.
Berossus’ concessions to his potential Greek readers were few- the use of the Macedonian months, of familiar · Greek geographical and ethnic terms, and the identification of Babylonian gods with their supposed Greek equivalents and the subsequent use of the Greek names when referring to them. Such devices were cosmetic, producing a book with some feeling of familiarity to offset the alienness of most of its content. For the latter Berossus offered little help to his prospective Greek reader who was expected to swallow Babylonian ideas neat. A few examples will make the point clear.
For Berossus the appearance of Oannes 432,000 years before the Flood and his communication to Alorus of the basic principles of civilization was the most critical event in history. For a Greek intellectual of the early third century, however, the story can only have presented serious difficulties. Of these the least important would have been the extreme antiquity claimed for Oannes although the best Greek chronographic opinion was increasingly doubtful about anything earlier than the Trojan War. Still, the great antiquity of Near Eastern tradition had been recognized since Hecataeus so that this might have been accepted. 21 More serious would have been two points, the half-beast nature of Oannes himself and the assertion that all the essentials of civilized life were contained in the, to a Greek, bizarre story of creation which Berossus clalmed had been revealed to Alorus by this creature at the beginning of history. Since the late sixth century, Greek thinkers had been denying the possible existence of such creatures as Oannes or the monsters contained in the creation myth reported by
18Apkallu list: J. van Dijk, Vorlaiifiger Bericht iiber die van dem deutschen arch:iologischer Institut und der deutschen OrientGesellschaft aus Mitteln der deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft unternommen Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka, 18 (Berlin, 1962)
44-52. For the flood text erroneously published by Thorkild Jacobsen (The Sumerian King List (Chicago, 1939]60) as a unique First Millennium copy of the Sumerian King List see W. G. Lambert, ‘A New Fragment from a List of Antediluvian Kings and Marduk’s Chariot,’ Symbolae biblicae et mesopotamicae Francesco Mario Theodora de Liagre Bohl dedicatae, M. A.
Beek et al., ed. (Leiden, 1973) 271-280. The combination of a flood story with a king list had been listed as one of Berossus’ novelties by Schnabel (180).
19 cr. Schnabel, 29-32 for examples.
20 cr. Joseph Ward Swain, ‘The Theory of the Four Monarchies: Opposition History under the Roman Empire’, Classical Philology, 35 (1940) 1-21. For the Assyrian foundation of Babylon see Didodorus 2.7.2.
21 cr. Herodotus 2.142-144. For the attitude of Hellenistic chronographers to Near Eastern traditions in general see Wacholder, 97-128.


Berossus. They were the inventions of ignorant poets. 22 Likewise, civilization was not the product of divine revelation; it was rather the result of the inventions of individual wise men, and the gods themselves, according to some, were one of their most important inventions or, indeed in the view of Berossus’ contemporary Euhemerus, were the deified founders themselves of civilization. 23 In the first century A.D., Chaeremon, an Egyptian Stoic and tutor of Nero, would in fact transform Oannes into such a figure, a wise man who used a fictitious divine genealogy and a fish costume to heighten the effect on a gullible people of his knowledge of eclipses in order to realize his ambition of becoming a king. 24 Such an interpretation, however, would have been impossible for Berossus. He could to some extent attempt to blunt such criticism, citing iconographic evidence to support the reality of Oannes and Tiamat’s monstrous brood, interpreting the details of Enuma Elish as an allegory of the ordering of nature, and explaining the enormous life-span of the people before and after the Flood, spans incompatible with the known facts of human existence, as being due to divine concern for the needs of scientific progress. 25   All of these, however, were attempts to foster belief in what Greeks would consider unbelievable-the real existence of Oannes as described, the direct action of Bel in the formation of the world and so forth, things Berossus could equally not conceive of abandoning. His book, in short was a Babylonian book reflecting Babylonian ideas on how civilization developed, and to Greek thinkers those were the uninformed ideas of Barbarians and, as such, unworthy of notice.26 Berossus’ book was accordingly ignored except in sofar as it contained material on the one aspect of Babylonian culture Greek intellectuals respected: astronomy and astrology. Those portions of his book were read, excerpted and became a part of Hellenistic scientific and pseudo-scientific literature. The rest remained a closed book except _to such persons as Jews and Christians for whom Babylonian tradition had particular interest or to an unusual scholar such as Polyhistor, who found it a potentially useful source of information about Babylon for Romans just beginning to become involved in Mesopotamian affairs. 27

5. The Present Edition

Although Berossus failed in his attempt to change Greek attitudes toward Babylonian culture, the remains of his book still possess great interest and value for students of ancient Near Eastern history since they represent both the only known attempt by a Babylonian intellectual to survey his own culture and our best evidence for the state of Babylonian literary tradition in the early Hellenistic period. The purpose of the present edition is to make available an English translation of the fragments of the Babyloniaca in a form that approximates as closely as possible to the book as Berossus originally wrote it. Since, however, with the exception of the astronomical-astrological passages and a few other minor texts, all of our excerpts derive not from the complete text of the Babyloniaca but from the abridgement of it made in the first century by Alexander Polyhistor, this edition represents in the main an attempt to reconstruct the text of Polyhistor’s epitome. As mentioned previously, Polyhistor’s epitome is also lost, but a significant number of excerpts from it remains. The earliest are those made by Josephus in the first century A.D. from the sections concerning the second

22For this attitude see Hecataeus, FGrH, IA, 1 F la; Eratosthenes apud Strabo 1.1.10; and the extensive discussion of the topic by the second century historian Agatharchides of Cnidus which is preserved by Photius (Bibliotheque, ed. Rene ·
Henry, vol. 7 [Paris, 1974) 138-144). A good example of the manner in which such mythical creatures were explained is provided _by Berossus’ contemporary, the Athenian historian Philochorus (FGrH, 3B, 328 F l 7b) who argued that the Minotaur was really a •general of King Minos named Taurus who had a brutal disposition.
23For Euhemerus and his relationship to Hellenistic historiography see Truesdell S. Brown, ‘Euhemerus and the Historians,’The Harvard Theological Review, 39 (1946) 259-274.
24 For this text see E. N. Sathas, ‘Fragments inedits des historiens grecs no. 1: Chaeremonis Aegyptiaca,’ Bulletin de correspondence hellenique, 1 (1877) 121-133; 194-208. The text has been reprinted by Jacoby but unfortunately divided into two parts (FGrH,3Cl, 618 F 7 and 665 F 193).
25 This assumes the Berossian origin of the theory presented in possible fragment 1.
26Cf. Elias J. Bickerman, ‘Origines Gentium,’ Gassical Philology, 47 (1952) 65-81 for this attitude and its effects on Greek
27 Arnaldo Momiglio, Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization (Cambridge, 1915) 121———————

and particularly the third book of the Babyloniaca, the latter indeed providing our best evidence for Berossus’ treatment of the Neo-Babylonian period. Chronologically, the next series of excerpts are those from the second century A.D. Ionic adaptation of Polyhistor’s epitome by Abydenus. These cover all three books of the Babyloniaca but are especially important for books two and three. Finally, there is the abridgement of Polyhistor’s epitome made by Eusebius of Caesaria in the early fourth century A.D. and included in the first book of his Chronica. This is our principle witness for books one and two of the Babyloniaca. Moreover, since the bulk of the excerpts from Abydenus’ work are also preserved in the first book of Eusebius’ Chronica, it is, in fact, our most important source of information for the structure and content of Polyhistor’s epitome and ultimately of the Babyloniaca itself

Since Josephus, Abydenus and Eusebius all derived their knowledge from Polyhistor’s work and Eusebius prepared a relatively full abridgement of it, restoration of the core of Polyhistor’s epitome of the Babyloniaca should in theory be a simple matter of on the one hand inserting into the text of Eusebius’ abridgement of it at the appropriate places material omitted by him but preserved by either Josephus or Abydenus and on the other of deleting from it material about Babylon from authors other than Berossus used by Polyhistor to supplement the information he found in the Babyloniaca. In general this is, in fact, the procedure used to prepare the present edition. Unfortunately, however, the backbone of any  reconstruction of Polyhistor’s text, the Greek text of Eusebius’ Chronica, is lost except for excerpts preserved in the ninth century A.D. Byzantine chronicle of George Syncellus. For our knowledge of the complete text of the Chronica and, hence, of the abridgement of Polyhistor’s epitome and the excerpts from Abydenus contained in it, we must depend on the Armenian translation of the work. This means that there may be, as in the case, for instance, of the Flood story, as many as five overlapping witnesses to Polyhistor’s text in two different language~-Greek and Armenian texts of Eusebius’ abridgement, Greek and Armenian texts of Abydenus’ excerpts from Polyhistor, and a small portion preserved in Greek by Josephus. As the original excerpts were of varying degrees of reliability-those of Josephus being the most reliable and those of Abydenus the least 28 -and as the Armenian translation of Eusebius is also sometimes obviously in error, strict scholarly procedure would have been to print translations of all the versions in parallel columns so that all the witnesses would be available for study. Insofar as the content of Berossus’ book is concerned, the result of such a procedure would only have been confusion. Accordingly, a compromise has been attempted in the preparation of the present translation.
The basis of the translation is the excerpts from Eusebius’ abridgement of Polyhistor’s epitome preserved by Syncellus except for the Neo-Babylonian period where the version of Josephus has been followed. The following supplements to this basic text have been made: (1) material from Eusebius’ abridgement preserved in the Armenian translation but omitted by Syncellus. These are identified by enclosure in parentheses; (2) material omitted by Eusebius in his abridgement but preserved in the excerpts of Abydenus. These are identified by enclosure in brackets; (3) one line preserved in the excerpts from the lost Syriac translation of the Chronica made by Michael the Syrian; and (4) the astronomical-astrological fragments which were not in Eusebius’ abridgement either because they were omitted by Polyhistor or because Eusebius did not feel them to be relevant to his chronographic purpose. I have printed parallel versions of a text only where the discrepancies between the preserved witnesses are so great that it is not possible to produce a single unified text without seriously distorting the evidence. Like all compromises, the resulting translation is not perfect, but it does make it possible for the first time for scholars and students interested in the content of Berossus’ work to read it in a form as close to the original structure of his book as can now be determined. 29

28cr. e.g. Book 2 section 1.1-11 and the notes for examples of Abydenus’ arbitrariness as a transmitter of Berossus’ text.
29For the text of Berossus and Abydenus I have relied on the edition by Felix Jacoby, FGrH, 3Cl, 364-397 and 398-410. I have also consulted the edition of the fragments by Schnabel, 250-275. The passage from Michael the Syrian is printed by Schnabel on page 267 as fragment 39a. For the text of Eusebius’ ‘Chronica’ I have used the translation of the Armenian by Josef Karst, Die Chronik, Eusebius Werke, 5 (Leipzig, 1911). For Syncellus I have used the edition by William Dindorf, Georgius Syncellus et Nicephorus CP, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae 1 (Bonn, 1829). The only previcms translation into English of the fragments of Berossus was by Isaac Preston Cory, Ancient Fragments, 2nd ed. (London, 1832) 21-46——————

Two final points. First, no attempt has been made to standardize the spelling of the names in the fragments since that would suggest that the text of Berossus suffered less distortion in transmission than was actually the case. The currently accepted forms are given in the notes and the headings of the various sections of the text.
Second, the notes are not intended to constitute a full commentary on Berossus. Rather their purpose is three-fold: to elucidate difficult points in the fragments, aduce ancient parallels which would illustrate the various traditions available to Berossus, and to refer the reader to standard works in which he might find fuller discussions of the points raised in the notes. In conclusion I should like to express my gratitude to Professor Giorgio Buccellati for encouraging me to undertake this study and to Professor Piotr Michalowski for his assistance with the Assyriological aspects of it.


