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A new exemplar of Ludlul bēl nēmeqi Tablet I from Birmingham 1

  • W. Horowitz and W. G. Lambert

Extract

In the early 1980s a group of cuneiform tablets formerly in the collection of Sir Henry Wellcome housed at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum arrived at the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery. The majority of these tablets were Ur III administrative texts that were published in Birmingham Cuneiform Tablets I–II. Other tablets in the collection included Old Akkadian, Old Babylonian and Late Babylonian documents, a Shulgi plaque, clay cones, inscribed bricks, a small group of astronomical texts, and a few unidentified miscellaneous tablets and fragments. One of these unidentified fragments turned out to be a hitherto unknown exemplar of Ludlul Bēl Nēmeqi Tablet I, and is the occasion of the current study.

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1

The authors would like to thank Mr Philip J. Watson for his ongoing co-operation in the publication of the Birmingham Museum tablets, and the Trustees of the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery for permission to study and publish the Ludlul Bēl Nēmeqi fragment below. The authors also wish to thank the Trustees of the British Museum and the Vorderasiatisches Museum for permission to study and publish tablets in their collection. W. Horowitz expresses his gratitude to the American Philosophical Society for a research grant that made a visit to Berlin possible; Dr J. Marzahn and Mr C. B. F. Walker for their co-operation in this project; and Vince and Maghread for their hospitality in Birmingham and Leeds. The photographs of the Birmingham tablets were taken by Mr David Bailey of the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery.

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2 Watson, P. J., Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Birmingham Museum I. Neo-Sumerian Texts from Drehem (1986) and II. Neo-Sumerian Texts from Umma and Other Sites (1993). For Vol. I cf. Horowitz, W. and Watson, P., “Further Notes on Birmingham Cuneiform Tablets Vol. 1”, ASJ 13 (1991) 409–17. For the pre-Wellcome cuneiform materials at Birmingham see George, A. R., “Cuneiform Texts in the Birmingham City Museum”, Iraq 41 (1979) 121–40 and Walker, C. B. F., Cuneiform Brick Inscriptions, The British Museum, London (1981).

3 See Jursa, M., “Neu- und spätbabylonische Texte aus den Sammlungen der Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery,” Iraq 59 (1997) 97174 .

4 Watson, P. J., “A Stone Foundation Plaque of Shulgi in Birmingham City Museum”, RIM Annual Review 9 (1991) 27–8.

5 Horowitz, W., “Astronomical Cuneiform Texts in the Birmingham City Museum”, WGL Studies 309–14.

6 The editio princeps of Ludlul Bēl Nēmeqi remains that of Lambert, W. G. in Babylonian Wisdom Literature 2162 with additions in ibid. 343–5. An updated edition of parts of Ludlul I with a new exemplar from Nimrud was published by Wiseman, D. J., “A New Text of the Babylonian Poem of the Righteous Sufferer”, AnSt 30 (1980) 101–7. This exemplar was then republished with the same copy and a photograph in Wiseman, D. J. and Black, J., Literary Texts from the Temple of Nabû, CTN IV (1996) No. 201 . More recently A. R. George and F. N. H. Al-Rawi published an edition of a nearly complete exemplar of Ludlul I from Sippar in their article Tablets from the Sippar Library VII. Three Wisdom Texts”, Iraq 60 (1998) 187201 . For further bibliography to Ludlul Bēl Nēmeqi and exemplars to Tablet I see George, and Al-Rawi, , Iraq 60 187 n. 2.

7 The second name, Ina-Esagil-zēr[u], does not prove that the provenience of the tablet is Babylon since names of this type are occasionally found on tablets from other cities. Note for example Cyr. 313: 2 , Dar. 50: 4 from Sippar. For examples of names Ina-Esagil-… see Tallqvist NBN 76–7 and more recently OECT 10 p. 22 (from Kish?); Jursa, M., Iraq 59 (1997) 130 no. 50: 4 (in the Wellcome group at Birmingham), originally from the Esagil archive at Babylon (see Iraq 59 99, 129 ). For the colophon see below p. 244.

8 The sigla j, n, z below are as in BWL 29–31.

9 For example, i]r-tú-ba instead of ir-tu-ba in line 113, and long writings ḫa-at-tum, i -šá-a-tú, and e-ma-a-tum in lines 112, 114–15.

10 The British Museum and Vorderasiatisches Museum exemplars were collated by W. Horowitz during visits in 1997. New photographs of the Berlin exemplars VV and z are placed in evidence below on Fig. 1.

11 KK rev. is preserved only on K. 9810, as the reverse of K. 9392 is effaced.

12 The copy was prepared by F. N. H. Al-Rawi from the photograph, aided by a transliteration and notes that he prepared in Baghdad. Thus, the transliteration may often be the best witness to the original tablet (see Iraq 60 191–2).

13 Less likely but just possible, rab-b[a]t.

14 Ruling in VV.

15 Nim mašku, “skin,”; Si šīrū, “flesh.”

16 Emended from … m a-da-b[i-bi].

1 The authors would like to thank Mr Philip J. Watson for his ongoing co-operation in the publication of the Birmingham Museum tablets, and the Trustees of the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery for permission to study and publish the Ludlul Bēl Nēmeqi fragment below. The authors also wish to thank the Trustees of the British Museum and the Vorderasiatisches Museum for permission to study and publish tablets in their collection. W. Horowitz expresses his gratitude to the American Philosophical Society for a research grant that made a visit to Berlin possible; Dr J. Marzahn and Mr C. B. F. Walker for their co-operation in this project; and Vince and Maghread for their hospitality in Birmingham and Leeds. The photographs of the Birmingham tablets were taken by Mr David Bailey of the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery.

A new exemplar of Ludlul bēl nēmeqi Tablet I from Birmingham 1

  • W. Horowitz and W. G. Lambert

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