CCP 4.1.7.C.a - Sagig 7 C

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 48727
81-11-3,1438+ 81-11-3,1452
BM 48727+ BM 48741
MedicalDiagnostic and prognostic


Base text: 
Sagig 7
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
1 (or >)
Neo/Late Babylonian, specifics unknown
Finkel, 07/1995 (Join)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Identification)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Translation)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Introduction)
Finkel, 08/2016 (Collation)
Heeßel, 10/2016 (Corrections [l. 1])
By Enrique Jiménez |
Cite this edition
Jiménez, E., “Commentary on Sagig 7 (CCP no. 4.1.7.C.a),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed April 24, 2017)
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The present tablet contains a previously unidentified commentary on the poorly preserved seventh tablet of the diagnostic series Sagig, which deals with symptoms in the patient’s tongue. The tablet consists of two rejoined fragments, both of which belong to the 81-11-3 consignment of the British Museum’s “Babylon Collection”: BM 48727 (81-11-3,1438) and BM 48741 (81-11-3,1452). They were joined by I. L. Finkel, who also collated the edition below and made some valuable suggestions. In all likelihood, the present tablet joins, directly or indirectly, the fragment BM 48729 (CCP 4.1.7.C.b, q.v.), and perhaps also BM 49044 (CCP 4.1.7.C.c).

The most arresting feature of the present text is that it quotes a bizarre diagnosis, according to which a man’s disease would have been caused by his “having had sex with his own mother” (l. 3′). Incest is a most uncommon topic in Mesopotamian literature and, not surprisingly, the omen quoted in the present commentary is hitherto elsewhere unattested.

This commentary is chiefly concerned with philological issues: thus ll. 3′-4′ explain the difficult irtenetti as a form of the verb retû, “to fix in,” and the latter as a synonym of zaqāpu, “to erect.” However, one of the entries tries to demonstrate the internal coherence of an omen by showing that a word from the protasis (“tongue”) and a word from the apodosis (the god Uraš) are related (l. 6′).

A complete philological edition by the editor is in preparation.


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BM 048727 + BM 048741 (unpublished unassigned ?) [commentaries]

o 1' o 1'

[x (x) * GIG EME]-⸢šu₂ SA₅?at₂ DIN : [...] 1

(o 1') [... “If the patient’s tongu]e is red, he will get well” (= Sagig VII 1) [...].

o 2' 2'

EME⸣-šu₂ i-bi : e-bu-u₂ : EME⸣-[šu₂] (⸢x) x [...]

(o 2') [“If] his tongue is thick” (= Sagig VII 2, 3, or 4 (?)) (stems from) “to be thick.” [His] tongue ... (= Sagig VII unknown) [...] (= Sagig VII unknown) stems from “to cut.”

o 3' 3'

ana UGU ba-ta-qu : ir-te-ne₂-et-ti : ta-x⸣-[x x : DU₃ : re-tu-u₂]

(o 3') (His tongue) is continuously fixed” (= Sagig VII 7 (?)) [... means “to fix”]; means “to erect.”

o 4' 4'

DU₃ : za-qap : NA BI AMA-šu₂ i-nik : EME-šu₂ [...] 2

(o 4') “That man had illicit sex with his own mother” (= Sagig VII 7 unknown) ... [...] means ... he continuously poured out. ... [...]

o 5' 5'

it?⸣-ti -tik-ku-ni : -te-⸢pu-u₂ [...] 3

o 6' 6'

[ana] AMA-šu₂ TEḫe : EME : duraš : duraš : ḫa-[ra-šu₂ x x (x x)] 4

(o 6') [If his tongue ... hand of Uraš ] will approach his mother” (= Sagig VII unknown) “tongue” (from the protasis) (is related to) Uraš (from the apodosis), (since) Uraš means ... [...]

o 7' 7'

na-gu-u₂ : ḫa-du-u₂ : tas-lim-ti : ta-[as-li-im-ti (x x)] 5

(o 7') “To sing joyfully” (= Sagig VII unknown) means “to be happy.” “Slander” (tas-lim-ti) (= Sagig VII unknown), (written) ta-[as-li-im-ti KA É.GAL (lit. “word of the palace”) means “slander,”] KA É.GAL means “impudence.”

o 8' 8'

KA E₂.GAL : šil-la-tu₄ : * EME-šu₂ u₂?-na?⸣-[aš₂?-šak? ...] 6

(o 8') “If he bites his tongue” (= Sagig VII 16 (?)) [...].

o 9' 9'

[...] a-x [x x] x x x x [...]

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

1As noted by N. P. Heeßel (private communication), the reading of the sign SA₅ is far from certain and, in any case, there is room for at least one or two more signs before [* GIG EME]. This suggests that the entry might not correspond to the first line of Sagig VII, but rather to a different line. There may be some lines missing before the present one.

1The equations DÙ = retû, DÙ = zaqāpu are also attested in CCP 4.1.21 o 9 (commentary on Sagig 21). Alternatively, the text could be emended to <ana> AMA-šu₂ i-<sa>-niq, “he approaches his mother,” as suggested by I. L. Finkel, which would turn the line into a prognosis, rather than a diagnosis.

1It is uncertain how the first part of the line should be parsed. Perhaps ištikkūni < irtikkūni, râku Gtn (hitherto unattested)? The reading -te-⸢pu-u₂ was suggested by I. L. Finkel after collation.

1It is possible that the first half of this line explains the text cited in l. 4′ (“That man had illicit sex with his own mother”), in which case the verb TEḫi should be rendered as a preterite. The restoration of ḫa-[ra-šu₂] at the end of the line was suggested by I. L. Finkel (private communication). Since the goal of the entry seems to be to demonstrate that the “tongue” (from the protasis) and the god Uraš (from the apodosis) are somehow related, it is possible that the explanation is based on a lexical or literary passage in which both appear together, mutatis mutandis. One might therefore consider a restoration ḫa[rāšu ša lišāni], “harāšu (‘to bind’), said of the tongue,” although this entry is so far unattested in lexical lists (note that it does not appear, for instance, in the long section devoted to ḫarāšu in Nabnītu XX 205-231 [MSL 16 p. 183]).

1Compare Sagig XIX/XX l. 42′: [...]xtas-li-ma-ti DUG₄.DUG₄ub, explained as [tas]-⸢li⸣-a-ti DUG₄.DUG₄ub / [lib₃]-⸢bu⸣-u₂ ta-as-li-ma-a-<:> -ti / [tas-lim]-ti : nu-ul-lat ina ṣa-a-tu₂ E in SpTU 1 38 o 15-17 (CCP 4.1.19).

1For the restorations, note LU₂ KA E₂.GAL.LA = ša ta-as₃-lim-tim (OB A 123 = MSL 12 p. 161) and KA E₂.GAL = šillatu (Erimḫuš I 282 = MSL 17 p. 20).

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum