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Aspects of Seleucid Royal Ideology: The Cylinder of Antiochus I from Borsippa*

  • Amélie Kuhrt (a1) and Susan Sherwin-White (a2)


A major contention of our book Hellenism in the East was that the most profitable way for making progress in understanding the Achaemenid and Seleucid empires was to try to evaluate, sensitively, the very disparate types of evidence within their own social and cultural contexts, however difficult this might be in practice. In the case of the Antiochus I cylinder we are confronted by an inscribed object whose significance lies as much in its physical form as in the content of the text it bears. These aspects are inextricably intertwined as part of a tradition specific to Mesopotamian culture—object and text combined are the physical representation of a major, longstanding, sociopolitical institution for which a mass of earlier evidence exists. It is all too understandable that Greco-Roman scholars, who have been the primary students of the hellenistic world, should find it hard to know how to approach such material emanating from an unfamiliar cultural milieu. Yet, for once, this text is not fragmentary—it is a long, well-preserved document, easy to read and readily accessible in translation which in itself demonstrates an acknowledgment by hellenistic historians of the potential importance of this non-Greek text for understanding Seleucid history.



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1 Kuhrt, A. and Sherwin-White, S. (eds), Hellenism in the East: aspects of the interaction of Greeks and non-Greeks from Syria to Central Asia after Alexander (London/Berkeley 1987).

2 i.e. Sherwin-White, ‘Seleucid Babylonia: a case-study for the installation and development of Greek rule’, Hellenism 1–31; Kuhrt, ‘Berossus' Babyloniaka and Seleucid rule in Babylonia’, ibid 32–56; R. van der Spek, ‘The Babylonian city’ ibid 57–74.

3 Name of the sanctuary of the Babylonian god Bel-Marduk in Babylon.

4 Name of the sanctuary of the Babylonian god Nabu in Borsippa.

5 Rostovtzeff, M., Social and economic history of the hellenistic world2 (Oxford 1951) iii 1427.

6 See, e.g., Walbank, F. W., The hellenistic world (London 1981) 125.

7 cf. Walbank loc.cit.; more cautious and stressing the difficulties of evidence and interpretation, Musti, D. ‘Syria and the East’ Cambridge ancient history2 vii.i: The hellenistic world (Cambridge 1984), 216–18. For a more positive image, cf. Musti, D., ‘Il regno ellenistico’ in Bandinelli, R. Bianchi (ed) Storia e civiltà dei Greci vii (Milan 1977) 244, 246 and, briefly, Bickerman, E. J., The Jews in the Greek Age (Cambridge MA 1988) 99 (but contrast ibid 126). For the view that the persistence of local cultures was one of the factors leading to the disintegration of the Seleucid empire, see Oelsner, J., Materialien zur babylonischen Gesellschaft und Kultur in hellenistischer Zeit (Budapest 1986) 6263.

8 Musti, ‘Syria’ 175, 179, 210; Oelsner, Materialien 59, 131 (although he stresses the continued importance of Seleucia-Tigris and Babylon). On the limitations of this view see Kuhrt and Sherwin-White, Hellenism, esp.i–iii.

9 cf. Hawkins, J. D., Reallexikon der Assyriologie (= RIA) iv.2/3 (Berlin, New York 1973) 152–9s.v. Hatti.

10 e.g. Burstein, S., The Babyloniaca of Berossus (Malibu 1978) 5; Mehl, A., Seleukos Nikator und sein Reich i.: Seleukos' Leben und die Entwicklung seiner Machtposition (Louvain 1986) 68.

11 Austin, M., The hellenistic world from Alexander to the Roman conquest: a selection of ancient sources in translation (Cambridge 1981) no. 189.

12 cf. Austin, Hellenistic world: 311, n.1: ‘contrast the style and terminology of this cuneiform inscription with the many Greek texts in this chapter’.

