Akkadian Archive

April 9, 2014

The Color of Plaster - Oh My

It’s been a long time since I posted so I thought I’d post something abnormal if not abnormally interesting. Here are five omens from Šumma ālu tablet 6:28-32 DIŠ É si-ir-šu BABBAR UKÚ-in If a house’s plaster is white -...

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July 14, 2013

I’m A Footnote

Alice Mouton and Ian Rutherford mentioned my paper “Portentous Birds Flying West” in their article “Luwian Religion, A Research Project: The Case of ‘Hittite’ Augury” Here’s what they said, “Smith forthcoming will argue that such bird oracles have close parallels...

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May 16, 2013

This Paper Is For The Birds

My paper “Portentous Birds Flying West: On the Mesopotamian Origin of Homeric Bird-Divination,” (JANER 13:1 [2013], 49-85) is now out. It’s available if you’d like to see it. Considering how long it has taken for this paper to see the...

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May 14, 2013

Fighting Eagles

The Duluth News Tribute reports, Two adult bald eagles made an unplanned landing on the tarmac at the Duluth International Airport on Sunday. The two birds had locked talons in mid-air and couldn’t get separated before they crashed to the...

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April 6, 2013

The Scribal Art As Axis Mundi?

My underlying question in this post is how much of the context supporting one portion of a word's semantic range is normally carried over into another context where the word has a somewhat different meaning. Note I am talking about...

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March 5, 2013

Help With Hurrian!

Does anyone have access to Emmanuel Laroche, Glossaire de la langue hourrite, (Études et commentaires, 93 ; Paris: Klincksieck, 1980) or Revue hittite et asianique, 34 and 35? They amount to the same thing. Supposedly, the nearest library with this...

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January 9, 2013

On Opening Eyes

I was looking for something else when I ran across an idiomatic use of Akkadian īnu, "eye," with petû, "to open." For example, e-ni-a pì-tí, “make me happy (literally, “open my eyes”); or bēlšu īnāšu ipete, “its (a field's) owner...

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December 22, 2012

Ancient Mesopotamia Online

Charles Jones and Charles Halton tell us that A. Leo Oppenheim’s Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization is now available free online. Written by Oppenheim in 1964 and, based largely on Oppenheim’s notes, revised by Erica Reiner in 1977,...

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December 17, 2012

Shekels For Sticks and Stones

This post on an obscure Akkadian word on an even more obscure tablet from Ugarit is only for those with truly abnormal interests. Those with only normal abnormal interests are advised to spend your time some other way. Exactly what...

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August 29, 2012

The Šumma Ālu Equine Omens

Finally, I have a more or less presentable draft of my on and off again work on the Šumma Ālu equine omens. You can download the Akkadian text, my normalization, translation with notes in a PDF file. If all you...

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August 25, 2012

The Structure Of The Equine Omens Of Šumma Ālu

I’m cleaning up my work on the equine omens of Šumma Ālu. I’ll be posting them sometime soon. The work is based on CT 40 33-37 and a few duplicates. Following Freedman, I take these omens to be from Šumma...

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August 17, 2012

The Problem With Raging Or Lethargic Horses

I’m back to messing around with the equine omens of Šumma Ālu. This work reminds me of how much I hate lacunae. Here’s every readable and nearly readable sign in CT 40 35-37(K. 3836+7211 +) obv.:51. DIŠ NUN GIŠ.GIGIR U5-ma...

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August 6, 2012

Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 64, Available

The latest edition of Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 64 (2012), is now available online. Unfortunately the options are subscription or JSTOR's Current Scholarship Program. Of the several abnormally interesting papers, I think Jean-Jacques Glassner’s « Droit et divination: deux manières...

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July 14, 2012

Getting Two For The Price Of One

An abnormally interesting class of Akkadian omen has more than one target in its apodosis. Here’s an example from CT 40 33-34 (K. 3886+6819)11’ -12’: [DIŠ ANŠ]E iš-še-gu-ma NITÁ-šu ú lu ÙŠ-sà KÚ / LUGAL KUR-su BAL-su BA BI É-su...

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July 11, 2012

On Discredited Rulers And Earthquakes

Is there a difference? But first, our text of the day (Isaiah 8:21b): וְקִלֵּל בְּמַלְכּוֹ וּבֵאלֹהָיו, “He shall belittle (?) his king and his divine beings.” More on that later. Akkadian omens often have complex layered portents. CT 40 35-37(K....