1. Prologue

1.  Berossus says in the first book of his Babyloniaca that he lived during the time of Alexander the son of Philip,2 and that the many (?) books which had been preserved with great care at Babylon and which dealt with a period of more than 150,000 years.3 These books contained the histories of heaven (and of earth) and sea and the first birth and the kings and their deeds.
2.  He begins by saying that the land of the Babylonians lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The land produces wild wheat, barley, (lentils), chick-peas and sesame. The roots which grow in the marshes are also eaten. These are called gongas. 4 These roots have the same properties as barley. There are also dates, apples, and other fruits, fish and birds, both land and marsh birds.
3.  The portions of Babylonia in Arabia are waterless and barren, but those lying opposite to Arabia are mountainous and fertile.
4.  There was a great crowd of men in Babylonia and they lived without laws just as wild animals.5
5.  In the first year6 a beast named Oannes appeared from the Erythraean Sea7 in a place adjacent to Babylonia.
Its entire body was that of a fish, but a human head had grown beneath the head of the fish and human feet likewise had grown from the fish’s tail. It also had a human voice. A picture of it is still preserved today.8 He says that this beast spent the days with the men but ate no food. It gave to the men the knowledge of letters

1″Genesis” is my interpretation cif the reference to Berossus’ having discussed the names of the stars in Procreatione (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 17). Schnabel’s rendering (18) en tei Kosmogoniai gives too specific a content to Procreatio. Implicit in the title is the idea that creation took place by birth.
2 In addition to the information that he was a coli.temporary of Alexander the Great (336-323), Berossus’ prologue also stated that he was a priest of Bel = Marduk, a Chaldaean, and that the book was dedicated to Antiochus I (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 Tt 2-3).
3 The summary of the prologue is corrupt in both the Greek and Armenian versions of the text “‘Translated” has been introduced to provide continuous sense. Since the chronological data scattered through books two and three total almost 468,000 years, it is clear that neither the 150,000 years of the Greek nor the 2,150,000 years of the Armenian text can represent Berossus’ total for the period of time supposedly covered by these records. Unfortunately, no solution to the problem is possible although figures given by authors dependent on Berossus for the age of the Babylonian astronomical records – 490,000 years according to Pliny the Elder (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 16); 480,000 years according to Sextus Julius Africanus (Syncellus, p. 31, lines 11-12); and 400,000 years according to Chaeremon (FGrH, 3Cl, 618 F 7) – also point to a figure somewhat over 400,000 years. For a discussion of the problem see Eduard Schwartz, ‘Berossos’, R-E, 3 (1899) 312-313.
Berossos clearly claimed that these records dated from before the flood. Finally, Chaeremon’s statement (FGrH, 3Cl, 618 F 7) that the records were preserved on baked bricks to protect them from being harmed by flood waters suggests that Berossos gave at this point an explanation of the cuneiform writing system (cf. FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 16b).
4 Komoroczy (142) suggests that this be equated with the Akkadian plant term kungu or gungu.
5 For the portrayal of man in the “state of nature” in Mesopotamian literature see Komor6czy, 140-142.
6 I.e., of the reign of Alorus as noted by Schnabel, 91. The connection of Oannes and Alorus is now also attested in the Uruk Apkallu list (van Dijk, 45 line 1).
7 The Persian Gulf is probably meant, although the term is also used in Greek geographical literature in the broader sense of southern sea; that is, the Indian Ocean with its two gulfs, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
8 Oannes is to be identified with Adapa (van Dijk, 47-48 note ad line 1; William W. Hallo, ‘On the Antiquity of Sumerian Literature,’ Journal of the American Oriental Society, 83 [1963] 176). No Babylonian representations of Oannes are known, but figures similar to Berossus’ description occur on First Millennium Assyrian cylinder seals (H. Frankfort, Cylinder Seals: A Documentary Essay on the Art and Religion of the Ancient Near East [London, 1939] 202-203 and plate 34b), and one is depicted on the walls of the palace of Ashurna~irpal at Nimrud (T.A. Madhloom, The Chronology of Neo-Assyrian Art _[London, 1970) p4te 65.4). For the tradition concerning Oannes as a whole see Komoroczy, 142-151.

and sciences and crafts of all types. It also taught them how to found cities, establish temples, introduce laws and measure land. It also revealed to them seeds and the gathering of fruits, and in general it gave men everything which is connected with the civilized life. From the time of that beast nothing further has been discovered. But when the sun set this beast Oannes plunged back into the sea and spent the nights, in the deep, for it was amphibious. Later other beasts also appeared. He says that he will discuss these in the book of the kings.9 Oannes wrote about birth and government and gave the following account to men. 10

2. The Revelation of Oannes

1. It (sc. Oannes) says that there was a time when everything was darkness and water11 and that in this water strange beings with peculiar forms came to life. For men were born with two wings and some with four wings and two faces; these had one body and two heads, and they were both masculine and feminine, and they had two sets of sexual organs, male and female. Other men were also born, some with the legs and horns of goats, and some with the feet of horses and the foreparts of men. These were hippo-centaurs in form.

2. Bulls were also born with human heads and four-bodied dogs with fish tails growing from their hind quarters, and dog-headed horses and men and other beings with the heads and bodies of horses and the tails of fish and still other creatures with the forms of all sorts of beasts. In addition to these there were fish and creeping things and snakes and still further amazing (variously formed) creatures differing in appearance from one another. Images of these also are set up (one after another) in the temple of Bel.12

A woman 13 named Omorka…14 ruled over all of these creatures. In Chaldaean her name was Thaiath which translated into Greek means Thalassa (i.e., “Sea”).15
91.e., in book two.
lO Since Oannes’ speech is clearly based on Enuma Elish, Berossus apparently dated that work, actually a composition of the Kassite Period (Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion [New Haven, 1976] 189-190; W. G. Lambert, The Reign of Nebuchadnezzar I: A Turning Point in the History of Ancient Mesopotamian Religion,’ The Seed of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of T.J. Meek [Toronto, 1964] 3-11; and ‘A New Look at the Babylonian
Background of “Genesis” ‘,Journal of Theological Studies, 16 [1965] 291) but important in the Seleucid Period when it formed part of the ritual for the Akitu Festival (ANET, 332, 280), to the period before the Flood. For the ascription of
other works, primarily astronomical to Oannes see van Dijk, 48, and Hallo, ‘Antiquity,’ 176.
11 Schnabel (155-162) recognized in the reference to “darkness (to skotos)” one of a number of interpolations in or alterations of Berossus’ text by a Jew or an author influenced by Judaism. The others have been deleted from this translation.
12a. the account of the creation of the monsters by Tiamat in Enuma Elish (Tablet l, lines 132-143 [ANET, 62] ). Frankfort (Cylinder Seals, 199) notes that the creatures in Berossus’ fuller list occur on late Assyrian cylinder seals. The reference to images of the creatures being set up in the temple of Bel is probably based on the following passage of Enuma Elish (Tablet 5, lines 73-76 [ANET, 502] trans. A. K. Grayson): “Now the eleven creatures which Tiamat had made…/whose weapons he had shattered, which he had tied to his foot: [of these] he made statues and set (them) up [at the Gate of] Apsu (saying): “Let it be a token that this may never be forgotten! ‘ ” For a good discussion of Berossus’ modifications of the creation story in Enuma Elish see Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, 2nd ed. (Chicago, 1951) 77-81.
13 For Berossus’ portrayal of Tiamat see Lambert, Babylonian Background, 294-295.
14 I have followed Jacoby (FGrH, 3Cl, 372, line 2) in deleting at this point a gloss to the name Omorka to the effect that it has the same numerological value as the Greek word for moon, selene, i.e., 301. For the correct reading of the name see Paul Haupt, ‘Omoroka and Thalatth,’ American Journal of Philology, 39 (1918) 306. The meaning of the term is unclear.
Komor6czy (132-133) suggested that it was derived from the Akkadian word e-ma-ru-uk-ka in the meaning “flood” which occurs in Enuma Elish (Tablet 2, line 101) in connection with Tiamat, Heidel, Babylonian Genesis, 77 n. 84, recognized in it a title of Tiamat and one does, in fact, occur in the context of the creation of the monsters in Enuma Elish (Tablet 1, line 132), um-ma bu-bur, Mother Hubur, which might do.
15 Tualath is an obvious corruption of Tiamat caused by its proximity in Berossus’ text to Thalassa, “Sea”, its translation. The form of the name used by Berossus is disputed. Heidel (Babylonian Genesis, 77 n. 85) suggests Thamte which “corresponds to the Babylonian tdmtu, denoting the sea, the ocean, or Ti’timat (the personified primordial sea, ocean).” Komor6czy (132) and Haupt (306-307) prefer a version of the name preserved by Eudemus of Rhodes (Book 3, section 7.1), either Tauthe or Tauathe.—————-

3a. When all had been thus gathered together (into a chaotic mass), Bel rose up and split the woman in two. One half of her he made earth and the other sky; and he destroyed the creatures in her. But this, he says, is to talk about nature allegorically (namely that when) everything consisted of moisture and creatures came )into existence in it, this god took off his own head and the other gods (gathered up) the blood which flowed from it and mixed the blood with earth and formed men. For this reason men are intelligent and have a share of divine  wisdom.16
3b. But Bel, who is to be translated (into Greek) as Zeus, divided the darkness in half and separated earth and sky from each other and ordered the universe. But the creatures died because they were unable to endure the force of the light.
When Bel saw that the land was barren and fruitless, he ordered one of the gods to take off his own head and mix earth with the blood flowing from it and to form men and beasts able to endure the air.
4. Bel also created the stars and the sun and the moon and the five planets.17

3. The Great Year18

Some suppose that in the final catastrophe the earth, too, will be shaken and through clefts in the ground will uncover sources of fresh rivers which will flow forth from their full source in larger volume. Berosus, the interpreter of Belus,19  affirms that the whole issue is brought about by the course of the planets. So positive is he on the point that he assigns a definite date both for the  confla-gration and the deluge. All that the earth inherits will, he assures us, be consigned to flame when the planets, which now move in different orbits, all assemble in Cancer, so arranged in one row that a straight line may pass through their spheres. When the same gathering takes place in Capricorn, then we are in danger of the deluge. Midsummer is at present brought around by the former, midwinter by the latter. They are zodiacal signs of great power, seeing that they are the determining influences in the two great changes of the year. 20

16 For unknown reasons Polyhistor gave two versions of this text, and no satisfactory manner of uniting them has been proposed (cf. Heidel, Babylonian Genesis, 77-78, for a suggested combined text). Berossus’ allegorical treatment of Enuma Elish’s account of creation is lost, but Heidel (Babylonian Genesis, 79) is certainly correct in maintaining that such treatment, while probably a concession to Greek readers, was not alien to Babylonian thought. Indeed, the fact known to Berossus that the names of Tiamat and other first-generation do.ities denoted natural elements (cf. Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness, 168-169) combined with the detailed description of the transformation of Tiamat’s body into the natural world in Enuma Elish, Tablet 5, lines 47-66 [ANET, 501-502]) would facilitate allegorization of the story. Less certain, however, is Heidel’s claim (Babylonian Genesis, 78 n. 88) that Berossus meant that Kingu’s head and not that of Bel was cut off in the creation of man since heautou, “himself,” is reflexive and should refer to Bel. The emphasis on Bel’s benevolent intent in creating man is noteworthy in view of the more common interpretation in Mesopotamian literature that man was created to labor for the gods (cf. Lambert, Babylonian Background, 297-298).
17 For Bel’s creation of the stars, sun and the moon see Enuma Elish, Tablet 5, lines 145 (ANET, 501). It is not clear if the reference to the five planets is an addition by Berossus or if their creation was contained in the lacuna between lines 25 and 44 of this tablet.
18 For the authenticity of the astronomical and astrological fragments see Appendix 1. Contra Drew’s suggestion (Berossus, 53) that they belong in Book 3, I have followed Schnabel (17-19) by placing them in Book 1.
19 For this interpretation of the phrase Berosos, qui Belum interpretatus est see W. G. Lambert, ‘Berossus and Babylonian Eschatology,’ Iraq, 38, (1976) 171-172. His attempt to use this interpretation (loc. dt.) to impugn the authenticity of this passage on the ground that Berossus was treating Marduk as “an authority on astronomy and astrology, presumably an author…” a role unattested for him in cuneiform literature, ignores the fact that in the passage from Enuma Elish cited in note 17 Bel is credited with the creation of the heavens and that Belum interpretatus est may refer to Berossus’ exegesis of Marduk’s statements at this point in Enuma Elish. More specifically, the whole account of the Great Year may be only an interpretation of the establishment of the astronomical year by Marduk et Enuma Elish, Tablet 5, lines 1-10 (ANET, 67). For Berossus and the doctrine of the Great Year in general see B. L. van der Waerden, ‘Das grosse Jahr und die ewige Wiederkehr,’ Hermes, 80 (1952) 140-143, who maintains that the 432,000 years before the Flood equal one-half of Berossus’ great year.
20 The translation is adapted from that of John Oarke, Physical Science in the Time of Nero: Being a Translation of the Quaestiones Natura/es of Seneca (London, 1910) 150-151.—————-

4. The Moon
According to the teaching of Berosus, who came from the state, or rather nation of the Chaldees, and was the pioneer of Chaldaean learning in Asia, the moon is a ball, one half luminous and the rest of a blue color. 21
When in the course of her orbit she has passed below the disc of the sun, she is attracted by his rays and great heat, and turns thither her luminous side, on account of the sympathy between light and light. Being thus summoned by the sun’s disc and facing upward, her lower half, as it is not luminous, is invisible on account of its likeness to the air. When she is perpendicular to the sun’s rays, all her light is confined to her upper surface, and she is then called the new moon. As she moves on, passing by to the east, the effect of the sun upon her relaxes, and the outer edge of the luminous side sheds its light upon the earth in an exceedingly thin line. This is called the second day of the moon. Day by day she is further relieved and turns, and thus are numbered the third, fourth, and following days. On the seventh day, the sun being in the west and the moon in the middle of the firmament between east and west, she is half the extent of the firmament distant from the sun, and therefore half of the luminous side is turned toward the earth.
But when the sun and moon are separated by the entire extent of the firmament, and the moon is in the east with the sun over her in the west, she is completely relieved by her still greater distance from his rays, and so, on the fourteenth day, she is at the full, and her entire disc emits light. On the succeeding days, up to the end of the month, she wanes daily as she turns in her course, being recalled bt the sun until she comes under his disc and rays, thus completing the count of the days of the month.2

21 Berossus’ theory that the moon shone with its own light became a standard item in Greek scientific doxography (cf. FGrH, 3Cl, 680 Ff 18-19; Lucretius, De rerum natura 5.720-728). For an attempt to explain the celestial mechanics implicit in this passage see Stephen Toulmin, ‘The Astrophysics of Berossos the Chaldaean,’ Isis, 58 (1967) 65-76; and the discussion of this paper in ‘The Astrophysics of Berossos the Chaldaean,’ Isis, 59 (1968) 91-94. The source of the theory is unknown, but comparison of this passage with the description of Marduk’s creation of the moon in Enuma Elish (Tablet 5, lines 12-22 [ANET, 68] trans. E. A. Speiser) is revealing:

The Moon he caused to shine, the night (to him) entrusting.
He appointed him a creature of the night to signify the days:
“Monthly, without cease, form designs with a crown.
At the month’s very start, rising over the land,
Thou shalt have luminous horns to signify six days,
On the seventh day reaching a [half] -crown.
At full moon stand in opposition in mid-month.
When the sun [overtakes] thee at the base of heaven,
Diminish [thy crown] and retrogress in light.
[At the time of disappearance] approach thou the course of the sun
And [on the twenty-ninth] thou shalt again stand in opposition to the sun.”

In view of the similarities of these two texts – (1) both share the idea that the moon has its own light; (2) both define the phases of the moon in detail to the mid-month and then summarily to the end of the month; and (3) both explain the causes
of the phases of the moon in terms of rectilinear relations between it and the sun – and the fact that Berossus drew on Enuma Elish in book one, it is likely that this passage is the source for his account of the phases of the moon. If so it confirms the belief of scholars that Berossus was not an important link in the transmission of Babylonian mathematical astronomy to the Greeks since the cosmology implied by his account of the phases of the moon reflects the astronomical thought of the late Second Millennium and not that of his own time (cf. Toulmin, 76; Dicks, 253-254 n. 306, 0. Neugebauer, ‘The Survival of Babylonian Methods in the Exact Sciences of Antiquity and the Middle Ages,’ Proceedings of the American
Philosophical Society, 107 [1963] 5 29).
22 The translation is that of Morris Hicky Morgan (Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture [Cambridge, Mass., 1914] 262-264).

5. The Walling of Babylon

They say that everything originally was water and was called Thalassa. Bel restrained it, assigning a place to each thing, and he surrounded Babylon with a wall. But with the passage of time it disappeared and Nabouchodonosoros again built a wall with bronze gates which lasted until the Macedonian domination. 23

6. Unplaced Fragments of Book One

1. Berossus says in the first book of the Babyloniaca that a festival called Sacaea is celebrated in Babylon for a period of five days beginning with the sixteenth day of the month Loos; and that during these days it is the custom for masters to be ruled by their slaves; and that one of the slaves puts on a robe similar to that of a king and manages the affairs of the house. This slave is called zoganes.24

2. Sarachero: in Berosos “the embellishment of Hera.” 25

23 Placement of this fragment in book one is guaranteed by the association of Bel’s walling of Babylon with his victory over
Tiamat and, as Schnabel recognized (41-42), by the reference to the refoundation of Babylon after the F1ood in book two
section 2.4. Berossus’ source for the pre-F1ood existence of Babylon is probably Enuma Elish, Tablet 5, lines 119-131 (ANET,
502) which contain Marduk’s decision to build Babylon after disposing of Tiamat’s corpse, an account which differs from that of Berossus only in that the actual construction was done by the Anunnaki (Tablet 6, lines 59-72 [ANET, 68-69) ). Berossus’ insistence that Bel built the wall of Babylon and that it lasted until rebuilt by Nebukadnezzar II is part of his polemic against the Ctesian tradition that Semiramis founded Babylon (cf. book three section 3.3; the Ctesian tradition is best represented by Diodorus 2.7.2 and defended against that followed by Berossus by Curtius Rufus [5.1.24)).
241..oos = I..oios = Duzu = July (Alan E. Samuel, Greek and Roman Chronology: Calendars and Years in Classical Antiquity [Munich, 1972] 141-142. No Babylonian festival of this name is known although a Persian substitute king ritual called Sacaea is attested (Dio Chrysostom 4.66-67) which strengthens somewhat Eddy’s suggestion (55 n. 47) that Berossus may have tried
to give a Babylonian pedigree to a Persian institution. CT. in general S. Langdon, The Babylonian and Persian Sacaea,’Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1924) 65,72. Langdon (66 n. 3) suggests that zoganes should be derived from Akkadian ‘Saknu, governor.
25 For an attempt to interpret this as a Sumerian astronomical term see Georges Dossin, ‘La Glose Sarachero d’Hesychius,’ Bulletin de la classe des lettres et sciences morales et politiques, Academie royale de Belgique, ser. 5,5 (1971) 389-399. For other astronomical terms possibly derived from Berossus and preserved in the lexicon of Hesychius see Schnabel, 260, and Dossin, 398-399. ————–


1. Kings Before the Flood

1. Berossus records the following: 26   Aloros, 27 a Chaldaean 28 from Babylon,29 was the first king [of the land] and he reigned for ten saroi. [They say that he spread the story about himself that the god appointed him shepherd of the people].

2. Berossus wrote in terms of saroi and neroi and sossoi. 30 The saros indicates a period of 3600 years, the neros 600 years and the sossos 36 years.

3. (After the death of Aloros his son Alaf:aros31 reigned three saroi. And after Alaparos Amelon,32 one of the Chaldaeans from the city Pautibiblon. 3 He reigned thirteen saroi.)

4. Then Ammenon,34 the Chaldaean (from the city Pautibiblon. He reigned twelve saroi.) In his time, he says, Annedotos,35 (a beast with the forms of man and fish), appeared from the Erythraean (Sea).

5. Then Amegalaros36 from the city Pautibiblon and he reigned for eighteen saroi.

26 As a non-canonical document, the list of the pre-Flood kings was subject to considerable variation in its contents, i.e., the number of kings, their cities, the order and especially the lengths of their individual reigns (cf. J. J. Finkelstein, ‘The Antediluvian Kings: A University of eallfomia Tablet,’ JCS, 17 [1963) 50-51; Thorkild Jacobsen, The Sumerian King List [Chicago, 1939) 55-64). Berossus’ list differs from the others in the cities mentioned, substituting Babylon for Eridu at the beginning and Sippar for Suruppak at the end in particular, and in linking the kinglist with an Apkallu list, a peculiarity, however, which has been verified for the Seleucid Period by the publication of the Uruk Apkallu list. On the other hand his total of ten kings reigning for 432,000 years conforms to the tradition in general which records between eight and ten kings reigning for between 186,000 and 456,000 years (cf. the tables in Finkelstein, ‘Antediluvian Kings,’ 45-46).
27Aloros=-Alulim. For a comparison of Berossus’ forms of the names of the pre-Flood kings and those of the Sumerian King List see Jacobsen, King List, 71 n. 10-76 n. 34.
28By identifying Aloros and his successors as Chaldaeans Berossus established a link between the Chaldaeans of his day and the pre-Flood kings, a link that is made explicit in an allusion by the Emperor Julian (361-363 A.D.) to the wise men of the Chaldaeans and Assyrians being the successors of Oannes and Bel (Against the Galilaeans, the Works of the Emperor Julian, ed. and trans. Wilmer Cave Wright, vol. 3 [Cambridge, Mass., 1961] 176AB).
29 Berossus’ substitution of Babylon for Eridu as the first city has raised much comment. Eckkard Unger (‘Eridu,’ RA, 2
[1938] 465-466) suggested that it might have resulted from the fact that NUN”i, the most common spelling of Eridu, was also used for Babylon in the royal titulary during the time of Nebukadnezzar II. More recently, William W. Hallo (‘Antediluvian Qties,’ JCS, 23 [1970) 63) has suggested that the substitution might be explained if Ku’ara, a part of Babylon which
replaces Eridu in one cuneiform text, were also a part of Eridu. More likely, Berossus simply followed Enuma Elish, as he did in Book one, in making Babylon the fust city created after Marduk’s victory over Tiamat.
30 Sar is a Sumerian sign meaning “universe” and “3600” when used as a number-word (Otto Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, 2nd ed. [New York, 1969) 141-142). Neros and Sossos do not seem to be otherwise attested.
31 Alaparos=Alalgar
32 Amelon=Ammeluanna
33 Pautibiblon=Badtibira
34 Ammenon may reflect an original Enmenunna, a name which occurs in the first post-Flood dynasty of Kish (Finkelstein, ‘Antediluvian Kings,’ 47). This, however, is denied by Jacobsen (King List, 73 n. 18) who argues that Ammenon is only a doublet of Amelon.
35 Annedotos is probably to be identified with U’anduga, Apkallu of Alalgar in the Uruk Apkallu list (van Dijk, 45, lin~ 2).
36 Amegalaros=Enmengalanna (Finkelstein, Antediluvian Kings, 46). The form Amrnegalanna is attested on the Uruk Apkallu list (van Dijk, 45, line 4). At this point Abydenus’ version of the kinglist (FGrH, 3Cl, 685, F 2) varies, giving the form Amillaros, interchanging him with Ammenon, and dating the appearance of Annedotos to his reign.————–

6. And after him Daonos,37 a shepherd from {the city) Pautibiblon, reigned for ten saroi. And again at this time, he says, four {beasts) with the same shape and mixture of fish and man as those before appeared from the Erythrean {Sea).38 [Their names were the following: Euedokos, Eneugamos, Eneuboulos, Anementos.] 39
7. Then Euedora <g> chos40 from (the city) Pautibiblon41 became king and reigned for eighteen saroi. In his time, he says, another creature similar in its mixture of fish and man named Odakon4 appeared from the Erythraean Sea.
8. He says that these creatures all together explained in detail the things which had been spoken summarily by Oannes.
9. ‘Then Amempsinos,43 a Chaldaean from Laragchos,44 became king and he reigned for ten saroi.
10. Then Otiartes,45 a Chaldaean from Laragchos,46 became king and he reigned for eight saroi.
11. After the death of Otiartes his son Xisouthros47 reigned for eighteen saroi. All together there were ten kings and one hundred and twenty saroi. In his time, he says, the great Flood occurred (and the story has been recorded as follows:).48

37 Daonos=Dumuzi. Abydenus (FGrH, 3Cl, 685, F i.) has the form Daos.
38 In the Uruk Apkallu list (van Dijk, 45 lines 2-6) these Apkallus are assigned to kings Ammelu’anna, Ammegalanna, Enme’usumgalanna and Dumuzi instead of being grouped together under one reign.
39 Euedokos=Enmeduga; Eneugamos=Enmegalamma; Eneuboulos=Enmebulugga; Anementos=Anenlilda. For all of these figures see van Dijk, 48 nn. 3-6.
40 Euedora(g)chos=Enmeduranki or Enmeduranna (Finkelstein, Antediluvian Kings, 45). Abydenus (FGrH 3Cl, 685, F 2) has the form
41 Enmeduranki is usually assigned to Sippar (Finkelstein, Antediluvian Kings, 45). Two texts published by W. G. Lambert
(‘Enmeduranki and Related Matters,’ JCS, 21 [1967] 126-133) indicate that Enmeduranki was accorded special prominence in late Babylonian tradition. In the first of these he is claimed as an ancestor by Nebukadnezzar I and in the second he and not an apkallu is the means by which the gods reveal a divinatory technique to man.
42 Odakon=Utu’abzu. The exact form of the name given by Berossus is unclear since Abydenus (FGrH, 3Cl, 685 F 2) gives “Anodaphos”. Van Dijk (49 n. 1) has suggested an original “Odaphos”. His identification of this apkallu with U’anduga is unlikely since it leaves unexplained both the name Annedotos and the postulated sudden disruption of the order of apkallus, an order in which Berossus had up to this point agreed with the Uruk Apkallu list. Berossus also agrees with that list and The Poem of Erra (trans. Luigi Cagni, Sources from the Ancient Near East, vol. 1, fasc. 3 [Malibu, 1977] Tablet 1, line 162) in recording seven pre-Flood apkallus.
43 Amempsinos=EnsipaZianna. Ensipazianna’s position in the list is uncertain since he is placed before Dumuzi in two of the cuneiform lists and after in the two others (Finkelstein, Antediluvian Kings, 45).
44 Laraghos= Larak
45 Otiartes=Ubartutu
46 Ubartutu is usually assigned to Suruppak (Finkelstein, Antediluvian Kings, 45).
47 Xisouthros=Ziusudra. Abydenus (FGrH, 3Cl, 685 F2) has the more Hellenized form Sisouthros.
48 The order of items in this passage is unclear. I have followed Abydenus (FGrH, 3Cl, 685 F 2) in placing the dynasty total immediately after the mention of Xisouthros. Schnabel (182) recognized in the last phrase a reference to a written source for Berossus’ account of the Flood, which cannot, however, be identified with any of the surviving cuneiform versions of the story but instead must have been some still unknown eclectic version since it differs in some details from them while a~eeing with them on others. Because of the prominence of Sippar in Berossus’ version Lambert (‘Enmeduranki’ 127; Atra-ljasis: the Babylonian Story of the Flood, ed. with A. R. Millard [Oxford, 1969] 137) suggested that he followed a Sipparian tradition. For the Flood as a possible historical event see now M. E. L. Mallowan, ‘Noah’s Flood Reconsidered,’ Iraq, 26 (1964) 62-82.

2. The Flood

1. Cronus49 appeared to Xisouthros50 in a dream51 and revealed that on the fifteenth day of the month Daisios52 mankind would be destroyed by a flood. Therefore, he ordered Xisouthros to bury the beginnings and the middles and the ends of all writings53 in Sippar,54 the City of the Sun.55 Then, he should build a boat and embark on it with his kin and his closest friends. Food and drink should be placed in it. He was to load into it also the winged and four-footed creatures and to make everything ready to sail. If asked where he was sailing, he should reply, “To the gods to pray for good things for men.” Heeding him, he built a boat five stades in length and two stades in breadth. He collected everything he had been ordered, and he embarked his wife and his children and his closest friends; [and straightaway the things from the god came upon him.]55a
2. [On the third day] after the flood had come and swiftly receded, Xisouthros released some of ‘the birds [to determine if they might see somewhere land which had arisen from the waters]. But finding neither food nor a place on which to alight, the birds returned to the ship. After a few days Xisouthros again released the birds and these again returned to the ship but with their feet covered with mud.56 On being released a third time, they did not again return to the ship. Xisouthros understood that land had reappeared. Tearing apart a portion of the seams and seeing that the boat had landed on a mountain, he disembarked with his wife and his daughter and the pilot. After performing obeisance to the earth and setting up an altar and sacrificing to the gods, he and those who had disembarked from the ship with him disappeared. When Xisouthros and the others did not come back in, those remaining in the boat disembarked and searched for him calling out his name. Xisouthros was no longer visible to them, but a voice from the sky ordered them to be reverent. Because of his piety, he had gone to live with the gods; and his wife and the pilot were to share the same honor. The voice also told them that they were to return to Babylon and that it was decreed that they were to dig up the writings from (the city) of the Sipparians and distribute them to mankind. It also said that the land in which they found themselves was Armenia. After hearing these things, they sacrificed to the gods and proceeded to Babylon on foot.

