CCP 6.7.u1 - Uncertain

Catalogue information
National Museum of Iraq
IM 76956
W 22712/1a
UrukUruk, Ue XVIII/1 Schicht III ne. Wasseranlage
SpTU 4 146

von Weiher, 1993E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus dem Planquadrat U 18. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993.: 63-64 no. 146

LexicalGod lists


Base text: 
Tablet information
1 (?)
4,5 × 3,5 cm

Clancier, 2009P. Clancier, Les bibliothèques en Babylonie dans le deuxième moitié du 1er millénaire av. J.-C. Ugarit-Verlag, 2009.
[Maison des āšipu, Niveau III]
: 396

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 260, 296

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.
[On line 11]
: 74

Genty, 2010aT. Genty, Les commentaires dans les textes cunéiformes assyro-babyloniens. MA thesis, 2010.
: 510

von Weiher, 1993E. von Weiher, Spätbabylonische Texte aus dem Planquadrat U 18. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1993.
: 63-64 no. 146

Zaia, 09/2017 (Transliteration)
Zaia, 09/2017 (Translation)
Zaia, 09/2017 (Introduction)
Frahm & Frazer, 09/2017 (Suggestions)
Jiménez, 09/2017 (Lemmatization)
Fadhil & van Ess, 10/2017 (Museum number)
By Shana Zaia | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Zaia, Sh., 2017, “Commentary on Uncertain (CCP 6.7.u1),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed April 23, 2024, at DOI: 10079/xksn0fv
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

W 22712/1a is a fragment from Seleucid period Uruk that was found in the third level of the House of the āšipu1 and preserves 12 lines of text. The beginnings of these lines are lost and it is unclear if the preserved lines comprise one column in a multi-column text. Nonetheless, enough is retained from each line to observe that the genre of the text is likely a commentary of the “cola type,” i.e. dividing the lines into terms and their accompanying explanations using cola. It must be noted, however, that the cola are more confusing than clarifying, used seemingly arbitrarily where one would not be expected or omitted where one would be (for an example of the former see line 2′ and, for the latter, line 5′). Line 1′ uses the technical term aššu (mu) “because.”

The base text for this commentary is unknown; a very likely candidate is a lexical god list, in the same category as the Weidner God List and its associated commentaries (for a list, see here), but this is not definitive. The most probable contenders are An = Anum and An = Anu ša amēli, which have been linked with the revival of Anu’s cult in Seleucid period Uruk.2 While Anu (Sumerian An) had historically been the head of the Sumero-Akkadian pantheon, he had declined in popularity throughout the 1st millennium until he was virtually absent even in his patron city of Uruk. The primary city deity was Ištar until reforms by the educated elite families in Uruk unseated Ištar and restored Anu and his consort Antu to their former prominence, a development that had taken place by the end of the 5th century BCE. In support of the lexical lists as inspiring the present text, there were three exemplars of the An = Anum god list found in an Urukean family archive,3 along with other Anu theology texts such as one that names the children and officials of Anu and one that identifies the resident gods of Uruk.4 Even the scribes’ names preserved in colophons seem to have been inspired by coded or cryptographic writings of the divine name that are attested in An = Anum.5 Another possibility is a hymnic or praise text, since it seems clear that the base text concerns Anu veneration.


In this text, and consistent with other Anu theology texts from Uruk, Anu’s role is that of the ultimate creator god, holding this supreme power over both the divine and mortal spheres as he creates gods and mankind alike and rules over the heavens.6 Late Babylonian texts from Uruk emphasize this identity.7 Other texts support Anu’s high status, such as the Uruk version of the mīs pî (BaghM Beih 2, no. 1), a ritual mentioned in the present text. By the Seleucid period, the predominance of Anu in Uruk is indisputable, and he also takes on the epithets and characteristics of the patron gods of other politically or theologically important cities in Babylonia; namely, Marduk of Babylon and Enlil of Nippur.

