Ancient astronomers needed to keep an accurate list of reign lengths, so that they could calculate the date of observations which had been made a long time previously. The lists were regularly updated, and the example shown here is derived from the writings of the astronomer Ptolemaeus, in the second century A.D., as reconstructed by C.Wachsmuth ("Einleitung in das Studium der Alten Geschichte", p.305). The dates are reckoned according to the Egyptian year of 365 days; so that, for instance, the list shows that the accession of Xerxes took place in the year beginning 23 December 486 B.C.
The names of the Babylonian kings are shown in their Greek form. According to Bickerman (p.109), their original Babylonian names were:
Nabonassar; Nabunadinzri; Ukinzir & Pulu; Ululas (Shalmaneser IV); Mardukbaliddin; Arkeanos (Sargon II); ~; Belibni; Ashurnadinshum; Nergalushezib; Mushezib Marduk; ~; Esarhaddon; Shamashshumkin; Kandalanu; Nabopolossar; Nebuchadrezzar; Amel-Marduk; Neriglissar; Nabonidus.
For an earlier example of a Babylonian king-list, which lists the Seleucid kings instead of the Ptolemies, see the Uruk King List, translated at livius.org.
| Kings [of the Babylonians]||Years||Total||Year of accession (first day of Egyptian year)|
|Nabonassarus||14||14||747 B.C. (27 Feb.)|
|Nadius||2||16||733 B.C. (23 Feb.)|
|Chinzerus & Porus||5||21||731 B.C. (22 Feb.)|
|Ilulaeus||5||26||726 B.C. (21 Feb.)|
|Mardocempadus||12||38||721 B.C. (20 Feb.)|
|Arceanus||5||43||709 B.C. (17 Feb.)|
|no king||2||45||704 B.C. (15 Feb.)|
|Bilibus||3||48||702 B.C. (15 Feb.)|
|Aparanadius||6||54||699 B.C. (14 Feb.)|
|Rhegebelus||1||55||693 B.C. (13 Feb.)|
|Mesesimordacus||4||59||692 B.C. (12 Feb.)|
|no king||8||67||688 B.C. (11 Feb.)|
|Asaradinus||13||80||680 B.C. (9 Feb.)|
|Saosduchinus||20||100||667 B.C. (6 Feb.)|
|Cineladanus||22||122||647 B.C. (1 Feb.)|
|Nabopolassarus||21||143||625 B.C. (27 Jan.)|
|Nabocolassarus||43||186||604 B.C. (21 Jan.)|
|Illoarudamus||2||188||561 B.C. (11 Jan.)|
|Nerigasolassarus||4||192||559 B.C. (10 Jan.)|
|Nabonadius||17||209||555 B.C. (9 Jan.)|
| Kings of the Persians|
|Cyrus||9||218||538 B.C. (5 Jan.)|
|Cambyses||8||226||529 B.C. (3 Jan.)|
|Dareius I||36||262||521 B.C. (1 Jan.)|
|Xerxes||21||283||486 B.C. (23 Dec.)|
|Artaxerxes I||41||324||465 B.C. (17 Dec.)|
|Dareius II||19||343||424 B.C. (7 Dec.)|
|Artaxerxes II||46||389||405 B.C. (2 Dec.)|
|Ochus||21||410||359 B.C. (21 Nov.)|
|Aroges||2||412||338 B.C. (16 Nov.)|
|Dareius III||4||416||336 B.C. (15 Nov.)|
|Alexander the Macedonian||8||424||332 B.C. (14 Nov.)|
| Kings of the Macedonians|
| Philippus, the successor |
of Alexander the founder
|7||431||7||324 B.C. (12 Nov.)|
|another Alexander||12||443||19||317 B.C. (10 Nov.)|
|Ptolemaeus son of Lagus||20||463||39||305 B.C. (7 Nov.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Philadelphus||38||501||77||285 B.C. (2 Nov.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Euergetes||25||526||102||247 B.C. (24 Oct.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Philopator||17||543||119||222 B.C. (18 Oct.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Epiphanes||24||567||143||205 B.C. (13 Oct.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Philometor||35||602||178||181 B.C. (7 Oct.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Euergetes II||29||631||207||146 B.C. (29 Sep.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] Soter||36||667||243||117 B.C. (21 Sep.)|
|[Ptolemaeus] new Dionysus||29||696||272||81 B.C. (12 Sep.)|
|Cleopatra||22||718||294||52 B.C. (5 Sep.)|
| Kings of the Romans|
|Augustus||43||761||337||43||30 B.C. (31 Aug.)|
|Tiberius||22||783||359||65||14 A.D. (20 Aug.)|
|Gaius||4||787||363||69||36 A.D. (14 Aug.)|
|Claudius||14||801||377||83||40 A.D. (13 Aug.)|
|Nero||14||815||391||97||54 A.D. (10 Aug.)|
|Vespasianus||10||825||401||107||68 A.D. (6 Aug.)|
|Titus||3||828||404||110||78 A.D. (4 Aug.)|
|Domitianus||15||843||419||125||81 A.D. (3 Aug.)|
|Nerva||1||844||420||126||96 A.D. (30 Jul.)|
|Trajanus||19||863||439||145||97 A.D. (30 Jul.)|
|Hadrianus||21||884||460||166||116 A.D. (25 Jul.)|
|Aelius Antoninus||23||907||483||189||137 A.D. (20 Jul.)|
This famous inscription, dating from 264/3 B.C., is preserved in two parts. "A" has been in England since 1627, and is now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford; "B" was found on the island of Paros in 1897. The original Greek text, along with an English translation, can be found on the Ashmolean web site. For viewing on the web, it has been split up into sections, as follows:
|A'1-10||( from 1581 to 1505 B.C. )|
|A'11-20||( from 1431 to 1259 B.C. )|
|A'21-30||( from 1256 to 895 B.C. )|
|A'31-40||( from 790? to 561 B.C. )|
|A'41-50||( from 556 to 485 B.C. )|
|A'51-60||( from 480 to 442 B.C. )|
|A'61-70||( from 420 to 377 B.C. )|
|A'71-80||( from 373 to 355 B.C. )|
|B'1-10||( from 336 to 322 B.C. )|
|B'11-20||( from 321 to 308 B.C. )|
|B'21-27||( from 307 to 299 B.C. )|
Unfortunately the end of the inscription, which would have covered from 298 to 264 B.C., has been lost.
[A] 1 [From when Sulla] set out for the war [against Mithridates], and Soter, nicknamed Physcon, returned to Egypt and ruled for the second time: 103 years [88/7 B.C.].
2 From when Marius captured Ostia and forced Octavius to come to terms, but did not keep his pledge and killed Octavius; and in Attica Sulla captured Athens: 102 years [87/6 B.C.].
3 From when Fimbria defeated Mithridates' army near Cyzicus and captured Ilium, but was restrained by Sulla and committed suicide; and Mithridates came to terms with Sulla; and Philopator returned to Bithynia and ruled there for the second time; and Ariobarzanes was restored to [the throne of] Cappadocia: 100 years [85/4 B.C.].
4 From when Sulla defeated Norbanus near Capua, and after shutting up the consul Marius in Praeneste, killed him as he tried to escape: 98 years [83/2 B.C.].
5 From when Sulla became dictator: 97 years [82/1 B.C.].
6 From when Soter, nicknamed Physcon, died: 96 years [81/0 B.C.].
[B] 1 From when ...
2 From when [Solon was archon of the Athenians] and [established] laws for them; and Anacharsis the Scythian came to [Athens]: ... years.
3 From when Croesus became king of the Lydians: ... years.
4 From when the [? seven] wise men were identified: ... years.
5 From when Peisistratus became tyrant at Athens; and Aesopus was thrown to his death by the Delphians: 579 years [564/3 B.C.].
6 From when Croesus [submitted to] Cyrus: ... years.
7 From when Cambyses [conquered] Egypt; and Pythagoras was seized: (?) 540 years [525/4 B.C.].
8 From when Harmodius and Aristogeiton killed the tyrant Hipparchus; and Dareius crossed over against the Scythians, after bridging the Cimmerian Bosporus: 528 years [513/2 B.C.].
9 From when Xerxes crossed the Hellespont, after bridging it near Abydus; and Themistocles defeated the barbarians in a naval battle: 49. years.
10 From when Socrates the philosopher, Heracleitus of Ephesus, Anaxagoras, Parmenides and Zenon [were in their prime]: ... years.
11 From when the Peloponnesian war began; and Thucydides [was in his prime]: ... years.
12 From when the Gauls defeated the Romans and captured Rome: 401 years [386/5 B.C.].
 [In the 106th Olympiad ... in the second year] Dion was murdered by the tyrant Dionysius at Syracuse. In the third year the inhabitants of Tibur were defeated by the Romans, and surrendered.
 In the 107th Olympiad [352 B.C.] Smicrinas [of Tarentum] won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were [Aristodemus], Thessalus, [Apollodorus] and Callimachus. In the third year plebeian censors were elected at Rome for the first time.
 In the 108th Olympiad [348 B.C.] Polycles of Cyrene won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Theophilus, Themistocles, Archias and Eubulus. In the first year the philosopher Plato died and Speusippus succeeded him as head of the school. In the second year Philippus ...
 [In the 109th Olympiad] [344 B.C.] Aristolycus [of Athens won the stadion race], and the archons at Athens were [Lyciscus], Pythodotus, Sosigenes and Nicomachus. In the second year Dionysius II, tyrant of Sicily, fell from power and sailed off to Corinth, where he survived as a schoolteacher. In the fourth year the eunuch Bagoas murdered Ochus, the king of the Persians, and set up Arses who was the youngest of Ochus' sons as king, while he himself controlled the whole government.
 In the 110th Olympiad [340 B.C.] Anticles of Athens won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Theophrastus, Lysimachides, Chaerondas and Phrynichus. In the first year the Samnites fought against the Romans. In the second year the Latins united in an attack on the Romans. In the third year Philippus, the king of the Macedonians, defeated the Athenians and Boeotians in the famous battle at Chaeroneia, with the help of his son Alexander, who distinguished himself by his bravery in the battle. Isocrates the teacher of rhetoric died, [at the age of about] ninety years ... the eunuch [Bagoas] killed Arses the king of the Persians along with his brothers, and set up Dareius the son of Arsames, who belonged to the royal family, as king in Arses' place. At the same time the Romans fought against the Latins. In the fourth year the assembly of the Greeks met and appointed Philippus to be supreme commander in the war against the Persians.
 In the 111th Olympiad [336 B.C.] Cleomantis of Cleitor won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Pythodelus, Euaenetus, Ctesicles and Nicocrates. In the first year Philippus the king of the Macedonians was murdered by Pausanias, one of his bodyguards, and his son Alexander succeeded him as king. After assuming power, Alexander first defeated the Illyrians, Paeonians and other barbarian tribes who had revolted, and then captured and destroyed Thebes. In Rome, the priestesses of Vesta, who remain virgins for all their life, were accused of having been defiled ... In the second year Alexander the king of the Macedonians crossed over to Asia and defeated the generals of Dareius the king of the Persians in a battle by the river Granicus. In the third year Alexander met Dareius in battle at Issus in Cilicia, and again defeated him. He killed many thousands of the Persians and their allies, and captured many prisoners and a great quantity of booty. At the same time, Alexander the Molossian crossed over to Italy in aid of the Greeks who lived there. In the fourth year the Romans gave [the Campanians] Roman citizenship [without the right to] vote.
 In the 112th Olympiad [332 B.C.] Gryllus of Chalcis won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Nicetes, Aristophanes, Aristophon and Cephisophon. In the first year Alexander the son of Philippus captured Tyre and took possession of Egypt, where the natives willingly received him because of their hatred of the Persians. Then he ordered [? the foundation of the city of Alexandria] ... He made an expedition to the temple of Ammon, and on his way he founded the city of Paraetonium. In the third year Alexander won another victory over Dareius, in a battle at Arbela. After that Dareius was treacherously killed by his own friends, and the empire of the Persians came to an end; it had lasted 233 years from Cyrus, who established it.
 In the 113th Olympiad [328 B.C.] Criton of Macedonia won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Euthycritus, Hegemon, Chremes [and Anticles]. Throughout the four years of this Olympiad there occurred the rest of the exploits of Alexander, as he conquered the nations of Asia.
 In the 114th Olympiad [324 B.C.] Micinas of Rhodes won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Hegesias, Cephisophon, Philocles and Archippus. In the first year Alexander died, in the 13th year of his reign and the 33rd year of his life. In the second year Ptolemaeus the son of Lagus was sent to govern Egypt. In the ...
 In the 115th Olympiad [320 B.C.] Damasias of Amphipolis won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Neaechmus, Apollodorus, Archippus and Demogenes. In the first year Antipater, who had taken over as king in Macedonia, met the Greeks in battle at Lamia and defeated them. The Romans were defeated in battle by the Samnites. In the second year Antipater crossed over to Asia against Perdiccas, and made the second partition [of the empire] amongst the successors of Alexander, in which Ptolemaeus kept [his portion]. In the third year the Romans defeated the Samnites in battle, and recovered their men who had been captured in the first battle.
 In the 116th Olympiad [316 B.C.] Demosthenes of Laconia won the stadion race, and the archons at Athens were Democleides, Praxibulus, Nicodorus and Theodorus. In the first year [Antipater] died and [Polyperchon] took over the government ...
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