Chapter 8 Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase

In: Medicine in Ancient Assur
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This chapter investigates the texts written by Kiṣir-Aššur during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase, during which he copied the majority of surviving texts that have titles in the colophons (24+). Three groups of tablets are distinguished among these manuscripts. The first and second groups comprise medical and ritual texts respectively, of which a substantial portion are designated as extracts (nisḫu, see below). Furthermore, a third group of texts possibly relates to Kiṣir-Aššur’s affiliation with the Aššur temple, as witnessed by his title. What follows provides an overview of the text groups copied by Kiṣir-Aššur during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase, a discussion of his title mašmaš bīt Aššur, and a description of the individual texts in each group. Specific features are also investigated. Kiṣir-Aššur copied and possibly formulated several prescriptions labelled as “tested prescriptions” (bulṭu latku) during this period. These are analysed in relation to the predominantly medical texts, together with at least one possible panacea, i.e., a universal drug. The present chapter also discusses Kiṣir-Aššur’s duties in connection to the Aššur temple.

The career phase “exorcist of the Aššur temple” (mašmaš bīt Aššur) is the last identifiable phase to which Kiṣir-Aššur, his brother Šamaš-ibni and their father Nabû-bēssunu progressed. The title mašmaš bīt Aššur could therefore mark the pinnacle of Kiṣir-Aššur’s career (see Maul 2010a: 206–208, 210–11). All of the texts in Table 15, except for PKTA pl. 39–40, are explicitly stated as deriving from his mašmaš bīt Aššur phase.

Table 15
Table 15
Table 15
Table 15
Table 15
Table 15

Texts assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phasea

The number of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts with colophons, especially medical and ritual texts, increases markedly during his mašmaššu-phase and even more so in his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase. The texts written by Kiṣir-Aššur as mašmaš bīt Aššur attest to a variety of subjects, including: prescriptions against illnesses, a number of more broadly defined rituals against ghosts, witchcraft and evils, three namburbi-rituals, and a group of texts associated with the Aššur temple.

Of Kiṣir-Aššur’s eight medical healing texts that he copied as mašmaš bīt Aššur, at least six were copied with a purpose statement that emphasizes their practical dimension.1 It is worth noting that several of his medical texts from this phase concern internal illnesses (see Section 9.1). Among the rituals designed to remove malevolent causes of illness, three were also supplied with purpose statements.2 All these tablets with purpose statements, plus one more, were designated as extracts,3 seemingly indicating that at least ten out of possibly 26 tablets from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase served largely pragmatic purposes.

Furthermore, two of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets from this phase were numbered as “7th extract” (BAM 99) and “final extract” (KAR 63), indicating that Kiṣir-Aššur organized certain extracts during this phase (see Section 9.2.3). BAM 99 was written by someone else on the request of Kiṣir-Aššur (ú-šaš-ṭir-ma) and supplied with a purpose statement, which suggests that apprentices could have copied some of Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts with purpose statements without explicitly stating so. At least one text (KAV 42) was described as “written by Kiṣir-Aššur” (šà-ṭír pKiṣir-Aš-šur) and contains evidence of editing (see Section 8.6).

8.1 The Title mašmaš bīt Aššur

The title “exorcist of the Aššur temple” (mašmaš bīt Aššur) ran in the Bāba-šuma-ibni family as well as other families attested in the N4 collection (Fadhil 2012: 38). Bāba-šuma-ibni, his son Nabû-bēssunu, Nabû-bēssunu’s sons Kiṣir-Aššur and Šamaš-ibni, Nabû-bēssunu’s brother Abu-erība, and Abu-erība’s son of unknown name, all claimed the title at some point.4 Whether the title was hereditary, served a practical or honorary purpose, or if individuals claimed the title in relation to specific duties or during particular periods is largely unknown.5 Furthermore, it is uncertain if individuals claiming this title were counted among the regular temple staff, although they may have been involved in the performance of various cultic rituals.6 Contemporary evidence suggests that numerous people within Assur were associated with the Aššur temple during the 7th century BCE (Radner 2017b: 225). Thus, as implied by the title, there is a close association with the Aššur temple, even though the exact nature of it still eludes us.

Different designations for the Aššur temple complex and its various parts were used during the NA period (George 1992: 172, 177, 183, 185–191; van Driel 1969: 34ff.). The two most common names, likely referring to the whole temple complex were É dAššur and É.ŠÁR.RA.7 Kiṣir-Aššur and others claimed association with the former in their titles, whereas the latter is attested in Bāba-šuma-ibni’s title zabardabbi Ešarra (Maul 2010a: 200 note 40, 203). Prebends or leftovers from divine meals may have supported the Bāba-šuma-ibni family, but the evidence is tenuous (cf. Robson 2019: 109; Frame and Waerzeggers 2011: 129; Geller 2010: 50).8

Generally, it has been suggested that exorcists in the first millennium BCE acted as “temple enterers” (ērib bīti), a priestly title indicating access to the inner temple and association with the temple staff (Frame and Waerzeggers 2011: 132; Geller 2010: 50; Jean 2006: 139). However, it is unknown if this applied to Kiṣir-Aššur and his family,9 and it is unclear to what extent the N4 family exorcists were allowed into the sanctuary of Aššur.10 Evidence for some measure of access to the Aššur temple is perhaps implied when water from the cistern (būrtu) of a Marduk temple is prescribed in two ritual instructions in BAM 28, which was probably copied by Kiṣir-Aššur as mašmaš bīt Aššur.11 This water may have been associated with the apsû via an incantation in the text to be recited in connection to using the water.12 The connection to the apsû in the Aššur temple could have been established through an apsû water tank, which Sennacherib installed in the inner courtyard.13 Although BAM 28 specifies water from the Marduk temple cistern, Kiṣir-Aššur may have been able to draw apsû-water from, e.g., the Aššur temple as a substitute. As such, he may have had access to at least some inner temple courtyards.

8.2 Medical Texts from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase

Kiṣir-Aššur did not copy out medical prescriptions between his šamallû ṣeḫru- and mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phases. Although a number of medical texts were copied without a title that may belong to his mašmaššu- or mašmaš bīt Aššur-phases, the prescriptions copied during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase represent the principal group of medical texts that can certainly be attributed to any of his educational and career phases. What follows provides a brief discussion of the content of the relevant texts.

BAM 28 contains one initial diagnosis separated by lines for kadabbedû or buʾšānu and afterwards at least five ritual instructions and five incantations.14 Because the text contains a diagnosis, I have included it in this section. Prescriptions related to kadabbedû were already copied by Kiṣir-Aššur as šamallû ṣeḫru (see Section 3.1), but BAM 28 is the first of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts with colophons to mention the buʾšānu-illness. This illness is described by Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 40–42) as a syndrome, which can occur in the “windpipe”, among the teeth or in the hard and soft palates or soft cheek pockets (nurzu and narbu).15 Several of the incantations in BAM 28 are in (pseudo) Sumerian and the repetitive incantation “Mouth-seizing, mouth-seizing, mouth-seizing seiz[ed …], bite, bite, bite […]” appears to be a form of mumbo-jumbo.16 As discussed above, at least two instructions use water from the cistern (būrtu) of the Marduk temple. Notably, temples are rarely mentioned in medical texts, and the only other example among Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts is BAM 78 without a title. This text describes how a patient with specific internal pains of the tulīmu should “visit Marduk’s sanctuary (ešertu) and he will recover”.17

Originally, Köcher (1963a: XVI) and later Beckman and Foster (1988: 1–3) suggested that the text was copied by Kiṣir-Nabû, based on the fragmented signs in the theophoric element of the copyist’s name. Now, the last line of the colophon comprising BAM 28 and Beckman and Foster 1988 no. 7 reads:

BAM 28 rev 18’: [DU]B *p*Ki-ṣir-d![x (x)] MAŠ.MAŠ É AN.ŠÁR

“[Tabl]et of Kiṣir-[Aššur], the mašmaš bīt Aššur”.18

Considering that Kiṣir-Nabû probably did not reach the phase mašmaš bīt Aššur (Maul 2010a: 211), it is reasonable to assume that the name should be reconstructed as Ki-ṣir-AN!.[ŠÁR] or d![Aš-šur], but this requires further collation (cf. May 2018: 65, 71; Ch. 8 note 18). However, it cannot be excluded that the name should be reconstructed as Kiṣir-Nabû. The text was designated as “quickly extracted”.

BAM 99 contains several diagnoses and prescriptions concerning internal maladies of the gastro-intestinal system, as well as various illnesses of the anus and ritual instructions for producing enemas and suppositories, for drinking potions, and for bathing the patient.19 BAM 99 is listed as a “7th extract”, includes a purpose statement, and states that it was copied hurriedly on behalf of Kiṣir-Aššur (ú-šaš-ṭir-ma), as discussed in Section 7.4.2.

BAM 164 contains several prescriptions for potions concerning a variety of maladies, which are specified as being against swelling (dikšu), the kidney(s) (ÉLLAG), the spleen (ŠÀ.GI₆), discharge (mūṣu), continually “rising” due to urine,20 and “Anus illness” (DÚR.GIG).21 After the majority of prescriptions, the text specifies the number of plants to be used and in one example that the ingredients are “tested” (latkūti). After these notations, the patient is instructed to drink the concoction in water, beer or wine. Kiṣir-Aššur copies several “tested” prescriptions during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase, and these are discussed in Section 8.3. The colophon designates the text as “hurriedly extracted” and supplies it with a purpose statement.

