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, and finally specifies that the tablet is a ṣâtu 7c commentary on diš e-nu en (the incipit of Aa “29”). 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. 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. 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 : aš : 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 here − 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.
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). 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-bi
“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; it is probably taken from the Balag am-e bára an-na-ra. The Akkadian translation is furthermore known from BRM 4, 6: 9, 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: 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 Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. Pp. 73-74, 100-101, 106-107, and 247]