CCP 7.2.u32 - Uncertain (ritual/qualifications of the diviner)

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 38681
80-11-12,565
Babylon(Babylon)
CDLI: 
P461175
Commentary
MiscellaneaUnknown

Broken

Base text: 
Uncertain (ritual/qualifications of the diviner)
Tablet information
Babylonian
Fragment (lower edge and right edge preserved)
Columns: 
1 (or >)
Lines: 
obv. 13, rev. 11
Neo/Late Babylonian, specifics unknown
Bibliography

CAD Š/3 240a[On line r 5: qan ṭuppušu-ul-ḫu-ú (followed by stylus of the bārû, āšipu, etc.) BM 38681 r. 5 (courtesy I. L. Finkel).]

Gabbay, 2014bU. Gabbay, Pacifying the Hearts of the Gods. Sumerian Emesal Prayers of the First Millennium BC. Harrassowitz, 2014.: 18 fn. 15, 230-231 fn. 9

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 181 (r 4–11), 219 (5′)

Record
Jiménez & Gabbay, 09/2015 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 09/2015 (Translation)
Gabbay, 09/2015 (Corrections)
Jiménez, 09/2015 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 11/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Enrique Jiménez & Uri Gabbay | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E. & Gabbay, U., 2015, “Commentary on Uncertain (ritual/qualifications of the diviner) (CCP 7.2.u32),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed March 2, 2024, at https://ccp.yale.edu/P461175. DOI: 10079/ffbg7p8
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)
Introduction

The present tablet is a damaged treatise of heterogeneous character. Its contents are rather miscellaneous: the obverse contains what appears to be a commentary, in which the different entries are divided by means of a triple colon; whereas the reverse seems to feature a list, not a commentary. It is possible that the list originated as a commentary on a passage from a line that features very often in texts describing the transmission of the art of divination from father to son: according to it, the father teaches his son “swearing him by tablet and stylus”:

 

(11) niṣirti bārûti (12) ša ea ibbû abu mārašu ša irammu (13) [utam]mû ušaḫḫazu ina ṭuppi (14) qanṭuppi igirtašu inaddinūšu

(11)The secrets of extispicy, (12) which Ea called into existence, the father (13) shall teach (12) his favorite son (13) under oath with tablet (14) and stylus, and he shall give them to him as his assignment.

BBR 1-20 ll. 11-141

 

The upper half of the obverse is concerned with explaining the logogram for “night,” ge₆; whereas the lower half explains the logogram for “day,” u₄. This may be related to the temporal stages of the extispicy ritual, which begins at night and comes to its climax at sunrise, when the slaughter and extispicy itself was performed. The equations of “night” and “day” are probably taken from the lexical tradition, most likely from the list Aa; this point, however, cannot be proven, since the tablet is severely damaged. Between the two sections there is a well preserved passage that concerns the diviner, and which is strongly reminiscent of BBR 1-20 and related texts (a text that specifies the requirements for being a diviner in ancient Mesopotamia).2 Thus, for instance, lines o 5′-6′ state that “Šamaš, the lord of the (oracular) decision, and Adad, the lord of divination, will not stand by diviner’s prayer, and they will not give him a faithful oracle.” The next lines seem to pertain the sacrificial animal, which is described as “[a sheep], whose entire limbs are perfect, whose horns, hoofs and bones are flawless.”

The contents of the reverse of the tablet seem to be independent from those of the obverse. The main part contains a list of styli that, according to the text, are peculiar to each profession. Thus a certain device used for “divination” is the “stylus of the diviner”; one used for “lamentations” is the “stylus of the lamentation-priest.” This list is elsewhere unparalleled, and its meaning and significance are difficult to ascertain.3

 

The tablet belongs to the British Museum’s “Babylon Collection,” specifically to the 1880-11-12 consignment, which makes it likely that it dates to the Achaemenid period. The text was previously unpublished, and it is published here for the first time courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.

  • 1. See E. Jiménez, New Fragments of Gilgamesh and Other Literary Texts from Kuyunjik, Iraq, vol. 76, pp. 99-121, 2014. Pp. 105-106. See also W. G. Lambert, The Qualifications of Babylonian Diviners, in tikip santakki mala bašmu.. Festschrift für Rykle Borger zu seinem 65. Geburtstag am 24. Mai 1994, S. M. Maul, Ed. Styx, 1998, pp. 141-148. P. 149 ll. 19-21.
  • 2. See the discussion in W. G. Lambert, The Qualifications of Babylonian Diviners, in tikip santakki mala bašmu.. Festschrift für Rykle Borger zu seinem 65. Geburtstag am 24. Mai 1994, S. M. Maul, Ed. Styx, 1998, pp. 141-148. See also E. Jiménez, New Fragments of Gilgamesh and Other Literary Texts from Kuyunjik, Iraq, vol. 76, pp. 99-121, 2014. Pp. 104-108.
  • 3. The central part of the explanations is represented by the sequence níg ak ku, which escapes our understanding. It is not clear whether it should be interpreted in Sumerian (níg-ak-šè) or in Akkadian (šá-ak-ku): the meaning is obscure in either case. Alternatively, it may represent a Sumerian loanword into Akkadian, hitherto unattested, níg.ak-ku, perhaps “ritual” (although only níg.ak = kišpu is elsewhere attested). A further possibility would be to understand it as ninda-ak-ku, a word that would be related to nindanu, “measure,” and whose meaning would be both a measuring rod but also a ritual professional knowledge (cf. nindanu ša bārûti in the extispicy commentary CCP 3.4.3.A.a i 23). According to AHw 790b there may be a form nindakku (but the passage is problematic, and CAD N/1 238b renders it as nin-da-ak-nam, without -kam at the end). AHw 1580b renders it as nindanakku, “a type of reed,” and refers to ginindanakku, “measuring rod”: a reed-measure, using a word that can also mean knowledge or ritual, would make good sense in our context, even though the evidence for the existence of a word ninda(na)akku is not great.
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ccpo

BM 038681 (unpublished unassigned ?) [commentaries]

Obverse
o 1'o 1'

[...] x AN x [...]

