CCP 4.2.G - Therapeutic (bulṭu bīt Dābibi 2) G

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
W 22307/15
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1 Schnittgraben, südl. Hä.
SpTU 1 51
Uruk Foto Nr. 13031, 13035

Clancier, 2009 (GKAB)

Hunger, 1976H. Hunger, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil I. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1976.: 61-62 no. 51

MedicalTherapeutic texts

ṣâtu 6a

Base text: 
Therapeutic (bulṭu bīt Dābibi 2)
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
rev 21
6,3 × 9,3 × 2,4 cm
Achaemenid (5th cent - 331 BCE) (Uruk, Anu-ikṣur / Nippur / Babylon)
Anu-ikṣur s. Šamaš-iddin d. Šangû-Ninurta, āšipu

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.
[Descendants Šangû-Ninurta]
: 50, 52, 55, 71, 265, 388

Farber, 1987W. Farber, Neues aus Uruk: Zur „Bibliothek des Iqīša” [Review of von Weiher SpTU 2], Welt des Orients, vol. 18, pp. 26-42, 1987.
: 37 fn. 43

Fincke, 2011J. C. Fincke, Spezialisierung und Differenzierung im Bereich der altorientalischen Medizin: Die Dermatologie am Beispiel der Symptome simmū matqūtu, kalmātu (matuqtu), kibšu, kiṣṣatu und gurištu, in The Empirical Dimension of Ancient Near Eastern Studies / Die empirische Dimension altorientalischer Forschungen, G. J. Selz Lit, 2011, pp. 159-208.: 173, 176, 178, 181, 185

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 53, 233-34, 291

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 74 (16), 109 (2), 142 (4), 167 (13), 201 (6–7, 10–11), 212 (6, 10), 74, 116 (14), 115, 119 (r 9), 139–140 (3), 201, 212 (12), 212–213 (13–14)

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 399

Heeßel, 2000N. P. Heeßel, Babylonisch-assyrische Diagnostik. Ugarit-Verlag, 2000.
[On line 5: kissatu]
: 189

Hunger, 1976H. Hunger, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil I. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1976.
[Editio princeps]
: 61-62 no. 51

Köcher, 1978F. Köcher, Spätbabylonische medizinische Texte aus Uruk, in Medizinische Diagnostik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Festschrift für H. Goerke zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, C. Habrich, Marguth, F. , and Wolf, J. H. Werner Fritsch, 1978, pp. 17-39.
[Dābibi written dù.dù.dù (?)]
: 33 fn. 14

Stol, 2003M. Stol, Petroleum, Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 10, p. 437, 2003.
[On line 3]
: 437b

Stol, 2009cM. Stol, Schwefel, Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 10, pp. 317-319, 2009.
[On line 6]
: 319b

Clancier, 01/2009 (ATF Transliteration)
Clancier, 01/2009 (Lemmatization)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Revision)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Translation)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Enrique Jiménez |
Cite this edition
Jiménez, E., “Commentary on Therapeutic (bulṭu bīt Dābibi 2) (CCP no. 4.2.G),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed July 23, 2017)
Make a correction or suggestion

This tablet preserves a commentary on an unidentified therapeutic text. According to its rubric, it is a ṣâtu 6a commentary on a tablet whose incipit is šumma amēlu qaqqassu īta[nakkalšu] (?), “If a person’s head cau[ses him pain].” Moreover, according to its subscript the tablet would represent the second section ([pirsu]) of the elusive series Bulṭu bīt Dābibi,1 “Prescriptions of the house of Dābibi,” a series mentioned in the rubrics of commentaries from Nippur (CCP 4.2.B and CCP 4.2.P) and also in BM 59607 (CCP 4.2.Q), from the “Sippar Collection.” Acording to its colophon, the tablet belongs to the collection of Anu-ikṣur; the catchline refers to another commentary that may or may not have been part of the same collection.


The commentary reproduces fairly long sections from the commented text, and then explains them in different ways. For instance, the first preserved entry, the line from the base text “(He) is full of the ‘sweet insect’” (kalmatu matuqtu) is explains as “an insect bites his head.” This interpretation is then justified by the fact that “‘sweetness’ (mutqu) means ‘louse’.” A paraphrase is appended as a coronary: according to it, the line “refers (to the man) whose head is scratched by an insect.”

In some entries the equations have no parallels elsewhere, and they seem to have been prompted by phonetic similarity thus in r 3 the disease giṣṣatu (some sort of skin affliction) is explained as “shearing of goat hair,” on account of the fact that the word “shearing” (gazāz) sounds similar to the name of the disease.

The most interesting entry is perhaps that of r 10-11, where the base text (“oil of myrtle”) is first cited by means of the technical term ša iqbû, “what it says.” Then the commentary, rather than explaining the word philologically, explains how to produce this “oil of myrtle,” by crushing and sieving myrtle, mixing it with water and oil, and boiling it.

The text uses a plethora of technical terms, some of them only rarely attested elsewere: ana muḫḫi, “on account of” (r 3), lišānu ša, “said of” (?) (r 4), ša iqbû, “what it says” and mala iqbû, “as many times as it says it” (r 6, 10, 12-13), ina libbi, “as in” (r 13), and šanîš, “alternatively” (r 14, 16).


A photo of the reverse of the tablet was kindly provided by Hermann Hunger, and it allowed some improved readings. The transliteration below makes use of an ATF transliteration prepared by Philippe Clancier for the GKAB project. Thanks are expressed to Philippe Clancier and Eleanor Robson.


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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


SpTU 1, 051

o o NaN  (missing)
r 1 r 1

kal-ma-tu ma-tuq-ta SA₅ : UḪ SAG.DU I₃.GU₇.E : mut-⸢qu 1

(r 1) "(He) is full of the 'sweet insect'" (kalmatu matuqtu) means "an insect bites his head," (since) "sweetness" (mutqu) means "louse." It refers (to the man) whose head is scrat[ched] by an insect.

r 2 2

u₂-pul : ša₂ SAG.DU-su kal-ma-tu u₂-naq-qi₂-[ir-šu₂]

r 3 3

gi-iṣ-ṣa-tu₂ : ana UGU ga-za-az ša₂ SIG₂ UZ₃ : I₃.KUR.RA : [nap-ṭu]

(r 3) "giṣṣatu-disease" is said on account of the shearing (gazāz) of goat hair. "kurra" means [naphta].

r 4 4

kib-ša₂ : qu-um-ma-nu : ek-ke-tu₂ EME ša₂ e-ge-[gi] 2

(r 4) "kibšu-disease" means qummānu-disease. "Itch" (ekketu) is derived from (or, said of) "itching" (egēgu), (as in) "sugu sagu saʾumbinagag (i.e.,) 'kissatu-illness, itching, and rišûtu-disease.'" (quotation from Muššuʾu)

r 5 5

SU.GU₂ SA.GU₂ SA.UMBIN.AG.AG : ki-is-sat ek-ke-tu₂ ri-[šu-tu] 3

r 6 6

PIŠ₁₀.dID₂ GE₆ : kib-rit zi-kar : ŠE₁₀ AMAR MUŠEN-MEŠ ša₂ iq⸣-[bu-u₂]

(r 6) Black sulphur: means "male sulphur." What it says, "excrements of atchlings' excrement - amar means "hatchling," (in the sense of) "chick."

r 7 7

AMAR : a-tam : li-da-nu : SIG₂ SUMUN ŠUB-ma SIG₂ GIBIL E₃?

(r 7) "síg sumun šub-ma síg gibil è means means "old hair will fall and new hair will grow."

r 8 8

šar₂-tu₄ la-bir-tu₄ i-ma-aq-qut-ma šar₂-tu₄ -še-tu₄ il⸣-[la?-a?] 4

r 9 9

u₂qul-qul-la-nu ki-ma kir₃-kir₃-ra-nu u i-ṣi [(x x)]

(r 9) The qulqullânu-plant is like pine seeds (kikkirânu) (or juniper) seeds and wood [...].

r 10 10

I₃ šimGIR₂ ša₂ DUG₄u₂ : šimGIR₂ GAZ SIM ina A tu-[bal?-lal?]

(r 10) What it says, "oil of myrtle," means that you crush and sieve myrtle, and then mix it in water, you put fire beneath, pour oil on top, and [...]. What it says, "oil of juniper," is the same.

r 11 11

IZI ina KI.TAnu ta-šar-rap I₃ ana UGU ŠUB-ma ta-[x x]

r 12 12

I₃ šimLI ša₂ Eu₂ KI.MIN-ma!(GIŠ) : munusU₂.ZUG₂ : u₂-⸢suk⸣-[ka-tu]

(r 12) "munus.ú.zúg" means "ritually unclean" (fem.).

r 13 13

NUMUN U₂-ḪI.A ma-la iq-bu-u₂ : GAZIsar : ina ŠA₃ ša₂ U₂ x [x x (x)]

(r 13) "Seeds of plants," every time it appears, means "mustard," as in "plant [...]." Alternatively, seeds of plants as many as (there are) in the (medical) preparation, [...] for his illness.

r 14 14

ša₂-niš NUMUN U₂-ḪI.A ma-la ina ZU₂.KEŠDA ana mur-ṣi-šu₂ [x x (x)]

r 15 15

ḫu-ru-gu : ḫa-aḫ-ḫu-ru : ŠE₁₀ lu₂TUR munusTUR ša₂ NAM.⸢TUR⸣-[šu₂ x x (x)] 5

(r 15) "hurūgu" means "raven." "še₁₀ lú.tur munus.tur šá namtur-[šú]" means "excrement of a boy or a young girl while in their youth, alternatively [...].

r 16 16

ze-e ṣa-ḫar u ṣa-ḫir-ti ša₂ ma-ru-ti-šu₂ ša₂-niš ša₂* [x x (x)]

r 17 17

NIG₂.ZI.GAL₂.EDIN.NA u šu-ut KA ša₂ * NA SAG.DU-su GU₇*⸣.[GU₇-šu₂] 6

(r 17) Lemmata and oral explanations (relating to) "If a person's head cau[ses him pain]," following the sayings of a (master-)scholar. (From the series) Bulṭu bīt Dābibi, 2nd [pirsu].

r 18 18

ša₂ KA UM.ME.A bul-ṭu E₂ mDA₃-BIₓ(DU₃)-BIₓ(DU₃) 2u₂ [pir-su]

r 19 19

mal₂-su-ut mdKUR.GAL-ik-ṣur DUMU ša₂ mdUTU-[MU]

(r 19) Lecture of Anu-ikṣur, son of Šamaš-iddina the incantation priest, descendant of Šangû-Ninurta.

r 20 20


(r 20) The reverer of Gula shall value (this tablet)! "If a man, his head hurts him" (= catchline).

r 21 21

li-ša₂-qir * NA SAG.DU-su GU₇⸣-[šu₂]

1As noted by Hunger SpTU 1 (1976) p. 62, UH SAG.DU Ì.GU₇.E, i.e., kalmatu qaqqada ikkal, "insects will bite his head," seems to explain kalmatu matuqta mali, although expanations are usually not written logographically. For the parasite kalmatu matuqtu, see Fincke "Spezialisierung und Differenzierung im Bereich der altorientalischen Medizin" (WOO 6, 2011) pp. 184-187.

2lišānu ša, lit. "language of," is a technical term that is only rarely attested.

3Quotation from Muššuʾu VI 12, as in CCP 4.2.I o 7.

4As noted by Hunger SpTU 1 (1976) p. 62, at the end one could also restore illak (see however the reading at the end of previous line adopted here).

5The word ḫurūgu was previously only attested lexically and in a Namburbi: see CAD Ḫ 256b. It is apparently a by-form of the bird name kurukku.

6The reading at the end of the line seems epigraphically possible. For more instances of this protasis, see Mayer OrNS 62 (1993) p. 323 l. 121 and Abusch & Schwemer AMD 8/1 (2010) p. 319 l. 1.