CCP 4.2.Q - Therapeutic (šumma amēlu qāt eṭemmi iṣbassū-ma), bulṭu bīt Dābibi Q

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 59607
82-7-14,4017
Sippar(Sippar), 82-7-14 consignment
CDLI: 
P461270
Publication
Copy: 
Lambert Folio 10105 [tr]
Commentary
MedicalTherapeutic texts

ṣâtu 3b

Base text: 
Therapeutic (šumma amēlu qāt eṭemmi iṣbassū-ma), bulṭu bīt Dābibi
Commentary no: 
Q
Tablet information
Babylonian
Fragment
Columns: 
1
Lines: 
o 18, rev 11
Size: 
6,5 × 3,81 cm
Chaldean / early Achaemenid (late 7th / 6th cent) (mostly "Sippar Collection")
Bibliography

Finkel, 2000I. L. Finkel, On Late Babylonian Medical Training, in Wisdom, Gods and literature: studies in Assyriology in honour of W.G. Lambert, A. R. George and Finkel, I. L. Eisenbrauns, 2000, pp. 137-223.
[On line o 6: qunû = uqnû (F. Köcher)]
: 170 ad r 2', 11'

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.
[Discussion of sundry entries, written after dictation?]
: 37, 52, 69, 94, 233, 237-38, 287-88, 314

Geller, 1990M. J. Geller, Review of Leichty CatBM 6, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 53, pp. 121-123, 1990.
[Identified by F. Köcher: 'medical commentary, hand of the ghost']
: 122

Record
Frazer, 06/2017 (Transliteration)
Frazer, 06/2017 (Translation)
Frazer, 06/2017 (Introduction)
Frahm & Jiménez & Thavapalan, 06/2017 (Suggestions, revision)
By Mary Frazer |
Cite this edition
Frazer, M., “Commentary on Therapeutic (šumma amēlu qāt eṭemmi iṣbassū-ma), bulṭu bīt Dābibi (CCP no. 4.2.Q),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at http://ccp.yale.edu/P461270 (accessed August 20, 2017)
Make a correction or suggestion
Introduction

A one-column tablet containing a commentary on If the hand of a ghost has seized a man, part of the poorly known therapeutic series Cures from the House of Dābibī. Unlike other commentaries on Cures from the House of Dābibi (CCP 4.2.B, CCP 4.2.G and CCP 4.2.P), the scribe of this manuscript does not identify the base text by means of a particular pirsu or tablet number of the larger series.

The present tablet does not contain a colophon but it probably comes from Sippar and dates to the early Achaemenid period.1 The base text is also the subject of a commentary from Hellenistic Uruk, CCP 4.2.E, but whereas that commentary is concerned with demonstrating the base text’s internal coherence, this commentary is concerned only with clarifying the meaning of individual words and phrases, many of which are names of plants. In this respect, it resembles another therapeutic text commentary from early Achaemenid Sippar, CCP 4.2.R. In both commentaries, some entries seem to be drawn from the pharmacological-botanical treatise, Uruanna (CCP 4.2.Q: o 10 (?), 13, 15 and 16 and CCP 4.2.R: o 11).

The commentary uses cola both to divide entries in the same line (left edge 1') and to equate the word or phrase from the base text with its explanation (passim); the commentator twice uses a colon with three wedges instead of the more usual two (o 13 and r 6'). Nevertheless, the commentary’s layout is reminiscent of a tabular format.2 In order to explain terms in the base text, the commentary also uses the technical term šanîš (o 12), two pronunciation glosses (o 9 and 13), and antonyms (o 10 and 12) – a hermeneutic technique rare in cuneiform commentaries.3

 

Two features suggest that the commentary may have been written as part of a dictation exercise.4 The first is a possible error in which the scribe writes úmu-qu-na-a-tú instead of úqu-na-a-tú;5 the second is an apparent Sandhi writing of the negative adverb and the following infinitive verbal form (o 12).6

This edition benefited from the preliminary transliteration of W.G. Lambert (Folio 10105), and from the feedback of Eckart Frahm, Enrique Jiménez, and Shiyanthi Thavapalan.

