Mesopotamia in Classical literature

Before the decipherment of cuneiform text, knowledge of the history of the ancient Mesopotamia and was mostly dependent upon classical authorities, besides the Hebrew Bible. These testimonies were scanty and confused for times predating the 7th century BCE. Had the native history of Berossus survived, this may not have been the case; all that is known of the Chaldaean historian's work, however, is derived from quotations in Josephus, Ptolemy, Eusebius, Jerome and George Syncellus.

Contents

Classical Greece

The account of Babylon given by Herodotus is not that of an eye-witness and not very extensive. In his Histories he mentions that he will devote a whole section to the history of Assyria, but this promise was unfulfilled, or perhaps the book has been lost. Herodotus' opinions are disputed by Ctesias, who, however, has mistaken mythology for history, and Greek romance owed to him its Ninus and Semiramis, its Ninyas and Sardanapalus. Xenophon's account in the Anabasis gives information on the Achaemenid Empire of his time.

Hellenistic era

Berossus

The authenticity of his list of 10 antediluvian kings who reigned for 120 sari or 432,000 years, has been partially confirmed by the inscriptions; but his 8 postdiluvian dynasties are difficult to reconcile with the monuments, and the numbers associated with them are probably corrupt. It is different with the 7th and 8th dynasties as given by Ptolemy in the Canon of Kings in his Almagest, which prove to have been recorded faithfully:

  1. Nabonassar (747 BC) 14 years
  2. Nadios (Nabu-nadin-zeri)
  3. Khinziros (Nabu-mukin-zeri) and Poros (Pul)
  4. Ilulaeos (Ululayu)
  5. Mardokempados (Marduk-apal-iddina II) 12
  6. Arkeanos (Sargon II)
  7. Interregnum
  8. Hagisa 1 month
  9. Belibos (702 BC) 3 years (Bel-ibni)
  10. Assaranadios (Ashur-nadin-shumi)
  11. Regebelos- (Nergal-ushezib) ..year
  12. Mesesimordakos (Mushezib-Marduk), 4 years
  13. Interregnum
  14. Asaridinos (Esarhaddon), 13 years
  15. Saosdukhinos (Samash-shum-ukin), 20 years
  16. Sineladanos (Kandalanu), 22 years

Roman era

See also

References


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