Außerbiblische Quellen

Quelle 1: Xenophon Cyropaedia
Quelle 2: Herodotus Histories
Quelle 3: Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities
Quelle 4: Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities


Quelle 1: Xenophon Cyropaedia
Xenophon, griechischer Geschichtsschreiber ca. 426-355 v.Chr., englische Übersetzung von Loeb

[7.5.7] When they had encamped, Cyrus called together his staff-officers and said: "Friends and allies, we have viewed the city on every side. But I am sure I cannot see how any one could take by storm walls so massive and so high; but the more men there are in the city, the sooner they can, I think, be brought by famine to capitulate, seeing that they will not come out and fight. Therefore, unless you have some other method to suggest, I propose that we use this method of laying siege to those gentlemen."

[7.5.8] "But," said Chrysantas, "does not this river flow through the midst of the city? And it is more than two stadia in width. "Aye, by Zeus," said Gobryas, "and its depth is such that two men, one standing on the other's shoulders, would not reach the surface of the water, so that the city is better defended by the river than by its walls."

[7.5.9] "Chrysantas," Cyrus answered, "let us not trouble ourselves with that which is beyond our powers; but we must apportion the work among ourselves as quickly as possible, to each contingent its proper share, and dig a ditch as wide and as deep as possible, so that we may require only as many men on guard as are absolutely indispensable."

[7.5.10] Accordingly, he took measurements in a circle round about the city, leaving just enough room by the river for the erection of large towers, and began on either side of the city to dig an immense trench; and the earth from it they threw up on their own side of the ditch.

[7.5.11] First of all, he began to build towers by the river, laying his foundations with the trunks of date-palms not less than a hundred feet long--and they grow even taller than that. And they were good material for this purpose, for it is a well known fact that date-palms, when under heavy pressure, bend upward like the backs of pack-asses.

[7.5.12] These he used as "mud-sills," in order that, even if the river should break into his trench above, it might not carry his towers away. And he erected many other towers besides upon the breast-works of earth, so that he might have as many watch-towers as possible.

[7.5.13] Thus, then, his men were employed, while the enemy upon the walls laughed his siege-works to scorn, in the belief that they had provisions enough for more than twenty years. Upon hearing of this, Cyrus divided his army into twelve parts as if intending each part to be responsible for sentry duty during one month of each year;

[7.5.14] but the Babylonians, in their turn, when they heard of that, laughed much more scornfully still, at the thought of Phrygians and Lydians and Arabians and Cappadocians keeping guard against them, for they considered all these to be more friendly to them than to the Persians.

[7.5.15] At last the ditches were completed. Then, when he heard that a certain festival had come round in Babylon, during which all Babylon was accustomed to drink and revel all night long, Cyrus took a large number of men, just as soon as it was dark, and opened up the heads of the trenches at the river.

[7.5.16] As soon as that was done, the water flowed down through the ditches in the night, and the bed of the river, where it traversed the city, became passable for men.

[7.5.17] When the problem of the river was thus solved, Cyrus gave orders to his Persian colonels, infantry and cavalry, to marshal their regiments two abreast and come to him, and the rest, the allies, to follow in their rear, drawn up as before.

[7.5.18] They came, according to orders, and he bade his aides, both foot and horse, get into the dry channel of the river and see if it was possible to march in the bed of the river.

[7.5.19] And when they brought back word that it was, he called together the generals of both infantry and cavalry and spoke as follows:

[7.5.20] "My friends," said he, "the river has made" way for us and given us an entrance into the city. Let us, therefore, enter in with dauntless hearts, fearing nothing and remembering that those against whom we are now to march are the same men that we have repeatedly defeated, and that, too, when they were all drawn up in battle line with their allies at their side, and when they were all wide awake and sober and fully armed;

[7.5.21] whereas now we are going to fall upon them at a time when many of them are asleep, many drunk, and none of them in battle array. And when they find out that we are inside the walls, in their panic fright they will be much more helpless still than they are now.