13 Text publications: Strassmaier, J. N., Verhandlungen des 5. Internationalen Orientalistenkongresses (Berlin 1882) ii.1, Beilage zu I 14: 139ff.; Pinches, T.G., Cuneiform inscriptions of Western Asia v (London 1884), pl.66. Transliteration and translation: Weissbach, F. H.Die Keilinschriften der Achämeniden (Leipzig 1911), 132–5; translation only (apart from Austin above): Pritchard, J.B. (ed) Ancient Near Eastern texts relating to the Old Testament3 (= ANET) (Princeton 1969) 316–17.

14 cf. Rassam, H., Asshur and the Land of Nimrod (Cincinnati 1897) 268ff.; for the position of the cylinder as found (‘encased in kiln-burnt bricks covered with bitumen’ in ‘doorway’) cf. discussion by J. Reade in his re-analysis of Rassam's excavations using the British Museum records, ‘Rassam's excavations at Borsippa and Kutha, 1879–82’ Iraq xlviii (1986) 105–16: 109. For a general discussion of the site in the hellenistic period, cf. Oelsner, Materialien, 110–11 (for the cylinder ibid 226).

15 47 m. high according to Koldewey, R.Die Tempel von Babylon und Borsippa (Leipzig 1911) 57; for an earlier description recording the traces of colour of the different stages of the ziggurat cf. Rawlinson, H.C., ‘On the Birs Nimrud’, JRAS xviii (1861) 132; for a Late Babylonian poetic description of Ezida that lists the same colours cf. Köcher, F., ‘Ein spätbabylonischer Hymnus auf den Tempel Ezida in BorsippaZeitschrift für Assyriologie und verwandte Gebiete (= ZA) liii (1959), 236240. The ziggurat has been the focus of new Austrian excavations at the site under the direction of Trenkwalder, H., cf. Iraq xlvii (1985): 219 and xlix (1987): 236–7—the latter notice also contains details of a planned publication on their work to reconstruct the ziggurat.

16 See Oates, Joan, Babylon (London 1979) (rev.ed: 1985) 143.

17 cf. Pallis, S. A., The antiquity of Iraq (Copenhagen 1956) for excavations; Unger, E., RIA i (1928), 402429s.v. Barsippa for full discussion of history, topography and bibliography of excavations (add to the last now Ellis, R., A bibliography of Mesopotamian archaeological sites (Wiesbaden 1972) 17s.v. Borsippa and Trenkwalder, above); for a survey of Rassam's work see Rcade, ‘Rassam's Babylonian collection: the excavations and the archives’ in Leichty, E.Catalogue of the Babylonian tablets in the British Museum vi: Tablets from Sippar (London 1989) xiii–xxxvi as well as Reade, ‘Rassam's excavations’.

18 Unger, RIA 405–6; cf. Brinkman, J. A., Materials and studies for Kassite history i: a catalogue of cuneiform sources pertaining to specific monarchs of the Kassite dynasty (Chicago 1976) 255 (R.5.3).

19 Discussed in some detail by Black, J.A., ‘The new year ceremonies in ancient Babylon: “taking Bel by the hand” and a cultic picnic’, Religion xi (1981) 3959; cf. Kuhrt, , ‘Usurpation, conquest and ceremonial: from Babylon to Persia’ in Cannadine, D.N. and Price, S. R. F. (eds) Rituals of royalty: power and ceremonial in traditional societies (Cambridge 1987) 2055, 33.

20 See Koldewey, , Das wiedererstehende Babylon (Leipzig 1913) as well as Tempel.

21 For a full discussion see Ellis, R. S., Foundation deposits in ancient Mesopotamia (New Haven) 108–25.

22 So far only cylinders of Cyrus are attested for the Achaemenid period, the most famous of which is the ‘Cyrus Cylinder’ in the British Museum; translations: Weissbach, Keilinschriften 2–9; ANET 315–316; Berger, P.-R., ‘Der Kyros-Zylinder mit dem Zusatzfragment BIN II Nr.32 und die akkadischen Personennamen im DanielbuchZA lxiv (1975), 192234 at 194–203; Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments i.4: Historisch-chronologische Texte i (Gütersloh 1984) 407–10. Less frequently cited, being neither as long nor as well preserved, is a cylinder from Ur virtually certainly to be attributed to Cyrus, see Gadd, C.J., Legrain, L. and Smith, S.Royal inscriptions I (Ur Excavation Texts (= UET) i) (London 1928) no. 307; cf. Kuhrt, , ‘The Cyrus Cylinder and Achaemenid imperial policyJournal for the study of the Old Testament xxv (1983) 8397, 89.

23 Published by Clay, A. T., Miscellaneous Inscriptions in the Yale Babylonian collection (New Haven 1915) no.52; cf. Falkenstein, A., Topographie von Uruk i: Uruk zur Seleukidenzeit (Leipzig 1941) 45. Other examples: a) Sin-balassu-iqbi, governor of Ur, reign of Assur-bani-pal (669-c.630), who dedicated his work ‘for the life of Assurbanipal’ cf. UET i nos. 168 & 170 and Sollberger, E., Royal Inscriptions ii (UET viii) (London 1965) no. 102, cf. discussion by Brinkman, J. A., ‘Ur: 721–605 BCOrientalia (= Or.) xxxiv (1965) 241258 at 248–253, and ‘Ur: the Kassite period and period of the Assyrian kings’ Or. xxxviii(1909) 310–348 at 336–342; b) officials at Uruk, reign of Nabu-nasir (747–734), cf. Brinkman, J.A., ‘The Akitu inscriptions of Bēl-ibni and Nabû-zēra-ušabšiWelt des Orients vi (1969) 3950; c)Anu-uballit/Kephalon, ša rēš āli of Uruk, recorded his building in 201 ‘for the life of Antiochus, the king, my lord’ on bricks, cf. Falkenstein, Topographie 6–7.

24 Erua is another name of Sarpanitu, divine consort of Marduk of Babylon.

25 Anu, though in some ways an ‘otiose’ deity, nevertheless held the highest rank in the Mesopotamian pantheon; hence ‘Anu-ship’ is a way of praising a god by assigning him the function and rank of the highest god, cf. The Assyrian dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (= CAD) A II s.v. anutu.

26 A good example is the Cyrus Cylinder, cf. Harmatta, J., ‘The literary pattern of the Babylonian edict of Cyrus’, AASH xix (1971) 220ff.

27 Last attested date is April 267, cf. Pinches, T. G. and Strassmaier, J. N., Late Babylonian astronomical and related texts (= LBAT) prepared for publication by Sachs, A.J. with the co-operation of Schaumberger, J. (Providence 1955) 1220 + *1221 (Mercury observations); for references to his treason cf. OGIS 220:13 and Trogus prol. 26; earliest dating by the new co-regent, Antiochus: SE 46, cf. Parker, R.A. and Dubberstein, W., Babylonian chronology 626 BC—AD 75 (Providence 1956) 21.

28 cf. CAD H s.v. hīrtu: used of human beings only in the Old Babylonian period (first half of second millennium BC); later usage of the term is normally restricted to goddesses ie. divine consorts—the only other instance known to us is a text inscribed near the doorway possibly leading to the women's quarters of Sennacherib's palace, in which the king refers to his principal wife, Tashmetum-sharrat, as his hīrtu narāmtu ‘beloved wife’ (cf. Reade, J., ‘Was Sennacherib a feminist?’ in Durand, J.-M. (ed) La Femme dans le Proche-Orient Antique (Paris 1987) 139–45, 141.

29 Note that the term šarratu is used of the goddess Erua/Sarpanitu in the cylinder; for its general restriction to divinities cf. Seux, M.-J., RIA vi.1/2 (1980) s.v. Königtum 159–60. The term in regular use for the chief wife of the reigning monarch in the Neo-Assyrian empire was MIÉGAL: its precise rendering in Akkadian is disputed, ša-ēkalli = ‘she of the palace’ has been generally used, but strong arguments for reading it (is)-suēkalli = ‘wife of the palace’ have been put forward, see Postgate, J. N., ‘On some Assyrian ladies’, Iraq xli (1979) 95, n.9; the suggestion has been followed and developed by Parpola, S. (‘The Neo-Assyrian word for “queen”’, State Archives of Assyria Bulletin ii.2 (1988) 73–7) who suggests reading *sēgallu/i. For continued use of the term in the Babylonia of the Persian period (= SAL saÉ. GAL) cf. Stolper, M. W., Entrepreneurs and empire: the Murasû archive, the Murasû firm and Persian rule in Babylonia (Leiden 1985) 62. (N.B. Laodice, wife of Antiochus II, who is mentioned in a later Babylonian document (cf. Spek, van der, Grondbezit in het Seleucidische Rijk (Ph.D. diss. Amsterdam 1986) 241ff., obv. 7 and 8, rev. 2) concerning some land, is not given a title, but only called DAM-šû = ‘his (sc. Antiochus') wife’; cf. also the occurrences in the newly published astronomical diaries, Sachs, A.J. and Hunger, H., Astronomical diaries and related texts from Babylon ii: Diaries from 261 BC to 165 BC (Vienna 1989) nos. -247, -181 where the queen is always called ‘wife of the king’; unclear is the appellation given to Stratonice on the occasion of her death in Sardis, late 254: MÍ.LUGAL (?‘royal woman’, ‘woman of the king’), Sachs and Hunger Diaries ii no. -253.

30 Closest are the Babylon texts of Assurbanipal, Cyl. L1 and L2 (= Streck, M., Assurbanipal und die letzten assyrische Könige bis zum Untergang Ninivehs (Leipzig 1916) ii 226232), and the Neo-Babylonian ones, cf. Langdon, S., Die neubabylonischen Königsinschiften (Leipzig 1912) Nbp.3; Nbk. 1,3,4, 6–17, 20, 23; Ngl. 1–2; Nbn. 1–3, 5–7; for analysis of their literary structure cf. Berger, , Die Königsinschriften des ausgehenden babylonischen Reiches (626–536 v.Chr.) (Neukirchen-Vluyn 1973) 3259.

31 cf. CAD D s.v. dannu 2. and 3., for the meaning ‘legitimate’ as well as ‘mighty’.

32 cf. Harmatta, ‘Literary pattern’; Berger, ‘Kyros-Zylinder’; Spek, van der, ‘Cyrus de Pers in assyrisch perspectief,’ Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis xcvi (1983), 127; Kuhrt, ‘Cyrus Cylinder’.

33 One of the clearest examples occurs in the inscription of Nabonidus where the king mentions the gift of 2850 prisoners-of-war from his Cilician campaign to sanctuaries of Marduk, Nabû and Nergal (Langdon, Königsinschriften: Nbn. 8, col. ix, 38–41)

34 See PLATE 11(b) (Assurbanipal with basket of bricks on his neck); further illustrations of this royal act: Ellis, Foundation deposits, figs. 19, 22–25 (dating between 2200 and 1800 BC); Strommenger, E. and Hirmer, M., The art of Mesopotamia (London 1965) pl. 73 (dating c. 2500 BC)

35 Thureau-Dangin, F., Rituels accadiens (Paris 1921), transliteration and translation of AO 6472, O 7H, BE 13987: 34–47; cf. ANET 339–342.

36 Enormous numbers of examples of this practice exist (cf. further Kuhrt, , ‘Alexander and Babylon’ in Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H. and Drijvers, J.-W. (eds) Achaemenid History vii: the roots of the European tradition (Leiden 1990) 121–30, 127). One of the nicest, however, is Esarhaddon (Borger, R., Die Inschriften Asarhaddons, König von Assyrien (Graz 1956) § 11:15 Fassung b:B) who mentions the fact that Marduk had decreed that Babylon should lie in ruins after its destruction in 689 for 70 years (= (in Akkadian) , ie. 60 + 10 in the sexagesimal system); but when Esarhaddon (681–669) was anxious to rebuild the city, the god relented and graciously reversed the signs thus: = 10 + 1 = 11 years, indicating thereby that he favoured Esarhaddon as the one to carry out the task.

37 e.g. Sargon II, cf. Ellis, Foundation deposits 7.

38 For the delicate situation raised by having effectively to ‘destroy’ the old temple in order to rebuild it, cf. Ellis, Foundation deposits 13; for the Seleucid period lamentations cf. Cohen, M.E., The canonical lamentations of ancient Mesopotamia (Potomac, MD 1988) 2427.

39 For a clear formulation of the Babylonian concept of the sharp physical and mental distinction that existed between ordinary mankind and the king, see Mayer, W. R., ‘Ein Mythos von der Erschaffung des Menschen und des Königs’, Or. lvi (1987) 5568.

40 cf. Ellis, Foundation deposits 20–26; more recently, Sherwin-White, Hellenism 28–9.

41 For the Babylonian city communities see van der Spek, Hellenism 60–65 and 70–74; for the various professional groups and families in hellenistic Uruk see Doty, L.T., Cuneiform archives from hellenistic Uruk (Yale diss. 1977) passim; for Babylonia generally, McEwan, G.J.P., Priest and Temple in hellenistic Babylonia (Wiesbaden 1982); Kuhrt, , ‘Nabonidus and the Babylonian priesthood’ in Beard, M. and North, J. (eds) Pagan priests (London 1990) 119–55 at 150–54.

42 The compilation of the six published chronicle fragments must certainly be dated to the Selcucid period cf. Grayson, A. K.Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles (= ABC) (Locust Valley, NY 1975) nos.10–13b; the most striking literary text definitely composed in this period is the ‘Dynastic Prophecy’ published by Grayson, A.K., Babylonian historical-literary texts (Toronto 1975) 2437; for the astronomical diaries compiled in this period see now Sachs, A. J. and Hunger, H., Astronomical diaries and related texts from Babylon i 652 BC—262 BC (Vienna 1988) and ii (1989, for details see note 29 above); for a complete list of these as well as copies of other astronomical texts, see LBAT; for documents and letters cf. the exhaustive overview by J. Oelsner Materialien 146–61, which includes a complete survey of all the scholarly, cultic and literary texts (many of them copies of earlier works) as well as the extant transliterations into Greek of Akkadian and Sumerian in chapter 3; for the latter cf. also Black, J. A. and Sherwin-White, S., ‘A clay tablet with Greek letters in the Ashmolean Museum, and the “Graeco-Babyloniaca” textsIraq xlvi (1984) 131–40. For some penetrating observations on how very differently language and writing may function in other cultural contexts, cf. Bloch, M. ‘Literacy and enlightenment’ in Schousboe, K. and Larsen, M. T. (eds) Literacy and society (Copenhagen 1989) 1538.

43 Comparable examples are, of course, the Aramaic edicts of Persian kings contained in Ezra; but note also the close involvement (physical presence of government officials as well as supply of financial resources) of the British Government in India with Hindu temples quoted by Boyce, M., ‘The religion of Cyrus the Great’ in Kuhrt, and Sancisi-Weerdenburg, (eds) Achaemenid history iii: Method and theory (Leiden 1988) 26. On the misconceptions surrounding the question of the use of different languages in multi-lingual empires, see Sherwin-White, Hellenism 4–8.

44 Astronomical diary: LBAT 212 = Sachs and Hunger, Astronomical diaries: 226–7, no. -321, l.14; note also ibid 178–9, no. -330 rev. which mentions Alexander and Esagila together in an unfortunately broken context. It is also worth noting that ‘gold for making the tiara of Bel’ (which would probably have required royal authorisation) is referred to in August 325, suggesting some refurbishing of the cult-statue of Marduk, see Sachs and Hunger Diaries i: no. -324.

