List of kings of Babylon

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The king of Babylon (Akkadian: šar Bābili) was the ruler of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon and its kingdom, Babylonia, which existed as an independent realm from the 19th century BC to its fall in the 6th century BC. For the majority of its existence as an independent kingdom, Babylon ruled most of southern Mesopotamia, composed of the ancient regions of Sumer and Akkad. The city experienced two major periods of ascendancy, when Babylonian kings rose to dominate large parts of the Ancient Near East; the First Babylonian Empire (or Old Babylonian Empire; 1894–1595 BC according to the middle chronology) and the Second Babylonian Empire (or Neo-Babylonian Empire; 626–539 BC).

King of Babylon
šar Bābili
Reconstruction of a typical c. 16th/15th–10th century BC Babylonian king
First monarchSumu-abum
Last monarch
Formationc. 1894 BC
  • 539 BC
    (last native king)
  • 484 BC or 336/335 BC
    (last native rebel)
  • c. 2 BC
    (last accorded title)
AppointerDivine right and the Babylonian priesthood

The title šar Bābili was applied to Babylonian rulers relatively late, from the 8th century BC and onwards. Preceding Babylonian kings had typically used the title viceroy of Babylon (Akkadian: šakkanakki Bābili) out of reverence for Babylon's patron deity Marduk, considered the city's formal "king". Other titles frequently used by the Babylonian monarchs included the geographical titles king of Sumer and Akkad (Akkadian: šar māt Šumeri u Akkadi) and king of Karduniash (Akkadian: šar Karduniaš), "Karduniash" being the name applied to Babylon's kingdom by the city's third dynasty (the Kassites).

Many of Babylon's kings were of foreign origin. Throughout the city's nearly two-thousand year history, it was ruled by kings of native Babylonian, Amorite, Kassite, Assyrian, Elamite, Chaldean, Persian, Hellenic and Parthian origin. A king's cultural and ethnic background does not appear to have been important for the Babylonian perception of kingship, the important matter instead being whether the king was capable of executing the duties traditionally ascribed to the Babylonian king; establishing peace and security, upholding justice, honoring civil rights, refraining from unlawful taxation, respecting religious traditions, constructing temples and providing gifts to the gods in them as well as maintaining cultic order. Babylonian revolts of independence directed against Assyrian and Persian rulers probably had little to do with said rulers not being Babylonians and more to do with the rulers rarely visiting Babylon and failing to partake in the city's rituals and traditions.

Babylon's last native king was Nabonidus, who reigned from 556 to 539 BC. Nabonidus's rule was ended through Babylon being conquered by Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire. Though early Achaemenid kings continued to place importance on Babylon and continued using the title "king of Babylon", later Achaemenid rulers being ascribed the title is probably only something done by the Babylonians themselves, with the kings having abandoned it. Though it is doubtful if any later monarchs claimed the title, Babylonian scribes continued to accord it to the rulers of the empires that controlled Babylonia until the time of the Parthian Empire, when Babylon was gradually abandoned. Though Babylonia never regained independence after the Achaemenid conquest, there were several attempts by Babylonians to drive out their foreign rulers and re-establish their kingdom, possibly as late as 336 BC under the rebel Nidin-Bel.


Kings Marduk-nadin-ahhe (rc. 1099–1082 BC, left) and Marduk-zakir-shumi I (rc. 855–819 BC, right), showing how Babylonian royal attire changed over time

Throughout the city's long history, various titles were used to designate the ruler of Babylon and its kingdom, the most common[1] of which were "viceroy/governor of Babylon" (šakkanakki Bābili),[2] "king of Karduniash" (šar Karduniaš)[3] and "king of Sumer and Akkad" (šar māt Šumeri u Akkadi).[4] "viceroy/governor of Babylon" emphasizes the political dominion of the city, whereas the other two refer to southern Mesopotamia as a whole.[1] Use of one of the titles did not mean that the others could not be used simultaneously. For instance, the Neo-Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III, who conquered Babylon in 729 BC, used all three.[5]

The reason why "governor/viceroy of Babylon" was used rather than "king of Babylon" (šar Bābili)[6] for much of the city's history was that the true king of Babylon was formally considered to be its national deity, Marduk. By being titled as šakkanakki rather than šar, the Babylonian king thus showed reverence to the city's god. This practice was ended by the Neo-Assyrian king Sennacherib, who in 705 BC took the title šar Bābili rather than šakkanakki Bābili, something which alongside various other perceived offences contributed to widespread negative reception of the king in Babylonia.[7] Sennacherib's immediate successors, including his son Esarhaddon (r681–669 BC) typically used šakkanakki Bābili,[8] though there are examples of Esarhaddon and Esarhaddon's successor Shamash-shum-ukin (r668–648 BC) using šar Bābili as well.[9]

"King of Babylon", rather than "governor/viceroy", was then used for all following kings. It was used by the Neo-Babylonian kings,[10] and by the early Achaemenid Persian rulers.[6] The Achaemenids used the title king of Babylon and king of the Lands until it was gradually abandoned by Xerxes I in 481 BC after he had to deal with numerous Babylonian revolts.[11] The last Achaemenid king whose inscriptions use this title was Artaxerxes I, the successor of Xerxes I.[12] Later monarchs likely rarely (if at all) used the title, but the rulers of Mesopotamia continued to be accorded it for centuries by the Babylonians themselves, as late as the Parthian period. The Parthian kings were styled in inscriptions as LUGAL (the inscription of šar).[13] The standard Parthian formula, applied for the last few kings mentioned in Akkadian-language sources, was "ar-šá-kam lugal.lugal.meš" (Aršákam šar šarrāni; "Arsaces, king of kings").[14] The final Babylonian documents that mention and name a king are the astronomical diaries LBAT 1184 and LBAT 1193,[14] written during the reign of the Parthian king Phraates IV (r37–2 BC), dated to 11 BC and 5 BC, respectively.[15]

The title "king of Sumer and Akkad" was introduced during the Third Dynasty of Ur, centuries before Babylon was founded, and allowed rulers to connect themselves to the culture and legacy of the Sumerian and Akkadian civilizations,[16] as well as lay claim on the political hegemony achieved during the ancient Akkadian Empire. Furthermore, the title was a geographical one in that southern Mesopotamia was typically divided into regions called Sumer (the southern regions) and Akkad (the north), meaning that "king of Sumer and Akkad" referred to rule over the entire country.[17] Alongside "king of Babylon", "king of Sumer and Akkad" was used by Babylonian monarchs until the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 BC.[4] The title was also used by Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon in 539 BC.[18][19][20]

"King of Karduniash" was introduced during Babylon's third dynasty, when the city and southern Mesopotamia as a whole was ruled by the Kassites. Karduniaš was the Kassite name for the kingdom centered on Babylon and its territory.[17] The title continued being used long after the Kassites had lost control of Babylon, used for instance as late as by the native Babylonian king Nabu-shuma-ukin I (rc. 900–888 BC)[21] and by Esarhaddon.[8]

Role and legitimacyEdit

The Statue of Marduk as depicted on a 9th century BC cylinder seal

The Babylonian kings derived their right to rule from divine appointment by Babylon's patron deity Marduk and through consecration by the city's priests.[22] Marduk's main cult image (often conflated with the god himself), the Statue of Marduk, was prominently used in the coronation rituals for the kings, who received their crowns "out of the hands" of Marduk during the New Year's festival, symbolizing them being bestowed with kingship by the deity.[11] The king's rule and his role as Marduk's vassal on Earth were reaffirmed annually at this time of year, when the king entered the Esagila alone on the fifth day of the New Year's Festival each year and met with the chief priest. The chief priest removed the regalia from the king, slapped him across the face and made him kneel before Marduk's statue. The king would then tell the statue that he had not oppressed his people and that he had maintained order throughout the year, whereafter the chief priest would reply (on behalf of Marduk) that the king could continue to enjoy divine support for his rule, returning the royal regalia.[23] Through being a patron of Babylon's temples, the king extended his generosity towards the Mesopotamian gods, who in turn empowered his rule and lent him their authority.[22]

Babylonian kings were expected to establish peace and security, uphold justice, honor civil rights, refrain from unlawful taxation, respect religious traditions and maintain cultic order. None of the king's responsibilities and duties required him to be ethnically or even culturally Babylonian; any foreigner sufficiently familiar with the royal customs of Babylonia could adopt the title,[22] though they might then require the assistance of the native priesthood and the native scribes. Ethnicity and culture does not appear to have been important in the Babylonian perception of kingship; many foreign kings enjoyed support from the Babylonians and several native kings were despised.[24] That the rule of some foreign kings was not supported by the Babylonians probably has little to do with their ethnic or cultural background.[25] What was always more important was whether the ruler was capable of executing the duties of the Babylonian king properly, in line with established Babylonian tradition.[26] The frequent Babylonian revolts against foreign rulers, such as the Assyrians and the Persians, can most likely be attributed to the Assyrian and Persian kings being perceived as failing in their duties as Babylonian monarchs. Since their capitals were elsewhere, they did not regularly partake in the city's rituals (meaning that they could not be celebrated in the same way that they traditionally were) and they rarely performed their traditional duties to the Babylonian cults through constructing temples and presenting cultic gifts to the city's gods. This failure might have been interpreted as the kings thus not having the necessary divine endorsement to be considered true kings of Babylon.[27]

Amorite dynasty (c. 1894–1595 BC)Edit

The Old Babylonian Empire under Hammurabi (rc. 1792–1750 BC)

