CCP 3.1.5.A - Enūma Anu Enlil 5 (?) A

Catalogue information
British Museum
NinevehNineveh (Kuyunjik)
K.75 + K.237
3R 2 20 [colophon]
ACh Suppl 7
Fincke AOAT 401 RAI 52 (2014) p. 271 [rev]

Virolleaud, 1910C. Virolleaud, L'Astrologie Chaldéenne: le livre intitulé "Enuma (Anu) ilu.Bel". Librairie Paul Gauthner, 1910.: 7-8 no. 7

DivinationAstrological. Enūma Anu Enlil


Base text: 
Enūma Anu Enlil 5 (?)
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Complete tablet (rev. partly damaged)
obv 27, rev 25
7,2+ × 7,1+ × 2,3+ cm
Late 8th / Early 7th cent (mostly Kalḫu, Nabû-zuqup-kēnu)
Nabû-zuqup-kēnu s. Marduk-šuma-iqīš d. Gabbi-ilāni-ēreš
Babylon (tablet of Nabû-naṣir s. Ea-pattāni)

Brinkman, 1964J. A. Brinkman, Merodach-Baladan II, in Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim, The University of Chicago, 1964, pp. 6-53.: 22 fn. 120

Fincke, 2014aJ. C. Fincke, Babylonische Gelehrte am neuassyrischen Hof: zwischen Anpassung und Individualität, in Krieg und Frieden im Alten Vorderasien. 52e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology Münster, 17.–21. Juli 2006, H. Neumann, Dittmann, R. , Paulus, S. , Neumann, G. , and Schuster-Brandis, A. , Eds. Ugarit-Verlag, 2014, pp. 269-292.
[Babylonian scholars in Nineveh, colophon. Assyrian scholars could write in Babylonian script.]
: 271

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.
[EAE 5]
: 139, 153, 265-67, 305, 412

Frahm & Jiménez, 2015E. Frahm and Jiménez, E. , Myth, Ritual, and Interpretation. The Commentary on Enūma eliš I–VII and a Commentary on Elamite Month Names, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel, vol. 4, pp. 293-343, 2015.
[One of the few known tablet written by the scribe Nabu-zuqup-kēnu in Babylonian script]
: 336

Gehlken, 2012E. Gehlken, Weather Omens of Enūma Anu Enlil. Thunderstorms, Wind and Rain (Tablets 44–49). Brill, 2012.
[On line 6]
: 222 l. 6'

Hunger, 1968H. Hunger, Babylonische und assyrische Kolophone. Neukirchener Verlag, 1968.
[Transcription and translation of the colophon.]
: 94 no. 305

Koch, 2009bJ. Koch, Hatten die Pleiades (MUL.MUL) mit dem "Buckelstier" (mulGU4.AN.NA = Taurus) der Babylonier zu tun?, N.A.B.U. Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires, vol. 2009/23, 2009.
[Star bālu]

May, 2018N. M. May, The Scholar and Politics: Nabû-zuqup-kēnu, his Colophons and the Ideology of Sargon II, in Proceedings of the International Conference Dedicated to the Centenary of Igor Mikhailovich Diakonoff (1915–1999), The State Hermitage Publishers, 2018, pp. 110-164.
[Nabû-zuqup-kēnu, colophon]
: 122, 131

Reiner, 1998aE. Reiner, Celestial Omen Tablets and Fragments in the British Museum, in tikip santakki mala bašmu.. Festschrift für Rykle Borger zu seinem 65. Geburtstag am 24. Mai 1994, S. M. Maul, Ed. Styx, 1998, pp. 215-302.
[EAE 3?]
: 216

Reynolds, 1998F. Reynolds, Unpropitious Titles of Mars in Mesopotamian Scholarly Tradition, in Intellectual Life of the Ancient Near East. Papers Presented at the 43rd Rencontre assyriologique internationale, J. Prosecký, Ed. Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Oriental Institute, 1998, pp. 347-357.
[On line 9: Mars as The Non-Existent Star or the Lacking Star (bālu)]
: 353

Verderame, 2002L. Verderame, Le Tavole I-VI della serie astrologica "Enūma Anu Enlil". Di.Sc.A.M., 2002.
[A series of articles on the commentaries is in preparation by the author.]
: ix

Virolleaud, 1910C. Virolleaud, L'Astrologie Chaldéenne: le livre intitulé "Enuma (Anu) ilu.Bel". Librairie Paul Gauthner, 1910.: 7-8 no. 7

Frazer, 05/2016 (Transliteration)
Frazer, 05/2016 (Translation)
Frazer, 05/2016 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Mary Frazer | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Frazer, M., 2016, “Commentary on Enūma Anu Enlil 5 (?) (CCP 3.1.5.A),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed July 18, 2024, at DOI: 10079/pg4f53m
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

This landscape-oriented tablet contains a commentary in the indentation format, written in Babylonian script. Although it provides information on the circumstances in which the tablet was produced, the tablet’s colophon does not refer to the text with any designation, nor does it identify the base text. Accordingly, this introduction to the commentary deals with the four topics in the following order:

The identity of the base text

Since the majority of the preserved commentarial entries refer to omens derived from the moon’s appearance, it has been suggested that the base text may be one of the first 22 (or 23) tablets of Enūma Anu Enlil, all of which (in the recension represented by the tablets in Neo-Assyrian script from Nineveh, at least) deal with lunar phenomena. Reiner1 tentatively suggested that the base text is EAE 3, but Frahm2 proposes EAE 5 on the grounds that five of the omens deal specifically with the moon’s horns, which is the main focus of EAE 5.

The obverse of the tablet, which is almost entirely preserved, quotes from twenty-one different omens. In fact, of these twenty-one, six or possibly seven are non-lunar omens: ll. 4-8 treat five omens that begin “If the storm howled ...,” l. 10 treats a solar omen, and in l. 9 too little of the omen is cited for its nature to be clear. In view of the diverse nature of the omens, this commentary may represent a compilation of entries from multiple commentaries on various tablets of EAE.


The purpose of the commentarial entries

If we are dealing here with a compilation of multiple commentaries, it is necessary to recognize that the compiler probably had a distinct purpose in mind; however, owing in part to the poor condition of the reverse of the tablet, it is not clear what this purpose was. The following paragraph provides an overview of the patterns of the commentarial entries when viewed as part of the same text, as well as noting unusual features of some of the entries.

In the majority of the entries preserved on the obverse, the commentator’s purpose is to explain the protasis of an omen. In order to do so, he cites either the protasis of the omen (ll. 4-8, 11, 17-18, 21, 22) or the omen in its entirety (protasis and apodosis: ll. 1-3, 12-16, 19-20, 23-27). In l. 9, the commentator is concerned with the appearance of the divine name Šimut in an (otherwise uncited) omen; the divine name is introduced in an unusual manner, namely by citing only the first two words of the omen (“If Šimut ...”). In l. 15, the entry ‘“On each side” (means) “the horns correspond”’ seems to refer to a different omen from that treated in ll. 14-15, despite the scribe continuing on directly from the preceding entry.

Also of relevance to determining the commentator’s purpose is l. 10, where the commentator cites an entire solar omen but instead of then proceeding to explain part of the omen, he cites a “variant” (kimin) of what seems to be the omen’s apodosis.


The contents of the tablet’s poorly preserved reverse

The text on the tablet’s reverse has been much less fortunate than the text on the obverse: until the colophon, only the last third of each line is legible. The reverse appears to begin with a ten-line section (ll. 28-37) which is demarcated from subsequent entries by a single-ruling (it may, however, have been conceived as a continuation of the lines on the obverse). In this ten-line section, several omens, which were presumably cited in the missing parts of the lines, seem to be interpreted as related to an eclipse.

The contents of the final eleven lines of the commentary are also less than certain: ll. 38-40 seem to contain commentarial entries on omens, perhaps of a lunar nature; ll. 41 and 48 mention two gods, namely Ninurta (twice, once with the learned spelling dninnu.urta) and Ningirsu; ll. 42-44 refer to stars, namely the Lion and the Ninkasi constellations, as well as to the planet Mercury; finally, ll. 45-47 seem to cite omens of uncertain nature in full, since each line ends with an apodosis.


The circumstances in which this tablet was produced

The tablet is furnished with a detailed colophon (BAK 305) in which the owner of the tablet is identified as a well-attested Assyrian scholar, Nabû-zuqup-kēnu 3 Since the tablet is written in Babylonian script but belonged to an Assyrian, it has been cited as evidence that the most learned Assyrian scholars were able to write using Babylonian as well as Assyrian sign forms,4 but the colophon does not explicitly state that the tablet is the product of Nabû-zuqup-kēnu’s hand.5

The colophon also identifies the text as a copy, made in the Assyrian city Kalhu, of an original that was from Babylon and owned by one Nabû-nāṣir son of Ea-pattāni. In this respect K. 75+ seems to be connected to a Nineveh manuscript of another commentary, Rm.2,127 (CCP 3.9.1), also in Babylonian script, which contains a colophon that identifies it as a copy of an original from Assyria (BAK 439) and which seems to have been owned by a son of Ea-pattāni. In light of the existence of K. 75+, this son is quite possibly Nabû-nāṣir himself. If this assumption is correct, then Nabû-nāṣir and Nabû-zuqup-kēnu seem likely to have been contemporary scholars who engaged in some sort of exchange of scholarly texts at Kalhu. Perhaps Nabû-nāṣir travelled there, and the two scholars copied each other’s manuscripts. Comparison of the hand-writing of K. 75+ and Rm. 2 127 might indicate who was responsible for copying the tablets. As suggested by E. Frahm, if Nabû-nāṣir is the copyist, he might have been a student of Nabû-zuqup-kēnu.

A final piece of information given by this well-preserved and particularly informative colophon is the date of the tablet’s production: 694/XII/23. This was the year in which Sennacherib undertook his sixth military campaign, with disastrous results: initially directed against Chaldeans living in Elamite territory in southeastern Mesopotamia, it triggered Elamite reprisals in the form of attacks on northern Babylonia. In the course of the ensuing conflict, Sennacherib’s son, whom he had appointed king of Babylon, was handed over to the Elamites by a group of Babylonians, and probably killed. It is sheer speculation, but perhaps Nabû-nāṣir’s sojourn in Kalhu was connected with political disturbance in Babylon.


The edition below was collated in the British Museum in May 2015, and a number of new readings, marked with an asterisk, were obtained.


Powered by Oracc
(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


ACh Suppl. Sin 07[via ccpo]

(No transliteration available)

Photos by E. Jiménez and © Trustees of the BM

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum