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Abstract

Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions are always narrated in the first-person voice of the king. Within this framing narrative, the device that we would call ‘direct speech’ is used only rarely, and judiciously. The texts that make the greatest use of this literary device both come from a period of particular innovation and experimentation in royal text forms: Esarhaddon’s Nineveh A and Ashurbanipal’s narratives about his campaign against Elamite king Teumman. In these examples, and in other texts of the time including Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty, the words of enemies stand out as particularly threatening – and yet also particularly useful, as a literary device employed to further Assyrian agendas. Royal narratives use enemy speech for one of two purposes: either to document criminality, or to show enemies, in defeat and despair, testifying to the might and rightness of their Assyrian conquerors. Looking at all examples of speech – from enemies, gods, and the Assyrian king – I distinguish between ‘direct speech’ (as a literary device) and ‘quotation’ (as a practice). Most, though not all, direct speech in the sources considered here is also quotation, in that it seeks to document and preserve speech made in some other prior form (a verbal statement, a letter, an omen on an animal’s liver). Quotations demonstrate royal legitimacy and enemy culpability, while literary invention allows enemy voices to be turned to new purposes, as forced testament to Assyrian supremacy.

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Abstract

This article treats a composition that was probably dedicated to Nergal, a god with a long cultic tradition in ancient Mesopotamia who was mainly related to war and death. The text was first edited by Böhl (1949; 1953: 207–216, 496–497), followed by Ebeling (1953: 116–117). Later, Seux (1976: 85–88) and Foster (2005: 708–709) translated and commented upon it. I will present a new reading of the invocation on the tablet’s upper edge, which confirms that the tablet originated in Uruk during the Hellenistic period. Furthermore, I will discuss the many Neo-Babylonian and Late Babylonian grammatical elements of this composition. The high frequency of these elements, typical of the vernacular language, is unusual for a literary text and suggests that not only the tablet, but also the composition of the text stems from the first millennium BCE, and perhaps, just like the tablet, from Hellenistic Uruk. The purpose of this contribution is, therefore, to show through an analysis of this text, that the conservative and poetic literary language was reworked and adapted to the cultural situation of the late period in Mesopotamian literary production.

Abstract

This paper examines a remarkable variation in the new manuscript of En-metena 1 (RIME 1.9.5.1) kept in the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq: a left-dislocated genitive construction is replaced by a simple genitive construction. Also, the manuscript shortens the text in a number of places. The paper reviews other known examples of text abridgements in royal inscriptions of the 3rd millennium BC and suggests that the composers of these inscriptions used similar techniques to manipulate the texts according to their function and use as the scribes who wrote the Assyrian royal inscriptions of the 1st millennium. The new manuscript provides a rare opportunity to observe a scribe who adapts an already existing text using his linguistic competence.

Abstract

Neo-Assyrian letters are a broad and interesting corpus of data to investigate how ancient Assyrians dealt with the manufacture of statues, the shaping of royal and divine effigies, and the final arrangement of sculptures. This paper aims to analyse the ritual and practical aspects of the making of images in the Neo-Assyrian period with reference to this corpus of letters, which reveals how Assyrian kings, officials and sculptors worked together for this purpose. It explores the role of the personnel involved, the process of the creation, and the final display of statues. Based on the interplay of texts and archaeological data, the study reveals the intense activity of making statues of gods and kings in Assyria, with the administration supervising both projects for new statues and the maintenance of already existing ones.

Abstract

The rock reliefs of Sirkeli represent an important testimony among the Hittite monuments with hieroglyphic inscriptions. In addition to the relief of King Muwatalli, a second relief was identified in 1994, whose hieroglyphic inscription seemed irretrievably lost. Based on a cooperation between the Swiss Archaeological Mission at Sirkeli and the Centro Interistituzionale Euromediterraneo of the University Suor Orsola in Naples, a 3D survey with technologically advanced instruments was carried out in 2017. This contribution presents the first results of this project and the new perspectives that they offer for further research.

Abstract

This article discusses the use of the sign <URBS> (L.225) in Anatolian Hieroglyphic. In particular, it analyzes the attestations and contexts of use of the sign employed in combination with <mi> (L.391) (§ 2). It is well-known that the self-standing sign <URBS> was used as a determinative for city names, while the form with ligature +MI was employed as a logogram. A systematic analysis of the Anatolian Hieroglyphic corpus shows that this convention was very consistent. This article provides an updated corpus of attestations of the logographic usage; it is also shown that a less common form of this sign combination, without ligature (<URBS-MI>), was an alternative logographic writing in the early stage of the script, but the form with ligature (<URBS+MI>) became the standard after the 12th century. Possible exceptions to this convention and other inconsistent or problematic uses are discussed (§ 3). Conclusions include some considerations on the possible phonetic quality of the ligature +MI, and on the form of the Luwian word for “city” (§ 4). The final section discusses the use of the sign <URBS> in the spelling of the name Mursili, in light of the present analysis (§ 5).

Abstract

The paper explores the uses of the Sumerian expression ser 3 -ku 3, with a view to clarifying its sense.1 It argues that there are two main uses, ‘incantation’ and ‘hymn’, probably correlating respectively with one-word (‘univerbated’) and two-word incarnations of the expression. This hypothesis finds support in the phrase’s loan and translation into Babylonian.

Footnotes

1

The paper arises from my study of Babylonian šerkugû, which I argue to have the meaning ‘incantation’ (see fn. 16). This is a loan from Sumerian *ser 3 -ku 3 -ga. The form with -ga (arising from the addition of the ‘adjectival a’ to ku 3 .g ‘holy, pure’) is not currently attested in Sumerian. (I thank Pascal Attinger, pers. comm., for the observation that apparent attestations of ser 3 -ku 3 -ga, e.g. in Martu A 58, are in fact locatives in -a). It does however occur in spellings of Babylonian šerkugû (CAD Š/2, 316b).

Abstract

This paper studies some Cilician names attested in Greek sources that contain the element ζαρμα-. The two main interpretative hypotheses – a connection to Luwian zalma-, or a connection to the god name Šarruma/Šarma- – are critically analysed. The conclusion reached is that while the ambiguity of ζαρμα- cannot be resolved, it is highly likely that both -sarma and -zarma really existed as different elements in the formation of personal names in Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian. There was probably a tendency towards confusion between -sarma and -zarma, caused by phonological proximity and semantic crossing of certain names.