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July 8, 2012

Sometimes A Chariot Is Just A Chariot

In his abnormally helpful Lexicon Companion (I write in shorthand), Tawil, 224, notes that Hebrew מֶרְכָּבָה and Akkadian narkabtu are cognates. Of the several examples he provides to show parallel usage, I found two abnormally interesting. First he notes Micah...

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July 1, 2012

Everlasting Grief, You Know, Profit

As a diversion from something else, I continue to work my way through the equine omens of Šumma Ālu. That means working my way through the chariot omens of Šumma Ālu including those that don’t mention horses or donkeys at...

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June 29, 2012

A Scorpion On A Jar From Tell es-Safi And Some Possibly Unrelated Stuff

Yesterday, Aren Maeir posted a report of his and his team’s publication of an abnormally interesting jug fragment - several nicely joined sherds – from Late Bronze Age Tell es-Safi. The jar has a depiction of a scorpion along with...

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June 24, 2012

The Case Of A Missing Line

I almost called this post “A Text Critical Laboratory” because of what we can learn from omen series about certain classes of text critical problems. Most of the omens in the first 22 lines of CT 40 35-37(K. 3836+7211+) fill...

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June 23, 2012

Be Careful On That Chariot – Misfortune Could Come Of It

More as a matter of diversion than anything else, I’m back working on the equine omens from Šumma Ālu. Each of these omens is abnormally interesting and each has its own set of problems. Here’s an example from what is...

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June 4, 2012

Gilgamesh In Rap

Gilgamesh from The Canterbury Tales Remixed by Baba Brinkman is abnormal; so I like it. Listen to it. You may find it abnormally interesting. Gilgamesh by Baba Brinkman You can find the lyrics as Baba Brinkman’s website. Via Jack Sasson’s...

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June 1, 2012

When A Horse Neighs

[Note, the core of what follows is speculation and not even all that learned speculation. I am far from an expert on Herodotus or Persian (or Greek) omens. For this post I have not consulted any secondary material beyond a...

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May 27, 2012

On Hares Born To Mares And Hermaphroditic Offspring

In preparation for a mid-summer excursion Shirley and I are reading Herodotus. She’s quite a bit ahead of me. Last night she pointed out the following from 7:57:1-2. When all had passed over and were ready for the road, a...

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April 19, 2012

Talking About Šumma Ālu

I’m not the only one who talks about Šumma Ālu and Šumma Izbu; so does Marie-Françoise Besnier. In fact, she will be talking about both on Thursday 26 April 2012 at Cambridge. Her topic is “Textual transmission and hypertextuality in...

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April 18, 2012

A Missing Šumma ālu Snake Tablet?

Using Freedman’s reconstruction of the tablet numbers in series Šumma ālu, tablets 22 to 26 deal with snakes and tablets 30 to 31 deal with scorpions. Nothing is known of tablets 27 to 29. Tablet 22, and not in all...

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April 13, 2012

Bad News For A King Or Prince

In case you are a king or a prince, I thought you might like to know the following: “If a king or a prince rides a chariot and the right wheel - the one on [his right] - collapses or...

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April 10, 2012

Syrian Digital Library of Cuneiform

Amid all the death and destruction, The General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums of the Syrian Ministry of Culture has announced the online Syrian Digital Library of Cuneiform, part of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). The CDLI hosted website,...

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April 3, 2012

Donkeys and Horses Acting Badly

Truly abnormal readers might enjoy two equid omens from Assur. They comprise the first two readable lines of tablet VAT 10505 +, as publisjhed in Heessel’s, Divinatorische Texte I, # 6. Heessel, 27, reconstructed the tablet, including these two omens...

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April 2, 2012

Free Access To ASOR Current Content

Charles Jones reports that current content from Near Eastern Archaeology, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research and the Journal of Cuneiform Studies is available through MyJSTOR. “Current content” means the last four years. Of course, the MyJSTOR restrictions...

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March 23, 2012

How Many Šumma Ālu Tablets Were There?

Why is any of this important? Well, on Monday afternoon at the Pacific Coast Regional meeting of the SBL, I’m going to tell those gathered that there were at least 120 tablets in series Šumma Ālu and I’d prefer not...

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Titles Only From Here On

March 15, 2012

God and Man in Akkadian and Hebrew Prayers

March 7, 2012

Ominous Or Obvious

February 14, 2012

“The Birds in the Iliad”

February 12, 2012

The “Doctrine Of The Terms”

February 11, 2012

A Scribal Value

February 6, 2012

The Origin Of Divination – Part 2

February 4, 2012

The Origin Of Divination – Part 1

February 2, 2012

Columbia University Tablets Online

January 29, 2012

New Images of Cuneiform Tablets

January 28, 2012

Who? Me?

January 27, 2012

In Your Mouth And In Your ????

January 25, 2012

The Semantics of Good (And Evil)

January 13, 2012

Late Babylonian – Yuck!

January 11, 2012

“Snakes, Why Did It Have To Be Snakes”

January 8, 2012

Remembering Their Lessons

January 4, 2012

If Your Teacher Asks You

January 3, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different – Extispicy

January 1, 2012

Mating Snakes

December 27, 2011

When A Snake Is A Harbinger of Peace Or A Son

December 20, 2011

A Yowling Cat

December 19, 2011

When A Written Work Was Written

December 13, 2011

The Problem With Snakes

November 25, 2011

Latest ZA Is Out

November 14, 2011

Akkadian Cognate List

November 9, 2011

Wilfred Lambert Dead

November 7, 2011

The Alphabet And Literacy

November 6, 2011

Why Bother Tracking Down References?

November 3, 2011

On Name Calling

October 24, 2011

Gezer Preliminary Report

October 17, 2011

Yield Not To Temptation

October 10, 2011

Aḥiqar: The Wolf And The Snake

October 9, 2011

The Wren/Mosquito And The Elephant

October 8, 2011

Quick Thinking

October 7, 2011

SB Gilgamesh Score Online

October 4, 2011

Did Akkadian Omens “Speak”?

September 23, 2011

The Melammu Project

September 22, 2011

The Divine Mind Is Remote

September 15, 2011

Beyond A Merely Antiquarian Interest

August 5, 2011

I Almost Made A Giant Error

July 26, 2011

Online Collaborative Research: A Chronographic Document

July 25, 2011

Finally: Reading Akkadian Prayers and Hymns: An Introduction

July 21, 2011

On Reading Akkadian Prayers and Actually Reading Texts

July 16, 2011

Esarhaddon Royal Inscriptions Online

July 10, 2011

Just How Often Did This Come Up?

July 1, 2011

Akkadian Prayers and Hymns Now Almost Available

June 22, 2011

Jerusalem / Salem: One more Time

June 9, 2011

June ZA Now Available

May 27, 2011

3D Printable Tablet Replications Ready For Download

May 19, 2011

So You Think Our Political Rhetoric Is Over The Top

May 18, 2011

It’s Not Just About The Future

May 11, 2011

Dreaming Of A Flood

April 19, 2011

An Uneventful Day

April 13, 2011

CAD U/W Is Available

April 6, 2011

Theodor Gaster Beat Me To It

April 2, 2011

Which Way Are They Facing?

March 23, 2011

The Sea People As Cultural Vectors

March 17, 2011

A Week Away For Two Months Now

March 5, 2011

On Dating Mesopotamian Influence

March 2, 2011

Ebla Archives Online

February 28, 2011

Anti-Witchcraft in Ancient Mesopotamia

February 26, 2011

Quotation From The 6th Century BCE

February 21, 2011

On Openness To Foreign Influence

February 10, 2011

It’s Not Greek To Me

February 9, 2011

A Dream As Understood By Birds

February 7, 2011

A Not So Simple Request

February 3, 2011

Send Me One Eagle Auger

January 28, 2011

The Latest ZA

January 21, 2011

A Bird Dropping A Snake – Not A Good Sign

January 3, 2011

Sad News - Riekele Borger Died A Few Days Ago

December 31, 2010

Gonzalo Rubio On Assyriology

December 28, 2010

Proofreading Akkadian Prayers

November 23, 2010

A Sumerian Descriptive Grammar

November 7, 2010

A New Scholarly Society and A Few Iconic Thoughts

November 5, 2010

A Man, His Wife And A Snake

October 28, 2010

When A Snake Doesn’t Bite