BAM 177 is a brief text containing two prescriptions, of which the latter is against “sun-heat” (ṣētu).22 The first prescription may have been designated as “tested”, although the final signs of the sentence are broken (lat-ku x[x], see below). The latter prescription is the only one to specify an application method, namely a “poultice” (LAL-ti). The colophon contains a purpose statement and states that the text was “hurriedly extracted”.

BAM 186 contains three prescriptions for oils to be administered as enemas.23 The first is a lavage for the anus and the prescription is designated as “good and tested” against aḫḫāzu- or amurriqanu-jaundice (see Section 9.1). After the prescription follows a single line in obverse line 13, before and after which is a horizontal ruling line, stating: “rinse of oils (against) ‘sun-heat’”.24 Two prescriptions follow, of which the first is fragmentary and the second is for an enema. The function of obverse line 13 as a subscript to the first prescription or a heading for the second (and third?) prescription remains uncertain (see Section 8.3.2). The colophon contains a purpose statement and specifies that the text was “quickly extracted”.

The obverse of BAM 188 is completely broken, but the reverse contains a diagnosis and a prescription for a single enema used for a man ill from bile, aḫḫazu- or amurriqanu-jaundice.25 The text is a partial duplicate of the first prescription in BAM 186 (see Section 8.3.2 below). The two types of jaundice encountered in BAM 186 and BAM 188 above, aḫḫāzu, the “catcher-demon”, and amurriqānu, “making yellow(?)”,26 are the two common types of jaundice attested in Mesopotamian sources.27 Among Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts with colophons it is notable that jaundice is treated only in these two texts. Although this may be a coincidence, these illnesses are not featured in Kiṣir-Aššur’s earlier texts. The colophon of BAM 188 contains a purpose statement and the text is “quickly extracted”.

Only a small portion of the reverse remains of BAM 300, but this is sufficient to conclude that it once contained at least one prescription involving fumigation and considered suitable for any malady. The text is treated and discussed in Section 8.4. The colophon contains a purpose statement and the text is designated as an uʾiltu that was “quickly extracted”.

BAM 303 contains at least five prescriptions, of which one is largely broken (the beginning of the obverse).28 The remaining four prescriptions are described as “(sets of) ingredient(s)” (maššītu) used “for softening up” (lubbuku).29 The last prescription is longer and designated as a “(set of) ingredient(s) for lubricating [feet] that are inflated with wind and (are) stiff”.30 The manuscript is specified in the colophon as consisting of “tested prescription(s) from the hands of the scholar”.31 The text is without known duplicates (Köcher 1964: XXII) and is unique.

As discussed in the overview above, six of Kiṣir-Aššur’s eight medical texts from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase contain purpose statements attesting to the practical application of this knowledge (BAM 99, BAM 164, BAM 177, BAM 186, BAM 188, BAM 300). These are extracted (nasāḫu) and at least one is a numbered extract (nisḫu, BAM 99). Additionally, several of the texts from this phase contain “tested prescriptions”, which is a feature rarely previously observed (BAM 164, BAM 177, BAM 186, BAM 303). Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts contain treatments against previously unencountered illnesses, which appear to involve broadly applicable prescriptions (BAM 300). Notably, Kiṣir-Aššur copied a text that was “from the hands of the scholar” (BAM 303).

8.3 Tested Prescriptions among the Medical Texts

Four of Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical texts from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase (BAM 164, BAM 177, BAM 186, BAM 303), as well as a single mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phase manuscript (N4 A 2727), contain statements that individual prescriptions were “tested” (latku, Steinert 2015: 125, 128). Furthermore, three of these examples (BAM 164, 177, 186) are specified as excerpted tablets with purpose statements (ibid.: 123). This section investigates these examples to illustrate Kiṣir-Aššur’s use of such “tested” knowledge during his mašmaš bīt Aššur phase by discussing the meaning behind the term “tested” (latku) and providing an example that could indicate that Kiṣir-Aššur himself was involved in testing during his phase.

In general, the Bāba-šuma-ibni family seems to have used authorized and “tested” knowledge in their practice..32 Steinert suggests that such phrases indicated a tendency among healers such as Kiṣir-Aššur to use “tested” remedies because they either had greater confidence in them or wanted to confirm the efficacy of a remedy (Steinert 2015: 123, 139 and note 121). Kiṣir-Aššur’s five examples are shown in Table 16.

Table 16
Table 16

Kiṣir-Aššur’s tested prescriptions

All tablets, except N4 A 2727, were written when Kiṣir-Aššur was mašmaš bīt Aššur and is assumed to have been in a position to “test” prescriptions and evaluate their efficacy. In comparison, the only “tested” text besides N4 A 2727 predating Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase is KAR 230, which was described as a “tested ritual procedure” (ne-pi₅-šam lat-ku). However, it is certain that this phrase does not refer to a test performed by Kiṣir-Aššur (Section 8.3.2).

The tested prescriptions in BAM 164, BAM 177, and BAM 186 are found in the N4 collection in duplicate prescriptions that are also labelled “tested”, and in some instances in duplicate prescriptions listed as non-tested.33 The last tablet, BAM 303, was a ṭuppu specified as: “tested prescription(s) of the hands of the scholar” (Steinert 2015: 123, 127–28).34 Accordingly, all prescriptions on this tablet may have been considered “tested” (ibid.: 127–28).35 Phrases referring to “scholars” have been interpreted as an indication that the knowledge was regarded as “handed down from an anonymous scholarly source” (ibid.: 123). The prescriptions in BAM 303 are without known duplicates.

8.3.1 Meaning of the Phrase “Tested Prescription”

The term latku “tested” was generally used to describe individual prescriptions as a “tested prescription” (bulṭu latku).36 The verbal root latāku means “to test, check, verify” (CAD L: 111–112, 216–17; Steinert 2015: 105). The term latku therefore implies “that knowledge of effective drugs and remedies had been acquired through practical experience” (ibid.: 104). The phrase was probably used to indicate that prescriptions regularly produced the desired results and evidence for testing by specialists can be found in the contemporary NA royal archives (ibid.: 111–13, 139).37 However, minor variation occurs between manuscripts of the same “tested” remedies (ibid.: 138), and in some cases the same prescription that was considered as “tested” can also occur without this phrase (ibid.: 135 note 104).

Steinert has recently argued that the latku-phrases “had a communicative function” in that they improved “the user-friendliness of the text”, although they rarely occur in a standardized way (Steinert 2015: 115–16). Little is known about the historical development of the “tested remedies” and it is difficult to determine when and by whom efficacy phrases were added (ibid.: 120–21). This is partly because Mesopotamian healers never added indications if they or others confirmed a remedy (ibid.: 121). Note that Adad-šumu-uṣur, the famous chief exorcist of Esarhaddon, tested at least one treatment on slaves before it was administered to the royal family (Geller 2010: 88). Sadly, we do not know the prescription. However, the combination of the low frequency of attestations and that “tested” remedies occur on tablets with purpose statements may indicate that the “tested” remedies had special status for the healers (Steinert 2015: 123; Geller 2010: 17–18).

8.3.2 An Example of Kiṣir-Aššur as Investigator of Efficacy?

The “tested” prescription in BAM 186 from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase is mostly duplicated by a similar prescription in his mašmaš bīt Aššur manuscript, BAM 188, which was not deemed tested.38 Furthermore, a non-tested prescription in the slim, multi-columned text BAM 189 from N4 also duplicates the prescription in BAM 188 and possibly the tested prescription in BAM 186.39 BAM 189 does not contain a colophon and the copyist is unfortunately unknown. The situation in these three prescriptions therefore differs from the known duplicates of the “tested prescription” in BAM 164, all of which were labelled as “tested” (Steinert 2015: 137–38). The three prescriptions are transliterated here, followed by a translation of the relevant passages:

I propose that the three prescriptions transliterated and translated above represent the same prescription.41 This is based on the roughly similar list of ingredients and the partial overlap in illnesses treated by the prescriptions. The ingredients used in all three prescriptions are generally identical and presented in the same order, with the exception of the addition of a single broken ingredient in B (obv. 5) and perhaps also C (col. iv 9). All three prescriptions are against aḫḫāzu-jaundice, which suggests a similar aim. However, B can be directed against both aḫḫāzu-jaundice and amurriqānu-jaundice, and A can be used against bile (martu), aḫḫāzu-jaundice, or amurriqānu-jaundice. Additionally, the illnesses are listed at different places in the texts. A opens with diagnoses, whereas B and C identify the illnesses at the end of the prescription. Furthermore, B and C identify the prescription as a “rinse” (marḫaṣu), and C also totals the number of ingredients. Notably, B specifies that it is a “tested rinse” considered “good for aḫḫāzu- and amurriqānu-jaundice” at the end of the prescription. Perhaps the measurements in B could indicate that specificity was required to be considered “tested”, although, e.g., the so-called “tested eye salve of Ḫammurabi” is found in duplicates with and without measurements (Steinert 2015: 134). We shall return to this below.

A number of other differences can also be observed. B contains individual weight measurements for each ingredient, C does not specify the measurements in the first half and adds the generic 1(aš) as the weight measurement for each ingredient in the second half, and A instructs the reader to weigh out the ingredients equally. Additionally, A and B contain instructions for preparing the prescription after the lists of ingredients, which are omitted in C. The instructions also differ between A and B, with A containing more specific instructions than B. Nonetheless, the almost identical ingredient lists and shared use against aḫḫāzu-jaundice in all three instances suggest that these prescriptions can be regarded as the same. The differences could indicate that the prescriptions are from different recensions or the result of personal variation. However, another hypothesis is possible.

To reiterate, A and B are from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase, whereas C is by an unknown copyist from N4. Furthermore, A and B are both from tablets with purpose statements, suggesting a practical application of the knowledge contained therein. The duplicate prescriptions in A and B could be applied against several related illnesses, although only B was labelled as “tested”.42 Speculatively, B may have been labelled as “tested” by Kiṣir-Aššur and the addition of weight measurements and an additional ingredient are the result of his test of the prescription.43 If so, Kiṣir-Aššur perhaps verified the effect of the prescription in A against aḫḫāzu- and amurriqānu-jaundice, but maybe not against bile (cf. Geller 2010: 17–18). Following this line of reasoning, Kiṣir-Aššur would have copied A before B. The final separating line in B makes such a difficult hypothesis slightly more probable, if it is interpreted as a subscript to the first prescription.44 After having specified that the “tested” prescription is considered good against aḫḫāzu and amurriqānu, the prescription states its true purpose, which is separated from what precedes it by a horizontal line: “a rinse of oils (for) ‘inflammation by sun-heat’ (ḫimiṭ ṣēti)” (Stol 2007a: 22ff., 37–38). Thus, the prescription was used in this particular case to treat ḫimiṭ ṣēti, an illness not specified elsewhere as treatable by this particular rinse.45 Regardless of the interpretation, the appearance of this prescription in two mašmaš bīt Aššur texts containing few prescriptions could indicate that the remedy was among Kiṣir-Aššur’s preferred prescriptions.

8.4 Panaceas among the Medical Texts

At least one of Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur texts (BAM 300) suggests that he may have employed certain panaceas, i.e., widely applicable treatments used to cure various maladies.46 It is likely that certain cures were preferred by individual healers (Steinert 2015: 123, 139; Geller 2010: 17–18). One panacea may be the so-called “tried eye salve of Ḫammurabi”, which Steinert (2015: 134–35) argued in the LB Uruk recension likely functioned “as a panacea for all eye ailments”, i.e., a remedy for every problem affecting the eye. In relation to Kiṣir-Aššur, it was hypothesized above that the first prescription in BAM 186 may have been a tested version of a prescription similar to the extract found in BAM 188. This prescription may therefore have been used on numerous occasions by Kiṣir-Aššur against certain internal maladies. Similarly, Section 6.2 argued that KAR 230 was a multipurpose ritual, which could be used during most house calls.

Additional texts may corroborate Kiṣir-Aššur’s preference for a limited number of prescriptions for certain maladies. BAM 300 was “quickly extracted” (ḫa-an-ṭiš ZI-ḫa) with a purpose statement as an uʾiltu when Kiṣir-Aššur was mašmaš bīt Aššur. The text only contains a broken treatment for anointing and fumigating a patient, as well as a description of the prescription that is delineated by ruling lines and placed directly before the colophon:

The sole prescription in BAM 300 could therefore be used against most maladies and was designated in its subscript as a panacea (Köcher 1964: XXII). Incidentally, while the EM lists few “prescription” types (bulṭus), and few of these are specific, one type mentioned in the second section is the generic “prescription for all of every (illness)” (EM rev. 35: bul-ṭi kal gim-ri; cf. Steinert 2018c: 186). This is reminiscent of the description in BAM 300 and could indicate that this passage of the EM reflects some knowledge concerning specific types of medicine that was acquired by exorcists in practice.

Kiṣir-Aššur copied several tablets with few prescriptions as mašmaš bīt Aššur and without titles, although only BAM 300 contains a subscript that labels the prescription as “universal”.51 Other tablets with few prescriptions were found in multiple copies in N4, attesting to their use in the collection.52 Furthermore, Kiṣir-Aššur may have had a number of “favourite” prescriptions for a selection of maladies, such as the “tested prescription” in BAM 186.53 As a result, it is possible that Kiṣir-Aššur regularly used several of the prescriptions on tablets that bear only a few prescriptions.

8.4.1 Excursus: Kiṣir-Aššur’s Possible Multipurpose Medical Incantations

Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical tablets from his various phases contain relatively few incantations. In addition to groupings of incantations against kadabbedû and bušānu in BAM 28 and abracadabra incantations against sagallu in BAM 129,54 individual incantations related to medical healing occur in BAM 102 against “Anus illness”, perhaps in BAM 333 as a (microcosmic) creation myth (see Köcher 1971: XI),55 in N4 no. 24 for “Child calming”,56 and in the unpublished N4 A 400.57 In general, Geller (2007b: 389–92) has suggested that medical incantations, i.e., incantations occurring in medical texts, serve ancillary functions, increasing the effectiveness of prescriptions or serving to induce positive psychological effects on the patient.

Although Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical tablets with incantations were copied for varying purposes, such as the possible pedagogical purpose behind the imgiddûs BAM 102 and N4 no. 24, it is conceivable that Kiṣir-Aššur’s few medical incantations – because of their low number – were broadly applicable against the maladies they treat (as with the prescription BAM 300 discussed above), or that they were rarely employed medically. The incantation against “Anus illness” in BAM 102 is unfortunately mostly broken and the ritual instruction is explicitly “not written” (Section 6.1). However, it is not impossible that the incantation was similar to other incantations against “Anus illness” from N4, such as those found on Kiṣir-Aššur’s N4 A 2727 and the anonymously copied BAM 105 (N4 no. 239). The latter text contains two incantations (obv. 1–6, 8–11?) and a ritual instruction to the first incantation reads:

BAM 105 obv. 7: DÙ.DÙ.BI ina UGU al-la-ni nap-šal-ti maš-qí-ti \ DÚR GIG ŠID-nu

“Its ritual: you recite (the incantation) over (any) suppository, ointment (or) enema for ‘Anus illness’” (see Geller 2005: 231).

The first incantation of BAM 105 could therefore be used as a “Kultmittelbeschwörung” to activate or enhance the effect of almost any kind of remedy designed to cure “Anus illness”, and perhaps related illnesses.58 The first incantation in BAM 105 does therefore seem to be universally applicable against rectal problems. If we assume that a somewhat similar incantation was copied onto BAM 102, this incantation could have served a comparable purpose for Kiṣir-Aššur.59 Noticably, the first incantation of Kiṣir-Aššur’s N4 A 2727 duplicates the initial incantation of BAM 105, and both recitations and accompanying instructions in the manuscript are said to be “tested prescriptions, which are suitable for use(?)” (see Section 5.3).

Comparatively, there are only two similar medical incantations among the LB school texts published by Finkel (2000: 148), which address problems in the kidney and epigastrium, as well as a fever (nos. 50–51).60 In general, Geller (2007b: 391–92) found it problematic to explain why some medical texts include medical incantations whereas the majority of medical texts do not (cf. Geller 2010: 91ff.). In connection to Kiṣir-Aššur, it is therefore not surprising that he copied relatively few medical incantations among his tablets with colophons. Whether the low number of medical incantations indicates that Kiṣir-Aššur regularly used only a limited number of them, or that he simply used them infrequently remains unresolved.

8.5 Ritual Texts from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase

The second group of Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur texts comprise ritual texts with incantations, prayers and ritual instructions. What follows presents a brief discussion of the content of each relevant text in order to provide an overview of this group.

BAM 321 likely opens on the obverse with a prayer (obv. 1–9) and moves into a ritual instruction alongside another incantation (obv. 10–23).61 Afterwards, the obverse contains an additional ritual instruction (obv. 24–26) and another prayer (obv. 27–31). The reverse, most of which is fragmentary, contains a large ritual instruction referencing another incantation (rev. 32–51). The initial prayer pretitions a man’s god and goddess to be favourable towards the supplicant,62 the second mentions Enlil, Enki and Asalluḫi,63 and the third prayer is directed towards Nabû and Tašmētu.64 The colophon is broken and only Bāba-šuma-ibni’s name remains. However, two broken names before Bāba-šuma-ibni’s name end with the preserved titles mašmaš bīt Aššur, suggesting that the names should be reconstructed as Kiṣir-Aššur and Nabû-bēssunu. Notably, the text is a duplicate of the first part of BAM 322, which is designated as “a copy from the palace of Ḫammurabi”.65 BAM 322 was copied by a high priest of the Aššur temple and for reasons unknown placed in the N4 collection (Steinert 2015: 129). If Kiṣir-Aššur’s BAM 321 represents a copy of the relevant section of BAM 322, it could signify that he purposely copied ancient knowledge thought to be derived from Ḫammurabi’s palace.

The text copied by Beckman and Foster (1988: 4) as no. 21 contains an unknown incantation ritual and it remains unedited. The colophon is fragmentary, and nothing further can be added here.

KAR 62 contains an incantation and a ritual that is stated in the incipit to be “If an angry man is to be reconciled (with someone)” (Pedersén 1986: 54, N4 no. 104; Ebeling 1931b: 22–23).66 Furthermore, the ritual instruction prescribes making an “ox” (alpu) of clay, which is possibly buried by the river.67 However, the sign for “ox” (GU₄) can also be read “ghost” (eṭemmu), and the eṭemmu was described in the underworld vision of an Assyrian prince as having the head of an ox, but the hands and feet of a human (Ambos 2013a: 60 note 177; Livingstone 1989: 72 line 6). As a result, it is possible that the text was connected to ghosts.68 The text was labelled as an uʾiltu of Kiṣir-Aššur.

KAR 63 consists of several incantations and ritual instructions concerned with soothing an angry or furious man (Pedersén 1986: 54, N4 no. 101; Ebeling 1931b: 16–20).69 The text is labelled as a “hurriedly extracted” uʾiltu of Kiṣir-Aššur and designated as a “final extract” (see Section 9.2.3). Interestingly, all entries are duplicated with only minimal variation by KAR 43, which was designated as: “written and checked [ac]cording to the wording of an imgiddû-tablet, an ‘Akkadian’ copy”.70 Notably, KAR 43 contains the note “new break” (ḫe-pí eš-šú) in rev. 17, but this line is copied with (reconstructed?) text in KAR 63 rev. 15. The question is if these tablets were copied from the same original, and if they were contemporary copies. This remains uncertain.

KAR 80, edited and republished as KAL 2 no. 8, concerns a ritual with prayers for a man with various symptoms who is suffering because of witchcraft (kišpu) by his “adversary” (bēl dabābi). The last incantation is designated as “ušburrudû (to undo witchcraft), for burning figurines”.71

KAR 374 consists of an incantation possibly addressed to Venus on the obverse and a ritual instruction for producing figurines on the reverse, both of which were possibly connected to (divine) anger (rūbu).72 The text was “hurriedly extracted” with a purpose statement.

LKA 70(+KAR 57) consists of the second tablet in the Nineveh recension of the incantation ritual nēpeš Duʾūzi-Ištar “the (ritual) procedure(s) of Dumuzi (and) Ištar”.73 These ritual actions were formally directed towards ghosts (eṭemmu), the sagḫulḫaza-demon, and mimma lemnu “Any evil”,74 although the ritual refers to ḫa(y)yattu “fit” and mimma lemnu, as well as various demons.75 Farber (1977: 24–26), however, noted differences between the Nineveh and Assur recensions concerning how the tablets are ordered, and while LKA 70+ should formally be the second tablet, a tablet before is not known in Assur. The ritual was probably performed around the end of the month Tammuz (June–July) (ibid.: 122–23).76

LKA 77 belongs to the series Ḫulbazizi, meaning “to eradicate evil”, and the various rituals are directed towards removing the generic evil mimma lemnu “any evil”.77 The incantations are bilingual and each of the three columns on each side of the tablet comprise two columns with Sumerian and Akkadian in each. The incantations were apparently widely applicable.78 The relationship between mimma lemnu and the patient’s bed seems pivotal to several treatments of illnesses by Kiṣir-Aššur’s family.79 The Ḫulbazizi series is also mentioned in the EM as a work within āšipūtu.80 The colophon of LKA 77 contains a curse and an instruction not to remove Kiṣir-Aššur’s name.

LKA 83 consists of two incantations and a brief recitation to ensure that the ghost, possibly of a recently deceased, went to the underworld and took various evils with it.81 The text is labelled as an uʾiltu of Kiṣir-Aššur. It is noteworthy that two of three entries on LKA 83 duplicate passages found in two non-consecutive and broken entries in the substitute king ritual.82 Scurlock suggests that this may have been influenced by a desire in the substitute king ritual to ensure that the king was not haunted by the ghost of the substitute king (Scurlock 1988a: 343).

Three of Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur manuscripts consist of namburbi-rituals. KAR 38 comprises several ritual instructions accompanied by prayers for a namburbi-ritual to keep away evil from a man and his house in connection to incorrectly followed cultic guidelines and imperfectly performed rituals.83 Kiṣir-Aššur’s father Nabû-bēssunu also copied this ritual (RA 18 pl. 28). Maul (1994: 421) suggested, correctly in my opinion, that this could indicate that the ritual was particularly important for this family. The text was labelled as “quickly extracted for a (ritual) performance”, and is the only tablet from Kiṣir-Aššur with this purpose statement.84 LKA 113 is a namburbi-ritual with instructions and incantations against any kind of evil portended by a bow [sic].85 The colophon is fragmentary and can be interpreted as either tracing the text back to three previous copies or as inferring that the text was compiled from three different sources.86 LKA 119 is a namburbi-ritual to avert the bad effects of dust derived from an evil place and to ensure that it does not come near a man.87 These three rituals are discussed in Section 6.4.2.

LKA 157, edited and republished as KAL 2 no. 25, contain prayers and ritual instructions addressing Šamaš on behalf of a man with various symptoms resulting from witchcraft (kišpu).88 The colophon ends with a purpose statement and by stating that the tablet was “quickly extracted”.89

The group of ritual texts in this section can be subdivided into texts dealing with hostility (KAR 62, KAR 63, KAR 374(?)), witchcraft (KAR 80, LKA 157), ghost rituals (LKA 70+, LKA 83), rituals to treat mimma lemnu (LKA 70+, LKA 77) and namburbi-rituals (KAR 38, LKA 113, LKA 119). Notably, Kiṣir-Aššur copied a text that, on a duplicate from N4, is stated as originating from Ḫammurabi’s palace (BAM 321). Unlike the prescriptions discussed in Section 8.2, only three texts contain purpose statements (KAR 38, KAR 374, LKA 157) and three ritual texts were said to have been extracted (KAR 38, KAR 374 and KAR 63, see Appendix 1).90 Because several ritual texts do not contain purpose statements, they may have served purposes other than immediate practical implementation. Furthermore, Kiṣir-Aššur copied most texts related to witchcraft, hostility, and “adversaries” during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase. However, he did copy related texts earlier, such as the namburbi-ritual KAL 4 no. 7 against witchcraft from the mašmaššu-phase or the prescription against kadabbedû in BAM 201 from his šamallû ṣeḫru-phase. Nonetheless, what is preserved from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur- and mašmaššu-phases could indicate that rituals against witchcraft and other similar evils were copied and practiced at a more advanced stage of his career.91

8.6 Texts Connected to the Aššur Temple

A number of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase show that he may have had official cultic duties in connection to the Aššur temple. In general, N4 texts such as the “Marduk Ordeal” (SAA 3 no. 34; N4 no. 453) and Sargon’s letter to Aššur concerning his 8th campaign against Urartu (=N4 no. 477; Thureau-Dangin 1912; see Mayer 1983; Weidner 1937–39: 144 with references) indicate that the Bāba-šuma-ibni family had access to knowledge of state rituals that were associated with the Aššur temple (Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XXXV; Maul 2010a: 200–201; Pedersén 1986: 56–57). Whether these texts always represent this family’s involvement is not entirely clear (cf. Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 391), although Maul (2010a: 200–201) emphasized that persons serving as Aššur temple exorcists must have been connected to the arrangement and performance of cultic and royal rituals in the city of Assur. This section discusses Kiṣir-Aššur’s various texts related to the Aššur temple in order to review the evidence for his attachment to the temple in connection to his title mašmaš bīt Aššur.

KAR 307 likely contains part of a mythological description of a ritual connected to the New Year ritual cycles (Livingstone 1989: XXIVXXV; SAA 3 no. 39; Livingstone 1986: 82ff.), which were celebrated in Assur during the months Šabaṭu (11), Addaru (12) and Nisānu (1) when the Assyrian king dwelled in Assur and participated in a number of rituals.92 The text possibly explains the mythological reasoning behind elements of a ritual cycle performed in Šabaṭu, connecting the king to the warrior aspect of Ninurta.93 The colophon contains a secrecy statement and the text is not dated.94

KAV 42 is a version of the “Götteradressbuch of Assur” and describes the various gods that were resident in Assur according to their temples, a list of city gates, city shrines, the ziggurats of the city, and Sennacherib’s new gates of the Aššur temple (SAA 20 no. 49; George 1992: 173ff. ms d, pl. 37–38; Menzel 1981: T 146ff.).95 Almost all duplicates were excavated in the N4 collection, although not all necessarily were written by the Bāba-šuma-ibni family.96 Notably, no recensions of the text are completely identical (George 1992: 167; Menzel 1981: T 146–47). As such, KAV 42 is the only NA source that includes a list of the gates from Sennacherib’s extension to the Ešarra temple complex (rev. 36–40).97 The text is designated as “written (by) Kiṣir-Aššur …”.98 The first line of the colophon further specifies: “the old gates are not listed” (George 1992: 183).99 This may denote that Kiṣir-Aššur edited the copied text. In general, such “topographical texts” are believed to have provided theological and cosmological glorification of the respective city (Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XXVIII; George 1992: 1–4, 167). Kiṣir-Aššur’s text may represent a wish to create an updated version that identifies himself as a foremost scholar in such cultic matters while celebrating the city of Assur.

The unpublished tablet N4 no. 110 contains “cultic” material (see Ebeling 1954c: 115). The obverse contains several individual lines, as well as a long list of cultic materials and objects related to one or more rituals, presumably described separately as “rites” (parṣū, CAD P: 195ff.) in obverse line 30.100 A section of the reverse equates various peculiar gods with common divine names and titles, and this part of the text seems to function as a theological commentary.101 It remains uncertain which ritual(s) and what cult the content of N4 no. 110 is connected to. The manuscript attests to Kiṣir-Aššur’s initiation into esoteric knowledge during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase, which is presumably related to one or more cults in Assur.

PKTA pl. 10–11 (= SAA 20 no. 37) contains temple service instructions for the Assyrian temples throughout various cities.102 It is possible that Kiṣir-Aššur copied the text, even though his name is not preserved in the colophon. The ritual may be an abbreviated version of the tākultu-ritual,103 which involved the participation of the king in providing offerings in the form of a ceremonial banquet for the gods of the various Assyrian temples (Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 392–99, 394; Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XXVIXXVII). PKTA pl. 10–11 was excavated in N4 and the remains of the second line of the colophon read “[…] of the Aššur temple”.104 Based on these two observations, Parpola (2017: 102) and Pongratz-Leisten (2015: 394) have reasonably suggested that the text was copied by Kiṣir-Aššur. If Kiṣir-Aššur is identified as the copyist of this text, his use of this version of the tākultu-ritual remains uncertain.

