CCP 3.6.3.B - Izbu 17 B

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
IM 76949
W 22703
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1, II RA Wohnhaus älterer Zustand
SpTU 2 38

de Zorzi, 2014N. de Zorzi, La serie teratomantica Šumma Izbu. Testo, tradizione, orizzonti culturali. Sargon Editice e Libreria, 2014.: 746-748

Besnier, 2009 (GKAB)

von Weiher, 1983E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil II. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1983.: 164-165 no. 38

DivinationTeratological omensIzbu cola LB Uruk

ṣâtu 7c

Base text: 
Izbu 17
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Complete tablet
obv 22, rev 12
8,2 × 6,7 cm
Early Hellenistic (late 4th cent) (Uruk, Iqīšāya)
Iqīšāya s. Ištar-šumu-ēreš d. Ekurzakir

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.: 51, 53, 59, 68, 281

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 29, 52, 55, 67, 91, 208, 294, 412

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 74 (3, 19, 20), 133 (4), 226 (14, 10–11), 74, 119 (18)

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 444

George, 2015A. R. George, On Babylonian lavatories and sewers, Iraq, vol. 77, pp. 75-106, 2015.: 10-11

von Weiher, 1983E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus Uruk. Teil II. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1983.
: 164-165 no. 38

Besnier, 01/2009 (ATF Transliteration)
Besnier, 01/2009 (Lemmatization)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Revision)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Translation)
Jiménez, 05/2015 (Introduction)
Y. Cohen, 03/2016 (Typo correction [30])
Jiménez, 11/2016 (Commentary markup)
Fadhil & van Ess, 10/2017 (Museum number)
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2015, “Commentary on Izbu 17 (CCP 3.6.3.B),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed July 18, 2024, at DOI: 10079/nvx0kkb
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

This well preserved tablet contains a commentary on the 17th tablet of the teratological series Šumma Izbu. The tablet belongs to the collection of Iqīšāya, and it is dated to the reign of Philip Arrhidaeus (1 August 318 BCE). The rubric classifies the tablet as a ṣâtu 7c commentary on the 18th “reading” (malsûtu) of Šumma Izbu.


All the preserved explanations are concerned with philological issues. For instance, line 24 explains the ambiguous writing géme malî, “an omen of mourning,” by spelling out the logogram géme. The commentary also attempts to provide philological justification for its explanations: for instance, ll. 16-17 explain the phrase “shape of a shrew” (bišimti ḫulê) as “creature (binûtu) (spawn by) a shrew,” and then specifies that the equation is due to the fact that “‘to shape’ (bašāmu) means ‘to create’ (banû).”

Some of the entries are identical with those of the Principal Commentary on Šumma Izbu (gurru maḫīru), e.g. ll. 6 and 8. Occasionally the entries of the present commentary read like expanded versions of the laconic explanations of the gurru maḫīru.

This commentary uses the technical terms šanîš, “alternatively”; and ina … qabi, “it is said in …,” the latter to cite the source of the explanations. Twice in this text are the explanations said to be cited from a ṣâtu, “a bilingual list” (ll. 10-11 and 14). On both occasions the explanation takes the form of “x means y, when said of z,” using the determinative pronoun ša for defining which of the several possible meanings of a word is referred to in a particular instance (see further here). Once the explanation is introduced by the comparative preposition kīma, “like” (l. 18 “‘A kukku of a balance’ is like (kīma) the rod of a weighing scales”), which perhaps indicates that the explanation is not entirely philological. A fully periphrastic explanation can also be found in this commentary: ll. 9-10 explain that “the urethra is a hole of the penis from which urine flows out.”


The present edition has benefited greatly from an electronic edition prepared by Marie-Françoise Besnier for the GKAB project, kindly made available by Eleanor Robson.


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SpTU 2, 038[via ccpo]


BE iz-[bu TÙN-šú ina maš-kán MUR-šú šá ZAG GARat LUGAL MAR.TU]ki LUGAL URIki i-dak

(1) “If an an[omaly’s stomach is located at the place of its right lung, the king of Amurr]u will kill the king of Akkad” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 1).


kit-ta [x x x x x x x x x] ina TÙR? LUGAL : -al-du

(2) ... in the king’s courtyard. “They are born” (iʾaldu) (= Šumma Izbu XVII unkown) means [...]. [... means ...], alternatively, it means The house ... [...] in the king’s animal stall : they were born.


it-ta-x-x-x x [x x x pa-le]-e šá-niš

(3) ... [...] ... alternatively it can mean “in order to defeat the reign,” since [...].


a-na ka-šá-du pa-le-e x x x x x x x DUL? lìb-bi

(4) “DUL of the heart” (= Šumma Izbu unknown) means “stomach tissue,” i.e., the “membrane of stomach.” [...] king.


lìb-bi : ku-tu-um ŠÀ : pa-pa-an lìb-bi x x x x [x] x : šar-ri1


MUL.GAL : .EN.NA : .EN.NA : [x x nap]-ḫar LUGAL EN-MEŠ : 2

(6) “A great star” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 21′, “a great star will fall") means “the governor of Nippur” (lú.GUʾENNA). “The governor of Nippur” is “the lord of all kings and lords, since means “all” and EN means “lord.”


