“Snakes, Why Did It Have To Be Snakes”

(With apologies to Indiana Jones)

Persian Horned Viper

This guy is a Pseudocerastes persicus, a Persian Horned Viper. While it may appear that this individual lives on a mattress, his species normally lives over a rather large range from the Sinai to Pakistan including all of Israel, Palestine and Jordon as well as parts of Syria , Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
What follows is rather boring and not really to any point. But I did like the picture of the snake, so I tried to say something abnormal about it
I’m not sure but I wonder if this is the same snake that the Babylonians and the Assyrians called MUŠ SI = ṣer qarni, literally “snake of horns.”
Of the ṣer qarni it is written in on the first line of Šumma Ālu tablet 25, “If a horned snake (MUŠ SI) is seen in a man’s house, that house [. . .]. “ Unfortunately, the punchline of this omen and the several others that mention a ṣer qarni on this same tablet (K.3674) are missing.
There is an ancient commentary that seems to relate to omens in the neighborhood of Šumma Ālu Tablet 25. In fact, it’s colophon reflects the incipit of Tablet 25. Its first line reads, “If a horned snake is seen in a man’s house and sheds (ŠUB-di) it horns: ŠUB : na-d[u-ú] (Funck 2:1).” ŠUB : na-d[u-ú] tells the reader that the ŠUB sign should be read as some form of the verb nadû, “to takeoff” (also “to pour” and the like). The colon represents a gloss sign. What is abnormal but not very interesting about this is that the phonetic complement -di would have removed virtually any ambiguity concerning how ŠUB should be understood. But then, perhaps the actual omen on which this comment is a comment didn’t have the phonetic determinative.
The above photo is courtesy of Al Coritz. It is licensed under the terms of a GNU Free Documentation License and I got it from Wikipedia.