ASSYRIAN NOTES.—No. I.
By H. F. Talbot, F.R.S., &c.
Read 2nd June, 1874.
[Extracted from TSBA, 3 (1874): 430-45.]
§ 1. On the ancient use of Papyrus as a writing material in Assyria and Babylonia.
IN vol. 1 p. 343 of the Transactions, Mr. Sayce has adduced
reasons for supposing that papyrus was used in Babylonia for writing upon, as it
was in Egypt, quoting the testimony of Pliny to that effect.
I have arrived at similar conclusions on other grounds. In vol. 2 of Rawlinson's B.M. inscriptions, plates 33 and 44, the word [cuneiform] alal or [cuneiform] alallu is explained by nazabu sha kani the plant of a reed;1 which Mr. Sayce considers to mean papyrus; and it is also explained by [cuneiform], and by the same with [cuneiform] 'a child' inserted, thus, [cuneiform] which means perhaps a child's first book, elsewhere called dippi resh, 'tablet of the beginning,' or 'first tablet.'2 In the same plate 2R 33, col. iv. 1, we find [cuneiform] akkhuz ska tzu 'peeling off the skin,' which words standing only two lines before nazabu sha kani appear to relate to the same subject. Their meaning is incontestable as they are often used in saying that the King flayed off the skins of his prisoners; see my Glossary No. 219. Thus in the first volume of Rawlinson's inscriptions pl. 19, 93 [cuneiform] aku tzu-su detraxi cutem ejus. The same is repeated in line 92 and in [p.431] Oppert's Khorsabad inscriptions vi, 4. This verb khuz seems related to the Hebrew הוצ the exterior of anything.
We find also the remarkable word [cuneiform] Nigin 'a volume,' which is given in 2 R 34, 64 as the explanation of the symbol [cuneiform] and of the similar symbol [cuneiform] in 2R32, 15.
Nigin is explained in the former passage by the words [cuneiform] pakharu sha alali 'a collection of papyri,' that is to say 'a Volume.' It is true that the last letter of the word alali is broken off, but I think my restoration is probable. Now, this is very strongly confirmed by the fact that the word Nigin is still retained in Chaldee with the meaning of volume; history; or memoirs: see Buxtorf's dictionary p. 1298. He says: נגינן Niginin: memoriæ: historiæ rerum gestarum. And since the word nigin explains the symbol [cuneiform] probable that this symbol was originally a hieroglyphic representing an open volume (which it still greatly resembles). It is curious that this 'open volume' with something indefinite written in it, thus: [cuneiform] is the symbol which is used to express 'so and so,' or 'any one': in French 'un tel'; as I pointed out for the first time in my Assyrian Glossary No. 285.
In another passage, writings upon 'vegetable skin' [cuneiform] are mentioned, which I think must mean papyrus. This is found in 2R 36, 11 where Assurbanipal apparently says that he copied his tablets 'according to the tenor (or aspect) of ancient tablets and papyri of Assyria and Accadia':
ki pi dippati u alali? urati gabri Assuri u Akkadi
according to the tenor of the tablets and papyri old of Assyria and Akkad.
Urati. The word Ur 'old' occurs frequently. It appears
to be an Accadian term, and not Semitic. For example, it is said on the tablets
K 137 and 52 h, and elsewhere, "I copied this tablet" ura hi kim "like
its old one."
In 2R 46, 13 we find the following gloss: [cuneiform] Ura. Labirtu. The latter word signifies "Old." Gabri is a frequent word, and generally means Rivals, Equals, or things parallel or comparable to one another. Applied to 'tablets' it appears to be the name which they gave to those bilingual tablets in which the two languages alternate in successive lines, which therefore are parallel to each other or stand side by side.
§ 2. Assyrian books.
That the Assyrians had books appears plainly from the passage
I have given in the Transactions Vol. II, p. 55, "In the night-time bind
around the sick man's head a sentence taken from a good book." But this writing
may have been on parchment, since that would be more suitable for the other
sentences, which were to be spread out 'on the threshold of the door.' (ibid.)
Again, among the goods which were to be held of no value as compared with the mamit, we find (see Transactions vol. 2, p. 41) 'the newly written books.' [cuneiform] issish nikathu—4 R 7, 10. Issish means nearly—see my Glossary No. 503. Nikathu seems undoubtedly the passive of the verb katab כתב to write.
