CCP 4.1.7.C.a - Sagig 7 C

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 48727
81-11-3,1438+ 81-11-3,1452
BM 48727+ BM 48741
MedicalDiagnostic and prognostic


Base text: 
Sagig 7
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
1 (or >)
Neo/Late Babylonian, specifics unknown

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.
[On line 3-4]
: 238 fn. 43

Finkel, 07/1995 (Join)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Identification)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Translation)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Introduction)
Finkel, 08/2016 (Collation)
Heeßel, 10/2016 (Corrections [l. 1])
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2016, “Commentary on Sagig 7 (CCP 4.1.7.C.a),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed May 18, 2024, at DOI: 10079/prr4xvx
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

The present tablet contains a previously unidentified commentary on the poorly preserved seventh tablet of the diagnostic series Sagig, which deals with symptoms in the patient’s tongue. The tablet consists of two rejoined fragments, both of which belong to the 81-11-3 consignment of the British Museum’s “Babylon Collection”: BM 48727 (81-11-3,1438) and BM 48741 (81-11-3,1452). They were joined by I. L. Finkel, who also collated the edition below and made some valuable suggestions. In all likelihood, the present tablet joins, directly or indirectly, the fragment BM 48729 (CCP 4.1.7.C.b, q.v.), and perhaps also BM 49044 (CCP 4.1.7.C.c).

The most arresting feature of the present text is that it quotes a bizarre diagnosis, according to which a man’s disease would have been caused by his “having had sex with his own mother” (l. 3′). Incest is a most uncommon topic in Mesopotamian literature and, not surprisingly, the omen quoted in the present commentary is hitherto elsewhere unattested.

This commentary is chiefly concerned with philological issues: thus ll. 3′-4′ explain the difficult irtenetti as a form of the verb retû, “to fix in,” and the latter as a synonym of zaqāpu, “to erect.” However, one of the entries tries to demonstrate the internal coherence of an omen by showing that a word from the protasis (“tongue”) and a word from the apodosis (the god Uraš) are related (l. 6′).

A complete philological edition by the editor is in preparation.


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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


BM 048727 + BM 048741

o 1'o 1'

[x (x) * GIG EME]-šú SA₅?át DIN : [...]1

(o 1') [... “If the patient’s tongu]e is red, he will get well” (= Sagig VII 1) [...].

o 2'2'

EME-šú i-bi : e-bu-ú : EME-[šú] (⸢x) x [...]

(o 2') [“If] his tongue is thick” (= Sagig VII 2, 3, or 4 (?)) (stems from) “to be thick.” [His] tongue ... (= Sagig VII unknown) [...] (= Sagig VII unknown) stems from “to cut.”

o 3'3'

ana UGU ba-ta-qu : ir-te--et-ti : ta-x-[x x : : re-tu-ú]

(o 3') (His tongue) is continuously fixed” (= Sagig VII 7 (?)) [... means “to fix”]; means “to erect.”

o 4'4'

: za-qap : NA BI AMA-šú i-nik : EME-šú [...]2

(o 4') “That man had illicit sex with his own mother” (= Sagig VII 7 unknown) ... [...] means ... he continuously poured out. ... [...]

o 5'5'

it?-ti -tik-ku-ni : -te-pu-ú [...]3

o 6'6'

[ana] AMA-šú TEḫe : EME : duraš : duraš : ḫa-[ra-šú x x (x x)]4

(o 6') [If his tongue ... hand of Uraš ] will approach his mother” (= Sagig VII unknown) “tongue” (from the protasis) (is related to) Uraš (from the apodosis), (since) Uraš means ... [...]

o 7'7'

na-gu-ú : ḫa-du-ú : tas-lim-ti : ta-[as-li-im-ti (x x)]5

(o 7') “To sing joyfully” (= Sagig VII unknown) means “to be happy.” “Slander” (tas-lim-ti) (= Sagig VII unknown), (written) ta-[as-li-im-ti KA É.GAL (lit. “word of the palace”) means “slander,”] KA É.GAL means “impudence.”

o 8'8'

KA É.GAL : šil-la-tu₄ : * EME-šú ú?-na?-[áš?-šak? ...]6

(o 8') “If he bites his tongue” (= Sagig VII 16 (?)) [...].

o 9'9'

[...] a-x [x x] x x x x [...]

(o 9') [...] ... [...]

1As noted by N. P. Heeßel (private communication), the reading of the sign SA₅ is far from certain and, in any case, there is room for at least one or two more signs before ¶ [GIG EME]. This suggests that the entry might not correspond to the first line of Sagig VII, but rather to a different line. There may be some lines missing before the present one.

2The equations DÙ = retû, DÙ = zaqāpu are also attested in CCP 4.1.21 o 9 (commentary on Sagig 21). Alternatively, the text could be emended to <ana> AMA-šú i-<sa>-niq, “he approaches his mother,” as suggested by I. L. Finkel, which would turn the line into a prognosis, rather than a diagnosis.

3It is uncertain how the first part of the line should be parsed. Perhaps ištikkūni < irtikkūni, râku Gtn (hitherto unattested)? The reading -te-pu-ú was suggested by I. L. Finkel after collation.

4It is possible that the first half of this line explains the text cited in l. 4′ (“That man had illicit sex with his own mother”), in which case the verb TEḫi should be rendered as a preterite. The restoration of ḫa-[ra-šú] at the end of the line was suggested by I. L. Finkel (private communication). Since the goal of the entry seems to be to demonstrate that the “tongue” (from the protasis) and the god Uraš (from the apodosis) are somehow related, it is possible that the explanation is based on a lexical or literary passage in which both appear together, mutatis mutandis. One might therefore consider a restoration ḫa[rāšu ša lišāni], “harāšu (‘to bind’), said of the tongue,” although this entry is so far unattested in lexical lists (note that it does not appear, for instance, in the long section devoted to ḫarāšu in Nabnītu XX 205-231 [MSL 16 p. 183]).

5Compare Sagig XIX/XX l. 42′: [...] x tas-li-ma-ti DUG₄.DUG₄ub, explained as [tas]-li-a-ti DUG₄.DUG₄ub / [lìb]-bu-ú ta-as-li-ma-a-<:>- ti / [tas-lim]-ti : nu-ul-lat ina ṣa-a- E in SpTU 1 38 o 15-17 (CCP 4.1.19).

6For the restorations, note KA É.GAL.LA = ša ta-às-lim-tim (OB A 123 = MSL 12 p. 161) and KA É.GAL = šillatu (Erimḫuš I 282 = MSL 17 p. 20).

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum