CCP 4.2.J - Therapeutic (ears) J

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
IM 74443
W 22307/61
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1 Schnittgraben, südl. Hä.
SpTU 1 54
Uruk Foto Nr. 13112, 13116

Clancier, 2009 (GKAB)

Hunger, 1976H. Hunger, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil I. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1976.: 63-64 no. 54

MedicalTherapeutic texts


Base text: 
Therapeutic (ears)
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
obv 16, rev 5
5,2 × 5,2 × 1,6 cm
Achaemenid (5th cent - 331 BCE) (Uruk, Anu-ikṣur / Nippur / Babylon)

Beaulieu, 2003P. - A. Beaulieu, The pantheon of Uruk during the neo-Babylonian period. Brill, Styx, 2003.
[On line r 1: Pomegranate]
: 164

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.
[Descendants Šangû-Ninurta]
: 50, 52, 55, 71, 265, 389

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 234, 292

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 75 (7′), 201 (11′)

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 404

Reiner, 2005aE. Reiner, No. 70: Medical Commentary and No. 71: Commentary on Enuma Anu Enlil, in Cuneiform texts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I. Spar and Lambert, W. G. , Eds. Metropolitan Museum, 2005, pp. 284-287.
[On line 10'-11']
: 284-285

Schwemer, 2007D. Schwemer, Abwehrzauber und Behexung. Studien zum Schadenzauberglauben im alten Mesopotamien. Harrassowitz, 2007.
[On line o 14']
: 17 fn. 46

Clancier, 01/2009 (ATF Transliteration)
Clancier, 01/2009 (Lemmatization)
Fadhil & van Ess, 10/2017 (Museum number)
Jiménez, 10/2017 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 10/2017 (Translation)
Jiménez, 10/2017 (Introduction)
Frazer, 10/2017 (Revision)
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2017, “Commentary on Therapeutic (ears) (CCP 4.2.J),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2022; accessed May 22, 2022, at DOI: 10079/7d7wmg5
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

The present tablet contains remains of a commentary on a therapeutic text concerned with ear treatments. A few of the lines from the base text can be identified in certain medical texts (see ll. 8′–9′ below) but, as is often the case in commentaries on therapeutic texts, the specific text commented upon is unknown.

The commentary features several highly interesting hermeneutical operations. The most ingenious ones occur in lines 10′–14′. In these lines, the commentator tries to explain why putting “blood from an ox’s kidney” into someone’s ear should be an appropriate treatment. To do so, it first establishes that the “kidney” is prescribed on account of the “Kidney” star (kalītu), which is a star closely associated with Ea in other texts.1 Having established this, the exegete proceeds to demonstrate that the word “ear” is also connected with Ea, and for that purpose he quotes in vertical several entries from the lexical list Diri concerned with the sign géštu(giš.túg.pi),2 This hermeneutical tour de force concludes with a previously unidentified explicit quotation from the first chapter of the physiognomic series Alamdimmû, which establishes that the word “ear,” and in particular its synonym “intelligence,” are identical with Ea.3 The tertium comparationis between the “kidney” and the “ear” is, therefore, the god Ea.


The edition below has benefited from collation of the excavation photographs of the tablet, kindly made available by H. Hunger.

  • 1. The Kidney star is associated with Ea e.g. in the “30-Star Catalogues”: see W. Horowitz, The Three Stars Each: The Astrolabes and Related Texts. Berger & Söhne, 2014. P. 103 Ea 7. Note that in the commentary CCP 4.2.B l. 21 the “Kidney” star is associated with Mars and Nergal, another common association.
  • 2. The text cites Diri III 62-63, edited by M. Civil, The Series Diri = (w)atru. Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 2004. P. 138
  • 3. Incidentally, the identification of the quotation supports B. Böck’s contention that the first chapter of Alamdimmû contained equations of parts of the body with gods. See B. Böck, Die babylonisch-assyrische Morphoskopie. Berger & Söhne, 2000. Pp. 24–25.

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


SpTU 1, 054

x126NaN  (beginning obverse missing)

[...] x [x x x (x)]

[] []


[...] x-lab-bi? [x x x]

[] []


[...] šu?-li-i : x [x (x)]

[] []


[...] x x-te ta-ṣap-pár : BAR : ṣa-pa-[ru]

[] “you wink” bar means “to wi[nk].”


[...] i-na ú-ba-an ši-ta-<<x>>-da-x-[(x)]

[] in the finger []


[...]-x-ḫu ú-ba-ni-ka GALtu₄ : U MAN-ma1

“Your thumb” (lit. “the big finger”) means “the index finger” (lit., “the second finger”);


[...] x : DAB : ṣa-ba-tu : šá-niš MU-šú mi?-x-[(x)]

[] dab means “to seize.” Alternatively his name


[...]-ru-ú : da-mi-šú : MÚD BURU₅.ḪABRUD.DAmušen2

[] “his blood” (= AO 6774 ii 10) means “blood of a partridge”


[... BAR] gišNU.ÚR.MA ta-maḫ-ḫar : BAR gišNU.ÚR.MA3

[] You receive [peel of p]omegranate” (= AO 6774 ii 10) “Peel of pomegranate”


[...] NENNI tu-kàṣ-ṣa : MÚD ÉLLAG GU₄ ana ŠÀ GEŠTU-MIN-šú

[means ] you cool down. (In) what it says, (namely) “The blood of an ox’s kidney (éllag) [you ] inside his ears


[...]-x TAG šá DUG₄ú : mulÉLLAG : ka-li-ti

[and ] , the “Kidney” star (muléllag) means “kidney”


[mulÉLLAG : d]é*-a : GIŠ.TÚG.PI ge--ṭu gi--tu-nu : gi--te-nu-ú4

[(and) the “Kidney” star (muléllag) means E]a. giš.túg.pi (is the sign) gešṭu gištunu-sign (i.e., pi) means the giš tenû-sign;


[...] uz*-nu : ḫa-si-si : ḫa-si-si dé-a

[] means “ear,” (i.e.) “intelligence,” (as in) “Intelligence is Ea”


[lìb-bu-ú *] SAG.DU IGI.KID BAR DINGIR-MEŠ : ru-ú-tu₄ dé-a EN KU₆5

[(a quotation) from “If] the head is an image of the gods” (= incipit of Alamdimmû I). The spittle is Ea, lord of the fish.


[ta-ṣar]-ru-ru : ṣa-ra-ra : a-la-ku

“You tri]ckle” (stems from) “to trickle,” (which) means “to flow.”


   BI.IZ : na-ta-ka

bi-iz means “to drip”.


[...] x x x [x] gišNU.ÚR.MA NÍG.GIG d15

[] [] pomegranate, taboo of Ištar;


[...] x zu?-mur

[] body;


[...] x x x x-ra



[...] x x






[...] x x d15

[] Ištar

(rest of reverse missing)

1The thumb is often mentioned in medical texts: see CAD U/W 4–5.

2The “blood of a partridge” is frequently attested in ritual texts.

3The instruction “You receive peel of pomegranate” is attested in AO 6774 ii 10 (Geller JMC 14 p. 29).

4gešṭu = GIŠ.TÚG.PI; gištunu = PI (see Diri III 62-63, MSL XV 138). Lines 12′–13′ seem to cite Diri III 62-63 “in vertical.”

5The text contains an explicit quotation from the tablet entitled [¶] SAG.DU IGI.KÁR BAR DINGIR-MEŠ. This tablet is, in fact, BM 141780 (TBP 64), edited by Böck, Morphoskopie (2000) p. 262. The line quoted here is in all likelihood obv 8: [...] dé-a (note that a duplicate of this tablet from the Sippar Library was announced by Al Rawi & George Iraq 52 p. 149 fn. 1).