(o 1') ...

o 2'2'

[x x x]-ša? NU ip-pu- ši-i? [x x x x x x x]

(o 2') [...] does not do [...]

o 3'3'

[GE₆ : ṣa]-la-mu :. GE₆ :. ta-ra-ku :. GE₆ :. [e?-ṭu?-ú?]1

(o 3') [GE₆ means] “to be black,” GE₆ means “to be dark,” GE₆ [means to dim], “darkness,” (as in) illu[minator of darkness].

o 4'4'

[(x x)]    :. e-ṭu-tu₄ :. mu--x [x x x x]2

o 5'5'

MU an-ni-i GIŠKIM-šú-nu SUMat dUTU EN di-i-ni dIŠKUR EN bi-ri3

(o 5') On account of this their feature is given. Šamaš, the lord of the (oracular) decision, and Adad, the lord of divination, will not stand by diviner's prayer, and they will not give him a reliable oracle.

o 6'6'

[i]-na ÍL ŠU DUMU ḪAL NU DU-MEŠzu-ma DI-šú NU SI.


o 7'7'

[x x (x)] ša? meš-re-tu-šú SILIM-ME SI UMBIN GÌR.PAD.DU ŠU.DU₇4

(o 7') [A sheep], whose entire limbs are perfect, whose horns, hoofs and bones are flawless.

o 8'8'

[x x x (x)] x DINGIR-ME šum?-ma GIŠKIM BI x x NI? x-ma tam-mar

(o 8') [...] ... gods, and if the portent is ..., you will see ...

o 9'9'

[x x x x x]-x-lu? :. U₄ :. x MI? u [x x] x

(o 9') [...] ... U₄ means ... [...] U₄ means ... [...] ... [...] U₄ means “guard of ..."

o 10'10'

[x x x x x x] x :. U₄ :. dx [x x x] x :. a-[x x]5

o 11'11'

[x x x x x x] x :. U₄ :. mu-šal-lim x (x⸣) [x x x x]

o 12'12'

[x x x x x x] GAL?.GAL áš-šú IZI i-ši-x [x x x x]

(o 12') [...] great, on account of the fire ... [...]

o 13'13'

[x x x x x x]-ḫu MÁŠ a-na ÍL ŠU? [x x x x]

(o 13') [...] ... divination, at the pra[yer ...].

Reverse
r 1r 1

[x x x x x x x] x-nam x [x x x x x x]

(r 1) ...


r 22

[x x x x x x] x x la x an-[x x x x x x]

r 33

[x x x x] x ANe u [KI x x x x x]

(r 3) [...] all of heaven and [earth ...],


r 44

[x x x x]-an? NÍG?.AKku lìb-ba-[x x] mu-um-mu?

(r 4) [...] the nigakku, the heart of [...] ...


r 55

[x x x x] NÍG.AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu šu-ul-ḫu-ú6

(r 5) [...] nigakku for ... (is) the stylus of the scribe.

r 66

[x x x] MÁŠ? NÍG.AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu ḪAL

(r 6) [...] nigakku for divination (is) the stylus of the diviner.

r 77

[x x] TU₆.TU₆ NÍG.AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu MAŠ.MAŠ

(r 7) [...] nigakku for incantations (is) the stylus of the exorcist.

r 88

[x x] x ÉR NÍG.AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu GALA7

(r 8) [...] nigakku for lamentations (is) the stylus of the lamentation priest.

r 99

[x x] x A.ZU NÍG.AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu ZU?.SI.[x]8

(r 9) [...] nigakku for medicine (is) the stylus of ...

r 1010

[x x x] GÌR.NÍTA NÍG.AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu [(x)] NU x [(x)]

(r 10) [...] nigakku for the governor (is) the stylus of [...].

r 1111

[x x x x] x NÍG.[AKku qa-an-ṭup-pu x x x]

(r 11) [...] the nigakku, the stylus of [...].


1The restoration at the end is uncertain. The lines may quote from Aa, but the section that deals with the MI sign has not yet been recovered (MSL 14 p. 466).

2mu- may contain a quotation from a literary text. Compare Great Hymn to Šamaš 176, mušpardû eṭûti.

3On the first half of the verse, see Koch BLO p. 148 no. 19 l. 115.

4Compare UDU BABBAR ša SI UMBIN ŠU.DU₇ and parallels in CAD Š/3 224b.

5Compare U₄ = Enlil, Adad, Sîn, and Ištar in Aa III/3 ll. 10-13 (MSL 14 p. 332).

6The word šulḫû is otherwise attested only in Malku IV 10 (see CAD Š/3 240a). See also Mayer OrNS 61 (1992) p. 40.

7The sign before ÉR does not look like another ÉR.

8The sign before SI is not A.

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum