CCP 3.5.30 - Ālu 30-32 (“27-30”)

Catalogue information
British Museum
NinevehNineveh (Kuyunjik)
5R 31 2
CT 41 26-27

Labat, 1933R. Labat, Commentaires assyro-babyloniens sur les présages. Imprimerie-Librairie de l’Université, 1933.: 30-39

Moren[-Freedman], 1978S. M. Moren[-Freedman], The omen series šumma ālu. PhD thesis, 1978.: 315-316 [part of rev]

DivinationTerrestrial omens (Šumma Ālu)

ṣâtu 2b & 3a

Base text: 
Ālu 30-32 (“27-30”)
Tablet information
Complete tablet (one corner lost)
obv 35, rev 29, left edge 4
12,5 × 5,8 × 2,4 cm
7th cent (Assurbanipal libraries and other Assyrian cities)
No name

Civil, 2002M. Civil, The Forerunners of Marû and Ḫamṭu in Old Babylonian, in Riches Hidden in Secret Places. Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Memory of Thorkild Jacobsen, T. Abusch Eisenbrauns, 2002, pp. 63-71.
[On line o 18: UM = ṭeḫû]
: 67

Focke, 1999K. Focke, Die Göttin Ninimma, Archiv für Orientforschung, vol. 46/47, pp. 92-110, 1999.
[On line r 1: Gods]
: 106 fn. 155

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 50-51, 63, 66, 127, 193, 196-97

Freedman, 1998S. M. Freedman, If a City is set on a Height. The Akkadian omen series šumma ālu ina mēlê šakin. Volume 1: Tablets 1-21. The University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1998.: 18

Freedman, 2006bS. M. Freedman, If a City is set on a Height. The Akkadian omen series šumma ālu ina mēlê šakin. Volume 2: Tablets 22-40. The University of Pennsylvania Museum, 2006.: 132-176

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.
[On line r 11]
: 64

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 417-418

Heeßel, 2007N. P. Heeßel, Divinatorische Texte I. Terrestrische, teratologische, physiognomische und oneiromantische Omina. Harrassowitz, 2007.: 2b and fn. 19

Jiménez & Adalı, 2015E. Jiménez and Adalı, S. F. , The ‘Prostration Hemerology’ Revisited: An Everyman’s Manual at the King’s Court, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, vol. 105, pp. 154-191, 2015.
[On line 40]
: 178b

Kilmer, 1977A. D. Kilmer, Notes on Akkadian uppu, in Essays on the Ancient Near East in memory of Jacob Joel Finkelstein, deJ. M. Ellis Archon Books, 1977, pp. 129-138.
[On line o 10-11: uppu]
: 132

Labat, 1933R. Labat, Commentaires assyro-babyloniens sur les présages. Imprimerie-Librairie de l’Université, 1933.
: 30-39

Lambert, 1999bW. G. Lambert, Babylonian Linguistics, in Languages and Cultures in Contact. At the Crossroads of Civilizations in the Syro-Mesopotamian Realm. Proceedings of the 42th RAI, K. Van Lerberghe and Voet, G. Peeters, 1999, pp. 217-231.
[On line 41-42 and 54]
: 223

Lambert, 1999cW. G. Lambert, Literary Texts from Nimrud, Archiv für Orientforschung, vol. 46/47, pp. 149-155, 1999.
[On line 38]
: 155

Leichty, 2010E. Leichty, Dream on, in Opening the Tablet Box. Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Benjamin R. Foster, S. C. Melville and Slotsky, A. C. Brill, 2010, pp. 225-228.
[On line o 18: UM = ṭeḫû]
: 228

Moren[-Freedman], 1978S. M. Moren[-Freedman], The omen series šumma ālu. PhD thesis, 1978.
[Edition, part of the rev]
: esp. 315-316, also 44, 77-79, 161-162, 164, 259, 266-267

Jiménez, 03/2016 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 03/2016 (Translation)
Jiménez, 03/2016 (Collation)
Jiménez, 03/2016 (Introduction)
Stadhouders, 03/2016 (Revision, corrections)
Gabbay, 06/2016 (Suggestion and reference [l. 36])
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Enrique Jiménez |
Cite this edition
Jiménez, E., “Commentary on Ālu 30-32 (“27-30”) (CCP no. 3.5.30),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed May 30, 2017)
Make a correction or suggestion

