Cuneiform Digital Library Notes
2013:001
An Ur III Messenger text from Umma
in the Haldar collection

Jakob Andersson
Uppsala Universitet

The following text belongs to a small group of documents once owned by Alfred Ossian Haldar, Uppsala. Two Old Babylonian contracts from the same collection, previously published by Pinches in 1917, were more recently treated by the author (Andersson 2008). Nine other Ur III texts were donated by Haldar to the National Museum in Copenhagen, including a text of similar type and content as the one treated here (Halvgaard and Johansen 2004: 9). The present text is the only Ur III text remaining in the Haldar collection. When and how the tablet entered into Haldar's possession is not known.

The document is small, as is typical for a messenger text, measuring 25×25×10 mm. The writing is minuscule, and not always very careful. The scribe seems to have misjudged the space available, as every other line on the obverse contains only a personal name, and, when compared with the reverse, the lines containing only personal names are written in a large and spacious hand. The repetitive format of most of the entries is helpful, but the right edge of the document where signs tend to spill over from both the obverse and the reverse is at times hard to make out. To facilitate the access to a single source of this type, the data of which become meaningful only when seen in combination with several other documents of the same sort, an electronic publication was seen as the most meaningful.

The text dates to Šu-Suen's third regnal year and no doubt originated in Umma or its close environs, as the date formula uses the Umma calendar. It records disbursements of the usual products: beer, bread, leeks, oil, potash, flour and semolina to ten named and an unknown number of unnamed recipients. A few names may tentatively be equated with persons appearing in other Ur III Umma documents. Several hundreds of similar texts have been published and discussed in earlier literature.


Haldar 3:
obverse
 1.5 sila3 kaš 3 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga5 liters of beer, 3 liters of bread, 41.5 grams of leeks, 5 centiliters of oil, 16.6 grams of potash
 2.puzur4-[ma]-ma(to) Puzur-Mama
 3.5 sila3 kaš 3 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga5 liters of beer, 3 liters of bread, 41.5 grams of leeks, 5 centiliters of oil, 16.6 grams of potash
 4.nu-ur2-dsuen(to) Nur-Suen
 5.5 sila3 kaš 3 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga5 liters of beer, 3 liters of bread, 41.5 grams of leeks, 5 centiliters of oil, 16.6 grams of potash
 6.lu2-sa6-ga(to) Lu-Saga
 7.5 sila3 kaš 3 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga5 liters of beer, 3 liters of bread, 41.5 grams of leeks, 5 centiliters of oil, 16.6 grams of potash
 8.ku3-dnanna(to) Ku-Nanna
 9.5 sila3 kaš 3 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 [2 gin2] naga [...]5 liters of beer, 3 liters of bread, 41.5 grams of leeks, 5 centiliters of oil, [16.6 grams] of potash (to) [...]
 10.5 sila3 kaš 3 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga nun-ne25 liters of beer, 3 liters of bread, 41.5 grams of leeks, 5 centiliters of oil, 16.6 grams of potash (to) Nune
reverse
 1.3 sila3 kaš 2 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga ur-šu3 liters of beer, 2 liters of bread, 41.5 grams leeks, 5 centiliters. of oil, 16.6 grams of potash (to) Ur-šu
 2.3 sila3 kaš 2 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga al-la-x3 liters of beer, 2 liters of bread, 41.5 grams leeks, 5 centiliters. of oil, 16.6 grams of potash (to) Alla-x
 3.3 sila3 kaš 2 sila3 ninda 5 gin2 šum2 3 gin2 i3 2 gin2 naga lu2-uš-gi-na3 liters of beer, 2 liters of bread, 41.5 grams leeks, 5 centiliters. of oil, 16.6 grams of potash (to) Lu-uš-gina
 4.2 ban2 kaš 2 ban2 ninda 1/3 sila3 i3 i-ti-zu20 liters of beer, 20 liters of bread, 33 centiliters of oil (to) Idissu
 5.3 ban2 kaš 1 dug dida saga 2 ban2 7 dug dida du 3 ban230 liters of beer, 1 jug of fine-quality sweet wort (containing) 20 liters, 7 jugs of sweet wort for travelling (containing) 30 liters
 6.2 ban2 zi3-gu saga 4 barig 4 ban2 dabin 2 sila3 i320 liters of fine-quality flour, 280 liters of semolina, 2 liters of oil
 7.kas4 hu-hu-nu-riki-ta er-ra(for) the messengers that have come from Huhnuri.
 8.|ŠU+LAGAB| 1 barig 2 ban2 9 sila3 kaš 1 dug dida saga 2 ban2 7 dug dida du 3 ban2Total: 89 liters of beer, 1 jug of fine-quality sweet wort (containing) 20 liters, 7 jugs of sweet wort for traveling (containing) 30 liters;
 9.|ŠU+LAGAB| 4 ban2 4 sila3 ninda 2 ban2 zi3-gu saga 4 barig 4 ban2 dabintotal: 44 liters of bread, 20 liters of fine-quality flour, 280 liters of semolina;
 10.|ŠU+LAGAB| 2/3 sila3 5 gin2 šum2 |ŠU+LAGAB| 2 2/3 sila3 7 gin2 i3total: 373.5 grams of leeks, 2.78 liters of oil;
 11.|ŠU+LAGAB| 18 gin2 nagatotal: 149.9 grams of potash.
left
 1.u4 2-kam iti pa4-u2-e mu si-ma-num2ki ba-hulSecond day, month: Pa'u'e, year: Simannum was destroyed.

Commentary

Most of the entries correspond to the quantities of Umma group B, as defined by McNeil in his unpublished Ph.D. thesis (1970), and reiterated by F. D’Agostino & F. Pomponio (2002: 14).

The case for ninda as bread and not gruel (e.g. Sallaberger 1999: 298-99) has been settled by Brunke (2011: 95-97). I am grateful to I. Schrakamp for drawing this piece of information to my attention.

Rev. 7: the messengers coming in from Huhnuri had obviously been on a mission to the eastern side of the head of the Persian Gulf. The same city is mentioned in year formulae dating back to 5 years before the date of the present text. Then, Šu-Suen's father Amar-Suen mentions Huhnuri amongst cities or territories he had destroyed. Also Šu-Suen's son and successor Ibbi-Sin mentions a campaign against Huhnuri in his year dates, see Sallaberger (1999: 158).

The non-finite verbal form er-ra I take to be a subordinate perfective e-re-a, "(the messengers) that have come (from Huhnuri)."



BIBLIOGRAPHY

Andersson, Jakob
2008"Some Cuneiform Texts from the Haldar Collection. Two Old Babylonian Contracts." OrSu 57: 5-22.
Brunke, Hagan
2011Essen in Sumer: Metrologie, Herstellung und Terminologie nach Zeugnis der Ur III-zeitlichen Wirtschaftsurkunden. Munich: Herbert Utz.
D'Agostino, Francesco, and Francesco Pomponio
2002Umma Messenger Texts in the British Museum, Part One. Nisaba 1. Messina: Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità.
Halvgaard, Christian and Christina Johansen
2004"Ur III Texts in the Danish National Museum." RA 98: 1-12.
McNeil, Robert
1970The 'Messenger Texts' of the Third Ur Dynasty. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Pinches, Theophilus
1917"Some Texts of the Relph Collection, with Notes on Babylonian Chronology and Genesis XIV". PSBA 39: 4-15, 55-72, 89-98.
Sallaberger, Walther
1999"Ur III-Zeit". In P. Attinger and M. Wäfler, eds., Mesopotamien. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 160/3. Freiburg, Switzerland - Göttingen: Academic Press, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 121-390.
ISSN 1546-6566    © Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative | Posted: 15 January 2013