CCP 4.2.U - Therapeutic U

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 67179
Sippar(Sippar), 82-9-18 consignment
Geller Unpub. copy
Lambert Folio 9885 [tr]
MedicalTherapeutic texts


Base text: 
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
obv 21, rev 19
4,13 × 7,62 cm
Chaldean / early Achaemenid (late 7th / 6th cent) (mostly "Sippar Collection")

CAD R 190b[On line 3: ra-aš-kát = mir-šu(or -qú) dan-nu šá ni-šik nu-up-pu-ḫi BM 67179 : 3 (med. comm., courtesy W. G. Lambert).]

CAD U/W 166a[On line 5: un-nu-tú // ma-a-ṣu BM 67179 : 5 (med. comm., courtesy W. G. Lambert).]

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 38, 230, 238-39, 287

Gabbay, 2014aU. Gabbay, Actual Sense and Scriptural Intention: Literal Meaning and Its Terminology in Akkadian and Hebrew Commentaries, in Encounters by the Rivers of Babylon: Scholarly Conversations between Jews, Iranians, and Babylonians, U. Gabbay and Secunda, S. Mohr Siebeck, 2014, pp. 335-370.
[On line r 13']
: 337 fn. 6, 343 fn. 39, 344 fn. 45

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 75 (r 7′, 10), 77 (11), 110 (3–4), 119 (r 18′), 128 (14), 153 (1–2), 154 (r 7′–9′), 182, 85, 120 (r 19′)

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

George, 2002A. R. George, Tablets from Sippar: Supplementary bibliography etc. for Leichty, Catalogues VI-VIII, up to the end of 2000, Orientalia Nova Series, vol. 71, pp. 55-156, 2002.: 109

Lambert, 2013W. G. Lambert, Babylonian Creation Myths. Eisenbrauns, 2013.
[On line o 13: Irhan = Purattu]
: 239

Stadhouders, 09/2015 (Transliteration)
Geller, 09/2015 (Copy)
Jiménez, 09/2015 (Translation)
Frahm, 09/2015 (Corrections)
Stadhouders, 09/2015 (Translation [corrections])
Jiménez & Stadhouders, 09/2015 (Annotation)
Jiménez, 09/2015 (Introduction)
Stadhouders, 10/2015 (Annotation [Introduction and textual notes])
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Mark Geller & Henry Stadhouders |
Cite this edition
Geller, M. & Stadhouders, H., “Commentary on Therapeutic (CCP no. 4.2.U),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (2017), at (accessed September 24, 2017)
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This small tablet, which belongs to the British Museum’s “Sippar Collection,” contains a commentary on a medical text.1 It is written in the tabular format, although several entries span more than one row, and in some cases the column division is altogether ignored (e.g. a 16 and b 19′). The main concern of the text seems to be to provide equivalents for rare plant and stone names. The text cites at least once the botanical series Uruanna (b 14′, which explains the plant name ḫašibbur as the Kassite name for the aktam-plant).

Occasionally the commentary provides interpretations that are only applicable to its base text, and are not derived from lexical lists. Thus the logographic reading ki.ta-šú, lit. “his lower part,” is interpreted in a 13 as “his testicles,” since the text is concerned mostly with urological diseases. In addition, the text features several periphrastic interpretations. Thus the rare word raškat is first said to stem from rašku, and then explained as “strong” and said to refer to “(the man) whose penis is swollen” (using the technical term ša). Similarly, the stone nitku is explained as “this is a stone similar to white flint” (b 19′).

Lines a 9-11 provide three alternative explanations for the same plant name, introduced by the adverbs šanîš, “secondly,” and šalšiš, “thirdly.” Other entries provide philological justifications to the commentarial equations: thus lines b 4′-6′ first explain the expression “he bows deeply” (uštaqaddad) as “he is bent” (ikkappap), and then justifies it by stating that both verbs (qadādu and kapāpu) can be written by means of the same logogram (guru).

  • 1. The medical text in question may be a composition similar to BAM 396, especially the last section (ca. iv 13ff.), which deals with šir gig (note also unnut in ii 14′) [HS].

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


BM 067179 (unpublished unassigned ?) [commentaries]

a 1 a 1


GÌŠ-šú GUG [x] 1

(a 1) "His penis is sick" means "his penis ...," on account of NAM.GIG (...).

a 2 2



a 3 3


ra-áš-ku dan-nu / šá GÌŠ-šú nu-up-pu-ḫi 3

(a 3) The word raškat stems from rašku, (which means) "strong"; (meaning) that his penis is abnormally swollen.

a 4 4



(a 4) "To be faint" means "to become small."

a 5 5



(a 5) "You set on fire" means "you burn," since TAB means "to set on fire" and TAB, when read /ta-ab/, means "to burn."

a 6 6

TAB : ṣa-ra-pu

TABta-ab : ḫa-ma-⸢ṭu

a 7 7


pa-ri-ri [x] 4

(a 7) "Extinguisher" means "dissolver" [...].

a 8 8

úru-ut SUMsar

tu-ru- [x (x x)]

(a 8) "Sap of garlic" means ...

a 9 9

ia-ri-ra -ta-<an-> šá

A.ŠÀ : a-ra-an-⸢tu₄ 5

(a 9) (The animal) "fine yarīra of the field" is the "arantu-plant." Alternatively, it can mean "the delicate one" (feminine). Thirdly, it can mean ... of the mountain"

a 10 10



a 11 11


an-du-lalat-⸢ 6

a 12 12


pu-rat-ti 7

(a 12) "Irḫan" means "Euphrates."

a 13 13

KI.TA-šú : -ki-šú

ú-paṭ : ḫal-lu-la-a-a 8

(a 13) "His lower part" means "his testicles." "Mucus" means "centipede."

a 14 14

NA₄ ÚKUŠ : tim-bu-ut-tu₄

ina UGU ÚKUŠ [x x (x x)]

(a 14) "Stone/pit of the qiššû-gourd" means 'cricket'-plant. On account of ÚKUŠ [...].

a 15 15

ŠÀ.SUR : nap-pu-u

ša-⸢tu?⸣-[ru x x (x)]

(a 15) ŠÀ.SUR means "sieve." (It also means) womb [...]

a 16 16

úta-ḫapḫa-ap-šá-nu : úLAG

A.⸢ŠÀ [x x x x (x)]

(a 16) (The plant) taḫapšānu means "camomile," [...]

a 17 17

x x šá id x [x]


(a 17) ...

rest of side missing
b 1' b 1'

[x x (x x)]-⸢x

x [...]

(b 1') label b 2'

ZAL, read /[za-a]l/, means "to hold back."

b 2' 2'

[(x x) za-]⸢al?ZAL


b 3' 3'



(b 3') "To be durable" means "to be regular."

b 4' 4'



(b 4') "He bows deeply" means "he is bent," since GURU, read /guru/, means "to bow down," GURU, read /guru/, means "to bend."

b 5' 5'



b 6' 6'



b 7' 7'


šá-niš is-sa-al-la-

(b 7') "He is sick" or, alternatively, "he will be sick," means "he will fall ill."

b 8' 8'



b 9' 9'



(b 9') (The plant) ṣiburu (i.e., aloe?) means "milky plant."

b 10' 10'



(b 10') "Scorpion plant" means "camomile."

b 11' 11'



(b 11') (The plant) "shepherd's daughter" is (the plant) "female shepherd's staff"; "female shepherd's staff" is (like) the mouth (or, "the tooth," "the nose," or "the bite") of a young goat.

b 12' 12'


: KA la-le-⸢e

b 13' 13'



(b 13') "Constantly" means "regularly."

b 14' 14'

úḫa-šib-bur :

úak-tam kaš-⸢še-e 9

(b 14') (The plant) ḫašibbur is the Kassite name for the aktam-plant.

b 15' 15'


1 qa re-bu-ú x x

(b 15') (One) rubbûtu is one qa, a quarter ...

b 16' 16'

SAḪARsa-ḫar .GI

Ú-MEŠ sa-ma-nim 10

(b 16') "Gold ore" are the plants (to heal) the samānu-disease.

b 17' 17'



(b 17') "The stone of the errû-plant" means "seed of the errû-plant."

b 18' 18'

PEŠ₄ [A].⸢AB?⸣.BA


(b 18') (The stone) "sea pebble" is like the tongue of an ox.

b 19' 19'

nitni-it-ku šu

ab-nu a-na na₄ BABBAR / ma-ši-il 12

(b 19') (The mineral) nitku, this is a stone similar to white flint.

b 20' 20'



(b 20') IGI means "to see," IGI means "to live."

b 21' 21'



end of side

1Perhaps simply ḫa-x-[...]. If the reading GU[G is correct, the symptom described may be GUG-MEŠ DIRI/ma-li. Also, it would imply the meaning "lesion, sore" (simmu) for NAM.GIG, rather than just "disease" (murṣu) [HS]. It could also be that the verb magāgu lies behind the writing nam-gig, which could theoretically be parsed as a hitherto unattested N imperative of magāgu. Alternatively, it would be possible to read ì-nam-gig for imangig (with metathesis of /m/ and /n/) [MG & HS].

2The second line appears to set out to explain NAM.GIG, introducing it by means of the technical term aššu, but the right hand column is empty [EJ].

3According to Lambert apud CAD R 190, the present line should be read ra--kát : mir-šu/ dan-nu šá ni-šik nu-up-pu-ḫi [EJ]. It would be possible to interpret 3b as a phrase, "dry (and) strong" (i.e. "a dry erection") [HS].

4nuḫḫu can mean either “to alleviate, assuage” (an illness) or “to extinguish, smother” (a fire, brazier). Perhaps muniḫḫa refers to some sort of utensil. There is a sign after pa ri ri, but it is difficult to imagine that parāru G could have a transitive meaning. [HS]

5The base text of this line may be BAM 396 iv 26 (ia-ra-ra -ta-an- šá A.ŠÀ) or a similar passage, whence the emendations to the present line. If this is correct, then the explanans arantu may have been prompted by the last syllables in the two words from the explanandum, i.e. ((yar)ira (qat)antum). The yarara/yarira must be a small kind of animal, since in BAM 396 all of the preceding entries have such animals as the medicament to be prepared. Moreover, the name sounds onomatopoeic, which would be a good fit for species such as crickets. Alternatively, one might adduce animal names with a reduplication pattern for comparison, which would fit crawling creatures quite well; root verb (w)âru?; some sort of caterpillar could be meant then. [HS]

6an-du-lalat- is either a by-form or a corrupt rendering of the plant name a(n)da/umatu. Compare CCP 3.5.59 l. 21 (commentary on Šumma Ālu 59 l. 34): [u₅-ra-nu :] Ú.a-ra-an- : an-da-ma-tu₄ [HS].

7The mention of Irḫan might reflect a ritual similar to that recorded in, CT 23, Pl. 1-2, ll. 1-14: flour drawings of Irhan to be crossed by the patient so as to get rid of his foot ailment, after invoking Ea (esp. ll. 2, 7, 12). This appears to be the only mention of Irḫan in therapeutic texts. However, except for the mention of the "sieve" (giŠÀ.SUR), this ritual does not mention any of the other matters dealt with by the commentary [HS].

8In lines 13-14, the names upāṭ-timbutti and timbut(ti)-eqli are probably behind the explanations; the latter can denote both a small animal (perhaps a cricket) and the pirištu name of a plant; hence the rendering "cricket-plant" [HS].

9See Uruʾanna I 172 (203) - 188 (219), a section with the foreign names of the aktam plant; 181 (212) has úḫa-ši-im-bur = Ú MIN MIN (= {{u₂}ak-tam kaš-ši-i}).

10Note SAḪAR .GI = Ú ši-i-pu in Uruanna III 480ff (CAD Š/3 93b) [EJ].

11On the PEŠ₄ A.AB.BA, see Schuster-Brandis AOAT 46 (2008) p. 439 [EJ].

12On the mineral nitku, see CAD N/2 299b and BAM 7 9 l. 20 [EJ]. Another possibility would be to read šu-<u>, "the šû-stone," but note that ̌šu introducing commentarial explanations is attested e.g. in CCP 3.1.47 l. 31'.

Photos by E. Jiménez & S. Panayotov (BabMed team)

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum