CCP 2.2.1.B - Marduk’s Address B

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 47529
81-3-3,234+ 81-11-3,390
BM 47529+ BM 47685

Geller, 2016M. J. Geller, Healing Magic and Evil Demons. Healing Magic and Evil Demons. De Gruyter, 2016.: 396-397

MagicUdughul, Marduk’s addressMarduk’s address


Base text: 
Marduk’s Address
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
obv. 20, rev. 18
[Iprā'ya (?)] s. Marduk-perʾu-uṣur d. Ēṭiru(?)

Finkel, 1988I. L. Finkel, Adad-apla-iddina, Esagil-kin-apli, and the series SA.GIG, in A scientific humanist: studies in memory of Abraham Sachs, E. Liechty, Ellis, MdeJ. , Gerardi, P. , and Gingerich, O. , Eds. University Museum, 1988, pp. 143-159.
[BM 47529+47685 (81-11-3,234+390), Comm. on Marduk's Address:]
: 154

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 126, 307

Frahm & Jiménez, 2015E. Frahm and Jiménez, E. , Myth, Ritual, and Interpretation. The Commentary on Enūma eliš I–VII and a Commentary on Elamite Month Names, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel, vol. 4, pp. 293-343, 2015.
[On line 63]
: 316-217

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 27 (6–7), 28 (r 4–9), 91 (r 11–13), 131 (11), 209 (11–12), 238 (1–3), 27–28 (r 1–3), 27, 75 (r 3, r 9), 99, 106 (4), 137–138 (r 5–9), 27, 106, 110 (7)

Geller, 2014M. J. Geller, Melothesia in Babylonia. Medicine, Magic, and Astrology in the Ancient Near East. de Gruyter, 2014.
[Reference courtesy of U. Gabbay]
: 60-64

Lambert, 1999aW. G. Lambert, Marduk's Address to the Demons, in Mesopotamian Magic. Textual, Historical, and Interpretative Perspectives, T. Abusch and van der Toorn, K. , Eds. Styx, 1999, pp. 291-296.
[In addition to the published Assur commentary, there is also a small oblong tablet from the very same scribe commenting on two lines from this text, part of a quite different K commentary, and a section from a Late Babylonian commentary expounding every line, but entirely differently from the other commentaries.]
: 291

Gabbay, 03/2015 (Bibliographical reference)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Translation)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 07/2015 (Collation)
Frazer, 07/2015 (Revision [introduction])
Gabbay, 07/2015 (Suggestions)
Reynolds, 07/2016 (Reading suggestion [l. 19])
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2015, “Commentary on Marduk’s Address (CCP 2.2.1.B),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed April 16, 2024, at DOI: 10079/6m90638
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

This large tablet contains a commentary on a section of the exorcistic text known as “Marduk’s Address to the Demons.” Only a few lines (ll. 60-74) are commented upon in the tablet. These lines are part of a long liturgical section, every line of which contains a self-presentation of the god beginning with “I am Asalluḫi, who ...” The refrain of the litany (anāku asalluḫi) is represented by the repetition sign (kimin) in most manuscripts of “Marduk’s Address,” but in the present commentary it appears as gi u-ḫi. This is probably a cryptographic writing, where gi = gá-e (i.e., the Sumerian equivalent of anāku) and u-ḫi = šīlu(?)-ḫi o umun-ḫi, i.e., Asalluḫi.1