49cronus =Enki/Ea. The basis for the identification was doubtless that Ea was the father of Marduk just as Cronus was of Zeus with whom Berossus had equated Marduk.
50 Komor6czy (133-13S) suggested that Berossus’ source was the ‘Sumerian Flood Story’ (ed. M. Civil, Atra-Has7S, ed. Lambert and Millard, 138-14S) on the basis of his use of the name Ziusudra for the hero of the flood, but see next note.
51 That Ziusudra learned of the impending flood through a dream is specifically denied in the ‘Sumerian Flood Story’ (lines 149-lSO). A prophetic dream, however, may have been referred to in the Atra-/jaSfs epic (Tablet 3, lines 13-14). The presence of Ziusudra, in fact, may represent only an attempt by Berossus to harmonize his source for the Flood with that for the pre-Flood kings in which Ziusudra was the last king.
52 Daisios=Aiaru=May (Samuel, 143). Only Berossus gives an exact date for the Flood (cf. Lambert, Atra-Jjas7.S, 136-137).
53 This is an attested Babylonian idiom meaning “all” (Lambert, Atra-Haffi, 137),
54 According to the Poem of Erra (Tablet 4, line SO) Sippar was not destroyed in the Flood.
55 Llterally “the Sun-city of the Sipparians” (cf. [the city] of the Sipparians in book two sections 2 and 4). This manner of referring to cities reflects Babylonian usage of the Seleucid Period (G. K. Sarkisian, ‘City Land in Seleucid Babylonia,’ Ancient
Mesopotamia: Socio-Economic History, a Collection of Studies by Soviet Scholars, ed. I. M. Diankonoff [Moskow, 1969] 313).
55a i.e., the Flood. Alexander Heidel (The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels, 2nd ed. [Chicago, 1949] 118 n. S6) points out that the god in this phrase must be the chief god of the pantheon, i.e., Marduk.
56 Abydenus (FGrH, 3Cl, 68S F 3) has the birds return with muddied feet on the third day they were released. The bird story occurs only in Berossus, the Flood story in Gilgamesh (Tablet 11, lines 14S-1S4 (ANET, 94-9S] and Genesis 8:6-12 (cf.
Lambert, Babylonian Background, 291-292). Berossus may have identified the birds as doves if Schnabel (181 n. 1) was correct in recognizing a pun in taus podas pepelomenous, “with muddied feet,” with peleia, “dove”. For the background of the bird episode see R. David Freedman, ‘The Dispatch of the Reconnaissance Birds in Gilgamesh XI,’ The Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University, S (1973) 123-129.
S7 In the Gilgamesh epic the ark lands on Mount Nisir (Tablet 11, line 140 (ANET, 94] ), perhaps Pir Omar Gudrun in southern Kurdistan (Ephraim A. Speiser, ‘Southern Kurdistan in the Annals of Ashurnasirpal and Today,” The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 8 [1926-1927] 17-18). Besides Berossus, Genesis 8:4 and Nicolaus of Damascus, court historian of Herod the Great (37-4), bring the ark to rest in Armenia (FGrH, 2A, 90 F 72; George Huxley, ‘On Fragments of Three Historians: III Nikolaos of Damascus on Urartu,’ Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 9 (1968] 319-320).

3. A portion of the ship which came to rest in Armenia still remains in the mountains of the Korduaians of Armenia, and some of the people, scraping off pieces of bitumen58 from the ship, bring them back and use them as talismans.

4. When these people came to Babylon, they dug up the writings ~t {the city) of the Sipparians and founded many cities and rebuilt shrines and founded anew Babylon.59

3. Sages After the Flood

In the tenth generation after the Flood there was a man among the Chaldaeans who was just, great and knowledgeable about heavenly phenomena.60

4. Dynasties After the Flood

1. After the Flood Euechsios ruled over the land of the Chaldaeans four neroi 61 And after him his son Chomasbelos took over the kingship, four neroi and five sossoi. 62
2. Polyhistor counts in all 86 kings from Xisouthros and from the Flood until the Medes took Babylon. He mentions each of them by name on the authority of the book of Berossus. He sums up the whole period as containing 33,091 years.63

58 The Korduaians are otherwise unknown. Abydenus (FGrH, 3Cl,  68S F 3) says that they use pieces of wood of the ark as talismans, but the parallel passage in Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 1.93) indicates that bitumen is correct. Because of the allusion to bitumen Komoroczy (139) locates the Korduaians in Iraqi Kurdistan, classical Gordyene.
59 In an Old Babylonian Period text published by Edmond Solberger (‘The Rulers of Laga’I,’ JCS, 21 [1969] 282-284, lines 1-SS) the gods make a new revelation of culture to man after the Flood. Berossus’ treatment is closer to the tradition which connects the re-establishment of civilization with a second series of apkallus parallel to the pre-Flood group (cf. Erica Reiner, ‘The Etiological Myth of the “Seven Sages”,’ Orientalia, N.S. 30 [1961] 1-11; van Dijk, 4S, line 8). Berossus’ apparent identification of these figures with the companions of Ziusudra and, presumably, their descendants, is hitherto unattested.
60 This is the only surviving reference to one of the post-Flood apkallus. Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, 1.1S8) and the Hellenistic
Jewish historian known as Pseudo-Eupolemus (FGrH, 3C2, 724 Ff 1-2) identified this figure with Abraham. Possible Fragment 1 suggests that Berossus dated this apkallu about six thousand years after the Flood and that he treated the recovery of astronomy/astrology as the most important achievement of this series of apkallus as a whole.
61 Euechsios=Enmerkar (Jacobsen, King List, 86 n. US). Jacobsen suggests that the reading Euechsios is corrupt and that Berossus
actually wrote Euechoros (cf. Jacoby, FGrH, 3Cl, p. 384 note ad line 4). This identification implies that Berossus omitted the whole first post-Flood dynasty of Kish. Apropos of this William W. Hallo (‘Beginning and End of the Sumerian King List in the Nippur Recension,’ JCS, 17 [1963] S2) noted that Berossus was strongly interested in the apkallu tradition and that Enmerkar is the first post-Flood king associated with an apkallu (cf. van Dijk, 4S, line 8; Reiner, 4, lines 10-13).
62 Jacobsen {King List, 88 n. 122) identifies Chomasbelos with Lugalbanda. Dosin {306) suggests Gilgamesh, a theory rejected by Jacobsen and rendered most unlikely by the appearance of the form Gilgamos in Possible Fragment 2 which is usually ascribed to Berossus.
63. 33.091 years is the reading of the Armenian text of Eusebius. Emendation of this figure to 34,090 years (Schwartz, 312) has been suggested on the basis of fragment 5b of Berossus. As fragment 5b, however, is an arbitrarily rewritten version of Eusebius’ text by the late fourth century A.D. chronographer Panodorus and the only other reason for the change is the a priori assumption that Berossus assigned 36,000 years to the period from the Flood to Alexander {cf. Schwartz, loc. cit.; Drews, ‘Assyria,’ 141), I have retained the reading of the Armenian text which is as Drews admits (loc. cit.) the best witness to Eusebius’ text at this point. For the chronological problems of the post-Flood king list as a whole see Appendix 2.

3. And after these, following their so powerful dynasty, the Medes, after they had gathered together an army against Babylon, took the city and installed in that very place tyrants from their own ranks.64 Hereupon he also records the names of the tyrants of the Medes:

4. <21 ……….>

5. Eight in number and their years 224.

6. And again 11 kings and 28 years.

7. Then the Chaldaean dynasty: 49 kings and 458 years.

8. Next the Arabian dynasty: 9 kings and 245 years.

9. After these years he also reports the rule of Semiramis over Assyria.65

10. Then again he lists one after another the names of 45 kings and sets the total of their years at 526.

5. Nabu-Nasir

1. Nabonasaros collected together and destroyed the records of the kings before him in order that the list of the Chaldaean kings might begin with him.66

2. In the second book he described the kings, one after another, until, he says, “Nabonassaros was king.”67

64 The translation of “Marer” as “Medes” is assured by its use in that sense in book three, sections 6a and 6c. Schnabel (192-193) recognized that by “tyrants of the Medes” Berossus meant the Gutians and explained the anachronism involved in calling the Gutians Medes by reference to the fact that in First Millennium cuneiform texts Gutium is sometimes called Madai. Possibly further contributing to this mode of reference is the fact noted by Hallo (‘Gutium,’ RA, 3 [1957-1971] 717-719) that Gutium was used in the First Millennium to designate the highlands northeast of Babylon. For the inclusion of the Gutians in a list of the dynasties of Babylon see the text edited by J. J. Finkelstein (‘The Genealogy of the Hammurapi Dynasty,’ JCS, 20 [1966] 96, line 31 and 103-106) where they seem to be included among the ancestors of Ammisaduqa.
65 The historical Semiramis has long been recognized to be Sammuramat, the Babylonian wife of Shamshi-Adad V and mother of Adad-nirari III (810-783) who seems to have been regent for her son for the first five years of his reign (cf. Hildgard Lewy, ‘Nitokris-Naqi’a,’ Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 11 [1952] 264 n. 5 and Wilhelm Eilers, Semiramis: Enstehung und Nachhall einer altorientalischer Sage, SBWien, 274, 2 [Vienna, 1971] 33-38). For a critical review of this theory see now W. Schramm, ‘War Semiramis assyrische Regentin?’ Historia, 21 (1972) 513-521.
66 Schnabel (163-164) claimed that this passage was only an arbitrary expansion of book two, section 5.2 by Panodorus on the ground that Berossus narrated events before Nabu-Nasir. Three facts, however, point to its authenticity: (1) Berossus’ information for the period before Nabu-Nasir was extremely sketchy as Alexander Polyhistor noted (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F3, lines 10-20); (2) the Babylonian Chronical series which is closely related to Berossus’ sources for book three began with the reign of Nabu-Nasir (Grayson, 10); and (3) the detailed recording of Babylonian astronomical observations in the form of astronomical diaries appears also to date from the reign of Nabu-Na~ir (Neugebauer, Exact Sciences, 98; 101; Grayson, 13-14). The statement ascribed to Berossus, therefore, agrees with the fact that the reign of Nabu-Na~ marked a change in the volume of information available to him about the Babylonian past, meagre for the period before his reign and relatively abundant for that following. This literary fact, I suggest, determined Berossus to end book two with the reign of Nabu-Na~, and it is also this fact about his sources that he attempted to explain with the story contained in book 2 section 5.1.
67 For the setting of this passage (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 3, lines 9-12) which defines the ending of book two see Schnabel, 22-23. For the reign of Nabu-Na~ir see J. A. Brinkman, A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia: 1158-722 B.C. (Rome, 1968) 226-234.


1. Tiglath-Pileser/Pulu

After these, he says, there was a king of the Chaldaeans whose name is Phulos…68 and after him, so Polyhistor reports, Senecherib69 became king …70

2. Sennacherib

1. After the reign of the brother of Senecherib71 and after the rule of Akises 72 over the Babylonians; he was killed by Marudach Baldan before he ruled even thirty days.73 And Marudach Baldan maintained himself as tyrant for six months, and a man whose name was (B)elibos killed him,74 and he became king.75 And in the third year of the reign of Belibos Senecheribos, king of the Assyrians, gathered together an army against the Babylonians, faced them resolutely and defeated them. After taking Belibos and his friends prisoner, he transported them into the land of the Assyrians.76′ He ruled over the Babylonians and established his son Asordanios77 as king over them. He himself returned to the land of the Assyrians.

68 Phulos=Pulu, an alternative name of Tiglath-pileser II as king of Babylon (728-727) that is of uncertain origin (cf. Brinkman, History, 240 n. 1544)~ King List A (ANET, 272) and Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 72, lines 19-25, assign him two years. For the reign see Brinkman (History, 240-243). Berossus apparently did not treat his reign as king of Assyria since he referred to him only as king of the Chaldaeans and only by his Babylonian name.
69 Polyhistor, it seems, omitted in abridging Berossus the accounts of several reigns, namely, those of Shalmaneser (726-722), the fust reign of Merodach-Baladan II (721-710) and Sargon II (709-705).
70 The account of Sennacherib’s accession and his western campaign of 701 is missing in Eusebius’ abridgement of Polyhistor and the relevant passage in Josephus is lost (Jewish Antiquities 10.1). Its content, however, is indicated by his introductory note: “Berossus … mentioned King Senacherimos, both that he ruled the Assyrians and that he campaigned against all Asia and Egypt.” This campaign which included the battle of Eltekeh in Palestine is treated as unsuccessful in Herodotus (2141) and II Kings 18:1 – 19:36, because disease in his army forced Sennacherib to withdraw (cf. K. A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt [1100-650 B.C.) [Warminster, 1973) 158-161, 386 n. 824). For the Assyrian version see Daniel David Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, vol. 2 (Chicago, 1927) 119-120; 142-143.
71 A puzzling reference since Sennacherib’s predecessor was his father Sargon II. Albert T. Olmstead (‘Western Asia in the Reign of Sennacherib,’ Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1909 [Washington, 1911] 96) suggested that Berossus was referring to a younger brother appointed by Sennacherib to rule Babylon in his name, thus reconciling Berossus with King List A [ANET, 272) which assigns Sennacherib a two-year reign immediately after Sargon II but no evidence to support this theory has been forthcoming so that at present no solution seems possible.
72 Akises=Marduk-zakir-Jumi II (703). The Armenian translation is in error at this point since the note about Merodach-Baladan killing his predecessor also refers to Marduk-zakir-lumi II as was pointed out by J. A. Brinkman, ‘Merodach-Baladan II,’ Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim: June 7, 1964 (Chicago, 1964) 24-25 n. 137. Presumably the Greek original did not read “and after the rule of Akises,” but rather something such as “Akises ruled over the Babylonians.”
73 King List A (ANET, 272) assigns Marduk-zakir-Jumi II a reign of one month.
74 Merodach-Baladan II (703). King List A (ANET, 272) gives him nine months. For his reign see Brinkman, ‘MerodachBaladan II,’ 6-53. The statement that he was killed in 703 is incorrect since he was still alive in 700 (Brinkman, ‘Merodach· Baladan II,’ 27).
75 Bel·lbni was appointed king of Babylon by Sennacherib in 703 (Chronicle 1 [Grayson] 77, line 23).
76 King List A (ANET, 272) gives him three years. The identical account is found in Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 77, lines 26-29. For his reign see Brinkman, ‘Merodach-Baladan II,’ 26. ·
77 Asordanios=Ashurnadinshumi (699-694). For his appointment see Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 77, lines 30-31.

2a.      When he learned that Greeks had invaded the land of the Cilicians, he hastened against them, faced them, and after many of
his own troops had been cut down by his enemies, gained the victory in the battle.
78 As a memorial of his victory he left a statue of himself on the battlefield and ordered that an account of his courage and heroic deed be inscribed in Chaldaean script for future times.
And Senecherib built (so he reports)
79 the city Tarson after the model of Babylon, and he gave it the name Tharsin. 80

2b. Finally at that time there was Senecherib, the twenty-fifth81 of the rulers who compelled Babylon to submit to his domination. On the coast of Cilicia he defeated a group of Ionian warships and drove them into flight. He also built the temple of Sandes who is  Heracles 82 erected bronze pillars and caused, he said, his great deeds to be inscribed truthfully. He also built Tarson according to the plan and model of Babylon so that the River Cydnus flows through just as the Euphrates flows through Babylon.83

3. And after all the other acts of Sinecherim he adds the following note: he lived 18 years, and he died at the same time that a trap was being readied for him by his son Ardumuzan …84

4. (sc. Sinecherim) +18 years; and after him his son 8 years; and thereafter Sammuges 21 years; and his brother 21 years and thereafter Nabupalsar 20 years and after him Nabukodrossoros 43 years. And in all there are 88 years included in the period from Sinecherim until Nabukodrossoros.85 ·

78 The Cilician campaign took place in 696. For Sennacherib’s account of it see Luckenbill, 2, 137-138. For the campaign in general see A. T. Olmstead, History of Assyria (Chicago, 1923) 310-312; and for the battle with the Greeks in particular see A. Momigliano, ‘Su una battaglia tra Assiri e Greci,’ Athenaeum, N.S. 12 (1934) 412-416.
79 If the parenthetical “so he reports” in book three section 2a and “he said” in 2b derive from Berossus’ original account, then he apparently claimed to be citing a text of Sennacherib as his source for this campaign.
80 The statement that Sennacherib built Tarsus is incorrect since Shalmaneser had already taken the city in 833 (Olmstead, History, 144). Berossus’ interest in this campaign is probably only partly due to a desire to interest his readers with an account of events involving Greeks, a detail not mentioned by Sennacherib in his inscriptions. Contemporary Greek tradition ascribed the construction of Tarsus and Anchiale to Sardanapallus (cf. Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri 2.5.2-4; Strabo 14.5.9; Athenaeus 12.530b), a ruler he identified with Ashurbanipal (cf. below note 95). Accordingly, he attempted to correct the Greek tradition by showing that the real author of these events was Sennacherib. His criticism seems, however, only to have been limited to identifying the ruler in question since, contra Berossus and the Greek tradition, Sennacherib in his inscriptions claimed only to have captured, not to have built or rebuilt, Ingira=Anchiale and Tarzi=Tarsus.
81 The text of Abydenus is corrupt at this point as was recognized by A. von Gutschmidt (cf. Jacoby, FGrH, 3Cl, p. 404 note ad line 4). Instead of the “twenty-fifth of the rulers” Berossus probably wrote something to the effect that “in the twentyfifth year (sc. after Tiglath-pileser) Sennacherib compelled Babylon to submit to his domination,” which on an inclusive count from 728 to 704 is correct.
82 The reading of the Armenian text “he built the temple of the Athenians” is clearly corrupt. The emendation adopted in the translation is based on fragment 12 of Berossus, a list of equations of Babylonian and Iranian gods with Greek gods compiled from the Babyloniaca (cf. Averil Cameron, ‘Agathias on the Sassanians,’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 23-24 [1969-1970] 95-97 for discussion of this text). As all but one of these equations, Sandes=Heracles, is attested in the fragments of Berossus, that one must Jil.so have been in his text. Since Sandon (=Sandes) was the chief god of Tarsus and was identified with Heracles (cf. Hetty Goldman, ‘The Sandon Monument of Tarsus,’ The Journal of the American Oriental Society, 60 [1940] 544-545), it is almost certainly his temple that Berossus would have ascribed to Sennacherib.
83a. the description of Tarsus in Strabo 14.5.12.
84 Sennacherib was assassinated in 681. Berossus agrees with Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 81, lines 34-35 in mentioning only a single assassin instead of implicating two or more sons as is the case in 11 Kings 19: 37 (Sarezer and Adrammelech=Adremelos [book three section Sb] =Ardumuzan) and in the inscriptions of Esarhaddon (Luckenbill, 2, 199-200). 85For the chronological problems of this passage see Appendix 3.

5a. And after all this Polyhistor again narrates some works and deeds of Senecherib, and he refers to his sons . . . and narrates everything in detail.

5b. Following him86 and after him Nergilos reigned ( … ) .87 He88 was assassinated by his son Adremelos. But Axerdis, his brother by the same father but not by the same mother, killed him.89 And pursuing he hurled his army against the city of the Byzantines90 which had previously gathered mercenaries for the purpose of helping him …91 Further Axerdis gained possession through conquest of Egypt92 and the region of Coele Syria.93

6a.. And after Samoges94 Sardanapallos succeeded to the rule over the Chaldaeans for 21 years95 … 96 He (sc. Nabopalasaros) sent troops to the assistance of Astyages,97 the tribal chieftain and satrap of the Medes, in order to obtain a daughter of Astyages, Amyitis,98 as a wife for his son Nabukodrossoros. (He had been

86 Ashurnadinshumi who was captured by the Elamites in 694 (Ouonicle 1 [Grayson] 78, lines 39-4 3).
87 Nergilos=Nergal-u’§°ezib (693). For his reign see Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 78, lines 44-48 and 79, lines 1-6. There is a lacuna in Abydenus’ text since the relative clause following the mention of Nergilos does not refer to him but to Sennacherib.
88 Sennacherib.
89 Axerdis=Esarhaddon (68()..669). For his accession see Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 81-82, lines 36-38. Esarhaddon emphasizes his avenging of Sennacherib in his own inscriptions (Luckenbill, 2, 20()..202).
90 “Byzantines” is obviously wrong. Presumably the reference was to a city whose unfamiliar name suggested Byzantium to a scribe. C. F. Lehman-Haupt, ‘Zu J3uzanta,’ Klio, 27 (1934) 340, suggested Buzanta in Cilicia, but no campaigns by Esarhaddon in that area are recorded in cuneiform sources. More likely is Bushshua, near Lake Van, which was sacked in his third year (Chronicle 14 [Grayson] 125, line 9 with note 9).
91 At this point Polyhistor inte~polated a note on Pythagoras on which see Schnabel, 145-146.
92 For Esarhaddon’s Egyptian campaign of 671 see Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 85-86, lines 23-28 and Chronicle 14 (Grayson) 127, lines 25-26; and the full discussion of it by Anthony Spalinger, ‘Esarhaddon and Egypt: An Analysis of the First Invasion of Egypt,’ Orientalia, 43 (1974) 295-326.
93 In Berossus’ day Coele Syria was a geographical term referring to that portion of southern Syria and Palestine occupied by Ptolemy I in 301 but claimed by the Seleucids, roughly the territory between Sidon and Egypt (cf. F. W. Walbank, A Historical Commentary on Polybius, vol. 1 [Oxford, 1957] 564 note ad Polybius 5.34.6; and Benjamin Mazar, ‘The Aramean Empire and its Relations with Israel,’ Biblical Archaeologist, 25 [1962] 119-120). Although Esarhaddon claimed domination of the area in his inscriptions (Luckenbill, 2, 205 and 211), Babylonian sources record only his suppression of the revolt of Sidon in his fifth year (Chronicle 1 [Grayson] 83, lines 6-7; and Chronicle 14 [Grayson] 126, line 14). Berossus’ use of the term “Coele Syria” in this context suggests, therefore, the influence of contemporary Seleucid pretensions on his work.
94 Samoges=Samas Sum-ukin (667-648). For his reign see Chronicle 1 (Grayson) 86, lines 33-38, and Chronicles 15 and 16 (Grayson) 128-132.
95 1n the Ctesian tradition Sardanapallus was the degenerate last king of Assyria (cf. e.g. Diodorus 2.23-27; Drews, Greek Accounts, 110). Berossus identified him with Ashurbanipal (668) as king of Babylon as is made clear by his reference to him as Samoges’ brother (book three 2.4; cf. Chronicle 1 [Grayson] 86, line 33 for Babylonian knowledge of the relationship; and Maximilian Streck, Assurbanipal und die letzten assyrischen Konige bis zum Untergange Niniveh, vol. 1 [Leipzig, 1916] CCCLXXXVI-CDV for full discussion of the problem). His twenty-one years of rule and the placing of his reign after that of Samoges indicate that Berossus also identified him with Kandalanu as do some modern scholars (cf. Julian Reade, ‘The Accession of Sinsharishkun,’ JCS, 23 [1970] 1; and Paul Garelli and V. Nikiprowetzky, Le Proche-orient asiatique, vol. 2 [Paris, 1974) 125, 239 n. 2 and 241).
96 There is a lacuna in the Armenian text of Eusebius at this point. From the parallel texts (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 7d and book three section 2.6c) it is clear that the missing passage dealt with the appointment of Nabopolassar as governor of Babylon for which see Reade, 1-5.
97 Identification of the Median king involved in the capture of Niniveh as Astyages (585-550) is a surprising error since both Herodotus (1.106.2) and Chronicle 3 (Grayson) 93, lines 29-30 credit it to his father Cyaxeres (625-585).
98 in the Armenian version of Eusebius she is called “the Amuhean.” Amyitis is the form of the _name found in the Greek excerpt of this passage preserved by Syncellus (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 7d). Ctesias (FGrH, 3Cl, 688 F 9.1) says that Cyrus I married a daughter of Astyages named Amytis. ——————–

appointed general by Sarakos,99 the king of the Chaldaeans, when Sarakos100 marched against Niniveh. Sarakos, dismayed at his attack, burned himself together with his palace. 101 Nabopalasaros, the father of Nabuchodonosor, took over the rule of the Chaldaeans and Babylon.) And thereafter Nabukodrossoros ruled for forty-three years; and gathering an army, he marched out and took prisoner the Jews, the Phoenicians, and the Syrians.

6b. After this ruler (sc. Samoges) there was also Sardanapallos.

6c. After him Sarakos reigned over the Assyrians. When he learned that a warrior people which had been formed from different bands was coming up from the .sea to attack him, he quickly sent Bupolassaros to Babylon as general. But Bupolassaros, after deciding to rebel, arranged a marriage between Amuhidin, the daughter of Astyages, the chief of the Medes, and his son Nabukodrossoros. And swiftly setting out he moved to attack Ninos … Knowledge of all this reached King Sarakos. He had his capital burned. But Nabukodrossoros surrounded Babylon with a strong wall after he took over the rule of the kingdom.

3.      Nebukadnezzar II

1.      Nabopalassaros, his father, heard that the satrap who had been posted to Egypt. Coele Syria, and Phoenicia, had become a rebel. No longer himself equal to the task, he entrusted a portion of his army to his son Nabouchodonosoros, who was still in the prime of life, and sent him against the rebel. Nabouchodonosoros drew up his force in battle order and engaged the rebel. He defeated him and subjected the country to the rule of the Babylonians again.102 At this very time Nabopalassaros, his father, fell ill and died in the city of the Babylonians after having been king for twenty-one years.103

99 Sarakos=Sin-m·i~un (died 612). The inserted passage is a translation of the relevant portion of FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 7d.
l00 This is garbled. Book three, section 2.6c shows that the reference is to Nabopolassar’s march on Nineveh.
101 Berossus has transferred to Sin-m·i~un the manner of death assigned to Sardanapallus in the Ctesian tradition (cf. e.g. Diodorus 2.27). Babylonian sources are silent as to the manner of his death (for these events see Chronicles 2 and 3 (Grayson] 87-96). As in the case of his treatment of the Greek tradition concerning the founding of Tarsus and Anchiale (above note 80) Berossus confined his criticism to the chronological question, ignoring that of the validity of the tradition itself. This passage is also interesting as an illustration of the freedom with which Berossus sometimes handled his sources since, despite the fact that Nabopolassar arrived too late to participate in the actual capture of Niniveh (Chronicle 3 [Grayson] 93, line 28), Berossus suppressed the role of the Medas in the fall of the city, treating it instead as a purely Babylonian victory. 10 His campaign was actually directed against Necho II, king of Egypt from 610 to 595 and ended in the battle of Carchemish which established Babylonian sovereignty over Syria and Palestine (Chronicle 5 [Grayson] 99, lines 1-8; Jeremiah 46:2; II Kings 24:6). For an attempt to explain Berossus’ treatment of Necho as a rebellious satrap, the most serious error of fact in the fragments, see Menahem Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, vol. 1, From Herodotus to Plutarch (Jerusalem, 1974) 59 n. 135. As Eddy (125-126) points out, Berossus’ treatment of Nebukadnezzar’s western campaigns reflects Seleucid interest in that area, a fact that is made particularly clear by his use of the standard Seleucid administrative term for it, Coele Syria and Phoenicia (cf. above note 93). Implicit in Berossus’ account also is a refutation of contemporary Babylonian nationalist claims such as those reflected in the statement of Megasthenes, ambassador of Seleucus I to India, that Nebukadnezzar conquered Libya and Spain and was active in the Black Sea basin (FGrH, 3C2, 715 F 1).
103 Nabopolassar reigned from 625 to 605 or twenty-one years on an inclusive count (cf. Chronicle 5 [Grayson] 99, line 9; the Uruk King List from Kandalanu to Seleucus II [ANET, 566) ). In book three section 2.4 he is assigned twenty years of reign, perhaps because Polyhistor wished to base his calculations only on actual years of reign.