45 ABC, no.10:6.

46 ABC, no.10: rev.13.

47 ABC, no.10: rev.33.

48 BM 78651 = Kennedy, D., Cuneiform texts from Babylonian tablets in the British Museum 49 (London 1968) (= CT 49), no. 5 (dated 25 December 308) and BM 78707 = CT 49, 6 (24 January 307). This last is a corrected copy of the text published in translation only by Kohler, J. and Ungnad, A., Hundert ausgewählte Rechtsurkunden aus der Spätzeit des babylonischen Schrifttums von Xerxes bis Mithridates II (485–93 v.Chr.) (= HAU) (Leipzig 1911) no.89. Cf. also Joannès, F.Les successeurs d'Alexandre le Grand en Babylonie’, Anatolica vii (19791980), 99116 at 105–6.

49 ABC, no.11: obv. 2; cf. for the role of Antiochus as mar sarri Sherwin-White, , ‘Babylonian chronicle fragments as a source for Seleucid historyJNES xlii, 265270 at 265–6 and 265, n.2. Note also the reference to the 113 talents of silver and 2 talents of gold ‘of Nabû’ in connection with craftsmen in Borsippa in late 303, cf. Sachs and Hunger Diaries i:- 302.

50 Smith, S., Babylonian historical texts relating to the capture and downfall of Babylon (= BHT) (London 1924) 155/157, 1.19 (part of astronomical diary); Austin, Hellenistic world: no.141; van der Spek, Grondbezit 211–213. The full text (with all the astronomical data) is now available, Sachs and Hunger, Astronomical diaries: no.-273, rev.38.

51 Black, ‘New Year ceremonies’; Kuhrt, ‘Usurpation’.

52 ABC, no.13b: 3–9; cf. Sherwin-White, , ‘Ritual for a Seleucid king at Babylon?JHS ciii (1983) 156–9. It is also very probably a performance of the New Year festival with royal participation that is referred to in the broken passage of Sachs and Hunger Diaries ii, -204.

53 For example, the rather negative assessment by McEwan, Priest and temple 193–194.

54 Full discussion of this by Sherwin-White, Hellenism 18–19. A clear illustration of the way in which the cities controlled different routes as a result of their situation on different rivers is the separate despatch from the two centres of resources for the army to Syria in 274, cf. BHT 154/156, ll.11–13, Sachs and Hunger, Diaries i no. -273, rev.30–32.

55 A particularly good example is the cylinder of Sargon II (721–705) relating his building of the new city Dur Sarrukin: Luckenbill, , Ancient records of Assyria and Babylonia ii (Chicago 1927), §119: ‘(but I), in my all-embracing wisdom which at the command of Ea, lord of the abyss, was made rich in understanding and filled with cleverness …’

56 cf. Kuhrt, ‘Usurpation’.

57 Adcock, F. E., ‘Greek and Macedonian kingship’, Proc.Brit.Acad, xxxix (1953), 163180.

58 For cogent arguments against such a view cf. already Bikerman, E., Institutions des Séleucides (Paris 1938) 67.

59 See Kent, R. G., Old Persian: Grammar, texts, lexicon (New Haven 1953) for the royal inscriptions; cf. Dandamaev, M., Persien unter den ersten Achämeniden (Munich 1976) 210214 for the deliberate emphasis placed on the Persian character of the Achaemenid empire after Darius I's successful seizure of the throne.

60 e.g. Briant, P., ‘Des Achéménides aux rois hellénistiques: continuité et rupture’, Rois, tributs et paysans (Besançon 1982) 291330; Musti, ‘Syria’: 179; Sherwin-White, Hellenism 7–8; M. Colledge, ‘Greek and non-Greek interaction in the art and architecture of the hellenistic east’, Hellenism, 142–144.

61 Bernard, P., ‘Les traditions orientales dans l'architecture gréco-bactrienne’, Journal Asiatique cclxiv (1976) 245–75 at 257.

62 See Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H., ‘Exit Atossa: images of women in Greek historiography on Persia’ in Cameron, A. and Kuhrt, A. (eds) Images of Women in Antiquity (London 1983) 2033 at 22.

63 e.g. Stratonice: OGIS 222, 229; Laodice (wife of Antiochus III) Pugliese-Carratelli, G., ASAA xxix–xxx (19671968) 445453, Herrmann, P., Anadolu ix (1965) 3436, Robert, L., Hellenica 7(1949) 522.

64 Such as those referred to (above, Bb) from Uruk.

65 An apparent exception is the document, dated SE 139 (Antiochus IV) in which the satammu of Esagila refers to a gift of land made by Antiochus II to Laodice and his two sons (see above note 29). However, this is not a formal royal decree, but a record of the history of land gifted to Babylonian cities presented by a representative of the Babylonian urban communities; as already said (n.29), Laodice is simply described as Antiochus II's ‘wife’; also not comparable are the historical references in the astronomical diaries, cf. above note 29.

66 These are Sammuramat, mother of Adadnirari III (810–783): for details of the texts cf. Schramm, W., ‘War Semiramis assyrische Regentin?Historia xxi (1972), 513521; Naqi'a-Zakûtu, mother of Esarhaddon (681–669): for the texts see Borger, Asarhaddon, 115–6: §86; Adda'guppi (not herself a queen), mother of Nabonidus (556–539): for texts cf. Gadd, C.J., ‘The Harran Inscriptions of Nabonidus’, AnSt viii (1958), 3592: Nab.H1B. A possible fourth that should now be included is Tashmetum-Sharrat, who was at one time the MIÉGAL of Sennacherib and who is attested in an inscription in which Sennnacherib commemorates the building of a section of the palace for her. It is speculated that her prominence is due to her status, at that time, as mother of the designated successor, Ashur-nadin-shumi, who was installed as ruler of the Assyrian subject-territory of Babylonia between 700 and 694. He was removed from the throne in the course of an Elamite raid and died or was executed in captivity. The text is very short and Tashmetum-Sharrat does not, on present evidence, seem to have ever occupied as exceptional a position as the other three. Cf. Reade (n.28). Different again are the recently discovered texts (April and August 1989) accompanying the burials of Assyrian queens found at Nimrud, which are more in the nature of short funeral notices; the texts will be published in the next issue of Baghdader Mitteilungen by A. Fadhil and K. Deller.

67 cf. Grayson, ‘Assyria: Ashur-dan II to Ashurnirari v (934–745 BC)’ Cambridge Ancient History2 iii. 1 277; Schramm, ‘Semiramis’.

68 See Eilers, W., Semiramis, Entstehung und Nachhall einer altorientalischen Sage (Vienna 1971).

69 Plutarch Dem. 38; Appian Syr. 59; Lucian de dea Syria 17–18; note esp. the extraordinary story of Stratonice's romantic adventure (while married to Selcucus) with the eunuch Kombabos at Hierapolis contained in Lucian de dea Syria 18–25; also, the brief but significant allusion by Lucian at 23 to numerous variants of the story.

70 ABC, no.10: rev. 14–23 and left edge, 1–2; cf. Sherwin-White, Hellenism 15–16; Kuhrt, ibid 51.

71 Goody, J., Succession to high office (Cambridge 1966) 1012.

72 For Scleucid royal funding of the New Year Festival at Babylon, see ABC, 13b: 4–6, cf. Sherwin-White, ‘Ritual’, Spek, van der, ‘The Babylonian temple during the Macedonian and Parthian domination’, Bibliotheca Orientalis xlii (1985) 541562 at 557–561.

73 e.g. Cyrus at Jerusalem: I Esdras 2.8; Ezra 1.4–6.

74 CT 49, 6 = HAU, no.89 (cf. note 48 above); note also CT 49, 5 in which five individuals present silver for the clearing work of Esagila.

75 In this connection Lucian's close association of Stratonice with the building of the temple at Hierapolis is also significant; at the very least it reflects a tradition of Seleucid involvement with yet another non-Greek cult.

76 As demonstrated by J., and Robert, L., ‘Pline vi 49, Démodamas de Milet et la reine ApaméeBCH cviii (1984) 467472.

77 Sherwin-White, Hellenism 9.

* Photographs reproduced by courtesy of Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities, British Museum

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Aspects of Seleucid Royal Ideology: The Cylinder of Antiochus I from Borsippa*

  • Amélie Kuhrt (a1) and Susan Sherwin-White (a2)


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