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, “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.