PKTA pl. 39–40 (= SAA 20 no. 51) was likely copied by either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû and is a copy of a decree by a king Shalmaneser (possibly Shalmaneser V, ca. 726–723).105 The text concerns rations for and the duties of the Aššur temple personnel, although it does not list exorcists.106 The colophon states: “The hands of Kiṣi[r-…]”,107 which is not observed in other Kiṣir-Aššur texts. In other contexts, phrases in the colophons related to the “hand” (qātu) of someone occur as (ina) qāt PN “hand of PN”,108 possibly designating the copyist (CAD Q: 194; Hunger 1968: 8).109 Perhaps the formulation can be considered similar in meaning to šà-ṭír, as observed in KAV 42. The text’s purpose remains unclear. Although the text does not formally list a title, I consider it likely that it was part of Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase tablets because of its association with the Aššur temple.110

In general, the texts suggest a familiarization with the cult of Aššur and cultic topography of Assur. However, none of the texts demonstrate that Kiṣir-Aššur prepared such rituals or participated as performer, although cultic materials and ceremonies are mentioned in the manuscripts.111 Furthermore, several influential families, such as Aššur-šākin-šumi’s family of šangû-priests of Aššur and Nergal, are associated with the N4 collection (Fadhil 2012: 39; Maul 2010a: 216–17). The suggestion by Maul (ibid.: 200–201) concerning the Bāba-šuma-ibni family’s involvement in state rituals was further developed by Pongratz-Leisten (2017: XXXV), who described the family as organizers of “the cult of the Aššur temple” and saw Kiṣir-Aššur as the “author of several state rituals” (also Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 391, 394, 396).112 However, the crucial evidence needed to connect Kiṣir-Aššur and his family to actual performances in the Aššur cult is currently lacking.113 Kiṣir-Aššur may have been initiated into exclusive knowledge regarding these rituals, but anything beyond the possible involvement of Kiṣir-Aššur’s family in these rituals is at present ambiguous.

8.7 Summary

The majority of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets with colophons derive from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase. As suggested by his title, he may have had duties in connection to the Aššur temple during this phase. Several texts suggest that he was familiar with the cult of Aššur, cultic topography of the city of Assur and various stately rituals, although they cannot be connected directly to active participation in the Aššur cult. Kiṣir-Aššur’s possible duties to the temple in connection to his title therefore remain uncertain. Regardless of any possible official duties, Kiṣir-Aššur could have continued to have private clients as mašmaš bīt Aššur, which may be indicated by the purpose statements on manuscripts relating to healing. The same seems to have been the case for Adad-šumu-uṣur at the royal court (Robson 2019: 109).

Kiṣir-Aššur’s group of medical texts contain a number of treatments for illnesses not previously encountered, mainly connected to internal illnesses. Furthermore, the texts attest to the active practice of this knowledge through his frequent use of purpose statements and extracts. A number of his texts with purpose statements make use of prescriptions labelled as “tested”. The label “tested” may refer to a drug’s ability to regularly produce wanted results. It remains uncertain if Kiṣir-Aššur tested prescriptions himself, but two texts discussed in Section 8.3.2 could represent an example of this. Additionally, Kiṣir-Aššur copied BAM 300 with a prescription labelled as a panacea, i.e., a widely applicable drug. Therefore, several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical texts from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase seem to attest to practiced knowledge. This practiced knowledge was occasionally considered “tested” or widely applicable, indicating that Kiṣir-Aššur may have relied on trustworthy prescriptions or perhaps tested the effect of certain prescriptions himself.

Finally, Kiṣir-Aššur’s ritual texts from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase attest to the treatment of various sources of evil, such as ghosts, mimma lemnu, witchcraft, and “adversaries” (bēl dabābi), as well as hostility, and various namburbi-rituals. Especially texts connected to witchcraft and hostility appear to be related to Kiṣir-Aššur’s later phases. The mašmaš bīt Aššur ritual manuscripts themselves may not necessarily represent practice in all instances, but Kiṣir-Aššur still acquired knowledge about certain rituals for various purposes during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase.


BAM 99, BAM 164, BAM 177, BAM 186, BAM 188, BAM 300.


KAR 38, KAR 374, LKA 157.


KAR 63 does not have a purpose statement, but is designated as a “final extract” (nis-ḫu qí-ta-a-a-ú). See Section 9.2.3. BAM 321’s colophon is largely broken.


See Section 2.3.3. The reconstruction by Baker (2017: 18) in LKA 141 of Kiṣir-Aššur’s title as šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru šáAš-šur] is disregarded here (see Appendix 1).


In the LB colophons investigated by Ossendrijver (2011: 643), titles for copyists frequently represented a mix of traditional clan or qualification titles, but not necessarily temple offices. Villard (2007: 328–29 and note 77) suggested that the title zabardabbû may have designated a treasurer (cf. Lafont 1987: 51–52 with comparative third and second millennium BCE material). This prompted Villard (2007: 329) to suggest that exorcists could have served as treasurers before the reign of Esarhaddon. However, this remains uncertain, and Villard (ibid.) points out that we know nothing about this for Kiṣir-Aššur. If Nabû-bēssunu is actually the individual mentioned in SAA 13 no. 39, he would have been involved in affairs of the temple administration (ibid.: 328–29). See also May 2018: 66–67.


Maul 2010: 200–201, 206–207; Jean 2006: 140, 142; Maul 2000: 391; Menzel 1981: 247; cf. Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 331, 394, 396–97.


Maul 2010a: 200 and note 40; George 1993a: 145; van Driel 1969: 34; see also Ermidoro 2017: XXVIII; Menzel 1981: 247.


Although the context is uncertain, Jean (2006: 141 and note 552) refers to Urad-Gula’s “The Forlorn Scholar” letter, in which he states that he received “leftovers” (rīḫātu) (SAA 10 no. 294 obv. 17; see CAD R: 340).


Priests presumably had shaved heads (Waerzeggers 2008; Löhnert 2007; Sallaberger and Vulliet 2005: 618; Borger 1973: 172–74; Menzel 1981: 189–90, 239–40; cf. Robson 2011b: 605 note 7 concerning NA bārûs at court). The exorcist appearing in a dream before the sufferer Šubši-mešrê-Šakkan in Ludlul bēl nēmeqi is described as “bearded” (Annus and Lenzi 2010: 39). See also SAA 10 no. 96 rev. 1ff. and no. 97 obv. 5’ff. for cultic shaving.


The N4 home was connected to individuals in high positions in various temples (Fadhil 2012: 39–42; Maul 2010a: 212, 216–17). NA exorcists are, however, rarely attested directly in relation to the performance of rituals in temples, see, e.g., SAA 13 no. 71. They were part of the renovation or production of cultic statues in the temple workshop (bīt mummi) (Walker and Dick 2001: 8ff., 15–16, 52 note 34). For a discussion of NA exorcists connected to temples, see Koch unpublished: 7; Jean 2006: 139–43; Sallaberger and Vulliet 2005: 632. Ermidoro (2017: XIXXX) has recently emphasized that the entire “Inner City” (libbi āli), another name for the city Assur, was presented in rituals as “a single cultic place”. As such, the city itself may have functioned as a macro-temple complex, meaning that a resident may have had some access to temples. Esarhaddon indicates “his people” had access to the outer courtyard of the Aššur temple (Pongratz-Leisten 2017: LV).


BAM 28 obv. 5 and 10: A.MEŠ/A PÚ šá É dAMAR.UTU, “water of the Marduk temple’s well”. Such water was also employed in several namburbi-rituals (Maul 1994: 41 and note 45). For the word būrtu, see Dalley 2013: 65. BAM 28 is discussed in Section 8.2.


BAM 28 obv. 11 and 13ff.: ÉN ÈŠ ZU.AB NÌ.NAM MÚ.A …, “In the abode of the Abzu, which produced all that there is …” (Kinnier Wilson and Reynolds 2007: 73).


Gries 2017: 39, 86–87, pls. 70 and 165; Andrae 1938: 13, 26, 155, tafel 2b. The inscription on Sennacherib’s apsû water tank also mentions the word PÚ/būrtu “well” (Gries 2017: 87 with references). The tank was damaged and the pieces were excavated mainly in a cistern in the so-called “Ostanbau”, see Gries 2017: pl. 7.


One additional fragment of this tablet was published in Beckman and Foster 1988 no. 7, which adds the previously missing title to the colophon. Furthermore, a piece of the tablet was collated in Durand 1982 pl. 120. The text has only been partially edited. See Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 784 with internal references; Kinnier Wilson and Reynolds 2007: 73–74; Collins 1999: 191ff.; Farber 1990b: 313ff.; Scheil 1921: 17–17 no. 13.


Scurlock 2014: 289–90; cf. Farber 1990b: 315 and note 59. The name buʾšānu likely refers to the verb baʾāšu “to stink”, possibly referring to a symptom of the illness (Böck 2014a: 157, 166). The illness is regularly identified as “diphtheria” by modern researchers, although this remains uncertain (Scurlock 2014: 390; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 40; Köcher 1978: 20–21; cf. Cadelli 1997: 32; Kinnier Wilson 1996: 138; Kämmerer 1995: 157; Kinnier Wilson 1966: 52–54).


BAM 28 obv. 17–18: ÉN KA.DAB KA.DAB KA.DAB DA[B (ca. five signs missing)] 18 ZÚ.KUD ZÚ.KUD ZÚ.KUD [(ca. four signs missing)]. For a discussion of such incantations, see Böck 2014a: 189–90; Veldhuis 1999: 46–48.


BAM 78 obv. 3: [x x b]i? ud -rat ⌈d⌉[AMAR.U]TU KIN.KIN-ma TI; see a translation of a duplicate passage from BAM 77 in Stol 2006: 113.


In Köcher’s copy, the name could be read *p*Ki-ṣir-dA[G(ligature)?]. Ligatures of dAG in Kiṣir-Nabû’s name can be found in, e.g., BAM 101 rev.? 13, BAM 106 rev. 9’, and KAR 223 rev. 14. Furthermore, the lú of the title looks like a Babylonian form on Beckman and Foster’s copy.


The text is edited in Geller 2005: 212ff. no. 35. See also Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 786 with internal references. Identified illnesses include: “Ill inside(s)” (qer-be-nu GIG; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 121–22), “’Overflow’ of the intestines illness” (ter-di-it ir-ri GIG), and “Anus illness” (DÚR.GIG; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 150–53).


BAM 164 obv. 20: 5 Ú.MEŠ DIŠ NA ana GÌŠ.MEŠ-šú ma-gal ZI.ZI-bi, “If a man repeatedly ‘rises’ greatly because of his penis(pl.) [sic]” (see Geller 2005: 62–63, 80–81 “If a man repeatedly rises/has an erection because of his urine”). The verb tebû indicates “sexual arousal, erection” (CAD T: 317–18), and Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 110–111) consider this to be an example of priapism: “If a person continually has an erection when he tries to urinate …”. The other comparable examples have KÀŠ.MEŠ over GÌŠ.MEŠ. This is perhaps a mistake in BAM 164 that could have occurred due to the purpose statement.


The text is partially edited in Geller (2005: 80–83, 124–25 ms ZZ) and Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 787 with internal references).


The first prescription states obv. 7: PAB 18 a-pi-is-lat lat-ku x[x], “total: 18 (drugs) …(?), tested […]”. The writing a-pi-is-lat may be related to apišalû, which may refer to a deformity, perhaps regarded as an illness from the country Apišal (CAD A/2: 170; CDA: 20; see Steinert 2015: 125). However, due to the meagre number of references, Scurlock (2014: 462 note 51) disregards this reading and suggests a reading a-pi-iš₆-šat related to apišītû “portion, agreed proportion” (CAD A/2: 197). The interpretation remains uncertain. The reading “Sun-heat” ṣētu in the second prescription is that of Scurlock 2014: 462 note 51; cf. Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 788 with internal reference. However, it is also possible to interpret the signs ṣe-ti as ZÍ-ti “bile” (martu).


The text is partially edited in Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 788 with internal reference). See also Steinert 2015: 117 note 50, 125.


Obv. 13: mar-ḫaṣ ša Ì.MEŠ ḫi-miṭ UD.DA.


The text is partially edited in Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 788 with internal reference).


For aḫḫāzu from aḫāzu “to seize, hold”, see CAD A/1: 185f.; AHw: 20. For amurriqānu from warāqu “to be(come) green-yellow”, see CAD A/2: 91f.; AHw: 92. For discussions, see, e.g., Böck 2014a: 74, 123–25, 148–51, 179, 183 note 98; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 32–34, 138–39, 191–92.


It seems that aḫḫāzu was considered to be more severe than amurriqānu, although both cases could be lethal (Böck 2014a: 125 and notes 105–106; see also CAD A/1: 186). Though one would expect a connection between jaundice and the liver and gallbladder (Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 138, 191), only aḫḫāzu was really connected to the liver as well as Ninurta (Böck 2014a: 74; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 32–34, 138, 476, 520). Waste of flesh was thought to be connected to amurriqānu (Böck 2014a: 138–39).


The text is partially edited in Steinert (2015: 127–28) and Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 789 with internal reference).


Obv. 7’, obv. 10’, obv. 13’, rev. 23’.


Rev. 20’–22’: … maš-ši-ti šá [GÌRII(?)] 21’ šá IM id-[p]i-t[u] 22’ ù šá-ag-gi a-na lu-ub-bu-[ki] (following Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 170). The IM id-[p]i-t[u] is peculiar. The related word idiptu is translated in CAD (I-J: 9) as “wind” that functions like an illness or demon, and derives from edēpu “inflated” (CDA: 124). CAD (Š/1: 72) suggests another reading of the line: šá IM ed-pi tu-[x-(x)] ù šá-ag-gi…. However, this remains unclear. Köcher (1964: XXII) described the last prescription as “Herstellung von Streumitteln” on the basis of rev. 19’–20’: Ú.ḪI.A an-nu-t[i] 20’ ana IGI ta-za-ru. However, it remains unclear if “you scatter these plants” into something or if ana IGI refers to scattering the ingredients in front of the patient, possibly written without the third person singular pronominal suffix.


Rev. 24’: bul-ṭu lat-ku šá ŠUII UM.ME.A.


Several examples of “tested” treatments occur in, e.g., the internal illness compendium BAM 95 copied by Nabû-bēssunu (Geller 2005: 128–133, 208–11, 230–31 ms V) and among Kiṣir-Nabû’s texts (e.g., BAM 168 obv. 78–81). The N4 manuscript BAM 42, from Aššur-šākin-šumi contains several prescriptions designated as “a secret of kingship” (BAM 42 obv. 12, obv. 35). For such labels in N4, see Maul 2010a: 198.


BAM 164 is duplicated by the N4 manuscripts BAM 116 (broken colophon) and the eight-columned BAM 161, as well as the four-columned Nineveh manuscript BAM 431; all examples are labelled as “tested” (Steinert 2015: 137–38 with score transliteration). BAM 177 is partly duplicated in the N4 manuscript BAM 124 col. iii 38–40, which is not labelled as “tested”. BAM 186 is duplicated in the N4 manuscripts BAM 188 rev. 1–10 and BAM 189 col. iv 1–16, neither of which are labelled as “tested” (see below). BAM 303 is without known duplicates.


It remains uncertain if Kiṣir-Aššur is the ummânu mentioned testing the prescriptions (see Geller 2010: 193 note 178). BAM 303 is also one of only three instances in which the theophoric element of Kiṣir-Aššur’s name is written dAš-šur rather than Aš-šur. The other two examples are Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru texts N4 no. 237 and N4 no. 289.


The two prescriptions that are not explicitly labelled as “tested” contain the statement: ḪI-/maš-ši-ti KI.MIN (BAM 303 obv. 10’, 13’), which supports them being tested.


Steinert 2015; Geller 2010: 17–18. Another type of efficacy phrase used is ana X damiq – “(a drug) is good for X”, perhaps meaning “effective” (Steinert 2015: 116–18), which was also used in the NA royal correspondence by healers (ibid.: 117 and note 51). The term could be used as well to qualify, e.g., rituals against various non-medical things (ibid.: 118 and note 53–54). For the use of latāku in relation to witchcraft, see Schwemer 2007a: 89.


Steinert uses BAM 95 rev. 26 to argue that drugs provided regular results via the phrase bulṭu latku ša ina qāti kayamā[nti šūṣû?], “A tested remedy that [was established] by regular practice (lit. ‘hand’)” (Steinert 2015: 139 note 121; Geller 2005: 133–34 no 21 ms V). However, see Ch. 6 notes 25–26 with references and further discussion of similar phrases.


Unfortunately, the obverse of BAM 188 is almost completely broken (Köcher 1963b: XXI).


BAM 189 = N4 no. 326. The format resembles the stone inventory list BAM 366, written by either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû (see Appendix 1).


The line below also opens with the sign KAR. Furthermore, BAM 189 col. iv 10 seems to end with ḪAB, and the opening KAR likely spells out kar-šú. As a result, col. iv 9 must list another plant, but then the total of 14 plants in line 15 does not fit with the amount of plants. Perhaps the young student wrote karšu twice, maybe in both forms: karašu and karšu.


Erica Couto-Ferreira (2018) has recently published a similar argument concerning these three texts, and she reached the same conclusion. My study was written independently of Couto Ferreira’s, and I was not aware of her publication before my dissertation, on which this monograph is based, was submitted in August 2017.


For the relationship between “bile” and the various types of jaundice, see Böck 2014a: 122–28 with further references.


Couto-Ferreira (2018: 158 and note 30) notes that BAM 186 rev. 23 contains the unusual phrase “I have collected (18) oils”, 18 Ì.MEŠ aš-bu-uš. However, there are at least one sign following aš-bu-uš not treated by Couto-Ferreira. The sign appears to add Š[U(II?) (x)], possibly referring to “(in) [(my?)] hand”, although a preposition before ŠU would have been preferable (see CAD Š/1: 6f.). The reading is therefore uncertain. This line could be a further indication that BAM 186 represents an experimental text.


However, it remains uncertain how to interpret this line. B contains three prescriptions. As the second and third prescription in B do not contain preserved passages specifying what illnesses against which they were directed, it is also possible that obv. 13 functioned as a header. The second prescription is designated in rev. 23 as: “18 oils for relaxi[ng(?)]”, 18 Ì.MEŠ ina pu-uš-šu-[ḫi?]. Note that puššuḫu mostly occurs in prescriptions in relation to ana (CAD P: 231). The third prescription is broken at the relevant passage in rev. 28: “Total: 8 plant[s for(?) …]”, PAB 8 Ú.[MEŠ …].


Yet, BAM 186 states that it is “extracted” (nasāḫu), indicating that it was copied from a manuscript. How to understand this situation remains uncertain.


See Steinert 2015: 134–35; Geller 2010: 25, 104. For another panacea found in Nineveh and Sultantepe, see CMAwR 2: 435ff.


The “soiled rag”, ulāp lupputi, is used in a variety of ritual and medical contexts (CAD U–W: 71–72).


The kallu-bowl is described as made of clay or wood, although CAD (K: 83) also lists the word as part of descriptions of the “crown (kallu) of the human skull (qaqqadu)” or “shell (kallu) of a turtle” (see AHw: 426). The gulgullu is listed as a “skull” or a “container shaped like a human skull” (CAD G: 127–28; AHw: 297). In the majority of examples, a skull refers to human remains. In at least one example a patient is fumigated using a human skull, see AMT 98,1 obv./rev.? 9’: … ina gul-gul NAM.LÚ.U₁₈.LU ina NE tu-qat-tar-š[u …], “… you fumigate hi[m] with embers in a human skull […]” (CAD G: 128). Presumably, BAM 300 describes a similar situation.


For fumigation, see Böck 2009a: 117; Finkel 1991; Golz 1974: 83–85; Herrero 1984: 109–110.


The translation is not literal. The word gimru designates “totality” or “everything”, and in relation to divine epithets, e.g., bēl gimri, it can be translated “lord of the universe” (AHw: 289; CAD G: 76–77; CDA: 93). Thus, buluṭ gimri becomes “universal prescription” here. Similarly, kalāma means “all (of it)” or “everything” and is generally used indeclinable as object of verbs, in genitive constructions, and in apposition to a preceding substantive to stress totality (AHw: 423–24; CAD K: 65–66; CDA: 142; see von Soden 1995: 106 §65h; cf. SAAS 13: 53).


Single prescription tablets, e.g., BAM 177.


Multiple duplicated tablets, e.g., BAM 68 (Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû), which is duplicated in BAM 69 obv. 1–17 (= N4 no. 18) and BAM 70 obv.? 1’–9’ (breaks off) (= N4 no. 536).


Whether or not some form of anaesthetics was available to ancient healers remains uncertain, but it is noteworthy that BAM 260, copied by either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû at an uncertain stage, may contain instructions for getting the patient drunk enough that he may pass out (Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 361; Heeßel 2002b: 104–105; Geller and Cohen 1995: 1813 and note 26). If so, these prescriptions could have been part of the ad hoc prescriptions of these healers.


See also BAM 321. The left edge of the tablet is broken, but obv. 1–9 and rev. 27–31 seem to be magical recitations.


The incantation mentions Ea and possibly some healing plants related to the netherworld, see CAD Š/1: 318.


I consider N4 no. 24 here, although it could be argued that this incantation served a prophylactic purpose. However, a crying child may have heralded the presence of Lamaštu, and therefore it indicated a negative situation related to illness (see Section 5.2.2).


Likely, the two unpublished incantations in N4 A 2727 also belong in this discussion.


It may have been possible to activate or enhance the effect of specific ingredients and cures with an incantation, perhaps pointing to a belief that drugs and cures could be used for evil effects as well, mirroring the Greek pharmakon, which refers to various healing drugs and poisons. For examples, see CAD Š/1: 320; Böck 2014a: 91; Geller 2007b: 397–98. For the duality of pharmakon see Nutton 2004: 98, 328 note 6, 348 note 82. This duality may be another reason why the NA royal court used divination to determine if specific drug were to be applied (Koch 2015: 129 and note 340; SAA 10 no. 185 and no. 187). The question of the negative effects of medication should be investigated further.


See also Kiṣir-Aššur’s fragmentary tablet KAL 10 no. 5 without a title containing treatments against māmītu, in which two single-line instructions can be found on the reverse after incantations (rev. 4’: […] 3-šú ŠID-n[u …]; rev. 11’: [K]A.INIM.MA ana UGU ḪU? 3-šú […]). This may be reminiscent of the example from BAM 105 quoted above.


Again, Gesche’s school texts largely excluded medical material and Gesche (2001: 213–15) discussed such material in relation to the professional specialization process.


The text remains unedited (see Böck 2014a: 78–79 note 8).


Obv. 1.


Obv. 19–20, obv. 23.


Obv. 27.


Part of the text is duplicated by the peculiar manuscript BAM 322 obv. 1–28 (Köcher 1971: IXX; see Lenzi 2008a: 196 note 302; Steinert 2015: 128–29; Maul 2010a: 212 and note 78). Interestingly, BAM 322 contains a dividing line after obv. 28, after which obv. 29 states: GABA.RI É.GAL pḫa-am-m[u-r]a-bi LUGAL ŠÁR, “copy from the palace of Ḫamm[ur]abi, king of the world”. The latter half is later designated in rev. 91 as: GABA.RI É.GAL pAš-šur-ŠEŠ-SUM-na LUGAL Š[ÁR], “copy from the palace of Esarhaddon, king of the world”. Robson (2019: 133) has recently expressed doubt about the claim regarding the text’s provenance.


Rev. 1: KA.INIM.MA DIŠ zi-na-a ana SILIM!-⌈me. The verb zenû “to be angry” is well attested in connection to men and gods (CAD Z: 85–86). The tablet is edited in Ebeling 1931b: 20–24.


Rev. 2: DÙ.DÙ.BI GU₄ šá IM DÙ-; rev. 14–15: … NU ina ÍD 15 te-tem-mir-ma … (see CAD T: 336).


For a ghost as an ox, see George 1991: 148–49, 157 line 18.


See also Scurlock 1997: 82 and note 32; Ebeling 1915: 92–95, edition of the duplicate KAR 43; KAR 63 obv. 7: KA.INIM.MA DIŠ NA mám-ma U[GU]-šú sa-bu-us, “If someone is angry with a man” (CAD Š/1: 5); rev. 16’: [K]A.INIM.MA DIŠ NA ra-aʾ-ba-ni-iš i-šá-su-šú, “If they cry out in anger to a man”.


KAR 43 (= N4 no. 71) rev. 25: [ki]-i MURÚB IM.GÍD.DA GABA.RI URIki SAR È (BAK no. 275; cf. CAD P: 454 for MURÚB as ). Variations occur in individual signs, e.g., KAR 43 obv. 12 ending -tu/ KAR 63 obv. 12 ending -tu₄, as well as line divisions, e.g., KAR 43 obv. 13ff./KAR 63 obv. 13ff. with varying line endings.


Rev. 37: KA.INIM.MA UŠ₁₁.BÚR.RU.DA.KAM ša NU.MEŠ qa-li-i. CMAwR 1: 293ff. no. 8.4A, 306ff. 8.5B; Schwemer 2007b: 31–36, 143–47; Seux 1976: 396–399; Abusch 1974: 258; Ebeling 1918: 27–34. Obv. 6–7: LÚ BI EN D[U₁₁].DU₁₁-šú kiš-pi NIGIN-š[u] 7 kip-di Ḫ[UL.MEŠ ik-p]u-du-šú …, “his adversary has encircled that man with witchcraft, ev[il] schemes [have been pl]otted against him …” (CMAwR 1: 301). Furthermore, Nabû-bēssunu is supplied with the title ME.ME É AN.[ŠAR] in the colophon. ME.ME can be read āšipu, although it is unusual in the N4 colophons. The writing may be an intentional reference to the writing dME.ME for the healing goddess Gula.


Unedited, see Reiner 1995: 23 note 85; Maul 1994: 75 note 35; CAD N/1: 266. KAR 374 rev. 16: ana ru-ub-bi ŠUB-di, “(in order) to throw off anger”. The term rūbu/rubbu for “anger, wrath” is not well attested, although at least two SB examples address Ištar, which mirrors the incantation that here possibly addresses Venus (CAD R: 400; AHw: 992). The production of figurines are mentioned in KAR 374 rev. 5: 2 NU IM DÙ, “you make 2 clay figurine(s)”. For anger and fury in connection to the god Erra, see Machinist 1983: 224.


Farber 1977: 127ff. ms b and pl. 14; Scurlock 1988a no. 86; see also Wiggermann 2010. Concerning such rituals and their setting, see Leick 2003: 225–26.


Farber 1977: 140–41. The rituals play on the well-known relationship between the netherworld and Dumuzi as well as Ištar, as known from Ištar’s Descent (Lapinkivi 2010). By extension, the Ištar-Dumuzi cult was related to Dumuzi’s relationship to the harvest and a ritual was performed for the dead Dumuzi during the month Tammuz, i.e., in the summer when the harvest was done (Cohen 1993: 477, 479–481).


Farber 1977: 9; 144–45, 148–51; see Section 7.5. Noticeably, Farber’s “Hauptritual B” was against various acts of sorcery and took place in a man’s house (Farber 1977: 218–60; Wiggermann 2010: 342–343).


See von Soden 1936: 259. Additionally, Farber (1977: 124) argues for this ritual being part of the heading found in the EM obv. 5, see Geller 2000: 244, 252 note 5; Jean 2006: 64.


LKA 77 col. vi 25: KA.INIM.MA ḪUL.BA.ZI.Z[I.K]E₄. See the edition in Ebeling 1953b; see also Farber 2014: 32, 39 and note 2, 242; Maul 2010: 195 and note 26; Jean 2006: 78 and notes 284–85; Heeßel 2002a: 113 note 20, 169 no. 163; Wiggermann 2000: 220 and note 15–16; Farber 1989: 114–15; Hunger 1968: 71 no. 203 ms B. Irving Finkel is preparing a complete edition of Ḫulbazizi texts.


One such incantation, although not found in LKA 77, is ša maldi eršīya ittiqu “He who transgressed the ‘privacy’ (lit.: edge(?)) of my bed”, which occurs on several Lamaštu amulets. See Wiggermann 2007b: 106–7 and note 3; Wiggermann 2000: 220 and note 15–16, 223 and note 28, 242, 246; Wilhelm 1979; Appendix 3; for maldu, see CAD M/1: 363.


See also the discussion in Arbøll 2019. The focus on the bed during illness and the significance of being bedridden require further investigation.


KAR 44 obv. 7: … u ḪUL.BA.ZI.[ZI si-la]-⌈e-ri⌉-m[a]. The note represents the opening incipit of the series (Geller 2000: 252 note 7).


Scurlock 1988a: 343, 344–350 no. 83; Tsukimoto 1985: 173ff.


The two duplicate passages appear in Lambert 1957–58 pl. 10 columns B 1’–4’ (entry continues until line 8’) and D 1’–5’. The entries are almost identical, disregarding variantions in signs and Sumerograms. See Scurlock 1988a: 343; Lambert 1957–58: 109; Parpola 1983a: XXIIXXXII; Ebeling 1953a: XI. See also Ambos 2013b on the substitute king ritual.


Maul 1994: 421–431 ms A; Caplice 1970: 124–32; Ebeling 1955b: 184–89; Ebeling 1954a: 5; Ebeling 1931b: 47–52. Although Maul (1994: 421) stresses that the ritual could be used by the exorcists when performing rituals for the king, the text itself emphasizes that it is to keep the evil from “a man and his house” (obv. 2: … ana! NA u É-šú NU TE-e).


KAR 38 rev. 41: a-na mu-še-piš-ú-ti ḫa-an-ṭiš ZI-[ḫa/ḫi]. For this variant, see CAD M/2: 267; Maul 2010a: 212 and note 80; Hunger 1968: 12, 69 no. 198. The statement in BAM 206 rev. 16’: a-na pi-še-er-ti kiš-pi šá ina UZ[U GU₇.MEŠ(?)] is perhaps also a purpose statement (Hunger 1968: 12, 75 no. 219), although it may be a generic formula describing the function of such material (see CMAwR 1: 53–55, note to line 15’).


Reiner 1995: 88 notes 365 and 376; Maul 1994: 207f. and note 407; Ebeling 1955a: 137–38 no. 21; Ebeling 1954a: 4–5; Lambert 1956: 164.


It is unclear how these lines should be interpreted, although they likely attest to three different sources upon which the copied text is based. If the three sources consisted of the same text or differing recensions thereof remains uncertain. Regardless, LKA 113 seems to be indicative of a level of active redaction in relation to what text ended up on the actual tablet. Similarly, Kiṣir-Nabû wrote a single prescription with a purpose statement during an uncertain phase, which opened with the following ruled-off statement: “I excerpted (the following) from among many tablets (and) I collected (them) together”. Geller 2005: 230–31. BAM 101 obv. 1–3: TA ŠÀ-bi DUB.M[EŠ] MEŠ-[tim] 2 ú-na-as-si-ḫa x[x] 3 a-na a-ḫa-meš ú-qa[r-rib]. Such indications of redaction should be investigated further.


Maul 1994: 8 note 67, 52 note 86, 90 note 64, 445 note 15; Ebeling 1954b: 178–181.


CMAwR 1: 2–4, 293–305 no. 8.2 ms A, 306–317 no. 8.5 ms B; Schwemer 2010b: 130–31; Schwemer 2007b: 68–71, 176–77.


Additionally, col. iv 6’ contains a subscript designating the cause as witchcraft. This resembles a catch-line, although the line does not end EGIR-šú “(it is written) after this”.


LKA 157 was probably also stated to be “quick[ly extracted]”.


In general, rituals aimed at gaining control over other individuals, such as the É-gal-ku₄-ra rituals, were not mentioned in the EM (CMAwR 1: 4; Schwemer 2011: 431–32; Schwemer 2007a: 67, 127–31, 159–61). Possibly, rituals for calming angry people or hostility (e.g., KAR 62, KAR 63) are to be included in this category, although they could also be interpreted as countermeasures on par with anti-witchcraft rituals.


Ermidoro 2017: XVIIIXX; Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XLVIIXLVIII; Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 407–426; Ambos 2013a: 181–183; Maul 2000. See also Tsukimoto 1985: 218–227.


Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XLIX; Annus 2002: 6, 27, 93–94, 100–101; Maul 1999a: 211–212; Livingstone 1986: 146–48. One associated act was perhaps the execution of the “enemy” that may have been a prisoner (Maul 1999a: 211).


This text, KAV 42, LKA 137, N4 no. 110, and possibly N4 A 2727 contain a peculiar addition to the colophon, KAR 307 rev. 28: [MU] PA-ṭu-u GIM SUMUN-ma; KAV 42 rev. 42: PA-[]u-u GIM SUMUN-ma; LKA 137 rev. 7: MU PA!-ṭu-u GIM SU[MUN-ma(?)]; N4 no. 110 rev. 25: PA-ṭu-u GIM SUMUN-m[a] (see BAK no. 205–207). N4 A 2727 has a row of very damaged and faint signs, which may have read: PA-ṭu-u GIM SUMUN-ma. The meaning of the phrase remains uncertain and it is only attested in a handful of texts from Assur (Hunger 1968: 8), see in addition to the texts here BAK 228 = KAR 178; BAK 279 = KAR 164; BAK 283 = LKA 106; BAK 287 = LKA 114 (N4 no. 507); KAL 4 no. 53. AHw: 852 regards the term PA-ṭu-u as a possibly unclear designation for a tablet, and CAD (P: 310) simply states that the meaning is unknown. Maul and Strauß (2011: 108 note 15) regarded the statement as a reference to the copy in question commenting on either “äußere Gestaltung oder auf gewisse Mängel der Textvorlage”, which were intentionally repeated by the copyist in the present manuscript. Hunger discussed possible readings such as ḫaṭṭû for PA-ṭu-u originating from ḫaṭû “to make a mistake, neglect, omit” (CAD Ḫ: 156–58), in which MU would then designate “line, entry” (šumu), i.e., “faulty (entries) like the original”. This would have the implication that the original was already considered faulty. Considering that three of five tablets with this phrase were written during Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase (KAR 307, KAV 42, N4 no. 110), it is possible LKA 137 should be assigned to his later phases as well.


For differences between KAV 42 and the tākultu-rituals in such stylized lists of divinities in Assur, see Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XXXIXXL; Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 397–99.


George 1992: 168, 173; ms c (N4 no. 458), d (KAV 42, N4 no. 138), e (unknown), f (N4 no. 491), g+i = one tablet (N4 no. 604 and 612), h (N4 no. 608), j+k = one tablet(?) (unknown). However, ms f was written by a šangû-priest of Adad (BAK no. 270) and ms g+i was written by an unnamed šangû-priest(?) of Ešarra.


Pongratz-Leisten 2017: LVI-LVII; George 1992: 167–72; see also Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 396–97.


KAV 42 rev. 43: šà-ṭír pKi-ṣir-Aš-šur


KAV 42 rev. 41: KÁ.MEŠ SUMUN.MEŠ NU SAR (George 1992: 184, BAK no. 207). This resembles the writing in Kiṣir-Aššur’s BAM 102 rev. 3: DÙ.DÙ.BI-šú la šaṭ-ru, “its ritual is not written”.


Obv. 30: GARZA.MEŠ te x x […].


E.g., rev. 5: “The ‘Divine fox’ (is) Nergal of the funerary offe[rings]”, dKA₅.A dU.GUR šá ki-i[s-pi], and rev. 8: “The ‘Divine mayor’ (is) Mar[du]k, king of the go[ds]”, dḫa-za-nu dAMAR.[UT]U LUGAL DIN[GIR.MEŠ].


Ermidoro 2015: 125–26; Menzel 1981: T 110–12, no. 53.


Pongratz-Leisten 2017: XXXVII; Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 394; cf. Ermidoro 2015: 125–26 and notes 18–20; Menzel 1981: 151–53; van Driel 1969: 60–75, 165.


Rev. 25: [x x x x x] šá É AN.ŠÁR.


Considering the text’s relationship to the Aššur temple, it is reasonable to assume that the name was Kiṣir-Aššur and his title was mašmaš bīt Aššur. The text may also mention Sennacherib (Parpola 2017: 144–145 col. iii 1’).


Menzel 1981: T 18–19, text no. 16; van Driel 1969: 179–82. Shalmaneser V likely abolished certain privileges for the elites of Assur, which resulted in a conflict mentioned in the “Assur Charter” (Saggs 1975: 14–15 rev. 31–33).


SAA 20 no. 51; Menzel 1981: T 18–19, no. 16. N4 no. 330 col. iv 16’: ŠUII⌉ pKi-ṣi[r-…].


See, e.g., BAK 10, 43, 48, 50, 92, 94–104, 107, 116, 128, 146–47, 231, 385, 425, 457–58, 464–65.


See BAK 137 line 3: ina ŠUII-šú iš-ṭur-ma, “he copied it with his hands (i.e., personally)”, and BAK 171 line 2 and BAK 172 line 1: ina ŠUII-šú im-šuḫ-ma, “he performed the computations personally” (CAD Q: 194).


A connection between N4 and temple personnel is attested in several administrative and legal texts excavated in room 11 of the N4 house (Maul 2010a: 201 and notes 41–42).


Reportedly, the administrative texts excavated in N4 do not show a clear link between the Bāba-šuma-ibni family and the Aššur temple cult (see Section 2.3.1). However, the results of Henrietta Cseke’s unpublished dissertation Die Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsurkunden aus dem sog. “Has des Beschwörungspriesters” in Assur from 2002 have not been available to me.


Maul has on several occasions suggested that the Aššur temple exorcists were involved in performing rituals for the Assyrian king (e.g., Maul 1994: 421). Additionally, texts from N4 suggest that the exorcists copied šuʾilla-prayers originally designed for, e.g., Sîn-šarra-iškun, although it remains uncertain if they performed these rituals (see references in May 2018: 78 and note 127; Maul 2010a: 204 and note 50). Note that Geller proposes that “the mašmššu was first and foremost a temple priest” on the basis of his analysis of the EM (Geller 2018b: 292).


As shown in Villard 1998, only one NA royal letter may indicate a connection between Kiṣir-Aššur and the royal court (see Section 2.3.5). Furthermore, only Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē’s text SAA 20 no. 17 relates directly to a stately ritual among the family’s tablets with colophons (see May 2018: 69 with references).