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Cuneiform Writing

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Abnu ikinu Adamanduga Akkadian language Akkadian literature Ama-gi Amarna letters Amarna letters-great powers' club Anatolian hieroglyphs Annals of Sargon Atra-Hasis Baal Cycle Babylonian Chronicles Balag Balbale Behistun Inscription Bowl of Utu Clay tablet Code of Hammurabi Code of the Nesilim Crook-staff (Luwian hieroglyph) Cuneiform Cuneiform (Unicode block) Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative Cylinder of Nabonidus Cyrus Cylinder Danel Determinative Dialogue of Pessimism Dingir Dynastic Chronicle Dynasty of Dunnum Eblaite language Edin (Sumerian term) Ehursag 1 2 3 24 28 29 41 45 47 48 51 54 57 57 58 64 66 68 72 75 76 88 119 120 125 146 149 150 153 155 156 158 159 159

Ekur Elamite cuneiform Elamite language Elamo-Dravidian languages Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature Enamtila Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta Enuma anu enlil Enma Eli Epic of Gilgamesh ERIM (army Sumerogram) Eshkaft-e Salman Freedom (sumerian Ama-gi) Full translation of the Behistun Inscription GAL (cuneiform) Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise) Gudea cylinders Hattic language Hieroglyphic Luwian History of the Zaza people Hittite cuneiform Hittite language Hittite laws Hittite military oath Hittite texts Hubur Hurrian language Hurrian songs Hurro-Urartian languages Hursag Hymn to Enlil Instructions of Shuruppak Ikar Zaqqu Journal of Cuneiform Studies K.3364 Kassite language Keilschrift Texte aus Ugarit

160 164 167 174 175 176 177 178 180 181 184 193 194 195 196 206 206 212 219 222 225 226 230 238 239 240 242 244 257 263 265 267 272 273 275 276 279 280

Kelashin Stele Kesh temple hymn KI (cuneiform) Kikkuli Kish tablet Kul-e Farah Kur Lament for Ur Legend of Keret Letter of Piha-walwi Library of Ashurbanipal Linear Elamite List of cuneiform signs Liste der archaischen Keilschriftzeichen Lu-diira Ludlul bl nmeqi Lugal Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave Luwian language Ma (myth) Manapa-Tarhunta letter Maql Milawata letter MUL.APIN Nabnitu Namburbi Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet NIN (cuneiform) Old Persian Old Persian cuneiform Poor Man of Nippur Proto-Elamite Sa-sub4 (Luwian hieroglyph) Samnu Sharur (mythological weapon) Studien zu den Bogazkoy-Texten Sumerian creation myth

280 281 287 287 289 290 292 293 299 301 302 305 306 344 344 345 346 347 348 350 355 355 356 357 358 360 361 363 365 367 374 379 380 383 384 385 386 387

Sumerian language Sumerian literature Sumerogram Tawagalawa letter Taylor and Sennacherib Prisms TI (cuneiform) Tikunani Prism Tukulti-Ninurta Epic Ugaritic alphabet Ugaritic grammar Ugaritic language Urartian language Urra=hubullu Winkelhaken Zu-buru-dabbeda (temple)

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Article Sources and Contributors Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 442 449

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Abnu ikinu

Abnu ikinu
Abnu ikinu, inscribed NA4 GAR-, the stone whose appearance is, is one of the most prominent Mesopotamian examples of a lapidary, or stone identification handbook. It provides a list of the names of minerals and highlights their therapeutic or magical use. It is currently extant in six fragments: from Sultantepe, ancient Huzirina,[1][2] Assur,[3][4] Kuyunjik, ancient Nineveh[5] and a late Babylonian exemplar from Sippar[6][7] Differences in the surviving copies indicate that more than version was in circulation in ancient times although its listing in the Exorcists Manual indicates its centrality in the training curriculum of the aspiring aipu, or exorcist.

The text
The work describes the differences of stones in color, design, and function, such as the name of the stone which looks like unripe grapes is abam[1]:72 and as a lump of salt is called stone for childbirth.[1]:42 Some stones are associated with the heavens. Jasper (NA4-a-pu) is likened to the clear heavens and a rain cloud and represents the lower heavens due to its greenish or bluish hue, the color of the sky. The stone of the middle heaven is described: The stone whose appearance is red covered with white and black patches is named of luludntu stone.[8]:10 The stone whose appearance is like lapis-lazuli is named saggilmud-stone,[8]:11 with its marbled appearance of black, red and white veins represents the upper heavens. The agik-stone, powders of which were used in medical prescriptions to treat pulsating veins in the temples, is described the appearance of the stone resembles green obsidian, but [with/without] the striations. As for this stone, agik is its name.[7]:116 Statues representing du and lamassu figures were made from specific stones to repel the evildoer.[9] A stone described as like black obsidian was used to dispel the wrath of the (personal) god.[10] The usgu-stone was used in a stone charm preventing a a'attu-demon from attacking the person who wears it.[11] The stone KA.GI.NA.DIB, the stone of truthfulness, reports to ama what he (the wearer) says, truth as well as falsehood[12] and only a pious man should wear it.[13] References to Abnu ikinu also appear in neo-Babylonian texts, such as the colophon of a stone list[14] and another tablet[15] of a similar genre which is not part of the series but preserves its name.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] STT 108 tablet VAT 13940+ (http:/ / cdli. ucla. edu/ cdlisearch/ search/ index. php?SearchMode=Text& txtID_Txt=P338430) STT 109 (http:/ / cdli. ucla. edu/ cdlisearch/ search/ index. php?SearchMode=Text& txtID_Txt=P338431) BAM IV 378. BAM 194 vii (=KAR 185, VAT 9587). K. 4751. BM 50664. W. Horowitz (1992). "Two Abnu ikinu Fragments and Related Matters". Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archologie 82 (1): 112-122. [8] W. Horowitz (1998). Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography. Eisenbrauns. [9] abnu CAD a/1, p. 56. [10] CAD s_tsade p. 258. [11] CAD h p. 257. [12] CAD a2 p. 371. [13] CAD n1 p. 66. [14] BM 38385 vi 17. [15] BM 77806.

Abnu ikinu


Adamanduga (dialogue in Sumer) is a Sumer and Akkadian literatural genre, a kind of disputes. It was formed in the 3rd millennium BC. It was used in the Neo-Assyrian Empire between the 9th and the 7th century BC also.

Sumerian literature
It is used predominantly for the description of mythological stories. It describes the beginning of the Earths history. Then it depicts the beginning of the two fundamentum of the human culture. Dialogues are always between two new achievements. These are personalised. Both describe itself as the better one. It cites its value, beauty usefulness. At the end of the poem one of the Gods (usually Enlil) decides who says right things. It was the first literature genre where humans were the rederencefor the judging of human society in the history of Mesopotamia. Its dialogues take place somewhere in Edubba. Philosophical speculations also can be found around mythological descriptions. There are some Summer adamandugas which survived this long period. These are for example: U and Ezinu; Enesh and Enten; Hummar and Plough; Wood and Reed; Bird and Fish; Tammuz and Enkimdu. Source of the genre is in the Edubba literature. It includes ethical, pedagogical writings. Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta shares a lot of characteristic features with this and genre embedded to an epos. It converged to the fabula in a SummerAkkad bilingual writing. It included dogs, wolves, lions and foxes also.

Akkadian literature
There are few disputes in the genre of adamanduga in the Akkad literature. Main theme of these poetries were the relationship between human and the society instead of human and environment. Most vital parts of adamandugas were its special characters: personalisation of plants and animals. There were violent fights between them. Most important poems are Tamariskus and the Date Palm; Ox and the Horse. These had major influence in their time. Disputes in the Nisaba and the Wheat had less cultural historical background. In Myth of Etana dispute becomes fight. The characters of the epos are the Snake and the Eagle. It is the predessor of the balbade. You may find similar writings in the later history of Arabic, Hebrew literature and in the Middle Age from Europe.

(Hungarian) Vilgirodalmi lexikon I. ktet, A-Cal, ISBN 963-05-4399-0

Akkadian language

Akkadian language
linum akkadtum Spoken natively in Region Extinct Language family Assyria and Babylonia Mesopotamia 100 AD Afro-Asiatic Semitic East Semitic Writing system Akkadian

Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform Official status

Official language in initially Akkad (central Mesopotamia); lingua franca of the Middle East and Egypt in the late Bronze and early Iron Ages. Language codes ISO 639-2 ISO 639-3 akk akk

Akkadian (linum akkadtum, ak.kAD) (also Accadian, Assyro-Babylonian[1]) is an extinct Semitic language (part of the greater Afroasiatic language family) that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system, which was originally used to write ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate. The name of the language is derived from the city of Akkad, a major center of Semitic Mesopotamian civilization, during the Akkadian Empire (2334 - 2154 BC), although the language predates the founding of Akkad. During the third millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism.[2] The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence.[2] This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund.[2] Akkadian was first attested in Sumerian texts in proper names from the late 29th century BC.[3] From the second half of the third millennium BC (circa 2600-2500 BC), texts fully written in Akkadian begin to appear. Hundreds of thousands of texts and text fragments have been excavated to date; covering a vast textual tradition of mythological narrative, legal texts, scientific works, correspondence, political and military events, and many other examples. By the second millennium BC, two variant forms of the language were in use in Assyria and Babylonia (known as Assyrian and Babylonian respectively). Akkadian had been for centuries the lingua franca in Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East. However, it began to decline around the 8th century BC, being marginalized by Aramaic during the Neo Assyrian Empire. By the Hellenistic period, the language was largely confined to scholars and priests working in temples in Assyria and Babylonia. The last Akkadian cuneiform document dates to the 1st century AD.[4] A fair number of Akkadian loan words survive in the Mesopotamian Neo Aramaic dialects spoken in and around modern Iraq by the indigenous Assyrian (aka Chaldo-Assyrian) Christians of the region, and the giving of Akkadian personal names, along with a number of Akkadian last names and tribal names, is still common amongst Assyrian people.

Akkadian language

Akkadian belongs with the other Semitic languages in the Near Eastern branch of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages, a general liguistic family native to Western Asia and Northern Africa. Within the Near Eastern Semitic languages, Akkadian forms an East Semitic subgroup (with Eblaite). This group distinguishes itself from the Northwest and South Semitic languages by its SOV word order, while the other Semitic languages usually have either a VSO or SVO order. This novel word order is due to the influence of the Sumerian substratum, which has an SOV order. Additionally Akkadian is the only Semitic language to use the prepositions ina and ana (locative, English in/on/with, and dative-locative, for/to, respectively). Other Semitic languages like Arabic and Aramaic have the prepositions bi/b and li/l (locative and dative, respectively). The origin of the Akkadian spatial prepositions is unknown. In contrast with most other Semitic languages, Akkadian has only one non-sibilant fricative: [x]. Akkadian lost both the glottal and pharyngeal fricatives, which are characteristic of the other Semitic languages. Up until the Old Babylonian period, the Akkadian sibilants were exclusively affricate.

History and writing

Old Akkadian is preserved on clay tablets dating back to 2600 BC. It was written using cuneiform, a script adopted from the Sumerians using wedge-shaped signs pressed in wet clay. As employed by Akkadian scribes the adapted cuneiform script could represent either (a) Sumerian logograms (i.e. picture-based characters representing entire words), (b) Sumerian syllables, (c) Akkadian syllables, or (d) phonetic complements. However, in Akkadian the script practically became a fully fledged syllabic script, and the original logographic nature of cuneiform became secondary. However, logograms for frequent words such as 'god' and 'temple' were still used. For this reason the sign AN can on the one hand be a logogram for the word ilum ('god'), and on the other signify the god Anu, or even the syllable -an-. Additionally the sign was used as a determinative for divine names. Example 4 in the image on the right shows another peculiarity of Akkadian cuneiform. Many signs do not have a well-defined phonetic value. Certain signs, such as A, do not distinguish between the different vowel qualities. Nor is there any coordination in the other direction; the syllable -a-, for example, is rendered by the sign A, but also by the sign N. Both of these are often used for the same syllable in the same text.

Cuneiform writing (Neoassyrian script) (1 = Logogram (LG) "mix"/syllabogram (SG) i, 2 = LG "moat", 3 = SG a, 4 = SG a, e, i, u, 5 = SG kam, 6 = SG im, 7 = SG bir)

Cuneiform was in many ways unsuited to Akkadian: among its flaws was its inability to represent important phonemes in Semitic, including a glottal stop, pharyngeals, and emphatic consonants. In addition, cuneiform was a syllabary writing system i.e. a consonant plus vowel comprised one writing unit frequently inappropriate for a Semitic language made up of triconsonantal roots (i.e. three consonants plus any vowels).

Akkadian language

Akkadian is divided into several varieties based on geography and historical period:[5] Old Akkadian, 25001950 BC Old Babylonian/Old Assyrian, 19501530 BC Middle Babylonian/Middle Assyrian, 15301000 BC Neo-Babylonian/Neo-Assyrian, 1000600 BC Late Babylonian, 600 BC100 AD

The earliest known Akkadian inscription was found on a bowl at Ur, addressed to the very early pre-Sargonic king Meskiang-nuna of Ur by his queen Gan-saman, who is thought to have been from Akkad. The Akkadian Empire, established by Sargon of Akkad, introduced the Akkadian language (the "language of Akkad") as a written language, adapting Sumerian cuneiform orthography for the purpose. During the Middle Bronze Age (Old Assyrian and Old Babylonian period), the language virtually displaced Sumerian, which is assumed to have been extinct as a living language by the 18th century BC. Old Akkadian, which was used until the end of the 3rd millennium BC, differs from both Babylonian and Assyrian, and was displaced by these dialects. By the 21st century BC Babylonian and Assyrian, which were to become the primary dialects, were easily distinguishable. Old Babylonian, along with the closely related dialect Mariotic, is clearly more innovative than the Old Assyrian dialect and the more distantly related Eblaite language. For this reason, forms like lu-prus ('I will decide') are first encountered in Old Babylonian instead of the older la-prus (even though it was archaic compared to Akkadian). On the other hand, Assyrian developed certain innovations as well, such as the "Assyrian vowel harmony" (which is not comparable to that found in Turkish or Finnish). Eblaite is even more archaic, retaining a productive dual and a relative pronoun declined in case, number and gender. Both of these had already disappeared in Old Akkadian. Old Babylonian was the language of king Hammurabi and his code, which is one of the oldest collections of laws in the world. (see Code of Ur-Nammu.) The Middle Babylonian (or Assyrian) period started in the 16th century BC. The division is marked by the Kassite invasion of Babylonia around 1550 BC. The Kassites, who reigned for 300 years, gave up their own language in favor of Akkadian, but they had little influence on the language. At its apogee, Middle Babylonian was the written language of diplomacy of the entire ancient Orient, including Egypt. During this period, a large number of loan words were included in the language from North West Semitic languages and Hurrian; however, the use of these words was confined to the fringes of the Akkadian speaking territory. Middle Assyrian served as a lingua franca in much of the Ancient Near East of the Late Bronze Age (Amarna Period). During the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Neo-Assyrian began to turn into a chancellery language, being marginalized by Old Aramaic. Under the Achaemenids, Aramaic continued to prosper, but Assyrian continued its decline. The language's final demise came about during the Hellenistic period when it was further marginalized by Koine Greek, even though Neo-Assyrian cuneiform remained in use in literary tradition well into Parthian times. The latest known text in cuneiform Babylonian is an astronomical text dated to 75 AD.[6] The youngest texts written in Akkadian date from the 3rd century AD. A number of Akkadian words and many personal names survive to this day in the modern Assyrian (or Neo Aramaic) language spoken by ethnic Assyrians (aka Chaldo-Assyrians)in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Akkadian language

Old Assyrian developed as well during the second millennium BC, but because it was a purely popular language kings wrote in Babylonian few long texts are preserved. From 1500 BC onwards, the language is termed Middle Assyrian. During the first millennium BC, Akkadian progressively lost its status as a lingua franca. In the beginning, from around 1000 BC, Akkadian and Aramaic were of equal status, as can be seen in the number of copied texts: clay tablets were written in Akkadian, while scribes writing on papyrus and leather used Aramaic. From this period on, one speaks of Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian. Neo-Assyrian received an upswing in popularity in the 10th century BC when the Assyrian kingdom became a major power with the Neo Assyrian Empire , but texts written 'exclusively' in Neo-Assyrian disappear within 10 years of Nineveh's destruction in 612 BC. After the end of the Mesopotamian kingdoms, which fell due to the Persian conquest of the area, Akkadian (which existed solely in the form of Late Babylonian) disappeared as a popular language. However, An Akkadian inscription the language was still used in its written form; and even after the Greek invasion under Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, Akkadian was still a contender as a written language, but spoken Akkadian was likely extinct by this time, or at least rarely used. The latest positively identified Akkadian text comes from the 1st century AD.[7]

The Akkadian language was rediscovered when Carsten Niebuhr in 1767 was able to make extensive copies of cuneiform texts and published them in Denmark. The deciphering of the texts started immediately, and bilinguals, in particular Old Persian-Akkadian bilinguals, were of great help. Since the texts contained several royal names isolated signs could be identified, and were presented in 1802 by Georg Friedrich Grotefend. By this time it was already evident that Akkadian was a Semitic language, and the final breakthrough in deciphering the language came from Henry Rawlinson in the middle of the 19th century.

Akkadian language

The following table summarises the dialects of Akkadian certainly identified so far.

The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian.

Known Akkadian dialects

Dialect Assyrian Location Northern Mesopotamia

Babylonian Central and Southern Mesopotamia Mariotic Central Euphrates (in and around the city of Mari)

Tell Beydar Northern Syria (in and around Tell Beydar)

Some researchers (such as W. Sommerfeld 2003) believe that the Old Akkadian variant used in the older texts isn't an ancestor of the later Assyrian and Babylonian dialects, but rather a separate dialect that was replaced by these two dialects and which died out early.

Phonetics and phonology

Because Akkadian as a spoken language is extinct and no contemporary descriptions of the pronunciation are known, little can be said with certainty about the phonetics and phonology of Akkadian. Some conclusions can be made, however, due to the relationship to the other Semitic languages and variant spellings of Akkadian words.

As far as can be told from the cuneiform orthography of Akkadian, several Proto-Semitic phonemes are lost in Akkadian. The Proto-Semitic glottal stop *, as well as the fricatives *, *h, * are lost as consonants, either by sound change or orthographically, but they gave rise to the vowel quality e not exhibited in Proto-Semitic. The interdental and the voiceless lateral fricatives (*, *) merged with the sibilants as in Canaanite, leaving 19 consonantal phonemes. The following table gives the consonant sounds distinguished in the Akkadian use of cuneiform, and the IPA signs give the presumed pronunciation according to Streck 2005. The parenthesised sign following is the transcription used in the literature, in the cases where that sign is different from the phonetic sign. This transcription has been suggested for all Semitic languages by the Deutsche Morgenlndische Gesellschaft (DMG), and is therefore known

Akkadian language as DMG-umschrift.

Akkadian consonantal phonemes

Labial Interdental Dental/Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal plain emphatic Nasal Plosive voiceless voiced Fricative voiceless voiced Trill Approximant m p b n t d s z r l j (y) w s () [8] () t () [8] k x () q ()

[1] Akkadian language - Britannica Online Encyclopedia (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ eb/ article-9005290/ Akkadian-language#62711. hook) [2] Deutscher, Guy (2007). Syntactic Change in Akkadian: The Evolution of Sentential Complementation (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=XFwUxmCdG94C). Oxford University Press US. pp.2021. ISBN978-0-19-953222-3. . [3] (http:/ / eprints. soas. ac. uk/ 3139/ 1/ PAGE_31-71. pdf) Andrew George, "Babylonian and Assyrian: A History of Akkadian", In: Postgate, J. N., (ed.), Languages of Iraq, Ancient and Modern. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, pp. 31-71. [4] Marckham Geller, "The Last Wedge," Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie und vorderasitische Archologie 86 (1997): 4395. [5] Caplice, p.5 (1980) [6] Adkins 2003, p.47. [7] John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, 2004 "Akkadian and Eblaite", The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, pg. 218. [8] Akkadian emphatic consonants are reconstructed as ejectives (Hetzron, Robert (1997) . "The Semitic languages ". Taylor & Francis, 1997. p8).

The status of * as postalveolar and of *z *s * as fricatives is contested, due to attested assimilations of voiceless coronal affricates to *s. For example, when the possessive suffix -u is added to the root awat ('word'), it is written awassu ('his word') even though would be expected. What triggered the change from t to ss is unclear, especially since a shift of to s does not occur in other contexts. According to Patrick R. Bennett's "Comparative Semitic Linguistics: a manual", the * was a voiceless alveolo-palatal. In the pronunciation of a alveolo-palatal, the tongue approximates the teeth more closely. An alternative approach to the phonology of these consonants is to treat *s * as voiceless coronal affricates [ts ts], * as a voiceless coronal fricative [s] and *z as a voiced coronal affricate or fricative [dz~z]. In this vein, an alternative transcription of * is *s, with the macron below indicating a soft (lenis) articulation in Semitic transcription. The assimilation is then awat-su to [awatsu], which is quite common across languages. The following table shows Proto-Semitic phonemes and their correspondences among Akkadian, Arabic and Tiberian Hebrew:

Akkadian language

Proto-Semitic Akkadian *b *d *g *p *t *k * [] * * * *z * * [] * *s * * * * * [] * * *h *m *n *r *l *w (e) [1] s b d g p t k ()/ q z

Arabic b d f t k q z s s []

Hebrew b d g p t k q z


(e) [1]

[x] [] h m n r l w

() m n r l w

h m n r l w y y


y [j]

Proto-Semitic Akkadian



[1] These are only distinguished from the (zero) reflexes of // and // by /e/-coloring the adjacent vowel *a, e.g. PS *ba(a)l-um ('owner, lord') Akk. blu(m) (Dolgopolsky 1999, p.35).

Akkadian language


Vowels Akkadian vowels

Front Central Back Closed Mid Open i e a u

Additionally, most researchers presume the existence of back mid vowel /o/, but the cuneiform writings give no good proof for this.[1] All consonants and vowels appear in long and short forms. Long consonants are represented in writing as double consonants, and long vowels are written with a macron (, , , ). This distinction is phonemic, and is used in the grammar, for example iprusu ('that he decided') versus iprus ('they decided').

Nothing is known of Akkadian stress. There are however certain points of reference, such as the rule of vowel syncope (see the next paragraph), and some forms in the cuneiform that might represent the stressing of certain vowels; however, attempts at identifying a rule for stress have so far been unsuccessful. A rule of Akkadian phonology is that certain short (and probably unstressed) vowels are dropped. The rule is that the last vowel of a succession of syllables that end in a short vowel is dropped, for example the declinational root of the verbal adjective of a root PRS is PaRiS-. Thus the masculine singular nominative is PaRS-um (< *PaRiS-um) but the feminine singular nominative is PaRiStum (< *PaRiS-at-um). Additionally there is a general tendency of syncope of short vowels in the later stages of Akkadian.

Overview Akkadian is an inflected language; and as a Semitic language, its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic. And like all Semitic languages, Akkadian uses the system of consonantal roots. Most roots consist of three consonants (called the radicals), but some roots are composed of four consonants (so-called quadriradicals). The radicals are occasionally represented in transcription in upper-case letters, for example PRS (to decide). Between and around these radicals various infixes, suffixes and prefixes, having word generating or grammatical functions, are inserted. The resulting consonant-vowel pattern differentiates the original meaning of the root. Also, the middle radical can be geminated, which is represented by a doubled consonant in transcription (and sometimes in the cuneiform writing itself). The consonants , w, j and n are termed "weak radicals" and roots containing these radicals give rise to irregular forms.

Akkadian language Case, number and gender Akkadian has two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine, with many feminine forms generated from masculine words by adding an -at suffix. Formally, Akkadian has three numbers (singular, dual and plural) and three cases (nominative, accusative and genitive). However, even in the earlier stages of the language, the dual number is vestigial, and its use is largely confined to natural pairs (eyes, ears, etc.), and adjectives are never found in the dual. In the plural numbers, the accusative and genitive are merged into a single oblique case. Akkadian, unlike Arabic, has mainly regular plurals (i.e. no broken plurals), although some masculine words take feminine plurals. In that respect, it is similar to Hebrew. The nouns arrum (king), arratum (queen) and the adjective dannum (strong) will serve to illustrate the case system of Akkadian.


Noun and adjective paradigms

Noun (masc.) Noun (fem.) Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.) Nominative singular arr-um Genitive singular arr-im arr-at-um arr-at-im arr-at-am arr-at-n arr-at-n arr-t-um arr-t-im dann-t-um dann-t-im dann-t-um dann-t-im dann-um dann-im dann-am dann-at-um dann-at-im dann-at-am

Accusative singular arr-am Nominative dual Oblique dual [2] arr-n arr-n arr- arr-

Nominative plural Oblique plural

[1] Sabatino Moscati et al. "An Introduction to Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages Phonology and Morphology". (section on vowels and semi-vowels) [2] The oblique case includes the accusative and genitive.

As is clear from the above table, the adjective and noun endings differ only in the masculine plural. Certain nouns, primarily those referring to geography, can also form a locative ending in -um in the singular and the resulting forms serve as adverbials. These forms are generally not productive, but in the Neo-Babylonian the um-locative replaces several constructions with the preposition ina. In the later stages of Akkadian the mimation (word-final -m) - along with nunation (dual final "-n") - that occurs at the end of most case endings has disappeared, except in the locative. Later, the nominative and accusative singular of masculine nouns collapse to -u and in Neo-Babylonian most word-final short vowels are dropped. As a result case differentiation disappeared from all forms except masculine plural nouns. However many texts continued the practice of writing the case endings (although often sporadically and incorrectly). As the most important contact language throughout this period was Aramaic, which itself lacks case distinctions, it is possible that Akkadian's loss of cases was an areal as well as phonological phenomenon. Noun States and Nominal Sentences As is also the case in other Semitic languages, Akkadian nouns may appear in a variety of "states" depending on their grammatical function in a sentence. The basic form of the noun is the status rectus (the Governed state), which is the form as described above, complete with case endings. In addition to this, Akkadian has the status absolutus (the Absolute state) and the status constructus (Construct state). The latter is found in all other Semitic languages, while the former appears only in Akkadian and some dialects of Aramaic. The status absolutus is characterised by the loss of a noun's case ending (e.g. awl < awlum, ar < arrum). It is relatively uncommon, and is used chiefly to mark the predicate of a nominal sentence, in fixed adverbial expressions,

Akkadian language and in expressions relating to measurements of length, weight, and the like. (1) Awl-um arrq
Awl-um arrq.


Man (Masculine, nominative) he (3rd masc. personal pronoun) thief (status absolutus)

Translation: This man is a thief (2) arrum l ann

arr-um l ann.

King (Status rectus, nominative) not (negative particle) oppose (verbal infinitive, status absolutus)

Translation: The king who cannot be rivaled The Status Constructus is a great deal more common, and has a much wider range of applications. It is employed when a noun is followed by another noun in the genitive, a pronominal suffix, or a verbal clause in the subjunctive, and typically takes the shortest form of the noun which is phonetically possible. In general, this amounts to the loss of case endings with short vowels, with the exception of the genitive -i in nouns preceding a pronominal suffix, hence: (3) mri-u
mri-u Son (status constructus) + his (3rd person singular possessive pronoun

Translation: His son, its (masculine) son but (4) mr arr-im

mr arr-im

Son (Status constructus) king (genitive singular)

Translation: The king's son There are numerous exceptions to this general rule, usually involving potential violations of the language's phonological limitations. Most obviously, Akkadian does not tolerate word final consonant clusters, so nouns like kalbum (dog) and marum (front) would have illegal construct state forms *kalb and *mar unless modified. In many of these instances, the first vowel of the word is simply repeated (e.g. kalab, maar). This rule, however, does not always hold true, especially in nouns where a short vowel has historically been elided (e.g. aknum < *akinum "governor"). In these cases, the lost vowel is restored in the construct state (so aknum yields akin). (5) kalab belim
kalab bel-im

dog (Status constructus) master (genitive singular)

Translation: The master's dog (6) sakin lim

akin l-im

Governor (Status constructus) city (genitive singular)

Akkadian language A genitive relation can also be expressed with the relative preposition a, and the noun that the genitive phrase depends on appears in status rectus. (7) salmtum a awl Enunna
salmtum a awl Enunna


Alliances (Status rectus, nominative) which (relative particle) man (status constructus) Enunna (genitive, unmarked)

Translation: The alliances of the Ruler of Enunna (literally "Alliances which man of Enunna (has)") The same preposition is also used to introduce true relative clauses, in which case the verb is placed in the subjunctive mood. (7) awl-um a mt-am i-kud--u
Awl-um Man (Masculine, nominative) a that (relative pronoun) mt-am land (singular, accusative) i-kud--u 3rd person - conquer (preterite) - singular, masculine subjunctive

Translation: The man who conquered the land Verbal morphology Verb aspects The Akkadian verb has six finite verb aspects (preterite, perfect, present, imperative, precative and vetitive) and three infinite forms (infinitive, participle and verbal adjective). The preterite is used for actions that are seen by the speaker as having occurred at a single point in time. The present is primarily imperfective in meaning and is used for concurrent and future actions as well as past actions with a temporal dimension. The final three finite forms are injunctive where the imperative and the precative together form a paradigm for positive commands and wishes, and the vetitive is used for negative wishes. Additionally the periphrastic prohibitive, formed by the present form of the verb and the negative adverb l, is used to express negative commands. The infinitive of the Akkadian verb is a verbal noun, and in contrast to some other languages the Akkadian infinitive can be declined in case. The verbal adjective is an adjectival form and designates the state or the result of the action of the verb, and consequently the exact meaning of the verbal adjective is determined by the semantics of the verb itself. The participle, which can be active or passive, is another verbal adjective and its meaning is similar to the English gerund. The following table shows the conjugation of the G-stem verbs derived from the root PRS ("to decide") in the various verb aspects of Akkadian:
Preterite Perfect Present Imperative stative Infinitive Participle (active) prisum (masc.) pristum (fem.) Verbal adjective parsum (masc.) paristum (fem.)

1st Person singular 1st Person plural 2nd Person singular masc. 2nd Person singular fem.






niprus taprus

niptaras taptaras

niparras taparras purus

parsnu parsta


taptars (< *taptaras)

taparras pursi


Akkadian language

taptars taparras pursa parstunu (masc.) / parstina(fem.) paris

2nd Person plural taprus

3rd Person singular




3rd Person plural iprus masc. 3rd Person plural iprus fem.

iptars (< *iptaras) iptars(< *iptaras)




pars (masc.) /pars (fem.)

The table below shows the different affixes attached to the preterite aspect of the verb root PRS "to decide"; and as can be seen, the grammatical genders differ only in the second person singular and third person plural.
G-Stem 1st Person singular 1st Person plural a-prus- D-Stem u-parris- -Stem u-apris- N-Stem a-pparis-

ni-prus- nu-parris- nu-apris- ni-pparis-

2nd Person singular masc. ta-prus- tu-parris- tu-apris- ta-pparis- 2nd Person singular fem. 2nd Person plural 3rd Person singular 3rd Person plural masc. 3rd Person plural fem. ta-prus- tu-parris- tu-apris- tu-apris- u-apris- u-apris- u-apris- ta-ppars- ta-ppars- i-pparis- i-ppars- i-ppars-

ta-prus- tu-parris- i-prus- i-prus- i-prus- u-parris- u-parris- u-parris-

Verb moods Akkadian verbs have 3 moods: 1. Indicative, used in independent clauses, is unmarked. 2. Subjunctive, used in dependent clauses. The subjunctive is marked in forms which do not end in a vowel by the suffix -u (compare Arabic and Ugaritic subjunctives), but is otherwise unmarked. In the later stages of most dialects, the subjunctive is indistinct, as short final vowels were mostly lost 3. Ventive or allative. The ventive is not a mood in the strictest sense, being a development of the 1st person dative pronomial suffix -am/-m/-nim. With verbs of motion, it often indicates motion towards an object or person (e.g. illik, "he went" vs. illikam, "he came"). However, this pattern is not consistent, even in earlier stages of the language, and its use often appears to serve a stylistic rather than morphological or lexical function. The following table demonstrates the verb moods of verbs derived from the root PRS ("to decide","to separate"):
Preterite. Indicative iprus [1] Stative. paris parsu parsam [1]

Subjunctive iprusu Ventive [1] Both verbs are for the 3rd person masculine singular. iprusam

Akkadian language Verb patterns Akkadian verbs have thirteen separate root stems. The basic, underived, stem is the G-stem (from the German Grundstamm, meaning "basic stem"). Causative or intensive forms are formed with the doubled D-stem, and it gets its name from the doubled middle radical that is characteristic of this form. The doubled middle radical is also characteristic of the present, but the forms of the D-stem use the secondary conjugational affixes, so a D-form will never be identical to a form in a different stem. The -stem is formed by adding a prefix -, and these forms are mostly causatives. Finally, the passive forms of the verb are in the N-stem, formed by adding a n- prefix. However the n- element is assimilated to a following consonant, so the original /n/ is only visible in a few forms. Furthermore, reflexive and iterative verbal stems can be derived from each of the basic stems. The reflexive stem is formed with an infix -ta, and the derived stems are therefore called Gt, Dt, t and Nt, and the preterite forms of the Xt-stem are identical to the perfects of the X-stem. Iteratives are formed with the infix -tan-, giving the Gtn, Dtn, tn and Ntn. Because of the assimilation of n, the /n/ is only seen in the present forms, and the Xtn preterite is identical to the Xt durative. An alternative to this naming system is a numerical system. The basic stems are numbered using Roman numerals so thet G, D, and N become I, II, III and IV, respectively, and the infixes are numbered using Arabic numerals; 1 for the forms without an infix, 2 for the Xt, and 3 for the Xtn. The two numbers are separated using a solidus. As an example, the tn-stem is called III/3. The most important user of this system is the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. There is mandatory congruence between the subject of the sentence and the verb, and this is expressed by prefixes and suffixes. There are two different sets of affixes, a primary set used for the forms of the G and N-stems, and a secondary set for the D and -stems. The stems, their nomenclature and examples of the third-person masculine singular stative of the verb parsum (root PRS: 'to decide, distinguish, separate') is shown below:
# I.1 II.1 Stem G D Verb PaRiS PuRRuS uPRuS naPRuS PitRuS Description the simple stem, used for transitive and intransitive verbs gemination of the second radical, indicating the intensive -preformative, indicating the causative n-preformative, indicating the reflexive/passive simple stem with t-infix after first radical, indicating reciprocal or reflexive Correspondence Arabic stem I (faala) and Hebrew qal Arabic stem II (faala) and Hebrew piel Arabic stem IV (afala) and Hebrew hiphil Arabic stem VII (infaala) and Hebrew niphal Arabic stem VIII (iftaala) and Aramaic ithpeal (tG) Arabic stem V (tafaala) and Hebrew hithpael (tD) Arabic stem X (istafala) and Aramaic ittaphal (tC)


III.1 IV.1 N I.2 Gt



PutaRRuS doubled second radical preceded by infixed t, indicating intensive reflexive utaPRuS -preformative with t-infix, indicating reflexive causative

III.2 t

IV.2 Nt


n-preformative with a t-infix preceding the first radical, indicating reflexive passive

I.3 II.3

Gtn Dtn

PitaRRuS simple stem with tan-infix after first radical PutaRRuS doubled second radical preceded by tan-infix utaPRuS -preformative with tan-infix itaPRuS n-preformative with tan-infix

III.3 tn IV.3 Ntn

Akkadian language


A very often appearing form which can be formed by nouns, adjectives as well as by verbal adjectives is the stative. Nominal predicatives occur in the status absolutus and correspond to the verb "to be" in English. The stative in Akkadian corresponds to the Egyptian pseudo-participle. The following table contains an example of using the noun arrum (king), the adjective rapum (wide) and the verbal adjective parsum (decided).
arrum 1st Person singular 1st Person plural arr-ku arr-nu rapum rap-ku rap-nu rap-ta rap-ti parsum pars-ku pars-nu pars-ta pars-ti

2nd Person singular masc. arr-ta 2nd Person singular fem. 2nd Person plural masc. 2nd Person plural fem. arr-ti

arr-tunu rap-tunu pars-tunu arr-tina rap-tina pars-tina rapa- rap-at rap- rap- paris- pars-at pars- pars-

3rd Person singular masc. ar- 3rd Person singular fem. 3rd Person plural masc. 3rd Person plural fem. arr-at arr- arr-

Thus, the stative in Akkadian is used to convert simple stems into effective sentences, so that the form arr-ta is equivalent to: "you were king", "you are king" and "you will be king". Hence, the stative is independent of time forms.

Beside the already explained possibility of derivation of different verb stems, Akkadian has numerous nominal formations derived from verb roots. A very frequently encountered form is the maPRaS form. It can express the location of an event, the person performing the act and many other meanings. If one of the root consonants is labial (p, b, m), the prefix becomes na- (maPRaS >> naPRAS). Examples for this are: makanum (place, location) from KN (set, place, put), maraum (splendour) from R (be splendid), maarum (guards) from NR (guard), naparum (sum) from PR (summarize). A very similar formation is the maPRaSt form. The noun derived from this nominal formation is grammatically feminine. The same rules as for the maPRaS form apply, for example makattum (deposit) from KN (set, place, put), narkabtum (carriage) from RKB (ride, drive, mount). The suffix - t is used to derive abstract nouns. The nouns which are formed with this suffix are grammatically feminine. The suffix can be attached to nouns, adjectives and verbs, e.g. abtum (paternity) from abum (father), rabutum (size) from rabum (large), watum (leaving) from WY (leave). Also derivatives of verbs from nouns, adjectives and numerals are numerous. For the most part, a D-stem is derived from the root of the noun or adjective. The derived verb then has the meaning of "make X do something" or "becoming X", for example: dum (let sprout) from diu (grass), ulluum (to do something for the third time ) from al (three).

Akkadian language


Personal pronouns Independent personal pronouns Independent personal pronouns in Akkadian are as follows:
Nominative Person 1st singular Plural Oblique Singular yti Plural niti yim Dative Singular Plural niim kunim kinim unim

anku "I" nnu "we"

2nd masculine atta "you" attunu "you" kti (kta) feminine atti "you" attina "you" unu "they" ina "they" kti tilu (tilu)

kunti kim kinti kim

3rd masculine "he" feminine "she"

unti uim (im)

iti (uti;ti) inti

iim (im, im) inim

Suffixed (or enclitic) pronouns Suffixed (or enclitic) pronouns (mainly denoting the genitive, accusative and dative) are as follows:
Genitive Person 1st Accusative Dative Plural

singular Plural Singular Plural Singular -i, -ya [1] -ni -kunu -kina -unu -ina -ni -ka -ki - -i -niti

-am/-nim -niim -kunim -kinim -unim -inim

2nd masculine -ka feminine -ki

-kunti -kum -kinti -kim

3rd masculine - feminine -a

-unti -um -inti -im

[1] -ni is used for the nominative, i.e. following a verb denoting the subject.

Demonstrative pronouns Demonstrative pronouns in Akkadian differ from the Western Semitic variety. The following table shows the Akkadian demonstrative pronouns according to near and far deixis:
Deixis Proximal Masc. singular ann "this" Fem. Singular anntu "this" Masc. plural Fem. plural Distal ull "that" ulltu "that"

anntu "these" ulltu "those" anntu "these" ulltu "those"

Akkadian language Relative pronouns Relative pronouns in Akkadian are shown in the following table:
Nominative Accusative Genitive Masc. singular Fem. Singular Dual Masc. plural Fem. plural u t t t a ti i


Unlike plural relative pronouns, singular relative pronouns in Akkadian exhibit full declension to case. However, only the form a (for the accusative masculine singular) survived, while the other forms disappeared in time. Interrogative pronouns The following table shows the Interrogative pronouns used in Akkadian:
Akkadian English mannu mn ayyu who? what? which?

Akkadian has prepositions which consist mainly of only one word. For example: ina (in, on, out, through, under), ana (too, for, after, approximately), adi (to), au (because of), eli (up, over), itu/ultu (of, since), mala (in accordance with), itti (also, with)). There are, however, some compound prepositions which are combined with ina and ana (e.g. ina maar (forwards), ina balu (without), ana r (up to), ana maar (forwards). Regardless of the complexity of the preposition, the following noun is always in the genitive case. Examples: ina btim (in the house, from the house), ana dummuqim (to do good), itti arrim (with the king), ana r mru (up to his son).

Since numerals are written mostly as a number sign in the cuneiform script, the transliteration of many numerals is not well ascertained yet. Along with the counted noun, the cardinal numerals are in the status absolutus. Because other cases are very rare, the forms of the status rectus are known only by isolated numerals. The numerals 1 and 2 as well as 2129, 3139, 4149 correspond with the counted in the grammatical gender, while the numerals 320, 30, 40 and 50 show gender polarity, i.e. if the counted noun is masculine, the numeral would be feminine and vice versa. This polarity is typical of the Semitic languages and appears also in classical Arabic for example. The numerals 60, 100 and 1000 don't change according to the gender of the counted noun. Counted nouns more than two appear in the plural form. However, body parts which occur in pairs appear in the dual form in Akkadian. e.g. epum (foot) becomes epn (two feet). The ordinals are formed (with a few exceptions) by adding a case ending to the nominal form PaRuS (the P, R and S. must be substituted with the suitable consonants of the numeral). It is noted, however, that in the case of the numeral "one", the ordinal (masculine) and the cardinal number are the same. A metathesis occurs in the numeral "four". The following table contains the masculine and feminine forms of the status absolutus of some of the Akkadian cardinal numbers, as well as the corresponding ordinals.

Akkadian language


Cardinal numeral (masc.) itn

Cardinal numeral (fem.) iteat, itt itt alat erbt amat iet sebt samnat

Congruence (Gender agreement of the cardinal numeral) Congruent (no gender polarity)

Ordinal (masc.) itn

Ordinal (fem.) iteat

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

in al erb ami edi seb samn

Congruent Gender polarity Gender polarity Gender polarity Gender polarity Gender polarity Gender polarity

anm alum rebm amum eum sebm samnum, samnm tim, tem erum

antum alutum rebtum amutum edutum sebtum samuntum



Gender polarity

titum, tetum eurtum

10 60 100 1000


eeret meat, mt lm

Gender polarity No gender distinction No gender distinction No gender distinction

Examples: erb atum (four wives) (male numeral), meat ln (100 towns).

Nominal phrases Adjectives, relative clauses and appositions follow the noun. While numerals precede the counted noun. In the following table the nominal phrase erbt arr danntum a lam pu abya 'the four strong kings who built the city are my fathers' is analyzed:
Word erbt arr- Meaning four king Analysis feminine (gender polarity) nominative plural nominative masculine plural relative pronoun accusative singular 3rd person masculine plural Relative clause Part of the nominal phrase Numeral Noun (Subject) Adjective

dann-tum strong a l-am pu- ab--ya which city built

my fathers masculine plural + possessive pronoun Apposition

Sentence syntax Akkadian sentence order was Subject+Object+Verb (SOV), which sets it apart from most other ancient Semitic languages such as Arabic and Biblical Hebrew, which typically have a verbsubjectobject (VSO) word order. (Modern South Semitic languages in Ethiopia also have SOV order, but these developed within historical times from the classical verbsubjectobject (VSO) language Ge'ez.) It has been hypothesized that this word order was a result of influence from the Sumerian language, which was also SOV. There is evidence that native speakers of both languages were in intimate language contact, forming a single society for at least 500 years, so it is entirely likely

Akkadian language that a sprachbund could have formed. Further evidence of an original VSO or SVO ordering can be found in the fact that direct and indirect object pronouns are suffixed to the verb. Word order seems to have shifted to SVO/VSO late in the 1st millennium BC to the 1st millennium AD, possibly under the influence of Aramaic.


The Akkadian vocabulary is mostly of Semitic origin. Although classified as 'East Semitic', many elements of its basic vocabulary find no evident parallels in related Semitic languages. For example: mru 'son' (Semitic *bn), qtu 'hand' (Semitic *yd), pu 'foot' (Semitic *rgl), qab 'say' (Semitic *qwl), izuzzu 'stand' (Semitic *qwm), ana 'to, for' (Semitic *li). Due to extensive contact with Sumerian and Aramaic, the Akkadian vocabulary contains many loan words from these languages. Aramaic loan words, however, were limited to the 1st centuries of the 1st millennium BC and primarily in the north and middle parts of Mesopotamia, whereas Sumerian loan words were spread in the whole linguistic area. Beside the previous languages, some nouns were borrowed from Hurrian, Kassite, Ugaritic and other ancient languages. Since Sumerian and Hurrian, two non-Semitic languages, differ from Akkadian in word structure, only nouns and some adjectives (not many verbs) were borrowed from these languages. However, some verbs were borrowed (along with many nouns) from Aramaic and Ugaritic, both of which are Semitic languages. The following table contains examples of loan words in Akkadian:
Akkadian d erqu gadal isinnu kasulatu kisallu laqu hill flee dressed in linen firmly a device of copper court take Meaning Source Word in the language of origin

Sumerian du Aramaic RQ (root)

Sumerian gada l Sumerian ezen Hurrian kasulat-

Sumerian kisal Ugaritic LQ( root) paraann-

paraannu part of horse riding gear Hurrian purkullu qalu uriullu stone cutter kill conventional penalty

Sumerian bur-gul Aramaic Hurrian QL (root) uriull-

Akkadian was also a source of borrowing to other languages, above all Sumerian. Some examples are: Sumerian da-ri ('lastingly', from Akkadian dru), Sumerian ra gaba ('riders, messenger', from Akkadian rkibu).

Example text
The following text is the 7th section of the Hammurabi code, possibly written in the 18th century BC.

Akkadian language


Akkadian umma English if

awl-um Man (nominative)

l or

kasp-am silver (accusative)

l or

ur-am gold (accusative)

l or

ward-am slave (masculine, accusative) mimma umu something

l or

amt-am Slave (feminine, accusative) ina from

Akkadian l English or

alp-am Cattle,oxen (accusative) mr son (status constructus)

l or

immer-am sheep (accusative) l and or

l or

imr-am donkey (accusative) awl-im man (genitive) ana for

l and or

Akkadian qt English hand (status constructus)

awl-im man (genitive) i-tm-

warad slave (status constructus) l and or



u and

without witnesses (genitive) mart-im safekeeping (genitive)

Akkadian riks-tim English contracts (genitive)

i-mur- received (3rd person singular, preterite)

bought (3rd person singular, perfect)

Akkadian awl-um English man (nominative)

(3rd person masculine singular independent pronoun)

arrq stealer (status absolutus)

i-ddk is killed (3rd person singular in passive present tense)

Translation: If a man bought silver, gold, a slave (masculine), a slave (feminine), an ox, a sheep, a donkey or something other from the hand of another man or a slave of a man without witnesses or contract, or accepted (them) for safekeeping (without same), then this man is a thief; he will be killed.

Akkadian literature
Atrahasis Epic (early 2nd millennium BC) Enma Elish (ca. 18th century BC) Amarna letters (14th century BC) Epic of Gilgamesh (Sin-liqe-unninni' "standard" version, 13th to 11th century BC) Ludlul Bel Nemeqi

Notes References
Aro, Jussi (1957). Studien zur mittelbabylonischen Grammatik. Studia Orientalia 22. Helsinki: Societas Orientalis Fennica. Buccellati, Giorgio (1996). A Structural Grammar of Babylonian. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Buccellati, Giorgio (1997). "Akkadian," The Semitic Languages. Ed. Robert Hetzron. New York: Routledge. Pages 6999. Bussmann, Hadumod (1996). Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-20319-8 Caplice, Richard (1980). Introduction to Akkadian. Rome: Biblical Institute Press. (1983: ISBN 88-7653-440-7; 1988, 2002: ISBN 88-7653-566-7) (The 1980 edition is partly available online (http://www.gatewaystobabylon. com/introduction/ita/start.htm).) Dolgopolsky, Aron (1999). From Proto-Semitic to Hebrew. Milan: Centro Studi Camito-Semitici di Milano.

Akkadian language Gelb, I.J. (1961). Old Akkadian Writing and Grammar. Second edition. Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Huehnergard, John (2005). A Grammar of Akkadian (Second Edition). Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1-57506-922-9 Marcus, David (1978). A Manual of Akkadian. University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-0608-9 Mercer, Samuel A B (1961). Introductory Assyrian Grammar. New York: F Ungar. ISBN 0-486-42815-X Sabatino Moscati (1980). An Introduction to Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages Phonology and Morphology. Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN3-447-00689-7. Soden, Wolfram von (1952). Grundriss der akkadischen Grammatik. Analecta Orientalia 33. Roma: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum. (3rd ed., 1995: ISBN 88-7653-258-7) Woodard, Roger D. The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge University Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-68497-2


Further reading
General description and grammar
Gelb, I. J. (1961). Old Akkadian writing and grammar. Materials for the Assyrian dictionary, no. 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-62304-1 Huehnergard, J. A Grammar of Akkadian. Harvard Semitic Museum Studies 45. ISBN 978-1-57506-922-7 Huehnergard, J. (2005). A Key to A Grammar of Akkadian . Harvard Semitic Studies. Eisenbrauns. Soden, Wolfram von: Grundri der Akkadischen Grammatik. Analecta Orientalia. Bd 33. Rom 1995. ISBN 88-7653-258-7 Streck, Michael P. Sprachen des Alten Orients. Wiss. Buchges., Darmstadt 2005. ISBN 3-534-17996-X Ungnad, Arthur: Grammatik des Akkadischen. Neubearbeitung durch L. Matou, Mnchen 1969, 1979 (5. Aufl.). ISBN 3-406-02890-X Woodard, Roger D. The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge University Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-68497-2

Rykle Borger: Babylonisch-assyrische Lesestcke. Rom 1963. Part I: Elemente der Grammatik und der Schrift. bungsbeispiele. Glossar. Part II: Die Texte in Umschrift. Part III: Kommentar. Die Texte in Keilschrift. Richard Caplice: Introduction to Akkadian. Biblical Institute Press, Rome 1988, 2002 (4.Aufl.). ISBN 88-7653-566-7 Kaspar K. Riemschneider: Lehrbuch des Akkadischen. Enzyklopdie, Leipzig 1969, Langenscheidt Verl. Enzyklopdie, Leipzig 1992 (6. Aufl.). ISBN 3-324-00364-4 Martin Worthington: "Complete Babylonian: Teach Yourself" London 2010 ISBN 0-340-98388-4

Akkadian language


Jeremy G. Black, Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate: A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. Harrassowitz-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2000. ISBN 3-447-04264-8 Wolfram von Soden: Akkadisches Handwrterbuch. 3 Bde. Wiesbaden 1958-1981. ISBN 3-447-02187-X Martha T. Roth, ed.: The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 21 vols. in 26. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago 1956-2010. ( available free online (http://oi.uchicago. edu/research/pubs/catalog/cad/))

Akkadian Cuneiform
Cherry, A. (2003). A basic neo-Assyrian cuneiform syllabary. Toronto, Ont: Ashur Cherry, York University. Cherry, A. (2003). Basic individual logograms (Akkadian). Toronto, Ont: Ashur Cherry, York University. Rykle Borger: Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon. Alter Orient und Altes Testament (AOAT). Bd 305. Ugarit-Verlag, Mnster 2004. ISBN 3-927120-82-0 Ren Labat: Manuel d'pigraphie Akkadienne. Paul Geuthner, Paris 1976, 1995 (6.Aufl.). ISBN 2-7053-3583-8

Technical literature on specific subjects

Ignace J. Gelb: Old Akkadian Writing and Grammar. Materials for the Assyrian dictionary. Bd 2. University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1952, 1961, 1973. ISBN 0-226-62304-1 ISSN0076-518X Markus Hilgert: Akkadisch in der Ur III-Zeit. Rhema-Verlag, Mnster 2002. ISBN 3-930454-32-7 Walter Sommerfeld: Bemerkungen zur Dialektgliederung Altakkadisch, Assyrisch und Babylonisch. In: Alter Orient und Altes Testament (AOAT). Ugarit-Verlag, Mnster 274.2003. ISSN0931-4296

External links
Introduction to Cuneiform Script and the Akkadian language ( cuneiformrevealed/) part of a research project which tries to make Neo-Assyrian scientific literature available to a wider audience Akkadian cuneiform on Omniglot (Writing Systems and Languages of the World) ( writing/akkadian.htm) Akkadian Language Samples ( A detailed introduction to Akkadian ( Assyrian grammar with chrestomathy and glossary (1921) by Samuel A B Mercer ( details/assyriangrammarw00mercuoft) Akkadian-English-French Online Dictionary ( dictionary/index.php) Old Babylonian Text Corpus (includes dictionary) ( The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD) ( research/pubs/catalog/cad/) Old Akkadian Writing and Grammar, by I. J. Gelb, 2nd Ed. (1961) ( Glossary of Old Akkadian, by I. J. Gelb (1957) ( List of 1280 Akkadian roots, with a representative verb form for each ( builder/linganno/AKK/akk-roots/#Index_of_Akkadian_roots) Recordings of Assyriologists Reading Babylonian and Assyrian ( Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts ( and Akkadian font for Ubuntu Linux-based operating system (ttf-ancient-fonts)

Akkadian literature


Akkadian literature
Akkadian literature is the ancient literature written in the Akkadian language (Assyrian and Babylonian languages) written in Mesopotamia (Assyria and Babylonia) during the period spanning the Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age (roughly the 23rd to 6th centuries BC).[1][2] Drawing on the traditions of Sumerian literature, the Babylonians compiled a substantial textual tradition of mythological narrative, legal texts, scientific works, letters and other literary forms.

Literature in Akkadian society

Most of what we have from the Babylonians was inscribed in cuneiform with a metal stylus on tablets of clay, called laterculae coctiles by Pliny the Elder; papyrus seems to have been also employed, but it has perished. There were libraries in most towns and temples; an old Sumerian proverb averred that "he who would excel in the school of the scribes must rise with the dawn." Women as well as men learned to read and write, and in Semitic times, this involved a knowledge of the extinct Sumerian language, and a complicated and extensive syllabary. The Babylonians' very advanced systems of writing, science and mathematics contributed greatly to their literary output.

Relation to other ancient literatures

A considerable amount of Babylonian literature was translated from Sumerian originals, and the language of religion and law long continued to be the old agglutinative language of Sumer. Vocabularies, grammars, and interlinear translations were compiled for the use of students, as well as commentaries on the older texts and explanations of obscure words and phrases. The characters of the syllabary were all arranged and named, and elaborate lists of them were drawn up. Assyrian culture and literature came from Babylonia, but even here there was a difference between the two countries. There was little in Assyrian literature that was original, and education, general in Babylonia, was mostly restricted to a single class in the northern kingdom. In Babylonia, it was of very old standing. Under the second Assyrian empire, when Nineveh had become a great centre of trade, Aramaic the language of commerce and diplomacy was added to the number of subjects that the educated class was required to learn. Under the Seleucids, Greek was introduced into Babylon, and fragments of tablets have been found with Sumerian and Assyrian (i.e. Semitic Babylonian) words transcribed into Greek letters.

Notable works
According to Oppenheim, the corpus of cuneiform literature amounted to around 1,500 texts at any one time or place, approximately half of which, at least from the first millennium, is extant in fragmentary form, and the most common genres included (in order of predominance) are omen texts, lexical lists, ritual incantations, cathartic and apotropaic conjurations, historical and mythological epics, fables and proverbs.[3]

Legal texts
The earliest Akkadian laws are the Old Assyrian Laws relating to the conduct of the commercial court of a trading colony in Anatolia, ca. 1900 BC. The Laws of Eshnunna were a collection of sixty laws named for the city of its provenance and dating to around 1770 BC. The Code of ammu-rapi, ca. 1750 BC, was the longest of the Mesopotamian legal collections, extending to nearly three hundred individual laws and accompanied by a lengthy prologue and epilogue. The edict of Ammi-Saduqa, ca. 1646 BC, was the last issued by one of ammu-rapis successors.

Akkadian literature The Middle Assyrian Laws date to the fourteenth century BC, over a hundred laws are extant from Assur. The Middle Assyrian Palace Decrees, known as the Harem Edicts, from the reigns of Aur-uballi I, ca. 1360 BC, to Tukult-apil-Earra I, ca 1076 BC, concern aspects of courtly etiquette and the severe penalties (flagellation, mutilation and execution) for flouting them. The Neo-Babylonian Laws number just fifteen, ca. 700 BC, probably from Sippar.[4]


One of the most famous of these was the Epic of Gilgamesh, which first appears in Akkadian during the Old Babylonian period as a circa 1,000 line epic known by its incipit, tur eli arr, Surpassing all other kings, which incorporated some of the stories from the five earlier Sumerian Gilgamesh tales. A plethora of mid to late second millennium versions give witness to its popularity. The standard Babylonian version, a naqba meru, He who saw the deep, contains up to 3,000 lines on eleven tablets and a prose meditation on the fate of man on the twelfth which was virtually a word-for-word translation of the Sumerian Bilgames and the Netherworld. It is extant in 73 copies and was credited to a certain Sn-lqi-unninni[5] and arranged upon an astronomical principle. Each division contains the story of a single adventure in the career of Gilgamesh. The whole story is a composite product, and it is probable that some of the stories are artificially attached to the central figure. Another epic was that of the "Creation" Enma Eli, whose object was to glorify Bel-Marduk by describing his contest with Tiamat, the dragon of chaos. In the first book, an account is given of the creation of the world from the primeval deep, and the birth of the gods of light. Then comes the story of the struggle between the gods of light and the powers of darkness, and the final victory of Marduk, who clove Tiamat asunder, forming the heaven from half of her body and the earth from the other. Marduk next arranged the stars in order, along with the sun and moon, and gave them laws they were never to transgress. After this, the plants and animals were created, and finally man. Marduk here takes the place of Ea, who appears as the creator in the older legends, and is said to have fashioned man from clay. The legend of Adapa, the first man a portion of which was found in the record-office of the Egyptian king Akhenaton at Tell-el-Amarna explains the origin of death. Adapa, while fishing, had broken the wings of the south wind, and was accordingly summoned before the tribunal of Anu in heaven. Ea counselled him not to eat or drink anything there. He followed this advice, and thus refused the food that would have made him and his descendants immortal. Among the other legends of Babylonia may be mentioned those of Namtar, the plague-demon; of Erra, the pestilence; of Etana and of Anzu. Hades, the abode of Ereshkigal or Allatu, had been entered by Nergal, who, angered by a message sent to her by the gods of the upper world, ordered Namtar to strike off her head. She, however, declared that she would submit to any conditions imposed on her, and would give Nergal the sovereignty of the earth. Nergal accordingly relented, and Allatu became the queen of the infernal world. Etana conspired with the eagle to fly to the highest heaven. The first gate, that of Anu, was successfully reached; but in ascending still farther to the gate of Ishtar, the strength of the eagle gave way, and Etanna was dashed to the ground. As for the storm-god Anzu, we are told that he stole the tablets of destiny, and therewith the prerogatives of Enlil. God after god was ordered to pursue him and recover them, but it would seem that it was only by a stratagem that they were finally regained.

The origins of Babylonian philosophy can be traced back to early Mesopotamian wisdom, which embodied certain philosophies of life, particularly ethics. These are reflected in Mesopotamian religion and in a variety of Babylonian literature in the forms of dialectic, dialogs, epic poetry, folklore, hymns, lyrics, prose, and proverbs. These different forms of literature were first classified by the Babylonians, and they had developed forms of reasoning both rationally and empirically.[6]

Akkadian literature Esagil-kin-apli's medical Diagnostic Handbook written in the 11th century BC was based on a logical set of axioms and assumptions, including the modern view that through the examination and inspection of the symptoms of a patient, it is possible to determine the patient's disease, its aetiology and future development, and the chances of the patient's recovery.[7] During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Babylonian astronomers began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the early universe and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to the philosophy of science.[8] It is possible that Babylonian philosophy had an influence on Greek, particularly Hellenistic philosophy. The Babylonian text Dialogue of Pessimism contains similarities to the agonistic thought of the sophists, the Heraclitean doctrine of contrasts, and the dialogs of Plato, as well as a precursor to the maieutic Socratic method developed by Socrates.[9] The Ionian philosopher Thales had also studied in Babylonia.


Omina, divination and incantation texts

The magnitude of omen literature within the Akkadian corpus is one of the peculiar distinguishing features of this languages legacy. According to Oppenheim, 30% of all documents of this tradition are of this genre.[10] Exemplars of omen text appear during the earliest periods of Akkadian literature but come to their maturity early in the first millennium with the formation of canonical versions. Notable amongst these is the Enuma Anu Enlil (astrological omens), umma lu (terrestrial omens), umma izbu (anomalous births), Alamdimm (physiognomic omens), and Ikar Zaqqu (dream omens). It is amongst this genre, also, that the Sakikk (SA.GIG) Diagnostic Handbook belongs. The practice of extispicy, divination through the entrails of animals, was perfected into a science over the millennia by the Babylonians and supporting texts were eventually gathered into a monumental handbook, the Brtu, extending over a hundred tablets and divided into ten chapters.[11] Divination, however, extended into other fields with, for example, the old Babylonian libanomancy texts, concerning interpreting portents from incense smoke, [12] being one and Bl-nadin-umis omen text on the flight paths of birds, composed during the reign of Kassite king Meli-ipak, being another exemplar.[13] Incantations form an important part of this literary heritage, covering a range of rituals from the sacred, Maql, "burning" to counter witchcraft, urpu, incineration to counter curses, Namburbi, to preempt inauspicious omens, Utukk Lemntu (actually bilingual), to exorcise Evil Demons, and Bit rimki, or bath house, the purification and substitution ceremony, to the mundane,, the rising of the heart, potency spells, and Zu-buru-dabbeda, to seize the locust tooth, a compendium of incantations against field pests.[14]

Wisdom and didactic literature

A particularly rich genre of Akkadian texts was that represented by the moniker of wisdom literature, although there are differences in opinion concerning which works qualify for inclusion.[15] One of the earliest exemplars was the Dialogue between a Man and His God from the late Old Babylonian period. Perhaps the most notable were the Poem of the Righteous Sufferer (Ludlul bl nmeqi) and the Babylonian Theodicy. Included in this group are a number of fables or contest literature, in varying states of preservation, such as the Tamarisk and the Palm, the Fable of the Willow, Nisaba and Wheat (kibtu), the Ox and the Horse (Inum Itar urbutum, When exalted Ishtar), the Fable of the Fox, and the Fable of the Riding-donkey.[16] W. G. Lambert and others include several popular sayings, and proverbs (both bilingual and Babylonian) together with the Lament of a Sufferer with a Prayer to Marduk, Counsels of Wisdom, Counsels of a Pessimist, and Advice to a Prince in this genre. A Dialogue between p-amli and His Father (im milka) is a piece of wisdom literature in the manner of a deathbed debate from the Akkadian hinterland.[15] There are also Akkadian translations of earlier Sumerian works such as the Instructions of Shuruppak which are often considered belonging to this tradition.

Akkadian literature


Other genres
Besides the purely literary works, there were others of varied nature, including collections of letters, partly official, partly private. Among them the most interesting are the letters of Hammurabi, which have been edited by Leonard William King.

This articleincorporates text from a publication now in the public domain:Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
[1] http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3dzgo7Ymey4C& printsec=frontcover& dq=Babylonian+ and+ Assyrian+ Literature#v=onepage& q=& f=false [2] Silvestro Fiore, Voices from the Clay: The Development of Assyro-Babylonian Literature. U. of Oklahoma Press. [3] A. Leo Oppenheim (1977). Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization. University Of Chicago Press. pp.1617. [4] D. L. Baker (2009). Tight Fists Or Open Hands?: Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law. Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp.46. [5] A. R. George (2003). The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp.2233, 379. [6] Giorgio Buccellati (1981), "Wisdom and Not: The Case of Mesopotamia", Journal of the American Oriental Society 101 (1), p. 35-47. [7] H. F. J. Horstmanshoff, Marten Stol, Cornelis Tilburg (2004), Magic and Rationality in Ancient Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Medicine, p. 99, Brill Publishers, ISBN 90-04-13666-5. [8] D. Brown (2000), Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology , Styx Publications, ISBN 90-5693-036-2. [9] Giorgio Buccellati (1981), "Wisdom and Not: The Case of Mesopotamia", Journal of the American Oriental Society 101 (1), p. 35-47 [43]. [10] W. Hallo (2009). The world's oldest literature: studies in Sumerian belles-lettres. Brill. p.7. [11] Ulla Koch-Westenholz (2000). Babylonian Liver Omens: The Chapters Manzazu, Padanu, and Pan Takalti of the Babylonian Extispicy Series Mainly from Assurbanipal's Library. Museum Tusculanum. p.9. [12] I. L. Finkel (1983). "A New Piece of Libanomancy". Archiv fr Orientforschung 29: 5057. [13] Nicla De Zorzi (2009). "Bird Divination in Mesopotamia - New Evidence From BM 108874". KASKAL: Rivista di storia, ambienti e culture del Vicino Oriente Antico 6: 9194. [14] A. R. George and Junko Taniguchi (2010). "The Dogs of Ninkilim, part two: Babylonian rituals to counter field pests". Iraq LXXII: 79148. [15] Victor Avigdor Hurowitz (2007). Richard J. Clifford. ed. Wisdom Literature in Mesopotamia and Israel. SBL. pp.xixiii, 3751. [16] Marianna E. Vogelzang (1991). "Some Questions About the Akkadian Disputes". In aG.J. Reinink and aH.L.J. Vanstiphout. Dispute poems and dialogues in the ancient and mediaeval Near East. Peeters. p.47.



Ama-gi is a Sumerian word (written ama-gi4 , also ama-ar-gi4) expressing the emancipation of slaves and release from peonage through the cancellation of debts. Literally translated, it means "return to the mother," inasmuch as former slaves were "returned to their ama-gi4 written in Classical Sumerian mothers, (i.e., freed)."[1] Although historians note that the meaning of cuneiform. the term is closer to "freedom," [2] and point out that it is related to traditions of public debt relief like the Jewish jubilee, [3] many libertarians believe it to be the first written expression of the concept of liberty.[4] The cuneiform spelling ama-gi4 has been adopted as a symbol by several "liberty"-oriented groups. The journal of the Hayek Society at the London School of Economics, the largest libertarian student group in England, is titled Ama-gi.[4] The symbol is used as a logo by the Instituto Poltico para la Libertad of Peru,[5] and another version is a trademarked logo of the publishing firm, Liberty Fund.[6]

[1] The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1971. [2] Fischer, David Hackett (2005). Liberty and Freedom (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=uc8KP_QtW-sC& lpg=PP1& pg=PP1#v=onepage& q& f=false). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.864. ISBN978-0-19-516253-0. . [3] Graeber, David (2011). Debt: The First 5000 Years. Melville House. ISBN978-1-933633-86-2. [4] Yu, Erica C.. "Editor-in-Chief" (http:/ / personal. lse. ac. uk/ maab/ amagi2004a. pdf). ama-gi. Hayek Society. . Retrieved May 13, 2011. [5] "Instituto Politico para la Libertad Inicio" (http:/ / www. iplperu. com/ ). Archived (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20090331232130/ http:/ / www. iplperu. com/ ) from the original on 31 March 2009. . Retrieved 2009-05-05. [6] Liberty Fund, Inc. website (http:/ / www. libertyfund. org/ )

Amarna letters


Amarna letters
The Amarna letters (sometimes "Amarna correspondence" or "Amarna tablets") are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom. The letters were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna, the modern name for the Egyptian capital of Akhetaten (el-Amarna), founded by pharaoh Akhenaten (1350s 1330sBC) during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. The Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, being mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia rather than ancient Egypt. The known tablets currently total 382 in number, 24 further tablets having been recovered since the Norwegian Assyriologist Jrgen Alexander Knudtzon's landmark edition of the Amarna correspondence, Die El-Amarna-Tafeln in two volumes (1907 and 1915).[1] The correspondence spans a period of at most thirty years.

EA 161, letter by Aziru, leader of Amurru, (stating his case to pharaoh), one of the Amarna letters in cuneiform writing on a clay tablet.

The letters
These letters, consisting of cuneiform tablets mostly written in Akkadian the regional language of diplomacy for this period were first discovered in around 1887 by local Egyptians who secretly dug most of them from the ruined city (they were originally stored in an ancient building archaeologists have since called the Bureau of Correspondence of Pharaoh) and then sold them on the antiquities market. Once the location where they were found was determined, the ruins were explored for more. The first archaeologist who successfully recovered more tablets was William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 189192, who found 21 fragments. mile Chassinat, then director of the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, acquired two more tablets in 1903. Since Knudtzon's edition, some 24 more tablets, or fragments of tablets, have been found, either in Egypt, or identified in the collections of various museums.[2] The tablets originally recovered by local Egyptians have been scattered among museums in Cairo, Europe and the United States: 202 or 203 are at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin; 80 in the British Museum; 49 or 50 at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; seven at the Louvre; 3 at the Pushkin Museum; and 1 is currently in the collection of the Oriental Institute in Chicago.[3]
One of the Amarna Letters (from Alashiya)

Amarna letters The full archive, which includes correspondence from the preceding reign of Amenhotep III as well, contained over three hundred diplomatic letters; the remainder are a miscellany of literary or educational materials. These tablets shed much light on Egyptian relations with Babylonia, Assyria, the Mitanni, the Hittites, Syria, Canaan, and Alashiya (Cyprus). They are important for establishing both the history and chronology of the period. Letters from the Babylonian king Kadashman-Enlil I anchor the timeframe of Akhenaten's reign to the mid-14th century BC. Here was also found the first mention of a Near Eastern group known as the Habiru, whose possible connection with the Hebrews due to the similarity of the words and their geographic location remains debated. Other rulers include Tushratta of Mittani, Lib'ayu of Shechem, Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem and the quarrelsome king Rib-Hadda of Byblos, who in over 58 letters continuously pleads for Egyptian military help.


Letter summary
Amarna Letters are arranged politically roughly counterclockwise: 001014 Babylonia 015016 Assyria 017030 Mittani 031032 Arzawa 033040 Alasia 041044 Hatti 045380+ Syria/Lebanon/Canaan Amarna Letters from Syria/Lebanon/Canaan are distributed roughly: 045067 Syria 068227 Lebanon (where 68140 are from Gubla aka Byblos) 227380 Canaan (written mostly in the Canaano-Akkadian language).
Map of the ancient Near East during the Amarna period, showing the great powers of the period: Egypt (green), Hatti (yellow), the Kassite kingdom of Babylon (purple), Assyria (grey), and Mittani (red). Lighter areas show direct control, darker areas represent spheres of influence. The extent of the Achaean/Mycenaean civilization is shown in orange.

Amarna letters list

Note: Many assignments are tentative; spellings vary widely. This is just a guide.
EA# EA# 1 EA# 2 EA# 3 EA# 4 EA# 5 EA# 6 EA# 7 EA# 8 EA# 9 EA# 10 EA# 11 Letter author to recipient Amenhotep III to Babylon king Kadashman-Enlil Babylon king Kadashman-Enlil to Amenhotep 3 Babylon king Kadashman-Enlil to Amenhotep 3 Babylon king Kadashman-Enlil to Amenhotep 3 Amenhotep 3 to Babylon king KadashmanEnlil Babylon king Burna-Buriash II to Amenhotep 3 Babylon king Burna-Buriash 2 to Amenhotep IV Babylon king Burna-Buriash 2 to Amenhotep 4 Babylon king Burna-Buriash 2 to Amenhotep 4 Babylon king Burna-Buriash 2 to Amenhotep 4 Babylon king Burna-Buriash 2 to Amenhotep 4

Amarna letters

EA# 12 EA# 13 EA# 14 EA# 15 EA# 16 EA# 17 EA# 18 EA# 19 EA# 20 EA# 21 EA# 22 EA# 23 EA# 24 EA# 25 EA# 26 EA# 27 EA# 28 EA# 29 EA# 30 EA# 31 EA# 32 EA# 33 EA# 34 EA# 35 EA# 36 EA# 37 EA# 38 EA# 39 EA# 40 EA# 41 EA# 42 EA# 43 EA# 44 EA# 45 EA# 46 EA# 47 EA# 48 EA# 49 EA# 50 princess to her lord Babylon Amenhotep 4 to Babylon king Burna-Buriash 2 Assyria king Ashur-Uballit I to Amenhotep 4 Assyria king Ashur-Uballit 1 to Amenhotep 4 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 3 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4 Mitanni king Tushratta to widow Tiy Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4 Mitanni king Tushratta to Amenhotep 4 Mitanni king to Palestine kings Amenhotep 3 to Arzawa king Tarhundaraba Arzawa king Tarhundaraba to Amenhotep 3(?) Alashiya king to pharaoh #1 Alashiya king to pharaoh #2 Alashiya king to pharaoh #3 Alashiya king to pharaoh #4 Alashiya king to pharaoh #5 Alashiya king to pharaoh #6 Alashiya king to pharaoh #7 Alashiya minister to Egypt minister Hittite king Suppiluliuma to Huri[a] Hittite king to pharaoh Hittite king to pharaoh Hittite prince Zi[k]ar to pharaoh Ugarit king [M]istu ... to pharaoh Ugarit king ... to king Ugarit king ... to king Ugarit queen ..[h]epa to pharaohs queen Ugarit king Niqm-Adda II to pharaoh woman to her mistress B[i]...

Amarna letters

EA#051 EA#052 EA#053 EA#054 EA#055 EA#056 EA#057 EA#058 EA#058 EA#059 EA#060 EA#061 EA#062 EA#063 EA#064 EA#065 EA#066 EA#067 EA#068 EA#069 EA#070 EA#071 EA#072 EA#073 EA#074 EA#075 EA#076 EA#077 EA#078 EA#079 EA#080 EA#081 EA#082 EA#083 EA#084 EA#085 EA#086 EA#087 EA#088 [Qat]ihutisupa to king(?) obverse Tunip peoples to pharaoh Amurru king Abdi-Asirta to pharaoh #1 Amurru king Abdi-Asirta to pharaoh #2 Amurru king Abdi-Asirta to Pahanate Amurru king Abdi-Asirta to pharaoh #3 Amurru king Abdi-Asirta to pharaoh #4 Amurru king Abdi-Asirta to pharaoh #5 --- to king --- to king Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #1 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Egypt official Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #2 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Haia(?) Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #3 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Amanappa #1 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #4 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #5 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #6 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Amanappa #2 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #7 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #8 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #9 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #10 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Amanappa #3 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #11 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #12 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #13 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Amanappa #4 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Amanappa #5 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #14 Nuhasse king Addunirari to pharaoh Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #1 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #2 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #3 Qatna king Akizzi to Amenhotep 3 #4 ... to king ...