: nap-ḫar : EN : be-lu : ina du-[x] x x-šu È-ma? MAS. TEam

(7) In ... and a MAS.SÙ will draw near” (= Šumma Izbu unknown), MAS.SÙ means “leader,” MAS.SÙ also means “noble.” ME.ḪÉ means “fatty tissue.”


MAS. : a-šá-re-du MAS. : kab-tu [:] ME.[ḪÉ :] ḫi-in-ṣi : mu-ter šu-uḫ-ḫu : 3

(8) “Bolt of buttock” (= Šumma Izbu unknown) means “its urethra is sealed,” the urethra is a hole of the penis from which urine flows out. SUR, pronounced /sur/, means “to urinate,” SUR also means “to discharge said of urine.” It is said in a bilingual list.


mu--tin-na-šú pe-ḫi : mu--tin-na pi-il-šú šá ú-šá-ri a-šar ši-na-a-


uṣ-ṣa-ni : SURsu-ur : ši-tin-nu : SUR : ta-ba-ku šá ši-na-a- ina ṣa-a-


qa-bi : KÀŠ-MEŠ-šú u šit-ta-šú DUak : šit-tu₄ : zu-ú

(11) In “Its urine and excrements (šittašu) will flow” (Šumma Izbu XVII unknown), “excrement” (šittu) means faeces.


til-la- : e-mu-qa : GÌR!? !KÚR ana KUR-ka ú-ta-šar : ú-ta-áš-ša-ar4

(12) “Reinforcements” (Šumma Izbu XVII unknown) means “strength.” “An enemy attack will have access (ú-ta-šar) to your land” (Šumma Izbu XVII 41′). “Will have access” (wr. ú-ta-áš-ša-ar) means “it will go,” since ašāru means “to approach,” and ašāru also mean “to go.” SI means “to go straight, said of walking". It is said in a bilingual list.


il-la-ku : a-šá-ar : sa-na-qa : a-šá-ri : a-la-ku5


SI : e-še-ru šá a-la-ku ina ṣa-a- qa-bi : ú-qal!-lal! : ub!-ba-at : 6

(14) “He will humiliate” (uqallal) means “he will destroy,” since GUL means “to destroy.” LAL (Šumma Izbu XVII 46′) means “to bound,” or “to kill.”


GUL : a-ba-at : : ka-mu-ú : da-a-ku : zi-im ḫu-wa-wa

(15) “Visage (zīmu) of Huwawa” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 49′) means “face (pānu) of Humbaba,” since SAG means “visage” (zīmu) and SAG also means “face” (pānu).


pa-ni ḫu-um-ba-ba : SAG : zi-i-mu : SAG : pa-ni : bi-ši-im-ti

(16) “Shape (bišimtu) of a shrew” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 50′) means “creature (binûtu) (spawn by) a shrew,” since “to shape” (bašāmu) means “to create” (banû). Alternatively, it means “face of a shrew.”


ḫu-le-e : bi-nu-ut ḫu-le-e : ba-šá-mu : ba-nu-u


šá-niš pa-ni ḫu-le-e : ku-uk-ku qa-ab-li-ti : ki-ma

(18) “A kukku of a balance” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 52′) is like the rod of a weighing scales, since É.ÉRIN can alternatively mean kukku.


qa-nu-ú šá zi-ba-ni-tu₄ : É.ÉRIN! : šá-niš ku-uk-ku7


kùr- È : ma-ḫi-ri ip-paṭ-ṭar šá-niš ma-ḫi-ir i-nap-pu-8

(20) “A gur will stand out” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 52′ (?)) means that bussiness will be untied; alternatively (it can mean that) business will expand.


BE iz-bu GIM SUḪUR.MÁŠku₆ ù MUŠ -lip- sa-ḫi-ip

(21) “If an anomaly is covered in a skin of scales (qú-lip-tú) like a goatfish or a snake: anger of Sin; the man will be afflicted with leprosy” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 54′), “skin of scales” (qú-lip-tú) (can be written as) qú-líp-tú.


uz-za-at dSUEN ep-qa SA₅ : -lip- : -líp-


BE iz-bu SÍK na-ši : ma-li-i na-ši : SÍK.ÙZ : ma-li-i9

(23) “If an anomaly has hair (SÍK) (= Šumma Izbu XVII 64′) means that “it has disheveled hair,” since SÍK.ÙZ means “hair,” and SÍK.ÙZ also means “tuft.”


