CCP 7.1.6.A.b - Divine names A

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 47458
Lambert Folio 10045 [tr] [obverse]
Base text: 
Divine names
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Complete tablet
32 (obv 16, rev 16)
Neo/Late Babylonian, specifics unknown

CAD Š/3 87a[[d.É]-a : ba-nu-ú šip-tum : É : ba-nu-ú : A: mu-ú : A šip-t[um] BM 47458:26, restored from dupl. BM 47661 (comm. on god name, courtesy I. L. Finkel);]

CAD Š/3 106b[É ba-nu-ú // A // ši-ir-ki // A // ŠE.NU[MUN] (comm. on Ea = bānû ŠE.NUMUN) BM 47458: 25 and dupl. BM 47661 (NB comm., courtesy I. L. Finkel).]

Jiménez, 2018aE. Jiménez, “As Your Name Indicates”: Philological Arguments in Akkadian Disputations, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History, pp. 87-105, 2018.
[On line 14-16, 22-27]
: 88-89, 97

Simons, 2017F. Simons, A New Join to the Hurro-Akkadian Version of the Weidner God List from Emar (Msk 74.108a + Msk 74.158k), Altorientalische Forschungen, vol. 44, pp. 82-100, 2017.
[On line 1-9]
: 87

Jiménez, 09/2016 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 09/2016 (Translation)
Finkel, 09/2016 (Collation)
Finkel, 09/2016 (Revision)
Gabbay & Frahm & Frazer, 09/2016 (Suggestions)
Jiménez, 11/2016 (Introduction)
Frazer, 11/2016 (Revision [introduction])
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2016, “Commentary on Divine names (CCP 7.1.6.A.b),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed April 16, 2024, at DOI: 10079/ttdz0nk
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

This previously unpublished tablet contains a highly interesting commentary on a ritual that seems to have taken place during the month of Simānu. The commentary is preserved in two duplicating manuscripts. The best preserved one, BM 47458 (81-11-3,163), is an almost complete tablet from the British Museum’s 81-11-3 consignment. Although it contains no colophon, only a rubric, it very likely belongs to the tablet collection of the Achaemenid scribe Iprāʾya (formerly read as Šebāʾya or Šemāʾya), son of Marduk/Zababa-pirʾu-uṣru descendant of Ēṭiru. This is suggested first by the fact that many other tablets from the same 81-11-3 consignment belong to that scribe’s collection.1 In particular, the format and script of the commentary on “Marduk’s Address to the Demons” (BM 47529 = CCP 2.2.1.B), also written by this scribe, are remarkably similar to those of the present tablet. Secondly, the present tablet shares a series of peculiar epigraphical traits with other tablets of that collection, particularly the quadrangular shape of the šà sign.2 The second manuscript of the text is a small fragment from the same consignment, BM 47661 (81-11-3,366, CCP 7.1.6.A.a), which duplicates ll. 19-31 without any variant. It very likely stems also from the stylus of Iprāʾya.


Remarkably, many of the explanations of this commentary also feature in the commentary tablet BM 36595+ (80-6-17,324), edited as CCP 7.2.u103, a tablet written during the early Hellenistic period (between 315 and 311 BCE). Both the present commentary and the early Hellenistic tablet appear to be commentaries on rituals that take place during the month Simānu. Both quote the same line from an unknown text (perhaps the Love Lyrics) and perform the same etymographic analysis of it (ll. 8-9 in this text and 10-12 in BM 36595+), both contain the same notarikon explanations of the god names and of the name of the month Simānu (l. 11-12 here and 11 in BM 36595+). Moreover, each quotes a different line from one and the same text, namely the bilingual šuʾila Marduk 1.3 The overall impression gained from comparison of the two texts is that they both contain a somewhat serendipitous compilation of hermeneutical traditions chiefly relating to the month Simānu and the ritual actions that took place within it, rather than a coherent treatise. This impression is further supported by the rubric of the present text (l. 32), according to which the commentary is based on the oral teachings of a scholar.


The first part of the commentary (ll. 1-7) is concerned exclusively with the elucidation of the name of the god Madānu. The theonym is first said to mean “the builder of the house,” since it can be “etymographically” analyzed as ma (meaning “house”) and (meaning “build”). A different exegesis is then given, according to which Madānu is identical with the god Ennugi, and the latter’s name means “he who knows no wife” (ll. 3-4). Two further notarikon analysis of Madānu’s name are then given, which “etymologize” the god’s name as “the god who passes judgment” (ll. 4-5) and “the light of the lands” (ll. 5-7). Interestingly, the exegete justifies the latter interpretation by mentioning a ritual in the course of which a torch (whence “the light”) is ignited in the temple of Madānu (probably in Babylon, see below the note on l. 7).

The second section (ll. 8-9) is concerned with the explanation of a line, quoted perhaps from the ritual tablet of the Love Lyrics, and which also appears in BM 36595+ ll. 10-12. This is seamlessly followed by an etymographic interpretation of the hapax legomenon ú, ostensibly a temple of Šamaš (ll. 10-11), and of the name of the month Simānu (ll. 11-12), the latter of which also features in BM 36595+ l. 11.

The fifth section (ll. 13-16) focuses on providing an etymology for the name of Esangil, the main temple of Marduk in Babylon. According to this section, the foundations of the Esangil were laid on the 18th of Simānu, and the temple’s name means “in its midst installed a shrine the prince Marduk.”

The sixth section of the text (ll. 17-21), arguably the most ingenious, deals with the goddess Bēlet-Ninuʾa. By deconstructing the signs with which the goddess’s name is written, the commentary argues that the word “fruit orchard” is contained within it. It further argues that the “orchard” refers to the pine cone that a representation of the goddess, apparently made of saggilmud-stone, carried in her hand, and speculates that the pine cone symbolizes the role of Bēlet-Ninuʾa as wet nurse of Marduk, a role well attested in other texts.4

The final section of the commentary (ll. 22-29) is devoted to providing several different etymologies of the name of Ea (ll. 22-27), of two hitherto unattested gods ([da]m.gar.ud and [dam].gar.a, ll. 28-30), and of the name of Šamaš or Šazu (ll. 30-31). Two different texts are quoted in this section: the above-mentioned bilingual šuʾila and the epic Enūma eliš.


In sum, this text is not a coherent treatise, but rather an omnibus compilation of traditional interpretations of names of gods, temples, months, and even trees, fruits, and stones. In its large array of notarikon analyses, it epitomizes the belief that, as formulated by Borges, “each word is defined by itself.”


The edition below has profited from repreated collation of the original by I. L. Finkel


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Commentary A on God Names (?)

11[dDI.KU₅ : EN] DINGIR-MEŠ e-piš bi- [x x x] x [x x] x [x x x]

[Madānu means “lord of] the gods, who builds the house,” [...]

22[x (x)] x x x šá?-niš? dma-da-an.EN : MA : É : MIN [: e-pe-šú]1

[...] ... alternatively, (in) Madānu (written ma-du-en), ma means “house,” , again, [means “to build”]

33[EN] : be-lu : dEN.NU.GI : dDI.KU₅ : dEN.NU.GI : d30 : [EN : be-lu]

[en] means “lord.” Ennugi is Madānu; Ennugi is Sîn, (since) [en means “lord”],

44NU : la-a : GI : la-ma-du šá NITA u MUNUS : dDI.KU₅ : DINGIR pa-ri-is [di-nim]

nu means “not,” and gi means “to know (sexually), said of a man and a woman.” “Madānu” (d.DI.KU₅) means “the god who passes judgement,”

55[DI] : di-num : KU₅ : pa-ra-su : šal-šiš dma-da-nunu₁₁(ŠIR) : nu-úr ma-[ta-a-ti]

(since) [di] means “judgement” and ku means “to pass.” Thirdly, Madānu (written ma-da-nu₁₁) means “light of the la[nds],”

66[MA].DA : ma-a-tu₄ : NU₁₁(ŠIR)nu : nu-úr : ina lìb-bi ki?-i U₄ 29.KAM šá iti[ZÍZ?]2

(since) [ma]da means “land” and nu₁₁ (i.e. ŠIR) means “light” (this is) on account of the 29th of [Šabāṭu],

77nu-úr TA É dDI.KU₅ iq-qu-ud-du : šá Eu um-ma dDI.KU₅ ba-nu-[u É?]3

(when) a torch is ignited from the temple of Madānu. What it says, means “Madānu, buil[der of the house]

88U₄ 18.KAM šá itiSIG₄ d u dDI.KU₅ ana gišKIRI₆ ma-suk-kan-nu il-la-ku-[]4

The 18th day of Simānu belongs to Nabû and Madānu. (In the line) “they go to the rosewood garden,"

99MA : ba-nu-u : SUK : É : EN : be-lu₄ : ÚR.SAG. šu-bat dUTU BÁRA šá ina itiSIG₄5

(in masukkannu), ma means “to build,” suk means “house,” and en means “lord.” Ursagga is the abode of Šamaš, the altar on which,

1010U₄ 18.KAM UDU.NÍTA ina muḫ-ḫi uḫ-tat-ta-pu : ÚR : -di : SAG : É6

on the 18th day, a sheep is slaughtered úr means "base," sag means “house”

1111 : šá-kan : si-ma-nuEN : SI : re-tu-u šá te-me-en-na : MA : É : EN : be-lu₄7

and means “to place.” In (the month name) Simānu, si means “to fix,” said of the foundations; ma means “house,” and en means “lord.”

1212lìb-bu-u dEN.KI dUTU u dŠÀ.ZU ba-bi-lu re-e?-[(x x)] a-ma-8

(It is) as in “Enki, Utu and Šazu (i.e., Marduk), Babylon (or, “bringing”) ... word.

1313ina itiSIG₄ U₄ 18.KAM URU₄ é-sag-gil na-di : dEN.NU.GI [: dDI].KU₅ : MIN : dSIG₄

On the 18th of Simānu the foundations of the Esangil were laid. Ennugi means [Mad]ānu, ditto means Kulla.

1414é-sagan-gil šá GIM šu-me-šu-ma šu-šu-bu ina lìb-bi-šú pa?-[ra?-ak?]-ki? NUN dAMAR.UTU9

The Esagil (written esangil), which, according to its name, (means) “in its midst installed a shrine the prince Marduk,”

1515SI : a-šá-bu : ŠÀ : lib-bi : AN : šúu : SAG [: x x x] GIL [:] a-šá-bu

(since) si means “to install,” šà means “midst,” an means “his,” sag means ... gil means “to install,”

1616SI : ru-bu-ú : GIL : dAMAR.UTU    

si means “prince,” and gil means “Marduk.”

1717dGAŠAN-ni--aNINA : NINA ni-na-a šá èš-še-ku ku-ú-a i-gub ki-ki [x x x x]10

The Lady of Nineveh (NINA, with phonetic complement ni-ná-a) (the sign) NINA, (read) /nina/, (consists of the sign) kūʾa (i.e., ḪA) put inside (the sign) eššeku (i.e., AB) (and the determinative) ki; [(ḪA, as part of the diri-sign) TI.ḪA, (means)]

1818ṣip-pa- : ŠE.NUMUN : ŋešan-na ù-suḫ₅ : ṣip-pa-tu₄ : ŋešan-na ù-suḫ₅ : NUMUN [gišÙ.SUḪ₅]11

“fruit orchard” (ṣippatu), (i.e.) “seed”; annaʾusuḫ means “pine cone,” annaʾusuḫ means pi[ne cone],

1919ta-rin-na- ina ŠU-MIN-šú na-ši : ta-ru-u : ru-ub-bu-u : GAŠANtu₄ : be-el-[tu₄]

She carries pine cones (terinnatu) in her (!, lit., ‘his’) hand “To lift up” (tarû, related to terinnatu) means “to bring up.” GAŠAN-tu means “lady.”

2020be-el-tu₄ mu-rab-bat ki mu-še-niq-qu-ú- : a-šu-ḫu : šá-a-ḫu : ra-bu-[u]12

(Therefore, the phrase means) “the lady is a foster mother” (murabbât), like the profession of wet nurse. (The explanation is also justified because) “Pine” (ašūḫu) (stems from) “to grow,” (which) means “to be big.”

2121šá SAG.GIL.MUD ši-i : SAG : ar-kàt : GIL : dAMAR.UTU : MUD : 13

She is (made of) saggilmud-stone: sag means “back,” gil means “Marduk,” and mud means “to make.”

2222dé-a : LUGAL ap-si-i : É : LUGAL : A : ap-su-ú

Ea means “king of the Apsû,” (since) é means “king” and a means “Apsû,”

2323dam-an-ki lugal engur-ra me-na ḫuŋ-ŋá ḫu-mu-ra-ab-14

(as in) “May Amanki, Lord of the abyss, say to you, ‘Until when? Relent!’”

2424    dé-a LUGAL ap-si-i ma-ti nu-uḫ liq-bi-ka

(in Akkadian), “May Ea, Lord of the Apsû, say to you, ‘Until when? Relent!’” (= quotation from the bilingual šuʾila-prayer Marduk 1).

2525dé-a : ba-nu-u ŠE.NUMUN : É : ba-nu-u : A : ši-ir-ki : A : ŠE.NUMUN15

Ea means “creator of seed,” (since) é means “to create” and a means “gift,” (whence) a means “seed.”

2626dé-a : ba-nu-u šip-tu₄ : É : ba-nu-u : A : mu-ú : A : šip-tu₄

Ea means “creator of the spell,” (since) é means “to create” and a means “water,” (whence) a means “spell.”

2727dé-a ḫa-si-su mim-mu-ú i-še- šib--šu-[un]16

(as in) “Ea, who knows everything, perceived their tricks” (= quotation from Enūma eliš I 60).

2828[(x) d]AM?.GAR.UD : EN u₄-mu : AN : EN : U₄ : u₄-mu : [(x)]17

[...] (the diivine name) Amgarud means “lord of the day” (or, “of the storm”), (since)

2929[dAM].GAR.A : AM : be-lu₄ : GARga-ár : ra-mu-ú : MIN : a-šá-bu18

(In the divine name) [Am]garʾa, am means “lord,” gar, read /ga-ar/, means “to dwell,” ditto means “to live.”

3030[x x] lìb?-bi-šú a-šá-ab : šá-niš dšà-máš? : ŠÀ : lib-bi : MÁŠ? : bi-[ri]19

[...] “to live in its center. Alternatively, (it means) “Šamaš” (written šà-máš) šà means “heart,” máš means “divination”;

3131[: x x] x dŠÀ.ZU mu-de-e lìb-bi DINGIR-MEŠ šá i-bar-ru-ú kar-[šu]20

[...] ... “Šazu, who knows the heart of the gods, [who saw] the reins” (= quotation from Enūma eliš VII 35).

3232[šá pi]-i um-man-nu bar?-sip?[ki? x x x x x (x)]21

Oral [lore] of a scholar from Borsippa, [...].

3333[x x x] x x dx x [...]


1On the writing of Madānu’s name, see below ll. 6 and 11. The significance of the sign before the last is uncertain.

2In the cultic calendar BM 41239 (BTT pl. 54) // BM 32516 (Fs Lambert p. 294, edited in George Fs Lambert [2000] p. 293), it is stated that on the 28th of Šabāṭu Mār-bīti and Ninurta spent the night at Madānu’s temple in Babylon. The present line might refer to that event. Note that the rare technical term ina libbi kī is also used in BM 36595+ l. 27 (CCP 7.2.u103).

3bānû bīti (si vera lectio) might be referred to in l. 9.

4The line may be a quotation from the Love Lyrics. Compare Lambert, W.G. "The Problem of the Love Lyrics" Unity and diversity (1975a) p. 104 ii 15: ana kirî ma-s[uk?-kan-ni ...]. The same entry can be found in BM 36595+ ll. 10-13 (CCP 7.2.u103).

5The temple (?) name Ursaĝĝa is elsewhere unattested.

6Si vera lectio, the equation between SAG and bītu is probably based on SUK = bītu in Aa I/2 211 (see the previous line).

7The same entry can be found in BM 36595+ l. 13 (CCP 7.2.u103).

8The same entry can be found in BM 36595+ l. 15 (CCP 7.2.u103).

9The tentative reading of pa?-[ra?-ak?]-ki? is courtesy of I. L. Finkel. On the phrase ša kīma šumīšīma for introducing notarikon analyses, see Gabbay The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries (CHANE 82, 2016) p. 92 fn. 45 and Jiménez The Babylonian Disputation Poems (CHANE 87, 2017), commentary on Series of the Spider l. 22.

10Quotation from Diri I 241. The speculation on ṣippatu might have been triggered by Diri VI/B 28, in which the diri-composite TI.ḪA (read as da-na-a-a) is said to mean ṣippatu. The “Lady of Nineveh” is thus explained as the “Lady of the Orchard.”

11The equation gišAN.NA.Ù.KU = ṣippatu can be found in Ḫḫ III 86 (MSL 5 p. 100). The restoration at the end is uncertain.

12Note that in the commentary on Enūma eliš and “Marduk’s Ordeal” [Bēlet]-Ninua is identified as Bēl’s nanny: see da Riva & Frahm, “Šamaš-šumu-ukīn, die Herrin von Ninive und das babylonische Königssiegel” AfO 46/47 (1999/2000) p. 174 and Frahm & Jiménez, “Myth, Ritual, and Interpretation. The Commentary on Enūma eliš I–VII and a Commentary on Elamite Month Names” HeBAI 4 (2015) p. 316. The abstract noun mušēniqūtu is a hapax legomenon.

13The idiomatic meaning of the sentence obtained by notarikon analysis, “she ‘made’ the back of Marduk,” must be “she brought up Marduk” vel sim., but no parallels to it could be found.

14The line is a quotation from the bilingual šuʾila Marduk 1 l. 18 (VAT 8411 and dupls., Maul Fs Borger 1998 pp. 165f). Note that the related commentary BM 36595+ l. 26 (CCP 7.2.u103) cites l. 25 of the same text.

15The equation of širku with A is elsewhere unattested.

16The line contains a quotation from Enūma eliš I 60 (not noted by Lambert Babylonian Creation Myths [2013] p. 60).

17The divine name is elsewhere unattested. The equation AM = bēlu is attested elsewhere: see CAD B 195b.

18The divine name is elsewhere unattested. Perhaps hamšā, “fifty”?

19The readings adopted follow the commentary on Enūma eliš l. 44′ (Frahm & Jiménez HeBAI 4 [2015] p. 309).

20The correct reading of the line was suggested by I.L. Finkel. It contains a quotation from Enūma eliš VII 35 (not noted by Lambert Babylonian Creation Myths [2013] p. 134).

21The last signs could be read as maš?-ʾa?-[al-]

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum