CCP 4.1.13.B - Sagig 13 and 12 B

Catalogue information
Yale Babylonian Collection
GCBC 766
MedicalDiagnostic and prognostic

ṣâtu 3b

Base text: 
Sagig 13 and 12
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Complete tablet (some portions lost)
obv 9, low edg 3, rev 5
3,9 × 5,2 × 1,9 cm
Neo/Late Babylonian, specifics unknown

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 51, 219, 225-26, 302

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.
[On line 1]
: 317 fn. 37

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.
[On line 13]
: 108

Geller, 2010aM. J. Geller, Look to the Stars Babylonian medicine, magic, astrology and melothesia, Max-Planck Preprint, vol. 401, 2010.
: 7

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 379

Genty, 2010bT. Genty, Les commentaires à TDP 3-40. Première partie, Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes, vol. 16, pp. 1-38, 2010.
: 13

Heeßel, 2000N. P. Heeßel, Babylonisch-assyrische Diagnostik. Ugarit-Verlag, 2000.
: 144

Köcher, 1978F. Köcher, Spätbabylonische medizinische Texte aus Uruk, in Medizinische Diagnostik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Festschrift für H. Goerke zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, C. Habrich, Marguth, F. , and Wolf, J. H. , Eds. Werner Fritsch, 1978, pp. 17-39.
: 36

Labat, 1951R. Labat, Traité Akkadien de Diagnostics et Prognostics Médicaux. Academie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences, 1951.
[Comm. to Sagig 13]
: 124 fn. 219

Lambert, 1960bW. G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature. Clarendon Press, 1960.: 321

Landsberger, 1964B. Landsberger, Einige unerkannt gebliebene oder verkannte Nomina des Akkadischen, Welt des Orients, vol. 3, pp. 48-79, 1964.: 49

Leichty, 1973E. Leichty, Two Late Commentaries, Archiv für Orientforschung, vol. 24, pp. 78-86, 1973.
[GCCI 2 406 which probably comments on tablet XIII]
: 83

Nurullin, 2014R. Nurullin, An Attempt at Šimâ milka (Ugaritica V, 163 and Duplicates). Part I: Prologue, Instructions II, III, IV, Babel und Bibel, vol. 7, pp. 175-229, 2014.
[On line 5-6]
: 214 and fn. 203

Reiner, 1958E. Reiner, Šurpu. A Collection of Sumerian and Akkadian Incantations. Selbtverlag, 1958.: 55

von Soden, 1961W. von Soden, Review of CT 42, Bibliotheca Orientalis, vol. 18, pp. 71-73, 1961.: 72

Wiggermann, 2003F. A. M. Wiggermann, Pāšittu, Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 10, pp. 363-364, 2003.
[On line 4: Pāšittu]
: 363-364

Jiménez, 07/2015 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Translation)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Collation)
Gabbay, 07/2015 (Suggestions [esp. l. 17])
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
Jiménez, 10/2017 (Revision)
Jiménez, 10/2017 (Revision [l. 15])
Frahm, 10/2017 (Collation [l. 15])
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2015, “Commentary on Sagig 13 and 12 (CCP 4.1.13.B),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed June 24, 2024, at DOI: 10079/g1jwt6m
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

This small tablet contains a complete commentary on the series of medical diagnoses and prognoses Sagig. According to its ṣâtu 3b subscript, preserved on the lower edge of the tablet, the ten first entries of the text pertain to a chapter whose incipit would be ¶ gig kišib. The only tablet of Sagig that could correspond to this incipit is Sagig 11, whose first line reads: ¶ gig rit-ta-šú šá zag gu₇-šú, “If the right hand of a patient hurts him.” The problem is, however, that the first 10 entries of the commentary do not correspond to lemmata in Sagig 11, but rather to words from Sagig 13 (whose incipit is ¶ gig sag šà-šú sa₅, “If the epigastrium of a patient is red”). After the section devoted to Sagig 13 and its misleading rubric, the commentary features six entries that can be ascribed to Sagig 12.1 The order of the present commentary is therefore: Sagig 13 → Rubric of Sagig 11 → Sagig 12.2

The main concern of the commentary is to provide common synonyms and unambiguous spellings for difficult words or writings. Thus in line 7 the unusual writing rík-su-šú, “his bindings,” is first spelled out as ri-ik-su-šú, and then explained as šér-a-nu-šú, “his ligaments.” Some of the explanations are borrowed from lexical lists, so e.g. l. 14 [na₄e-t]an*-de-e-ti : pu-ra-ṭa-a-tú (collated) is borrowed from the lexical list Ḫargud. Occasionally the entries display a more creative type of philology: for instance, the entry šu, lit. “hand of the brazier,” is explained as šu dnuska, “hand of Nuska,” based on Nuska’s character as the brazier-god. Another case of creative philology can be found in l. 10, which explains the word “depression” (ḫūṣu) as “‘to roast,’ in the meaning ‘to burn’”: the equation is based on the lexical equations of the verb šemû with the Sumerian word šu-ḫu-uz, phonologically close to the explanandum.

The tablet was probably found at Uruk. The original has been collated and an important collation in l. 14 is incorporated into the edition below.

  • 1. The last three entries of the commentary were identified in October 2017.
  • 2. As U. Gabbay suggests (private communication), the strange sequence may have originated in a misinterpretation of a Vorlage that contained commentaries on Sagig 11-13, or else in an erroneous combination of several Vorlagen.

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


GCCI 2, 406


ḫe-em-ret : še-eb-ret1

“It is cracked up” (= Sagig XIII 13 i 12') means “it is broken up.”



“Hand of KI.NE” (= Sagig XIII 5 = TDP 110 i 6') means “Hand of Nuska.”


id-da-lip : ik-tu-

“He becomes restless” (= Sagig XIII ii 14 = TDP 118) means “he lingers (in a place).”


pa-šit- im- : pa-šit- šá mar- ú-kal-lu3

The “poisonous pāšittu-demon” (= Sagig XIII unknown) means “the pāšittu-demon demon that holds contains bile.”


ŠU . : na-še-e bi-il-4

ŠU GÁ.GÁ (= Sagig XIII unknown) means “carrier of a load.”


ŠU . : na-še-e še-er-ti

ŠU GÁ.GÁ means “carrier of a punishment.”


rík-su-šú ir-mu-ú : ri-ik-su-šú : šér-a-nu-šú

“His binding will become loose” (= Sagig XIII iii 18 = TDP 124), “bindings” mean “his ligaments.”


gi-lit-su : giš-šá-a-šú

gilitsu (= Sagig XIII iii 24 = TDP 124) means “his hips.”


IGI..ŠÚ : ḫa-a-a-at-

“IGI.LÁ.ŠÚ” (= Sagig XIII iii 25 = TDP 124) means “terror.”

lower edge

ḫu-uṣ-ṣa : še-mu-ú šá ka-ba-bu5

“Depression” (ḫuṣ̣ṣa) (= Sagig XIII iii 43 = TDP 126) means “to roast (šemû), in the meaning of 'to burn'.”


    ṣa-a- u šu-ut KA šá * GIG KIŠIB

Lemmata and oral explanations relating to “If the sick man, (his) hand” (= Sagig XI incipit).


KIR₄.ŠU.GÁL : la-ba-ni ap-pi6

“KIR₄.ŠU.GÁL” (= Sagig XII i 5 = TDP 100) means “touching the nose.”

(1 line blank)

KI.GUB-su : man-zal-ta-šú

“KI.GUB-su (= Sagig XII iii 35 = TDP 106 and Sagig XIV 60 = TDP 132) means “his faeces.”


[na₄e]-tan*-de-e-ti : pu-ra-ṭa-a-7

na₄e-tan-de-e-ti (= Sagig XII iii 45 = TDP 106!) is the purṭātu-stone.


šá?-niš? a-na ik-rib qa--e i-bal-luṭ8

Alternatively, (it means) “for a vow that he promised he will get well.”


šit-ti : zu-ú

“Excrement” (= Sagig XII iv 1 = TDP 106!) means “faeces.”


SA.GIG : ki-is-sa-tu₄9

SA.GIG (= Sagig XII iv 18 = TDP 107) means kissatu-disease.

(rest of reverse blank)

1The complete line in the base text can be found in Scurlock & Andersen, Diagnoses in Assyrian and Babylonian Medicine (2005), p. 425 §18.37, restored after K.18019 l. 2.

2The association is based on Nuska's role as the divine brazier (KI.NU = kinūnu, "brazier").

3On pāšittu as "Gallenkolik," see Köcher "Spätbabylonische medizinische Texte aus Uruk" Fs Goerke (1978) p. 17-39, here 35-36 n. 59.

4Compare Nabnītu K 187-188: gú.un.íl / gú.un.šu.gá.gá = naš[û š[a bilti] (MSL 16 147).

5On the term ḫūṣ (ḫīp libbi), "depression," see Scurlock & Andersen, Diagnoses in Assyrian and Babylonian Medicine (2005), p. 710 n. 14. The association is based on the lexical equation šu-ḫu-uz = šemû (e.g. Antagal III 180-181 and VII 230-231, MSL p. 156 and 166).

6As stated by Wee, The Practice of Diagnosis in Mesopotamian Medicine p. 630, the logogram KIR₄.ŠU.GÁL is attested in Sagig only in Sagig XII i 5.

7Collated. The explanation is taken from na₄e.tan.di.e.tu₄ = ṣip-ri-e-tu₄ = pur-ṭa-a-tu₄ (Hg B IV 105, MSL 10 33). The base text is Sagig XII iii 45 = TDP 106! (according to the copy of BE 35828 iv 5 in TDP pl. xxx, the reading [na₄]e-tan-de-e- is clear).

8Compare the usual prognosis ana ik-rib -bít KA-šú TIN, “for a vow that he promised he will get well” (see Borger JCS 18 (1964) p. 54a and Scurlock & Andersen, Diagnoses in Assyrian and Babylonian Medicine (2005), p. 255 §11.44). J. Wee The Practice of Diagnosis in Mesopotamian Medicine p. 631 suggests that the line contains an etymographic analysis of the word [na₄e]-tan-de-e-ti (read by him as “[...] x NÍG de-e-ti”): cf. especially E = qabû, TI = balāṭu. It seems likely, however, that the line represents a second explanation of its base text, introduced by šanîš (the reading šá-niš is possible, according to Eckart Frahm’s collation in 10/2017). The commentator probably felt that the name of a stone alone is not a convincing prognosis, and therefore provided a fanciful parsing of the signs involved: thus, NA₄ = ana (elsewhere unattested, but nam and ia = ana is common), E.TAN = ík-rib, E = qabû, and TI = balāṭu. With this creative use of philology the commentator shows that the rare writing refers in fact to a well-known prognosis.

9U. Gabbay suggests that this entry may explain the title of the series itself, rather than the entry Sagig XII iv 18 = TDP 107, like the last entry in the commentary edited by George, A.R. "Babylonian Texts from the folios of Sidney Smith. Part Two: Prognostic and Diagnostic Omens, Tablet I" RA 85 (1991) p. 152 l. 47 (CCP 4.1.1.A.b).

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

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