SÍG.ÙZ : pe--tu₄ : GÉME ma-li-i : a-mu-ut <<:>> ma-li-i

(24) “A GÉME of mourning (lit., of disheveled hair) (= Šumma Izbu XVII 65′) means “an omen of mourning,” since GÉME means “omen.”


GÉME : a-mu-ut : ZAG-šú ḪÁD : i-mit-ta-šú šá-bu-ul-la-at10

(25) “Its right hand part is UD” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 68′) means its shoulder is dried up, since the sign UD, read /ḫa(d)/, means “to dry up.”


ḫa-aḪÁD : a-ba-lu : ŠÀ-MEŠ-šú ina GU.DI-šú GAR-MEŠ : ŠÀ : er-ri

(26) In “Its intestines (ŠÀ-MEŠ) are located on its buttocks” (= Šumma Izbu XVII 72′), ŠÁ means “intestines.”


mu-ma-as-su-ku iḫ-ta-áš-ma : la ba-nu-ú <<:>> il-la-kam-ma11

(27) mumassuku iḫtāš-ma (= Šumma Izbu XVII unknown) (that means): means “something not good will come,” since mumassuku means “not good” and ḫâšu means “to go.”


mu-ma-as-su-ku : la ba-nu-ú : ḫa-a-šú : a-la-ku


UL šu-ut KA u maš-a-a-al-ti! šá pi-i um-ma-nu šá lìb-bi

(29) Lemmata, oral explanations, and (materials for) a ‘questioning’ by a (master-)scholar, relating to “If an anomaly’s stomach is located at the place of its right lung” (= Šumma Izbu XVII).


BE iz-bu TÙN-šú ina maš-kán MUR-šú šá 15 GARat 18ú mál-sutₓ(BÁN)

(30) 18th “reading” of (the series) “If an anomaly.” Not finished. “If a ewe eats its afterbirth” (= Catchline of Šumma Izbu XVIII).


BE iz-bu NU AL.TIL BE U₈ si-li-is-su GU₇ im.DA

(31) One-colum tablet of Iqīšāya, son of Ištar-šumu-ēreš, descendant of Ekurzakir, Urukean exorcist.


mBAšá-a bu₁₂-kúr mdINANA-MU-KAM ŠÀ.BAL.BAL mÉ.KUR-za-kir


MAŠ.MAŠ TIR.AN.NAkiú NU pa-liḫ da-nu dEN.LÍL

(33) If a person who does not fear Anu, Enlil and Ea carries (the tablet) off, he who carried it off, may Adad carry him off!


dé-a lit-bal-šú šá iTÙM-šú dIŠKUR lit-bal-šú


itiŠU U₄ 14-KAM MU 6-KAM mpi-il-pi-is-su LUGAL KUR.KUR

(35) 14th of Duʾuzu (IV), 6th year of Philip, king of all countries (= 1 August 318 BCE).

1The libbi at the beginning of the line may be a dittography. At the end of the line, šarri may belong with the following line.

2MUL.GAL appears in Šumma Izbu XVII 21', and it may be equated with lú.GUʾENNA also in the Principal Commentary l. 441.

3ME.ḪÉ is also the explanandum in the Principal Commentary l. 445.

4According to de Zorzi Šumma Izbu (2014) p. 758, the apodosis commented upon in this line would correspond to Šumma Izbu XVII 41'. The reading GÌR in the copy (first proposed by CAD U/W 324b) is very uncertain, although it has parallels elsewhere (see CAD ibid.).

5As stated in de Zorzi Šumma Izbu (2014) p. 758-759, the equations here are based on the similar phonology of ašāru and ešēru.

6The reading of the line follow the brilliant suggestions of de Zorzi Šumma Izbu (2014) p. 758-759. The explanation is based on the fact that GUL and qalālu sound similar.

7The use of šanîš, "alternatively," is strange, since it seems to introduce the first exaplantion, rather than an alternative one. The explanation is probably based on the equations of zibānītu with giš.ERÍN that feature frequently in lexical lists.

8È = napāšu is well attested in lexical lists, not so È = paṭāru, which seems to be elsewhere unattested.

9For the use of SÍK.ÙZ for ̌šārtu, see Mayer, W.R. OrNS 57 (1988) p. 149-150 (referred to in de Zorzi Šumma Izbu [2014] p. 761).

10As explained by de Zorzi Šumma Izbu (2014) p. 761, the commentator misreads the sign UD as ḪÁD, "to be dry," instead of BABBAR, "white."

11The form mumassuku is difficult. It is perhaps an ungrammatical D-participle of masāku, "to be bad" (the regular for would be mumassiku). See the discussion in von Weiher SpTU 2 p. 165 and de Zorzi Šumma Izbu p. 748.