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Created 5929± 11 22 2025 [2009-02-18]

Updated 5923[(*??*)] 04 02 2027 [2011-08-03]





What May Be the Basis for the Date

Tishri 16, October 13, 539 BCE,

the Conventional Date for the Fall of Babylon?






As best I can tell, the common date given for the fall of Babylon is ultimately based on nothing other than too much trust upon Almagest and Ptolemy’s Canon of the Kings.

To me, the evidence, even proof, for the fall of Babylon on Tammuz 16, 534 BCE is overwhelming. Why would anyone fall for the conventional teaching? Cf. this link!






The conventional date for the fall of Babylon, Tishri 16, 539 BCE, appears to be based upon at least the first three or four of the following five false assumptions:


1.       Ptolemy’s Canon of the Kings is reliable (It is not! Cf. this link!) for determining the years of reign of kings of that era:

“Yr. 1 of… Cyrus… 210 [of the Nabonassar Era, beginning]  Jan. 5, 538 [BCE.]

(SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 2, p.154.)


2.       Cyrus’ fight against Opis occurred in Tishri [the 7th month] and prior to the fall of Babylon. (My impression is that either the fight against Opis occurred subsequent to the fall of Babylon or it happened prior to Tammuz 16 and not in Tishri:)

“In the month Tishri, when Cyrus fought at Opis on the Tigris river [p. 170] against the troops of Akkad, the people of Akkad he destroyed by means of a conflagration; he put the people to death”

(cf. SDA Bible Student's Sourcebook [i.e. SDA Bible Commentary,] Vol. 9, p. 304; Source: Raymond Philip Dougherty, Nabonidus and Belshazzar, (Yale Oriental Series Researches, Vol. 15. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1929), pp. 169-170.)


3.       The words “the sixteenth day” are assumed to refer to the month Tishri rather than to the month Tammuz [the 4th month:]

“On the sixteenth day of Ugbaru (Gobryas), the governor of Gutium, and the troops of Cyrus without fighting entered Babylon…” (ibid.)


4.       There was minimal or no co-regency between Cyrus and his son Cambyses.

( - The clay tablet Strm Kambyses 400 firmly establishes the 7th year of Cambyses by means of astronomical observations to the Babylonian year 523/522 BCE.  The clay tablet OECT 10, 123 "dated to the nineteenth day of the month Arahsamna (the eighth month) of the ninth year of Cyrus' reign" is one of at least three clay tablets dated in the 9th year of Cyrus.  Assuming there was less than one year of co-regency between them, Cyrus one could conclude that Cyrus reign began 539/538 BCE, which is a false conclusion though it would agree with Ptolemy’s Canon of the Kings. Most however seem to have assumed that there was no co-regency at all, but have then run into the problem of clay tablets dated later in the 9th year of Cyrus than other clay tablets dated in Cambyses’ accession year.)

5.       Cyrus was acting in the capacity of a king either before or at the time of the fall of Babylon.

- It is indeed true that Cyrus was eventually to inherit both the Persian kingdom (after his father Cambyses) and the Median kingdom. Cyrus’ mother’s father Astyages had died a few months before the fall of Babylon leaving the kingdom to his son Cyaxares. Cyrus received all of Media, including also the territories he himself had conquered, as a dowry from his mother’s brother Cyaxares/Darius, king of the Medes, when, shortly after Babylon was conquered, Cyrus married Cyaxares’ daughter.  Cyrus continually enjoyed a strong mutual respect for his predecessors. Given that Xenophon makes it quite clear that both his uncle Cyaxares and his father Cambyses were alive after the fall of Babylon while Cyrus clearly submitted to both of those kings as a Commander and as a General of the joint Medo-Persian army, I find no basis for reckoning the beginning of Cyrus’ reign as king until after the consummation of his wedding shortly after Babylon was conquered. Accordingly, it must be false to assume that Cyrus’ reign as king began at or before the fall of Babylon.
























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