As I’ve worked to develop my thoughts on SAL.É/KID.KAR in RS 8.208, I’ve gone down a several dead end roads. One of those roads was a search for a context where Ugaritic plṭ might meaningfully be taken to be a title of a skilled professional rather than a personal name. Remember the great polyglot vocabulary text from Ugarit associates KAR with Ugaritic pu-la-ṭu. My first, out of context, look at line 7 of KTU 4.374 seemed to be encouraging. It reads śģr . plṭ. Out of context this could be “the assistant of Paliṭu” or “the assistant of a/the pullatu” You may quibble with my vocalizations if you want. I wasn’t thinking of the etymology of the name or title. That’s a different and interesting road to go down. Just not the one I was traveling at the time.
In context only “the assistant of Paliṭu” holds. Here’s the text:
rcym . dt . bd . iytlm
ḫyrn . w . śģrh
śģr . bn . prsn
agpṯ . w . śģrh
mztn . w . śģrh
śģr . plṭ
sdrn . w . ṯn . śģrh
t[ ]n[ ] . w . śģrh
10. h/i[. . .]n . w . śģrh
śģr . ḫmyn
śģr . bn dll
rt(?)xxx . w
15. r śģrh
I translate the first line, “Herdsmen managed by (who are in the hand of) Iytalamu.” This is followed by a list of personal identifiers. Each line of this list has one of three forms:
- a simple proper name (l. 5);
- a proper name and unnamed assistant (“PN and his assistant”; ll. 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14-15(?));
- a designation of someone’s assistant (“the assistant of PN” or in two cases “the assistant of PN1 son of PN2”; ll. 3, 7, 11, 12, 13)
I like these administrative texts; they often have their own little surprises. What is that large r doing at the beginning of line 15? But as you see, in context, plṭ in line 7 can only be a personal name.
So it is with 99% of research. Mere ideas vanish down dead end roads. Bad ideas vanish in the when there’s no road at all. Or so they should.