  • 1. E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. P. 287.
  • 2. E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. P. 237.
  • 3. E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. P. 69.
  • 4. E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011. P. 237.
  • 5. According to both Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 237 and Finkel, 2000I. L. Finkel, On Late Babylonian Medical Training, in Wisdom, Gods and literature: studies in Assyriology in honour of W.G. Lambert, A. R. George and Finkel, I. L. Eisenbrauns, 2000, pp. 137-223.: 170, the explanation in this line of the commentary is an erroneous writing for ú.uqnâtu, caused by the process of writing from dictation (Frahm). It seems conceivable, however, that instead of úuqnâtu the scribe either intended to write úqunātu or else deliberately wrote šammu qunātu (so CAD U/W 193b). The case for reading qunātu in this context is two-fold. First, while uqnâtu is attested both as the name of a type of dyed wool (CAD U/W 194) and (to date only in technical literature) as a plant name, in Uruanna I 439-441 (CAD U/W 193b), úqunātu is also attested both as a wool name, viz. twice in a prescription written in early Achaemenid Sippar (Finkel, 2000I. L. Finkel, On Late Babylonian Medical Training, in Wisdom, Gods and literature: studies in Assyriology in honour of W.G. Lambert, A. R. George and Finkel, I. L. Eisenbrauns, 2000, pp. 137-223.: 170 r 2' and 10'), and as a plant name, in a document written in Uruk during the reign of Nabonidus that mentions 1 nigida úqu-na-a-ta (YOS 6, 74: 3). The term qunātu appears once more – albeit without a determinative – in a text from Hellenistic Uruk relating to the rapādu-plant (Abusch & Schwemer, 2016T. Abusch and Schwemer, D. , Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals. Volume Two. Brill, 2016.: § 7.24, 12 – reference courtesy of S. Thavapalan). The second argument in favor of reading qunātu relates to the nature of the scribal error in the commentary (if, indeed, it is an error): the error is more easily explained if the intended term is qunātu: if uqnâtu was the correct term, why would the scribe have followed the mu-sign with qu- (instead of uq-)? In sum, the appearance of the term qunātu in a late Neo-Babylonian-period document as well as manuscripts of technical literature written both in Uruk and in Sippar during the early Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods suggests that this term is not just a scribal error for uqnâtu. It seems to be an alternative spelling for uqnâtu that was in use from at least the time of Nabonidus until the Hellenistic period (personal communication with S. Thavapalan).
  • 6. But see now M. Worthington, Principles of Akkadian Textual Criticism. De Gruyter, 2012. Pp. 9-10, who questions the view that Sandhi spellings alone constitute evidence for this method of textual transmission.
Edition

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ccpo

BM 059607 (unpublished unassigned ?) [commentaries]

Obverse
o 1 o 1

[...]

[]

o 2 2

[...]

[]

o 3 3

x x x [...]

[]

o 4 4

tuk⸣-x x x x [...]

o 5 5

    šap-⸢x ma [(x)] ša₂ x ṭu

o 6 6

u₂ZA.GIN₃.NA : šam-mu qu-⸢na⸣-a-tu₂ 1

“Lapis lazuli plant (Sumerian) means qunātu-plant (Akkadian).”

o 7 7

u₂el-kul-la : GIM zap-pi ŠAḪ

“Elkulla plant” is like a pig’s bristles.

o 8 8

u₂UGU-⸢kul⸣-la : GIM SI a-a-lu

“Elkulla plant” is like hartshorn.

o 9 9

u₂UGU⸣-kul-la sa-aSA₅ : e-si-it-tu₂ 2

“Red-brown elkulla plant” means pestle.

o 10 10

ZAL : la-za-zu : ZAL : la ga-⸢mar 3

ZAL means “to persist,” ZAL (also) means “not to come [to an end].”

o 11 11

la-za-zu : le-zu-⸢u₂ 4

“To persist” means “to continue.”

o 12 12

ša₂-niš la-za-zu ⸢: le-gu⸣-[u₂?] 5

Alternatively, “to persist” means “not to be lazy.”

o 13 13

ḫarḫa-ar-sa-ap-nu :. bur-⸢ti⸣-[šam-ḫat] 6

“The ‘larva’ (plant) is the same as “the ‘cater[pillar] (plant)

o 14 14

ta-ma-ḫi-ir GAZIsar : me-e GAZI[sar] 7

tamahiir of the kasû-plant” means “juice of the kasû-plant.”

o 15 15

u₂tuḫ-lam : maš-ta-[kal] 8

“The tuḫlu-plant” is the maštakal-plant.”

o 16 16

il⸣-lu-ur EDIN : a-a-⸢ar₂⸣[sar] 9

“The illūru of the steppe” means ayyar-pl[ant].”

o 17 17

[(x x)] u₂nu-ṣa-bu : x [...] 10

[()] The nuṣābu-plant” means []

o 18 18

[...] x x x x [...]

[] []

Reverse
r 1' r 1'

[...] x [...]

[]

r 2' 2'

u₂-li-in-na : [...]

“Yarn” means []

r 3' 3'

    : ana UGU li?⸣-[...]

