Chapter 2 Framework and Background

In: Medicine in Ancient Assur
Troels Pank Arbøll
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On the 31st of August 658 BCE Kisir-Aššur quickly extracted select parts of a ritual to remove a ghost and copied them onto a manuscript.1 On this day, he may have been sitting in the paved courtyard outside the scholarly library of his family home in the middle of Assur (Section 2.3). Let us imagine him sitting on the ground in the sunny yard, holding a moist clay tablet in one hand and a stylus in the other, ready to imprint the clay with cuneiform signs reproducing the original manuscript in front of him containing a complex ritual text.2 As Kisir-Aššur scans the longer cuneiform tablet, which was a copy of knowledge transmitted for generations by scholarly families in the city of Assur, his eyes fall on the first incantation he needs on this very day, and he drafts this and related paragraphs onto the excerpt manuscript in hand. Having quickly copied all the required sections, Kisir-Aššur checks his copy against the original, he writes a colophon stating that the text is a hastily produced extract copied from and checked against its original, and finally he inscribes his name and records the date.

The narrative above is fiction, although the discussed text is not. Known today as KAR 267, this manuscript’s text and colophon provide us with information about the tablet’s content and context (see Appendix 2). But how is it possible to use such information for analyzing Kiṣir-Aššur’s education and career? This chapter provides the framework for conducting a microhistorical study of Kiṣir-Aššur as an āšipu-exorcist in a specific context at a certain place during a particular period. The study draws on the theory of microhistory as an analytical approach for studying smaller and select groups of texts to access previously unseen or otherwise unattainable information. Although there are inherent dangers of circular arguments within this analytical approach, ways of safeguarding such pitfalls are explored in the first section. The second section explores the methodological tools used, thereby providing an outline of how Kiṣir-Aššur’s material is dissected throughout the following chapters. Finally, this chapter provides a detailed discussion of the previous research on Kiṣir-Aššur, the Bāba-šuma-ibni family and their tablet collection.

2.1 Microhistory

Microhistory is an analytical approach employing a reduced scale of observation for the intensive study of select texts to reveal information previously unseen or considered unattainable. This approach primarily uses philology to investigate the (extraordinary) documentation of a clearly defined small-scale area of interest, e.g., an event, a community, a family, or an individual person, and thereby illuminate the underlying structures of the subject.3 Therefore, microhistory challenges and contrasts quantitative datasets by analysing structures that are not reflected in the main bulk of historic documentation and cannot be recovered through conventional approaches.4 The method therefore allows “concrete individual or local experience to re-enter history” (Burke 2008: 45).

Microhistory became well-known throughout the late 1970s and 1980s (Muir 1991: vii). Several of the most influential researchers of this period were affiliated with the so-called “Italian school” of microhistory, and one of the foremost works produced during this time remains the pioneering work The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg (1980).5 Broadly, the Italian school of microhistory searches for information concerning particular beliefs or behaviour among social groups or milieus that may seem exceptional in relation to the contemporary political or religious norms.6 In several ways, microhistory draws indirectly on anthropology by employing an emic approach seeking to understand and describe the people and cultures investigated on their own terms (Muir 1991: xi, xiii-xiv; Levi 1991: 98).7

Microhistory is rarely considered a theory as such, but rather a “historiographical practice” that draws on theoretical references in an eclectic manner (Levi 1991: 93, 99–101). Giovanni Levi, another pioneer of the Italian school of microhistory, describes it as follows:

Microhistory, in common with all experimental work, has no body of established orthodoxy to draw on.

Levi 1991: 93

As a result of microhistory’s theoretical eclecticism, this methodological approach contains some inherent problems. One problem concerns “selectivity and significance” (Muir 1991: xiv). Due to the focus on qualitative over quantitative documentation, it is the historian’s responsibility to avoid overemphasizing particular details when forming arguments. Another problem relates to the significance of spectacular observations within the select and often limited empirical basis for broader social groups or macrohistorical arguments.8 As a result, conclusions reached through microhistorical studies cannot automatically be transferred to a general historic sphere (see Ginzburg 2012: 207; Levi 1991: 109; Ginzburg 1980: xx–xxi). Yet, a certain interdependence must be accepted. Muir (1991: xix) noted that “microhistorical arguments, especially those devoted to some form of cultural interpretation, are vulnerable to circularity”, because the interpretations presuppose, in Ginzburg’s words, “a reciprocal interchange between the whole and the parts” (Ginzburg 1985: 21; see also Simon 2015: 237).

Therefore, microhistory can provide nuanced and extraordinary information about aspects of society, its cultures, as well as individual persons, although it risks producing idiosyncratic and even trivial results. This needs to be evaluated in each specific case. Furthermore, microhistory cannot be produced devoid of general historical context, and the influence of the two upon each other risks creating circular arguments (Ginzburg 1985: 21). Two means, both of which are employed throughout this study, serve to safeguard against such circular arguments: 1) the combination of exposing formal analogies within a limited dataset with verifying these through external evidence, and 2) the use of Occam’s Razor to evaluate the interpretation with minimal hypotheses or variables as the most probable (Muir 1991: xix; see Ginzburg 1985: 21).

2.2 Framework

In order to properly analyse Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts via the microhistorical approach and extract useful information, it is necessary to establish a methodological framework. Using the archaeological information available, Kiṣir-Aššur’s cuneiform tablets are investigated as part of a specific collection, as groups, as individual manuscripts, and in relation to their content to gain information about the use and functions of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets in relation to his training and career.9 This study primarily uses philology to investigate Kiṣir-Aššur’s manuscripts by providing thorough readings of texts or select passages to scrutinize particular vocabulary and investigate grammatical features and syntax in order to understand a text and outline its meaning (George 2007: 37). This approach is combined with recent advancements in Mesopotamian textual criticism (e.g., Delnero 2012; Worthington 2012). In relation to NA texts, textual criticism broadly involves studying minute textual changes in duplicate manuscripts and the mechanisms behind these, e.g., by identifying errors of transmission, to gain information about the methods and competences of the transmitters of the texts.10

One premise of this study is that Kiṣir-Aššur’s surviving cuneiform tablets with colophons can be used as the basis for partially reconstructing the content and structure of his education, training, and career, thereby improving our understanding of Kiṣir-Aššur’s career development. Three methodological issues related to this problem must be considered: 1) the danger of assigning too much significance to individual pieces of surviving evidence and observations acquired through studying the texts, 2) the unknown impact of oral training, which could account for knowledge taught to Kiṣir-Aššur by his father or other practitioners, which is not preserved in the surviving evidence, and 3) the nature of the N4 cuneiform tablet collection compared to other contemporary collections. The first issue relates to the general problem of microhistorical studies, whereas the second issue is difficult to account for. The third issue is discussed below to provide the background necessary for studying Kiṣir-Aššur (see Section 2.3.1). Throughout this work, these issues are addressed in order to contextualize specific findings.

