Beaulieu, 1995P. - A. Beaulieu, “An excerpt from a menology with reverse writing”, Acta Sumerologica Japonica, vol. 17, pp. 1-14, 1995.: 1-14
Beaulieu, 1995P. - A. Beaulieu, “An excerpt from a menology with reverse writing”, Acta Sumerologica Japonica, vol. 17, pp. 1-14, 1995.[Edition]: 1-14
Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 32, 92, 216-17, 302
Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 76 (4), 201, 209
The small tablet NBC 6197 is remarkable in several ways. First, it contains a commentary on a single word from a single omen. The omen in question is attested in the menological series Iqqur īpuš §87 7, but it was probably attested also in some other astrological series. While this is not the only known example, single-omen commentary tablets are very rare (see also AO 10319 = CCP 3.1.53).
The most remarkable feature of this tablet is that some of the words in its lines are written retrographically: thus for instance in the last line the verb innappaḫū, "flares up," is written ḫu-pa-nap-in. As Beaulieu shows, retrography is attested in a few other cases in ancient Mesopotamia.
The word explained in the tablet, akukūtu, is also commented upon in the text K.50 (CCP 3.2.6.B.a), where it is glossed exactly as in this tablet, as "fire from the sky." K.50, however, tries to prove that akukūtu has this meaning through a complex process of notariqon.
According to Beaulieu, the script of the tablet "is typically Neo-Babylonian and allows us to date the tablet probably to the 6th century B.C. rather than earlier or later."1 It comes perhaps from Uruk, although its reverse is uninscribed and contains no colophon.
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* ina iti⸢DU₆⸣ a-ʾa₄-ku₆-ku₆-tu₄ ⸢KUR⸣
(o 1) “If in the month of Tašrītu an akukūtu flares up, the army will suffer a defeat” (= Iqqur īpuš §87 7); what it says, akukūtu, (means) “a fire which flares up in the sky.”
tì*ŠUB niÉRIN <<:>> šiGÁL
a-ʾa₄-ku₆-ku₆-tu₄ šá iq-bu-ú
⸢MIN⸣<(a-ʾa₄-ku₆-ku₆-tu₄)> IZI šá ina eAN1
1The commentary K.50 r 10'-11' (= CCP 3.2.6.B.a) also explains akukūtu as "fire from the sky" with a complex notariqon explanation.