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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) November 14, 2019

A Late Composition Dedicated to Nergal

  • Ludovica Cecilia EMAIL logo


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.


I thank NINO for allowing me to collate the tablet and reproduce photographs of the tablet and its upper edge. I cordially thank Kristin Kleber and Johannes Hackl for their precious and fundamental advice, suggestions and reviews of this article.


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Published Online: 2019-11-14
Published in Print: 2019-11-06

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