Kiṣir-Aššur was part of the scholarly elite in Assur, although Robson (2019: 256) describes his family as part of “the urban middle classes”. Still, subjects of microhistorical studies need not necessarily consist of common people (Lepore 2001: 131). Therefore, microhistory can also be an effective tool when studying individuals situated within spheres of power (e.g., Ginzburg 2015). Kiṣir-Aššur is interesting because he was not attached to the royal court, but part of a local scholarly elite situated outside the seat of power. Furthermore, his family’s text collection is the largest assembly of magico-medical cuneiform texts excavated outside of the royal libraries, and it is crucial for our reconstruction of Mesopotamian healing.

Microhistory often approaches “through the anomalous, not the analogous” (Ginzburg 2012: 212–213), and thereby it attempts to solve small mysteries to elucidate broader historical questions (e.g., Lepore 2001: 133; Joyner 1999: 1). This is mirrored in my examinations of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts within the broader context of, e.g., anatomical and physiological knowledge as well as veterinarian medicine in Chapter 4, and paediatricians in Section 5.2.2. As the subjects of microhistorical studies are often devices for answering larger questions, the approach differs from biography (Lepore 2001). Therefore, this focus on hitherto unexplored avenues for reconstructing the education, practice and knowledge of a Mesopotamian healing professional establishes a foundation for future inquiries into these areas.

2.3 Background for Studying Kiṣir-Aššur

The so-called “N4 library” or “Haus des Beschwörungspriesters” consisted of a private house located to the east or southeast of the original city centre in Assur (see Frahm 2011a: 268; Pedersén 1986: 41ff.). This building was home to the Bāba-šuma-ibni family and it contained their tablet collection.11 The structure was partly uncovered during the German excavations from 1903–1914, and the Iraqi excavations during the 1970s and 1980s continued to investigate the area.12 However, the complete layout of the N4 house remains unknown. Figure 1 shows the layout of the building from the time of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family. Below I will summarize the most important features of the home before discussing the family’s tablet collection.

Figure 1
Figure 1

The N4 house (Miglus 1996: pl. 132d, reproduced with permission)

According to Miglus (1996: 237–38) and Pedersén (1986: 41–43 and note 2), the unexcavated entrance of the house probably lay to the southeast. Presumably, the red painted room 3 was once the main room of the house.13 To the south, room 6 must have led northwest through the unexcavated room(s) to the inner courtyard 7, which contained stone paving.14 This inner courtyard led to room 10 in its northernmost part. It was in room 10 that the majority of cuneiform tablets were discovered.15 Further west, the excavators found a vaulted underground grave in room 11, which unfortunately had been robbed in antiquity (see Haller 1954: 163 no. 67 = Ass. 14508). Room 11 contained the outer wall of the western part of the N4 house, as well as a small group of administrative tablets and an ivory writing-board.16 A relatively large number of apotropaic figurines and clay plaques depicting various protective beings were found beneath the floors and thresholds of rooms 1, 3, 4, 7, 10 and 11 in clay brick boxes, jars and small clay pods.17

2.3.1 The N4 Tablet Collection

The tablets excavated in N4 constitute the largest text collection from the city of Assur, and so far, 1,242 cuneiform tablets and fragments have been identified as coming from the N4 house.18 The majority of the tablets were found broken and had been sundried in antiquity (Maul 2010a: 191; Maul 2003: 175; Pedersén 1986: 42). Based on the archaeological context, it is reasonable to assume that they were stored in room 10 of the N4 house (Pedersén 1998: 135). Unfortunately, it remains uncertain where in room 10 the texts were discovered (Maul 2010a: 192 note 14, 217–18; cf. Robson 2019: 129). The colophons mainly refer to the Bāba-šuma-ibni family members, especially Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû (Maul 2010a: 196, 203, 208–10; see below).

The N4 collection held a variety of texts, many of which relate to various forms of healing.19 A large group contains diagnoses, prescriptions, recipes, and instructions for applying treatments for various medical symptoms and illnesses, as well as pharmacological texts for identifying and applying medical substances (Maul 2010a: 198). Another large group consists of rituals, incantations, and prayers for treating and removing demons, evils, witchcraft, and bad omens, as well as for influencing and restoring the human relationships with various gods (see Schwemer 2011). Additional texts relate to aggressive magic to gain control over other individuals (ibid.: 431–32).

Other texts include lexical lists, god lists, hemerological texts, various literary texts such as the Erra Epic, and a text on metrology (Maul 2010a: 198–99; Pedersén 1986: 55–56; see Veldhuis 2014: 367–72). Yet another group of texts relate to the Aššur temple, the Marduk statue’s captivity in Assyria, the topography of the city of Assur, royal rituals, kings and their scholars, royal decrees, and the Assyrian army (Pedersén 1986: 56–58; Maul 2010a: 198). Finally, a group of textual commentaries, mainly on rituals, also formed part of the discovery (Frahm 2011a: 268–70). It is remarkable that the N4 collection provided relatively few omen texts (Koch 2015: 325–26 and note 894). Besides the collection in room 10, the administrative texts excavated in room 11 may represent an archive. However, the texts relate to, e.g., rations for various persons, such as temple personnel, who are otherwise unattested in N4.20

The N4 collection existed within the private confines of the N4 house, which most likely was inhabited by the Bāba-šuma-ibni family (Maul 2010a: 201). However, several individuals who were not members of this family are attested in the N4 collection, albeit frequently only in a single colophon (Fadhil 2012: 36–43). These individuals often belong to the elite of Assur’s priesthood or temple administrations and they left tablets in the collection, perhaps as gifts or through exchange (Maul 2010a: 212 and note 77).21 Additionally, some young sons of priestly or scholarly families from Assur left tablets in the collection during their time spent there in their šamallû ṣeḫru- and šamalllû-phases, in the form of an “internship” (Fadhil 2012: 36–43, 50–51; Maul 2010a: 215–17 and notes 93 and 99–101; see also May 2018: 70–77). It is therefore likely that such apprentices in NA Assur spent time studying associated disciplines under the roof of other families (Maul 2010a: 217 and note 102).22

It seems that only one family member per generation, most likely the firstborn son, was responsible for the continuation of the collection (Maul 2010a: 206–207 and notes 62 and 65–66; see May 2018: 66 note 14). His brothers would probably have moved to other houses and formed new collections there. Maul argued that this could explain why certain works, such as Sa-gig, are missing from N4 (see Section 3.6.1).

Several texts show that the Bāba-šuma-ibni family copied texts from manuscripts, which were not kept in the collection (Maul 2010a: 213; see Section 9.5.1). Maul considered it likely that the family copied tablets from their colleagues’ collections (ibid.). This is based on certain protection and curse formulae found in some N4 manuscripts, which may indicate that colleagues had access to N4 texts (ibid.: 214).23 Therefore, it is possible that N4 should be labelled a “semi-private text collection”, although it is unknown to what extent labels such as “private” can be applied to the ancient world.

2.3.2 Excursus: Discussion of the Term “Library”

The term “library” is used in studies to refer to the N4 text collection due to its content.24 However, researchers use the term for lack of a more appropriate alternative.25 In Assyriology, the term is generally used to designate the content of a given archaeological space in which a number of literary or scholarly texts was excavated. This is regularly contrasted with the term “archive”, which encompasses texts with administrative, economic, epistolary, or legal content.26 The term “library” can be problematic as it has connotations concerning the form and function of text collections.27 This is especially a result of the Library of Alexandria’s influence on the later ideals of the ancient library as an institution with an all-encompassing and static collection of texts.28 However, the Mesopotamian scholarly text collections of the first millennium BCE were not institutionalized, static, similar, or all-encompassing, but often shaped by individual needs and interests (Robson 2013: 56).29 Concerning the N4 collection, Maul (2010a: 215–16 and note 92) has suggested that it was primarily used for professional training and practice, and it can perhaps be regarded as a physical manifestation of the owners’ personal qualifications. This study generally refers to the texts from the N4 house as the “N4 (text) collection”. Yet, although this work recognizes the problems inherent in the term “library”, the Nineveh text collections are referred to as libraries, and in general the terms “library” and “collection” are used interchangeably to broadly designate a collection of literary, historically, or scholarly texts kept in one or more rooms in a building used by learned individuals.

2.3.3 The Bāba-šuma-ibni Family

Seven members of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family are known by name, and possibly two additional members should be included in the genealogy, over five generations (cf. Maul 2010a: 203, 206 note 62). The named individuals are Bāba-šuma-ibni (Radner 1999a: 248–49), his sons Nabû-bēssunu (Baker 2001: 814–15) and Abu-erība (Radner 1998: 16), Nabû-bēssunu’s sons Kiṣir-Aššur (Baker 2000: 623–24) and Šamaš-ibni (Baker 2011: 1199), Šamaš-ibni’s son Kiṣir-Nabû (Baker 2000: 627–28), and Abu-erība’s grandson Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē (Radner 1998: 201). Figure 2 represents the Bāba-šuma-ibni family tree.

Figure 2
Figure 2

The Bāba-šuma-ibni family

Several of the individuals are only attested in a single N4 tablet or through genealogies in colophons.30 Zimmern (1915–16: 184 and note 1) appears to have been the first to comment on the names of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family members found in the colophons (cf. Ebeling 1919a; Ebeling 1920–23). However, it was not until Scheil’s treatments of this family’s tablets that a genealogy was attempted, albeit with mistakes (Scheil 1918: 77; Scheil 1921: 15–17; see Eilers 1933: 325). Meier later referred to N4 as the “Archiv der Tempelschule in Assur” and provided additional correlations between some tablets and titles within the family (Meier 1937–39: 240 and note 25, 245–46 and notes 33–38; see Weidner 1937–39: 147–48). He also placed the family in the middle of the 7th century BCE. However, Labat and Tournay (1945–46: 121–22) were the first to attempt a reconstruction of a complete family tree. Unfortunately, they misinterpreted the phrase ša Nabû tuklassu as a name and based an additional name on a problematic copy by Scheil (1918: 77).

It was not until Hunger (1968: 19) corrected the previous genealogies that the Kiṣir-Aššur branch of the family tree and the attested career phases were properly understood.31 However, Nabû-bēssunu’s brother, Abu-erība, remained elusive, and Pedersén (1986: 44–46) only hinted at Abu-erība’s grandson, Aššur-nādin-aḫḫe, being part of this family (cf. Pedersén 1998: 135–36). Jean (2006: 189) provided a revised family tree with Abu-erība and Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē whom she believed was Abu-erība’s son. However, Maul’s recent treatment of the family demonstrated that an unknown individual represents the son of Abu-erība and the father of Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē (Maul 2010a: 203; see Fadhil 2012: 37). Recently, Parpola (2017: 48) has suggested restoring Abu-erība’s son’s name as [Kiṣi]r-Ašš[ur] in PKTA pl. 19+ (= SAA 20 no. 17).32 However, Parpola’s collations of the text show that this reconstruction is extremely tenuous (Parpola 2017: 216; see also May 2018: 69 note 61). Furthermore, such a reconstruction would be very problematic for assigning colophons to Nabû-bēssunu’s son Kiṣir-Aššur. As a result, this hypothesis is disregarded here and the name of Abu-erība’s son remains unknown. Maul’s reconstruction of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family genealogy therefore remains authoritative, although this study adds a presumed ancestor of Bāba-šuma-ibni who is possibly mentioned in BAM 102.33

2.3.4 The Attested Training and Career Phases

Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons in particular make it possible to distinguish a set of six consecutive phases with titles that attest to the training and career of the individuals. The titles are: šamallû ṣeḫru “junior apprentice”, šamallû “apprentice”, šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru “junior apprentice exorcist”,34 mašmaššu ṣeḫru “junior exorcist”, mašmaššu “exorcist”, and mašmaš bīt Aššur “exorcist of the Aššur temple”.35 Although šamallû ṣeḫru is the earliest attested title, it becomes clear in Chapter 3 that such “junior apprentices” in N4 must have received a basic education in writing and reading cuneiform script beforehand (Maul 2010a: 210 note 74; Gesche 2001; Finkel 2000). Furthermore, from at least the šamallû ṣeḫru-phase onwards, it is possible that the father of the apprentice in question or another scholar acted as teacher and instructor.36 The family members are described in several colophons as connected to the Aššur temple (Maul 2010a: 200–201 and note 40), although it remains uncertain whether these titles designated actual duties (see Sections 8.1 and 8.6). Current research agrees that the six phases attested for Kiṣir-Aššur can be arranged in a sequence that records a progression from junior to senior (Maul 2010a; Baker 2000: 623–24; Pedersén 1986: 45–46; Hunger 1968: 9–11, 19). This hypothesis can therefore be considered uncontroversial, although it is generally unknown how long individual phases lasted, and whether some phases overlapped.37