This almost entirely preserved tablet written in Babylonian script was the first tablet accessioned in the Kuyunjik collection (K.1). It contains a commentary on four chapters of the series of terrestrial omens Šumma Ālu. Each chapter of the series is dealt with in a different section of the tablet, each section is separated by a subscript: chapter “27” (which corresponds to Šumma Ālu 30 in other recensions) is commented upon in ll. 1-7, chapter “28” (= Šumma Ālu 30 and 31) in ll. 9-25, chapter “29” (= Šumma Ālu 31) in ll. 27-43, and chapter “30” (= Šumma Ālu 32) in ll. 44-70.

The present tablet is very similar to other ṣâtu commentaries on Šumma Ālu written in Babylonian script and found in Ashurbanipal’s libraries: CCP 3.5.17 (Ālu 17-20), CCP 3.5.41 (Ālu 41-44), CCP 3.5.57 (Ālu 57-58), CCP 3.5.73 (Ālu 72-74), CCP 3.5.94 (on Ālu 94 alt [ṣâtu 2c]), and CCP 3.5.103 (Ālu [...], 103, 104 alt, and [...] [ṣâtu 2c]). All of them are small tablets with no colophon, which contain commentaries on three or more chapters of Šumma Ālu. In all of them each section is followed by a ṣâtu 2b or 2c rubric. It is conceivable that all these tablets originally stemmed from the same library, and were brought to Nineveh at a later point.1 More information on their provenance may be obtained from the study of the numeration of the chapters of Šumma Ālu reflected in their rubrics, which differs to a large extent from that of the Assyrian copies of Šumma Ālu found in Nineveh.


The commentary is written in the tabular format, and contains occasional phonetic glosses. On one occasion the phonetic gloss aims at indicating the correct reading of a word that was corrupt in the manuscript used to compile the commentary: in ll. 48-51, the commentary indicates that the first sign of the meaningless kul-de-e should be read as mu (the signs kul and mu are similar), thus yielding mu-de-e, which is then said to mean “equipment” (ú-de-e).2 This respect for the written text, even when the commentators knew that it was corrupt, is reminiscent of the ketiv–qere system of the Masoretic tradition.

The part of the commentary that has attracted most attention is the first section of the reverse (ll. 36-38), which contain explanations of three rare god names: Ninimma (which is explained as “Ea of the scribe”), Ninšar (which is explained as Nergal and, alternatively, as Enninšar), and Niraḫ (explained as Ištāran). The first equation is elsewhere unattested, the second is very rare (see note ad loc. for parallels), whereas the third is elsewhere common.

The tablet uses the logogram kimin (“ditto”) several times (ll. 12, 37, and 46), which no doubt represents the technical term šanîš. The only other technical term used is ša (e.g. ll. 27-28). In addition, the commentary contains a ḫepi-gloss, indicating a textual lacuna in its Vorlage (l. 46). Furthermore, line 66 appears to contain the frequent notation kúr, employed by scribes to indicate that a line was corrupt.


The tablet has been collated on photographs, and an important new reading has been obtained in l. 64. The significance of the last equation in line 19, however, escapes us. Thanks are expressed to H. Stadhouders, who revised the edition carefully and made several corrections and suggestions.

  • 1. Many of them have low K-numbers (e.g. K.1, K.36, K.103, or K.118), which means that they were found in Rooms 40-41. See J. E. Reade, Ninive (Nineveh), Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 9, pp. 388-433, 1998. P. 422.
  • 2. The reading mu-de-e is in fact attested in other manuscripts of the text.

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


CT 41, pl. 26-27, K 00001

x59 obverse
1 1

* GIR₂.TAB-MEŠ ina E₂ LU₂ DU

x [x x x x (x x)]

“If scorpions walk in a man’s house” (Šumma ālu 30 incipit) [...].

2 2

ul-ṭib-bu-ma IGI-MEŠ

ša₂ [x x x x (x x)]

“If they improve and are seen” (Šumma ālu 30 unknown), it (refers to someone) who [...].

3 3


iti[x x x x (x x)]

“If scorpions walk in a man’s house” (Šumma ālu 30 incipit), it refers to the months [...]

4 4

U₄mi e-di-i

U₄⸣[mi x x (x x)]

“On a day of flooding” (Šumma ālu 30 26′-30′) means a da[y ...].

5 5

dan-na-at EN.TE.NA

iti⸣[x x x (x x)]

The “depth of winter” (Šumma ālu 30 22′) refers to the months [...].

6 6


?⸣-[di x x x (x x)]

SAG-MEŠ ÚR (Šumma ālu 30 unknown) means fou[dation ...].

7 7



i-šur (Šumma ālu 30 unknown) means i-[šu-ur]

8 8

ṣa-a-tu₄ u šu-ut pi-i ša₂ DUB 27.⸢KAM [* URU ina SUKUDe GARin]

Lemmata and oral explanations relating to the 27th tablet [of “If a city is set on a height”].

9 9

bi-rit GEŠTU-šu₂

mim-ma ma-[la x x x]

“Between his ear” (Šumma ālu 31 6-7) means “as much as [...].

10 10

MUD <a>-ḫi

piṭ-ru [x x] 1

MUD aḫi (Šumma ālu 31 16-17) means “joint [...].

11 11


pi-iṭ-[ru] 2

Armpit means “jo[int].”

12 12

di-MIT ŠA₃ : ER₂ : di-im-tu₄

KIMIN <:> di-ib-ba-ta lib₃?-bi? 3

di-MIT libbi (Šumma ālu 31 unknown), written ÉR, means “tear”; alternatively, (it means) “words of the heart.

13 13



NÍG.GU₇ (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) means “consumption.”

14 14


bi-rit pi-ri-du

“Groin” (Šumma ālu 31 48-49) means (part) between the legs.”

15 15


man-ma DU₁₄ i-gir₂-re-

“He will be beat” (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) means “someone will start a fight with him.”

16 16

NIG₂.ŠU u₂-ta-ar₂

ši-mu-šu u₂-tar-ra

NÍG.ŠU ú-ta-ár (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) means “he will return his purchase”;

17 17



(alternatively, it means) “his property.”

18 18



DUB (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) means “to approach.”

19 19


bu-ṣur : bu-ṣur : ta-⸢x-x⸣-ru 4

KA.DÙ.A (Šumma ālu 30 66′) means “news,” “news” means ...

20 20


(KA should be read as) en and (DÙ.A should be read as) da (i.e., enim.da)

21 21


U₄mu i-sin-nu ša₂ DINGIR u LUGAL

“The day of god or king” (Šumma ālu 30 unknown) means “the day of the a god’s or king’s festival.”

22 22



TÚG.SÍG-ḪI.A (Šumma ālu 30 77′) means “fringes.”

23 23



iz-zíb-šú (Šumma ālu 30 85′) means “it will leave him” (written iz-zib-šú).

24 24

* EGIR -ta-mi LU₂ iz-qu₂-ut 5

In “If it considers the back and stings the man” (Šumma ālu 30 unknown),

25 25



“to consider” means “to shout.”

26 26

ṣa-a-tu₄ ša₂ DUB 28.KAM * URU ina SUKUDe GARin

Lemmata relating to the 28th tablet of “If a city is set on a height.”

27 27


ša₂ SIG₃-su ne-e-eḫ

“It stings” (written iz-qú-ut) (Šumma ālu 31 passim) (is said of the scorpion whose) sting is soft.

28 28


ša₂ SIG₃-su dan-nu

“It stings him” (written RA-su) (Šumma ālu 31 passim) (is said of the scorpion whose) sting is hard.

29 29



Damu (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) is Gula.

30 30

ṭur-ra tara-kas

DUR ta-rak-kas

ṭur-ra tara-kas (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) means “you tie a knot.”

31 31


pa-an ri-iḫ-ṣu 6

IGI RA (cf. Šumma ālu 31 77′) means “before (the time of) thunderstorm(s).”