Several factors make this commentary highly unusual. In the first place, the lines from the base text are cited in full and consecutively, whereas commentaries usually cite just certain lemmas from certain lines. Secondly, the commentarial entries are indented, whereas the quotation from the base text appears at the beginning of the line: this format is very uncommon in commentaries from Babylonia, but frequent in Assyrian tablets.2 Thirdly, the commentary does not seem to be concerned in the least with the many philological problems that its base text poses: instead, its main interest seems to be the suppositious relationship between the lines from the base text and specific (micro-)zodiacal constellations. This connection is established by means of associations between certain lemmata from the base text and elements of the description of the astral body. Thus, the line “[I am Asallu]ḫi, who with his torch burns the enemy and the wicked” (Marduk’s Address l. 73) is said to refer to the fire-god Girra, “the light in front of Enmešarra,” because of the association between the “torch” of the base text and the fire. Similarly, the line “I am Asalluḫi, who brings across the canals and establishes the life of the country” (Marduk’s Address l. 64), the “canals” are said to pertain the region of Scorpio: this is due to the association between the constellation Scorpio, the goddess Išḫara, and the Sea established in astronomical compendia (ll. 12-13). In the third place, the line “I am Asalluḫi, whose weapon is the [fierce] flood” (Marduk’s Address l. 72) is said to refer to the constellation Auriga (gamlu): in this case the association is based, as explicitly stated in the commentary, on the fact that the word gamlu also means “weapon.” In fact, the traditional description of the constellation Auriga is “the weapon in the hand of Marduk” (ll. 31-33).

The commentary uses the technical terms ša iqbû, “what it said” (l. 13); ana muḫḫi... qabi, “it is said on account of...” (l. 23); libbū, “as in” (l. 11); and šanîš, used to introduce alternative explanations (ll. 23 and 29).3 Several entries are clearly quoted from various texts: while in one case the text cannot be identified (l. 20), in another case the text cites the incipit of a well-known incantation (l. 23).

A one-line colophon states that the tablet belongs to a member of the Ēṭiru family, either Marduk-perʾu-uṣur or his son Iprāʾya (or “Šemāʾya”). As established by I.L. Finkel,4 scribes of this family were active during the Achaemenid period. Although the present copy can thus be dated to the fifth or fourth century BCE, it is uncertain when the commentary was composed.


The tablet was identified by I.L. Finkel, who also joined the two pieces of the manuscript. The edition below is based on the manuscript edition of W.G. Lambert, published posthumously by M.J. Geller.5 The interpretation offered here deviates from that of Geller on several occasions, and it includes new collations and textual notes. Some of the notes are taken from an unpublished edition of the text prepared by E. Frahm in 1998: notes taken from that edition are marked below as [EF]. It should however be stressed that many aspects of this text remain obscure, at least to this editor.


Powered by Oracc
(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


BM 047529 + BM 047685 (unpublished unassigned ?) [commentaries]


[GE UMUNḫi UR.SAG DINGIR-MEŠ mu-ma-ʾ-er an-dúru-na : ru-bu-uṣ] an-zu-ú šá ina ŠÁR.ŠÁR[ki]1

(1) ["I am Asalluḫi, warrior of the gods, commander of Anduruna" (= Marduk's Address 60): (Andurunna is) the lair] of Anzû, who was born in Šaršar [...] and Ningišzida, [...].


    [al]-du x [x x x x x x x x x] x u dnin-giš-zi-da : x [x (x)]


[GE UMUNḫi] šá nam-ri-ri [lit-bu-šu ma-lu-ú] pul-ḫa-a-ti

(3) "I am Asalluḫi, [sheathed in] radiance, [full] of awe" (= Marduk's Address 61) (refers to the) dress of [...]. means "lion."


    lu-ba-ri šá x [x x x x x x x x x x] x lu-ú UR.MAḪ2


GE UMUNḫi a-pir AGA šá [me-lam-mu-šú ra]-šub-bat za-a-nu

(5) "I am Asalluḫi, who wears the tiara [of glory], adorned with an aura" (= Marduk's Address 62) (refers to the) headdress of ... [...] etc. ( iṣṣi); (refers to the) vessel in the center of the constellation Spica, whose glory [...] words that are not written.


    šu-ku-us gadaTÙN? [x x x x x x pi-i iṣ]-ṣi : ši-ir-mu ina ŠÀ múlAB.SÍN3


    šá me-lam-mu-šú pi x [x x x x x x] x-u dib-ba- NU? SARár4


GE UMUNḫi ḫa-tin a-bi-ri-i mu-[še-zib en-ši :] dun-na-mu-u : en-šú : dun-na-mu-u : ú-la-la5

(8) "I am Asalluḫi, the protector of the weak, the def[ender of the feeble]" (= Marduk's Address 63); "humble" means "feeble," "humble" means "helpless." (It refers to) Libra, the pincers of Scorpio. They are seen inside of Scorpio, [...] his ... are turned into amber, the people in the presence of the hierodules, they are not seen in front of Šidada's crown. It is as if the goddesses cut their heads. A star (visible) throughout the whole year. Region of Scorpio.


    múlÉRIN SI múlGÍR.TAB : x [x x x]-MEŠ-šú ana íl-me-šú GUR* ni-ši i-na IGI NU.GIG.ME6


    ina ŠÀ GÍR.TAB IGI-MEŠ šú-nu x [x (x) ina] ma-ḫar AGA šá dši-da-da NU IGI-MEŠ7


    lìb-bu-ú d15-MEŠ SAG.DU-šú-nu KUD MÚL MU gab-bi KI múlGÍR.TAB


GE UMUNḫi mu-up-pir ÍD-MEŠ mu-kin na-piš- KUR : ÍD-ME KI múlGÍR.TAB tam-8

(12) "I am Asalluḫi, who brings across the canals and establishes the life of the country" (= Marduk's Address 64); the "canals" (are) the region of Scorpio, (since Scorpio is) the sea. What it said, "the life of the country," (means that Išḫara, i.e. Scorpio is) lady of all inhabited regions.


    na-piš- ma-a- šá DUG₄u : dbe-let da-ád-me9


GE UMUNḫi ḪAL .BAR pa-ri-is ḫal-ḫal-la : KI múlPA.BIL.SAG10

(14) "I am Asalluḫi, the diviner of the divine decision, the divider of flour (ḫalḫalla)" (= Marduk's Address 65); region of Sagittarius. (It refers to) the diviner and the dream interpreter, (since) ḪAL means "extispicy" and ḪAL means "secret."


    ḪAL u šá-ʾ-i-lu : ḫal-ḫal-la : ḪAL : bi-ri : ḪAL : pi-riš-11


GE UMUNḫi pe-tu-ú sat-tak-ku mu-ḫal-líq ṣe-nu u rag-gu : SUḪUR!.MAŠ ina KI.KAL* ZU ina ad-ri KÚR*12

(16) "I am Asalluḫi, who reveals the cuneiform script, who destroys the evil and the foe" (= Marduk's Address 66); (it refers to) the Capricorn, which is known in hardship, but it is strange durign threshing time. The "depths of water of death" are the depths of heaven, (i.e.), the hypsoma of Mars, (i.e.), the flashing start, (i.e.) ... [...]. BÙR means "hole," BÙR means "depth," BÙR means "Mars."


    šu-pul me-e mu-ú- [:] šu-pul šá ANe šú-u* : É ni-ṣir- šá dṣal-bat-a-nu13


    MUL ṣar-ḫu :* ṣar-[x (x)]-ḫu? : BÙR : ši-la : BÙR : šu-pul : BÙR : dṣal-bat*-a*-nu14


GE UMUNḫi šá u₄-<mi>-šam-mu pi-[i ni]-ši i-ḫi-ṭu : múlgu-la : dBAD : da-la-la : dBAD15

(19) "I am Asalluḫi, who daily examines the mo[uth of the peo]ple" (= Marduk's Address 67); (refers to) the constellation ..., (i.e.), Enlil, (since) the alāla-song is Enlil('s). (Thus the line) "let the alāla-song be praised in the mouth of the people," means that Enlil is placed in the mouth of the people.


    da-la-la [ina pi-i] ni-ši li-in-na-bi : dBAD šá ina pi-i ni-ši šak-nu16


GE UMUNḫi šá šá-ru-<ru>-šú ú-nam-[ma-ru KUR].KUR-MEŠ : KI múlKUN-MEŠ itiŠE U₄ 20.KAM17

(21) "I am Asalluḫi, whose splendor illumina[tes all the la]nds" (= Marduk's Address 67); region of Pisces. (It refers to) the 20th of Addaru, when people [present] their offerings to Šamaš; [the liba]tion vessel of the 20th of Addaru, when people smear their eyes (and recite the) incantation, "Šamaš, the 20[th is your bri]ght day" (= incipit of an incantation); fruit etc. ( iṣṣi). Alternatively, (the line) is said on account of the rays of the sun.