[7.5.22] "But if any one is apprehensive of that which is said to be a source of terror to those invading a city--namely, that the people may go up" on the house-tops and hurl down missiles right and left, you need not be in the least afraid of that; for if any do go up upon their houses, we have a god on our side, Hephaestus. And their porticoes are very inflammable, for the doors are made of palm-wood and covered with bituminous varnish which will burn like tinder;

[7.5.23] while we, on our side, have plenty of pine-wood for torches, which will quickly produce a mighty conflagration; we have also plenty of pitch and tow, which will quickly spread the flames everywhere, so that those upon the house-tops must either quickly leave their posts or quickly be consumed.

[7.5.24] "But come, to arms! and with the help of the gods I will lead you on. And do you, Gadatas and Gobryas, show the streets, for you are familiar with them. And when we get inside the walls, lead us by the quickest route to the royal palace."

[7.5.25] "Aye," answered Gobryas and his staff, "in view of the revelry, it would not be at all surprising if the gates leading to the palace were open, for all the city is feasting this night. Still, we shall find a guard before the gates, for one is always posted there. "We must lose no time, then," said Cyrus. "Forward, that we may catch the men as unprepared as we can."

[7.5.26] When these words were spoken, they advanced. And of those they met on the way, some fell by their swords, some fled back into their houses, some shouted to them; and Gobryas and his men shouted back to them, as if they were fellow-revellers. They advanced as fast as they could and were soon at the palace.

[7.5.27] And Gobryas and Gadatas and their troops found the gates leading to the palace locked, and those who had been appointed to attack the guard fell upon them as they were drinking by a blazing fire, and without waiting they dealt with them as with foes.

[7.5.28] But, as a noise and tumult ensued, those within heard the uproar, and at the king's command to see what the matter was, some of them opened the gates and ran out.

[7.5.29] And when Gadatas and his men saw the gates open they dashed in in pursuit of the others as they fled back into the palace, and dealing blows right and left they came into the presence of the king; and they found him already risen with his dagger in his hand.

[7.5.30] And Gadatas and Gobryas and their followers overpowered him; and those about the king perished also, one where he had sought some shelter, another while running away, another while actually trying to defend himself with whatever he could.

[7.5.31] Cyrus then sent the companies of cavalry around through the streets and gave them orders to cut down all whom they found out of doors, while he directed those who understood Assyrian to proclaim to those in their houses that they should stay there, for if any one should be caught outside, he would be put to death.

[7.5.32] While they were thus occupied, Gadatas and Gobryas came up; and first of all they did homage to the gods, seeing that they had avenged themselves upon the wicked king, and then they kissed Cyrus's hands and his feet with many tears of joy.

[7.5.33] And when day dawned and those in possession of the citadels discovered that the city was taken and the king slain, they surrendered the citadels, too.


Quelle 2: Herodotus Histories
Herodot (griech. Herodotos), (484-425 v.Chr.), griechischer Geschichtsschreiber, englische Übersetzung von Loeb:


[1.191.1] Whether someone advised him in his difficulty, or whether he perceived for himself what to do, I do not know, but he did the following.

[1.191.2] He posted his army at the place where the river goes into the city, and another part of it behind the city, where the river comes out of the city, and told his men to enter the city by the channel of the Euphrates when they saw it to be ford able. Having disposed them and given this command, he himself marched away with those of his army who could not fight;

[1.191.3] and when he came to the lake, Cyrus dealt with it and with the river just as had the Babylonian queen: drawing off the river by a canal into the lake, which was a marsh, he made the stream sink until its former channel could be forded.

[1.191.4] When this happened, the Persians who were posted with this objective made their way into Babylon by the channel of the Euphrates, which had now sunk to a depth of about the middle of a man's thigh.

[1.191.5] Now if the Babylonians had known beforehand or learned what Cyrus was up to, they would have let the Persians enter the city and have destroyed them utterly; for then they would have shut all the gates that opened on the river and mounted the walls that ran along the river banks, and so caught their enemies in a trap.

[1.191.6] But as it was, the Persians took them unawares, and because of the great size of the city (those who dwell there say) those in the outer parts of it were overcome, but the inhabitants of the middle part knew nothing of it; all this time they were dancing and celebrating a holiday which happened to fall then, until they learned the truth only too well.


Quelle 3: Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities
Flavius Josephus, eigentlich Joseph ben Mathitjahu, jüdischer Geschichtsschreiber, ca. 38-100 n.Chr., englische Übersetzung von Whiston:


(10 chap. 11.§2) [10.229] But now, after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach his son succeeded in the kingdom, who immediately set Jeconiah at liberty, and esteemed him among his most intimate friends. He also gave him many presents, and made him honorable above the rest of the kings that were in Babylon; for his father had not kept his faith with Jeconiah, when he voluntarily delivered up himself to him, with his wives and children, and his whole kindred, for the sake of his country, that it might not be taken by siege, and utterly destroyed, as we said before. When Evil-Mcrodach was dead, after a reign of eighteen years, Niglissar his son took the government, and retained it forty years, and then ended his life; and after him the succession in the kingdom came to his son Labosordacus, who continued in it in all but nine months; and when he was dead, it came to Baltasar,311 who by the Babylonians was called Naboandelus; against him did Cyrus, the king of Persia, and Darius, the king of Media, make war; and when he was besieged in Babylon, there happened a wonderful and prodigious vision. He was sat down at supper in a large room, and there were a great many vessels of silver, such as were made for royal entertainments, and he had with him his concubines and his friends; whereupon he came to a resolution, and commanded that those vessels of God which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered out of Jerusalem, and had not made use of, but had put them into his own temple, should be brought out of that temple. He also grew so haughty as to proceed to use them in the midst of his cups, drinking out of them, and blaspheming against God. In the mean time, he saw a hand proceed out of the wall, and writing upon the wall certain syllables; at which sight, being disturbed, he called the magicians and Chaldeans together, and all that sort of men that are among these barbarians, and were able to interpret signs and dreams, that they might explain the writing to him. But when the magicians said they could discover nothing, nor did understand it, the king was in great disorder of mind, and under great trouble at this surprising accident; so he caused it to be proclaimed through all the country, and promised, that to him who could explain the writing, and give the signification couched therein, he would give him a golden chain for his neck, and leave to wear a purple garment, as did the kings of Chaldea, and would bestow on him the third part of his own dominions. When this proclamation was made, the magicians ran together more earnestly, and were very ambitious to find out the importance of the writing, but still hesitated about it as much as before. Now when the king's grandmother saw him cast down at this accident, 312 she began to encourage him, and to say, that there was a certain captive who came from Judea, a Jew by birth, but brought away thence by Nebuchadnezzar when he had destroyed Jerusalem, whose name was Daniel, a wise man, and one of great sagacity in finding out what was impossible for others to discover, and what was known to God alone, who brought to light and answered such questions to Nebuchadnezzar as no one else was able to answer when they were consulted. She therefore desired that he would send for him, and inquire of him concerning the writing, and to condemn the unskilfulness of those that could not find their meaning, and this, although what God signified thereby should be of a melancholy nature.

(10 chap. 11.§3) [10.239] When Baltasar heard this, he called for Daniel; and when he had discoursed to him what he had learned concerning him and his wisdom, and how a Divine Spirit was with him, and that he alone was fully capable of finding out what others would never have thought of, he desired him to declare to him what this writing meant; that if he did so, he would give him leave to wear purple, and to put a chain of gold about his neck, and would bestow on him the third part of his dominion, as an honorary reward for his wisdom, that thereby he might become illustrious to those who saw him, and who inquired upon what occasion he obtained such honors. But Daniel desired that he would keep his gifts to himself; for what is he effect of wisdom and of Divine revelation admits of no gifts, and bestows its advantages on petitioners freely; but that still he would explain the writing to him; which denoted that he should soon die, and this because he had not learnt to honor God, and not to admit things above human nature, by what punishments his progenitor had undergone for the injuries he had offered to God; and because he had quite forgotten how Nebuchadnezzar was removed to feed among wild beasts for his impieties, and did not recover his former life among men and his kingdom, but upon God's mercy to him, after many supplications and prayers; who did thereupon praise God all the days of his life, as one of almighty power, and who takes care of mankind. [He also put him in mind] how he had greatly blasphemed against God, and had made use of his vessels amongst his concubines; that therefore God saw this, and was angry with him, and declared by this writing beforehand what a sad conclusion of his life he should come to. And he explained the writing thus:" MANEH. This, if it be expounded in the Greek language, may signify a Number, because God hath numbered so long a time for thy life, and for thy government, and that there remains but a small portion. THEKEL This signifies a weight, and means that God hath weighed thy kingdom in a balance, and finds it going down already.--PHARES. This also, in the Greek tongue, denotes a fragment,. God will therefore break thy kingdom in pieces, and divide it among the Medes and Persians."

(10 chap. 11.§4) [10.245] When Daniel had told the king that the writing upon the wall signified these events, Baltasar was in great sorrow and affliction, as was to be expected, when the interpretation was so heavy upon him. However, he did not refuse what he had promised Daniel, although he were become a foreteller of misfortunes to him, but bestowed it all upon him; as reasoning thus, that what he was to reward was peculiar to himself, and to fate, and did not belong to the prophet, but that it was the part of a good and a just man to give what he had promised, although the events were of a melancholy nature. Accordingly, the king determined so to do. Now, after a little while, both himself and the city were taken by Cyrus, the king of Persia, who fought against him; for it was Baltasar, under whom Babylon was taken, when he had reigned seventeen years. And this is he end of the posterity of king Nebuchadnezzar, as history informs us; but when Babylon was taken by Darius, and when he, with his kinsman Cyrus, had put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians, he was sixty-two years old. He was the son of Astyages, and had another name among the Greeks. Moreover, he took Daniel the prophet, and carried him with him into Media, and honored him very greatly, and kept him with him; for he was one of the three presidents whom he set over his three hundred and sixty provinces, for into so many did Darius part them.

311 It is here remarkable that Josephus, without the knowledge of Ptolemy's canon, should call the same king whom he himself here (Bar. i. 11, and Daniel 5:1, 2, 9, 12, 22, 29, 39) styles Beltazar, or Belshazzar, from the Babylonian god Bel, Naboandelus also; and in the first book against Apion, sect. 19, vol. iii., from the same citation out of Berosus, Nabonnedon, from the Babylonian god Nabo or Nebo. This last is not remote from the original pronunciation itself in Ptolemy's canon, Nabonadius; for both the place of this king in that canon, as the last of the Assyrian or Babylonian kings, and the number of years of his reign, seventeen, the same in both demonstrate that it is one and the same king that is meant by them all. It is also worth noting, that Josephus knew that Darius, the partner of Cyrus, was the son of Astyages, and was called by another name among the Greeks, though it does not appear he knew what that name was, as having never seen the best history of this period, which is Xenophon's. But then what Josephus's present copies say presently, sect. 4, that it was only within no long time after the hand-writing on the wall that Baltasar was slain, does not so well agree with our copies of Daniel, which say it was the same night, Daniel 5:30. (» Zurück)

Anmerkung: Ich persönlich sehe keinen großen Unterschied zwischen "the same night" ("in derselben Nacht", Dan 5,30) und "after a little while" ("nach einer kurzen Weile"). Eine 100%-ige Übereinstimmung in allen Details (hier: in der Formulierung) zu verlangen, ist unsinnig, wenn man bedenkt, dass historische Quellen nicht selten widersprüchlich sind. Selbst bei Augenzeugenprotokollen in unserer Zeit, etwa bei einem Autounfall, stimmen nicht  in allen Details überein!

312 This grandmother, or mother of Baltasar, the queen dowager of Babylon, (for she is distinguished from his queen, Daniel 5:10, 13,) seems to have been the famous Nitocris, who fortified Babylon against the Medes and Persians, and, in all probability governed under Baltasar, who seems to be a weak and effeminate prince. (» Zurück)


Quelle 4: Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities
Flavius Josephus, eigentlich Joseph ben Mathitjahu, jüdischer Geschichtsschreiber, ca. 38-100 n.Chr., englische Übersetzung von Whiston:


(11 chap. 8.§5) [11.329] And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king's displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, "I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind." And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him 337 wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreared him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.


337 The place showed Alexander might be Daniel 7:6; 8:3-8, 20--22; 11:3; some or all of them very plain predictions of Alexander's conquests and successors.

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