32 32

NAG-ma u₂-zaq

NAG-ma i-par-ri 7

“He will drink it and bring it up (Šumma ālu 31 75′) means “he will drink and vomit.”

33 33


I₃.GIŠ u! KAŠ ta-sal-⸢laḫ⸣-[šu₂]

Ì.GIŠ u KAŠ SUD-šu (Šumma ālu 31 74′) means “you will sprinkle [him] with oil and beer.”

34 34

DU.DU-ma NU ut-tar-am-ma

a-tal-lu-ku la u-ta-ra-am-ma 8

DU.DU-ma NU ut-tar-am-ma (Šumma ālu 31 76′) means “he will no longer walk around,”

35 35


a-la-ku la u₂-šam-ad

(in the sense) “he will not increase the walking.”

36 36


de₂-a ša₂ lu₂DUB.SAR

“Ninimma” (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) is Ea of the scribe.

37 37


dU!.GUR KIMIN den-nin-šar 9

“Ninnisig” (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) is Nergal; alternatively, it is Enninšar.

38 38



“Irḫan” (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) is Ištarān.

39 39

BIR ŠA₃-šu₂


“Kidney of his belly” (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) means “belly.”

40 40

EN a-⸢mi⸣-ri-šu₂

ša₂ i-ze-ʾe-e-ru-šu₂

“The person who looks askance at him” (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) (refers to the man) who hates him.

41 41

* DUMU.MUNUS mu-ši-ḫat


“If a daughter who mu-ši-ḫat (Šumma ālu 31 unknown) (refers to) tables.

42 42


(mu-ši-ḫat should be read as) mussiḫat (i.e., “she who assigns”).

43 43

ṣa-a-tu₄ u šu-ut pi-i ša₂ DUB 29.KAM * URU ina SUKUDe GARin

Lemmata and oral explanations relating to the 29th tablet of “If a city is set on a height.”

44 44



“It hisses” (Šumma ālu 32 37′) means “it cries out.”

45 45


-di-iḫ-ḫu KUDas

NÍG.ME.GAR AL.KUD (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “profit will cease.”

46 46


mi-it-ti KIMIN nu-ub-ḫe-pi₂ -šu₂-<(bu-ul-tu₄)>

nabultu (Šumma ālu 32 46′) means “dead.” nu-ub (recent break),

47 47


mi-it-tu₄ 11

nu<bb>ultu means “dead.”

48 48

KUL-de-e E₂

In “The KUL-de-e of the house” (Šumma ālu 32 57′),

49 49


(KUL should be read as) mu, (and means) “a container.”

50 50



(read as) mudû,

51 51



mudû (is a writing of) udû (“equipment”).

52 52



DAB.DAB-ta-ma (Šumma ālu 32 41′) means “to hold one another” (tiṣbutu, ṣabātu Gt).

53 53


E₂ BI an-nu TUKUši

É BI NAM TUKU-ši (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “that house will bear guilt.”

54 54

    NAM : an-nu

an-nu : ar₂-nu

NAM means annu, (and) annu means “guilt.”

55 55

ul KUD

ul i-par-ra-as

ul KUD (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “it will not be cut off.”

56 56


bu-lu₄ 12

qu-um-ma-lam (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “cattle.”

57 57


(LAM should be read as) lu.

58 58



ṣú-ri-ri-it (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) (read ṣu) means “female lizard.”

59 59

* a₃a-mir i-lit-tu₂

i-lit-tu₂ lit-tu <<tu>>

In a-mir i-lit-tú (Šumma ālu 32 unknown), ilittu means “progeny.”

60 60

U₃.TU : ba-nu-u₂

U₃.TU : a-la-du

Ù.TU (Šumma ālu 32 63′?) means “to create”; Ù.TU means “to bear.”

61 61


la mit-gur-ti

“Inappropriate” (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “not in agreement.”

62 62


la šat-ti

“Inappropriate” means “not proper.”

63 63

NUla šatša-ti

la ku-ši-ri

“Not proper” means “profitless.”

