CCP 3.1.5.A - Enūma Anu Enlil 5 (?) A

Catalogue information
British Museum
NinevehNineveh (Kuyunjik)
K.75 + K.237
3R 2 20 [colophon]
ACh Suppl 7
Fincke AOAT 401 RAI 52 (2014) p. 271 [rev]

Virolleaud, 1910C. Virolleaud, L'Astrologie Chaldéenne: le livre intitulé "Enuma (Anu) ilu.Bel". Librairie Paul Gauthner, 1910.: 7-8 no. 7

DivinationAstrological. Enūma Anu Enlil


Base text: 
Enūma Anu Enlil 5 (?)
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Complete tablet (rev. partly damaged)
obv 27, rev 25
7,2+ × 7,1+ × 2,3+ cm
Late 8th / Early 7th cent (mostly Kalḫu, Nabû-zuqup-kēnu)
Nabû-zuqup-kēna s. Marduk-šuma-iqīš d. Gabbi-ilāni-ēreš
Babylon (tablet of Nabû-naṣir s. Ea-pattāni)

Brinkman, 1964J. A. Brinkman, Merodach-Baladan II, in Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim, The University of Chicago, 1964, pp. 6-53.: 22 fn. 120

Fincke, 2014aJ. C. Fincke, Babylonische Gelehrte am neuassyrischen Hof: zwischen Anpassung und Individualität, in Krieg und Frieden im Alten Vorderasien. 52e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology Münster, 17.–21. Juli 2006, H. Neumann, Dittmann, R. , Paulus, S. , Neumann, G. , and Schuster-Brandis, A. Ugarit-Verlag, 2014, pp. 269-292.
[Babylonian scholars in Nineveh, colophon. Assyrian scholars could write in Babylonian script.]
: 271

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.
[EAE 5]
: 139, 153, 265-67, 305, 412

Frahm & Jiménez, 2015E. Frahm and Jiménez, E. , Myth, Ritual, and Interpretation. The Commentary on Enūma eliš I–VII and a Commentary on Elamite Month Names, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel, vol. 4, pp. 293-343, 2015.
[One of the few known tablet written by the scribe Nabu-zuqup-kēnu in Babylonian script]
: 336

Gehlken, 2012E. Gehlken, Weather Omens of Enūma Anu Enlil. Thunderstorms, Wind and Rain (Tablets 44–49). Brill, 2012.
[On line 6]
: 222 l. 6'

Hunger, 1968H. Hunger, Babylonische und assyrische Kolophone. Neukirchener Verlag, 1968.
[Transcription and translation of the colophon.]
: 94 no. 305

Koch, 2009bJ. Koch, Hatten die Pleiades (MUL.MUL) mit dem "Buckelstier" (mulGU4.AN.NA = Taurus) der Babylonier zu tun?, N.A.B.U. Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires, vol. 2009/23, 2009.
[Star bālu]

Reiner, 1998aE. Reiner, Celestial Omen Tablets and Fragments in the British Museum, in tikip santakki mala bašmu.. Festschrift für Rykle Borger zu seinem 65. Geburtstag am 24. Mai 1994, S. M. Maul Styx, 1998, pp. 215-302.
[EAE 3?]
: 216

Reynolds, 1998F. Reynolds, Unpropitious Titles of Mars in Mesopotamian Scholarly Tradition, in Intellectual Life of the Ancient Near East. Papers Presented at the 43rd Rencontre assyriologique internationale, J. Prosecký Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Oriental Institute, 1998, pp. 347-357.
[On line 9: Mars as The Non-Existent Star or the Lacking Star (bālu)]
: 353

Verderame, 2002L. Verderame, Le Tavole I-VI della serie astrologica "Enūma Anu Enlil". Di.Sc.A.M., 2002.
[A series of articles on the commentaries is in preparation by the author.]
: ix

Virolleaud, 1910C. Virolleaud, L'Astrologie Chaldéenne: le livre intitulé "Enuma (Anu) ilu.Bel". Librairie Paul Gauthner, 1910.: 7-8 no. 7