Additional titles are attested for several individuals within the Bāba-šuma-ibni family, and yet other titles are known for individuals outside this family that are also attested in N4 (e.g., “novice asû-physician” asû agašgû, BAM 1 col. iv 27).38 The text BAM 102 may refer to an ancestor of Bāba-šuma-ibni as a zabardabbû-priest.39 Furthermore, Bāba-šuma-ibni is generally referred to as zabardabbi Ešarra in Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons, except for LKA 119.40 In LKA 119, Bāba-šuma-ibni is mašmaš bīt Aššur.41 He is also referred to as the “exorcist of the temple of totality” (mašmaš bīt kiššūti) in Nabû-bēssunu’s KAR 31,42 which may be a variant of mašmaš bīt Aššur (Maul 2010: 200, note 40, 203 note 47).43

Nabû-bēssunu, Abu-erība, and Kiṣir-Nabû all held the title “Assur exorcist” (mašmaššu aššurû(?), reading uncertain) at some point during their career (Maul 2010a: 209 and note 69).44 Whether this refers to an exorcist with duties on behalf of the city of Assur or an exorcist defined as a special type from the city of Assur remains uncertain.45 Additionally, Šamaš-ibni is attested as both mašmaš bīt Aššur and mašmaš Ešarra (Maul 2010a: 209–10 and notes 68 and 73), and he is occasionally provided with the variant MAŠ.MAŠ-ma for the title mašmaššu.46 At present, it cannot be established if some of these phases are missing in Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons or if he simply never claimed these titles.

Only one of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family texts contains an exact date, namely Kiṣir-Aššur’s KAR 267 that is dated to the 9th of Ulūlu (August–September) 658 BCE (see Section 7.5; Maul 2010: 205). Maul assumed that each generation preceding and following Kiṣir-Aššur could be dated within approximately 30 year intervals from the year 658 BCE, and he suggested that the middle of Nabû-bēssunu’s career should be dated around the year 688 BCE and Bāba-šuma-ibni’s around 718 BCE. It seems that the majority of the family’s members reached a stage that allowed them to claim the title mašmaš bīt Aššur. The only exception appears to be Kiṣir-Nabû, who possibly became only “Assur exorcist”, and Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē who is attested in only one text as šamallû ṣeḫru.47 Maul attributed the fragmentary king list KAV 182 to Kiṣir-Nabû, even though the copyist’s name is broken (Maul 2010a: 204 note 51, 209 note 69). This text ends with the NA king Aššur-etel-ilānī (627–623 BCE), and if the text was copied by Kiṣir-Nabû it would have been copied during this king’s reign (ibid.). It is plausible that Kiṣir-Nabû did not reach the stage of mašmaš bīt Aššur before the city of Assur fell in 614 BCE (ibid.: 205 note 54, 211; cf. note 595), yet it remains uncertain if Kiṣir-Aššur was still alive and active by this time (cf. ibid.: 205 and note 54).

Maul identified the names of Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû in 122 colophons in the N4 collection, which would suggest that the collection had been enlarged during their time, around the middle and the second half of the 7th century BCE (Maul 2010a: 204–205 and notes 49 and 55–56). A few tablets show that the collection was founded around the time of Bāba-šuma-ibni, who was probably a contemporary of Sargon II (722–705 BCE).48 The evidence from N4 suggests that the male members of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family strove towards claiming the title mašmaš bīt Aššur (Maul 2010a: 210–11). However, Maul (ibid.: 206) has argued that several persons within the family could claim the title at the same time. As a result, he refers to this family as a “Kollegium” of mašmaš bīt Aššurs (ibid.), which may have had a similar structure as other guilds known from Assur around the same time (see Radner 1999b: 25–33).

2.3.5 Other References to Members of the Bāba-šuma-ibni Family

We know almost nothing about the Bāba-šuma-ibni family members as private individuals. As discussed above in Section 2.3.1, the family must have been affiliated with numerous influential families and, as indicated by their titles, also with the Aššur temple. However, only four documents outside of the N4 collection might mention members of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family. The first one is the letter SAA 10 no. 102 from Akkullānu, a prominent šangû-priest at the Aššur temple in Assur,49 which contains a broken passage that describes a certain Kiṣir-Aššur copying tablets for the royal libraries in Nineveh.50 The second is the letter SAA 13 no. 39, perhaps from our Nabû-bēssunu, addressed to a certain Aššur-mudammiq who is to provide silver to the Akkullānu mentioned above for repairing the seats of Aššur and Mullissu.51 Furthermore, Kiṣir-Aššur of the N4 house is perhaps mentioned alongside other individuals connected to the Aššur temple in SAA 13 no. 155.52 And finally, Šamaš-ibni may have been in charge of offerings at the Aššur temple in SAA 7 no. 211.53 Parpola dated a letter with related content to SAA 10 no. 102, namely no. 101, to around the year 655 BCE, which would date no. 102 to the same time (Villard 1998: 19; Parpola 1983a: 347). However, several individuals are known from this period with the name Kiṣir-Aššur (Baker 2000: 623–24), and it remains uncertain if Kiṣir-Aššur actually copied manuscripts for the Nineveh libraries (see Sections 7.6 and 9.5.4; cf. May 2018: 68, 78; Fadhil 2012: 72; Maul 2010a: 205). Nonetheless, the Bāba-šuma-ibni family was connected to families who produced tablets for the Nineveh collections, such as Marduk-šallim-aḫḫē, who is attested in colophons from N4 and Nineveh (Fadhil 2012: 40–41 and note 1; Baker 2001: 726).