64 64

MIN U₄ ši-in

U₄mu* 13

2 U₄ (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “two days.”

left edge column i
65 65



EME.SIG (Šumma ālu 32 unknown, but cf. Šumma ālu 32 [KAR 382 20′]) means “slander.”

66 66

kur₂ GU₇-ME <<e>>

in-nak-ka-lu 14

(Mistake!) GU₇-ME (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “it will be eaten.”

67 67

UŠ₂ ka-mit UŠ₂

mu-tu ka-ma-tu i-ma-ti

ÚŠ ka-mit (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) ÚŠ means “he will die a death of captivity.”

left edge column ii
68 68

ka-šu-tu₄ 15

kašūtu (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means (blank).

69 69


kašūtu (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means (blank).

70 70

IGI-MIN-šu₂ uṣ-ṣa-ḫa-ta :

MIN-šu₂ ul-tam-ma-a 16

(The lizard’s) eyes contract (Šumma ālu 32 unknown) means “his eyes(!) repeatedly become surrounded.”

71 71

ṣa:a-tu₄ ša₂ DUB 30.KAM * URU ina SUKUDe GARin

Lemmata relating to the 30th tablet of “If a city is set on a height.”

1As pointed out by H. Stadhouders (private communication), the line probably refers to the “armpit” (uppi aḫi). The translation of these lines is courtesy of H. Stadhouders.

1Quotation from Malku III 216 (see Hrůša AOAT 50 (2010) p. 237).

1The alternative explanation is based on a different reading of the sign MIT (as bat).

1The last word could not be deciphered.

1arku may refer to the “continuation” of the present tablet, since the note appears immediately before the colophon. H. Stadhouders (private communication) suggests understanding šumma arkata uštāmi amēlu iskut, “if he ponders something down to the last detail/in its ultimate consequences/ if he concentrates on something in depth, a man is silent”; and compares the sentence with idioms such as arkata ḫâṭu, šaʾālu: AHw., s.v. warkatu, 5.b.

1The translation is courtesy of H. Stadhouders.

1The equation is also attested in SpTU 1 33 r 2 (CCP 4.1.7.B). See the important parallels cited in CAD S 84b, where the verb is parsed as zakû D.

1The commentary explains the “Koppelung” VERB-ma la uttar (from watāru D) by means of INFINITIVE la utâr (târu D, “to do again”) [H. Stadhouders].

1Si vera lectio, the equation between Ninnisig and Nergal is also attested in the commentary on the kettledrum ritual O 175 o 13 (Livingstone Mystical and Mythological Explanatory Works [1986] p. 190). On the reading dnin-nisig of dnin-SAR, see Cavigneaux Fs Boehmer (1995) p. 65 (reference courtesy of Uri Gabbay).

1The meaning of mu-ši-ḫat is uncertain; see CAD Š/1 107a.

1AHw 700a cites this passage as the only attestation of the hapax legomenon nabultu, “corpse,” and compares it with Hebrew nĕḇēlā as a parallel. CAD N/1 328 and 342 suggest the emendation followed here. According to Freedman’s ingenious explanation (If a City is Set on a Height, volume 2 [2006] p. 171), the source of the equations in ll. 46-47 may have been an incorrect parsing of the base text (which reads na-bu-ul-tu₄, but appears in some manuscripts as nu-bal-tu₄) as NU bal-ṭu₄, “not alive.”

1qu-um-ma-lam is a hapax legomenon. According to CAD Q 304b, the scribe misinterpreted a presumed spelling qu-um-ma-ḫum as qu-um-ma-lum (the rare word qummaḫu is equated with būlu in the astrological commentary 2R 47 ii 5ff = CCP 3.1.u72).


1Labat Commentaires (1933) p. 38 takes kúr as a phonetic complement, but it is probably a paratextual note indicating that there is a textual problem in the text (in this case, the additional e at the end). On the scribal mark kúr, see e.g. Lambert Fs Kraus (1982) p. 216 ad iv 24.

1ka-šu-tu₄, si vera lection, is a hapax legomenon.

1The interpretation of the line follows CAD Ṣ 61a.

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