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Inscribed Prisms of Sargon II from Nimrud

  • C. J. Gadd

In the excavations at Nimrud in 1952 and 1953 were found several pieces, varying in size, of inscribed clay prisms bearing historical texts of Sargon II. Most of these pieces have proved to be parts of two ‘upright’ prisms, and have been actually joined together. Three other fragments, to be mentioned below, do not belong to these assemblages. The partly-preserved inscriptions thus obtained are duplicate, and as such the two copies have to some extent the valuable quality of restoring each other's text where damaged or missing. It is a misfortune, however, that by singular chance much the same columns of the prisms remain in both copies, so that stretches of the text exist in two examples with only minor variants, while other long passages are lost from both; it is a further misfortune that much of the missing part was evidently the more interesting for the modern student, comprising the beginning and end of the inscription, of which little now remains. The better preserved portions are concerned mostly with the campaigns of Sargon, and therefore do not present very much that is new in matter, though in arrangement they have the peculiar feature of seeming to disregard chronology, as will be seen hereafter, substituting perhaps a general geographical order.

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page 173 note 1 By this is meant those prisms which are read (by us, at least) standing on end, with the lines across the short dimension of the faces, as distinct from the ‘horizontal’ prisms, which are read along their length: these have also different shapes.

page 174 note 1 See the descriptions by Mallowan, M. E. L. in Iraq XV, Pt. 1, p. 32 and fig. 3, p. 31, also XVI, pp. 66f. and Plate XIV.

page 174 note 2 As listed in the catalogue of epigraphic finds in 1953 by Wiseman, D. J., Iraq XV, Pt. 2, p. 138.

page 174 note 3 By Weidner, E. F. in A.f.O. XIV, 40ff.

page 174 note 4 Ibid. p. 51. This is based partly upon the statement of C. Bezold that all of them are alike in script and appearance, an opinion with which, after reassembling the material, I cannot easily agree.

page 174 note 5 Winckler, H., Die Keilschrifttexte Sargons, I, Einleitung p. XII.

page 174 note 6 These fragments are a new join: their surface slightly vitrified and partly illegible.

page 176 note 1 Winckler, H., Die Keilschrifttexte Sargons, Band I, 80 ff. and Weissbach, F. H., Z.D.M.G. 72, 176 ff.; see L.A.R. II, 39 ff.

page 176 note 2 H. Winckler, op. cit. 96 ff.

page 176 note 3 Published by Winckler, H. in his Sammlung von Keilschrifttexten, II, no. 1, and translated in L.A.R. II, 69 ff.

page 176 note 4 See L.A.R. II, 112 f.

page 176 note 5 Andrae, W., Das wiedererstandene Assur, 148 and 150 f.

page 177 note 1 Lie, A. G., The Inscriptions of Sargon II, Part 1, Annals, ll. 78 ff. (ed. Winckler, ll. 52 ff.), Room XIV, 11. 8, 9, ‘Prunkinschr.’ ll. 36 ff. Since the Nimrud prisms have not, or have not preserved, any indications of chronology they throw no light upon the divergent systems of the Annals and the other prisms, most recently discussed by Weidner, E. F. in A.f.O. XIV, p. 52 f. For a general description of the persons and places here mentioned see Thureau-Dangin, F., Une Relation de la Huitième Campagne de Sargon, Introduction, pp. I, II.

page 177 note 2 The references were diligently collected by Streck, M. in Z.A. XV, 315 ff. For later literature see E. F. Weidner, loc. cit., p. 47, n. 27.

page 181 note 1 The remains of this section in the Nimrud prisms throw no fresh light upon the question (recently discussed by Landsberger, B., Sam'al, I, 74 ff.) whether a fragment of a Nineveh prism (K. 1672, col. i) mentioning Tabal(?), Sam'al, Hamath, and Damascus is to be assigned to this or to an earlier date.

page 181 note 2 See Smith, S. in Cambridge Ancient History, III, 57.

page 181 note 3 Published by Weidner, E. F. in A.f.O. XIV, 42.

page 182 note 1 Upon these much-discussed questions see recently E. F. Weidner, loc. cit., 44–46, and the work of von Zeissl, Helene, Äthiopen und Assyrer in Ägypten, 1922. The writing Sib-' (Annals) or Sib-'-e (‘Prunkinschrift’) instead of the more natural Assyrian Si-bi-' (for any such name as that indicated by the Hebrew Sw') seems to reflect the sophisticated est about his discomfiture which appears in Annals 55: [(m)si]b-' (amel)sib ša ṣenašu ḫabta—the Assyrian soldiery perhaps made the scoff and the scribes improved upon it.

page 182 note 2 For a similar sense gamâlu in the ‘Cappadocian’ tablets see Oppenheim, A. L. in A.f.O. XII, 350 ff.

page 182 note 3 epešu maḫiru as a later phrase for šâmu, “to buy” is discussed by Landsberger, B. in Z.A., N.F. V, 278 f., šupušu maḫiru is thus the action of putting up for sale.

page 184 note 1 Also other inscriptions, passim.

page 185 note 1 Weissbach, F. H. in Z.D.M.G. 72, 178 f.

page 185 note 2 Winckler, H., Die Keilschrifttexte Sargons, I, 148 ff.

page 188 note 1 Cf. (alu) Raqqatu in this col., 1. 53.

page 188 note 2 Which its ‘ideogram’ garim depicts.

page 189 note 1 abaru, Jensen, op. cit. 373, and cf. the substantive abarum, translated ‘Muskelkraft’ by Landsberger, B., M.S.L. II, 148, col. III, 4. For abru see von Soden, W. in Z.A., N.F. VII, 97, n. 5, Meissner, B., Beiträge zum assyrischen Wörterbuch, II, 36, and Ebeling, E. in R.A. XLVI, 37, l. 11, on a similar phrase in the Myth of Zû.

page 189 note 2 Op. cit., 415 f.

page 189 note 3 S. H. Langdon, loc. cit., and A. L. Oppenheim in A.N.E.T., 116.

page 189 note 4 For this there are many references: it may suffice to quote Langdon, S. H. in R.A. XXIX, 122, von Soden, W. in Z.A., N.F. VIII, 175, and Nougayrol, J. in Symbolae …. F. Hrozn' dedicatae, II, 217 f.

page 190 note 1 In the Esarhaddon simile (III, R. 15, I, 15, Thompson, R. C., The Prisms of Esarhaddon, etc., col. i, ll. 67, 68) the phrase runs ki-ma u 5-rí-in-ni …. ap-ta-a i-da-a-a.

page 190 note 2 Landsberger, B., Die Fauna des alten Mesopotamiens, 112; see also 110 ff. and 69.

page 191 note 1 By Parker, R. and Dubberstein, W. H., Babylonian Chronology, 626 B.C. to A.D. 45 (1st edit.), 9 (KUR.A. DAN-šú).

page 198 note 1 For other details see the catalogue description by Wiseman, D. J. in Iraq, XV, pt. 2, p. 139.

page 198 note 2 According to Lyon, D. G., Keilschrifttexte Sargons, Vorbemerkungen, xi, one of the copies in Paris has nine sides, the other ten. Both of those in the British Museum have nine.

page 198 note 3 Winckler, H., Die Keilschrifttexte Sargons, II, Tafel 43.

page 199 note 1 The copy was made by Mr. D. J. Wiseman, who has obligingly allowed me to use it.

page 201 note 1 Lyon, D. G., Keilschrifttexte Sargons, pp. 1–12, 3039, and Winckler, H., Die Keilschrifttexte Sargons, II, 43.

page 201 note 2 Jacobsen, Thorkild and Lloyd, Seton, Sennacherib's Aqueduct at Jerwan, 20.

page 201 note 3 Ibid., 6.

page 201 note 4 D. G. Lyon, op. cit., 33.

page 201 note 5 L.A.R., II, 61.

page 201 note 6 See Del. H.W.B., 135a and von Soden, W. in Z.A., N.F. XI, 240, l. 155.

page 201 note 7 ‘Dry wood, log, branch,’ B. Meissner, op. cit. II, 38, Meier, G. in Z.A., N.F. XI, 213, von Soden, W. in Or. 1947, 451, and, for a possible derivative meaning, Landsberger, B., ana ittišu, 149.

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