Frazer, 05/2016 (Transliteration)
Frazer, 05/2016 (Translation)
Frazer, 05/2016 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Mary Frazer |
Cite this edition
Frazer, M., “Commentary on Enūma Anu Enlil 5 (?) (CCP no. 3.1.5.A),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed May 30, 2017)
Make a correction or suggestion

This landscape-oriented tablet contains a commentary in the indentation format, written in Babylonian script. Although it provides information on the circumstances in which the tablet was produced, the tablet’s colophon does not refer to the text with any designation, nor does it identify the base text. Accordingly, this introduction to the commentary deals with the four topics in the following order:

The identity of the base text

Since the majority of the preserved commentarial entries refer to omens derived from the moon’s appearance, it has been suggested that the base text may be one of the first 22 (or 23) tablets of Enūma Anu Enlil, all of which (in the recension represented by the tablets in Neo-Assyrian script from Nineveh, at least) deal with lunar phenomena. Reiner1 tentatively suggested that the base text is EAE 3, but Frahm2 proposes EAE 5 on the grounds that five of the omens deal specifically with the moon’s horns, which is the main focus of EAE 5.

The obverse of the tablet, which is almost entirely preserved, quotes from twenty-one different omens. In fact, of these twenty-one, six or possibly seven are non-lunar omens: ll. 4-8 treat five omens that begin “If the storm howled ...,” l. 10 treats a solar omen, and in l. 9 too little of the omen is cited for its nature to be clear. In view of the diverse nature of the omens, this commentary may represent a compilation of entries from multiple commentaries on various tablets of EAE.


The purpose of the commentarial entries

If we are dealing here with a compilation of multiple commentaries, it is necessary to recognize that the compiler probably had a distinct purpose in mind; however, owing in part to the poor condition of the reverse of the tablet, it is not clear what this purpose was. The following paragraph provides an overview of the patterns of the commentarial entries when viewed as part of the same text, as well as noting unusual features of some of the entries.

In the majority of the entries preserved on the obverse, the commentator’s purpose is to explain the protasis of an omen. In order to do so, he cites either the protasis of the omen (ll. 4-8, 11, 17-18, 21, 22) or the omen in its entirety (protasis and apodosis: ll. 1-3, 12-16, 19-20, 23-27). In l. 9, the commentator is concerned with the appearance of the divine name Šimut in an (otherwise uncited) omen; the divine name is introduced in an unusual manner, namely by citing only the first two words of the omen (“If Šimut ...”). In l. 15, the entry ‘“On each side” (means) “the horns correspond”’ seems to refer to a different omen from that treated in ll. 14-15, despite the scribe continuing on directly from the preceding entry.

Also of relevance to determining the commentator’s purpose is l. 10, where the commentator cites an entire solar omen but instead of then proceeding to explain part of the omen, he cites a “variant” (kimin) of what seems to be the omen’s apodosis.


The contents of the tablet’s poorly preserved reverse

The text on the tablet’s reverse has been much less fortunate than the text on the obverse: until the colophon, only the last third of each line is legible. The reverse appears to begin with a ten-line section (ll. 28-37) which is demarcated from subsequent entries by a single-ruling (it may, however, have been conceived as a continuation of the lines on the obverse). In this ten-line section, several omens, which were presumably cited in the missing parts of the lines, seem to be interpreted as related to an eclipse.

The contents of the final eleven lines of the commentary are also less than certain: ll. 38-40 seem to contain commentarial entries on omens, perhaps of a lunar nature; ll. 41 and 48 mention two gods, namely Ninurta (twice, once with the learned spelling dninnu.urta) and Ningirsu; ll. 42-44 refer to stars, namely the Lion and the Ninkasi constellations, as well as to the planet Mercury; finally, ll. 45-47 seem to cite omens of uncertain nature in full, since each line ends with an apodosis.


The circumstances in which this tablet was produced

The tablet is furnished with a detailed colophon (BAK 305) in which the owner of the tablet is identified as a well-attested Assyrian scholar, Nabû-zuqup-kēnu 3 Since the tablet is written in Babylonian script but belonged to an Assyrian, it has been cited as evidence that the most learned Assyrian scholars were able to write using Babylonian as well as Assyrian sign forms,4 but the colophon does not explicitly state that the tablet is the product of Nabû-zuqup-kēnu’s hand.5

The colophon also identifies the text as a copy, made in the Assyrian city Kalhu, of an original that was from Babylon and owned by one Nabû-nāṣir son of Ea-pattāni. In this respect K. 75+ seems to be connected to a Nineveh manuscript of another commentary, Rm.2,127 (CCP 3.9.1), also in Babylonian script, which contains a colophon that identifies it as a copy of an original from Assyria (BAK 439) and which seems to have been owned by a son of Ea-pattāni. In light of the existence of K. 75+, this son is quite possibly Nabû-nāṣir himself. If this assumption is correct, then Nabû-nāṣir and Nabû-zuqup-kēnu seem likely to have been contemporary scholars who engaged in some sort of exchange of scholarly texts at Kalhu. Perhaps Nabû-nāṣir travelled there, and the two scholars copied each other’s manuscripts. Comparison of the hand-writing of K. 75+ and Rm. 2 127 might indicate who was responsible for copying the tablets. As suggested by E. Frahm, if Nabû-nāṣir is the copyist, he might have been a student of Nabû-zuqup-kēnu.

A final piece of information given by this well-preserved and particularly informative colophon is the date of the tablet’s production: 694/XII/23. This was the year in which Sennacherib undertook his sixth military campaign, with disastrous results: initially directed against Chaldeans living in Elamite territory in southeastern Mesopotamia, it triggered Elamite reprisals in the form of attacks on northern Babylonia. In the course of the ensuing conflict, Sennacherib’s son, whom he had appointed king of Babylon, was handed over to the Elamites by a group of Babylonians, and probably killed. It is sheer speculation, but perhaps Nabû-nāṣir’s sojourn in Kalhu was connected with political disturbance in Babylon.


The edition below was collated in the British Museum in May 2015, and a number of new readings, marked with an asterisk, were obtained.


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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


ACh Suppl. Sin 07

x24 obverse
1 1

[*] 30 ina AN.BIR₉ E₃-ma SI-MEŠ-šu₂ KI IGI-MEŠ ILLU DUkam₂ lu U₄ ⸢2⸣.[KAM₂ lu U₄] ⸢3⸣.KAM₂ DINGIR BAR-ma GUBaz-ma

"[If] the moon rises at midday and its horns are looking at the earth, a flood will come" (means) "on the seco[nd o]r third [day] the god (i.e., the moon) is split in half while standing."

2 2

[*] 30 ina AN.BIR₉ E₃-ma KIMIN<(SI-MEŠ-šu₂ KI IGI-MEŠ)> : KIMIN U₄ 3.KAM₂ U₄ 4.KAM₂ ma-gal GAL-ma 1

"[If] the moon rises at midday and ditto (i.e., it horns are looking at the earth), ditto (i.e., a flood will come)" (means) "on the third day (and) the fourth day [(...)] it (i.e., the moon) becomes unusually big."

3 3

⸢*⸣ 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ BALut LUGAL KUR-su ul -te--šer₃ U₄ 14.KAM₂ KI [20] NU IGI KIMIN 30 IGI-ma DUNGU ia-ʾ-nu

"If the moon, on its first appearance, is inverted, the king will not set his land aright" (means) "on the fourteenth day it is not seen with [the sun]." Variant: "the moon is visible and there is no cloud."

4 4

* U₄ is-si dIŠKUR ina la si-[ma]-ni-šu₂ GU₃-šu₂ ŠUB-ma

"If the storm howled" (means) "Adad at an unexpected time thunders ."