On account of []

r 4' 4'

ŠU ŠU.DINGIR.RA : x [...] 11

“The hand of Hand-of-the-god-disease” means

r 5' 5'

SAḪAR?ši?-nu.URUDU ⸢: x [x (x)] x

“SAḪAR.URUDU” (with gloss /šinu/) means

r 6' 6'

[URUDU.še-]⸢en?SAḪAR : šu-uḫ-tu₂ 12

[urudu].SAḪAR” (with gloss /šen/) means “verdigris (Akkadian).”

r 7' 7'

GIG gišMA.NU :. ki-ṣir MA.NU 13

“Cut piece of ēru-wood” means “knot of ēru-wood.”


r 8' 8'

ṣa-a-tu₂ šu-ut pi-i

Lemmata (and) oral explanations

r 9' 9'

ša₂ * NA ŠU GIDIM DABsu

relating to “If the hand of a ghost has seized a man,”

r 10' 10'

bul-ṭu E₂ da-bi-bi

(part of the series) “Cures of the House of Dābibu.”


r 11' 11'

ḫi-biš-ti gišEREN : gišEREN ra-an-ki 14

“Crushed pieces of cedar wood” means washed cedar.”

r 12' 12'

AL.ŠUB : im-qu-tu₂

“It is falling (Sumerian) means “they fell (Akkadian).”

Bottom
b.e. 13' b.e. 13'

KAŠ₃ ḪUŠ.A : KAŠ₃ -še-e-tu₂ 15

“Red urine” means “fresh urine.”

Left
l.e. 14' l.e. 14'

URU.ḪUL⸣.Amušen : qa-du-u : a-bat-ti ḫa-ru-bu : GURUN U₂⸣.[GIR₂] 16

“Owl (Sumerian) means “owl (Akkadian); “carob stone (Akkadian) means “fruit of a carob (Sumerian)

1See note on the word qunātu in the introduction.

2See CAD E 100b for other attestations of red-brown elkulla-plant.

3The equation of ZAL with lazāzu may be drawn from the plant list Uruanna, since a similar equation (using ZAL.ZAL rather than just ZAL) is attested in one of its manuscripts, CT 37 27 iii 13 (reference from CAD L 114b). The restoration of the final sign follows Frahm (2011: 69 with n. 327), who suggests that the use of an antonym may have been inspired by the “la” in lazāzu.

4This equation is also attested in a commentary on the lexical list Aa (CCP 6.1.9.B o 16').

5The explanation is otherwise unattested; the restoration and translation follow Frahm (2011: 69 with n. 327), who suggests that le-gu-[u₂] is a Sandhi writing of lā egû.

6As noted by Frahm (2011: 94), this entry seems to be drawn from the plant list Uruanna 3: 251-252, and the same entry appears in another therapeutic text commentary, CCP 4.2.R o 11.

7The commentator seems to have used a known phrase to explain a hapax legomenon.

8The tuḫlu-plant is equated with the maštakal-plant in Uruanna 1 3f (reference from CAD T 454b).

9In Uruanna I 388ff, both the illūru-plant and the nuṣābu-plant are equated with ayyar hurāṣi, “gold flower” (reference from CAD I/J 88a). The equation found here ([il-lu-ur] ⸢EDIN*⸣ : a-a-ar₂sar) can be found in CBS 562 r 7′ (cited in Jiménez & Adalı, ZA 105 (2015) p. 186 fn. 56).

10The nuṣābu-plant is mentioned in the same passage of Uruanna that mentions the illūru-plant, the subject of the commentary in the line before (reference from CAD I 88a and N/2 353a).

11The traces of the first sign of the explanation fit a sign that begins with the element MUNUS. Although ŠU ŠU.DINGIR.RA seems to be a formula otherwise unattested in the medical corpus, it could reflect the view that ŠU.DINGIR.RA was a disease rather than a cause/sender of a disease. Such a view of ŠU.DINGIR.RA – as a disease rather than a divinity – seems to have been typical of therapeutic texts (Heeßel 2007: 122). But cf. the spelling of the title of the base text in the rubric (r 9'), which suggests that ŠU GIDIM was viewed as a divine punishment rather than a disease. Alternatively, the second ŠU may be a scribal error (dittography).

12The tentative restoration is based on an entry in the lexical list Antagal Fragment b i 1 f (reference from CAD Š/3 209a).

13For attestations of the phrase GIG gišMA.NU see CAD Ḫ 199b and Schuster-Brandis AOAT 46 (2008) pp. 410-411. The equation, which is otherwise unattested, may be due to the phonetic similarity of hirṣu with kirṣu. The colon that connects the base text with its explanation is written with three wedges instead of the more usual two.

14The TI is written over an erasure. The phrase erēnu ranku is otherwise unattested.

15The equation should be KAŠ₃ ḪUŠ.A = šīnātu ruššētu (see CAD R 427-428). On “red urine” in therapeutic texts see CAD R 429a.

16The first equation is attested in Ura 18 169f = MSL 8/2 124 (reference from CAD Q 51a); the second is attested in Antagal 8 97, albeit in reverse order (reference from CAD H 120b).

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum