Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin
ISSN 1540-8760
© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative


Six Neo-Sumerian Texts in the Boston Public Library

Changyu Liu

Zhejiang Normal University

§1. Introduction

§1.1. The six Neo-Sumerian cuneiform tablets published here are housed in the collection of the Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts. They were brought to the Boston Public Library in 1928 when Edgar J. Banks had transcribed them in a letter (April 14). I would like to thank Sean Casey from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library, and Susan L. Glover, the Keeper of Special Collections in Boston Public Library, for kindly granting the publication rights of these texts. Any remaining mistakes or errors, however, are my sole responsibility.

§2. Transliterations, translations and commentary

§2.1. Withdrawal of animals

Museum Number: CAB.G.3.137-1 (Plate 1)
Provenience: Puzriš-Dagan
Date: Šulgi 43 iii 20

1. 1(diš) sila4 den-lil2 1 lamb for Enlil,
2. 1(diš) sila4 dnin-lil2 1 lamb for Ninlil,
3. mu-kux(DU) šeš-kal-la / u2-du-lu delivery (from) Šeš-kala, the chief herdsman,
4. er3-ra-na-da maškim Erra-nada was maškim;
5. 1(diš) udu niga 2(diš) sila4 den-lil2 1 barley-fed sheep, two lambs for Enlil,
6. 1(diš) udu niga 2(diš) sila4 dnin-lil2 1 barley-fed sheep, two lambs for Ninlil,
7. 1(diš) udu niga dinanna 1 barley-fed sheep for Inanna,
8. 1(diš) udu niga 1(diš) sila4 dašgi 1 barley-fed sheep for Ašgi,
9. 1(diš) udu niga dallax(PAP.NAGAR) 1 barley-fed sheep for Alla,
10. 1(diš) udu niga dnin-ḫur-sag 1 barley-fed sheep for Ninḫursaĝ,
1. 1(diš) udu niga 1(diš) sila4 1 barley-fed sheep, 1 lamb
2. dšul-pa-[e3] for Šulpae,
3. 1(diš) sila4 niga dne3-[eri11]-gal 1 barley-fed lamb for Nergal,
4. [1(diš)] sila4 dsi-im-ti-ša 1 lamb for Ilsimtiša,
5. mu -kux(DU) zabar-dab5 delivery (from) the zabardab-official,
6. [d]nanše-ul4-gal maškim Nanše-ulgal was maškim;
7. 1(diš) ud5 1(diš) maš2 šu-gid2 1 female goat, 1 male goat, designated as šugid,
8. e2-muḫaldim-še3 to the kitchen;
9. u4 2(u)-kam credited on the 20th day;
10. zi-ga iti u5-bi2-gu7 month: “Ubi feast,”
11. mu en dnanna maš-e / i3-pad3 year: “The en-priestess of Nanna was chosen by omen.”
§2.1.1 This text documents the livestock credited for various deities and to the kitchen.

obv. 3: For the term u2-du-lu, see Waetzoldt 1982.

obv. 8: In the Ur III texts, this divine name dAšgi is found as part of personal names, such as Lu2-dAšgi (BPOA 7 2650) and Ur-dAšgi (TCL 2 5483), as well as a part of geographical name like dAšgi-pa3-daki in TCTI 2 3543. For dAšgi, see Such-Gutierrez 2003: 321.

obv. 9: Except for this case, the divine name dAllax(PAP.NAGAR) is exclusively attested in the texts from Iri-Saĝrig, such as Nisaba 15 488 and Nisaba 15 1070. For the signs PAP.NAGAR read as Alla, see Owen 2013: 555.

rev. 3: The divine name was restored on the basis of Nisaba 15 652.
rev. 4: Except for this case, the divine name DIGIR-si-im-ti-ša or il3-si-im-ti-ša is exclusively attested in the texts from Iri-Saĝrig, such as Nisaba 15 178 and Nisaba 15 944. For the reading of this deity, see Owen 2013: 556.

§2.2. Receipt of Slaughtered Animal

Museum Number: CAB.G.3.138-3 (Plate 2)
Provenience: Puzriš-Dagan
Date: Šulgi 46 xi 25

1. 1(diš) maš-da3 1 gazelle,
2. ba-uš2 slaughtered,
3. u4 2(u) 5(diš)-kam on the 25th day,
4. ki lu2-digir-ra-ta from Lu-diĝira,
1. ur-nigargar Ur-niĝar
2. šu ba-ti received;
  blank space
3. iti ezem me-ki-gal2 month: “Festival of Mekiĝal,”
4. mu ki-maški u3 / ḫu-ur5-ti ba-ḫul year: “Kimaš and Ḫurti were destroyed.”

