Sealed And Delivered

The other day Glen Gordon, proprietor of Paleoglot and frequent commenter here, called our attention to a collection of images of things ancient provided by Holly Pittman of the University of Pennsylvania. An image of a cylinder seal impression on a tablet said to be from Emar looked very familiar. Now, I don’t recognized seal impressions very often. In fact, this is the first time! But in this case, that same seal impression is on an Akkadian tablet from Ugarit whose cast in dental plaster sits on one of our library shelves. Güterbock, 21-24,121, published this seal in 1956. It is known from at least four Akkadian tablets from Ugarit (RS 17.128, 17.334, 17.352 and the one whose cast is on our shelf).

cast of RS 1957.1 on my shelf

Here’s Pittman’s picture of the reverse of the tablet from Emar.


Here’s Güterbock’s, 23, autograph of the same seal supposedly from RS 17.128 (but that’s another story).

Ini-Teshub’s seal

Reading the columns from right to left and top to bottom (or rotating it 90 degrees counter clockwise and reading it from top to bottom) it says,
na4KIŠIB mi-ni-dU
LUGAL KURkar-ga-miš
ÌR dKu-ba-ba
DUMU mša-ḫu-ru-wa
UR.SAG (below the god’s left elbow)
Or in translation:
Seal of Ini-Teshub,
king of Carchemish,
servant of Kubaba,
son of Sahurunuwa,
grandson of Sarri-Kusuh,
great grandson of Suppiluliuma,
the great king, king of Hatti,
the hero. (below the god’s left elbow)
To the left of the god, below its right arm, is dLUGAL.MA, “Sarruma.” Note that Sarruma is the god depicted on the seal while main text on the seal says that Ini-Teshub is the servant of the goddess Kubaba.
I have emailed Professor Pittman to get a proper reference for the Emar tablet. She pictures only the reverse of the tablet. Of the Akkadian text proper on the reverse, I can read nearly nothing of the first line on the picture: a few signs at the beginning of the line but most of it is lost around the bottom (top in this view) edge of the tablet. The next line is broken but I think restorable and the line before the seal is clear. In my reading these last two lines say,
ša i-ra-gu-[um tup-pu a]n-nu-ú
Whoever sues, this tablet
will prevail against him.
This formula, with some variations, is common in legal documents from Ugarit, Emar and Boghazkoi. Because of the sign alignment between these two lines, at firstI thought that the tablet was actually RS 17.128 from Ugarit and not Emar. RS 17.128 has the same seal in the same position and ends in the same way. But what little I can read of first line in the photo does not seem to match the comparable line in RS 17.128 and the bottom edge (top in this view) of the Emar tablet seems to have more damage than does RS 17.128. But I am still wondering.
Loren Fisher, 11-21, originally published the tablet whose cast resides on our bookshelf as RS 1957.1. It was and, to my mind, still is as part of the Claremont Ras Shamra Tablets. However, it is now resides in the private Schøyen collection.

Fisher, Loren R., ed., The Claremont Ras Shamra Tablets (Analecta Orientalia 48; Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1971)
Güterbock, H. G., “Matériaix Pour l’Étude des Relations Entre Ugarit et le Hatti” in Ugaritica III (Claude Schaeffer, ed; Mission de Ras Shamra, VIII; Paris: Geuthner, 1956), 1-165.
Nougayrol, Jean, Textes Accadiens des Archives Sud, Le Palais Royal d’Ugarit IV (PRU IV; Claude Schaeffer, ed; Mission de Ras Shamra, IX; Paris: Kinchsieck, 1956)