The regnal dates below (and for the rest of the list, where applicable) follow Chen (2020),[28] which in turn follows the middle chronology of Mesopotamian history, the chronology most commonly encountered in literature, including most current textbooks on the archaeology and history of the Ancient Near East.[29][30][31]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 1894 – 1881 BC Babylon's first king; liberated the city from the control of the city-state Kazallu [28]
c. 1880 – 1845 BC Unclear succession [28]
c. 1844 – 1831 BC Son of Sumu-la-El [28]
c. 1830 – 1813 BC Son of Sabium [28]
c. 1812 – 1793 BC Son of Apil-Sin [28]
c. 1792 – 1750 BC Son of Sin-Muballit [28]
c. 1749 – 1712 BC Son of Hammurabi [28]
c. 1711 – 1684 BC Son of Samsu-iluna [28]
c. 1683 – 1647 BC Son of Abishi [28]
c. 1646 – 1626 BC Son of Ammi-Ditana [28]
c. 1625 – 1595 BC Son of Ammi-Saduqa [28]

Interim kingsEdit

Conquest of the Sea-Land by the Kassites. 20th century reconstruction.

Samsu-Ditana's reign ended (according to the middle chronology) in 1595 BC with the sack and destruction of Babylon by the Hittites. Babylon and its kingdom would not be firmly re-established until the reign of the Kassite king Agum II.[32] Babylonian king lists consider the kings listed in this section as kings of Babylon between the Amorite dynasty and the Kassite dynasty, though most of them are unlikely to have ruled Babylon itself and the three dynasties likely overlapped significantly.[33] Precise dates for the reigns of these kings are not known.[28]

First Sealand dynastyEdit

The First Sealand dynasty might only have ruled Babylonia itself for the briefest of periods, being based in formerly Sumerian regions south of it. Nevertheless, it is often traditionally numbered the Second Dynasty of Babylon. Little is known of these rulers. They were counted as kings of Babylon in later king lists, succeeding the Amorite dynasty despite overlapping reigns.[33]

Early Kassite rulersEdit

These kings also did not actually rule Babylon, but succeeding Kassite kings did. Little is known of these rulers. They were counted as kings of Babylon in later king lists, succeeding the Sealand dynasty despite overlapping reigns.[33]

Kassite dynasty (c. 16th century BC – 1155 BC)Edit

Map of Kassite Babylonia in the 13th century BC
Map of the Ancient Near East c. 1400 BC
Map of the Ancient Near East c. 1300 BC
Map of the Ancient Near East c. 1200 BC
Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
Agum II Kakrime
Uncertain Re-established Babylon; son of Urzigurumash [28]
Burnaburiash I
Uncertain Son of Agum II [28]
Kashtiliash III
Uncertain Son of Burnaburiash I [28]
Uncertain Son of Burnaburiash I [28]
Agum III
Uncertain Son of Kashtiliash III [28]
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Kadashman-harbe I
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Kurigalzu I
Uncertain Son of Kadashman-harbe I [28]
  Kadashman-Enlil I
c. 1374 – 1360 BC Son of Kurigalzu I [28]
Burnaburiash II
c. 1359 – 1333 BC Son of Kadashman-Enlil I (?) [28]
c. 1333 BC Son of Burnaburiash II [28]
Nazi-Bugaš or Šuzigaš
c. 1333 BC Unrelated to other kings; usurped the throne from Karahardash [28]
  Kurigalzu II
c. 1332 – 1308 BC Son of Burnaburiash II; appointed by the Assyrian king Ashur-uballit I [28]
c. 1307 – 1282 BC Son of Kurigalzu II [28]
c. 1281 – 1264 BC Son of Nazi-Maruttash [28]
Kadashman-Enlil II
c. 1263 – 1255 BC Son of Kadashman-Turgu [28]
c. 1254 – 1246 BC Son of Kadashman-Enlil II [28]
c. 1245 – 1233 BC Son of Kudur-Enlil [28]
Kashtiliash IV
c. 1232 – 1225 BC Son of Shagarakti-Shuriash [28]
c. 1224 BC Unclear succession [28]
Kadashman-harbe II
c. 1223 BC Unclear succession [28]
c. 1222 – 1217 BC Unclear succession [28]
c. 1216 – 1187 BC Descendant (son?) of Kashtiliash IV [28]
Meli-Šipak or Melišiḫu
c. 1186 – 1172 BC Son of Adad-shuma-usur [28]
  Marduk-apla-iddina I
c. 1171 – 1159 BC Son of Meli-Shipak [28]
c. 1158 BC Unclear succession [28]
Enlil-nādin-aḫe or Enlil-šuma-uṣur
c. 1157 – 1155 BC Unclear succession [28]

Second dynasty of Isin (c. 1157–1026 BC)Edit

Map of the Ancient Near East c. 1100 BC

Named in reference to the ancient Sumerian (First) Dynasty of Isin. Contemporary Babylonian documents refer to this dynasty as BALA PA.ŠE, a paronomasia (play on words) on the term išinnu ("stalk", written as PA.ŠE), interpreted by some as an apparent reference to the city Isin.[34]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 1157 – 1140 BC Unclear succession; early reign overlaps with Enlil-nadin-ahi's reign [28]
c. 1139 – 1132 BC Son of Marduk-kabit-ahheshu [28]
c. 1131 – 1126 BC Unclear succession [28]
  Nebuchadnezzar I
c. 1125 – 1104 BC Son of Ninurta-nadin-shumi [28]
c. 1103 – 1100 BC Son of Nebuchadnezzar I [28]
c. 1099 – 1082 BC Son of Ninurta-nadin-shumi; usurped the throne from Enlil-nadin-apli [28]
c. 1081 – 1069 BC Possibly son of either Marduk-nadin-ahhe or Ninurta-nadin-shumi [28]
c. 1068 – 1047 BC Appointed by the Assyrian king Ashur-bel-kala [28]
c. 1046 BC Unclear succession [28]
c. 1045 – 1034 BC Unclear succession [28]
c. 1033 – 1026 BC Unclear succession [28]

Second Sealand dynasty (c. 1025–1005 BC)Edit

Evidence that these kings were Kassites, a common assertion, is somewhat lacking.[35]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 1025 – 1008 BC Usurped the throne from Nabu-shum-libur [28]
c. 1008 BC Usurped the throne from Simpar-shipak [28]
c. 1007 – 1005 BC Usurped the throne from Ea-mukin-zeri [28]

Bazi dynasty (c. 1004–985 BC)Edit

Map of the Ancient Near East c. 1000 BC

The Bazi (or Bīt-Bazi) dynasty was a minor Kassite clan. They ruled Babylonia from the city Kar-Marduk, an otherwise unknown location which might have been better protected against raids from nomadic groups than Babylon itself.[36]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 1004 – 988 BC Unclear succession [28]
Ninurta-kudurri-usur I
c. 987 – 985 BC Unclear succession [28]
c. 985 BC Brother of Ninurta-kudurri-usur I [28]

Elamite dynasty (c. 984–979 BC)Edit

The Elamite dynasty only contains a single king, Mar-biti-apla-usur.[28]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 984 – 979 BC Described as having Elamite ancestry; unclear succession [28]

Uncertain/mixed dynasties (c. 978 – 770 BC)Edit

Map of the Ancient Near East c. 900 BC

Sometimes considered part of the subsequent Dynasty of E.[37]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 978 – 943 BC Unclear succession [28]
Ninurta-kudurri-usur II
c. 943 BC Son of Nabu-mukin-apli [28]
Uncertain Son of Nabu-mukin-apli [28]
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Nabu-shuma-ukin I
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Uncertain, 33 years? Son of Nabu-shuma-ukin I [28]
  Marduk-zakir-shumi I
Uncertain, 27 years? Son of Nabu-apla-iddina [28]
Uncertain Son of Marduk-zakir-shumi I [28]
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Interregnum: Babylon experiences a brief interregnum following the end of Baba-aha-iddina's reign. Five consecutive kings, whose names are not recorded, rule briefly during this time.[28]
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]
Uncertain Unclear succession [28]

Dynasty of E (c. 770–732 BC)Edit

The Dynasty of E contains five kings, most of them seemingly unrelated, from Eriba-Marduk to Nabu-shuma-ukin II.[28] Some reconstructions of the line of Babylonian kings consider the entire period from 979 to 732 BC to be the Dynasty of E, including the kings of uncertain/mixed dynasties above.[37]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
c. 770 – 760 BC A Chaldean chief; unclear succession [28][38]
c. 760 – 748 BC A Chaldean chief; unclear succession [28]
748 – 734 BC A Native Babylonian; usurped the throne from Nabu-shuma-ishkun [28]
734 – 732 BC Son of Nabonassar [28]
Nabu-shuma-ukin II
732 BC A Chaldean chief; usurped the throne from Nabu-nadin-zeri [28]

Shapi dynasty (732–729 BC)Edit

The brief Shapi dynasty contains only a single king, immediately preceding the Assyrian conquest of Babylon.[28] The sole king of the dynasty, Nabu-mukin-zeri, is sometimes considered part of the subsequent Assyrian dynasty instead (then numbered as Babylon's ninth or tenth dynasty).[37]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
732 – 729 BC A Chaldean chief; usurped the throne from Nabu-shuma-ukin II [28]

Assyrian dynasty (729–626 BC)Edit

The Neo-Assyrian Empire at the apex of its power in 671 BC, in the reign of Esarhaddon

The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III conquered Babylonia in 729 BC.[39] From his rule and onwards, most of the Assyrian kings were also titled as Kings of Babylon, ruling both Assyria and Babylonia in something akin to a personal union.[40]

Vassal kings, sometimes appointed instead of the Assyrian king ruling Babylonia directly, are indicated with darker grey background color. Native Babylonians who rebelled against the ruling dynasty of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and attempted to restore Babylonia's independence are indicated with beige background color.

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
(Tiglath-Pileser III)
729 – 727 BC King of the Neo-Assyrian Empire; conquered Babylon [28]
(Shalmaneser V)
727 – 722 BC Son of Tiglath-Pileser III [28]
  Marduk-apla-iddina II
(first reign)
722 – 710 BC Native Babylonian rebel; seized power in Babylonia after Shalmaneser V's death [28]
(Sargon II)
710 – 705 BC Claimed to be the son of Tiglath-Pileser III; usurped the throne from Shalmaneser V, conquered Babylon in 710 BC [28]
705 – 703 BC Son of Sargon II [28]
Marduk-zakir-shumi II
703 BC Native Babylonian rebel [28]
  Marduk-apla-iddina II
(second reign)
703 BC Native Babylonian rebel, previously king 722–710 BC; usurped the throne from Marduk-zakir-shumi II [28]
703 – 700 BC Vassal king appointed by Sennacherib [28]
700 – 694 BC Vassal king appointed by Sennacherib; son of Sennacherib [28]
694 – 693 BC Native Babylonian rebel [28]
693 – 689 BC Native Babylonian rebel [28]
Interregnum 689 – 680 BC: Sennacherib destroyed Babylon in 689 BC, hoping to destroy Babylonia as a political entity after its many rebellions against his rule.[41] The city's reconstruction was announced by his son and successor Esarhaddon in 680 BC.[42] Sennacherib is sometimes listed as Babylon's king during this period.[28]
680 – 669 BC Son and successor of Sennacherib in Assyria; rebuilt Babylon [28]
668 – 648 BC Vassal king under Esarhaddon's successor Ashurbanipal; brother of Ashurbanipal and son of Esarhaddon [28]
648 – 627 BC Vassal king appointed by Ashurbanipal [28]
Interregnum 627 – 626 BC: Rule in Assyria was contested between Sinsharishkun and the usurper Sin-shumu-lishir and though both briefly controlled Babylon, neither used the title "king of Babylon", instead using only "king of Assyria".[43] Sinsharishkun and Sin-shumu-lishir are sometimes considered to be the Kings of Babylon 627–626 BC in modern scholarship.[28]

Neo-Babylonian dynasty (626–539 BC)Edit

Map of the Neo-Babylonian Empire at its height during the reign of its final king, Nabonidus (r556–539 BC)

The rebel Nabopolassar, proclaimed as Babylon's king in 626 BC, successfully drove out the Assyrians from southern Mesopotamia and had united and consolidated all of Babylonia under his rule by 620 BC, founding the Neo-Babylonian Empire.[44] The Neo-Babylonian (or Chaldean)[28] dynasty was Babylonia's last dynasty of native Mesopotamian monarchs and the fall of their empire in 539 BC marked the end of Babylonia as an independent kingdom.[45]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
626 – 605 BC Native Babylonian rebel; successfully drove out the Assyrians and re-established Babylonia as an independent kingdom [28]
  Nebuchadnezzar II
605 – 562 BC Son of Nabopolassar [28]
562 – 560 BC Son of Nebuchadnezzar II [28]
560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II; usurped the throne [28][46]
556 BC Son of Neriglissar [28]
556 – 539 BC Possibly son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II (or unrelated); usurped the throne from Labashi-Marduk [28][46]

Post-Neo-Babylonian kingsEdit

Achaemenid dynasty (539–331 BC)Edit

Borders of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great
Map of the Ancient Near East c. 500 BC
Map of the Achaemenid Empire and its satrapies c. 480 BC

In 539, Cyrus the Great of the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered Babylon, which would never again successfully regain independence. The Babylonians had resented their last native king, Nabonidus, over his religious practices and some of his political choices and Cyrus could thus claim to be the legitimate successor of the ancient Babylonian kings and the avenger of Baylon's national deity, Marduk.[47] The early Achaemenid rulers had great respect for Babylonia, regarding the region as a separate entity or kingdom united with their own kingdom in something akin to a personal union.[11] Despite this, the native Babylonians grew to resent their foreign rulers, as they had with the Assyrians earlier, and rebelled several times. The Achaemenid kings continued to use the title "king of Babylon" alongside their other royal titles until the reign of Xerxes I, who dropped the title in 481 BC, divided the previously large Babylonian satrapy and desecrated Babylon after having had to put down a Babylonian revolt.[11]

In the king lists of the Babylonians, the Achaemenid kings continued to be recognized as Kings of Babylon until the end of the Achaemenid Empire. The Akkadian (Babylonian) names of the monarchs listed here follow the renderings of the names of these monarchs in the Uruk King List (also known as "King List 5") and the Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period (also known as BKLHP or “King List 6”), as well as how their names are rendered in contract tablets.[48][49] These lists records rulers, identifying them as "kings of Babylon".[50]

Native Babylonians who rebelled against the Achaemenids and attempted to restore Babylonia's independence are indicated with beige background color. Vassal kings are indicated with darker grey background color.

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
  Cyrus the Great
(Cyrus II)
539 – 530 BC King of the Achaemenid Empire; conquered Babylon [48]
(Cambyses II)
538 BC, 530 – 522 BC Son of Cyrus; briefly vassal king under (or co-ruler with) his father in 538 BC as King of Babylon before being dismissed; king again upon Cyrus's death in 530 BC [48][51][52]
522 BC Son of Cyrus or possibly an impostor [49]
  Nebuchadnezzar III
522 BC Native Babylonian rebel; claimed to be a son of Nabonidus, his revolt against Persian rule lasted from October to December 522 BC [53]
  Darius I the Great
522 – 486 BC Son of Hystaspes, a third cousin of Cyrus; usurped the throne from Bardiya [48]
  Nebuchadnezzar IV
521 BC Babylonian rebel of Armenian descent; claimed to be a son of Nabonidus, his revolt lasted from 25 August to 27 November 521 BC [53]
  Xerxes I the Great
486 – 465 BC Son of Darius I [11]
484 BC Native Babylonian rebel; rebelled in the summer of 484 BC, ally or rival of Shamash-eriba [54]
484 BC Native Babylonian rebel; rebelled in the summer of 484 BC, ally or rival of Bel-shimanni [54]
  Artaxerxes I
465 – 424 BC Son of Xerxes I; the last Achaemenid king documented to have incorporated "king of Babylon" into his own titulary [11][12][49]
  Xerxes II
424 BC Son of Artaxerxes I [49]
424 – 423 BC Son of Artaxerxes I; usurped the throne from Xerxes II [49]
  Darius II
423 – 404 BC Son of Artaxerxes I; usurped the throne from Sogdianus [49]
  Artaxerxes II
404 – 358 BC Son of Darius II [49]
  Artaxerxes III
358 – 338 BC Son of Artaxerxes II [49]
  Artaxerxes IV
338 – 336 BC Son of Artaxerxes III [49]
336 BC or 336 – 335 BC Only mentioned in the Uruk King List; either a scribal error or a native Babylonian rebel who led a brief revolt [48]
  Darius III
336/335 – 331 BC Great-grandson of Darius II; usurped the throne from Artaxerxes IV [48]

Argead dynasty (331–309 BC)Edit

Map of Alexander the Great's empire and the route of his campaigns
Map of Alexander the Great's empire and its satrapies c. 323 BC

Though they probably did not use the title themselves, Babylonian king lists continue to consider the monarchs of the Hellenistic Argead dynasty, which conquered Babylonia and the rest of the Persian Empire under Alexander the Great in 331 BC, as kings of Babylon. The Akkadian (Babylonian) names of the monarchs listed here follow how their names are rendered in these lists.[48][49][50]

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
  Alexander I the Great
(Alexander III)
331 – 323 BC King of Macedon; conquered the Achaemenid Empire [48]
  Philip Arrhidaeus
(Philip III)
323 – 317 BC Brother of Alexander the Great [48]
  Alexander II
(Alexander IV)
323 – 309 BC Son of Alexander the Great [50]
Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
  Antigonus Monophthalmus
(Antigonus I)
317 – 311 BC Mentioned in some king lists; Babylonian sources suggest that the Babylonians considered Antigonus's rule illegal and that he should have accepted the sovereignty of Alexander the Great's son [48][50]

Seleucid dynasty (311–141 BC)Edit

Map of the Seleucid Empire and the other Diadochi c. 300 BC

Babylonian king lists continue to consider the monarchs of the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty, which succeeded the Argeads in Mesopotamia and Persia, as Kings of Babylon. The Akkadian (Babylonian) names of the monarchs listed here follow how their names are rendered in these lists, as well as how their names are rendered in contract tablets.[48][50] The Antiochus Cylinder of Antiochus I (r271–261 BC) is the last known example of an ancient Akkadian royal titulary and it accords him several traditional Mesopotamian titles, such as king of Babylon and king of the Universe.[55]

Rebel leaders (though none were native Babylonians) and local rulers/usurpers who seized the city and were recognized as kings of Babylon by the Babylonians are marked with light blue color.

