CCP 3.5.21 - Ālu 21

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
W 22554/7b
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1 Wohnhaus ob. Fb.
SpTU 5 260

Besnier, 2009 (GKAB)

von Weiher, 1998E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus dem Planquadrat U 18. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1998.: 78 no. 260

DivinationTerrestrial omens (Šumma Ālu)

ṣâtu 7c

Base text: 
Ālu 21
Tablet information
obv 14, rev 8
6,7 × 4,7 cm
Early Hellenistic (late 4th cent) (Uruk, Iqīšāya)
[Ninurta-ušabši] s. Enlil-kēšir (?), brewer of Enlil (?)

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.
[Descendants d'Ekur-zakir]
: 399

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.
[Identification of the owner]
: 92

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 52, 54, 193-96, 198, 236, 294, 300

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.
[On line 3]
: 74

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

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 414

von Weiher, 1998E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus dem Planquadrat U 18. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1998.
: 78 no. 260

Besnier, 01/2009 (ATF Transliteration)
Besnier, 01/2009 (Lemmatization)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Revision)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Translation)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Introduction)
Y. Cohen, 02/2016 (Correction [r 4′])
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Enrique Jiménez |
Cite this edition
Jiménez, E., “Commentary on Ālu 21 (CCP no. 3.5.21),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed September 22, 2017)
Make a correction or suggestion

This small and badly damaged tablet preserves meager remains of a commentary on the 21st tablet of the divination series Šumma Ālu. Although it was found in Uruk and it probably belonged to the tablet collection of Iqīšāya, the colophon of the tablet contains some distinctly Nippurean names. Thus, the tablet was written or owned by one [Ninurta-ušabš]i, son of Enlil-kēšir (?), brewer of Enlil (?), and perhaps a member of the Gimil-Sîn family.1 This same scribe is known to have written another Šumma Ālu commentary, CCP 3.5.45.A, and his name may be attested in a document from Nippur that dates to 381 BCE.2


The colophon of the tablet identifies its contents as a ṣâtu 7c commentary on the 21st “reading” (malsûtu) of Šumma Ālu. However, the poor state of preservation of both the obverse of the present tablet and of the first section of Šumma Ālu 21 prevents us from recognizing the base text of most commentarial entries. At least on one occasion (o 3) the commentary uses the technical term šanîš, used to introduce alternative explanations.


The present edition has benefited greatly from an electronic edition prepared by Marie-Françoise Besnier for the GKAB project, kindly made available by Eleanor Robson. Although the tablet could not be collated, several readings proposed here depart from those adopted by von Weiher and Besnier: they are marked with an exclamation sign.


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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


SpTU 5, 260

o 1 o 1

[* ina É UG₇ GIM TI IGIir BI UG₇] BIRaḫ É : ?UG₇? x [...]

(o 1) [“If a dead man like a living one is seen in a man’s house, that man will die, dispersal of the] house” (= Šumma Ālu XXI 1), dead man means [...].

o 2 2

[...]-⸢x⸣-in-ni-šú : x [...]

(o 2) [...] his [...]

o 3 3

[...]-⸢ru?-⸣-tu₄ šá-niš ḫa-⸢x⸣-[...]

(o 3) [...] ... alternatively ... [...]

o 4 4

[...] ba-ri-ru ru⸣-[...]

(o 4) [...] radiance, a man ... [...]

o 5 5

[...] x-li-ti x ana? É x [...]

(o 5) [...] ... to the house ... [...]

o 6 6

[...] x ib-lu-ṭu šá x x [...]

(o 6) [... while] he lives; that ... [...]

o 7 7

[... lu ša ú]-⸢ma!-mu! lu ša! NAM!⸣..U₁₈!.LU [...]

(o 7) [... “If an old bone, whether a]nimal or human [...] (= Šumma Ālu XXI 19) [...]

o 8 8

[...] x-tu₄ ana i-te-ru AN.TA x x [x x x]

(o 8) [...] will increase for the man; above ... [...]

o 9 9

[...]-⸢nu :! ⸢*⸣ ina É NA ša! um!⸣-ṣa-a- DIRI!? [x x] x 1

(o 9) [...] ... “If there is someone full of moles in a man’s house” (= Šumma Ālu XXI 22 (?)) ... [...]

o 10 10

[...] ana x x-lu [(x)] gišKIRI₆ x [x (x)] x

(o 10) [...] to ... the man’s orchard (= Šumma Ālu XXI 26 (?)) ... [...] ...

o 11 11

[...] iḫ!⸣-ru-⸢x

(o 11) [...] shining

o 12 12

[...] x

(o 12) ...

o 13 13

[...] li [x] x

o 14 14

[...] ru [x (x)]

(rest of obverse missing)
r r NaN  (start of reverse missing)
r 1' r 1'

[... :] * DINGIR u dINNIN ti⸣-[ba]

(r 1') [... “If a god or goddess [estabishes] an attack [for him” (= Šumma Ālu XXI 109a) means ...]. “If it anoints and touches him, he will experience losses” (= Šumma Ālu XXI 109b) [means that ...], “he will touch it and will experience losses” .

r 2' 2'

[-kun-šú ... TAG].TAG-ma TAG-su I..ZA IGI

r 3' 3'

[...] TAG⸣-ma I..ZA IGI

r 4' 4'

[ṣa-a- u šu-ut KA ma-ša-a-al]-ti šá KA um-man-nu šá lìb-bi

(r 4') [Lemmata, oral explanations, and (materials for) a 'questioning' by a (master-)scholar, relating to [If a dead man like a living one is se]en [in a man’s house] (= Šumma Ālu 21). 21st “reading” (of the series) (If) a city is set on a height". Not finished.

r 5' 5'

[* ina É UG₇ GIM TI IGI]⸢ir! 21! mál-sutₓ(BÁN) URU ina SUKUD GARin NU AL.TIL

r 6' 6'

[* ina itiBÁRA TA U₄ 1-KAM] EN U₄ 30-KAM la-am TA giš GÌR-šú

(r 6') [“If from the first] until the thirtieth of Nisannu, before a man has put his foot out of bed [onto the ground"] (= Šumma Ālu 22).

r 7' 7'

[ana KI GARnu imGÍD.DA mdMAŠ-GÁL]⸢ši A mdEN!.LÍL-ke-šìr KUL

(r 7') [One-column tablet of Ninurta-ušabš]i, son of Enlil-kešir, brewer [of Enlil, descendant of Gimil-S]în. The reverer of Marduk, Ninurta, and Nusku shall not take (the tablet) away!

r 8' 8'

[dìl-ìl A mŠU-d]30 pa-liḫ dUMUN dMAŠ u dU!.PA! 2

r 9' 9'

[NU] TÙM⸣-šú

1Compare perhaps Šumma Ālu XXI 22 (kiṣṣatu).

2The first three preserved oblique wedges could also be interpreted as UMUN.UMUN.UMUN (i.e., Enlil), rather than Sîn (as suggested by U. Gabbay, 5/2015). For the interpretation of dU.PA as Nusku, see Frahm GMTR 5 (2011) p. 196 and fn. 921.