I’ve been looking at the work of the several scribes from Ugarit, among them Na’amrašap. He was not only a scribe but the father of scribes. We have several of his mature works. But we may also have one of his student efforts and a very good one at that. It as a badly broken Middle Bronze Age version of the Atrahasis flood story. Nougayrol, 300, called it “Récit du déluge.” The tablet’s excavation number is RS 22.421. It comes from just north of House of the Tablets where many classical school texts were uncovered. While Nougayrol was very aggressive in reconstructing much of the text, I have taken a more conservative approach. Judging from Nougayrol’s, autograph, Na’amrašap hand was almost dainty with his signs sharp and well spaced. I did look at Nougayrol, 302-302, and Foster, 255, here and there. The small sections of text with translation follow the sections marked off by scribe lines on the tablet. Here’s my version of the text and translation.
Obverse [beginning of first column, it is all but certain that there were other column(s)]
1) [e]-mu-ma DINGIR.MEŠ (ilānu) im[-ta(?)-]lik-ku mil-kà
2) i-na KUR.MEŠti (mātāti) a-bu-ba [i]š-ku-nu
3) i-na ki-ib-ra-ti
When the gods took counsel
concerning the lands, they created a flood
in the world regions.
4) (too damaged to make much sense of)
5) i [ . . . . . . . ] Éti (bīti) dé.a ina libbi-š[n-nu(?)
[ ] house (temple) of Ea in his heart.
6) ma[t-]ra-am-ḫa-sí-sum-mi a-na-ku[-am(?)]
7) i-n[a] É (bīti) dé.a ina EN-ia (bēliya) aš-ba[-ku? ]
8) kà(?)-la-ma i-d[e4 ( ?) . ]
“I am Atarhasis,
I was staying in the house of Ea, my lord.
I [knew] everything [ . ]
9) i-de4 mil-kà ša DINGIR.MEŠ (ilāni) ra-ab-bu-ti [ . . ]
10) i-de4 ma-mì-it-šu-nu ù ú-ul [ . . ]
11) i[ ?-p]a-at-tu-ú a-na ia-a-š[i]
“I knew of the counsel of the great gods,
I knew of the oath, and [?]
they would not reveal it to me.
12) a-ma-ti-šu-nu a-na ki-i[k-] ku-[ši(?)]
(But) their words to the reed wall
14) [i-]ga-ru-ma ši-m[ì ? ? ? ?]
15) (too damaged to make much sense of)
[gap of unknown number or lines and/or columns]
“Wall, hear, [ ]
Reverse [last column, indication of other column(s) now missing]
[unknown number of previous lines in the column]
1’) [ . . . . . . t]i(?) DINGIR[.MEŠ (?)] ba-l[a–ṭu-ma(?)]
2’) [ . . . a]t(?)-ta DAMka (aššatka) e[ . . . . .]
3’) [ . . . . ]?-a tuk-la-at ù ? [ . . . ]
4’ k[i-]i DINGIR.MEŠ ba-la-ṭa lu-ú [ . . . . ]
[ ] the gods li[fe ]
[ ] your wife [ ]
[ ] help and [ ]
Life like the gods [you will] indeed [possess]”
5’) ŠU mSIG5–dGÌR.UNU.GAL
6’) S[A]G dŠU.GAR.DURU2.NA
(By) the hand of Na’amrašap
Servant of ŠU.GAR.DURU2.NA
Among the more abnormally interesting aspects of this version is that Atrahasis appears to tell the story of the flood in the first person.
Just by its fragmentary nature this text presents problems. The only one that I will discuss here is in line 8. Nougayrol reads ú-š[e-l]a-ma i? [ . ] and renders it (M’y) ayant monter, il (?) [ . . ], something like, “Having (me) take up (there), it . . “ He apparently takes ú-š[e-l]a-ma to be a Š stem (causitive) on elû, “to go up,” plus enclitic -ma. As an alternative he suggests, “J‘(y) présente (des offrandes), et,” “I present (offerings).” While I’m not completely sure how Foster read the Akkadian, he translates it “I know everything.*” The * tells me that there is a note on the text but I sure can’t find it. I’m not claiming that the note isn’t there, I’m only saying I can’t find it in the conglomeration of notes on pages 278-289. I really dislike the way this book deals with notes on the text. But that’s another story. Based on his translation, I think Foster reads the line more or less as I do.
Anyway, I base my own reading on Nougayrol’s autograph. In places, the tablet is badly abraded. The sign(s) before -la-ma in line 8 appear to be particularly obscure. That said, instead of seeing, ú-še-la-ma, I see, kà-la-ma. From there it isn’t much of a stretch to read, with the appropriate amount of humility, kà(?)-la-ma i-d[e4 ( ?) . ] and relate this line with lines 9 and 10.
Van Soldt, 181, has an interesting discussion of Na’amrašap and his family. Among the several other Akkadian texts prepared by Na’amrašap is RS 18.20 + 17.371 (PRU IV, 202). RS 18.20 + is a judicial ruling involving the king of Ugarit. At the time of publication Nougayrol didn’t understand exactly how to interpret Na’amrašap’s name. He took it to be Na’amnergal rather than Na’amrašap. For reasons that I will not go into here, the mistake is understandable, perhaps inevitable.
Update: September 3, 2010
Jim Davila was kind enough to link to this post and let us know of his own work on the text (see below). His paper references a note by Borger, 189, concerning obverse line 8. Back in 1970, Borger read the text as I did the other day. Jim also gives several other bibliographical references that I have added below. He also provides a few privately communicated observations from William Moran. Since I may be referencing this text in a more formal venue, i.e. not a blog, it is good to start gathering bibliography now.
Weirdly, Jim seems more interested in the text of this tablet than its scribe: things like the text portraying Atrahasis as a priest living in the temple of Ea. But he does make one important observation about the text that speaks at least indirectly to the question of a possible student scribe. The dialect of the text is Old Babylonian. Jim cites ú-ul in support of this observation. But the ductus and providence of the tablet is Middle Babylonian.
Update: September 4, 2010
At the kind suggestion of Manfried Dietrich, I have added Kämmerer’s book to the references.
Borger, Rykle “Notes brèves” Revue d’Assyriologie, 64 (1970), 189
Davila, James R., “The Flood Hero as King and Priest,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 53 (1995): 199-214, here 205-206
Foster, Benjamin R., Before The Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature, 3rd ed, Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 2005
Kämmerer, Thomas R., ‘Šimâ milka’. Induktion und Reception der mittelbabylonischen Dichtung von Ugarit, Emār und Tell el-`Amarna, Alter Orient und Altes Testament, 251, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1998., here 102, 168-170
Lambert, W G; A R Millard; Miguel Civil, Atra-Hasis: the Babylonian story of the Flood,, Oxford: Clarendon, 1969, 131-133
Nougayrol, Jean, Le Palais Royal d’Ugarit IV, Textes Accadiens des Archives Sud, Mission de Ras Shamra, IX, Claude Schaeffer, ed; Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1956, here 202-203 and pl. LXXX
Nougayrol, Jean, “Textes Suméro-Accadiens des Archives et Bibliothèques Privées d’Ugarit,” Ugaritica V, Mission de Ras Shamra, XVI, Paris: P. Geuthner, 1968, 1-446, here 300-304, 441, #167
Soldt, W. H. van, “Babylonian Lexical, Religious and Literary Texts, and Scribal Education at Ugarit and its Implications for the Alphabetic Literary Texts,” Ugarit: ein ostmediterranes Kulturzentrum in Alten Orient: Ergebnisse und Perspektiven der Forshung, Dietrich and Loretz eds., Abhandlungen zur Literatur Alt-Syrien-Palästinas; Bd. 7, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1995, 171-212