The preserved lines deconstruct, for the most part, individual words or signs, explaining them in the context of Anu’s supremacy and divine character as the head of the pantheon. It is often challenging to determine what is being explained, however, as the left half of the tablet is missing, as is the beginning of the text.

Line 1′ begins with the diš sign, which is also used to write 60, Anu’s divine number. Although line 2′ has the syllabic spelling of the god’s name, there is also a hint in line 3′ of the shift from the syllabic writings that were used in preceding periods back to the traditional rendering of the name as d60, which becomes characteristic in Seleucid/Parthian period Uruk and denotes totality.8 That the writing of the divine name with the "god number" is a traditional one that had fallen out of use in Uruk fits nicely with the antiquarianism of the scribes while its relative newness to the Urukean population at the time may explain why there is a commentary explicating it, especially since it is not used in the god lists upon which Anu theology was built. The mention of amēlūtu “humanity” in line 5′ establishes Anu’s hegemony over the mortal world and may additionally be a nod to the eponymous first line of An = Anu ša amēli. Lines 6′ and 9′ seem to contain epithets of Anu that are not found in the lexical list tradition and may hint at a different base text. Lines 5′-8′ may all directly speak to Anu’s role as creator god, since there are references to statue-creation and animation alongside more explicit descriptions of the god as bānû “creator” of gods and men. The reference in line 8′ to the mīs pî ritual, used to animate divine cult images (and other objects, including kings’ statues), is here specifically the “washing of the mouth of the gods,” emphasizing the divine element. Another return to antiquarianism is expressed in line 10′, where Uraš is mentioned. Uraš was An’s original consort (before An became Anu and was given the consort Antu) and means “earth” and secondarily “heaven” (see RlA 14: 401-404). The use of šamû may also connect Uraš with the meaning of An’s name. An and Uraš are the ancestors of all the gods but, most importantly, the progenitors of Enlil and Ištar, so the invocation of Uraš emphasizes the return to an ancient tradition that gives primacy to Anu over his Nippurean and Urukean rivals. Uraš eventually becomes a male god and may also be a form of Anu himself in An = Anum as well as in this text (RlA 14: 403-404).


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SpTU 4, 146

o 1'o 1'

[...] DIŠ : MU -tén : DIŠ : ZÍBib [(x)]1

[] DIŠ because “one” (ištēn) is “one” (DIŠ); ? [means ]

o 2'2'

[... DIŠ?] da-nu-um : DIŠ DINGIR.GUB : ba an ri?2

[ DIŠ means(?)] Anu;

o 3'3'

[...] dGÉŠ : LUGAL <<:>> kiš-šat : GÉŠ : da-nu-um3

[] Anu (d60) means “king of totality”; 60 means Anu

o 4'4'

[... DINGIR] : i-lu₄ : DINGIR : be-el :: DINGIR : šar-ri4

[ “DINGIR”] means “god”; “DINGIR” means “lord”; “DINGIR” means “king”

o 5'5'

[...]-MEŠ : NU <:> ALAN : NU : a!-me-lu-tu₄5

[] (plural); NU (means) “image”; NU means “humanity”

o 6'6'

[...] : ba-nu-ú : DINGIR-MEŠ : ṣal-mat <<:>> SAG.DU6

[ Anu] (is) creator of the gods (and) black-headed (people)

o 7'7'

[...] : DINGIR : ba-nu-ú : ṣal-lam : A : ba-nu-ú7

[] “god” means creator of ṣallam; A means “to create”

o 8'8'


[] “washing of the mouth” of the gods

o 9'9'

[...]-MEŠ ANe u KI9

[] of heaven and earth

o 10'10'

[...] x : URAŠ : šá-mu-u : URAŠ : KI10

[] Uraš means “heaven” (and) Uraš means “earth”

o 11'11'

[...] KItim šá-niš be-lu kiš-šat EDIN11

[] of earth; secondarily “lord (of) all of the steppe(?)

o 12'12'

[...] x : ŠÁR : ra-bu-ú : ŠÁR : ma-a-ti12

[] ŠÁR means “to be big;” ŠÁR means “land”

o 13'13'


1DIŠ can also be read GÉŠ “60,” as it is in l. 3′, a reference to Anu’s god number. Here, its alternate reading as the number one is used instead as part of the explanation of something that is lost. While not part of the preserved text here, the similar AN.ZÍB means teleʾû “able, experienced,” an epithet attested with Enlil as ilu teleʾû but much more commonly used in the feminine form telītu as an attribute of Ištar (CAD T: 327-28). This is possibly related to Anu’s usurpation of Ištar’s primacy in Uruk, though it is rare that the god (rather than Antu) is given Ištar’s epithets directly.

2The syllabic writing da-nu-um is consistent with An = Anum. BA DINGIR could be ba-an “creator.” The colon between GUB and BA is possibly a mistake (based on errors in 3' and 5'), leading to a reading DINGIR.GUB.BA. For DINGIR.GUB.BA as a type of divine attendant to other gods, see Litke 1998: 7, including fn. 50. It is nonetheless not clear what is meant in this part of the line.

3This equation may come from ŠÁR meaning šarru and kiššatu. As mentioned, writing Anu’s name as d60 is the standard for this period and is meant to indicate totality, providing another wordplay with the title “king of totality.”

4This line explains the equation in line 3′ between dGÉŠ and šar kiššati via explanations of šarru.

5As mentioned in the introduction above, this may be a subtle nod to the lexical list An = Anu ša amēli, which was a source for Anu theology and may have been influential in this text. The equation between NU and amēlūtu is also attested in Proto-Ea (see CAD A II: 49, lexical section).

6The colons in this line are still seemingly random. Epithets for Anu as abu ṣalmāt qaqqadi and abu ša ilānī bānû kalāma can be found in Tallqvist 1938: 1-2.

7The final equation in this line, A : ba-nu-ú, is also attested in BM 38121 (CCP 7.2.u24) and MSL 14: 128, 204. This line may be referencing “black” (as in “black headed” people) and “statue” as a word play.

8Four texts relating to mīs pî (“washing of the mouth”), a ritual primarily but not exclusively used for divine cult images (Walker and Dick 2001), are known from Uruk (Linssen 2004: 153). is attested as a name of Anu in An = Anu (line 3). Titles such as “king of heaven and earth” or “lord of heaven and earth” are common epithets of the highest gods of a pantheon.

10Uraš is Anu ša milki in An = Anu ša amēli (line 1) and is mentioned in An = Anum as a gloss for dIB = da-nu-um u an-tum and likely as the reading for IB in the next line; i.e. dnin-uraš = da-nu-um u an-tum (lines 4-5), see Litke 1998: 21 fn 5. Uraš’s association with earth and, secondarily, heaven is explained in the introduction above.

11Anu is not traditionally associated with the steppe, but a number of gods are: Bēlet-ṣēri “lady of the steppe,” Lugal-edinna “king of the steppe,” Latarak (who is called šar ṣēri “king of the steppe), and Sumuqan (who is called bēl ṣēri “lord of the steppe”), among others (see CAD Ṣ: 147). In addition, the goddess A.EDIN = Zarpanītum, Marduk’s consort, in An = Anum (Litke 1998: 106).

12The equation is possibly due to ŠÁR = kiššatu (see previous line). Moreover, ŠÁR is the second element in several of Anu's bynames in An = Anum (lines 6-11) and so this may meant to explain that element, especially if this continues a discussion of Ki.šar or Ki.š that begins in the lines previously. Similarly, a god called ŠÁR.GAL is the Anu ša kiššat šamê in An = Anu ša amēli (line 11), possibly also playing on GAL = rabû and the epithets in previous lines. Furthermore, a commentary on Enūma Anu Enlil includes the line šarŠÁR ra-bu-ú (82-5-2,572 = CCP 3.1.47, line 29’).