§2.2.1 This text records that one slaughtered gazelle was accepted by Ur-niĝar from Lu-diĝira (son of Arad-ḫulla). Note that the transaction of slaughtered animals between Ur-niĝar and Lu-diĝira was also recorded on the same day in the text BPOA 7 2984.

§2.3. Transfer of Animals

Museum Number: CAB.G.3.138-5 (Plate 2)
Provenience: Puzriš-Dagan
Date: Amar-Suen 2 i 21

1. 1(diš) gu4 niga 1 barley-fed ox,
2. u4 2(u) 1(diš)-kam on the 21st day,
3. ki ab-ba-sa6-/ga-ta from Abba-saga,
4. dšul-gi-a-a-mu Šulgi-ayaĝu
1. i3-dab5 seized;
  blank space
2. iti maš-da3-gu7 month: “Gazelle feast,”
3. mu ur-bi2-/lumki ba-ḫul year: “Urbilum was destroyed.”
Left edge
1. 1 (Sum:) 1 (ox).

§2.3.1 This text records that Šulgi-ayaĝu, an official of the nakabtum organization, seized one ox from Abba-saga. For Šulgi-a’aĝu and Abba-saga, see recently Liu 2017: 236-254, 30-177.

rev. 3: For the abbreviated year name mu ur-bi2-lumki ba-hul “the year when Urbilum was destroyed” referring to the second regnal year of Amar-Suen, see Hilgert 2003: 19-20.

§2.4. Transfer of Animals

Museum Number: CAB.G.3.140 (Plate 3)
Provenience: Puzriš-Dagan
Date: Amar-Suen 7 x

1. 3(ban2) dabin 30 liters of semolina,
2. 1(ban2) 5(diš) sila3 eša 15 liters of eša-flour,
3. er2 e2-nigin2-na designated as er2 e2-niĝin2-na,
4. dinanna for Inanna;
5. 4(diš) sila3 dabin 2(diš) sila3 eša 4 liters of dabin-flour, 2 liters of eša-flour,
6. dna-na-a a-ra2 1(diš)-kam for Nanaya for the first time;
7. 1(ban2) zi3 sig15 ninda gur4-ra-še3 10 liters of refine zi-flour for (making) fat-breads,
8. 4(diš) sila3 dabin 2(diš) sila3 eša 4 liters of dabin-flour, 2 liters of eša-flour,
1. dub-dub-de3 designated as dub-dub,
2. dna-na-a ša3 e2-/gal for Nanaya at the palace (for the second time);
  blank space  
3. zi-ga ša3 unuki-ga credited at Uruk;
4. iti ezem an-na month: “Festival of Heaven,”
  blank space  
5. mu ḫu-uḫ2-nu-riki / ba-ḫul year: “Ḫuḫnuri was destroyed.”

§2.4.1 This text documents flour credited for various deities.

obv. 3: The phrase er2 e2-nigin2-na possibly means “the mourning of/for the house-of-returning.” It also possibly refers either to a type of rite attested in the text AUCT 2 322 (er2 siskur2-ra “mourning rite”) or to a designation following livestock, such as maš2 er2-nigin2-na ka ge6-par4-ra in AnOr 7 58, udu niga er2-nigin2-na in JEOL 26 51 13, and maš2 er2 iri nigin2-na in CTNMC 9.

obv. 7: For the term zi3 sig15, see Englund 1990: 86-88.

rev. 1: For the term dub-dub, see Sallaberger 1993: 218.

§2.5. On Female Workers

Museum Number: CAB.G.3.137-7 (Plate 4)
Provenience: Umma
Date: Amar-Suen 3

1. 1(geš2’u) 5(geš2) 1(u) 4(diš) geme2 914 female workers
2. u4 1(diš)-še3 for one day,
3. geme2 nig2-ar3-ra e2-amar-ka (were) female workers of groats in Eamar,
4. 5(geš2) 1(u) 2(diš) geme2 u4 1(diš)-še3 geme2 kikken2 312 female workers for one day, (were) female workers of miller-(house)
5. 3(geš2) geme2 u4 1(diš)-še3 geme2 / e2-bappir 180 female workers for one day, (were) female workers of beer-house,
6. e2-kas4 a-pi4-sal4ki (in) the Ekas of Apisal,
1. ki šeš-saga10-ta from Šeš-saga,
2. kišib lu2-kal-la under seal of Lu-kala,
3. a2 u4-du8-ḫa-bi its wage of nonworking day
4. i3-ib2-gar was placed;
5. mu gešgu-za den-/lil2-la2 ba-dim2!(ḪUL) year: “The throne of Enlil was made.”
1. lu2-kal-la Lu-kala,
2. dub-sar the scribe,
3. dumu ur-e11-e kuš7 son of Ur-e’e, chief livestock administrator.
§2.5.1 obv. 3: For the term nig2-ar3-ra “groats”, see Powell 1984: 52.

rev. 3: The phrase u4-du8-ha is also attested in AAICAB 1/1 pl. 063-064 1924-0665, AAS 135, AnOr 1 85, ASJ 9 242 19, BIN 5 344, cf. Englund 1990: 77 (u4-du8-a).

§2.6. Receipt of Beer

Museum Number: CAB.G.3.137-8 (Plate 5)
Provenience: Umma
Date: Šu-Suen 4 xii 25

1. 1(ban2) 5(diš) sila3 kaš saga10 15 liters of good beer,
2. 3(ban2) 5(diš) sila3 kaš du 35 liters of common beer,
3. u4 2(u) 3(diš)-kam on the 23rd day;
4. 1(ban2) 2(diš) (diš) sila3 kaš saga10 12.5 liters of good beer,
5. 3(ban2) 8 sila3 kaš du 38 liters of common beer,
6. u4 2(u) 4(diš)-kam on the 24th day;
1. 1(ban2) 5(diš) sila3 kaš saga10 15 liters of good beer,
2. 3(ban2) 7(diš) sila3 kaš du 37 liters of common beer,
3. u4 2(u) 5(diš)-kam on the 25th day;
4. ki a-al-li2-ta from Ayalli,
5. kišib ensi2-ka under seal of the governor (of Umma);
6. iti ddumu-zi month: “Dumuzi,”
7. mu bad3 mar-tu / ba-du3 year: “The Amorite wall was built.”
i 1. dšu-dsuen Šu-Suen,
2. lugal kala-ga strong king,
3. lugal uri5/ki-ma king of Ur,
4. lugal an ub-/da limmu2-ba king of the four quarters:
ii 5. a-a-kal-la Aya-kala,
6. ensi2 governor
7. ummaki of Umma,
8. arad2-zu (is) your servant.
§2.6.1 This text documents that beer was received by the governor of Umma (Aya-kala in this case) from Ayalli. For further discussion on Aya-kala, the governor of Umma province, see Dahl 2007: 63-69.


Dahl, Jacob L, 2007, ”The Ruling Family of Ur III Umma: A Prosopographical Analysis of an Elite Family in Southern Iraq 4000 Years Ago”, Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten.
Englund, Robert K, 1990, ”Organisation und Verwaltung der Ur III-Fischerei”, Dietrich Reimer Verlag.
Hilgert, Markus, 2003, ”Drehem Administrative Documents from the Reign of Amar-Suena”, The Oriental Institute of Chicago.
Liu, Changyu, 2017, ”Organization, Administrative Practices and Written Documentation in Mesopotamia during the Ur III Period (c. 2112-2004 BC): A Case Study of Puzris-Dagan in the Reign of Amar-Suen.”, Ugarit-Verlag.
Owen, David I, 2013, ”Of Dogs and (Kennel) Men”.
Powell, Marvin A, 1984, ”Sumerian Cereal Crops”, pp. 48-72 .
Sallaberger, Walther, 1993, ”Der kultische Kalender der Ur III-Zeit”, Walter de Gruyter.
Such-Gutierrez, Marcos, 2003, ”Beitrage zum Pantheon von Nippur im 3. Jahrtausend”, Universita degli Studi di Roma LaSapienza.
Waetzoldt, Harmut, 1982, ”Das Amt des utullu, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas, pp. 386-97 .


Plate 1


Plate 2


Plate 3


Plate 4


Plate 5


Plate 6