2.4 Quantifying and Contextualizing Kiṣir-Aššur’s Texts

Kiṣir-Aššur is the N4 individual to whom most colophons can be assigned. Throughout this work I also include other texts from the N4 collection for which text-internal criteria make it likely that they can be assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur. Maul (2010a) has offered the most recent and in-depth treatment of the various phases of the Bāba-šuma-ibni family members’ training and careers.54 In his study, Maul identified and assigned 78 texts to Kiṣir-Aššur and 44 texts to Kiṣir-Nabû, totalling 122 texts.55 Maul also listed the number of tablets assigned to each of the other Bāba-šuma-ibni family members. Unfortunately, Maul did not provide a full catalogue of these texts, and it is therefore unclear if there are unpublished or fragmentary texts among them. The current study attempts to remedy the situation for Kiṣir-Aššur, although an inherent problem is that many colophons are partly damaged and in several instances it is impossible to identify the name of the owner, copyist, or writer beyond Kiṣir-[…]. Thus, a number of texts may refer to either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû, although genealogies or preserved titles can occasionally aid in the reconstruction. Figure 3 illustrates how many tablets from the available material can be attributed to Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû, and how many remain of uncertain attribution.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Texts assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû

These numbers do not completely agree with the data collected by Maul.56 In total, there are 125 texts bearing Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû’s name, with 73 texts assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur, 39 texts to Kiṣir-Nabû, and 13 texts that cannot be safely assigned to either man. This study therefore provides three additional texts compared to Maul’s overview.57 However, with the continious publication of new texts it is possible additional tablets or new joins may appear in the future that can modify the individual observations made here.58

Table 1 divides these 125 tablets according to titles, in accordance with the titles established in Section 2.3.4. The table also notes the differences between this study and the numbers provided by Maul (2010a: 208–209), which are marked separately in parenthesis (XMy number / (YMaul’s number)). I have divided the texts assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû according to what can be read on the collated tablets and published copies, and only in a few individual cases have the titles been reconstructed (see Appendix 1). Additionally, I have included a number of unpublished texts carrying Kiṣir-Aššur’s name, and in some instances a title (courtesy of Nils Heeßel, Stefan Maul and Daniel Schwemer; Pedersén 1986: 45–47). However, colophons that have been reconstructed by their editors without sufficient evidence have been disregarded and will be discussed where relevant. I argue for further reconstructions in some colophons and for assigning other texts to specific career phases throughout the following chapters. Consequently, the numbers presented below are not absolute.

Table 1
Table 1

Texts assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s career phasesa

Maul has a total of 49 texts with titles from Kiṣir-Aššur and 20 texts with titles from Kiṣir-Nabû, but does not list tablets with broken titles or completely without titles. These texts are added here separately to nuance the study. Furthermore, several of the tablets with and without titles include a phrase stating: “(he) whose trust is Nabû” (ša Nabû tuklassu; Section 5.4). Although this is not a title, it is used throughout this study as a criterion for assigning certain tablets to phases of Kiṣir-Aššur’s career. Several of the tablets including this phrase are for now listed under the title or no title/broken title in Table 1.59

From the above numbers, the most significant divergence of my study from Maul’s is the number of tablets assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru-, šamallû- and šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phases.60 At least one additional tablet without a formal title (BAM 9) is argued in Section 5.4.1 as belonging to the šamallû ṣeḫru-phase, which would bring the total to 13 tablets. Four tablets with the title mašmaš bīt Aššur contain a fragmentary name and cannot be assigned to Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû based on genealogy.61 However, as discussed above, Kiṣir-Nabû may never have reached this phase, and by extension these texts are included as part of Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase.62 The remaining undetermined tablets must have belonged to either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû. Although not all of these texts can be argued to belong to one of them specifically, they still represent knowledge used within this family.


The manuscript is KAR 267, and it was dated to the 9th of the month Ulūlu, see Section 7.5 and Appendix 1. The date above is calculated on the basis of Parpola’s table for converting Assyrian dates into Julian ones (Parpola 1983a: 382). He states the 1st of Ulūlu corresponds to the 23rd of August in the year 658 BCE. The 9th must therefore correspond to the 31st.


The manuscripts investigated in this study consist of clay tablets with cuneiform writing. The texts are composed in the artificial literary dialect Standard Babylonian, which was based on the Old Babylonian dialect of the Semitic language Akkadian.


Szijártó 2013a: 4–5; Ginzburg 2012: 203, 213; Ginzburg and Poni 1991: 3–4, 5, 8–9; Levi 1991: 95, 97, 107, 109; Muir 1991: ix–x; Ginzburg 1990: ix–x, 164; Ginzburg 1980: xiii–xiv, xx, 126.


Ginzburg 2012: 212–13; Gregory 1999: 102; Ginzburg and Poni 1991: 7–8; Levi 1991: 105; Ginzburg 1980: xiii, xv.


For a discussion of the history of the term “microhistory”, see Ginzburg 2012; Muir 1991. For an overview of Ginzburg’s impact and criticism of his work, see Szijártó 2013a: 3–4; Schutte 1976.


Ginzburg and Poni 1991: 8; Muir 1991: xiv; Levi 1991: 94–95; see Ginzburg 2012: 202; Szijártó 2013a: 5.


The term “culture” is here loosely defined. I realize that the term has problematic implications, but as it is not employed as a fundamental term in this study I refer the reader to Burke (2008).


Muir 1991: xiv; see also Gregory 1999: 106, 108–109; Levi 1991: 95.


For contextualizing texts in relation to their collections, see, e.g., Robson 2013; du Toit 1998: 392; Veenhof 1986a: 35–36; Reade 1986: 222. For specific studies, see, e.g., Tanret 2011; Maul 2010a; Heeßel 2009; Frahm 1999; Radner 1999b. According to Robson, we should move from studying “tablets as witnesses of scholarly compositions” to analysing them as artefacts derived from “historically situated individuals” (Robson 2011a: 572–73).


Worthington 2012: 38–40. It should be emphasized that textual criticism can be problematic in relation to the evaluation of ancient textual variation or mistakes (Brisch 2015; see also Delnero 2012: 179–80; Worthington 2012: 41ff.).


Maul 2010a: 190–92, 224; Pedersén 1998: 135–36; Pedersén 1986: 41–76.


The house was excavated in the areas hC8I, hD8I, and hE8I (Miglus 1996: 236–37 and pls. 40–41, 132; see Maul 2010a: 224 figure 3; Pedersén 1985: 41; Jordan 1908: 40; cf. ibid.: 38, 43; Andrae 1910: 35). The German expediton, however, did not expose the entire house. As a result, the original interpretation did not link the areas hC-hE8I as a single home (cf. Preusser 1954: 58, pl. 27a). Parts of N4 were excavated during the Iraqi excavations in the 1970s and 80s (Jean 2006: 147; Pedersén 1998: 136 note 11; Ismail 1982). However, it remains unclear during which years the Iraqis excavated in which parts of the house (cf. Anonymous 1981: 173; see Miglus 2006: 146). Radner (1997: 290 and notes 1591–92) stated that the entire house was unearthed during the Iraqi excavations and refered to Finkbeiner and Pongratz-Leisten (1992). However, this map shows an out-dated layout of N4 (see Cavigneaux and Ismail 1998: 1). See Fadhil (2018: 192) for an overview of the excavated tablets and future publications.


This room contained a niche to the left of the entrance from room 6 and another door between room 3 and 5 contained stone covered pivots (Pedersén 1986: 41; see Miglus 1996: 238). May (2018: 64 and notes 4–5) interprets the layout of rooms 3–4 as a “bent axis”, largely similar to those found in temples, some palaces or state buildings. Many magical figurines were found underneath the floors of these rooms. Perhaps the family performed rituals here for themselves or clients (Robson 2019: 130; May 2018: 64).


Between room 10 and courtyard 7 excavators found two parallel foundations of walls (Miglus 1996: 238). The northwest one was 0,3 m deeper than the southeast one (ibid.; cf. Maul 2010a: 190–92; Pedersén 1986: 41, note 4). Miglus suggested that the northwest foundation was the remains of an older wall separating room 10 and courtyard 7 (Miglus 1996: 238). Pedersén used the excavation report stating that the tablets were found underneath a house to suggest this “house” may have been the northwest wall (Pedersén 1986: 42 and note 4). This remains unclear. Note that the N4 house may have been sold during Sîn-šar-iškun’s reign (Böhme 2010). The N4 house was possibly destroyed in a fire, most likely during the (partial) destruction of Assur in 614 BCE (Maul 2010a: 190–92). Therefore, the house was mostly empty. It has been presumed that original shelves for storing tablets, household goods, furniture, and other equipment were burned in antiquity or destroyed (Maul 2003: 176; see Miglus 1996: 236–41).


Room 10 was probably the “library room”. Pedersén (1986: 42 and note 6) states that his text groups C, D, G, L, M and perhaps including H, I, N, O, and Q are all from room 10 (see also Ismail 1982: 199; cf. Maul 2010a: 192 note 14). Maul (2010a: 191 note 13) emphasizes that at least 150 tablets and fragments were discovered in N4 by the Iraqis, not 50 as described by Ismail. Miglus (1996: 238) states that the groups of tablets labelled Ass. 13955 and 13956 and perhaps also Ass. 17721 and 17722 likely came from room 10. The number of tablets and fragments from N4 continue to increase with every additional fragment assigned to this collection (see the development of numbers in Maul 2010a: 194; Maul 2003: 178; Pedersén 1998: 135; Pedersén 1986: 42).


Miglus 1996: 236–37, 240–41; Pedersén 1986: 42–43 group K; Klengel-Brandt 1975; see Faist 2007: 3; Donbaz and Parpola 2001: 11–13. Interestingly, Pedersén (1987: 44, 47) noted that almost half of the archives excavated in Assur were found in inner rooms with tombs underneath. Around 10 further tablets were found scattered throughout the eastern parts of the house (Pedersén 1986: 42–43 groups A, B, E, F).


Maul 2010: 191 note 12; Maul 2003: 180; Miglus 1996: 236–37, 240–41; Wiggermann 1992: 99–100; Pedersén 1986: 43 and notes 9–15; Ismail 1982: 199; Rittig 1977; Klengel-Brandt 1968; Andrae 1938: 13; see also Feldt 2015. Several figurines were painted and some contain inscriptions, e.g., ṣī mūtu erba balāṭu: “Go out death; come in life!” (Ismail 1982: 199; see Pedersén 1986: 43 note 9). Some vessels contained traces of copper (Wiggermann 1992: 99–100).


Maul 2010a: 194–95; Pedersén 1998: 135; Pedersén 1986: 44. Approximately one-quarter of the original number of texts likely contained colophons. Because the German excavations from 1903–1914 were conducted under Ottoman rule, the collective sum of tablets were divided between Berlin and Istanbul, whereas the tablets later excavated by the Iraqi expeditions are presumably kept in Baghdad (Maul 2010: 193 and notes 16–17; see Kraus 1947: 94, 101–104). Some tablets probably went to other collections or private collectors (e.g., Scheil 1918). The whereabouts of certain tablets, such as RA 15 pl. 76, are unknown today (see Appendix 2).


Robson 2019: 129–34; Maul 2010a: 196–99; Jean 2006: 148–53, 165–67; Pedersén 1986: 48–59; Ismail 1982: 199; see also Koch 2015: 325–26; Frahm 2011a: 268–70; Heeßel 2010a; Cavigneaux and Ismail 1998. Robson (2008: 474), Maul (2010a: 199), and Schwemer (2017: 50–51) have recently stressed that the writing-boards presumably missing today from the N4 collection could produce a false impression concerning some aspects of the content. See Section 3.6.1.


Maul 2010a: 201 and note 41–42; Pedersén 1998: 136. For an overview of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts in copies and editions, see Appendix 1. The majority of literary and scholarly texts from N4 can be found in handcopies in publications such as KAR, KAH, LKA, BAM, and KAL. Additionally, many texts are published in individual articles (e.g., Scheil 1918; Labat and Tournay 1945–46; Cavigneaux and Ismail 1998). The N4 archival texts are only partially published, see Ch. 8 note 111.


There appears to be no evidence for selling or buying texts in Mesopotamia (Maul 2010a: 212).


In later periods, the elementary primary education seems to have been connected to temples (see Clancier 2014: 48; Charpin 2010a: 47; Beaulieu 2007a: 475; van der Toorn 2007: 56; Gesche 2001: 6; Cavigneaux 1999a: 385–86).


E.g., RA 40 pl. 116 rev. 5 from N4: šà IR dA[G] ZÀḪ-šú liq-b[i], “he who removes (the tablet), let Na[bû] orde[r] his disappearance”. Maul (2010a: 214 and note 89–91) also compares this to the LB scholarly texts from Uruk, where the colophons contain curses should the loaner not bring back the tablet on the same evening or a specified day.


E.g., “Bibliothek”, Maul 2010a; “library”, Pedersén 1986: 41. Both researchers are aware of the terminological limitations.


Groups of texts cannot always be called an “archive” or a “library” conclusively (see Pedersén 1998: 3). See also discussions in du Toit 1998; Black and Tait 1995.


See Robson 2013: 40–41. For the problems related to the term “archive” in relation to such groups of texts, see the articles in Brosius 2003. See also Maul 2010a: 217 note 104.


Robson 2013: 38; see Michalowski 2003 and the articles concerning the term “library” in Veenhof 1986b. For a critique of the term “library” as applied to Assurbanipal’s collections, see Robson 2019: 264–265.


See, e.g., Too 2010: 1–4, 6, 244; MacLeod 2010; du Toit 1998: 391–92.


Two examples of temple libraries with so-called “pigeon holes” for storing tablets on shelves are known from NA Dūr-Šarrukēn (Loud and Altman 1938 pl. 19c; cf. ibid. pl 24d) and the NB Šamaš temple in Sippar in which tablets were found in situ on the shelves (Al Jadir 1998; Anonymous 1987: 248–49 and pl. 47; see also for further references Maul 2010a: 217 and note 105; Potts 2010: 28–29; Al-Rawi and George 1994: 135 note 1; Al-Rawi and George 1990: 149 note 1). For other similar NA uses in Nineveh and Kalḫu, see Veenhof 1986a: 2 note 5, 13 and notes 50–51 with further references. Occasionally, the Mesopotamians used the word gerginakku to describe a room in which scholarly tablets were placed (Robson 2013: 41). Other problems related to text collections concern accessability and the availability of texts (see, e.g., Robson 2011a).


Only one tablet has been identified from, e.g., Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē (PKTA pl. 19+ = SAA 20 no. 17, see also Ch. 2 note 57). The unnamed son of Abu-erība, and father of Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē, is attested only in this text. BAM 102 rev. 7: [… ZAB]AR.DAB.B[A …] may have contained the name of Bāba-šuma-ibni’s father. This text is the only one that possibly provides an older ancestor, and it is the basis for an unknown ancestor appearing above Bāba-šuma-ibni in the family tree. However, the evidence remains tenuous.


Many additional texts from this family appeared during these years in Köcher’s publications of the N4 medical and pharmacological texts (Köcher 1955, 1963a, 1963b, 1964, 1971).


SAA 20 no. 17 rev. 15–19: SAR p.dAš-šur-SUM-PAB.ME[Š ŠA]B.TUR TUR 16 DUMU p[Ki-ṣi]r?-⌈d?⌉Aš-š[ur MAŠ.MAŠ] 17 PEŠ pAD-SU MAŠ.MAŠ É ⌈d⌉[Aš-šur] 18 A p.dBa-ba₆- MU-DÙ ZABAR.DAB.BA 19 ina É-šár-ra. Cf. Meinhold 2009: pl. 30–31; Menzel 1981: T 103f., T 107f.; Ebeling 1954c: 114–16.


Recently, Natalie May has suggested that the ancestor with the broken name is to be identified as Bāba-šuma-iddina, who was also the patronymic ancestor of a family of asûs serving as šangû-priests of the god Baba in Assur (May 2018: 71–74). This family is also known from manuscripts in the N4 collection (ibid.: 71–72 and note 81). It is possible that the Bāba-šuma-iddina of these families is attested in the N24 archive in Assur (ibid.: 73; Deller et al. 1995: 126–128 no. 136 = N24 no. 11).


The normalization of the title (lú)ŠÁMAN/DUGUD.LÁ MAŠ.MAŠ TUR varies (e.g., May 2018: 65; Baker 2000: 623; cf. ibid. 2017: 18, 160).


Maul 2010a: 208–11 and notes 67, 70, 74; Hunger 1968: 9–11, 19; see also Baker 2017: 15ff., 18, 160–161. Previous publications reconstructed the phase šamallû “apprentice” for Kiṣir-Aššur between his šamallû ṣeḫru- and šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phases (e.g., Baker 2017: 160; Maul 2010a: 208) on the basis of information provided in Pedersén’s catalogue of tablets from the N4 text collection concerning the texts N4 no. 237, 241 and 289 (Pedersén 1986: 45). However, these previously unpublished texts must now be considered part of Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru-phase (see Section 3; Arbøll 2018b). KAL 10 no. 4 and the newly identified N4 no. 175 belonged to his šamallû-phase.


Frahm (2011a: 269 note 1277) suggested that Kiṣir-Aššur may have acted as the instructor of Kiṣir-Nabû, but this remains hypothetical.


It cannot be excluded that some phases were abbreviations for others, e.g., the title mašmaššu ṣeḫru could be an abbreviated form of šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru (Andrew George, personal communication). Note that there are no attestations where N4 family members employ two titles in a colophon (see May 2018: 65 note 10). However, it remains unclear if a practitioner at the top of his career could yield a title from a previous phase. For example, Kiṣir-Nabû’s father Šamaš-ibni was mašmaš bīt Aššur when Kiṣir-Nabû was mašmaššu ṣeḫru in AfO 12 pl. 13–14, but he appears as mašmaššu (BAM 199) and MAŠ.MAŠ-ma (KAR 33; LKA 93) when Kiṣir-Nabû was mašmaššu.


For examples of agašgû and other NA apprenticeship titles, see Robson 2014: 152; Robson 2011a: 564–65.


A literal translation may be “Bronze(-object) holder”, although a symbolic meaning had probably lost its value by the first millennium BCE due to changes in the function of the title (see CAD Z: 6; CDA: 442). The title is used infrequently in the NA period, although it is clearly cultic in nature (May 2018: 66–67).


The only text currently identified as from Bāba-šuma-ibni is KAL 4 no. 36, wherein he was likely za[bardabbi Ešarra(?)]. Upon collation, this was also his title in Kiṣir-Aššur’s KAR 230 rev. 15: DUMU p.dBa-ba₆-MU-DÙ ZABAR.DAB.[BA É-šar-ra(?)].


Two ancestors with fragmentary names are listed as mašmaš bīt Aššur in KAL 4 no. 37. See the discussion in Ch. 6 note 66 and Maul 2010a: 200 note 40.


This title is the Akkadian translation of Sumerian É.ŠÁR.RA.


Furthermore, it is possible that Bāba-šuma-ibni was identified as a “senior šangû-priest” (šangû rabû) of an unknown temple in BAM 50, and the text may have been written by Nabû-bēssunu (Maul 2010a: 203 and notes 46–47; Pedersén 1986: 45–46 notes 22–23 and 25; Menzel 1981: 194, 247; Hunger 1968: 67 (= BAK no. 191–192); cf. May 2017: 98). If the text was written by Nabû-bēssunu, he misspelled his name, as Köcher’s copy rev. 25 reads: DUB-pi p.d<PA>-bi-su-n[u x x x x]. The CDLI picture cannot confirm this reading and further collation is necessary. The picture may agree with the reading SANGA GA[L] in rev. 26, but it shows that only a few signs can be reconstructed before it, and Bāba-šuma-ibni’s name may be too long. According to May (2018: 67 note 32, 76 note 110), recent collations of BAM 50 show the text should not be attributed to Nabû-bēssunu.