2a. Nabouchodonosoros learned of his father’s death shortly thereafter. After he arranged affairs in Egypt and the remaining territory, he ordered some of his friends to bring the Jewish,104 Phoenician, Syrian, and Egyptian prisoners together with the bulk of the army and the rest of the booty to Babylonia. He himself set out with a few companions and reached Babylon by crossing the desert. On finding that affairs were being managed by the Chaldaeans and the kingship being maintained by the noblest one of these, he took charge of the whole of his father’s realm. When the prisoners arrived, he ordered that dwelling places be assigned to them in the most suitable parts of Babylonia. He generously adorned the temple of Bel and the other temples from the war-booty. He strengthened the old city and added a new outer city. He arranged it so that besiegers would no longer be able to divert the river against the city by surrounding the inner city with three circuits of walls and the outer city with three also. The walls of the inner city were made of baked brick and bitumen and those of the outer city of brick alone. After he had walled the city in notable fashion and adorned its gates in a manner befitting a holy place, he built another palace next to the palace of his father. It would perhaps be tedious to describe the height and the rest of the richness of this palace. Despite its extraordinary size and splendor, however, it was completed in fifteen days. In this palace he built and arranged the so-called hanging garden by setting up high stone terraces which he made appear very similar to mountains planted with all kinds of trees. He did this because his wife who had been raised in Media longed for mountainous surroundings.106

2b After Nabouchodonosoros succeeded to the throne, he surrounded Babylon with a triple circuit of walls in fifteen days, and he changed the course of the Amakales River, a branch of the Euphrates, + and the Akrakanon.105 And further, after excavating a reservoir forty parasangs in circumference and twenty fathoms in depth above the city of the Sipparians, he set up sluices which on being opened irrigated the plain. They called these sluices Echetognomonas (Just as if they have the will or the ability to comply on their own). He also built dykes against the overflow of the Erythraean Sea, and he founded the city of Teredon as a defense against the attacks of the Arabs; and he adorned his palace with trees, naming it the Hanging Garden.

104 As Josephus (Against Apion 1.145) cited this passage in support of the biblical account of the sack of Jerusalem in 586, it is clear that Polyhistor’s epitome of Berossus contained no further information on Nebukadnezzar’s western campaigns. Menahem Stern, however, called attention (61) to Tatian’s allusion to a campaign of Nebukadnezzar “against the Phoenicians
and the Jews (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F Sb).” Since Tatian derived his knowledge of Berossus from Juba’s Concerning the Assyrians, (FGrH, 3A, 275 F 4) and not Polyhistor’s epitome, Stern suggested that this note refers to a second campaign preserved by Juba and not Polyhistor. In view of Polyhistor’s known interest in the history of the Jews (cf. FGrH, 3A, 273 F 19; Wacholder, 44-52), however, it is unlikely that he would have omitted the campaign of 586 had it been in Berossus. More probably, Tatian is referring only to that aspect of the present account which concerns Palestine. As for the Jewish prisoners mentioned by Berossus, Stern (60 n. 137) suggests that they may have been soldiers furnished to Necho by his vassal, the king of Judah.
105 The text is corrupt at this point and no satisfactory emendation has been proposed (cf. Jacoby, FGrH, 3Cl, p. 406 note ad line 2).
106 In describing the Hanging Gardens, one of the traditional seven wonders of the world (cf. e.g. Strabo 16.1.5) Berossus was catering to the interests of his Greek readers. His account probably reflects Babylonian popular tradition and not a written source since a very similar story about their origin occurred in the history of Alexander written by Qeitarchus of Alexandria in the last years of the fourth century (cf. Curtius Rufus 5.1.35; Diodorus 2.10.1. For the ascription of these passages to Qeitarchus see Lionel Pearson, The Lost Histories of Alexander [London, 1960] 230-231; and for the date of his work see Ernst Badian, ‘The Date of Oitarchus,’ Proceedings of the African Qassical Associations, 8 (1965] 5-11). For the remains of the Hanging Gardens see Robert Koldewey, The Excavations at Babylon, trans. Agnes S. Johns (London, 1914) 91-100.

3. He gives this account of the aforementioned king and many things in addition in the third book of the Chaldaika in which he censures the Greek historians for wrongly thinking that BabyIon was founded by Semiramis the Assyrian and falsely writing that its wonders were created by her. 107

4.                 The Successors of Nebukadnezzar II

Nabouchodonosoros fell ill after he had begun the aforementioned walls and died. He had been king for 43 years.108 His son Eveilmaradouchos became master of the kingdom. Because he managed affairs in a lawless and outrageous fashion he was plotted against and killed by Neriglisaros, his sister’s husband. He was king for two years. 109 After Eveilmaradouchos had been killed, Neriglisaros, the man who had plotted against him, succeeded to the throne and was king for four years. 110 Laborosoarchodos, the son of Neriglisaros, who was only a child, was master of the kingdom for nine months. Because his wickedness became apparent in many ways he was plotted against and brutally killed by his friends.
After he had been killed, the plotters met and jointly conferred the kingdom on Nabonnedos, a Babylonian and a member of the conspiracy.111 During his reign the river walls of the city of Babylon were constructed from baked brick and bitumen. In the seventeenth year11 of his reign Cyrus, after he had come out of Persia with a great army and subdued all the rest of the kingdom, advanced against Babylonia. On learning of the invasion Nabonnedos met him with an army and opposed him in battle. After being defeated, he fled with a small retinue and took refuge within the city of the
Borsippians. Cyrus meanwhile seized Babylon and ordered that the outer walls of the city be thrown down because the city seemed to him to be very formidable and hard to capture. Cyrus then marched on Borsippa to lay siege to Nabonnedos.
Nabonnedos, however, did not await the siege but surrendered himself first. Dealing with him in a gracious manner, Cyrus granted him Carmania as his residence and sent him out of Babylonia. [King Darius, however, took away a part of his province for himself.] Nabonnedos, therefore, died after spending the remainder of his life in this country,113

107 For Semiramis’ building program at Babylon see Diodorus 2.7.2-11. The fact that Berossus ignores Herodotus’ ascription of the major monuments of Babylon to a Queen Nitocris (1.185-187; for this figure who may be identical with a wife of Sennacherib named Naqi ‘a see Lewy, 264-286) instead of Semiramis suggests that he did not know Herodotus’ book.
Good accounts of the remains of Nebukadnezzar’s Babylon are provided by Koldewey and by 0. E. Ravn, Herodotus’ Description of Babylon (Copenhagen, 1942) 16-66. For a full account with extensive citation of the relevant· cuneiform and classical evidence for the topography of the city see Eckhard Unger, Babylon: Die heilige Stadt nach der Beschreibung der Babylonier, 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1970).
108 604-562 (cf. the Uruk King List (ANET, 566] which also gives him forty-three years). Chronicle 5 (Grayson) 99-102 covers the first eleven years of his reign.
109 Eveilmaradouchos=Evil·Merodach (561-560). The Uruk King List gives him two years (ANET, 566). For his reign see Ronald Herbert Sack, Amel-Marduk 562-560 B.C.: A Study Based on Cuneiform, Old Testament, Greek, Latin and Rabbinical Sources, Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 4 (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1972).
110 Neriglisaros=Neriglissar (559-556). The incomplete entry for his reign in the Uruk King List (ANET, 566) shows that he was given more than two years and eight months of rule. His wife has been identified with a daughter of Nebukadnezzar II named KaHa (David B. Weisberg, ‘Royal Women of the Neo-Babylonian Period,’ Le Palais et la royaute [Archeologie et
civilization], ed. Paul Garelli, :xixe Rencontre assyriolgique internationale [Paris, 1974] 450-452). Chronicle 6 (Grayson) 103-104 covers the third year of his reign.
111 Laborosoarchodos=Labasi-Marduk (556). The entry for him in the Uruk King List (ANET, 566) is damaged but appears to give him only three instead of the nine months of rule assigned to him by Berossus. Berossus’ faithfulness in reproducing the biases of his sources is clearly revealed by his reference to the “wickedness” of the child king as justification for the conspiracy which deposed him (cf. the reference to LabaSi.-Marduk’s improper behavior in the Nabonidus stele [ANET, 309, iv]). In general, the account of the accession of Nabonnedos=Nabonidus (555-539) is, in fact, very similar to that of the Nabonidus stele (ANET, 309, iv·v). For Nabonidus’ background see the stele of his mother Adad Guppi (ANET, 560-562) and the discussion by Garelli and Nikiprowetzky, 246-248.
112 539. Berossus is counting inclusively.
113 According to Chronicle 7 (Grayson) 110, line 16, Nabonidus was captured in Babylon, not Borsippa. No other source mentions his exile in Carmania. Berossus seems to have followed a source for the reign of Nabonidus which differed considerably from those known to us, one that was favorable. to Cyrus without being hostile to Nabonidus. In particular, it seems to have ignored his ten-year stay in Teirna and his consequent neglect of the cults of Babylon which is emphasized in Chronicle 7 (Grayson) 106, line 108, line 24, and which so infuriated the authors of the so-called “Verse Account of Nabonidus (ANET, 312·315)” and the Cyrus Cylinder (ANET, 315-316). This also means that Berossus cannot have been the source of the knowledge of that episode that is attested in Hellenistic Palestine (J. T. Milik, ‘Priere de Nabonide et autres ecrits d’un cycle de Daniel,’ Revue biblique, 63 (1956] 410-411). For the reign of Nabonidus as a whole see Raymond Philip Dougherty, Nabonidus and Belshazzar: A Study of the Oosing Events of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Yale Oriental Series, 15 (New Haven, 1929).

5.                      The Persians

1. And Cyrus ruled over Babylon nine years.114 Then he was killed when he entered into another battle in the plain of the Daas. After him Cambyses ruled eight years,115 and then Darius 36 years.116 After him Xerxes and further the remaining Persian kings.117

2. (sc. the Persians, the Medes and the Magi) did not believe in wooden or stone images of the gods but in fire and water like the philosophers. Later, however, after many years they began to worship statues in human form as Berossus reports in the third book of his Chaldaean history.118 Artaxerxes, the son of Darius, the son of Ochus, introduced this practice. He was the first to set up an image of Aphrodite Anaitis in Babylon and to require such worship from the Susians, Ecbatanians, Persians and Bactrians and from Damascus and Sardis.119

6.       Possible Fragments of Berossus from Book Two

1. Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the deluge in happiness. He died after having lived nine hundred and fifty years. Let no one as a result of comparing life now and the fewness of the years which we live with that of the ancients think that what is said about them is false, judging that they did not live to such an age because no one now does. For they were dear to God and his own creatures; also as their food was more favorable to longer life, it is reasonable that they lived so great a number of years. Then also God permitted them to live longer because of their excellent character and the usefulness of their discoveries, astronomy and geometry, since, unless they lived six hundred years — for so long is the period of a great year — they could not have made accurate predictions. All those among the Greeks and barbarians who have written  archaeologies, support my account. For Manetho, the historian of Egypt, Berossos, the compiler of the Chaldaika, and the Phoenician historians, Mochus and Hestiaius together with Hieronymus the Egyptian agree with what I have said.
In addition Hesiod, Hecataeus, Hellanicus, Acusilaus together with Ephorus and Nicolaus record that the ancients lived a thousand years.120

2. When Seuechoros 121 was king of the Babylonians, the Chaldaeans said that his daughter’s son would take away the kin:fdom from his grandfather. This frightened him, and, to joke a bit, he became an Acrisius to his daughter,12 for he guarded her very closely. The girl, however, became pregnant by some obscure

114   539-530.
115   529-522.
116   521-486.
117 Eusebius has drastically abridged Berossus’ account of the Persian Period. For Babylon under the Persians and their successors
see Svend Aage Pallis, ‘The History of Babylon 538-93 B.C.,’ Studia orientalia Joanii Pedersen septuagenario A.D. VII id. Nov.
anno MCMIJII a collegis discipuliB amicis dicata (Hauniae, 1953) 270-294; and Maurice Meuleau, ‘Mesopotamia under Persian Rule,’ in Hermann Bengtscn et al., The Greeks and the Persians: From the Sixth to the Fourth Centuries, trans. John Conway (New York, 1968) 354-385.
118 in this passage only the actual report of the establishment of the cult of Anaita is from Berossus.
119 The text is slightly garbled. The king in question is Artaxerxes II (404-359), the son of Darius II whose name prior to his succession was Ochus (A. T; Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire (Chicago, 1948] 355). References to Anaita in Old Persian inscriptions actually do first appear during the reign of Artaxerxes II (Jacques Duchesrie-Guillemin, La Religion de l’Iran ancien [Paris, 1962] 158-159). The list of cities ordered to worship Anaita suggests that Berossus had access to a Persian document, perhaps a copy of Artaxerxes’ edict preserved at Babylon.
120 Berossus was probably the ultimate source of Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 1.107) for the underlying theory concerning the extraordinary ages of the patriarchs as was pointed out by Carl Mueller (Fragmenta Historicurn Graecorum, vol. 2 [Paris, 1848]
p. 500 F 6a). Possibly connected with it in some way is the statement ascribed to Berossus (FGrH, 3Cl, 680 F 22) that a man could live longer than one hundred and sixteen years.
121 Enmerkar. Schnabel (171) suggested that Berossus was the ultimate and Juba’s Concerning the. Assyrians the intermediate source for this passage of Aelian’s On Animals (12.21).
122 Acrisius was a mythical king of Argos who unsuccessfully attempted to avert a prophecy that his grandson would kill him by confining his daughter Danae in a tower.

man123 and gave birth in secret, for necessity was wiser than the Babylonian. The guards, fearing the king, hurled the child from the citadel; for the girl was confined there. But an eagle, observing the fall of the child with its sharp eyes, swooped down and threw its back under it before it was dashed against the ground. The eagle brought the infant to a garden and placed it down very carefully. The keeper of the place on seeing the beautiful child fell in love with it and raised it. It was called Gilgamos and became king of the Babylonians.124

7. Doubtful Fragment

Of the barbarians, the Babylonians seem on the one hand to pass by in silence the one first principle of all things and on the other hand to make two first principles, Tauthe and Apason,125 making A~ason the husband of Tauthe and calling her the mother of the gods. They gave birth to a single son Mournis1 6 127 These same parents produced another generation, Dache and Dachos.128 Then again these same parents produced a third generation, Kissare and Assoros129 who gave birth to three, Ano, Illinos and Aos.130 Aos and Dauke 131
gave birth to a son Belos who, they say, was the creator.132

123 For the tradition concerning the unusual character of the father of Gilgamesh see Jacobsen, King List, 90 n. 131. Jacobsen (ibid.) notes that his mother, the goddess Ninsun, was the wffil of Lugal-banda, the successor of Enmerkar in Berossus’ king list. This would make Gilgamesh the third post-Flood king in his list unlike the Uruk Apkallu list (van Dijk, 45, line 12) where he is the second, perhaps because no apkallu or umannu – perhaps “learned man,” cf. van Dijk 49 n. 3 – was associated with Lugal-banda.
124 See Robert Drews, ‘Sargon, Cyrus and Mesopotamian Folk History,’ Journal of Near Eastern History, 33 (1974) 387-393, for discussion with examples of the theme of the gardener who becomes king.
125 Tiamat and Apsu.
126 Mummu.
127 Deleted at this point is a suggestion by Damascius (oimai, I think”) that Mummu should be identified with the mental world
(noetos kosmos; cf. Heidel, Babylonian Genesis, 76).
128 Heidel (Babylonian Genesis, 76) pointed out that the text is corrupt at this point and should be emended to read Lache and Lachos, i.e., Lahamu and Lahmu.
129 Kishar and Anshar.
l30 Anu, Enlil and Ea.
131 Ea and Damkina.
132 As Heidel notes (Babylonian Genesis, 76) this genealogy of Marduk preserved by the fifth century A.D. Nee-Platonist Damascius corresponds closely with Enuma Elish, Berossus’ main source for much of book one. It is, however, only remotely possible that he was the ultimate source of this passage since Damascius’ immediate source, Aristotle’s colleague, Eudemus of Rhodes (cf. Die Schule des Aristoteles, vol. 8, Eudemos von Rhodos, ed. Fritz Wehrli, 2nd ed. [Basel, 1969] F 150 and 121-123 note ad loc.) is unlikely to have still been alive in 281-0 when Berossus published his book.

Felix Jacoby assigned the eschatological passage preserved by Seneca and those on the phases of the moon found in Vitruvius and a number of other authors to a hypothetical Pseudo-Berossus.1 Paul Schnabel and Robert Drews have argued strongly and convincingly for the authenticity of these texts and their opinion has been followed in the present edition. 2 Recently, however, W. G. Lambert has reasserted the spurious character of the eschatological fragment with new arguments; and for this reason the retention of it by the present editor requires justification.3

Lambert based his case for spuriousness on three points, the absence of any cuneiform parallel for the ideas expressed in it, the presence in it of the unlikely idea that Bel and not Ea was the originator of astronomy and astrology, and the existence in it of the non-Babylonian idea of planetary orbits. Taken together, Lambert argued, ‘these points indicate that Seneca did not read Berossus directly but rather at best a garbled summary of his ideas by someone else or more likely a version of some pseudepigraphical work put out under Berossus’ name in the Hellenistic Period when he had become a somewhat legendary figure.

His recognition that Seneca implies that Berossus credited Bel in some way with the origin of astronomy is important, but neither it nor his other points are sufficient to discredit the fragment. Paul Schnabel established long ago that neither Seneca nor Vitruvius read Berossus directly, but rather they derived their knowledge of his work from various intermediary sources who were themselves ultimately dependent on Posidonius.4 Given such a transmission, the presence of Greek terminology in the text is not surprising and to that extent Lambert’s
strictures on treating the passage as a quotation from Berossus on the same footing as the fragments preserved by Eusebius are justified. His further objections, however, are less cogent as they rely on the argumentum e silentio and ignore evidence pointing to the Berossian origin of the text and its basic ideas.

The weakness of the argumentum e silentio is its presumption that the evidence available to us is complete. The weakness of it with regard to Berossus, virtually our sole witness to Hellenistic Babylonian literary culture, was made clear by the. publication of the Uruk apkallu list which fully corroborated his version of the pre-Flood king and apkallu lists. Beyond the possibility of further discoveries, however, is another factor ignored by Lambert. As was pointed out in the introduction Berossus’ work represents something unique in Babylonian literature, an attempt to communicate the core of Babylonian culture and history to an audience almost totally ignorant of and unsympathetic to the presuppositions of that culture. Babylonian astronomy and astrology were subjects of interest to the Greek audience
Berossus wished to reach, but to do so he would have to communicate those ideas in a form intelligible to Greeks and that would mean putting into explicit quasi-philosophical form ideas that were implicit but unstated in cuneiform mythological and scientific texts. His promise to explain the story of Tiamat as an allegory of nature reveals his recognition of the problem, and the passage on the phases of the moon for which a Babylonian parallel has been cited in the notes illustrates the result. There material similar to a mythical statement about the role assigned to the· moon god by Marduk after the victory over Tiamat has been transformed into an apparently scientific theory about the source of the moon’s light and its movements in relation to the sun. An exact cuneiform parallel for all of the
details of the text is unlikely to be found and the same is probably true for the Senecan eschatological fragment which Schnabel has shown to be closely related to it.

Finally, not only is it likely that Berossus would have included such a passage in his book, but there is positive evidence pointing to the presence of a discussion of astronomy and astrology in the first book of the Babyloniaca

1 FGrH, 3Cl, 395-397.
2 schnabel, 17-19. Drews, “Babylonian Chronicles,” 50-54. Their authenticity had been championed previously also by Schwartz, 316.
3 “Berossus,” 171-173.
4 Schnabel, 94-105.

and the Great Year was a common astrological topic. This is indicated indirectly by Joseyhus’ reference to Berossus making available to the Greeks material on Chaldaean astronomy and philosophy’ and Abydenus’ allusion prior to beginning his version of the pre-Flood kinglist to his having finished the account of Babylonian sophia, i.e., astrology 6 and directly by Hyginus’s statement that Oannes qui in Chaldaea de mari exisse dicitur astrologiam interpretatus est which can only be a reference to book one. 7 Moreover, as Oannes was supposed to have revealed all knowledge to the first pre-Flood king in the form of an account of Bel’s actions at the beginning of time, Berossus could justifiably claim to have explained Bel when he outlined the principles of Babylonian astrology. For these reasons the Senecan fragment has been retained as essentially Berossian in this edition.

5 Josephus, Contra Apionem 1.128 = FGrH, 3Cl, 680 T 3
6 FGrH, 3Cl, 685 F 2bl.
7 Hyginus, Genealogiae 247.16. CT. Schnabel, 92, for a discussion of this text. Also to be noted in this connection is the fact that Cannes was treated as an authority on astronomy by Chaeremon (apud FGrH, 3Cl, 665 F 193).


In this Appendix a new interpretation of Berossus’ chronology of the dynasties after the Flood is offered which attempts to reconcile his data with that provided by the cuneiform sources. As this reconstruction differs significantly from those proposed previously, an explanation of the assumptions on which it is based is contained in this Appendix. For absolute dates I have relied here as elsewhere on the chronological tables prepared by J. A. Brinkman and published as an appendix to A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia. 8

Comparison of the list of dynasties in book two, section 4.1-1 with cuneiform sources leaves no doubt that it is both incomplete and not a simple reproduction of the king lists known to us. Considering Berossus’ reliance on standard Babylonian sources elsewhere in his work, however, it is probable that the dynasty list represents only a re-arrangement of the material contained in the Babylonian king-lists and chronicles and hence should be reconcilable with them. The present interpretation rests on three basic points, first, the  establishment of the fact that Hammurabi reigned in the 18th and not the 23rd century as had been believed by scholars who previously dealt with this problem;9 second, the recognition by Schnabel that the Medes who seized Babylon are to be identified with the Gutians and not the First Dynasty of Babylon as had been maintained by Lehmann-Haupt;10 and third, Schnabel’s further observation that the Armenian translation of Eusebius wrongly ascribes eight kings to the Medes/Gutians instead of the 21 kings assigned to them in the Syriac excerpts from Eusebius preserved by Mar Michael and in the Sumerian king list. 11

The identification of the Medes with the Gutians automatically entails the further identification of the next dynasty in Eusebius’ list, 11 kings ruling for 28 years, with the First Dynasty of Babylon. The 28 years is most likely to be explained as a scribal error caused by the substitution of the figures for the years of a king’s reign for the_dynasty total.12 At the same time I have not followed Schnabel in simply substituting Michael’s 21 kings for Eusebius’ eight since he does not satisfactorily account either for the erroneous figure of 224 years assigned to the Gutians by Eusebius when the Sumerian king list gives them only 91 years or for the unfilled gap between the Mede/G.itian dynasty and the First Dynasty of Babylon. I have instead preserved both the eight kings and the assignment to them of 224 years as referring to a dynasty of Babylon between the Gutians and the First dynasty of Babylon for the following three reasons: first, Berossus believed in a continuous series of Babylonian dynasties from the Flood to Alexander so that the gap must have been bridged in his original text; second, Pannodorus independently of the Armenian text indicates the presence of an eight-king dynasty in Eusebius;13 and third, 224 years does correrond on an inclusive count to the period between the end of the Gutian dynasty and the first year of Sumuabum.1 Further confirmation of this hypothesis is to be found in the fact that Michael gives only the number 21 for the Mede/Gutian kings but no dynasty total which suggests that their years were reckoned together with those of the first pre-Flood dynasty; and, in fact, the 91 odd years of that dynasty’s 33,091 years does correspond to the total for the Gutian dynasty in the Sumerian king list. Accordingly, I suggest, Berossus’ first post-Flood dynasty is probably to be understood as consisting of a total of 86 kings, 65 of them Babylonian ruling for a period of 33,000 years or 55 neroi, and 21 Gutian tyrants.

8 A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, rev. ed. by Erica Reiner (Otlcago, 1977) 335-348.
9 E.g. Eduard Meyer, ‘Das chronologi.cr.he System des Berosos,’ Klio, 3 (1903) 134; C. P. Lehmann, ‘Die Dynastien der babylonischen Konigsliste und des Berossos,’ Kl1v, “I (1903) 137-138, 163; C. F. Lehmann-Haupt, ‘Neue Studien zu Berossos,’ Klio, 22, (1928) 21. The only scholar to attempt a recon…uiation of Berossus and the cuneiform sources on the basis of a dating of Hammurapi to about 1700 was Friedrich Cornelius, ‘Berussos und die altorientalische Chronologie’, Klio, 35 (1942) 1-16.
l0 Schnabel, 192-194. Lehmann-Haupt, ‘Neue Studien,’ 21-22.
11 Schnabel, ibid. Jacobsen, King list, Col. 7 line 50: Gutium • 21 ·• kings – 91 years 40 days.
12 Most likely Abi-tsuh who, although only assigned twenty-five years in King List B (ANET, 271) actually ruled for twenty-seven
years (twenty-eigh, on an inclusive count) from 1711 to 1684.
13 Apud Berossus, FGrl’•. 3Cl, 680 F Sb. This text, however, is badly garbled, the eight kings in question being identified with
Zoroaster and seven 0’1!daean successors.
14 1.e., 2117 to 1894, a per.rid of 223 years on an exclusive and 224 on an inclusive count. For an Old Babylonian period
attempt to fill the gap between the Gutians and the first dynasty of baylon SEE Finkelstein, Genaelogy, 95-96, and 110-114.

ruling for 91 years.15     Therefore, the first part of Berossus’ chronology can be reconstructed as follows:

  • First post-Flood dynasty of Babylon-65 kings-33,000 years.
  • Medes/Gutians-21 kings-91 years. .
  • Second post-Flood dynasty of Babylon-8 kings-224 years.
  • Historical first dynasty of Babylon-11 kings-28 +x years.

A similar reconciliation of the cuneiform evidence with Berossus’ dynasty list can be established for his so-called Arabian dynasty of nine kings ruling for 245 years. The key to its identification is the fact that only one known dynasty from the period covered in book two can be shown to have ruled 245 years, namely Dynasta of E, the dynasty of Nabu-Nasir, the last king dealt with in book two.16   But if the Arabian dynasty ts to be identified with the Dynasty of E, why does it only have nine kings instead of the 12 or 22 indicated by the king lists and how are we to account for the seemingly impossible dynasty of 45 kings ruling 526 years that is usually considered to be its sequel?
The answer to these questions is provided by the note interpolated between them about Semiramis ruling Assyria. As Lehmann-Haupt recognized, Semiramis for Berossus can only have been  Sammuramat, the Babylonian-born mother of Adad-Nirari III who seems to have exerted great influence during the first five years of her son’s reign from 810 to 806.17 From Berossus’ point of view, Greek historians made two errors concerning Semiramis. They falsely attributed to her many of the great buildings of Babylon and their date of 2226 for her reign was much too early. The former error Berossus corrected in book three and the latter, I suggest, in book two by defining the date of Sammu-ramat in relation to Antiochus I. On this assumption all the figures in question fit with a closeness that cannot be coincidence. First, Sammuramat did, in fact, immediately follow the ninth king of Dynasty of E, Baba-aha-iddina. Second, it is likely that in the king lists available to Berossus, the 45th king from Baba-aha-iddina would have been Antiochus himself,18 and third, the 526th year from the last year of Sammuramat’s period of influence would have been 281-0, the year of the death of Seleucus and the first year of ··-·”-·–19  The 45 kings referred to by Eusebius, therefore were not a dynasty at all, but rather a list of the rulers of Babylon from Baba-aha-iddina to Antiochus I introduced at this point by Berossus in order to correct the erroneous Greek dating of the reign of Semiramis. Unfortunately no such satisfactory explanation can be offered for the remaining two puzzles, the identification of the third dynasty in Eusebius’ list, that containing 49 kings ruling for 458 years and the omission of several dynasties known from cuneiform sources. 20 All that can be done here is to suggest an interpretation of the text

———————15 To attempt to further identify the sixty-five kings of Berossus’ fust Babylonian dynasty would be futile. All that can be said with certainty is that the fact that he began his list with Enmerkar means that he must have excluded from it the whole first dynasty of Kish and Meskiaggasher, the father of Enmerkar in the Sumerian King List, must, that is, if he knew the Sumerian King Llst of which no first millennium exemplar has yet been discovered.
16 Brinkman has dropped the designation “Dynasty of E” for the rulers from Nabu-mukin-apli (978-943) to Nabu-suma-ukin II (732), lumpmg them together with those of the period of Assyrian domination into a group he refers to as “Undetermined or Mixed Dynasties”. I have retained it because such a dynasty is listed in King Llst A (ANET, 272) and assumed that Berossus in conformity with his plan for Book two adopted 734, the last year of Nabu-Nasir as the end of his Arabian dynasty, a procedure which results in a duration of 245 years on an inclusive count.
17 “Dynastien,” 149.
18 0n1y twenty-three rulers are identifiable in the fragments of Berossus. The suggestion made in the text assumes that his list included the following rulers: (1) the thirty-three kings in the Ptolemaic Canon for the period from Nabu-Nasir to Ptolemy I, the contemporary of Seleucus I, plus the two periods of Sennacherib’s rule at Babylon, Marduk-zakir-Surni II, the second reign of Merodach-Baladan II, and Laba~-Marduk, and, of course, Anciochus I himself for a total of thirty-nine rulers from NabuNa~ir to Antiochus I; (2) the five known predecessor• of Nabu-Na~; and (3) Sin-Sar-iskun whom Berossus seems to have treated as master of Babylon for a time between Ashurbanipal and Nabopolassar (cf. book three, section 2.6). Contra Schnabel, the designation of Antiochus I as the “third.. king after Alexander in FGrH, 3Cl, 680 T 2 is probably an error by Tatian since Chronicle 10 (Grayson, 115-119) and the new Seleucid king list (ANET, 567) indicate that both Philip Ill and Alexander IV were recognized at Babylon as reigning between Alexander the Great and Seleucus I. 19For the date see A. J. Sachs and D. J. Wiseman, ‘A Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period,’ .raq, 16 (1954) 205-206. 20Tue missing dynasties are: (1) the rest of the Second Dynasty of Isin; (2) the Second Dynasty orthe Sealand; (3) the Bazi Dynasty; and (4) the Elamite Dynasty.————–

….that does less violence to it than those previously proposed. The identifications of the First Dynasty of Babylon and Dynasty of E in Berossus’ list mean that the 49-king dynasty must represent in some way dynasties between those two. As none containing as many as 49 kings is known from the king lists, we must assume that Berossus formed this dynasty by combining a number of smaller dynasties. Assuming that the position of the 49-king dynasty following the First Dynasty of Babylon is correct and the correctness of the transmitted figures, we find the following: The 458th year from 1595 is 1137, the third year of the reign of Itti-Marduk-Balatu, the second king of the second dynasty of Isin. If Berossus recognized that the Kassite and First Sealands dynasties were parallel and not consecutive and hence combined them, then the 49th king in his list would also have been IttiMarduk-Balatu.21 The coincidence is suggestive, particularly as it also allows for a possible explanation of the other of our puzzles-the omission of several dynasties from our version of Berossus’ list by the positing of a simple scribal error. If Itti-Marduk-Balatu and his predecessor were assigned to the 49-king dynasty, then Berossus’ truncated Second dynasty of lsin would only have contained 9 kings as did the Arabian dynasty; and it is easy to see how a copyist of Eusebius’ dynasty list, distracted for a moment, might have jumped from the nine kings of the former to the nine kings of the latter and omitted several dynasties in the process. At the same time we must admit the existence of a major problem in this interpretation, namely, that 1137 is the third and not the last year of the reign of Itti-Marduk-Balatu so that a considerable err:lr in calculating his conflation of these dynasties must be imputed to Berossus. 22 Accordingly, in contrast to its beginning and end, no fully satisfactory reconciliation of the middle of Berossus’ dynasty list with the cuneiform king lists is offered here, only a possibility. n . . . . Synchromsms such as, e.g., those between Ilumael and Ea-gamil of the Sealands dynasty and Samsuiluna and Abi-esuh of the First Dynasty of Babylon and Ulamburiash of the Kassite Dynasty in Chronicle 20 (Grayson, 156 lines 6-14) would have made such a recognition possible. 22 1~39-1132. It sho~d be noted, however, that according to Brinkman (History, 76) that dates for the first twenty post-Kassite kings assume a margm of error of five years plus or minus. Should future research require a revision upwards of five years for the reign of Itti-Marduk-Balatu, the discrepancy would disappear.


Berossus’ chronology of the reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon as presented in book three, section 2.3-4 appears to be seriously distorted. In place of his two periods of rule over Babylon of two and eight years respectively, Berossus seems to have given Sennacherib a single reign of eighteen years. Likewise Esarhaddon’s reign is stated to have lasted for only eight instead of thirteen years as found in the Ptolemaic canon. Thereafter, however, the figures given for Esarhaddon’s successors tally closely with those of the canon and cuneiform sources with the exception of a one-year error in those for Nabopolassar. In this case an error in the translation
of Eusebius’ text cannot be the problem since the figures given in book three, section 2.4 do total 88 years as claimed by Eusebius. How then are the aberrant figures for Sennacherib and Esarhaddon to be explained? As Eusebius cites the chronological data in paragraph 48 as proof of the correctness of the biblical chronology for
the same period, Schnabel suggested that the errors were the result of deliberate manipulation of the text of
Polyhistor by a Jewish or Christian predecessor of Eusebius.23 Although convenient, this explanation is not
satisfactory as it does not explain why the distortions are confined to the reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.
The key to what I believe is the correct explanation is provided by a hitherto unnoticed fact. In book three, section 2.3 Sennacherib is said to have “lived eighteen years,” not to have “reigned eighteen years.” Why “lived” and not “reigned”? The answer is to be found in the structure of Berossus’ account of his reign.
The beginning of Sennacherib’s first period of rule as king of Babylon is mentioned in book three, section 1.1, but the actual account of the reign itself and that of his successor, Marduk-zakir-fomi II, was contained in the lacuna at the beginning of book three, section 2.1. Connected sense only returns with the seizure of power by Merodach-Baladan II. Then follows the reign of Bel-ibni, his removal by Sennacherib and the appointment of Ashurnadinshumi as king of Babylon in his place and the subsequent return of Sennacherib to Assyria. Then follows the account of his suppression of a revolt in Cilicia and, judging from the allusion to all his other deeds in book three, section 2.3, further details of his reign as King of Assyria. This is followed by the note about his living eighteen years and being assassinated by one of his sons and then the chronological discussion about his successors. At this point we would expect, Sennacherib’s death having been mentioned, that Berossus would
have ended his account of this king, but instead we find in book three, section 4a a reference to further acts of Sennacherib and his sons. As his actions as King of Assyria have already been dealt with, this can only refer to deeds of his during his second tenure of power at Babylon, that is, Berossus was aware that he ruled 24 Babylon twice and accordingly cannot have ascribed to him a single reign of eighteen years. The phrase “lived eighteen years” closely connected as it is with the reference to his assassination, must refer to a significant period that ended with the death of Sennacherib, and examination of the Babylonian king list for this period quickly reveals what it was. Insofar as we can reconstruct it, Polyhistor’s version of Berossus’ king list for this period was approximately as follows: 25

* Sennacherib-? (2 years: 704/3)
* Marduk-zakir-fomi II (one month)
* Merodach-Baladan II (six months)
* Bel-ibni (3 years: 702-700)
* Ashurnadinshumi-? (6 years: 699/694)
* Nergal-illezib-? (one year: 693)
* Mu~ezib-Marduk-? (4 years: 692/689)
* Sennacherib-? (8 years: 688/681)
* Esarhaddon (8 years)

23 schnabel, 157-159.
24 1 say ruled because the eight years between Sennacherib’s sack of Babylon in 689 and his death in 681 were listed as
Kingless in Chronicle I (Grayson, 81 line 28) and the Ptolemaic Canon.
25 The figures in parentheses are based on Brinkman’s lists.

Examining this king list it is clear that there is only one 18-year period that ended with the death of Sennacherib in 681, namely that which began with the appointment of his son Ashurnadinshumi as King of Babylon in 699.
In other words, what Berossus said was that Sennacherib lived 18 years after installing his son as King of Babylon and returning to Assyria with the captive Bel-ibni; and that note is a fitting conclusion to his account of Sennacherib’s Assyrfan deeds. Likewise, the further deeds of Sennacherib and his sons in book three, section 4a can
only refer to the activities of Ashurnadinshurni, Sennacherib during his second Babylonian period and Esarhaddon.
The only real error in these paragraphs, therefore, is the substitution, most likely by Polyhistor as Eusebius clearly found it already in his text, of the eight years of Sennacherib’s second period of power at Babylon for the 13 years assigned to Esarhaddon by the Ptolemaic canon.


The so-called Ptolemaic Canon, one of a number of tabies compiled by the second century A.D. Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy for the use of astronomers, is important because it represents a Babylonian tradition about the first millennium B.C. that is independent of Berossus as can be seen from the order and forms of the
names of the kings. This translation of the Ptolemaic Canon is based on the edition prepared by Curt Wachsmuth, Einleitung in das Stl}dium der alten Geschichte (Leipzig, 1895) 305-306.
Kings                               Years          Modern Names
Nabonassaros            14               Nabu-Na~ir
Nadios                            2                  Nabu-Nadin-Zeri
Chinzeros and Poros 5             Nabu-mukin-zeri &Tiglath-pileser/Pulu
Iloulaios                       5                   Shalmaneser/Ululaju
Mardokempados   12                 Merodach-Baladan II
Arkeanos                   5                     Sargon II
Kingless (sc. years) 2                 (Sennacherib)
Bilibos                           3                   Bel-ibni
Aparanadios             6                    Ashurnadinshumi
Rhegebelos               I                      Nergal-u§ezib
Meseimordakos     4                   .MuSezib-Marduk
Kingless (sc. years) 8                (Sennacherib)
Asaradinos               13                 Esarhaddon
Saosdouchinos      20                 Samas-sum-ukin
Kineladanos            22                Kandalanu
Nabopolassaros   21                Nabopolassar
Nabokolassaros   23                Nebukadnezzar II
Illoaroudamos         2                Labasi-Marduk
Nerigasolassaros  4                 Neriglissar
Nabonadios           17                Nabonidus
Persian Kings
Kuros                           9                 Cyrus
Kambuses                 8                 Cambyses
Darios the First    36                Darius I
Xerxes                       21               Xerxes
Artaxerxes the First 41        Artaxerxes I
Darios the Second 19           Darius II
Artaxerxes the Second 46 Artaxerxes II
Ochos                           21           Artaxerxes III Ochus
Arogos                        2                Arses
Darios the Third    4               Darius III
Alexander the Macedonian 8 Alexander III
Macedonian Kings
Phillippos (the one after Alexander
the Founder)            7                Philip Arrhidaeus
(sc. of Alexandria)
The Other Alexander 12    Alexander IV
Ptolemy son of Lagos 20    Ptolemy I


Berossus FGrH, 3Cl, 680 FGrH, 3Cl, 685
Book One
1.1-2.4 . Fl
3 F21
4 F20
5 Fl
6.1 F2
6.2 Fl3
Book Two
1.1-11 F3 F2
2.1-2.4 F4 F3
3 F6
4.1-10 F5
5.1 F16
5.2 F3
Book Three
1 F5
2.1-2a F7
2.2b-4 F5
2.5a-6a F7
2.5b-6c F5
3.1-3 F8
3.2b F6
5.1 FlO
5.2 Fll
6.1 F14

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