CCP 3.5.103 - Ālu 103, 104 alt, and […]

Catalogue information
British Museum
NinevehNineveh (Kuyunjik)
CT 41 34

Labat, 1933R. Labat, Commentaires assyro-babyloniens sur les présages. Imprimerie-Librairie de l’Université, 1933.: 76-79

DivinationTerrestrial omens (Šumma Ālu)

ṣâtu 2c

Base text: 
Ālu 103, 104 alt, and […]
Tablet information
Fragment (lower portion)
obv 13, rev 15
5,6 × 4,9 × 2,2 cm
7th cent (Assurbanipal libraries and other Assyrian cities)

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 40-41, 51, 193, 200

Frahm, 2013aE. Frahm, Creation and the Divine Spirit in Babel and Bible. Reflections on mummu in Enūma eliš I 4 and rûah in Genesis 1:2, in Literature as Politics, Politics as Literature. Essays on the Ancient Near East in Honor of Peter Machinist, D. S. Vanderhooft and Winitzer, I. Eisenbrauns, 2013, pp. 97-116.
[On line 6]
: 107 fn. 36

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

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.
[On line 2, 4, 12, 14, 15, 21]
: 26

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 433-434

Guinan, 2002A. K. Guinan, Erotomancy: Scripting the Erotic, in Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East. Proceedings of the 47th Rencontre Assyriolgique Internationale, Helsinki, July 2-6, 2001, S. Parpola and Whiting, R. M. The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2002, pp. 185-201.
[On line o 18]
: 200 fn. 38

Heeßel, 2007N. P. Heeßel, Divinatorische Texte I. Terrestrische, teratologische, physiognomische und oneiromantische Omina. Harrassowitz, 2007.
[On line o 4]
: 109 ad 18'

Labat, 1933R. Labat, Commentaires assyro-babyloniens sur les présages. Imprimerie-Librairie de l’Université, 1933.
: 76-79

Labat, 1951R. Labat, Traité Akkadien de Diagnostics et Prognostics Médicaux. Academie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences, 1951.
[On line o 5]
: 158

Moren[-Freedman], 1978S. M. Moren[-Freedman], The omen series šumma ālu. PhD thesis, 1978.: 41, 115, 236, 248

Jiménez, 05/2017 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 05/2017 (Translation)
Jiménez, 05/2017 (Introduction)
By Enrique Jiménez |
Cite this edition
Jiménez, E., “Commentary on Ālu 103, 104 alt, and […] (CCP no. 3.5.103),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed September 23, 2017)
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The fragment edited below represents the lower half of a commentary tablet on the series of “terrestrial” omens Šumma Ālu. It contains glosses on several chapters of the series, which deal with prognoses derived from sexual behavior. In this respect, it is interesting that the exegete repeatedly recognizes his inability to explain some sexual terms (see e.g. ll. 2′, 4′, 15′, 21′), a display of candor that is rarely found in other commentaries.1

The preserved text is divided into three sections by means of two rubrics (ll. 8′ and 22′). The first one corresponds to the incipit of the 103rd chapter of Šumma Ālu, and in fact most of the explananda from this section are attested in the known manuscripts of that chapter (K.8268+ K.12711 [K.8268 was published as AMT 65/3] // VAT 13809 [KAL 1 no. 35]). The second section of the tablet would therefore be expected to comment on the well preserved (if poorly edited) 104th chapter of the series Šumma Ālu. However, although some rather faint matches can be found between the second section of the present commentary and Šumma Ālu 104 (see below ll. 9′ and 18′), the majority of the explananda do not feature in the alleged base text. Moreover, the rubric of the second section, “If a woman rejoices in a man’s house” (l. 22′), does not correspond to the incipit of Ālu 104, and is in fact elsewhere unattested.2 One must assume, therefore, that it comments on a variant version of Ālu 104. Likewise, the explananda of the third section of the present commentary cannot be matched with any known manuscript of Šumma Ālu 105.


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 3.5.30 (Ālu 30-32), 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.3 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 extend from that of the Assyrian copies of Šumma Ālu found in Nineveh.

  • 1. Since some of the explananda left unexplained deal with sexual terms and behaviors, Frahm suggests that “if the assumption is correct that the scribe who wrote the commentary was a young student, it would not be too surprising if he had to profess that he had no clue what the sexually explicit content of the line really meant − what seems more remarkable from our modern point of view is that he had to study such topics in the first place.” See E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. P. 41.
  • 2. S. M. Moren[-Freedman], The omen series šumma ālu. PhD thesis, 1978. P. 248.
  • 3. 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.

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


CT 41, pl. 34, K 00103

x59 NaN  (beginning obverse missing)
0 0

[...] x

1' 1'



[qid]damta (= Šumma Ālu 103 = K.8268+ l. 1′) means “bending down.”

2' 2'

[KI.]-su A TAG-ma

ki-bi-is me-e ta-lap-pat-ma : ul i-di

[KI.UŠ]-su A TAG-ma (= Šumma Ālu 103 = K.8268+ l. 11′) means “you will touch a track on the water” I do not know (what this means).

3' 3'



The [mas]kadu-disease (= Šumma Ālu 103 = K.8268+ l. 16′ // VAT 13809 [KAL 1 35] o 2′) is the šaššaṭu-disease.

4' 4'

* NA ana ḫal-li-šá DU

ul i-di

“If a man ‘comes’ between her thighs” (VAT 13809 [KAL 1 35] o 18′) I do not know (what this means).

5' 5'

i-na li-ba-ti-šú-ma ÚŠ

la-bu-ú : šá-su-ú

“In his anger (ina libbātīšu) he will die” (stems from) “to howl” (labû), (which) means “to cry.”

6' 6'



AD (= “father”) means “mother.”

7' 7'

É A-šu

É a-bi-šú

É A-šu means “his father’s house.”

8' 8'

[ṣa-a]-tu₄ šá * NA ana MUNUS GUBza-at DU

[Lemma]ta relating to “If a man has intercourse with a woman who is standing up” (= Šumma Ālu 103).

9' 9'



KUD (Šumma Ālu 104 l. 4 [= CT 39 44 l. 4]) means “to cut.”

10' 10'


a-ḫi-iz-tu 1

[GAR (?)]-ta means married woman.

11' 11'



UŠBAR₆ means “father in law.”

12' 12'

[x (x)].ZA

ul i-di

[].ZA I do not know (what this means).

lower edge
13' 13'



[“To me]et” means “to approach.”

14' 14'

[x x x (x)] x⸣-še reš-ti i-nam-din et-gu-ru- ⸢:⸣ ul i-di

[] beginning, he gives, intertwined I do not know (what this means).

15' 15'

[x (x)] x MU-MEŠ ana EGIR-šú

ul i-di

[] years to his back I do not know (what this means).

16' 16'



[et]-reṭ means et-re-eṭ.

17' 17'



SÍG.ÙZ means “hair.”

18' 18'


ze-e 2

ŠE₁₀ (Šumma Ālu 104 l. 12 [= CT 39 44 l. 12]) means “excrement.”

19' 19'



ipqam means “leprosy.”

20' 20'



i-šá-pár-ši means “He will send to her.”

21' 21'

qud-⸢da⸣-ti d15

ul i-di

Axes of Ištar” I do not know (what this means).

22' 22'

ṣa-a-tu₄ šá * MUNUS ina É NA iḫ-te-di 3

[Lemma]ta relating to “If a woman rejoices in a man’s house” (= Šumma Ālu unknown).

23' 23'



KA means “mouth.”

24' 24'



NIR.NIR-aṣ means “to extend repeatedly.”

25' 25'



NIR means “to stretch.”

26' 26'



i-ša-ba-as-ma means “he gets angry.”

27' 27'

[(x x) giš]⸢ it-bi

šá ina la e-de-e [x] x

[] raises [from the b]ed” (means) that without knowing []

28' 28'

[x x x

x] x UB x [(x)]

(rest of reverse missing)

1According to CAD A/1 192b, a-ḫi-iz-tu is a hapax legomenon.

2According to Guinan, A.K. RAI 47 (2002) p. 200, this line could refer to CT 39 44 l. 12 9 = Šumma Ālu 104).

3The last word could also be read as iḫ-te-ṭi, “sinned”, following AHw 338a.

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