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)
Stadhouders, 09/2017 (Suggestions & corrections [introduction, ll. o 16, r 5′, 9′, 11′-13′])
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 October 23, 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-)? As Henry Stadhouders suggests (personal communication), the /u/ could be an epenthetic vowel (epenthetic vowels tend to appear after emphatic consonants, see GAG § 18d). 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 qunātu 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)] šá x ṭu

o 6 6

úZA.GÌN.NA : šam-mu qu-⸢na⸣-a- 1

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

o 7 7

úel-kul-la : GIM zap-pi ŠAḪ

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

o 8 8

úUGU-⸢kul⸣-la : GIM SI a-a-lu

“Elkulla plant” is like hartshorn.

o 9 9

úUGU⸣-kul-la sa-aSA₅ : e-si-it- 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-⸢ú 4

“To persist” means “to continue.”

o 12 12

šá-niš la-za-zu ⸢: le-gu⸣-[ú?] 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

útuḫ-lam : maš-ta-[kal] 8

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

o 16 16

il⸣-lu-ur EDIN : a-a-⸢ár [EDIN] 9

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

o 17 17

[(x x)] únu-ṣa-bu : x [...] 10

[()] The nuṣābu-plant” means []

o 18 18

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

[] []

Reverse
r 1' r 1'

[...] x [...]

[]

r 2' 2'

ú-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?šek?-nu.URUDU ⸢: x [x (x)] x 12

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

r 6' 6'

[URUDU.še-]⸢en?SAḪAR : šu-uḫ- 13

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

r 7' 7'

GIG gišMA.NU :. ki-ṣir MA.NU 14

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


r 8' 8'

ṣa-a- šu-ut pi-i

Lemmata (and) oral explanations

r 9' 9'

šá * NA ŠU GIDIM DABsu

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

r 10' 10'

bul-ṭu É da-bi-bi

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


r 11' 11'

ḫi-biš-ti gišEREN : gišEREN ra-an- 15

“Crushed pieces of cedar wood” means “cedar of the perfume maker.”

r 12' 12'

AL.ŠUB : im-qu-ut

“It is falling (Sumerian) means “he/it fell (Akkadian).”

Bottom
b.e. 13' b.e. 13'

KÀŠ ḪUŠ.A : KÀŠ -še-e- 16

“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 Ú⸣.[GÍR] 17

“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-[ú] 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-ár EDEN : úel-li-⸢pu […]) can be found in CBS 562 r 7′ (cited in Jiménez & Adalı, ZA 105 (2015) p. 186 fn. 56). Another attestation for the rare illūr-ṣēri is found in BAM 115, rev 9′ [reference courtesy of Henry Stadhouders].

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 reading of the gloss as šek-nu is courtesy of Henry Stadhouders.

13The tentative restoration is based on an entry in the lexical list Antagal Fragment b i 1 f (reference from CAD Š/3 209a).

14For 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.

15The TI is written over an erasure. According to Henry Stadhouders (privatim), “ra-an-qí represents the nasalized form of raqqî; since ḫibištu is known for being used in perfumes and unguents we here obviously have an unorthodox spelling for raqqû ‘oil presser, perfume maker’; so ḫ. erēni is explained as the ‘pine of the perfume maker’.”

16The equation should be KÀŠ ḪUŠ.A = šīnātu ruššētu (see CAD R 427-428). As noted by Henry Stadhouders (privatim), the scribe may have been led astray because ḪUŠ can have the reading ezzētu. On “red urine” in therapeutic texts see CAD R 429a.

17The 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