January 15, 2006

The Cuneiform Short Alphabet: Part 7.

Inscription on a Knife from Tabor Valley, Wadi Bire: KTU 6.1 (IAA 44.318, Yeivin [1945])

This is the seventh in my series of studies of the texts in the short cuneiform alphabet. You can find the first study, "Amurriyu's Sacrifice to Baal: KTU 1.77" and a table of contents directing you to the other studies at The Cuneiform Short Alphabet: Part 1. Along with Part 1 is a brief discussion of the short cuneiform alphabet, a discussion of methodology and a disclaimer in which I advise the reader on my qualifications or lack of same to study these texts. Please read this material.

KTU 6.1: A Inscription on a Knife from Tabor Valley, Wadi Bire

KTU 6.1 is inscribed on a broken single edged bronze knife blade. It was found, out of archeological context, in the Wadi Bire. The text is written from left to right. A small portion of the text has been damaged by corrosion. Its place of manufacture is unknown and, at present, unknowable. Dietrich and Loretz (1988), 244, suggest that it may have been made in northern Palestine and argue that it was likely not made at Ugarit. Beyond that little can be said.

Transcription, Transliteration and Translation:

KTU 6.1 Tracing
ls2lb‛l bpls2b‛l
Belonging to Şillība'lu son of Pulsiba'lu

The red portion of the transcription is reconstructed. The black portion of the transcription is actually my tracing made over an electronically enhanced version of the photograph of KTU 6.1 published in S. Yeivin (1945), pl. 3:2 with reference to two other published photographs. The line width of the tracing is exaggerated. See the accompanying PDF file for a detailed explanation of this tracing as well as the basis for my transliteration and translation.

I wrote about one of the problems with this text in an earlier post. I have expanded on those comments in the PDF file. My conclusion is that b meaning "son (of)" is the result of the assimilation of the n in the more common bn. In this text we see a new sign, somewhat related to a similar sign in the long cuneiform alphabet. I call this sign s2 and, following others, suggest that it stands for the sound of both the ס and the צ. Again, I explain my reasons in the PDF file.

The date and place of manufacture of this knife blade is unknown except to say that it was likely made in northern Palestine in the 14th or 13th century BCE. But even this is disputable. The writing style is specially adapted to engraving on metal rather than impressing in clay.

At this time, I am withholding judgment as to whether or not this text is part of the same suite of alphabet texts that I have referred to as having been written in the short cuneiform alphabet.

Posted by DuaneSmith at January 15, 2006 03:06 PM | Read more on Ugarit |

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