Amarna letters

EA#089 EA#090 EA#091 EA#092 EA#093 EA#094 EA#095 EA#096 EA#097 EA#098 EA#099 EA#100 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #15 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #16 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #17 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #18 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Amanappa #6 Gubla man to pharaoh Gubal king Rib-Addi to chief chief to Rib-Addi Iapah-Addi to Sumu-Hadi Iapah-Addi to Ianhamu pharaoh to Ammia prince(?) Irqata peoples

EA#1001 Tagi to Lab-Aya EA#101 EA#102 EA#103 EA#104 EA#105 EA#106 EA#107 EA#108 EA#109 EA#110 EA#111 EA#112 EA#113 EA#114 EA#115 EA#116 EA#117 EA#118 EA#119 EA#120 EA#121 EA#122 EA#123 EA#124 EA#125 EA#126 Gubla man to Egypt official Gubal king Rib-Addi to [Ianha]m[u] Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #19 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #20 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #21 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #22 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #23 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #24 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #25 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #26 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #27 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #28 Gubal king Rib-Addi to Egypt official Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #29 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #30 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #31 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #32 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #33 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #34 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #35 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #36 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #37 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #38 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #39 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #40 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #41

Amarna letters

EA#127 EA#128 EA#129 EA#129 EA#130 EA#131 EA#132 EA#133 EA#134 EA#135 EA#136 EA#137 EA#138 EA#139 EA#140 EA#141 EA#142 EA#143 EA#144 EA#145 EA#146 EA#147 EA#148 EA#149 EA#150 EA#151 EA#152 EA#153 EA#154 EA#155 EA#156 EA#157 EA#158 EA#159 EA#160 EA#161 EA#162 EA#163 EA#164 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #42 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #43 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #44 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #45 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #46 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #47 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #48 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #49 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #50 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #51 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #52 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #53 Gubal king Rib-Addi to pharaoh #54 Ilirabih & Gubla to pharaoh #1 Ilirabih & Gubla to pharaoh #2 Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #1 Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #2 Beruta king Ammunira to pharaoh #3 Zidon king Zimriddi to pharaoh [Z]imrid[a] to an official Tyre king Abi-Milki to pharaoh #1 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #2 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #3 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #4 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #5 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #6 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #7 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #8 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #9 Tyre king AbiMilki to pharaoh #10 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #1 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #2 Amurru king Aziri to Dudu #1 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #3 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #4 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #5 pharaoh to Amurra prince pharaoh to ... Amurru king Aziri to Dudu #2

Amarna letters

EA#165 EA#166 EA#167 EA#168 EA#169 EA#170 EA#171 EA#172 EA#173 EA#174 EA#175 EA#176 EA#177 EA#178 EA#179 EA#180 EA#181 EA#182 EA#183 EA#184 EA#185 EA#186 EA#187 EA#188 EA#189 EA#190 EA#191 EA#192 EA#193 EA#194 EA#195 EA#196 EA#197 EA#198 EA#199 EA#200 Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #6 Amurru king Aziri to Hai Amurru king Aziri to (Hai #2?) Amurru king Aziri to pharaoh #7 Amurru son of Aziri to a Egypt official Ba-Aluia & Battiilu Amurru son of Aziri to pharaoh --... to king Bieri of Hasabu Ildaja of Hazi to king Abdi-Risa Guddasuna king Jamiuta Hibija to a chief ... to king ... to king ... to king Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #1 Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #2 Mittani king Shuttarna to pharaoh #3 Hazi king Majarzana to king Majarzana of Hazi to king #2 Satija of ... to king ... to king Qadesh mayor Etakkama pharaoh to Qadesh mayor Etakkama(?) Ruhiza king Arzawaija to king Ruhiza king Arzawaija to king #2 Dijate to king Damascus mayor Biryawaza to king #1 Damascus mayor Biryawaza to king #2 Damascus mayor Biryawaza to king #3 Damascus mayor Biryawaza to king #4 Ara[ha]ttu of Kumidi to king ... the king servant to king

EA#2001 Sealants EA#2002 Sealants EA#201 Artemanja of Ziribasani to king

Amarna letters

EA#202 EA#203 EA#204 EA#205 EA#206 EA#207 EA#208 EA#209 EA#210 Amajase to king Abdi-Milki of Sashimi prince of Qanu to king Gubbu prince to king prince of Naziba to king Ipteh ... to king ... to Egypt official or king Zisamimi to king Zisami[mi] to Amenhotep IV

EA#2100 Carchemish king to Ugarit king Asukwari EA#211 Zitrijara to king #1

EA#2110 Ewiri-Shar to Plsy EA#212 EA#213 EA#214 EA#215 EA#216 EA#217 EA#218 EA#219 EA#220 EA#221 EA#222 EA#222 EA#223 EA#224 EA#225 EA#226 EA#227 EA#228 EA#229 EA#230 EA#231 EA#232 EA#233 EA#234 EA#235 EA#236 EA#237 Zitrijara to king #2 Zitrijara to king #3 ... to king Baiawa to king #1 Baiawa to king #2 A[h]... to king ... to king ... to king Nukurtuwa of (?) [Z]unu to king Wiktazu to king #1 pharaoh to Intaruda Wik[tazu] to king #2 En[g]u[t]a to king Sum-Add[a] to king Sum-Adda of Samhuna to king Sipturi_ to king Hazor king Hazor king Abdi-Tirsi Abdi-na-... to king Iama to king ... to king Acco king Zurata to pharaoh Acco king Zatatna to pharaoh #1 Acco king Zatatna to pharaoh #2 Zitatna/(Zatatna) to king ... to king Bajadi to king

Amarna letters

EA#238 EA#239 EA#240 EA#241 EA#242 EA#243 EA#244 EA#245 EA#246 EA#247 EA#248 EA#248 EA#249 EA#249 EA#250 Addu-Ur-sag to king Addu-Ur-sag to king Bajadi Baduzana ... to king Rusmania to king Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #1 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #2 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #3 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #4 Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh #5 Megiddo king Biridija or Jasdata Ja[sd]ata to king Megiddo king Biridija to pharaoh

EA#2500 Shechem EA#251 EA#252 EA#253 EA#254 EA#255 EA#256 EA#257 EA#258 EA#259 EA#260 EA#261 EA#262 EA#263 EA#264 EA#265 EA#266 EA#267 EA#268 EA#269 EA#270 EA#271 EA#272 EA#273 ... to Egypt official Labaja to king Labaja to king Labaja to king Mut-Balu or Mut-Bahlum to king Mut-Balu to Ianhamu Balu-Mihir to king #1 Balu-Mihir to king #2 Balu-Mihir to king #3 Balu-Mihir to king #4 Dasru to king #1 Dasru to king #2 ... to lord Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #1 Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #2 Gezer leader Tagi to pharaoh #3 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #1 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #2 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #3 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #4 Gezer mayor Milkili to pharaoh #5 Sum. .. to king Ba-Lat-Nese to king

Amarna letters

EA#274 EA#275 EA#276 EA#277 EA#278 EA#279 EA#280 EA#281 EA#282 EA#283 EA#284 EA#285 EA#286 EA#287 EA#288 EA#289 EA#290 EA#290 EA#291 EA#292 EA#293 EA#294 EA#295 EA#295 EA#296 EA#297 EA#298 EA#299 EA#300 EA#301 EA#302 EA#303 EA#304 EA#305 EA#306 EA#307 EA#308 EA#309 EA#310 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #4 Gaza king Iahtiri Gezer mayor Iapah[i] to pharaoh #1 Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #2 Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #3 Gezer mayor Iapahi to pharaoh #4 Subandu to king #1 Subandu to king #2 Subandu to king #3 Subandu to king #4 Subandu to king #5 Subandu to king #6 ... to king ... to king ... to king ... to king Ba-Lat-Nese to king #2 Iahazibada to king #1 Iahazibada to king #2 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #1 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #2 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #3 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #3 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #4 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #5 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #6 Qiltu king Suwardata to pharaoh #7 Jerusalem king Abdi-Hiba to pharaoh Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh Jerusalem king AbdiHiba to pharaoh Qiltu king Suwardata to king ... to ... Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #1 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #2 Gezer mayor Addudani to pharaoh #3

Amarna letters

EA#311 EA#312 EA#313 EA#314 EA#315 EA#316 EA#317 EA#318 EA#319 EA#320 EA#321 EA#322 EA#323 EA#324 EA#325 EA#326 EA#327 EA#328 EA#329 EA#330 EA#331 EA#332 EA#333 EA#334 EA#335 EA#336 EA#337 EA#338 EA#339 EA#340 EA#341 EA#342 EA#356 EA#357 EA#358 EA#359 EA#360 EA#361 EA#364 ... to king ... to king ... to king Jursa king Pu-Ba-Lu to pharaoh #1 Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh #2 Jursa king PuBaLu to pharaoh Dagantakala to king #1 Dagantakala to king #2 A[h]tirumna king Zurasar to king Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #1 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #2 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #3 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #4 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #5 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #6 Asqalon king Widia to pharaoh #7 ... the king Lakis mayor Iabniilu to pharaoh Lakis king Zimridi to pharaoh Lakis mayor Sipti-Ba-Lu to pharaoh #1 Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #2 Lakis mayor SiptiBaLu to pharaoh #3 Ebi to a prince ---dih of Zuhra [-?] to king --- [of Z]uhr[u] to king Hiziri to king #1 Hiziri to king #2 Zi. .. to king ... to king ... ... ... myth of Adapa and the South Wind myth the Ereskigal and Nergal myth fragments myth Epic of king of Battle ... ... Aiab to king

Amarna letters

EA#365 EA#367 EA#xxx H#3100 P#3200 P#3210 T#3002 T#3005 T#3006 U#4001 Megiddo king Biridiya to pharaoh pharaoh to Endaruta of Akshapa Amenhotep III to Milkili Tell el-Hesi Pella prince Mut-Balu to Yanhamu Lion Woman to king Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa Amenhotep to Taanach king Rewassa Ugarit king Niqmaddu

William L. Moran summarizes the state of the chronology of these tablets as follows: Despite a long history of inquiry, the chronology of the Amarna letters, both relative and absolute, presents many problems, some of bewildering complexity, that still elude definitive solution. Consensus obtains only about what is obvious, certain established facts, and these provide only a broad framework within which many and often quite different reconstructions of the course of events reflected in the Amarna letters are possible and have been defended. ...The Amarna archive, it is now generally agreed, spans at most about thirty years, perhaps only fifteen or so.[4] From the internal evidence, the earliest possible date for this correspondence is the final decade of the reign of Amenhotep III, who ruled from 1388 to 1351BC (or 1391 to 1353BC), possibly as early as this king's 30th regnal year; the latest date any of these letters were written is the desertion of the city of Amarna, commonly believed to have happened in the second year of the reign of Tutankhamun later in the same century in 1332BC. Moran notes that some scholars believe one tablet, EA 16, may have been addressed to Tutankhamun's successor Ay.[5] However, this speculation appears improbable because the Amarna archives were closed by Year 2 of Tutankhamun, when this king transferred Egypt's capital from Amarna to Thebes.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Moran, William L. (1992). The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp.p.xiv. ISBN 0-8018-4251-4. Moran, p.xv Moran, pp.xiii-xiv Moran, p.xxxiv Moran, p.xxxv, n.123

Research and analysis

Goren, Y., Finkelstein, I. & Na'aman, N., Inscribed in Clay - Provenance Study of the Amarna Tablets and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Tel Aviv: Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, 2004. ISBN 965-266-020-5

Amarna letters


External links
high-resolution images from the [[Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin ( html)] Mineralogical and Chemical Study of the Amarna Tablets - Provenance Study of the Amarna Tablets (http:// University of Tel Aviv web page All 6 views on 1--Sample letter(Mesopotamian) ( "The Tell el-Amarna Tablets". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. Electronic version of the Amarna tablets ( This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain:Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

Amarna letters-great powers' club

The Great Powers' Club is a recent reference to the correspondence between the Great Kings as found in the Amarna Letters. These letters took their name from the region they were found called el-Amarna, 190miles south of Cairo.[1] They are dated from the late Bronze Age during the 18th Dynasty of Egypt from the reign of Amenhotep III to Akhenaten and a possible third king.[2] They are clay tablets written in Akkadian cuneiform, the Lingua franca of the time. The dates of these correspondence are from the New Kingdom. Within these tablets, there exists dialogue between what ancient historians began to term the Great Map of the ancient Near East during the Amarna period, showing the great powers Powers' Club which included Babylonia, of the period: Egypt (green), Hatti (yellow), the Kassite kingdom of Babylon Assyria, Mittani, and Hatti.[3] The letters (purple), Assyria (grey), and Mittani (red). Lighter areas show direct control, darker areas represent spheres of influence. The extent of the Achaean/Mycenaean range from inquiries about diplomatic civilization is shown in orange. marriages to requesting gifts. These letters themselves were not the earliest moments of international relations but greatly intrigued people who desired to study the beginnings of international relations as they saw and hoped to tie in the Amarna Letters to the happenings of the Cold War. These letters demonstrated a glimpse in how the ancient Near East Great Powers interacted with each other.[4] The success of this system lasted for two hundred years and there was no significant fighting amongst these great powers.[5]

Amarna Letters
These clay tablets were found in the city of el-Amarna which was founded by the "heretic" pharaoh Akhenaten. The locations of these tablets today are found in various museums such as the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, the British Museum, the Cairo Museum and the Oriental Institute.[6] There are over 300 tablets that range from foreign correspondence to inventories. The modern division of these letters were due to the Norwegian Assyriologist J. A.

Amarna letters-great powers' club Knudtzon who published Die El-Amarna-Tafeln.[7] There are over three hundred of these messages but some are in such a bad condition that they could not be fully recovered. They are written in Akkadian cuneiform which was the Lingua franca of the time.


The Great Powers of the Near East in Correspondence with Egypt

Babylon EA 1-11
The Babylonians were conquered by an outside group of people and were referred to in the letters as Karaduniyas [8] Babylon was ruled by the Kassite dynasty which would later on assimilate to the Babylonian culture. The letters of correspondence between the two deal with various trivial things but it also contained one of the few messages from Egypt to another power. It was the pharaoh responding to the demands of the King Kasashman-Enlil who initially inquired about the whereabouts of his sister, that was sent as a diplomatic marriage. The king, Kasashman-Enlil who is hesitant to send out his daughter to another diplomatic marriage until he knows the status of his sister. The pharaoh responds by politely The extent of the Babylonian Empire during the Kassite dynasty telling the king to send someone who would recognize his sister.[9] Then later correspondence dealt with the importance of exchanging of gifts namely the gold which is used in the construction of a temple in Babylonia. There was also a correspondence where the Babylonian king was offended by not having a proper escort for a princess. He was distraught by how few the chariots there was to transport her and would be ashamed by the responses by the great kings of the region.[10]

Assyria EA 15-16
An independent power by the time of the Amarna letters, who were originally a vassal but regained independence. The two letters came from the king Assur-uballit dealt with him introducing himself and sending a messenger to investigate Egypt He should see what you are like and what your country is like, and then leave for here. (EA 15) The second letter dealt with him inquiring why Egypt was not sending enough gold to him and arguing about profit for the king. "then let him (a messenger) stay out and let him die right there in the sun, but for (but) for the king himself there must be a profit." [11]

Amarna letters-great powers' club


Mittani EA 17-30
Once enemies,The Mittannis were an old ally of Egypt by the time of the Amarna letters.[12] The topics as hit by the King Tuiseratta dealt with various topics as preserving and renewing marriage alliances or sending in various gifts. For example, EA 22 and EA 25 in the Amarna letters is just an inventory of the gifts from the Mittani king Tusratta to the pharaoh. The other correspondence of note dealt with a gold status that was addressed in EA 26 and EA 27.

Hatti EA 41-44
Kingdom from Eastern Anatolia that would later on make the Mitanni a vassal of them. The correspondence from them come from the king called Suppiluliumas. The letters varied from discussing about past alliances, to gift giving and dealing with honor. In EA 42, the tablet stated how the Hittite king was offended by the name of the pharaoh written over his name. Although, the ending of the text became too fragmented it mentioned that he will blot out the name of the pharaoh.[13]

Scholarly Analysis in the Amarna Letters

As primary documents that were correspondence in the ancient world. These writings contained various thoughts and ideas of the ancient Near East world.

The opening statement

The opening statement:

Say to Nibmuareya, the king of Egypt, my brother: Thus Tuiseratta, the King of Mittani, your brother. For me all goes well. For you may all go well. For Kelu-Heba may all go well. For your household, for your wives, for your sons, for your magnates, for your warriors, for your horses, for your chariots, and in your country, may all go very well.

William Moran discussed how the first line in these documents followed a certain pattern of Say to PN. Thus PN. There are variations of this but was found common among all the tablets. The other is a salutation which is one a report of the monarch's well being and then the second which is a series of good wishes toward the monarch.[14] Indeed, this seems to be part of the style of Akkadian style of writing which helped facilitate foreign correspondence for the long term. As scholars argued, this aided in filtering out the chauvinistic domestic ideology at home to the other monarch. This allowed diplomacy to flourish which aided to the relative peace of the time.[15]

Despite the fact that there are great distances between the rulers. The concept of a global village reigned.
As is seen in EA 7:

From the time the messenger of my brother arrived here, I have not been well, and so on no occasion has his messenger eaten food and drunk spirits in my company. If you ask... your messenger, he will tell you that I have not been well and that, as far as my recovery is concerned, I am still by no means restored to health.... I for my part became angry with my brother, saying, has my brother not heard that I am ill? Why has he shown me no concern? Why has he sent no messenger here and visited me?

The importance of this in EA 7 is that it demonstrates the mindset of the rulers in the Near East world at the time. The "enlarged village" which scholars like to term permeated their thoughts where they took the idea of brotherhood. They were related through the political marriages but is an idea of a village of clans which gives reason to the good wishes and update on the health of the monarchs themselves. The monarchs seem to have very little concept of the time of travel between each other and at most likely saw that the village worldview they lived in was applicable for the long distant correspondence of the Amarna letters.[16] Indeed, there is a constant demonstration of love as seen in these letters. Scholars pointed out that to demonstrate good friendship it had to be on the practical level of constant stream of gift giving. This request for gifts is constant with the various correspondence with the Great Kings.[17]

Amarna letters-great powers' club


Cohan, Raymond and Westbook, Raymond. Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Liverani, Mario, "The Great Powers' Club," in Amarna Diplomacy, edited by Raymond Cohen and Raymond Westbrook, 15-27. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Moron, William L. The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1992 Zaccagnini, Carlos, "The Interdependence of the Great Powers," in Amarna Diplomacy, edited by Raymond Cohen and Raymond Westbrook, 141-153. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

[1] Moran, William L. (1992). The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. p.xii. ISBN 0-8018-4251-4. [2] Cohen, Raymond and Westbrook, Raymond. (2000). Amarna Diplomacy: the Beginnings of International Relations. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 6 ISBN 0-8018-6199-3 [3] Ibid., 6-7 [4] Ibid., 3-4 [5] Ibid., 234 [6] Moran. Amarna Letters. xiii - xv [7] Ibid., xiv [8] Ibid., 7 [9] Moran. Amarna Letters. 1-3 [10] Moran. Amarna Diplomacy. 21 [11] Moran. Amarna Letters. 41-42. [12] Cohan and Westbrook. Amarna Diplomacy. 6. [13] Moran. Amarna Diplomacy. 116 [14] Moran. Amarna Letters. XXII - XXIII. [15] Cohan and Westbrook. Amarna Diplomacy. 235-236 [16] Liverani, Mario, "The Great Powers' Club," in Amarna Diplomacy, edited by Raymond Cohen and Raymond Westbrook, 18-19 [17] Zaccagnini, Carlos, "The Interdependence of the Great Powers," in Amarna Diplomacy, edited by Raymond Cohen and Raymond Westbrook, 145.

External links
Electronic version of the Amarna tablets (

Anatolian hieroglyphs


Anatolian hieroglyphs
Anatolian Hieroglyphs Luwian Hittite Hieroglyphs Hittite Hieroglyphs

Type ISO 15924

Logographic Hluw, 080

Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols.

Anatolian hieroglyphs are an indigenous logographic script native to central Anatolia, consisting of some 500 signs. They were once commonly known as Hittite hieroglyphs, but the language they encode proved to be Luwian, not Hittite, and the term Luwian hieroglyphs is used in English publications. They are typologically similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but do not derive graphically from that script, and they are not known to have played the sacred role of hieroglyphs in Egypt. There is no demonstrable connection to Hittite cuneiform.[1][2][3]

Individual Anatolian hieroglyphs are attested from the third and early second millennia BC across Anatolia and into modern Syria. The earliest examples occur on personal seals, but these consist only of names, titles, and auspicious signs, and it is not certain that they represent language. Most actual texts are found as monumental inscriptions in stone, though a few documents have survived on lead strips. The first inscriptions confirmed as Luwian date to the Late Bronze Age, ca. 14th to 13th centuries BC. And after some two centuries of sparse material the hieroglyphs resume in the Early Iron Age, ca. 10th to 8th centuries. In the early 7th century, the Luwian hieroglyphic script, by then aged some 700 years, is marginalized by competing alphabetic scripts and falls into oblivion.

While all the preserved texts employing Anatolian hieroglyphs are written in the Luwian language,[4] some features of the script suggest its earliest development within a bilingual Hittite-Luwian environment. For example, the sign which has the form of a "taking" or "grasping" hand has the value /ta/, which is precisely the Hittite word ta-/da- "to take," in contrast with the Luwian cognate of the same meaning which is la-.[5] There was occasionally some use of Anatolian Hieroglyphs to write foreign material like Hurrian theonyms, or glosses in Urartian (such as +ra - ku for aqarqi or tu - ru - za for erusi, two units of measurement). -

Anatolian hieroglyphs


As in Egyptian, characters may be logographic or phonographicthat is, they may be used to represent words or sounds. The number of phonographic signs is limited. Most represent CV syllables, though there are a few disyllabic signs. A large number of these are ambiguous as to whether the vowel is a or i. Some signs are dedicated to one use or another, but many are flexible. Words may be written logographically, phonetically, mixed (that is, a logogram with a phonetic complement), and may be preceded by a determinative. Other than the fact that the phonetic glyphs form a syllabary rather than indicating only consonants, this system is analogous to the system of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Unlike Egyptian hieroglyphs, the lines of Luwian hieroglyphs are written alternately left-to-right and right-to-left. This practice was called by the Greeks boustrophedon, meaning "as the ox turns" (as when plowing a field). Some scholars compare the Phaistos Disc and Cretan hieroglyphs as possibly related scripts, but there is no consensus regarding this.

Anatolian hieroglyphs first came to Western attention in the nineteenth century, when European explorers such as Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and Richard Francis Burton described pictographic inscriptions on walls in the city of Hama, Syria. The same characters were recorded in Boghaz-ky, and presumed by A. H. Sayce to be Hittite in origin.[6] By 1915, with the Luwian language known from cuneiform, and a substantial quantity of Anatolian hieroglyphs transcribed and published, linguists started to make real progress in reading the script.[6] In the 1930s, it was partially deciphered by Ignace Gelb, Piero Meriggi, Emil Forrer, and Bedich Hrozn. Its language was confirmed as Luwian in 1973 by J.D. Hawkins, Anna Morpurgo-Davies and Gnther Neumann, who corrected some previous errors about sign values, in particular emending the reading of symbols *376 and *377 from i, to zi, za.

Hittite hieroglyphs surround a figure in royal dress. The inscription, repeated in cuneiform around the rim, gives the seal owner's name: the Hittite ruler Tarkummuwa. This famous bilingual inscription provided the first clues for deciphering Hittite hieroglyphs.

Transliteration of logograms is conventionally the term represented in Latin, in capital letters (e.g. PES for the logogram for "foot"). The syllabograms are transliterated, disambiguating homophonic signs analogously to cuneiform transliteration, e.g. ta=ta1, t=ta2, t=ta3, ta4, ta5 and ta6 transliterate six distinct ways of representing phonemic /ta/.[7] Some of these homophonic signs have received further attention and new phonetic interpretation in recent years, e.g. t has been found to stand for /da/.[8]

Anatolian hieroglyphs


[1] Payne, A. (2004). Hieroglyphic Luwian. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. p.1. ISBN3-447-05026-8. [2] Melchert, H. Craig (2004). "Luvian". In Woodard, Roger D.. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-56256-2. [3] Melchert, H. Craig (1996). "Anatolian Hieroglyphs". In Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William. The World's Writing Systems. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-507993-0. [4] Plchl, R. (2003). Einfhrung ins Hieroglyphen-Luwische. Dresden: Verlag der TU Dresden. p.12. ISBN3-86005-351-5. (German) [5] Yakubovich, I. (2008). "Hittite-Luvian Bilingualism and the Origin of Anatolian Hieroglyphs". Acta Linguistica Petropolitana 4 (1): 936. [6] Pope, Maurice (1999). The Story of Decipherment: From Egyptian Hieroglyphs to Mayan Script (rev. ed.). New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN0-500-28105-X. [7] see also the article at the Indo-European Database (http:/ / indoeuro. bizland. com/ project/ script/ luwia. html) [8] Rieken, E. (2008): "Die Zeichen <ta>, <t> und <t> in den hieroglyphen-luwischen Inschriften der Nachgroreichszeit." In: Archi, A.; Francia, R. (eds.): VI Congresso Internazionale die Ittitilogia, Roma, 5.-9. Settembre 2005. Roma: CNR, 637-647.

External links Luwian Hieroglyphics ( from the Indo-European Database Sign list (, with logographic and syllabic readings The invention of Luwian hieroglyphic script (by Isabelle Klock-Fontanille) ( papers/KlockFontanille_LuvianHieroglyphs.pdf)

Annals of Sargon
The Annals of Sargon are a series of cuneiform inscriptions detailing the military actions of the Assyrian ruler Sargon II between 738 BCE and 720 BCE.

The Annals were unearthed in Khorsabad between 1842 and 1844 by archeologists Paul-mile Botta and Eugne Flandin.[1] Botta and Flandin published their findings in 1849, in a paper entitled Les Monuments de Ninive. Botta and Flandin could not read cuneiform, and so translations of the text were reliant on Botta's copies; the first major translation was made by Hugo Winckler and published as Keitshrifttexte Sargons in 1889.[2]

The Annals cover an eleven-year campaign against a number of Assyrian vassal states, divided by the years of Sargon II's reign.

Major events covered

738 BCE In response to Samaria's refusal to pay taxes and attempt to cede from Assyrian rule, Sargon conquers Samaria, taking many prisoners. He subsequently repopulates the area with displaced citizens of other conquered territories.[1] 737 BCE Yau bi'di, a Hittite, establishes allegiances with Arvad, Simirra, Damascus and Samaria and declares independence from Assyria. Sargon captures him after laying siege to the city of Qarqar (Karkar), burning the city to the ground

Annals of Sargon and executing Yau bi'di by flaying.[1] 731 BCE Sargon attacks a number of Arabic tribes, including the Ibadidi and Marsimani; deporting the survivors of his campaign to Samaria.[1] 727 BCE Sargon deposes Aziru, king of Ashdod and puts Aziru's brother Ahimiti on the throne. The Hittites revolt against this edict; Sargon in response lays siege to Ashdod, conquering it and making it a vassal state.[1]


[1] Matthews, Victor Harold; Benjamin, Don C. (2006). Old Testament parallels: laws and stories from the ancient Near East. Paulist Press. p.185-188. ISBN9780809144358. [2] Olmstead, A. T. (1931). The Text of Sargon's Annals (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ discover/ 10. 2307/ 529143?uid=3738032& uid=2129& uid=2& uid=70& uid=4& sid=55997477263). University of Chicago Press. .

Atra-Hasis ("exceedingly wise") is the protagonist and namesake of an 18th century BCE Akkadian epic. An "Atra-Hasis" appears on one of the Sumerian king lists as king of Shuruppak in the times before the flood. The Atra-Hasis tablets include both a creation myth and a flood account, which is one of three surviving Babylonian deluge stories. The oldest known copy of the epic tradition concerning Atrahasis[1] can be dated by colophon (scribal identification) to the reign of Hammurabis great-grandson, Ammi-Saduqa (16461626 BCE), but various Old Babylonian fragments exist; it continued to be copied into the first millennium BCE. The Atrahasis story also exists in a later fragmentary Assyrian version, having been first rediscovered in the library of Ashurbanipal, but, because of the fragmentary condition of the tablets and ambiguous words, translations had been uncertain. Its fragments were assembled and translated first by George Smith as The Chaldean Account of Genesis; the name of its hero was corrected to Atra-Hasis by Heinrich Zimmern in 1899. In 1965 W. G. Lambert and A. R. Millard[2] published many additional texts belonging to the epic, including an Old Babylonian copy (written around 1650 BCE) which is our most complete surviving recension of the tale. These new texts greatly increased knowledge of the epic and were the basis for Lambert and Millards first English translation of the Atrahasis epic in something approaching entirety.[3] A further fragment has been recovered in Ugarit. Walter Burkert[4] traces the model drawn from Atrahasis to a corresponding passage, the division by lots of the air, underworld and sea among Zeus, Hades and Poseidon in the Iliad, in which a resetting through which the foreign framework still shows. In its most complete surviving version, the Atrahasis epic is written on three tablets in Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon.[5]



Tablet I contains a creation myth about the Sumerian gods Anu, Enlil, and Enki, gods of sky, wind, and water, when gods were in the ways of men according to its incipit. Following the Cleromancy (casting of lots), sky is ruled by Anu, earth by Enlil, and the freshwater sea by Enki. Enlil assigned junior divines[6] to do farm labor and maintain the rivers and canals, but after forty years the lesser gods or dingirs rebelled and refused to do strenuous labor. Instead of punishing the rebels, Enki, who is also the kind, wise counselor of the gods, suggested that humans be created to do the work. The mother goddess Mami is assigned the task of creating humans by shaping clay figurines mixed with the flesh and blood of the slain god Geshtu-E, a god who had intelligence (his name means ear or wisdom).[7] All the gods in turn spit upon the clay. After ten months, a specially made womb breaks open and humans are born. Tablet I continues with legends about overpopulation and plagues. Atrahasis is mentioned at the end of Tablet I.

Cuneiform tablet with the Atra-Hasis Epic in the British Museum

Tablet II begins with more overpopulation of humans and the god Enlil sending first famine and drought at formulaic intervals of 1200 years to reduce the population. In this epic Enlil is depicted as a nasty capricious god while Enki is depicted as a kind helpful god, perhaps because priests of Enki were writing and copying the story. Tablet II is mostly damaged, but ends with Enlil's decision to destroy humankind with a flood and Enki bound by an oath to keep the plan secret. Tablet III of the Atrahasis Epic contains the flood story. This is the part that was adapted in the Epic of Gilgamesh, tablet XI. Tablet III of Atrahasis tells how the god Enki warns the hero Atrahasis (Extremely Wise) of Shuruppak, speaking through a reed wall (suggestive of an oracle) to dismantle his house (perhaps to provide a construction site) and build a boat to escape the flood planned by the god Enlil to destroy humankind. The boat is to have a roof like Apsu (a subterranean, fresh water realm presided over by the god Enki), upper and lower decks, and to be sealed with bitumen. Atrahasis boards the boat with his family and animals and seals the door. The storm and flood begin. Even the gods are afraid. After seven days the flood ends and Atrahasis offers sacrifices to the gods. Enlil is furious with Enki for violating his oath. But Enki denies violating his oath and argues: I made sure life was preserved. Enki and Enlil agree on other means for controlling the human population.

Atrahasis in History
A few general histories can be attributed to the Mesopotamian Atrahasis by ancient sources; these should generally be considered mythology but they do give an insight into the possible origins of the character. The Epic of Gilgamesh labels Atrahasis as the son of Ubara-Tutu, king of Shuruppak, on tablet XI, Gilgamesh spoke to Utnapishtim (Atrahasis), the Faraway O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubara-Tutu.[8] The Instructions of Shuruppak instead label Atrahasis (under the name Ziusudra) as the son of the eponymous Shuruppak, who himself is labelled as the son of Ubara-Tutu.[9] At this point we are left with two possible fathers: Ubara-Tutu or Shuruppak. Many available tablets comprising The Sumerian King Lists support The Epic of Gilgamesh by omitting Shuruppak as a ruler of Shuruppak. These lists imply an immediate flood after or during the rule of Ubara-Tutu. These lists also make no mention of Atrahasis under any name.[10] However WB-62 lists a different and rather interesting chronologyhere Atrahasis is listed as a ruler of Shuruppak and gudug priest, preceded by his father Shuruppak who is in turn preceded by his father Ubara-Tutu. WB-62 would therefore lend support to The Instructions of Shuruppak and is peculiar in that it mentions both Shuruppak and Atrahasis. In any event it seems that Atrahasis was

Atra-Hasis of royal blood; whether he himself ruled and in what way this would affect the chronology is debatable.


Literary inheritance
The Epic of Atrahasis provides additional information on the flood and flood hero that is omitted in Gilgamesh XI and other versions of the Ancient Near East flood story. According to Atrahasis III ii.4047 the flood hero was at a banquet when the storm and flood began: He invited his peopleto a banquet He sent his family on board. They ate and they drank. But he (Atrahasis) was in and out. He could not sit, could not crouch, for his heart was broken and he was vomiting gall. The flood story in the standard edition of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Chapter XI may have been paraphrased or copied verbatim from a non-extant, intermediate version the Epic of Atrahasis.[11] But editorial changes were made, some of which had long-term consequences. The sentence quoted above from Atrahasis III iv, lines 67: Like dragonflies they have filled the river. was changed in Gilgamesh XI line 123 to: Like the spawn of fishes, they fill the sea. However, see comments above. Other editorial changes were made to the Atrahasis text. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, anthropomorphic descriptions of the gods are weakened. For example, Atrahasis OB III, 3031 The Anunnaki (the senior gods) [were sitt]ing in thirst and hunger. was changed in Gilgamesh XI, 113 to The gods feared the deluge. Sentences in Atrahasis III iv were omitted in Gilgamesh, e.g. She was surfeited with grief and thirsted for beer and From hunger they were suffering cramp.[12]

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] The variant tellings are not direct translations of a single original. Lambert and Millard, Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, London, 1965. Lambert and Millard, Atrahasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood, Oxford, 1969 Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age (Harvard) 1992, pp 8891. Lambert and Millard, pages 815 The Akkadian determinative dingir, which is usually translated as god or goddess can also mean priest or priestess (Margaret Whitney Green, Eridu in Sumerian Literature, PhD dissertation, University of Chicago [1975], p. 224) although there are other Akkadian words (e.g. nu and ntu) that are also translated priest and priestess. The noun divine would preserve the ambiguity in dingir. [7] On some tablets the under-god Weila or Aw-ilu, was slain for this purpose. [8] http:/ / www. ancienttexts. org/ library/ mesopotamian/ gilgamesh/ tab11. htm [9] http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. 5. 6. 1# [10] http:/ / www-etcsl. orient. ox. ac. uk/ section2/ tr211. htm [11] Tigay, pages 238239 [12] Of these and other editorial changes to the Atrahasis text in Gilgamesh Dr. Tigay comments, The dropping of individual lines between others which are preserved, but are not synonymous with them, appears to be a more deliberate editorial act. These lines share a common theme, the hunger and thirst of the gods during the flood.

W. G. Lambert and A. R. Millard, Atrahasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood, Eisenbrauns, 1999, ISBN 1-57506-039-6. Q. Laessoe, The Atrahasis Epic, A Babylonian History of Mankind, Biblioteca Orientalis 13 [1956] 90102. Jeffrey H. Tigay, The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1982, ISBN 0-8122-7805-4.



External links
British Museum: Cuneiform tablet from Sippar with the story of Atra-Hasis ( explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/cuneiform_the_atrahasis_epic.aspx)

Baal Cycle
Ugarit Salhi Minet el-Beida Ras Ibn Hani Ugaritic kings Ammittamru I Niqmaddu II Arhalba Niqmepa Ammittamru II Ibiranu Niqmaddu III Ammurapi Ugaritic culture Language Alphabet Grammar Baal cycle Legend of Keret Danel Hurrian songs

The Baal Cycle is a Ugaritic cycle of stories about the Canaanite god Baal, also known as Hadad the god of storm and fertility. They are written in Ugaritic, a language written in a cuneiform alphabet, on a series of clay tablets found in the 1920s in the Tell of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), situated on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria, a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia, far ahead of the now known coast.

Basic Synopsis
The Baal Cycle series of stories are summarized thus: Yam wants to rule over the other gods and be the most powerful of all Baal-Hadad opposes Yam and slays him Baal-Hadad, with the help of Anath and Athirat, persuades El to allow him a palace Baal-Hadad commissions Kothar-wa-Khasis to build him a palace. King of the gods and ruler of the world seeks to subjugate Mot Mot kills Baal-Hadad Anath brutally kills Mot, grinds him up and scatters ashes Baal-Hadad returns to Mount Saphon Mot, having recovered from being ground up and scattered, challenges Baal-Hadad Baal-Hadad refuses; Mot submits Baal-Hadad rules again

Baal Cycle


Baal and Yam

The beginning of the story of the battle between Baal and Yam is lost, but we first hear of Kothar-wa-Khasis, the craftsman of the gods being summoned to El, who resides at the confluence of the rivers and the two oceans. El tells him to build a palace for Yam, and to do so quickly in case Yam should take hostile action. When Athtar hears of this, he takes a torch down, the purpose of which is not known due to the damaged text, but he is confronted by Shapash, who tells him that El is to bestow royal power on Yam, and so opposition is useless. Athtar then complains that he has no place or court, and that he now fears defeat at the hands of Yam. Shapash suggests the reason to be that he has no wife, perhaps meaning he is too young. The text following is lost and resumes with El sitting in his banquet hall. Here he is addressed by the other deities, who complain that Yam is being put to shame, though the damaged text makes the reason unclear, though it is clear the reason is connected to his palace. The gods threaten that unless this situation is resolved they will wreak destruction. El gives them curdled milk, apparently a mark of esteem. El calls that his son's name hitherto has been Yaw, a personal name. El then proclaims that his name should be 'darling of El'. However, he informs Yam that he would have to drive his rival Baal from his throne and the seat of his dominion. Following this there is a banquet. When the story resumes, Kothar-and-Khasis has arrived under the sea and tells Yam that he has risen presumptuously to his position, and that Baal cannot stand idly by. He threatens that Yam will be destroyed by a magic weapon. Yam then sends word to El, on the mount of Lel, El's abode, demanding the surrender of Baal and his henchmen. However, Baal, upon hearing this on the mount of Lel attacks the envoys, though Anat and Athtart hold him back. When the story resumes, Baal has already started to battle Yam, but is in despair due to the power of Yam, and the fierce sea-creatures. Kothar-and-Khasis assures Baal that he will be victorious and will win a kingdom without end, and fetches two divine clubs for Baal's use. He gives them magic names, and strikes Yam the first two times himself. Baal then drags out Yam and finishes him off. Then Athtart tells Baal to scatter his rival, which he does, and then he cries out that Yam is dead, and that he shall be King.

The Palace of Baal

A description of the Palace of Baal follows. It begins with a description of a banquet thrown in honour of Baal on Mount Zephon (modern-day Jebel Aqra). When the text resumes, we see Anat closing the door of her mansion and meeting her servants in a valley where there are two cities, which possibly represent Ugarit and its port. She kills the guards and warriors, and then drives away the townspeople. She then slaughters the guards and warriors in her palace, ending with a peace-offering. When the text resumes again, Baal is addressing his messengers, picturing his sister Anat sitting with her lyre and singing of her affection for him and his daughters. The messengers are told to perform a specific rite, and she will give them an important communication for Baal, the secret of the lightning. Together, Anat and Baal will search for the secret on the hill of Zephon. She replies that she would only perform the rite if Baal should set his thunderbolt in the sky and flash his lightning. She then joins Baal at Zephon. When the text resumes Baal complains to Anat that he hasn't a house, nor a court like other gods, meaning that he has to live in the dwelling of his father El and Athirat. Anat thus makes a threat against El, threatening to make his grey hair run with blood unless he allows Baal to have a palace. The earthquakes at her feet cause El to be exposed from his chamber. Though the text following is lost, it is clear this attempt was unsuccessful, so Baal dispatches Qodesh-and-Amrur, the attendant of Athirat, to deliver a message to Kothar-and-Khasis, whose home is in Egypt. When the text continues, Qodesh-and-Amrur delivers Baal's message, which is that Kothar-and-Khasis should fashion gifts for Athirat, presumably so she will support Baal's bid for a palace. He enters his forge, and produces magnificent pieces of furniture, a pair of sandals, and a decorated table and bowl. When the text continues we see Athirat performing her woman's work by the seashore, when she then sees Baal and Anat approaching. She wonders whether he has come to kill all her sons and kinsfolk, perhaps a reference to the Hittite myth of Elkunirsa where the storm-god boasts of having killed the many sons of Athirat. However, her anger subsides when she sees the gifts, and so supports Baal in his bid, and she calls upon Qodesh-and-Amrur to cast a net into the sea so she may have provisions to entertain the guests with. He does so, and when the text continues we see

Baal Cycle Anat encouraging Baal as they come closer to Athirat, reminding that he will have an eternal kingdom. However, Baal is still anxious. They persuade Athirat of their case. She proceeds to El's abode, and makes her case. Reluctantly, he gives his assent for a house to be built for Baal. Baal is then instructed to collect cedar-wood, bricks and precious metals in order to build his house. Kothar-and-Khasis builds him a palace, but Baal insists that it is built without windows, in case that his daughters may escape, or that Yam may come again and trouble him. The work is completed and Baal rejoices. When the text resumes, Baal recalls his triumph over Yam, and then marches out taking many cities his own. He then consents to having windows to his Palace, and does so by thundering them out. While sitting in his palace he asks himself whether anybody would resist his power, and if anybody should, he should send word to Mot, god of death, to deal with them. He sends two messengers to Mot inviting him to a feast and to acknowledge his sovereignty. In the ending, which is lost, Mot makes his reply.


Baal and Mot

The final part of the Baal cycle is concerned with Baal's battle against Mot, or death personified. Continuing from the preceding section, Mot concludes his reply to Baal. His reply is that he, like a lion in the desert, hungers constantly for human flesh and blood. By inviting Mot to a meal of bread and wine, Mot is offended, and threatens to cause the heavens to wilt and collapse, breaking Baal into pieces. Mot then will eat him piece by piece. When the text continues, Baal, or a speaker on his behalf admits his fear and dread of Mot. The speaker then tells Gupn and Ugar to go back to Mot and tell him that Baal will be eternally his slave, news to which Mot rejoices. When the text continues Baal complains to El that his dominion is in danger of passing to Mot. He then sends messengers to Sheger and Ithm, who are responsible for Cattle and Sheep, and asks them to provide animals for a feast, to which he will invite Mot. When the texts continue, a messenger from Mot arrives in the divine assembly, demanding to know where Baal is. They both go up to El's house where El asks what has been happening. When the text continues, a speaker who is probably Shapash the sun-goddess addresses Baal. She is advising him to find a substitute in his image, which will be sought out and slain by Mot. She then promises to bury his body, and advises him to go to the two mountains which mark the entrance of the underworld, and to move them aside. Then he is to go down into the earth and hide. He finds a heifer in the fields, and with it has a child, who he dresses in his robes and offers as a gift to Mot. When the text continues, two deities, presumably Gupn and Ugar arrive at El's abode, and they announce to him that they have been searching for Baal, but found him dead by the bank of the river of the dead. El then descends from his throne and sits on the ground, and mourns, strewing dust on his head, wears clothes of sackcloth, shaves of his beard and beats his chest in grief. Anat too wears sackcloth when she finds the fake dead body. Shapash aids Anat in burying Baal upon Mount Zephon, and Anat slaughters large numbers of oxen, sheep, goats and asses as a memorial. Anat returns to El, and tells Athirat and her family (many of whom were on the side of Mot) that they can rejoice since Baal was dead. El asks Athirat who can he appoint in Baal's place, and she suggests Athtar. Athtar seats himself on Baal's throne, but is not tall enough, confirming El's suspicion that he is too weak for the position. When the text recontinues, Anat is searching in the netherworld for the shade of her brother. She demands that Mot restores him to her. However, Mot answers that he had searched for him over the earth, wher he found him at the entrance of his domain, and then he simply ate him. Anat continues her search, until she loses patience, and she seizes Mot, and attacks him, attacking him with a sword, shaking him, burning him, crushing him, then throwing his remains to the birds. When the text recontinues Anat returns to El and announces that Mot is dead. El then has a dream which tells him that Baal lives. Shortly after Baal returns. However, soon Mot resurrects, and complains to Baal of the treatment he has received. He demands that Baal surrenders one of his brothers over to him. When Mot has returned, Baal sends messengers telling him that he will banish him, and if he is hungry, he may eat the servants of Baal. However, this fails to please Mot, and so the two gods fight on Mount Zephon until exhausted. Shapash arrives and warns Mot that fighting Baal is useless, and El is now on Baal's side and will overturn Mot's throne. Mot

Baal Cycle is afraid, and so declares that Baal is king.


Gibson, John C.L. (1977). Canaanite Myths and Legends. T. & T. Clark. ISBN 0-567-02351-6 Smith, M. S. (1994). The Ugaritic Baal cycle. Volume I, Introduction with text, translation and commentary of KTU 1.1-1.2. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, v. 55. Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-09995-1 Smith, M. S., Pitard, W.(2009). The Ugaritic Baal cycle. volume II. Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU/CAT 1.3-1.4. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, v. 114. Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15348-6

External links
The Ugaritic Myth of Ba'al [1]

[1] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080115123739/ http:/ / www. geocities. com/ SoHo/ Lofts/ 2938/ mythobaal. htm

Babylonian Chronicles
The Babylonian Chronicles are many series of tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography. The Babylonian Chronicles were written from the reign of Nabonassar up to the Parthian Period, by Babylonian astronomers ("Chaldaeans"), who probably used the Astronomical Diaries as their source. Almost all of the tablets are currently in the possession of the British Museum.

List of Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles

Dynastic Chronicle (ABC 18) (translation [1]) (another version of Column 5 [2]) Weidner Chronicle (ABC 19) (translation [3]) Chronicle of the Kassite and Isin Dynasties, also known as Walker's Chronicle (called "Chronicle 25", but not available in ABC) (translation [4]) Chronicle of Early Kings (ABC 20) (translation [5]) Synchronistic History (ABC 21) (one translation [6] and another translation [7]) Chronicle P (ABC 22) (translation [8] and another translation [9]) Chronicle of the Market Prices (ABC 23) (translation [10]) Eclectic Chronicle (ABC 24) (translation [11]) Religious Chronicle (ABC 17) (translation [12]) Nabonassar to Shamash-shum-ukin Chronicle (ABC 1) (translation [13]) Esarhaddon Chronicle (ABC 14) (translation [14]) Shamash-shuma-ukin Chronicle (ABC 15) (translation [15]) (another translation [16]) Akitu Chronicle (ABC 16) (translation [17]) Early Years of Nabopolassar Chronicle (ABC 2) (translation [18]) Fall of Nineveh Chronicle (ABC 3) (translation [19])

Babylonian Chronicles Late Reign of Nabopolassar Chronicle (ABC 4) (translation [20]) First years of Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle, also known as Jerusalem Chronicle (ABC 5) (translation [21]) Third year of Neriglissar Chronicle (ABC 6) (translation [22]) Nabonidus Chronicle (ABC 7) (text and translation [23]) Artaxerxes III Chronicle (ABC 9) (translation [24]) Alexander Chronicle (ABC 8 = BCHP 1) (text and translation [25]) Alexander and Arabia Chronicle (BCHP 2) (text and translation [26]) Diadochi Chronicle (ABC 10 = BCHP 3) (text and translation [27]) Arses and Alexander fragment (BCHP 4) (translation [28]) Antiochus and Sin Temple Chronicle (ABC 11 = BCHP 5) (text and translation [29]) Ruin of Esagila Chronicle (BCHP 6) (text and translation [30]) Antiochus, Bactria, and India Chronicle (ABC 13A = BCHP 7) (text and translation [31]) Juniper garden Chronicle (BCHP 8) (text and translation [32]) End of Seleucus I Chronicle (ABC 12 = BCHP 9) (text and translation [33]) Seleucid Accessions Chronicle (ABC 13 = BCHP 10) (text and translation [34]) Invasion of Ptolemy III Chronicle (BCHP 11) (text and translation [35]) Seleucus III Chronicle (ABC 13B = BCHP 12) (text and translation [36]) Politai Chronicle (BCHP 13) (text and translation [37]) Greek Community Chronicle (BCHP 14) (text and translation [38]) Gold Theft Chronicle (BCHP 15) (text and translation [39]) Document on land and tithes (BCHP 16) (text and translation [40]) Judicial Chronicle (BCHP 17) (text and translation [41]) Bagayasha Chronicle (BCHP 18) Chronicle Concerning an Arsacid King (BCHP 19) (text and translation [42]) Euphrates Chronicle (BCHP 20) (text and translation [43])


Leo Oppenheim's translation of the Nabonidus Chronicle can be found in J. B. Pritchard (ed.) Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (= ANET; 1950, 1955, 1969). The standard edition is A.K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (= ABC; 1975) A translation of Chronicle 25, discovered after the publication of ABC, was published by C.B.F. Walker "Babylonian Chronicle 25: A Chronicle of the Kassite and Isin Dynasties", in G. van Driel e.a. (eds.): Zikir umim: Assyriological Studies Presented to F.R. Kraus on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (= Fs. Kraus; 1982). John Brinkman revises Grayson's reading of ABC 1 [13] in: "The Babylonian Chronicle revisited" in T. Abusch, J. Huehnergard, P. Steinkeller (eds.): Lingering over words. Studies in ancient Near Eastern literature in honor of William L. Moran (1990 Atlanta) Fragments of the chronicles that are relevant to the study of the Bible, can be found in William W. Hallo (ed.), The Context of Scripture, volume 1 (2003 Leiden and Boston). This book also contains the Weidner Chronicle. A recent update of ABC is Jean-Jacques Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles (2004, French version 1993) An even more recent update of ABC is Amlie Kuhrt, The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources of the Achaemenid Period (Routledge, 2007)

Babylonian Chronicles The publication of I. Finkel & R. J. van der Spek, Babylonian Chronicles of the Hellenistic Period (= BCHP) has been announced.


External links
Mesopotamian Chronicles [44]: all Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, and King Lists [45] Literature [46]: Aa list of relevant secondary literature Synchronistic King List, Assyrian King List [47]: translations and bibliographies Cuneiform sources for the history of Hellenistic Babylonia.Edition and Analysis [48]: information about the BCHP Project

[1] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc18/ dynastic1. html [2] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ query?url=http:/ / www. geocities. com/ farfarer2001/ chronicles/ chronicle_18. htm& date=2009-10-25+ 22:03:48 [3] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc19/ weidner. html [4] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ query?url=http:/ / www. geocities. com/ farfarer2001/ chronicles/ walkers_chronicle. html& date=2009-10-25+ 22:04:01 [5] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc20/ kings. html [6] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc21/ synchronistic1. html [7] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ query?url=http:/ / www. geocities. com/ farfarer2001/ chronicles/ synchronistic_history. html%23_edn1& date=2009-10-25+ 22:03:58 [8] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc22/ p. html [9] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ query?url=http:/ / www. geocities. com/ farfarer2001/ chronicles/ chronicle_p. html& date=2009-10-25+ 22:03:55 [10] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc23/ prices. html [11] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc24/ eclectic. html [12] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc17/ religious_chronicle1. html [13] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc1/ abc1_col_i. html [14] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc14/ esarhaddon. html [15] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc15/ samas-suma-ukin. html [16] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ query?url=http:/ / www. geocities. com/ farfarer2001/ chronicles/ chronicle_15. htm& date=2009-10-25+ 22:03:46 [17] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc16/ akitu. html [18] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc2/ early-nabopolassar. html [19] http:/ / www. livius. org/ ne-nn/ nineveh/ nineveh02. html [20] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc4/ late-nabopolassar. html [21] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc5/ jerusalem. html [22] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc6/ neriglissar. html [23] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc7/ abc7_nabonidus1. html [24] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ abc9/ artaxerxes. html [25] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-alexander/ alexander_01. html [26] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-arabia/ arabia_01. html [27] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-diadochi/ diadochi_01. html [28] http:/ / www. livius. org/ aj-al/ alexander/ alexander_t56. html [29] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-antiochus_sin/ antiochus_sin_01. html [30] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-ruin_esagila/ ruin_esagila_01. html [31] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-india/ antiochus_india_01. html [32] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-juniper/ juniper_01. html [33] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-end_seleucus/ seleucus_01. html [34] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-dynastic/ dynastic_01. html [35] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-ptolemy_iii/ bchp_ptolemy_iii_01. html [36] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-seleucus_iii/ seleucus_iii_01. html [37] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-politai/ politai_1. html [38] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-greeks/ greeks_01. html

Babylonian Chronicles
[39] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-gold/ theft_1. html [40] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-tithes/ tithes_1. html [41] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-jud/ jud_1. html [42] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-arsacid/ arsacid_king_1. html [43] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ bchp-euphrates/ euphrates_1. html [44] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ chron00. html [45] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ query?url=http:/ / www. geocities. com/ farfarer2001/ chronicles/ chronicle_index. html& date=2009-10-25+ 22:03:51 [46] http:/ / www. livius. org/ cg-cm/ chronicles/ chron_literature. html [47] http:/ / utenti. lycos. it/ homegape/ mesopot/ histor/ index. html [48] http:/ / www. onderzoekinformatie. nl/ en/ oi/ nod/ onderzoek/ OND1297087/


This article is about a Sumerian literature genre. For the Polish city see: Bag Balag (meaning harper in Sumerian), is a Sumer literature genre. These are hymns for Gods presented by priests. It was usually before ersemmas. It is similar to other Sumer hymns, though its text is usually repetitive. End of these poems also have some reference to this method. This prayer should be repeated. (Literally turn back to its original place) It is the first known example of liturgical repetition. It was a vital genre from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC to the cuneiform script. These texts were copied in the Seleucid Empire and in the Parthian Empire also.

(Hungarian) Vilgirodalmi lexikon I. ktet, A-Cal, ISBN 963-05-4399-0

Balbale (from Sumarian balchange); is a Sumer form of poem; a kind of changing songs, parallelism. Most part of Tammuz and Enkimdu (an adamanduga) consists of changes like this. Theres a reference to balbale in the colophon of the poem. Though it also may refer to the dialogue form of the writing. All hymns signed as balbalaes (Hymns to Ninurta, Hymns for Shu-Sin) contain changing repetitions. It is the most important feature of balbale. Dialogues referred as balbale consist of changing and unchanged periods also.

(Hungarian) Vilgirodalmi lexikon I. ktet, A-Cal, ISBN 963-05-4399-0

Behistun Inscription


Behistun Inscription
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Country Type Criteria Reference Region**

Iran (Islamic Republic of) Cultural ii, iii 1222 [1]


Inscription history
Inscription 2006 (30th Session)

Location of Behistun Inscription in Iran * Name as inscribed on World Heritage List [3] ** Region as classified by UNESCO [2]

The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: < Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the place of god") is a multi-lingual inscription located on Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran. Authored by Darius the Great sometime between his coronation as king of the Persian Empire in the summer of 522 BC and his death in autumn of 486 BC, the inscription begins with a brief autobiography of Darius, including his ancestry and lineage. Later in the inscription, Darius provides a lengthy sequence of events following the deaths of Cyrus the Great and Cambyses II in which he fought nineteen battles in a period of one year (ending in December of 521 BC) to put down multiple rebellions throughout the Persian Empire. The inscription states in detail that the rebellions, which had resulted from the deaths of Cyrus the Great and his son Cambyses II, were orchestrated by several impostors and their co-conspirators in various cities throughout the empire, each of whom falsely proclaimed kinghood during the upheaval following Cyrus's death. Darius the Great proclaimed himself victorious in all battles during the period of upheaval, attributing his success to the "grace of Ahura Mazda".

Behistun Inscription The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a later form of Akkadian). In effect, then, the inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script. The inscription is approximately 15metres high by 25metres wide and 100metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana, respectively). The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him. The supine figure is reputed to be the pretender The ledge below the inscription Gaumata. Darius is attended to the left by two servants, and nine one-metre figures stand to the right, with hands tied and rope around their necks, representing conquered peoples. Faravahar floats above, giving his blessing to the king. One figure appears to have been added after the others were completed, as was Darius's beard, which is a separate block of stone attached with iron pins and lead.


After the fall of the Persian Empire's Achaemenid Dynasty and its successors, and the lapse of Old Persian cuneiform writing into disuse, the nature of the inscription was forgotten, and fanciful explanations became the norm. For centuries, instead of being attributed to Darius I, the Great, it was believed to be from the reign of Khosrau II of Persia one of the last Sassanid kings, who lived over 1000 years after the time of Darius I.
The route up to the inscription

The inscription is mentioned by Ctesias of Cnidus, who noted its existence some time around 400 BCE and mentioned a well and a garden beneath the inscription. He incorrectly concluded that the inscription had been dedicated "by Queen Semiramis of Babylon to Zeus". Tacitus also mentions it and includes a description of some of the long-lost ancillary monuments at the base of the cliff, including an altar to "Herakles". What has been recovered of them, including a statue dedicated in 148 BC, is consistent with Tacitus's description. Diodorus also writes of "Bagistanon" and claims it was inscribed by Semiramis. A legend began around Mount Behistun (Bisutun), as written about by the Persian poet and writer Ferdowsi in his Shahnameh (Book of Kings) circa AD 1000, about a man named Farhad, who was a lover of King Khosrow's wife, Shirin. The legend states that, exiled for his transgression, Farhad was given the task of cutting away the mountain to find water; if he succeeded, he would be given permission to marry Shirin. After many years and the removal of half the mountain, he did find water, but was informed by Khosrow that Shirin had died. He went mad, threw his axe down the hill, kissed the ground and died. It is told in the book of Khosrow and Shirin that his axe was made out of a pomegranate tree, and, where he threw the axe, a pomegranate tree grew with fruit that would cure the ill. Shirin was not dead, according to the story, and mourned upon hearing the news. In 1598, the Englishman Robert Sherley saw the inscription during a diplomatic mission to Persia on behalf of Austria, and brought it to the attention of Western European scholars. His party incorrectly came to the conclusion

Behistun Inscription that it was Christian in origin.[4] French General Gardanne thought it showed "Christ and his twelve apostles", and Sir Robert Ker Porter thought it represented the Lost Tribes of Israel and Shalmaneser of Assyria.[5] Italian explorer Pietro della Valle visited the inscription in the course of a pilgrimage in around 1621CE.


German surveyor Carsten Niebuhr visited in around 1764 for Frederick V of Denmark, publishing a copy of the inscription in the account of his journeys in 1778.[6] Niebuhr's transcriptions were used by Georg Friedrich Grotefend and others in their Column 1 (DB I 1-15), sketch by Friedrich von Spiegel (1881) efforts to decipher the Old Persian cuneiform script. Grotefend had deciphered ten of the 37 symbols of Old Persian by 1802, after realizing that unlike the Semitic cuneiform scripts, Old Persian text is alphabetic and each word is separated by a vertical slanted symbol.[7] The Old Persian text was copied and deciphered before the recovery and copying of the Elamite and Babylonian inscriptions had even been attempted, which proved to be a good deciphering strategy, since Old Persian script was easier to study due to its alphabetic nature and the fact that the language it represents had naturally evolved into Middle Persian, and in turn, to the living modern Persian language dialects as well as the Avestan language, used in the Zoroastrian book the Avesta. In 1835, Sir Henry Rawlinson, an officer of the British East India Company army assigned to the forces of the Shah of Iran, began studying the inscription in earnest. As the town of Bisutun's name was anglicized as "Behistun" at this time, the monument became known as the "Behistun Inscription". Despite its relative inaccessibility, Rawlinson was able to scale the cliff and copy the Old Persian inscription. The Elamite was across a chasm, and the Babylonian four meters above; both were beyond easy reach and were left for later. With the Persian text, and with about a third of the syllabary made available to him by the work of Georg Friedrich Grotefend, Rawlinson set to work on deciphering the text. Fortunately, the first section of this text contained a list of the same Persian kings found in Herodotus in their original Persian forms as opposed to Herodotus's Greek transliterations; for example Darius is given as the original Dryavu instead of the Hellenized . By matching the names and the characters, Rawlinson was able to decipher the type of cuneiform used for Old Persian by 1838 and presented his results to the Royal Asiatic Society in London and the Socit Asiatique in Paris. In the interim, Rawlinson spent a brief tour of duty in Afghanistan, returning to the site in 1843. He first crossed a chasm between the Persian and Elamite scripts by bridging the gap with planks, subsequently copying the Elamite inscription. He was then able to find an enterprising local boy to climb up a crack in the cliff and suspend ropes across the Babylonian writing, so that papier-mch casts of the inscriptions could be taken. Rawlinson, along with scholars Edward Hincks, Julius Oppert, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Edwin Norris, either working separately or in collaboration, eventually deciphered these inscriptions, leading eventually to the ability to read them completely. The translation of the Old Persian sections of the Behistun Inscription paved the way to the subsequent ability to decipher the Elamite and Babylonian parts of the text, which greatly promoted the development of modern Assyriology.

Behistun Inscription


Later research and activity

The site was visited by A. V. Williams Jackson in 1903.[8] Later expeditions, in 1904 sponsored by the British Museum and led by Leonard William King and Reginald Campbell Thompson and in 1948 by George G. Cameron of the University of Michigan, obtained photographs, casts and more accurate transcriptions of the texts, including passages that were not copied by Rawlinson.[9][10][11][12] It also became apparent that rainwater had dissolved some areas of the limestone in which the text was inscribed, while leaving new deposits of limestone over other areas, covering the text. In 1938, the inscription became of interest to the Nazi German think tank Ahnenerbe, although research plans were cancelled due to the onset of World War II. The monument later suffered some damage from soldiers using it for target practice in World War II, during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.[13][14] In 1999, Iranian archeologists began the documentation and assessment of damages to the site incurred during the 20th century. Malieh Mehdiabadi, who was project manager for the effort, described a photogrammetric process by which two-dimensional photos were taken of the inscriptions using two cameras and later transmuted into 3-D images.[15] In recent years, Iranian archaeologists have been undertaking conservation works. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.[16]
Close-up of the inscription showing damage

In 2012, the Bisotun Cultural Heritage Center organized an international effort to rexamine the inscription.[17]

Other historical monuments in the Behistun complex

The site covers an area of 116 hectares. Archeological evidence indicates that this region became a human shelter 40,000 years ago. There are 18 historical monuments other than the inscription of Darius the Great in the Behistun complex that have been registered in the Iranian national list of historical sites. Some of them are:
Hunters' cave Farhad Tarash Median fortress Parthian town Parthian site of worship Khosrow palace Ilkhanid caravanserai Median temple Bas relief of Gotarzes II of Parthia Sheikh Ali khan Zangeneh text endowment Safavid caravanserai Balash stone Carved Sassanian stones Royal Road

Bas relief of Mithridates II of Parthia

Seleucid statue of Herakles

Behistun Inscription


Statue of Herakles in Behistun complex

Bas relief of Mithridates II of Parthia and bas relief of Gotarzes II of Parthia and Sheikh Ali khan Zangeneh text endowment

In the first image, Herakles with curly hair and a beard rests on the lion skin. Beside him, an olive tree is seen carved on the wall, while a quiver full of arrows is hanging from it, and a club resting close by. Behind the head of Herakles, an inscription of seven lines in old Greek is written on a smooth space with a frame similar to Greek temples. According to this inscription, the statue was carved in 139BC on the occasion of a conquest for Seleucid Greeks (under Demetrius II Nicator) against the Parthians (under Mithridates I of Parthia), though the Seleucids were later defeated and driven from the region. The second image is a bas relief of Mithridates II of Parthia: this was carved in 123110BC and represents Parthian king Mithridates and four of his satraps who are respecting the king. Bas relief of Gotarzes II of Parthia shows the conquest of that king over Meherdates, an Arsacid prince who lived in Rome. An inscription in Greek is seen on the left side of the top outer frame of the relief. Sheikh Ali khan Zangeneh text endowment: According to this text, written in Sloth calligraphy, Sheikh Ali khan Zangeneh, a local ruler of the 17th century, dedicates four shares (out of six) of his properties in Ghareh-vali and Chambatan (local villages) for Sadaats (descendants of the prophet Mohammad), and two remaining shares for the Bisotoun Safavid caravansarai.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] http:/ / whc. unesco. org/ en/ list/ 1222 http:/ / whc. unesco. org/ en/ list http:/ / whc. unesco. org/ en/ list/ ?search=& search_by_country=& type=& media=& region=& order=region E. Denison Ross, The Broadway Travellers: Sir Anthony Sherley and his Persian Adventure, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0-415-34486-7 (http:/ / www. archive. org/ download/ travelsingeorgia02port/ travelsingeorgia02port. pdf) Robert Ker Porter, Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, ancient Babylonia, &c. &c. : during the years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820, volume 2, Longman, 1821 [6] Carsten Niebuhr, Reisebeschreibung von Arabien und anderen umliegenden Lndern, 2 volumes, 1774 and 1778 [7] "Old Persian" (http:/ / www. ancientscripts. com/ oldpersian. html). Ancient Scripts. . Retrieved 2010-04-23. [8] A. V. Williams Jackson, The Great Behistun Rock and Some Results of a Re-Examination of the Old Persian Inscriptions on It, Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 24, pp. 77-95, 1903 [9] (http:/ / www. archive. org/ download/ sculpturesinscri00brituoft/ sculpturesinscri00brituoft. pdf) W. King and R. C. Thompson, The sculptures and inscription of Darius the Great on the Rock of Behistn in Persia : a new collation of the Persian, Susian and Babylonian texts, Longmans, 1907 [10] George G. Cameron, The Old Persian Text of the Bisitun Inscription, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 47-54, 1951 [11] George G. Cameron, The Elamite Version of the Bisitun Inscriptions, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 59-68, 1960 [12] W. C. Benedict and Elizabeth von Voigtlander, Darius' Bisitun Inscription, Babylonian Version, Lines 1-29, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-10, 1956 [13] http:/ / ancientstandard. com/ 2011/ 03/ 30/ the-behistun-inscription-the-iranian-rosetta-stone/ [14] http:/ / atlantisonline. smfforfree2. com/ index. php?topic=2799. 5;wap2

Behistun Inscription
[15] "Documentation of Behistun Inscription Nearly Complete" (http:/ / www. chnpress. com/ news/ ?section=2& id=2589). . Retrieved 2010-04-23. [16] "Iran's Bisotoon Historical Site Registered in World Heritage List" (http:/ / www. payvand. com/ news/ 06/ jul/ 1130. html). 2006-07-13. . Retrieved 2010-04-23. [17] (http:/ / www. tehrantimes. com/ arts-and-culture/ 98233-intl-experts-to-reread-bisotun-inscriptions) Intl. experts to reread Bisotun inscriptions, Tehran Times, May 27 2012


Adkins, Lesley, Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2003. Rawlinson, H.C., Archaeologia, 1853, vol. xxxiv, p.74. Thompson, R. Campbell. "The Rock of Behistun". Wonders of the Past. Edited by Sir J. A. Hammerton. Vol. II. New York: Wise and Co., 1937. (pp.760767) "Behistun" ( behistun.html). Retrieved 2010-04-23. Cameron, George G. "Darius Carved History on Ageless Rock". National Geographic Magazine. Vol. XCVIII, Num. 6, December 1950. (pp.825844) Rubio, Gonzalo. "Writing in another tongue: Alloglottography in the Ancient Near East". In Margins of Writing, Origins of Cultures (ed. Seth Sanders. 2nd printing with postscripts and corrections. Oriental Institute Seminars, 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp.3370. "Oriental Institute | Oriental Institute Seminars (OIS)" ( 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2010-04-23. Louis H. Gray, Notes on the Old Persian Inscriptions of Behistun, Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 23, pp.5664, 1902 A. T. Olmstead, Darius and His Behistun Inscription, The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, vol. 55, no. 4, pp.392416, 1938

External links
The Behistun Inscription (, article by Jona Lendering, including Persian text (in cuneiform and transliteration), English translation, and additional materials English translation of the inscription text ( Case Western Reserve University Digital Library ( anoscu00.pdf) the complete text of the Behistun inscription, in transcribed cuneiform and English translation, available in PDF format Brief description of Bisotun ( from UNESCO "Bisotun receives its World Heritage certificate" (, Cultural Heritage News Agency, Tehran, July 3, 2008 Other monuments of Behistun (

Bowl of Utu


Bowl of Utu
The Bowl of Utu also known as the Bowl of Udu, Uhub, Utug, U-tug, Utuk or Utu(k) is an ancient Sumerian bowl from the early 3rd millenium BC. Fragments of the bowl contain eight lines of an inscription. Controversy has surrounded its translation since the 1920s but it is agreed by scholars the fragments contain the earliest mention of Hamazi.

The Bowl
Only two fragments of the bowl are known to exist and were unearthed in Nippur (Ianna Temple) by the archaeologist Hermann Volrath Hilprecht in 1889. The two fragments are only small in size, but contain an extant Sumerian inscription of eight lines. Hilprecht glued the fragments together (the total size being 12 x 14. 5 x 1. 7cm) and first translated part of the inscription in his Old Babylonian Inscriptions (1893).[1] A full translation was undertaken by the French Assyriologist Franois Thureau-Dangin, the chief curator at the Louvre in 1905.[2] The inscription of eight lines reads in full as follows:[3] 1.[Ash] Za [ga-ga] (or Sa) 2. ... U-dug (or Udu) 3. Pat[esi] 4. Ki[sh] (Kish) 5. Enu-zu-zu 6. Gin-Zi 7. Kha-ma-zi-ki (or Khamazi) 8. Sag-gaba-du The English translation reads:[4] 1.[King] Za (Sa) 2.U-dug (or Udu) 3.Priest (or sage) 4.Kish [city] 5.(Son of) Enuzuzu 6.(Son of) Gin-Zi 7.Hamazi (city) 8.Choice broken has deposited The bowl fragments were dated by Hilprecht (1893) to the beginning of the Early Dynastic III (ED IIIa) Period (or Nippur III) c. 2600 BC.[5] Other scholars however have proposed a slightly earlier date, such as the Early Dynastic II (c. 2750 BC).[6] In the early 20th century, Laurence Waddell excavated the ancient temple site at Nippur where the fragments were found and claimed he could date them to c. 3245 BC.[7] Most Assyriologists however have rejected this date. The bowl fragments later came into the possession of Waddell who in 1929 published his own alternative translation (see below).

Bowl of Utu


Meaning of Inscription
Hilprecht and Dangin who translated the fragments considered the inscription to refer to a "cult at Kish", referring to the reference of a Pat[esi] (priest) in line three, placed in line four at the city Ki[sh] (Kish). They also acknowledged that it contained the earliest reference to Hamazi. The reference to King Za (or Sa) they could not identify. The archaeologist C. J. Gadd in 1940 proposed that King Za had conquered Hamazi, but made no attempt to identify him.[8] The bowl also appears mentioned in the literature of Theophilus Pinches, who in 1921 wrote a personal letter to Waddell thanking him of bringing the bowl fragments to his attention.[9] Despite this, Pinches never personally attempted to crack the meaning of the inscription. The origin and meaning of the inscription remains unresolved.

Waddell's Translation
Waddell in 1929 published an alternative translation of the fragments:[10] To King (or Lord) Sagg (or Zagg, Sakh, Dar, In-Dara or Dur, Udu, Gurusha, or Adar) Udu, the priest-king of Kish City the son of Enuzuzu (or Inzuzu) the son of Gin, the established son (of King Sagg) the Khamazi City choice broken (Bowl) has deposited. According to Waddell, King Za or Sa (of line one) should be translated "Zagg" or "Sagg" based on the high probability the broken succeeding letters [ga-ga] were connected. Zagg or Sagg, Waddell identified as "Sakh" (or "Zax") through bilingual glossaries and ancient Babylonian tablets.[11] "Dar" (or "Ind-Dara") and "Udu" in turn were connected through further tablet sources, from which Waddell finally linked to "Gar", "Gaur" or "Gurusha", the first post-deluvian Sumerian king Ngushur or Jusher of Kish listed on the Sumerian King List (WB 444). Gaur or Gar (Gurusha) were names for Nugushur found in earlier translations of the King List, such as Samuel Noah Kramer's translation (1944). From these extant linked names, Waddell also connected Indra (based on Dar),[12] Zeus based on Sakh (Zax)[13] and Odin from Udu (or Uduin) through the Scheil dynastic tablet. Lastly Waddell attempted to establish corrupted Semitic titles of these Gods and equated Adam of the Book of Genesis to the same king Ngushur, who he believed were all different names of this single (Aryan) Sumerian deified king. In Waddell's theory, further elaborated in his British Edda (1930) the Bowl of Utu was a prize the first Sumerian king Ngushur captured from an indigenous cult, of whom he engaged with in conflict before his Sumerian army arrived in the Fertile Crescent c. 3300 - 3200 BC to civilize it. According to Waddell the bowl was later secured and inscribed by Nugusher's grandson, a priest of Kish who is mentioned on the Scheil dynastic tablet, to commemorate their first king. The bowl was subsequently locked in a temple, only to become lost, becoming the basis of the legendary Holy Grail.[14] Waddell identified Hamazi (fragment line 7) with Carchemish in Syria, the location the bowl was supposedly obtained before the Sumerians led by king Ngushur arrived in Mesopotamia (the Fertile Crescent).

Bowl of Utu


References and Notes

[1] "The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania". Series A: Cuneiform texts (1893), Vol. 1 pt. 2. Hilprecht, H.V. "Old Babylonian Inscriptions chiefly from Nippur", plate 46, p. 49 (Trans Am. Phil. Soc.' N.S XIIII. 8). More information on the bowl is found in Laurence Waddell's "Makers of Civilization in Race and History" (1929, p. 94 ff). [2] "Les inscript Sumer er d' Akkad", F. Paris 1905, p. 229. [3] Tr. Dangin and Hilprecht (Waddell, 1929). [4] Tr. Dangin and Hilprecht (Waddell, 1929). [5] "Old Babylonian Inscriptions chiefly from Nippur", plate 46, p. 49. [6] Early Dynastic Dedication Inscriptions from Nippur, Albrecht Goetze, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2 , 1970, p. 39-56. [7] Waddell, 1929, pp. 88-101. [8] "Fragments of an Early Sumerian Inscribed Bowl", C. J. Gadd, The British Museum Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2, Jun., 1940, pp. 32-33. [9] In a typed letter dated 24 February 1921 with the address 'Sipapra, 10 Oxford Road, Kilburn, London'. [10] Waddell, 1929, p. 95. [11] Waddell, 1929, p. 95. footnote. 2. [12] Waddell, 1929, p. 79. [13] Waddell, 1929, p. 147. [14] Waddell, 1929, p. 88.

Clay tablet
In the Ancient Near East, clay tablets (Akkadianuppu(m) [1]) were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Ageand well into the Iron Age. Cuneiform characters were imprinted on a wet clay tablet with a stylus often made of reed (reed pen). Once written upon, many tablets were dried in the sun or air, remaining fragile. Later, these unfired clay tablets could be soaked in water and recycled into new clean tablets. Other tablets, once written, were grilled in a kennal or fired in kilns (or inadvertently, when buildings were burnt down by accident or during conflict) making them hard and durable. Collections of these clay documents made up the very first archives. They were at the root of first libraries. Tens of thousands of written tablets, including many fragments, have been found in the Middle East.[2][3] In the Minoan/Mycenaean civilizations, writing has not been observed for any use other than accounting. Tablets serving as labels, with the impression of the side of a wicker basket on the back, and tablets List of the victories of Rimush, king of Akkad, showing yearly summaries, suggest a sophisticated accounting system. upon Abalgamash, king of Marhashi, and upon In this cultural region the tablets were never fired deliberately, as the Elamite cities. Clay tablet, copy of a clay was recycled on an annual basis. However, some of the tablets monumental inscription, ca. 2270 BCE. (see Manishtushu Obelisk) were "fired" as a result of uncontrolled fires in the buildings where they were stored. The rest are still tablets of unfired clay, and extremely fragile; some modern scholars are investigating the possibility of firing them now, as an aid to preservation.

The Trtria tablets, thought to be from the Danubian civilization, may be older still, having been carbon dated to before 4000 BCE, and possibly dating from as long ago as 5500 BCE, but their interpretation remains

Clay tablet controversial.[4]


[1] Black, Jeremy Allen; George, Andrew R.; Postgate, Nicholas (2000). A concise dictionary of Akkadian (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=-qIuVCsRb98C& pg=PA415& lpg=PA415& dq=clay+ tablet+ tuppu#v=onepage& q=clay tablet& f=false) (2nd ed.). Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag. p.415. ISBN978-3-447-04264-2. LCCN00336381. OCLC44447973. . [2] Guisepi, Robert Anthony; F. Roy Willis (2003). "Ancient Sumeria" (http:/ / history-world. org/ sumeria. htm). International World History Project (http:/ / history-world. org/ ). Robert A. Guisepi. . Retrieved 5 November 2010. [3] The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative gives an estimate of 500000 for the total number of tablets (or fragments) that have been found. [4] Ioana Crian; Marco Merlini. "Signs on Tartaria Tablets found in the Romanian folkloric art" (http:/ / www. prehistory. it/ ftp/ arta_populara01. htm). Prehistory Knowledge (http:/ / www. prehistory. it/ ). The Global Prehistory Consortium, Euro Innovanet. . Retrieved 5 November 2010.

Code of Hammurabi


Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi

Side view of the stele "fingertip". Created Author(s) Purpose ~ 1772 BC Hammurabi Legal code

Code on clay tablet

Code on diorite stele

The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (lex talionis)[1] as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man.[2] Nearly one-half of the Code deals with matters of contract, establishing for example the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, establishing the liability of a builder for a house that collapses, for example, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another. A third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family relationships such as inheritance, divorce, paternity and sexual behavior. Only one provision appears to impose obligations on an official; this provision establishes that a judge who reaches an incorrect decision is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently.[3] A handful of provisions address issues related to military service.

Code of Hammurabi One nearly complete example of the Code survives today, on a diorite stele in the shape of a huge index finger,[4] 2.25m or 7.4ft tall (see images at right). The Code is inscribed in the Akkadian language, using cuneiform script carved into the stele. It is currently on display in The Louvre, with exact replicas in the Oriental Institute in the University of Chicago, the library of the Theological University of the Reformed Churches (Dutch: Theologische Universiteit Kampen voor de Gereformeerde Kerken) in The Netherlands and the Pergamon Museum of Berlin.


Hammurabi ruled for 42 years, ca. 1792 to 1750 BC according to the Middle chronology. In the preface to the law code, he states, "Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared Marduk, the chief god of Babylon (The Human Record, Andrea & Overfield 2005), to bring about the rule in the land."[5] On the stone slab there are 44 columns and 28 paragraphs that contained over 282 laws.[6] In 1901, Egyptologist Gustave Jquier, a member of an expedition headed by Jacques de Morgan, found the stele containing the Code of Hammurabi in what is now Khzestn, Iran (ancient Susa, Elam), where it had been taken as plunder by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte in the 12th century BC.

The Code of Hammurabi was one of several sets of laws in the ancient Near East.[7] The code of laws was arranged in orderly groups, so that everyone who read the laws, would know what was required of them.[8] Earlier collections of laws include the Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BC), the Laws of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BC) and the codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BC), while later ones include the Hittite laws, the Assyrian laws, and Mosaic Law.[9] These codes come from similar cultures in a relatively small geographical area, and they have passages which resemble each other.[10] The Code of Hammurabi is the longest surviving text from the Old Babylonian period.[11] The code has been seen as an early example of a fundamental law regulating a government i.e., a primitive form of what is now known as a constitution.[12][13] The code is also one of the earliest examples of the idea of presumption of innocence, and it also suggests that both the accused and accuser have the opportunity to provide evidence.[14] The occasional nature of many provisions suggests that the Code may be better read as a codification of supplementary judicial decisions of the king. Rather than being a modern legal code or constitution, it may have as its purpose the self-glorification of Hammurabi by memorializing his wisdom and justice. Its copying in subsequent generations indicates that it was used as a model of legal and judicial reasoning.[15]

Figures at top of stele "fingernail" above Hammurabi's code of laws.

Code of Hammurabi


Other copies
Various copies of portions of the Code of Hammurabi have been found on baked clay tablets, some possibly older than the celebrated diorite stele now in the Louvre. The Prologue of the Code of Hammurabi (the first 305 inscribed squares on the stele) is on such a tablet, also at the Louvre (Inv #AO 10237). Some gaps in the list of benefits bestowed on cities recently annexed by Hammurabi may imply that it is older than the famous stele (it is currently dated to the early 18th century BC).[16] Likewise, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, part of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, also has a "Code of Hammurabi" clay tablet, dated to 1750 BC, in (Room 5, Inv # Ni 2358).[17][18]

Hammurabi stele at American Museum of Natural History, New York, 2012

In July, 2010, archaeologists reported that a fragmentary Akkadian cuneiform tablet was discovered at Tel Hazor, Israel, containing a ca. 1700 BC text that was said to be partly parallel to portions of the Hammurabi code. The Hazor law code fragments are currently being prepared for publication by a team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[19]

Laws covered
The laws covered the subjects of: Religion Military service Trade Slavery The duties of workers

[1] Review: The Code of Hammurabi, J. Dyneley Prince, The American Journal of Theology Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul., 1904), pp. 601609 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http:/ / www. jstor. org/ stable/ 3153895 [2] Gabriele Bartz, Eberhard Knig, (Arts and Architecture), Knemann, Kln, (2005), ISBN 3-8331-1943-8. The laws were based with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye" depending on social status. [3] http:/ / www. commonlaw. com/ Hammurabi. html Code of Hammurabi [4] Iconographic Evidence for Some Mesopotamian Cult Statues, Dominique Collon, Die Welt der Gtterbilder, Edited by Groneberg, Brigitte; , Spieckermann, Hermann; , and Weiershuser, Frauke, Berlin, New York (Walter de Gruyter) 2007 Pages 5784 [5] Edited by Richard Hooker; Translated by L.W King (1996). "Mesopotamia: The Code of Hammurabi" (http:/ / www. wsu. edu/ ~dee/ MESO/ CODE. HTM). Washington State University. . Retrieved September 14, 2007. [6] "Hammurabi's Code" (http:/ / library. thinkquest. org/ 20176/ hammurabis_code. htm), Think Quest, retrieved on Nov 2,2011. [7] L. W. King (2005). "The Code of Hammurabi: Translated by L. W. King" (http:/ / www. yale. edu/ lawweb/ avalon/ medieval/ hamframe. htm). Yale University. . Retrieved September 14, 2007. [8] "The Code of Hammurabi: Introduction," (http:/ / www. fordham. edu/ halsall/ ancient/ hamcode. asp), Ancient History Sourcebook, March 1998, retrieved on 02 November 2011. [9] Barton, G.A: Archaeology and the Bible. University of Michigan Library, 2009, (originally published in 1916 by American Sunday-School Union) p.406. [10] Barton 2009, p.406. Barton, a scientisr of Semitic languages at the University of Pennsylvania from 1922 to 1931, stated that while there are similarities between the Mosaic Law and the Code of Hammurabi, a study of the entirety of both laws "convinces the student that the laws of the Old Testament are in no essential way dependent upon the Babylonian laws." He states that "such resemblances" arose from "a similarity of antecedents and of general intellectual outlook" between the two cultures, but that "the striking differences show that there was no direct borrowing." [11] "The Code of Hammurabi," (http:/ / www. historyguide. org/ ancient/ hammurabi. html), The History Guide, 03 August 2009, Retrieved on 02 November 2011. [12] What is a Constitution? William David Thomas, Gareth Stevens (2008) p. 8

Code of Hammurabi
[13] Flach, Jacques. Le Code de Hammourabi et la constitution originaire de la propriete dans l'ancienne Chaldee. (Revue historique. Paris, 1907. 8. v. 94, p. 272-289. [14] Victimology:Theories and Applications, Ann Wolbert Burgess, Albert R. Roberts, Cheryl Regehr,Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2009, p. 103 [15] For this alternative interpretation see Jean Bottro, "The 'Code' of Hammurabi" in Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning and the Gods (University of Chicago, 1992), pp. 156184. [16] Fant, Clyde E. and Mitchell G. Reddish (2008), Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible Through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Dj6zVQJz7zYC& pg=PA62& lpg=PA62& dq="Code+ of+ Hammurabi"+ AND+ 2358& source=bl& ots=h-WEMEm_S7& sig=otruVc43aRR7ge-2v-78tcMQih8& hl=en& ei=tU1iSrvWNdmOtgfjr9EC& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=3), Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., pg 62. [17] Freely, John, Blue Guide Istanbul (5th ed., 2000), London: A&C Black, New York: WW Norton, pg 121. ("The most historic of the inscriptions here [i.e., Room 5, Museum of the Ancient Orient, Istanbul] is the famous Code of Hammurabi (#Ni 2358) dated 1750 BC, the world's oldest recorded set of laws.") [18] Museum of the Ancient Orient website (http:/ / english. istanbul. gov. tr/ Default. aspx?pid=13150) ("This museum contains a rich collection of ancient ... archaeological finds, including ... seals from Nippur and a copy of the Code of Hammurabi.") [19] Tablet Discovered by Hebrew U Matches Code of Hammurabi (http:/ / www. israelnationalnews. com/ News/ News. aspx/ 138788)


Driver, G.R. & J.C. Miles (2007). The Babylonian Laws. Eugene: Wipf and Stock. ISBN1-55635-229-8. Roth, Martha T. (1997). Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Atlanta: Scholars Press. ISBN0-7885-0378-2. Bryant, Tamera (2005). The Life & Times of Hammurabi. Bear: Mitchell Lane Publishers. ISBN978-1-58415-338-2. Mieroop, Marc (2004). King Hammurabi of Babylon: a Biography. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN978-1-4051-2660-1. Hammurabi, King; C. H. W. Johns (Translator) (2000). The Oldest Code of Laws in the World. City: Lawbook Exchange Ltd. ISBN978-1-58477-061-9. Falkenstein, A. (195657). Die neusumerischen Gerichtsurkunden IIII. Mnchen. Elsen-Novk, G./Novk, M.: Der 'Knig der Gerechtigkeit'. Zur Ikonologie und Teleologie des 'Codex' Hammurapi. In: Baghdader Mitteilungen 37 (2006), pp.131156. Julius Oppert and Joachim Menant (1877). Documents juridiques de l'Assyrie et de la Chaldee. Pars. Thomas, D. Winton, ed. (1958). Documents from Old Testament Times. London and New York. Beck, Roger B.; Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, Dahia Ibo Shabaka, (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN0-395-87274-X.

External links

The Code of Hammurabi Translated by L. W. King ( HG-Hammu (, Charles F. Horne, Ph.D. (1915). "The Code of Hammurabi : Introduction" ( avalon/medieval/hammint.htm). Yale University. Retrieved September 14, 2007. ( Includes soundfiles with extracts from the Code being read in Babylonian by a modern scholar. Law Code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon | Muse du Louvre ( detail_notice. jsp;jsessionid=HKtvj0psv5RnwxZmHFSyPpMhwMxtM0r26Pkk7JDT5QTN3QsJ58Qt!168458495?CONTENT<>cnt_id=1013419 CURRENT_LLV_NOTICE<>cnt_id=10134198673226487&FOLDER<>folder_id=9852723696500800& baseIndex=0&bmLocale=en) English Translation | University of Evansville ( Code Of Hammurabi Ancestor of Modern Law (

Code of Hammurabi Complete scientific English translation of the Code of Hammurabi ( php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php?title=1276&Itemid=27) Hammurabi's Code ('s+Code), Blaise Joseph, Clio History Journal, 2009.


Code of the Nesilim

The Code of Nesilim is an ancient Hittite legal code dating from c. 1650-1500 BCE.[1][2][3][4]

From the Ancient History Sourcebook,[5] The Code of the Nesilim, c. 1650-1500 BCE, Paul Halsall, August 1998, from: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 9-11 and scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg has modernized the text: 1. If anyone slay a man or woman in a quarrel, he shall bring this one. He shall also give four persons, either men or women, he shall let them go to his home. 2. If anyone slay a male or female slave in a quarrel, he shall bring this one and give two persons, either men or women, he shall let them go to his home. 3. If anyone smite a free man or woman and this one die, he shall bring this one and give two persons, he shall let them go to his home. 4. If anyone smite a male or female slave, he shall bring this one also and give one person, he shall let him or her go to his home. 5. If anyone slay a merchant of Hatti, he shall give one and a half pounds of silver, he shall let it go to his home. 6. If anyone blind a free man or knock out his teeth, formerly they would give one pound of silver, now he shall give twenty half-shekels of silver. 8. If anyone blind a male or female slave or knock out their teeth, he shall give ten half-shekels of silver, he shall let it go to his home. 10. If anyone injure a man so that he cause him suffering, he shall take care of him. Yet he shall give him a man in his place, who shall work for him in his house until he recovers. But if he recover, he shall give him six half-shekels of silver. And to the physician this one shall also give the fee. 17. If anyone cause a free woman to miscarry, if it be the tenth month, he shall give ten half-shekels of silver, if it be the fifth month, he shall give five half-shekels of silver. 18. If anyone cause a female slave to miscarry, if it be the tenth month, he shall give five half-shekels of silver. 20. If any man of Hatti steal a Nesian slave and lead him here to the land of Hatti, and his master discover him, he shall give him twelve half-shekels of silver, he shall let it go to his home. 21. If anyone steal a slave of a Luwian from the land of Luwia, and lead him here to the land of Hatti, and his master discover him, he shall take his slave only. 24. If a male or female slave run away, he at whose hearth his master finds him or her, shall give fifty half-shekels of silver a year. 31. If a free man and a female slave be fond of each other and come together and he take her for his wife and they set up house and get children, and afterward they either become hostile or come to close quarters, and they divide the house between them, the man shall take the children, only one child shall the woman take.

Code of the Nesilim 32. If a slave take a woman as his wife, their case is the same. The majority of the children to the wife and one child to the slave. 33. If a slave take a female slave their case is the same. The majority of children to the female slave and one child to the slave. 34. If a slave convey the bride price to a free son and take him as husband for his daughter, nobody dare surrender him to slavery. 36. If a slave convey the bride price to a free son and take him as husband for his daughter, nobody dare surrender him to slavery. 40. If a soldier disappear, and a vassal arise and the vassal say, AThis is my military holding, but this other one is my tenancy,@ and lay hands upon the fields of the soldier, he may both hold the military holding and perform the tenancy duties. If he refuse the military service, then he forfeits the vacant fields of the soldier. The men of the village shall cultivate them. If the king give a captive, they shall give the fields to him, and he becomes a soldier. 98. If a free man set a house ablaze, he shall build the house, again. And whatever is inside the house, be it a man, an ox, or a sheep that perishes, nothing of these he need compensate. 99. If a slave set a house ablaze, his master shall compensate for him. The nose of the slave and his ears they shall cut off, and give him back to his master. But if he do not compensate, then he shall give up this one. 158. If a man go for wages, bind sheaves, load it into carts, spread it on the straw barn and so forth "till they clear the threshing floor, for three months his wages are thirty pecks of barley. If a woman go for wages in the harvest, for two months he shall give twelve pecks of barley. 159. If anyone harness a yoke of oxen, his wages are one-half peck of barley. 160. If a smith make a copper box, his wages are one hundred pecks of barley. He who makes a copper dish of two-pound weight, his wages are one peck of emmer. 164. If anyone come for borrowing, then make a quarrel and throw down either bread or wine jug, then he shall give one sheep, ten loaves, and one jug of beer. Then he cleanses his house by the offering. Not until the year has elapsed may he salute again the other's house. 170. If a free man kill a serpent and speak the name of another, he shall give one pound of silver; if a slave, this one shall die. 173. If anyone oppose the judgment of the king, his house shall become a ruin. If anyone oppose the judgment of a lord, his head shall be cut off. If a slave rise against his master, he shall go into the pit. 176. If anyone buy an artisan's apprentice, buy either a potter, a smith, a carpenter, a leatherworker, a tailor, a weaver, or a lace-maker, he shall give ten half-shekels. 178. A plow-ox costs fifteen half-shekels of silver, a bull costs ten half-shekels of silver, a great cow costs seven half-shekels of silver, a sheep one half-shekel of silver, a draft horse twenty half-shekels of silver, a mule one pound of silver, a horse fourteen half-shekels of silver. 181-182. Four pounds of copper cost one half-shekel of silver; one tub of lard, one half-shekel of silver; two cheese one half-shekel of silver; a gown twelve half-shekels of silver; one blue woolen garment costs twenty half-shekels of silver; breeches cost ten half-shekels of silver. . . 187. If a man have intercourse with a cow, it is a capital crime, he shall die. They shall lead him to the king's hall. But the king may kill him, the king may grant him his life. But he shall not approach the king. 188. If a man have intercourse with his own mother, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If a man have intercourse with a daughter, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If a man have intercourse with a son, it is a capital crime, he shall die. 190. If a man and a woman come willingly, as men and women, and have intercourse, there shall be no punishment. And if a man have intercourse with his stepmother, there shall be no punishment; except if his father is living, it is a capital crime, the son shall die.


Code of the Nesilim 191. If a free man picks up now this woman, now that one, now in this country, then in that country, there shall be no punishment if they came together sexually willingly. 192. If the husband of a woman die, his wife may take her husband's patrimony. 194. If a free man pick up female slaves, now one, now another, there is no punishment for intercourse. If brothers sleep with a free woman, together, or one after the other, there is no punishment. If father and son sleep with a female slave or harlot, together, or one after the other, there is no punishment. 195. If a man sleep with the wife of his brother, while his brother is living, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If a man have taken a free woman, then have intercourse also with her daughter, it is a capital crime, he shall die. If he have taken her daughter, then have intercourse with her mother or her sister, it is a capital crime, he shall die. 197. If a man rape a woman in the mountain, it is the man's wrong, he shall die. But if he rape her in the house, it is the woman's fault, the woman shall die. If the husband find them and then kill them, there is no punishing the husband. 199. If anyone have intercourse with a pig or a dog, he shall die. If a man have intercourse with a horse or a mule, there is no punishment. But he shall not approach the king, and shall not become a priest. If an ox spring upon a man for intercourse, the ox shall die but the man shall not die. One sheep shall be fetched as a substitute for the man, and they shall kill it. If a pig spring upon a man for intercourse, there is no punishment. If any man have intercourse with a foreign woman and pick up this one, now that one, there is no punishment. 200. If anyone give a son for instruction, be it a carpenter, or a potter, or a weaver, or a tailor, or a smith, he shall give six half-shekels of silver for the instruction. [6]


[1] From: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 9-11. [2] http:/ / www. fordham. edu/ halsall/ ancient/ 1650nesilim. html [3] http:/ / www. mariner. org/ captivepassage/ introduction/ int003. html [4] http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=tVeh3C8XGP4C& pg=PA15& lpg=PA15& dq=Code+ of+ the+ Nesilim& source=bl& ots=DE5l3ulb92& sig=dFmYDlls5gEcxrERLU3QtEn0Oqc& hl=en& ei=CXMbSvaWMt-wtge9lOXqDA& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=2 [5] http:/ / www. fordham. edu/ halsall/ ancient/ asbook. html [6] Source:

From: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1901), Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 9-11. Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg has modernized the text. This text is part of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. No representation is made about texts which are linked off-site, although in most cases these are also public domain. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use. Paul Halsall, August 1998

Crook-staff (Luwian hieroglyph)


Crook-staff (Luwian hieroglyph)

The Crook (Luwian hieroglyph) is a Luwian language hieroglyph identical to the Egyptian language hieroglyph known as gardiner's S39, the common crook shape of a staff. A different crook-staff, the most common crook-staff shape from ancient Egypt is the "heqaCrook", which is used in Egypt for ruler, governor, prince, chief, etc. For example: "The Governor of On-(Heliopolis)".

Crook, common shape

Crook of Hieroglyphic Luwian (also found with a 'circle-shaped' end) The Luwian crook, (Gardiner type S39), is a straight staff with a curving end.

An ancient Egyptian heqa "crook" staff-(a less circular crook example is shown), (Gardiner S38). (Gardiner S39 has no circle-shape, only the curving end.)

Luwian language Lituus

The 'staff' hieroglyph is called "Lituus" in a Roman-(Latin language), convention; (see the ext link: ancientscripts).

External links
The Luwian hieroglyphic script [1] -

Budge. A Hieroglyphic Vocabulary to the Book of the Dead, E.A.Wallace Budge, (Dover Publications edition), c 1991, (c 1911, original as the Kegan Paul edition). pp 281-282 for entry of heq, "sceptre, emblem of rule, ruler, governor,...etc" (softcover, ISBN 0-486-26724-5)

Stele with 7 registers of hieroglyphs. 2 examples are in Register 6-(from bottom); both are more similar to Egypt's S38, instead of the Luwian language's S39 crook.

[1] http:/ / www. ancientscripts. com/ luwian. html




Sumerian inscription in monumental archaic style, c. 26th century BC Type Languages Time period Logographic and syllabic Akkadian, Eblaite, Elamite, Hattic, Hittite, Hurrian, Luwian, Sumerian, Urartian c. 30th century BC to 1st century AD

Parent systems (Proto-writing) Child systems Cuneiform

none; apparently inspired Old Persian, influenced shape of Ugaritic Xsux, 020 Left-to-right Cuneiform

ISO 15924 Direction Unicode alias

Unicode range U+12000 to U+123FF [1] (Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform) [2] U+12400 to U+1247F (Numbers) Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols.

Cuneiform script[3] is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium (the Uruk IV period), cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs. In the three millennia the script spanned, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use also grew gradually smaller, from about 1,000 unique characters in the Early Bronze Age to about 400 unique characters in Late Bronze Age (Hittite cuneiform). The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Akkadian, Eblaite, Elamite, Hittite, Luwian, Hattic, Hurrian, and Urartian languages, and it inspired the Ugaritic and Old Persian alphabets. Cuneiform writing was gradually replaced by the Phoenician alphabet during the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and by the 2nd century AD, the script had become extinct. Cuneiform documents were written on clay tablets, by means of a blunt reed for a stylus. The impressions left by the stylus were wedge shaped, thus giving rise to the name cuneiform ("wedge shaped", from the Latin cuneus, meaning "wedge").



The cuneiform writing system was in use for more than 35 centuries, through several stages of development, from the 34th century BC down to the 1st century AD.[4] It was completely replaced by alphabetic writing (in the general sense) in the course of the Roman era and there are no Cuneiform systems in current use. For this reason, it had to be deciphered from scratch in 19th century Assyriology. Successful completion of decipherment is dated to 1857. The system consists of a combination of logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs.[5]
The cuneiform script underwent considerable changes over a period of more than two millennia. The image below shows the development of the sign SAG "head" (Borger nr. 184, U+12295 ).

Stages: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. shows the pictogram as it was drawn around 3000 BC shows the rotated pictogram as written around 2800 BC shows the abstracted glyph in archaic monumental inscriptions, from ca. 2600 BC is the sign as written in clay, contemporary to stage 3 represents the late 3rd millennium represents Old Assyrian ductus of the early 2nd millennium, as adopted into Hittite is the simplified sign as written by Assyrian scribes in the early 1st millennium, and until the script's extinction.

Proto-literate period
The cuneiform script proper emerges out of pictographic proto-writing in the later 4th millennium. Mesopotamia's "proto-literate" period spans the 35th to 32nd centuries. The first documents unequivocally written in the Sumerian language date to the 31st century, found at Jemdet Nasr. Some ten millennia ago the Sumerians began using clay tokens to count their agricultural and manufactured goods. Later they began placing the tokens in large, hollow, clay containers (bulla) which were sealed; the quantity of tokens in each container came to be expressed by impressing, on the container's surface, one picture for each instance of the token inside. They next dispensed with the tokens, relying solely on symbols for the tokens, drawn on clay surfaces. To avoid making a picture for each instance of the same object (for example: 100 pictures of a hat to represent 100 hats), they 'counted' the objects by using various small marks. In this way the Sumerians added "a system for enumerating objects to their incipient system of symbols". Thus writing began, during the Uruk period c. 3300 BC.[5] Originally, pictograms were either drawn on clay tablets in vertical columns with a pen made from a sharpened reed stylus, or incised in stone. This early style lacked the characteristic wedge shape of the strokes. Certain signs to indicate names of gods, countries, cities, vessels, birds, trees, etc., are known as determinants, and were the Sumerian signs of the terms in question, added as a guide for the reader. Proper names continued to be usually written in purely "logographic" fashion. From about 2900 BC, many pictographs began to lose their original function, and a given sign could have various meanings depending on context. The sign inventory was reduced from some 1,500 signs to some 600 signs, and writing became increasingly phonological. Determinative signs were re-introduced to avoid ambiguity. This process is chronologically parallel to, and possibly not independent of, the development of Egyptian hieroglyphic orthography.



Archaic cuneiform
Further information: Liste der archaischen Keilschriftzeichen In the mid-3rd millennium BC, writing direction was changed to left to right in horizontal rows (rotating all of the pictograms 90 counter-clockwise in the process), and a new wedge-tipped stylus was used which was pushed into the clay, producing wedge-shaped ("cuneiform") signs; these two developments made writing quicker and easier. By adjusting the relative position of the tablet to the stylus, the writer could use a single tool to make a variety of impressions. Cuneiform tablets could be fired in kilns to provide a permanent record, or they could be recycled if permanence was not needed. Many of the clay tablets found by archaeologists were preserved because they were fired when attacking armies burned the building in which they were kept.

Letter sent by the high-priest Lu'enna to the king of Lagash (maybe Urukagina), informing him of his son's death in combat, c. 2400 BC, found in Telloh (ancient Girsu).

The script was also widely used on commemorative stelae and carved reliefs to record the achievements of the ruler in whose honour the monument had been erected. The spoken language consisted of many similar sounds and in the beginning the words "Life" [ti] and "Arrow" [til] were described in writing by the same symbol. After the Semites conquered Southern Mesopotamia, some signs gradually changed from being pictograms to syllabograms, most likely to make things clearer in writing. In that way the sign for the word "Arrow" would become the sign for the sound "ti". If a sound would represent many different words the words would all have different signs, for instance the syllable "gu" had fourteen different symbols. When the words had similar meaning but very different sounds they were written with the same symbol. For instance "tooth" [zu], "mouth" [ka] and "voice" [gu] were all written with the symbol for "voice". To be more accurate they started adding to signs or combine two signs to define the meaning. They used either geometrical patterns or another cuneiform sign.[5] As time went by the cuneiform got very complex and the distinction between a pictogram and syllabogram became vague. Several symbols had too many meanings to permit clarity. Therefore, symbols were put together to indicate both the sound and the meaning of compound. The word "Raven" [UGA] had the same logogram as the words "soap" [NAGA] "name of a city" [ERESH] and "the patron goddess of Eresh" [NISABA]. Two phonetic complements were used to define the word [u] in front of the symbol and [gu] behind. Finally the symbol for "bird" [MUSHEN] was added to ensure proper interpretation. The written part of the Sumerian language was used as a learned written language until the 1st century AD. The spoken language died out around the 18th century BC.[5]



Akkadian cuneiform
The archaic cuneiform script was adopted by the Akkadians from ca. 2500 BC, and by 2000 BC had evolved into Old Assyrian cuneiform, with many modifications to Sumerian orthography. The Semitic equivalents for many signs became distorted or abbreviated to form new "phonetic" values, because the syllabic nature of the script as refined by the Sumerians was unintuitive to Semitic speakers. At this stage, the former pictograms were reduced to a high level of abstraction, and were composed of only five basic wedge shapes: horizontal, vertical, two diagonals and the Winkelhaken impressed vertically by the tip of the stylus. The signs exemplary of these basic wedges are A (B001, U+12038) : horizontal; DI (B748, U+12079) : vertical; GE23, DI ten (B575, U+12039) : downward diagonal; GE22 (B647, U+1203A) : upward diagonal; U (B661, U+1230B) : the Winkelhaken.
A list of Sumerian deities, ca. 2400 BC

Except for the Winkelhaken which is tail-less, the length of the wedges' tails could vary as required for sign composition. Signs tilted by (ca.) 45 degrees are called ten in Akkadian, thus DI is a vertical wedge and DI ten a diagonal one. Signs modified with additional wedges are called gun, and signs crosshatched with additional Winkelhaken are called eig. "Typical" signs have usually in the range of about five to ten wedges, while complex ligatures can consist of twenty or more (although it is not always clear if a ligature should be considered a single sign or two collated but still distinct signs); the ligature KAxGUR7 consists of 31 strokes. Most later adaptations of Sumerian cuneiform preserved at least some aspects of the Sumerian script. Written Akkadian included phonetic symbols from the Sumerian syllabary, together with logograms that were read as whole words. Many signs in the script were polyvalent, having both a syllabic and logographic meaning. The complexity of the system bears a resemblance to old Japanese, written in a Chinese-derived script, where some of these Sinograms were used as logograms, and others as phonetic characters.

Assyrian cuneiform
This "mixed" method of writing continued through the end of the Babylonian and Assyrian empires, although there were periods when "purism" was in fashion and there was a more marked tendency to spell out the words laboriously, in preference to using signs with a phonetic complement. Yet even in those days, the Babylonian syllabary remained a mixture of logographic and phonemic writing.

Cuneiform tablet from the Kirkor Minassian collection in the US Library of Congress, ca. 24th century BC.



Hittite cuneiform is an adaptation of the Old Assyrian cuneiform of ca. 1800 BC to the Hittite language. When the cuneiform script was adapted to writing Hittite, a layer of Akkadian logographic spellings was added to the script, thus the pronunciations of many Hittite words which were conventionally written by logograms are now unknown. In the Iron Age (ca. 10th to 6th c. BC), Assyrian cuneiform was further simplified. From the 6th century, the Assyrian language was marginalized by Aramaic, written in the Aramaean alphabet, but Neo-Assyrian cuneiform remained in use in literary tradition well into Parthian times ( 250 BC-226 AD ). The last known cuneiform inscription, an astronomical text, was written in 75 AD.[6]

Derived scripts
The complexity of the system prompted the development of a number of simplified versions of the script. Old Persian was written in a subset of simplified cuneiform characters known today as Old Persian cuneiform. It formed a semi-alphabetic syllabary, using far fewer wedge strokes than Assyrian used, together with a handful of logograms for frequently occurring words like "god" and "king". The Ugaritic language was written using the Ugaritic alphabet, a standard Semitic style alphabet (an abjad) written using the cuneiform method.

One of the Amarna letters, 14th century BC.

For centuries, travellers to Persepolis, in modern-day Iran, had noticed carved cuneiform inscriptions and were intrigued.[7] Attempts at deciphering these Old Persian writings date back to Arabic/Persian historians of the medieval Islamic world, though these early attempts at decipherment were largely unsuccessful.[8]

sign () was a Sumerian compound marker, and appears frequently in ligatures enclosing other signs. GUR7 is itself a ligature of SG.A.ME.U, meaning "to pile up; grain-heap" (Akkadian kamru; kar).

Neo-Assyrian ligature KAxGUR7 (); the KA

In the 15th century the Venetian Barbero explored the ancient ruins of Middle East and came back with news of a very odd writing he had found carved on the stones in the temples of Shiraz and on many clay tablets. In 1625 the Roman traveler Pietro Della Valle, coming back from Mesopotamia and Persia, brought back a tablet written in cuneiform glyphs he had found in Ur, and also the copy of five characters he had seen in Persepolis. Della Valle understood that the writing had to be read from left to right, following the direction of wedges. However he didn't attempt to decipher the scripts. Englishman Sir Thomas Herbert, in the 1634 edition of his travel book A relation of some yeares travaile, reported seeing at Persepolis carved on the wall a dozen lines of strange charactersconsisting of figures, obelisk, triangular, and pyramidal and thought they resembled Greek. In the 1664 edition he reproduced some and thought they were legible and intelligible and therefore decipherable. He also guessed, correctly, that they represented not letters or hieroglyphics but words and syllables, and were to be read from left to right.[7] Herbert is rarely mentioned in standard histories of the decipherment of cuneiform. Carsten Niebuhr brought the first reasonably complete and accurate copies of the inscriptions at Persepolis to Europe.[7] Bishop Frederic Munter of Copenhagen discovered that the words in the Persian inscriptions were divided from one another by an oblique wedge and that the monuments must belong to the age of Cyrus and his successors. One word, which occurs without any variation towards the beginning of each inscription, he correctly inferred to

Cuneiform signify "king".[7] By 1802 Georg Friedrich Grotefend had determined that two king's names mentioned were Darius and Xerxes, and had been able to assign alphabetic values to the cuneiform characters which composed the two names.[9][10][7] In 1836, the eminent French scholar, Eugne Burnouf discovered that the first of the inscriptions published by Niebuhr contained a list of the satrapies of Darius. With this clue in his hand, he identified and published an alphabet of thirty letters, most of which he had correctly deciphered.[7][11][12] A month earlier, Burnouf's friend and pupil, Professor Christian Lassen of Bonn, had also published a work on "The Old Persian Cuneiform Inscriptions of Persepolis".[12][13] He and Burnouf had been in frequent correspondence, and his claim to have independently detected the names of the satrapies, and thereby to have fixed the values of the Persian characters, was in consequence fiercely attacked. According to Sayce, whatever his obligations to Burnouf may have been, Lassen's "contributions to the decipherment of the inscriptions were numerous and important. He succeeded in fixing the true values of nearly all the letters in the Persian alphabet, in translating the texts, and in proving that the language of them was not Zend, but stood to both Zend and Sanskrit in the relation of a sister".[7] Meanwhile, in 1835 Henry Rawlinson, a British East India Company army officer, visited the Behistun Inscriptions in Persia. Carved in the reign of King Darius of Persia (522486 BC), they consisted of identical texts in the three official languages of the empire: Old Persian, Mesopotamian Aramaic, and Elamite. The Behistun inscription was to the decipherment of cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone was to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs.[14] Rawlinson correctly deduced that the Old Persian was a phonetic script and he successfully deciphered it. In 1837 he finished his copy of the Behistun inscription, and sent a translation of its opening paragraphs to the Royal Asiatic Society. Before, however, his Paper could be published, the works of Lassen and Burnouf reached him, necessitating a revision of his paper and the postponement of its publication. Then came other causes of delay. In 1847 the first part of the Rawlinson's Memoir was published; the second part did not appear till 1849.[15][16] The task of deciphering the Persian cuneiform texts was virtually accomplished.[7] After translating the Persian, Rawlinson and, working independently of him, the Irish Assyriologist Edward Hincks, began to decipher the others. (The actual techniques used to decipher the Akkadian language have never been fully published; Hincks described how he sought the proper names already legible in the deciphered Persian while Rawlinson never said anything at all, leading some to speculate that he was secretly copying Hincks.[17]) They were greatly helped by Paul mile Botta's discovery of the city of Nineveh in 1842. Among the treasures uncovered by Botta were the remains of the great library of Assurbanipal, a royal archive containing tens of thousands of baked clay tablets covered with cuneiform inscriptions. By 1851, Hincks and Rawlinson could read 200 Babylonian signs. They were soon joined by two other decipherers: young German-born scholar Julius Oppert, and versatile British Orientalist William Henry Fox Talbot. In 1857 the four men met in London and took part in a famous experiment to test the accuracy of their decipherments. Edwin Norris, the secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society, gave each of them a copy of a recently discovered inscription from the reign of the Assyrian emperor Tiglath-Pileser I. A jury of experts was empanelled to examine the resulting translations and assess their accuracy. In all essential points the translations produced by the four scholars were found to be in close agreement with one another. There were of course some slight discrepancies. The inexperienced Talbot had made a number of mistakes, and Oppert's translation contained a few doubtful passages which the jury politely ascribed to his unfamiliarity with the English language. But Hincks' and Rawlinson's versions corresponded remarkably closely in many respects. The jury declared itself satisfied, and the decipherment of Akkadian cuneiform was adjudged a fait accompli. In the early days of cuneiform decipherment, the reading of proper names presented the greatest difficulties. However, there is now a better understanding of the principles behind the formation and the pronunciation of the thousands of names found in historical records, business documents, votive inscriptions and literary productions. The primary challenge was posed by the characteristic use of old Sumerian non-phonetic logograms in other languages that had different pronunciations for the same symbols. Until the exact phonetic reading of many names was


Cuneiform determined through parallel passages or explanatory lists, scholars remained in doubt, or had recourse to conjectural or provisional readings. Fortunately, in many cases, there are variant readings, the same name being written phonetically (in whole or in part) in one instance, and logographically in another.


Cuneiform has a specific format for transliteration. Because of the script's polyvalence, transliteration requires certain choices of the transliterating scholar, who must decide in the case of each signal which of its several poseable meanings is intended in the original thing. For example, the sign DINGIR in a Hittite text may represent either the Hittite syllable an or may be part of an Akkadian phrase, representing the syllable il, it may be a Sumerogram, representing the original Sumerian meaning, 'god' or the determinative for a deity. In transliteration, a different rendition of the same glyph is chosen depending on its role in the present context.

Extract from the Cyrus Cylinder (lines 1521), giving the genealogy of Cyrus the Great and an account of his capture of Babylon in 539 BC.

Therefore, a text containing DINGIR and MU in succession could be construed to represent the words "ana", "ila", god + "a" (the accusative ending), god + water, or a divine name "A" or Water. Someone transcribing the signs would make the decision how the signs should be read and assemble the signs as "ana", "ila", "Ila" ('god"+accusative case), etc. A transliteration of these signs, however, would separate the signs with dashes "il-a", "an-a", "DINGIR-a" or "Da". This is still easier to read than the original cuneiform, but now the reader is able to trace the sounds back to the original signs and determine if the correct decision was made on how to read them. A transliterated document thus presents both the reading preferred by the transliterating scholar as well as the opportunity to reconstruct the original text. There are differing conventions for transliterating Sumerian, Akkadian (Babylonian) and Hittite (and Luwian) cuneiform texts. One convention that sees wide use across the different fields is the use of acute and grave accents as an abbreviation for homophone disambiguation. Thus, u is equivalent to u1, the first glyph expressing phonetic u. An acute accent, , is equivalent to the second, u2, and a grave accent to the third, u3 glyph in the series (while the sequence of numbering is conventional but essentially arbitrary and subject to the history of decipherment). In Sumerian transliteration, a multiplication sign 'x' is used to indicate ligatures. As shown above, signs as such are represented in capital letters, while the specific reading selected in the transliteration is represented in small letters. Thus, capital letters can be used to indicate a so-called Diri compound a sign sequence that has, in combination, a reading different from the sum of the individual constituent signs (for example, the compound IGI.A "water" + "eye" has the reading imhur, meaning "foam"). In a Diri compound, the individual signs are separated with dots in transliteration. Capital letters may also be used to indicate a Sumerogram (for example, KUG.BABBAR Sumerian for "silver" being used with the intended Akkadian reading kaspum, "silver"), an Akkadogram, or simply a sign sequence of whose reading the editor is uncertain. Naturally, the "real" reading, if it is clear, will be presented in small letters in the transliteration: IGI.A will be rendered as imhur4. Since the Sumerian language has only been widely known and studied by scholars for approximately a century, changes in the accepted reading of Sumerian names have occurred from time to time. Thus the name of a king of Ur, read Ur-Bau at one time, was later read as Ur-Engur, and is now read as Ur-Nammu or Ur-Namma; for Lugal-zaggisi, a king of Uruk, some scholars continued to read (??? missing word here ???); and so forth. Also, with some names of the older period, there was often uncertainty whether their bearers were Sumerians or Semites. If the

Cuneiform former, then their names could be assumed to be read as Sumerian, while, if they were Semites, the signs for writing their names were probably to be read according to their Semitic equivalents, though occasionally Semites might be encountered bearing genuine Sumerian names. There was also doubt whether the signs composing a Semite's name represented a phonetic reading or a logographic compound. Thus, e.g. when inscriptions of a Semitic ruler of Kish, whose name was written Uru-mu-ush, were first deciphered, that name was first taken to be logographic because uru mu-ush could be read as "he founded a city" in Sumerian, and scholars accordingly retranslated it back to the original Semitic as Alu-usharshid. It was later recognized that the URU sign can also be read as r and that the name is that of the Akkadian king Rimush.


The tables below show signs used for simple syllables of the form CV or VC. As used for the Sumerian language, the cuneiform script was in principle capable of distinguishing 14 consonants, transliterated as b, d, g, , k, l, m, n, p, r, s, , t, z as well as four vowel qualities, a, e, i, u. The Akkadian language needed to distinguish its emphatic series, q, , , adopting various "superfluous" Sumerian signs for the purpose (e.g. qe=KIN, qu=KUM, qi=KIN, a=ZA, e=Z, ur=DUR etc.) Hittite as it adopted the Akkadian cuneiform further introduced signs for the glide w, e.g. wa=PI, wi5=GETIN) as well as a ligature I.A for ya.
-a a , bba , b=PA , b=E dda , d=TA -e e , be=BAD , b=BI , b=NI de=DI , d , d=NE ge=GI , g=KID , g=DI -i i , =I bi , b=NE , b=PI di , d=T -u u , , bu , b=KASKAL , b=P d=TU , du4=TUM gga , g g=KID , g=DI , gi5=KI gi4 , gi , gu , g=KA , gu5=KU , gu7 u gu4 , g , d=GAG , du ,

gu6=NAG ,

=I.A , a4=I kka , k=GA lla , l=LAL , l=NU k , =U ,

a ,


e=I ,


i ,

ke=KI , k=GI


ki ,

k=GU7 , ku4 k , lu , l

ku ,


le=LI ,


li ,


mma , m me , m=MI , m / nna , n=AG , na4 ("NI.UD") pp=BA rra , r=DU ssa , s=ZA , sa4 ("U.N") =NG , tta , t=DA a , e , , te , t=T i=IGI , =SI s=DI , pa , p=BI re=RI , r=URU se=SI , s=ZI pe=PI , p=BI , p=BAD r=URU si , s=ZI ri , pi , p=TL , p r=GAG , r=A s=ZU , s=SUD , su4 u , = , u4=U ti , t=DIM , ti4=DI zz=NA4 za , ze=ZI , z=Z zi , z , z z=KA zu , t , t=UD , t=DU tu , , su , ru , pu=BU , n , ne , n=NI mi , m=MUNUS , m=ME n=IM ni , n=N nu , mu , m=SAR

aa , -b ab , b -d ad , d -g ag , g - =E -k -l ak=AG l=ALAM -m m=G am /, al , a ,

ee , eb=IB , b=TUM ed= eg=IG , g=E e=A ek=IG l=IL em=IM el ,

ii , =I ib , b=TUM d=A.ENGUR g=E i=A ik=IG il , l m=KA4 im , ig , id= ,

uu , , b= d= ug u=A , uk=UG l=NU m=UD um , ul , ud , ub ,


-n an en , n, n=LI -p ap=AB ar , r=UB -s as=AZ a , -t t=GR gun -z az ez=GI , z=E iz= GI , z=I at=AD , es=GI , s=E - = et= e /, ep=IB, p=TUM er=IR in , in5=NIN p=TUM p=A.IGI is=GI , s=E =KASKAL it= i , ir , ip=IB , up=UB , p= ur , r us=UZ, s=U u , =BAD ut=UD , t= uz , z=U , z in4=EN , un , n=U


Sign inventories
The Sumerian cuneiform script had on the order of 1,000 unique signs (or about 1,500 if variants are included). This number was reduced to about 600 by the 24th century BC and the beginning of Akkadian records. Not all Sumerian signs are used in Akkadian texts, and not all Akkadian signs are used in Hittite. Falkenstein (1936) lists 939 signs used in the earliest period (late Uruk, 34th to 31st centuries). With an emphasis on Sumerian forms, Deimel (1922) lists 870 signs used in the Early Dynastic II period (28th century, "LAK") and for Cuneiform writing in Ur, southern Iraq the Early Dynastic IIIa period (26th century, "L"). Rosengarten (1967) lists 468 signs used in Sumerian (pre-Sargonian). Lagash and Mittermayer ("aBZL", 2006) list 480 Sumerian forms, written in Isin-Larsa and Old Babylonian times. Regarding Akkadian forms, the standard handbook for many years was Borger ("ABZ", 1981) with 598 signs used in Assyrian/Babylonian writing, recently superseded by Borger ("MesZL", 2004) with an expansion to 907 signs, an extension of their Sumerian readings and a new numbering scheme. Signs used in Hittite cuneiform are listed by Forrer (1922), Friedrich (1960) and the HZL (Rster and Neu 1989). The HZL lists a total of 375 signs, many with variants (for example, 12 variants are given for number 123 EGIR).



The Sumerians used a numerical system based on 1, 10 and 60. The way of writing a number like 70 would be the sign for 60 and the sign for 10 right after. This way of counting is still used today for measuring time as 60 seconds per minute and 60 minutes per hour.[5]

Unicode (as of version 6.0) assigns to the Cuneiform script the following ranges: U+12000U+123FF (879 assigned characters) "Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform" U+12400U+1247F (103 assigned characters) "Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation" The final proposal for Unicode encoding of the script was submitted by two cuneiform scholars working with an experienced Unicode proposal writer in June 2004.[18] The base character inventory is derived from the list of Ur III signs compiled by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative of UCLA based on the inventories of Miguel Civil, Rykle Borger (2003), and Robert Englund. Rather than opting for a direct ordering by glyph shape and complexity, according to the numbering of an existing catalogue, the Unicode order of glyphs was based on the Latin alphabetic order of their "last" Sumerian transliteration as a practical approximation.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] http:/ / www. unicode. org/ charts/ PDF/ U12000. pdf http:/ / www. unicode. org/ charts/ PDF/ U12400. pdf /kjunifrm/ kew-NEE-i-form or /kjunfrm/ KEW-ni-form Adkins 2003, p.47. Lo 2007. Marckham Geller, "The Last Wedge," Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie und vorderasitische Archologie 86 (1997): 4395. Sayce 1908. El Daly, Okasha (2004). Egyptology: The Missing Millennium : Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings. Routledge. pp.3940 & 65. ISBN1-84472-063-2 [9] Heeren 1815. [10] Although Grotefend's Memoir was presented to the Gottingen Academy on September 4, 1802, the Academy refused to publish it; it was subsequently published in Heeren's work in 1815. [11] Burnouf 1836 [12] Pritchard 1844, p.3031 [13] Lassen. [14] Adkins 2003. [15] Rawlinson 1847. [16] It seems that various parts of Rawlisons' paper formed Vol X of this journal. The final part III comprised chapters IV (Analysis of the Persian Inscriptions of Behistunand) and V (Copies and Translations of the Persian Cuneiform Inscriptions of Persepolis, Hamadan, and Van), pp. 187349. [17] Daniels 1996. [18] http:/ / std. dkuug. dk/ jtc1/ sc2/ wg2/ docs/ n2786. pdf



References Bibliography
Adkins, Lesley, Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon, New York, St. Martin's Press (2003) ISBN 0-312-33002-2 R. Borger, Assyrisch-Babylonische Zeichenliste, 2nd ed., Neukirchen-Vluyn (1981) Borger, Rykle (2004). Dietrich, M. Loretz, O.. ed. Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon ( BorgerMZ/BorgerMZ.html). Alter Orient und Altes Testament. 305. Mnster: Ugarit Verlag. ISBN3-927120-82-0. Burnouf, E. (1836). "Mmoire sur deux Inscriptions Cuniformes trouves prs d'Hamadan et qui font partie des papiers du Dr Schulz", Impr. Roy, Paris. Daniels, Peter; Bright, William (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. p.146. ISBN0-19-507993-0. A. Deimel (1922), Liste der archaischen Keilschriftzeichen ("LAK"), WVDOG 40, Berlin. A. Deimel (19251950), umerisches Lexikon, Pontificum Institutum Biblicum. F. Ellermeier, M. Studt, Sumerisches Glossar ( vol. 1: 19791980, ISBN 3-921747-08-2, ISBN 3-921747-10-4 vol. 3.2: 19982005, A-B ISBN 3-921747-24-4, D-E ISBN 3-921747-25-2, G ISBN 3-921747-29-5 vol. 3.3: ISBN 3-921747-22-8 (font CD ISBN 3-921747-23-6) vol. 3.5: ISBN 3-921747-26-0 vol 3.6: 2003, Handbuch Assur ISBN 3-921747-28-7 A. Falkenstein, Archaische Texte aus Uruk, Berlin-Leipzig (1936) E. Forrer, Die Keilschrift von Boghazki, Leipzig (1922) J. Friedrich, Hethitisches Keilschrift-Lesebuch, Heidelberg (1960) Jean-Jacques Glassner, The Invention of Cuneiform, English translation, Johns Hopkins University Press (2003), ISBN 0-8018-7389-4. Hayes, John L. (2000). A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts. Aids and Research Tools in Ancient Near Eastern Studies. 5 (2d ed.). Malibu: Undena Publications. ISBN0-89003-197-5. Heeren (1815) "Ideen ber die Politik, den Verkehr und den Handel der vornehmsten Volker der alten Welt", vol. i. pp.563 seq., translated into English in 1833. Kramer, Samuel Noah (1981). "Appendix B: The Origin of the Cuneiform Writing System". History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Man's Recorded History (3d revised ed.). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp.381383. ISBN0-8122-7812-7. Ren Labat, Manuel d'epigraphie Akkadienne, Geuthner, Paris (1959); 6th ed., extended by Florence Malbran-Labat (1999), ISBN 2-7053-3583-8. Lo, Lawrence (2007). "Sumerian" ( Retrieved June 5, 2009. Lassen, Christian. "Die Altpersischen Keil-Inschriften von Persepolis" Mittermayer, Catherine; Attinger, Pascal (2006). Altbabylonische Zeichenliste der Sumerisch-Literarischen Texte. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis. Special Edition. Academic Press Fribourg. ISBN978-3-7278-1551-5. O. Neugebauer, A. Sachs (eds.), Mathematical Cuneiform Texts, New Haven (1945). Patri, Sylvain (2009). Ladaptation des consonnes hittites dans certaines langues du XIIIe sicle. Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archologie 99(1): 87126. Pritchard, James Cowles (1844). "Researches Into the Physical History of Mankind", 3rd Ed., Vol IV, Sherwood, Gilbert and Piper, London

Rawlinson, Henry (1847) "The Persian Cuneiform Inscription at Behistun, decyphered and translated; with a Memoir on Persian Cuneiform Inscriptions in general, and on that of Behistun in Particular", The Journal of the

Cuneiform Royal Asiatic Society, Vol X. Y. Rosengarten, Rpertoire comment des signes prsargoniques sumriens de Lagash, Paris (1967) Chr. Rster, E. Neu, Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon (HZL), Wiesbaden (1989) Sayce, Rev. A. H. (1908). "The Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions" ( archaeologyofcun00sayc/archaeologyofcun00sayc_djvu.txt), Second Edition-revised, 1908, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, Brighton, New York; at pp 916 Not in copyright (http://www. Nikolaus Schneider, Die Keilschriftzeichen der Wirtschaftsurkunden von Ur III nebst ihren charakteristischsten Schreibvarianten, Keilschrift-Palographie; Heft 2, Rom: Ppstliches Bibelinstitut (1935). Wolfgang Schramm, Akkadische Logogramme, Goettinger Arbeitshefte zur Altorientalischen Literatur (GAAL) Heft 4, Goettingen (2003), ISBN 3-936297-01-0. F. Thureau-Dangin, Recherches sur l'origine de l'criture cuniforme, Paris (1898). Ronald Herbert Sack, Cuneiform Documents from the Chaldean and Persian Periods, (1994) ISBN 0-945636-67-9


External links
Cuneiform script ( at the Open Directory Project Akkadian font ( for Windows and Mac Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts ( and Akkadian font for Ubuntu Linux-based operating system (ttf-ancient-fonts)

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

In Unicode, the Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform script is covered in two blocks: U+12000U+1237F Cuneiform (879 assigned characters) U+12400U+1247F Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation (103 assigned characters) These blocks, in version 6.0, are in the Supplementary Multilingual Plane (SMP). The sample glyphs in the chart file published by the Unicode Consortium[1] show the characters in their Classical Sumerianform (Early Dynastic period, mid 3rd millennium BCE). The characters as written during the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE, the era during which the vast majority of cuneiform texts were written, are considered font variants of the same characters. The character set as published in version 5.2 has been criticized, mostly because of its treatment of a number of common characters as ligatures, omitting them from the encoding standard.

The final proposal for Unicode encoding of the script was submitted by two cuneiform scholars working with an experienced Unicode proposal writer in June 2004.[2] The base character inventory is derived from the list of Ur III signs compiled by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative of UCLA based on the inventories of Miguel Civil, Rykle Borger (2003), and Robert Englund. Rather than opting for a direct ordering by glyph shape and complexity, according to the numbering of an existing catalogue, the Unicode order of glyphs was based on the Latin alphabetic order of their 'main' Sumerian transliteration as a practical approximation.

Cuneiform (Unicode block)


Character inventory and ordering

Further information: List of cuneiform signs Of the 907 signs listed by Borger (2003), some 200 have no encoding at a single codepoint. Conversely, a number of combinations considered reducible by Borger were assigned unique codepoints. These differences are due to the difficulty of establishing what represents a single character in cuneiform, and indeed most of Borger's items not encoded have straightforward etymological decomposition. There are still quite a number of universally recognized signs missing, and criticism has been voiced to the effect that the encoding "disregards an important part of the accumulated knowledge of generations of assyriologists about what actually function as single signs in normal texts, and are reflected in the traditional sign lists, most recently and comprehensively Borger's Mesopotamische Zeichenliste".[3] For example, NIN "lady" (in many names of goddesses such as Ninhursag, Ninlil, Ninsar, Ningal etc.; Borger 2003 nr. 887) has to be expressed as MUNUS.TG (), and ME (a plural marker; Borger 2003 nr. 754) has to be expressed as ME.E (). Another class of examples are signs that are written as ligatures of varying constituent signs, such as KURUM7 (Borger 2003 nr. 729) that was written IGI.NG in early times, but later IGI.ERIM. Since there is no codepoint for KURUM7, the sign must be expressed as either IGI.NG (U+12146 U+1243C, ) or IGI.ERIM (U+12146 U+1209F, ) depending on the glyph shape, in violation of the basic principle of Unicode to encode characters, not glyphs. While those signs can in principle still be added by a "Cuneiform Extended" range in the future, as has been done for a number of other scripts ("Latin Extended" etc.), their absence as of Unicode 5.0 means that the standard's usability for the encoding of actual texts is limited. Rather than opting for an ordering by glyph shape and complexity, the Unicode order of glyphs is the Latin alphabet order of their 'main' Sumerian transliteration (n.b placing signs on -, transliterated as SH-, between SAR and SI). In most (but not all) cases, the "etymological" decomposition of originally complex signs ("ligatures") has been chosen, even if the sign's most familiar value is another. For example, U+12066 "DAG KISIM5 TIMES LU PLUS MASH2" is better known as AMA, U+12258 "NINDA2 TIMES NE" is better known as G, or "HI TIMES ASH2" as AR or UR.

List of signs
See also list of cuneiform signs. The following table allows matching of Borger's 1981 and 2003 numbering with Unicode characters [4] The "primary" transliteration column has the glyphs' Sumerian values as given by the official glyph name, slightly modified here for legibility by including traditional assyriological symbols such as "x" rather than "TIMES". The exact Unicode names can be unambiguously recovered by prefixing, "CUNEIFORM [NUMERIC] SIGN", replacing "TIMES" for "x", "PLUS" for "+" and "OVER" for "/", "ASTERISK" for "*", "H" for "", "SH" for "", and switching to uppercase.

Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform

Cuneiform (Unicode block)



"primary" transliteration

Borger (2003) 839 845 840

Borger (1981) 579 583 580


U+12000 U+12001 U+12002 U+12003 U+12004 U+12005 U+12006 U+12007 U+12008 U+12009

A AxA A x BAD A x GAN2 ten A x A A x IGI A x LAGAR gun A x MU A x SAG A2


846 844 843 842 841 560 223 227

584; 587 581 582


585 334 128 128**,200a ID

U+1200A AB U+1200B U+1200C AB x A2 AB x DUN3 gun

U+1200D AB x GAL U+1200E U+1200F U+12010 U+12011 U+12012 U+12013 U+12014 U+12015 U+12016 U+12017 U+12018 U+12019 AB x GAN2 ten AB x A AB x IGI gun AB x IMIN AB x LAGAB AB x E AB x U + U + U AB gun AB2 AB2 x BALAG AB2 x GAN2 ten AB2 x ME + EN

228 225 236 229 237 234 226 232

194 198 200 196 NINA


672 676 674 679 677 673 258 127 129 128 474 478 480 477

420 422 423 426 424 420,8 145 97 98


U+1201A AB2 x A3 U+1201B U+1201C AB2 x TAK4 AD


U+1201D AK U+1201E U+1201F U+12020 U+12021 U+12022 U+12023 AK x ERIN2 AK x ITA + GI AL AL x AL AL x DIM2 AL x GI




Cuneiform (Unicode block)

482 305

U+12024 U+12025 U+12026 U+12027 U+12028 U+12029



303 IL

348,479 205 476 573 635 695 696 010 300 358 397 437 438 13

U+1202A aleph U+1202B U+1202C AMAR AMAR x E

late variant of A; HZL nr. 332 ZUR SISKUR

U+1202D AN U+1202E U+1202F U+12030 U+12031 U+12032 U+12033 U+12034 U+12035 U+12036 U+12037 U+12038 U+12039 AN / AN AN three times AN + NAGA opposing AN + NAGA AN + NAGA squared ANE APIN ARAD ARAD x KUR ARKAB ASAL2 A A ZIDA ten

353 090 0018 0019 859v

208 56 50 51



001 575 647?

001 209

also DILI, DIDLI (plural) DI ten, GE23

U+1203A A KABA ten U+1203B U+1203C A / A TUG2 / TUG2 TUG2 / TUG2 PAP A / A / A

505 649 548 173 014 113

325* 364/5,5-6 339 6 005 69 78 309

E16 UUR2

U+1203D A / A / A crossing A / A / A U+1203E U+1203F U+12040 U+12041 U+12042 U+12043 U+12044 U+12045 U+12046 U+12047 U+12048 U+12049 A2 AGAB BA BAD BAG3 BAAR2 BAL BAL / BAL BALAG BAR BARA2 BI

BA.BA.ZA = "porridge"


565 121 554 358

352 74 344 214


Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+1204A BI x A U+1204B U+1204C BI x GAR BI x IGI gun 580 582 371 GID2 361 214c

U+1204D BU U+1204E U+1204F U+12050 U+12051 U+12052 U+12053 U+12054 U+12055 U+12056 U+12057 U+12058 U+12059 BU / BU AB BU / BU UN BU crossing BU BULUG BULUG / BULUG BUR BUR2 DA DAG DAG KISIM5 x A + MA DAG KISIM5 x AMAR DAG KISIM5 x BALAG

581 169 60

559 008 561 438 461 458 457 447 455


NIG2 gun

335 280 294b 288 PAR3

U+1205A DAG KISIM5 x BI U+1205B U+1205C DAG KISIM5 x GA DAG KISIM5 x GA + MA

288 291 UBUR


444 440

284 281a; 294e; 432,1 289 294d UBUR3 UBUR4 294f 282 UBUR2 293; 294 294a 286 AMA KII8 UTUL5

U+1205F U+12060 U+12061 U+12062 U+12063 U+12064 U+12065 U+12066 U+12067 U+12068 U+12069

452 462 450 451 448 441 459 460 463 446

U+1206A DAG KISIM5 x SI U+1206B U+1206C DAG KISIM5 x TAK4 DAG KISIM5 x U2 + GIR2

445 443 453 449 889 183

285 283 290 287 557 114 GUN3, UR gun, SI gun UTUA

U+1206D DAG KISIM5 x U U+1206E U+1206F DAM DAR

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

166 817 736 813 167 168 686 119 100 540 457 537 94 94 440 465 MUN GIM DAB "ibex"

U+12070 U+12071 U+12072 U+12073 U+12074 U+12075 U+12076 U+12077 U+12078 U+12079


748; 749 350 350 351 352 242



U+1207A DU U+1207B U+1207C DU / DU DU gun

206 206a 201 202 138 LA4 GIR6, SUU GIR5, KA4

U+1207D DU eig U+1207E U+1207F U+12080 U+12081 U+12082 U+12083 U+12084 U+12085 U+12086 U+12087 U+12088 U+12089 DUB DUB x E2 DUB2 DUG DUGUD DU DUN DUN3 DUN3 gun DUN3 gun gun DUN4 DUR2

499 704 298 744 836

309 445 167 467 595

BI x A


557 808 498


DUL4, UR gun eig, MIR eig DURU2, DURUN, TUKUL, TU

U+1208A E U+1208B U+1208C E x PAP E / E NUN / NUN


U+1208D E2 U+1208E U+1208F U+12090 U+12091 U+12092 U+12093 U+12094 U+12095 E2 x A + A + DA E2 x GAR E2 x MI E2 x SAL E2 x E E2 x U EDIN EGIR



300 356

170 209

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

899 164 165 564 99 54 BURU14 SIKIL

U+12096 U+12097 U+12098 U+12099

EL EN EN x GAN2 EN x GAN2 ten

U+1209A EN x ME U+1209B U+1209C EN crossing EN EN opposing EN


U+1209D EN squared U+1209E U+1209F EREN ERIN2 818 612; 613 810; 811 271 288 289 290 159 160 SIL7 ASILAL4 541 393 ERIM, ZALAG2; PIRIG E3, GI7, ZI3 IZIN, KEDA

U+120A0 E2 U+120A1 EZEN U+120A2 EZEN x A U+120A3 EZEN x A + LAL U+120A4 EZEN x A + LAL x LAL U+120A5 EZEN x AN U+120A6 EZEN x BAD U+120A7 EZEN x DUN3 gun U+120A8 EZEN x DUN3 gun gun U+120A9 EZEN x A U+120AA EZEN x A gun U+120AB EZEN x IGI gun U+120AC EZEN x KASKAL U+120AD EZEN x KASKAL squared U+120AE EZEN x KU3 U+120AF EZEN x LA U+120B0 U+120B1 U+120B2 U+120B3 U+120B4 U+120B5 U+120B6 U+120B7 U+120B8 U+120B9 EZEN x LAL x LAL EZEN x LI EZEN x LU EZEN x U2 EZEN x UD GA GA gun GA2 GA2 x A + DA + A GA2 x A + A



275 287

152 162





284 274

152 152

273 286 279 283 491 492 387 428

153 157


233 273

U+120BA GA2 x A + IGI



Cuneiform (Unicode block)

423? 392 389 414 395 237 234 258 242 AMA

U+120BB GA2 x AB2 ten + TAB U+120BC GA2 x AN U+120BD GA2 x A U+120BE GA2 x A2 + GAL U+120BF GA2 x BAD U+120C0 U+120C1 U+120C2 U+120C3 U+120C4 U+120C5 U+120C6 U+120C7 U+120C8 U+120C9 GA2 x BAR + RA GA2 x BUR GA2 x BUR + RA GA2 x DA GA2 x DI GA2 x DIM x E GA2 x DUB GA2 x EL GA2 x EL + LA GA2 x EN

415 416 425 401 403

259 416 268 206 250

433 399 400 402 431 396 412

272 247 239 248 278 243 256 GALGA GA2 x BURU14

U+120CA GA2 x EN x GAN2 ten U+120CB GA2 x GAN2 ten U+120CC GA2 x GAR U+120CD GA2 x GI U+120CE GA2 x GI4 U+120CF GA2 x GI4 + A U+120D0 GA2 x GIR2 + SU U+120D1 GA2 x A + LU + E2 U+120D2 GA2 x AL U+120D3 GA2 x AL + LA U+120D4 GA2 x I + LI U+120D5 GA2 x UB2 U+120D6 GA2 x IGI gun U+120D7 GA2 x I + U + A U+120D8 GA2 x KAK U+120D9 GA2 x KASKAL U+120DA GA2 x KID U+120DB GA2 x KID + LAL U+120DC GA2 x KU3 + AN U+120DD GA2 x LA U+120DE GA2 x ME + EN U+120DF GA2 x MI U+120E0 GA2 x NUN

391 430

236 277

390 421 398 417 406 407 405 394 409 426

235 263

260 250i 251 250d 241 251 269

427 424 397

270 265 244


Cuneiform (Unicode block)

411 408 432 413 418 419 410 404 394 422 420 264 262 255 252; 257 271 250b 261 261a; 272a 252 250c ESAG2 UR3 GAZI, SILA4 ARU

U+120E1 U+120E2 U+120E3 U+120E4 U+120E5 U+120E6 U+120E7 U+120E8 U+120E9

GA2 x NUN / NUN GA2 x PA GA2 x SAL GA2 x SAR GA2 x E GA2 x E + TUR GA2 x ID GA2 x SUM GA2 x TAK4

U+120EA GA2 x U U+120EB GA2 x UD U+120EC GA2 x UD + DU U+120ED GA2 / GA2 U+120EE GABA U+120EF U+120F0 U+120F1 U+120F2 U+120F3 U+120F4 U+120F5 U+120F6 U+120F7 U+120F8 U+120F9 GABA crossing GABA GAD GAD / GAD GAR / GAR GAL GAL GAD / GAD GAR / GAR GALAM GAM GAN GAN2 GAN2 ten GAN2 / GAN2






338 576 253 174 175 174v 174v 859 543 562; 563 212 213 141

176k 362 143 105I 105



KAR2, E3 ten

U+120FA GAN2 crossing GAN2 U+120FB GAR U+120FC GAR3 U+120FD GAAN

597 333 350


U gun

U+120FE U+120FF U+12100 U+12101 U+12102 U+12103 U+12104 U+12105 U+12106

GETIN GETIN x KUR GI GI x E GI x U GI crossing GI GI4 GI4 / GI4 GI4 crossing GI4



105 507 508 508

67 326 326a 326a GIGI GIGI

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

830 006 007 701 703 675 576 10 10 444 421; 579,396 423 GIRI16 PIRIG

U+12107 U+12108 U+12109


U+1210A GIR3 U+1210B U+1210C GIR3 x A + IGI GIR3 x GAN2 ten

U+1210D GIR3 x IGI U+1210E U+1210F U+12110 U+12111 U+12112 U+12113 U+12114 U+12115 U+12116 U+12117 U+12118 U+12119 GIR3 x LU + IGI GIR3 x PA GISAL GI GI crossing GI GI x BAD GI x TAK4 GI ten GU GU crossing GU GU2 GU2 x KAK 470 891 892 176 178 296 559 569 106 SU3 GUR17 376 469 469v 471 226 296 GE 702 537,129

U+1211A GU2 x KAK x IGI gun U+1211B U+1211C GU2 x NUN GU2 x SAL + TUG2 509 472 327 297 USAN2 GU4 "cow"

U+1211D GU2 gun U+1211E U+1211F U+12120 U+12121 U+12122 U+12123 U+12124 U+12125 U+12126 U+12127 U+12128 U+12129 GUD GUD x A + KUR GUD x KUR GUD / GUD LUGAL GUL GUM GUM x E GUR GUR7 GURUN GURU A

309 572 682 339 340 180 819 503 357 429 191 192 111 542 310 322 856 857 558 003 589 590 346 002 KU6 ZUBUD GIR, PE = A.A BIEBA3 SUN2 KUM GAZ, GAS

U+1212A A ten U+1212B U+1212C A gun AL

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

631 634 644 640; 595 659 650 660 636 643 653; 688 132 149 396 405 401 406 DUG3 SUR3 AR, UR KAM

U+1212D I U+1212E U+1212F U+12130 I x A I x A2 I x BAD

U+12131 U+12132 U+12133 U+12134 U+12135 U+12136

I x DI I x GAD I x KIN I x NUN I x E I x U

409e 407 410 398 400 409

AR2 x DI AR2 x GAD


U+12137 U+12138 U+12139

U UB2 UB2 x AN

78 88

U+1213A UB2 x AL U+1213B U+1213C UB2 x KASKAL UB2 x LI 150 877 252 550 142

U+1213D UB2 x UD U+1213E U+1213F U+12140 U+12141 U+12142 U+12143 U+12144 U+12145 U+12146 U+12147 U+12148 U+12149 UL2 I IA IB IDIM IDIM / IDIM BUR IDIM / IDIM squared IG IGI IGI DIB IGI RI IGI / IGI IR / IR UD / UD



136 724 731 726

80 449 455 451 I, LIM U3 AR

U+1214A IGI gun U+1214B U+1214C IL IL x GAN2 ten

564 348 349 493 641 642 641v 641v

351 205


U+1214D IL2 U+1214E U+1214F U+12150 U+12151 IM IM x TAK4 IM crossing IM IM opposing IM

320 399 399,51 399*

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

641v 863 261 437 357 024 064 399** 598c 148 232 212 15 35 NAG GAG gun

U+12152 U+12153 U+12154 U+12155 U+12156 U+12157 U+12158 U+12159

IM squared IMIN IN IR I KA KA x A KA x AD

U+1215A KA x AD + KU3 U+1215B U+1215C KA x A2 KA x BAD

034 046


U+1215D KA x BALAG U+1215E U+1215F U+12160 U+12161 U+12162 U+12163 U+12164 U+12165 U+12166 U+12167 U+12168 U+12169 KA x BAR KA x BI KA x ERIN2 KA x E2 KA x GA KA x GAL KA x GAN2 ten KA x GAR KA x GAR + A3 + A KA x GI KA x GIR2 KA x GI + SAR

047 030




033 065 066




U+1216A KA x GI crossing GI U+1216B U+1216C KA x GU KA x GUR7 069 063 059 054 038 060 30 BUN2 34

U+1216D KA x IGI U+1216E U+1216F U+12170 U+12171 U+12172 U+12173 U+12174 U+12175 U+12176 U+12177 KA x IM KA x KAK KA x KI KA x KID KA x LI KA x LU KA x ME KA x ME + DU KA x ME + GI KA x ME + TE






Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+12178 U+12179


U+1217A KA x NE U+1217B U+1217C KA x NUN KA x PI

035 031 052 028 032 045 048 050 042 049 033 068 19 26 UDU2, PU2 18* SU6 18 NUNDUM

U+1217D KA x RU U+1217E U+1217F U+12180 U+12181 U+12182 U+12183 KA x SA KA x SAR KA x A KA x E KA x ID KA x U

U+12184 U+12185 U+12186 U+12187 U+12188 U+12189


056 043 051

U+1218A KA x UMUM x PA U+1218B U+1218C KA x U KA x ZI 222 133 039

U+1218D KA2 U+1218E U+1218F U+12190 U+12191 U+12192 U+12193 U+12194 U+12195 U+12196 U+12197 U+12198 U+12199 KA2 crossing KA2 KAB KAD2 KAD3 KAD4 KAD5 KAD5 / KAD5 KAK KAK x IGI gun KAL KAL x BAD KAL crossing KAL

148 108 109 568 569

88 63a 63c 354b 354b




496 497

322 323 ALAD

U+1219A KAM2 U+1219B U+1219C KAM4 KASKAL

595 097 302 307v 166 UBTU6


Cuneiform (Unicode block)

307v UBTU7 152 737 738 740 739 484 815 435 678 687 687v 808 536 DUR2, TUKUL, TU 462 463 313 538 249 425 404*,1 LIL2, GE2, KE4 461




U+121A0 KI U+121A1 KI x BAD U+121A2 KI x U U+121A3 KI x UD U+121A4 KID U+121A5 KIN U+121A6 KISAL U+121A7 KI U+121A8 KISIM5 U+121A9 KISIM5 / KISIM5 U+121AA KU U+121AB KU / I x A2 KU / I x A2 U+121AC KU3 U+121AD KU4 U+121AE KU4 variant form U+121AF KU7 U+121B0 U+121B1 U+121B2 U+121B3 U+121B4 U+121B5 U+121B6 U+121B7 U+121B8 U+121B9 KUL KUL gun KUN KUR KUR opposing KUR KUU2 KWU318 LA LAGAB LAGAB x A

745 087

468 58


171 117

110 72

131 578

77 366



089 755 795 797 799 798 773 758 778 760 769 765 764

55 483 522 523*; 524 526 NIGIN2 AMBAR, BUGIN, BUNIN, SUG

U+121BA LAGAB x A + DA + A U+121BB LAGAB x A + GAR U+121BC LAGAB x A + LAL U+121BD LAGAB x AL U+121BE LAGAB x AN U+121BF LAGAB x A ZIDA ten U+121C0 U+121C1 U+121C2 U+121C3 LAGAB x BAD LAGAB x BI LAGAB x DAR LAGAB x EN


486,1; 504 486 496 489 GIGIR

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

775 801 772 766 800 756 784 528 493 494 527 484 509 ENGUR

U+121C4 U+121C5 U+121C6 U+121C7 U+121C8 U+121C9


U+121CA LAGAB x I x NUN U+121CB LAGAB x IGI gun U+121CC LAGAB x IM U+121CD LAGAB x IM + A U+121CE LAGAB x IM + LU U+121CF LAGAB x KI U+121D0 LAGAB x KIN U+121D1 LAGAB x KU3 U+121D2 LAGAB x KUL U+121D3 LAGAB x KUL + I + A U+121D4 LAGAB x LAGAB U+121D5 LAGAB x LI U+121D6 LAGAB x LU U+121D7 LAGAB x LUL U+121D8 LAGAB x ME U+121D9 LAGAB x ME + EN U+121DA LAGAB x MU U+121DB LAGAB x NE U+121DC LAGAB x E + SUM U+121DD LAGAB x ITA + GI + ERIN2 U+121DE LAGAB x ITA + GI ten U+121DF LAGAB x U2 U+121E0 U+121E1 U+121E2 U+121E3 U+121E4 U+121E5 U+121E6 U+121E7 U+121E8 U+121E9 LAGAB x U2 + U2 LAGAB x SUM LAGAB x TAG LAGAB x TAK4 LAGAB x TE + A + SU + NA LAGAB x U LAGAB x U + A LAGAB x U + U + U LAGAB x U2 + A LAGAB x UD



789 794 790 761 762 804 782 793 777 791 792 780 768 779

514 519 513; 506 GARIM

529 486,1; 503 518 502 516 517 507 495 491,6; 492



802 803 767

520 521 491 ZAR



786 787 788 774 783

511 512 515 499 505

GGIR "wain"; P, TL "source, fount"


Cuneiform (Unicode block)

770 805 719 722 723 721 721v 459 DU6 530 458 460 HZL nr. 186 SU7

U+121EA LAGAB x U U+121EB LAGAB squared U+121EC LAGAR U+121ED LAGAR x E U+121EE LAGAR x E + SUM U+121EF U+121F0 U+121F1 U+121F2 U+121F3 U+121F4 U+121F5 U+121F6 U+121F7 U+121F8 U+121F9 LAGAR gun LAGAR gun / LAGAR gun E LAU LAL LAL x LAL LAM LAM x KUR LAM x KUR + RU LI LIL LIMMU2

750 751 693 694 694v 085 544 215 591 812 814 514 523 517

481 482 435 436 436,4 59 336 124 377 537 537,65c; 537* 330


U+121FA LI U+121FB LU U+121FC LU x BAD U+121FD LU2 U+121FE U+121FF U+12200 U+12201 U+12202 U+12203 U+12204 U+12205 U+12206 U+12207 U+12208 U+12209 LU2 x AL LU2 x BAD LU2 x E2 LU2 x E2 ten LU2 x GAN2 ten LU2 x I x BAD LU2 x IM LU2 x KAD2 LU2 x KAD3 LU2 x KAD3 + A LU2 x KI LU2 x LA + A

DILIM2 UDU AD3 "man"


526 519


U+1220A LU2 x LAGAB U+1220B U+1220C LU2 x ME + EN LU2 x NE



U+1220D LU2 x NU U+1220E U+1220F LU2 x SI + A LU2 x SIK2 + BU 533

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

530 515 AZLAG7

U+12210 U+12211 U+12212 U+12213 U+12214 U+12215

LU2 x TUG2 LU2 ten LU2 crossing LU2 LU2 opposing LU2 LU2 squared LU2 eig LU3 LUGAL LUGAL / LUGAL LUGAL opposing LUGAL

516; 534 555 266 266v 266v


U+12216 U+12217 U+12218 U+12219

345 151

GUG2, E3 gun

DADRUM? unattested

U+1221A LUGAL eig U+1221B U+1221C LU LUL 494 570 900 902 904 552 321 355 565 565a; 566a 566b 342 LUGUD3 NAR UM

U+1221D LUM U+1221E U+1221F U+12220 U+12221 U+12222 U+12223 U+12224 U+12225 U+12226 U+12227 U+12228 U+12229 LUM / LUM LUM / LUM GAR / GAR MA MA x TAK4 MA gun MA2 MA MAR MA MA2 ME MES

270 201 091 483 120 130 753 486 681 825 098 301 012 0013 820

146 122 57 307 74 76 532 533 427 570 61 169 003 4 543 567



U+1222A MI U+1222B U+1222C MIN MU

U+1222D MU / MU U+1222E U+1222F U+12230 U+12231 U+12232 U+12233 U+12234 U+12235 MUG MUG gun MUNSUB MURGU2 MU MU x A MU x KUR MU x ZA




Cuneiform (Unicode block)

586 RI8

U+12236 U+12237 U+12238 U+12239

MU / MU MU / MU x A + NA MU crossing MU MU3

153 154 155



U+1223A MU3 x A U+1223B U+1223C MU3 x A + DI MU3 x DI

U+1223D MU3 gun U+1223E U+1223F U+12240 U+12241 U+12242 U+12243 U+12244 U+12245 U+12246 U+12247 U+12248 U+12249 NA NA2 NAGA NAGA inverted NAGA x U ten NAGA opposing NAGA NAGAR NAM NUTILLU NAM NAM2 NE NE x A 313 315 314 312 380 173 231 BIL2 172 134 79 893 560 294 110 689 293 70 431 NU2

U+1224A NE x UD U+1224B U+1224C NE eig NI

U+1224D NI x E U+1224E U+1224F U+12250 U+12251 U+12252 U+12253 U+12254 U+12255 U+12256 U+12257 U+12258 U+12259 NI2 NIM NIM x GAN2 ten NIM x GAR + GAN2 ten NINDA2 NINDA2 x AN NINDA2 x A NINDA2 x A + A NINDA2 x GUD NINDA2 x ME + GAN2 ten NINDA2 x NE NINDA2 x NUN 326 324 333v3 333 AM2 183 181 G "darling", RE AZU 641 690 691 692 316 320 317 316 327 176,12; 177,2 177,3 187,6 399 433 434 434a 176 NUM

U+1225A NINDA2 x E U+1225B NINDA2 x E + A AN

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

331 332 330


NINDA2 x E + A

U+1225D NINDA2 x E + A + A U+1225E U+1225F U+12260 U+12261 U+12262 U+12263 U+12264 U+12265 U+12266 U+12267 NINDA2 x U2 + A NINDA2 x U NISAG NU NU11 NUN NUN LAGAR x GAR NUN LAGAR x MA NUN LAGAR x SAL NUN LAGAR x SAL / NUN LAGAR x SAL NUN LAGAR x U NUN ten

545 112 115 143

337 75 71 87



U+12268 U+12269

144 502 107

87 325 63d NIR

U+1226A NUN / NUN U+1226B U+1226C NUN crossing NUN NUN crossing NUN LAGAR / LAGAR

U+1226D NUNUZ U+1226E U+1226F U+12270 U+12271 U+12272 U+12273 U+12274 U+12275 U+12276 U+12277 U+12278 U+12279 NUNUZ AB2 x AGAB NUNUZ AB2 x BI NUNUZ AB2 x DUG NUNUZ AB2 x GUD NUNUZ AB2 x IGI gun NUNUZ AB2 x KAD3 NUNUZ AB2 x LA NUNUZ AB2 x NE NUNUZ AB2 x SILA3 NUNUZ AB2 x U2 NUNUZ KISIM5 x BI NUNUZ KISIM5 x BI U

614 619 621 625 623 627 618 616 620 617 (624) 621 622 464

394 394c,e 394d USAN3 MUD3







U+1227A PA


GIDRU "staff, sceptre", UGULA "overseer", GARZA "office" UK

U+1227B U+1227C


746 685 092 741; 882 598

469 439 60 346

U+1227D PAP U+1227E PE2 PI




Cuneiform (Unicode block)

598v 598v 598v 598v 598v 598v 598v 598v 598v 598v 383,3 444 295 296 297 130 UG HZL nr. 326 HZL nr. 318 HZL nr. 320 HZL nr. 324 HZL nr. 322 HZL nr. 319 HZL nr. 325 HZL nr. 323 HZL nr. 321

U+12280 U+12281 U+12282 U+12283 U+12284 U+12285 U+12286 U+12287 U+12288 U+12289

PI x A PI x AB PI x BI PI x BU PI x E PI x I PI x IB PI x U PI x U2 PI crossing PI

U+1228A PIRIG U+1228B U+1228C PIRIG x KAL PIRIG x UD

U+1228D PIRIG x ZA U+1228E U+1228F U+12290 U+12291 U+12292 U+12293 U+12294 U+12295 U+12296 U+12297 U+12298 U+12299 PIRIG opposing PIRIG RA RAB RI RU SA SAG NUTILLU SAG SAG x A SAG x DU SAG x DUB SAG x A

511 262 142 111 172

328 149 86 48 104

184 197 187


198 188

U+1229A SAG x KAK U+1229B U+1229C SAG x KUR SAG x LUM

200 195 185 199 191

U+1229D SAG x MI U+1229E U+1229F SAG x NUN SAG x SAL

U+122A0 SAG x ID U+122A1 SAG x TAB U+122A2 SAG x U2 U+122A3 SAG x UB U+122A4 SAG x UM U+122A5 SAG x UR

192 193 186 196

Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+122A6 SAG x U U+122A7 SAG / SAG U+122A8 SAG gun U+122A9 SAL U+122AA SAL LAGAB x A2 U+122AB SANGA2 U+122AC SAR U+122AD A U+122AE A3 U+122AF A3 x A U+122B0 U+122B1 U+122B2 U+122B3 U+122B4 U+122B5 U+122B6 U+122B7 U+122B8 U+122B9 A3 x BAD A3 x GI A3 x NE A3 x U2 A3 x TUR A3 x U A3 x U + A A6 AB6 AR2

512 883

329 554


314 541 566 599 608 600 603 602 609 601 605 606 388 BIR6 385 389 152 353 384 390 AG4 PE4

295k 632; 633 579 396 TI2

U+122BA E U+122BB E U U+122BC E / E GAD / GAD GAR / GAR U+122BD E / E TAB / TAB GAR / GAR U+122BE EG9 U+122BF EN U+122C0 U+122C1 U+122C2 U+122C3 U+122C4 U+122C5 U+122C6 U+122C7 U+122C8 U+122C9 E E2 ELAM ID ID x A ID x IM IM IM x A IM x BAL IM x BULUG


878 017 535 821 100 485 489 487 362 372 363 367 366 373

551 008 331 544 65 314 317 317a 215 LAG UMBISAG2 = SU x A, ALAL, PISAN3, DUR10 URI3

216,3; 217 218,2 221 225

U+122CA IM x DIN U+122CB IM x GAR

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

371 368 375 369 365 374 216 222 93 115 116 71 219* 223

U+122CC IM x IGI U+122CD IM x IGI gun U+122CE IM x KUU2 U+122CF IM x LUL U+122D0 IM x MUG U+122D1 IM x SAL U+122D2 INIG U+122D3 IR U+122D4 IR ten U+122D5 IR / IR BUR / BUR U+122D6 ITA U+122D7 U U+122D8 U / inverted U U+122D9 U2 U+122DA UBUR U+122DB SI U+122DC SI gun U+122DD SIG U+122DE SIG4 U+122DF SIG4 / SIG4 U2 U+122E0 U+122E1 U+122E2 U+122E3 U+122E4 U+122E5 U+122E6 U+122E7 U+122E8 U+122E9 SIK2 SILA3 SU SU / SU SUD SUD2 SUUR SUM SUMA SUR

388 567

233,22 354


869 0022 181 182 881 905; 906 907 816 099 016

545 53 112 113 592 567 MURGU; HZL nr. 311 SU4

568 539 62 007 also KU "skin, hide" SIG2, SIKI

584 139 646 292 323 151 205 248 248v 250 251


BU gun

403 164 182 101 122d 139

U+122EA SUR9 U+122EB TA U+122EC TA* U+122ED TA x I U+122EE TA x MI U+122EF U+122F0 U+122F1 TA gun TAB TAB / TAB NI / NI DI / DI



Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+122F2 U+122F3 U+122F4 U+122F5 U+122F6 U+122F7 U+122F8 U+122F9

TAB squared TAG TAG x BI TAG x GUD TAG x E TAG x U TAG x TUG2 TAG x UD 106 009 589 088 118 63 12 376 58 73 URU5, GUR8 KID2 221 126

U+122FA TAK4 U+122FB TAR U+122FC TE U+122FD TE gun U+122FE U+122FF U+12300 U+12301 U+12302 U+12303 U+12304 U+12305 U+12306 U+12307 U+12308 U+12309 TI TI ten TIL TIR TIR x TAK4 TIR / TIR TIR / TIR GAD / GAD GAR / GAR TU TUG2 TUK TUM TUR

114 587

69 375

= BAD U+12041

587v 588 086 809 827 354 255 375,46a-b 58 536 574 207 144



U+1230A TUR / TUR ZA / ZA U+1230B U+1230C U U GUD 711 472 E, "30" 661 411 BUR3

U+1230D U U U U+1230E U+1230F U+12310 U+12311 U+12312 U+12313 U+12314 U+12315 U+12316 U+12317 U / U PA / PA GAR / GAR U / U SUR / SUR U / U U reversed / U reversed U2 UB UD UD KUU2 UD x BAD UD x MI UD x U + U + U

713 490 504 596 611

474 318 306 381 392






Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+12318 U+12319

UD x U + U + U gun UD gun 542 0020 337* 52 uncertain ITI, UD x E

U+1231A UD eig U+1231B U+1231C UD eig x BAD UDUG

833 238

577; 578 134

U+1231D UM U+1231E U+1231F U+12320 U+12321 U+12322 U+12323 U+12324 U+12325 U+12326 U+12327 U+12328 U+12329 UM x LAGAB UM x ME + DA UM x A3 UM x U UMBIN UMUM UMUM x KASKAL UMUM x PA UN UN gun UR UR crossing UR


239 92b



UG3, UKU3 "man"

828 828v 829 341 346

575 575a reconstruction 203

U+1232A UR eig U+1232B U+1232C UR2 UR2 x A + A

U+1232D UR2 x A + NA U+1232E U+1232F U+12330 U+12331 U+12332 U+12333 U+12334 U+12335 U+12336 U+12337 U+12338 U+12339 UR2 x AL UR2 x A UR2 x NUN UR2 x U2 UR2 x U2 + A UR2 x U2 + BI UR4 URI URI3 URU URU x A URU x AGAB 073 40 UKKIN 071 081 38 Ri2 835 574 594 359 BUR/BUR 343 347 342 344 345 185 185,5 204

U+1233A URU x BAR U+1233B U+1233C URU x DUN URU x GA


U+1233D URU x GAL

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

074 083 084 082 079

U+1233E U+1233F U+12340 U+12341 U+12342 U+12343 U+12344 U+12345 U+12346 U+12347 U+12348 U+12349



U+1234A URU x SIG4 U+1234B U+1234C URU x TU URU x U + GUD 077 075 230 230 381 384 383 211 211a NITA 41 132 BANUR URUDU 072

U+1234D URU x UD U+1234E U+1234F U+12350 U+12351 U+12352 U+12353 U+12354 U+12355 U+12356 U+12357 U+12358 U+12359 URU x URUDA URUDA URUDA x U U U x A U x KU U x KUR U x TAK4 UX U2 UUMX UTUKI

382 583

51* 372 69 UZ, US, U

U+1235A UZ3 U+1235B U+1235C UZ3 x KASKAL UZU

203 204 311 851 854 855 540

122b 122c 171 586 379; 380 531; 588 332 AS4, ERIM ten

U+1235D ZA U+1235E U+1235F U+12360 U+12361 U+12362 U+12363 ZA ten ZA squared x KUR ZAG ZAMX ZE2 ZI

259 140

147 84

ZI2, AB x PA

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

101 66 536 628 395

U+12364 U+12365 U+12366 U+12367 U+12368 U+12369



190 339


U+1236A ZU U+1236B U+1236C ZU5 ZU5 x A



U+1236D ZUBUR U+1236E ZUM

648 884

364/5,2-3 555

Cuneiform Numerals
codepoint name Borger (2003) 002 004 215 216 217 218 219 220 834 593 124,42 Borger (1981) 2 comments

U+12400 two A U+12401 three A U+12402 four A U+12403 five A U+12404 six A U+12405 seven A U+12406 eight A U+12407 nine A U+12408 three DI U+12409 four DI U+1240A five DI U+1240B six DI U+1240C seven DI U+1240D eight DI U+1240E nine DI U+1240F four U U+12410 five U U+12411 six U U+12412 seven U U+12413 eight U U+12414 nine U U+12415 one GE2 U+12416 two GE2

2, = U+1212C 3, E6 4, LIMMU2, LIMM2, TAB.TAB 5, IA7, TAB.TAB.A 6, A4, TAB.TAB.TAB 7, IMIN2, TAB.TAB.TAB.A 8, USSU2, TAB.TAB.TAB.TAB 9, ILIMMU2, TAB.TAB.TAB.TAB.A 180, E5 240, ZA, LIMMU5, NIGIDALIMMU, = U+1235D 300, IA2 360, A3 420 480 540

851; 852; 853 316 861 862 863 864 598a 598b 598c 598d

713 714 715 716 717 718

474 475 476 477 478 479

40, NIMIN 50, NINNU 60 70 80 90

Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+12417 three GE2 U+12418 four GE2 U+12419 five GE2 U+1241A six GE2 U+1241B seven GE2 U+1241C eight GE2 U+1241D nine GE2 U+1241E one GEU U+1241F two GEU U+12420 three GEU U+12421 four GEU U+12422 five GEU U+12423 two AR2 U+12424 three AR2 U+12425 three AR2 variant form U+12426 four AR2 U+12427 five AR2 U+12428 six AR2 U+12429 seven AR2 U+1242A eight AR2 U+1242B nine AR2 U+1242C one ARU U+1242D two ARU U+1242E three ARU U+1242F three ARU variant form U+12430 four ARU U+12431 five ARU U+12432 AR2 x GAL.DI U+12433 AR2 x GAL.MIN U+12434 one BURU U+12435 two BURU U+12436 three BURU U+12437 three BURU variant form U+12438 four BURU U+12439 five BURU U+1243A E16 U+1243B E21 U+1243C LIMMU 505 210 859; 860 3, = U+1203C 3 4, NIG2, GAR, NINDA 651 652 662 408 408 350,8 653 409 36,000 72,000 108,000 108,000 144,000 180,000 216,000 432,000 U gun 824 534 GE2.U; 600 or 70 1200 or 80 1800 or 90 2400 or 100 3000 or 110

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

506 4

U+1243D LIMMU4 U+1243E U+1243F U+12440 A9 U+12441 IMIN3 U+12442 IMIN U+12443 IMIN variant form U+12444 USSU U+12445 USSU3 U+12446 ILIMMU U+12447 ILIMMU3 U+12448 ILIMMU4 U+12449 DI / DI / DI U+1244A two A ten U+1244B three A ten U+1244C four A ten U+1244D five A ten U+1244E six A ten U+1244F one BAN2 U+12450 two BAN2 U+12451 three BAN2 U+12452 four BAN2 U+12453 four BAN2 variant form U+12454 five BAN2 U+12455 five BAN2 variant form U+12456 NIGIDAMIN U+12457 NIGIDAE U+12458 one EE3 U+12459 two EE3 U+1245A one third U+1245B two thirds U+1245C five sixths U+1245D one third variant form U+1245E two thirds variant form U+1245F one eighth U+12460 one quarter U+12461 Old Assyrian one sixth U+12462 Old Assyrian one quarter

536 537 863 866 867 538 868 539 577 865v 593 629 854

6, E16.E16 7, UMUN9 7 7 8 8 9 9, E16.E16.E16 9 9

379; 380 ZA ten, ERIM ten


= U+12047

847, 848 850 = U+12041, U+12300 = U+12049 826 832 838 571 572 573 KINGUSILA UANA


Kltepe only

Cuneiform (Unicode block)


U+12470 Old Assyrian word divider U+12471 vertical colon U+12472 diagonal colon U+12473 diagonal tricolon 592 592 Glossenkeil Glossenkeil

Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform script was added to the Unicode Standard in July, 2006 with the release of version 5.0.

The Unicode block for Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform is U+12000U+123FF: Cuneiform[1] chart [1] (PDF)

U+1200x U+1201x U+1202x U+1203x U+1204x U+1205x U+1206x U+1207x U+1208x U+1209x U+120Ax U+120Bx U+120Cx U+120Dx U+120Ex U+120Fx U+1210x U+1211x U+1212x U+1213x U+1214x U+1215x

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

117 U+1216x U+1217x U+1218x U+1219x U+121Ax U+121Bx U+121Cx U+121Dx U+121Ex U+121Fx U+1220x U+1221x U+1222x U+1223x U+1224x U+1225x U+1226x U+1227x U+1228x U+1229x U+122Ax U+122Bx U+122Cx U+122Dx U+122Ex U+122Fx U+1230x U+1231x U+1232x U+1233x U+1234x U+1235x U+1236x U+1237x

Cuneiform (Unicode block)

118 U+1238x U+1239x U+123Ax U+123Bx U+123Cx U+123Dx U+123Ex U+123Fx

Notes 1.As of Unicode version 6.1

Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation

The Unicode block for Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation is U+12400U+1247F: Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation[1] chart [2] (PDF)

U+1240x U+1241x U+1242x U+1243x U+1244x U+1245x U+1246x U+1247x Notes

1.As of Unicode version 6.1

Rylke Borger, Assyrisch-Babylonische Zeichenliste, 2nd ed., Neukirchen-Vluyn (1981) Rylke Borger, Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon [5], Mnster (2003). *Michael Everson, Karljrgen Feuerherm, Steve Tinney, "Final proposal to encode the Cuneiform script in the SMP of the UCS" [6], ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 N2786 (2004).
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Cuneiform chart (PDF) (http:/ / www. unicode. org/ charts/ PDF/ U12000. pdf) Unicode cuneiform (http:/ / std. dkuug. dk/ jtc1/ sc2/ wg2/ docs/ n2786. pdf) L. Anderson, June 2004 (https:/ / listhost. uchicago. edu/ pipermail/ ane/ 2004-June/ 013909. html) (after Anderson's sign list (http:/ / www. cuneiformsigns. org/ SignList1. htm)) http:/ / www. jhu. edu/ ice/ BorgerMZ/ BorgerMZ. html http:/ / www. dkuug. dk/ jtc1/ sc2/ wg2/ docs/ n2786. pdf

Cuneiform (Unicode block)


External links ( by Lloyd Anderson Cuneiform chart (PDF) ( Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation chart (PDF) ( pdf)

Font packages
Akkadian ( (reproduces the Sumerian (3rd millennium BC) glyphs given in the Unicode ( reference chart (, by George Douros (http:// (German) FreeIdgSerif ( (branched off FreeSerif), encodes some 390 Old Assyrian (2nd millennium BC) glyphs used in Hittite cuneiform.

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) is an international digital library project aimed at putting text and images of an estimated 500,000 recovered cuneiform tablets created from between roughly 3350 BC and the end of the pre-Christian era online.[1] The principal investigators for the project are Robert K. Englund from University of California, Los Angeles and Peter Damerow from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science; Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary leader Stephen J. Tinney is a co-principal investigator.[2] In 2004 Englund received the Richard W. Lyman Award from the National Humanities Center for his work on the initiative.[3] The project began in 1998[4] but it was not until 2000 that it obtained funds for three years from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation's Digital Library Initiative.[1] This phase consisted of digitizing and progressively putting online the collections of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (online in 2001), the Institut Catholique de Paris (online in 2002), the Hermitage Museum and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (online in 2003), and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.[1] A second phase from 2004 to 2006 was federally funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, during which time it focused on new educational components and scalable access systems to the data.[1]

[1] "About CDLI" (http:/ / cdli. ucla. edu/ about_cdli. html). Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. . Retrieved 2009-02-21. [2] "CDLI Staff and Associates" (http:/ / cdli. ucla. edu/ staff. html). Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. . Retrieved 2009-02-21. [3] "Cuneiform Goes Digital: UCLA Scholar Sheds Light on Cultural History of Ancient Iraq" (http:/ / nationalhumanitiescenter. org/ newsrel2004/ prlymanaward2004. htm). National Humanities Center. 2004-04-28. . Retrieved 2009-02-21. [4] "Web library assembling ancient written documents" (http:/ / www. usatoday. com/ tech/ 2002/ 05/ 17/ library. htm). Associated Press. USA Today. 2002-05-17. . Retrieved 2009-02-21.

External links
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Cylinder of Nabonidus


Cylinder of Nabonidus
The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which king Nabonidus of Babylonia (556-539 BC) describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of ama in Sippar. The Nabonidus cylinder from Ur is particularly noteworthy because it mentions a son named Belshezzar,[1] who is mentioned in the Book of Daniel. The cylinder states: "As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude."[2]

The Nabonidus Cylinder (British Museum copy)

From 1877 to 1882 Hormuzd Rassam made some important discoveries. In Assyria his chief "finds" were the Ashurnairpal temple in Nimrud, the cylinder of Ashurbanipal at Kouyunjik, and the unique and historically important bronze doors of the temple of Shalmaneser II. He identified the famous Hanging Gardens with the mound known as Babil. A palace of Nebuchadrezzar II at Birs Nimrud (Borsippa) was also uncovered by him. At Abu Habba, in 1881, Rassam discovered the temple of the sun at Sippar. There he found the cylinders of Nabonidus, and the stone tablet of Nabu-apal-iddin of Babylon with its ritual bas-relief and inscription. Besides these, he discovered some fifty thousand clay tablets containing the temple accounts. [3] The cylinder excavated in Babylon, in the royal palace, is now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Another copy is in the British Museum in London. The text was written after Nabonidus' return from Arabia in his thirteenth regnal year, but before war broke out with the Persian king Cyrus the Great, who is mentioned as an instrument of the gods. The Nabonidus Cylinder contains echoes from earlier foundation texts, and develops the same themes as later ones, like the better-known Cyrus Cylinder: a lengthy titulary, a story about an angry god who has abandoned his shrine, who is reconciled with his people, orders a king to restore the temple, and a king who piously increases the daily offerings. Prayers are also included.

The translation of the Nabonidus Cylinder was made by Paul-Alain Beaulieu, author of The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539 B.C''. Another translation was made by A. Leo Oppenheim and is copied from James B. Pritchard's Ancient Near Eastern texts relating to the Old Testament, 1950 Princeton. (1989).[1][4][5] [i.1-7] I, Nabonidus, the great king, the strong king, the king of the universe, the king of Babylon, the king of the four corners, the caretaker of Esagila and Ezida, for whom Sin and Ningal in his mother's womb decreed a royal fate as his destiny, the son of Nab-balssi-iqbi, the wise prince, the worshiper of the great gods, I: [i.8-ii.25] Ehulhul, the temple of Sin in Harran, where since days of yore Sin, the great lord, had established his favorite residence - his great heart became angry against that city and temple and he aroused the Mede, destroyed the temple and turned it into ruin - in my legitimate reign Bel and the great lord,[1] for the love of my kingship, became reconciled with that city and temple and showed compassion.

Cylinder of Nabonidus In the beginning of my everlasting reign they sent me a dream. Marduk, the great lord, and Sin, the luminary of heaven and the netherworld, stood together. Marduk spoke with me: 'Nabonidus, king of Babylon, carry bricks on your riding horse, rebuild Ehulhul and cause Sin, the great lord, to establish his residence in its midst.' Reverently, I spoke to the Enlil of the gods, Marduk: 'That temple which you ordered me to build, the Mede surrounds it and his might is excessive.' But Marduk spoke with me: 'The Mede whom you mentioned, he, his country and the kings who march at his side will be no more.' At the beginning of the third year [Summer 553], they aroused him, Cyrus, the king of Anan, his second in rank.[2] He scattered the vast Median hordes with his small army. He captured Astyages, the king of the Medes, and took him to his country as captive. Such was the word of the great lord Marduk and of Sin, the luminary of heaven and the netherworld, whose command is not revoked. I feared their august command, I became troubled, I was worried and my face showed signs of anxiety. I was not neglectful, nor remiss, nor careless. For rebuilding Ehulhul, the temple of Sin, my lords, who marches at my side, which is in Harran, which Aurbanipal, king of Assyria, son of Esarhaddon, a prince who proceeded me, had rebuilt, I mustered my numerous troops, from the country of Gaza on the border of Egypt, near the Upper Sea [the Mediterranean] on the other side of the Euphrates, to the Lower Sea [the Persian Gulf], the kings, princes, governors and my numerous troops which Sin, ama and Itar -my lords- had entrusted to me. And in a propitious month, on an auspicious day, which ama and Adad revealed to me by means of divination, by the wisdom of Ea and Asalluhi, with the craft of the exorcist, according to the art of Kulla, the lord of foundations and brickwork, upon beads of silver and gold, choice gems, logs of resinous woods, aromatic herbs and cuts of cedar wood, in joy and gladness, on the foundation deposit of Aurbanipal, king of Assyria, who had found the foundation of almaneser [III], the son of Aurnasirpal [II], I cleared its foundations and laid its brickwork. I mixed its mortar with beer, wine, oil and honey and anointed its excavation ramps with it. More than the kings -my fathers- had done, I strengthened its building and perfected its work. That temple from its foundation to its parapet I built anew and I completed its work. Beams of lofty cedar trees, a product of Lebanon, I set above it. Doors of cedar wood, whose scent is pleasing, I affixed at its gates. With gold and silver glaze I coated its wall and made it shine like the sun. I set up in its chapel a 'wild bull' of shining silver alloy, fiercely attacking my foes. At the Gate of Sunrise I set up two 'long haired heroes' coated with silver, destroyers of enemies, one to the left, one to the right. I led Sin, Ningal, Nusku, and Sadarnunna -my lords- in procession from Babylon, my royal city, and in joy and gladness I caused them to dwell in its midst, a dwelling of enjoyment. I performed in their presence a pure sacrifice of glorification, presented my gifts, and filled Ehulhul with the finest products, and I made the city of Harran, in its totality, as brilliant as moonlight. [ii.26-43a] O Sin, king of the gods of heaven and the netherworld, without whom no city or country can be founded, nor be restored, when you enter Ehulhul, the dwelling of your plenitude, may good recommendations for that city and that temple be set on your lips. May the gods who dwell in heaven and the netherworld constantly praise the temple of Sin, the father, their creator. As for me, Nabonidus king of Babylon, who completed that temple, may Sin, the king of the gods of heaven and the netherworld, joyfully cast his favorable look upon me and every month, in rising and setting, make my ominous signs favorable. May he lengthen my days, extend my years, make my reign firm, conquer my enemies, annihilate those hostile to me, destroy my foes. May Ningal, the mother of the great gods, speak favorably before Sin, her beloved, on my behalf. May ama and Itar, his shining offspring, recommend me favorably to Sin, the father, their creator. May Nusku, the august vizier, hear my prayer and intercede for me. [ii.43b-46] The inscription written in the name of Aurbanipal, king of Assyria, I found and did not alter. I anointed it with oil, performed a sacrifice, placed it with my own inscription, and returned it to its place. [ii.47-iii.7] For ama, the judge of heaven and the netherworld, concerning Ebabbar ['shining house'], his temple which is in Sippar, which Nebuchadnezzar, a former king had rebuilt and whose old foundation deposit he had looked for but not found -yet he rebuilt that temple and after forty-five years the walls of that temple had sagged- I


Cylinder of Nabonidus became troubled, I became fearful, I was worried and my face showed signs of anxiety. While I led ama out of its midst and caused him to dwell in another sanctuary, I removed the debris of that temple, looked for its old foundation deposit, dug to a depth of eighteen cubits into the ground and then ama, the great lord, revealed to me the original foundations of Ebabbar, the temple which is his favorite dwelling, by disclosing the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, which no king among my predecessors had found in three thousand and two hundred years.[3] In the month Tartu, in a propitious month, on an auspicious day, which ama and Adad had revealed to me by means of divination, upon beds of silver and gold, choice gems, logs of resinous woods, aromatic herbs, and cuts of cedar wood, in joy and gladness, on the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, not a finger's breadth too wide or too narrow, I laid its brick work. Five thousand massive beams of cedar wood I set up for its roofing. Lofty doors of cedar wood, thresholds and pivots I affixed at its gates. Ebabbar, together with E-kun-ankuga ['pure stairway to heaven'], its ziggurat, I built anew and completed its work. I led ama, my lord, in procession and, in joy and gladness, I caused him to dwell in the midst of his favorite dwelling. [iii.8-10] The inscription in the name of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, I found and did not alter. I anointed it with oil, made offerings, placed it with my own inscription and returned it to its original place. [iii.11-21] O ama, great lord of heaven and the netherworld, light of the gods -your fathers- offspring of Sin and Ningal, when you enter Ebabbar your beloved temple, when you take up residence in your eternal dais, look joyfully upon me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, the prince your caretaker, the one who pleases you and built your august chapel, and upon my good deeds, and every day at sunrise and sunset, in the heavens and on the earth, make my omens favorable, accept my supplications and receive my prayers. With the scepter and the legitimate staff which placed in my hands may I rule forever. [iii.22-38] For Anunitu -the lady of warfare, who carries the bow and the quiver, who fulfills the command of Enlil her father, who annihilates the enemy, who destroys the evil one, who precedes the gods, who, at sunrise and sunset, causes my ominous signs to be favorable- I excavated, surveyed and inspected the old foundations of Eulma, her temple which is in Sippar-Anunitu, which for eight hundred years,[4] since the time of agarakti-uria, king of Babylon, son of Kudur-Enlil, and on the foundation deposit of agarakti-uria, son of Kudur Enlil, I cleared its foundations and laid its brickwork. I built that temple anew and completed its work. Anunitu, the lady of warfare, who fulfills the command of Enlil her father, who annihilates the enemy,who destroys the evil one, who precedes the gods, I caused her to establish her residence. The regular offerings and the other offerings I increased over what they were and I established for her. [iii.38-42] As for you, O Anunitu, great lady, when you joyfully enter that temple, look joyfully upon my good deeds and every month, at sunrise and sunset, petition Sin, your father, your begetter, for favors on my behalf. [iii.43-51] Whoever you are whom Sin and ama will call to kingship, and in whose reign that temple will fall into disrepair and who build it anew, may he find the inscription written in my name and not alter it. May he anoint it with oil, perform a sacrifice, place it with the inscription written in his own name and return it to its original place. May ama and Anunitu hear his supplication, receive his utterance, march at his side, annihilate his enemy and daily speak good recommendations on his behalf to Sin, the father, their creator. This translation was made by A. Leo Oppenheim and is copied from James B. Pritchard's Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 1950 Princeton. Some minor changes have been made.) [6]


Cylinder of Nabonidus


As to Nabonidus:] law and order are not promulgated by him, he made perish the common people through want, the nobles he killed in war, for the trader he blocked the road. For the farmer he made rare the [unintelligible], there is no [lacuna], the harvester does not sing the alalu-song any more, he does not fence in any more the arable territory. [lacuna] He took away their property, scattered their possessions, the [lacuna] he ruined completely, their corpses remaining on a dark place, decaying. Their faces became hostile, they do not parade along the wide street, you do not see happiness anymore, [lacuna] is unpleasant, they decided. As to Nabonidus, his protective deity became hostile to him. And he, the former favorite of the gods is now seized by misfortunes. Against the will of the gods he performed an unholy action, he thought out something worthless: he had made the image of a deity which nobody had ever seen in this country, he introduced it into the temple, he placed it on a pedestal; he called it by the name of Moon. It is adorned with a necklace of lapis lazuli, crowned with a tiara, its appearance is that of the eclipsed moon, the gesture of its hand is like that of the god Lugal-[unintelligible], its head of hair reaches to the pedestal, and in front of it are placed the Storm Dragon and the Wild Bull. When he worshipped it, its appearance became like that of a demon crowned with a tiara, his face turned hostile [lacuna]. His form not even Eamummu could have formed, not even the learned Adapa knows his name. Nabonidus said: 'I shall build a temple for him, I shall construct his holy seat, I shall form its first brick for him, I shall establish firmly its foundation, I shall make a replica even of the temple Ekur. I shall call its name Ehulhul for all days to come. When I will have fully executed what I have planned, I shall lead him by the hand and establish him on his seat. Yet till I have achieved this, till I have obtained what is my desire, I shall omit all festivals, I shall order even the New Year's festival to cease!' And he formed its first brick, did lay out the outlines, he spread out the foundation, made high its summit, by means of wall decoration made of gypsum and bitumen he made its facing brilliant, as in the temple Esagila he made a ferocious wild bull stand on guard in front of it. After he had obtained what he desired, a work of utter deceit, had built this abomination, a work of unholiness -when the third year was about to begin- he entrusted the army [?] to his oldest son, his first born, the troops in the country he ordered under his command. He let everything go, entrusted the kingship to him, and, himself, he started out for a long journey. The military forces of Akkad marching with him, he turned to Tem deep in the west. He started out the expedition on a path leading to a distant region. When he arrived there, he killed in battle the prince of Tem, slaughtered the flocks of those who dwell in the city as well as in the countryside. And he, himself, took residence in Tem, the forces of Akkad were also stationed there. He made the town beautiful, built there a palace like the palace in Babylon. He also built walls for the fortification of the town and he surrounded the town with sentinels. The inhabitants became troubled. The brick form and the brick basket he imposed upon them. Through the hard work they [lacuna] he killed the inhabitants, women and youngsters included. Their prosperity he brought to an end. All the barley that he found therein [lacuna] His tired army [lacuna] the hazanu-official of Cyrus...

[About one third of the text is missing. In the lacuna, words like 'stylus' and 'the king is mad' can be discerned; the sequel suggests that a Persian official made an insulting remark on Nabonidus' incapacity to write with a stylus, that war broke out, that Nabonidus had some kind of hallucinatory vision, boasted a victory over Cyrus that he actually had not won, and was ultimately defeated. The texts continues with a comparison of the pious Cyrus and the blasphemous liar Nabonidus.]

... the praise of the Lord of Lords and the names of the countries which Cyrus has not conquered he wrote upon this stele, while Cyrus is the king of the world whose triumphs are true and whose yoke the kings of all the countries are pulling. Nabonidus has written upon his stone tablets: 'I have made him bow to my feet, I personally have conquered his countries, his possessions I took to my residence.' It was he who once stood up in the assembly to praise himself, saying: 'I am wise, I know, I have seen what is hidden. Even if I do not know how to write with the stylus, yet I have seen secret things. The god Ilte'ri has made me see a vision, he has shown me everything. I am aware of a wisdom which greatly surpasses even that of the series of insights which Adapa has composed!' Yet he continues to mix up the rites, he confuses the hepatoscopic oracles. To the most important ritual observances, he orders an end; as to the sacred representations in Esagila -representations which Eamumma himself had fashioned- he looks at the representations and utters blasphemies. When he saw the usar-symbol of Esagila, he makes an [insulting?] gesture. He assembled the priestly scholars, he expounded to them as follows: 'Is not this the sign of ownership indicating for whom the temple was built? If it belongs really to Bl, it would have been marked with the spade. Therefore the Moon himself has marked already his own temple with the usar-symbol!' And Zeriya, the atammu who used to crouch as his secretary in front of him, and Rimut, the bookkeeper who used to have his court position near to him, do confirm the royal dictum, stand by his words, they even bare their heads to pronounce under oath: 'Now only we understand this situation, after the king has explained about it!' In the month of Nisannu, the eleventh day, till the god was present on his seat [lacuna] [lacuna] for the inhabitants of Babylon, Cyrus declared the state of peace. His troops he kept away from Ekur. Big cattle he slaughtered with the ax, he slaughtered many aslu-sheep, incense he put on the censer, the regular offerings for the Lord of Lords he ordered increased, he constantly prayed to the gods, prostrated on his face. To act righteously is dear to his heart.

Cylinder of Nabonidus


To repair the city of Babylon he conceived the idea and he himself took up hoe, spade and water basket and began to complete the wall of Babylon. The original plan of Nebuchadnezzar the inhabitants executed with a willing heart. He built the fortifications on the Imgur-Enlil-wall. The images of the gods of Babylon, male and female, he returned to their cellas, the gods who had abandoned their chapels he returned to their mansions. Their wrath he appeased, their mind he put at rest, those whose power was at a low he brought back to life because their food is served to them regularly. Nabonidus' deeds Cyrus effaced and everything Nabonidus constructed, all the sanctuaries of his royal rule Cyrus has eradicated, the ashes of the burned buildings the wind carried away. Nabonidus' picture he effaced, in all the sanctuaries the inscriptions of that name are erased. Whatever Nabonidus had created, Cyrus fed to the flames! To the inhabitants of Babylon a joyful heart is now given. They are like prisoners when the prisons are opened. Liberty is restored to those who were surrounded by oppression. All rejoice to look upon him as king

[1] http:/ / www. livius. org/ na-nd/ nabonidus/ cylinder. html [2] http:/ / www. livius. org/ na-nd/ nabonidus/ cylinder-ur. html The translation of the Nabonidus Cylinder was made by Paul-Alain Beaulieu, who is also the author of The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539 B.C. (1989). [3] Goodspeed, George Stephen (1902). Chapter 2, The Excavations in Babylonia and Assyria. A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians. New York. Charles Scribner's Sons. Paragraph 20. (http:/ / www. kellscraft. com/ HistoryofBabylonians/ HistoryOfBabyloniansCh01. html) Accessed April 4, 2011. [4] http:/ / yalepress. yale. edu/ yupbooks/ book. asp?isbn=9780300057706 [5] Review of Paul-Alain Beaulieu, The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539 B.C., in Biblical Archaeologist 55/4 (Dec. 1992): 234-35. [6] http:/ / www. livius. org/ ct-cz/ cyrus_I/ babylon03. html/

Further reading
Paul-Alain Beaulieu, The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539 B.C. (1989) Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1995). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D Grand Rapids, Michigan. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ( Google preview available, accessed April 4, 2011. Archeology section is exceptionally thorough. ( books?id=wo8csizDv0gC&lpg=PA269&ots=jrGICSdojv&dq=taylor, rassam, cylinder, nabonidus& pg=PA239#v=onepage&q&f=false) Goodspeed, George Stephen (1902). A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians. New York. Charles Scribner's Sons. (

External links
Cylinder of Nabonidus ( cylinder_of_nabonidus.aspx) at the British Museum. Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar ( Translation. Nabonidus Cylinder from Ur ( Translation of a related document.

Cyrus Cylinder


Cyrus Cylinder
Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus Cylinder, obverse and reverse sides Material Size Writing Created Period/culture Discovered Baked clay 22.5 centimetres (unknown operator: u'strong'in) x 10 centimetres (unknown operator: u'strong'in) (maximum) Akkadian cuneiform script About 539530 BC Achaemenid Empire [1] [1] [1]

Babylon, Mesopotamia by Hormuzd Rassam in March 1879

Present location Room 52[2] (previously 55), British Museum, London Identification Registration BM 90920 [1] [3] [1]


The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several fragments, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script[4] in the name of the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great.[5] It dates from the 6th century BC and was discovered in the ruins of Babylon in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in 1879.[4] It is currently in the possession of the British Museum, which sponsored the expedition that discovered the cylinder. It was created and used as a foundation deposit following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was invaded by Cyrus and incorporated into his Persian Empire. The text on the Cylinder praises Cyrus, sets out his genealogy and portrays him as a king from a line of kings. The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who was defeated and deposed by Cyrus, is denounced as an impious oppressor of the people of Babylonia and his low-born origins are implicitly contrasted to Cyrus's kingly heritage. The victorious Cyrus is portrayed as having been chosen by the chief Babylonian god Marduk to restore peace and order to the Babylonians. The text states that Cyrus was welcomed by the people of Babylon as their new ruler and entered the city in peace. It appeals to Marduk to protect and help Cyrus and his son Cambyses. It extols Cyrus's efforts as a benefactor of the citizens of Babylonia who improved their lives, repatriated displaced people and restored temples and cult sanctuaries across Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the region. It concludes with a description of how Cyrus repaired the city wall of Babylon and found a similar inscription placed there by an earlier king.[5] The Cylinder's text has traditionally been seen by Biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus policy of the repatriation of the Jewish people following their Babylonian captivity[6] (an act that the Book of Ezra attributes to Cyrus[7]), as the text refers to the restoration of cult sanctuaries and repatriation of deported peoples.[8] This interpretation has been disputed, as the text identifies only Mesopotamian sanctuaries, and makes no mention of Jews, Jerusalem, or Judea.[9] The Cylinder has also been claimed to be an early "human rights charter", though the British Museum and a number of scholars of the ancient Near Eastern history reject this view as anachronistic[10] and

Cyrus Cylinder a misunderstanding[11] of the Cylinder's generic nature.[12] It was adopted as a symbol by the Shah of Iran's pre-1979 government, which put it on display in Tehran in 1971 to commemorate 2,500 years of the Iranian monarchy.[13]


The Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam discovered the Cyrus Cylinder in March 1879 during a lengthy programme of excavations in Mesopotamia carried out for the British Museum.[14] It had been placed as a foundation deposit in the foundations of the sagila, the city's main temple.[5] Rassam's expedition followed on from an earlier dig carried out in 1850 by the British archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, who excavated three mounds in the same area but found little of importance.[15] In 1877, Layard became Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Mesopotamia at the time. He helped Rassam, who had been his assistant in the 1850 dig, to obtain a firman (decree) from the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II to continue the earlier excavations. The firman was only valid for a year Hormuzd Rassam in Mosul circa 1854. The but a second firman, with much more liberal terms, was issued in 1878. Cyrus Cylinder was discovered during Rassam's excavations in Babylon in FebruaryMarch 1879. It was granted for two years (through to 15 October 1880) with the [16] promise of an extension to 1882 if required. The Sultan's decree authorised Rassam to "pack and dispatch to England any antiquities [he] found ... provided, however, there were no duplicates." A representative of the Sultan was instructed to be present at the dig to examine the objects as they were uncovered.[17] With permission secured, Rassam initiated a large-scale excavation at Babylon and other sites on behalf of the Trustees of the British Museum.[15] He undertook the excavations in four distinct phases. In between each phase, he returned to England to bring back his finds and raise more funds for further work. The Cyrus Cylinder was found on the second of his four expeditions to Mesopotamia, which began with his departure from London on 8 October 1878. He arrived in his home town of Mosul on 16 November and travelled down the Tigris to Baghdad, which he reached on 30 January 1879. During February and March, he supervised excavations on a number of Babylonian sites, including Babylon itself.[16] He soon uncovered a number of important buildings including the sagila temple. This was a major shrine to the chief Babylonian god Marduk, although its identity was not fully confirmed until the German archaeologist Robert Koldewey's excavation of 1900.[18] The excavators found a large number of business documents written on clay tablets and, buried in the temple's foundations, the Cyrus Cylinder.[15] Rassam gave conflicting accounts of where his discoveries were made. He wrote in his memoirs, Asshur and the land of Nimrod, that the Cylinder had been found in a mound at the southern Map of the site of Babylon in 1829. Hormuzd end of Babylon near the village of Jumjuma or Jimjima.[19][20] Rassam's diggers found the Cyrus Cylinder in the However, in a letter sent on 20 November 1879 to Samuel Birch, the mound of Tell Amran-ibn-Ali (marked with an "E" at the centre of the map) under which lay the Keeper of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum, he wrote, "The ruined Esagila temple. Cylinder of Cyrus was found at Omran [Tell Amran-ibn-Ali] with about six hundred pieces of inscribed terracottas before I left Baghdad."[21] He left Baghdad on 2 April, returning to Mosul and departing from there on 2 May for a journey to London which lasted until 19 June.[16]

Cyrus Cylinder The discovery was announced to the public by Sir Henry Rawlinson, the President of the Royal Asiatic Society, at a meeting of the Society on 17 November 1879.[22] He described it as "one of the most interesting historical records in the cuneiform character that has yet been brought to light", though he erroneously described it as coming from the ancient city of Borsippa rather than Babylon.[23] Rawlinson's "Notes on a newly-discovered Clay Cylinder of Cyrus the Great" was published in the society's journal the following year, including the first partial translation of the text.[24]


The Cyrus Cylinder is a barrel-shaped cylinder of baked clay measuring 22.5 centimetres (unknown operator: u'strong'in) by 10 centimetres (unknown operator: u'strong'in) at its maximum diameter.[1] It was created in several stages around a cone-shaped core of clay within which there are large grey stone inclusions. It was built up with extra layers of clay to give it a cylindrical shape before a fine surface slip of clay was added to the outer layer, on which the text is inscribed. It was excavated in several fragments, having apparently broken apart in antiquity.[1] Today it exists in two main fragments, known as "A" and "B", which were reunited in 1972.[1] The main body of the Cylinder, discovered by Rassam in 1879, is fragment "A". It underwent restoration in 1961, when it was re-fired and plaster filling was added.[1] The smaller fragment, "B", is a section measuring 8.6 centimetres (unknown operator: u'strong'in) by 5.6 centimetres (unknown operator: u'strong'in). The latter fragment was acquired by J.B. Nies[21] of Yale University from an antiquities dealer.[25] Nies published the text in 1920.[26] The fragment was apparently broken off the main body of the Cylinder during the original excavations in 1879 and was either removed from the excavations or was retrieved from one of Rassam's waste dumps. It was not confirmed as part of the Cylinder until Paul-Richard Berger of the University of Mnster definitively identified it in 1970.[27] Yale University lent the fragment to the British Museum temporarily (but, in practice, indefinitely) in exchange for "a suitable cuneiform tablet" from the British Museum collection.[1] Although the Cylinder clearly post-dates Cyrus the Great's conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, the date of its creation is unclear. It is commonly said to date to the early part of Cyrus's reign over Babylon, some time after 539 BC. The British Museum puts the Cylinder's date of origin at between 539530 BC.[6]

The text
The surviving inscription on the Cyrus Cylinder consists of 45 lines of text written in Akkadian cuneiform script. The first 35 lines are on fragment "A" and the remainder are on fragment "B."[27] A number of lines at the start and end of the text are too badly damaged for more than a few words to be legible. The text is written in an extremely formulaic style that can be divided into six distinct parts: Lines 119: an introduction reviling Nabonidus, the previous king of Babylon, and associating Cyrus with the god Marduk; Lines 2022: detailing Cyrus's royal titles and genealogy, and his peaceful entry to Babylon; Lines 2234: a commendation of Cyrus's policy of restoring Babylon; Lines 3435: a prayer to Marduk on behalf of Cyrus and his son Cambyses; Lines 3637: a declaration that Cyrus has enabled the people to live in peace and has increased the offerings made to the gods;
Extract from the Cyrus Cylinder (lines 1521), giving the genealogy of Cyrus and an account of his capture of Babylon in 539 BC.

Lines 3845: details of the building activities ordered by Cyrus in Babylon.[28]

Cyrus Cylinder


The beginning of the text is partly broken; the surviving content reprimands the character of the deposed Babylonian king Nabonidus. It lists his alleged crimes, charging him with the desecration of the temples of the gods and the imposition of forced labor upon the populace. According to the proclamation, as a result of these offenses, the god Marduk abandoned Babylon and sought a more righteous king. Marduk called forth Cyrus to enter Babylon and become its new ruler.[29] In [Nabonidus's] mind, reverential fear of Marduk, king of the gods, came to an end. He did yet more evil to his city every day; his [people ................], he brought ruin on them all by a yoke without relief ... [Marduk] inspected and checked all the countries, seeking for the upright king of his choice. He took the hand of Cyrus, king of the city of Anshan, and called him by his name, proclaiming him aloud for the kingship over all of everything.[29] Midway through the text, the writer switches to a first-person narrative in the voice of Cyrus, addressing the reader directly. A list of his titles is given (in a Mesopotamian rather than Persian style): "I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters [of the earth], son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan, descendent of Teispes, great king, king of Anshan, the perpetual seed of kingship, whose reign Bel [Markuk] and Nebo love, and with whose kingship, to their joy, they concern themselves."[29] He describes the pious deeds he performed after his conquest: he restored peace to Babylon and the other cities sacred to Marduk, freeing their inhabitants from their "yoke," and he "brought relief to their dilapidated housing (thus) putting an end to their (main) complaints". He repaired the ruined temples in the cities he conquered, restored their cults, and returned their sacred images as well as their former inhabitants which Narbonidus had taken to Babylon.[30] Near the end of the inscription Cyrus highlights his restoration of Babylon's city wall, saying: "I saw within it an inscription of Ashurbanipal, a king who preceded me."[29] The remainder is missing but presumably describes Cyrus's rededication of the gateway mentioned.[31] A partial transcription by F.H. Weissbach in 1911[32] was supplanted by a much more complete transcription after the identification of the "B" fragment; this is now available in German[33] and in English.[30][34] Several editions of the full text of the Cyrus Cylinder are available online, incorporating both "A" and "B" fragments. A false translation of the text affirming, among other things, the abolition of slavery and the right to self-determination, a minimum wage and asylum has been promoted on the Internet and elsewhere.[35] As well as making claims that are not found on the real cylinder, it has been edited, referring to the Zoroastrian divinity Ahura Mazda rather than the Mesopotamian god Marduk. The false translation has been widely circulated; alluding to its claim that Cyrus supposedly has stated that "Every country shall decide for itself whether or not it wants my leadership."[36] Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi in her acceptance speech described Cyrus as "the very emperor who proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that ... he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it".[35][37][38][39] Similarly, in a 2006 speech, United States President George W. Bush referred to Cyrus, declaring that his people had "the right to worship God in freedom"[40][41] a statement made nowhere in the text of the Cylinder.
Sample detail image showing cuneiform script.

Associated fragments
The British Museum announced in January 2010 that two inscribed clay fragments, which had been in the Museum's collection since 1881, had been identified as part of a cuneiform tablet that was inscribed with the same text as the Cyrus Cylinder. The fragments had come from the small site of Dailem near Babylon and the identification was made by Professor Wilfred Lambert, formerly of the University of Birmingham, and Irving Finkel, curator in charge[42] of the Museum's Department of the Middle East.[43]

Cyrus Cylinder A horse bone bearing cuneiform inscriptions apparently derived from the Cyrus Cylinder has also been discovered in China along with a second bone inscribed with an as yet unknown text. The bones were acquired by the Beijing Palace Museum in 1985. Their origin is unclear, but Irving Finkel has hypothesized that they may reflect a proclamation in another format (perhaps leather or clay), derived from the Cyrus Cylinder's text, though for some reason only one in twenty of the original cuneiform symbols were copied. Finkel suggests that this may indicate that the text (or even the original cylinder itself) was sent around the Persian Empire and was copied to make the bone's inscription at some point.[44]


Mesopotamian and Persian tradition and propaganda
According to the British Museum, the Cyrus Cylinder reflects a long tradition in Mesopotamia where, from as early as the third millennium BC, kings began their reigns with declarations of reforms.[6] Cyrus's declaration stresses his legitimacy as the king, and is a conspicuous statement of his respect for the religious and political traditions of Babylonia. The British Museum and scholars of the period describe it as an instrument of ancient Mesopotamian propaganda.[45][46] The text is a royal building inscription, a genre which had no equivalent in Old Persian literature. It illustrates how Cyrus co-opted local traditions and symbols to legitimize his conquest and control of Babylon.[31][47] Many elements of the text were drawn from long-standing Mesopotamian themes of legitimizing rule in Babylonia: the preceding king is reprimanded and he is proclaimed to have been abandoned by the gods for his wickedness; the new king has gained power through the divine will of the gods; the new king rights the wrongs of his predecessor, addressing the welfare of the people; the sanctuaries of the gods are rebuilt or restored, offerings to the gods are made or increased and the blessings of the gods are sought; and repairs are made to the whole city, in the manner of earlier rightful kings.[5] Both continuity and discontinuity are emphasized in the text of the Cylinder. It asserts the virtue of Cyrus as a gods-fearing king of a traditional Mesopotamian type. On the other hand, it constantly discredits Nabonidus, reviling the deposed king's deeds and even his ancestry and portraying him as an impious destroyer of his own people. As Fowler and Hekster note, this "creates a problem for a monarch who chooses to buttress his claim to legitimacy by appropriating the 'symbolic capital' of his predecessors." The Cylinder's reprimand of Nabonidus also discredits Babylonian royal authority by association. It is perhaps for this reason that the Achaemenid rulers made greater use of Assyrian rather than Babylonian royal iconography and tradition in their declarations; the Cylinder refers to the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal as "my predecessor", rather than any native Babylonian ruler.[48] The Cylinder itself is part of a continuous Mesopotamian tradition of depositing a wide variety of symbolic items, including animal sacrifices, stone tablets, terracotta cones, cylinders and figures. Newly crowned kings of Babylon would make public declarations of their own righteousness when beginning their reigns, often in the form of declarations that were deposited in the foundations of public buildings.[49] Some contained messages, while others did not, and they had a number of purposes: elaboration of a building's value, commemoration of the ruler or builder and the magical sanctification of the building, through the invocation of divine protection. The cylinder was not intended to be seen again after its burial, but the text inscribed on it would have been used for public purposes. Archive copies were kept of important inscriptions and the Cylinder's text may likewise have been copied.[50] In January 2010, the British Museum announced that two cuneiform tablets in its collection had been found to be inscribed with the same text as that on the Cyrus Cylinder,[51] which, according to the Museum, "show that the text of the Cylinder was probably a proclamation that was widely distributed across the Persian Empire."[52]

Cyrus Cylinder Similarities with other royal inscriptions The Cyrus Cylinder bears striking similarities to older Mesopotamian royal inscriptions. Two notable examples are the Cylinder of Marduk-apla-iddina II, who seized the Babylonian throne in 722/1 BC, and the annals of Sargon II of Assyria, who conquered Babylon twelve years later. As a conqueror, Marduk-apla-iddina faced many of the same problems of legitimacy that Cyrus did when he conquered Babylon. He declares himself to have been chosen personally by Marduk, who ensured his victory. When he took power, he The Nabonidus Cylinder performed the sacred rites and restored the sacred shrines. He states that he found a royal inscription placed in the temple foundations by an earlier Babylonian king, which he left undisturbed and honored. All of these claims also appear in Cyrus's Cylinder. Twelve years later, the Assyrian king Sargon II defeated and exiled Marduk-apla-iddina, taking up the kingship of Babylonia. Sargon's annals describe how he took on the duties of a Babylonian sovereign, honouring the gods, maintaining their temples and respecting and upholding the privileges of the urban elite. Again, Cyrus's Cylinder makes exactly the same points. Nabonidus, Cyrus's deposed predecessor as king of Babylon, commissioned foundation texts on clay cylinders such as the Cylinder of Nabonidus, also in the British Museum that follows the same basic formula.[53] The text of the Cylinder thus indicates a strong continuity with centuries of Babylonian tradition, as part of an established rhetoric advanced by conquerors.[53] As Kuhrt puts it: [The Cylinder] reflects the pressure that Babylonian citizens were able to bring to bear on the new royal claimant ... In this context, the reign of the defeated predecessor was automatically described as bad and against the divine will how else could he have been defeated? By implication, of course, all his acts became, inevitably and retrospectively, tainted.[53] The familiarity with long-established Babylonian tropes suggests that the Cylinder was authored by the Babylonian priests of Marduk, working at the behest of Cyrus.[54] It can be compared with another work of around the same time, the Verse Account of Nabonidus, in which the former Babylonian ruler is excoriated as the enemy of the priests of Marduk and Cyrus is presented as the liberator of Babylon.[55] Both works make a point of stressing Cyrus's qualifications as a king from a line of kings, in contrast to the non-royal ancestry of Nabonidus, who is described by the Cylinder as merely ma, "insignificant".[56] The Verse Account is so similar to the Cyrus Cylinder inscription that the two texts have been dubbed an example of "literary dependence" not the direct dependence of one upon the other, but mutual dependence upon a common source. This is characterised by the historian Morton Smith as "the propaganda put out in Babylonia by Cyrus's agents, shortly before Cyrus's conquest, to prepare the way of their lord."[57] This viewpoint has been disputed; as Simon J. Sherwin of the University of Cambridge puts it, the Cyrus Cylinder and the Verse Account are "after the event" compositions which reuse existing Mesopotamian literary themes and do not need to be explained as the product of pre-conquest Persian propaganda.[58] The German historian Hanspeter Schaudig has identified a line on the Cylinder ("He [i.e. Marduk] saved his city Babylon from its oppression") with a line from tablet VI of the Babylonian "Epic of Creation", Enma Eli, in which Marduk builds Babylon.[59] Johannes Haubold suggests that reference represents Cyrus's takeover as a moment of ultimate restoration not just of political and religious institutions, but of the cosmic order underpinning the universe.[60]


Cyrus Cylinder Analysis of the Cylinder's claims The Cyrus Cylinder's vilification of Nabonidus is consistent with other Persian propaganda regarding the deposed king's rule. In contrast to the Cylinder's depiction of Nabonidus as an illegitimate ruler who ruined his country, the reign of Nabonidus was largely peaceful, he was recognised as a legitimate king and he undertook a variety of building projects and military campaigns commensurate with his claim to be "the king of Babylon, the universe, and the four corners [of the Earth]".[61] The Assyriologist Paul-Alain Beaulieu has interpreted Nabonidus's exaltation of the moon god Sin as "an outright usurpation of Marduk's prerogatives".[62] Although the Babylonian king continued to make rich offerings to Marduk, his greater devotion to Sin was unacceptable to the Babylonian priestly elite.[63] Stele depicting Nabonidus praying to the moon, sun and the planet Venus. Nabonidus came from the unfashionable north of Babylonia, introduced foreign The Babylonian king's religious gods and went into a lengthy self-imposed exile which was said to have practices were harshly condemned by prevented the celebration of the vital New Year festival.[64] Cyrus's conquest of the Cyrus Cylinder's inscription. Babylonia was resisted by Nabonidus and his supporters, as the Battle of Opis demonstrated. Briant comments that "it is doubtful that even before the fall of [Babylon] Cyrus was impatiently awaited by a population desperate for a 'liberator'".[65] However, Cyrus's takeover as king does appear to have been welcomed by some of the Babylonian population.[66] The Judaic historian Lisbeth S. Fried says that there is little evidence that the high-ranking priests of Babylonia during the Achaemenid period were Persians and characterises them as Babylonian collaborators.[67] The inscription goes on to describe Cyrus returning to their original sanctuaries the statues of the gods that Nabonidus had brought to the city before the Persian invasion. This restored the normal cultic order to the satisfaction of the priesthood. It alludes to temples being restored and deported groups being returned to their homelands but does not imply an empire-wide programme of restoration. Instead, it refers to specific areas in the border region between Babylonia and Persia, including sites that had been devastated by earlier Babylonian military campaigns. The Cylinder indicates that Cyrus sought to acquire the loyalty of the ravaged regions by funding reconstruction, the return of temple properties and the repatriation of the displaced populations. However, it is unclear how much actually changed on the ground; there is no archaeological evidence for any rebuilding or repairing of Mesopotamian temples during Cyrus's reign.[47] The text presents Cyrus as entering Babylon peacefully and being welcomed by the population as a liberator. This presents an implicit contrast with previous conquerors, notably the Assyrian rulers Tukulti-Ninurta I, who invaded and plundered Babylon in the 12th century BC, and Sennacherib, who did the same thing 150 years before Cyrus conquered the region.[12] The massacre and enslavement of conquered people was common practice and was explicitly highlighted by conquerors in victory statements. The Cyrus Cylinder presents a very different message; Johannes Haubold notes that it portrays Cyrus's takeover as a harmonious moment of convergence between Babylonian and Persian history, not a natural disaster but the salvation of Babylonia.[59] However, the Cylinder's account of Cyrus's conquest clearly does not tell the whole story, as it suppresses any mention of the earlier conflict between the Persians and the Babylonians;[59] Max Mallowan describes it as a "skilled work of tendentious history".[64] The text omits the Battle of Opis, in which Cyrus's forces defeated and apparently massacred Nabonidus's army.[5][68][69] Nor does it explain a two-week gap reported by the Nabonidus Chronicle between the Persian entry into Babylon and the surrender of the Esagila temple. Lisbeth S. Fried suggests that there may have been a siege or stand-off between the Persians and the temple's defenders and priests, about whose fate the Cylinder and Chronicle makes no mention. She speculates that they were killed or expelled by the Persians and replaced by more pro-Persian members of the Babylonian priestly elite.[70] As Walton and Hill put it, the claim of a wholly peaceful takeover acclaimed by the people is "standard conqueror's rhetoric and may obscure other facts".[71]


Cyrus Cylinder Describing the claim of one's own armies being welcomed as liberators as "one of the great imperial fantasies", Bruce Lincoln, Professor of Divinity at the University of Chicago, notes that the Babylonian population repeatedly revolted against Persian rule in 522BC, 521BC, 484BC and 482BC (though not against Cyrus or his son Cambeses). The rebels sought to restore national independence and the line of native Babylonian kings perhaps an indication that they were not as favourably disposed towards the Persians as the Cylinder suggests.[72] The Persians' policy towards their subject people, as described by the Cylinder, was traditionally viewed as an expression of tolerance, moderation and generosity "on a scale previously unknown."[73] The policies of Cyrus toward subjugated nations have been contrasted to those of the Assyrians and Babylonians, who had treated subject peoples harshly; he permitted the resettling of those who had been previously deported and sponsored the reconstruction of religious buildings.[74] Cyrus was often depicted positively in Western tradition by sources such as the Old Testament of the Bible and the Greek writers Herodotus and Xenophon.[75][76] The Cyropaedia of Xenophon was particularly influential during the Renaissance when Cyrus was romanticised as an exemplary model of a virtuous and successful ruler.[77] Modern historians argue that while Cyrus's behavior was indeed conciliatory, it was driven by the needs of the Persian Empire, and was not an expression of personal tolerance per se.[78] The empire was too large to be centrally directed; Cyrus followed a policy of using existing territorial units to implement a decentralized system of government. The magnanimity shown by Cyrus won him praise and gratitude from those he spared.[79] The policy of toleration described by the Cylinder was thus, as Biblical historian Rainer Albertz puts it, "an expression of conservative support for local regions to serve the political interests of the whole [empire]."[80] Another Biblical historian, Alberto Soggin, comments that it was more "a matter of practicality and economy ... [as] it was simpler, and indeed cost less, to obtain the spontaneous collaboration of their subjects at a local level than to have to impose their sovereignty by force."[81]


Biblical interpretations
The Bible records that some Jews (who were exiled by the Babylonians), returned to their homeland from Babylon, where they had been settled by Nebuchadnezzar, to rebuild the temple following an edict from Cyrus. The Book of Ezra (14:5) provides a narrative account of the rebuilding project.[82] Scholars have linked one particular passage from the Cylinder to the Old Testament account[46]: From [?][83] to Aur and [from] Susa, Agade, Enunna, Zamban, Me-Turnu, Der, as far as the region of Gutium, the sacred centers on the other side of the Tigris, whose sanctuaries had been abandoned for a long time, I returned the images of the gods, who had resided there [i.e.,

Places in Mesopotamia mentioned by the Cyrus Cylinder. Most of the localities it mentions in connection with the restoration of temples were in eastern and northern Mesopotamia, in territories that had been ruled by the deposed Babylonian king Nabonidus (excepting Susa).

Cyrus Cylinder in Babylon], to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes. I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings.[84] This passage has often been interpreted as a reference to the benign policy instituted by Cyrus of allowing exiled peoples, such as the Jews, to return to their original homelands [8] The Cylinder's inscription has been linked with the reproduction in the Book of Ezra of two texts that are claimed to be edicts issued by Cyrus concerning the repatriation of the Jews and the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.[85] The two edicts (one in Hebrew and one in Aramaic) are substantially different in content and tone, leading some historians to argue that one or both may be a post hoc fabrication.[86] The question of their authenticity remains unresolved, though it is widely believed that they do reflect some sort of Persian royal policy, albeit perhaps not one that was couched in the terms given in the text of the Biblical edicts. The dispute over the authenticity of the biblical edicts has prompted interest in this passage from the Cyrus Cylinder, specifically concerning the question of whether it indicates that Cyrus had a general policy of repatriating subject peoples and restoring their sanctuaries.[87] The text of the Cylinder is very specific, listing places in Mesopotamia and the neighboring regions. It does not describe any general release or return of exiled communities but focuses on the return of Babylonian deities to their own home cities. It emphasises the re-establishment of local religious norms, reversing the alleged neglect of Nabonidus a theme that Amlie Kuhrt describes as "a literary device used to underline the piety of Cyrus as opposed to the blasphemy of Nabonidus." She suggests that Cyrus had simply adopted a policy used by earlier Assyrian rulers of giving privileges to cities in key strategic or politically sensitive regions and that there was no general policy as such.[88] Lester Grabbe, a historian of early Judaism, has written that "the religious policy of the Persians was not that different from the basic practice of the Assyrians and Babylonians before them" in tolerating but not promoting local cults, other than their own gods.[89] Cyrus may have seen Jerusalem, situated in a strategic location between Mesopotamia and Egypt, as worth patronising for political reasons. His Achaemenid successors generally supported indigenous cults in subject territories as an expression of their legitimacy as rulers, thereby currying favour with the cults' devotees.[90] Conversely, the Persian kings could, and did, destroy the shrines of peoples who had rebelled against them, as happened at Miletos in 494 BC following the Ionian Revolt.[91] The Babylonians had done the same; the Temple of Jerusalem had been razed as the result of a Babylonian invasion prompted by repeated Judaean revolts against Babylonian rule. As such, it was clearly in a different category from the local Mesopotamian temples neglected by Nabonidus and restored by Cyrus. The Persians evidently did give permission for its reconstruction, which would have been required given the circumstances of its destruction.[90] However, the Cylinder's text does not describe any general policy of a return of exiles or mention any sanctuary outside Babylonia;[9] the Biblical historian Bob Becking concludes that "it has nothing to do with Judeans, Jews or Jerusalem."[8] Peter Ross Bedford argues that the Cylinder "is thus not a manifesto for a general policy regarding indigenous cults and their worshippers throughout the empire."[90] Kuhrt comments that "the purely Babylonian context of the Cylinder provides no proof" of the historicity of Cyrus's return of the Jewish exiles and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem,[46] though Becking links this with the lack of any references to the Jews in surviving Achaemenid texts an indication that the Persians seem not to have regarded them as being of any great importance.[8] The German scholar Josef Wiesehfer summarizes the widely held traditional view by noting that "Many scholars have read into [...] sentences [from the text of Cylinder] a confirmation of the Old Testament passages about the steps taken by Cyrus towards the erection of the Jerusalem temple and the repatriation of the Judaeans" and this interpretation was, according to Wiesehfer, for some scholars a strict belief "that the instructions to this effect were actually provided in these very formulations of the Cyrus Cylinder".[28]


Cyrus Cylinder


Human rights
The Cylinder gained new prominence in the late 1960s when the last Shah of Iran called it "the world's first charter of human rights".[92] The cylinder was a key symbol of the Shah's political ideology and is still regarded by some commentators as a charter of human rights, despite the disagreement of some historians and scholars.[13] Pre-revolutionary Iranian government's view The Cyrus Cylinder was dubbed the "first declaration of human rights" by the pre-1979 Iranian government,[93] a reading prominently advanced by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in a 1967 book, The White Revolution of Iran. The Shah identified Cyrus as a key figure in government ideology and associated his government with the Achaemenids.[94] He wrote that "the history of our empire began with the famous declaration of Cyrus, which, for its advocacy of humane principles, justice and liberty, must be considered one of the most remarkable documents in the history of mankind." The Shah described Cyrus as the first ruler in history to give his subjects "freedom of opinion and other basic rights".[95] In 1968, the Shah opened the first United Nations Conference on Human Rights in Tehran by saying that the Cyrus Cylinder was the precursor to the modern Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[96] In his 1971 Nowruz (New Year) speech, the Shah declared that 1971 would be Cyrus the Great Year, during which a grand commemoration would be held to celebrate 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. It would serve as a showcase for a modern Iran in which the contributions that Iran had made to world civilization would be recognized. The main theme of the commemoration was the centrality of the monarchy within Iran's political system, associating the Shah of Iran with the famous monarchs of Persia's past, and with Cyrus in particular.[13] The Shah looked to the Achaemenid period as "a moment from the national past that could best serve as a model and a slogan for the imperial society he hoped to create."[97] The Cyrus Cylinder was adopted as the symbol for the commemoration, and Iranian magazines and journals published numerous articles about ancient Persian history.[13] The British Museum loaned the original Cylinder to the Iranian government for the duration of the festivities; it was put on display at the Shahyad Monument (now the Azadi Tower) in Tehran.[98] The 2,500 year celebrations commenced on October 12, 1971 and culminated a week later with a spectacular parade at the tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae. On October 14, the shah's sister, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, presented the United Nations Secretary General U Thant with a replica of the Cylinder. The princess asserted that "the heritage of Cyrus was the heritage of human understanding, tolerance, courage, compassion and, above all, human liberty". The Secretary General accepted the gift, linking the Cylinder with the efforts of the United Nations General Assembly to address "the question of Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflict". Since then the replica Cylinder has been kept at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on the second floor hallway.[99] The United Nations continues to promote the cylinder as "an ancient declaration of human rights."

Cyrus Cylinder Scholarly views The interpretation of the Cylinder as a "charter of human rights" has been described by some historians as "rather anachronistic" and tendentious.[100][101][10] It has been dismissed as a [11] "misunderstanding" and characterized as political propaganda devised by the Pahlavi regime.[88] The German historian Josef Wiesehfer comments that the portrayal of Cyrus as a champion of human rights is as illusory as the image of the "humane and enlightened Shah of Persia."[94] D. Fairchild Ruggles and Helaine Silverman describe the Shah's aim as being to legitimise the Iranian nation and his own regime, and to counter the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalism by creating an alternative narrative rooted in the ancient Persian past.[102] Writing in the immediate aftermath of the Shah's anniversary commemorations, the British Museum's C.B.F. Walker comments that Monument to the Cyrus Cylinder in Balboa Park, the "essential character of the Cyrus Cylinder [is not] a general San Diego, California erected by an Iranian declaration of human rights or religious toleration but simply a migr organisation, presenting a widely-circulated false translation of the text. building inscription, in the Babylonian and Assyrian tradition, commemorating Cyrus's restoration of the city of Babylon and the worship of Marduk previously neglected by Nabonidus."[21] Two professors with specialisms in the history of the ancient Near East, Bill T. Arnold and Piotr Michalowski, comment: "Generically, it belongs with other foundation deposit inscriptions; it is not an edict of any kind, nor does it provide any unusual human rights declaration as is sometimes claimed."[12] Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones of the University of Edinburgh notes that "there is nothing in the text" that suggests the concept of human rights.[100] Neil MacGregor comments: Comparison by scholars in the British Museum with other similar texts, however, showed that rulers in ancient Iraq had been making comparable declarations upon succeeding to the [Babylonian] throne for two millennia before Cyrus [...] it is one of the museum's tasks to resist the narrowing of the object's meaning and its appropriation to one political agenda.[92] He cautions that while the Cylinder is "clearly linked with the history of Iran," it is "in no real sense an Iranian document: it is part of a much larger history of the ancient Near East, of Mesopotamian kingship, and of the Jewish diaspora."[92] Some historians,[103] as well as writers on human rights, have supported the interpretation of the Cyrus Cylinder as a human rights charter.[104][105] W.J. Talbott, an American philosopher, believes the concept of human rights is a 20th century concept but describes Cyrus as "perhaps the earliest known advocate of religious tolerance" and suggests that "ideas that led to the development of human rights are not limited to one cultural tradition." [106] The Iranian lawyer Hirad Abtahi argues that viewing the Cylinder as merely "an instrument of legitimizing royal rule" is unjustified, as Cyrus issued the document and granted those rights when he was at the height of his power, with neither popular opposition nor visible external threat to force his hand.[107] A former Iranian prime minister, Hassan Pirnia, writing in the early 20th century, characterizes the Cylinder as "discuss[ing] human rights in a way unique for the era, dealing with ways to protect the honor, prestige, and religious beliefs of all the nations dependent to Iran in those days."[108]


Cyrus Cylinder


Exhibition history
The Cyrus Cylinder has been displayed in the British Museum since its formal acquisition in 1880.[1] It has been loaned three times twice to Iran, between 722 October 1971 in conjunction with the 2,500 year commemorations of the Persian monarchy and again from SeptemberDecember 2010, and once to Spain from MarchJune 2006.[1] Many replicas have been made. Some were distributed by the Shah following the 1971 commemorations, while the British Museum and National Museum of Iran have sold them commercially.[1] The British Museum's ownership of the Cyrus Cylinder has been the The Cyrus Cylinder in Room 55 of the British cause of some controversy in Iran, although the artifact was obtained Museum in London legally and was not excavated on Iranian soil but on former Ottoman territory (modern Iraq). When it was loaned in 1971, the Iranian press campaigned for its transfer to Iranian ownership. The Cylinder was brought back to London without difficulty, but the British Museum's Board of Trustees subsequently decided that it would be "undesirable to make a further loan of the Cylinder to Iran."[1] In 20052006 the British Museum mounted a major exhibition on the Persian Empire, Forgotten Empire: the World of Ancient Persia. It was held in collaboration with the Iranian government, which loaned the British Museum a number of iconic artifacts in exchange for an undertaking that the Cyrus Cylinder would be loaned to the National Museum of Iran in return.[109]

Dispute between Islamic Republic of Iran and the British Museum

In January 2009, the British Museum's Director, Neil MacGregor, agreed to a three-month loan of the Cylinder to the National Museum of Iran to be displayed later in 2009. This followed a 2005 agreement of mutual cooperation in which the National Museum of Iran had lent artifacts to the British Museum and the British Museum had promised a reciprocal loan of the Cylinder. The 2009 agreement was regarded as a "diplomatic breakthrough".[110] In October 2009, the British Museum announced that it was postponing the loan following the June 2009 Iranian presidential election so that it could be "assured that the situation in the country was suitable." In response, the Iranian government threatened to end cooperation with the British Museum if the Cylinder was not loaned within the following two months.[111][112] The delivery was scheduled for January 2010[110] to enable the exhibition to open on schedule on 16 January 2010. However, on 11 January the British Museum announced another postponement.[113] Researchers had discovered two fragments in its collections bearing cuneiform inscriptions similar to those of the Cyrus Cylinder. The fragments were identified as coming from two pieces of cuneiform tablets, measuring little more than an inch across, that were inscribed with the same text as that on the Cyrus Cylinder. The British Museum stated that the fragments would be studied and presented at a workshop in London and that "it is intended that the two new pieces should be exhibited for the first time in Tehran, together with the Cylinder itself".[51] The Museum agreed that it would lend the Cylinder and the fragments to the National Museum of Iran in July 2010.[52] In February 2010 the Iranian government's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization announced that it would be cutting all ties with the British Museum, accusing the Museum of making a "politically motivated" decision to hold on to the Cylinder.[114] The National Museum of Iran announced in April 2010 that it would be seeking compensation from the British Museum for the $300,000 cost of the showcase constructed to protect the Cyrus Cylinder in Tehran.[113] Iranian Head of Cultural Heritage, Hamid Baghaei, linked the dispute to deteriorating UK-Iranian diplomatic relations over the presidential election and Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology.[110]

Cyrus Cylinder


Exhibition in Iran (2010-11)

After reaching agreement with the British Museum for a four-month loan of the Cyrus Cylinder, the National Museum of Iran put the cylinder on display in Tehran in September 2010.[115] It was installed at the National Museum by a joint group of Iranian and British archaeologists and specialists.[116][117] The exhibition was opened on 12 September 2010 by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.;[118] it was reported that over 48,000 people had visited within the first ten days.[119] By the end of the exhibition on 10 January 2011, about 214,000 people were reported to have visited it.[120] There was controversy over the symbolism of the exhibition and the form of Ahmadinejad's opening ceremony, which involved the president draping a man dressed as Cyrus with part of the uniform of the pro-government Basij militia. The Fars News Agency proclaimed: "Cyrus The Great Becomes A Basij Member". Commentators described the ceremony as part of a new strategy to promote a form of religious nationalism, drawing on Iran's ancient past in a way that had hitherto been highly unusual in the Islamic Republic. Ahmadinejad's claim that the Cylinder "represents respect for human beings' greatness and basic rights" was criticized by supporters of the Iranian opposition in the light of the Iranian government's own human rights abuses.[121] The conservative Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan argued that Iran should keep the Cylinder, arguing that it belonged to Iran and "that the British government stole this valuable and ancient object of ours." The British Museum responded by pointing out that it had not been stolen but had legally been excavated in Iraq and that "there is no sense that this is anything other than a loan."[122] The Cylinder was duly returned to London in April 2011.[123]

[1] "The Cyrus Cylinder (British Museum database)" (http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ research/ search_the_collection_database/ search_object_details. aspx?objectid=327188& partid=1). . Retrieved 19 June 2010. [2] http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ explore/ highlights/ highlight_objects/ me/ c/ cyrus_cylinder. aspx [3] http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ research/ search_the_collection_database/ search_object_details. aspx?objectid=327188& partid=1 [4] Dandamayev, (2010-01-26) [5] Kuhrt (2007), p. 70, 72 [6] British Museum: The Cyrus Cylinder [7] Free & Vos (1992), p. 204 [8] Becking, p. 8 [9] Janzen, p. 157 [10] Daniel, p. 39 [11] Mitchell, p. 83 [12] Arnold, pp. 426430 [13] Ansari, pp. 21819. [14] Finkel (2009), p. 172 [15] Vos (1995), p. 267 [16] Hilprecht (1903), pp. 20405 [17] Rassam (1897), p. 223 [18] Koldewey, p. vi [19] Rassam, p. 267 [20] Hilprecht (1903), p. 264 [21] Walker, pp. 158159 [22] The Times (18 November 1879) [23] The Oriental Journal (January 1880) [24] Rawlinson (1880), pp. 7097 [25] Curtis, Tallis & Andr-Salvini, p. 59 [26] Nies & Keiser (1920) [27] Berger, pp. 155159 [28] Wiesehfer (2001), pp. 4445. [29] Translation of the text on the Cyrus Cylinder (http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ explore/ highlights/ article_index/ c/ cyrus_cylinder_-_translation. aspx). Finkel, Irving. [30] Pritchard [31] Kutsko, p. 123

Cyrus Cylinder
[32] Weissbach, p. 2 [33] Schaudig, pp. 550556 [34] Hallo, p. 315 [35] Lendering (2007-01-28) [36] Schulz, Matthias (15 July 2008). "Falling for Ancient Propaganda: UN Treasure Honors Persian Despot" (http:/ / www. spiegel. de/ international/ world/ 0,1518,566027,00. html). Spiegel Online International. . Retrieved 15 December 2010. [37] Foucart (2007-08-19) [38] Schulz (2008-07-15) [39] "Shirin Ebadi's 2003 Nobel Peace Prize lecture" (http:/ / nobelprize. org/ nobel_prizes/ peace/ laureates/ 2003/ ebadi-lecture-e. html). Nobel Foundation. . Retrieved 2011-03-19. [40] 'Compilation of Presidential Documents Access'; http:/ / frwebgate2. access. gpo. gov/ cgi-bin/ PDFgate. cgi?WAISdocID=LZ3Qb1/ 0/ 2/ 0& WAISaction=retrieve - Page 1181 [41] The White House Archives; http:/ / georgewbush-whitehouse. archives. gov/ news/ releases/ 2006/ 06/ 20060619-1. html [42] British Museum. "Irving Finkel" (http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ the_museum/ departments/ staff/ middle_east/ irving_finkel. aspx). . Retrieved 14 December 2010. [43] Cyrus Cylinder (press release) (http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ the_museum/ news_and_press_releases/ statements/ cyrus_cylinder. aspx). British Museum, 20 January 2010 [44] Chinas Cyrus Cylinder extracts spark debate in academia (http:/ / www. tehrantimes. com/ index_View. asp?code=224528). Tehran Times, August 9, 2010 [45] Inscription in the British Museum, Room 55 [46] Kuhrt (1982), p. 124 [47] Winn Leith, p. 285 [48] Fowler & Hekster, p. 33 [49] British Museum: The Cyrus Cylinder; Lendering (2007-01-28); Kuhrt (1983), pp. 8397; Dandamaev, pp. 5253; Beaulieu, p. 243; van der Spek, pp. 273285; Wiesehfer (2001), p. 82; Briant, p. 43 [50] Haubold, p. 52 fn. 24 [51] British Museum e-mail (2010-01-11) [52] British Museum statement (2010-01-20) [53] Kuhrt (2007), pp. 174175. [54] Dyck, pp. 9194. [55] Grabbe (2004), p. 267 [56] Dick, p. 10 [57] Smith, p. 78 [58] Sherwin, p. 122. [59] Haubold, p. 51 [60] Haubold, p. 52 [61] Bidmead, p. 137 [62] Bidmead, p. 134 [63] Bidmead, p. 135 [64] Mallowan, pp. 409411 [65] Briant, p. 43 [66] Buchanan, pp. 1213 [67] Fried, p. 30 [68] Oppenheim, A. Leo, in Pritchard, James B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton University Press, 1950 [69] Briant, p. 41 [70] Fried, p. 29 [71] Walton & Hill, p. 172 [72] Lincoln, p. 40 [73] Masroori, p. 13-15 [74] Dandamaev, pp. 5253 [75] Brown, pp. 78 [76] Arberry, p. 8 [77] Stillman, p. 225 [78] Min, p. 94 [79] Evans, pp. 1213 [80] Albertz, pp. 115116 [81] Soggin, p. 295 [82] Hurowitz, pp. 581591


Cyrus Cylinder
[83] Older translations used to give "Nineveh." The relevant passage is fragmentary, but I. Finkel has recently concluded that it is impossible to interpret it as "Nineveh". (I. Finkel, "No Nineveh in the Cyrus Cylinder", in NABU 1997/23 (http:/ / www. achemenet. com)) [84] Cyrus Cylinder (http:/ / www. livius. org/ ct-cz/ cyrus_I/ cyrus_cylinder2. html) translation, adapted from Schaudig 2001. [85] Dandamaev (2010-01-26) [86] Bedford, p. 113 [87] Bedford, p. 134 [88] Kuhrt (1983), pp. 8397 [89] Grabbe (2006), p. 542 [90] Bedford, pp. 138139 [91] Greaves, Alan M. Miletos: a history, p. 84. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 978-0-415-23846-5 [92] MacGregor [93] United Nations Note to Correspondents no. 3699, 13 October 1971 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ a/ 1/ inscriptions/ cyrus. pdf) [94] Wiesehfer (1999), pp. 5568 [95] Pahlavi, p. 9 [96] Robertson, p. 7 [97] Lincoln, p. 32. [98] Housego (1971-10-15) [99] United Nations Press Release 14 October 1971( SG/SM/1553/HQ263 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ a/ 1/ inscriptions/ cyrus. pdf)) [100] Llewellyn-Jones, p. 104 [101] Curtis, Tallis & Andre-Salvini, p. 59 [102] Silverman, Helaine; Ruggles, D. Fairchild (2008). Cultural Heritage and Human Rights. Springer. p.11. ISBN978-0-387-76579-2. [103] Craig A. Lockard, Societies, Networks, and Transitions: A Global History: To 1500 (2007) p. 147; Yunus Jaffery, editor, History of Persian literature (1981), p. 121 (author unknown); [104] Damien Kingsbury, Human rights in Asia: a reassessment of the Asian values debate (Macmillan, 2008) page 21; Sabine C. Carey, The Politics of Human Rights: The Quest for Dignity (2010) p 19; Paul Gordon Lauren, The evolution of international human rights (2003) Page 11; Willem Adriaan Veenhoven, Case studies on human rights and fundamental freedoms: a world survey: Volume 1 (1975) Page 244 [105] Decolonisation, Globalisation: Language-in-Education Policy and Practice, Peter W. Martin, p. 99 [106] Talbott, W.J. Which Rights Should be Universal?, p. 40. Oxford University Press US, 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-517347-5 [107] Abtahi, pp. 138. [108] Cited in Shabani, p. 21 [109] Jeffries (2005-10-22) [110] The Times (2010-04-20)" [111] Sheikholeslami (2009-10-12) [112] Wilson (2010-01-24) [113] Tehran Times (2010-04-18) [114] "Iran severs cultural ties with British Museum over Persian treasure (2010-02-07)" [115] Cyrus Cylinder, world's oldest human rights charter, returns to Iran on loan, The Guardian (2010-09-10) [116] The Human Rights Declaration of Cyrus was Installed at National Museum, IRNA (2010-09-11) [117] IRNA has published a series of 22 photographs pertaining to this event, which can be viewed here (http:/ / www. irna. ir/ PhotoShow/ PhotoShow. aspx?PID=1389062099973202299958980901). Fars News Agency has published a series of 21 photographs, which can be viewed here (http:/ / www. farsnews. net/ plarg. php?nn=M652725. jpg). [118] PressTV, (2010-09-12) [119] " Cyrus Cylinder warmly welcomed at home (http:/ / www. tehrantimes. com/ Index_view. asp?code=227412)". Tehran Times, September 26, 2010 [120] " Cyrus Cylinder draws about 190,000 visitors to National Museum of Iran (http:/ / www. tehrantimes. com/ index_View. asp?code=234841)". Tehran Times, January 10, 2011 [121] Esfandiari, Golnaz. Historic Cyrus Cylinder Called 'A Stranger In Its Own Home' (http:/ / www. rferl. org/ content/ Historic_Cyrus_Cylinder_Called_A_Stranger_In_Its_Own_Home/ 2157345. html?page=1& x=1#relatedInfoContainer). "Persian Letters", Radio Free Europe. September 14, 2010 [122] " Iran threatens to keep artefact (http:/ / www. smh. com. au/ world/ iran-threatens-to-keep-artefact-20100916-15emw. html). The Sydney Morning Herald, September 17, 2010 [123] "Artifact returns to British Museum after Iran loan" (http:/ / seattletimes. nwsource. com/ html/ nationworld/ 2014805079_apeubritainancientartifact. html). The Associated Press. 18 April 2011. . Retrieved 5 November 2011.


Cyrus Cylinder


Books and journals
Abtahi, Hirad (2006). The Dynamics of International Criminal Justice: Essays in Honour of Sir Richard May. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN90-04-14587-7. Albertz, Rainer (2003). Israel in Exile: The History and Literature of the Sixth Century B.C.E.. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. ISBN1-58983-055-5. Ansari, Ali (2007). Modern Iran: The Pahlavis and After. Harlow: Longman. ISBN1-4058-4084-6. Arberry, A.J. (1953). The Legacy of Persia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC1283292. Arnold, Bill T.; Michalowski, Piotr (2006). "Achaemenid Period Historical Texts Concerning Mesopotamia". In Chavelas, Mark W.. The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation. London: Blackwell. ISBN0-631-23581-7. Bedford, Peter Ross (2000). Temple Restoration in Early Achaemenid Judah. Leiden: Brill. ISBN90-04-11509-9. Beaulieu, P.-A. (Oct. 1993). "An Episode in the Fall of Babylon to the Persians". Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) 52 (4). Becking, Bob (2006). ""We All Returned as One!": Critical Notes on the Myth of the Mass Return". Judah and the Judeans in the Persian period. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN978-1-57506-104-7. Berger, P.-R. (1970). "Das Neujahrsfest nach den Knigsinschriften des ausgehenden babylonischen Reiches". In Finet, A. (in German). Actes de la XVIIe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Publications du Comit belge de recherches historiques, pigraphiques et archologiques en Msopotamie, nr. 1. Ham-sur-Heure: Comit belge de recherches en Msopotamie. Bidmead, Julye (2004). The Akitu Festival: Religious Continuity And Royal Legitimation In Mesopotamia. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN1-59333-158-4. Briant, Pierre (2006). From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraun. ISBN978-1-57506-120-7. Brown, Dale (1996). Persians: Masters of Empire. Alexandra, VA: Time-Life Books. ISBN0-8094-9104-4. Buchanan, G. (1964). "The Foundation and Extension of the Persian Empire". The Cambridge Ancient History: IV. The Persian Empire and the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OCLC57550495. Curtis, John; Tallis, Nigel; Andr-Salvini, Batrice (2005). Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN0-520-24731-0. Dandamaev, M.A. (1989). A political history of the Achaemenid Empire. Leiden: Brill. ISBN978-90-04-09172-6. Daniel, Elton L. (2000). The History of Iran. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN0-313-30731-8. Dick, Michael B. (2004). "The "History of David's Rise to Power" and the Neo-Babylonian Succession Apologies". David and Zion: Biblical Studies in Honor of J.J.M. Roberts. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN1-57506-092-2. Dyck, Jonathan E. (1998). The Theocratic Ideology of the Chronicler. Leiden: Brill. ISBN90-04-11146-8. Evans, Malcolm (1997). Religious Liberty and International Law in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-55021-1. Finkel, I.L.; Seymour, M.J. (2009). Babylon. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN978-0-19-538540-3. Fowler, Richard; Hekster, Olivier (2005). Imaginary kings: royal images in the ancient Near East, Greece and Rome. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN978-3-515-08765-0. Free, Joseph P.; Vos, Howard Frederic (1992). Vos, Howard Frederic. ed. Archaeology and Bible history. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN978-0-310-47961-1. Fried, Lisbeth S. (2004). The priest and the great king: temple-palace relations in the Persian Empire. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN978-1-57506-090-3. Grabbe, Lester L. (2004). A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period: Yehud, the Persian Province of Judah. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN0-567-08998-3.

Cyrus Cylinder Grabbe, Lester L. (2006). "The "Persian Documents" in the Book of Ezra: Are They Authentic?". Judah and the Judeans in the Persian period. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN978-1-57506-104-7. Hallo, William (2002). The Context of Scripture: Monumental inscriptions from the biblical world. 2. Leiden: Brill. ISBN978-90-04-10619-2. Haubold, Johannes (2007). "Xerxes' Homer". Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars: Antiquity to the Third Millennium. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN978-0-19-927967-8. Hilprecht, Hermann Volrath (1903). Explorations in Bible lands during the 19th century. Philadelphia: A.J. Molman and Company. Hurowitz, Victor Avigdor (JanApr. 2003). "Restoring the Temple: Why and when?". The Jewish Quarterly Review (University of Pennsylvania Press) 93 (3/4). Janzen, David (2002). Witch-hunts, purity and social boundaries: the expulsion of the foreign women in Ezra 910. London: Sheffield Academic Press. ISBN978-1-84127-292-4. Jarvis, William E. (1987). Kent, Allen. ed. Encyclopedia of library and information science, Volume 43. New York: CRC Press. ISBN978-0-8247-2043-8. Koldewey, Robert; Griffith Johns, Agnes Sophia (1914). The excavations at Babylon. London: MacMillan & co.. Kuhrt, Amlie (1982). "Babylonia from Cyrus to Xerxes". In Boardman, John. The Cambridge Ancient History: Vol IV Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-22804-2. Kuhrt, Amlie (1983). "The Cyrus Cylinder and Achaemenid imperial policy". Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (Sheffield: University of Sheffield. Dept. of Biblical Studies) 25. ISSN1476-6728. Kuhrt, Amlie (2007). The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources of the Achaemenid Period. London: Routledge. ISBN0-415-43628-1. Kuhrt, Amlie (2007). "Cyrus the Great of Persia: Images and Realities". Representations of Political Power: Case Histories from Times of Change and Dissolving Order in the Ancient Near East. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN1-57506-135-X. Kutsko, John F. (2000). Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the Book of Ezekiel. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN1-57506-041-8. Lincoln, Bruce (1992). Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual, and Classification. New York: Oxford University Press US. ISBN0-19-507909-4. Lincoln, Bruce (2007). Religion, empire and torture: the case of Achaemenian Persia, with a postscript on Abu Ghraib. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN978-0-226-48196-8. Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd (2009). "The First Persian Empire 550330BC". In Harrison, Thomas. The Great Empires of the Ancient World. Getty Publications. p.104. ISBN978-0-89236-987-4. Mallowan, Max (1968). "Cyrus the Great (558-529 B.C.)". The Cambridge history of Iran. Vol. 2, The Median and Achaemenian periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-20091-1. OCLC40820893. Masroori, C. (August 1999). "Cyrus II and the Political Utility of Religious Toleration". In Laursen, J. C.,. Religious toleration : "the variety of rites" from Cyrus to Defoe. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN978-0-312-22233-8. Min, Kyung-Jin. The Levitical Authorship of Ezra-Nehemiah. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004. ISBN0-567-08226-1. Mitchell, T.C. (1988). Biblical Archaeology: Documents from the British Museum. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-36867-7. Nies, J.B.; Keiser, C.E. (1920). Babylonian Inscriptions in the Collection of J.B. Nies. II. Pahlavi, Mohammed Reza (1967). The White Revolution of Iran. Imperial Pahlavi Library. Pritchard, James Bennett, ed. (1973). The Ancient Near East, Volume I: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton: Princeton University Press. OCLC150577756. Rassam, Hormuzd (1897). Asshur and the land of Nimrod. London: Curts & Jennings.


Cyrus Cylinder Rawlinson, H. C. (1880). "Notes on a newly-discovered clay Cylinder of Cyrus the Great". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 12. Robertson, Arthur Henry; Merrills, J. G. (1996). Human rights in the world : an introduction to the study of the international protection of human rights. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN978-0-7190-4923-1. Schaudig, Hanspeter (2001) (in German). Die Inschriften Nabonids von Babylon und Kyros' des Grossen samt den in ihrem Umfeld entstandenen Tendenzschriften : Textausgabe und Grammatik. Mnster: Ugarit-Verlag. ISBN3-927120-75-8. Shabani, Reza; Mahmood Farrokhpey (trans) (2005). Iranian History at a Glance ( books?id=RhHENa0o6zMC&pg=21#v=). London: Alhoda UK. ISBN964-439-005-9. Sherwin, Simon J. (2007). "Old Testament monotheism and Zoroastrian influence". In Gordon, Robert P. The God of Israel: Studies of an Inimitable Deity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-87365-7. Smith, Morton (1996). Cohen, Shaye J.D.. ed. Studies in the cult of Yahweh, Volume 1. Leiden: Brill. p.78. ISBN978-90-04-10477-8. Soggin, J. Alberto; John Bowman (trans) (1999). An Introduction to the History of Israel and Judah. London: SCM-Canterbury Press Ltd. ISBN0-334-02788-8. Stillman, Robert E. (2008). Philip Sidney and the poetics of Renaissance cosmopolitanism. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN978-0-7546-6369-0. van der Spek, R.J. (1982). "Did Cyrus the Great introduce a new policy towards subdued nations? Cyrus in Assyrian perspective". Persica (Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Osten) 10. OCLC499757419. Vos, Howard Frederic (1995). "Archaeology of Mesopotamia". In Bromiley, Geoffrey W.. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN0-8028-3781-6. Walker, C.B.F. (1972). "A recently identified fragment of the Cyrus Cylinder". Iran : journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies (10). ISSN05786967. Walton, John H.; Hill, Andrew E. (2004). Old Testament Today: A Journey from Original Meaning to Contemporary Significance. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN0-310-23826-9. Wiesehfer, Josef (1999). "Kyros, der Schah und 2500 Jahre Menschenrechte. Historische Mythenbildung zur Zeit der Pahlavi-Dynastie". In Conermann, Stephan (in German). Mythen, Geschichte(n), Identitten. Der Kampf um die Vergangenheit. Schenefeld/Hamburg: EB-Verlag. ISBN3-930826-52-6. Wiesehfer, Josef (2001). Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN1-86064-675-1. Weissbach, Franz Heinrich (1911) (in German). Die Keilinschriften der Achmeniden. Vorderasiatische Bibliotek. Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs. Winn Leith, Mary Joan (1998). "Israel among the Nations: The Persian Period". In Coogan, Michael David. The Oxford History of the Biblical World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-513937-2. Farrokh, Kaveh (2007). "Cyrus the Great and early Achaemenids". Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN978-1-84603-108-3. Lauren, Paul Gordon (2003). "Philosophical Visions: Human Nature, Natural Law, and Natural Rights". The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN0-8122-1854-X.


Cyrus Cylinder


Media articles
"Royal Asiatic Society". The Times. 18 November 1879. "A Monument of Cyrus the Great". The Oriental Journal (London). January 1880. Housego, David (1971-10-15). "Pique and peacocks in Persepolis". The Times. Foucart, Stphane (2007-08-19). "Cyrus le taiseux" ( 0,40-0@2-781732,50-945518,0.html) (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 2008-07-30. Jeffries, Stuart (2005-10-22). "A private view" ( heritage). The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-19. MacGregor, Neil (2004-07-24). "The whole world in our hands" ( 2004/jul/24/ The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-26. Schulz, Matthias (2008-07-15). "UN Treasure Honors Persian Despot" ( world/0,1518,566027,00.html). Der Spiegel. Retrieved 2008-07-30. Sheikholeslami, Ali (2009-10-12). "Iran Gives British Museum 2-Month Deadline Over Cyrus Cylinder" (http:// Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2010-06-19. Wilson, John (2010-01-24). "British Museum in battle with Iran over ancient 'charter of rights'" (http://www. The Observer. Retrieved 2010-06-24.

Staff (2010-02-07). "Iran severs cultural ties with British Museum over Persian treasure" (http://www.telegraph. Iran-severs-cultural-ties-with-British-Museum-over-Persian-treasure.html). Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-06-20. "Iran seeks compensation from British Museum" ( asp?code=217775). Tehran Times. 2010-04-18. "Iran demands $300,000 from British Museum over Cyrus Cylinder delay" ( news/world/middle_east/article7102268.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093). The Times. 2010-04-20. "Iran is demanding that the British Museum pay $300,000 (197,000) after it refused to hand over the Cyrus Cylinder a cuneiform tablet regarded as the first declaration of human rights." "Cyrus Cylinder, world's oldest human rights charter, returns to Iran on loan" ( world/2010/sep/10/cyrus-cylinder-returns-iran). The Guardian. 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2010-09-10. "( : British Museum: Exchange of historical objects with the National Museum of Iran is important to us)" ( IRNA. 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2010-09-10. "( The Human Rights Declaration of Cyrus was Installed at National Museum)" ( IRNA. 2010-09-11. Retrieved 2010-09-11. "Ahmadinejad hails Cyrus Cylinder" ( PressTV. 12 September 2010.

Other sources
"British Museum Highlights web page" ( me/c/cyrus_cylinder.aspx). Retrieved 2010-06-08. "British Museum collection database web page, with full translation of the Cylinder's text" (http://www. partid=1). Retrieved 2010-06-19. Nayeri, F. (2010-01-11). "British Museum Postpones Sending Artifact to Iran" ( apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aL3dIlC_zlj0). Retrieved 2010-06-25. "'The agreement has been made with our colleagues in Iran that we'll postpone the loan to investigate this exciting discovery with them,' said Hannah

Cyrus Cylinder Boulton, head of press and marketing at the British Museum. 'That's the reason for the postponement.' [...] Boulton said the latest postponement had no link to recent events." The Cyrus Cylinder. Inscription in room 55: British Museum. "For almost 100 years the Cylinder was regarded as ancient Mesopotamian propaganda. This changed in 1971 when the Shah of Iran used it as a central image in his own propaganda celebrating 2500 years of Iranian monarchy. In Iran, the Cylinder has appeared on coins, banknotes and stamps. Despite being a Babylonian document it has become part of Iran's cultural identity." The British Museum (2010-01-20). "Statements regarding the Cyrus Cylinder" ( the_museum/news_and_press_releases/statements/cyrus_cylinder.aspx). British Museum. Retrieved 2010-06-01. "Note to Correspondents no. 3699" ( United Nations. 1971-10-13. Retrieved 2010-06-08. Lendering, Jona (2007-01-28). "The Cyrus Cylinder" ( html). Retrieved 2008-07-30. Dandamaev, M.A. (2010-01-26). "Cyrus II The Great" ( Encyclopdia Iranica. Retrieved 2010-06-08. Dandamaev, M.A. (2010-01-26). "The Cyrus Cylinder" ( Encyclopdia Iranica. Retrieved 2010-09-13.


"United Nations Press Release SG/SM/1553/HQ263" ( (PDF). 1971-10-14. Retrieved 2010-06-08. "Gift of Iran to the United Nations" ( United Nations. Retrieved 2010-06-10. "The First Global Statement of the Inherent Dignity and Equality" ( 2008/history.shtml). United Nations. Retrieved 2010-09-13.

Editions and translations

The latest edition of the Akkadian language text is: Hanspeter Schaudig, Die Inschriften Nabonids von Babylon und Kyros' des Groen, samt den in ihrem Umfeld entstandenen Tendenzschriften. Textausgabe und Grammatik. (2001 Mnster, Ugarit-Verlag) ( online (http:// with English translation based on Cogan 2003). Older translations and transliterations: Rawlinson, H.C., & Th. G. Pinches, A Selection from the Miscellaneous Inscriptions of Assyria and Babylonia (1884, 1909 London: fragment A only). Rogers, Robert William: Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament (1912), New York, Eaton & Mains ( Online ( fragment A only). Pritchard, James B. (ed.): Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ANET) (1950, 1955, 1969). Translation by A. L. Oppenheim. (fragment A and B). P.-R. Berger, "Der Kyros-Zylinder mit dem Susatzfragment BIN II Nr.32 und die akkidischen Personennamen im Danielbuch" in Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie 65 (1975) 192234 Mordechai Cogan's translation, in W.H. Hallo and K.L. Younger, The Context of Scripture vol. II, Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World (2003, Leiden and Boston) ( online ( cyrus_cylinder2.html) with Schaudig's transliteration) Brosius, Maria (ed.): The Persian Empire from Cyrus II to Artaxerxes I (2000, London Association of Classical Teachers (LACT) 16, London. Irving Finkel's translation ( cyrus_cylinder_-_translation.aspx) at the British Museum website.

Cyrus Cylinder This article is about an item held in the British Museum. Object reference: 1880,0617.1941. (http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ research/ search_the_collection_database/ search_object_details. aspx?objectid=327188& partid=1& searchText=cyrus+ cylinder& numpages=10& orig=/ research/ search_the_collection_database. aspx& currentPage=1)


External links
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through this single object. (



Ugarit Salhi Minet el-Beida Ras Ibn Hani Ugaritic kings Ammittamru I Niqmaddu II Arhalba Niqmepa Ammittamru II Ibiranu Niqmaddu III Ammurapi Ugaritic culture Language Alphabet Grammar Baal cycle Legend of Keret Danel Hurrian songs

Danel was a culture hero who appears in an incomplete Ugaritic text of the fourteenth century BCE[1] at Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria, where the name is rendered DN'IL, "El is judge".[2]

The text in Corpus Tablettes Alphabetiques [CTA] 1719 is often referred to as the Epic of Aqhat. Danel was depicted as "judging the cause of the widow, adjudicating the case of the fatherless" in the city gate.[3] He passed through trials: his son Aqhat was destroyed but apparently in the missing conclusion was revived or replaced by Danel's patron god, Rp'u, who sits and judges with Hadad and Astarte and is clearly identical to El. "This is significant," John Day remarked[4] "since the Old Testament identifies El with Yahweh and did not have the scruples about so doing which it had with Baal."[5]

Tablet bearing part of the Danel epic (Muse du Louvre)

The three tablets bearing the story of Danel in about 400 lines break off before the story is completed. Danel, a leader, has no son and engages in an incubation rite; on the seventh day Baal induces the other deities to intercede with El, who takes pity, blesses Danel and grants him a son, Aqhat. Aqhat is presented with a bow by the craftsman deity Kothar-wa-Khasis. The goddess Anat desires the bow and makes several tries unsuccessfully to obtain it, offering even immortality; Aqhat calls her offer spurious, since old age and death are man's common lot. Anat with the consent of El, launches her attendant in the form of a hawk to steal back the bow; however, in the event, the bow is broken and lost in the sea, and Aqhat dies. The bloodshed brings drought to the land and mourning. Aqhat's sister Pagat seeks vengeance, but discovers that the killer she has contracted is the very murderer of her brother. Here the narrative is interrupted. It is generally surmised that in the missing ending, with the help of Danel's patron god, Aqhat's remains are recovered from the eagle that has devoured them. The text was published and translated in 1936 by Charles Virolleaud[6] and has been extensively analysed since then.[7]



Danel and the Book of Ezekiel

The Book of Ezekiel in three verses (14:14. 14:20, and 28:3) writes "Danel", which according to the Masoretic Text should be read as "Daniel". This notwithstanding, parallels and contrasts with the righteous and wise Danel (without i)[8] of the Book of Ezekiel, placed between Noah and Job[9] and invoked as the very example of righteous judgement,[10] first pointed out by Ren Dussaud in 1931,[11] have led readers commonly to accept[12] or occasionally to reject[13][14]a degree of identification with Ugaritic Danel of the "Aqhat text", amounting virtually to the same figure.[15] The three figures referred to in Ezekiel14:14 "Even if Noah, Danel and Job were in it..." links the name with two non-Israelites of great antiquity. In Ezekiel28:3, Danel is one noted for his wisdom in the prophecy addressed to the king of Tyre: "you are indeed wiser than Danel, no secret is hidden from you". The name, "Danel", had a long tradition in Hebrew culture: he is supplied as the father-in-law of Enoch in Jubilees.[16] Texts in the Ugaritic language may provide an important clue. The Canaanite tongue was discovered by French archaeologists in 1928, and known only from texts found in the lost city of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), Syria.[17] Ugaritic has been used by scholars of the Old Testament to clarify Biblical Hebrew texts and has revealed ways in which ancient Israelite culture finds parallels in the neighboring cultures.[17] Ugaritic was "the greatest literary discovery from antiquity since the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform."[18] Literary texts discovered at Ugarit include the Aqhat Epic (or Legend of Danel) all revealing a Canaanite religion. According to Edward L. Greenstein, a distinguished professor at Bar-Ilan University, Ugaritic texts solved the biblical puzzle of the anachronism of Ezekiel mentioning Daniel at Ezekiel14:13-16; it is because in both Ugaritic and the Ancient Hebrew texts, it is correctly Danel -- the yod is missing in the originals.[17] T.E. Gaston argues that there are reasons to doubt the identification of Danel with the Danel of Ezekiel. Firstly, Danel is never described as wise or righteous. Secondly, given he was a Baal-worshiper it is unlikely that a strict Yahwist like Ezekiel would have considered Danel to be righteous. Thirdly, over eight hundred years separate the Aqhat text and the book of Ezekiel, and Danel is not mentioned in any Jewish source in the intervening period.[19] On the other hand, it is argued that Danel would fit the pattern of being an ancient non-Israelite like Job and Noah. Ezekiel's literary arrangement may also support this position. Yahweh has compared Judah with foreign nations before (Ezekiel5:7) and the context appears to contain similar comparison in Ezekiel14:13-19. The hypothetical rebellious country, while a cipher for Israel is not specifically named and could represent any ancient Near Eastern country. Ezekiel's audience is clearly enamored with non-Israelite myths (cf. Tammuz in Ezekiel8:14), and so they could easily be aware of King Danel's legendary virtues. Thus, Ezekiel's triad, if they were three ancient, righteous, non-Israelite men, would fit the pattern of Yahweh judging Israel to some degree by the nations around them.[20] The connection is more plausible when one considers that Ezekiel alludes to Danel in an oracle against Tyre (Eze. 28), for the cultures of Ugarit and Tyre were both Canaanite.[21] Danel also had a son and like Job, was unable to deliver him from divine harm (cf. Ezekiel14:20).[22]

Recent uses
The name Danel has been given to one of the craters on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Made during the reign of Niqmadu III, ca. 1360 BCE (Walton 1994:49). Virolleaud 1936, et al. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 14951. Day 1980:177. "El took his servant, he blessed [Daniel] the man of Rp'u" (CTA 17.135f, in: Day 1980:177). Virolleaud, "La lgende phnicienne de Danel" vol. I of Mission de Ras Shamra, C. F.-A. Schaeffer, ed. (Paris) 1936.

[7] See references section. [8] NIV footnote on Ezekiel 14:14 (http:/ / www. biblegateway. com/ passage/ ?search=ezekiel 14:13-14:19& version=31#fen-NIV-20746a) [9] Ezekiel xiv.14, 20

[10] Ezekiel xxviii. 3: in an apostrophe to the prince of Tyre, "you are indeed wiser than Daniel". [11] Ren Dussaud, "Breves remarques sur les tablettes de Ras Shamra", Syria 12 (1931:77). [12] (Day 1980). [13] H.H.P. Dressler, "The identification of the Ugaritic Dnil with the Daniel of Ezekiel", Vetus Testamentum 29 (1979:15261): "To sum up the Ugaritic material: Dnil is neither king, nor wise, nor righteous, nor able to save his son." (p. 155). Danel not meeting Dressler's definition of kingship, is termed "a village-elder or chief" (p. 153). [14] Wallace, Daniel B. Who is Ezekiels Daniel http:/ / bible. org/ article/ who-ezekiels-daniel [15] The author of the Book of Daniel, a contemporary of Ezekiel exiled in Babylon, is not concerned here; the common assumption is that "features of the Daniel alluded to by Ezekiel have contributed to the depiction of the hero of the book of Daniel" (Day 1980:174). Christianist readers still assert the identity of the two figures. [16] Jubilees iv.20, noted by Day 1980:181: Jubilees, which supplies many "missing" names from the Hebrew Bible, was written considerably later than the book of Ezekiel. [17] Edward L. Greenstein, "Texts from Ugarit Solve Biblical Puzzles," BAR 36:06, Nov/Dec 2010, pp. 48-53, 70. Found at Biblical Archaeology Review website (http:/ / www. bib-arch. org/ bar/ article. asp?PubID=BSBA& Volume=36& Issue=6& ArticleID=5). Accessed October 29, 2010. [18] Gordon, Cyrus Herzl (1965). The Ancient Near East. W.W. Norton & Company Press. ISBN0-393-00275-6. at p.99 [19] T. E. Gaston, Historical Issues in the Book of Daniel, (2009), 10-18. [20] College Press NIV Commentary on Ezekiel By Brandon Fredenburg, p. 138 [21] Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible By David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, Astrid B. Beck, p. 311 [22] Walther Eichrodt, Ezekiel: A Commentary, trans. Cosslett Quinn, Old Testament Library (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970), p. 189


Coogan, M.D. Stories from Ancient Canaan (Philadelphia) 1978:2747 Day, John. "The Daniel of Ugarit and Ezekiel and the Hero of the Book of Daniel", Vetus Testamentum 30.2 (April 1980:174184) Gibson, J.C.L. Canaanite Myths and Legends (Edinburgh) 1978. Herdner, Andre. Corpus des tablettes cuniformes alphabtiques dcouvertes Ras Shamra-Ugarit, en 1929 1939 (Paris 1963) (CTA 1719). Maralit, Baruch. The Ugaritic poem of AQHT: Text, Translation, Commentary (Berlin: de Gruyter) 1989. A highly idiosyncratic commentary and interpretation. Walton, John H. Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels, "Personal Archives and Epics": Canaanite .2 (Zondervan) 1994:49.

External links
The Ugaritic poems of Keret and Aqhat: a bibliography ( As of 1998. Gold Bullion business that base their company ethics on Danel (



A determinative, also known as a taxogram or semagram, is an ideogram used to mark semantic categories of words in logographic scripts which helps to disambiguate interpretation. They have no direct counterpart in spoken language, though they may derive historically from glyphs for real words, and functionally they resemble classifiers in East Asian and sign languages. For example, Egyptian hieroglyphic determinatives include symbols for divinities, people, parts of the body, animals, plants, and books/abstract ideas, which helped in reading but none of which were pronounced.

Further information: Sumerogram,Hittite cuneiform#Determiners,andcuneiform transliteration In cuneiform texts of Sumerian, Akkadian and Hittite languages, many nouns are preceded or followed by a Sumerian word acting as a determinative; this specifies that the associated word belongs to a particular semantic group.[1] These determinatives were not pronounced. In transliterations of Sumerian, the determinatives are written in superscript in lower case. Whether a given sign is a mere determinative (not pronounced) or a Sumerogram (a logographic spelling of a word intended to be pronounced) can not always be determined unambiguously since their use is not always consistent. Examples are[1][2]:

(1 or m) for male personal names (f) for female personal name (GI) for trees and all things made of wood (KUR) for countries (URU) for cities (but also often succeeding KI) (L) for people and professions

for ethnicities or multiple people

( ) or D for gods ( ) for buildings and temples (MUL) for stars and constellations (D) (Is a ligatur of A and ENGUR (transliterated: A.ENGUR)) before canals or rivers in administrative texts


Egyptian hieroglyphs
In Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, determinatives came at the end of a word and before any suffixes. Nearly every word nouns, verbs, and adjectives features a determinative, some of which become rather specific: "Upper Egyptian barley" or "excreted things". It is believed that they were used as much as word dividers as for semantic disambiguation. Determinatives are generally not transcribed, but when they are, they are transcribed by their number in Gardiner's Sign List. Determinative Signs In Egyptian [3]



Some 90% of Chinese characters are determinative-phonetic compounds; the phonetic element and the determinative (called a radical) are combined to form a single glyph. Both the meaning and pronunciation of the characters have shifted over the millennia, to the point that the determinatives and phonetic elements are not always reliable guides.

[1] Edzard, 2003 [2] Hayes, John L., "A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts", Undena Publications, 2000 [3] http:/ / www. jimloy. com/ hiero/ determin. htm

Edzard, Dietz Otto (2003). Sumerian Grammar. Handbook of Oriental Studies. 71. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. ISBN1-58983-252-3.

Dialogue of Pessimism
The Dialogue of Pessimism is an ancient Mesopotamian dialogue between a master and his servant that expresses the futility of human action. It has parallels with biblical wisdom literature.

Text and dating

The Dialogue is a loosely poetic composition in Akkadian, written soon after 1000 BC in Mesopotamia. It was discovered in five different clay tablet manuscripts written in the cuneiform script. The text is well-preserved, with only 15 of its 86 lines being fragmentary.[1] Two textual versions seem to survive, as a Babylonian tablet is substantially different to Assyrian versions.[2] Its likely Akkadian title was arad mitanguranni, the repeated phrase at the beginning of every stanza.[3]

Content and style

The Dialogue of Pessimism takes the form of a dialogue between a master and his slave valet. In each of the first ten stanzas the master proposes a course of action, for which the slave provides good reasons. Each time, however, the master changes his mind and the slave provides equally good reasons for not pursuing that course of action. The courses of action are: I. Driving to the palace II. Dining III. Hunting IV. Marriage (building a house in Speiser) V. Litigation (this is the most fragmentary stanza) VI. Leading a revolution (commit a crime in Speiser) VII. Sexual intercourse VIII. Sacrifice IX. Making investments (plant crops in Speiser) X. Public service A sample of the Dialogue is (Master Slave): Slave, listen to me! Here I am, master, here I am! I want to make love to a woman! Make love, master, make love!

Dialogue of Pessimism The man who makes love forgets sorrow and fear! O well, slave, I do not want to make love to a woman. Do not make love, master, do not make love. Woman is a real pitfall, a hole, a ditch, Woman is a sharp iron dagger that cuts a mans throat. (Stanza VII, lines 4652) [4] Stanza XI is substantially different: Slave, listen to me! Here I am, master, here I am! What then is good? To have my neck and yours broken, or to be thrown into the river, is that good? Who is so tall as to ascend to heaven? Who is so broad as to encompass the entire world? O well, slave! I will kill you and send you first! Yes, but my master would certainly not survive me for three days. [5] (Lines 7986) The dialogue is limited to two people (unlike, for instance, Platos dialogues), as is common in ancient Middle-Eastern wisdom literature. In the scribal tradition of Mesopotamian literature, one learns by verbal instruction and reflective reading, not by debate.[6] It has been suggested that it may have been a dramatic text, performed publicly.[7] Rather than a set of abstract or universal principles to be applied to every situation, the slave employs concrete images and instances.[8] The dialogue stands consciously in the continuum of Mesopotamian literature. Line 76 quotes a line at the beginning and the end of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Lines 8687 quote an ancient Sumerian saying.[9] Lines 6269 may allude to a part of the Great Hymn to Shamash (lines 118127).[10]


The Dialogue falls into the philosophical area of theodicy. Interpretation of the Dialogue is divided. Some see it as a statement of lifes absurdity, because there are no definitive right and wrong choices or reasons for action. The final stanza is therefore a logical outcome of this quandary, the choice of non-existence over existential futility.[11] An opposing interpretation takes its cue from the slaves final cheeky retort, seeing the Dialogue as social satire, where the servile yet cheeky slave exposes the vacillation and unproductiveness of his aristocratic master through conflicting and clichd answers.[12] Religious satire is also present in comments about the behaviour of the gods. Parallels with the second millennium Mesopotamian text Monologue of the Righteous Sufferer (I will praise the Lord of wisdom) and the biblical book of Ecclesiastes suggest a third interpretation. The universe is indeed enigmatic and human actions seemingly meaningless, yet the gods hold the secrets of the universe (revealed in the slaves comment about heaven and earth in Stanza XI). Rather than suggesting death out of despair, the master wants the slave to enter before him into death so that he can ask the gods. The slaves final satirical rejoinder parries his master's suggestion. The Dialogues purpose is partly satirical and partly serious, and its end is to remind readers that the gods control the destinies, which are unknown to us.[13] The wise man, like the slave, reserves judgement and assesses possibilities in the face of lifes ambiguities, albeit while retaining his sense of humour.[14]

Dialogue of Pessimism


Parallels with the Old Testament

There is a thematic parallel between the Dialogue of Pessimism and the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. The affirmations and their negations given by the Dialogues slave are similar to the list of actions and their opposites given in Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 (a time to be born and a time to die...). Ecclesiastes, like the Dialogue, has been the subject of pessimistic and optimistic interpretations, and is also amenable to the interpretation that the incomprehensibility of the universe and human life point to our limitations and the transcendent knowledge of God.[15] There are also some parallels and contrasts with the Book of Job. Like the Dialogue, Job also considers death as an option in the face of lifes contradictions (Job 3:213), although he never contemplates suicide. Moreover, Job does not conclude on a note of death: rather, that theme was more present at the outset. The use of irony and satire to probe lifes mysteries also feature in both the Dialogue and Job (e.g. Job 9:3931).[16] A proverb appearing at the end of the dialogue, "who is so tall as to ascend to the heavens? who is so tall as to compass the underworld?" has several biblical parallels, among which are the opening verse of the proverbs of Agur (Proverbs 30:1); Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Job 11:7-9; and Job 28:12-18. [17]

[1] [2] [3] [4] Bottro, 1992: 251f Lambert, 143 Speiser, 103f; Lambert, 144; Hurowitz, 33 Translations from Bottro, 253257, after Lambert. Another translation is given in Speiser, who provides extensive annotations on text and translation. [5] A similar prediction is made in Sir Walter Scotts Quentin Durward, where, in chapter 29 (http:/ / www. online-literature. com/ walter_scott/ quentin-durward/ 29/ ), the astrologer secures his own safety by predicting to Louis XI that the king would die 24 hours after the astrologers own death. [6] Denning-Bolle, 230 [7] Speiser, 105; Denning-Bolle, 232 [8] Denning-Bolle, 226, 229; Bottro observes several times that the Mesopotamian mind did not formulate abstract or universal principles but, rather, employed sometimes exhaustive lists of instances and examples. [9] Speiser, 104f [10] Hurowitz [11] Lambert, 139-142; Hartley, 353f [12] Speiser, 103105 [13] Bottro, 259267 [14] Denning-Bolle, 229 [15] Bottro, 260262 [16] Hartley, 353f [17] Kim, 430; Samet 2010

Bottro, Jean. Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods. University of Chicago Press, 1992, especially The Dialogue of Pessimism and Transcendence, pp.251267 Denning-Bolle, Sara J. Wisdom and Dialogue in the Ancient Near East Numen. XXXIV, 2 (1987), pp.214234. Hartley, J.E. Job 2: Ancient Near Eastern Background in Tremper Longman III & Peter Enns (eds), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings. Inter-Varsity Press, 2008, pp.316361. Hurowitz, Victor Avigdor. An Allusion to the ama Hymn in the Dialogue of Pessimism. in Richard J. Clifford (ed.) Wisdom Literature in Mesopotamia and Israel. Society of Biblical Literature, 2007, pp.3336. Kim, K. Lemuel and Agur in Tremper Longman III & Peter Enns (eds), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings. Inter-Varsity Press, 2008, pp.427431.

Dialogue of Pessimism Lambert, Wilfred G. The Dialogue of Pessimism in Babylonian Wisdom Literature. Oxford University Press, 1963, pp.139149. Speiser, E. A. The Case of the Obliging Servant. Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 8, 3 (1954), pp.98105.


Samet, N. "The Babylonian Dialogue between a Master and His Slave: A New Literary Analysis." Shnaton: An Annual for Biblical and Near Eastern Studies". 23 (2008), pp. 99-130. ( Papers/931549/ _The_Babylonian_Dialogue_between_a_Master_and_His_Slave_-_a_New_Literary_Analysis_Hebrew_Shnaton_An_Annual_for _99-130)

Samet, N. "The Tallest Man Cannot Reach Heaven, The Broadest Man Cannot Cover Earth - Reconsidering the Proverb and Its Biblical Parallels", Journal of Hebrew Scripture 10 (2010), article 8 ( NiliSamet/Papers/903150/ The_Tallest_Man_Cannot_Reach_Heaven_the_Broadest_Man_Cannot_Cover_Earth_-_Reconsidering_the_Proverb_and_its_Bibl

Dingir (also transliterated diir) is a cuneiform sign, most commonly the determinative for "deity" although it has related meanings as well. As a determinative, it is not pronounced, and is conventionally transliterated as a superscript "D" as in e.g. DInanna. Generically, dingir can be translated as "god" or "goddess".[1] The sign in Sumerian cuneiform (DINGIR, DIGIR, )[2] by itself represents the Sumerian word an ("sky" or "heaven")[3] or the ideogram for An, the supreme deity of the Sumerian pantheon. In Assyrian cuneiform, it (AN, DINGIR, ) could be either an ideogram for "deity" (ilum) or a syllabogram for an, or l-. In Hittite orthography, the syllabic value of the sign was again an. The concept of "divinity" in Sumerian is closely associated with the heavens, as is evident from the fact that the cuneiform sign doubles as the ideogram for "sky", and that its original shape is the picture of a star. The original association of "divinity" is thus with "bright" or "shining" hierophanies in the sky. A possible loan relation of Sumerian dingir with Turkic Tengri "sky, sky god" has been suggested.[4]



Cuneiform sign

The Sumerian sign DINGIR originated as a star-shaped ideogram indicating a god in general, or the Sumerian god An, the supreme father of the gods. Dingir also meant sky or heaven in contrast with ki which meant earth. Its emesal pronunciation was dimer. The plural of dingir is dingir dingir.

The Assyrian sign DINGIR could mean: the Akkadian nominal stem il- meaning "god" or "goddess", derived acrophonically from the Semitic il the god Anum the Akkadian word am meaning "sky" the syllables an and il a preposition meaning "at" or "to" a determinative indicating that the following word is the name of a god

A list of Sumerian deities, ca. 2400 BC. Each list entry is prefixed by the DINGIR determinative. For example, the third line would be autographed as , transliterated as DInanna, transcribed as Inanna, and translated as "goddess Inanna" or simply "Inanna".

According to one interpretation, DINGIR could also refer to a priest or priestess although there are other Akkadian words nu and ntu that are also translated priest and priestess. For example, nin-dingir (lady divine) meant a priestess who received foodstuffs at the temple of Enki in the city of Eridu.[5]

Digital encoding
The cuneiform sign is encoded in Unicode (as of version 5.0) under its name AN at U+1202D .

[1] Edzard, 2003 [2] By assyriological convention, capitals identify a cuneiform sign, while the phonemic value of a sign in a given context is given in lower case. See also Sumerogram. [3] Hayes, 2000 [4] Mircea Eliade, John C. Holt, Patterns in comparative religion, 1958, p. 94. The connection of dingir and Old Turkic tengere was made by F. Hommel in Grundriss der Geographie und Geschichte des alten Orients (1928). P. A. Barton in Semitic and Hamitic Origins (1934) suggested that the Mesopotamian sky god Anumay have been imported from Central Asia to Mesopotamia. The similarity of dingir and tengri was noted as early as 1862 (i.e. during the early phase of the decipherment of the Sumerian language, before even the term "Sumerian" had been coined to refer to it), by George Rawlinson in his The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World (p. 78). [5] Margaret Whitney Green, Eridu in Sumerian Literature, PhD dissertation, University of Chicago (1975), p. 224.



Edzard, Dietz Otto (2003). Sumerian Grammar. Handbook of Oriental Studies. 71. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. ISBN1-58983-252-3. Hayes, John L. (2000). A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts. Aids and Research Tools in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Second revised ed.). Malibu: Undena Publications. ISBN0-89003-508-1 .

Dynastic Chronicle
The Dynastic Chronicle, Chronicle 18 in Graysons Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles[1] or the Babylonian Royal Chronicle in Glassners Mesopotamian Chronicles,[2] is a fragmentary ancient Mesopotamian text extant in at least four known copies. It is actually a bilingual text written in 6 columns, representing a continuation of the Sumerian king list tradition through to the 8th century BC and is an important source for the reconstruction of the historical narrative for certain periods poorly preserved elsewhere.

The text
From the extant pieces, the work apparently begins with a list of nine antediluvian kings from five cities, so much resembling that of the Sumerian King List that Thorkild Jacobsen considered it a variant,[3] and an account of the flood before proceeding on with that of the successive Babylonian dynasties. Due to the poor state of preservation of the center of the text, there are a great many gaps and the narrative resumes with the post-Kassite king Simbar-ipak (ca.10251008 BC), the final discernible king being Erba-Marduk (ca. 769761 BC) although it certainly would have continued, possibly until Nab-uma-ikun (ca. 761748 BC), leading William W. Hallo to suggest a composition during Nab-nirs reign (747732 BC).[4] The text dwells on the final resting place of the kings leading some to propose that the legitimacy of rule determined the location of the burial.[1]

The following collation should be considered preliminary as small fragments continue to be identified, where 1A, 1B and 1C probably come from the same tablet although they do not actually join[1]:139 and others, such as 79-7-8, 333+ (copy 2 below) have their identification disputed.[5]
Copy 1A 1B 1C 2 3 4 K. 11261 + K. 11624 K. 8532 + [9] [6] [7] Museum Reference + K. 12054 [8] [5] [10] + K. 16930 + ? K. 19528 Find Spot Nineveh [11] Nineveh Nineveh [14] Nineveh Babylon [15] Babylon

K. 8533 + K. 8534 + K. 16801

81-7-27, 117


79-7-8, 333 and 339 (unpublished duplicate) BM 35572 = Sp. III, 80 [15]

BM 40565 = 80-11-12, 1088

Dynastic Chronicle


External links
The Dynastic Chronicle at Livius [1] CDLI links to tablet fragments are provided in the table (above).

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] A. K. Grayson (1975). Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles. J. J. Augustin. pp.13941. Jean-Jacques Glassner (2004). Mesopotamian Chronicles. Society of Biblical Literature. pp.126135. John Van Seters (1997). In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and the Origins of Biblical History. Eisenbrauns. p.71. W. W. Hallo (1984/85). "The Concept of Eras from Nabonassar to Seleucus". The Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society (16/17): 149. W. G. Lambert (1973). "A new fragment from a list of antediluvian kings and Marduks chariot". In Martinus Adrianus Beek. Symbolae biblicae et Mesopotamicae Francisco Mario Theodoro de Liagre Bhl dedicatae. Brill. pp.271274. [6] http:/ / www. cdli. ucla. edu/ cdlisearch/ search/ index. php?SearchMode=Browse& ResultCount=1& txtID_Txt=P285813 [7] W. G. Lambert & A. R. Millard (1965). Cuneiform texts from Babylonian tablets in the British Museum. / Part XLVI, Babylonian literary texts (CT 46). The trustees of the British Museum. No. 5 [8] http:/ / www. cdli. ucla. edu/ cdlisearch/ search/ index. php?SearchMode=Browse& ResultCount=1& txtID_Txt=P418349 [9] http:/ / www. cdli. ucla. edu/ cdlisearch/ search/ index. php?SearchMode=Browse& ResultCount=1& txtID_Txt=P357116 [10] W. G. Lambert (Oct., 1974). "The Home of the First Sealand Dynasty". Journal of Cuneiform Studies 26 (4): 208210. [11] http:/ / www. cdli. ucla. edu/ cdlisearch/ search/ index. php?SearchMode=Browse& ResultCount=1& txtID_Txt=P404343 [12] Johns, PSBA 40 (1918), p. 130. [13] J. A. Brinkman (1999). Dietz Otto Edzard. ed. Reallexikon Der Assyriologie Und Vorderasiatischen Archaologie: Meek - Mythologie. 8. Walter De Gruyter. p.7. [14] Rykle Borger (1994). "The Incantation Series Bt Mseri and Enochs Ascenson to Heaven". In Richard S. Hess,David Tsumura. I Studied Inscriptions from Before the Flood: Ancient Near Eastern and Literary Approaches to Genesis 1-11. Eisenbrauns. p.225. [15] Irving L. Finkel (Apr., 1980). "Bilingual Chronicle Fragments". Journal of Cuneiform Studies 32 (2): 6580.

Dynasty of Dunnum
Fertile Crescent myth series

Mesopotamian Levantine Arabian

Primordial beings The great gods Demigods & heroes Spirits & monsters Tales from Babylon

7 Gods who Decree 4 primary: 3 sky: Anu Enlil Ki Enki Ishtar Sin Sama

Dynasty of Dunnum The Dynasty of Dunnum, sometimes called the Theogony of Dunnum or Dunnu or the Harab Myth,[1] is an ancient Mesopotamian mythical tale of successive generations of gods who take power through parricide and live incestuously with their mothers and/or sisters, until, according to a reconstruction of the broken text, more acceptable behavior prevailed with the last generation of gods,[2] Enlil and his twin sons Nuku and Ninurta, who share rule amicably.[3] It is extant in a sole-surviving late Babylonian copy[4] excavated from the site of the ancient city of Sippar by Hormuzd Rassam in the 19th century.[5]


It chronicles the conflict of generations of the gods who represent aspects of fertility, agriculture and the seasonal cycle:[6] heaven, earth, sea, river, plough, wild and domesticated animals, herdsman, pasture, fruit-tree and vine.[4] It begins, according to a restoration: In the beginning, [Harab married earth.] Family and lord[ship he founded. Saying: A]rable land we will carve out (of) the ploughed land of the country. [With the p]loughing of their harbu-ploughs they cause the creation of the sea. [The lands ploughed with the mayaru-pl]ow by themselves gave birth to Sumuqan. His str[onghold,] Dunnu, the eternal city, they created, both of them.[7] Translated by William W. Hallo,The world's oldest literature: studies in Sumerian belles-lettres Then Sumuqan kills his father Harab (plough), marries his mother Ki (earth) and his sister and the cycle of carnage begins. The city of Dunnum was a synonymous toponym, with many places so named, such as one in the vicinity of Isin[7] and another lying of the right bank of the Euphrates in what is now northern Syria.[8] A dunnu is a fortified settlement, but the word can also be translated as strength or violence.[9]

The tale spread across to Phoenicia and over the Aegean, where its influence can be felt in the Ugarit myth Baal and Yam from the Baal cycle (ca. 1600-1200 BC),[2] the Hittite myth Song of Kumarbi (14th or 13th century BC)[1] and the Greek poet Hesiods Theogony (ca. 800-700 BC).[10]

[1] [2] [3] [4] Ewa Wasilewska (2001). Creation stories of the Middle East. Jessica Kingsley Pub. p.90. Thorkild Jacobsen (1978). The treasures of darkness: a history of Mesopotamian religion. Yale University Press. pp.167168, 231. Frank Moore Cross (1997). Canaanite myth and Hebrew epic: essays in the history of the religion of Israel. Harvard University Press. p.41. William W. Hallo (2000). "Founding Myths of Cities in the Ancient Near East: Mesopotamia and Israel". In Pedro Azara, Ricardo Mar, Eduard Riu, Eva Subas. La fundacin de la ciudad: mitos y ritos en el mundo antiguo. Centre de Cultura Contempornia de Barcelona. pp.3132. [5] Tablet BM 74329 at the British Museum. [6] Patrick D. Miller, Jr. (1994). "Eridu, Dunno and Babel: A Study in Comparative Mythology". In Richard S. Hess and David Toshio Tsumura. I Studied Inscriptions from Before the Flood: Ancient Near Eastern, Literary, and Linguistic Approaches to Genesis 1-11. Eisenbrauns. p.152. [7] William W. Hallo (2010). The world's oldest literature: studies in Sumerian belles-lettres. Koninklijke Brill N.V.. p.427. [8] Michael C. Astour (June 1, 1992). "History of Ebla". In Cyrus Herzl Gordon, Gary Rendsburg, Nathan H. Winter. Eblaitica: essays on the Ebla archives and Eblaite language, Volume 3. Eisenbrauns. p.36. [9] I. J. Gelb, T. Jacobsen, B. Landsberger, A. Leo Oppenheim, ed. (1959). The Assyrian Dictionary: Volume 3, D. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. pp.184185. [10] W. G. Lambert and Peter Walcot (1965). "A New Babylonian Theogony and Hesiod". Kadmos 4 (1): 6472.

Eblaite language


Eblaite language
Region Extinct Ebla before the 2nd millennium BC

Language family Afro-Asiatic Semitic East Semitic Eblaite

Language codes ISO 639-3 xeb

Eblaite (also known as Eblan ISO 639-3) is an extinct Semitic language, which was spoken in the 3rd millennium BC in the ancient city of Ebla, at Tell Mardikh ( ,) between Aleppo and Hama, in western modern Syria. The language is known from about 5,000 tablets written with cuneiform script which were found between 1974 and 1976 in the ruins of the city of Ebla. Eblaite is an Eastern Semitic language like Akkadian, indeed it may be very close to pre-Sargonic Akkadian.

A. Archi. 1987. "Ebla and Eblaite," Eblaitica 1. Ed. C.H. Gordon. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns. Pages 717. Cyrus H. Gordon. 1997. "Amorite and Eblaite," The Semitic Languages. Ed. Robert Hetzron. New York: Routledge. Pages 100-113. G. Rubio 2006. "Eblaite, Akkadian, and East Semitic." In The Akkadian Language in its Semitic Context (ed. N.J.C. Kouwenberg and G. Deutscher. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten), pp.110139.

External links
Eblaitica vol.2 at Google Books ( lpg=PA1996&dq=eblaitica&source=bl&ots=Yl04iizKKb& sig=k7_Mzv-4zm4A1lqE_v2H2LEZkqs#PPA1985,M1) Eblaitica vol.4 at Google Books ( dq=eblaite+lexicon&source=bl&ots=ZnG8PKdfFf&sig=tLHXJqylULk_bo2pRrgxLlwQ0Q4)

Edin (Sumerian term)


Edin (Sumerian term)

Edin (.DIN, E2.DIN, E-din) is a Sumerian term meaning "steppe" or "plain", written ideographically with the cuneiform signs .[1] It is featured on the Gudea cylinders as the name of a watercourse from which plaster is taken to build a temple for Ningirsu. "Clay plaster, harmoniously blended clay taken from the Edin canal, has been chosen by Lord Ningirsu with his holy heart, and was painted by Gudea with the splendors of heaven, as if kohl were being poured all over it."[2] Thorkild Jacobsen called it the "Idedin" canal, suggesting it was an as yet unidentified "Desert Canal", which he considered "probably refers to an abandoned canal bed that had filled with the characteristic purplish dune sand still seen in southern Iraq."[3] Friedrich Delitzsch was the first amongst numerous scholars to suggest the Jewish and Christian term Eden traced back to this term. It has also been connected with the later Babylonian term "Edinu".[4]

[1] Konrad Volk; Annette Zgoll (1997). A Sumerian reader (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=KghxplhU7WQC& pg=PA82). GBPress Pont. Ist.Biblicum. pp.82. ISBN978-88-7653-610-6. . Retrieved 27 June 2011. [2] The building of Ningirsu's temple., Cylinder A, Lines 738-758, Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. (http:/ / www-etcsl. orient. ox. ac. uk/ section2/ tr217. htm) [3] Thorkild Jacobsen (23 September 1997). The Harps that once--: Sumerian poetry in translation, p. 423 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=L-BI0h41yCEC). Yale University Press. ISBN978-0-300-07278-5. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [4] Dexter E. Callender (April 2000). Adam in myth and history: ancient Israelite perspectives on the primal human, p. 42 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3jSAAAAAMAAJ). Eisenbrauns. ISBN978-1-57506-902-9. . Retrieved 27 June 2011.

Ehursag (URSAG,

.AR.SAG, ekharsag) is a Sumerian term meaning "house of the mountains".[1]

Sumerian URSAG is written as a special ligature (PAxGN ),[2] sometimes etymologized as .AR.SAG (), written with the signs "temple" (or "house"), AR "mountain" and SAG "head". Ehursag is commonly associated with a temple of Enlil discovered by Sir. Charles Leonard Woolley during excavations at Ur in modern day Iraq. He originally considered this to be a palace, a view that was later rejected in replace for a temple. The location of the royal palace at Ur remains unknown. No graves were discovered under the Ekursag during these excavations.[3] Woolley eventually conceded that it was a "minor temple of some sort." Modern scholars still vary on their interpretations of it as a temple, palace or administrative building. It has even been suggested to be a wing or annex of the main temple, having had some of its foundations destroyed.[4] Stamped bricks used in the construction of the foundations revealed that they were built by Ur-Nammu of the Third Dynasty of Ur. Bricks from the pavement bore the stamp of his successor, Shulgi and later ones of the Isin-Larsa period after Ur was destroyed by Elamites.[4] Ehursag is also the name or epithet of Ninhursag's temple at Hiza and has been suggested to have been an interchangeable word with Enamtila.[1] The Ehursag at Ur was restored in 1961 using ancient and modern bricks, a 2008 report for the British Museum noted that this had collapsed in some areas, especially the northwest corner.[5]



[1] A. R. George (1993). House most high: the temples of ancient Mesopotamia (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=31miWZGVevMC& pg=PA2). Eisenbrauns. pp.2. ISBN978-0-931464-80-5. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [2] Erich Ebeling; Bruno Meissner; Dietz Otto Edzard (1998). Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archologie: Nab-Nuzi (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3q2DZPc-XCMC& pg=PA15). Walter de Gruyter. pp.15. ISBN978-3-11-017296-6. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [3] Tonia M. Sharlach (2004). Provincial taxation and the Ur III state (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Sxz1ahiQQnsC& pg=PA9). BRILL. pp.9. ISBN978-90-04-13581-9. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [4] Harriet E. W. Crawford (2004). Sumer and the Sumerians (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=eX8y3yW04n4C& pg=PA103). Cambridge University Press. pp.103. ISBN978-0-521-53338-6. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [5] Curtis, John., Rahee, Qais Hussein., Clarke, Hugo, Al Hamdani, Abdulamir M., Stone, Elizabeth., Van Ess, Margarete., Collins, Paul., Ali, Mehsin., An assessment of archaeological sites in June 2008: An Iraqi-British Project., p. 8,, Iraq, 2008 (http:/ / www. arxaiologia. gr/ assets/ media/ PDF/ 3769. pdf)

Ekur (.KUR, E2.KUR, E-kur) is a Sumerian term meaning "mountain house". It is the assembly of the gods in the Garden of the gods, parallel in Greek mythology to Mount Olympus and was the most revered and sacred building of ancient Sumer.[1][2]

Origin and meaning

There is a clear association of Ziggurats with mountain houses. Ruins of the mountain house at Nippur Mountain houses play a certain role in Mesopotamian mythology and Assyro-Babylonian religion, associated with deities such as Anu, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursag. In the Hymn to Enlil, the Ekur is closely linked to Enlil whilst in Enlil and Ninlil it is the abode of the Annanuki, from where Enlil is banished. The fall of Ekur is described in the Lament for Ur. In mythology, the Ekur was the centre of the earth and location where heaven and earth were united. It is also known as Duranki and one of its structures is known as the Kiur, or "great place".[2] Enamtila has also been suggested by Piotr Michalowski to be a part of the Ekur.[3] A hymn to (mythology) Nanna [4] illustrates the close relationship between temples, houses and mountains. "In your house on high, in your beloved house, I will come to live, O Nanna, up above in your cedar perfumed mountain". This was carried-on into later tradition in the Bible by the prophet Micah who envisions "the mountain of the temple of Yahweh".[5] The Tummal Inscription records the first king to build a temple to Enlil as Enmebaragesi, the predecessor of Gilgamesh, around 2500 BC.[6] Ekur is generally associated with the temple at Nippur (ruins pictured) restored by Naram-Sin of Akkad and Shar-Kali-Sharri during the Third dynasty of Ur. It is also the later name of the temple of Assur rebuilt by Shalmaneser I.[7] The word can also refer to the chapel of Enlil in the temple of Ninimma at Nippur. It is also mentioned in the Inscription of Gaddas as a temple of Enlil built "outside Babylon", possibly referring to the Enamtila in west Babylon.[7] It is used as part of such Sumerian phrases as e-kur-igi-gal; "House, Mountain Endowed with Sight", e-kur-igi-bar-ra; "House, Mountain which Sees", e-kur-mah; "House, Exalted Mountain", e-kur-mah; a temple of Ninazu, e-kur-me-sikil; "House, Mountain of Pure Mes (laws or judgement)" - a sanctuary of Ishtar, e-kur-nam-ti-la; "House, Mountain of Life", e-kur-ni-zu; "House, Fearsome Mountain" - the sanctuary of Ninlil at hursag-kala-ma (likely a later name of e-hursag-kalam-ma), etc.[7] The Ekur was seen as a place of judgement and the place from which Enlil's divine laws (see List of mes) are issued. The ethics and moral values of the site are extolled in myths, which Samuel Noah Kramer suggested would have made it the most ethically-oriented in the entire ancient Near East. Its rituals are also described as: "banquets and feasts are celebrated from sunrise to sunset" with "festivals, overflowing with milk and cream, are alluring of plan

Ekur and full of rejoicing". The priests of the Ekur festivities are described with en being the high priest, lagar as his associate, mues the leader of incantations and prayers, and guda the priest responsible for decoration. Sacrifices and food offerings were brought by the king, described as "faithful shepherd" or "noble farmer".[2]


The Ekur complex

The physical structure of the Ekur included shrines and storehouses where foreigners brought offerings. These included the shrines of Enlil's wife Ninlil (her chamber, the Gagisua is described as the place where they lived happily together) and their sons, (mythology) Nanna [4] and Ninurta along with the house of his vizier Nuska and mistress Suzianna. Descriptions of these locations show the physical structures about the Ekur, these included an assembly hall, hut for ploughs, a lofty stairway up a foothill from a "house of darkness" considered by some to be a prison or chasm. It also contained various gates such as the gate "where no grain was cut", the "lofty gate", "gate of peace" and "gate of judgement", it also had drainage channels. Other locations such as a multi-story "giguna" among others which have proved unintelligible, even to modern scholars. The Ekur was noted for inspiring fear, dread, terror and panic in people, especially amongst the evil and ignorant. Kramer suggested the Ekur complex may have included a primordial dungeon of the netherworld or "house of lament" where the damned were sent after judgement. Nungal is the Sumerian goddess who was given the title "Queen of the Ekur". The hymn Nungal in the Ekur describes the dark side of the complex with a house that "examines closely both the righteous and the wicked and does not allow the wicked to escape". This house is described as having a "River of ordeal" which leads to the "mouth of catastrophe" through a lock and bolt. Further descriptions of its structural components are given including foundations, doors, a fearsome gate, architrave, a buttressed structure called a "dubla" and a magnificent vault, all described with terrifying metaphors. The hymn also references a "house of life" where sinners are rehabilited and returned to their gods through the compassion of Nungal, who holds the "tablet of life".[8][9] The destruction and fall of these various structures is remembered in various city laments, destroyed either in a great storm, flood or by variously Elamites, Subarians, Gutians and some other, as yet unidentified "Su-people". It was also recorded that the terrible acts of final destruction of the Ekur and it's divine laws was committed by Sargon the great against his own people in approximately 2300 BC. The Curse of Agade describes the same thing happening at the hands of Naram-Sin "Enlil, because his beloved Ekur had been attacked, what destruction he wrought". The foundations are broken with large axes and it's watercourses are disabled, the "gate of peace" is demolished and wars start all over the land, statues are burnt and wealth carried off. There is a body of evidence showing that Naram-Sin instead rebuilt the Ekur, likely in a single building project that continued into the reign of his son Shar-Kali-Sharri, suggesting it was destroyed during Gutian raids. It was noted that statues of the Sargonic kings were still honoured there during the Ur III period.[10] Restorations of the Ekur were later carried out by Ur-Nammu around 2050 BC and Ishme-Dagan around 1950 BC, who made it fragrant again with incense "like a fragrant cedar forest".[2] Evidence was also found of further building work under the reign of Agum Kakrime.[11] Another restoration at Nippur was carried out by Assyrian and Babylonian king Esarhaddon between 681 and 669 BC.[12] A hymn to Urninurta mentions the prominence of a tree in the courtyard of the Ekur, reminiscent of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden: "O, chosen cedar, adornment of the yard of Ekur, Urinurta, for thy shadow the country may feel awe!". This is suggested by G. Windgren to reflect the concept of the tree as a mythical and ritual symbol of both king and god.[13]



The Ekur Archive

The Akkadian Ekur reconstruction project was documented in the Ekur archive; a number of administrative tablets found under the Ur Gur platform or pavement level. These were found by an expedition from the University of Pennsylvania between 1889 and 1900, led by John Punnett Peters, John Henry Haynes, and Hermann Volrath Hilprecht. The tablets detail records of the building work and furnishings of the Nippur cubit, graduated specimen of an ancient temple under Naram-Sin and Shar-Kali-Sharri. These tablets describe measure from Nippur, Mesopotamia (3rd millennium B.C.) displayed in the the walls featuring statues of four gold bison. The courtyard was paved Archeological Museum of Istanbul (Turkey). with a pattern of red and yellow bricks. The main entrance to the Ekur being adorned with two copper lahmu-figures with golden faces. These obscure figures held emblem-poles on either side. Two figures of large, winged, copper dragons guarded the gateway, their roaring mouths inlaid with gold. The doors were studded with copper and gold with heavy bolts resembling either dragons or water buffalo. The interior likely featured a exquisite, carved wooden decorations, panelling and furniture. Inner shrines had doors, which were also built with golden faced lahmu-figures either side along with a number of votive statues plated with gold. Around twenty nine kilograms of gold was used making one hundred moon crescents and one hundred sun discs used in the decorations. Two hundred kilograms of silver were used in the construction of a single shrine. Interestingly, no records of any personal adornments or jewellery were ever found in the Ekur.[11] A total of seventy seven joiners were used in teams of eleven under seven foremen and fifty four carpenters under three foremen. Eighty six goldsmiths were employed under six foremen along with ten sculptors. The vast amounts of bronze suggested there were as many as two hundred smiths under fifteen foremen and an unknown number of engravers under three foremen. The Ekur archive is a testament to the power and wealth of the Akkadian Empire with artisans coming from around the land to participate under the direction of the master craftsman and 'Minister of Public Works' of the King. Manufacture was suggested to have taken place both in the temple and special workshop (Nippur cubit measuring rod pictured). The splendour of the designs and decorations led Age Westenholz to suggest the anaology of this spiritual sanctuary to the Sumerian empire with that of the Vatican to the Roman Catholic world. The chief administrator of the Ekur or "sanga" of Enlil was appointed by the king and held special status in Nippur and votive inscriptions of the kings indicate that it had held this position since early dynastic times.[11]

Peter Jensen also associated the Ekur with the underworld in "Die Kosmologie der Babylonier", where he translated it as a settlement of demons.[14] The location also appears in Ludlul bl nmeqi and other myths as a home of demons who go out into the land. It is noted by Wayne Horowitz that in none of the bilingual texts do the demons appear to be "going upwards" but "outwards", contrary to what would be expected if Ekur referred to later concepts such as Sheol, Hades and Hell, which were believed to be located under the surface of the earth.[15] Morris Jastrow discussed the place of the Ekur in Sumerian cosmology, "Another name which specifies the relationship of Aralu to the world is Ekur or 'mountain house' of the dead. Ekur is one of the names for the earth, but is applied more particularly to that part of the mountain, also known as E-khar-sag-kurkura (.AR.SAG.KUR.KUR-'a' "house of the mountain of all lands") where the gods were born. Before the later speculative view was developed, according to which the gods, or most of them, have their seats in heaven, it was on this mountain also that the gods were supposed to dwell. Hence Ekur became also one of the names for temple, as the seat of a god."[16]



[1] Charles Penglase (24 March 1997). Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=M5nrlIoCyxAC& pg=PA73). Psychology Press. pp.73. ISBN978-0-415-15706-3. . Retrieved 5 June 2011. [2] Michael V. Fox (1988). Temple in society (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=eHjV2_-8V2oC& pg=PA8). Eisenbrauns. pp.8. ISBN978-0-931464-38-6. . Retrieved 8 June 2011. [3] Piotr Michalowski (1989). The lamentation over the destruction of Sumer and Ur (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=te_g2xGYIFEC& pg=PA81). Eisenbrauns. pp.81. ISBN978-0-931464-43-0. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [4] http:/ / www. newworldencyclopedia. org/ entry/ Sin [5] Thomas B. Dozeman (29 May 2009). Exodus (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=fRXjfa6RWPwC& pg=PA122). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp.122. ISBN978-0-8028-2617-6. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [6] Dina Katz (June 1993). Gilgamesh and Akka (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=bCn5-COYETwC& pg=PA15). BRILL. pp.15. ISBN978-90-72371-67-6. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [7] A. R. George (1993). House most high: the temples of ancient Mesopotamia (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=31miWZGVevMC& pg=PA117). Eisenbrauns. pp.117. ISBN978-0-931464-80-5. . Retrieved 5 June 2011. [8] Sjberg Ake., "Nungal in the Ekur," Archiv fur Orientforschung 24, pp. 19-46, 1976. [9] Frymer, Tikva Simone., "The Nungal Hymn and the Ekur-prison", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 20, pp. 78-89, 1967. [10] Jerrold S. Cooper (February 1983). The Curse of Agade (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=5r0NAAAAYAAJ). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN978-0-8018-2846-1. . Retrieved 8 June 2011. [11] Aage Westenholz; University of Pennsylvania. University Museum (January 1987). Old Sumerian and old Akkadian texts in Philadelphia: The "Akkadian" texts, the Enlilemaba texts, and the Onion Archive (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=PgMudw3jPEMC& pg=PA25). Museum Tusculanum Press. pp.25. ISBN978-87-7289-008-1. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [12] Barbara N. Porter (1993). Images, power, and politics: figurative aspects of Esarhaddon's Babylonian policy (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=kUsLAAAAIAAJ& pg=PA62). American Philosophical Society. pp.62. ISBN978-0-87169-208-5. . Retrieved 8 June 2011. [13] James D. Martin; Philip R. Davies (1986). A Word in season: essays in honour of William McKane (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=VZ8UvjHcmJEC& pg=PA104). Continuum International Publishing Group. pp.104. ISBN978-1-85075-047-5. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [14] Peter Christian Albrecht Jensen (1890). Die Kosmologie der Babylonier: Studien und Materialien : mit einem mythologischen Anhang, pp. 185-195 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=tyDOQAAACAAJ). Trbner. . Retrieved 8 June 2011. [15] Wayne Horowitz (1998). Mesopotamian cosmic geography (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=P8fl8BXpR0MC& pg=PA295). Eisenbrauns. pp.295. ISBN978-0-931464-99-7. . Retrieved 8 June 2011. [16] Morris Jastrow (1898). The religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 558 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=jlx2UA63_C0C). Ginn & Co.. . Retrieved 5 June 2011.

Elamite cuneiform


Elamite cuneiform
Elamite Cuneiform
Type Languages Time period Parent systems Syllabary Elamite language 2200 BCE to 400 BCE Sumerian Cuneiform Akkadian Cuneiform Sister systems Elamite Cuneiform

Old Persian Cuneiform

Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols.

Elamite cuneiform was a logo-syllabic script used to write the Elamite Language.

History and Decipherment

The Elamite Language (ca. 3000 BCE to 400 BCE) is the now extinct language spoken by Elamites, who inhabited the regions of Khuzistn and Frs in Southern Iran.[1] It has long been an enigma for scholars due to the scarcity of resources for its research and the irregularities found in the language.[1] It seems to have no relation to its neighboring Semitic and Indo-European languages.[2] Scholars fiercely argue over several hypotheses about its origin, but have no definite theory. There are three known writing systems for the Elamite language and they were written in a variety of mediums including stone, metal, and clay.[1] The first system is Proto-Elamite, a pictographic script that is thought to be derived from Sumerian cuneiform. The second is Linear Elamite, a hieroglyphic syllabary with some logograms. The third and most recent one is Elamite cuneiform, a syllabary adapted from Akkadian cuneiform. Although Proto-Elamite and Linear Elamite still remain a mystery, Elamite cuneiform have been successfully deciphered. Elamite cuneiform comes in two variants, the first, derived from Akkadian, was used during the 3rd to 2nd millennia BCE, and a simplified form used during the 1st millennium BCE.[1] The main difference between the two variants is the reduction of glyphs used in the simplified version.[3] At any one time, there would only be around 130 cuneiform signs in use. Throughout the scripts history, only 206 different signs were used in total. The earliest known Elamite cuneiform text is a treaty between Akkaddians and the Elamites that dates back to 2200 BCE.[1] However, some believe it might have been in use since 2500 BCE [3] The tablets are poorly preserved so only limited parts can be read but it is understood that the text is a treaty between the Akkad King Nramsn and Elamite Ruler Hita. Frequent references like Nramsns friend is my friend, Nramsns enemy is my enemy indicate so.[1] The most famous and the ones that ultimately lead to its decipherment are the Elamite scriptures found in the trilingual inscriptions of monuments commissioned by the Achaemenid Persian Kings.[4] The inscriptions, similar to that of the Rosetta Stones, were written in three different writing systems. The first was Old Persian, which was deciphered in 1802 by Georg Friedrich Grotefend. The second, Babylonian cuneiform, was deciphered shortly after the Old Persian text. Because Elamite is unlike its neighboring Semitic Languages, the scripts decipherment was delayed until the 1840s. Even today, lack of sources and comparative materials hinder further research of Elamite.[1]

Elamite cuneiform


Elamite radically reduced the number of cuneiform glyphs. From the entire history of the script, only 206 glyphs are used; at any one time, the number was fairly constant at about 130. In the earliest tablets the script is almost entirely syllabic, with almost all common Old Akkadian syllabic glyphs with CV and VC values being adopted. Over time the number of syllabic glyphs is reduced while the number of logograms increases. About 40 CVC glyphs are also occasionally used, but they appear to have been used for the consonants and ignored the vocalic value. Several determinatives are also used.[3]

Elamite CV and VC syllabic glyphs Monumental Achaemenid inscriptions, 5th c BCE

Ca p b k g t d pa ba qa/ka4 ka da Ce Ci Cu pu aC ap eC iC uC up

be pe ~ pi

() ip

ke ~ ki ge ~ gi te ti





(tu4) tu du u su



s z () y l m n r h 0

() a sa ca ya la ma na ra ha a

a as/ac

i ~ u is/ic

se ~ si ce ~ ci

le ~ li me mi

lu mu nu ru hu , u ah am an en in ir

ul um un ur

ne ~ ni re ~ ri e hi i

Glyphs in parentheses in the table are not common. The script distinguished the four vowels of Akkadian and 15 consonants, /p/, /b/,/k/,/g/,/t/,/d/,//,/s/,/z/,/y/,/l/,/m/,/n/,/r/, and /h/. The Akkadian voiced pairs /p, b/, /k, g/, and /t, d/ may not have been distinct in Elamite. The series transcribed z may have been an affricate such as // or /c/ (ts). /hV/ was not always distinguished from simple vowels, suggesting that /h/ may have been dropping out of the language. The VC glyphs are often used for a syllable coda without any regard to the value of V, suggesting that they were in fact alphabetic C signs.[3] Much of the conflation of Ce and Ci, and also eC and iC, is inherited from Akkadian (pe-pi-bi, ke-ki, ge-gi, se-si, ze-zi, le-li, re-ri, and e-ithat is, only ne-ni are distinguished in Akkadian but not Elamite; of the VC syllables, only e-i-u). In addition, is a, e, i, u in Akkadian, and so effectively is a coda consonant even there.

Elamite cuneiform


Elamite cuneiform is similar to that of Akkadian cuneiform except for a few unusual features. For example, the primary function of CVC glyphs was to indicate the two consonants rather than the syllable.[3] Thus certain words used the glyphs for tir and tar interchangeably and the vowel was ignored. Occasionally, the vowel is acknowledged such that tir will be used in the context ti-rV. Thus ti-ra might be written with the glyphs for tir and a or ti and ra. Elamite cuneiform allows for a lot of freedom when constructing syllables. For example, CVC syllables are sometimes represented by using a CV and VC glyph. The vowel in the second glyph is irrelevant so sa-ad and sa-ud are equivalent. Additionally, VCV syllables are represented by combining V and CV glyphs or VC and CV glyphs that have a common consonant. Thus ap-pa and a-pa are equivalent.

[1] [2] [3] [4] Khaikjan (1998) Starostin, George (2002) Peter Daniels and William Bright (1996) Reiner, Erica (2005)

Reiner, Erica. 2005. "Elamite" International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Ed. William J. Frawley. Oxford University Press. Oxford Reference Online: <> (accessed 5 November 2008) Khaikjan, Margaret. 1998. "The Elamite Language". Documenta Asiana IV, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici. ISBN 88-87345-01-5 Peter T. Daniels and William Bright. 1996. The Worlds Writing Systems. Published by Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0 George S. Starostin. On the Genetic Affiliation of the Elamite Language. // Originally in: Mother Tongue, v. VII. 2002, pp.147170

Elamite language


Elamite language
Spoken natively in Elamite Empire Region Extinct Language family Middle East By the end of the 4th century BC Language isolate Language codes ISO 639-2 ISO 639-3 elx elx

Elamite is an extinct language spoken by the ancient Elamites. Elamite was the primary language in present day Iran from 2800550 BCE. The last written records in Elamite appear about the time of the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great.

Elamite scripts
Over the centuries, three distinct Elamite scripts developed. Proto-Elamite is the oldest known writing system from Iran. It was Tablet of Elamite script used during a brief period of time (ca. 3100 2900 BC); clay tablets with Proto-Elamite writing have been found at different sites across Iran. The Proto-Elamite script is thought to have developed from early cuneiform (proto-cuneiform). The Proto-Elamite script consists of more than 1,000 signs and is thought to be partly logographic. Since it has not yet been deciphered, it is not known whether the language it represents is Elamite or another language. It has been suggested that some early writing systems, including Proto-Elamite, may not relate to spoken languages in the way that modern writing systems do. Linear Elamite is a writing system from Iran attested in a few monumental inscriptions only. It is often claimed that Linear Elamite is a syllabic writing system derived from Proto-Elamite, although this cannot be proven. Linear-Elamite was used for a very brief period of time during the last quarter of the third millennium BC. Linear-Elamite has not been deciphered. Several scholars have attempted to decipher linear-Elamite, most notably Walther Hinz and Piero Meriggi. The Elamite Cuneiform script was used from about 2500 to 331 BC, and was adapted from the Akkadian Cuneiform. The Elamite Cuneiform script consisted of about 130 symbols, far fewer than most other cuneiform scripts.

Elamite language


Linguistic typology
Elamite was an agglutinative language,[1] and Elamite grammar was characterized by a well-developed and pervasive nominal class system, where animate nouns had separate markers for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person the latter being a rather unusual feature. It can be said to display a kind of Suffixaufnahme in that the nominal class markers of the head were also attached to any modifiers, including adjectives, noun adjuncts, possessor nouns, and even entire clauses.

The history of Elamite is periodized as follows: Old Elamite (c. 26001500 BC) Middle Elamite (c. 15001000 BC) Neo-Elamite (1000550 BC) Achaemenid Elamite (550330 BC) Middle Elamite is considered the classical period of Elamite, whereas the best attested variety is Achaemenid Elamite,[2] which was widely used by the Achaemenid Persian state for official inscriptions as well as administrative records and displays significant Old Persian influence. Documents from the Old Elamite and early Neo-Elamite stages are rather scarce. Neo-Elamite can be regarded as a transition between Middle and Achaemenid Elamite with respect to language structure.

Sound system
Because of the limitations of the scripts, Elamite phonology is not well understood. In terms of consonants, it had at least the stops /p/, /t/ and /k/, the sibilants /s/, // and /z/ (with uncertain pronunciation), the nasals /m/ and /n/, the liquids /l/ and /r/, and a fricative /h/, which was lost in late Neo-Elamite. Some peculiarities of spelling have been interpreted as suggesting that there was a contrast between two series of stops (/p/, /t/, /k/ vs /b/, /d/, /g/), but in general such a distinction is not consistently indicated by written Elamite as we know it. As for the vowels, Elamite had at least /a/, /i/, and /u/, and may also have had an /e/, which is, however, not generally expressed unambiguously. Roots are generally of the forms CV, (C)VC, (C)VCV, and more rarely CVCCV (where the first C is usually a nasal).

Elamite is agglutinative (but with fewer morphemes per word than, say, Sumerian or Hurrian and Urartian), and predominantly suffixing.

Nominal morphology
The Elamite nominal system is thoroughly pervaded by a noun class distinction which combines a gender distinction between animate and inanimate with a personal class distinction corresponding to the three persons of verbal inflection (first, second, third, plural). The suffixes are as follows: Animate: 1st person singular: -k 2nd person singular: -t 3rd person singular: -r or 3rd person plural: -p Inanimate:

Elamite language -, -me, -n, -t The animate third-person suffix -r can serve as a nominalizing suffix and indicate nomen agentis or just members of a class. The inanimate 3rd singular -me forms abstracts. Some examples are sunki-k a king (first person) i.e. I, a king, sunki-r a king (third person), nap- or nap-ir a god (third person), sunki-p kings, nap-ip gods, sunki-me kingdom, kingship, hal- town, land, siya-n temple, hala-t mud brick. Modifiers follow their (nominal) heads. In noun phrases and pronoun phrases, the suffixes referring to the head are appended to the modifier, regardless of whether the modifier is another noun (such as a possessor) or an adjective. Sometimes the suffix is preserved on the head as well. Examples: u ak X-k(i) = I, the son of X X ak Y-r(i) = X, the son of Y u sunki-k Hatamti-k = I, the king of Elam sunki Hatamti-p (or, sometimes, sunki-p Hatamti-p) = the kings of Elam temti ria-r = great lord (lit. lord great) ria-r nap-ip-ir = greatest of the gods (lit. great of the gods) nap-ir u-ri = my god (lit. god of me) hiya-n nap-ir u-ri-me = the throne hall of my god takki-me puhu nika-me-me = the life of our children sunki-p uri-p u-p(e) = kings, my predecessors (lit. kings, predecessors of me) This elegant system, in which the noun class suffixes function as derivational morphemes as well as agreement markers and indirectly as subordinating morphemes, is best seen in Middle Elamite. It is, to a great extent, broken down in Achaemenid Elamite, where possession and, sometimes, attributive relationships are uniformly expressed with the genitive case suffix -na appended to the modifier: e.g. ak X-na son of X. The suffix -na, which probably originated from the inanimate agreement suffix -n followed by the nominalizing particle -a (see below), appeared already in Neo-Elamite. The personal pronouns distinguish nominative and accusative case forms. They are as follows:
Case Nominative Accusative 1st sg. 2nd sg. 3rd sg. u un ni/nu nun i/hi ir/in 1st pl. 2nd pl. 3rd pl. Inanimate i/in i/in


nika/nuku num/numi ap/appi nukun numun appin

In general, no special possessive pronouns are needed in view of the construction with the noun class suffixes. Nevertheless, surprisingly, a set of separate third-person animate possessives -e (sing.) / appi-e (plur.) is occasionally used already in Middle Elamite: puhu-e her children, hi-api-e their name. The relative pronouns are akka who and appa what, which.

Verbal morphology
The verb base can be simple (e.g. ta- put) or reduplicated (e.g. beti > bepti rebel). The pure verb base can function as a verbal noun or infinitive. The verb distinguishes three forms functioning as finite verbs, known as conjugations. Conjugation I is the only one that has special endings characteristic of finite verbs as such, as shown below. Its use is mostly associated with active voice, transitivity (or verbs of motion), neutral aspect and past tense meaning. Conjugations II and III can be regarded as periphrastic constructions with participles; they are formed by the addition of the nominal personal class suffixes to a passive perfective participle in -k and to an active imperfective participle in -n, respectively.

Elamite language Accordingly, Conjugation II expresses a perfective aspect, hence usually past tense, and an intransitive or passive voice, whereas Conjugation III expresses an imperfective non-past action. The Middle Elamite Conjugation I is formed with the following suffixes: 1st singular: -h 2nd singular: -t 3rd singular: - 1st plural: -hu 2nd plural: -h-t 3rd plural: -h- Examples: kulla-h I prayed, hap-t you heard, hutta- he did, kulla-hu we prayed, hutta-h-t you (plur.) did, hutta-h- they did. In Achaemenid Elamite, the loss of the /h/ phoneme reduces the transparency of the Conjugation I endings and leads to the merger of the singular and plural except in the first person; in addition, the first person plural changes from -hu to -ut. The participles can be exemplified as follows: perfective participle hutta-k done, kulla-k something prayed, i.e. a prayer; imperfective participle hutta-n doing or who will do, also serving as a non-past infinitive. The corresponding conjugation is, for the perfective, first person singular hutta-k-k, second person singular hutta-k-t, third person singular hutta-k-r, third person plural hutta-k-p; and for the imperfective, 1st person singular hutta-n-k, 2nd person singular hutta-n-t, 3rd person singular hutta-n-r, 3rd person plural hutta-n-p. In Achaemenid Elamite, the Conjugation 2 endings are somewhat changed: 1st person singular hutta-k-ut, 2nd person singular hutta-k-t, 3rd person singular hutta-k (hardly ever attested in predicative use), 3rd person plural hutta-p. There is also a periphrastic construction with an auxiliary verb ma- following either Conjugation II and III stems (i.e. the perfective and imperfective participles), or nomina agentis in -r, or a verb base directly. In Achaemenid Elamite, only the third option exists. There is no consensus on the exact meaning of the periphrastic forms with ma-, although durative, intensive or volitional interpretations have been suggested.[3] Optative mood is expressed by the addition of the suffix -ni to Conjugations I and II. The imperative is identical to the second person of Conjugation I in Middle Elamite. In Achaemenid Elamite, it is the third person that coincides with the imperative. The prohibitative is formed by the particle ani/ani preceding Conjugation III. Verbal forms can be converted into the heads of subordinate clauses through the addition of the suffix -a, much as in Sumerian: siyan in-me kui-h(i)-me-a the temple which they did not build. -ti/-ta can be suffixed to verbs, chiefly of conjugation I, expressing possibly a meaning of anteriority (perfect and pluperfect tense). The negative particle is in-; it takes nominal class suffixes that agree with the subject of attention (which may or may not coincide with the grammatical subject), e.g. first person singular in-ki, third person singular animate in-ri, third person singular inanimate in-ni/in-me. In Achaemenid Elamite, the inanimate form in-ni has been generalized to all persons, so that concord has been lost.


Elamite language


As already mentioned, nominal heads are normally followed by their modifiers, although there are occasional inversions of this word order. The word order is subjectobjectverb (SOV), with indirect objects preceding direct objects, although the word order becomes more flexible in Achaemenid Elamite. There are often resumptive pronouns before the verb often long sequences, especially in Middle Elamite (ap u in duni-h "to-them I it gave"). The language uses postpositions such as -ma "in" and -na "of", but spatial and temporal relationships are generally expressed in Middle Elamite by means of "directional words" originating as nouns or verbs. These "directional words" either precede or follow the governed nouns, and tend to exhibit noun class agreement with whatever noun is described by the prepositional phrase: e.g. i-r pat-r u-r ta-t-ni "may you place him under me", lit. "him inferior of-me place-you-may". In Achaemenid Elamite, postpositions become more common and partly, but not entirely, displace this type of constructions. A common conjunction is ak "and, or". Achaemenid Elamite also uses a number of subordinating conjunctions such as anka "if, when", sap "as, when", etc. Subordinate clauses usually precede the verb of the main clause. In Middle Elamite, the most common way to construct a relative clause is to attach a nominal class suffix to the clause-final verb, optionally followed by the relativizing suffix -a: thus, lika-me i-r hani--r(i) "whose reign he loves", or optionally lika-me i-r hani--r-a. The alternative construction by means of the relative pronouns akka "who" and appa "which" is uncommon in Middle Elamite, but gradually becomes dominant at the expense of the nominal class suffix construction in Achaemenid Elamite.

Language samples
Middle Elamite (utruk-Nahhunte I, 12001160 BC; EKI 18, IRS 33): Transliteration: (1) DIu-ut-ru-uk-d.nah-hu-un-te a-ak DIhal-lu-du-u-din-u-i(2) -na-ak-gi-ik su-un-ki-ik an-za-an u-u-un-ka4 e-ri-en(3) -tu4-um ti-pu-uh a-ak hi-ya-an din-u-i-na-ak na-pr (4) -ri-me a-ha-an ha-li-ih-ma hu-ut-tak ha-li-ku-me (5) din-u-i-na-ak na-pr -ri in li-na te-la-ak-ni Transcription: U utruk-Nahhunte, ak Halludu-Inuinak-ik, sunki-k Anzan uun-ka. Erientum tipu-h ak hiya-n Inuinak nap-ir u-ri-me ahan hali-h-ma. hutta-k hali-k u-me Inuinak nap-ir u-ri in lina tela-k-ni. Translation: I, utruk-Nahhunte, son of Halludu-Inuinak, king of Anshan and Susa. I moulded bricks and made the throne hall of my god Inuinak with them. May my work come as an offering to my god Inuinak. Achaemenid Elamite (Xerxes I, 486-465 BC; XPa): Transliteration: (01) [sect 01] dna-ap ir--ir-ra du-ra-mas-da ak-ka4 Amu-ru-un (02) hi p-i-t ak-ka4 dki-ik hu-ip-p p-i-t ak-ka4 DI (03) L.ME-ir-ra ir p-i-t ak-ka4 i-ia-ti-i p-i-t DI (04) L.ME-ra-na ak-ka4 DIik-e-ir-i- DIEANA ir hu-ut-ta(05) t ki-ir ir-e-ki-ip-in-na DIEANA ki-ir ir-e-ki-ip(06) in-na pr-ra-ma-ut-t-ra-na-um Transcription:

Elamite language Nap ira-rra Uramasda, akka muru-n hi pe--ta, akka kik hupe pe--ta, akka ruh(?)-irra ir pe--ta, akka iati pe--ta ruh(?)-ra-na, akka Ikera sunki(?) ir hutta--ta kir ireki-pi-na sunki(?), kir ireki-pi-na piramataram. Translation: A great god is Ahura Mazda, who created this earth, who created that sky, who created man, who created happiness of man, who made Xerxes king, one king of many, one lord of many.


Relations to other language families

Elamite is regarded by the vast majority of Linguists as a language isolate and has no close relation to the neighbouring Semitic languages, to the Indo-European languages, Anatolian languages or to Sumerian (a fellow isolate), even though it adopted the Sumerian-Akkadian Cunieform script. A minority of Linguists have attempted to link Elamite with other language groups; David McAlpin proposed an Elamo-Dravidian family with the Dravidian languages of India, Vaclav Blazek proposed a relation with Semitic languages of the Near East, and George Starostin published lexicostatistics finding Elamite to be approximately equidistant from Nostratic and Semitic but more distant from Sino-Caucasian[4].

[1] Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. P.60: "Elamite is an agglutinative language." [2] Brown, Keith and Sarah Ogilvie. Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world. P.316 [3] Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. P. 67 [4] Starostin 2002

Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. P.6095. Khaikjan, Margaret: The Elamite Language, Documenta Asiana IV, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici, 1998 ISBN 88-87345-01-5 Paper H. (1955). The phonology and morphology of Royal Achaemenid Elamite. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Potts, Daniel T.: The archaeology of Elam: formation and transformation of an ancient Iranian state, Cambridge U., 1999 ISBN 0-521-56496-4and ISBN 0-521-56358-5 Starostin, George: On the genetic affiliation of the Elamite language in Mother Tongue (ISSN: 1087-0326), vol. VII, 2002 pp. 14717

External links
Ancient Scripts: Elamite ( An overview of Elamite (in German) ( by Ernst Kausen Elamite grammar, glossary, and a very comprehensive text corpus (in Spanish) ( cuneiforme/elamita), by Enrique Quintana (in some respects, the author's views deviate from those generally accepted in the field) (, a detailed description (in Russian), by Igor Diakonov Persepolis Fortification Archive ( (requires Java)

Elamite language Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions project ( (the project is discontinued, but the texts, the translations and the glossaries remain accessible on the Internet Archive through the options "Corpus Catalogue" and "Browse Lexicon") On the genetic affiliation of the Elamite language ( by George Starostin (the Nostratic theory; also with glossary) ( by David McAlpin


Elamo-Dravidian languages


Elamo-Dravidian languages
(controversial) Geographic distribution: South Asia

Linguistic classification: Elamo-Dravidian Subdivisions: Elamite Dravidian

The Elamo-Dravidian languages are a hypothesised language family which links the living or proto Dravidian languages of India to the extinct Elamite language of ancient Elam (present day southwestern Iran). Linguist David McAlpin has been a chief proponent of the Elamo-Dravidian Hypothesis. The Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis proposes that the extinct Harappan language (the language or languages of the Indus Valley Civilization) may also be part of the same family.

Linguistic arguments
McAlpin (1975) in his study identified some similarities between Elamite and Dravidian. He proposed that 20% of Dravidian and Elamite vocabulary are cognates while 12% are probable cognates. He further proposed that Elamite and Dravidian possess similar second-person pronouns and parallel case endings. They have identical derivatives, abstract nouns, and the same verb stem+tense marker+personal ending structure. Both have two positive tenses, a "past" and a "non-past".[1] Georgiy Starostin criticized McAlpin's proposed morphological correspondences between Elamite and Dravidian as no closer than correspondences with other nearby language families.

Proposed cultural links

Apart from the linguistic similarities, the Elamo-Dravidian Hypothesis rests on the claim that agriculture spread from the Near East to the Indus Valley region via Elam. This would suggest that agriculturalists brought a new language as well as farming from Elam. Supporting ethno-botanical data include the Near Eastern origin and name of wheat (D. Fuller). Later evidence of extensive trade between Elam and the Indus Valley Civilization suggests ongoing links between the two regions. The distribution of living Dravidian languages, concentrated mostly in southern India but with isolated pockets in South Eastern Iran, Southern Afghanistan and Pakistan (Brahui) and in Central and East India (Kurukh, Malto), suggests to some a wider past distribution of the Dravidian languages. However, northern Dravidian languages like Brahui, Kurukh and Malto have varied opinions about their origin.[2] The Kurukh have traditionally claimed to be from the Deccan Peninsula,[3] more specifically Karnataka. The same tradition has existed of the Brahui.[4][5] They call themselves immigrants.[6] Many scholars hold this same view of the Brahui[7] such as L. H. Horace Perera and M. Ratnasabapathy.[8] Moreover, it has now been demonstrated that the Brahui only migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any older Iranian loanwords in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary, Balochi, is a western Iranian language like Kurdish.[9]

Elamo-Dravidian languages


Proponents of the hypothesis claim similarities between the early Harappan script, which has not been deciphered, and early Proto-Elamite script.

[1] David McAlpin, "Toward Proto-Elamo-Dravidian", Language vol. 50 no. 1 (1974); David McAlpin: "Elamite and Dravidian, Further Evidence of Relationships", Current Anthropology vol. 16 no. 1 (1975); David McAlpin: "Linguistic prehistory: the Dravidian situation", in Madhav M. Deshpande and Peter Edwin Hook: Aryan and Non-Aryan in India, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1979); David McAlpin, "Proto-Elamo-Dravidian: The Evidence and its Implications", Transactions of the American Philosophical Society vol. 71 pt. 3, (1981) [2] P. 83 The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate By Edwin Bryant [3] P. 18 The Orons of Cht Ngpur: their history, economic life, and social organization. by Sarat Chandra Roy, Rai Bahadur; Alfred C Haddon [4] P. 12 Origin and Spread of the Tamils By V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar [5] P. 32 Ideology and status of Sanskrit : contributions to the history of the Sanskrit language by Jan E M Houben [6] P. 45 The Brahui language, an old Dravidian language spoken in parts of Baluchistan and Sind by Sir Denys Bray [7] Ancient India; Culture and Thought By M. L. Bhagi [8] P. 23 Ceylon & Indian History from Early Times to 1505 A. D. By L. H. Horace Perera, M. Ratnasabapathy [9] J. H. Elfenbein, A periplous of the Brahui problem, Studia Iranica vol. 16 (1987), pp. 215-233.

Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature

The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL) is a project that provides an online digital library of translations of Sumerian literature.[1] This project's website contains "Sumerian text, English prose translation and bibliographical information" for "over 400 literary works composed in the Sumerian language in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) during the late third and early second millennia BCE." It is both browsable and searchable and includes transliterations, composite texts, a bibliography of Sumerian literature and a guide to spelling conventions for proper nouns and literary forms. The purpose of the project was to make Sumerian literature accessible to those wishing to read or study it, and make it known to a wider public.[1]

Sumerian cuneiform, ca. 26th century BC

The project was founded by Jeremy Black in 1997 and is based at the Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford in Britain. It has been funded by the University along with the Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Board. Various other bodies have been involved in the project including All Souls College, Oxford, the British Academy, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Contributors to the project have included Graham Cunningham, Eleanor Robson, Gabor Zolyomi, Miguel Civil, Bendt Alster, Joachim Krecher and Piotr Michalowski.[1] Other libraries from the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania now usually follow the ETCSL with regards abbreviations.[2] Funding for the project ended and it was closed in 2006.

Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature


[1] Jeremy A. Black; Jeremy Black; Graham Cunningham; Eleanor Robson (13 April 2006). The Literature of Ancient Sumer (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=a1W2mTtGVV4C& pg=PR5). Oxford University Press. pp.5. ISBN978-0-19-929633-0. . Retrieved 5 June 2011. [2] William L. Moran; Agustinus Gianto (2005). Biblical and oriental essays in memory of William L. Moran (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=1AX2rkI9WLQC& pg=PA11). GBPress Pontficium Institutum Biblicum. pp.11. ISBN978-88-7653-351-8. . Retrieved 5 June 2011.

External links
ETCSL Homepage ( ETCSL General Information (

Enamtila (.NAM.TI.LA, E-nam-ti-la) is a Sumerian term meaning "house of life" or possibly "house of creation".[1][2] It was a sanctuary dedicated to Enlil, likely to have been located within the Ekur at Nippur during the Akkadian Empire. It also referred to various other temples including those to later versions of Enlil; Marduk and Bel as well as one to Ea. It was likely another name for Ehursag, a temple dedicated to Shulgi in Ur.[3] A hymn to Nanna suggests the link "To Ehursag, the house of the king (we go), to the Enamtila of prince Shulgi we go!" Another reference in the Inanna - Dunmuzi text translated by Samuel Noah Kramer references the king's palace by this name and possibly makes references to the "sacred marriage": "In the Enamtila, the house of the king, his wife dwelt with him in joy, in the Enamtila, the house of the king, Inanna dwelt with him in joy. Inanna, rejoicing in his house ...".[4] A fire is reported to have broken out next to the Enamtila in an astronomical diary dated to the third millennium BC.[5] The Enamtila is also referred to as a palace of Ibbi-Sin at Ur in the Lament for Sumer and Ur, "Its king sat immobilised in his own palace. Ibbi-Suen was sitting in anguish in his own palace. In E-namtila, his place of delight, he wept bitterly. The flood dashing a hoe on the ground was levelling everything."[6]

[1] A. R. George (1993). House most high: the temples of ancient Mesopotamia (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=31miWZGVevMC& pg=PA112). Eisenbrauns. pp.112. ISBN978-0-931464-80-5. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [2] A. R. George (1992). Babylonian topographical texts (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Zw0TQ1MrhOkC& pg=PA306). Peeters Publishers. pp.306. ISBN978-90-6831-410-6. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [3] Joan Goodnick Westenholz; Muzeon artsot ha-Mira (Jerusalem) (1996). Royal cities of the Biblical world (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=d7LYAAAAMAAJ). Bible Lands Museum. ISBN978-965-7027-01-1. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [4] Piotr Michalowski (1989). The lamentation over the destruction of Sumer and Ur (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=te_g2xGYIFEC& pg=PA81). Eisenbrauns. pp.81. ISBN978-0-931464-43-0. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [5] T. Boiy (2004). Late Achaemenid and Hellenistic Babylon (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=1frplXFGf4sC& pg=PA90). Peeters Publishers. pp.90. ISBN978-90-429-1449-0. . Retrieved 9 June 2011. [6] [[Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. 2. 2. 3& charenc=j#)] - Lament for Sumer and Ur - Translation]

Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana


Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana

Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana (also known as Enmerkar and Ensuhkeshdanna) is text in Sumerian literature appearing as a sequel to Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, and is second in a series of four accounts describing the contests of Aratta against Enmerkar, lord of Unug and Kulaba, and his successor Lugalbanda, father of Gilgamesh.

The name of the Lord of Aratta, which never appeared in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, is here provided in a brief introduction. Among scholars, the earlier cuneiform reading of this name, Ensuhgirana, still enjoys currency alongside the more recent reading of it as Ensuhkeshdanna. The introduction also gives the name of Ensuhkeshdanna's chief minister, Ansigaria, and Enmerkar's chief minister, Namena-tuma. Enmerkar is the Lord of both Unug and Kulaba, described as the "city which rises from heaven to earth" [sic]. Following this introduction, the plot opens with Ensuhkeshdanna dictating a message to his envoy, to be taken to Unug, demanding Enmerkar submit to Aratta, and boasting that his connections with the goddess Inanna are superior to those of Enmerkar. The envoy having traveled to Unug and delivered this message, Enmerkar responds that Inanna stays at the temple with him, and that she will not even go to Aratta for five or ten years; he responds to Ensuhkeshdanna's boasts with a number of creative sexual taunts of his own ("even though she is not a duckling, she shrieks like one.") When the messenger returns to Aratta with this message, Ensuhkeshdanna is perplexed and feels defeated. His counselors advise him to back off from confrontation with Enmerkar. However, he vows never to submit to Enmerkar, even if Aratta be utterly destroyed. At this point, a sorceror named Urgirinuna comes to Aratta, after his homeland of Hamazi has been vanquished. Urgirinuna promises the chief minister, Ansigaria, that he can make Enmerkar submit to Aratta. Ansigaria agrees to fund this mission, and the sorceror then proceeds to Eresh, the city of Nisaba, where he somehow manages to sabotage the dairy livestock of Enmerkar. This act of the sorceror's sabotage was observed by the livestock keepers, Mashgula and Uredina, who then pray to Utu, the sun god, for help. A sorceress of Eresh called "Wise Woman Sagburu" then appears, and outperforms Urgirinuna's sorcery in a series of contests: each time Urgirinuna magically brings an animal from the water by casting in fish eggs, she brings a predator from the water in the same way, which then eats the animals he produces. Having defeated him with superior magic, she refuses to spare his life, and casts him into the Euphrates. When Ensuhkeshdanna hears of this, he admits defeat and submits to Enmerkar. The remainder of the text is too fragmentary to interpret.

"Enmerkar and En-sugir-ana" at the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature [1]

[1] http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. 1. 8. 2. 4#

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta


Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta (probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia). It is also notable for its possible parallels to the Tower of Babel narrative of Genesis.

Near the beginning of the account, the following background is provided: "In those days of yore, when the destinies were determined, the great princes allowed Unug Kulaba's E-ana to lift its head high. Plenty, and carp floods-(fish aplenty, barley abundance), and the rain which brings forth dappled barley were then increased in Unug Kulaba. Before the land of Dilmun yet existed, the E-ana of Unug Kulaba was well founded."[1] E-ana was a ziggurat in Uruk built in honour of the goddess Inanna, the "lady of all the lands"(E-ana is 'house of ana', or 'Temple of Ana'). Similarly, the lord of Aratta has himself crowned in Inanna's name, but she does not find this as pleasing as her brick temple in Uruk. Enmerkar, thus "chosen by Inanna in her holy heart from the bright mountain", then asks Inanna to let him subject Aratta and make the people of Aratta deliver a tribute of precious metals and gemstones, for constructing the lofty Abzu ziggurat of Enki at Eridu, as well as for embellishing her own E-ana sanctuary at Uruk. Inanna accordingly advises Enmerkar to dispatch a herald across the mountains of Susin and Anshan to the lord of Aratta, to demand his submission and his tribute. Enmerkar agrees and sends the envoy, along with his specific threats to destroy Aratta and disperse its people, if they do not send him the tribute -"lest like the devastation which swept destructively, and in whose wake Inanna arose, shrieked and yelled aloud, I too wreak a sweeping devastation there." He is furthermore to recite the "Incantation of Nudimmud", a hymn imploring Enki to restore (or in some translations, to disrupt) the linguistic unity of the inhabited regions, named as Shubur, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (the region around Akkad), and the Martu land: "On that day when there is no snake, when there is no scorpion, when there is no hyena, when there is no lion, when there is neither dog nor wolf, when there is thus neither fear nor trembling, man has no rival! At such a time, may the lands of Shubur and Hamazi, the many-tongued, and Sumer, the great mountain of the me of magnificence, and Akkad, the land possessing all that is befitting, and the Martu land, resting in security the whole universe, the well-guarded people may they all address Enlil together in a single language! For at that time, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings, Enki, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the
Places mentioned in the Enmerkar Epics

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta ambitious kings Enki, the lord of abundance and of steadfast decisions, the wise and knowing lord of the Land, the expert of the gods, chosen for wisdom, the lord of Eridug, shall change the speech in their mouths, as many as he had placed there, and so the speech of mankind is truly one."[2] The messenger arrives in Aratta, reciting this message to the king, and asks him for a reply to take to his lord Enmerkar, whom he calls "the scion of him with the glistening beard, whom his stalwart cow gave birth to in the mountain of the shining me, who was reared on the soil of Aratta, who was given suck at the udder of the good cow, who is suited for office in Kulaba." The king of Aratta replies that submission to Uruk is out of the question, because Inanna herself had chosen him to his office and power. But the herald then reveals that Inanna has been installed as queen at E-ana and has even promised Enmerkar to make Aratta bow to Uruk. Devastated by this news, the lord of Aratta finally gives his response: he is more than prepared for a military contest with Uruk, whom he considers no match for his might; however he will submit, on the sole conditions that Enmerkar send him a vast amount of barley grain, and that Inanna convince him that she has forsaken Aratta and confirm her allegiance to Uruk. The herald returns to Enmerkar bearing this reply, and the next day Enmerkar actually sends the barley to Aratta, along with the herald and another demand to send even more precious stones. The lord of Aratta, in a fit of pride, refuses and instead asks Enmerkar to deliver to him these precious stones himself. Upon hearing this, Enmerkar spends ten years preparing an ornate sceptre, then sends it to Aratta with his messenger. This frightens the lord of Aratta, who now sees that Inanna has indeed forsaken him, but he instead proposes to arrange a one-on-one combat between two champions of the two cities, to determine the outcome of the still-diplomatic conflict with Enmerkar. The king of Uruk responds by accepting this challenge, while increasing his demands for the people of Aratta to make a significant offering for the E-ana and the abzu, or face destruction and dispersal. To relieve the herald who, beleaguered, can no longer remember all the messages with which he is charged, Enmerkar then resorts to an invention: writing on tablets. The herald again traverses the "seven mountains" to Aratta, with the tablets, and when the king of Aratta tries to read the message, Ishkur, the storm-god, causes a great rain to produce wild wheat and chickpeas that are then brought to the king. Seeing this, the king declares that Inanna has not forsaken the primacy of Aratta after all, and summons his champion. The remainder of the text has many lacunae-(line text losses), and the following events are unclear, but the tablet seems to end with Enmerkar triumphant, possibly installed by Inanna on the throne of Aratta, and with the people of Aratta delivering the tribute to E-ana, and providing the materials to build the Aps. A sequel text, Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana, seems to continue the epic.


[1] "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature" (http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. 1. 8. 2. 3#). 2006-12-19. . Retrieved 2009-02-17. [2] The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ section1/ tr1823. htm)

Samuel Noah Kramer, The "Babel of Tongues": A Sumerian Version, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1968).

External links
English translation of the epic, in the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature ( uk/section1/tr1823.htm)

Enuma anu enlil


Enuma anu enlil

Enuma Anu Enlil (EAE) (literal translation: When the gods Anu and Enlil [...]) (meaningful translation: In the days of Anu and Enlil)[1] is a major series of 68 or 70 tablets (depending on the recension) dealing with Babylonian astrology. The bulk of the work is a substantial collection of omens, estimated to number between 6500 and 7000, which interpret a wide variety of celestial and atmospheric phenomena in terms relevant to the king and state.[2]:78

Enuma Anu Enlil is the principal source of omens used in the regular astrological reports that were sent to the Neo-Assyrian king by his entourage of scholars. There are well over 500 such reports published in volume 8 of the State Archives of Assyria.[3] A majority of these reports simply list the relevant omens that best describe recent celestial events and many add brief explanatory comments concerning the interpretation of the omens for the benefit of the king.)[1] A typical report dealing with the first appearance of the moon on the first day of the month is exemplified by Report 10 from volume 8 of the State Archives: If the moon becomes visible on the first day: reliable speech; the land will be happy. If the day reaches its normal length: a reign of long days. If the moon at its appearance wears a crown: the king will reach the highest rank. From Issar-umu-ere.[3]:10 The series was probably compiled in its canonical form during the Kassite period (15951157 BCE) but there was certainly some form of prototype Enuma Anu Enlil current in the Old Babylonian period (19501595 BCE). It continued in use well into the 1st millennium, the latest datable copy being written in 194 BCE. It is believed that the first 49 tablets were transmitted to India in the 4th or 3rd centuries BCE and that the final tablets dealing with the stars had also arrived in India just before the Christian Era.[4]

The whole series has yet to be fully reconstructed and many gaps in the text are still evident. The matter is complicated by the fact that copies of the same tablet often differ in their contents or are organised differently a fact that has led some scholars to believe that there were up to five different recensions of the text current in different parts of the Ancient Near East.[2]:7682 The subject matter of the Enuma Anu Enlil tablets unfold in a pattern that reveals the behaviour of the moon first, then solar phenomena, followed by other weather activities, and finally the behaviour of various stars and planets.)[1] The first 13 tablets deal with the first appearances of the moon on various days of the month, its relation to planets and stars, and such phenomena as lunar haloes and crowns. The omens from this section, like those quoted above, are the most frequently used in the whole corpus. This section is framed by tablet 14, which details a basic mathematical scheme for predicting the visibility of the moon. Tablets 15 to 22 are dedicated to lunar eclipses. It uses many forms of encoding, such as the date, watches of the night and quadrants of the moon, to predict which regions and cities the eclipse was believed to affect. Tablets 23 to 29 deal with the appearances of the sun, its colour, markings and its relation to cloudbanks and storm clouds when it rises. Solar eclipses are explored in tablets 30 to 39. Tablets 40 to 49 concern weather phenomena and earthquakes, special attention being devoted to the occurrence of thunder. The final 20 tablets are dedicated to the stars and planets. These tablets in particular use a form of encoding in which the names of the planets are replaced by the names of fixed stars and constellations.[5]

Enuma anu enlil


Publication of the series

At the present time less than half of the series has been published in modern English editions. The lunar eclipses tablets (tablets 1522) have been transliterated and translated in Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination, by F. Rochberg-Halton, 1989. The solar omens (tablets 2329) appear as The Solar Omens of Enuma Anu Enlil edited by W. Van Soldt, 1995. And several tablets concerning planetary omens have been published by E. Reiner and H. Hunger under the title Babylonian Planetary Omens volumes 14. The first part of the lunar omens (tablets 16) has been published in Italian by L. Verderame, Le tavole IVI della serie astrologica Enuma Anu Enlil, 2002.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Iroku, Osita; A Day in the Life of God; published by The Enlil Institute, Dover DE; 2008. Ulla Koch-Westenholz, Mesopotamian Astrology Hermann Hunger, ed., State Archives of Assyria, Astrological reports to Assyrian kings, Volume 8, 1992. David Brown, Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology (2000): 2545. The most extensive list of planet to constellation correspondences can be found in F. Gssmann, Planetarium Babylonicum (1950).

Enma Eli
The Enma Eli (Akkadian Cuneiform: ) is the Babylonian creation myth (named after its opening words). It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 (in fragmentary form) in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq), and published by George Smith in 1876.[1] The Enma Eli has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of text. Most of Tablet V has never been recovered, but aside from this lacuna, the text is almost complete. A duplicate copy of Tablet V has been found in Sultantepe, ancient Huzirina, located near the modern town of anlurfa in Turkey. This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods. Its primary original purpose, however, is not an exposition of theology or theogony but the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods. The Enma Eli exists in various copies from Babylon and Assyria. The version from Ashurbanipal's library dates to the 7th century BCE. The composition of the text probably dates to the Bronze Age, to the time of Hammurabi or perhaps the early Kassite era (roughly 18th to 16th centuries BCE), although some scholars favour a later date of ca. 1100 BCE.[2]

When the seven tablets that contain this were first discovered, evidence indicated that it was used as a "ritual", meaning it was recited during a ceremony or celebration. That celebration is now thought to be the Akitu festival, or Babylonian new year. This tells of the creation of the world, and of Marduk's triumph over Tiamat, and how it relates to him becoming king of the gods. This is then followed by an invocation to Marduk by his fifty names.[3] The title, meaning "when on high" is the incipit. The first tablet begins:

Enma Eli


e-nu-ma e-li la na-bu- -ma-mu ap-li am-ma-tum u-ma la zak-rat ZU.AB-ma re-tu- za-ru-u-un

When the sky above was not named, And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name, And the primeval Aps, who begat them,

mu-um-mu ti-amat mu-al-li-da-at gim-ri--un And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both, A.ME--nu i-te-ni i-i-qu--ma gi-pa-ra la ki-is-su-ru su-sa-a la she-'u- e-nu-ma dingir dingir la u-pu-u ma-na-ma Their waters were mingled together, And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen; When of the gods none had been called into being.

The epic names two primeval gods: Aps (or Abzu) who represents fresh water, and Tiamat representing oceanic waters. Several other gods are created (Ea and his brothers) who reside in Tiamat's vast body. They make so much noise that the babel or noise annoys Tiamat and Aps greatly. Aps wishes to kill the young gods, but Tiamat disagrees. The vizier, Mummu, agrees with Aps's plan to destroy them. Tiamat, in order to stop this from occurring, warns Ea (Nudimmud), the most powerful of the gods. Ea uses magic to put Aps into a coma, then kills him, and shuts Mummu out. Ea then becomes the chief god, and along with his consort Damkina, has a son, Marduk, greater still than himself. Marduk is given wind to play with and he uses the wind to make dust storms and tornadoes. This disrupts Tiamat's great body and causes the gods still residing inside her to be unable to sleep. They persuade Tiamat to take revenge for the death of her husband, Aps. Her power grows, and some of the gods join her. She creates 11 monsters to help her win the battle and elevates Kingu, her new husband, to "supreme dominion." A lengthy description of the other gods' inability to deal with the threat follows. Marduk offers to save the gods if he is appointed as their leader and allowed to remain so even after the threat passes. When the gods agree to Marduk's conditions he is selected as their champion against Tiamat, and becomes very powerful. Marduk challenges Tiamat to combat and destroys her. He then rips her corpse into two halves with which he fashions the earth and the skies. Marduk then creates the calendar, organizes the planets and stars, and regulates the moon, the sun, and weather. [4] The gods who have pledged their allegiance to Tiamat are initially forced into labor in the service of the gods who sided with Marduk. But they are freed from these labors when Marduk then destroys Tiamat's husband, Kingu and uses his blood to create humankind to do the work for the gods.[4] Babylon is established as the residence of the chief gods. Finally, the gods confer kingship on Marduk, hailing him with fifty names. Most noteworthy is Marduk's symbolic elevation over Enlil, who was seen by earlier Mesopotamian civilizations as the king of the gods.

Relationship with the Bible

The Enma Eli was recognized as bearing close relation to the Jewish creation in Genesis from its first publication (Smith 1876), and it was an important step in the recognition of the roots of the account found in the Bible, and in earlier Ancient Near Eastern (Canaanite and Mesopotamian) myth. The similarities are scant, however, and the strongest resemblance can be found in the etymology of "in the beginning" and "when on high." Genesis 1:1-3 can be taken as describing the state of chaos immediately prior to God's act of creation:[5] "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. "[6] The two works have different aims. To address these similarities within a Christian framework, Conrad Hyers of the Princeton Theological Seminary maintains that the Genesis texts polemically address the Babylonian (and other Pagan world views). [7] Specifically, Hyers views the aim of the Genesis myth as being to "repudiate the divinization of nature and the attendant myths of divine origins, divine conflict, and divine ascent," and rejects the idea that it borrowed from or appropriated the form of the Enma Eli. [7] The Enuma Elish was comfortable using connections

Enma Eli between the divine and inert matter while the Genesis account's aim was to trumpet the superiority of the Israelite God over all creation (and subsequent deities).


Editions and translations

The Seven Tablets of Creation [8], The Babylonian Legends of Creation, by E. A. Wallis Budge, [1921], at Seven Tablets of Creation, Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series, No 12 & 13, ISBN 978-0-404-11344-5 (1973). Enma Eli: The Seven Tablets of Creation [9], by L. W. King, Enma Eli: The Seven Tablets of Creation, London (1902); 1999 reprint ISBN 978-1-58509-043-3; 2002 reprint ISBN 1-4021-5905-6, at Anton Deimel, Enma Eli (1936). W. C. Lambert, S. B. Parker, Enma Eli. The Babylonian Epic of Creation, Oxford (1966). D. D. Luckenbill, The Ashur Version of the Seven Tablets of Creation, The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Oct., 1921), pp.12-35 . Zecharia Sitchin Translation: As a Cosmology of the Solar System with the names of the gods as the Sumerian names of our 9 planets, with Tiamat ( as old Earth ), a 10th planet called Nibir (Marduk), our Sun, and Earths moon (Kingu). An intruder planet called Nibiru, enters the early Solar System making Uranus turn a 90 degree axis, pulled a moon of Saturn away becoming Pluto, then has a moon impact with Tiamat (old Earth) between Mars and Jupiter. Half of Tiamat becomes the Asteroid belt and Comets. The other half of Tiamat from a second impact is pushed to 3rd from the sun as new Earth keeping Tiamats old Moon (Kingu). Marduk now as Nibir is locked in a counter clockwise 3600 year orbit. From Sitchin's - The Lost Book Of Enki.

[1] G. Smith, "The Chaldean Account of Genesis" (London, 1876). [2] Bernard Frank Batto, Slaying the dragon: mythmaking in the biblical tradition, Westminster John Knox Press, 1992, ISBN 978-0-664-25353-0, p. 35. [3] Jacobsen, Thorkild "The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion". [4] See: Foster, B.R. (1995). From Distant Days : Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. vi. Bethesda, Md: CDL Press. p.438. Bottro, J. (2004). Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia. x. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Jacobsen, T. (1976). The Treasures of Darkness : A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press. p.273. Harry Orlinsky, Notes on the New JPS Translation of the Torah: Genesis 1:1-3 (1969), at (http:/ / voiceofiyov. blogspot. com/ search/ label/ Torah) Richard Elliott Friedman, The Bible with Sources Revealed, HarperOne, 2003. ISBN 0-06-053069-3 Conrad Hyers, "The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science", John Knox, 1984. http:/ / www. sacred-texts. com/ ane/ blc/ blc07. htm http:/ / www. king-of-heroes. co. uk/ enuma-elish/

[5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

F. N. H. Al-Rawi, J. A. Black, A New Manuscript of Enma Eli, Tablet VI, Journal of Cuneiform Studies (1994). H. L. J. Vanstiphout, Enma eli: Tablet V Lines 15-22, Journal of Cuneiform Studies (1981). B. Landsberger, J. V. Kinnier Wilson, The Fifth Tablet of Enuma Eli, Journal of Near Eastern Studies (1961). Arvid S. Kapelrud, "The Mythological Features in Genesis Chapter I and the Author's Intentions," Vetus Testamentum (1974) ( jstor link (<178:TMFIGC>2.0. CO;2-0)).

Alexander Heidel, "Babylonian Genesis" (1951) ( google books link ( books?id=ge3AT4SewpgC&dq=heidel+alexander+babylonian+genesis&pg=PP1&ots=0Ww_aokgVb&

Enma Eli sig=LOJgKz9ThCzI7pTHQLorgxVCgWg&prev= Alexander+Babylonian+Genesis&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official& client=firefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail))


External links
Enuma Elish - The Babylonian Epic of Creation ( on Ancient History Encyclopedia (includes the original text) The Theogonies of Damascius ( The full surviving text of the Enma Elish ( Genesis and Enma Elish creation myth comparisons ( Ancient_religions/Mesopotamia/genesis_and_enuma_elish_creation.htm) A cuneiform text of Tablet I with translation and explanation in detail ( cftexts.html)

Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five independent Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Four of these were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. This first, "Old Babylonian" version of the epic dates to the 18th century BC and is titled Shtur eli sharr ("Surpassing All Other Kings"). Only a few fragments of it survive. The later, Standard Babylonian version dates from the 13th to the tenth centuries and bears the title Sha naqba muru ("He who Saw the Deep"). Fragments of approximately two thirds of this longer, 12 tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. The story has been translated into many different languages, and he has become an icon of popular culture. The story centers on a friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh's equal to distract him from oppressing the people of Uruk. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death. The later half of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh's distress at Enkidu's death, and his quest for immortality. In order to learn the secret of eternal life, Gilgamesh undertakes a long and perilous journey to find the immortal flood hero, Utnapishtim. He learns that "The life that you are seeking you will never find. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping." His fame however lived on after his death, because of his great building projects, and his account of what Utnapishtim told him happened during the flood.

Epic of Gilgamesh


Many distinct sources exist over a 2,000-year timeframe. The old Sumerian poems, and a later Akkadian version, are the chief sources for modern translations, with the Sumerian version mainly used to fill in lacunae in the Akkadian version. Although several revised versions based on new discoveries have been published, the epic remains incomplete.[1] The earliest Sumerian poems are now generally considered to be distinct stories rather than parts of a single epic.[2]:45 They date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2150-2000 BC).[2]:41-42 The earliest Akkadian versions are dated to the early second millennium[2]:45, most probably in the eighteenth or seventeenth century BC, when one or more authors drew upon used existing literary material to create a single epic.[3] The "standard" Akkadian version, consisting of 12 tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC and was found in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.

The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian

The Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in 1853 and is now widely known. The first modern translation was published in the early 1870s by George Smith.[4] Recent translations into English include one undertaken with the assistance of the American novelist John Gardner, and John Maier, published in 1984. In 2001, Benjamin Foster produced a translation in the Norton Critical Edition Series that uses new material to fill in many of the blanks in previous editions. The most definitive[5] translation is a two-volume critical work by Andrew George. George discusses the state of the surviving material, and provides a tablet-by-tablet exegesis, with a dual language side-by-side translation. This translation was published by Penguin Classics in 2000. Stephen Mitchell in 2004 supplied a new controversial translation, which was published by FreePress, a division of Simon and Schuster. The first direct Arabic translation from the original tablets was made in the 1960s by the Iraqi archeologist Taha Baqir. The discovery of artifacts (ca. 2600 BC) associated with Enmebaragesi of Kish, mentioned in the legends as the father of one of Gilgamesh's adversaries, has lent credibility to the historical existence of Gilgamesh.[2]:40-41

Versions of the epic

Standard Akkadian version
The standard version was discovered by Austen Henry Layard in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh in 1849. It was written in standard Babylonian, a dialect of Akkadian that was used for literary purposes. This version was compiled by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC from earlier material. The standard version, and earlier version, have different opening words, or incipit. The older version begins with the words "Surpassing all other kings", while the standard version has "He who saw the deep" (a nagba muru). The Akkadian word nagbu, "deep", probably refers to "unknown mysteries". Andrew George believes that the mysteries it refers to is information brought back by Gilgamesh from his meeting with Uta-Napishti (Utnapishtim) about Ea, the fountain of wisdom.[6] Gilgamesh was given knowledge of how to worship the gods, of why death was ordained for human beings, what makes a good king, and how to live a good life. The story of Utnapishtim, the hero of the flood myth, can also be found in the Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis. The 12th tablet is a sequel to the original 11, and was probably added at a later date. It bears little relation to the well-crafted 11-tablet epic; the lines at the beginning of the first tablet are quoted at the end of the 11th tablet, giving

Epic of Gilgamesh it circularity and finality. Tablet 12 is a near copy of an earlier Sumerian tale, a prequel, in which Gilgamesh sends Enkidu to retrieve some objects of his from the Underworld, and he returns in the form of a spirit to relate the nature of the Underworld to Gilgamesh. Content of the standard version tablets Tablet one The story begins by introducing Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Gilgamesh, two-thirds god and one-third man, is oppressing his people, who are crying out to the gods for help. For the young women of Uruk this oppression takes the form of a droit de seigneur or "lord's right" to sleep with newly married brides on their wedding night. For the young men (the tablet is damaged at this point) it is conjectured that Gilgamesh is exhausting them through games, tests of strength, or perhaps forced labour on building projects. The gods respond to their pleas by creating an equal to Gilgamesh in order to distract him. They create a primitive man, Enkidu, who is covered in hair and lives in the wild with the animals. He is spotted by a trapper, whose livelihood is being ruined because Enkidu is uprooting his traps. The trapper tells Gilgamesh of the man, and it is arranged for Enkidu to be seduced by a harlot. This seduction by Shamhat, a temple prostitute, is his first step towards civilization, and after seven days of making love with him, she proposes to take him back to Uruk. Gilgamesh, meanwhile, has been having dreams that relate to the imminent arrival of a loved new companion. Tablet two Shamhat brings Enkidu to a shepherds' camp, where he is introduced to a human diet, and becomes the night watchman. Learning from a passing stranger about Gilgamesh's treatment of new brides, Enkidu is incensed and travels to Uruk to intervene at a wedding. When Gilgamesh attempts to visit the wedding chamber, Enkidu blocks his way, and they fight. After a fierce battle, Enkidu acknowledges Gilgamesh's superior strength and they become friends. Gilgamesh proposes a journey to the Cedar Forest to slay the monstrous demi-god Humbaba, in order to gain fame and renown. Despite warnings from Enkidu, and the council of elders, Gilgamesh will not be deterred. Tablet three The elders give Gilgamesh advice for his journey. Gilgamesh visits his mother, the goddess Ninsun, who seeks the support and protection of the sun-god Shamash for their adventure. Ninsun adopts Enkidu as her son, and Gilgamesh leaves instructions for the governance of Uruk in his absence. Tablet four Gilgamesh and Enkidu journey to the Cedar Forest. Every few days they camp on a mountain, and perform a dream ritual. Gilgamesh has five terrifying dreams about falling mountains, thunderstorms, wild bulls, and a thunderbird that breathes fire. Despite similarities between his dream figures and earlier descriptions of Humbaba, Enkidu interprets these dreams as good omens, and denies that the frightening images represent the forest guardian. As they approach the cedar mountain, they hear Humbaba bellowing, and have to encourage each other not to be afraid. Tablet five The heroes enter the cedar forest. Humbaba, the ogre-guardian of the Cedar Forest, insults and threatens them. He accuses Enkidu of betrayal, and vows to disembowel Gilgamesh and feed his flesh to the birds. Gilgamesh is afraid, but with some encouraging words from Enkidu the battle commences. The mountains quake with the tumult and the sky turns black. The god Shamash sends 13 winds to bind Humbaba, and he is captured. The monster pleads for his life, and Gilgamesh pities him. Enkidu, however, is enraged and asks Gilgamesh to kill the beast. Humbaba curses them both and Gilgamesh dispatches him with a blow to the neck. The two heroes cut down many cedars, including a gigantic tree that Enkidu plans to fashion into a gate for the temple of Enlil. They build a raft and return home along the Euphrates with the giant tree and the head of Humbaba.


Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet six Gilgamesh rejects the advances of the goddess Ishtar because of her mistreatment of previous lovers like Dumuzi. Ishtar asks her father Anu to send Gugalanna the Bull of Heaven to avenge her. When Anu rejects her complaints, Ishtar threatens to raise the dead who will "outnumber the living" and "devour them". Anu becomes frightened, and gives into her. Ishtar leads the bull of heaven to Uruk, and it causes widespread devastation. It lowers the level of the Euphrates river, and dries up the marshes. It opens up huge pits that swallow 300 men. Without any divine assistance, Enkidu and Gilgamesh attack and slay it, and offer up its heart to Shamash. When Ishtar cries out, Enkidu hurls one of the hindquarters of the bull at her. The city of Uruk celebrates, but Enkidu has an ominous dream. Tablet seven In Enkidu's dream, the gods decide that one of the heroes must die because they killed Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven. Despite the protestations of Shamash, Enkidu is marked for death. Enkidu curses the great door he has fashioned for Enlil's temple. He also curses the trapper and Shamhat for removing him from the wild. Shamash reminds Enkidu of how Shamhat fed and clothed him, and introduced him to Gilgamesh. Shamash tells him that Gilgamesh will bestow great honors upon him at his funeral, and will wander into the wild consumed with grief. Enkidu regrets his curses and blesses Shamhat. In a second dream however he sees himself being taken captive to the Netherworld by a terrifying Angel of Death. The underworld is a "house of dust" and darkness whose inhabitants eat clay, and are clothed in bird feathers, supervised by terrifying beings. For 12 days, Enkidu's condition worsens. Finally, after a lament that he could not meet a heroic death in battle, he dies. Tablet eight Gilgamesh delivers a lamentation for Enkidu, in which he calls upon mountains, forests, fields, rivers, wild animals, and all of Uruk to mourn for his friend. Recalling their adventures together, Gilgamesh tears at his hair and clothes in grief. He commissions a funerary statue, and provides grave gifts from his treasury to ensure that Enkidu has a favourable reception in the realm of the dead. A great banquet is held where the treasures are offered to the gods of the Netherworld. Just before a break in the text there is a suggestion that a river is being dammed, indicating a burial in a river bed, as in the corresponding Sumerian poem, The Death of Gilgamesh. Tablet nine Tablet nine opens with Gilgamesh roaming the wild clothed in animal skins, grieving for Enkidu. Fearful of his own death, he decides to seek Utnapishtim ("the Faraway"), and learn the secret of eternal life. Among the few survivors of the Great Flood, Utnapishtim and his wife are the only humans to have been granted immortality by the gods. Gilgamesh crosses a mountain pass at night and encounters a pride of lions. Before sleeping he prays for protection to the moon god Sin. Then, waking from an encouraging dream, he kills the lions and uses their skins for clothing. After a long and perilous journey, Gilgamesh arrives at the twin peaks of Mount Mashu at the end of the earth. He comes across a tunnel, which no man has ever entered, guarded by two terrible scorpion-men. After questioning him and recognising his semi-divine nature, they allow him to enter it, and he passes under the mountains along the Road of the Sun. In complete darkness he follows the road for 12 "double hours", managing to complete the trip before the Sun catches up with him. He arrives at a garden paradise full of jewel-laden trees. Tablet ten Meeting the ale wife Siduri, who assumes, because of his dishevelled appearance, that he is a murderer, Gilgamesh tells her about the purpose of his journey. She attempts to dissuade him from his quest, but sends him to Urshanabi the ferryman, who will help him cross the sea to Utnapishtim. Gilgamesh destroys some stone-giants that live with Urshanabi. He tells him his story, but when he asks for his help Urshanabi informs him that he has just destroyed the only creatures who can cross the Waters of Death, which are deadly to the touch. Urshanabi instructs Gilgamesh to cut down 300 trees, and fashion them into punting poles. When they reach the island where Utnapishtim lives,


Epic of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh recounts his story asking him for his help. Utnapishtim reprimands him, declaring that fighting the common fate of humans is futile and diminishes life's joys. Tablet eleven Gilgamesh observes that Utnapishtim seems no different from himself, and asks him how he obtained his immortality. Utnapishtim explains that the gods decided to send a great flood. To save Utnapishtim the god Ea told him to build a boat. He gave him precise dimensions, and it was sealed with pitch and bitumen. His entire family went aboard, together with his craftsmen and "all the animals of the field". A violent storm then arose which caused the terrified gods to retreat to the heavens. Ishtar lamented the wholesale destruction of humanity, and the other gods wept beside her. The storm lasted six days and nights, after which "all the human beings turned to clay". Utnapishtim weeps when he sees the destruction. His boat lodges on a mountain, and he releases a dove, a swallow, and a raven. When the raven fails to return, he opens the ark and frees its inhabitants. Utnapishtim offers a sacrifice to the gods, who smell the sweet savor and gather around. Ishtar vows that just as she will never forget the brilliant necklace that hangs around her neck, she will always remember this time. When Enlil arrives, angry that there are survivors, she condemns him for instigating the flood. Ea also castigates him for sending a disproportionate punishment. Enlil blesses Utnapishtim and his wife, and rewards them with eternal life. This account matches the flood story that concludes the Epic of Atrahasis (see also Gilgamesh flood myth). The main point seems to be that when Enlil granted eternal life it was a unique gift. As if to demonstrate this point, Utnapishtim challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights. Gilgamesh falls asleep, and Utnapishtim instructs his wife to bake a loaf of bread on each of the days he is asleep, so that he cannot deny his failure to keep awake. Gilgamesh, who is seeking to overcome death, cannot even conquer sleep! After instructing Urshanabi the ferryman to wash Gilgamesh, and clothe him in royal robes, they return back to Uruk. As they are leaving, Utnapishtim's wife asks her husband to offer a parting gift. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that at the bottom of the sea there lives a boxthorn-like plant that will make him young again. Gilgamesh, by binding stones to his feet so he can walk on the bottom, manages to obtain the plant. He intends to test it on an old man when he returns to Uruk. Unfortunately, when Gilgamesh stops to bathe, it is stolen by a serpent, who sheds its skin as it departs. Gilgamesh weeps at the futility of his efforts, because he has now lost all chance of immortality. He returns to Uruk, where the sight of its massive walls prompts him to praise this enduring work to Urshanabi. Tablet twelve This tablet is mainly an Akkadian translation of an earlier Sumerian poem, Gilgamesh and the Netherworld (also known as "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld" and variants), although it has been suggested that it is derived from an unknown version of that story.[2]:42 The contents of this last tablet are inconsistent with previous ones: Enkidu is still alive, despite having been killed off earlier in the epic. Because of this, its lack of integration with the other tablets, and the fact that it is almost a copy of an earlier version, it has been referred to as an 'inorganic appendage' to the epic.[7] Alternatively, it has been suggested that "its purpose, though crudely handled, is to explain to Gilgamesh (and the reader) the various fates of the dead in the Afterlife" and in "an awkward attempt to bring closure",[8] it both connects the Gilgamesh of the epic with the Gilgamesh who is the King of the Netherworld,[9] and is "a dramatic capstone whereby the twelve-tablet epic ends on one and the same theme, that of "seeing" (= understanding, discovery, etc.), with which it began."[10] Gilgamesh complains to Enkidu that various of his possessions (the tablet is unclear exactly what different translations include a drum and a ball) have fallen into the underworld. Enkidu offers to bring them back. Delighted, Gilgamesh tells Enkidu what he must and must not do in the underworld if he is to return. Enkidu does everything which he was told not to do. The underworld keeps him. Gilgamesh prays to the gods to give him back his friend. Enlil and Suen dont reply but Ea and Shamash decide to help. Shamash makes a crack in the earth, and Enkidu's ghost jumps out of it. The tablet ends with Gilgamesh questioning Enkidu about what he has seen in the underworld.


Epic of Gilgamesh


Old-Babylonian versions
All tablets except for the second and third are from different origins than the above, so this summary is made up out of different versions. 1. Tablet missing 2. Gilgamesh tells his mother Ninsun about two dreams he had. His mother explains that they mean that a new companion will soon arrive at Uruk. In the meanwhile Enkidu and the harlot (here called Shamkatum) are making love. She civilizes him in company of the shepherds by offering him bread and beer. Enkidu helps the shepherds by guarding the sheep. They travel to Uruk where Gilgamesh and Enkidu finally meet. Enkidu and Gilgamesh battle but Gilgamesh breaks off the fight. Enkidu praises Gilgamesh. 3. The tablet is broken here, but it seems that Gilgamesh has suggested going to the Pine Forest to cut down trees and kill Humbaba (known here as Huwawa). Enkidu protests, he knows Huwawa and is aware of his power. Gilgamesh talks Enkidu into it with some words of encouragement but Enkidu remains reluctant. They prepare, and call for the elders. The elders also protest, but after Gilgamesh talks to them they wish him good luck. 4. 1(?) tablet missing 5. Fragments from two different versions/tablets tell how Enkidu encourages Gilgamesh to slay Humwawa. Mention is made of Huwawa's "seven auras" which are not referred to in the standard version. When Gilgamesh kills Huwawa they chop down part of the forest. Enkidu cuts a door for Enlil and lets it float down the Euphrates. 6. Tablets missing 7. Gilgamesh argues with Shamash about the futility of his quest. The tablet is damaged. We then find Gilgamesh talking with Siduri about his quest and his journey to meet Ut-Napishtim (here called Uta-naishtim). Siduri also questions his goals. Gilgamesh smashes the stone creatures and talks to the ferryman Urshanabi (here called Sur-sunabu). After a short discussion Sur-sunabu asks him to carve 300 oars so that they may cross the waters of death without needing the crew of stone creatures. The rest of the tablet is damaged. 8. Tablet(s)

The Sumerian poems

There are five extant Gilgamesh poems in Sumerian. These probably circulated independently, rather than being in the form of a unified epic. Some of the names of the main characters in these poems differ slightly from later Akkadian names, and that there are some differences in the underlying stories (e.g. in the Sumerian version Enkidu is Gilgamesh's servant): 1. Gilgamesh and Huwawa (corresponds to the Cedar Forest episode (tablets 35) in the Akkadian version). 2. Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven (corresponds to the Bull of Heaven episode (tablet 6) in the Akkadian version. The Bull's voracious appetite causes drought and hardship in the land). 3. Gilgamesh and Aga (Gilgamesh vs. Aga of Kish, has no corresponding episode in the epic, but the themes of whether to show mercy to captives, and counsel from the city elders, also occur in the standard version of the Humbaba story). 4. Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld (corresponds to tablet 12 in the Akkadian version). 5. The Death of Gilgamesh (this is the story of Gilgamesh's, rather than Enkidu's, death).

Epic of Gilgamesh


Relationship to Bible
Further information: Panbabylonism Various themes, plot elements, and characters in the Epic of Gilgamesh can also be found in the Bible, notably in the stories of the Garden of Eden and Noah's Flood. The parallels between the stories of Enkidu/Shamhat and Adam/Eve have been long recognized by scholars.[11] In both, a man is created from earth by a god, and lives in a natural setting amongst the animals. He is introduced to a woman who tempts him. In both stories the man accepts food from the woman, covers his nakedness, and must leave his former realm, unable to return. The presence of a snake that steals a plant of immortality from the hero later in the epic is another point of contact. Andrew R. George submits that the flood story in Gen. 68 matches the Gilgamesh flood myth so closely, 'few doubt' that it derives from the Mesopotamian account.[12] What is particularly noticeable is the way the Genesis flood story follows the Gilgamesh flood tale "point by point and in the same order", even when the story permits other alternatives.[13]

Other parallels
Matthias Henze suggests that Nebuchadnezzar's madness in the biblical book of Daniel draws on the Epic of Gilgamesh. He claims that the author uses elements from the description of Enkidu to paint a sarcastic and mocking portrait of the king of Babylon.[14] Many scholars note an influence on the book of Ecclesiastes.[15] The speech of Sidhuri in an old Babylonian version of the epic is so similar to Ecclesiastes 9:710 that direct influence is a genuine possibility. A rare proverb about the strength of a triple-stranded rope is also common to both books.

Influence on later literature

Numerous scholars have drawn attention to various themes, episodes, and verses, that indicate a substantial influence of the Epic of Gilgamesh on both of the epic poems ascribed to Homer. These influences are detailed by Martin Litchfield West in The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth.[16]

In popular culture
The Epic of Gilgamesh has inspired many works of literature, art, music, as Theodore Ziolkowski points out in his book Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With the Ancient Epic (2011).[17][18] It was only after the First World War that the Gilgamesh epic reached a wide audience, and it is only after the Second World War that it begins to feature in a variety of genres.[18]

[1] George, Andrew R., trans. & edit. "The Epic of Gilgamesh", Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 978014449198 [2] Stephanie Dalley, ed. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press. ISBN978-0-19-953836-2. [3] T.C. Mitchell. The Bible in the British Museum, The British Museum Press, 1988, p.70. [4] Smith, George (3 December 1872). "The Chaldean Account of the Deluge" (http:/ / www. sacred-texts. com/ ane/ chad/ index. htm). . [5] A book review by the Cambridge scholar, Eleanor Robson, claims that George's is the most significant critical work on Gilgamesh in the last 70 years. See: http:/ / bmcr. brynmawr. edu/ 2004/ 2004-04-21. html [6] Andrew George, ed. (1999). The Epic of Gilgamesh. Penguin Classics. pp.50 (introduction). ISBN978-0-14-044919-8. [7] Maier, John R. (1997). Gligamesh: A reader (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=0Ok5WbdWi3QC& pg=PA136& dq=tablet+ XII+ + + + + + the+ Netherworld& hl=en& ei=fCJ2TMqfGNH14AaetLmABg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=21& ved=0CKUBEOgBMBQ#v=onepage& q=tablet XII the Netherworld& f=false). Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. p.136. ISBN978-0-86516-339-3. .

Epic of Gilgamesh
[8] Patton, Laurie L.; Wendy Doniger (1996). Myth and Method (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=OgsTmeRHpeUC& pg=PA306& dq=tablet+ XII+ + + + + + the+ Netherworld& hl=en& ei=fCJ2TMqfGNH14AaetLmABg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=24& ved=0CLYBEOgBMBc#v=onepage& q=tablet XII the Netherworld& f=false). University of Virginia Press. p.306. ISBN978-0-8139-1657-6. . [9] Kovacs, Maureen (1989). The Epic of Gilgamesh. University of Stanford Press. p.117. ISBN978-0-8047-1711-3. [10] A. Drafkorn Kilmer (1982). G. van Driel et al. ed. Zikir umim: Assyriological Studies Presented to F.R. Kraus on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=5ckUAAAAIAAJ& pg=PA130& dq=tablet+ XII+ + + + + + the+ Netherworld& hl=en& ei=fCJ2TMqfGNH14AaetLmABg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=16& ved=0CIEBEOgBMA8#v=onepage& q=tablet XII the Netherworld& f=false). p.131. ISBN90-6258-126-9. . [11] Gmirkin, Russell, "Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus.., Continuum, 2006, p. 103. See also Blenkinsopp, Joseph, "Treasures old and new.." Eerdmans, 2004, pp. 9395. [12] George, Andrew R. The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic..., Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 70. [13] Rendsburg, Gary. "The Biblical flood story in the light of the Gilgamesh flood account," in Gilgamesh and the world of Assyria, eds Azize, J & Weeks, N. Peters, 2007, p. 117 [14] The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar..., Leiden, Brill, 1999 [15] See, for example, Van Der Torn, Karel, "Did Ecclesiastes copy Gilgamesh?", BR, 16/1 (Feb 2000), pp. 22ff [16] "The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth" Oxford (1997) pp.334-402. [17] Theodore Ziolkowski. Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With the Ancient Epic, Cornell Univ Pr (December 8, 2011). ISBN 978-0-8014-5035-8 [18] Theodore Ziolkowski (Nov 1, 2011). "Gilgamesh: An Epic Obsession" (http:/ / www. berfrois. com/ 2011/ 11/ theodore-ziolkowski-gilgamesh/ ), Berfrois.


Kendall, Stuart, transl. with intro. (2012). Gilgamesh. New York: Contra Mundum Press. ISBN978-0-9836972-0-6. George, Andrew R., trans. & edit. (2003). The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. England: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-814922-0. Foster, Benjamin R., trans. & edit. (2001). The Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN0-393-97516-9. Kovacs, Maureen Gallery, transl. with intro. (1985,1989). The Epic of Gilgamesh. Stanford University Press: Stanford, California. ISBN0-8047-1711-7. Glossary, Appendices, Appendix (Chapter XII=Tablet XII). A line-by-line translation (Chapters I-XI). Jackson, Danny (1997). The Epic of Gilgamesh. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. ISBN0-86516-352-9. Mason, Herbert (2003). Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative. Boston: Mariner Books. ISBN978-0-618-27564-9. First published in 1970 by Houghton Mifflin; Mentor Books paperback published 1972. Mitchell, Stephen (2004). Gilgamesh: A New English Version. New York: Free Press. ISBN0-7432-6164-X. Sandars, N. K. (2006). The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Epics). ISBN 0-14-102628-6 re-print of the Penguin Classic translation (in prose) by N. K. Sandars 1960 (ISBN 014044100X) without the introduction. Parpola, Simo, with Mikko Luuko, and Kalle Fabritius (1997). The Standard Babylonian, Epic of Gilgamesh. The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. ISBN951-45-7760-4 (Volume 1) in the original Akkadian cuneiform and transliteration; commentary and glossary are in English. Ferry, David (1993). Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN0-374-52383-5.

Epic of Gilgamesh


Damrosch, David (2007). The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh (http://"The+Buried+Book:+The+Loss+and+ Rediscovery+of+the+Great+Epic+of+Gilgamesh"&num=100&client=opera& sig=ACfU3U19bQtV0FbzQHz00tu38-cpnaTj3g). Henry Holt and Co.. ISBN0-8050-8029-5. Jacobsen, Thorkild (1976). The Treasures of Darkness, A History of Mesopotamian Religion (http://books."The+Treasures+of+Darkness,+A+History+of+ Mesopotamian+Religion"&pg=PP1&ots=xIB1vOkUgr&sig=48BSBQDrKwEWbD_1_tlIU7hkc0Y&hl=en& sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result). Yale University Press. ISBN0-300-01844-4. Tigay, Jeffrey H. (1982). The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic ( books?id=HzYOAAAAYAAJ&q="The+Evolution+of+the+Gilgamesh+Epic"&dq="The+Evolution+of+ the+Gilgamesh+Epic"&num=100&client=opera&pgis=1). University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN0-8122-7805-4. West, Martin Litchfield (1997). The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth ("The+East+Face+of+Helicon"&num=100& client=opera). Clarendon Press. ISBN0-19-815042-3.

External links
Translations of the legends of Gilgamesh in the Sumerian language can be found in Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http://, Oxford 1998. Gilgamesh and Huwawa (, version A Gilgamesh and Huwawa (, version B Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven ( Gilgamesh and Aga ( Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the nether world ( The death of Gilgamesh ( The 1901 full text translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh by William Muss-Arnolt (http://www.jasoncolavito. com/epic-of-gilgamesh.html) An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic by Anonymous ( at Project Gutenberg, edited by Morris Jastrow, translated by Albert T. Clay Gilgamesh ( by Richard Hooker ( The Epic of Gilgamesh, Complete Academic English Translation ( the-epic-of-gilgamesh/reginald-campbell-thompson-translation/#), by R. Campbell Thompson Gilgamesh, Tablets I - II (, by S. Kendall

ERIM (army Sumerogram)


ERIM (army Sumerogram)

ERIM is the capital letter-(majuscule) sumerogram for the Akkadian language word army, or "troops". The akkadian language word for army is ("sbu"-using s-dot, the special s); consequently the cuneiform character for ERIM is also equivalent to sab, zab, etc.-(also using s-dot). The cuneiform-compound for the enclosed use of the 'army' cuneiform character is the akkadian language word for battle, or warfare, akkadian "thzu"-(also a sumerogram: M-no. 098, Parpola). In the Yadata letter with the place-name for Hannathon, the determinative is used at the beginning of the word battle, then thzu is spelled ta-ha-(zu).

A Cuneiform-compound enclosing the cuneiform character for army, or troops.

Epic of Gilgamesh
The cuneiform character for "army"-sab is used 19 times in the Epic of Gilgamesh tablets-(chapters). It is used only once as zab; also only once as ERIM, for "armies" in Chapter XI, as ERIM-mesh(the plural), for "men, troops".

Amarna letter usage

In the 1350 BC Amarna letters, the army sumerogram ERIM is used in the formulaic introduction to the pharaoh of ancient Egypt-(mostly Amenhotep IV-Akhenaten, or his father Amenhotep III). The addressing is towards the 'good health'-Shalom-(Akkadian language lmu-"to be safe") of the list of pharaoh's charges, and near the end of the list his "troops", or armies are addressed: as ERIM-mesh; (mesh is the plural as "s", in the Akkadian language). The more notable kings used this formal introduction to the pharaoh, for example Tushratta of Mitanni, the "King of Alashiya"-(now known as the island Cyprus); also the king of Babylon, Burna-Buriash; also Kadashman-Enlil I of Babylon. A more distinctive use of the army cuneiform character in the Amarna letters, is in the cuneiform-compound for the word 'battle', as a determinative in Amarna letter no. 245, concerning a story about Yadata, with the subject being the Habiru man, Labaya.

Parpola, Simo, with Mikko Luuko, and Kalle Fabritius (1997). The Standard Babylonian, Epic of Gilgamesh. The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. ISBN 951-45-7760-4 (Volume 1) in the original Akkadian cuneiform and transliteration; commentary and glossary are in English.

Eshkaft-e Salman


Eshkaft-e Salman
Eshkaft-e Salman, or Shikaft-i Salman, is a cave with four reliefs inside and outside the cave on the south of the Izeh, near the city in Khuzestan, southwest Iran. A well preserved 36-line cuneiform inscription stands to the left of the figure in relief IV.[1] In relief I a line of two men, a child and a woman face an incense burner or altar, while relief II shows a man, a child and a woman facing to the left. In both reliefs the men wear helmets of characteristic Elamite type, and plaits of hair are hanging down to their shoulders. Reliefs III and IV are now in very bad condition, but Layard described them in some detail. In relief III he recognized that the figure has its arms elevated and its hands joined in the attitude of prayer; a tunic descends to its knees; its head-dress is similar to that of the other figures. Layard thought that an inscription had existed to the left of this figure, and suggested that water percolating through the rock has completely effaced it. He also recognized a fragmentary cuneiform inscription on the figures dress. About the figure in relief IV Layard noted that it has a long robe descending to its ankles; its arms appear to have been folded on its breast. The beards descend in curls almost to the breast, and the head-dress resembles that worn by the priests of the Magi. It appears to consist of a cap fitted close to the head, and advancing in a double fold over the forehead. The dress of this figure was also inscribed with a cuneiform inscription, and only to the left of this figure did Layard find the above mentioned cuneiform inscription. The style of the figures in all four reliefs seems to indicate a date in the 12th century BCE, but the inscriptions are of the time of Hanni. It is therefore thought that the inscriptions were added by Hanni at a later date.[1] Outside the cave, there is a ruined building and a small cave, local people believe that the building belonged to the Salman the Persian and has been his prayer place but it is perhaps from the Atabaks period.[2]


Eshkaft-e Salman I

Eshkaft-e Salman II,The picture of a woman with dignity shows the importance of woman in [2] Elamite era

Eshkaft-e Salman III

Eshkaft-e Salman IV

Diagram of reliefs III and IV , III is the right one and IV is the left relief

Eshkaft-e Salman


[1] Curtis, John. "LAYARD, Austen Henry" (http:/ / iranicaonline. org/ articles/ layard-austen-henry). Encyclopedia Iranica. . Retrieved 2011-07-09. [2] Atlas of Eshkaft-e Salman (http:/ / www. iranatlas. info/ izeh/ iz_eshkaft. htm) (In Persian)

Further reading
Potts, D.T. (1999). The Archaeology of Elam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-56358-5.

External links
Atlas of Eshkaft-e Salman ( (In Persian) List of Elamite Rock Reliefs ( (Livius.Org)

Freedom (sumerian Ama-gi)

Ama-gi is a Sumerian word (written ama-gi4 , also ama-ar-gi4) expressing the emancipation of slaves and release from peonage through the cancellation of debts. Literally translated, it means "return to the mother," inasmuch as former slaves were "returned to their ama-gi4 written in Classical Sumerian mothers, (i.e., freed)."[1] Although historians note that the meaning of cuneiform. the term is closer to "freedom," [2] and point out that it is related to traditions of public debt relief like the Jewish jubilee, [3] many libertarians believe it to be the first written expression of the concept of liberty.[4] The cuneiform spelling ama-gi4 has been adopted as a symbol by several "liberty"-oriented groups. The journal of the Hayek Society at the London School of Economics, the largest libertarian student group in England, is titled Ama-gi.[4] The symbol is used as a logo by the Instituto Poltico para la Libertad of Peru,[5] and another version is a trademarked logo of the publishing firm, Liberty Fund.[6]

[1] The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1971. [2] Fischer, David Hackett (2005). Liberty and Freedom (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=uc8KP_QtW-sC& lpg=PP1& pg=PP1#v=onepage& q& f=false). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.864. ISBN978-0-19-516253-0. . [3] Graeber, David (2011). Debt: The First 5000 Years. Melville House. ISBN978-1-933633-86-2. [4] Yu, Erica C.. "Editor-in-Chief" (http:/ / personal. lse. ac. uk/ maab/ amagi2004a. pdf). ama-gi. Hayek Society. . Retrieved May 13, 2011. [5] "Instituto Politico para la Libertad Inicio" (http:/ / www. iplperu. com/ ). Archived (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20090331232130/ http:/ / www. iplperu. com/ ) from the original on 31 March 2009. . Retrieved 2009-05-05. [6] Liberty Fund, Inc. website (http:/ / www. libertyfund. org/ )

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription


Full translation of the Behistun Inscription

The following translation of the Behistun Inscription was made by L.W. King and R.C. Thompson [1] Where names are quoted in a Greekified or Biblical form, the Persian original sometimes follows in square brackets. In original Persian words and names, "x"(like Cyrillic X) means the "kh" sound as German "ch" in "ach".

Column one
Introduction: Darius's titles and the extent of his empire
(1) I am Darius [Dryavu], the great king, king of kings, the king of Persia [Prsa], the king of countries, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames, the Achaemenid. (2) King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes [Vitspa]; the father of Hystaspes was Arsames [Arma]; the father of Arsames was Ariaramnes [Ariyramna]; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes [Cipi]; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes [Haxmani]. (3) King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal.

Modern photograph of the Behistun inscription.

(4) King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. Nine in succession we have been kings. (5) King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda am I king; Ahuramazda has granted me the kingdom. (6) King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject unto me, and by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king of them: Persia [Prsa], Elam [vja], Babylonia [Bbiru], Assyria [Athur], Arabia [Arabya], Egypt [Mudrya], the countries by the Sea, Lydia [Sparda], the Greeks [Yauna], Media [Mda], Armenia [Armina], Cappadocia [Katpatuka], Parthia [Parthava], Drangiana [Zraka], Aria [Haraiva], Chorasmia [Uvrazmy], Bactria [Bxtri], Sogdia [Suguda], Gandara [Gadra], Scythia [Saka] (Ghi-mi-ri or Cimmeria in Babylonian version), Sattagydia [Thatagu], Arachosia [Harauvati] and Maka [Maka]; twenty-three lands in all. (7) King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject to me; by the grace of Ahuramazda they became subject to me; they brought tribute unto me. Whatsoever commands have been laid on them by me, by night or by day, have been performed by them. (8) King Darius says: Within these lands, whosoever was a friend, him have I surely protected; whosoever was hostile, him have I utterly destroyed. By the grace of Ahuramazda these lands have conformed to my decrees; as it was commanded unto them by me, so was it done. (9) King Darius says: Ahuramazda has granted unto me this empire. Ahuramazda brought me help, until I gained this empire; by the grace of Ahuramazda do I hold this empire.

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription


Murder of Smerdis and coup of Gaumta the Magian

(10) King Darius says: The following is what was done by me after I became king. A son of Cyrus [Kru], named Cambyses [Kabjiya], one of our dynasty, was king here before me. That Cambyses had a brother, Smerdis [Bardiya] by name, of the same mother and the same father as Cambyses. Afterwards, Cambyses slew this Smerdis. When Cambyses slew Smerdis, it was not known unto the people that Smerdis was slain. Thereupon Cambyses went to Egypt. When Cambyses had departed into Egypt, the people became hostile, and the lie multiplied in the land, even in Persia and Media, and in the other provinces. (11) King Darius says: Afterwards, there was a certain man, a Magian [magu], Gaumta by name, who raised a rebellion in Paishiyauvada, in a mountain called Arakadri. On the fourteenth day of the month Viyaxana (11 March 522 BC) did he rebel. He lied to the people, saying: 'I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, the brother of Cambyses.' Then were all the people in revolt, and from Cambyses they went over unto him, both Persia and Media, and the other provinces. He seized the kingdom; on the ninth day of the month Garmapada (1 July 522 BC) he seized the kingdom. Afterwards, Cambyses died of natural causes. (12) King Darius says: The kingdom of which Gaumta, the Magian, dispossessed Cambyses, had always belonged to our dynasty. After that Gaumta, the Magian, had dispossessed Cambyses of Persia and Media, and of the other provinces, he did according to his will. He became king.

Darius kills Gaumta and restores the kingdom

(13) King Darius says: There was no man, either Persian or Mede or of our own dynasty, who took the kingdom from Gaumta, the Magian. The people feared him exceedingly, for he slew many who had known the real Smerdis. For this reason did he slay them, 'that they may not know that I am not Smerdis, the son of Cyrus.' There was none who dared to act against Gaumta, the Magian, until I came. Then I prayed to Ahuramazda; Ahuramazda brought me help. On the tenth day of the month Bgaydi (29 September 522 BC) I, with a few men, slew that Gaumta, the Magian, and the chief men who were his followers. At the stronghold called Sikayauvati, in the district called Nisaia in Media, I slew him; I dispossessed him of the kingdom. By the grace of Ahuramazda I became king; Ahuramazda granted me the kingdom. (14) King Darius says: The kingdom that had been wrested from our line I brought back and I reestablished it on its foundation. The temples which Gaumta, the Magian, had destroyed, I restored to the people, and the pasture lands, and the herds and the dwelling places, and the houses which Gaumta, the Magian, had taken away. I settled the people in their place, the people of Persia, and Media, and the other provinces. I restored that which had been taken away, as is was in the days of old. This did I by the grace of Ahuramazda, I labored until I had established our dynasty in its place, as in the days of old; I labored, by the grace of Ahuramazda, so that Gaumta, the Magian, did not dispossess our house. (15) King Darius says: This was what I did after I became king.

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription


Rebellions of ina of Elam and Nidintu-Bl of Babylon

(16) King Darius says: After I had slain Gaumta, the Magian, a certain man named ina, the son of Upadarma, raised a rebellion in Elam, and he spoke thus unto the people of Elam: 'I am king in Elam.' Thereupon the people of Elam became rebellious, and they went over unto that ina: he became king in Elam. And a certain Babylonian named Nidintu-Bl, the son of Kn-Zr, raised a Achaemenid empire at its greatest extent rebellion in Babylon: he lied to the people, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus.' Then did all the province of Babylonia go over to Nidintu-Bl, and Babylonia rose in rebellion. He seized on the kingdom of Babylonia (3 October 522 BC). (17) King Darius says: Then I sent (an envoy?) to Elam. That ina was brought unto me in fetters, and I killed him. (18) King Darius says: Then I marched against that Nidintu-Bl, who called himself Nebuchadnezzar. The army of Nidintu-Bl held the Tigris; there it took its stand, and on account of the waters (the river) was unfordable. Thereupon I supported my army on (inflated) skins, others I made dromedary-borne, for the rest I brought horses. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda we crossed the Tigris. Then did I utterly overthrow that host of Nidintu-Bl. On the twenty-sixth day of the month iydiya (13 December 522 BC) we joined battle. (19) King Darius says: After that I marched against Babylon. But before I reached Babylon, that Nidintu-Bl, who called himself Nebuchadnezzar, came with a host and offered battle at a city called Zzna, on the Euphrates. Then we joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did I utterly overthrow the host of Nidintu-Bl. The enemy fled into the water; the water carried them away. On the second day of the month Anmaka (18 December 522 BC) we joined battle.

Column two
(20) King Darius says: Then did Nidintu-Bl flee with a few horsemen into Babylon. Thereupon I marched to Babylon. By the grace of Ahuramazda I took Babylon, and captured Nidintu-Bl. Then I slew that Nidintu-Bl in Babylon. (21) King Darius says: While I was in Babylon, these provinces revolted from me: Persia, Elam, Media, Assyria, Egypt, Parthia, Margiana [Margu], Sattagydia [Thatagu], and Scythia [Saka].

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription


Revolt of Martiya of Elam

(22) King Darius says: A certain man named Martiya, the son of Zinzakri, dwelt in a city in Persia called Kuganak. This man revolted in Elam, and he said to the people: 'I am Ummani, king in Elam.' (23) King Darius says: At that time, I was friendly with Elam. Then there were Elamites afraid of me, and that Martiya, who was their leader, they seized and slew.

Revolt of Phraortes of Media

(24) King Darius says: A certain Mede named Phraortes [Fravarti] revolted in Media, and he said to the people: 'I am Khshathrita, of the family of Cyaxares.' Then did the Medes who were in the palace revolt from me and go over to Phraortes. He became king in Media. (25) King Darius says: The Persian and Median army, which was with me, was small. Yet I sent forth an(other) army. A Persian named Hydarnes, my servant, I The Behistun Inscription, carved into a cliffside, gives the same text in three made their leader, and I said unto him: languages, telling the story of King Darius' conquests, with the names of 23 'Go, smite that Median host which does provinces subject to him. It is illustrated by life-sized carved images of King not acknowledge me.' Then Hydarnes Darius with other figures in attendance. marched forth with the army. When he had come to Media, at a city in Media called Maru, he gave battle to the Medes. He who was chief among the Medes was not there at that time. Ahuramazda brought me help: by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host. On the twenty-seventh day of the month Anmaka (12 January 521) the battle was fought by them. Then did my army await me in a district in Media called Kampanda, until I came into Media.

Revolt of the Armenians

(26) King Darius says: An Armenian named Ddari, my servant, I sent into Armenia, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that host which is in revolt and does not acknowledge me.' Then Ddari went forth. When he came into Armenia, the rebels assembled and advanced against Ddari to give him battle. At a place in Armenia called Zuzza they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the eighth day of the month Thravhara (20 May 521 BC) the battle was fought by them. (27) King Darius says: The rebels assembled for the second time, and they advanced against Ddari to give him battle. At a stronghold in Armenia called Tigra they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the eighteenth day of the month Thravhara (30 May 521 BC) the battle was fought by them. (28) King Darius says: The rebels assembled for the third time and advanced against Ddari to give him battle. At a stronghold in Armenia called Uyam they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the ninth day of the month Thigaci (20 June 521 BC) the battle was fought by them. Then Ddari waited for me in Armenia, until I came into Armenia. (29) King Darius says: A Persian named Vaumisa, my servant, I sent into Armenia, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that host which is in revolt, and does not acknowledge me.' Then Vaumisa went forth. When he had come to Armenia, the rebels assembled and advanced against Vaumisa to give him battle. At a place in Assyria called

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription Izal they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the fifteenth day of the month Anmaka (31 December 522 BC) the battle was fought by them. (30) King Darius says: The rebels assembled a second time and advanced against Vaumisa to give him battle. At a place in Armenia called Autiyra they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. At the end of the month Thravhara (11 June 521 BC) the battle was fought by them. Then Vaumisa waited for me in Armenia, until I came into Armenia.


End of the revolt of the Medes

(31) King Darius says: Then I went forth from Babylon and came into Media. When I had come to Media, that Phraortes [Fravarti], who called himself king in Media, came against me unto a city in Media called Kunduru (Kangvar?) to offer battle. Then we joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the twenty-fifth day of the month Adukanaia(8 May 521 BC) we fought the battle. (32) King Darius says: Thereupon that Phraortes fled thence with a few horseman to a district in Media called Rhagae [Rag]. Then I sent an army in pursuit. Phraortes was taken and brought unto me. I cut off his nose, his ears, and his tongue, and I put out one eye, and he was kept in fetters at my palace entrance, and all the people beheld him. Then did I crucify him in Ecbatana [Hagmatna]; and the men who were his foremost followers, those at Ecbatana within the fortress, I flayed and hung out their hides, stuffed with straw. (33) King Darius says: A man named Tritantaechmes [Ciataxma], a Sagartian, revolted from me, saying to his people: 'I am king in Sagartia [Asagarta], of the family of Cyaxares.' Then I sent forth a Persian and a Median army. A Mede named Takhmaspda, my servant, I made their leader, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that host which is in revolt, and does not acknowledge me.' Thereupon Takhmaspda went forth with the army, and he fought a battle with Tritantaechmes. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host, and they seized Tritantaechmes and brought him unto me. Afterwards I cut off both his nose and ears, and put out one eye, he was kept bound at my palace entrance, all the people saw him. Afterwards I crucified him in Arbela. (34) King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Media.

Revolt of the Parthians

(35) King Darius says: The Parthians [Parthava] and Hyrcanians [Varkna] revolted from me, and they declared themselves on the side of Phraortes [Fravarta]. My father Hystaspes was in Parthia; and the people forsook him; they became rebellious. Then Hystaspes [Vitspa] marched forth with the troops which had remained faithful. At a city in Parthia called Vipauzti he fought a battle with the Parthians. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host. On the second day of the month Viyaxana (8 March 521) the battle was fought by them.

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription


Column three
(36) King Darius says: Then did I send a Persian army unto Hystaspes [Vitspa] from Rhagae [Rag]. When that army reached Hystaspes, he marched forth with the host. At a city in Parthia called Patigraban he gave battle to the rebels. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda Hystaspes utterly defeated that rebel host. On the first day of the month Garmapada (11 July 521) the battle was fought by them. (37) King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Parthia.

Frda Revolt of Frda of Margiana

(38) King Darius says: The province called Margiana [Margu] revolted against me. A certain Margian named Frda they made their leader. Then sent I against him a Persian named Ddari, my servant, who was satrap of Bactria [Bxtriya], and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that host which does not acknowledge me.' Then Ddari went forth with the army, and gave battle to the Margians. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. Of the twenty-third day of the month iydiya (28 December 521) was the battle fought by them. (39) King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Bactria.

Revolt of Vahyazdta of Persia

(40) King Darius [Dryavu] says: A certain man named Vahyazdta dwelt in a city called Trav in a district in Persia called Vautiy. This man rebelled for the second time in Persia, and thus he spoke unto the people: 'I am Smerdis [Bardiya], the son of Cyrus [Kru].' Then the Persian people who were in the palace fell away from allegiance. They revolted from me and went over to that Vahyazdta. He became king in Persia. (41) King Darius says: Then did I send out the Persian and the Median army which was with me. A Persian named Artavardiya, my servant, I made their leader. The rest of the Persian army came unto me in Media. Then went Artavardiya with the army unto Persia. When he came to Persia, at a city in Persia called Rakh, that Vahyazdta, who called himself Smerdis, advanced with the army against Artavardiya to give him battle. They then fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my host utterly overthrew the army of Vahyazdta. On the twelfth day of the month Thravhara (24 May 521) was the battle fought by them. (42) King Darius says: Then that Vahyazdta fled thence with a few horsemen unto Pishiyuvda. From that place he went forth with an army a second time against Artavardiya to give him battle. At a mountain called Parga they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my host utterly overthrew the army of Vahyazdta. On the fifth day of the month Garmapada (15 July 521) was the battle fought by them. And they seized that Vahyazdta, and the men who were his chief followers were also seized. (43) King Darius says: Then did I crucify that Vahyazdta and the men who were his chief followers in a city in Persia called Uvdaicaya. (44) King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Persia. (45) King Darius says: That Vahyazdta, who called himself Smerdis, sent men to Arachosia [Harauvati] against a Persian named Vivna, my servant, the satrap of Arachosia. He appointed a certain man to be their leader, and thus he spoke to him, saying: 'Go smite Vivna and the host which acknowledges king Darius!' Then that army that Vahyazdta had sent marched against Vivna to give him battle. At a fortress called Kapia-kani [= Kandahar ] they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. On the thirteenth day of the month Anmaka (29 December 522) was the battle fought by them. (46) King Darius says: The rebels assembled a second time and went out against Vivna to give him battle. At a place called Gandutava they fought a battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. On the seventh day of the month Viyaxana (21 February 521) the battle was

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription fought by them. (47) King Darius says: The man who was commander of that army that Vahyazdta had sent forth against Vivna fled thence with a few horsemen. They went to a fortress in Arachosia called Ard. Then Vivna with the army marched after them on foot. There he seized him, and he slew the men who were his chief followers. (48) King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Arachosia.


Arakha Second Babylonian revolt

(49) King Darius says: While I was in Persia and in Media, the Babylonians revolted from me a second time. A certain man named Arakha, an Armenian, son of Haldita, rebelled in Babylon. At a place called Dubla, he lied unto the people, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus.' Then did the Babylonian people revolt from me and they went over to that Arakha. He seized Babylon, he became king in Babylon. (50) King Darius says: Then did I send an army unto Babylon. A Persian named Intaphrenes [Vidafarn], my servant, I appointed as their leader, and thus I spoke unto them: 'Go, smite that Babylonian host which does not acknowledge me.' Then Intaphrenes marched with the army unto Babylon. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda Intaphrenes overthrew the Babylonians and brought over the people unto me. On the twenty-second day of the month Marksana (27 November) they seized that Arakha who called himself Nebuchadnezzar, and the men who were his chief followers. Then I made a decree, saying: 'Let that Arakha and the men who were his chief followers be crucified in Babylon!'

Column four
(51) King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Babylon.

(52) King Darius says: This is what I have done. By the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. After I became king, I fought nineteen battles in a single year and by the grace of Ahuramazda I overthrew nine kings and I made them captive. One was named Gaumta, the Magian; he lied, saying 'I am Smerdis [Bardiya], the son of Cyrus [Kru].' He made Persia to revolt. Another was named ina, the Elamite [vjiya]; he lied, saying: 'I am king the king of Elam.' He made Elam to revolt. Another was named Nidintu-Bl [Naditabaira], the Babylonian [Bbiruviya]; he lied, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar [Nabukudracara], the son of Nabonidus [Nabunaita].' He made Babylon to revolt. Another was named Martiya, the Persian; he lied, saying: 'I am Ummanni, the king of Elam.' He made Elam to revolt. Another was Phraortes [Fravarti], the Mede [Mda]; he lied, saying: 'I am Khshathrita, of the dynasty of Cyaxares [Uvaxtra].' He made Media to revolt. Another was Tritantaechmes [Ciataxma], the Sagartian [Asagartiya]; he lied, saying: 'I am king in Sagartia, of the dynasty of Cyaxares [Uvaxtra].' He made Sagartia to revolt. Another was named Frda, of Margiana; he lied, saying: 'I am king of Margiana [Margu].' He made Margiana to revolt. Another was Vahyazdta, a Persian; he lied, saying: 'I am Smerdis [Bardiya], the son of Cyrus [Kru].' He made Persia to revolt. Another was Arakha, an Armenian [Arminiya]; he lied, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus.' He made Babylon to revolt. (53) King Darius says: These nine king did I capture in these wars.

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription (54) King Darius says: As to these provinces which revolted, lies made them revolt, so that they deceived the people. Then Ahuramazda delivered them into my hand; and I did unto them according to my will. (55) King Darius says: You who shall be king hereafter, protect yourself vigorously from lies; punish the liars well, if thus you shall think, 'May my country be secure!'


Affirmation of the truth of the record

(56) King Darius says: This is what I have done, by the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. Whosoever shall read this inscription hereafter, let that which I have done be believed. You must not hold it to be lies. (57) King Darius says: I call Ahuramazda to witness that is true and not lies; all of it have I done in a single year. (58) King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda I did much more, which is not graven in this inscription. On this account it has not been inscribed lest he who shall read this inscription hereafter should then hold that which has been done by me to be excessive and not believe it and takes it to be lies.

Affirmation that it is pious to make known the record

(59) King Darius says: Those who were the former kings, as long as they lived, by them was not done thus as by the favor of Ahuramazda was done by me in one and the same year. (60) King Darius says: Now let what has been done by me convince you. For the sake of the people, do not conceal it. If you do not conceal this edict but if you publish it to the world, then may Ahuramazda be your friend, may your family be numerous, and may you live long. (61) King Darius says: If you conceal this edict and do not publish it to the world, may Ahuramazda slay you and may your house cease. (62) King Darius says: This is what I have done in one single year; by the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. Ahuramazda brought me help, and the other gods, all that there are.

The importance of righteousness

(63) King Darius says: On this account Ahuramazda brought me help, and all the other gods, all that there are, because I was not wicked, nor was I a liar, nor was I a despot, neither I nor any of my family. I have ruled according to righteousness. Neither to the weak nor to the powerful did I do wrong. Whosoever helped my house, him I favored; he who was hostile, him I destroyed. (64) King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, whosoever shall be a liar or a rebel, or shall not be friendly, punish him!

Blessings and curses

(65) King Darius says: You who shall hereafter see this tablet, which I have written, or these sculptures, do not destroy them, but preserve them so long as you live! (66) King Darius says: If you shall behold this inscription or these sculptures, and shall not destroy them, but shall preserve them as long as your line endures, then may Ahuramazda be your friend, and may your family be numerous. Live long, and may Ahuramazda make fortunate whatsoever you do. (67) King Darius says: If you shall behold this inscription or these sculptures, and shall destroy them and shall not preserve them so long as your line endures, may Ahuramazda slay you, may your family come to nought, and may Ahuramazda destroy whatever you do! (68) King Darius says: These are the men who were with me when I slew Gaumta the Magian [magu], who was called Smerdis [Bardiya]; then these men helped me as my followers: Intaphrenes [Vidafarn], son of Vayspra, a Persian;

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription Otanes [Utna], son of Thukhra [Thuxra], a Persian; Gobryas [Gaubaruva], son of Mardonius [Marduniya], a Persian; Hydarnes [Vidarna], son of Bagbigna, a Persian; Megabyzus [Bagabuxa], son of Dtuvahya, a Persian; Ardumani, son of Vakauka, a Persian.


(69) King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, protect the family of these men. (70) King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda this is the inscription which I have made. Besides, it was in Aryan script, and it was composed on clay tablets and on parchment. Besides, a sculptured figure of myself I made. Besides, I made my lineage. And it was inscribed and was read off before me. Afterwards this inscription I sent off everywhere among the provinces. The people unitedly worked upon it.

Column five
A new rebellion on Elam (Autumn 521)
(71) King Darius says: The following is what I did in the second and third year of my rule. The province called Elam [vja] revolted from me. An Elamite named Atamaita they made their leader. Then I sent an army unto Elam. A Persian named Gobryas [Gaubaruva], my servant, I made their leader. Then Gobryas set forth with the army; he delivered battle against the Elamites. Then Gobryas destroyed many of the host and that Atamaita, their leader, he captured, and he brought him unto me, and I killed him. Then the province became mine. (72) King Darius says: Those Elamites were faithless and Ahuramazda was not worshipped by them. I worshipped Ahuramazda; by the grace of Ahuramazda I did unto them according to my will. (73) King Darius says: Whoso shall worship Ahuramazda, divine blessing will be upon him, both while living and when dead.

War against the Scythians (520/519)

(74) King Darius says: Afterwards with an army I went off to Scythia, after the Scythians who wear the pointed cap. These Scythians went from me. When I arrived at the river, I crossed beyond it then with all my army. Afterwards, I smote the Scythians exceedingly; [one of their leaders] I took captive; he was led bound to me, and I killed him. [Another] chief of them, by name Skunkha, they seized and led to me. Then I made another their chief, as was my desire. Then the province became mine. (75) King Darius says: Those Scythians [Sak] were faithless and Ahuramazda was not worshipped by them. I worshipped Ahuramazda; by the grace of Ahuramazda I did unto them according to my will. (76) King Darius says: Whoso shall worship Ahuramazda, divine blessing will be upon him, both while living and when dead.

[1] The sculptures and inscription of Darius the Great on the rock of Behistn in Persia, 1907 London. (I have made some minor changes and added the titles of the sections.)

This transcript was found here ( part 1 ( and part 2 ( The full Old Persian text can be found with English translation here ( behistun-t01.html):
column 1 column 2 column 3 column 4 column 5

Full translation of the Behistun Inscription


col 1 lines 1-8 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t01. html) col 1 lines 9-17 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t02. html) col 1 lines 18-26 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t03. html) col 1 lines 27-35 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t04. html) col 1 lines 36-43 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t05. html) col 1 lines 44-52 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t06. html) col 1 lines 53-61 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t07. html) col 1 lines 62-71 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t08. html) col 1 lines 72-81 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t09. html) col 1 lines 82-90 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t10. html) col 1 lines 91-96 (http:/ / www. livius. org/ be-bm/ behistun/ behistun-t11. html)

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GAL (cuneiform)


GAL (cuneiform)
GAL (Borger 2003 nr. 553; U+120F2 ) is the Sumerian cuneiform for "great". L.GAL DERE.KI.GAL

Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)

The Garden of the gods or Sumerian paradise is the divine paradise of the Annanuki, the gods of Sumer.[1] Samuel Noah Kramer suggested the concept of a human paradise and the Garden of Eden originated from the Sumerians who were describing a land outside of Sumer. The concept of this home of the immortals was later handed down to the Semitic Babylonians who conquered Sumer.[1]


Cedars of Lebanon in the forest of the cedars of God, connected by some scholars to the Garden of the gods.

Lebanon and Mount Hermon

In tablet nine of the standard version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh travels to the garden of the gods through the Cedar Forest and the depths of Mashu, a comparable location in Sumerian version is the "Mountain of cedar-felling".[2][3][4] Little description remains of the "jewelled garden" of Gilgamesh because twenty four lines of the myth were damaged and could not be translated at that point in the text.[5]

Mount Hermon

The name of the mountain is Mashu. As he arrives at the mountain of Mashu, Which every day keeps watch over the rising and setting of the sun, Whose peakes reach as high as the "banks of heaven," and whose breast reaches down to the netherworld, The scorpion-people keep watch at its gate.[3] Bohl has highlighted that the word Mashu in Sumerian means "twins". Jensen and Zimmern thought it to be the geographical location between Mount Lebanon and Mount Hermon in the Anti-Lebanon range.[3] Edward Lipinski and Peter Kyle McCarter have suggested that the garden of the gods relates to a mountain sanctuary in the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges.[6][7] Other scholars have found a connection between the Cedars of Lebanon (pictured) in the forest of the Cedars of God and the garden of the gods. The location of garden of the gods is close to the forest, which is described in the line: Saria (Sirion / Mount Hermon) and Lebanon tremble at the felling of the cedars.[8][9] John Day noted that Mount Hermon is the "highest and grandest of the mountains in the area, indeed in the whole of Palestine" at 2814 metres (unknown operator: u'strong'ft) elevation considering it the most likely to contrast with the abzu, or depths of the sea. Day provided support for Lipinski's suggestion that Mount Hermon was the dwelling place for the Annanuki, suggesting this was also the location of Bashan in Psalm 68 (Psalms68:15-22).[10] He also noticed that the sons of God are introduced descending from Mount Hermon in 1 Enoch (1En6:6).[10] There is a Caananite narrative myth from Phonecia called the "Fall of the day star" that describes the inglorious fall of Helel

Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise) ben Shahar and another Ugaritic myth called the Baal cycle about the fall of the god Attar from Saphon (Hermon) which both deal with the "invasion of the garden of gods in the Lebanon".[11] These have been suggested to provide the background and origin of the story about the fall of Lucifer from heaven, told in the Book of Isiah (Isiah14:4-21) "Yea, the cypresses rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us'" and "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning".[8][12][13][14] In the myths, the intruder enters into the sacred space of the garden and lays hands on God's tree, not the same Cedar of Lebanon mentioned by Ezekiel (Ezekiel31:1518), but a sacred place invaded by an arrogant and presumptuous human, trying to take the position of the gods, from where he is banished to hell.[8]


Theophilus Pinches suggested in 1908 that Eridu was the Sumerian paradise calling it "not the earthly city of that name, but a city conceived as lying also "within the Abyss", containing a tree of life fed by the Euphrates river.[15] Pinches noted "it was represented as a place to which access was forbidden, for 'no man entered its midst', as in the case of the garden of Eden after the fall." In a myth called the Incantation of Eridu, it is described as having a "glorious fountain of the abyss", a "house of wisdom", sacred grove and a kiskanu-tree with the appearance of lapis-lazuli.[16] Fud Safar also found the remains of a canal running through Eridu in archaeological excavations of 1948 to 1949.[17] William Foxwell Albright noted that "Eridu is employed as a name of the Abzu, just as Kutu (Kutha), the city of Nergal, is a Tell mound at Eridu with temple dedicated to the common name of Aralu" highlighting the problems in translation gods where several places were called the same name.[18][19] Alfred Jeremias suggested that Aralu was the same as Ariel in the West Bank and signified both the mountain of the gods and a place of desolation.[20] As with the word Ekur, this has suggested that ideas associated with the netherworld came from a mountainous country outside of Babylonia.[21]

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil opens with a description of the city of Nippur, its walls, river, canals and well, portrayed as the home of the gods and, according to Kramer "that seems to be conceived as having existed before the creation of man." Andrew R. George suggests "Nippur was a city inhabited by gods not men, and this would suggest that it had existed from the very beginning." He discusses Nippur as the "first city" (uru-sag) of Sumer.[22] This conception of Nippur is echoed by Joan Goodnick Westenholz, describing the setting as "civitas dei", existing before the "axis mundi".[23] There was a city, there was a city -- the one we live in. Nibru (Nippur) was the city, the one we live in. Dur-jicnimbar was the city, the one we live in. Id-sala is its holy river, Kar-jectina is its quay. Kar-asar is its quay where boats make fast. Pu-lal is its freshwater well. Id-nunbir-tum is its branching canal, and if one measures from there, its cultivated land is 50 sar each way. Enlil was one of its young men, and Ninlil was one its young women.[24] George also noted that a ritual garden was re-created in the "Grand Garden of Nippur, most probably a sacred garden in the E-kur (or Dur-an-ki) temple complex, is described in a cult-song of Enlil as a "garden of heavenly joy".[22] Temples in Mesopotamia were also known to have adorned their ziggurats with a sanctuary and sacred grove of trees, reminiscent of the Hanging gardens of Babylon.[25]

Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)


Persian Gulf
Sumerian paradise has sometimes been associated with Dilmun. Sir Henry Rawlinson first suggested the geographical location of Dilmun was in Bahrain in 1880.[26] This theory was later promoted by Frederich Delitzsch in his book Wo lag dar Paradies in 1881, suggesting that it was at the head of the Persian Gulf.[27] Various other theories have been put forward on this theme. Dilmun is first mentioned in association with Kur (mountain) and this is particularly problematic as Bahrain is very flat, having a highest prominence of only 134 metres (unknown operator: u'strong'ft) elevation.[26] Also, in the early epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, the construction of the ziggurats in Uruk and Eridu are described as taking place in a world "before Dilmun had yet been settled". In 1987, Theresa Howard-Carter realized that the locations in this area possess no archaeological evidence of a settlement dating 3300-2300 BC. She proposed that Dilmun could have existed in different eras and the one of this era might be a still unidentified tell.[28][29]

Kesh temple hymn
In the Kesh temple hymn, the first recorded description (c. 2600 BC) of a domain of the gods is described as being the color of a garden: "The four corners of heaven became green for Enlil like a garden."[24] In an earlier translation of this myth by George Aaron Barton in Miscellaneous Babylonian Inscriptions he considered it to read "In hursag the garden of the gods were green."[30]

Debate between sheep and grain

Another Sumerian creation myth, the Debate between sheep and grain opens with a location "the hill of heaven and earth", and describes various agricultural developments in a pastoral setting. This is discussed by Edward Chiera as "not a poetical name for the earth, but the dwelling place of the gods, situated at the point where the heavens rest upon the earth. It is there that mankind had their first habitat, and there the Babylonian Garden of Eden is to be placed."[31] The Sumerian word Edin, means "steppe" or "plain",[32] so modern scholarship has abandoned the use of the phrase "Babylonian Garden of Eden" as it has become clear the "Garden of Eden" was a later concept.

Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh describes Gilgamesh travelling to a wondrous garden of the gods that is the source of a river, next to a mountain covered in cedars, and references a "plant of life". In the myth, paradise is identified as the place where the deified Sumerian hero of the flood, Utnapishtim (Ziusudra), was taken by the gods to live forever. Once in the garden of the gods, Gilgamesh finds all sorts of precious stones, similar to Genesis2:12: There was a garden of the gods: all round him stood bushes bearing gems ... fruit of carnelian with the vine hanging from it, beautiful to look at; lapis lazuli leaves hung thick with fruit, sweet to see ... rare stones, agate and pearls from out the sea.[33]

Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)


Enki and Ninhursag

The myth of Enki and Ninhursag also describes the Sumerian paradise as a garden, which Enki obtains water from Utu to irrigate.[25]

Song of the hoe

The Song of the hoe features Enlil creating mankind with a hoe and the Annanuki spreading outward from the original garden of the gods. It also mentions the Abzu being built in Eridu.[24]

Hymn to Enlil
A Hymn to Enlil praises the leader of the Sumerian pantheon in the following terms: You founded it in the Dur-an-ki, in the middle of the four quarters of the earth. Its soil is the life of the Land, and the life of all the foreign countries. Its brickwork is red gold, its foundation is lapis lazuli. You made it glisten on high.[34]

Later usage
The foundations of Enlil's house are made of lapis lazuli, which has been linked to the soham stone used in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel28:13), one of the materials used in the building of "Eden, the Garden of god" perched on "the mountain of the lord", Zion and in the Book of Job (Job28:6-16) "The stones of it are the place of sapphires and it hath dust of gold".[34] Precious stones are also later repeated in a similar context describing decoration of the walls of New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse (Revelation21:19-21).[35] Moses also saw God's feet standing on a "paved work of a sapphire stone" in Exodus24:10. The word for Paradise garden in much later Persian literature is apiri-Daeza, meaning "garden" or "walled enclosure" or "orchard".[35] The Arabic word for paradise or garden in the Qu'ran is Jannah which literally means "concealed place". Two watercourses are supposed to flow underneath the jannah where large trees are described, mountains made of musk, between which rivers flow in valleys of pearl and ruby.[36] Features of this garden of paradise are told in a parable in the Qur'an47:1515.[37] Islamic gardens can further divide the watercourses into four, meeting at a spring and including a sanctuary for shade and rest.[38][39] In myths of the Greater Iranian culture and tradition, Jamshid is described as saving the world by building a magical garden on top of a mountain. This garden also features a tree of life and is the source of a river that brings fertility to the land. Jamshid is warned by Ahura Mazda about a freezing winter approaching and so creates this enclosure to protect the seeds of life when a climatic catastrophe strikes.[40]

Cedar Forest Kur, the "land of the living" or mountain. Hursag, similar to Kur, often meaning "foothill". Hubur, the "river of paradise" crossed by the ferry of Urshanabi. Ekur, Enlils "mountain house" or "pure place". Abzu, the "deep", a name for fresh water underground aquifers.

Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)


[1] Samuel Noah Kramer (1964). The Sumerians: their history, culture and character (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=iY9xp4pLp88C& pg=PA293). University of Chicago Press. pp.293. ISBN978-0-226-45238-8. . Retrieved 14 June 2011. [2] Gilgame and uwawa (Version A) - Translation, Lines 9A & 12, kur-jicerin-kud (http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. 1. 8. 1. 5#) [3] Rivkah Schrf Kluger; H. Yehezkel Kluger (January 1991). The Archetypal significance of Gilgamesh: a modern ancient hero (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=oALOCGuQHK0C& pg=PA163). Daimon. pp.162 & 163. ISBN978-3-85630-523-9. . Retrieved 22 June 2011. [4] John R. Maier (1997). Gilgamesh: a reader (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=0Ok5WbdWi3QC& pg=PA144). Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. pp.144. ISBN978-0-86516-339-3. . Retrieved 22 June 2011. [5] Felipe Fernndez-Armesto (1 June 2004). World of myths (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=fEXXAAAAMAAJ). University of Texas Press. ISBN978-0-292-70607-1. . Retrieved 24 June 2011. [6] Lipinski, Edward., Els Abode. Mythological Traditions Related to Mount Hermon and to the Mountains of Armenia, Orientalia Lovaniensia periodica 2, 1971. [7] Mark S. Smith (2009). The Ugaritic Baal Cycle. (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=in1lCQ0yF40C& pg=PA61). BRILL. pp.61. ISBN978-90-04-15348-6. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [8] Rivka Nir; R. Mark Shipp (December 2002). Of dead kings and dirges: myth and meaning in Isaiah 14:4b-21 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=LTyDz6JUv28C& pg=PA10). BRILL. pp.10, 154. ISBN978-90-04-12715-9. . Retrieved 15 June 2011. [9] Oxford Old Testament Seminar p. 9 & 10; John Day (2005). Temple and worship in biblical Israel (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=eCMvAAAAYAAJ). T & T Clark. . Retrieved 18 June 2011. [10] John Day (1985). God's conflict with the dragon and the sea: echoes of a Canaanite myth in the Old Testament (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=tRU9AAAAIAAJ& pg=PA117). CUP Archive. pp.117. ISBN978-0-521-25600-1. . Retrieved 18 June 2011. [11] John D. W. Watts (6 December 2005). Isaiah: 1-33, p. 212 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=nuEQAQAAIAAJ). Thomas Nelson. ISBN978-0-7852-5010-4. . Retrieved 19 June 2011. [12] Stolz, F., Die Baume des Grottesgartens auf den Libanon, ZAW 84, pp. 141-156, 1972. [13] Hans Wildberger (1980). Jesaja, Kapitel 13-39, Biblischer Kommentar 10.2 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Q1wpAQAAIAAJ). Neukirchener Verlag. ISBN978-3-7887-0029-4. . Retrieved 19 June 2011. [14] Watson, W.G.E., "Helel" in Dictionaries of Deities and Demons in the Bible, pp. 747-748, eds Karel van der Toorn et al.; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995. [15] Theophilus Pinches (January 2005). The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=mBHqzLyjdxgC). Kessinger Publishing. ISBN978-1-4179-7413-9. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [16] Richard James Fischer (30 December 2008). Historical Genesis: from Adam to Abraham (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=4qX0bQs0eEYC& pg=PA42). University Press of America. pp.42. ISBN978-0-7618-3806-7. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [17] Fud Safar (1950). Eridu, Sumer 6, 28, 1950 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=jLttAAAAMAAJ). . Retrieved 19 June 2011. [18] Giorgio De Santillana; Hertha von Dechend (January 1977). Hamlet's mill: an essay on myth and the frame of time (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=ql7ATHGee50C& pg=PA449). David R. Godine Publisher. pp.449. ISBN978-0-87923-215-3. . Retrieved 17 June 2011. [19] Albright, W. F., The Mouth of the Rivers, The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Jul., 1919), pp. 161-195 (http:/ / www. jstor. org/ pss/ 528616) [20] Alfred Jeremias (1887). Die babylonisch-assyriscen Vorstellungen vom Leben nach dem Tode: nach den Quellen mit Bercksichtigung der altestamentlichen Parallelen dargestellt, pp. 121-123 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=6nqAHAAACAAJ). Hinrichs'sche Buchandlung. . Retrieved 18 June 2011. [21] James Hastings (15 October 2001). Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics: Algonquins-Art (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=NyzDrkPG2nIC& pg=PA437). pp.437. ISBN978-1-4021-9433-7. . Retrieved 17 June 2011. [22] A. R. George (1992). Babylonian topographical texts (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Zw0TQ1MrhOkC& pg=PA442). Peeters Publishers. pp.442. ISBN978-90-6831-410-6. . Retrieved 29 May 2011. [23] Miguel ngel Borrs; Centre de Cultura Contempornia de Barcelona (2000). Joan Goodnick Westenholz, The Foundation Myths of Mesopotamian Cities, Divine Planners and Human Builder in La fundacin de la ciudad: mitos y ritos en el mundo antiguo (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3yPVFGPr0aoC& pg=PA48). Edicions UPC. pp.48. ISBN978-84-8301-387-8. . Retrieved 29 May 2011. [24] Enlil and Ninlil., Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. (http:/ / etcsl. orinst. ox. ac. uk/ cgi-bin/ etcsl. cgi?text=t. 1. 2. 1& charenc=j#) [25] Jean Delumeau; Matthew O'Connell (20 April 2000). History of paradise: the Garden of Eden in myth and tradition (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=ubJDLvEV0vEC& pg=PA5). University of Illinois Press. pp.5. ISBN978-0-252-06880-5. . Retrieved 15 June 2011. [26] A. M. Cell engr (2003). The large-wavelength deformations of the lithosphere: materials for a history of the evolution of thought from the earliest times to plate tectonics (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=-He_prc5ybUC& pg=PA32). Geological Society of America. pp.32. ISBN978-0-8137-1196-6. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [27] Friedrich Delitzsch (1881). Wo lag das Paradies?: eine biblisch-assyriologische Studie : mit zahlreichen assyriologischen Beitrgen zur biblischen Lnder- und Vlkerkunde und einer Karte Babyloniens (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=FhkYAAAAYAAJ). J.C. Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung. . Retrieved 16 June 2011.

Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)

[28] Howard-Carter, Theresa (1987). "Dilmun: At Sea or Not at Sea? A Review Article". Journal of Cuneiform Studies 39 (1): 54117. JSTOR1359986. [29] Samuel Noah Kramer (1 October 1981). History begins at Sumer: thirty-nine firsts in man's recorded history, p. 142 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=DJuxJFModyAC). University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN978-0-8122-1276-1. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [30] George Aaron Barton (1918). Miscellaneous Babylonian inscriptions, p. 52 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=nn5hAAAAMAAJ). Yale University Press. . Retrieved 23 May 2011. [31] Edward Chiera; Constantinople. Muse imprial ottoman (1924). Sumerian religious texts, pp. 26- (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=8BF3QgAACAAJ). University. . Retrieved 23 May 2011. [32] David C. Thomasma; David N. Weisstub (2004). The variables of moral capacity (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=1j0AfVUQfKEC& pg=PA110). Springer. pp.110. ISBN978-1-4020-2551-8. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [33] Donald K. Sharpes (15 August 2005). Lords of the scrolls: literary traditions in the Bible and Gospels (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=39fw6f689GgC& pg=PA90). Peter Lang. pp.90. ISBN978-0-8204-7849-4. . Retrieved 16 June 2011. [34] Richard S. Hess (June 1999). Zion, city of our God (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Lk_xLfQ_SRAC& pg=PA100). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp.100. ISBN978-0-8028-4426-2. . Retrieved 14 June 2011. [35] Jane Garry; Hasan M. El-Shamy (2005). Archetypes and motifs in folklore and literature: a handbook (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Cn6pWMverBIC& pg=PA198). M.E. Sharpe. pp.198. ISBN978-0-7656-1260-1. . Retrieved 14 June 2011. [36] "Jannah", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online [37] Brannon M. Wheeler (28 October 2002). Moses in the Quran and Islamic exegesis (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=v0an1HJE67MC& pg=PA122). Psychology Press. pp.122. ISBN978-0-7007-1603-6. . Retrieved 15 June 2011. [38] Alen MacWeeney; Caro Ness (June 2002). A Space for Silence (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=2PTw2GHchkAC& pg=PA137). frances lincoln ltd. pp.137. ISBN978-0-7112-1656-3. . Retrieved 15 June 2011. [39] Dan O'Brien; Fritz Allhoff; David E. Cooper (22 February 2011). Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone: Cultivating Wisdom (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=e3h1RGp-0fkC& pg=PA192). John Wiley and Sons. pp.192. ISBN978-1-4443-3021-2. . Retrieved 15 June 2011. [40] Virginia Schomp (September 2009). The Ancient Persians (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=U21j7vDhCCIC& pg=PA51). Marshall Cavendish. pp.51. ISBN978-0-7614-4218-9. . Retrieved 15 June 2011.


External links
The 1901 full text translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh by William Muss-Arnolt (http://www.jasoncolavito. com/epic-of-gilgamesh.html)

Gudea cylinders


Gudea cylinders
The Gudea cylinders are a pair of terracotta cylinders dating to circa 2125 BC, on which is written in cuneiform a Sumerian myth called the Building of Ningursu's temple.[1] The cylinders were found in 1877 during excavations at Telloh (ancient Girsu), Iraq and are now displayed in the Louvre in Paris, France. They are the largest cuneiform cylinders yet discovered and contain the longest known text written in the Sumerian language.[2]

The cylinders were found in a drain by Ernest de Sarzec under the Eninnu temple complex at Telloh, the ancient ruins of the Sumerian "holy city" of Girsu, during the first season of excavations in 1877. They were found next to a building known as the Agaren, where a brick pillar (pictured) was found containing an inscription describing its construction by Gudea within Eninnu during the Second Dynasty of Lagash. The Agaren was described on the pillar as a place of judgement, or mercy seat, and it is thought that the cylinders were either kept there or elsewhere in the Eninnu. They are thought to have fallen into the drain during the destruction of Girsu generations later.[3] In 1878 the cylinders were shipped to Paris, France where they remain on display today at the Louvre Museum, Department of Near East antiquities, Richelieu, ground floor, room 2, accession numbers MNB 1511 and MNB 1512.[3]

Two cylinders telling the construction of the temple of Ninurta, Girsu, Circa 2125 BC, Terra cotta, Dimensions 56.50cm long, 33cm diameter, Louvre Museum, Paris, Department of Near East Antiquities, Richelieu, Hall 2, Accession number MNB 1511, MNB 1512

Gudea cylinder close up showing cuneiform

The two cylinders were labelled A and B, with A being 61cm high with a diameter of 32cm and B being 56cm with a diameter of 33cm. The cylinders were hollow with perforations in the centre for mounting. These were originally found with clay plugs filling the holes, and the cylinders themselves filled with an unknown type of plaster. The clay shells of the cylinders are approximately 2.5 to 3cm thick. Both cylinders were cracked and in need of restoration and the Louvre still holds 12 cylinder fragments, some of which can be used to restore a section of cylinder B.[3] Cylinder A contains thirty columns and cylinder B twenty four. These columns are divided into between sixteen and thirty-five cases per column containing between one and six lines per case. The cuneiform was meant to be read with the cylinders in a horizontal position and is a typical form used between

The "Pillar of Gudea", reconstructed with ancient bricks and modern copiesconsisting of four round columns placed side by side. The inscription mentions a cedarwood portico, court of justice of Ningirsu. Found in the south-west of the temple of Ningirsu in Girsu. Clay, ca. 2125 BC. Louvre Museum, Paris, Accession number AO 388, Department of Near East Antiquities, Richelieu, Hall 2, Excavated by Ernest de Sarzec, 1881

Gudea cylinders


Akkadian and the Ur III dynasty, typical of inscriptions dating to the 2nd Dynasty of Lagash. Script differences in the shapes of certain signs indicate that the cylinders were written by different scribes.[3]

Translations and commentaries

Detailed reproductions of the cylinders were made by de Sarzac in his excavation reports which are still used in modern times. The first translation and transliteration was published by Francois Threau-Dangin in 1905.[4] Another edition with a notable concordance was published by Ira Maurice Price in 1927.[5] Further translations were made by M. Lambert and R. Tournay in 1948,[6] Adam Falkenstein in 1953,[7] Giorgio Castellino in 1977,[8] Thorkild Jacobsen in 1987,[1] and Dietz Otto Edzard in 1997.[9] The latest translation by the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL) project was provided by Joachim Krecher with legacy material from Hermann Behrens and Bram Jagersma.[10] Samuel Noah Kramer also published a detailed commentary in 1966[11] and in 1988.[12] Herbert Sauren proposed that the text of the cylinders comprised a ritual play, enactment or pageant that was performed during yearly temple dedication festivities and that certain sections of both cylinders narrate the script and give the ritual order of events of a seven day festival.[13] This proposition was met with limited acceptance.[14]

Statue of Gudea bearing water

Votive relief representing the bird-god Anzu (or Im-dugud) as a lion-headed eagle. Alabaster. Found in Telloh, ancient Girsu.

Interpretation of the text faces substantial limitations for modern scholars, who are not the intended recipients of the information and do not share a common knowledge of the ancient world and the background behind the literature. Irene Winter points out that understanding the story demands "the viewer's prior knowledge and correct identification of the scene - a process of 'matching' rather than 'reading' of imagery itself qua narrative." The hero of the story is Gudea (statue pictured), king of the city-state of Lagash at the end of the third millennium BC. A large quantity of sculpted and inscribed artifacts have survived pertaining to his reconstruction and dedication Clay plans of a six-room building, a sanctuary or of the Eninnu, the temple of Ningursu, the patron deity of Lagash. a private house. From Telloh, ancient Girsu. Dimensions H. 11 cm (4 14 in.), W. 9 cm (3 12 These include foundation nails (pictured), building plans (pictured) in.), D. 1.6 cm (12 in.) and pictorial accounts sculpted on limestone stelae. The temple, Eninnu was a formidable complex of buildings, likely including the E-pa, Kasurra and sanctuary of Bau among others. There are no substantial architectural remains of Gudea's buildings, so the text is the best record of his achievements.[3]

Gudea cylinders


Cylinder X
Some fragments of another Gudea inscription were found that could not be pieced together with the two in the Louvre. This has led some scholars to suggest that there was a missing cylinder preceding the texts recovered. It has been argued that the two cylinders present a balanced and complete literary with a line at the end of Cylinder A having been suggested by Falkenstein to mark the middle of the composition. This colophon has however also been suggested to mark the cylinder itself as the middle one in a group of three. The opening of cylinder A also shows similarities to the openings of other myths with the destinies of heaven and earth being determined. Various conjectures have been made regarding the supposed contents of an initial cylinder. Victor Hurowitz suggested it may have contained an introductory hymn praising Ningirsu and Lagash.[15] Thorkild Jacobsen suggested it may have explained why a relatively recent similar temple built by Ur-baba (or Ur-bau), Gudea's father-in-law "was deemed insufficient".[1]

Foundation figurine: kneeling god holding a nail. Copper, from Telloh, ancient Girsu.

Cylinder A
Cylinder A opens on a day in the distant past when destinies were determined with Enlil, the highest god in the Sumerian pantheon, in session with the Divine Council and looking with admiration at his son Ningirsu (another name for Ninurta) and his city, Lagash.[15]

Bull head, probably affixed to the sound-chest of a lyre. Copper, mother-of-pearl and lapis lazuli, found in Telloh, ancient Girsu. Louvre Museum, Accession number AO 2676, Excavated by Ernest de Sarzec; gift of Sultan Abdul Hamid, 1896

Gudea cylinders


Limestone bust of a goddess, perhaps Bau, wearing horned cap. From Telloh, ancient Girsu. Dimensions H. 16.2 cm (6 14 in.), W. 20 cm (7 34 in.), D. 4.7 cm (1 34 in.) Louvre Museum, Accession number AO 4572, Excavated by Gaston Cros, 1905

Upon the day for making of decisions in matters of the world, Lagash in great office raised the head, and Enlil looked at Lord Ningirsu truly, [1] was moved to have the things appropriate appear in our city.

Ningirsu responds that his governor will build a temple dedicated to great accomplishments. Gudea is then sent a dream where a giant man with wings, a crown, and two lions commanded him to build the E-ninnu temple. Two figures then appear: a woman holding a gold stylus, and a hero holding a lapis lazuli tablet on which he drew the plan of a house. The hero placed bricks in a brick mold and carrying basket, in front of Gudea while a donkey gestured impatiently with its hoof. After waking, Gudea could not understand the dream so traveled to visit the goddess Nanse by canal for interpretation of the oracle. Gudea stops at several shrines on the route to make offerings to various other deities. Nanse explains that the giant man is her brother Ningirsu, and the woman with the golden stylus is Nindaba goddess of writing, directing him to lay out the temple astronomically aligned with the "holy stars". The hero is Nindub an architect-god surveying the plan of the temple. The donkey was supposed to represent Gudea himself, eager to get on with the building work.[11] Nanse instructs Gudea to build Ningirsu a decorated chariot with emblem, weapons, and drums, which he does and takes into the temple with "Ushumgalkalama", his minstrel or harp (bull-shaped harp sound-box pictured). He is rewarded with Ningirsu's blessing and a second dream where he is given more detailed instructions of the structure. Gudea then instructs the people of Lagash and gives judgement on the city with a 'code of ethics and morals'. Gudea takes to the work zealously and measures the building site, then lays the first brick in a festive ritual. Materials for the construction are brought from over a wide area including Susa, Elam, Magan Meluhha and Lebanon. Cedars of Lebanon are apparently floated down from Lebanon on the Euphrates and the "Iturungal" canal to Girsu.

To the mountain of cedars, not for man to enter, did for Lord Ningirsu, Gudea bend his steps: its cedars with great axes he cut down, and into [1] Sharur ... Like giant serpents floating on the water, cedar rafts from the cedar foothills.

He is then sent a third dream revealing the different form and character of the temples. The construction of the structure is then detailed with the laying of the foundations, involving participation from the Annanuki including Enki, Nanse, and Bau. Different parts of the temple are described along with its furnishings and the cylinder concludes with a hymn of praise to it.[11] Lines 738 to 758 describe the house being finished with "kohl" and a type of plaster from the "edin" canal:

Gudea cylinders


The fearsomeness of the E-ninnu covers all the lands like a garment! The house! It is founded by An on refined silver! It is painted with kohl, and comes out as the moonlight with heavenly splendor! The house! Its front is a great mountain firmly grounded! Its inside resounds with incantations and harmonious hymns! Its exterior is the sky, a great house rising in abundance! Its outer assembly hall is the Annunaki gods place of rendering judgments - from its ...... words of prayer can be heard! Its food supply is the abundance of the gods! Its standards erected around the house are the Anzu bird (pictured) spreading its wings over the bright mountain! E-ninnu's clay plaster, harmoniously blended clay taken from the Edin canal, has been chosen by Lord Nin-jirsu with his holy heart, and was painted by Gudea with the splendors of heaven [16] as if kohl were being poured all over it.

Thorkild Jacobsen considered this "Idedin" canal referred to an unidentified "Desert Canal", which he considered "probably refers to an abandoned canal bed that had filled with the characteristic purplish dune sand still seen in southern Iraq."[1]

Cylinder B
The second cylinder begins with a narrative hymn starting with a prayer to the Annanuki. Gudea then announces the house ready for the accommodation of Ningirsu and his wife Bau. Food and drink are prepared, incense is lit and a ceremony is organized to welcome the gods into their home. The city is then judged again and a number of deities are appointed by Enki to fill various positions within the structure. These include a gatekeeper, bailiff, butler, chamberlain, coachman, goatherd, gamekeeper, grain and fisheries inspectors, musicians, armourers and a messenger. After a scene of sacred marriage between Ningirsu and Bau, a seven day celebration is given by Gudea for Ningirsu with a banquet dedicated to Anu, Enlil and Ninmah (Ninhursag), the major gods of Sumer, who are all in attendance. The text closes with lines of praise for Ningirsu and the Eninnu temple.[11]

The building of Ningirsu's temple

The modern name for the myth contained on both cylinders is "The building of Ningirsu's temple". Ningirsu was associated with the yearly spring rains, a force essential to early irrigation agriculture. Thorkild Jacobsen describes the temple as an intensely sacred place and a visual assurance of the presence of the god in the community, suggesting the structure was "in a mystical sense, one with him." The element "Ninnu" in the name of the temple "E-Ninnu" is a name of Ningirsu with the full form of its name, "E-Ninnu-Imdugud-babbara" meaning "house Ninnu, the flashing thunderbird". It is directly referred to as thunderbird in Gudea's second dream and in his blessing of it.[1]

Later use
Preceded by the Kesh temple hymn, the Gudea cylinders are one of the first ritual temple building stories ever recorded. The style, traditions and format of the account has notable similarities to those in the Bible such as the building of the tabernacle of Moses in Exodus25 and Numbers7.[17] Victor Hurowitz has also noted similarities to the later account of the construction of Solomon's temple in 1 Kings 6:1-38 [18], 1 Kings Chapter 7 [19], and Chapter 8 [20] and in the Book of Chronicles.[15]

Gudea cylinders


Further reading
Edzard, D.O., Gudea and His Dynasty (The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia. Early Periods, 3, I). Toronto/Buffalo/London: University of Toronto Press, 68-101, 1997. Falkenstein, Adam, Grammatik der Sprache Gudeas von Lagas, I-II (Analecta Orientalia, 29-30). Roma: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 19491950. Falkenstein, Adam - von Soden, Wolfram, Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete.Zrich/Stuttgart: Artemis, 192-213, 1953. Jacobsen, Th., The Harps that Once ... Sumerian Poetry in Translation. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 386-444: 1987. Suter, C.E., "Gudeas vermeintliche Segnungen des Eninnu", Zeitschrift fr Assyriologie 87, 1-10: partial source transliteration, partial translation, commentaries, 1997. Witzel, M., Gudea. Inscriptiones: Statuae A-L. Cylindri A & B. Roma: Pontificio Isituto Biblico, fol. 8-14,1, 1932.

[1] Thorkild Jacobsen (23 September 1997). The Harps that once--: Sumerian poetry in translation, pp. 386- (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=L-BI0h41yCEC). Yale University Press. ISBN978-0-300-07278-5. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [2] Jeremy A. Black; Jeremy Black; Graham Cunningham; Eleanor Robson (13 April 2006). The Literature of Ancient Sumer (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=a1W2mTtGVV4C& pg=PA44). Oxford University Press. pp.44. ISBN978-0-19-929633-0. . Retrieved 14 June 2011. [3] Claudia E. Suter (2000). Gudea's temple building: the representation of an early Mesopotamian ruler in text and image (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3laWpjUkWLcC& pg=PA96). BRILL. pp.1. ISBN978-90-5693-035-6. . Retrieved 13 June 2011. [4] Franois Thureau-Dangin (1905). Les inscriptions de Sumer et d'Akkad (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=OaqlQwAACAAJ). Ernest Leroux. . Retrieved 20 June 2011. [5] Ira M. Price (1927). The great cylinder inscriptions A & B of Gudea: copied from the original clay cylinders of the Telloh Collection preserved in the Louvre. Transliteration, translation, notes, full vocabulary and sign-lifts (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=VpgVcgAACAAJ). Hinrichs. . Retrieved 20 June 2011. [6] M. Lambert and R. Tournay, "Le Cylindre A de Gudea," 403-437; "Le Cylindre B de Gudea," 520-543. Revue Biblique, LV, pp. 403-447 & pp. 520-543, 1948. [7] Adam Falkenstein (1953). Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=IklozgAACAAJ). Artemis-Verlag. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [8] Giorgio. R. Castellino (1977). Testi sumerici e accadici (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=J6V4PQAACAAJ). Unione tipografico-editrice torinese, Turin. ISBN978-88-02-02440-0. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [9] Dietz Otto Edzard (9 August 1997). Gudea and his dynasty (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=0guVA19YUVoC& pg=PA68). University of Toronto Press. pp.68. ISBN978-0-8020-4187-6. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [10] The building of Ningirsu's temple., Biography, Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. (http:/ / www-etcsl. orient. ox. ac. uk/ section2/ b217. htm) [11] Samuel Noah Kramer (1964). The Sumerians: their history, culture and character (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=iY9xp4pLp88C& pg=PA138). University of Chicago Press. pp.138. ISBN978-0-226-45238-8. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [12] Michael V. Fox (1988). Temple in society (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=eHjV2_-8V2oC& pg=PA1). Eisenbrauns. pp.1. ISBN978-0-931464-38-6. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [13] Herbert Sauren (1975). 'Die Einweihung des Eninnu', pp. 95-103, in Le temple et le culte: compte rendu de la vingtime rencontre assyriologique internationale organise Leiden du 3 au 7 juillet 1972 sous les auspices du Nederlands instituut voor het nabije oosten (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=nWxlkgAACAAJ). Nederlands Historisch-Archeologisch Instituut te Istambul. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [14] Michael C. Astour; Gordon Douglas Young; Mark William Chavalas; Richard E. Averbeck, Kevin L. Danti (1997). Crossing boundaries and linking horizons: studies in honor of Michael C. Astour on his 80th birthday (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=wwTXAAAAMAAJ). CDL Press. ISBN978-1-883053-32-1. . Retrieved 21 June 2011. [15] Victor Hurowitz (1 June 1992). I have built you an exalted house: temple building in the Bible in the light of Mesopotamian and North-West semitic writings (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=qajrNB_7kGMC& pg=PA66). Continuum International Publishing Group. pp.157. ISBN978-1-85075-282-0. . Retrieved 14 June 2011. [16] The building of Ningirsu's temple., Cylinder A, Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. (http:/ / www-etcsl. orient. ox. ac. uk/ section2/ tr217. htm) [17] Mark W. Chavalas (1 December 2003). Mesopotamia and the Bible (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=YmFKA8fQFQoC& pg=PA95). Continuum International Publishing Group. pp.95. ISBN978-0-567-08231-2. . Retrieved 28 June 2011.

Gudea cylinders
[18] http:/ / www. biblegateway. com/ passage/ ?search=1%20Kings%206%20;& version=47; [19] http:/ / www. biblegateway. com/ passage/ ?book_id=11& chapter=7& version=47 [20] http:/ / www. biblegateway. com/ passage/ ?book_id=11& chapter=8& version=47


External links
Louvre - The Gudea Cylinders ( jsp?CONTENT<>cnt_id=10134198673225948&CURRENT_LLV_NOTICE<>cnt_id=10134198673225948& FOLDER<>folder_id=9852723696500800&baseIndex=55&bmLocale=en) Cylinder A - The building of Ningirsu's temple., Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. ( tr217.htm) Cylinder B - The building of Ningirsu's temple., Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Robson, E., and Zlyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. ( tr217.htm#cylB) Composite text of Cylinder A: "The building of Ningirsu's temple, The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. ( Composite text of Cylinder B: "The building of Ningirsu's temple, The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. ( Bibliography - The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford 1998-. (http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.

Hattic language


Hattic language
Region Ethnicity Extinct Anatolia Hattians 1100 BC?

Language family unclassified (Hatto-Kaskian?) Language codes ISO 639-3 xht

Hattic was a language spoken by the Hattians in Asia Minor between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC. Scholars call this language 'Hattic' to distinguish it from the Hittite language--the Indo-European language of the Hittite Empire.[1] The heartland of this oldest attested language of Anatolia, before the arrival of Hittite language speakers, ranged from Hattusa (which they called "Hattus") northward to Nerik. Other cities mentioned in Hattic include Tuhumiyara and Tissaruliya. The Hittites conquered Hattus from Kanesh to its south, and thence eventually absorbed or replaced the Hattic speakers (Hattians); but they retained the name Hatti for the region. The Hittite term for Hattic was hattili after the city of Hattus, whereas the Hittite dynasty called their own language nesili after their city of origin Kanesh. The form "Hittite" in English originally comes from biblical Heth, quite possibly connected to common Assyrian and Egyptian designations of "Land of the Hatti" (Khatti) west of the Euphrates. It is unknown what native speakers of "hattili" called their own language.

No documents have been found in which the native Hattic speakers wrote their own language. Scholars today rely on indirect sources or mentions by their neighbours and successors, the Nesian-speaking Hittites. Some Hattic words can be found in religious tablets of Hittite priests, dating from the 14th and 13th centuries BC. Those passages contained between the lines of the text signs with the explanation "the priest is now speaking in Hattili".[2] Roots of Hattic words can also be found in the names of mountains, rivers, cities and gods. Other Hattic words can be found in some mythological texts. The most important of these is the myth "The Moon God who fell from the Sky", written in both Hattic language and Hittite. The catalogued Hattic documents from Hattusa span CTH 725-745. Of these CTH 728, 729, 731, 733, and 736 are Hattic / Hittite bilinguals. CTH 737 is a Hattic incantation for the festival at Nerik. One key (if fragmentary) bilingual is the story of "The Moon God Who Fell from the Sky". There are additional Hattic texts in Sapinuwa, which had not been published as of 2004. The conservative view is that the Hattic language is a language isolate and it is completely different from neighbouring Indo-European and Semitic languages, though, based on toponyms and personal names, it may have been related to the otherwise unattested Kaskian language. Certain similarities between Hattic and both Northwest (e.g., Abkhaz) and South Caucasian (Kartvelian) languages have led to assumptions by some scholars about the possibility of a linguistic block stretching from central Anatolia to the Caucasus.[3][4][5][6] Known words include: alef = 'word'

Hattic language ashaf = 'god' fa-zari = 'humankind, population' fel = 'house' *findu = 'wine' (found in the compound findu-qqaram "wine-ladle") fur = 'land' Furun-Katte = 'King of the Land', the Hattic war god Furu-Semu = Hattic sun goddess Hanfasuit = Hattic throne goddess hilamar = 'temple' Kasku = the Hattic moon god katte = 'king' -nifas = 'to sit' pinu = 'child' zari = 'mortal' -zi = 'to put'


Hattic formed a collective plural by attaching the prefix fa-: e.g., fa-shaf "gods". It formed conventional plurals with a le- prefix: "children" = le-pinu. The genitive case, which signifies 'of' in English, was declined with the suffix -(u)n (e.g. fur "land" but furun "of the land"). While some linguists like Polom & Winter have claimed the accusative case was marked with es- (nb. the example they give is ess-alep 'word'),[7] this has been identified as a pronominal clitic meaning 'their' by others.

[1] Hattian Britannica Online Encyclopedia (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ eb/ topic-256934/ Hattian) [2] Akurgal, Ekrem The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations ( p.4 and p.5) [3] Ivanov, Vyacheslav V., "On the Relationship of Hattic to the Northwest Caucasian Languages," in B. B. Piotrovskij, Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Vladislav G. Ardzinba, eds., Anatoliya Ancient Anatolia, Moscow: Nauka (1985) 26 59 (in Russian) [4] John Colarusso, Peoples of the Caucasus; in Introduction to the Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life (1997); Pepper Pike, Ohio: Eastword Publications [5] Ardzinba, V.G., 1979. Nekotorye sxodnye strukturnye priznaki xattskogo i abxazo-adygskix jazykov. Peredneasiatskij Sbornik III: istorija i filologija stran drevnego vostoka, 26-37. Moscow: Nauka [6] Dunaevskaja, I. M. & Djakonov, I. M. 1979. Xattskij (protoxettskij) jazyk. Jazyki Azii i Afriki, III. Jazyki drevnej perednej Azii (nesemitskie), Iberijsko-Kavkazskie jazyki, Paleoaziatskie jazyki, ed. by G. D. Saneev, 79-83. Moskva. Nauka [7] Polom, Winter. Reconstructing languages and cultures, 1992. p.455 (http:/ / books. google. ca/ books?id=-H4CLMHMRsEC& pg=PA455& dq=le-alep+ + hattic& hl=en& ei=zNRGTq3bMrODsgL28OmRCA& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage& q=le-alep hattic& f=false)

Akurgal, Ekrem The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations; Publications of the Republic of Turkey; Ministry of Culture; 2001; 300 pages; ISBN 975-17-2756-1 Ardzinba, Vladislav. (1974): Some Notes on the Typological Affinity Between Hattian and North-West Caucasian (Abkhazo-Adygian) Languages. In: "Internationale Tagung der Keilschriftforscher der sozialistischen Lnder", Budapest, 23.-25. April 1974. Zusammenfassung der Vortrge (Assyriologica 1), p.10-15. Ardzinba, V.G. (1979): Nekotorye sxodnye strukturnye priznaki xattskogo i abxazo-adygskix jazykov. Peredneasiatskij Sbornik III: istorija i filologija stran drevnego vostoka, 26-37. Moscow: Nauka Chirikba, Viacheslav (1996): Common West Caucasian. The Reconstruction of its Phonological System and Parts of its Lexicon and Morphology. Leiden: CNWS Publications, 452 pp. [Chapter XI. The relation of West Caucasian to Hattic, p.406-432]. Dunaevskaja, Irina. (1973): Bemerkungen zu einer neuen Darstellung altkleinasiatischer Sprachen. 2. Zum Hattischen. In: Orientalische Literaturzeitung 68, Leipzig, 1/2.

Hattic language . . - . . . . .-., 1960. Dunaevskaja, I. M. & Djakonov, I. M. 1979. Xattskij (protoxettskij) jazyk. In: Jazyki Azii i Afriki, III. Jazyki drevnej perednej Azii (nesemitskie), Iberijsko-Kavkazskie jazyki, Paleoaziatskie jazyki, ed. by G. D. Saneev, p.79-83. Moskva. Nauka. Girbal, Christian. (1986): Beitrge zur Grammatik des Hattischen (Europische Hochschulschriften Reihe XXI, Bd. 50). Frankfurt am Main, Bern, New York: Verlag Peter Lang, V+201 pages. Ivanov, Vyacheslav V., "On the Relationship of Hattic to the Northwest Caucasian Languages," in B. B. Piotrovskij, Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Vladislav G. Ardzinba, eds., Drevnyaya Anatoliya Ancient Anatolia, Moscow: Nauka (1985) 26-59. In Russian with English summary. Kammenhuber, Annelis (1969): Das Hattische. In: Handbuch der Orientalistik, Abteilung I, Bd II, Abschn. 1/2. Klinger, Jrg. (1996): (StBoT 37) Untersuchungen zur Rekonstruktion der hattischen Kultschicht. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, xx+916 p. Rizza, Alfredo. (2007): I pronomi enclitici nei testi etei di traduzione dal Hattico. Pavia. (Studia Mediterranea 20). Schuster, H.-S. (1974): Die hattisch-hethitischen Bilinguen. I. Einleitung, Texte und Kommentar. Teil 1. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Soysal, Ouz (2004): Hattischer Wortschatz in hethitischer Textberlieferung, Leiden/Boston: Brill. Taracha, P. (1995): Zum Stand der hattischen Studien: Mgliches und Unmgliches in der Erforschung des Hattischen. In: Atti del II Congresso Internaziomale di Hittitologia a curo di Onofrio Carruba Mauro Giorgieri Clelia Mora. Studia mediterranea. 9. Gianni Iuculano Editore. Pavia, p.351-358. Kevin Tuite (Universit de Montral): The rise and fall and revival of the Ibero-Caucasian hypothesis. text on line (


External links
A detailed description ( by Igor Diakonov (Russian) Hattic grammar ( by A. S. Kassian (Russian)

Hieroglyphic Luwian


Hieroglyphic Luwian
luwili Region Extinct Language family Anatolia around 600 BC Indo-European Anatolian Luwic Language codes ISO 639-3 hlu Luwian

Two Luwian hieroglyphic texts from the city of Carchemish

Hieroglyphic Luwian is a variant of the Luwian language, recorded in official and royal seals and a small number of monumental inscriptions.[1] It is written in a hieroglyphic script known as Anatolian hieroglyphs.[2] A decipherment was presented by Emmanuel Laroche in 1960, building on partial decipherments proposed since the 1930s. Corrections to the readings of certain signs as well as other clarifications were given by David Hawkins, Anna Morpurgo Davies and Gnther Neumann in 1973, generally referred to as "the new readings".

The earliest hieroglyphs appear on official and royal seals, dating from the early 2nd millennium BC, but they begin to function as a full-fledged writing system only from the 14th century. The first monumental inscriptions confirmed as Luwian date to the Late Bronze Age, ca. 14th to 13th centuries BC. And after some two centuries of sparse material the hieroglyphs resume in the Early Iron Age, ca. 10th to 8th centuries. In the early 7th century, the Luwian hieroglyphic script, by then aged more than 700 years, falls into oblivion.

A more elaborate monumental style is distinguished from more abstract linear or cursive forms of the script. In general, relief inscriptions prefer monumental forms, and incised ones prefer the linear form, but the styles are in principle interchangeable. Texts of several lines are usually written in boustrophedon style. Within a line, signs are usually written in vertical columns, but as in Egyptian hieroglyphs, aesthetic considerations take precedence over correct reading order. The script consists of the order of 500 unique signs,[3] some with multiple values; a given sign may function as a logogram, a determinative or a syllabogram, or a combination thereof. The signs are numbered according to Laroche's sign list, with a prefix of 'L.' or '*'. Logograms are transcribed in Latin in capital letters. For example, *90, an image of a foot, is transcribed as PES when used logographically, and with its phonemic value ti when used as a

Hieroglyphic Luwian syllabogram. In the rare cases where the logogram cannot be transliterated into Latin, it is rendered through its approximate Hittite equivalent, recorded in Italic capitals, e.g. *216 ARHA. The most up-to-date sign list is that of Marazzi (1998). Hawkins, Morpurgo-Davies and Neumann corrected some previous errors about sign values, in particular emending the reading of symbols *376 and *377 from i, to zi, za. Roster of CV syllabograms:
-a hkl*450, *19 *215, *196 *434 *176 -i *209 *413 *446 *278 *391 -u *105 *307 *423 *445 *107


m- *110 nprst*35 *334 *383

*411, *214 *153, *395 *66 *328 *412 *89, *325 *376 *432(?)

*415 *433, *104, *402, *327 *100, *29, *41, *319, *172 *90

w- *439 yz*210 *377

Some signs are used as reading aid, marking the beginning of a word, the end of a word, or identifying a sign as a logogram. These are not mandatory and are used inconsistently.

The script represents three vowels a, i, u and twelve consonants, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w, y, z. Syllabograms have the structure V or CV, and more rarely CVCV. *383 ra/i, *439 wa/i and *445 la/i/u show multiple vocalization. Some syllabograms are homophonic, disambiguated with numbers in transliteration (as in cuneiform transliteration), notably, there are many (more than six) syllabograms each for phonemic /sa/ and /ta/. There is a tendency of rhotacism, replacing intervocalic d with r. Word-final stops and in some cases word-initial aare elided. Suffixes -iya- and -uwa- may be syncopated to -i-, -u-.

Case endings:

Hieroglyphic Luwian


singular Nom. c. Acc. c. -s -(a)n

plural -inzi

Nom./Acc. n. -n, Gen. Dat. Abl. -as(i)


-i(ya), -a(n) -anza -ati -ati

Personal pronouns:
1. sg. 2. sg. 1. pl. 2. pl.

Nom. amu, EGO ti Dat. Acc. Abl. amu amu tu tu tuwati(?)

anunz(a) unzunz(a), unzuns(a)


Verbal endings:
present indicative preterite indicative med.-pass.

active med.-pass. active 1. sg. wi 2. 3. 1. pl. 2. 3. -tani -nti -si -ti/-ri -ati/-ari -ha -ta -ta -han(?) -tan -nta

[1] Ilya Yakubovich (2010: 69-70) argues that the term Hieroglyphic Luwian can be applied only to a corpus of texts, since it does not define a particular dialect. [2] the script has also been called Luwian (or Luvian) hieroglyphs, and (in older publications) Hittite hieroglyphs. A number of Italian scholars use Geroglifico Anatolico, a term that is gaining popularity in English also, with Craig Melchert favouring Anatolian hieroglyphs in recent publications. [3] Laroche (1960) lists 524, but several signs separated by Laroche are now considered identical (e.g. *63 and *64 with *69, itself possibly a variant of *59 MANUS; *94 with *91 PES.SCALA.ROTAE (the "rollerskate" glyph); *136 with *43 CAPERE, etc.)

Hieroglyphic Luwian


Forrer, Emil (1932). Die hethitische Bilderschrift. Studies in ancient oriental civilization / Oriental Institut of the University of Chicago, no. 3. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hawkins, J. D. 2000. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian. Laroche, Emil. 1960. Les hiroglyphes hittites, Premire partie, L'criture. Paris. Marazzi, M. 1998. Il Geroglifico Anatolico, Sviluppi della ricerca a venti anni dalla "ridecifrazione". Naples. Melchert, H. Craig. 1996. "Anatolian Hieroglyphs", in The World's Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels and William Bright. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0 Melchert, H. Craig. 2004. "Luvian", in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, ed. Roger D. Woodard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56256-2 Payne, A. 2004. Hieroglyphic Luwian, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Plchl, R. 2003. Einfhrung ins Hieroglyphen-Luwische. Dresden. Woudhuizen, F. C. 2004. Luwian Hieroglyphic Monumental Rock and Stone Inscriptions from the Hittite Empire Period. Innsbruck. ISBN 3-85124-209-2. Woudhuizen, F. C. 2004. Selected Hieroglyphic Texts. Innsbruck. ISBN 3-85124-213-0. Yakubovich, Ilya. 2010. Sociolinguistics of the Luvian Language. Leiden

History of the Zaza people

It is generally believed that the Zazas immigrated to their modern day homeland from the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Some Zazas use the word Dimli (Daylami) to describe their ethnic identity. The word Diml (Daylam) also describes a region of Gilan Province in todays Iran. Zazaki language also shows similarities with Gilaki, Mazanderani and others spoken by the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. But some historians claim that Zazas didn't immigrate from lands of Daylem, but are descendants of Persians after being defeated by Alexander the Great. Dimili comes from Dmbll, old main Zaza tribe that lived in the region of Diyarbakr. In the 20th century, there were two major Zaza rebellions against the Turkish Government: the Sheikh Said Rebellion in 1925 and the Dersim Rebellion in 1937-1938.

Paul Ludwigs study

German linguist Paul Ludwig's study on the Zazaki language draws four conclusions about the history and language of the Zazas.[1] According to him: 1. In ancient times (approximately late 2nd millennium B.C.) there was a continuum of closely related Northwestern Iranian dialects spoken from the northwest to the northeast of present Iran. 2. Later, in pre-Achaemenian times, the forefathers of the Kurds and Baluchis of today were the first to split off and move south and southeast, respectively. Possibly Zazaki was still spoken in this period around the ancient region of Daylam, south of the Caspian Sea. 3. Centuries later, maybe during the rise of the Parthians, and the accompanying movement of various tribes from the ancient province of Parthia, the Goran and Zaza tribes made their home in northern Mesopotamia, forming the furthermost western link in the chain of Northwestern Iranian people. 4. Centuries later, maybe during the Sassanid period, all Northwestern dialects were influenced and superseded by Middle Persian. In the west, Zazaki was driven more to the north and northwest by Kurdish, but still remained in contact with the northern chain of Northwest dialects (Azari, Talysi, Sangiseri, Mazanderani, Gilaki) for some time.

History of the Zaza people


The Zazaki and Parthian languages

According to another study conducted by Prof. Dr. Jost Gippert, a linguist for Indo-European languages from Frankfurt University, Zazaki and Parthian, an extinct middle Iranian language, show strong similarities [2]. According to him, Zazakis roots probably come from Parthian, to which Zazaki shows interesting phonetical, morphological, and lexical similarities.

[1] (http:/ / www. azargoshnasp. net/ languages/ zazaki/ zazakipositionof. pdf) [2] http:/ / www. zazaki. de/ deutsch/ aufsaezte/ gippert-entwicklung%20zaza. pdf

A web site abaout Zazas and Zazaki: (

Hittite cuneiform
Hittite cuneiform is the implementation of cuneiform script used in writing the Hittite language. The surviving corpus of Hittite texts is preserved in cuneiform on clay tablets dates to the 2nd millennium BC (roughly spanning the 17th to 12th centuries). Hittite orthography was directly adapted from Old Assyrian cuneiform. The HZL of Rster and Neu lists 375 cuneiform signs used in Hittite documents (11 of them only appearing in Hurrian and Hattic glosses), compared to some 600 signs in use in Old Assyrian. About half of the signs have syllabic values, the remaining are used as ideograms or logograms to represent the entire word -- much as the characters "$", "%" and "&" are used in contemporary English. Cuneiform signs can be employed in three functions: syllabograms, Akkadograms or Sumerograms. Syllabograms are characters that represent a syllable. Akkadograms and Sumerograms are ideograms originally from the earlier Akkadian or Sumerian orthography respectively, but not intended to be pronounced as in the original language; Sumerograms are mostly ideograms and determiners. Conventionally, syllabograms are transcribed in italic lowercase Akkadograms in italic uppercase Sumerograms in roman uppercase. Thus, the sign GI can be used (and transcribed) in three ways, as the Hittite syllable gi (also ge); in the Akkadian spelling Q-RU-UB of the preposition "near" as Q, and as the Sumerian ideogram GI for "tube" also in superscript, GI , when used as a determiner.

The syllabary consists of single vowels, vowels preceded by a consonant (conventionally represented by the letters CV), vowels followed by a consonant (VC), or consonants in both locations (CVC). This system distinguishes the following consonants (notably dropping the Akkadian s series), b, p, d, t, g, k, , r, l, m, n, , z, combined with the vowels a, e, i, u. Additional ya (=I.A ), wa (=PI ) and wi (=wi5=GETIN "wine") signs are introduced. The contrast of the Assyrian voiced/unvoiced series (k/g, p/b, t/d) is not used to express the voiced/unvoiced contrast in Hittite; they are used somewhat interchangeably in some words, while other words are spelled consistently. The contrast in these cases is not entirely clear, and several interpretations of the underlying phonology have been proposed. Similarly, the purpose of inserting an additional vowel between syllabograms (often referred to as "plene writing" of vowels) is not clear. Examples of this practice include the -a- in i-a-a-a "master" or in la-a-man "name",

Hittite cuneiform -i-da-a-ar "waters". In some cases, it may indicate an inherited long vowel (lman, cognate to Latin nmen; widr, cognate to Greek hudr), but it may also have other functions connected with word accent.


b-a -e -i a e i dga klmma nna pra e i twyzza ze , z zi zu

ba da ga

ka la

pa ra

ta wa ya te ti wi5

be de ge e , ke le me , m ne , n p re bi di gi i u ki li ku lu mi mu ni nu p ri

-u u , bu du gu

pu ru u , tu

-b aeia e i -d -g - -k -l al el il -m -n -p -r ar er ir - a -t -z

ab ad ag a ak eb ed eg e ek ib id ig i ik

am an ap em en ep im in ip

at az

e , et ez i u it iz ut uz

u- u , ub ud ug u uk ul

um un up ur , r

: al ; ab/p ; a ; ad/t (=pa, PA "sceptre); ul (=UL "evil"); ub/p ; ur (UR="thick", MUR "lung") K/G: gal (=GAL "great"); kal,gal9 ; kam/gm (=TU7 "soup"); k/gn (=GN "field"); kab/p,gb/p (=KAB "left"); kar (=KAR "find"); k/gr ; k/ga (=bi, KA "beer"); k/gad/t (=GAD "linen"); gaz (=GAZ "kill"); kib/p ; k/gir ; ki (=KI "world"); kid/t9 (=gad); kal (=KAL "strong"); kul (=KUL "offspring"); kl,gul (=GUL "break"); k/gum ; kur (=KUR "land"); kr/gur L: lal (=LAL "bind"); lam ; lig/k (=ur); li (=LI "spoon"); lu (=LU "minister"); lum M: ma (=MA "great"); man (=MAN "20"); mar ; ma (=MA "half"); me (="90") ; mil/mel (=i); mi ; mur (=ur); mut (=MUD "blood") N: nam (=NAM "district"); nab/p ; nir ; ni (=man) P/B: p/bal ; pr/bar (=ma); pa ; pd/t,pd/t ; p/bl (=GIBIL "new"); pir ; p/bi,p (=gir); p/bur R: rad/t ; ri (=ag) : a (=UBUR "pig"); ag/k (=SAG "head"); al (=MUNUS "woman"); am (=); m ; ab/p ; ar (=SAR "plant"); p ; ir (=IR "testicles"); um ; ur T/D: t/da, t ; tg/k,dag/k ; t/dal (=ri); tm/dam (=DAM "wife"); t/dan (=kal); tab/p,db/p (=TAB "2") ; tar ; t/d,t/di ("1") ; t ; tin/tn ; t/dim ; dir (=DIR "red") ; tir/ter (=TIR "forest") ; t ; tl ; t/dum ; t/dub/p (=DUB "clay tablet") ; tr/dur (=DUR "strip") Z: zul ; zum

Hittite cuneiform


Determiners are Sumerograms that are not pronounced but indicate the class or nature of a noun for clarity, e.g. in URU a-at-tu-a () the URU is a determiner marking the name of a city, and the pronunciation is simply /hattusa/. Sumerograms proper on the other hand are ideograms intended to be pronounced in Hittite. m, I ("1", DI) , male personal names DIDLI (suffixed), plural or collective DIDLI I.A (suffixed), plural DINGIR (D) "deity" DUG "vessel" "house" GAD "linen, cloth" GI "tube; reed" GI "wood" GUD "bovid" I.A (suffixed), plural UR.SAG "mountain" D "river" IM "clay" ITU "month" KAM (suffixed), numerals KI (suffixed), in some placenames KU6 "fish" KUR "land" KU "hide, fur" L "man" ME (suffixed), plural ME I.A (suffixed), plural MUL "star" MUNUS (f) "woman", female personal name MU "serpent" MUEN (suffixed) "bird" NA4 "stone" NINDA "bread" P "source" SAR (suffixed) "plant" SI "horn" SG "wool" TU7 "soup" TG "garment" "plant" URU "city" URUDU "copper" UZU "meat"

Hittite cuneiform


E. Forrer, Die Keilschrift von Boghazki, Leipzig (1922) J. Friedrich, Hethitisches Keilschrift-Lesebuch, Heidelberg (1960) Chr. Rster, E. Neu, Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon (HZL), Wiesbaden (1989) Gillian R. Hart, Some Observations on Plene-Writing in Hittite, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1980)

External links
FreeIdgSerif [1] includes Unicode cuneiform for Hittite (GFDL, branched off FreeSerif)

[1] http:/ / flaez. ch/ freeidg. html

Hittite language


Hittite language
Hittite neili
Region Extinct Anatolia records cease after 1200 BC, extinction likely by 1100 BC

Language family Indo-European Anatolian Hittite Language codes ISO 639-2 ISO 639-3 hit hit inclusive code Individual codes: [1] oht Old Hittite [2] htx Middle Hittite [3] nei Neo-Hittite

Hittite (natively neili "[in the language] of Nea") is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, an Indo-European people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia (Asia Minor). The language is attested in cuneiform, in records from the 16th (Anitta text) down to the 13th century BC, with isolated Hittite loanwords and numerous personal names appearing in an Old Assyriancontext from as early as the 20th century BC. Already in the Late Bronze Age, Hittite was losing ground in competition with its close relative Luwian. It appears that in the 13th century BC Luwian was the most widely spoken language in the Hittite capital Hattusa.[4] After the collapse of the Hittite Empire as a part of the more general Bronze Age collapse Luwian emerged in the Early Iron Age as the main language of the so-called Neo-Hittite states in southwestern Anatolia and northern Syria. Hittite is the earliest attested Indo-European language. It is the most copiously known of the subfamily of Anatolian languages.

"Hittite" is a modern name, chosen after the identification of the Hatti kingdom with the Hittites mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. In multi-lingual texts found in Hittite locations, passages written in the Hittite language are preceded by the adverb nesili (or nasili, nisili), "in the [speech] of Nea (Kane)", an important city before the rise of the Empire. In one case, the label is Kanisumnili, "in the [speech] of the people of Kane". Although the Hittite empire was composed of people from many diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, the Hittite language was used in most of their secular written texts. In spite of various arguments over the appropriateness of the term, Hittite remains the most current term by convention, although some authors make a point of using Nesite.

Hittite language


The first substantive claim as to the affiliation of the Hittite language was made by Jrgen Alexander Knudtzon[5] in 1902 in a book devoted to two letters between the king of Egypt and a Hittite ruler, found at El-Amarna in Egypt. Knudtzon argued that Hittite was Indo-European, largely on the basis of the morphology. Although he had no bilingual texts, he was able to give a partial interpretation to the two letters because of the formulaic nature of the diplomatic correspondence of the period. His argument was not generally accepted, partly because the morphological similarities he observed between Hittite and Indo-European can be found outside of Indo-European, and partly because the interpretation of the letters was justifiably regarded as uncertain. Knudtzon was shown definitively to have been correct when a large quantity of tablets written in the familiar Akkadian cuneiform script but in an unknown language was discovered by Hugo Winckler at the modern village of Boazky, the former site of Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire. Based on a study of this extensive material, Bedich Hrozn succeeded in analyzing the language. He presented his argument that the language is Indo-European in a paper published in 1915 (Hrozn 1915), which was soon followed by a grammar of the language (Hrozn 1917). Hrozn's argument for the Indo-European affiliation of Hittite was thoroughly modern, though poorly substantiated. He focused on the striking similarities in idiosyncratic aspects of the morphology, unlikely to occur independently by chance and unlikely to be borrowed. These included the r/n alternation (see rhotacism) in some noun stems and vocalic ablaut, both seen in the alternation in the word for water between nominative singular, wadar and genitive singular, wedenas. He also presented a set of regular sound correspondences. After a brief initial delay due to the disruption caused by the First World War, Hrozn's decipherment, tentative grammatical analysis, and demonstration of the Indo-European affiliation of Hittite were rapidly accepted and more broadly substantiated by contemporary scholars such as Edgar H. Sturtevant who authored the first scientifically acceptable Hittite grammar with a chrestomathy and a glossary. The most up-to-date grammar of the Hittite language is currently Hoffner and Melchert 2008.

Hittite lacks some features of the other Indo-European languages, such as a distinction between masculine and feminine grammatical gender, subjunctive and optative moods, and aspect. Various hypotheses have been formulated to explain these contrasts.[6] Some linguists, most notably Edgar H. Sturtevant and Warren Cowgill, have argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Proto-Indo-European, rather than a daughter language, formulating the Indo-Hittite hypothesis. The parent, Indo-Hittite, was missing the features not present in Hittite, which Proto-Indo-European innovated. Other linguists, however, have taken the opposite point of view, the Schwund ("loss") Hypothesis, that Hittite (or Anatolian) came from a Proto-Indo-European possessing the full range of features, but simplified. A third hypothesis, supported by Calvert Watkins and others, viewed the major families as all coming from Proto-Indo-European directly. They were all sister languages or language groups. Differences might be explained as dialectical. According to Craig Melchert, the current tendency is to suppose that Proto-Indo-European evolved, and that the "prehistoric speakers" of Anatolian became isolated "from the rest of the PIE speech community, so as not to share in some common innovations."[7] Hittite, as well as its Anatolian cousins, split off from Proto-Indo-European at an early stage, thereby preserving archaisms that were later lost in the other Indo-European languages.[8] Hittite is one of the Anatolian languages. It is known from cuneiform tablets and inscriptions erected by the Hittite kings. The script formerly known as "Hieroglyphic Hittite" has been changed to Hieroglyphic Luwian. The Anatolian branch also includes Cuneiform Luwian, Hieroglyphic Luwian, Palaic, Lycian, Milyan, Lydian, Carian, Pisidian, and Sidetic.

Hittite language In Hittite there are many loanwords, particularly religious vocabulary, from the non-Indo-European Hurrian and Hattic languages. Hattic was the language of the Hattians, the local inhabitants of the land of Hatti before being absorbed or displaced by the Hittites. Sacred and magical texts from Hattusa were often written in Hattic, Hurrian, and Luwian, even after Hittite became the norm for other writings. The Hittite language has traditionally been stratified into Old Hittite (OH), Middle Hittite (MH) and New or Neo-Hittite (NH; not to be confused with the "Neo-Hittite" period, which is actually post-Hittite), corresponding to the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of the Hittite Empire (ca. 17501500 BC, 15001430 BC and 14301180 BC, respectively). These stages are differentiated partly on linguistic and partly on paleographic grounds.


Hittite was written in an adapted form of Peripheral Akkadian cuneiform orthography from Northern Syria. Owing to the predominantly syllabic nature of the script, it is difficult to ascertain the precise phonetic qualities of a portion of the Hittite sound inventory. The syllabary distinguishes the following consonants (notably dropping the Akkadian s series), b, p, d, t, g, k, , r, l, m, n, , z, combined with the vowels a, e, i, u. Additional ya (=I.A ), wa (=PI ) and wi (=wi5=GETIN ) signs are introduced. The Akkadian voiced/unvoiced series (k/g, p/b, t/d) are not used to express the voiced/unvoiced contrast in Hittite though double spellings in intervocalic positions represent voiceless consonants in Indo-European (Sturtevant's law).

The limitations of the syllabic script have been more or less overcome by means of comparative etymology and an examination of Hittite spelling conventions, and accordingly, scholars have surmised that Hittite possessed the following phonemes.

VOWELS Close Mid Open Front Central Back i e a u

Long vowels appear as alternates to their corresponding short vowels when they are so conditioned by the accent. Phonemically distinct long vowels occur infrequently. All vowels may occur word-initially and word-finally, except /e/.


Hittite language


CONSONANTS Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labiovelar Laryngeal Plosives Nasals Fricatives Affricate Liquids, Glides pb m td n s ts r, l j w h, h k k

All voiceless obstruents and all sonorants except /r/ appear word-initially. This is true of all Anatolian languages. Word-finally, the following tendencies emerge: Among the stops, only voiced appear word-finally. /-d/, /-g/ are common, /-b/ rare. /-s/ occurs frequently; /-h/, /-h/, /-r/, /-l/, /-n/ less often; and /-m/ never. The glides /w/, /j/ appear in diphthongs with /a/, /a/. The voiced/unvoiced series are inferred from the fact that doubling consonants in intervocalic positions represents voiceless consonants in Indo-European (Sturtevant's law, cf. Sturtevant 1932, Puhvel 1974): i.e. voiced stops are represented by single consonants (*yugom = i--kn), voiceless stops with double consonants (*k'eyto > ki-it-ta).

Hittite preserves some very archaic features lost in other Indo-European languages. For example, Hittite has retained two of three laryngeals (h2 and h3 word-initially). These sounds, whose existence had been hypothesized by Ferdinand de Saussure on the basis of vowel quality in other Indo-European languages in 1879, were not preserved as separate sounds in any attested Indo-European language until the discovery of Hittite. In Hittite, this phoneme is written as . Hittite, as well as most other Anatolian languages, differs in this respect from any other Indo-European language, and the discovery of laryngeals in Hittite was a remarkable confirmation of Saussure's hypothesis. The preservation of the laryngeals, and the lack of any evidence that Hittite shared grammatical features possessed by the other early Indo-European languages, has led some philologists to believe that the Anatolian languages split from the rest of Proto-Indo-European much earlier than the other divisions of the proto-language. Some have proposed an "Indo-Hittite" language family or superfamily, that includes the rest of Indo-European on one side of a dividing line and Anatolian on the other. The vast majority of scholars continue to reconstruct a Proto-Indo-European, but all believe that Anatolian was the first branch of Indo-European to leave the fold.

Diffusion of Satem features in Indo-European

Sturtevant (1940), the father of the Indo-Hittite hypothesis, was the first scholar to note the lack of u after k representing earlier IE palatal *k or *g. Goetze (1954) and Wittmann (1969) posited in these positions a K to S shift incipient of the later Kentum-Satem shift distinctive of the IE Satem group of languages. The diffusion hypothesis of the Satem features (spirantization of palatal stops before u as the focal origin of the Centum-Satem isogloss) has the advantage to motivate the existence of marginal Satem features in Greek and Tocharian, and of marginal Kentum features in Armenian.

Hittite language


Detailed information and declension tables can be found at Hittite Grammar. The oldest[9] attested Indo-European language, Hittite lacks several grammatical features exhibited by other "old" Indo-European languages such as Sanskrit, Latin, Ancient Greek, Old Persian, and Avestan. Notably, Hittite does not have the IE gender system opposing masculine-feminine; instead it has a rudimentary noun class system based on an older animate-inanimate opposition.

Nouns The Hittite nominal system consists of the following cases: nominative, accusative, dative-locative, genitive, allative, ablative, and instrumental, and distinguishes between two numbers (singular and plural) and two genders, common (animate) and neuter (inanimate).[10] The distinction between genders is fairly rudimentary, with a distinction generally being made only in the nominative case, and the same noun is sometimes attested in both genders. In its most basic form, the Hittite noun declension functions as follows, using the examples of pisna- ("man") for animate and pda- ("place") for neuter.
Common Neuter

Singular Plural Singular Plural Nominative Accusative Genitive Dative/Locative Ablative Allative Instrumental pisnas pisnan pisnas pisni pisnats pisna pisnit pisns pisnus pisnas pisnas pisnats pdan pdan pdas pdi pdats pda pdit pda pda pdas pdas pdats -

As can be seen, there is a trend towards distinguishing fewer cases in the plural than in the singular. A handful of nouns in earlier text form a vocative with -u, however, the vocative case was no longer productive even by the time of our earliest sources, its function was subsumed by the nominative in most documents. The allative also fell out of use in the later stages of the language's development, its function subsumed by the dative-locative. An archaic genitive plural -an is found irregularly in earlier texts, as is an instrumental plural in -it. A few nouns also form a distinct locative without any case ending at all. Verbs When compared with other early-attested Indo-European languages, such as Ancient Greek and Sanskrit, the verb system in Hittite is relatively morphologically uncomplicated. There are two general verbal classes according to which verbs are inflected, the mi-conjugation and the hi-conjugation. There are two voices (active and medio-passive), two moods (indicative and imperative), and two tenses (present and preterite). Additionally, the verbal system displays two infinitive forms, one verbal substantive, a supine, and a participle. Rose (2006) lists 132 hi-verbs and interprets the hi/mi oppositions as vestiges of a system of grammatical voice ("centripetal voice" vs. "centrifugal voice").

Hittite language Mi-conjugation The mi-conjugation is similar to the general verbal conjugation paradigm in Sanskrit, and can also be compared to the class of mi-verbs in Ancient Greek. Active voice
Indicative Imperative Infinitive Participle Supine Present suwiemi suwiesi suwietsi suwieweni suwietteni suwieantsi suwieallut suwiet suwiettu suwietten suwientu


Preterite suwieun suwies suwieta suwiewen suwieten suwir

Hittite syntax exhibits one noteworthy feature typical of Anatolian languages. Commonly, the beginning of a sentence or clause is composed of either a sentence-connecting particle or otherwise a fronted or topicalized form, to which a "chain" of fixed-order clitics is appended.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=oht http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=htx http:/ / www. sil. org/ iso639-3/ documentation. asp?id=nei Yakubovich 2010, p. 307 (http:/ / www. britishmuseum. org/ pdf/ Hawkins. pdf) J. D. Hawkins, The Arzawa Letters in Recent Perspective, British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan, 14 (2009), pp. 73-83 [6] Melchert 2012, pp.25. [7] Melchert 2012, p.7. [8] Jasanoff 2003, p.20 with footnote 41 [9] Coulson 1986, p. xiii [10] [Hittite grammar (PDF) http:/ / www. premiumwanadoo. com/ cuneiform. languages/ hittite_grammar. pdf]

Introductions and overviews
Bryce, Trevor (1998). The Kingdom of the Hittites. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-924010-8. Bryce, Trevor (2002). Life and Society in the Hittite World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-924170-8. Coulson, Michael (1986). Teach Yourself Sanskrit. Oxford: Hodder and Stoghton. ISBN0-340-32389-2. Fortson, Benjamin W. (2004). Indo-European Language and Culture : an Introduction. Malden: Blackwell. ISBN1-4051-0316-7. Melchert, H. Craig (2012). "The Position of Anatolian" ( The Position of Anatolian.pdf).

Hittite language


Goetze, Albrecht (1954). Review of: Johannes Friedrich, Hethitisches Wrterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter). Language 30.401-405. (<401:HWKKSD>2.0. CO;2-J) Sturtevant, Edgar H. (1931). Hittite glossary: words of known or conjectured meaning, with Sumerian ideograms and Accadian words common in Hittite texts. Language, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.382., Language Monograph No. 9. Puhvel, Jaan (1984-). Hittite Etymological Dictionary. Berlin: Mouton.

Hoffner, Harry A. & Melchert, H. Craig (2008). A Grammar of the Hittite Language. Winona: Eisenbrauns. ISBN1-57506-119-8. Hout, Theo van den (2011). The Elements of Hittite. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0521115647. Hrozn, Bedich (1917). Die Sprache der Hethiter: ihr Bau und ihre Zugehrigkeit zum indogermanischen Sprachstamm. Leipzig: Hinrichs. Jasanoff, Jay H. (2003). Hittite and the Indo-European Verb. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-924905-9. Luraghi, Silvia (1997). Hittite. Munich: Lincom Europa. ISBN3-89586-076-X. Melchert, H. Craig (1994). Anatolian Historical Phonology. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN90-5183-697-X. Patri, Sylvain (2007). L'alignement syntaxique dans les langues indo-europennes d'Anatolie. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. ISBN978-3-447-05612-0. Rose, S. R. (2006). The Hittite -hi/-mi conjugations. Innsbruck: Institut fr Sprachen und Literaturen der Universitt Innsbruck. ISBN3-85124-704-3. Sturtevant, Edgar H. A. (1933, 1951). Comparative Grammar of the Hittite Language. Rev. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951. First edition: 1933. Sturtevant, Edgar H. A. (1940). The Indo-Hittite laryngeals. Baltimore: Linguistic Society of America. Watkins, Calvert (2004). "Hittite". The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages: 551575. ISBN0-521-56256-2. Yakubovich, Ilya (2010). Sociolinguistics of the Luwian Language. Leiden: Brill.

Text editions
Further information: Hittite texts Goetze, Albrecht & Edgar H. Sturtevant (1938). The Hittite Ritual of Tunnawi. New Haven: American Oriental Society. Sturtevant, Edgar H. A., & George Bechtel (1935). A Hittite Chrestomathy. Baltimore: Linguistic Society of America. Knudtzon, J. A. (1902). Die Zwei Arzawa-Briefe: Die ltesten Urkunden in indogermanischer Sprache. Leipzig: Hinrichs.

Hittite language


Journal articles
Hrozn, Bedich (1915). "Die Lsung des hethitischen Problems". Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft 56: 1750. Sturtevant, Edgar H. (1932). "The Development of the Stops in Hittite". Journal of the American Oriental Society (American Oriental Society) 52 (1): 112. doi:10.2307/593573. JSTOR593573. Sturtevant, Edgar H. (1940). "Evidence for voicing in Hittite g". Language (Linguistic Society of America) 16 (2): 8187. doi:10.2307/408942. JSTOR408942. ( 06)16:2<81:EFVIIG>2.0.CO;2-M) Wittmann, Henri (1969). "A note on the linguistic form of Hittite sheep". Revue hittite et asianique 22: 117118. ( Wittmann, Henri (1964, 1973). "Some Hittite etymologies". Die Sprache 10, 19: 144148, 3943. (http:// ( pdf) Wittmann, Henri (1969). "The development of K in Hittite". Glossa 3: 2226. ( noula/ling/1969c-hittiteK.pdf) Wittmann, Henri (1969). "The Indo-European drift and the position of Hittite". International Journal of American Linguistics 35 (3): 266268. doi:10.1086/465065. (

External links
Lehmann, Winfred P.; Slocum, Jonathan (2011). "Hittite online" ( eieol/hitol-0-X.html). Linguistics Research Center, University of Texas. Lauffenburger, Olivier (2006). "The Hittite Grammar Homepage" ( cuneiform.languages/index_en.php?page=accueil). Hethitologie Portal Mainz ( (in German) The Electronic Edition of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary ( The University of Chicago ABZU ( - a guide to information related to the study of the Ancient Near East on the Web Hittite Dictionary (

Hittite laws


Hittite laws
The Hittite laws have been preserved on a number of Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Hattusa (CTH 291-292, listing 200 laws). Copies have been found written in Old Hittite as well as in Middle and Late Hittite, indicating that they had validity throughout the duration of the Hittite Empire (ca. 16501100 BCE).

The corpus
The laws are formulated as case laws; they start with a condition, and a ruling follows, e.g. "If anyone tears off the ear of a male or female slave, he shall pay 3 shekels of silver". The laws show an aversion to the death penalty, the usual penalty for serious offenses being enslavement to forced labour. They are preserved on two separate tablets, each with approximately 200 clauses, the first categorised as being of a man; the second of a vine; a third set may have existed. The laws may be categorised into eight groups of similar clauses. These are separated for the most part by two types of seemingly orphaned clauses: Sacral or incantatory clauses, and afterthoughts. These eight main groups of laws were: I Aggression and assault: Clauses 1 - 24 II Marital relationships: Clauses 26 - 38 III Obligations and service - TUKUL: Clauses 39 - 56 IV Assaults on property and theft: Clauses 57 - 144 V Contracts and prices: Clauses 145 - 161 VI Sacral matters: Clauses 162 - 173 VII Contracts and tariffs: Clauses 176 - 186 VIII Sexual relationships - HURKEL: Clauses 187 - 200 Including the criminalisation of bestiality (except with horses and mules).[1] The death penalty was a common punishment among sexual crimes. The Hittite laws were kept in use for some 500 years, and many copies show that, other than changes in grammar, what might be called the 'original edition' with its apparent disorder, was copied slavishly; no attempt was made to 'tidy up' by placing even obvious afterthoughts in a more appropriate position. This corpus and the classification scheme is based on findings arising out of a Master of Arts degree taken at the University of Queensland by N H Dewhirst, supervised by Dr Trevor Bryce in 2004. Changes were apparently made to penalties at least twice: firstly, the kara kinuna changes, which generally reduced the penalties found in a former, but apparently unpreserved, 'proto-edition'; and secondly, the Late Period changes to penalties in the already-modified Old Hittite version.

Hittite laws


Modern editions
The laws were first fully published by Bedich Hrozn in 1922. Johannes Friedrich published a new edition in 1959 and the latest critical edition was published by Harry Hoffner in 1997.

External links
The Code of the Nesilim, c. 1650-1500 BCE (Excerpts) [2]

E. Neu, StBoT 26 (1983) Harry Angier Hoffner Jr., The Laws of the Hittites: a Critical Edition (DMOA 23) Leiden, New York, Kln 1997

[1] Peake's commentary on the Bible, Revised Edition (1962), ad Exodus22:19 [2] http:/ / www. fordham. edu/ halsall/ ancient/ 1650nesilim. html

Hittite military oath

The Hittite military oath (CTH 427) is a Hittite text on two cuneiform tablets. The first tablet is only preserved in fragments (KBo XXI 10, KUB XL 13, and minor fragments), the second tablet survives in three copies, and can be restituted almost completely. The oldest copy (KUB XL 13) is fragmentary, but two younger copies (KUB XL 16, KBo VI 34) are well preserved. The text is in Old Hittite, with some scribal errors of the later copyists, and prescribes the oath to Hittite chariot, from an Egyptian relief be taken by military commanders. More precisely, it describes a series of symbolic actions intended to represent the afflictions that should befall the oath-takers should they break their word. On one occasion, for example, women's clothing, a spindle and an arrow is brought before those swearing their allegiance. The arrow is broken, and they are told that should they break their oath, their weapons should likewise be broken, and they should be made women and given women's tasks. Then, a blind and deaf woman is brought before them, and they are told that if they break their word, they will be made blind and deaf women like this one. Then, a figurine of a person suffering from ascites is brought before them, and they are told that should they break their word, their bellies should swell with water, and the deities of the oath should eat their offspring (seed) within their bellies. The deities of the oath repeatedly invoked with the Akkado-Sumerian spelling NI DINGIR (representing Hittite lengai-) are identified with the goddess of treaties Ishara and the Moon god. To these similes, those swearing agree, saying "so be it." Oath-taking as conditional self-cursing in the event of oath-breaking is typical for other early Indo-European cultures. There is another, younger text (CTH 428) with similar content, termed the 'second military oath'. It is more fragmentary, and its main difference is that the oath-takers are promised well-being in case they keep their word, as well as being threatened by extinction should they break it. In comparison to the older oath the younger text shows that the Hittite pantheon was increasingly influenced by Hurrian gods.

Hittite military oath


Oettinger, Die militrischen Eide der Hethiter StBoT 22 (1976). ISBN 3-447-01711-2.

Hittite texts
The corpus of texts written in the Hittite language is indexed by the Catalogue des Textes Hittites (CTH, since 1971).[1] The catalogue is only a classification of texts; it does not give the texts. One traditionally cites texts by their numbers in CTH. One major source for studies of selected texts themselves are the books of the StBoT series.

CTH Numbering scheme

The texts are classified as follows: Historical Texts (CTH 1-220) Administrative Texts (CTH 221-290) Legal Texts (CTH 291-298) Lexical Texts (CTH 299-309) Literary Texts (CTH 310-320) Mythological Texts (CTH 321-370) Hymns and Prayers (CTH 371-389) Ritual Texts (CTH 390-500) Cult Inventory Texts (CTH 501-530) Omen and Oracle Texts (CTH 531-582) Vows (CTH 583-590) Festival Texts (CTH 591-724) Texts in Other Languages (CTH 725-830) Texts of Unknown Type (CTH 831-833)

Selected texts
Some Wikipedia articles dedicated to specific Hittite texts follow. More are to be found as sections of other articles.

Old Kingdom
Anitta text Hittite military oath Hittite laws Myth of Illuyanka

Hittite texts


New Kingdom
Kikkuli's horse training instructions Manapa-Tarhunda letter Milawata letter Song of Kumarbi Story of Appu Tawagalawa letter Zita (Hittite prince)

[1] Laroche, Emmanuel (1971) (in French). Catalogue des textes hittites. tudes et commentaires, 75. Paris. The first edition came out in 1956. A supplement was published in 1972: Laroche, Emmanuel (1972). "Catalogue des Textes Hittites, premier supplment". Revue hittite et asianique XXX: 94133.

Gary M. Beckman, Harry A. Hoffner, Hittite diplomatic texts, volume 7 of Writings from the ancient world, Scholars Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-7885-0551-5.

External links
Koak, Silvin (2002-2012). "Konkordanz der hethitisches Keilschrifttafeln (Hittite text concordance database)" ( (in German). Gertrid G.W. Mller. Garca, Javier Martnez; Gippert, Jost; Korn, Agnes (2010). "Index" ( texte/texte2.htm#heth). Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien (TITUS). Membership required for some databases. Other databases under construction. "Index of Texts" ( 2000. Selection of Hittite Texts in Translation.



Hubur (U.BUR, Hu-bur) is a Sumerian term meaning "river", "watercourse" or "netherworld", written ideographically with the cuneiform signs .[1][2][3] It is usually the "river of the netherworld" or "river of paradise".[4]

Usage and meaning

A connection to Tiamat has been suggested with parallels to her River of the netherworld description as "Ummu-Hubur". Hubur is also referred to in the Enuma Elish as "mother sea Hubur, who fashions all things".[5] The river Euphrates has been identified with Hubur as the source of fertility in Sumer. This Babylonian "river of creation" has been linked to the later Hebrew "river of paradise".[3] Gumkel and Zimmern suggested resemblance in expressions and a possible connection between the Sumerian river of paradise and that found in later literary tradition in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel47) likely influencing imagery of the "River of Water of Life" in the Apocalypse (Revelation22). They also noted a connection between the "Water of Life" in the legend of Adapa and a myth translated by A.H. Sayce called "An address to the river of creation".[3] Delitzch has suggested the similar Sumerian word Habur probably meant "mighty water source", "source of fertility" or the like. This has suggested the meaning of Hubur to be "river of fertility in the underworld".[6] Linda Foubister has suggested the river of creation was linked with the importance of rivers and rain in the fertile crescent and suggested it was related to the underworld as rivers resemble snakes.[7] Samuel Eugene Balentine suggested that the "pit" (sahar) and "river" or "channel" (salah) in the Book of Job (Job33:18) were referencing the Hubur.[8] The god Marduk was praised for restoration or saving individuals from death when he drew them out of the waters of the Hubur, a later reference to this theme is made in Psalm 18 (Psalms18).[9]

The river plays a certain role in Mesopotamian mythology and Assyro-Babylonian religion, associated with the Sumerian paradise and heroes and deities such as Gilgamesh, Enlil, Enki and Ninlil.[4] The Hubur was suggested to be between the twin peaks of Mount Mashu to the east in front of the gates of the netherworld. The Sumerian myth of Enlil and Ninlil tells the tale of the leader of the gods, Enlil being banished to the netherworld followed by his wife Ninlil.[10] It mentions the river and its ferryman, SI.LU.IGI, who crosses the river in a boat. Themes of this story are repeated later in the Epic of Gilgamesh where the ferryman is called Urshanabi. In later Assyrian times, the ferryman became a monster called Hamar-tabal and may have influenced the later Charon of Greek Mythology.[4] In another story a four-handed, bird demon carries souls across to the city of the dead. Several Akkadian demons are also restrained by the river Hubur. The river is mentioned in the Inscription of Ilum-Ishar, written on bricks at Mari. Nergal, god of the netherworld is referred to as "king Hubur" in a list of Sumerian gods. The word is also used into the Assyrian empire where it was used as the name of the tenth month in a calendar dated to around 1100 BC. There was also a goddess called Haburitim mentioned in texts from the Third dynasty of Ur.[10]



Cosmology and geography

In Sumerian cosmology, the souls of the dead had to travel across the desert or steppe, cross the Hubur river, to the mountainland of Kur.[5] Here the souls had to pass through seven different walled and gated locations to reach the netherworld and the mountain home of the gods, the Ekur, similar to the Greek Mount Olympus.[11] The Annanuki (or Anuna gods) administrated Kur as if it were a civilized settlement both architecturaly and politically.[11] It was considered to be both the "waters of death" and the "waters of life" and the netherworld as a "realm of life" where the Annanuki judged from a mountain of justice.[12] Frans Wiggermann also connected Hubur to the Habar, a tributary of the Euphrates far away from the Sumerian heartland,[5] there was also a town called Haburatum east of the Tigris.[10] He suggested that as the concept of the netherworld (as opposed to an underworld) in Sumerian cosmogeny lacked the modern concept of a accompanying divine ruler of a location underneath the earth, the geographical terminology suggested that it was located at the edges of the world and that its features derived in part from real geography before shifting to become a demonic fantasy world.[5]

[1] Webster's Online Dictionary, Sumerian 3100 BCE - 2500 BCE hubur (netherworld) (http:/ / www. websters-online-dictionary. org/ definitions/ Netherworld?cx=partner-pub-0939450753529744:v0qd01-tdlq& cof=FORID:9& ie=UTF-8& q=Netherworld& sa=Search#922) [2] Hairenik Association (1954). The Armenian review p.117 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=cCkiAQAAIAAJ). Hairenik Association. . Retrieved 6 June 2011. [3] L. W. King (19 March 2004). The Seven Tablets Of Creation: The Babylonian And Assyrian Legends Concerning The Creation Of The World And Of Mankind (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=SCb0iI4S2VMC& pg=PR95). Kessinger Publishing. pp.95. ISBN978-0-7661-8935-5. . Retrieved 6 June 2011. [4] A. R. George (2003). The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic: introduction, critical edition and cuneiform texts (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=21xxZ_gUy_wC& pg=PA500). Oxford University Press. pp.500. ISBN978-0-19-927841-1. . Retrieved 7 June 2011. [5] Marianna E. Vogelzang; Herman L. J. Vanstiphout (February 1996). Mesopotamian poetic language: Sumerian and Akkadian (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=qDyDXLUeHykC& pg=PA212). BRILL. pp.212. ISBN978-90-72371-84-3. . Retrieved 6 June 2011. [6] Teh Evidence of Language (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=uxc7AAAAIAAJ& pg=PA29). CUP Archive. pp.29. GGKEY:4T5W4APR1T2. . Retrieved 6 June 2011. [7] Linda Foubister (October 2003). Goddess in the Grass: Serpentine Mythology and the Great Goddess (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=U9ViAIrVur4C& pg=PA21). Linda Foubister. pp.21. ISBN978-0-9731648-2-4. . Retrieved 6 June 2011. [8] Samuel Eugene Balentine (November 2006). Job (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=sxZVAAAAYAAJ). Smyth & Helwys Pub.. ISBN978-1-57312-067-8. . Retrieved 7 June 2011. [9] John H. Walton; Victor Harold Matthews; Mark William Chavalas (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=wIA3tH9HqY4C& pg=PA522). InterVarsity Press. pp.522. ISBN978-0-8308-1419-0. . Retrieved 10 June 2011. [10] K. van der Toorn; Bob Becking; Pieter Willem van der Horst (1999). Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible DDD (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=yCkRz5pfxz0C& pg=PA431). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp.431. ISBN978-90-04-11119-6. . Retrieved 6 June 2011. [11] John H. Walton (1 November 2006). Ancient Near Eastern thought and the Old Testament: introducing the conceptual world of the Hebrew Bible (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=rhb20fH7cZYC& pg=PA318). Baker Academic. pp.318. ISBN978-0-8010-2750-5. . Retrieved 7 June 2011. [12] Detlef Ingo Lauf; Graham Parkes (1 January 1977). Secret doctrines of the Tibetan books of the dead (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=BKw9AAAAIAAJ& pg=PA195). Shambhala. pp.195. ISBN978-0-87773-102-3. . Retrieved 10 June 2011.

Hurrian language


Hurrian language
Spoken natively in Mitanni Region Extinct Language family Mesopotamia Ca 1000 BC Hurro-Urartian

Language codes ISO 639-3 xhu

Hurrian is a conventional name for the language of the Hurrians (Khurrites), a people who entered northern Mesopotamia around 2300 BC and had mostly vanished by 1000 BC. Hurrian was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotamia, and was likely spoken at least initially in Hurrian settlements in Syria. It is generally believed that the speakers of this language originally came from the Armenian mountains and spread over southeast Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC.[1]

Hurrian is an ergative, agglutinative language that, together with Urartian, constitutes the Hurro-Urartian family. I.M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin see similarities between Hurrian and the Northeast Caucasian languages, and thus place it in the Alarodian family. Examples of the proposed phonological correspondences are PEC *l- > Hurrian t-, PEC *-dl- > Hurrian -r- (Diakonoff & Starostin). Some scholars, such as I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser, tried to equate Hurrians and "Subarians".

The earliest Hurrian text fragments consist of lists of names and places from the end of the third millennium BC. The first full texts date to the reigns of Kings Tiatal and Urke, at the start of the second milliennium BC. Archeologists have discovered the texts of numerous spells, incantations, prophecies and letters at sites including Hattusha, Mari, Tuttul, Babylon, Ugarit and others. Early study of the language, however, was entirely based on the Mitanni letter, found in 1887 at Amarna in Egypt, written by the Hurrian king Tushratta to the pharaoh Amenhotep III. The Hurro-Urartian relation was recognized as early as 1890 by Sayce (ZA 5, 1890, 260-274) and Jensen (ZA 6, 1891, 34-72). In the thirteenth century BC, invasions from the west by the Hittites and the south by the Assyrians brought the end of the Mitanni empire, which was divided between the two conquering powers. In the following century, attacks by the Sea Peoples brought a swift end to the last vestiges of the Hurrian language. It is around this time that other languages, such as the Hittite language and the Ugaritic language also became extinct, in what is known as the Bronze Age collapse. In the texts of these languages, as well as those of Akkadian or Urartian, many Hurrian names and places can be found. Renewed interest in Hurrian was triggered by texts discovered in Bogazky in the 1910s and Ugarit in the 1930s. Speiser (1941) published the first comprehensive grammar of Hurrian. Since the 1980s, the Nuzi corpus from the archive of Silwa-tessup has been edited by G. Wilhelm. Since the late 1980s, significant progress was made due to the discovery of a Hurrian-Hittite bilingual, edited by E. Neu (StBoT 32).

Hurrian language


The Hurrian of the Mitanni letter differs significantly from that used in the texts at Hattusha and other Hittite centres, as well as from earlier Hurrian texts from various locations. The non-Mitanni letter varieties, while not entirely homogeneous, are commonly subsumed under the designation Old Hurrian. Whereas in Mitanni the vowel pairs i/e and u/o are differentiated, in the Hattusha dialect they have merged into i and u respectively. There are also differences in morphology, some of which are mentioned in the course of the exposition below. Nonetheless, it is clear that these represent dialects of one language. Another Hurrian dialect is likely represented in several texts from Ugarit, but they are so poorly preserved that little can be said about them, save that spelling patterns used elsewhere to represent Hurrian phonemes are virtually ignored in them. There was also a Hurrian-Akkadian creole, called Nuzi, spoken in the Mitanni provincial capital of Arrapha.

Consonants Consonant phonemes of Hurrian
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Nasal Plosive Affricate Fricative Approximant Lateral f w l m p n t (ts) s j x k

As can be seen from the table, Hurrian did not possess a voiced-voiceless distinction. There is no voiced consonant with an unvoiced counterpart, nor vice versa. However, based on evidence from the cuneiform script, there seem to have been voiced allophones of consonants other than /ts/, which occurred in certain environments: between two voiced phonemes (sonorants or vowels), and, surprisingly, also word-finally.[2] Sometimes a voiced consonant is written in these situations, i.e. b (for p), d (for t), g (for k), v (for f) or (for ), and, very rarely, (for h, ). All consonants except /w/ and /j/ can be long or short. The long (geminate) consonants occur only between vowels. In the cuneiform, as in the Latin transcription, geminated consonants are indicated by doubling the corresponding symbol, so ...VC-CV... Short consonants are written ...V-CV..., for example mnnatta ("I am") is written ma-a-an-na-at-ta. Since /f/ was not found in the Sumerian cuneiform script, the Hurrians used the symbols representing /p/, /b/ or /w/. An /f/ can be recognised in words where this transciption varies from text to text. In cases where a word occurs only once, with a p, it cannot be known if it was originally meant to represent a /p/ or an /f/. In final syllables containing a, /f/ becomes diphthongised to /u/, e.g. tnau (<*tn--af)) "I did". /s/ is traditionally transcribed by //, because the cuneiform script adapted the sign indicating // for this phoneme. /ts/ is regularly transcribed by z, and /x/ by or h. In Hurrian, /r/ and /l/ do not occur at the beginning of a word.

Hurrian language


Front Central Back Close Mid Open i e a u o

Vowels, just like consonants, can be either long or short. In the cuneiform script, this is indicated by placing an additional vowel symbol between the CV and VC syllables, giving CV-V-VC. Short vowels are indicated by a simple CV-VC pairing. In the Latin transcription, long vowels are indicated with a macron, , , , , and . For /o/, which is absent in the Sumerian script, the sign for U is used, whereas /u/ is represented by .

Word derivation
While Hurrian could not combine multiple stems to form new stems, a large number of suffixes could be attached to existing stems to form new words. For example, attardi (ancestor) from attai (father), futki (son) from fut (to beget), atohhe (feminine) from ati (woman). Hurrian also provided many verbal suffixes, which often changed the valency of the verb they modify.

Nominal morphology The nominal morphology of Hurrian employs numerous suffixes and/or enclitics, which always follow a certain order. The resulting "morpheme chain" is as follows:[3][4] 1. Root; 2. Derivational suffixes; 3. Article (see below); 4. Enclitic possessive pronouns; 5. Plural marker; 6. Case morphemes; 7. Anaphoric suffix (formally identical to the article) serving as the basis for morphemes received through Suffixaufnahme, see below; 8. Plural marker received through Suffixaufnahme (agreement); 9. Case marker received through Suffixaufnahme (agreement); 10. Enclitic personal pronouns in the absolutive case (usually not syntactically connected to the noun, except for the third plural -lla); 11. Other enclitic particles (often with the meaning of conjunctions) Of course, these elements are not all obligatory, and in fact a noun can occur as a single root followed by nothing except zero-suffixes for case and number. Despite the general agglutinative structure of the language, the plural marker (5) merges with the case morphemes (6) in ways which do not seem to be entirely predictable, so singular and plural forms of the case endings are usually listed separately. While the absolutive pronoun clitics attached to a noun are not necessarily connected to it in any way in terms of meaning (rather, they designate the object or intransitive subject of a nearby verb), the third plural pronoun clitic -lla can be used to signal the plural of the host noun in the absolutive. Case and number All Hurrian nouns end in a vowel. Most end in /i/; a very few end in /a/ (words for relatives and divine names) and /e/ (a few suffix derivations). This stem-final vowel disappears when certain endings are attached to it, such as case endings that begin with a vowel, or the article suffix. Examples: kz- (like a cup) from kzi (cup), awarra (the fields) from awari (field). Hurrian has 13 cases in its system of declension. One of these, the Equative case, has a different form in both of the main dialects. In Hattusha and Mari, the usual ending is -o, termed equative I, whereas in the Mitanni letter we find the form -nna, called equative II. Another case, the so-called 'e-case', is very rare, and

Hurrian language carries a genitive or allative meaning. Like many languages in the region, Hurrian is an ergative language, which means that the same case is used for the subject of an intransitive verb as for the object of a transitive one; this case is called the absolutive. For the subject of a transitive verb, however, the ergative case is used. Hurrian has two numbers, singular and plural. The following table outlines the case endings (the terms used for some of the more obscure cases vary between different authors).
Case Absolutive Ergative Genitive Dative [5][6] Essive (in, at ...) Allative (to ...) Ablative (from ...r) Instrumental (with ...) Singular - - -fe, -we -fa, -wa -a -, -lla -(a)u -(a)e -(a)a -(a)a, -a Plural







not found

Ablative-Instrumental -n(i), -ne -(a)ani, -(a)ane (through/by ...) Comitative (together with ...) Associative (as ...) Equative I (like ...) Equative II 'e-Case' -ra -(a)ura


not found (often extrapolated -(a)unn(i)) not found

-nna -

-(a)unna not found

In certain phonological environments, these endings can vary. The f of the genitive and dative endings merges with a preceding p or t giving pp and tt respectively, e.g. Teuppe (of Teup), Hepat-te (of Hepat). The associative can be combined with the instrumental, as in na-nn-ae (brother-instr-dat), meaning 'brotherly'. The so-called essive case can convey the meaning "as" and a condition, but also to express direction, the aim of a demand, the transition from one condition to another, the direct object in antipassive constructions (where the transitive subject receives the absolutive case instead of the ergative), and, in the variety of Nuzi, also the dative.[6]

Hurrian language The article

Case Absolutive Singular Plural - -na all other cases -ne


In Hurrian, the function of the so-called "article" is not entirely clear, inasmuch as its use does not seem to resemble closely a typical definite article.[7] It is attached directly to the noun, but before any case endings, e.g. tiw-na-e ( (of the object). The article is unmarked in the absolutive singular e.g. kzi 'cup'. The /n/ of the article merges with a preceding /n/, /l/ or /r/ giving /nn/, /ll/ and /rr/ respectively, e.g. n-na (the gods), l-la (the others), awar-ra (the fields). In these cases, the stem-final vowel /i/ has been dropped; the singulars of these words are ni (god), li (another), awari (field). If there are two consonants preceding the final /i/, an epenthetic vowel /u/ is inserted between them, e.g. hafurun-ne-ta (, to heaven), the stem of which is hafurni (heaven). Suffixaufnahme One prominent feature of Hurrian is the phenomenon of Suffixaufnahme, or suffix absorption, which it shares with Urartian and the geographically proximate Kartvelian languages. In this process, the dependent modifiers of a noun share the noun's case suffixes. Between the suffix of the dependent noun and the case ending comes the article, which agrees with the referent in number, for example, with an adjective:
(1) urwoene mnne urw-oe-ne- mn-ne- "the Hurrian land"

Suffixaufnahme also occurs with other modifiers, such as a noun in the genitive modiying another noun, in which case the following nouns takes a possessive pronoun.
(2) niffufenefe mnfe n-iffu-fe-ne-fe mni-i-fe

"of the land of my brother" (lit, "of my brother his land")

The phenomenon is also found when the head noun is in the locative, instrumental or equative. In the absolutive singular, Suffixaufnahme would be meaningless, as the case and number are unmarked. When more than two genitives occur, they are merged, so Suffixaufnahme only occurs on the innermost genitive, as in the following example:

Hurrian language


(3) mni Mizrinefenefe efrfe atnna mni Mizri-ne-fe-ne-fe efri-i-fe ati-i=nna

country lady-his=she "she is the lady of the ruler of the country Egypt"

Verbal morphology
The verbal morphology of Hurrian is extremely complex, but it is constructed only through the affixation of suffixes (indicated by '-') and clitics (indicated by '='). Hurrian clitics stand for unique words, but are attached to other words as though they were suffixes. Transitivity and intransitivity are clearly indicated in the morphology; only transitive verbs take endings that agree with the person and number of their subject. The direct object and intransitive subject, when they are not represented by an independent noun, are expressed through the use of clitics, or pronouns (see below). Moreover, suffixes can be added to the verb stem that modify its meaning, including valency-changing morphemes such as -an(n)-- (causative), -ant (applicative) and -ukar (reciprocative). The meanings of many such suffixes have yet to be decoded. The "morpheme chain" of the verb is as follows:[8] 1. Root; 2. Derivational suffixes; 3. Tense/Aspect suffixes; 4. Intransitivity (?) marker -t-; 5. Suffix -imbu- (function unclear); [5/6. Ergative third plural person suffix -it- (only in Old Hurrian);[9]] 6. Valency markers (intransitive/transitive/antipassive); 7. Negative suffixes; 8. Ergative person suffixes; 9. Ergative number suffixes; 10. Enclitic pronouns (in the absolutive case); 11. Enclitic particles (often with the meaning of conjunctions) As with the noun, not all of these elements must be present in each verb form, and indeed some of them are mutually incompatible. The negative suffixes (7), the ergative person suffixes (8) and the ergative number suffixes (9) merge in ways which are not entirely predictable, so the person endings are usually listed in separate singular and plural versions. Indicative mood After the derivational suffix come those marking tense. The present tense is unmarked, the preterite is marked by - and the future by t. The preterite and future suffixes also the suffix -t, which indicates intransitivity, but occurs only in truly intransitive forms, not in antipassive ones; in the present, this suffix never occurs. Another, separate, -t suffix is found in all tenses in transitive sentences it indicates a 3rd person plural subject. In the indicative this suffix is mandatory, but in all other moods it is optional. Because these two suffixes are identical, ambiguous forms can occur; thus, untta can mean "they will bring [something]" or "he/she/it will come", depending on the context. After these endings come the vowel of transitivity. It is -a when the verb is intransitive, -i when the verb is in the antipassive and -o (in the Mitanni letter, -i) in transitive verbs. The suffix -o is dropped immediately after the derivational suffixes. In transitive verbs, the -o occurs only in the present, while in the other tenses transitivity is instead indicated by the presence (or absence) of the aforementioned -t suffixes. In the next position, the suffix of negation can occur; in transitive sentences, it is -wa, whereas in intransitive and antipassive ones it is -kkV. Here, the V represents a repetition of the vowel that precedes the negative suffix, although when this is /a/, both vowels become /o/. When the negative suffix is immediately followed by a clitic pronoun (except for =nna), its vowel is /a/, regardless of the vowel that preceded it, e.g. mann-o-kka=til=an (, "and we are not...". The following table gives the tense, transivity and negation markers:

Hurrian language


Transitivity intransitive affirmative -a negative antipassive -okko

Present -ta

Preterite -tta


-tokko -i -ikki Mari/Hattusha -o Mitanni -i Mari/Hattusha -owa Mitanni -iwa Mari/Hattusha -o Mitanni -i Mari/Hattusha -owa Mitanni -iwa

-ttokko -ti -tikki Mari/Hattusha -to Mitanni -ti Mari/Hattusha -towa Mitanni -tiwa Mari/Hattusha -to Mitanni -ti Mari/Hattusha -towa Mitanni -tiwa

affirmative -i negative -ikki

transitive affirmative Mari/Hattusha -o without derivational suff. Mitanni -i negative Mari/Hattusha -owa Mitanni -iwa

transitive with derivational suff.

affirmative -



After this, in transitive verbs, comes the subject marker. The following forms are found:
1st person singular with -i (transitive) (only Mitanni) with -wa (negated) with other morphemes (no merging) -af, -au 1st person plural -aua 2nd person singular -i-o 2nd person plural -*ao, -*au 3rd person sing/pl -i-a






-...-af, -...-au



-...-ao, -...-au


The suffixes of the first person, both plural and singular, and the second person plural suffix merge with the preceding suffixes -i and -wa. However, in the Mari and Hattusha dialects, the suffix of transitivity -o does not merge with other endings. The distinction between singular and plural in the third person is provided by the suffix -t, which comes directly after the tense marker. In the third person, when the suffix -wa occurs before the subject marker, it can be replaced by -ma, also expressing the negative: irnho-i--ma, (like-trans-3rd-neg) "He does not like [it]". In the Old Hurrian of Hattusha the ending of the third person singular was -m. A third person plural ergative subject was marked with the suffix -it-, which, however, unlike the other ergative endings, occurred before instead of after the transitivity vowel: contrast uv-o-m "she slaughtered" with tun-it-o "they forced".[9][10][11] In the intransitive and antipassive, there was also a subject marker, -p for the third person but unmarked for the others. It is unknown whether this suffix was also found on transitive objects. If a verb form is nominalised, e.g. to create a relative clause, then another suffix is used: -e. Nominalised verbs can undergo Suffixaufnahme. Verb forms can also take other enclitic suffixes; see 'particles' below.

Hurrian language Other moods To express nuances of grammatical mood, several special verb forms are used, which are derived from the indicative (non-modal) forms. Wishes and commands are formed with an optative system, whose principal characteristic is the element -i, which is attached directly to the verb stem. There is no difference between the form for transitive and intransitive verbs, there being agreement with the subject of the sentence. Tense markers are unchanged in the optative.
Person/Number 1st person Singular 1st person Plural 2nd person Singular 2nd person Plural 3rd person Singular Negation Ending Meaning


affirmative -ile, after /l/ or /r/, -le and -re "I want to..." negative -ifalli unattested "I do not want to..."

affirmative -i, -e negative -ifa, -efa

"you will (imperative) "you will not..." "you will..." "you will not..." "he/she/it can..." "he/she/it cannot..." "may they..." "may they not..."

affirmative -i(), -e() negative -ifa(), -efa()

affirmative -ien1 negative -ifaen1

3rd person Plural

affirmative -iten1 negative -itfaen1

In the optative forms of the third person, the /n/ ending is present in the Mari/Hattusha dialect when the following word begins with a consonant. The so-called final form, which is needed to express a purpose ("in order to"), is formed in conjunction with the 'with', and has different endings. In the singular, the suffixes -ae, -ai, -ilae and -ilai are found, which after /l/ and /r/ become -lae/-lai and -rae/rai respectively. In the plural the same endings are used, though sometimes the plural suffix -a is found as well, bbut this is not always the case. To express a possibility, the potential form must be used. For intransitive verbs, the ending is -ilefa or olefa (-lefa and -refa after /l,r/), which does not need to agree with the subject. Transitive potential forms are formed with -illet and -allet, which are suffixed to the normal endings of the transitive indicative forms. However, this form is only attested in Mitanni and only in the third person. The potential form is also occasionally used to express a wish. The desiderative form is used to express an urgent request. It is also only found in the third person, and only with transitive verbs. The ending for the third person singular is -ilanni, and for the plural, -itanni. Examples of finite verb forms The following tables give examples of verb forms in various syntactic environments, largely from the Mitanni letter:

Hurrian language


Ex. (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) koz--o



Translation "You restrained" "..., but which he doesn't know"

pal-i-a-m-e=mn pa-t-i=t=n eniffuta

know-trans-3rd-neg-nom=but "and I will send to my brother" "the things I've done" "and I don't want it" "I went, you went, ..." "I want to say" "may he send" "so he knows" "and I might send"

tiwna tn--au-e-na- the.things r-i-uffu=nna=n itt--t-a go-pret-intr-intr know-final-3sg.abs

(10) kul-le (11) pa-ien (12) pal-lae=n (13) kepnol-lefa=tta=n

Infinitive verb forms Infinitive forms of the verb in Hurrian include both nominalised verbs (participles) and a more conventional infinitive. The first nominalised participle, the present participle, is characterised by the ending -iri or -ire, e.g. pairi, "the one building, the builder", hapiri, "the one moving, the nomad". The second nominalised participle, the perfect participle, is formed with the ending -aure, and is only attested once, in Nuzi: huaure, "the bound one". Another special form is only found in the dialect of Hattusha. It can only be formed from transitive verbs, and it specifies an agent of the first person. Its ending is -ilia, and this participle can undergo Suffixaufnahme.
(14) pailiane unine pa-ilia-ne- uni-ne-

"the wall built by me" (here in the ergative, so a subject of a transitive verb)

The infinitive, which can also be found nominalised, is formed with the suffix -umme, e.g. fahrumme, "to be good", "the state/property of being good"

Personal pronouns Hurrian uses both enclitic and independent personal pronouns. The independent pronouns can occur in any case, whereas the enclitic ones represent only the absolutive. It is irrelevant to the meaning of the sentence to which word in the sentence the enclitic pronoun is attached, so it is often attached either to the first phrase or to the verb. The following table gives the attested forms of the personal pronouns, omitting those that cannot be determined.

Hurrian language



1st Singular (I) ite fe

2nd Singular (you)

3rd Singular (he/she/it)

1st Plural (we)

2nd Plural (you)

3rd Plural (they)

Absolutive (indep.) Absolutive (enclit.) Ergative Genitive Dative Locative Allative Ablative

mane, manni

attil, attitil(la) fella




-n(na), -me, -ma -til(la)


-l(la), -lle

ia ofe ofa

fe fefe fefa



feu fee


aa (?)

fea fea (?)


uta manutan manura manunna

auta (?)

Comitative ura Equative II onna

manura, manora

The variant forms -me, -ma and -lle of the third person absolutive pronouns only before certain conjunctions, namely ai (when), inna (when), inu, unu (who), panu (though), and the relative pronouns iya and iye. When an enclitic personal pronoun is attached to a noun, an extensive system of sound changes determines the final form. The enclitic -nna of the third person singular behaves differently from the other pronouns: when it is preceded by an ergative suffix it, unlike the other pronouns, combines with the suffix to form a, whereas with all other pronouns the of the ergative is dropped. Moreover, a word-final vowel /i/ changes to /e/ or /a/ when any enclitic pronoun other than -nna is attached. Possessive pronouns The Hurrian possessive pronouns cannot occur independently, but are only enclitic. They are attached to nouns or nominalised verbs. The form of the pronoun is dependent on that of the following morpheme. The table below outlines the possible forms:
Fall 1st Singular (my) -iffe -f -fu -f 2nd Singular (your) 3rd Singular (his/her/its) -i -i -i 1st Plural (our) -iffa -iffa -iffa 2nd Plural (your) -e -u n. bel. 3rd Plural (their) -ya -ya -ya


before consonants (except /f,w/) -iffu before vowels and /f,w/ -iff

The final vowel of the noun stem is dropped before an attached possessive pronoun, e.g. eniffe ("my brother", from ena "brother"). It remains, however, when a consonant-initial pronoun is atached: attaif ("your father", from attai, "father") Other pronouns Hurrian also has several demonstrative pronouns: anni (this), anti/ani (that), akki...aki (one...the other). The final vowel /i/ of these pronouns is retained only in the absolutive, becoming /u/ in all other cases, e.g. akku "the one" (erg.), antufa ("to that [one]"). There are also the relative pronouns iya and iye. Both forms are free interchangeable. The pronoun has the function of the absolutive in the relative clause, and so represents an intransitive subject or a transitive object. The interrogative pronoun (who/what) is only attested in the ergative singular (afe), and once in

Hurrian language the absolutive singular (au).


Hurrian contains many idiomatic expressions that denote spatial and abstract relations and serve as adpositions, most of them built on the dative and genitive cases. They are almost exclusively postpositions only one preposition (pi + dative, "for"), is attested in the texts from Hattusha. All adpositions can themselves generally be in the allative, rarely in the dative or in the "e-case". Some examples: N-fa yita or N-fen y (in the presence of; from yi "face"). N-fa etta or N-fa etfa (for, because of; from eti "body, person"), N-fen etiy (concerning), N-fa furta (in sight of; from furi, "sight, look"), and only in Hattusha N-fa pita (in front of; from pi, "front"). Besides these, there is itani "space between," which is used with a plural possessive pronoun and the locative, for "between us/you/them", e.g. itaniffaa (between us, under us).

Conjunctions and adverbs

Only a few sentence-initial particles are attested. In contract with nouns, which also end in /i/, the final vowel of the conjunctions ai (when) and anammi (therefore) is not dropped before an enclitic personal pronoun. Other conjunctions include alae (if), inna (when), inu (like) and panu (although). Hurrian has only a small amount of adverbs. The temporal adverbs are henni (now), kuru (again) and unto (then). Also attested are at (thus, so) and tian (very).

Enclitic particles
The enclitic particles can be attached to any word in a sentence, but most often they are attached to the first phrase of the sentence or to the verb. They are much more diverse and frequent in the Mitanni letter than in Old Hurrian. Common ones include =n (and), =mn (but), =mmaman (to be sure) and =nn (truly!).
(15) atnn mnnattamn at=nn mnn-a=tta=mn

so=truly "But I really am thus"

In addition to the irregular number word ui (every), all the cardinal numbers from 1 to 10 as well as a few higher ones are attested. Ordinal numbers are formed with the suffix -()e or i, which becomes -ze or -zi after /n/. The following table gives an overview of the numeral system:
1 Cardinal ukko, number uki 2 ini 3 4 5 nariya ee 6 7 inti kiri, kira 8 9 tamri 10 mani 13 or 30 kikmani 17 or 70 intimani 18 or 80 kirmani 10000 nupi 30000 kike nupi

kike tumni

Ordinal unattested inzi kiki tumnue narie unattested intie unattested unattested manze unattested unattested kirmanze unattested unattested number

Distributive numbers carry the suffix -ate, e.g. kikate (by threes), tumnate (by fours). The suffix -mha denotes multiplicatives, e.g. inmha (twice), manmha (thrice). All cardinal numbers end in a vowel, which drops when an enclitic is attached.

Hurrian language


The normal word order of a Hurrian sentence is SOV. Within noun phrases, the noun regularly comes at the end. Adjectives, numbers, and genitive modifiers come before the noun they modify. Relative clauses, however, tend to surround the noun, which means that the noun the relative clause modifies stands in the middle of the relative clause. Hurrian has at its disposal several paradigms for constructing relative clauses. It can either use the relative pronouns iya and iye, which has already been described under 'pronouns' above, or the nominalising suffix -e attached to a verb, which undergoes Suffixaufnahme. The third possibility is for both these markers to occur (see example 16 below). The noun, which is represented by the relative clause, can take any case, but within the relative clause can only have the function of the absolutive, i.e. it can only be the subject of an intransitive relative clause or the object of a transitive one.
(16) iyallnn niffu tiwna tnena iya=ll=nn n-iffu- tiw-na- tn---e-na- "those, which my brother sent"

As has been outlined above, Hurrian transitive verbs normally take a subject in the ergative and an object in the absolutive (except for the antipassive constructions, where these are replaced by the absolutive and the essive respectively). The indirect object of ditransitive verbs, however, can be in the dative, locative, allative, or with some verbs also in the absolutive.
(17) olaffa katulle ola-=ffa katul-le

'I want to tell youabs something elseabs

The attested Hurrian lexicon is quite homogenous, containing only a small number of loanwords (e.g. tuppi (clay tablet), Mizri (Egypt) both from Akkadian). The relative pronouns iya and iye may be a loan from the Indo-Aryan language of the Mitanni people who had lived in the region before the Hurrians; cf. Sanskrit ya. Conversely, Hurrian gave many loan words to the nearby Akkadian dialects, for example hpiru (nomad) from the Hurrian hpiri (nomad). There may also be Hurrian loanwords among the languages of the Caucasus, but this cannot be verified, as there are no written records of Caucasian languages from the time of the Hurrians. The source language of similar sounding words is thus unconfirmable.

Sample text
Untomn iyallnn tiwna allamn niffu katena riena, antilln manma tnau. (aus dem Mitanni-Brief, Kolumne IV, Zeilen 30-32)

Hurrian language


Word in morphemes unto=mn iya=ll=nn tiw-na- -a=lla=mn n-iffu- kat---e-na- r-i--e-na- anti=lla=an man-ma tn--au now = but

Grammatical analysis

relative.pronoun = 3.plural.absolutive = truly thing-article.plural-absolutive every-locative=3.plural.absolutive=but brother-my-ergative.singular say-preterite.transitive-3.singular.subject-nominaliser-article.plural-absolutive want-transitive-3.singular.subject-nominaliser-article.plural-absolutive those=plural.absolutive=and ten-multiplicative do-preterite.transitive-1.singular.subject

Translation: "Those things, which my brother truly said and wanted as a whole, now I have done them, but tenfold."

Hurrian literature
Texts in the Hurrian language itself have been found at Hattusa, Ugarit (Ras Shamra), and Sapinuwa (but unpublished). Also, one of the longest of the Amarna letters is Hurrian; written by King Tushratta of Mitanni to Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was the only long Hurrian text known until a multi-tablet collection of literature in Hurrian with a Hittite translation was discovered at Hattusas in 1983. Important finds were made at Ortaky (Sapinuwa) in the 1990s, including several bilinguals. Most of them remain unedited as of 2007. No Hurrian texts are attested from the first millennium BC (unless one wants to consider Urartian a late Hurrian dialect), but scattered loanwords persist in Assyrian, such as the goddess Savuska mentioned by Sargon II.[12]

[1] Hurrian language Britannica Online Encyclopedia (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ eb/ article-9041610/ Hurrian-language) [2] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Hurrian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.85 [3] Wegner, I. 2000. Einfhrung in die hurritische Sprache. P.46-65 [4] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Hurrian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.88 [5] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Hurrian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.94 [6] Wegner, I. 2000. Einfhrung in die hurritische Sprache. P.56-57 [7] Wegner, I. 2000. Einfhrung in die hurritische Sprache. P.54-55 [8] Wegner, I. 2000. Einfhrung in die hurritische Sprache. P.75-79 [9] Wegner, I. 2000. Einfhrung in die hurritische Sprache. P.110-113 [10] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Hurrian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.98 [11] . . . , . 1967. Igor Diakonoff cites the suffix as -ido-, but also located it before the slot of the transitivity vowel -o- an interpretation which is also justified by the place of the corresponding suffix in the related Urartian language. [12] Wegner (2000:25)

Hurrian language


Further reading
Speiser, E. A. (1941). Introduction to Hurrian. New Haven: Pub. by the American schools of Oriental research under the Jane Dows Nies publication fund. Wegner, I., Hurritisch, eine Einfhrung, Harassowitz (2000), ISBN 3-447-04262-1.

Hurrian songs

A drawing of one side of the tablet on which the [1] Hymn to Nikkal is inscribed

Ugarit Salhi Minet el-Beida Ras Ibn Hani Ugaritic kings Ammittamru I Niqmaddu II Arhalba Niqmepa Ammittamru II Ibiranu Niqmaddu III Ammurapi Ugaritic culture Language Alphabet Grammar Baal cycle Legend of Keret Danel Hurrian songs

The Hurrian songs are a collection of music inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets excavated from the Hurrian city of Ugarit which date to approximately 1400 BC. One of these tablets, which is nearly complete, contains the Hurrian hymn to Nikkal (also known as the Hurrian cult hymn or A Zaluzi to the Gods, or simply h.6), making it the oldest surviving substantially complete work of notated music in the world. While the composers' names of some of the fragmentary pieces are known, h.6 is an anonymous work.

Hurrian songs


The complete song is one of about 36 such hymns in cuneiform writing, found on fragments of clay tablets excavated in the 1950s from the royal residence at Ugarit (present day Ras Shamra, Syria),[2] in a stratum dating from the fourteenth century BC,[3] but is the only one surviving in substantially complete form.[4] An account of the group of shards was first published in 1955 and 1968 by Emmanuel Laroche, who identified as parts of a single clay tablet the three fragments catalogued by the field archaeologists as RS 15.30, 15.49, and 17.387. In Laroche's catalogue the hymns are designated h. (for "Hurrian") 217, 1923, 256, 28, 30, along with smaller fragments RS. 19.164 g, j, n, o, p, r, t, w, x, y, aa, and gg. The complete hymn is h.6 in this list.[5] A revised text of h.6 was published in 1975.[6]

The tablet h.6 contains the lyrics for a hymn to Nikkal, a Semitic goddess of orchards, and instructions for a singer accompanied by a nine-stringed sammm, a type of harp or, much more likely, a lyre.[7] One or more of the tablets also contains instructions for tuning the harp.[8] The Hurrian hymn pre-dates several other surviving early works of music, e.g., the Seikilos epitaph and the Delphic Hymns, by a millennium, but its transcription remains controversial. A reconstruction by Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin may be heard at the Urkesh webpage [9], though this is only one of at least five "rival decipherments of the notation, each yielding entirely different results".[10] The tablet is in the collection of the National Museum of Damascus.

Ugarit, where the Hurrian songs were found

The arrangement of the tablet h.6 places the Hurrian words of the hymn at the top, under which is a double division line. The hymn text is written in a continuous spiral, alternating recto-verso sides of the tableta layout not found in Babylonian texts.[11] Below this is found the Akkadian musical instructions, consisting of interval names followed by number signs.[12] Differences in transcriptions hinge on interpretation of the meaning of these paired signs, and the relationship to the hymn text. Below the musical instructions there is another dividing linesingle this timeunderneath which is a colophon in The Entrance to the royal palace at Ugarit, where Akkadian reading "This [is] a song [in the] nitkibli [i.e., the nid qabli the Hurrian songs were found. tuning], a zaluzi written down by Ammurabi".[13] This name and another scribe's name found on one of the other tablets, Ipsali, are both Semitic. There is no composer named for the complete hymn, but four composers' names are found for five of the fragmentary pieces: Tapiuni, Puiya(na), Uriya (two hymns: h.8 and h.12), and Ammiya. These are all Hurrian names.[14] The Akkadian cuneiform music notation refers to a heptatonic diatonic scale on a nine-stringed lyre, in a tuning system described on three Akkadian tablets, two from the Late Babylonian and one from the Old Babylonian period (approximately the 18th century BC).[15] Babylonian theory describes intervals of thirds, fourths, fifths, and sixths, but only with specific terms for the various groups of strings that may be spanned by the hand over that distance, within the purely theoretical range of a seven-string lyre (even though the actual instrument described has nine strings). Babylonian theory had no term for the abstract distance of a fifth or a fourthonly for fifths and fourths

Hurrian songs between specific pairs of strings. As a result, there are fourteen terms in all, describing two groups of six strings, three groups of five, four groups of four, and five different groups of three strings. Astonishingly, there are no known terms corresponding to a single note, or to intervals of a seventh or seventh.[16] The names of these fourteen pairs of strings form the basis of the theoretical system and are arranged by twos in the ancient sources (string-number pairs first, then the regularized Old Babylonian names and translations)[17]: 15 n gab(a)rm (raising of the counterpart) 75 rum (song?) 26 iartum (straight/in proper condition) 16 alatum (third) 37 embbum (reed-pipe) 27 rebttum (fourth) 41 nd qablim (casting down of the middle) 13 isqum (lot/portion) 52 qabltum (middle) 24 titur qabltim (bridge of the middle) 63 kitmum (covering/closing) 35 titur iartim (bridge of the iartum) 74 ptum (opening) 46 /zerdum (?) The name of the first item of each pair is also used as the name of a tuning. These are all fifths (n gab(a)rm, iartum', embbum') or fourths (nd qablim, qabltum, kitmum, and ptum), and have been called by one modern scholar the "primary" intervalsthe other seven (which are not used as names of tunings) being the "secondary" intervals: thirds and sixths.[18] A transcription of the first two lines of the notation on h.6 reads: qb-li-te 3 ir-bu-te 1 qb-li-te 3 a-a-ri 1 i-ar-te 10 u-ta-ma-a-ri ti-ti-mi-ar-te 2 zi-ir-te 1 a-[a]-ri 2 a-a-a-te 2 ir-bu-te 2.[19] It was the unsystematic succession of the interval names, their location below apparently lyric texts, and the regular interpolation of numerals that led to the conclusion that these were notated musical compositions. Some of the terms differ to varying degrees from the Akkadian forms found in the older theoretical text, which is not surprising since they were foreign terms. For example, irbute in the hymn notation corresponds to rebttum in the theory text, ari = rum, zirte = /zerdum, aate = alatum, and titim iarte = titur iartim. There are also a few rarer, additional words, some of them apparently Hurrian rather than Akkadian. Because these interrupt the interval-numeral pattern, they may be modifiers of the preceding or following named interval. The first line of h.6, for example, ends with uta mari, and this word-pair is also found on several of the other, fragmentary hymn tablets, usually following but not preceding a numeral.[20]


The text of h.6 is difficult, in part because the Hurrian language itself is imperfectly understood, and in part because of small lacunae due to missing flakes of the clay tablet. In addition, however, it appears that the language is a local Ugarit dialect, which differs significantly from the dialects known from other sources. It is also possible that the pronunciation of some words was altered from normal speech because of the music.[21] Despite the many difficulties, it is clearly a religious text concerning offerings to the goddess Nikkal, wife of the moon god. The text is presented in four lines, with the peculiarity that the seven final syllables of each of the first three lines on the verso of the tablet

Hurrian songs are repeated at the beginning of the next line on the recto. While Laroche saw in this a procedure similar to one employed by Babylonian scribes in longer texts to provide continuity at the transition from one tablet to another, Gterbock and Kilmer took the position that this device is never found within the text on a single tablet, and so these repeated syllables must constitute refrains dividing the text into regular sections. To this, Duchesne-Guillemin retorts that the recto-verso-recto spiral path of the textan arrangement unknown in Babylonis ample reason for the use of such guides.[22] The first published attempt to interpret the text of h.6 was made in 1977 by Hans-Jochen Thiel,[23] and his work formed the basis for a new but still very provisional attempt made 24 years later by Theo J. H. Krispijn, after Hurritology had made significant progress thanks to archaeological discoveries made in the meantime at a site near Boazkale.[24]


Music of the Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians & Greeks, new expanded edition. Ensemble De Organographia (Gayle Stuwe Neuman and Philip Neuman). CD recording. Pandourion PRDC 1005. Oregon City: Pandourion Records, 2006. [Includes the nearly complete h.6 (as "A Zaluzi to the Gods"), as well as fragments of 14 others, following the transcriptions of M. L. West.]

[1] Giorgio Buccellati, " Hurrian Music (http:/ / 128. 97. 6. 202/ urkeshpublic/ music. htm)", associate editor and webmaster Federico A. Buccellati Urkesh website (n.p.: IIMAS, 2003). [2] K. Marie Stolba, The Development of Western Music: A History, brief second edition (Madison: Brown & Benchmark Publishers, 1995), p. 2.; M[artin] L[itchfield] West, "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts", Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 16179, citation on 171. [3] Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin, "Sur la restitution de la musique hourrite", Revue de Musicologie 66, no. 1 (1980): 526, citation on p. 10. [4] Anne Kilmer, "Mesopotamia 8(ii)", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001). [5] Emmanuel Laroche, Le palais royal d' Ugarit 3: Textes accadiens et hourrites des archives Est, Ouest et centrales, 2 vols., edited by Jean Nougayrol, Georges Boyer, Emmanuel Laroche, and Claude-Frdric-Armand Schaeffer, 1:32735 and 2: plates cviiicix (Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1955):; "Documents en langue houritte provenent de Ras Shamra", in Ugaritica 5: Nouveaux textes accadiens, hourrites et ugaritiques des archives et bibliothques prives d'Ugarit, edited by Claude-Frdric-Armand Schaeffer and Jean Nougayrol, 46296. Bibliothque archologique et historique / Institut franais d'archologie de Beyrouth 80; Mission de Ras Shamra 16 (Paris: Imprimerie nationale P. Geuthner; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1968). In the latter, the transcribed text of h.6 is on p. 463, with the cuneiform text reproduced on p. 487. [6] Manfried Dietrich and Oswald Loretz, "Kollationen zum Musiktext aus Ugarit", Ugarit-Forschungen 7 (1975): 52122. [7] M[artin] L[itchfield] West, "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts", Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 16179, citation on 166. [8] Anon., " The Oldest Song in the World (http:/ / www. amaranthpublishing. com/ hurrian. htm)" (Amaranth Publishing, 2006). (Accessed 12 January 2011). [9] http:/ / 128. 97. 6. 202/ urkeshpublic/ music. htm [10] M[artin] L[itchfield] West, "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts", Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 16179, citation on 161. In addition to West and Duchesne-Guillemin ("Les problmes de la notation hourrite", Revue d'assyriologie et d'archologie orientale 69, no. 2 (1975): 15973; "Sur la restitution de la musique hourrite", Revue de Musicologie 66, no. 1 (1980): 526; A Hurrian Musical Score from Ugarit: The Discovery of Mesopotamian Music, Sources from the ancient near east, vol. 2, fasc. 2. Malibu, CA: Undena Publications, 1984. ISBN 0-89003-158-4), competitors include Hans Gtterbock, "Musical Notation in Ugarit", Revue d'assyriologie et d'archologie orientale 64, no. 1 (1970): 4552; Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, "The Discovery of an Ancient Mesopotamian Theory of Music", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association 115, no. 2 (April 1971): 13149; Kilmer, "The Cult Song with Music from Ancient Ugarit: Another Interpretation", Revue d'Assyriologie 68 (1974): 6982); Kilmer, with Richard L. Crocker and Robert R. Brown, Sounds from Silence: Recent Discoveries in Ancient Near Eastern Music (Berkeley: Bit Enki Publications, 1976; includes LP record, Bit Enki Records BTNK 101, reissued [s.d.] as CD); Kilmer, "Musik, A: philologisch", Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archologie 8, edited by Dietz Otto Edzard (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1997), 46382, ISBN 3-11-014809-9; David Wulstan, "The Tuning of the Babylonian Harp", Iraq 30 (1968): 21528; Wulstan, "The Earliest Musical Notation", Music and Letters 52 (1971): 36582; and Raoul Vitale, "La Musique sumro-accadienne: gamme et notation musicale", Ugarit-Forschungen 14 (1982): 24163.

Hurrian songs
[11] Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin, "Sur la restitution de la musique hourrite", Revue de Musicologie 66, no. 1 (1980): 526, citation on pp. 10, 1516. [12] Anne Kilmer, "Mesopotamia 8(ii)", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001). [13] David Wulstan, "The Earliest Musical Notation", Music and Letters 52 (1971): 36582. Citation on 372. [14] M[artin] L[itchfield] West, "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts", Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 16179, citation on 171. [15] O. R. Gurney, "An Old Babylonian Treatise on the Tuning of the Harp", Iraq 30 (1968): 22933. Citations on pp. 229 and 233. Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin, ""Sur la restitution de la musique hourrite", Revue de Musicologie 66, no. 1 (1980): 526, citation on pp. 6. [16] Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin, ""Sur la restitution de la musique hourrite", Revue de Musicologie 66, no. 1 (1980): 526, citation on pp. 68. M[artin] L[itchfield] West, "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts", Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 16179, citation on 163. [17] M[artin] L[itchfield] West, "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts", Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 16179, citation on 163. [18] David Wulstan, "The Tuning of the Babylonian Harp", Iraq 30 (1968): 21528. Citation on pp. 216 n. 3 and 224. [19] Manfried Dietrich and Oswald Loretz, "Kollationen zum Musiktext aus Ugarit", Ugarit-Forschungen 7 (1975): 52122. Citation on p. 522. [20] David Wulstan, "The Earliest Musical Notation", Music and Letters 52 (1971): 36582. Citations on pp. 371 and 37374. [21] Theo J. H. Krispijn, "Musik in Keilschrift: Beitrge zur altorientalischen Musikforschung 2", in Archologie frher Klangerzeugung und Tonordnung: Musikarchologie in der gis und Anatolien/The Archaeology of Sound Origin and Organization: Music Archaeology in the Aegean and Anatolia, edited by Ellen Hickmann, Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, and Ricardo Eichmann, 46579 (Orient-Archologie 10; Studien zur Musikarchologie 3) (Rahden: Leidorf, 2001) ISBN 3-89646-640-2. Citation on p. 474. [22] Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin, "Sur la restitution de la musique hourrite", Revue de Musicologie 66, no. 1 (1980): 526, citation on pp. 13, 1516. [23] "Der Text und die Notenfolgen des Musiktextes aus Ugarit", Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 18 (=Incunabula Graeca 67) (1977): 10936. [24] Theo J. H. Krispijn, "Musik in Keilschrift: Beitrge zur altorientalischen Musikforschung 2", in Archologie frher Klangerzeugung und Tonordnung: Musikarchologie in der gis und Anatolien/The Archaeology of Sound Origin and Organization: Music Archaeology in the Aegean and Anatolia, edited by Ellen Hickmann, Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, and Ricardo Eichmann, 46579 (Orient-Archologie 10; Studien zur Musikarchologie 3) (Rahden: Leidorf, 2001) ISBN 3-89646-640-2. Citation on p. 474.


Further reading
Bielitz, Mathias. 2002. ber die babylonischen theoretischen Texte zur Musik: Zu den Grenzen der Anwendung des antiken Tonsystems, second, expanded edition. Neckargemnd: Mnneles Verlag. Braun, Joachim. "Jewish music, II: Ancient Israel/Palestine, 2: The Canaanite Inheritance". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001. ern, Miroslav Karel. 1987. "Das altmesopotamische Tonsystem, seine Organisation und Entwicklung im Lichte der neuerschlossenen Texte". Archiv orientln 55:4157. Duchesne-Guillemin, Marcelle. 1963. "Dcouverte d'une gamme babylonienne". Revue de Musicologie 49:317. Duchesne-Guillemin, Marcelle. 1966. "A l'aube de la thorie musicale: concordance de trois tablettes babyloniennes". Revue de Musicologie 52:14762. Duchesne-Guillemin, Marcelle. 1969. "La thorie babylonienne des mtaboles musicales". Revue de Musicologie 55:311. Gurney, O. R. 1968. "An Old Babylonian Treatise on the Tuning of the Harp". Iraq 30:22933. Halperin, David. 1992. "Towards Deciphering the Ugaritic Musical Notation". Musikometrika 4:10116. Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn. 1965. "The Strings of Musical Instruments: Their Names, Numbers, and Significance". Assyriological Studies 16 ("Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger"): 261-68. Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn. 1971. "The Discovery of an Ancient Mesopotamian Theory of Music". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association 115:13149. Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn. 1984. "A Music Tablet from Sippar(?): BM 65217 + 66616". Iraq 46:6980. Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn, and Miguel Civil. 1986. "Old Babylonian Musical Instructions Relating to Hymnody". Journal of Cuneiform Studies 38:9498. Kmmel, Hans Martin. 1970. "Zur Stimmung der babylonischen Harfe". Orientalia 39:25263.

Hurrian songs Schmidt, Karin Stella. 2006. "Zur Musik Mesopotamiens: Musiktheorie, Notenschriften, Rekonstruktionen und Einspielungen berlieferter Musik, Instrumentenkunde, Gesang und Auffhrungspraxis in Sumer, Akkad, Babylonien, Assyrien und den benachbarten Kulturrumen Ugarit, Syrien, Elam/Altpersien: Eine Zusammenstellung wissenschaftlicher Literatur mit einfhrender Literatur zur Musik Altgyptens, Anatoliens (Hethitische Musik), Altgriechenlands und Altisraels/Palstinas". Seminar-Arbeit. Freiburg i. Br.: Orientalisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitt Freiburg. Thiel, Hans-Jochen. 1978. "Zur Gliederung des 'Musik-Textes' aus Ugarit". Revue Hittite et Asiatique 36 (Les Hourrites: Actes de la XXIVe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale Paris 1977): 18998.


External links
An interview with Anne Kilmer: Part 1 ( Part 2 ( Part 3 ( Part 4 (

Goranson, Casey. student article on Hurrian Hymn No. 6 ( Hurrian/Website_article_on_Hurrian_Hymn_No._6.html), with midi and score examples of many different interpretations. (Accessed 23 January 2011) A performance of the Hymn to Nikkal ( on YouTube.

Hurro-Urartian languages


Hurro-Urartian languages
Hurrartian, Asianic Geographic distribution: Anatolia

Linguistic classification: Alarodian ? Subdivisions: Hurro-Urartian

Hurrian Urartian ? Kassite

The Hurro-Urartian languages are an extinct language family of the Ancient Near East, comprising only two known languages: Hurrian and Urartian, both of which were spoken in the Taurus mountains area.

Hurro-Urartian was related neither to the Semitic nor to the Indo-European language families of the region. Proponents of linguistic macrofamilies have suggested that Hurro-Urartian is part of an "Alarodian" phylum, together with Northeast Caucasian and further as "Macro-Caucasian", but these theories are without support in mainstream linguistics.[1] The poorly attested Kassite language may have been related to Hurrian.[2]

Hurrian was the language of the Hurrians (occasionally called "Hurrites"), and was spoken in the northern parts of Mesopotamia and Syria and the southeastern parts of Anatolia between at least last quarter of the third millennium BC and its extinction towards the end of the second millennium BC.[3] There have been various Hurrian-speaking states, of which the most prominent one was the kingdom of Mitanni (14501270 BC). It has also been proposed that two little known groups, the Nairi and the Mannae[4], might have been Hurrian speakers, but as little is known about them, it is hard to draw any conclusions about what languages they spoke. Furthermore, the Kassite language was possibly related to Hurro-Urartian[2] There was also a strong Hurrian influence on Hittite culture in ancient times, so many Hurrian texts are preserved from Hittite political centres. The Mitanni variety is chiefly known from the so-called "Mitanni letter" from Hurrian Tushratta to pharaoh Amenhotep III surviving in the Amarna archives. The "Old Hurrian" variety is known from some early royal inscriptions and from religious and literary texts, especially from Hittite centres. Urartian is attested from the late 9th century BC to the late 7th century BC as the official written language of the state of Urartu and was probably spoken by the majority of the population in the mountainous areas around Lake Van and the upper Zab valley. It must have branched off from Hurrian approximately in the beginning of second millennium BC.[5] Igor Diakonoff accepts a Hurro-Urartian etymology as plausible for thirteen lexemes in Old Armenian.[6]

Hurro-Urartian languages


Besides their fairly consistent ergative alignment and their generally agglutinative morphology (despite a number of not entirely predictable morpheme mergers), Hurrian and Urartian are also both characterized by the use of suffixes in their derivational and inflectional morphology (including ten to fifteen grammatical cases) and postpositions in syntax; both are considered to have the default order subjectobjectverb, although there is significant variation, especially in Urartian. In both languages, nouns can receive a peculiar "anaphoric suffix" comparable (albeit apparently not identical) to a definite article, and nominal modifiers are marked by Suffixaufnahme (i.e. they receive a "copy" of the case suffixes of the head); in verbs, the type of valency (intransitive vs transitive) is signalled by a special suffix, the so-called "class marker". The complex morpheme "chains" of nouns and verbs follow roughly the same morpheme sequences in both languages. In nouns, the sequence in both languages is stem article possessive suffix plural suffix case suffix agreement (Suffixaufnahme) suffix. In verbs, the portion of the structure shared by both languages is stem valency marker person suffixes. Most morphemes have fairly similar phonological forms in the two languages. Despite this structural similarity, there are also significant differences. In the phonology, written Hurrian only seems to distinguish a single series of phonemic obstruents without any contrastive phonation distinctions (the variation in voicing, though visible in the script, was allophonic); in contrast, written Urartian distinguishes as many as three series: voiced, voiceless and "emphatic" (perhaps glottalized). Urartian is also characterized by the apparent reduction of some word-final vowels to schwa (e.g. Urartian ul vs Hurrian oli "another", Urartian euri vs Hurrian evrie "lordship", Hurrian 3rd person plural enclitic pronoun -lla vs Urartian -l). As the last two examples shows, the Hurrian geminates are also absent in Urartian. In the morphology, there are differences as well. Hurrian indicates the plural of nouns through a special suffix -a-, which only survives in fossilized form merged into some case endings in Urartian. Hurrian clearly marks tense or aspect through special suffixes (the unmarked form is the present tense) whereas Urartian has not been shown to do so in the attested texts (the unmarked form functions as a past tense). Hurrian has special negative verbal suffixes that negate a verb and are placed before the ergative person agreement suffixes; Urartian has no such thing and instead uses negative particles that are placed before the verb. In Hurrian, only the person of the ergative subject is marked obligatorily through a suffix in a verb form, whereas the absolutive subject or object is optionally marked with a pronominal enclitic that need not be attached to the verb and can also be attached to any other word in the clause. In Urartian, the ergative suffixes and the absolutive clitics have merged into a single set of obligatory suffixes that express the person of both the ergative and the absolutive participant and are an integral part of the verb. In general, the profusion of freely moving pronominal and conjunctional clitics that characterize Hurrian, especially that of the Mitanni letter, has few parallels in Urartian. Urartian is closer to the so-called Old Hurrian variety (mostly attested in Hittite documents) than to the Hurrian of the Mitanni letter. For example, both use -o-/-u- (rather than -i-) as the marker of transitive valency and both display the plural suffix -it-, expressing the number of the ergative subject and occupying a position before the valency marker.[7][8][9][10]

Hurro-Urartian languages


[1] Igor M. Diakonoff, Sergei A. Starostin. "Hurro-Urartian and East Caucasian Languages", Ancient Orient. Ethnocultural Relations. Moscow, 1988, pp. 164-207 http:/ / starling. rinet. ru/ Texts/ hururt. pdf [2] Arnaud Fournet (June 2011). "The Kassite Language In a Comparative Perspective with Hurrian and Urartean". The Macro-Comparative Journal 2 (1): 119. [3] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Hurrian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.81 [4] http:/ / www. iranicaonline. org/ articles/ mannea [5] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Urartian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.105 [6] John A. C. Greppin; I. M. Diakonoff, Some Effects of the Hurro-Urartian People and Their Languages upon the Earliest Armenians, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 111, No. 4 (Oct., 1991), pp. 720-730 [7] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Hurrian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.81-104 [8] Wilhelm, Gernot. 2008. Urartian. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Asia Minor. P.105-123 [9] Wegner, I. 2000. Einfhrung in die hurritische Sprache. [10] . . . , . 1967. I. IV. . .113-165

External links
Hurro-Urartean languages page in the MultiTree Project at the LINGUIST List ( huru).

Hursag (URSAG, AR.SAG, kharsag) is a Sumerian term meaning "mountain" or "hill".[1][2][3][4] Mountains play a certain role in Mesopotamian mythology and Assyro-Babylonian religion, associated with deities such as Anu, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursag. Sumerian URSAG is written as a special ligature (PAxGN ), but sometimes also etymologized as AR.SAG (), written with the signs AR "mountain" and SAG "head",[5] (='mountaintop'). There is a clear association of Ziggurats with mountains. E-khar-sag-kurkura (.AR.SAG.KUR.KUR-a "house of the mountain of all lands") was the name of several temples, besides Ekur (.KUR "the mountain house") at Nippur, and others. Morris Jastrow, Jr. interprets Kharsag-Kurkura "the mountains of all lands" as originally referring to the Earth itself, placing the association of specific mountain peaks with the birthplace of the gods in a later period.[6] The word is used as part of such Sumerian phrases as e-hursag; "House of the Mountains" or a name of Ninhursag's temple at Hi-za, Shulgi's temple at Ur, originally a secular building that was also known as e-nam-ti-la. Other phrases include e-hur-sag-an-ki-a; "House, Mountain of Heaven and Underworld", e-hur-sag-an-na; "House, Mountain of Heaven", e-hur-sag-ga; "House of the Mountains" - a temple listed in Kagal Bog, e-hur-sag-gal-kur-kur-ra; "House of the Great Mountain of the Lands" - a cella of Assur, e-hur-sag-galam-ma; &q