5 5

* U₄ is-si-ma 30 a-dir ina AN.GE₆ 30 dIŠKUR GU₃-šu₂ ŠUB-ma

"If the storm howled and the moon was dim" (means) "at an eclipse of the moon Adad thunders."

6 6

* U₄ is-si-ma 20 a-dir ina AN.GE₆ 20 dIŠKUR GU₃-šu₂ ŠUB-ma

"If the storm howled and the sun was dim" (means) "at an eclipse of the sun Adad thunders."

7 7

* U₄ UD.DA-su KUR₂.KUR₂ir IM 4ba DU-MEŠ-ma

"If the storm (and) its heat change" (means) "the four winds will blow."

8 8

* U₄ is-si-ma dIŠKUR GU₃-šu₂ ŠUB TA AN.GE₆ GAR-ma 2

"If the storm howled (and) Adad thundered" (means) "after the eclipse occurred."

9 9

* dši₂-mut mulṣal-bat-a-nu ša₂-niš dba-lu šal-⸢šiš* mulUD.KA.DU₈.A 3

"If Šimut" (means) "Mars"; alternatively (it means) "(the god) Balu"; thirdly (it means) "(the constellation) Open Mouthed Storm Demon."

10 10

* 20 7 AGA-MEŠ a-pir LUGAL kib-ra-a-ti i-be-el KIMIN ŠUBti₃ MAŠ₂*.ANŠE* mi-šil-šu AN.GE₆ GAR-ma

"If the sun is bedecked with seven coronas, the king will rule the four (quarters)." Variant: "collapse of cattle, half of it (i.e., the sun) will be eclipsed."

11 11

* 30 ina IGI.DU₈.A-šu₂ ina dUTU.E₃ it-tan-mar lu ina [MU₂ lu ina] AN⸣.BIR₉ U₄ 30.KAM₂ EGIR 20 IGI-ma

"If the moon, on its first appearance, has been seen at sunset" (means) "either at [the rising or at] midday on the thirtieth day it (i.e., the moon) will be visible after the sun."

12 12

* 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ pal-lu-ur-ti MUL-MEŠ e-bi-iḫ ina MU* [BI] ina KUR-MEŠ MUNUS.KUR₂-MEŠ GAR-MEŠ

"If the moon, on its first appearance, is surrounded by a cross of stars, in [that] ye[ar] war will take place in the lands"

13 13

    dUDU.IDIM.SAG. ddil-bat dṣal-bat-a-nu IGI-ma mulMAŠ.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL.LA NIGIN₂-MEŠ-šu₂-ma

(means) "(the moon) looks at Saturn, Venus (and) Mars, and the Great Twins surround it (i.e., the moon).

14 14

⸢*⸣ d30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ SI-MEŠ-šu₂ ṣer-ši SA₅-MEŠ AN.GE₆ GARan ina SI⸣-MEŠ-šu₂ ki-lat-tan 2 MUL-MEŠ 4

"If the moon, on its first appearance, its horns are full of protuberances, an eclipse will occur" (means) "in both of its horns 2 stars

15 15

    GUB-MEŠ-ma : A₂ ana A₂-šu₂ : SI-MEŠ-šu₂ mit-ḫa-ra 5

stand." "On each side" means "the horns correspond."

16 16

* 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ NU iq-qab-bi ŠU₂ AN.GE₆ ŠU₂-ma KI 20 IGI-ma GIŠKIM NU u₂-kal-lam

"If the moon, on its first appearance, without anything being said, the eclipsed (moon) sets and is seen with the sun" (means) "it shows no sign."

17 17

* 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ SI 150-šu₂ PA TUKU* MUL 1 ina SI 150-šu₂ 1 ŠU.SI 2 ŠU.SI DIM₄*-ma

"If the moon, on its first appearance, its left horn has a branch" (means) "one star approaches its left horn by 1 finger (or) 2 fingers"

18 18

* 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ SI 15-šu₂ GE₆at₂ SI 15-šu₂ er-rem-ma

"If the moon, on its first appearance, its right horn is black" (means) "its right horn will be covered."

19 19

* 30 20 la u₂-qi₂-ma ir-bi na-an-dur UR.MAḪ u UR.BAR.RA ina dUTU GUBzu ad-riš

"If the moon does not wait for the sun, but sets, the Lion and the Wolf will rage" (means) "while the sun is still standing, it dimly

20 20

    E₃-ma : U₄ 15.KAM IGI-ma

rises"; (or) "it is seen on the 15th day (of the month)."

21 21

* 30 u 20 im-daḫ-ru-ma ⸢30 te⸣-diš-tu₂ NU KURud ⸢14⸣.KAM₂ DINGIR KI DINGIR IGI-ma ḫap-ra-tu₂ ul ina--šar

"If the moon and the sun have entered conjunction/opposition, and the moon does not reach the renewal" (means) "on the fourteenth day the god (i.e., the moon) is visible with the god (i.e., the sun), and the visible surface (of the moon) is not diminishing."

22 22

* 30 ina IGI.DU₈⸣.A-šu₂ SI-⸢MEŠ⸣-šu₂ ka-pi₂-a TUN₃.BA.AB GI ka-pi₂ TUN₃.BA.AB GI ku-pi 6

"If the moon, on its first appearance, its horns are blunt (ka-pí-a)" TUN₃.BA.AB GI (means) ka-pí (and) TUN₃.BA.AB GI (also means) ku-pi.

23 23

* [30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ mul]ŠUL.PA.E₃ ina ŠA₃-šu₂ GUBiz LUGAL KUR MAR.<TU>ki ŠU₂tu₂ DU₃

"If [the moon, on its first appearance,] the Šulpae constellation stands in its midst, the king of the land of Amurru will exercise power"

24 24

[...] KUR KUR₂-šu₂ GARan

(means) "([...]) the land of his enemy will arise."

25 25

[* 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂ mul]⸢SIPA⸣.ZI.AN.NA ina ŠA₃-šu₂ GUBiz LUGAL KIŠ* ŠU₂tu₂ DU₃ 7

[If the moon, on its first appearance, the Ši]taddaru [constellation] stands in its midst, a king of the universe will exercise power"

26 26


(in this case) "[Šitad]daru" (means) "Saturn."

27 27

[* 30 ina IGI.LA₂-šu₂] mul.IKU ina ŠA₃-šu₂ GUB ulṣal⸣-bat-a-nu ina ŠA₃-šu₂ GUB-ma 8

["If the moon, on its first appearance,] the Field constellation stands in its midst" (means) "Mars stands in its midst (i.e., in the moon)."

28 28

[...] LAL₂ x x x [... ina] ITI EN.NUN ana AN.[GE₆]

[...] ... [... in] the month of the watch for an ec[lipse].

29 29

[...] x⸣-i ina ITI EN.NUN ana AN.⸢GE₆

[...] ... in the month of the watch for an ecli[pse].

30 30

[...] AN.GE₆ GAL₂ši

[...] there will be an eclipse.

31 31

[...] ana AN.⸢GE₆

[...] for an eclipse.

32 32

[...] AN.GE₆ GARan

[...] an eclipse will occur.

33 33

[...] x BI? AN.GE₆ GARan

[...] ... an eclipse will occur.

34 34

[...] KIMIN

[...] ditto.

35 35

[...] AN.GE₆

[...] eclipse

36 36

[...] AN.GE₆

[...] eclipse

37 37

[...] GUB⸣-ma AN.GE₆ ta-nam-bi

["...] will stand" (means) "you should declare an eclipse."

38 38

[...] gišTUKUL : ERIN₂ DAGAL ina BAD₅.BAD₅ ŠUBut

["... w]eapon" means "the far-flung army will be defeated."

39 39

[...] ITI 12 ITI i-šal-lim-ma 9

["...] month 12" (means) "the month will be complete."

40 40

[...] BAD GUB-ma KAL

["...] ... stands and is strong."

41 41


[...] ... Ninurta.

42 42

[...] x mal-ku mulUR.GU.LA

[...] ... the Lion constellation .

43 43

[...] mulnin-ka-si

[...] the Ninkasi constellation.

44 44

[...] AN.GUB še-e GU₄.UD

[...] standing in the sky ... Mercury.

45 45

[...] x IDIM-MEŠ KU₅-MEŠ

[...] the underground waters will cease.

46 46

[...]-⸢MEŠ ILLU DUkam

[...] ... the flood will come.

47 47

[...] x⸣-qu ILLU-MEŠ KU₅-MEŠ

[...] ... the floods will cease.

48 48

[...] x dnin-gir₂-su dninnu*-urta 10

[...] ... "Ningirsu" is Ninurta.

49 49

ki-i pi⸣-[i gišDA GABA.RI TIN].⸢TIR*ki ša₂ mdAG-URI₃ir DUMU mde₂-a-pat-ta-ni lu₂TIN.TIRki-i

According to [a writing board, a manuscript from Babyl]on, which Nabû-nāṣir son of Ea-pattāni, the Babylonian,

50 50

a-na ta-mar-ti-šu₂ is-⸢su-ḫa AB⸣.SAR.AM₃ BA.AN.E₃ ṭup-pi mdNA₃-zu-qu-up-GI.NA DUMU mdAMAR.UTU-MU-BAša₂ lu₂DUB.SAR

had excerpted, written and checked for his reading. Tablet of Nabû-zuqup-kēnu, son of Marduk-šumu-iqīša, scribe,

51 51

ŠA₃.BAL.BAL mgab-bi-DINGIR-MEŠni-KAM lu₂GAL DUB.SAR-MEŠ uruka-laḫ₃ itiŠE.KIN.KU₅ U₄ 23-KAM₂

descendant of Gabbi-ilāni-ēreš, chief scribe. Kalhu, Month XII, Day 23,

52 52

li-mu mDINGIR-KI-ia lu₂ša₂-kin₃ uruša₂-i-me-ri-šu₂ u₃ MU 11.KAM₂ dEN:ZU-ŠEŠ-MEŠ-eri-ba LUGAL KUR -šurki

eponym of Ilu-issīya, governor of Damascus, and Year 11 of Sennacherib, king of Assyria.

1It seems odd that the same omen as is quoted in l. 1 is quoted also in this line.

1It is unclear why the explanation takes the form of a subordinate clause.

1On the association of (1) the Elamite deity Šimut and (2) the constellation "Open Mouthed Storm Demon" with Mars, see Reynolds (1998: 354-356). The Akkadian "Balu" ("Without") seems to be otherwise attested as a name for Mars only in the text HAR-gud B (Reynolds 1998: 348-349, 353).

1The word ṣeršu, "growth, protuberance," is attested only in divinatory literature (AHw 1093b, CAD Ṣ 209b). For a discussion of the word's meaning, and an argument against the appearance of the word in the third caption of the Sippar Sun God Tablet, see Woods (2004: 64-66).

1Despite sharing a line with the previous explanation, the phrase idi ana idīšu ("on each side") seems to be drawn from a different, otherwise uncited omen in the base text.

1The general purpose of the commentator is clear: to explain the writing of the uncontracted form of the 3 fp G stative of kepû, "to bend," as a form of that verb. The commentator does so by means of the Sumerian phrase TUN₃.BA.AB GI. The sign GIN₂ (read TUN₃) is elsewhere attested in reference to a reed stylus (GI) in the lexical list Nabnītu Tablet 22, ll. 121-126 (cited by CAD K 312b).

1The constellation "Šitaddaru" = Orion.

1The constellation "Field" = Pegasus.

1The verb šalāmu is attested in reference to a period of time (as in the present interpretation of this line) in a Neo-Babylonian text (CAD Š I 218 c).

1Since Ningirsu is the local (in Girsu), pre-OB period form of Ninurta, Ninurta could be cited here as the explanation of an appearance of Ningirsu in the base text.

Photos by E. Jiménez and © Trustees of the BM

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum