Chapter 9 Situating Kiṣir-Aššur’s Knowledge Production

In: Medicine in Ancient Assur
Troels Pank Arbøll
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The mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase represents the final stage of Kiṣir-Aššur’s career, according to the surviving evidence. Based on the discussion of Kiṣir-Aššur’s surviving tablets in the preceding chapters, this chapter discusses Kiṣir- Aššur’s overall text production to contextualize what he copied and used in relation to the scholarly textual traditions of his time. The first section investigates Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical focuses in his healing texts. The following section provides a discussion of Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts (nisḫus). Kiṣir-Aššur produced a number of extracts, and these are found especially among tablets from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase and tablets that cannot be assigned to a specific phase. These extract texts are first discussed in relation to statements in the colophons that designate them as extracts from writing-boards. Other extracts were supplied with numbers and were likely organized. These numbered extracts are discussed in relation to their numbering, their possible organization, and their function. Afterwards follows an investigation of the use of incipits, catch-lines in colophons, and duplicate passages in Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts in relation to the therapeutic series šumma amēlu muḫḫašu umma ukāl “If the crown of a man’s head is feverish” (Ugu), known from contemporary Nineveh, and the so-called “Assur Medical Catalogue”, an Assur catalogue of text incipits possibly related to a recension of the Ugu series. This analysis examines to what extent Kiṣir-Aššur drew on a recension of the therapeutic series and navigated according to its incipits. This chapter also addresses Kiṣir-Aššur’s text production in relation to the Exorcist’s Manual. Finally, Kiṣir-Aššur’s textual production is contextualized in the light of the scholarly traditions of Assur, his manuscripts derived from the Gula temple in Assur, and the N4 collection’s connection to the Nineveh text collections.

9.1 Kiṣir-Aššur’s Overall Medical Focus

Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical texts are discussed in relation to his individual career phases throughout the previous chapters. This section discusses all of Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical material in order to identify areas of the body upon which Kiṣir-Aššur was particularly focussed. Dividing Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical corpus on the basis of the tablets that bear his colophons is not as straightforward as it might seem. This is because most texts contain a number of prescriptions that focus on different areas of interest, e.g., a few individual diagnoses afflicting several body parts, one illness with many varied symptoms affecting one or more areas of the body, or various conditions relating to roughly one area of the body. Furthermore, several illnesses are diagnosed without symptom descriptions, and it is therefore difficult to assess what symptoms they were believed to have caused in such generic entries.1 Additionally, the texts are not of similar length and can contain one (e.g., BAM 68) or multiple entries (e.g., BAM 9).

What follows is an attempt to group the material according to illnesses and the affected areas of the body described in the symptom descriptions in the texts themselves. A division of texts by body parts decontextualizes the material to some extent, as the various body parts were not always consistently demarcated in ancient terminology or physiological conception (see Sections 4.4 and 4.4.1).2 Modern anatomical terms are, however, not useful for the present purpose either, as these tend to be too specific. Several illnesses and symptom descriptions are also problematic, as they can affect several areas of the body. Thus, the areas described in Table 17 are somewhat generalized according to the symptom descriptions of afflicted body parts in the texts themselves and as such are only meant to be illustrative. Texts that do not specify body parts, symptom descriptions, illness names, or explicit causes of illness have been excluded.

Table 17
Table 17
Table 17
Table 17

Illnesses and affected parts of the body in Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts

Table 17 shows that Kiṣir-Aššur’s surviving texts relate to many illnesses and symptoms that affect all the major areas of the body. In terms of diagnosed illnesses or causes of illness, a number are listed in more than one text, namely: aḫḫāzu- and amurriqānu-jaundice, “Anus illness”, “adversary”, “hand of Curse” or Curse, “hand of ghost” or ghost, “seizing-of-the-mouth” (kadabbedû), ṣētu-fever (= “sun-heat”), ḫimiṭ ṣēti (= “inflammation by sun-heat”), šaššaṭu, and witchcraft. Several of the illnesses listed can produce various symptoms that affect several body parts, making them difficult to group. Such illnesses include aḫḫāzu- and amurriqānu-jaundice, which cause various internal symptoms as well as discolouration of the eyes and skin (Böck 2014a: 122–128; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 32–34, 138–39), and ṣētu, which causes, e.g., headaches, rash, muscle pains, abdominal bloating, vomiting, lung problems, or mental alterations (Stol 2007a: 22–39; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 53–59). Yet, both these examples seem to be situated internally and are therefore grouped in relation to afflictions of the thorax, epigastrium and abdomen. More problematic is the māmītu “Curse” that can afflict several areas of the body, although it is frequently diagnosed in the abdomen (Maul 2019: 25ff.; Maul 2010b: 135–41, 145–46; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 506–508; Maul 2004). I label this illness as complicated, despite māmītu’s general focus on the abdomen. An additional problem is that several of the illness names appear in purely ritual texts, such as LKA 70+, and if the ghost mentioned therein relates to an illness, it is likely as the cause and not necessarily as the diagnosis. Such illnesses are also labelled as “complex”.

In terms of affected areas of the body, as well as illnesses known to affect similar areas diagnosed without symptom descriptions, three groups of texts can be identified that focus on: 1) the thorax, epigastrium, abdomen, its organs, associated processes and illnesses, and the anus, i.e., primarily internal illnesses; 2) the “strings” of the body, its motor system, and the lower body parts; and 3) complex illnesses or causes of illness that affect several bodily areas. However, these groupings remain tentative due to the generalized classification utilized above.

The majority of the relevant material derives from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu- and mašmaš bīt Aššur-phases. Yet, Kiṣir-Aššur’s focus on the “strings” is apparent from his šamallû ṣeḫru-phase onwards (BAM 129, N4 A 400). The same may also apply to the abdominal treatments, although the evidence is less explicit. The relevant text RA 15 pl. 76 possibly concerns a type of horse colic related to the stomach, although the actual diagnosis or symptom description is poorly understood (see Appendix 2). Cures for internal ailments are likely also found during Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phase (N4 A 2727). Both treatments of the “strings” and internal illnesses reappear during Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu-phase and are attested in the bulk of material from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase as well.

It is difficult to estimate whether or not the texts in these groups served pedagogical or pragmatic purposes in Kiṣir-Aššur’s training, practice, or personal interests. Several of the tablets may well have fulfilled all purposes to some extent. Nonetheless, several of the tablets listed above include purpose statements connected to practice. If the tablets with purpose statement are disregarded, the groups change. By excluding Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets with purpose statements the group of internal treatments become substantially smaller (around three texts).3 The texts copied by Kiṣir-Aššur concerning the internal maladies may therefore have been connected particularly with practice. Incidentally, this group relates especially to Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmas bīt Aššur-phase, perhaps reflecting the complicated nature of diagnosing and treating such illnesses. However, this suggestion has to remain hypothetical for the time being.

Böck (2010a: 69) estimated that appoximately 70% of the first millennium Mesopotamian medical treatment texts were concerned with internal illnesses affecting the thorax, heart, lungs, liver, stomach, abdomen, waist and groin, as well as renal and rectal maladies (see also Pedersén 1986: 53). Internal illnesses may also have taken up large parts of the Nineveh Ugu recension and the AMC (see Steinert 2018a; Scurlock 2014: 295–306; Heeßel 2010b: 32–33), although this was not the main focus in the 2nd subseries of Sa-gig (Heeßel 2000: 24–30). Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts appear to have been characterized by an interest in “string” and lower body illnesses associated with the muscles, tendons, and nerves, and a professional need to treat various clients’ abdominal, gastro-intestinal, renal, and rectal symptoms. The two text groups discussed here are also mirrored in the “tested” treatments in BAM 164, BAM 186, perhaps N4 A 2727 primarily against internal maladies, and BAM 303, presumably against illness of the feet.

9.2 Numbered Nisḫu-extracts

Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets were frequently described as “extracted” (issuḫa, nisḫu, nasḫa) or “quickly extracted” (ḫanṭiš/zamar nasāḫu), often with a purpose statement (see all attestations in Appendix 1). The word nasāḫu literally refers to tearing out body parts, pulling out hair, uprooting plants, and expelling demons or illnesses (CAD N/2: 1ff.). In relation to texts, the meaning is therefore to pull something out from a united whole, i.e., a piece of text from a somewhat standardized manuscript, although not necessarily from a series.4 There are two kinds of extract texts in the N4 collection: 1) those stated to be “extracted” as one or more select parts from a manuscript (e.g., ZI-ḫa), and 2) those numbered according to some principle as an extract containing one or more select parts from a manuscript (e.g., 7 nis-ḫu). Both types can be supplied with catch-lines, which may indicate a wish to be able to locate the extract in the copied manuscript (see Section 9.3).

In total, 16 out of Kiṣir-Aššur’s 27 extracted texts, and seven of Kiṣir-Nabû’s 12 extracted texts have purpose statements.5 Such extracts are found among Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu- and mašmaš bīt Aššur-phases and on tablets without titles (see Appendix 1). The presence of purpose statements on many of the extracts could indicate that they were used in the preparation of a healing ceremony (Maul 2010: 212). Other texts were presumably extracted as part of Kiṣir-Aššur’s training, such as his šamallû ṣeḫru manuscripts BAM 201 and RA 15 pl. 76. Comparatively, Kiṣir-Nabû’s BAM 52 and BAM 106 were extracted for his “reading, lecture(?)” (malsûtu), possibly indicating an instructive purpose.6 Section 3.6 suggests that Kiṣir-Aššur’s numbered extracts copied as šamallû ṣeḫru may first have functioned as copying exercises and subsequently as teaching material. As such, this use likely mirrored Clancier’s proposed use of such text in LB Uruk as exercises, pedagogical texts, or aide mémoires (Clancier 2014: 55). A collection of scholarly texts from LB Uruk from a family of āšipus, descending from a certain Šangû-Ninurta, is used for comparison throughout this chapter (Robson 2014: 155–58; Robson 2013: 565–569; Stevens 2013: 216). Although their collection differs in some respect from the 7th century BCE collections investigated here, the collection is useful for comparison because it held an Ugu recension, perhaps differing from the one found at Nineveh, as well as an abbreviated (pirsu) numbered series based on the LB Uruk Ugu recension (Heeßel 2010b: 34 and note 50; see Salin 2016). As such, the situation could potentially mirror the numbered nisḫu-extracts with medical material from N4.

9.2.1 Extracts and Writing-boards

Before discussing the numbered extracts, the evidence for what physical medium these and other extracts were copied from first needs to be evaluated. This serves to elucidate the function of the numbering system of certain extracts. Several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s tablets state that the content was copied from writing-boards. Examples of writing-boards have been found especially at Nimrud, which typically consisted of wooden or ivory frames with a layer of wax that could be inscribed, and several such frames were combined to create at least two surfaces upon which to write.7 The fragment of at least one ivory writing-board was discovered in the N4 house, attesting to the presence of such manuscripts in the collection (Klengel-Brandt 1975). That exorcists may have brought writing-boards in order to check texts, related to their duties is indicated by both literary and non-literary texts. The literary composition Ludlul bēl nēmeqi offers a description of an exorcist who appears to the protagonist in a dream, signalling the end of the protagonist’s suffering:

In the dream Ur-Nintinugga, the Babylonian(?) […], a bearded young man wearing his crown, an exorcist, carrying a writing-[board].8

In a NA letter that is part of the royal correspondence between the king and his scholars (SAA 10 no. 202), the king’s exorcist Adad-šumu-uṣur writes to king Esarhaddon to make excuses for a late reply:

I had to drive to the palace those rams which the chief cook had brought forth for me, and the writing-board was in my house. Now then, I can look at the board and extract the relevant interpretation.9

Administrative records from Nineveh indicate that wooden writing boards (lēʾu) were used during the assembling of Assurbanipal’s libraries (Parpola 1983b: 6).10 Although writing-boards in the Nineveh collections were fewer in number than ordinary tablets (ibid.: 8), they often consisted of more than one “page” and could contain more text than an ordinary clay tablet (ibid.; Wiseman 1955: 4, 7–8). Due to the practical aspects of writing-boards, they were employed in some instances to “import” knowledge to Assyria (Fincke 2003–04: 126). Such boards must therefore have been employed throughout the NA cities.11 Based on the Nineveh evidence, Maul (2010a: 199 and note 37) estimated that writing-boards may have constituted around 15% of the total stock of tablets (see Maul 1994: 160–61; Parpola 1983b: 4–5 note 11–12). Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s texts with colophons stating that they were copied from writing-boards are listed in Table 18.

Table 18
Table 18
Table 18

Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s texts copied from writing-boards

Both Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû extracted texts from writing-boards. In terms of the explicit statements studied here, Kiṣir-Nabû seems to have copied from writing-boards more often than Kiṣir-Aššur. Perhaps instead of elaborate descriptions, Kiṣir-Aššur frequently included the generic copying statement “(written and checked) according to its original” (kīma labīrišu) to his colophons, which offers no information about the medium of the original manuscript.12

Kiṣir-Nabû regularly refers to writing-boards that he copied from as “Akkadian” (URIki) or “Assyrian” (Aš-šurki-i).13 These designations likely refer to Babylonian (“Akkadian”) or Assyrian script, and texts at Nineveh are known to have been copied with Babylonian signs and recopied into Assyrian sign forms.14 The reason for Kiṣir-Nabû’s specifications remains uncertain.15 However, several of Kiṣir-Nabû’s texts with colophons copied from “Akkadian” originals, i.e., tablets in Babylonian script, are found in NA script, which may indicate that the script of his texts was occasionally changed.

9.2.2 Extract Series

Long works of scholarly and magico-medical texts comprising multiple tablets were often collected into series (iškaru). Such collections are known from a variety of libraries throughout the first millennium BCE. The term iškaru (ÉŠ.GÀR) “series” was used to describe a collection of tablets with fixed entries that were created through academic consensus and editing. The opposite term aḫû (BAR) “extraneous” seems to indicate scholarly (standardized) traditions that existed in parallel to the series, perhaps with the same “authoritative” status.16 A few of these works were reedited into so-called nisḫu- and pirsu-series, i.e., smaller extracted rows of texts presumably aimed at collecting the most convenient passages for the users, perhaps in order to facilitate eased reference or practical application.17 The word pirsu carries some of the same connotations as nisḫu, designating a “detachment, section, division” or “cutting” of, e.g., threads or texts, and derives from the word parāsu “to cut, divide, separate” (CAD P: 165, 411; AHw: 830ff.; Leichty 1964: 149).18

How should the extract texts in Kiṣir-Aššur’s collection be evaluated? What can they tell us about the collection and the use of magico-medical knowledge in Neo-Assyrian Assur? Looking into comparative evidence from the first millennium, one can see that there are several examples of both nisḫu- and pirsu-texts of series, among them a nisḫu-series from Nineveh of Uruanna19 and of Šumma ālu.20 There is also an already abbreviated selection (liqtu) of Enūma Anu Enlil (Koch 2015: 184 and note 477), as well as a pirsu-series of Lamaštu (Farber 2014: 20–22) and bīt salāʾ mê (Ambos 2013a: 211–212; Læssøe 1955: 20).21 However, most important for the current discussion is the LB Uruk pirsu-series of at least ten tablets in a numbered sequence extracted from the Šangû-Ninurta family’s 45-tablet recension of Ugu (Scurlock 2014: 329; Heeßel 2010b: 33–34 and note 51; Köcher 1978: 18).22

Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons mention a “first extract” (nisḫu maḫrû), various numbered extracts (x nisḫu), or a “final extract” (nisḫu qītāyû). If Kiṣir-Aššur extracted knowledge in a similar manner, as it is known from LB Uruk, one could suggest that some N4 numbered nisḫus functioned as an Assur extract series, likely of a larger series similar to the Nineveh Ugu series (Heeßel 2010b: 35; Böck 2009a: 107; cf. Scurlock 2014: 329).23 In a LB Uruk nisḫu collection of Šumma ālu omens (SpTU III no. 93), the 72nd and 73rd nisḫus consist of a single omen (Koch 2013: 243 note 14; Heeßel 2007a: 4 notes 35 and 37; Frahm 1998). As such, it is not impossible that even the brief nisḫus in N4 could belong to an organized collection. However, the numbering remains difficult to explain in Uruk as well as Assur.

9.2.3 Numbered and Organized Extracts

Several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s extract tablets have additional numerical notations (e.g., 7 nisḫu). In Kiṣir-Aššur’s case, they were copied at least at the very beginning and the very end of his career, in his šamallû ṣeḫru- and mašmaš bīt Aššur-phases, but possibly also during his mašmaššu-phase. Furthermore, two of Kiṣir-Aššur’s examples, and all three of Kiṣir-Nabû’s, do not provide a title and only append the ša Nabû tuklassu-phrase, likely indicating that the texts were written before the mašmaššu-phase and perhaps even earlier (Section 5.4). The numerical notions are difficult to interpret, however, and warrant discussion. What follows discusses one problematic notation (qītāyû), the numbering of extracts, and, finally, how these numbered extracts should be interpreted in relation to the extracts in general. Table 19 provides an overview of Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s numbered extracts.

Table 19
Table 19
Table 19

Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s numbered extractsa

As pointed out above, a nisḫu refers to a text created from “tearing” out one or more pieces of text from a united whole, e.g., a series found on tablets or writing-boards. The numbers written in connection to the word nisḫu are commonly interpreted as the number of the nisḫu-text in question in relation to a set of excerpts (e.g., Heeßel 2010b: 35 and note 56; Böck 2009a: 107; Leichty 1964: 149). The question is if the extracts were organized or serialized, and if so how, or if the same text was copied multiple times.24

In BAM 9 and KAR 63, the numerical notations were substituted with words indicating the first (maḫrû, BAM 9 rev. 70: [nis-ḫu] IGI-ú) and final or end (qītāyû, KAR 63 rev. 22’: nis-ḫu qí-ta-a-a-ú) in a sequence (Hunger 1968: 2). The latter is especially problematic. The word qītāyû is only attested twice, and it is translated as “final” from qatû “to finish, complete, bring to an end” (CAD Q: 281), “zum Ende führend” (AHw: 924), or “concluding” (CDA: 290).25 In connection to extracts (niḫus), Hunger (1968: 8) translates it as “Abschließender Auszug”. The form AL.TIL for qatû is found several times in colophons, which designate that the copy is complete (CAD Q: 179; Hunger 1968: 5).26 The question is whether qītāyû designates that the manuscript in question is finished with the correct amount of entries, or if the word should be analysed in connection to numbered extracts as the final one in a set of extracts.27 Although the idea of copying several extracts for pedagogical purposes in order to master certain knowledge is appealing, it should be emphasized that KAR 63 derives from Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase, which argues against a primarily pedagogical interpretation.

The majority of Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s organized extracts, however, contain numbers. The syntax of the numbers occasionally differed, although they were probably meant to convey the same notion of numbering. Some numbers were written with phonetic complements that mark them as ordinal numbers (e.g., 2-ú, 32-ú), preceding and following the items counted. Other numbers were written without phonetic complements and preceded the items counted. Both groups must refer to ordinal numbers, since for example BAM 52 was labelled as extract number six without a phonetic complement (6 nis-ḫu).

The texts seem to have been extracted for different purposes. Only one of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets was supplied with a purpose statement and was designated as being copied on the request of Kiṣir-Aššur (BAM 99). This could indicate that the numbered extracts generally served a different purpose from unnumbered extracts with purpose statements. Other texts seem to have had a pedagogical purpose, such as Kiṣir-Aššur’s earlier tablets BAM 9 and RA 15 pl. 76 discussed in Chapter 3. Similarly, two of Kiṣir-Nabû’s tablets were labelled as extracted for his “reading” (ana malsûtišu) (BAM 52, BAM 106), which could highlight their pedagogical context.28 The numbered extracts from Kiṣir-Aššur’s later phases less likely had a pedagogical purpose.29

Several of the numbered extracts are concerned with medical texts.30 This has led several researchers to suggest that the numbered nisḫus functioned as an extract series from a recension of the Nineveh Ugu series, comparable to the LB pirsu-series of the Uruk Ugu series.31 However, this interpretation requires the organized extracts from N4 to appear in a numbered sequence. Table 19 shows that, although Kiṣir-Aššur copied a “first extract” (BAM 9) earlier in his career, possibly around the šamallû ṣeḫru-phase, and a “final extract” as mašmaš bīt Aššur, he did not have a running total of extracts throughout his career. Several texts reveal this lack. BAM 99 was a “7th extract” copied when Kiṣir-Aššur was mašmaš bīt Aššur and RA 15 pl. 76 a “32nd(?) extract” from his šamallû ṣeḫru-phase.32 Therefore, other principles may have governed their arrangement.

Two of Kiṣir-Aššur’s and all of Kiṣir-Nabû’s numbered extracts were supplied with catch-lines.33 Such lines could be used to position the extract within the manuscript from which it was copied, and may indicate a wish to be able to retrace from where within a certain manuscript the nisḫu was extracted (Hunger 1968: 1; see Section 9.3). The catch-lines and colophons or especially Kiṣir-Nabû’s BAM 52 and BAM 106 are useful for understanding the numbering of extracts. BAM 52 likely ended with a catch-line opening BAM 106:

The colophon of BAM 52

Rev. 101: DIŠ NA ŠÀ.MEŠ-šú MÚ.MEŠ-ḫu i[r]-ru-šú i-ár-ru-ru IGI.MEŠ-šú NIGIN.MEŠ-du

Rev. 102: 6 nis-ḫu liq-ti šá bul-ṭi ki-i pi-i gišZU URIki GABA.RI UNUGki SAR-ma bà-rì

Rev. 103: DUB-pi pKi-ṣir-dPA šá dPA tuk-lat-su

Rev. 104: [D]UMU p.dUTU-ib-ni MAŠ.MAŠ É AN.ŠÁR

Rev. 105: [ana mal?-s]u?-ti-šú ZI.MEŠ-ḫa

‘If a man’s insides are continually bloated, his intestines rumble, his face seems continually to spin’ (is the next entry). Sixth extract, a selection of prescription(s), written and checked according to an ‘Akkadian’ writing-board, a copy (from) Uruk. The tablet of Kiṣir-Nabû whose trust is Nabû, the son of Šamaš-ibni, the mašmaš bīt Aššur. (Repeatedly(?)) extracted [for] his [‘readi]ng’.

The opening line of BAM 106

obv. 1: [DIŠ NA ŠÀ].MEŠ-šú MÚ.MEŠ-ḫu ir-ru-šú i-ár?⸣-[ru IGI.MEŠ-šú NIGIN.MEŠ-du]

If a man’s insides are continually bloated, his intestines rumble, his face seems continually to spin …34

BAM 52 is also described as an extract of a Babylonian writing-board copied from Uruk and as a selection of prescriptions. These statements are repeated in the colophon of BAM 106, which could indicate that BAM 106 was a continuation of the extracts begun in BAM 52. Unfortunately, the colophon of BAM 106 is fragmentary and an amount of reconstruction is necessary:

The colophon of BAM 106

Rev. 6’: [(x) na4g]a-bi-i šimGÍR U₅ ARGABmušen Ú.BABBAR [x x x x]

Rev. 7’: [7] nis-ḫu liq-ti bul-ṭi ki-i pi-i [gišZU? URIki?]

Rev. 8’: [GABA].RI UNUGki AB.SAR [bari]

Rev. 9’: DUB x? x?⸣ pKi-ṣir-dAG ša dAG tuk-[lat-su]

Rev. 10’: DUMU dUTU-DÙ MAŠ.MAŠ DUMU dPA-be-sún MAŠ.[MAŠ É Aššur]

Rev. 11’: DUMU p.dBa-ba₆-šum-DÙ ZABAR.DAB.BA [É-šár-ra(?)]

Rev. 12’: a-na mal-su-ti-šú za-mar Z[I-ḫa]

Rev. 13’: [(x) x] e-rib É [ar-ḫ]i-iš li-ṣa-am-ma [x x x (x)?]

(Catch-line). [Seventh] extract, a selection of prescription(s), written and [checked] according to [an ‘Akkadian’ writing-board(?)], a [co]py (from) Uruk. The tablet x x(?) of Kiṣir-Nabû whose tr[ust] is Nabû, the son of Šamaš-ibni, the mašmaššu, son of Nabû-bēssunu, the maš[maš bīt Aššur], son of Bāba-šuma-ibni, the zabardabbû-priest [of Ešarra(?)]. Hurriedly ex[tracked] for his ‘reading’. […] let the enterer of the house [qui]ckly go out and […].

Kiṣir-Nabû’s BAM 106 opens with the catch-line of the “6th extract” BAM 52. Both tablets were likely designated as “a selection of bulṭus according to the mouth of an ‘Akkadian’ writing board, a copy from Uruk”, and extracted for Kiṣir-Nabû’s “reading”. On the basis of the preserved parts of similar colophons, as well as the catch-line of BAM 52 opening BAM 106, it seems that BAM 106 can tentatively be reconstructed as the “[7th] extract”. If so, these two extracts consequently were numbered in a sequence. These two texts may therefore derive from the same writing-board, and they could have been numbered and supplied with catch-lines for eased continued extraction.35 This could mirror Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru tablets that are designated as “first [extract]” (BAM 9) and “32nd(?) extract” (RA 15 pl. 76).36 Although BAM 52 and BAM 106 were consecutive tablets labelled as malsûtus for Kiṣir-Nabû, indicating a pedagogical purpose not explicitly found in Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts, Kiṣir-Aššur’s BAM 9 and RA 15 pl. 76 may have been copied as part of a group of consecutive extracts from one or more writing-boards to collect desired entries for a given purpose during his šamallû ṣeḫru-phase.

It is, however, unclear how to interpret the remaining numbered extracts. BAM 99 may have been considered the “7th extract (of) a copy (from) the Esabad-temple in Assur”, much as BAM 52 and BAM 106 were possibly derived from the same writing-board (cf. Hunger 1968: 71).37 However, BAM 99 was copied by someone for Kiṣir-Aššur (ú-šaš-ṭir-ma) with a purpose statement, and as such it likely did not serve a pedagogical function for Kiṣir-Aššur. It remains uncertain if KAL 7 no. 24 was the 4th extract and KAR 63 the concluding extract in various rows of extracts. KAR 63 is, however, the only example for which an interpretation of this text as the last extract in a row of copies of the same text may be applicable. This is based on the sole observation that the N4 manuscript KAR 43 without a number duplicates KAR 63 (see Section 8.5).

At least some numbered extracts may have occurred in series that were organized according to the order of extraction, and in at least one instance may have been extracted from the same manuscript. What remains unclear is if all extracts in a row or from a certain manuscript were numbered. If they were, many are now missing and this cannot be explained. Regarding their function, it is possible that several of the brief and unnumbered extracts with or without catch-lines and purpose statements may have been part of a collection of preferred material of numbered and unnumbered nisḫus. These may have been extracted for eased reference of relevant passages from a longer text and could potentially have been used more than once, some perhaps pedagogically and maybe later practically, some only for practice.

As argued in Section 3.6, Kiṣir-Aššur probably copied a row of extracts during his training as šamallû ṣeḫru. Although any interpretation of these extracts has to remain hypothetical, I regard them as a sourcebook that he drew upon during his training, although it may have remained a handy reference tool during the later stages of his career.38 In general, regardless of why the numbered extracts were copied, I consider it likely that they functioned as reference works during Kiṣir-Aššur’s later phases. A tentative parallel could be the NA court astrologers’ use of the explanatory series Šumma Sîn ina tāmartīšu for practical application over the main series Enūma Anu Enlil.39 Although Šumma Sîn ina tāmartīšu was a series and functioned explanatorily,40 the nisḫus discussed here, regardless whether they were drawn from a single writing-board or used as an organized handbook, could have functioned as practical tools containing useful material that was utilized ad hoc. Although this does not explain how the numbers functioned, a single authoritative therapeutic extract series does not seem to have existed in N4, despite the existence of several individual rows of extracts for various purposes. It is possible that numbering systems for extracts were used differently throughout the various collections according to practice and scholarly traditions. For now, it is not possible to posit a hypothesis that is applicable to all examples.

9.3 Catch-lines and Duplicate Passages in Kiṣir-Aššur’s Texts in Relation to the Therapeutic Series Ugu

Scurlock (2014: 329) suggested that Assur extracts of medical texts often commence with a recognizable entry from the beginning of a tablet within a recension of the therapeutic series “If the crown of a man’s head is feverish …” (šumma amēlu muḫḫašu umma ukāl, abbreviated Ugu) and proceed into various less obviously chosen passages.41 The Ugu series consisted of medical therapeutic prescriptions and incantations with diagnostic and symptom descriptions. It is therefore necessary to discuss the possible attested recensions of the Ugu series in order to contextualize Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical texts and examine how his extracts relate to the possible recensions of the Ugu series.

Scurlock used two examples from N4 to exemplify her hypothesis.42 Therefore, the opening entries of Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts, as well as consecutive rows of duplicated entries, can be useful for understanding the textual relationship to the texts from which they were copied. Furthermore, Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons were occasionally supplied with catch-lines (see Appendix 1). Such lines quote the first entry on the manuscript copied from, which follows the last entry copied onto the extract. The assumed purpose of catch-lines was to facilitate the transition from one tablet to the next in a series or row of connected texts, as well as to be able to retrace the place at which one stopped within a manuscript when copying (Hunger 1968: 1–2; Leichty 1964: 148–49). At least 17 of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets, including those with partly broken colophons, include catch-lines. Notably, one of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets (BAM 201) and one of either Kiṣir-Aššur’s or Kiṣir-Nabû’s tablets (BAM 68) have generic catch-lines: “If ‘Ditto’ …” and “[10] shekels of …”.43 Unlike catch-lines that quote specific diagnoses or symptom descriptions, these generic catch-lines are not easily recognizable. Their purpose may therefore have differed from the more recognizable catch-lines.

At the current stage of our knowledge, there may have existed at least two NA Ugu recensions. One is the Nineveh Ugu series, the other is represented by a catalogue consisting of incipits of therapeutic works arranged into overarching groups known as the Assur Medical Catalogue (abbreviated AMC). Unfortunately, the Ugu series is fragmentary and a complete reconstruction is still ongoing. Before discussing Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts in relation to this therapeutic series, it is necessary to describe the Ugu series and the AMC in greater detail.

9.3.1 The Therapeutic Series Ugu

Many fragmented and multi-columned tablets excavated at the Nineveh libraries contain symptom descriptions, diagnoses, prescriptions, and incantations. These tablets are numbered according to a series opening with the incipit “If the crown of a man’s head is feverish” (DIŠ NA UGU-šú KÚM ú-kal), here abbreviated Ugu.44 This series is arranged head-to-toe, consists of a number of subseries with accompanying tablets, and appears to be an attempt to serialize select therapeutic texts.45 Köcher suggested that Ugu was generally composed and standardized in Nineveh under Assurbanipal, although clear evidence is lacking and earlier material hints at a possible serialization in Babylonia.46

At Nineveh, the series was divided into at least eight subseries and included 33+ tablets in a relatively fixed sequence.47 Comparatively, a later 45-tablet Ugu recension existed in LB Uruk and perhaps differed from NA Nineveh Ugu (Heeßel 2010b: 33–34). Other contemporary scholarly series were known in various recensions throughout Assyria (see Section 9.5.3), and, as discussed in the following section, the Assur Medical Catalogue indicates another (serialized) collection of therapeutic tablets was known in Assur. As a result, the Nineveh Ugu recension may not have served as the only standardized series across all of contemporary Assyria.

9.3.2 The Assur Medical Catalogue (AMC)

The so-called “Assur Medical Catalogue”, abbreviated AMC, is a catalogue comprising the incipits of therapeutic works arranged into overarching collections, and these may collectively represent a recension of Ugu or the incipits of non-serialized individual tablets.48 The text was excavated in Assur and was written by a “young physician” (asû ṣeḫru).49 The AMC arrange incipits of individual tablets into groups or subseries, providing individual totals of the amount of tablets within individual groups, alongside additional texts such as incantations.50

The AMC consists of two parts: a first section listed “[from] the top (of the head) to the (toe)nails” ([TA] UGU EN ṣu-up-ri), listing 50+ tablets, and a second section focusing on other areas such as divine anger, birth, and veterinarian prescriptions listing 30+ tablets. Furthermore, the opening of the AMC may have had an introduction similar to the EM, possibly indicating a pedagogical purpose behind the tablet.51 As a result, the AMC could have been used to provide an overview of the healing texts available and their titles.

Current hypotheses suggest that the AMC represents a recension of the Ugu series (Panayotov 2018b: 95–96; Steinert 2018b: 13; Steinert 2018c: 189; Steinert 2018d: 205–206; Scurlock 2014: 295, 301–302) or a catalogue of more or less standardized therapeutic texts (Heeßel 2010b: 34–35 and notes 53 and 55) that are related to the city of Assur and are possibly distinct from the Nineveh Ugu recension (Steinert 2018c: 173ff.; Böck 2010c: 99 and note 213; Geller 2005: 9; Köcher 1964: XII note 10; cf. Panayotov 2018b: 95–97, 101–102, 106ff.; Steinert 2018b: 15; Steinert 2018d: 206; see discussion in Steinert 2018c: 189–190). The AMC and Nineveh Ugu differ in the number of subseries and the sum of tablets associated with them (Steinert 2018d: 205–206; Scurlock 2014: 305–6; Heeßel 2010b: 31–35), as well as in the inclusion of prescriptions in the AMC that are not known to have been part of the Nineveh Ugu recension (e.g., veterinarian texts). Regardless of whether or not the AMC represents an Ugu recension, Heeßel (2010b: 34–35 and note 55) has pointed out that an Ugu recension different from the Nineveh recension may have been known in Assur (see also Heeßel 2018: 316; Heeßel 2008b). The AMC seems to have listed recognizable incipits representing therapeutic texts, and healers could use these incipits to navigate the corpus of medical texts. It remains unknown if these therapeutic texts were standardized. These incipits are therefore useful for understanding Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts from therapeutic texts in terms of incipits and catch-lines.

9.3.3 The AMC and Kiṣir-Aššur’s Incipits and Catch-lines

Since the AMC may represent an Assur recension of Ugu and since it may have functioned as a catalogue of titles, it is important to compare Kiṣir-Aššur’s opening incipits and catch-lines to the AMC to preliminarily evaluate to what extent Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts drew upon these recognizable incipits. This comparison produced only two parallels: Kiṣir-Aššur’s BAM 131, concerned with šaššaṭu and various types of stiffness, and Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû’s LKA 146, a mythological incantation and a ritual for producing phylacteries to be hung around the neck. Kiṣir-Nabû does not seem to have any preserved lines among his texts that parallel the AMC.52 The parallel incipits of BAM 131’s catch-line state:

BAM 131 rev. 9’: [DIS NA b]ur-ka-a-šú mun-ga DIRI EGIR-šú iš-š[aṭ?-ṭar?]

AMC line 53: DIŠ NA bur!⸣-ka-šú mun-ga DIRI

AMT 51,4+32,5+43,3 col. iv 26’: DIŠ NA bur-ka-šú […]53

The catch-line in BAM 131 is attested as the third of three associated incipits in the AMC,54 but it is also attested in Nineveh as a catch-line in AMT 51,4+, which is the “2nd tablet” of a partially preserved subseries, perhaps from the Nineveh recension of Ugu.55 Both the AMC and AMT 51,4+ therefore agree that this catch-line marked the 3rd tablet of this subsection. Consequently, the catch-line could refer to a standardized tablet. BAM 131 was copied from “a writing-board of prescriptions from the Gula temple”,56 which indicates that the text represented by the catch-line was perhaps available on this writing-board.

The choice to cut off the extract at this catch-line may have been influenced by its status as a known incipit among scholars of healing. Therefore, this particular writing-board may have contained the content of several somewhat standardized tablets related to an Assur treatment tradition. The opening incipit of BAM 131, “[If a man] is ill with [ša]ššaṭu-illness …”,57 however, is not attested as an incipit of an Ugu tablet in the AMC or at Nineveh, although the prescription is known from Nineveh.58

The parallel incipit of LKA 146’s catch-line is found in the AMC and likely also the N4 manuscript BAM 315 (Steinert 2018d: 253; Pedersén 1986 N4 no. 555):

The catch-line occurs in the AMC in a section concerning divine anger (Steinert 2018a: 216). The content of LKA 146 revolves around the production of “phylacteries” or leather bags hung around the neck (mêlu; Stol 1993: 102), and the text contains a mythological incantation involving sages (apkallū) and Ea providing 21 of these bags or “poultices” to humanity (Lambert 1980: 78–79, 82). The incipit of LKA 146, “As Ea was in the river ‘House of Peace where the mušḫuššu-monster gathers eggs/gemstones’”,59 is only otherwise attested on a LB tablet (BM 33999). The colophon of LKA 146 provides no clues as to its origins.

The incipits found in the AMC may represent known titles, which could be used to navigate the corpus of prescriptions. It cannot be verified if these tablets were standardized.60 As mentioned above, the presence of generic catch-lines could indicate that Kiṣir-Aššur did not always navigate texts according to easily recognizable incipits. And as shown here, Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû rarely seem to have navigated according to the titles of the AMC in their preserved incipits or catch-lines. This does not exclude the possibility that individual texts or writing-boards were arranged in accordance with the AMC. Kiṣir-Aššur certainly copied veterinarian prescriptions, which were probably listed in the AMC, and such material is not known at present to have been part of the Nineveh Ugu recension (see the section above). As a result, the sources indicate that Kiṣir-Aššur may have copied material included in the AMC, albeit rarely according to the various incipits.

9.3.4 Kiṣir-Aššur’s Texts and Nineveh Ugu

Several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s manuscripts, including extracts as well as other texts, duplicate passages in tablets of the Nineveh Ugu series. These duplicate passages are investigated here to visualize to what extent rows of prescriptions were copied according to the Nineve Ugu recension.61 Kiṣir-Nabû’s tablets BAM 52 and BAM 168 are also included because of their importance for establishing the relationship between extracts and writing-boards in Section 9.2.3. Several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts are duplicates of passages in Nineveh manuscripts, although these are not included, as the tablets cannot be placed within the Ugu recension.62 Table 20 presents the passages in Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts that are duplicated in a tablet containing the Nineveh Ugu series.

Table 20
Table 20
Table 20
Table 20

Passages in Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts duplicated in Ugua

This table makes it clear that Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets do contain several passages that also occur in the Nineveh Ugu series. However, they are rarely in any clear order, and do not have recognizable incipits or catch-lines that open the individual Ugu tablets. The only two tablets that contain consecutive entries from presumed Ugu manuscripts are BAM 129 and BAM 131. Incidentally, BAM 129 and BAM 131 are not explicitly labelled as “extracts”.63 Kiṣir-Aššur may therefore have intended for these texts to function as copies of the original by copying consecutive sections of therapeutic texts on them.

Several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s manuscripts, such as BAM 9, contain numerous duplicate prescriptions, occasionally duplicated on more than one tablet within a subseries of the Nineveh Ugu recension. BAM 9 was described as: “[The] first [extract], a copy of a writing-board”, and therefore this writing-board may have contained several tablets related to the first subseries of Ugu.64 The same could have been the case with Kiṣir-Nabû’s BAM 52 and BAM 106, both of which may have been extracted from a “selection of prescriptions” on a writing-board from Uruk. The duplicate passages from these two texts span two subseries and BAM 52 draws its entries from various tablets of the 5th subseries of Ugu in a non-consecutive order. As a result, the writing-board referred to in the colophons may represent an Uruk tradition related to the 5th and 6th subseries of Nineveh Ugu. It may have been arranged similarly to the Nineveh tradition, but extracted on BAM 52 and BAM 106 according to unknown principles, or, alternatively, the writing-board was arranged differently than the Nineveh Ugu recension.

BAM 68 was extracted with a purpose statement, and the catch-line corresponds to the prescription following the duplicate in the Ugu manuscript.65 As a result, the limited evidence presented by BAM 68 is that the writing-board copied from contained at least these two prescriptions in the order of the Nineveh Ugu recension.

The Assur and Nineveh texts related to Ugu probably do not represent a single series.66 Similarly, Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts do not appear to be derived from a completely standardized Assur recension, although the individual writing-boards from which they were copied may have contained somewhat standardized sections, perhaps arranged according to well-known incipits.67 However, the fact that many of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts were extracts confuses the evidence in terms of consecutive rows of entries. It is clear, however, that the tablets with colophons rarely begin with recognizable incipits or end with well-known catch-lines.68

9.4 The Exorcist’s Manual (EM)

The so-called “Exorcist’s Manual”,69 abbreviated EM, is a collection of text incipits or overarching titles referring to series and groups of texts of the exorcist’s craft (āšipūtu). The EM opens: “Titles of the series of the exorcist’s craft (iškar āšipūti) which have been established for learning and reading (ana iḫzi u tāmarti kunnū), a complete list”.70 It has therefore been suggested that the EM functioned as a pedagogical tool providing a reference list that defined the ideal range of exorcistic knowledge,71 a work on how to become an āšipu and expert (ummânu),72 as well as a work celebrating the āšipu profession’s status.73 The title ummânu designated a “master” of any craft, and in connection to the scholarly disciplines the title is usually translated as “scholar” or “expert”.74

Seven manuscripts of the EM are known: three from the NA period and four from the NB and LB periods.75 The earliest datable copy is KAR 44 from the N4 collection, copied by Kiṣir-Nabû (Schwemer 2011: 421), and an additional NA example from the N4 collection.76 The difficult text comprises 44 lines including the colophon, with many titles written in complex Sumerograms, phonetic Akkadian, or pseudo-Sumerian phrases, and a few individual entries are provided with glosses (Frahm 2011a: 329; Schwemer 2011: 421; Geller 2000: 242; Bottéro 1985: 65–66). The EM, as represented by KAR 44, is structured as follows:

  • Heading, obv. 1: “Titles of the series of the exorcist’s craft (āšipūtu) which have been established for instruction and study, a complete list” (see Schwemer 2011: 421)

  • First section of text titles, obv. 2–rev. 26

  • Heading/subscript(?), rev. 27: “Titles of the series of the exorcist’s craft of Esagil-kīn-apli”

  • Second section of additional scholarly knowledge, instructions addressing the reader and a blessing, rev. 28–36, rev. 37–40, and rev. 41–4277

  • Colophon, rev. 43–44

In general, many individual titles, particularly within the first section of the EM, refer to multi-tablet exorcistic series or text groups related to, e.g., the temple, cult, or court (Schwemer 2011: 421–22). The second part is more general in its text descriptions and lists various additional works that are needed to uncover the secrets behind the texts, works to familiarize oneself with scholarship beyond exorcism, and finally a prayer on behalf of the reader.78 The lines are intentionally cryptographic and likely instruct the reader how to gain access to his craft’s hidden dimension (Frahm 2011a: 325–26; cf. Lenzi 2008a: 94). The section containing instructions in KAR 44 states:

Rev. 36: “(A list of works), up to the point where you master all of the exorcist’s craft (išippūtu) and see the secret.

Rev. 37: Afterwards, (through) ṣâtu-commentaries, translations, and lišānu-lists/Emesal-texts (bilingual word lists),

Rev. 38: you will learn how to explore the rituals (in) Sumerian (and) Akkadian.

Rev. 39: Liver omens(?), ‘head-to-head’ Enūma Anu Enlil (astrological omens) (and) (Šumma) ālu ina mēlê šakin (terrestrial omens),

Rev. 40: ponder (and) discuss in conjunction with each other(?).”79

The works enumerated in lines 37–38 were perhaps “not meant to be studied for their own sake, but with the intention of achieving a better understanding of the ritual texts listed in the ‘manual’” (Frahm 2011a: 329). Additionally, terrestrial and astrological omens were associated with āšipūtu, although they were not commonly considered part of the discipline (Al-Rawi and George 2006: 54). Finally, the EM instructs the reader to interpret the texts and arrange scholarly discussions of the knowledge, which mirrors a situation also known from the so-called “Examination text” and Assurbanipal’s colophons.80

The EM continually stresses comprehensiveness (Lenzi 2008a: 86–90, 92). Still, it lacks genres of āšipūtu, such as “aggressive rituals” that enforce control over others without explicit consent, the therapeutic series Ugu, and the series muššuʾu.81 This may be because the EM represents the “ideal range of knowledge an āšipu should acquire according to standards established in the late second millennium BC” (Schwemer 2011: 423), but not necessarily the entirety of 7th century BCE āšipūtu in general or variants thereof (see also Bottéro 1985: 98–99). Nonetheless, the EM still includes titles, which may refer to prescriptions.82

Two lines, obv. 1 and rev. 27, each with rulings demarcating the individual lines from the remaining text, structure the EM.83 The former is commonly regarded as a header, although there is no consensus on whether the latter is a header of the second section84 or a subscript to the first.85 The two sections are disproportionate to one another (Bottéro 1985: 92–93). Notably, reverse lines 27 refers to the scholar Esagil-kīn-apli (see Section 9.5.3). Frahm (2011a: 325–26) and Lenzi (2008a: 87) identified this as a subscript to the first section,86 in part because Esagil-kīn-apli’s works Sa-gig and Alamdimmû appear in the first section of the text.87 The EM may have served as a reference work and perhaps a pedagogical tool for training āsipus,88 and the second section could illustrate the process towards becoming an expert (ummânu).89 However, it remains uncertain if the text functioned as a curriculum (cf. van der Toorn 2007: 58). Considering the many hypotheses concerning the EM’s purpose, the following section will discusses the content of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts in light of current arguments concerning the EM’s possible purpose.

9.4.1 Kiṣir-Aššur’s Texts in Light of the Exorcist’s Manual

As already mentioned, there were two copies of the EM in the N4 collection. One manuscript, KAR 44, was copied by Kiṣir-Nabû, but the other remains unpublished. It is therefore unknown if Kiṣir-Aššur read or copied the EM. This is a problem for any discussion evaluating the importance of the text.

Pedersén (1986: 58) and Jean (2006: 147–153, 165–67) have suggested that the N4 collection held many copies of the series and text groups mentioned in the EM, although there are some difficulties in identifying some of these titles.90 The N4 collection was not restricted to the āšipūtu described in the EM, however, and it included texts that were not listed in it (Schwemer 2011: 423). Furthermore, several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts are extracts and not copies of entire manuscripts within series, as discussed above. This complicates any comparison between Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts and the EM, as it is not always clear under what title in the EM a given manuscript would have belonged.

According to current consensus, we would expect titles in the first section of the EM to appear during Kiṣir-Aššur’s earlier phases and represent his training towards becoming an āšipu, whereas works from the second section should appear later during his training and represent advanced knowledge for becoming an expert. However, at least two of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts indicate that the EM should be dismissed as a curriculum that was followed sequentially or as two separate sections for consecutive stages of training. Kiṣir-Aššur copied BAM 129 with incantations, rituals, and treatments for sagallu- and šaššaṭu-illness and N4 A 400 with an incantation and a ritual instruction for treating maškadu-illness as šamallû ṣeḫru. The sagallu-illness was listed alongside šimmatu-paralysis and perhaps maškadu-illness in the second section of the EM.91 BAM 129, as well as several other of Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru texts, may, however, stem from an Ugu recension (Section 9.3.4). Yet, if the focus of these texts must be reconciled with the EM, it is interesting that another early manuscript (BAM 9) contains at least two references to prescriptions against ŠU.GIDIM.(MA), and this entry is also found in the second section of the EM in the line after sagallu-illness.92 Other of Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru texts could potentially be listed in the first section of the EM, such as snakebites and scorpion sting prescriptions, as well as veterinarian knowledge in RA 15 pl. 76,93 and the šuʾilla-prayer LKA 43.94 As a result, Kiṣir-Aššur copied knowledge listed in both sections of the EM during his earliest traceable phase.

Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû manuscripts N4 no. 175 and KAL 10 no. 4 contain instructions on how to perform sections of bīt mēseri and ritual means for removing a “Curse” (māmītu). Both these texts were likely listed in the first section of the EM in successive lines.95 As discussed in Section 5.2, only Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru texts N4 no. 24, a “child calming incantation”, can be adequately connected to the EM in the first section.96 Kiṣir-Aššur’s single manuscript from the mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phase, N4 A 2727, may have concerned “Anus illness”, which is not explicitly listed in the EM.97 Although the limited evidence from Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû-phase belongs to the first section of the EM, the texts from other stages prior to the mašmaššu-phase suggest that Kiṣir-Aššur was trained according to principles other than the hypothesized curricular structures of the EM.

Kiṣir-Aššur may not have been fully trained until somewhere during his mašmaššu-phase (Chapter 6). During this phase, he copied texts identified in both sections of the EM, e.g., namburbi-rituals98 and rituals for keeping evil out of a man’s house (KAR 298).99 The only lexical text copied by Kiṣir-Aššur (CT 37 pl. 24f.) is also from his mašmaššu-phase. His commentary-like pharmaceutical text (BAM 307) and perhaps a commentary on Enūma Anu Enlil from Nineveh (ACh Supp. 2 24) may be from his mašmaššu-phase (Section 7.6).100 If this reconstruction is correct, these texts are the only ones that can be related to the last instructions of the EM (see above). However, only Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru text N4 no. 241 is described as a ṣâtu-commentary, although this manuscript appears during his earliest phase and Kiṣir-Aššur had a younger pupil copy it on his behalf. Furthermore, the šamallû manuscript N4 no. 175 was copied “for his (own) ‘reading’” ana tāmartīšu, although the nuances of the expression remain uncertain (see Section 5.1). None of Kiṣir-Aššur’s manuscripts are labelled explicitly as lišānu-/Emesal-texts, as is the case with the EM, and ACh Supp. 2 24 was probably not copied by Kiṣir-Aššur. Furthermore, BAM 307 was copied on behalf of Kiṣir-Aššur ([ú-š]aš-ṭir-ma ib-ri), and may not have been for instructional purposes. Yet, it is significant that several texts connected to the commentaries and lexical lists probably occur during Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu-phase, around the time he was finishing his training.

Comparatively, Kiṣir-Nabû copied a number of commentaries and instructive works, although none of these are described as ṣâtu-commentaries.101 The commentaries include AfO 12 pl. 13–14 from his mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phase,102 possibly Iraq 62 no. 35 without a title,103 N4 no. 163 with the ša Nabû tuklassu-phrase,104 and N4 no. 220, possibly from his mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phase.105 Tentatively, Kiṣir-Nabû’s commentaries seem to be from around his mašmaššu ṣeḫru-phase. As such, his commentaries are from a phase in which he was in the process of becoming an exorcist.

In the case of Kiṣir-Aššur, such training patterns as might have existed in the EM do not appear. However, the lines addressing the reader in the second section may relate to lexical and commentary texts occurring during Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu-phase. Therefore, Kiṣir-Aššur does not seem to have depended for his initiation into āšipūtu on the EM as a curriculum.106 Kiṣir-Aššur’s training may have been based on other principles. The conclusions drawn throughout this study support this hypothesis. Nonetheless, the EM as a whole can be said to represent a traditional catalogue of the āšipu’s craft. Furthermore, the discrepancies between entries listed in the EM and specific texts copied by Kiṣir-Aššur could indicate the professional profile of the āšipu had undergone changes since the time the EM was composed, perhaps to include lore of neighbouring crafts, such as that of the asû. The EM was probably a learned text worthy of scholarly analysis, and the second section may illustrate how expert exorcists practiced scholarship and were encouraged to study beyond the discipline. Unfortunately, Kiṣir-Nabû’s title in the colophon of KAR 44 is broken, but he may have been mašmaššu when he copied the text.107 If Kiṣir-Aššur copied or read the EM, the evidence suggests that this would have happened around his mašmaššu-phase, and the text could have been used to reflect on how the profession and its approaches to scholarship was traditionally conceptualized. As such, the EM may have been part of advanced scholarly training, but it does not seem to have functioned as a curriculum in the case of Kiṣir-Aššur. Whether or not the EM actually relates to the training of ummânus remains uncertain, as the EM itself does not explicitly refer to this title (cf. Clancier 2014: 62) and Kiṣir-Aššur never claims it.108

9.5 Kiṣir-Aššur and the Scholarly Traditions in Assur

Kiṣir-Aššur copied a number of texts throughout his career that derive from various locations, such as the Gula temple in Assur (see below). Kiṣir-Aššur therefore seems to have had access to scholarly knowledge from various cities. This section examines to what extent Kiṣir-Aššur drew on the dominant scholarly traditions of his time in Assur and what access he may have had to text collections in other cities. The results situate Kiṣir-Aššur’s knowledge production within the 7th century BCE scholarly environment.

9.5.1 Texts Derived from Geographical Locations

Kiṣir-Aššur’s colophons occasionally include information concerning the city or text collection from which the manuscript copied originated. The examples are listed in Table 21, which includes Kiṣir-Nabû’s relevant texts, for comparison. These texts provide a starting point for discussing the scholarly traditions in Assur, which Kiṣir-Aššur used in his textual production. In total, 17 texts contain information concerning the geographical origin of the knowledge.

Table 21
Table 21

Kiṣir-Aššur’s and Kiṣir-Nabû’s colophons with geographical informationa

Only a small group of the tablets from Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû contain geographical information. Of these, half of Kiṣir-Aššur’s and all of Kiṣir-Nabû’s tablets were explicitly copied from writing-boards. Interestingly, their collective geographical span is limited, including only three Babylonian cities (Babylon, Nippur via Nineveh, Uruk), the Gula temple in Assur, and Nineveh. What follows is a discussion of this geographical spread in terms of access to textual traditions.

9.5.2 The Gula Temple Library in Assur

Maul has emphasized that to copy a text “quickly” (ḫanṭiš, zamar), if taken literally, the text must be available nearby (Maul 2010a: 213). Three of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets (BAM 99, BAM 131, BAM 201) were copied from manuscripts in the “Gula Temple” (Esabad or bīt dME.ME), which in BAM 99 is specified as being in Assur.109 The implication is that Assur had a Gula temple, which has yet to be discovered and excavated, with a scholarly library of healing texts to which scholars such as Kiṣir-Aššur could go to copy or borrow the required text.110 Several temples in the city Assur were dedicated to Gula, as witnessed by Kiṣir-Aššur’s KAV 42 from his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase. The relevant passage states:

Egal-maḫ : magnificent and exalted house : the temple of Gula;

E-sa-bad : house of (the lady) whose ear is open : the temple of Gula; …

E-namtila : house of life : the temple of Gula”.111

George 1992: 180–81

According to Wiggermann (2008: 303–4) there was a Marduk temple called “House of Life” (É-nam-ti-la) that was established in Assur around the time of Aššur-uballiṭ (1353–1318 BCE), which possibly was located in the northern part of the city.112 This precinct existed throughout the MA period and into the NA period, when it was associated with the temple of Gula (ibid.: 204; George 1992: 180–81). Gula’s temples É-gal-maḫ and É-sa-bad are documented in Assur from the MA period onwards (Wiggermann 2008: 204 notes 9–11; George 1992: 180–81). Thus, the Marduk temple É-nam-ti-la and Gula’s temples could have been merged at some point, perhaps into a single complex (Wiggermann 2008: 204, 211; George 1988: 34).

Assur was therefore home to at least one temple associated with Gula, although the generic bīt GuladME.ME), mentioned in BAM 131 and BAM 201, is not attested as one of the official names of her temples (George 1993a). To my knowledge, there is only one reference to a specific geographical location called É dME.ME: a settlement possibly of this name in the vicinity of Uruk (Beaulieu 2003: 314–15). Although positing a connection to Uruk would at present be conjecture, it is interesting that Kiṣir-Nabû’s BAM 52 and BAM 106 were copied from an Uruk writing-board. Furthermore, Farber cautiously suggested that an overlap in traditions could have existed between Assur and Uruk in relation to the child calming incantation copied by Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû.113 Moreover, we know of the existence of a temple for the god Aššur in Uruk after the fall of the city of Assur in 614 BCE (Radner 2017a: 83–84; Beaulieu 2003: 331–333; Beaulieu 1997).114 However, the spelling É dME.ME probably constitutes a generic reference to Gula’s temple in Assur called Esabad, as specified in BAM 201. The Esabad temple presumably contained the manuscript collection referenced in Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts.

9.5.3 Textual Traditions in Assur

Assur may have maintained certain local textual traditions by the 7th century. Tukulti-Ninurta I (ca. 1243–1207 BCE) brought cuneiform tablets related to exorcism (āšipūtu) and medicine (malṭarāt asûti) from Babylonia to Assur during his Babylonian campaigns in the 13th century.115 Likewise, a MA “Babylonian quarter” may have contained text collections (Wiggermann 2008: 203–4, 215). As such, it is probable that the MA scholarly traditions were based often on contemporary Babylonian material (Veldhuis 2014: 351–53; Wagensonner 2014a; Heeßel 2012: 10–11, 13–15; Heeßel 2007a: 6, 9). These MB scholarly traditions were possibly standardized, before or upon arrival to Assur, and used as building blocks comprising standardized rows of entries that Heeßel calls “Textbausteine”,116 upon which the first millennium BCE standardized series were likely based (Heeßel 2011: 171, 174–75, 192).

Heeßel has stressed that one or more partly standardized MA recensions of Šumma ālu and bārûtu were circulated alongside their differing first millennium standard recensions in early NA Assur.117 Additionally, a separate recension of Enūma Anu Enlil also existed in Assur.118 As such, the scholarly communities of Assur perpetuated distinct textual traditions that differ from those found at Nineveh. It is therefore of note that not a single copy of Sa-gig nor perhaps of Esagil-kīn-apli’s physiognomic omen series Alamdimmû has been excavated at Assur.119

Esagil-kīn-apli was presumably the ummânu of the king Adad-apla-iddina (1068–1047 BCE),120 although it is unclear if he was a historical figure and editor of the texts ascribed to him121 or part of an invented tradition.122 He is, however, generally accepted as the editor of the standard recensions of Sa-gig and Alamdimmû.123 Esagil-kīn-apli may also have composed the royal inscriptions of Adad-apla-iddina, and he or his students may have authored the EM and the so-called “Sa-gig/Alamdimmû catalogue”.124 Based on the independent textual traditions found in Assur and the discovery of a text fragment referring to Esagil-kīn-apli, Heeßel (2010a) hypothesized that scholars in Assur rejected Esagil-kīn-apli’s diagnostic-prognostic and physiognomic omen series.125 The text is VAT 10493+ and it contains physiognomic omens from Alamdimmû. The first section (col. iii) ends with the following subscript:

The old version of Šumma alamdimmû, which Esagil-kīn-apli had not ‘voided’ (lit.: ‘released’, NU DU₈.MEŠ-šú); first tablet of Alamdimmû.126

Heeßel (2010a: 154–57) interpreted the phrase NU DU₈.MEŠ-šú (lā upaṭṭirušu) as a statement referring to Esagil-kīn-apli’s editorial activities. As such, the phrase likely indicates that Esagil-kīn-apli had not edited, and thereby cancelled the authoritative effect of, the older first section of Alamdimmû found on VAT 10493+.127 The preserved omens from this section, designated as part of the 1st tablet of Alamdimmû, are not listed in the preserved parts of the 1st tablet of Esagil-kīn-apli’s Alamdimmû (Heeßel 2010a: 155; see Böck 2000: 71). However, the second section of VAT 10493+ largely duplicates the second tablet of Esagil-kīn-apli’s Alamdimmû recension, though it also includes commentaries (Heeßel 2010a: 155; see Böck 2000: 72–89). As such, VAT 10493+ may indicate that an older version of Alamdimmû was transmitted in Assur (see Heeßel 2010a: 159).

Esagil-kīn-apli’s traditions were closely connected with politics.128 His editorial work was possibly connected to his role as advisor to Adad-apla-iddina (Frahm 2011a: 324–25), and the Sa-gig/Alamdimmû catalogue explicitly states that the user of these series should place his knowledge at the disposal of the king.129 Furthermore, it seems that the 7th century Assyrian kings venerated Esagil-kīn-apli’s textual innovations.130 Although it is uncertain when Esagil-kīn-apli’s editions were introduced at the Assyrian court, it is possible that Assurnaṣirpal’s relocation of the royal residence to Kalḫu during the 9th century BCE prompted an import of contemporary Babylonian scholarly knowledge. Academic rivalry would subsequently have forced the Assur scholars to reject Esagil-kīn-apli’s corpus.131 Therefore, the Assur scholars may have attempted to retain their own and older traditions in order to maintain authority in the interpretation of knowledge (Heeßel 2010a: 165–66).132 Interestingly, several exorcists within the Bāba-šuma-ibni family claimed the title “Assur(-city) exorcist” (mašmaššu aššurû(?)),133 which may indicate a particular type of exorcist. If correct, the title could support the hypothesis that Assur scholars circulated particular traditions.134

9.5.4 Exchange of Knowledge between Assur and the Nineveh Text Collections

Certain manuscripts indicate that knowledge was exchanged between Assur and Nineveh, despite a presumed rejection of Esagil-kīn-apli’s traditions at Assur.135 Nineveh was the centre of 7th century Assyrian scholarship par excellence (e.g., Fincke 2017). Although earlier NA kings had collected scholarly writings (ibid.: 382–83), Esarhaddon (680–669 BCE) appears to have begun assembling scholarly tablets and initiating a copying program of learned texts at Nineveh (Frahm 2011b: 523; Frame and George 2005: 278–79). Assurbanipal (668–627 BCE) assembled tablet collections throughout the first half of his reign in the South-west Palace, the North Palace, and the Nabû temple on the Kuyunjik mound, collectively referred to as “Assurbanipal’s library”.136 These collections consisted of knowledge gathered in Babylonia,137 obtained through scholars’ private libraries,138 and assembled through textual production within the Nineveh scriptoriums.139 Assurbanipal’s collections were largely contemporary to Kiṣir-Aššur.

In general, scholars could travel in pursuit of knowledge or particular works, although it is unclear if this was the norm (Robson 2014: 156, 159; cf. Robson 2011a: 566, 570; see also Fadhil 1998). Regardless, the need for access to important collections, such as the royal libraries, must have been pivotal for scholars working outside of the court.140 A few royal letters may indicate a relationship between the Bāba-šuma-ibni family and the Assyrian court (Section 2.3.5),141 and it is possible that Kiṣir-Aššur and/or Kiṣir-Nabû supplied manuscripts to Assurbanipal’s libraries.142 Furthermore, Kiṣir-Aššur may have performed rituals for the king during the winter months, while he dwelled in Assur (Section 8.6).

One of Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts (LKA 70+) and two of Kiṣir-Nabû’s texts (CMAwR 1 pl. 25–26; N4 no. 247)143 are stated as being copied from Nineveh texts, although not necessarily copied at Nineveh (see Villard 1998). LKA 70+ was copied when Kiṣir-Aššur was mašmaš bīt Aššur and is connected to the Ištar-Dumuzi ritual series that addresses the removal of demonic influences (Farber 1977: 10). Kiṣir-Nabû copied N4 no. 247 “according to a Nineveh writing-board, a copy (from) Nippur” as mašmaššu, which is a partial duplicate to Kiṣir-Aššur’s incantation N4 no. 24 (Section 5.2.1). Kiṣir-Nabû’s text published in CMAwR 1 pl. 25–26 is largely against the “adversary” (bēl dabābi) and it was copied from a writing-board in Babylonian script from Nineveh.144 None of the texts specify they were copied at Nineveh, and both Kiṣir-Nabû’s texts comprised Babylonian knowledge and not standardized Nineveh texts. Furthermore, Kiṣir-Aššur’s LKA 70+ does not agree with the order of tablets in the series found at Nineveh (Farber 1977: 24–26).

Maul (2010a: 204) placed Kiṣir-Nabû in the last third of the 7th century BCE during a period presumably marked by decentralization and a decline of royal influence (Oates 1991: 164). Although the effects of decentralization may have strengthened some local traditions, Assur’s hypothesized individuality may have required scholars to import the textual tools of rulers at the time, such as the Esagil-kīn-apli traditions flourishing at Nineveh. Kiṣir-Nabû may therefore have studied the Nineveh textual traditions, also represented by the EM (KAR 44), in order to accommodate a new need within the Assur community.145

The N4 tablet BAM 322 is a one columned tablet copied by a high priest (šangû) of the Aššur temple and consists of two sections, the first designated as “a copy (from) the palace of Ḫammurabi” and the second as “a copy (from) the palace of Esarhaddon”.146 The second section is described as follows, before the statements concerning Esarhaddon’s palace:

Remedies (and) ritual pro[cedures? from the temple of] Gula. Tried, selected and checked procedures, which are suitable for use. (Whenever) you perform (them), they (the patients) will be alright. Guard the secret exorcism corpus so that no one may disclose (it)!

Steinert 2015: 129 and note 84147

According to Steinert (2015: 129), this subscript indicates that the second section of BAM 322 was originally located on a manuscript at the Assur Gula temple. From there, it was copied and subsequently integrated into Esarhaddon’s palace. Finally, the high priest of the Aššur temple copied it alongside other material in Esarhaddon’s palace and made it available to the Bāba-šuma-ibni family. Therefore, it seems that the Aššur temple clergy and plausibly also the Bāba-šuma-ibni family had (controlled) access to Nineveh texts.148 However, this access may have been through sources already located within Assur (cf. Robson 2014: 158–59).

9.6 Summary

Kiṣir-Aššur’s medical tablets contain prescriptions for treating all the major areas of the body. However, three groups indicate a particular medical focus. These consist of diagnoses, symptom descriptions, and prescriptions, as well as incantations and ritual instructions against internal illnesses and their symptoms, “string” and lower body maladies, as well as complex disorders affecting several body parts. The first group in particular may have been linked to his practice.

Kiṣir-Aššur produced a number of nisḫu-extracts throughout his career. Several of the extracts contain purpose statements, date especially to his later phases, and may reflect practical application. A number of nisḫus are extracted from writing-boards, providing insights into the role of such manuscripts in NA scholarship. Finally, a group of extracts whose content is mainly medical contain numbers or structural remarks. In at least one instance, two Kiṣir-Nabû manuscripts appear to have been extracted consecutively from the same writing-board and numbered accordingly. Kiṣir-Aššur copied at least two numbered šamallû ṣeḫru manuscripts from a hypothesized consecutive row of training material, which could have been extracted from a single writing-board. The numbered extracts from N4 do not presently attest to a nisḫu-series, but instead to texts presumably extracted for various purposes in relation to training and practice.

Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts were also analysed in relation to the Nineveh Ugu series and the possibly differing Assur recension represented by the incipits catalogued in the AMC. In relation to the AMC, Kiṣir-Aššur rarely copied these incipits. His occasional use of generic and hardly recognizable catch-lines indicates that his texts were copied according to other principles. Furthermore, a comparison between Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts and the known portions of the Nineveh Ugu series revealed that Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts are rarely extracted in any discernable order. This could indicate that the manuscripts from which Kiṣir-Aššur copied were not standardized according to the Nineveh Ugu recension. Yet, some manuscripts not explicitly labelled as extracts, such as BAM 129, duplicate consecutive entries from a manuscript possibly belonging to the Nineveh Ugu series. At present, it is therefore unclear what determined the structure of Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts. Nonetheless, it is clear that they represent knowledge that was utilized for pragmatic purposes. Finally, Kiṣir-Aššur does not seem to have followed the EM as a curriculum for becoming an āšipu. Therefore, by following the microhistoric approach Chapter 9 has challenged and contrasted numerous theories concerning the training of exorcists and their use of knowledge.


Other afflictions, e.g., suālu-cough, function mainly as a symptom, but can also occasionally be described as an illness (e.g., Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 178, 181).


Although not all illnesses can be demarcated in relation to body parts, some texts, such as the AMC, state that their content was arranged “from the crown (of the head) to the (toe)nail(s)”. This description is also found in the Assurbanipal colophon BAK 329 line 4.


The tablets with purpose statements and prescriptions for internal illnesses are: BAM 78, BAM 99, BAM 164, BAM 177, BAM 186, BAM 188.


Hunger 1968: 2, 4; Leichty 1964: 148, 151; cf. Black 1985. Frahm (2010b: 177–78 and note 66) argues that nasāḫu refers to an excerpt from memory of a series or work, but not necessarily a physical copy in front of the copyist (see also Payne 2010: 293).


Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts ana ṣabāt epēši: BAM 78, BAM 99, BAM 164, BAM 177, BAM 186, BAM 188, BAM 300, BAM 333, BAM 351, KAR 21, KAR 38 (ana mušepišūti), KAR 171, KAR 374, LKA 40, LKA 157, N4 no. 228. Cf. KAL 10 no. 1. Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts without a purpose statement: BAM 9, BAM 28, BAM 81, BAM 201, KAR 63, KAR 267, LKA 43, LKA 89+, RA 15 pl. 76. Uncertain if the text contains a purpose statement due to a break: KAL 4 no. 19; KAR 298. Kiṣir-Nabû’s extracts ana ṣabāt epēši: BAM 101, BAM 168, KAR 22, KAR 56, LKA 81, LKA 110. Kiṣir-Nabû’s extracts without a purpose statement: BAM 52, BAM 147, KAL 4 no. 44, KAR 72. Uncertain due to break: BAM 106, LKA 118, N4 no. 80, N4 no. 404. Extract from either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû extracted ana ṣabāt epēši: BAM 202, BAM 311. Text by Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû, containing a purpose statement, but uncertain if it was an extract: KAL 9 no. 41.


CAD M/1: 171; Clancier 2014: 58; Stevens 2013: 220 note 51; Frahm 2011a: 52; Geller 2010: 141.


Wiseman 1955; Mallowan 1954: 98–107 and pls. 12–13; see also Howard 1955 for a technical discussion of the Nimrud writing-boards, as well as the 2nd millennium BCE Ulu Burun writing-board in Payton 1991.


Ludlul bēl nēmeqi tablet III lines 39–41 (Lambert 1996: 50–51; see Foster 1996: 317; lines 40–42 in Annus and Lenzi 2010: 24, 39; lines 40–42 in Oshima 2014: 96–97, 285–289, 416): ina MÁŠ.GE₆ pur-nin-tin-ug₅-ga din?.tir?⌉ [x x x] 41 eṭ-lu ṭar-ru a-pir a-ga-šú 42 MAŠ.MAŠ-ma na-ši le-ʾ[u-um]. Foster (1991: 27–28) suggests that the writing-board may represent the text of Ludlul bēl nēmeqi itself (see also Noegel 2007: 73).


SAA 10 no. 202 obv. 8–12: ina ŠÀ É.GAL a-na UDU!.NITÁḪ.MEŠ šú-nu 9 ša GAL-MU ú-še-ṣa-an-ni 10 ú-se-li gišZU ina É šú-u 11 ú-ma-a an-nu-rig gišZU 12 a-mar pi!-šìr-šu a-na-sa-ḫa (Parpola 1993: 164). It is possible that the letter should be dated to late June 670 BCE (see Parpola 1983a: 133 no. 147).


Were these boards used especially for prescriptions? The list provides the numbers 6+ tablets and 24 boards for “medical recipes (bulṭē)” (Parpola 1983b: 6). For additional fragments of these administrative records related to Assurbanipal’s libraries, see Lambert 1989: 95–96.


Comparatively, writing-boards were commonly employed in the NB temple administration at Sippar (MacGinnis 2002 with further references; see also Freydank 2001).


The tablets in Appendix 1 with such generic copying statements and without information about the manuscript copied from are: BAM 28; BAM 311; Beckman and Foster 1988 no. 21; CT 37 pl. 25; KAL 4 no. 19; KAL 4 no. 37; KAL 7 no. 24; KAL 10 no. 4; KAL 10 no. 5; KAL 10 no. 13; KAR 62; KAR 63; KAR 80 (= KAL 2 no. 8); KAR 267; KAR 307; KAR 374; LKA 40; LKA 43; LKA 77; LKA 89+; LKA 115; LKA 119; LKA 141; LKA 146; LKA 157; N4 A 400; N4 A 2191(?); N4 A 2727; N4 no. 110; N4 no. 175; N4 no. 224; N4 no. 237; N4 no. 289; PKTA pl. 39–40. Maul (2019: 122) translates the phrase as: “Wie die zugehörige Vorlage”. Robson (2011a: 566–67) suggests that such statements may refer to clay tablets, but unlike the writing-boards, the medium clay was not worth recording. The writing-boards originating from specific cities are discussed in Section 9.5.1.


“Akkadian” writing-boards: CMAwR 1 pl. 25–26; BAM 52; (BAM 106, see Section 9.2.3); BAM 147; KAL 4 no. 44; N4 no. 80 (Walker and Dick 2001: 227–42). “Assyrian” writing-boards: KAR 22; KAR 56; KAR 72; N4 no. 404 (Maul 1994: 380ff., 546–47).


Fincke 2003–4; see also Worthington 2006: 18 and note 2.


Note BAM 3 (= N4 no. 90) with a colophon including a catch-line and a statement that the content was “extracted according to an ‘Akkadian’ writing-board”. Although difficult to argue with the current evidence, it is possible that the manuscript was copied by Kiṣir-Nabû due to the reference to an “Akkadian” writing-board (see Worthington 2006).


Rochberg 2016: 225–26; Koch 1995: 88–93; Rochberg 1984: 137–38 and notes 44–45, 140–41, 143. As Robson (2011a: 571–73) has recently stressed, the standardization of cuneiform literature is extremely problematic, and in many cases local differences between scholarly communities may have existed.


See Koch 2015: 35, 41–42; Scurlock 2014: 295, 329; Heeßel 2010b: 34–35; see also Salin 2016. Although a commentary, the astrological Šumma Sîn ina tāmartīšu series was used as a practical tool and was quoted frequently in the letters to the Assyrian king (Veldhuis 2010: 81, 84–85; Koch 1999: 150–51). The nisḫu and pirsu collections of various series are generally poorly studied.


Among at least one MA scholarly family, literary works were divided into sections, each described as IM.GÍD.DA (Wagensonner 2011: 652 and note 36).


Böck 2011: 692–93; Kinnier Wilson 2005: 45–46. Assurbanipal claims in the Nineveh colophons to have edited Uruanna anew and created the nisḫu-series (Steinert 2018c: 167 and note 60; Böck 2011: 692–93; Hunger 1968: 98–99 no. 321). For Uruanna in general, see Rumor 2017; Böck 2010d: 163–65; Kinnier Wilson 2005; Stol 2004–05: 504–505; Köcher 1995; Reiner 1995: 28–29.


Koch 2015: 258–59; Koch 2013: 243 note 14; Heeßel 2007a: 4 note 35 and 37; Frahm 1998: 13 and note 8; Freedman 1998: 7–8 with references. An extract series of Šumma ālu was also known from LB Uruk. In Uruk, an extract could include a single omen, and the majority were designated as “extraneous” (aḫû) (Koch 2013: 243 note 14). See also the nisḫus from Nineveh in CT 40 pl. 8 (Koch 1995: 139).


The only numbered recension of bīt salāʾ mê consisted of “sections” (pirsu) (Ambos 2013a: 211). An auxiliary series of Enūma Anu Enlil was known as a “guide to (rikis girri) Enūma Anu Enlil” and consisted of excerpts from the main series (Veldhuis 2010: 81; Hunger and Pingree 1999: 20; Koch 1995: 82). Koch (2015: 117) also refers to a nisḫu from Assur of niṣirti bārûti. A nisḫu-series of Šumma izbu was also known at Nineveh (De Zorzi 2014: 235–36; De Zorzi 2011: 44; Leichty 1970: 22; see also Koch 2015: 271).


A comparison with the Nineveh Ugu-series is complicated by the fragmentary state of the Uruk material (Heeßel 2010b: 34 and note 50; cf. Köcher 1978: 19–20 and note 20). SpTU I no. 59 is the 41st Ugu tablet and no. 48 is the 45th Ugu tablet. SpTU I no. 44 is the 9th pirsu tablet and no. 46 is the 10th pirsu tablet. For the Uruk pirsu-series, see also Salin 2016.


Heeßel (2011: 35 note 56) provides the examples BAM 52, 99, 106, RA 15 pl. 76 and a text published by Labat (1959: 10–13). Böck (2009a: 107) emphasizes that many extracts without numbers were “for ad hoc use”. For another nisḫu maḫrû from Assur, see Geller 2007d.


The famed NA astrologer Nabû-zuqup-kēnu (Baker 2001: 912–13) seems to have had students copy out the same tablet of a composition several times with different tablet numbers (Koch 2015: 330 and note 922).


See KAR 63 (BAK 199) and ACh Supp. 2 no. 72 rev. 9 (BAK 508).


ACh Supp. 2 no. 72 rev. 9 reads: 13? nis-ḫu TIL-a-a-u GABA.RI gišZU šá liq-ti šà-ṭir [bari], “13th (and) final extract, a written and checked copy of a writing-board with a collection of omen excerpts” (CAD L: 270; Hunger 1968: 138). The word liqtu is also found on Kiṣir-Nabû’s BAM 52 and BAM 106, and it is translated as “collection (of omens or prescriptions)” in CAD (L: 206–207), and is often translated as “selection” (e.g., Koch 2015: 184), although Hunger (1968: 138) translates it as “Exzerptzeilen”. Noticeably, ACh Supp. 2 no. 72 was excavated in Nineveh (K. 6478), but it was copied by the šamallû [ṣeḫru(?)] Marduk-šallim-aḫḫē presumably from a family of Aššur temple ṭupšarrus, and this family is attested by several tablets in the N4 collection (Fadhil 2012: 40–41). As a result, both uses of qītāyû can be said to come from an environment connected to N4.


Section 8.5 identified KAR 43 as a duplicate manuscript of KAR 63, with one major difference being the notice of a “new break” in KAR 43. Perhaps Kiṣir-Aššur copied KAR 43 first and thereafter reconstructed the break in KAR 63, making it a “complete” copy.


Malsûtu is also frequently translated as “lesson” or “lecture”. For this term, see Gabbay 2016: 21–22, 51–52, 273, 293; Stevens 2013: 220 note 51; Frahm 2011a: 52–54, 144–45; Geller 2010: 141.


BAM 99 may have functioned pedagogically for the assistant copying the tablet on behalf of Kiṣir-Aššur, or perhaps the pedagogical purpose for Kiṣir-Aššur – if any – lay in him familiarizing himself with these prescriptions.


The exceptions are KAL 7 no. 24 and KAR 63, which do not contain medical prescriptions. KAR 63 contains an incantation against someone angry, but should be included in this category as per the inclusion of such material in, e.g., the AMC (see Section 9.3.2).


Heeßel 2010b: 35; Böck 2009a: 107; cf. Scurlock 2014: 329. See also Steinert 2018b: 15. For the later pirsu-series from Uruk, see above.


Although, the colophon is problematic, see discussion in Appendix 2.


Kiṣir-Aššur: BAM 9, RA 15 pl. 76. Kiṣir-Nabû: BAM 52, BAM 106, BAM 147.


The catch-line also occurs in other manuscripts, see citations in Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 59–60, 126 no. 6.51.


Note that Šamaš-ibni was referred to as mašmaš bīt Aššur in BAM 52 and mašmaššu in BAM 106. However, the different titles for Šamaš-ibni in Kiṣir-Nabû’s mašmaššu ṣeḫru- and mašmaššu-phase manuscripts indicate that Šamaš-ibni’s titles may occasionally have been used in a non-linear manner, see Ch. 2 note 37.


As stated in Section 3.6, several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru colophons are too broken to determine if they were numbered extracts.


The syntax, however, is not clear.


In his study of ancient medicine, Nutton (2004: 4–5) emphasized that institutional priorities would have been different from those of practicing physicians: “An erudite philosophical disquisition on medical theory on the model of Galen or a multi-volume survey of the whole of medicine was irrelevant when what was most needed was a short compendium that reduced medicine to a manageable compass and provided a restricted range of practical therapies within a single volume.”


Veldhuis 2010: 81ff.; for this series, see Koch 2015: 182–84; Frahm 2011a: 155ff.; Koch 1999: 149–151.


For a comparable case of a serialized commentary on a medical text, likely šumma amēlu muḫḫašu umma ukāl, see LB tablet 11N–T4, which was designated as a 24th pirsu (Civil 1974: 336–38; see also Jiménez 2014b).


For this series, see directly below. For extracts and the Ugu series, see also Böck 2008: 298; Worthington 2003: 2–3.


Scurlock 2014: 329. BAM 3 = N4 no. 90; BAM 156 = N4 no. 166.


BAM 201 rev. 42’: DIŠ KI.MIN úḪAB úGÌR.NAGA.GAmušen úSIKIL EGIR-šú iš-šaṭ-ṭar; BAM 68 rev. 18: [10] GÍN úNU.LUḪ.ḪA 10 GÍN úam-ḫ[a-ra]. Note the broken catch-line of BAM 129 col. iv 22’: […] ⌈ú⌉ÚKUŠ GAZIsar giš[…]. The catch-line of BAM 68 opens col. iii of the 5th tablet of the 5th subseries of Ugu, see Section 9.3.4.


The series is also referred to as the Nineveh Medical Compendium (Steinert 2018e). However, I have chosen not to adopt this terminology here in order to differentiate the possible different recensions of the Ugu series. See Salin 2016; Scurlock 2014: 11–12, 295, 297–98, 300–302, 304–7; Wee 2012: 229 and note 77; Böck 2010a: 69–70; Heeßel 2010b: 31–35; Attinger 2008: 25–27; Böck 2008: 295–300; Geller 2005: 14–15 no. 22–24, cf. 15 no. 25; Worthington 2005: 6; Attia and Buisson 2003: 1–2; Worthington 2003; Cadelli 2000: 52–60; Fincke 2000: 6–7; Heeßel 2000: 110–11; Haussperger 1997: 201–202; Köcher 1980a: VII, IXff.; Köcher 1980b: VII, IXff.; Köcher 1978: 17–20; see also Panayotov 2018b: 108–109. Concerning the Akkadian name of this series, see Steinert 2018d: 219–220.


The most important magico-medical texts of the Ugu series are available in copy in AMT and BAM (see Heeßel 2010b: 35). For editions of individual series, see Ch. 9 note 47.


Heeßel 2010b: 33 and note 45; Köcher 1978: 20 and note 32. Possibly, “extraneous” aḫû prescriptions existed in Nineveh as well (Rochberg 1987: 329 and note 12). For the concept aḫû, see Section 9.2.2.


Scurlock 2014: 296; Heeßel 2010b: 32–33. The reason for the difficulty in establishing the series is that tablets were numbered according to subseries in Nineveh, and they were counted according to the overall series in Uruk (Heeßel 2010b: 33–34 and note 49). Following Heeßel (2010b), the Nineveh recension of the series was built up of at least the following subsections:

  1. šumma amēlu muḫḫašu umma ukāl – “If the crown of a man’s head is feverish”; 5+ tablets (see Attia and Buisson 2003; Worthington 2005; cf. Worthington 2007).

  2. šumma amēlu īnāšu marṣā – “If a man’s eyes are ill”; 3+ tablets (see Geller and Panayotov in press; Fincke 2000: 6–7).

  3. šumma amēlu šinnīšu marṣā – “If a man’s teeth are ill”; 2 tablets.

  4. šumma amēlu napīš appišu kabit – “If a man’s breath is troubled”; 6+ tablets (see Haussperger 1999).

  5. šumma amēlu suāla maruṣ ana kīs libbi itâr – “If a man is ill with suālu, which turns into kīs libbi”; 5+ tablets (see Johnson in press; Cadelli 2000: 67–288; cf. Köcher 1978: 19; Haussperger 2000; Haussperger 2002; Heeßel 2010b: 32 note 43; Johnson 2014).

  6. šumma amēlu šerʾān kišādišu ikkalšu šugidimmakkû – “If a man’s neck tendon hurts (it is) šugidimmakkû”; 4+ tablets (see Köcher 1964: xii note 10; Heeßel 2010b: 32 note 44).

  7. šumma amēlu kalīssu ikkalšu – “If a man’s kidney(s) hurt him”; 3 tablets (see Böck 2008: 297–300). The fragment K. 3661 (CMAwR 1: 126ff. no. 7.5 ms A) ends with the catch-line col. iv 17’: DIŠ NA ÉLLAG-su GU₇-šu lu ŠU an [… lu ŠU … DAB-su], “If a man’s kidney causes him a nagging pain either the hand of …[… or the hand of … has seized him]”, and afterwards the fragment may state col. iv 18’: DUB.8.KÁM [DIŠ NA SA]G ŠÀ-šú [na-ši], “Tablet 8 (of the series) [If a man’s epi]gastrium is [‘risen’]”. Abusch and Schwemer (CMAwR 1: 128) suggested this name for a previously unknown subseries consisting of eight tablets, and they hypothesized that it could be listed in the AMC before šumma amēlu kalīssu ikkalšu in a broken entry (cf. AMC line 45–46 and Steinert 2018d: 236–237).

  8. šumma amēlu ina lā simānišu qablīšu ikkalāšu – “If a man’s waist hurt him before his time”; 5+ tablets (see Geller 2005: 14–15 no. 22–24, cf. 15 no. 25).

Preliminary tranliterations of the majority of the medical material published in copy can be found on the BabMed website.


Panayotov 2018b: 90, 92–93, 95ff., 116; Steinert 2018a: 77ff.; Steinert 2018b: 13, 15; Steinert 2018c: 172ff., 189ff.; Steinert 2018d: 203ff.; Scurlock 2014: 295–306; Heeßel 2010b: 34–35; Böck 2010c: 99–100; Attinger 2008: 26–27; Böck 2008: 297–300, 345; Geller 2005: 247 no. 48; Beckman and Foster 1988: 3. A new edition can be found by Steinert et al. 2018. Beckman and Foster (1988: 3) originally labelled it a “catalogue of medical texts”, and Scurlock (2014: 295) titled it an “Ugu Catalog”. The second part of the AMC is unattested in series tablets from the Nineveh collections (Steinert 2018d: 206). Geller (2018a: 52) tentatively suggested the AMC should be attributed to Esagil-kīn-apli, although this remains uncertain (cf. Steinert 2018c: 178). For an overview of headings and number of tablets attested in the AMC, see Steinert 2018c: 199–200.


AMC lines 126–29: [kīma labīrīšu? ša-ṭir-ma] BA.AN.È 127 [DUB? …]x x⌉ lú *{lú?}* A.ZU TUR 128 [DUMU mSAN]GA? dBa-ba₆⌉ šá -reb BAL.TILki 129 [(tākil-ki ul ibâš? …)] dGu-la. May (2018: 71) has recently argued that the copyist of the AMC may have been related to Kiṣir-Aššur’s family and that the AMC could have originated from the N4 collection (cf. Steinert 2018d: 278–279).


Panayotov 2018b: 94, 112–113; Steinert 2018d: 221–222, 235; Scurlock 2014: 295–96. After each tally of tablets additional material is listed with adi (EN) “including”.


AMC line 1: [DUB SAG.MEŠ? …] MU.NE, see also Panayotov 2018b: 93–94, 114; Steinert 2018d: 219–220; cf. Scurlock 2014: 295. This may also resemble the opening line of the catalogue of Sa-gig, the physiognomic series Alamdimmû, and associated series (Schmidtchen 2018: 313; Finkel 1988: 146).


KAR 90, copied by either Kiṣir-Aššur or Kiṣir-Nabû, mentions in obv. 1: ì-lí ul i-de. This text is mentioned in AMC line 85: ÉN DINGIR.MU ul i-[di …].


This text has recently been joined, but is yet to be edited in its new format. The line numbers are derived from the original picture found on CDLI no. P394437.


AMC line 53: DIŠ NA S[A.GAL GIG? (…): DIŠ NA SA] ÚR.MEŠ-šú 1-niš GU₇.MEŠ-šú : DIŠ NA bur!⌉-ka-šú mun-ga DIRI.


AMT 51,4+ col. iv 27’: DUB.2.KÁM […]. Perhaps the second tablet of a sagallu-subseries, see Scurlock 2014: 305; AMC line 53. The number likely marked AMT 51,4+ as the 2nd tablet, and therefore the catch-line refers to the 3rd tablet.


BAM 131 rev. 10’: [TA] gišZU šá bul-ṭi ša É dME.ME …


BAM 131 obv. 1: [DIŠ NA šá-á]š-ša-ṭa GIG …


BAM 131 obv. 1–8 is duplicated in CT 23 pl. 5–14 col. iv 11–17 and AMT 4,5 col. iv? 1’–4’.


LKA 146 obv. 1: ÉN dÉ-a ina ídÉ.SILIM.MA MUŠ.ḪUŠ NUNUZ UR₄.UR₄.A.DÈ.


However, the tablets listed in the AMC were serialized, as implied by the total of counted tablets, which are said to have been “edited anew” (AMC line 125: [NÍGIN x x D]UB.MEŠ [sa-di-ru šá S]UR.GIBIL ṣab-tu, see Ch. 7 note 33).


There is an inherent problem in the fact that several of the tablets represent Kiṣir-Aššur’s extracts and could therefore have been extracted according to different principles, as suggested by Scurlock (2014: 329).


Several fragments published in AMT and BAM vol. 5–6 likely derive from the Nineveh Ugu recension. Duplicate passages between these and Kiṣir-Aššur’s texts are occasionally found, e.g., the catch-line of BAM 351 rev. 13: DIŠ NA bir-ṣa IGI.MEŠ EGIR-šú, listed in the middle of AMT 87,3 col. ii 6’: DIŠ NA bir-ṣa IGI.IGI […]. However, many fragments cannot be identified safely as sections of Ugu and are therefore disregarded here.


The colophon of BAM 129 is broken, and it is unclear if the text was labelled as an extract.


BAM 9 rev. 70: [(nis-ḫu)] IGI-ú GABA.RI gišZU […].


BAM 68 rev. 18: [10] GÍN úNU.LUḪ.ḪA 10 GÍN úam-ḫ[a-ra …].


Cadelli (2000: 53 note 3) referred to BAM 3 as an example of a separate recension of the first subsection of Ugu in Assur. Scurlock (2014: 329) stressed that the text was an extract and thus cannot be used as an example of a separate recension (see also Worthington 2006: 18).


Heeßel notes that the Nineveh tradition of Ugu must have been known in Assur, since, e.g., BAM 209 is listed as the third tablet of the subseries šumma amēlu šerʾān kišādišu ikkalšu šugidimmakku, although the tablet does not contain the entire text from the third tablet of the Nineveh recension (Heeßel 2010b: 34–35 and note 55; see also Panayotov 2018b: 99; Steinert 2018c: 175 note 99; Steinert 2018d: 224, 287; Scurlock 2014: 329).


Geller (2005: 14 no. 21) also made this observation about Nabû-bēssunu’s BAM 95, although Köcher (1963a: XXII-XXIII) noted that many entries are duplicated in the relevant Ugu subsection.


Occasionally also referred to in Assyriological literature as the “āšipu’s curriculum” or the “vademecum of the exorcist”. See Geller 2018b; Frahm 2018a; Bácskay and Simkó 2012; Frahm 2011a: 324–25; Schwemer 2011: 421; Heeßel 2010a; Hecker 2008: 76–79; Jean 2006: 62ff.; Geller 2000: 226, 242ff.; Bottéro 1985: 65–112; Zimmern 1915–16: 204ff.


Schwemer 2011: 421; Jean 2006: 62; Bottéro 1987–90: 224; cf. Bottéro 1985: 66. KAR 44 obv. 1: SAG.MEŠ ÉŠ.GÀR MAŠ.MAŠ-ti šá a-na NÍG.ZU u IGI.DU₈.A kun-nu PAP MU.NE. The translations often vary, see Schwemer 2011: 421; Frahm 2011a: 325; Lenzi 2008a: 85; Jean 2006: 63.


E.g., Frahm 2018a: 36–37; Schwemer 2011: 421; Jean 2006: 62; Maul 1994: 32.


E.g., Clancier 2014: 42–48, 62; Jean 2006: 62; see Geller 2018b: 292.


E.g., Lenzi 2008a: 85; Bottéro 1985: 65–66, 87.


Verderame 2014: 713–14 and note 2; Radner 2011: 364, 366; Verderame 2008: 52–53 and note 3, 55ff.; Parpola 1993: XIIIXV, XVIIXVIII; Lambert 1962. See also Lenzi 2008b with further references. The title was regularly used for the king’s chief advisor. However, the exact rendering of the term is problematic (Verderame 2014: 713 note 2).


NA tablets: ms A = VAT 8275 (KAR 44; Geller 2000 Text E ms A = Jean 2006 sigl. A; Assur, N4 no. 132); ms F = A 366 (unpublished; see Geller 2000: 242 note 9; Jean 2006 sigl. F; Assur, N4 no. 310), the colophon is damaged (Jean 2006: 63 note 259); ms B= 79-7-8,250 (Geller 2000 Text E ms B = Jean 2006 sigl B; Nineveh). NB and LB tablets are: ms C= BM 55148 (82-5-22,1480)+BM 68411 (82-9-18,8409)+BM 68658 (82-9-18,8657)+other fragments (Geller 2000 Text E MS c = Jean 2006 sigl. c; Sippar); ms D= Rm 717+BM 34188 (Sp I 294)+BM 99677 (83-1-21,2039)+BM 140684 (1987-11-3,1) (Geller 2000 Text E ms d = Jean 2006 sigl. d; Babylon); ms E= BM 36678 (80-6-17,410) (Geller 2000 Text E ms e = Jean 2006 sigl. e; Babylon), the reverse contains an esoteric astrological text, possibly a commentary (Frahm 2018a: 16–17, 41–42; cf. Geller 2000: 242); ms G= SpTU V no. 231 (Jean 2006 sigl. G; Clancier 2014: 63–64; Uruk). SpTU V no. 231 was classified as an IM.GÍD.DA, and RM 717+ may have been labelled as gì-ṭu pGI-im-⌈dEN (see Frahm 2018a: 11–15 with a discussion; cf. Jean 2006: 72). Al-Rawi and George (2006: 54) associated Esagil-kīn-apli and Enūma Anu Enlil, which may explain the association between the EM and the astrological text in BM 36678 (cf. Frahm 2018a: 16–17, 30ff.).


A 366 (= N4 no. 310). The colophon of A 366 is reportedly badly damaged and remains unpublished (Frahm 2018a: 10–11; Maul 2010a: 197 note 30; Jean 2006: 63 note 259; Geller 2000: 242 note 9).


Frahm (2018a: 21–24) argues that the second section can be subdivided into three subsections (rev. 28–36, 37–38, and 39–40), and the passage in rev. 41–42 constitutes a third section in the EM.


Frahm 2018a: 23. The prayer is still partly incomprehensible (Frahm 2011a: 327 note 1561). For a discussion of works overlapping the EM and the AMC, see Steinert 2018c: 182–183.


Individual parts of the translation follows Frahm 2018a. KAR 44 rev. 36–40: EN ri-kis i-šip-pu-ti ta-kaš-šá-du tam-ma-ru NÍG.ŠEŠ 37 EGIR!-nu NÍG.ZI.GÁL.EDIN.NA GÙ BAL.E.DÈ u EME.SAL.MEŠ 38 KI.DU.DU.MEŠ EME.GI₇ EME.URIki ši-te-ʾa-a ta-aḫ-ḫa-zu 39!.GAR.RA.ZU.DÈ.E.GIN₇ A.ZA.AD A.ŠU.UŠ.MA U₄ AN dEN.LÍL.LÁ URU ina SUKUD GAR 40 kit-pu-du! šu-ta-du-nu mit-ḫur-ti. Frahm (2018a: 21) suggests that the 2nd person singular present verbal forms and perhaps infinitives or imperatives in rev. 40 may be non-subordinated verbal forms indicating three sections with individual sentences. This interpretation is followed here. The final mit-ḫur-ti from maḫāru may also indicate that the discussants should come to an agreement or oppose each other. Although teamwork was advised, in order to achieve an answer through discussion, the scholars at court also disagreed (e.g., Verderame 2014; Radner 2011: 363). The word ZAG.GAR(.RA) may refer to dream interpretation or less likely to the esoteric and poorly attested terrestrial omen series Tukumbi Apindua instead of liver omens (Frahm 2018a: 22; Jiménez 2014a: 109–10; cf. Geller 2000: 251; Jean 2006: 71). A.ZA.AD and U₄.ŠÚ.UŠ are known from Nabnītu (MSL 16: 52) as Sumerian renderings of the Akkadian qaqqadu “head” and may refer to the lexical tradition, suggesting that the two series mentioned were aligned “head to head”, or even refer to an unknown illness list (Frahm 2018a: 23). Why Enūma Anu Enlil and Šumma ālu are mentioned in the last section, whereas Sa-gig and Alamdimmû are listed in the first section, is unclear (Koch unpublished: 13–14).


Gesche 2001: 198; Sjöberg 1972. Although the examination text likely reflects OB practices, the text is found in NA copies (ibid.). See BAK 318 and one of Assurbanipal’s early inscriptions concerning the tapḫurti (UKKIN) ummânī “assembly of scholars” (Novotny 2014: 77, 96 col. i 17–22; Zamazalová 2011: 314, 316–18; Livingstone 2007: 100; Villard 1997: 135–39; Pongratz-Leisten 1999: 311–12; see also Frahm 2011a: 272–73; Lieberman 1990: 319). An active oral environment likely existed alongside the written traditions, as attested by phrases such as ša pî ummâni “from the mouth of the scholar” (Elman 1975; see Frahm 2011a: 43–45).


Schwemer 2011: 432; Böck 2007: 23–29; Lenzi 2008a: 86 and note 109; Jean 2006: 83–109; Bottéro 1985: 128–29.


E.g., KAR 44 obv. 16–17: IGI.GIG.GA.KE₄ ZÚ.GIG.GA.KE₄ u KIR₄.ḪAB.DAB.BA 17 ŠÀ.GIG.GA.KE₄ MUR.GIG.GA.KE₄ u TU₆.TU₆ GIG DÙ.A.BI, “‘Eye illness’, ‘Tooth illness’, and bušānu-illness, ‘Ill inside(s)’, ‘Lung illness’, and incantations (against) every illness”; KAR 44 rev. 33: bul-ṭi AN.TA.ŠUB.BA dLUGAL.ÙR.RA ŠU.DINGIR.RA ŠU dINANNA ŠU.GIDIM.MA.KE₄?⌉, “Prescription(s) for miqit šamê, ‘Lord of the roof’, ‘Hand of god’, ‘Hand of Ištar’, ‘Hand of ghost’”; KAR 44 rev. 35: ù bul-ṭi kal gim-ri …, “and prescriptions for all of every (illness)”. However, it is unclear how to understand all these titles (cf. Wee 2012: 136–37). The titles in KAR 44 obv. 16–17 may have been thematic rubrics usually found after incantations, which could perhaps be combined with prescriptions (see Steinert 2018c: 181 and note 122).


KAR 44 rev. 27 was ruled before and after this line. BM 55148+ and Rm 717+ do not have a ruling after the equivalent line in KAR 44 rev. 27, and SpTU V no. 231 does not seem to have rulings at all (Frahm 2018a: 18 and note 19).


Clancier 2014: 47; Schwemer 2011: 422; Schwemer 2010a: 211–212; Heeßel 2010a: 160; Jean 2006: 72–73; Al-Rawi and George 2006: 54–55; Beaulieu 2000: 15; Finkel 1988: 150; Bottéro 1985: 93–100; Lambert 1962: 68; Zimmern 1915–16: 224. Geller (2012: 44, 49) ascribes the first section to Esagil-kīn-apli, but he defines rev. 27 as a heading.


Frahm 2011a: 325–26; Lambert 2008: 94–95; Lenzi 2008a: 86–87.


Lenzi (2008a: 86–87) analysed other subscripts and found that reverse line 27 in other manuscripts of the EM state SAG.MEŠ and ŠU.NIGIN, and he argued that such “totals” were typically found as subscripts in lists.


Jean’s (2006: 72–75) tripartite division into āšipūtu of Esagil-kīn-apli (obv. 1–rev. 27), kakugallūtu (rev. 28–30) and išippūtu (rev. 31–36) with additional knowledge (rev. 37–42) was perhaps influenced by Bottéro (1987–90: 226). It is disregarded here because the text itself does not support such a division (see Frahm 2018a: 21 note 36).


See Ch. 9 notes 71–72.


Clancier 2014: 48; see Frahm 2018a: 21–23, 24, 38–40; Schwemer 2011: 422; Lenzi 2008a: 94; Bottéro 1985: 98.


See also Heeßel 2017: 374; Clancier 2014: 47; Lenzi 2008a: 86 note 109.


KAR 44 rev. 32: “The craft of (curing those) ill with paralysis, numbness and sagallu, maškadu(?)”, ši-pir šim-mat ri-mu-ti u SA.GAL SA.GIG GIG (see Arbøll 2018a: 275 note 55; Jean 2006: 70; Geller 2000: 251, 254 note 32, 258; Bottéro 1985: 82–83). If SA.GIG is interpreted as maškadu (e.g., CAD M/1: 368), this would fit the content of Kiṣir-Aššur’s mašmaššu manuscript BAM 81.


KAR 44 rev. 33, see Ch. 9 note 82. Similarly, N4 no. 237 from Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru-phase provides treatments for ghostly afflictions, and the unpublished N4 A 2191 contains a ritual against a ghost.


KAR 44 obv. 19: ZÚ.M[U]Š TI.LA GÍR.TAB TI.LA …, “To cure a snakebite, to cure a scorpion (sting) …”; rev. 24: TÙR ÁB.GU₄.ḪI.A u U₈.UDU.ḪI.A ANŠE.KUR.RA SIKIL.E.DÈ, “To purify the pen of cattle and sheep, (as well as) horses”.


Listed in the first section of KAR 44 obv. 4: ŠU.ÍL.LA.KAM. It is unclear if N4 no. 289 was listed in the EM. Possibly the manuscript N4 no. 228 should be included in the category “mouth washing” (mīs pî) mentioned in KAR 44 obv. 2.


KAR 44 obv. 11–12: e-piš-tù É rim-ki É me-se-ri.MEŠ u KA.L[U]Ḫ.Ù.DA 12 UŠ₁₁.ḪUL.GÁL.MEŠ ÁŠ.ḪUL.GÁL.MEŠ UŠ₁₁.BÚRU.DA u NAM.ÉRIM.BÚR.RU.DA [ma-mi-t]a a-na pa-šá-ri, “ritual bīt rimki, bīt mēseri, ‘mouth-washing’, 12 ’evil spells’, ‘evil arratu-curses’, ušburrudû and namerimburrudû for undoing a māmītu-curse”.


KAR 44 obv. 15: LÚ.TUR.ḪUN.GÁ. LKA 89+ treats ghost and mimma lemnu and LKA 141 reconciles a man with the god of his house. Treatments related to “Hand of ghost” appear in KAR 44 rev. 33: bul-ṭi AN.TA.ŠUB.BA dLUGAL.ÙR.RA ŠU.DINGIR.RA ŠU dINANNA ŠU.GIDIM.MA.KE₄?⌉. Perhaps ŠU.DINGIR.RA treatments were related to LKA 141, although the manuscript does not contain bulṭus.


Note the mentioning of “to cut off diarrhoea” in KAR 44 obv. 18: … ŠÀ.SUR.KU₅.RU.DA …


KAR 44 rev. 29: NAM.BÚR.BI Á.MEŠ AN u KI-tim. Note, however, that Geller (2000: 257) and Bottéro (1985: 71–72) suggest KAR 44 obv. 14: ḪUL ka-la may also relate to namburbi-rituals.


For KAR 298 in KAR 44 obv. 20, see Section 6.3. Kiṣir-Aššur’s unpublished text related to bīt mēseri (N4 no. 254), a work also found in the first section of the EM, may also stem from his mašmaššu-phase, or earlier. See KAR 44 obv. 11: É me-se-ri.MEŠ.


Kiṣir-Aššur also copied the commentary-like text N4 no. 110 during his mašmaš bīt Aššur-phase.


For the various types of commentaries, their setting within the scholarly environments and the terminology employed, see most recently the Cuneiform Commentaries Project website; Gabbay 2016; Frahm 2011a.


Frahm 2018b; Frahm 2011a: 121–123, 269; Reiner 1958: 51.


This text’s origin in N4 and the name of Kiṣir-Nabû is not entirely certain (cf. Frahm 2011a: 269). Frahm et al. 2016; see Geller 2016: 393; Frahm 2011a: 32, 123–26, 269.


Frahm et al. 2016; Geller 2016: 394–96; Frahm 2011a: 121–123, 269.


Rev. 12’: M[AŠ?.M]A[Š? (TUR?)]; Abusch 2016: 393–95; Frahm et al. 2013a; Frahm 2011a: 121–123, 269. It has also been suggested that Kiṣir-Nabû was the copyist behind the Nineveh manuscript CT 15 pl. 43f. (= SAA 3 no. 37), although Livingstone’s reconstruction of Kiṣir-Nabû’s name remains uncertain. Note the commentary on Udug-ḫul tablet 2–4, VAT 8286 (LKA 82, N4 no. 39), copied in Geller 2016 as pl. 137, which contains a colophon consisting of one fragmentary line (Frahm 2015).


Whether or not the inhabitants of the N4 house all depended on an overarching curriculum remains uncertain, although some individuals copied similar texts (cf. May 2018: 63, 77).


E.g., Frahm (2018a: 10), Hecker (2008: 79), and Bottéro (1985: 86) translated him as mašmaššu, although Frahm adds (junior?). See also Schwemer 2011: 421–22.


However, see BAM 303 and the discussion of a reference to an unspecified ummânu in this text.


Other references to the Esabad or Gula temples include, e.g., STT 73 (BAK no. 380) and BAM 322 (see Steinert 2015: 129 and note 84). However, not all Gula temples contained libraries (Stol 1997: 408–9) and the Gula temple in Assur has not been excavated.


Maul 2010a: 214; Wiggermann 2008: 211; Maul 1994: 161. Tablets could likely be borrowed, as some colophons stress the urgency to return them (e.g., Stevens 2013: 214–15; Maul 1994: 161–62).


KAV 42 rev. 25–28: [É].GAL.MAḪ: É ra-bu-u ṣi-i-[ru]: É dGu-l[a] 26 [É].SA.BAD: É pe-ta-at uz-[ni]: É dGu-l[a] 2728 [É.N]AM.TI.LA: É ba-lá-ṭi : É dGu-[la].


On the question of Tukulti-Ninurta I’s import of tablets for Assur, see the following section.


Farber 2014: 35. An Assurbanipal colophon was also discovered among the LB Uruk tablets (Beaulieu 2010: 4–5, 17).


Both Babylon and Uruk played a role in safekeeping Assyrian knowledge after the fall of the NA empire (Da Riva 2014: 115; Frahm 2011a: 295; Beaulieu 2010; Clancier 2009: 385–87; Beaulieu 1997: 66–67).


Foster 1996: 228–29; Machinist 1978: 128–29 ms B rev. iv 2’–8’. See also Heeßel 2017: 369–71; Veldhuis 2014: 322–24; Heeßel 2012: 11 note 134; Frahm 2011b: 523; Weidner 1952–53.


See also Veldhuis 2014: 320. However, innovation did appear in Assur during the MA period, see, e.g., Heeßel 2017: 372; Geller 1990.


Heeßel 2012: 10–15; Heeßel 2007a: 4–7; cf. Koch 2013: 242–43; Koch 2005: 25–26; Freedman 1998: 6–7, 13. E.g., KAL 1 no. 37, which was labelled as the 210th tablet of Šumma ālu, contains a tablet number not known in the standard recension of Šumma ālu, although the number may be a scribal error (Heeßel 2007a: 4 and note 41; see also the Enūma Anu Enlil and Šumma ālu catalogue from Assur and a discussion of this text in Rochberg 2018; Freedman 1998: 322–23 provides a partial edition).


Fincke 2001: 35–39; see Rochberg 2018; Steinert 2018c: 170; Veldhuis 2010: 81. Individual MA fragments of Maqlû also suggest a pre-Nineveh recension (see Schwemer 2017: 51).


Heeßel 2010a: 157–67. For an example of a differing recension of Alamdimmû in Assur, see Böck 2000: 19. For the lack of Sa-gig in N4, see Section 3.6.1.


Geller 2018a: 44ff.; Frahm 2011a: 324 and note 1547; Heeßel 2011: 193–95; Heeßel 2010a: 162–64; Lenzi 2008b: 142–43 and note 18. A LB list of kings and scholars presents Esagil-kīn-apli as the ummânu of a broken king, after which, in incorrect chronologically order, occur Esagil-kīna-ubbib as the ummânu of Adad-apla-iddina (1068–1047 BCE) and Nebuchadnezzar I (1125–1104) (Helle 2018: 233 obv. 16 and rev. 17, 234 note 77; Wee 2015: 252 note 19; Frahm 2011a: 324; Lenzi 2008b: 141–43). Esagil-kīna-ubbib was known as the author of the Babylonian Theodicy (Lambert 1962: 66–67). Perhaps Esagil-kīna-ubbib and Esagil-kīn-apli were contemporary exorcists (Beaulieu 2007b: 14; cf. Wee 2012: 252 note 19; Rutz 2011: 295 note 5). The list may indicate that Adad-apla-iddina had two ummânus, Esagil-kīna-ubbib and Esagil-kīn-apli, who succeeded each other (Frahm 2011a: 324; cf. Heeßel 2010a: 163).


E.g., Frahm 2018a: 29–33; Heeßel 2010a: 166–67; Charpin 2010: 51–52; Lambert 2008: 95; Heeßel 2000: 104; Finkel 1988: 144; cf. Geller 2012: 44.


Rutz 2011: 299 note 21; Robson 2008: 477.


E.g., Wee 2012: 27–35, 223, 272, 279; Heeßel 2010a: 143, 157–59; Böck 2000: 14–15; Heeßel 2000: 104–107; Finkel 1988.


Frahm 2018a: 32–33. For this catalogue, see Frahm 2018a: 24–26; Schmidtchen 2018; Frahm 2011a: 326–28; Heeßel 2000: 104–10; Finkel 1988.


Heeßel 2010a: 154–64; cf. Frahm 2018a: 40–41; Wee 2012: 252; Frahm 2011a: 220.


Heeßel 2010a: 143–53 col. iii 6–7: DIŠ alam-dím-mu-u LIBIR.RA šá É-sag-gíl-GIN-A NU DU₈.MEŠ-šú 7 DUB.1.KÁM alam-<dím>-mu-ú.


See CAD P: 300. D-stem paṭāru is used in relation to “void” with riksu “band, bond, joint, package, collection (of tablets), structure, contract, decree” in several examples, which may relate to the serialization, as Sa-gig is also called rikis murṣi u rikis kūri “the compilation of illness and the compilation of distress” (Wee 2012: 303 and note 137; Heeßel 2010a: 154–55 and note 17; CAD R: 347ff.). Frahm (2011a: 329–31) questioned Heeßel’s interpretation, understanding the line as an indication that Esagil-kīn-apli was perhaps involved in providing commentaries found in the second section of the text, but he has since retracted part of his critique (see Frahm 2018a: 40–41).


Frahm 2011a: 324 and notes 1545–46; Heeßel 2010a: 166–67; Charpin 2010: 51–52; Heeßel 2000: 91–92.


See Finkel 1988: 148, 150. ND 4358+4366 and BM 41237+ lines 31’–33’: [a-ši-pu(?)] TAR-is EŠ.BAR ḫa-aʾ-iṭ ZI- UN.MEŠ 32’ [sa-k]ik-ka u alam-dím-ma-a ka-liš ZU-ú li-ḫi-iṭ lib-ri lìb-bi 33’ [liš-ta-bil]-ma ana LUGAL ME-a liš-kun, “[Let the āšipu] who makes the decisions, and who watches over people’s lives, who comprehensively knows Sa-gig and Alamdimmû, inspect (the patient) and check (the appropriate series), [let him ponder], and let him put his diagnosis at the disposal of the king”.


E.g., by referring indirectly to him in their royal inscriptions, see Frahm 2018a: 38–40. Assurbanipal also refers indirectly to Esagil-kīn-appli in his colophons (Frahm 2011a: 332 note 1588).


Heeßel 2010a: 167. Esagil-kīn-apli also was not listed as ummânu in the Assur “Synchronistic King List” (Frahm 2018a: 41; Heeßel 2010a: 159).


An unresolved issue in relation to the Assur scholars’ textual traditions is the effect that Marduk’s exile in Assyria and Sennacherib’s akītu-house may have had on the Assur scholarly communities. See, e.g., Maul 2017: 352; Pongratz-Leisten 2015: 417–18; Livingstone 1989: XXIX, 81ff.; Livingstone 1986: 205ff.; Frymer-Kensky 1983.


Fadhil 2012: 46; Maul 2010a: 208–209. E.g., Abu-erība KAL 2 no. 34 col. iv 14’: MAŠ.MAŠ BAL.TILk[i]; Nabû-bēssunu LKA 109 rev. 15’: MAŠ.MAŠ BAL.TILki (cf. Gelb 1954: 223 col. iv 29: MAŠ.MAŠ URU BAL.TILki-u = mašmaššu aššurû). The titles ṭupšarru aššurû (e.g., BAM 1 col. iv 28: DUB.SAR URU BAL.TILki-u; see Fadhil 2012: 14, 29–30, 32–33, 41–42, 45–46, 47, 50–51, 59) and asû aššurû (Matouš 1933 no. 44 col. vi 32’: A.ZU BAL.T[ILki]) are also attested. See Section 2.3.4.


Or perhaps the title refers to the exorcist having duties in relation to the city itself (cf. Maul 2010a: 210–11). May (2018: 66) has recently suggested that the title zabardabbû was used in the Bāba-šuma-ibni family because it was employed in Esagil-kīn-apli’s geneology. However, clear evidence in support of this hypothesis is still lacking.


Future research into the N4 text collection and the Nineveh libraries in general should be contextualized within the discussion of textual traditions specific to Assur and Oppenheim’s hypothesis on the so-called “stream of tradition” (Oppenheim 1960: 410–11; Oppenheim 1977: 13–14). Oppenheim’s hypothesis considers the Mesopotamian scholarly and literary traditions as static texts, which were handed down faithfully, anonymously, and conservatively for centuries. However, during recent years Robson (2011a) especially has argued strongly against this view. The same text had different meanings in relation to time and place, textual traditions were localized, various users used texts differently, and innovation as well as creativity played a role in the transmission of knowledge (see, e.g., Heeßel 2011: 171, 174–75, 192; Heeßel 2010a: 154–67; George 2003: 31–33; Fincke 2001; Frahm 1999). The present study provides a partial solution to this situation, although a discussion of the “stream of tradition” without considering the entire N4 text collection is not desierable. I therefore refer the reader to Robson (2019), who has recently problematized Oppenheim’s hypothesis broadly in the NA period.


Frahm 2011b: 523; Pedersén 1998: 158–65; Parpola 1986.


Frahm 2011b: 523; Frame and George 2005; Fincke 2004: 57.


SAA 7 no. 49–56; Fincke 2004: 55, 57; Parpola 1983b.


Fincke 2017: 387; Frahm 2011b: 523; Frame and George 2005: 280; Lieberman 1990: 309–12.


See Robson 2011a: 570–71. It is unclear if scholarly tablets were ever sold (ibid.: 566).


Some of the influential scholarly families from Assur associated with the Bāba-šuma-ibni family may have had connections to the royal court (see May 2018: 68, 74–76; Frahm 2011a: 270).


See Frahm 2011a: 269–70 and note 1279 concerning ACh Supp. 2 24; Maul 2010a: 205 and note 53; Villard 1998; Livingstone 1989: 95 no. 37.


CT 15 pl. 43f. was excavated at Nineveh, but the colophon is very fragmentary (see Livingstone 1989: 95). It is therefore unclear if the text was written by Kiṣir-Nabû, as suggested by Livingstone. Additionally, ACh Supp. 2 24 was perhaps copied by Kiṣir-Aššur, and this text was also excavated at Nineveh (see Section 7.6). The evidence for assigning these texts to Kiṣir-Aššur and Kiṣir-Nabû remains tenuous.


For the relevant passage in N4 no. 247 rev. 24 and CMAwR 1 pl. 25–26 rev. 24–25, see Table 21 in Section 9.5.1.


Note that another example of the EM was excavated in N4 (A 366), but remains unpublished (Jean 2006: 63). Whether this predates Kiṣir-Nabû remains unknown.


See Ch. 8 note 65; Steinert 2015: 128–29; cf. Frahm 2011b: 523.


BAM 322 rev. 89–90: bul-ṭi né-[pe-ši šá É d]ME.ME né-pe-ši lat-ku-ti am-ru-ti ba-ru-ti šá ana ŠUII šu-[ṣu-u] 90 DÙ-uš-ma i-šal-[li]-mu ni-ṣir-ti MAŠ.MAŠ-ti ŠEŠ-ma man-ma NU DU₈.


Maul 2010a: 205 and note 53, 218–20; Villard 1998; see May 2018: 76; Heeßel 2017: 375. Current theories propose the association of the royal court, temples, and scholars hindered critical and individual thought (e.g., Frahm 2011b: 525–26). When more of the relationships between the Assur, Kalḫu and Nineveh libraries have been examined, such ideas should be discussed further.

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