But the most copious source of information concerning Assyrian books is to be found in 2 R pl. 24, if I understand its meaning rightly.
I must premise that [cuneiform] Gi is known to be the Accadian equivalent of the Assyrian [cuneiform], kan, a reed, Heb. קגה, Greek κανα, Latin Canna. I believe that [cuneiform] and [cuneiform] meant (1) a Reed. (2) Reed-paper, or Papyrus. (3) a book written on such paper.
Mr. Sayce (p. 344) gives the following gloss; [cuneiform] i.e. Gi means "a written tablet," which [p.433] gloss is also referred to by Mr. G. Smith in his "phonetic values" No. 59.
Now, 2 R plate 24 contains a long list of names, 36 in number, but some of them imperfect or broken, all of which begin with this syllable [cuneiform] I consider therefore that we have here the catalogue of some ancient library.
I will give some specimens of this catalogue. It begins with some books on the Mysteries of the Babylonian Religion. The first of them is named, in the Accadian language,[cuneiform] "the Book of going to Hades"; perhaps an account of the soul's adventures after death, similar to the Todtenbuch of the Egyptians. In analysing this name I observe that [cuneiform] du means "to go" in Accadian, and that [cuneiform] probably the same as [cuneiform] "Hades" (since both [cuneiform] and [cuneiform] have the phonetic value du. That the phrase [cuneiform] means Hades can, I think, be proved thus: In the legend of Ishtar, Hades is called Bit sha erihu-su la atzu, the place whose entrance has no exit (or, which none can leave). Now, this phrase la atzu (no exit) is translated in Accadian (see 2 R 62, 42) [cuneiform] "without return"; which is the name of Hades—more usually written with the particle [cuneiform], in the form [cuneiform].
The three next volumes in the library were parts of one work, called [cuneiform] the book of the namniru. This was the Accadian word for the mamit of the Assyrians, which was certainly some great mystery, but of what nature has not yet been explained. That there was salvation in the mamit I have already shown (Transactions Vol. II, p. 37). This is confirmed by the present passage, since the book on the mamit follows immediately the one on the descent of the soul to Hades.
The Assyrian translation of gi namniru is [cuneiform] kan mamiti; where we observe, first, that gi is translated kan (papyrus), and secondly, that namniru is translated, as it usually is, by mamitu.
The next volume was called [cuneiform] kan magarri the
book of worship, or "the Prayer Book." Magar is 'worship.' Impious
persons or foreign heretics are called la magiri. The King of Assyria
often calls himself migir ili rabi, worshipper of the great gods.
Makhar or makhir 'to pray' is another form of the word; ex. gr.
Jssur u Istar amkhur 'I prayed to those gods.' Amkhar sakuti Istar,
'I prayed to the lofty Ishtar.'
After the "Prayer Book" comes [cuneiform] kan tapsarti 'the Book of Explanations,' probably a sort of commentary or Targum upon the sacred books. Tapsarti comes from the verb pasar 'to explain,' which is the Chaldee [cuneiform]. It is the verb specially used by the Assyrians in this sense; for example, A libsur B, that is to say, the (Accadian phrase) A may he explained by the (Assyrian phrase) B. This 'book of explanations' kan tapsarti is rendered in the Accadian column by [cuneiform] the book of [cuneiform]. I can only offer a conjecture as to this. [cuneiform] is 'the hand,' [cuneiform] 'to turn': hence [cuneiform] may mean Version or Translation or Uebersetzung.
The next volume in the Library was the [cuneiform] kan tililti, or Book of Hymns: from the Hebrew הלל 'to praise.' The same word (nearly) is found in Hebrew, viz. Tilit, a Hymn: see Gesenius v. תהלת.
The next was the [cuneiform] kan mikhri, another Prayer Book, from mikhir 'prayer.' Thus we see that the Library had a decidedly religious character. The rest of the Catalogue is of less interest, owing to the Assyrian column being broken off.
Before quitting this part of the subject I will give another example of the word [cuneiform] used for 'a written tablet or papyrus.' We read in 4119 "This [cuneiform] dippi, or tablet, belongs to Ishtar-mu-kamish, chief of the tablets ([cuneiform]) King Assurbanipal, son of Nebo-zir-sidi who was also chief of the books [cuneiform] or chief Librarian.
Let us now pass on to other words illustrative of the
literature of the Assyrians.
A tablet, or writing, was usually called [cuneiform] which is explained in Syll. 114 by the words [cuneiform] Dubba and [cuneiform] Lamu. Dubba is the Chaldee דפ tabula; in Rabbinic literature folium libri; pagina. It is a word very frequently employed, ex. gr. masal as dupti dahti "a sentence out of a good book" (Transactions, vol. 2, p. 69). It is sometimes written dubbat, duppat, dippat, &c. The other word Lamu 'a writing' is found also in 2 R 24, 43. It is there explained again by the words [cuneiform] and [cuneiform]: or Dup. In line 50 [cuneiform] (a book) is rendered zadit ska lamie. This brings us to the word zada (of uncertain meaning). It is also written zaidu [cuneiform] in 2 R 24, 5 where it is explained [cuneiform] 'book,' and glossed by nigin (tablet). Also in 2 R 34, 73 we find l[cuneiform] zadu among words that signify writing.
Words derived from [cuneiform] 'a writing' [cuneiform] zu 'skin,' kunna 'a reed,' and [cuneiform] dup 'a tablet,' are the three following which are all explained [cuneiform] (tablet) in 2R49, 64:—(1) [cuneiform], (2) [cuneiform], (3) [cuneiform]. The latter, or zu-dibbu appears again in 2 R 5 where we find [cuneiform] zudibbi nisi 'a treatise on men': [cuneiform] 'ditto on women' (nisti), followed by many more 'treatises' on dogs, oxen, birds, &c. A similar word to zu-dippi (skin tablets) is gi-dippi (papyrus tablets).
The word Katu [cuneiform] seems derived from Kan (a reed), quasi Kantu. In 2 R 32, lines 37 and 40, we read Katu sha dippi (papyrus for tablets): Katu musaru (papyrus for writing). Then katu sha dippi returns again and is repeated seven times, being translated the last time by [cuneiform] suku which I suppose means 'a reed.'
I return to the word Kan 'a reed.' There are two very interesting glosses which stand next to each other in 2 R 34, 51 and 52, and are therefore probably connected. One of [p.436] these (line b2) is [cuneiform] Makkan "the papyrus of Lower Egypt."
Upper Egypt was called Milukha, and Lower Egypt Makkan. These words are frequently placed in two consecutive lines showing the correlation between them. See for instance 2 R 46, lines 48, 49, and also lines 77, 78.
The other gloss, in the next line 51, is [cuneiform] rakrak sha libbi kani, 'menbranes from the interior of the reeds.' I consider rak to be the Heb. רק which Schindler renders 'membrana: charta subtilis,' a word derived from רק tenuis.
Another example is found on the tablet K 221, as follows: [cuneiform] Reeds; [cuneiform] green; [cuneiform] epar, the produce; [cuneiform] saddi-su, of his country; [cuneiform] which; (words lost) [cuneiform] ibtiqu su, they cut them; ana, for; [cuneiform] timut baskets (?); [cuneiform] nikilti 'skilfully made.' I suppose timut to be a variant form of tinut. The Hebrew [cuneiform] 'a basket' occurs twice in Deuteronomy.
The word [cuneiform] Kan 'a reed' occurs in a very remarkable passage, which illustrates in a curious manner a chapter in the Book of Revelations. We read in Rev. xxi that St. John saw the Holy City New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven. And the angel who showed it to him "had A GOLDEN REED to measure the City and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof." Compare the following lines, which are found in 4R 6, 37:—
1. A Golden Reed—very long. A Reed, very precious:
2. The splendid passur OF THE GODS.
3. It was a Reed OF PURE GOLD, whose scale was cunningly divided.
These three lines are the commencement of a piece of poetry,
of which I do not understand the further tenour. It may perhaps refer to the
construction of the Ark, for we read two or three lines afterwards something
about "a [p.437] divine command from the messenger
of Marduk," and then follows, "I closed up with bitumen the door of the ship."
But, whatever the meaning, the passage as far as it goes is very remarkable. I
annex a verbal analysis. '[cuneiform] a golden reed; [cuneiform] galgalla
very long; [cuneiform] gisuk, a reed; [cuneiform] very precious;
[cuneiform] the passur; [cuneiform] ilia, splendid; [cuneiform] of
[cuneiform] Kan, the reed; [cuneiform] pazti of pure gold; [cuneiform] sha, of which; [cuneiform] salima, the scale; [cuneiform] taramu was cunning (or skilful).
The passur is often mentioned, and said to be made of gold, but I am unable to affix a definite meaning to the word.
The phrase [cuneiform] meaning "the gods" is extremely
frequent in the Accadian language; the Assyrian I believe always translates it
by ili 'gods.'
[cuneiform] pazti, "of pure gold," is a most important word. It is the Hebrew פז Paz 'aurum purissimum.' Buxtorf says: "פז aurum solidum et purgatum." In the Bible it occurs in several passages.
Salima is the Hebrew סלמ scala, which occurs in the story of Jacob's ladder (Gen. xxviii, 12).
Taramu is probably from Aram 'cunning' Heb. ערמ, callidus. But perhaps it is a verb in the second person; cujus scalam calles, 'whose divisions thou dost understand.'
I proceed to notice a few other words which appear to denote
books or writing materials.
Karatan [cuneiform] (2 R 48, 23) is very like the Latin word Chartam. It is rendered [cuneiform] 'papyrus book,' and [cuneiform] kissu 'a volume.' The latter word appears to be the Syriac כשא colligavit; compegit in [p.438] fascicules. The passage is as follows: Kissu (alone) is explained [cuneiform] 'papyrus book.' Kissu [cuneiform] (of writings), is explained by [cuneiform] (writing).
Kissu [cuneiform] (sha musari, of writings) is explained by [cuneiform] which is merely the plural of [cuneiform] (see 2 R 48, 23). I gave an example of this plural in vol. 2 of the Transactions p. 68. [cuneiform] 'written sentences' [spread out upon the threshold of the sick man's door], where the Assyrian version has [cuneiform] Masi.
It will be remembered that we had the word [cuneiform] before, in the phrases [cuneiform] kunna and [cuneiform] (2 R 49, 64) both of which appear to mean 'papyrus writing.'
The word Alal or Alalu, which has been
translated "Papyrus," has not yet I believe been referred to any Semitic root. I
think it is עלעלה ancient and reduplicate
form of Heb. עלה 'a leaf,' and therefore
meaning 'leaves' or a book consisting of leaves collected together. So folium in
Latin, "foliis ne carmina manda" (Virgil), "folium recitare Sibyllee" (Juvenal).
And so in Arabic, paper is called urrak, i.e. 'leaf.'
I have to add that the word [cuneiform] alal is explained in 2 R 48, 37 by [cuneiform] sikin nari "the .... of the river," perhaps 'the reed of the river.'
Likhutsi. Mr. Sayce has called attention (p. 344) to the phrase [cuneiform] ukhusi cuppi, which occurs in a table of Moon portents. I have found the same phrase in 2 R 42, 22, where it is said they were written in the tongues of Assyria, Sumir, and Accad (the name of Assyria being however broken off, except the final letter [cuneiform] 'country'). I think that likhutsi is the Hebrew לקט collectio, which word is used of collected writings, sentences, &c.
I have shown that [cuneiform] sometimes signifies 'writing.' This will enable us to explain some passages which have hitherto been misunderstood. In Tiglath 8, 36 the king says: "In return for my constant piety, may the gods place by name (or my history [cuneiform]) in the book of Ashur, for all future time firmly as a rock!" Again, in 3 R 15, 3 Esarhaddon, on hearing of the death of his father, says: [cuneiform] uspir, I wrote (ספר to write) [cuneiform] my letters [saying that I claimed the succession].
A Syllabary recently brought from Nineveh by Mr. G. Smith contains the following, which confirms what has been said: [cuneiform] showing that [cuneiform] was pronounced nigin and napklmmi; the latter is a niphal form of pakharu, a volume, list or collection.
§ 3. On the amount of accuracy now sometimes attainable in Assyrian translation.
I believe it is now generally acknowledged that the cuneiform
inscriptions have been in great measure successfully deciphered, or at any rate
that sound principles of translation have been established. But if we look back
twenty years or so, we shall find that at that time very great doubts prevailed
among scholars, including some names of celebrity in the study of Oriental
languages: who could not be induced to bestow a fair examination upon doctrines
which they had condemned a priori.
If we inquire what has caused the cessation of these doubts in the minds of candid persons open to conviction, but who have not time themselves to study the written tablets of Assyria and Babylonia, the chief cause is doubtless the increased number of translators, and the general agreement which their translations exhibit. For, it would be strange indeed if many persons living in different countries [p.440] should fancy that they read in those ancient records long and circumstantial narratives of the exploits of Sargon and Sennacherib: Assurbanipal and Darius, if there were in fact no mention of those monarchs, and if the whole decipherment were but "the baseless fabric of a vision."
The agreement of many translators, if they are really independent, is therefore the simplest and readiest argument that can be employed. The first, or at any rate the most conspicuous example of this was the Version of the long inscription of Tiglath Pileser the first, by four translators, working without any communication with each other, which was published by the Royal Asiatic Society in 1857. The same argument is available at the present day. Although I admit that in obscure and difficult passages, or when the subject-matter is new or unusual, there is much discrepancy between different translators, yet I think that when the subject is easy and the text of the tablet in good preservation there is almost as much concordance as would be found between two translators of a passage in Herodotus.
Of this I propose to offer an instance. In Vol. I of the Transactions p. 108 I gave the translation of a simple and pleasing prayer for the temporal and eternal happiness of the King, which is found in vol. 3 of Rawlinson's British Museum inscriptions plate 16. M. Lenormant in his Premieres Civilisations p. 177 has recently published a translation of the same prayer. As he does not mention my translation nor allude to it in any way, I presume that he had not seen it. It is upon this supposition (viz. that of the perfect independence of the translations), that I now propose to place them side by side, and then to ask any candid inquirer whether they do not agree as well as any two translations from the Greek would do?
|1. Days long:||Des jours prolonges:|
|2. years long lasting:||des annees durables:|
|3. a sword strong:||un glaive puissant:|
|4. life long||une longue duree:|
|5. years of glory extended||un vaste renom de gloire:|
|6. preeminence among kings,||la preeminence sur les rois,|
|7. to the king my lord grant||au roi notre seigneur, le justicier,|
|8. who these things||qui toutes ces choses|
|9. to his gods has given.||a ses dieiur a offert!|
|10. Limits vast and wide||Des frontieres larges et vastes|
|11. to his empire||a son empire|
|12. and to his rule||[omitted]|
|13. may he enlarge, and may he complete.||Quil vive! quil soil en paix!|
|14. Over all kings, sovereignty||Au dessus des rois la souverainete|
|15. royalty and empire||la royaute, et le comman dement|
|16. exercising, to grey hairs||en l'eccercant, aux cheveux blancs|
|17 age may he and old attain!||et a la viellesse quilparvienne|
|18. In addition to the gift of days these||Et pardessus tout cela|
|19. the land of the silver sky, the courts refulgent||la region qui brille comme l'argent, les autels splendides,|
|20. the abode of blessedness||le bienfait de l'etat de benediction|
|21. in their feasts||parmi leurs banquets (des dieux)|
|22. and the fields delightful||et les jardins bienheureux|
|23. in their light||dans leur lumiere|
|24. may he dwell a life||quil les habite, la vie|
|25. eternal, holy||....... joyeuse|
|26. in the presence||dans le voisinage|
|27. of the gods||des dieux|
|28. inhabiting Assyria!||qui habitent l'Assyrie!|
ADDENDUM TO THE PRECEDING PAPER.
On considering again the obscure line in page 437, Kan
pasti sha salima taramu I find that it is susceptible of a different
The person who is speaking says in the next line [cuneiform] Marduk anaku: "I am the (prophetic) son of Marduk."
The speaker of these words can hardly be any other than the god Nebo (or Mercury) who was the son of Marduk. And just as here he holds in his hand a golden reed (or rod), so in Homer Hermes has the epithet; [Greek] 'bearing a golden rod.'
He was [Greek] or [Greek] 'the leader of departed spirits.' See Homer Odyss. 24, 1,
and the long account that follows of his leading their spirits to the realms of Hades. Also Horace:
Tu pias laetis animas reponis
Sedibus, virgdque levem coerces
It will be seen on referring to Liddell and Scott's lexicon that [Greek] had also frequently the meaning of raising the spirits of the dead by magic arts or divine power (Plato and Aeschylus). Thus in Euripides (Alcestis 1147) where Admetus says "Do I not see a spirit?" and Hercules replies "I am not [Greek], (a raiser of departed spirits)." So Virgil describes Mercury (Aen. iv, 242)
Tum VIRGAM capit: hac animas ille EVOCAT Orco Pallentes.
These things being duly considered I think that the line in question [cuneiform] pasti sha salima taramu, may mean "the rod of pure gold which raises departed spirits."
Rama is the Heb. רומ
or הרומ 'to raise up' and Salima I have
shown by several examples in vol. 2 of these Transactions, page 30 and
32, to mean the soul of a deceased person.
I will also quote the following passage from tablet 173 which is written in praise of Ishtar. [cuneiform] msha salima tarama, airaru la (the rest is broken off).
[cuneiform] khi is explained by [cuneiform] kan, a reed (or rod) in Mr. Smith's new syllabary S 15 (see No. (38 of my edition of it): and atraru or hatraru seems evidently the Hebrew הטר hatra which is the usual word for virga 'a rod,' so that the words seem to imply 'the divine rod which raises the spirits of the departed.' If this explanation is the true one, it connects the Assyrian with the Greek mythology in an interesting manner.
I now think that the words ought to be divided thus:
I find that salumma means 'a shadow' Heb.
צלמ umbra: imago: simulacrum: all which
words are frequently used to express the spirits of the departed, the [Greek].
The meaning of the line therefore remains as before, "the rod of pure gold which
raises departed spirits."
I will give some examples of the word salumma 'shadow.' In 2 R plate 49 is a tablet relating to the stars. At line 13 there is mention of a Comet.
as arki su kun kima salummu
After it was a tail like a shadow.
The simile is a rude one, but when a man advances towards the
sun his shadow may be said to follow him 'like a tail.'
I will add some other examples. In an ode to the Sun 4 R 25, 42 [cuneiform] salummatu nasi [p.444] lift up the shadows (or darkness). And in an ode to the god of fire 4 R 26, No. 3, he is called immammir ikliti 'enlightener of the darkness,' and [cuneiform] sha salummat ramu, 'he who lifts up the shadows.' And in 4 R IS, 10 we read: salummatu ramu, he raises the spirits [from the gate of the Abyss, and sends them to heaven].
צלמ is derived from Heb. צל umbra (whence it means also 'protection,' tutela: proesidium). This צל is the Assyrian tsillu or sillu, which is in frequent use: thus in the inscription of Xerxes (Rich, plate 15, line 8), "This house was built under the shadow or protection [cuneiform] tsilli of Oromasdes."
The verb ramu occurs in a similar sense in the following important passage. Atta Marduk hil rimnu sha miti bulluda rarnmu, 'ta Marduk deus misericordias, qui mortuos ad vitam revocas.'
I return to the passage quoted in p. 436 rakrak sha lihhi
hani 'membranes from the interior of the reeds.' Another and more important
example of the word is found in 2R 26, 51 [cuneiform] raqraqu which seems
evidently to mean papyrus or membrane. It is not derived from
רק tenuis, as I there said, but from
the Heb. ירק 'white' or 'pale green.' This
appears manifestly from the cognate words which accompany and explain it in
lines 50-55 namely [cuneiform] arqu: [cuneiform] araqa:
[cuneiform] urruqu; [cuneiform] urak and [cuneiform] urkitu.
if we compare these with the Arabic word urak or warak 'paper' the
resemblance is manifest.
More words follow, still referring to 'whiteness' and 'paper,' such as [cuneiform] explained [cuneiform] pizu (white), and [cuneiform] buzzu sha gi-dib-zu 'the white (i.e. paper) of a book.' This phrase receives five explanations, one of which is most [p.445] remarkable, namely in line 52 where it is explained [cuneiform] Babar, that is to say, Paper, for the Assyrian B and P differ very little. It seems then that the Greeks borrowed the word [Greek] from the Assyrians.
The word just quoted, buzzu 'white' may well be compared with the Hebrew בוצ butz or buz which Gesenius renders, as a verb, 'albus fuit,' and as a substantive 'byssus.' It is well known that the byssus was exceedingly white.
In page 432 I have suggested that the tablets called gabri were those in which the two languages, Accadian and Assyrian, were given in parallel columns. I have lately found that Delitzsch (Assyrische Studien, page 3, note) has given the same explanation of the word as meaning Parallel columnen. It may therefore be considered as almost certain.
In Mr. Smith's new tablet marked 340 the sign [cuneiform] is explained by [cuneiform] pisan, and [cuneiform] pisannu, and [cuneiform] alal.
This is to be added to the former evidence that [cuneiform] often signified 'writing.'
1 Arabic nasab or nasb 'to plant'; Hebrew and Syriac גצב.
2 Mr. Sayce considers TI to mean 'water,' so that the sign would imply "papyrus growing in the water.