CCP 6.1.29 - Aa V/4 (pirsu 29)

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
W 22643
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1 Wohnhaus nö. ne. Sch I, II
SpTU 2 54

von Weiher, 1983E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil II. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1983.: 209-211 no. 54


ṣâtu 7c

Base text: 
Aa V/4 (pirsu 29)
Tablet information
Complete tablet
60 (obv. 33, rev. 27)
12,3 × 8,0 cm
Early Hellenistic (late 4th cent) (Uruk, Iqīšāya)
Enlil-bēlšunu, āšipu ṣeḫru s. Enlil-napištī-uṣur, brewer of Enlil (?) d. Gimil-Sîn
(Nippur) (?)

Attinger, 2005P. Attinger, A propos de AK «faire» (II), Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, vol. 95, pp. 208-275, 2005.
[On line 32-34]
: 223 fn. 83

Civil, 1989M. Civil, The Statue of šulgi-ki-ur5-sag9-kalam-ma. Part One: The Inscription [Appendix 2. A 1176], in DUMU-É-DUB-BA-A. Studies in Honor of Åke W. Sjöberg, H. Behrens, Loding, D. , and Roth, T. University Museum, 1989, pp. 49-64.
[On line 2-3]
: 55

Civil, 2013M. Civil, The Law Collection of Ur-Namma, in Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection, A. R. George CDL Press, 2013, pp. 221-286.
[On line 37]
: 272b

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.
[Descendants d'Ekur-zakir, Niveau II, associé a W 22462]
: 393

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.
: 36

Frahm, 2002E. Frahm, Zwischen Tradition und Neuerung: Babylonische Priestergelehrte im achämenidenzeitlichen Uruk, in Religion und Religionskontakte im Zeitalter der Achämeniden, R. G. Kratz Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2002, pp. 74-108.: 92

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 29, 40, 54, 73-75, 100-01, 106-07, 247-48, 294, 304

Gabbay, 2014aU. Gabbay, Actual Sense and Scriptural Intention: Literal Meaning and Its Terminology in Akkadian and Hebrew Commentaries, in Encounters by the Rivers of Babylon: Scholarly Conversations between Jews, Iranians, and Babylonians, U. Gabbay and Secunda, S. Mohr Siebeck, 2014, pp. 335-370.
[On line 43-46]
: 353

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 24 (52), 25 (41, 45), 74 (3, 7, 16, 19, 20, 22, 27, 28), 150 (2), 151 (35–36), 152 (21), 154 (8), 155 (34, 46), 156 (12–13), 226 (8–10), 152, 156 (50–53), 155–156 (38–40)

Gabbay & Jiménez, forthcomingU. Gabbay and Jiménez, E. , From Nippur to Uruk: The Tablets of the Gimil-Sîn Family.
[On the colophon]

Geller, 2010bM. J. Geller, Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
[On line 194: Read the colophon as m.den-lil-zi-tim-šeš kulla.lumₓ(mul) a mšu.d30]
: 194

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 248

Mayer, 2005W. R. Mayer, Das Gebet des Eingeweideschauers an Ninurta, Orientalia Nova Series, vol. 74, pp. 51-56, 2005.
[On line 11]
: 55 ad 2

Oelsner, 2001aJ. Oelsner, Uruk im Planquadrat U 18 [Review of von Weiher SpTU 5], Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, vol. 96, pp. 478-488, 2001.
: 482

Steinkeller, 2001P. Steinkeller, New Light on the Hydrology and Topography of Southern Babylonia in the Third Millennium, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, vol. 91, pp. 22-84, 2001.
[On line 2-3]
: 43-44 fn. 91

von Soden, 1977bW. von Soden, Aramäische Worter in neuassyrischen und neu- und spätbabylonischen Texten. Ein Vorbericht. III, Orientalia Nova Series, vol. 46/47, pp. 183-197, 1977.
[On line 50, 52: tilgūtu]
: 196

von Weiher, 1983E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil II. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1983.: 209-211 no. 54

Frahm, 08/2011 (Introduction [for GMTR 5])
Veldhuis, 05/2013 (Edition [for DCCLT])
Jiménez, 01/2015 (Introduction (adaptation))
By Niek Veldhuis |
Cite this edition
Veldhuis, N., “Commentary on Aa V/4 (pirsu 29) (CCP no. 6.1.29),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed August 18, 2017)
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This completely preserved commentary of sixty lines was found in area U XVIII 1 in Uruk. It has a rather complex subscript that begins with a catchline, then identifies as its base text the fourth section (pirsu) of diš ḫu-um ḫum (the incipit of Aa 26 = Ea 5/1) and the 30th section (pirsu) of Aa,1 and finally specifies that the tablet is a ṣâtu 7c commentary on diš e-nu en (the incipit of Aa “29”).2 The tablet presents (pseudo-)archaic forms of the cuneiform signs commented on, which is in line with the way some manuscripts of Aa itself render the signs.3 The commentary mentions Emesal forms (line 1) and provides “etymographical” examinations of certain signs. In line 41, the commentator confesses that he was unable to “read” something (ul šasi), and in line 52, he states that he had not “heard” of the meaning of a specific word (ul ašme). The colophon identifies the tablet as an im-gíd-da of Enlil-bēlšunu, “junior-exorcist” and son of Enlil-napištī-uṣur, a brewer of Enlil(?) and descendant of the Gimil-Sîn family.4 The preset commentary was discovered among tablets belonging to the library of the exorcist Iqīšāya, whose scribal activities can be dated to the early Hellenistic period. However, the names and functions of the individuals mentioned in the colophon indicate that they hailed from a family from Nippur, from where other commentaries found their way to Uruk as well.

As is often the case in Aa commentaries, this text uses etymological explanations to account for the Akkadian translations the lexical series Aa provided for Sumerian words. For instance, lines 50-53 of the present text read: diš ma-aḫ maḫ ... rag-ga-am-ma-nu : ra-ga-mu / aš-šum ma : qa-bu-u : : ma-du-tú “(the sign) maḫ, (when read) maḫ, ... (means) ‘prophet,’ (which is derived from?) ‘to shout,’ because ma (means) ‘to speak’ (and) aḫ (means) ‘many.’” We learn from this commentarial analysis that the Babylonians regarded prophets − if this is what raggammānu means here5 − as men who talked a lot.

This last example contains a case of etymography, in which the commentary isolates elements of complex logograms and then analyzes them individually. Another rather simple example of this method occurs in lines 16-17: diš lu-kur lukur(munus-me) na-[d]i-tu ... / munus : sin-niš-tu₄ : me : par-ṣi “(the sign) lukur(munus-me), (when pronounced) lukur, (means) nadītu-priestess ..., (for) munus (means) ‘woman’ (and) me (means) ‘cultic ordinance.’” Here, the first and the second component of the lukur sign are each translated on their own in an attempt to show that the nadītu-priestess is a woman in charge of cultic ordinances.6

This commentary contains an unusually high number of quotations. For instance, lines 9-10 quote a line which is explicitely said to be found in the corpus of cultic laments (kalûtu).7 In an attempt to provide a context reference for the lexical equation between me-er-me-ri and meḫû “storm,” the commentary offers the following citation (lines 9-10):

me-er-me-er i zi-gu-ú i-bí-bi saḫar-ra bí-in-dul / me-ḫu-u it-ba-am-ma e-per pa-ni-šú ik-tùm ina! lú!šú-tú qa-bi8

me-er-me-ri zi-gu-ú i-bí-bi saḫar-ra bí-in-dul − a storm arose and covered his face with dust” − (This) is said in the kalûtu-corpus.

The line quoted here is also attested in obv. 12’ of A 3513, a Late Babylonian catalogue of Balag compositions from the collection of the Oriental Institute in Chicago recently published by Gabbay;9 it is probably taken from the Balag am-e bára an-na-ra. The Akkadian translation is furthermore known from BRM 4, 6: 9,10 a ritual against lunar eclipses from Late Babylonian Uruk. The present commentary was found in Uruk as well, but seems to have been written by a Nippur scribe.

Similarly, lines 23-24 of the this commentary offer a bilingual quotation from the so-called Examenstext A:11 múrub um-me-a-ke₄-e-ne kisal é-dub-ba-a / ina pu-ḫur «ina» um-man-nu ki-sal é ṭup-pi, “In the assembly of the scholars, in the courtyard of the tablet house.” That the commentator, in his desire to provide a context reference for the equation between múrub and puḫru, chose this quotation in particular is probably to some degree due to the fact that Examenstext A describes quite well the scholarly milieu in which cuneiform hermeneutics were supposed to be practiced.

The edition offered below was produced for the DCCLT project by Niek Veldhuis, who kindly consented to its reproduction here.


[Adapted from E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. Pp. 73-74, 100-101, 106-107, and 247]

  • 1. The tablet count is thus by one number higher than Civil’s reconstruction of Aa in MSL 14 would have us expect.
  • 2. A structurally similar subscript can be found in NBC 7832 (CCP 6.1.41), a commentary on Aa 41 from Nippur.
  • 3. Note that a Middle Assyrian colophon characterizes the series as a-a-meš-tu libir-ra-meš-tu “ancient ‘a-a’s (signs)” (see Civil, 1979M. Civil, Green, M. W. , and Lambert, W. G. , Ea A = nâqu, Aa A = nâqu, with their Forerunners and Related Texts. Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1979.: 148).
  • 4. See W. Farber, Neues aus Uruk: Zur „Bibliothek des Iqīša” [Review of von Weiher SpTU 2], Welt des Orients, vol. 18, pp. 26-42, 1987. P. 36.
  • 5. CAD R, 405b interprets rag-ga-am-ma-nu as an unusual writing of the word rugummû “legal claim,” but it seems more likely to connect it with raggimu “prophet,” since maḫ recalls the word maḫḫû, another Akkadian prophetic title.
  • 6. In line 18, after identifying lukur with some other terms for elderly females, the commentator, analyzing the title phonetically, states: lú : a-me-lu : kúr : na-ka-ru “lú (means) ‘man,’ kúr (means) ‘to be inimical.’” Perhaps, the idea behind this remark is that the lukur-woman, because of her strong affiliation with cultic taboos and female mysteries, was a person that dangerously challenged male prerogatives.
  • 7. The passage has to be added to the quotations identified by U. Gabbay, Emesal passages cited in commentaries, N.A.B.U. Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires, vol. 2006/81, 2006.
  • 8. The last signs are misread in von Weiher’s edition as “lugal šú-ut qa-bi.”
  • 9. U. Gabbay, A Neo-Babylonian Catalogue of Balaĝ Tablets in the Oriental Institute of Chicago, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, 2007.
  • 10. me-ḫu-ú it-ba-am i-pe-er pa-ni-šú!? ik-tu-mu.
  • 11. Å. W. Sjöberg, Der Examenstext A, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, vol. 64, pp. 137-176, 1975. P. 140 ll. 2-3