šá ni-ši ŠUK-MEŠ-ši-na ana dUTU [GAR-ma ma-aq]-- šá U₄ 20.KAM šá itiŠE šá ni-ši IGI-MEŠ-ši-na18


i-qa-a ÉN dUTU U₄ 20.[KAM U₄-ka] nam-ri GURUN pi-i iṣ-ṣi : šá-niš ana UGU šá-ru-ru šá dUTU DUG₄19


GE UMUNḫi bir-bir-ru-šú ub-[ba- BÀD NA₄ :] ana UGU múlḪUN. 5 EGIR GIŠ.ŠÚ

(24) "I am Asalluḫi, whose radiance de[stroys stone walls]" (= Marduk's Address 70) (it is said) on account of Aries, behind west of Aries [...] of the moon and the sun, on account of the arrival, since the sun rises in Libra [...] stands in front of the sun (is) a stone wall; the tiara of the moon is visible together with [...]; until the moon destroys it, (it is) a stone wall. On account of the tiara [...] ... The sun to the place of the stone of the moon is the asakku-stone, (i.e.,) SÀG (= "to smite"), Aries [...] Cancer (is the) asakku-demon. Alternatively, it refers to the face of Šamaš of the stone mountain, etc. ( iṣṣu).


    šá múlḪUN. [x x x x] x šá d30 dUTU ana UGU KURdu ul-tu dUTU


    ina gišRÍN KURḫa [x x x (x)] ina IGI dUTU GUB BÀD NA₄ : AGA d3020


    it-ti ni-[x x x (x)] GINna : a-di d30 ub-ba- BÀD NA₄


    ana UGU AGA [x x x x] x : dUTU ana KI NA₄ šá d30 na₄A.SAG : SÀG


    ḪUN. : x [x x x x] múlKUŠU Á.SÀG šá-niš ana UGU zi-mi šá dUTU šá KURú šá NA₄ pi-i iṣ-ṣi


GE UMUNḫi er-šú it-pe-šú šá šu-[tu-ru ḫa-si-sa :] ŠÀ* ÁB.ÁB ÁB.ÁB dIDIM ḫa-si-si : dIDIM21

(30) "I am Asalluḫi, the wise and expert, whose [intelligence is surpassing]" (= Marduk's Address 71); (it refers to) the center of the Taurus of Taurus constellation, (i.e., to) Ea of wisdom, i.e., Ea (or, Enlil?).


GE UMUNḫi šá gišTUKUL-šú a-bu-bu [ez-zu : múl]ZUBI kak-ku šá ŠU-MIN dAMAR.UTU gam-lu22

(31) "I am Asalluḫi, whose weapon is the [fierce] flood" (= Marduk's Address 72); (it refers to) Auriga, the weapon in the hand of Marduk, the throwing-stick. Murderous [...] combat, poisonous snake who brings back to life. AMAR means "fierce" [...]: it is said in the very name of Marduk.


    šag-gi-šú : qab-[lu? x x] šag-ga-šú MUŠ im- : mu-bal-li-ṭu23


    ZUR!(AMAR) ez-zu : ni-x [x x x x] ina lìb-bi MU šá dAMAR.UTU qa-bi!(TI)24


[GE] UMUNḫi šá ina di-pa-ri-šú i-qa-mu-[ú a-a]-bi u lem-nu : dGÌRA nu-ú-ri šá IGI den-me-šár-ra25

(34) ["I am Asallu]ḫi, who with his torch burns the enemy and the wicked" (= Marduk's Address 73); (it refers to) Girra, the light in front of Enmešarra.


[GE UMUNḫi den-líl] DINGIR-MEŠ a-ši-ir [kib-rat : KI?] múlgišGIGIR den-me-šár-ra : den-líl26

(35) ["I am Asalluḫi, Enlil of] the gods, the guardian [of the four quarters]" (= Marduk's Address 74); [region] of the Chariot of Enmešarra, i.e., Enlil.


[GE UMUNḫi re-ʾ-ú kiš-šat ni]-ši ṣu-[lul kal da]-ád-me : múlSIPA.ZI.AN.NA re-ʾ-um

(36) ["I am Asalluḫi, shepherd of all the peopl]es, shel[ter of all the inha]bited lands" (= Marduk's Address 74); (it refers to) Sipazianna, the shepherd; [...] is Iliabrat, i.e., the god of humankind.


    [x x x x x x x x x x] dì--ab-rat : DINGIR-MEŠ ab-ra-a-ti27


[x x x x x x x x x x x x x m]dŠÀ.ZU-per-ʾu-uṣ-ru A me-ṭi-[ru]

(38) [... of] Marduk-perʾu-uṣur, descendant of Ēṭiru.

1Geller restores šu-bat?] an-zu-ú; the restoration adopted here is based on SB Anzû I 34.

2As noted by U. Gabbay, the use of lū is very uncommon in commentaries. He suggests taking it as (i.e. līʾum), and compares it with Malku V 58: = nēšu. He also points out that the may be come from a notarikon analysis of the name of Asalluḫi.

3Compare Ea III 2: [... GAD.TÙ]N : ga-da tùn-[na-ku : šu-ku-su šá GAD.TÙN]. Geller restores the lacuna as gada.t[a-kil-ti šá NA₄ pi-i iṣ]-ṣi, after l. 29. Since line 23 reads GURUN pi-i iṣ-ṣi, it seems possible that the present line contains yet another variation of the phrase. The exact meaning of the phrase is uncertain; U. Gabbay (personal communication) suggests understanding it as a technical term with the meaning "etc.," vel sim. The meaning of širmu in this context is unclear; in OB the phrase širim qarni, "širmu of the horn," is attested. Perhaps it could describe the horns of the headress? [EF]

4The meaning of the line remains obscure.

5The equations of the second part of the line could come from Erimḫuš IV 168 (sig-ga = enšu, ulālu, dunnamû) or Malku IV 47 (dunnamû = enšu, ulālu).

6mul.(giš.)ERÍN is zibānītu, "Libra," which is called "pincers of Scorpio," as in the present line, also in Mulapin I ii 11. It is uncertain how the end of the line should be interpreted.

7On the goddess Šidada, see Krebernik RlA 12 p. 452. No astral counterparts of Šidada are known, and thus it is not clear how to interpret the present line.

8On zuqiqīpu tâmti, compare the equation mul.GÍR.TAB (=) d.iš-ḫa-ra (=) tam-tim in 5R 46 31 (see Lambert Babylonian Creation Myths, 2013 p. 245)

9Bēlet dadmē is identified with Zuqaqīpu and Išḫara in Mulapin I ii 29, whence the present equation.

10Geller's translation "who assigns lots" is free; the line probably refers to aleuromancy (for ḫalḫallu as "flour" see AHw 311b).

11The diviner and the dream interpreter are usually associated in Akkadian literature: see CAD Š/1 111a.

12Geller transcribes the end of the line as: SUHUR.MAŠ ina qí-bit-su ina-aṭ-ṭal DÙ. The last sign is probably KÚR, rather than DÙ: KÚR at the end of the line sometimes indicates a corruption in the line, but it is unclear whether the present KÚR represents one such .

13The phrase šupul mê mūti appears to be elsewhere unattested. According to Reynolds "Unpropitious Titles of Mars in Mesopotamian Scholarly Tradition" RAI 43 (1998) p. 347-358, here p. 352; the (ašar niṣirti) of Mars is the Open-Mouthed Storm Demon constellation [EF].

14Geller's restoration of the third word, ṣar-[rip-t]u-šú, seems unlikely. Note that, if the explanation is based on the polysemy of the sign BÙR, the equation BÙR = ṣarḫu would be unattested. The equation between Mars and the sign U also appears to be elsewhere unattested, it may derive from d.U.GUR, "Nergal" [EF].

