CCP 3.6.3.E - Šumma immeru, Izbu aḫû E

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
W 22307/12
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1 Schnittgraben, südl. Hä.
SpTU 1 72
Uruk Foto Nr. 13013, 13016
DivinationTeratological omensIzbu cola LB Uruk

ṣâtu 6a

Base text: 
Šumma immeru, Izbu aḫû
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Complete tablet (only upper right corner missing)
obv 23, rev 23
6,7 × 9,0 × 2,2 cm
Achaemenid (5th cent - 331 BCE) (Uruk, Anu-ikṣur / Nippur / Babylon)
Anu-ikṣur d. Šangû-Ninurta [junior āšipu]

Cavigneaux, 1996A. Cavigneaux, Review of von Weiher SpTU 4, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, vol. 86, pp. 148-150, 1996.
[On line r 10-11]
: 149

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.: 52, 54-56,71

de Zorzi, 2014N. de Zorzi, La serie teratomantica Šumma Izbu. Testo, tradizione, orizzonti culturali. Sargon Editice e Libreria, 2014.: 12-13

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 53, 95, 209-10, 291, 319

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 74 (11, r 15, 21), 107 (r 9, 20), 109 (18–19), 114 (15), 130 (r 13–14), 156–157 (r 10–11)

Hunger, 1976H. Hunger, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil I. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1976.
: 74-76 no. 72

Lambert, 1978bW. G. Lambert, Review of Hunger SpTU 1, Archiv für Orientforschung, vol. 26, pp. 110-111, 1978.
[On line o 18: obv. 18. nu = la šat!-ti. lā šattu, pl. lā šināti, are what is improper and so wrong.]
: 111b

Rutz, 2014M. T. Rutz, SpTU 1 72: šumma immeru and šumma izbu in Late Babylonian Uruk, N.A.B.U. Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires, vol. 2014/71, 2014.
[Commentary on K.2180+]

Stol, 2014M. Stol, Review of Heeßel KAL 5, Bibliotheca Orientalis, vol. 71, pp. 186-188, 2014.
[On line r 2-5: Commentary on KAL 5 83 o 4, 7, 9, and r 11]
: 188

Besnier, 01/2009 (ATF Transliteration)
Besnier, 01/2009 (Lemmatization)
Cohen, 02/2016 (Translation)
Cohen, 02/2016 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Collation)
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Introduction [second part])
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Revision)
Frazer, 02/2016 (Introduction [correction])
Jiménez, 11/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Yoram Cohen |
Cite this edition
Cohen, Y., “Commentary on Šumma immeru, Izbu aḫû (CCP no. 3.6.3.E),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed September 24, 2017)
Make a correction or suggestion

This tablet is a commentary concerned with explicating words and phrases belonging to the šumma immeru (‘If a sheep’) omen series and possibly also to non-canonical or extraneous omens of the šumma izbu (‘If a foetus’) omen series. The colophon states that the tablet was written by Anu-ikṣur, a member of the Šangû-Ninurta family, who lived circa 400 BCE.

The šumma immeru omens observe the behavior of the sacrificial animal, a male lamb or young sheep, before and at the time of its slaughter and immediately following its killing. The protases of the omens observe the sheep’s general behavior as well as the appearance of its particular body parts, upon which the results are drawn in the apodoses. There are a few recensions of the series, but the commentary edited here obviously comments on its latest and final version, sometime designated as the ‘standard’ or ‘canonical’ recension. This recension is known to us from a few Neo-Assyrian and Late Babylonian manuscripts.

The šumma izbu omens observe the appearances and characteristics of a still-born foetus of (usually) sheep. The standard recension of the series contains twenty-four tablets. Omens relating, but not belonging, to the series were also collected on individual tablets (of which scarce evidence exists).

A large portion of the commentary can be seen to explicate lines preserved in a Neo-Assyrian manuscript of the šumma immeru standard recension (K 2180+). However, since both the opening lines of the commentary and a large chunk of the beginning of the Neo-Assyrian manuscript are broken, a correspondence between the commentary and the base-text can be observed for only sixteen lines (obv. 15–rev. 7). Thus, it is not clear whether the very broken obv. ll. 1–14 indeed comment on the šumma immeru omen series or on another composition. Likewise, although in a good condition, rev. ll. 8–20 cannot find a clear correspondence with the standard šumma immeru recension because of gaps in the reconstruction of the base-text. Since, according to the colophon, the commentary includes explanations on šumma izbu non-canonical omens, these lines perhaps comment on compositions or collections other than šumma immeru.


The commentary is concerned with the philological explanation of difficult words and signs in the base text. The main source of the explanations is the lexical tradition, but the commentator also makes occasional use of some creative philology. Thus, in l. 21 the rare verb iṣarrar, ‘it drops’ is given its infinitive ṣarāru ‘to flow, drip.’ However, note the oddly written infinitive form ṣar-a-ra, instead of the customary ṣa-ra-ru. This infinitive form is then said to mean alāku, ‘to go’, an explanation that is based on the common lexical equation between the Sumerian verb a-rá and the Akkadian alāku: by spelling out the verb as ṣar-a-ra, the commentator provides the rationale behind his equation.

Lines r 5-7 comment on the omen “(If) its (sc. the sheep’s) neck () is in the place where its tail should be, the prince’s country will revolt against him.” The first commentarial explanation provides a clarification for an ambiguous description: in the protasis “(If) its (sc. the sheep’s) neck () is in the place of its tail,” the logogram , which usually means “neck,” is said to also mean “head.” The commentary then explains that can also mean “country,” thus providing a link between protasis and apodosis and demonstrating the internal consistency of the omen.

Lines r 10-11 contain a curious notarikon analysis of the rare word áb.zà.mí (in Akkadian apsammikku), which is some sort of concave-sided tetragon in the exta. According to the commentary, it means “the sound hole” (lit., “the ear”), because “the sound hole” is the “window” (ab) of a “lyre” (zà.mí).


Photographs of the tablet were kindly made available by H. Hunger for the Cuneiform Commentaries Project. A few new readings were obtained after collation using these photos by E. Jiménez: the new readings are marked with an asterisk in the edition below.


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SpTU 1, 072 [\x9Aumma immeru]

o o NaN  (start of obverse missing)
o 1' o 1'

[x x x] MU x NI [...]

(o 1') [...] ... [...]

o 2' 2'

[x x] x A MU x [...]

(o 2') [...] ... [...]

o 3' 3'

[x x] x RU MU x [...]

(o 3') [...] ... [...]

o 4' 4'

šá ana la-ra?⸣-an-du ŠU x [...]

(o 4') ... tiger ... [...]

o 5' 5'

šá ar-ri-šu? [x x x x x] x x [...]

(o 5') ... [...] ... [...]

o 6' 6'

ma-qit dan-⸢niš x [x x x x] A? ḪA [...]

(o 6') ... collapsed ... strongly [...]

o 7' 7'

AR TE IK [x] x [x x x] x x x [...]

(o 7') ... [...]

o 8' 8'

[x x] UD ḪUR [x x x x] x x [...]

(o 8') [...] ... [...]

o 9' 9'

BI SI* x x [x x x x x] x [...]

(o 9') ... [...]

o 10' 10'

gišTUKUL el-[lu x x x x] : x [...]

(o 10') a pure weapon ... [...]. Alternatively, ‘a weapon’ not [...]. ḪÚL means [‘happiness’]. MUL₄.BI means ‘bright’(ZALAG); ḫadû means ‘to be joyful’. (Also) ‘to be bright’.

o 11' 11'

šá-niš kak-ku NU [x x x x x] : ḪÚL ⸢:⸣ [ḫi-du-]

o 12' 12'

MUL₄.BI : ZÁLAG.GA : ḫa*-du*-ú* : e-le*-⸢e⸣-ṣu 1

o 13' 13'

na-ma- : a-a-um-⸢ma di : i-⸢red⸣-di

(o 13') ‘Somebody will ÚS-di means ‘somebody will persecute’.

o 14' 14'

a-a-um-ma : šá-nam-⸢ma i-tap-pa-lu

(o 14') ‘They will reply someone else’ means ‘they will call out loudly’.

o 15' 15'

šá ma-a-diš -ta-su-ú : NE⸣.GAR : ni-⸢ip-ḫi

(o 15') [N]E.GAR means ‘false omen,’ ‘false omen’ means LUL; ‘falsehood’ means ‘lies’. NU GI.NA means ‘lying’; NU GI.NA means ‘not fitting’.

o 16' 16'

ni-ip-ḫi : LUL* : tas-ri-ir-ru : súr-ra-a-tu 2

o 17' 17'

NU GI.NA : sa-ra-a-ar : NU GI.NA

o 18' 18'

la šat-ti : A.GAR.GAR-šu i-ṣar-ra-ar 3

(o 18') ‘It (the sheep) drops (iṣarrar) its dung-pellets’ means ‘it (the sheep) scatters its dung-pellets’. It means ‘they (the dung-pellets) repeatedly fall one by one’. Alternatively, ‘it (the sheep) drops’; ‘to drop’ (written ṣar-a-ra), means ‘to go’.

o 19' 19'

šá piq-qa-an-ni-šú i-za-ar-ru-ú

o 20' 20'

šá 1en-nu-ú in-da-naq-qu-tu-u-nu

o 21' 21'

šá-niš i-ṣar-ra-ar : ṣar-a-ra : a-la-ku 4

o 22' 22'

ḪAR⸣.BAD : a-mu-tu : NA.NE : qut-rin-⸢nu

(o 22') [ḪA]R.BAD means ‘liver’. NA.NE means ‘censer’.

o 23' 23'

[IGI-MIN-šú] ú-zaq-qa-pi : šá ú-šá-az-za-az-⸢za

(o 23') ‘It (the sheep) pointedly stares [its eyes] means ‘it positions (its eyes).

r 1 r 1

: re-tu-u : ú-zu-uz-zu : : za-qa-pa

(r 1) means ‘to be erect’ or it means ‘to stand still’. means ‘to fix’.

r 2 2


(r 2) BAR UDU GAZ KÚR means ‘Release the sheep! Kill the enemy!’.

r 3 3

na-ra-ṭu : sa-la-ḫu : úNÍNDA : il-lu-ru

(r 3) ‘To shake’ means ‘to tremble’. Ú.NINDÁ means ‘red flower’.

r 4 4

ul-lu-ṣu : ḫa-du-ú : GABA!(DUḪ).RAḪ.ḪA : ra-pa-áš GABA

(r 4) ‘To be cheerful’ means ‘to be happy’. GABA!.RAḪ.ḪA means ‘the beating on the chest’.

r 5 5

ú-da-ap-par : i-re-e-qu : KI KUN-su GAR -su GAR

(r 5) ‘He will go away’ means ‘he will depart’. ‘where its (the sheep’s) tail is placed, it will place its neck, the prince’s country will revolt against him’. means ‘neck’; also means ‘head’. means ‘country’.

r 6 6

NUN KUR-su BAL-su : : ki-šá-da : : re-

r 7 7

: ma-a-ta : ME.NI : É.GAL

(r 7) ME.NI means ‘palace-gate’.

r 8 8

ne-pel-ku-ú : ra-pa-šú : NA GIM ṣer-ret pa-ri-is

(r 8) ‘To be wide’ means ‘to expand’. ‘The ‘Presence’ (NA) (looks) like ‘an oarlock.’ It (refers to the ‘Presence’) that is (like) a circle.

r 9 9

šá ku-up-pu-tu : nim-šu-šu : SA-ME-šú : KAL

(r 9) (The word) nimšūšu means ‘its sinews’(SA.ME-šú). KAL (means) means ‘to be stiff’.

r 10 10

da-na-an : ÁB.. : ḫa-si-si : áš-šú U

(r 10) (The word) ÁB.ZÀ.MÍ means ‘the ear’, because U (i.e., the Sumerian equivalent of ḫasīsu, see e.g. Aa II/4 13 = MSL 14 p. 480) is the ‘opening’ (aptu, whose logogram is AB) of the lyre (simmû, whose logogram is ZÀ.MI).

r 11 11

ap-ta šá sa-am-mu-ú : DAR : šá-ta-qa

(r 11) DAR means ‘to be split’.

r 12 12

ki-im-da-šú : nap-ḫar-šú : KIN : nap-ḫa- 5

(r 12) ‘Its hock’ (kimṭašu for kimṣašu!) (when understood as kimtašu) means ‘all of its (frame),’ (since) KIN means ‘all’. U means ‘a hole’. U means ‘a fissure’.

r 13 13

U : ši-li : U : pil-ši : ši-it-rid-ma

(r 13) (The word) šitrid (stems from) ‘to be firm’ (šitrudu); this means ‘to be strong’. As in ‘stand and do not retreat!’. ‘Do not retreat’ has an additional interpretation, ‘do not fear’ ( tanakkud). ‘To fear’ (nakādu) means ‘to be afraid’. ‘Fear’(ŠÀ.MUD) equals ŠÀ.GU₄.UD equals ŠÀ.GU₄.UD.GU₄.UD means ‘fear’. ‘Anxiety’ (nikitti) stems from ‘to fear’ (nakādu).

r 14 14

šit-ru-du : da-⸢na⸣-an : lìb-bu-ú i-ziz-ma

r 15 15

la ta-na-ḫis : la ta-na-aḫ-ḫi-is šá-niš

r 16 16

la ta-na-kud : na-ka-du : pa-la-ḫu

r 17 17

ŠÀ.MUD : ŠÀ GU₄.UD : ŠÀ GU₄.UD.GU₄.UD : gi-lit-ti

r 18 18

ni-qit-ti : na-ka-du : DI : šu-lum : ÁB

(r 18) DI means ‘well-being’. ÁB means ‘cow’. ‘To move away’ means ‘to go’. This means ... ‘To quake’ means to ‘move about (unnaturally). A means ‘it will be w[ashed out].

r 19 19

le-e-tu₄ : ša-da-da : a-la-ku : [x x] x

r 20 20

na-a-šu : da-a-lu : A : ⸣-[šá-ḫa-at]

r 21 21

NÍG.ZI.GÁL.EDIN.NA u šu-ut KA šá BE UDU.⸢NÍTA [x x x x x]

(r 21) Lemmata and oral explanations relating to šumma immeru [...].

r 22 22

BAR-ME šá BE iz-⸢bu šá KA UM.ME.A mal-⸢su⸣-[tu m60-ik-ṣur]

(r 22) Extraneous (omens) of šumma izbu according to the oral (explanations) of the expert; (according to) the lect[ure of Anu-ikṣur], junior exorcist, descendent of Šangû-[Ninurta].

r 23 23


1Collation from photograph by E. Jiménez.

2Collation from photograph by E. Jiménez.

3The reading šat-ti, instead of Hunger’s kìn-ti, is suggested by Lambert AfO 26 (1978/1979) p. 111: “No. 72 obv. 18. nu = lā šatti. lā sattu, pl. lā šināti, are what is improper and so wrong.” For another ocurrence of lā šatti, see K.1 ll. 62-63 (CCP 3.5.30) [EJ].

4The “broken” writing of ṣar-a-ra is is used to justify the equation of ṣarāru with alāku (cp. e.g. Aa I/1 208: a-ra A.DU = alāku) [EJ].

5Compare BM 48561 o 4′: [...]ki⸣-im-da-šú la ip-pu-uṣ : ki-im-da-šú : qi-in-na-⸢at-su[...], “his buttocks” [EJ].