Babylonian and Seleucid Dates
Intro page | How to Read the Tables | The Babylonian Calendar | Sources | Analysis
This page gives access to two conversion tables in Excel format (905 kB), with a copy in HTML format (2.57 MB), useful for determining the Julian equivalent of Babylonian and Seleucid civil dates in the Ptolemaic era. The dates of some important events early in the Ptolemaic era, such as the death of Alexander, and of a number of Seleucid events involving Ptolemaic princesses, can be determined from these tables.
Three tables are provided:
1) The standard conversion table generated by Parker & Dubberstein in 1956 (PD)
2) A corrected conversion table, consisting of PD overlaid by data from contemporary astronomical diaries, lunar tables, eclipse reports, eclipse predictions, goal year texts and horoscopes.
3) A difference table, showing the differences between the first two tables.
The second of these tables is also provided in a CSV text format.
The Sources of the Tables
The standard conversion table provided here was transcribed from:
R. A. Parker & W. H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C. - A.D. 75 (Chicago, 1956 (1971 reprint))
Accuracy of transcription is not guaranteed. Please notify me if you find any errors. Note that the tables in the 1956 edition silently correct a significant number of errors in the original 1942 edition, which covered the period to A.D. 45, and the 1971 "reprint" also silently corrects some errors in the 1956 edition.
The data used to generate the corrected conversion table is published in the following sources:
chronologiques de la période de transition (350-300 av. J.-C.)
L. J. Fatoohi et al., The Babylonian First Visibility of the Lunar Crescent: Data and Criterion, JHA 30 (1999) 51
P. J. Huber & S. de Meis, Babylonian Eclipse Observations from 750 BC to 1 BC (Milan, 2004)
F. Rochberg, Babylonian Horoscopes (Philadelphia, 1998)
A. J. Sachs & H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia I: Diaries from 652 B.C. to 262 B.C. (Vienna, 1988)
A. J. Sachs & H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia II: Diaries from 261 B.C. to 165 B.C. (Vienna, 1989)
A. J. Sachs & H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia III: Diaries from 164 B.C. to 61 B.C. (Vienna, 1996)
A. J. Sachs & H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia V: Lunar and Planetary Texts (Vienna, 1999)
A. J. Sachs & H. Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia VI: Goal Year Texts (Vienna, 2006)
J. M. Steele, Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers (Dordrecht, 2000)
S. Stern, The Babylonian Month and the New Moon: Sighting and Prediction, JHA 39 (2008) 1
F. R. Stephenson, Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation (Cambridge, 1997)
R. Wallenfels, 30 Ajjaru 219 SE = 19 June 93 BCE, NABU 1992:2 37
My thanks to Ron Wallenfels for pointing out his article.
Again, accuracy of transcription is not guaranteed; please notify me if you find any errors. Difference analysis has been performed to ensure that this table is as close to PD as the contemporary data (as transcribed) will allow.
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