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
  Seleucus I Nicator
311 – 281 BC General (Diadochus) of Alexander the Great; seized Babylonia and much of Alexander's former eastern lands after Alexander's death, Seleucus did not proclaim himself king until 305 BC but Babylonian sources consider him as such from 311 BC onwards [48]
  Antiochus I Soter
281 – 261 BC Son of Seleucus I [48]
  Antiochus II Theos
261 – 246 BC Son of Antiochus I [48]
  Seleucus II Callinicus
246 – 225 BC Son of Antiochus II [48]
  Seleucus III Ceraunus
225 – 223 BC Son of Seleucus II [50]
  Antiochus III the Great
222 – 187 BC Son of Seleucus II [50]
  Seleucus IV Philopator
187 – 175 BC Son of Antiochus III [50]
  Antiochus IV Epiphanes
175 – 164 BC Son of Antiochus III [50]
  Antiochus V Eupator
164 – 161 BC Son of Antiochus IV [56]
  Demetrius I Soter
161 – 150 BC Son of Seleucus IV [50]
161 – 160 BC Satrap of Media; rebelled against Demetrius I, seized Babylon and was briefly recognized there as king [57]
  Alexander III Balas
(Alexander I)
150 – 145 BC Claimed to be the son of Antiochus IV; usurped the throne from Demetrius I [58]
  Demetrius II Nicator
145 – 141 BC Son of Demetrius I; usurped the throne from Alexander Balas [50]

Arsacid dynasty (141 – c. 2 BC)Edit

Map of the Ancient Near East c. 100 BC, showing the Parthian Empire in the east
Borders of the Parthian Empire in the late 1st century BC

Babylon and the rest of Mesopotamia was lost by the Seleucids to the Parthian Empire in 141 BC. There are no Babylonian king lists which record any ruler after the Seleucids as a King of Babylon.[50] King List 6 ends, after Demetrius II, with a passage referencing "Arsaces the king", indicating that the list was created in the early years of Parthian rule in Mesopotamia (Arsaces being the regnal name used by all Parthian kings). Because the list is so fragmentary, it is unclear if this Arsaces was formally considered a King of Babylon (as the Persian and Hellenic rulers had been) by the list's author.[59] Under the Parthians, Babylon was gradually abandoned as a major urban center and the old Akkadian culture diminished.[60] Critically, the nearby and newer cities of Seleucia and later Ctesiphon overshadowed Babylon and became the imperial capitals of the region.[61] In the first century or so of Parthian rule, Babylon continued to be somewhat important[60] and documents from this time suggest a continued recognition of at least the early Parthian kings as Babylonian monarchs.[62] The few Babylonian documents that survive from the Parthian era suggest a growing sense of alarm and alienation among the last few Babylonians as the Parthian kings were mostly absent from the city and the Babylonian culture slowly slipped away.[63]

When exactly Babylon was abandoned is unclear. Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote in 50 AD that proximity to Seleucia had turned Babylon into a "barren waste" and during their campaigns in the east, Roman emperors Trajan (in 115 AD) and Septimius Severus (in 199 AD) supposedly found the city destroyed and deserted. Archaeological evidence and the writings of Abba Arikha (c. 219 AD) indicate that at least the temples of Babylon were still active in the early 3rd century.[61] Religious reforms in the early Sasanian Empire c. 230 AD would have decisively wiped out the last remnants of the old Babylonian culture, if it still existed at that point.[64]

Rebel leaders (though none were native Babylonians) and local rulers/usurpers who seized the city and were recognized as kings of Babylon by the Babylonians are marked with light blue color. Seleucid rulers (who briefly regained Babylon) are indicated with pink color.

Image Name Reign Succession & notes Ref
  Mithridates I the Great
141 – 132 BC King of the Parthian Empire; conquered Babylon and the rest of Mesopotamia [65]
  Phraates I
(Phraates II)
132 – 130 BC Son of Mithridates I [66][67]
  Antiochus VI Sidetes
(Antiochus VII)
130 – 129 BC Seleucid king; restored Seleucid control of Babylonia in 130 BC [68]
(Artabanus I)
Aršákā and Ártabana
129 – 124 BC Brother of Mithridates I; Babylonian documents suggest that the Parthians were recognized as kings again in 129 BC [68][69][70]
127 BC Originally a seleucid satrap and then King of Characene; briefly captured Babylon in 127 BC and was recognized by the Babylonians as their king for a few months [69]
  Mithridates II the Great
124 – 91 BC Son of Artabanus [71]
(Gotarzes I)
Aršákā and Gutárzā
91 – 80 BC[n 1] Son of Mithridates II [73][74]
  Orodes I
Aršákā and Úrudā
80 – 75 BC Son of Gotarzes [75]
(Arsaces XVI)
75 – 67 BC Obscure Parthian king attested by some sources; Orodes I's more known successor, Sinatruces, is not mentioned in any Babylonian sources, suggesting he never ruled the city [76]
  Phraates II
(Phraates III)
67 – 57 BC Son of Sinatruces; captured Babylon [77]
  Mithridates III
(Mithridates IV)
57 BC, 55–54 BC Son of Phraates III; lost the throne to Orodes II shortly after gaining it, retook Babylon and the rest of Mesopotamia briefly 55–54 BC [78]
  Orodes II
57–55 BC, 54–37 BC Son of Phraates III; contended with his brother Mithridates in the early years of his reign [78]
  Phraates III
(Phraates IV)
37 – 2 BC Son of Orodes II; final ruler attested as king in Babylonian sources (in an astronomical diary from 5 BC)[n 2] [14][15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Some historians place an additional Parthian king, Mithridates III of Parthia, between Gotarzes I and Orodes I, reigning c. 87–80 BC. Babylonian documents only corroborate the rule of Gotarzes I and Orodes I.[72]
  2. ^ There are a handful of later cuneiform tablets, but none explicitly name a king. The latest datable tablet is W22340a, dated to 79/80 AD (from the reign of Parthian king Artabanus III). W22340a preserves the word LUGAL (king) but it is too fragmentary to firmly indicate that the intended king is Artabanus III.[79] Furthermore, the tablet was recovered at Uruk,[80] not Babylon (which might have been abandoned at this point).[61]



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  2. ^ Karlsson 2017, p. 2.
  3. ^ Goetze 1964, p. 98.
  4. ^ a b Da Riva 2013, p. 72.
  5. ^ Soares 2017, p. 24.
  6. ^ a b Shayegan 2011, p. 260.
  7. ^ Luckenbill 1924, p. 9.
  8. ^ a b Soares 2017, p. 28.
  9. ^ Karlsson 2017, pp. 6, 11.
  10. ^ Stevens 2014, p. 68.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Dandamaev 1989, pp. 185–186.
  12. ^ a b Waerzeggers 2018, p. 3.
  13. ^ Assar 2006, p. 65.
  14. ^ a b c Boiy 2004, p. 187.
  15. ^ a b Steele 1998, p. 193.
  16. ^ Soares 2017, p. 21.
  17. ^ a b Soares 2017, p. 22.
  18. ^ New Cyrus Cylinder Translation.
  19. ^ Cyrus Cylinder Translation.
  20. ^ Peat 1989, p. 199.
  21. ^ Van Der Meer 1955, p. 42.
  22. ^ a b c Zaia 2019, p. 3.
  23. ^ Laing & Frost 2017.
  24. ^ Zaia 2019, p. 4.
  25. ^ Zaia 2019, p. 6.
  26. ^ Zaia 2019, p. 7.
  27. ^ Zaia 2019, pp. 6–7.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds Chen 2020, pp. 202–206.
  29. ^ Kuhrt 1997, p. 12.
  30. ^ Mieroop 2015, p. 4.
  31. ^ Sagona & Zimansky 2009, p. 251.
  32. ^ Brinkman 1976, pp. 97–98.
  33. ^ a b c Synchronic King List.
  34. ^ Brinkman 1999, pp. 183–184.
  35. ^ Meissner 1999, p. 8.
  36. ^ Brinkman 1982, pp. 296–297.
  37. ^ a b c Beaulieu 2018, p. 12.
  38. ^ Brinkman & Kennedy 1983, p. 63.
  39. ^ Brinkman 1973, p. 90.
  40. ^ Van Der Spek 1977, p. 57.
  41. ^ Frahm 2014, p. 210.
  42. ^ Porter 1993, p. 67.
  43. ^ Beaulieu 1997, p. 386.
  44. ^ Lipschits 2005, p. 16.
  45. ^ Hanish 2008, p. 32.
  46. ^ a b Wiseman 1983, p. 12.
  47. ^ Nijssen 2018.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Lendering 2005.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bertin 1891, p. 51.
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Van Der Spek 2004.
  51. ^ Dandamaev 1990, pp. 726–729.
  52. ^ Briant 2002, p. 519.
  53. ^ a b Lendering 1998.
  54. ^ a b Waerzeggers 2018, p. 12.
  55. ^ Stevens 2014, p. 72.
  56. ^ Lendering 2006a.
  57. ^ Houghton 1979, p. 215.
  58. ^ Lendering 2006b.
  59. ^ Sachs & Wiseman 1954, p. 209.
  60. ^ a b Van Der Spek 2001, p. 449.
  61. ^ a b c Brown 2008, p. 77.
  62. ^ Van Der Spek 2001, p. 451.
  63. ^ Haubold 2019, p. 276.
  64. ^ George 2007, p. 64.
  65. ^ Van Der Spek 2001, p. 450.
  66. ^ Shayegan 2011, pp. 128-129.
  67. ^ Assar 2006, p. 58.
  68. ^ a b Boiy 2004, p. 172.
  69. ^ a b Shayegan 2011, p. 111.
  70. ^ Schippmann 1986, pp. 647–650.
  71. ^ Van Der Spek 2001, p. 454.
  72. ^ Sellwood 1962, p. 73.
  73. ^ Van Der Spek 2001, p. 455.
  74. ^ Assar 2006, p. 62.
  75. ^ Sellwood 1962, pp. 73, 75.
  76. ^ Assar 2006, pp. 56, 85.
  77. ^ Assar 2006, pp. 87–88.
  78. ^ a b Bivar 1983, p. 49.
  79. ^ Hunger & de Jong 2014, p. 185.
  80. ^ Hunger & de Jong 2014, p. 182.


Web sourcesEdit