15The explanation relates the phrase pī nišī, "people's mouth," to the alāla song, which is in turn connected with Enlil pseudo-etymologically [EF]. The reading múlgu-la is courtesy of Frances Reynolds.

16The first half of the line appears to be a literary quotation.

17The connection between Pisces and Addaru is due to the fact that they are both the 12th (zodiac sign and month). The ritual described may be on the 20th because 20 is Šamaš's number [EF]. Note that the "Offering Bread Hemerology" prescribes an offering to Enlil and Ninlil on the 20th of Addaru (Livingstone, Hemerologies of Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars, CUSAS 25, 2013, p. 148).

18The second and third lines of the reverse are not indented.

19The collation of the signs at the end (DUG₄ rather than DUG₄-ú, as trasnliterated by Geller) is courtesy of U. Gabbay. The incantation whose incipit is cited here is attested in 83-1-18,237 (BWL p. 341 and pl. 57). The relationship of the phrase GURUN pi-i iṣ-ṣi (see also l. 29), with the rest of the line is uncertain. iṣṣi could be "weapon" or, as a verb, "it becomes smaller"; it could also be, as suggested by U. Gabbay (privatim), a technical term with the meaning "etc.," vel sim. (see above note on l. 6).

20Geller transliterates the first part of the line as ina giš.gú-ḫ[a-áš-ši.

21Compare the writing reš- šá MÚL.[MÚL MÚL].MÚL šá MÚL.MÚL, “The first portion of Tau[rus (is called) ‘Tau]rus of Taurus,’ in LBAT 1499 r 32. Ea and Ayyāru, and Ayyāru and the Plejades, are linked in a number of texts, whence the present explanation. Frances Reynolds (private communication) suggests understanding the line as [ina] ŠÀ ÁB.ÁB ÁB.ÁB, i.e. [ina] libbi zappi zappu, ‘[con]cerning the Bristle, the Bristle (is).’

22The sobriquet of Auriga is also attested in 5R 46/1 l. 3, see Rochberg "Marduk in Heaven" Fs Hunger (2007) p. 433-442, here 435.

23ZUBI = GÀM = PAP.NÁ is equated with šagāšu in a number of lexical lists (see CAD Š/3 66-67), hence the present equation. Geller restores qab-[lu] šaggāšu, but there seems to be room for several more signs.

24The first sign is transliterated by Geller as BI (bi-iṣ-ṣú), but it looks rather like AMAR [EF]. The emendation qa-bi!(TI) is Lambert’s. ZUR = ezzu may be based on šúr = ezzu, a very common equation [EF]; the line may thus be an etymological analysis of the name of Marduk to demonstrate that his name means the same as the line from Marduk's Address. Alternatively, as proposed by U. Gabbay (private communication), the line might reflect a pseudo-etymology of the name of Marduk that was common in Antiquity, and is in fact attested elsewhere, as dMAR-URU₅-gišTUKUL, “a flood of weapons,” which fits well with the line from “Marduk's Address.”

25The constellation of Enmešarra is part of the ŠU.GI constellation (Hunger & Pingree MUL.APIN. An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform, AfO Beih 24, 1989, p. 125b).

26Compare é gišgigir den-líl- = [MI]N den-me-šár-ra, "The chariot house of Enlil is Enmešarra's [abo]de," in CT 46 51 o 12 (Lambert, Babylonian Creation Myths, 2013, p. 284).

27The line etymologizes the god name Iliabrat as ili abrāti. DINGIR-MEŠ is probably a singular, referring to Iliabrat. On the equation between Iliabrat and Sipazianna, cf. Wiggermann RlA 9 500a. The first half of the line could probably be restored as [múl.SIPA.ZI.AN.NA : d.Pap-sukkal : d.NIN.ŠUBUR :] d.ì-lí-ab-rat : DINGIR-MEŠ ab-ra-a-ti.

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum