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 does GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ (uluḫḫu) mean in the Akkadian text RS 17.150+ (Ug. 5 12) from Ugarit. Nougayrol, 16, described the text thus, “Compte de sommes d’argent relative à des acquisition diverse à la charge de personnes en partie étrangères à la ville d’Ugarit. ” Which I think means something like, “Record of sums of money for various acquisitions to the account of people partly outside the city of Ugarit.” Uluḫḫu appears in the majority of the lines of this text as the designation of some such acquisition. In the text and translations below, I use – to indicate a space in the text. In nearly all but not quite all of the readable cases, the lines begin x KÙ.UD (some number [of shekels] of silver), then a blank space of about one sign width, then the MIN sign and another black space. I render the MIN sign “ditto” but it might mean “another” or “second (occurrence)” in this text. This MIN sign and space is followed by a personal name or some other indication of a specific person, sometimes with place of residence, followed finally by some kind of accounting. The MIN sign also appears several times in final part of a few lines line, sometimes repeated as many as five times in a row. That’s a problem for another time and another post.
The plurality of readable lines in this text mention GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ (uluḫḫu). Here are a few examples,
8) 1 KÙ.UD (kaspu) – MIN – mḫa-ag-ba-nu LÚ urumu-[l]u(?)-ki ša GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ (uluḫḫi) ù [ . . . ]
1 (shekel of) silver – ditto(?) – Ḫagbanu, man of Muluku (?), of stick and [?]
11) 1 KÙ.UD – M[IN – m]píl-sú-ya DUMU i[a]-an-ḫa-mi LÚ urupi(?)-di(?) ša GIŠ.[Ù.LUḪ]
[1 (shekel of) silver – ditto(?) – Pilsuya son of Ynaḫamu, man of Pidi (?), of stick
13) [x KÙ.UD – MIN – mx ] LÚ uruma-ra-ba ša GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ.MEŠ ša NA4.ga-b[é-e]
[x (shekels of) silver] – ditto – X man of Maraba, of sticks (and) of alum(?).
31) [x KÙ.UD – MIN – mṣi-id-q]a(?)-na(?) ša 1 GAL UD.KA.BAR (ZABAR, siparri) ù 50 GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ
[x (shekels of) silver – ditto – Ṣidqanu(?), of one portion(?) of bronze and (of) 50 stick(s)
So what does GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ (uluḫḫu) mean in our text? I’m not sure. Nougayrol renders GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ, “cannes.” Huehnergard, 71, renders it “cane(?).” CAD U/W, 89-90, notes that the Akkadian uluḫḫu is a Sumerian loanword and means “scepter” in most Standard Babylonian texts. But ours is not a Standard Babylonian text. Citing our text from Ugaritic, CAD tentatively renders it “stick.” AHw, 1411, provides no additional help. I adopted the CAD suggestion because it seems rather noncommittal.
A few minor points: Following Huehnergard, 348, and AHw, 1254, I read read NA4 ga-b[é-e], alum, in line 12 rather than Nougayrol’s reading of NA4 (aban).GA (šizbi), “milk stone(?).” Be that as it may, aban kurumti, another stone or stone derivative, frequently occurs in the text. Kurumti is otherwise unattested. See CAD K 579.
While I can’t make up my mind if it has any relevance to GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ (uluḫḫu) in our text, I found something else abnormally interesting. In CT 17 33:9f uluḫ (GIŠ.Ù.LUḪ) šarrûti, “royal scepter” occurs in the phrase, uluḫ šarrûti iṣṣi ezza kak la pīdi, “the royal scepter, the terrible staff, the merciless weapon (CAD I/J 215).” Those in the know will know that Akkadian iṣ(ṣ)u is cognate with Hebrew עֵץ.
There are two reasons I’m interested in the meaning of Akkadian uluḫḫu. First, I have really abnormal interests. Second, I had a wild thought that I’m not quite ready to reveal. This thought was motivated by a kind of philological free association. The last observation in the above paragraph provides a clue. While this thought process may yield something abnormal, I’m not sure it will be very interesting. This appears to be one of those cases where the journey is far more interesting than the destination.
Nougayrol, Jean, “Textes Suméro-Accadiens des Archives et Bibliothèques Privées d’Ugarit,” Ugaritica V (Mission de Ras Shamra XVI ; Paris: P. Geuthner, 1968)