Middle chronology

The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1792–1750 BCE and the sack of Babylon to 1595 BCE.[1]

The chronology has been traditionally based on a 56/64-year astronomical calculation determined by evidence from the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa and Enuma anu enlil tablet 63, but the sun eclipse of the Mari Eponym Chronicle also figures heavily into the discussion.[2] Conventional textbooks tended to use the middle chronology, but early dendrochronological and astronomical evidence presented various problems for it.[3] This led to increased adoption of the short chronologies by some.[4][5] However, more recent dendroarchaeological, astronomical, and historical studies have shown the correct chronology lies within short range of the Middle Chronology.[6][7][8]

Low Middle ChronologyEdit

One of the more recently proposed chronologies is the Low Middle Chronology. This chronology only lowers the middle chronology by eight years, but purports to carry many advantages its variation does not. The Low Middle Chronology is in exact agreement with the tree-ring record of a volcanic eruption (possibly the eruption at Santorini) around 1628-1626,[8] whose record in the Venus tablets can be inferred from the higher atmospheric extinction levels observed in the 12th and 13th years of Ammi-Saduqa.[9][10]In addition, the 1838 BC date (Low Middle) for the eclipse in the Mari Eponym Chronicle offers a much more conspicuous eclipse than the one in 1845 BC (Middle).[11] Though no consensus has been reached, the Low Middle Chronology has certainly been favored over the Middle Chronology in recent years.

A table of historical events, by the Middle and Low-Middle Chronologies, is shown below.

Historical event Middle chronology Low-Middle chronology
Akkadian Empire 2334–2154 BCE 2326–2146 BCE
Third Dynasty of Ur 2112–2004 BCE 2104–1996 BCE
Dynasty of Isin 2017–1794 BCE 2009-1786 BCE
First Dynasty of Babylon 1894–1595 BCE 1886–1587 BCE
Reign of Hammurabi 1792–1750 BCE 1784–1742 BCE
Reign of Ammisaduqa 1646–1626 BCE 1638–1618 BCE
Fall of Babylon 1595 BCE 1587 BCE


  1. ^ Martin Bernal (1991). Black Athena. Rutgers University Press. pp. 215ff. ISBN 978-0-8135-1584-7.
  2. ^ Sallaberger, Walther; Schrakamp, Ingo (2015). ARCANE III: History & Philology. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols. p. 8. ISBN 978-2-503-53494-7.
  3. ^ Jane McIntosh (2005). Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-1-57607-965-2. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  4. ^ Gurzadyan, V. G., On the Astronomical Records and Babylonian Chronology, ICRA, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy and Yerevan Physics Institute, Armenia, Akkadica, v. 119–120 (2000), pp. 175–184.)
  5. ^ Warburton, D.A., The Fall of Babylon in 1499: Another Update, Akkadica, v. 132, 1 (2011)
  6. ^ Cornell-led research resolves long-debated Mesopotamia timeline
  7. ^ Manning, Sturt W.; Wacker, Lukas; Büntgen, Ulf; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Dee, Michael W.; Kromer, Bernd; Lorentzen, Brita; Tegel, Willy (2020-08-17). "Radiocarbon offsets and old world chronology as relevant to Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia and Thera (Santorini)". Scientific Reports. 10 (1): 13785. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-69287-2. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 7431540. PMID 32807792.
  8. ^ a b Manning, Sturt W.; Griggs, Carol B.; Lorentzen, Brita; Barjamovic, Gojko; Ramsey, Christopher Bronk; Kromer, Bernd; Wild, Eva Maria (2016-07-13). "Integrated Tree-Ring-Radiocarbon High-Resolution Timeframe to Resolve Earlier Second Millennium BCE Mesopotamian Chronology". PLOS ONE. 11 (7): e0157144. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157144. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4943651. PMID 27409585.
  9. ^ "Further Astronomical Fine-Tuning of the Old Assyrian and Old Babylonian Chronologies". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  10. ^ Nahm, Werner (2013-12-01). "The Case for the Lower Middle Chronology". Altorientalische Forschungen (in German). 40 (2): 350–372. doi:10.1524/aof.2013.0018. ISSN 2196-6761. S2CID 163256074.
  11. ^ Jong, T. (2013). "Astronomical fine-tuning of the chronology of the Hammurabi age". undefined. S2CID 129960940. Retrieved 2021-07-20.

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