For Nabû-bēssunu, see LKA 109 rev. 15’: [DUB(?)] p!(aš).dÚMBISAG?-be-sun MAŠ.MAŠ BAL.TILki, as well as Kiṣir-Aššur’s N4 no. 289 rev. 3’ DUMU p.dAG-bi-su-nu MAŠ.MAŠ BAL.TILki-u (see Ch. 3 note 129). For Abu-erība, see KAL 2 no. 34 col. iv 14’: DUB⌉ p⌈AD-SU MAŠ.MAŠ BAL.TILk[i] (Schwemer 2007b: 88–89; see Section 9.5.3). For Kiṣir-Nabû, see below. Notably, Nabû-bēssunu is mašmaš bīt Aššur in all Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons, although Maul (2010a: 210 and note 70) refers to a tablet from Kiṣir-Aššur in which Nabû-bēssunu was “Assur exorcist” without providing the reference. This text must be unpublished, because there are no indications at present that Nabû-bēssunu’s broken title in a number of Kiṣir-Aššur colophons should be reconstructed as “Assur exorcist”. For small variations in Nabû-bēssunu’s title in Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets, see KAR 63 rev. 25’: MAŠ.MAŠ É Aš-šur-ma, and KAR 80 (= KAL 2 no. 8) rev. 39: ME.ME É A[N.ŠÁR]. It seems that Kiṣir-Aššur did not supply a title for Nabû-bēssunu in BAM 307.


Maul (2010a: 209) translates the title “‘Beschwörer’ von Assur” without transcription. Fadhil (2012: 46) provides a reference to another person claiming the title mašmaššu aššurû, which is spelled URU BAL.TILki-u (see Hunger 1968: 85 no. 256). I disregard the possibility that this title would be a marker of ethnicity, as it is spelled URU and not KUR and that the majority of exorcists within Assur must have been Assyrian (see also Section 9.5.3).


See KAR 33; LKA 93.


See Ch. 2 note 55, Ch. 8 note 18, Table 1 note h.


As argued by Maul (2010a: 206 and note 58) on the basis of two texts dated to 714 BCE (Thureau-Dangin 1912) and 713 BCE (KAR 252). He also notes that LKA 53 mentions the name of Sargon II. See Maul 1994: 159; Pedersén 1986: 44.


Akkullānu also reported on astrological matters to the Assyrian king (see Villard 2007: 326–27; Radner 1998: 95ff.; Villard 1998). May (2018: 68 and notes 43–44) regards Akkullānu as an indicator for a connection between the N4 scholarly environment and the royal court based on his astrological reports. However, Akkullānu only wrote 12 out of 243 astrological reports from Assyrian scholars to the NA kings, and none of his texts demonstrate access to the inner circle at Nineveh (SAA 8: 60ff.).


May 2018: 68; Maul 2010a: 205 and note 53; Villard 1998: 19. SAA 10 no. 102 obv. 6’–8’: 6’pdu-gul-IGI-[x x x] 7’ pki-ṣir-aš-šur ki-lal-le-šú-[nu] 8’ UR₅.RA : i-šaṭ-ṭu-r[u], “Dugul-pan-[ili] and Kiṣir-Aššur are both copying Ur₅-ra”. May (2018: 68) provides an overview of Ur₅-ra manuscripts and amulet stone lists from N4 and concludes that Kiṣir-Aššur was “a great specialist on stones and lexical lists” (see also ibid.: 78). However, Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts with colophons do not substantiate this hypothesis.


May 2018: 68 and note 40; Villard 2007: 326. However, this would be the only instance where Nabû-bēssunu’s name is written AG-EN-šú-nu.


May 2018: 69–70. The letter is directed to the king by an anonymous author concerning the future sacrifices in Assur conducted by five individuals, among these a certain Kiṣir-Aššur. However, the letter shows no clear connection to the Nineveh court, and it only shows that a Kiṣir-Aššur was perhaps involved in the Aššur temple cult.


May 2018: 69. The text states that a certain Šamaš-ibni was responsible for offerings on the 24th day of an uncertain month.


Stefan Maul is the principal investigator of the project Edition literarischer Keilschrifttexte aus Assur, which aims to publish the literary, historical and scholarly texts excavated during the German excavations from 1903–1914 in Assur.


Maul 2010a: 205 note 56, 208–10; see May 2018: 65. Additionally, Maul states that eight tablets were written by Nabû-bēssunu, presumably one by Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē, and one each by Abu-erība and Bāba-šuma-ibni (Maul 2010a: 205–206 note 55 and 60).


Adding to the confusion is, e.g., Farber’s statement that LKA 114 was written in the hand of Kiṣir-Nabû, although no such name is preserved on the colophon (Farber 1989: 23–24). It has not been possible to provide a description of Kiṣir-Aššur’s handwriting, although such an attempt is a desideratum.


Couto-Ferreira (2018: 163) listed BAM 232 as one of Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru manuscripts. However, the collations in CMAwR 1: 318–335 and pl. 132 no. 63 show that the colophon in rev. 3’ states: [… PA]B??.MEŠ lú⌈ŠÁMAN.LÁ TUR (cf. ibid.: 322 note 79). Accordingly, it is possible the name once read Aššur-nādin-aḫḫē, the grandson of Abu-erība. However, other individuals attested in N4 have names ending in -aḫḫē (see Fadhil 2012: 36–42).


Other colophons from N4 contain only the purpose for copying the tablet or other information (e.g., LKA 88 = N4 no. 162). These are therefore without names and are disregarded here. Note that Anmar Fadhil is currently working with unpublished texts from the Iraqi excavations of N4, among which there are no clear colophons that can be assigned to Bāba-šuma-ibni family members (personal communication).


The texts with this phrase, with or without titles, are BAM 9, BAM 121, KAL 4 no. 37, LKA 89+, LKA 141, RA 15 pl. 76.


Maul (2010a: 208) originally listed ten šamallû ṣeḫru texts and three šamallû texts, but since his study, the three texts identified at the time of Maul’s study from Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû-phase have been shown to belong to his šamallû ṣeḫru-phase (see Ch. 2 note 35, Table 1 note c).


The texts are BAM 28, BAM 321, LKA 157, and PKTA pl. 10–11. The last text does not preserve any names, and as such, it is not entirely certain it was copied by either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû, but see Section 8.6.


For the colophon of BAM 28, see Section 8.2.

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