CCP 4.1.3.C - Sagig 3

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 43854
81-7-1,1615+ 81-7-1,1699
BM 43854 + BM 43938
Geller unpub. copy
MedicalDiagnostic and prognostic


Base text: 
Sagig 3
Tablet information
obv 6, rev 10
Neo/Late Babylonian, specifics unknown

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 224

Jiménez & Schmidtchen, 2017bE. Jiménez and Schmidtchen, E. , Explaining Diagnosis. Two New Commentaries on the Diagnostic Series Sagig, Welt des Orients, vol. 47, pp. 216-241, 2017.: 217-218

Schmidtchen, 05/2016 (Transliteration)
Geller, 09/2016 (Copy & transliteration)
Jiménez, 09/2016 (Collation)
Jiménez, 09/2016 (Translation, annotation & introduction)
By Mark Geller & Eric Schmidtchen | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Geller, M. & Schmidtchen, E., 2016, “Commentary on Sagig 3 (CCP 4.1.3.C),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed May 18, 2024, at DOI: 10079/tb2rc1z
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

This small tablet consists of two rejoined fragments, BM 43854 and BM 43938, both of which belong to the 81-7-1 consignment of the British Museum’s “Babylon Collection.” It contains the lower part of a commentary on the third chapter of the diagnosis series (Sagig). The fact that only nine lines of the base text are commented upon in the 16 preserved lines of the commentary, and that the lower edge of the tablet is profusely inscribed, suggests that the commentary was originally very long.1

Two other commentaries are known to explain Sagig 3: SpTU 1 29 (CCP 4.1.3.A) and BM 55491 (82-7-4,65, CCP 4.1.3.B). The former is a small fragment from Uruk that contains explanations on Sagig III 89-123, whereas the latter is a tablet from the British Museum’s “Babylon Collection” that explains the first ten lines of Sagig 3. The present commentary and BM 55491 are probably not part of the same tablet, since their script is quite different in both tablets.


The main goal of the commentary is to explain entries that are ambiguous in the base text. Thus, the infrequent verb neperkû, “to cease,” is explained by means of its nearly synonymous, but far more frequent, baṭālu (l. 12′). The second entry of the commentary explains the difficult word a-lagab from the main text. According to the commentary, the word has to be parsed as a-rì, and understood as aru, “twig.” The exegete then explains that, in this case at least, “twig” (aru) means “weapon” (kakku), since both Akkadian words can be rendered by means of the same Sumerian logogram, pa. To illustrate his contention, he cites a passage from an unknown literary text (perhaps a love lyric) that mentions a flute, and describes it as “the twig of the hands of the goddess Aḫlamītu”: the quotation proves that the word aru, “twig,” can also be used to describe a tool or implement.


The line numeration of Sagig offered below follows the reconstruction of E. Schmidtchen. Mark J. Geller kindly consented to the reproduction of his unpublished copy of the text here. He and E. Schmidtchen are responsible for the transliteration of the text. Several readings stem from E. Jiménez, who is also responsible for the translation and introduction

  • 1. The ratio of 16 lines of commentary for 9 lines of text, when extrapolated, results in around 200 lines of commentary for the 109 entries of Sagig 3.

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


BM 043854 + BM 043938


[...] -ME-šú x [...]

[...] “continually pursues him” (= Sagig III 40) [...]


[...] x x (x) pu-x-ti : šá-niš MUNUS MU? [a?-ri? u? sa?-ma?-li?]

[...] ... “secondly, a woman on account of [ari and bowl (= Sagig III 40)]


[a]-ri! : ḫaṭ!-ṭu : a-ri : kak-ku : giš!RU u! me!-ṭu : a-tu-x x (x)-zi-i1

ari (= Sagig III 40) means “staff,” ari means “weapon,” (i.e.), “bow and mace,” ...


x ma-li-la a-ru-ú šá ŠU-MIN da-ḫa-la-mi-ti : 2

(as in) ... the flute, the twig of the hands of the goddess Aḫlamītu” (= quotation from unknown literary text).


[KI].SIKIL.BÀN.DA : ba-tul-ti : KI.GUL!(.ME) : ke-ze-ri : NÍG.TUK3

[kisi]kilbanda (= Sagig III 40) means “nubile girl.” kigullu (ibid.) means “slave,” (i.e.,) rich (?).


[áš-ta/tam]-mi :! ḫa-ri-im-ti : KÚM TÉŠ.BI TÚKUR-su! : TÚKUR : ka!-sa!-[su]

[aštam]mi (ibid.) means “prostitute.” “Fever UŠ₁₁-su (?) all over” (= Sagig III 43) UŠ₁₁-su (?) means “to ch[ew.”]

lower edge

[NÍG.NIGIN] TUKU-šum-ma U₄ma NÍG.-šú : NÍG.NIGIN! : ta-a-a-ru?4

“Will have níg.nigin towards him, until his níg.lá níg.nigin means “mer[cy,”]


[NÍG. : x x]-ú : NÍG. : ḫa-a-a-at-ti : ú-rap-[pa-du :] 5

[níg.lá means ...] ..., níg.lá means “terror.” urappad (“to keep moving”) (= Sagig III 43)


[ru-up-pu]-du : šá--e ṭè-me : ŠU.DAG : ra-[pa-du : ŠU : ṭè-me]6

[ruppu]du means “to change one’s mind,” (since) šu.dag means ra[pādu šu means “mind,”]


[x x x (x)] DAG? : ḫa-la-qa : KA-šú DAB-ma at-[ma-a NU ZUe]7

[... and da]g (?) means “to destroy.” “His mouth is seized and [cannot] ta[lk] (= Sagig III 45)


[at-mu-ú :] da-ba-bi : ina DU₁₁.DU₁₁-šúda-ba-bi-šú it-te--ep-[rik-ku₈(GU)]8

[“to talk” means] “to speak.” “He hal[ts] once and again when he speaks” (= Sagig III 46)


[-per-ku-ú] : ba-ṭa-lu : ŠU-MIN-šú u GÌR-MIN-šú i-ra-ʾu-bu :

[“to halt”] means “to stop.” “His hands and feet shake” (= Sagig III 48)


[ra-ʾa-bu] : sa-la-ḫu : KA-šú ana at-me-e il-la-ti ú-kal

[“to shake”] means “to jerk.” “His mouth retains saliva when he talks” (= Sagig III 48)


[at-mu-ú] : da-ba-bi : il-la-ti : ru-ʾu-tu! : lu-ʾa-a-ti šu-kul

[“to talk”] means “to speak” (and) “saliva” means “spittle.” “He has been fed debility” (= Sagig III 48?)


[lu-ʾa-(a)]-ti : kiš-pi : ŠÀ-šú ana BURU₈a-re!-e-e : i-te--el-la-a-[ma (x x)]9

[“debili]ty” means “sorcery.” “His belly rises up (buru) once and again to vomit” (= Sagig III 49)


[BURU₈ : a-ru]-ú : BURU₈ : pa-ru-ú : šu-rat-tu-x [...]10

[buru means “to vomi]t,” buru means “to throw up.” ... [...]


[...] x [...]


1The explanation is based on the fact that the difficult word from Sagig III 42, a-, can be analyzed as aru, “twig,” a word whose Sumerian equivalent, PA, can also be rendered as ḫaṭṭu, “staff.” Compare STT 403 l. 38 (CCP 4.1.1.D, collated): PAa-ru a-ru ḫu-ta-ru, “(since) PA (can be read as) aru, aru means ḫuṭāru.” The phrase tilpānu miṭṭu is attested in LKU 31 l. 9: see Groneberg RA 82 (1988) p. 71 fn. 4. [EJ]

2The line contains a quotation from an unknown literary text, which is used to illustrate the polysemy of aru and, perhaps, ḫaṭṭu (“staff,” perhaps represented by malīlu, “flute”?). On the goddess Aḫlamayītu, see Beaulieu The pantheon of Uruk During the Neo-Babylonian Period, CM 23 (2003), p. 309.

3Compare SAG.KI.GUL = ke-ze-[ru] in 5R 16 ii 41.

4Compare Sagig XVII l. 34: UD LAL-šú LAL-šú, translated by Heeßel AOAT 43 (2000) p. 208 as “zu dem Zeitpunkt, an dem sein Anfall ihn überwältigt.”

5Note IGI..ŠÚ : ḫa-a-a-at-tu in GCBC 766 l. 3 (CCP 4.1.13.B). At the beginning, perhaps [ : ma-ṭu]-ú (?). At the end, compare STT 403 l. 42 (CCP 4.1.1.D): ú-rap-pad = ú-par-rad.

6ŠU.DAG = rapādu is well attested: see CAD R 148a. ŠU = ṭēmu is rarer, but see e.g. K.5908 l. 4′ (CCP 3.1.u76).

7The equation DAG = ḫalāqu is elsewhere unattested, but compare rapādu = ḫalāqu in Malku VIII 41.

8Note STT 403 l. 43 (CCP 4.1.1.D): ina DU₁₁.DU₁₁-šú it-te--ep-rik-ku₈ = ina DU₁₁.DU₁₁-šú ib-ta-nak-ki.

9Note STT 403 l. 44 (CCP 4.1.1.D): lu-ʾu-tu₄ = kiš-pu.

10The word at the end might be a corruption of i-rat-tu-ta, “they tremble,” which appears in Sagig III 54 [ES].

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum