The Ur III calendar(s) of Tūram-ilī: Notes

*  References to texts in this article are according to the abbreviations used by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (


1  See also Sallaberger 1993, 10-11; Cohen 1993, 207-208.


2  The numbers in the table are those of the different texts used by Garfinkle 2000.


3  See van de Mieroop 1986, 7 and 10.


4  With the exception of text 87, none of the few texts without month names (i.e. nos. 77, 78, 94, 109, 111, 132, 133) can be clearly connected to loan business. While these texts all contain the name Tūram-ilī, it seems unlikely that they were archived together with our official’s regular loan contracts (see further below).


5  See e.g. van de Mieroop 1986, p. 4; Cohen 1993, p. 207; lo Castro 1999/63, n. 3; Garfinkle 2000, p. 52.


6  Piotr Steinkeller (1989, 306) listed 19 Sumerian and non-Sumerian month names for the SI.A-a archive.


7  See Cohen 1993, 206-207. For a more comprehensive treatment of the problems connected to the idea of multiple calendars in Išān Mizyad, see my forthcoming study on this site. It goes without saying that the use of multiple calendars in the single archive of Tūram-ilī cannot be compared to the use of multiple calendars in different archives within one single city. Indeed, the latter phenomena can be observed in several major centers in the Ur III state, such as Puzriš-Dagan or Nippur.


8  Hence Garfinkle 2000, 52 (about the SI.A-a archive): “The presence of a month name specific to the Nippur calendar, apin-du8 (text 27), is simply an indication that the text was written in Nippur.”


9  Very few texts in the Tūram-ilī archive record the location of the transaction but the evidence indicates that Tūram-ilī was involved in business in E2-sag-da-naki (Garfinkle 2000, 95) as well as the southern cities of Uruk (Garfinkle 2000, 109 [with comment], 128) and Ur (Garfinkle 2000, 85).


10  See also Garfinkle 2000, 119? and 122 where a merchant called Ilī-rabi is receiving silver in the month ezen-a-sig2 in IS 2 and again in the month giš-apin the following year. It should, however, be noted that it remains uncertain if text 119, where the silver is delivered by Enua “on behalf of Tūram-ilī” was actually filed in the archive of Tūram-ilī.


11  A person named Ilī-arani is also attested doing business with Tūram-ilī in texts 87 and 132.


12  Garfinkle 2000, p. 364 (Nippur); van de Mieroop 1986, p. 5 (Lagaš). In addition, places called E-sagdana are attested in the districts of Umma and Šuruppak (see Wilcke 1992, 323).


13  Note, however, that the month name ezen-an-na can be found in the so-called shoe archive (see Durand, Documents Cunéiformes (1982) 206, 171; MVN 11, 186), which indeed may have referred to the E-sagdana of Nippur (Wilcke 1992). The proposal recently put forward by T. Sharlach (1999, 20-21) that E-sagdana was the name of Puzriš-Dagan used in Lagaš and Umma “despite Šulgi’s act of renaming it” remains problematic. The fact that Puzriš-Dagan is rarely attested in Lagaš and Umma can hardly be taken as conclusive evidence that the scribes in these cities referred to Puzriš-Dagan as E-sagdana. In fact, if we do not count the occurrences in year formulae (where Puzriš-Dagan is never replaced or confused with E-sagdana), the name Puzriš-Dagan is rare in all Ur III cities. Moreover, it should be noted that both place names are attested in all major sites of the Ur III state and (as mentioned above) that places called E-sagdana were found in the districts of a number of Ur III cities. Finally, it is difficult to explain why the scribe of the Ur text UET 3, 916, dated to IS 1 should decide to use a place name (i.e. E-sagdana) that was replaced almost three decades earlier.


14  Possibly referring to the merchant Šu-Mama receiving silver on behalf of Tūram-ilī in text 84.


15  The festival commemorated in this month is attested in a number of Sumerian calendars in central and northern Babylonia and the connection of this month with the Old Babylonian month a-bu-um is problematic. Instead, we find the Sumerian month AB-e3 in Nippur, AB-BI in Adab, a-BI2 / ezen-a-BI in the SI.A-a archive and a-BI2 / AB-e3 in Išān Mizyad. In addition, both a-BI and AB-BI have been attested in the material from the state’s capital Ur (UET 3, 20, 722). The AB-e3 festival in Nippur was an important event that led to the change of the tenth month in the city from the original ku3-sux(IM) to AB-e3 (Sallaberger 1993, 146-48; see also Cohen 1993, 117-18). It should be noted that the month AB-e3 was also used for the tenth month in the Sumerian calendar used in the so-called Early Isin period (see BIN 9, 10, 80, 81, etc.).


16  While often overlooked in secondary literature, it is important to point out that this month attested in a Sargonic text from Tell Al-Wilayah was nig2-a-sig2, not ezen-a-sig2 (see Postgate 1976, 2). As far as I know, the month name nig2-a-sig2 has not been attested outside Tell Al-Wilayah. While both variants are likely to commemorate the same event, the different writings in themselves seem to imply that the calendar of the Tūram-ilī archive and the calendar used in the texts from Tell Al-Wilayah were not identical. In fact, since both nig2-a-sig2 and nig2-dEn-lil2-la2 (the latter which perhaps should be connected to the cultic calendar of Nippur, see note below) are only attested in texts from the Old Akkadian period in Tell Al-Wilayah, it is plausible that the Ur III month names of this city (i.e. ezen-Lisi and ezen-Šulgi) should be connected to the not too distant Umma (Lisi) or perhaps to the city of Lagaš.


17  That is,  dLi9-si4 without the ezen “festival”.


18  While the month nig2-dEn-lil2 has not been attested in Nippur, the attestations in the archives of Tūram-ilī and SI.A-a as well as from the Old Akkadian site of Tell Al-Wilayah may perhaps suggests that these calendars were influenced by the cultic festivals of Nippur, where Enlil was the supreme deity (see lo Castro 1999/63, n. 3).


19  Abbreviations: RK = “Reichskalender”, Ni = Nippur, Ad = Adab, La = Lagaš, Um = Umma, SI = SI.A-a archive, IM = Išān Mizyad, Wi = Tell Al-Wilayah, Ak = Akkadian (Old Babylonian), ŠS = Sargonic, # = attested but position in the calendar remains unknown. For the sake of simplicity, the numbers are according to the calendar used from the year ŠS 4 and onwards (note, however, Garfinkle 2000, 79 (ezen-dŠul-gi) and 80 (še-KIN-ku5) dated to ŠS 1 and 3 respectively). For the—as yet somewhat uncertain—calendar used in Adab, see Yang 1989, 53-59 and Cohen 1993, 201-203. For an overview of the different Akkadian calendars used in the Old Babylonian period, see Greengus 1987, 212.


20  Note, however, that two months in Cohen’s reconstruction of the Uruk calendar are completely broken and could therefore theoretically be reconstructed as ezen-mah.


21  Indeed, our Tūram-ilī is frequently attested in business transactions involving other officials also named Tūram-ilī (Garfinkle 2000, 99, 104, 94, 131).


22  For the verb ba, in this context denoting “to deduct, withdraw”, see Natalia Koslova’s comment of SANTAG 6, 216 (where a certain Tur-am3-i3-li2 is deducing some product, presumably barley) with further references.


23  Possible identical to one of Tūram-ilī’s two receiving colleagues in text 109 (see Garfinkle 2000, 374).


24  A more contemporary merchant called Tūram-ilī is attested as a witness in two loan contracts from S 8 documenting the business activities of the Nippur(?) official A2-zi-da (NATN 336; PDT 2, 1072).


25  While it is possible that our Tūram-ilī may have been dealing with flour (see Garfinkle 2000, 135), this text is the only reference where he is concerning himself with peas.


26  Note that the large number of receipts of silver (or other products) from Tūram-ilī that are not specified as loans (see Garfinkle 2000, pp. 134-155) should also be attributed to this loan-archive.


27  Note that Piotr Steinkeller has shown that sale documents were almost exclusively sealed by the sellers (1989, 113-114), which in turn would imply that these documents were stored and archived by the buyers.


28  That is, from AS 4 until IS 3. It should, however, be noted that Garfinkle’s two attestations from the reign of Amar-Suen by no means can be considered certain and the vast majority of the texts date to the two final years of u-Suen and the first three years of Ibbi-Suen.


29  The numbers to the right refer to the text numbers in Garfinkle 2000.

Version: February 20, 2003