CCP 4.1.3.B - Sagig 3 B

Catalogue information
British Museum
BM 55491
Sippar(Sippar), 82-7-4 consignment [Babylon (?)]
Lambert Folio 9238 [tr]
WO 47 p. 220

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.: 217-225

MedicalDiagnostic and prognostic


Base text: 
Sagig 3
Commentary no: 
Tablet information
Fragment (upper and left-hand edge preserved)
obv. 10, rev. 4
6,66 × 4,44 cm
Chaldean / early Achaemenid (late 7th / 6th cent) (mostly "Sippar Collection")
(name lost)

Frahm, 2011E. Frahm, Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries. Origins of Interpretation. Ugarit-Verlag, 2011.: 261, 311

Frahm, 2018E. Frahm, The Exorcist’s Manual: Structure, Language, Sitz im Leben, in Sources of Evil. Studies in Mesopotamian Exorcistic Lore, G. Van Buylaere, Luukko, M. , Schwemer, D. , and Mertens-Wagschal, A. , Eds. Brill, 2018, pp. 7-47.
[On line o 7]
: 18 fn. 28

Gabbay, 2016U. Gabbay, The Exegetical Terminology of Akkadian Commentaries. Brill, 2016.: 75 (2, 4, 5), 227 (6–7)

Jiménez, 2016bE. Jiménez, May the Reader Not Withhold the Tablet! On a Formula in Late Babylonian Colophons, Babel und Bibel, vol. 9, pp. 227-239, 2016.
: 232 no. 24

Leichty, 1986E. Leichty, Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum. Volume VI: Tablets from Sippar 1. British Museum Publications, 1986.
[Ant -/8/46. Commentary]
: 177

Jiménez, 02/2016 (Identification)
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Transliteration)
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Translation)
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Introduction)
Frazer, 02/2016 (Proofreading [Introduction])
Schmidtchen, 02/2016 (Reading suggestions)
Gabbay, 02/2016 (Reading suggestions)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Collation)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Enrique Jiménez | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Jiménez, E., 2016, “Commentary on Sagig 3 (CCP 4.1.3.B),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed May 18, 2024, at DOI: 10079/x95x6pp
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

The present tablet, previously unidentified, consists of two nearly joinable fragments from the British Museum’s “Sippar Collection,” which in all likelihood stem from Babylon or Borsippa.1 The colophon dates the tablet to the 8th month of the 46th year of an Antiochus, during a period of co-regency with another Antiochus, “his son.” The only possible date is 266 BCE.


The tablet contains a previously unidentified commentary on the third chapter of the diagnostic and prognostic medical series, Sagig. Only one other commentary on that chapter was previously known, SpTU 1 29 (CCP 4.1.3.A). The tablet preserves the beginning of the text, which is of great interest. The first two chapters of Sagig deal with ominous events that the exorcist may encounter on his way to the patient’s house. The third chapter is the first in which actual symptoms are studied. The first line of the tablet urges the exorcist to recite an incantation to protect himself before approaching the sick person. The commentary specifies that it should be one of two incantations: either “I am the man of Namma, the man of Nanše,” or “I am the messenger of the great gods.” The latter incantation, attested in a tablet from Assur KAR 31 and in several Kuyunjik duplicates, has long been suspected of being identical with the incantation prescribed in the first line of Sagig 3:2 this idea is now confirmed by the present commentary.

The rest of the preserved entries provide glosses for the often difficult to parse words of the first ten lines of Sagig 3. Alternative explanations are offered frequently: thus, the difficult ne-ʾa-a from Sagig 3 5 is first explained as nuḫḫā, “calmed”; then an alternative explanation (nêʾu, i.e., “turned back”) is introduced by the adverb šanîš.

The commentary features two quotations from bilingual texts. Remarkably, one of them is explicitly said to come from Ginutaqqû, a text previously known only in the “Exorcist’s Manual” (KAR 44 o 3).


A printed edition of this tablet, together with other unpublished commentaries on Sagig, appeared as E. Jiménez and Schmidtchen, E. , Explaining Diagnosis. Two New Commentaries on the Diagnostic Series Sagig, Welt des Orients, vol. 47, pp. 216-241, 2017.

  • 1. The colophon contains a formula that is only attested in Achaemenid and Hellenistic tablets from those cities: see Citekey Jiménezfort2 not found
  • 2. See N. P. Heeßel, Babylonisch-assyrische Diagnostik. Ugarit-Verlag, 2000. P. 71 fn. 12.

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(Base textCommentaryQuotations from other texts)


BM 055491

o 1o 1

[*] ana GIG ina TE-ka EN ÉN [ana SU]-ka ŠUBú ana GIG NU TE[ḫi]

(o 1) [If] you are to approach a sick person, until you cast an incantation [upon] your[self] (ina SU-ka), do not appro[ach] the sick person” (= Sagig III 1). (o 2) (The incantation in question is) the incantation “I am the man of Namma, I am the man of Nanše” (= Udugḫul III 124). Alternatively, it is the incantation “I am the messenger of the great gods” (= KAR 31 and duplicates). (o 3) SU means “body,” SU means “oneself.”

o 22

én ŋá-e <d>namma-me-en ŋá-<e> <d>nanše-[me-en šá]-niš én ŋá-<e> kíŋ-gi₄-a diŋir gal-gal-[e-ne]

o 33

SU : zu-ú-ru : SU : ra-ma-nu : i-[nar]-ru-uṭ : i-sal-liḫ : <SÌG? :> na-ra-ṭu [: SÌG]1

(o 3) (o 3) “He quivers” (= Sagig III 3) means “he has spasms,” since <SÌG means> “to quiver” means “to have spasms.”

o 44

se-le-eḫ : ne-ʾa-a : nu-uḫ-ḫa :? TU?.LU : -ʾu-ú : TU.LU : ra-[mu-ú]2

(o 4) (o 4) ne-ʾa-a (= Sagig III 5) means “calm” (nuḫḫu); T[U.L]U (?) means “to loosen” (nêʾu) and TU.LU means “to slacken” (ra[]).

o 55

la ḫa-aḫ-šá : i-<da>-at! SAG.<KI>-MIN-šú em-mu : šá-niš la ÚḪ?-ḫa-šú : la ṣar-ḫa-áš : ÚḪ [: ṣa-ra-ḫu]3

(o 5) (o 5) la-ḫa-aḫ-ša₂ (= Sagig III 6) means “the sides of his temples are warm”; alternatively, la ⸢ÚḪ⸣?-ḫa-šú means “it is not hot for him,” (since) ÚḪ [(means) “to be hot], (o 6) as in izibazta suge úḫba šuḫa[n?ta]g?gaʾe ḫuz [], (o 7) it is said (o 6) [] (o 7) from (the text entitled) Ginutaqqû. (As in) šaʾibbakede nam[] , (in Akkadian) “in the rage of their heart, they removed the inf[lamation” ] (= quotation from unknown bilingual text).

o 66

lìb-bu-ú níŋ izi-ba-zu-ta/ sug-ge úḫ-ba šu ḫa-an?-tag!?-ga-e ḫu-uz x [x x]4

o 77

šá GI.NU.TAG.GAu qa-bi : šag₄ íb-ba-ke₄-e-ne nam-x x x x x [x x]5

o 88

ina ug-ga-tu₄ lìb-bi-šú-nu ú-šá-as-su-ú ṣi-ri-iḫ-[tu₄ x x x x x x x]6

o 99

bir-ta Á-šú : bi-rit nag-la-ba-šu [...]7

(o 9) (o 9) The “between his arms” (= Sagig III 9) means “between his shoulders” [ (o 10) ].

o 1010

x x x x x x [...]

(o 10) ...

r 0'0'

[... la lìb-bi]

(r 0') (r 0) [He who reveres Marduk] (r 1′) shall not remove it (sc. the tablet) (r 0) [from within]. Whoever takes it should return it (r 2′) to its owner (r 1′) [within a month].

r 1'1'

la ú-šel-liš šá GIŠ-šú a-na [ITI?-šú?]

r 2'2'

ana EN-šú GUR-šú Eki itiAPIN U₄ 9.KAM

(r 2') (r 2′) Babylon, 9th of Araḫsamnu (r 3′) of the 46th year of (r 4′) kings (r 3′) Antiochus, the [great] king, (r 4′) and Antiochus, his [son].

r 3'3'

MU 46.KAM man-ti-ʾu-uk-su LUGAL [GAL]

r 4'4'

u man-ti-ʾu-uk-su A-šú LUGAL-[MEŠ]

1zu-ú-ru stands for zumru. The same explanation (SU = zumru, SU = ramānu) can be found in DT 35 l. 7 (CCP 3.8.2.B), SU : zu-mur : SU : ra-ḫe--<ma-nu>.

2salāḫu = narāṭu is atteted in the commentary SpTU 1 72 r 3 (CCP 3.6.3.E). Compare Lanu B 21-22 (CT 19 11 r ii 24′-25′): TU.UL = nêʾu, ramû.

3In Sagig 3 6 the line is ¶ UGU-šú KÚMem u SAG.KI-MIN-šú KÚM la-aḫ-ḫa-ḫa-šá, which is apparently interpreted by the commentator as “if his skull is hot and his forehead is warm (around) around its laḫḫāḫu.”

4Quotation from unknown source.

5A text entitled Ginutaqqû is mentioned in the Exorcist’s Manual l. 3, but nothing is known of it.

6Lines 7′-8′ contain a literary quotation from a bilingual source, but it does not seem to be elsewhere attested (see CAD U/W 37).

7Compare STT 403 o 18 (CCP 4.1.1.D)(comm. SA.GIG 1-3): bir-ti Á-MIN-šú : bi-rit MAŠ.SÌLA-MEŠ-šú (= naglabī) [courtesy of Eric Smidtchen].

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum