and a


By H. F. Talbot, F.R.S., &c.

Read 3rd November, 1874.

[Extracted from Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology, vol. 3:1 (1874), pp. 496-529.]

These precious documents were brought from Niniveh by Mr. G. Smith during the summer of 1874. He has kindly allowed me to copy them, and has assisted me in deciphering the complex and intricate signs with which they are covered. The syllabaries which were originally found by Layard were published in the second volume of Rawlinson's inscriptions plates 1-4. Their value was speedily recognized by Assyrian scholars, and a wish has often been expressed that other tablets of the same nature might soon be discovered. Mr. Smith has fortunately secured those which are here for the first time published; and there is reason to believe that many others would reward the researches of future explorers of the ruins of Niniveh.

The present tablets are marked S 23, S 15, S 14, S 17 and S 12 in the British Museum.

The Syllabary S 23.

Ittu or iddu

This first word is very interesting, although effaced in the first column. Mr. Smith has already given it in his Phonetic Values No. 318 and explained it to mean Bitumen. [p.497] Herodotus says (I. 179) that the bitumen used in Babylon was brought from a city called Is. The modern name of the place is Hit, and the bitumen is still abundant there. Herodotus merely gave a Greek termination to the word. It is now evident that Hit was the Babylonian term for bitumen: Ittu in our tablet is merely the full form of the word which ends in u as all the words do in the third column of the syllabary. In 4 R 6, 45 [CUNEIFORM] is translated [CUNEIFORM] itta or idda.

nigin .... naphharu
ku .... nadu
tu .... zuhatu (a victim)

I have given examples in my Glossary No. 475 of this use of [CUNEIFORM] in Accadian to express [CUNEIFORM] Victims.

zi .... himu

Here we see that [CUNEIFORM] ku had sometimes the meaning of [CUNEIFORM] kimu. An example of this is found in 4R 2, col. iv, 20, where it is said of evil daemons that matu kima kimi igammu 'they devour men like kimi' which I have elsewhere translated 'sparrows': at any rate it must mean some small animal. Here the Accadian version has [CUNEIFORM] ku for kimi.

us ku dimu

Us and Ku signify 'masculine.'

guk .... ktikku


lu .... dalahhu

An example of [CUNEIFORM] rendered [CUNEIFORM] dalakhi is found in 4 R 2, col. v, 17. And it is rendered [CUNEIFORM] dalkhu in 4 R 7, col. i, 37. It seems to mean a disturber or injurer. It is often the epithet of an evil spirit.

did .... katamu

Katamu is explained in 2 R 23, 48 by [CUNEIFORM] edilu the bolt or bar of a door. Hence I suppose katam is the Hebrew הטמ obturavit.

The following lines 10-23 are a greatly improved copy of the syllabary in 3R lines 57-70.

kar .... dapalu

The middle sign is No. 108 of Mr. Smith's phonetic values.

udu 'lu immiru (a sheep)

12. [CUNEIFORM], (effaced) [CUNEIFORM]
gukkal ... gukkallu

The word here effaced is [CUNEIFORM] in the British Museum plate (3 R 70).

dib lu tishatu?

The middle sign is partly effaced, and therefore doubtful.

jush kattin khutsim

Compare the Hebrew words [CUNEIFORM] and [CUNEIFORM], both of which mean 'short.' Arabic kasir (short).


hish kattiu jnzu

Pizu generally means 'white'; hence perhaps this second kattin is the Arabic kotu, whence our word Cotton. Kish means 'dress,' Heb. כסה. Mahish is also in use, which is the Heb. מכסה.

The next six signs are composed of the syllable [CUNEIFORM] sak or sik with various additions. This is No. 357 of Smith's phonetic values. For the sake of brevity I will denote it by A. Its compounds frequently denote woven objects.

sik sak supatu

Supatu seems to be the same as sipatu 'cloth' or 'web.' See the following example (4 R 8, col. 3, 28) Accadian [CUNEIFORM] is rendered by the Assyrian [CUNEIFORM] sipati pizati (with a white cloth), and the Accadian [CUNEIFORM] is rendered by the Assyrian [CUNEIFORM] sipati salmi (with a black cloth).

The first column of No. 16 says that [CUNEIFORM] (cloth) was pronounced sik in Accadian.


For [CUNEIFORM] 3 R. Syll. No. 64 reads [CUNEIFORM] Dar.

sis pasasu

On seeing this gloss I suspected that the word pasas denoted the byssus of the ancients. This conjecture was strengthened when I found that A [CUNEIFORM] is rendered busus in Smith's phonetic values No. 357. Finally Sis is the Hebrew שש Byssus frequently named in the Old Testament. A good deal will be found relating to this word in 2 E, 25, 26 and following lines. The same symbol [CUNEIFORM] is there explained [CUNEIFORM] pasasu saku (woven pasas) and also [CUNEIFORM] jussatu, and [CUNEIFORM] bussus, and [p.500] [CUNEIFORM] buzus, and [CUNEIFORM] napsastu. These indications, although not very clear, appear to point to the word Byssus.

munsup sidh khirtu?

The meaning is doubtful. Munsup may be 'a plantation' (Arab, nasb to plant, Heb. גצר) and khirtu likewise, for kin are 'woods.' Sukh is the Heb. שותא a tree, grove, or wood: Syriac Sukha [CUNEIFORM] has the same meaning. The reading in 3R (Syll. No. 66) is also [CUNEIFORM].

gur kart'i
erin erinu

Erinu means a Cedar tree, Heb. ארן. In fact, this symbol [CUNEIFORM] with [CUNEIFORM] (wood) prefixed is constantly used for the Cedar. But in the published texts I find the name almost always written [CUNEIFORM] thus detaching [CUNEIFORM] from the first part of the word and adding it to the latter part. The new syllabary rectifies this. The word seems composed of [CUNEIFORM] Sik 'a tree' Heb. שח and [CUNEIFORM] 'royal,' as being the royal tree. The Cedar of Lebanon certainly deserved the name. This simple explanation does not seem to have been given before.

sa damaqu

This symbol for damaqu (holy or pious) is not unfrequent, but it varies a good deal in form. It is No. 236 of Smith's phonetic values. Another form of it is [CUNEIFORM].

gisiminar gisiminaru

The central sign is the same as in 22.


gal ik basu

This agrees with a bilingual tablet in which bit ikla is explained by bit basa. (2 R 9, 21.) Also in 2R 27, 18 col. 1 ik is explained basu.

Reverse of S 23.

25. (broken off) . (effaced) . [CUNEIFORM]

26. (effaced) . (effaced) . [CUNEIFORM]

27. (effaced) . [CUNEIFORM] . [CUNEIFORM]
tabin zubru

Tabin is the Hebrew תבן 'straw,' and the very complicated central sign [CUNEIFORM] has the same meaning, as I think may be shown from the following line which occurs in tablet 174.

lutashatsi tabin subulta kima kasu as raktu
let him throw forth straw of corn like straw for a bed

[CUNEIFORM] subulta is used for various kinds of corn, as barley or oats (Buxtorf).

Kasu is the Heb. קש 'straw.'

Raktu is perhaps from רקע to spread out.


sakil? killu

Perhaps these words mean bolts and bars: we have sakkul a door-bar, and כלא 'clausit.'

sinik binu

Sinik may possibly be 'a prison.'


lagar ? lagaru


34. (effaced) [CUNEIFORM]

35. (effaced) [CUNEIFORM]

The two last are similar, but probably differed in the first column. (At this point there is a great fracture in the tablet.)

36. (effaced) . (effaced) . [CUNEIFORM]
37. (effaced) . [CUNEIFORM] . [CUNEIFORM]
umilu (a man)

According to 2 R 27, 45 [CUNEIFORM] (homo) with [CUNEIFORM] inserted means 'male,' and with [CUNEIFORM] inserted means 'female.'

kakkadu (the head)


shaib urukkhu

In this sign and the four following a letter is inserted between the two portions of the sign [CUNEIFORM]. This frequently happens. In No. 39 the inserted letter is doubtful. Whatever it is, it probably means 'white,' so that the complex sign is 'white headed.' For urukkhu in Heb. is 'pale' or 'white': and shaib has the same meaning: Heb. שיב and שוב 'grey hair,' 'old age.'

mukh mukkhuu

Mr. Smith thinks that this means 'the brain.' Heb. מוח. It is composed of [CUNEIFORM] inserted in [CUNEIFORM] 'the head.' This [CUNEIFORM] probably stands for [CUNEIFORM] which is muk (see old syllabary No. 161).

guthu garradu (a hero)

an adaru

43. [CUNEIFORM] same ymbol [CUNEIFORM]

The central sign is the same as [CUNEIFORM] which occurs frequently in the sense of 'a King.' Adaru seems to be the Hebrew עטרה a Crown, or Diadem.

The word [CUNEIFORM] kubsu is explained in 2 R 25, 24 and several following lines. The passage is mutilated but I think that it shows that kubsu meant 'a crown' or a 'crowned head.'

sur izzu


Compare the old syllabary No. 483, which reads [CUNEIFORM] Zur. The central sign is often rendered by izzu which means 'fire.' Thus in Syll. 473 [CUNEIFORM] izzu rendered by [CUNEIFORM] 'fire.' Similarly Sur means 'fire,' see Syll. 284 and 285 where surru is explained by kalu 'to burn,' and both have the same symbol.

ka ha hit

Both of these words mean 'the mouth.'

ka abbu (or appu, the face.)

(End of Syllabary S 23.)

The Syllabary S 15.

This has been found to join on to an old tablet marked K62.

The Nos. 48-65 agree with Rawlinson's Syllabary Nos. 682-700 but give several variants.

tal tal tallu

In the first column I have supplied [CUNEIFORM] from the old Syllabary No. 682, which also in the third column has

bi hi hasu

In the first column I have supplied [CUNEIFORM] from the old Syllabary No. 682.

has has hasu


ni ni i

But instead of the simple i in this and the two following lines the old Syllabary (No. 685) has [CUNEIFORM] which is like the Greek divine name law.

zalli zal i

For zalli the old Syllabary 686 has [CUNEIFORM].

ili (god) i or perhaps ya.
ili imin nabi

Instead of imin nabi the old Syllabary[CUNEIFORM] has tsi nabi [CUNEIFORM].

bu bu siru

In this and the next line the old Syllabary 689 changes [CUNEIFORM] into [CUNEIFORM].

sir bu siru
zu sir sir gunu

The old Syllabary 691 agrees in this word sir gunu.

ku ku tukullu (which is repeated in the four next lines.)

Tukullu signifies 'cloth': Heb. תכלכ cloth: but more  [p.506]  especially that which has been dyed with the Tyrian purple. It is here rendered by the Accadian [CUNEIFORM] ku; which very frequently occurs in the sense of cloth, dyed with various colours; for instance in the Accadian tablet 174 I find the following line: [CUNEIFORM] (white cloth)—[CUNEIFORM] (black cloth)— [CUNEIFORM] (yellow cloth)—[CUNEIFORM] (green cloth).

Tukultu has likewise another meanings that of 'service' or 'armed service,' and this, I believe, is also expressed by the symbol [CUNEIFORM].


The first letter is doubtful: it may be [CUNEIFORM]

60. [CUNEIFORM] (same).
61. [CUNEIFORM] (same).
62. (effaced) [CUNEIFORM] (same).
63. (effaced) [CUNEIFORM].
lu udu

Lines 64, 65 are an exact repetition of 63. Then follows the first column of another set of words, which at first sight seems not worth copying, for it is so broken that in general only the first letter remains. But on comparison it is found that these letters are identical with the first letters of words in the old Syllabary ranging from 751 to 766. They are useful therefore in confirming the accuracy of that part of the old Syllabary. I will notice two or three of them.

[CUNEIFORM] ....... is part of the curious word dingur 'a god' in Syllabary 755.

[CUNEIFORM] kalhu 'a dog' stands instead of [CUNEIFORM] in Syllabary 762 which equally sounded kalhu.

And in Syllabary 764 is a most valuable variant, for in that line the old Syllabary has [CUNEIFORM] di, but the present one [CUNEIFORM], by which we learn that [CUNEIFORM] had occasionally the sound of di. See Norris's dictionary p. 102 and 428 who compares [CUNEIFORM] with the Hebrew טעמ.


Reverse of S 15.

66. [CUNEIFORM] (effaced)
nir nir

agrees with the old Syllabary No. 129.

zak zak zaggu
khi kan khu
kab khahhu [the left]
kib kib kihhu
tir tir kishatu (spoil: plunder)
tuk duk tuku
tak ezibu

Smith's Phonetic Values No. 10 gives ezihu but not tak.

bar parakku
sar parakku

The old Syllabaries 1R 255 and 3R 142 agree, but write these words as [CUNEIFORM] hara and [CUNEIFORM].


After 75 there is a line drawn across the tablet, and the next word stands by itself, thus:

it a (water) naqu

This is the Heb. נקח naqa 'to pour a libation.' The word [CUNEIFORM] is explained by [CUNEIFORM] in a similar manner in 2 E, 24, 50. Again, comparing 4R5 col. i, 74 with col. ii, 71 [CUNEIFORM] answers to [CUNEIFORM], and in that passage seems to mean help or assistance.

The word [CUNEIFORM] is explained by [CUNEIFORM] libation also in 2 R 45, 35.

Mr. Smith informs me that the meaning of the line thus standing by itself is that it is the first line of the succeeding tablet and was intended to catch the student's eye and direct him to the next tablet.

Another set of words then follows of which only the first column remains, and is therefore not of much use. But I will give a few of the words, as they are unusual.

[CUNEIFORM] batthu

The Syllabary S 14.

ana an samu

Samu (Heaven) is the singular of Sami (the Heavens). In Hebrew the plural only is found, written שמי; it is therefore very interesting to find the singular of it in Assyrian.


dingir ilu (a god)
nab nab nabbu (gods?)

Compare the old Syllabary Nos. 753-755. (The rest of this column is broken off.)

Column II.

The next following lines 80 to 96 agree mainly with the old Syllabary 2R 1 Nos. 74 to 91 but supply a large number of signs which are broken off in that list.


The [CUNEIFORM] is supplied from the old Syllabary No. 74. These words [CUNEIFORM]; and [CUNEIFORM] signify 'every,' and occur frequently, ex. gr. [CUNEIFORM] 'very day'; [CUNEIFORM] 'every year.' It is uncertain whether [CUNEIFORM] should be transcribed umu or sammu.

lakh lakh natzu

I have supplied the [CUNEIFORM] from the old Syllabary 75.

sukkal sukkallu
kaskal? kas? kharranu

Kharran signifies (1) a Road, (2) an Inroad or Raid, or hostile incursion.

illat illat

Illat is 'an army'; see numerous examples in my Glossary No. 355. Probably the Heb. חיל exercitus.


The old Syllabary No. 79 has [CUNEIFORM] instead of [CUNEIFORM].

sam tam tamu (the day)

These words signify 'the Sun' and 'the day.'

sam su erib samsi (sunset)

[CUNEIFORM] is more frequently written [CUNEIFORM] when it means 'sunset.' It is an Accadian term.

niggin kummu
e adu atzu

The vowel e here stands alone, as it does in the old Syllabary 376 where it is explained by [CUNEIFORM] Qabu, which probably means a pool or fountain; in Hebrew גבא. This word occurs in the annals of Assurbanipal, see my Glossary No. 513. Uddu and Atzu also mean a spring or uprising of water. I find the phrase [CUNEIFORM] bab atzi 'the gate of the fountain' twice in the tablet 173: where it is said to be opened and shut, and to supply drink to men and women.

ukhu rubitu

For ukhu the old Syllabary No. 426 has uhk [CUNEIFORM].

itu arkhu (a month)
itu arkhu

For itu the old Syllabary has [CUNEIFORM] idu.


muru gahlu

In this and the four following signs the old Syllabary begins with [CUNEIFORM] and not [CUNEIFORM]. This graphic variation occurs frequently.

nisak niqu

For [CUNEIFORM] the old Syllabary has [CUNEIFORM].

umun mummu

The central sign is rendered [CUNEIFORM] in 2 R 33, 56. Instead of [CUNEIFORM] the old Syllabary No. 89 has [CUNEIFORM] which is also mun.

95. (bis) [CUNEIFORM]
di sikitu

The word sikitu is restored by help of the old Syllabary No. 90. This sign [CUNEIFORM] is also explained by [CUNEIFORM] in 2 R 30, 13 where we find [CUNEIFORM] saqu instead of sikitu.

si nappakhu

The last word is restored from old Syllabary No. 91.

Reverse of S 14.

(Nos. 97-105 agree with the old Syllabary in 2R 2 Nos. 327-332 and the small fragment there placed after line 332, but supply many deficiencies.)

azalak (homo) kupar azlaku

The name of some trade? the last word is restored from old Syllabary No. 327. Perhaps 'a carpenter' for, in 2R 22, 12 the timmu of a [CUNEIFORM] spoken of (bench of a carpenter?). Compare Heb. אשל arbor.


dinik (homo) min sibzu

Sibzu is restored from the old Syllabary 328. It seems to be the name of some trade: perhaps 'an embroiderer' from khara (homo) kab? iskabhu?

The last word is restored from the old Syllabary No. 329.

sar sarru (a King).

The last letter [CUNEIFORM] is restored from the old Syllabary No. 330.

raba rah rabbu

The letter [CUNEIFORM] is restored from the old Syllabary.

dim rab-gam makutu

In the middle sign the old Syllabary No. 332 gives [CUNEIFORM] erroneously, instead of [CUNEIFORM].

makh tsiru

[CUNEIFORM] means "the same."

gul kul abatu
zun zun lib dabu


This same explanation of [CUNEIFORM] zun as lib dahu is found in 2R 30, 68.

Lib dabu means a cheerful heart, or happiness. I know not whether we may infer that zun had sometimes that meaning. It seems to occur in Tiglath viii 27 when the king prays to the gods that his piety may be rewarded with zuni dakhduti sanat, happiness for many years, written [CUNEIFORM] zuni.

107. (effaced) [CUNEIFORM]
arratu (a curse)
108. (effaced) [CUNEIFORM]
tsibutu (a wish)

This is the Syriac צבותא voluntas, from תבא voluit. Mr. Smith informs me that [CUNEIFORM] often means 'a wish.' In the sense of 'a curse' it occurs in 4 R 7 line 1, where it is translated by the Assyrian arrat [CUNEIFORM] in lines 39-42 where we find [CUNEIFORM] the curse of a father: [CUNEIFORM] the curse of a mother: [CUNEIFORM] the curse of a brother, &c., &c. See vol. 2 of these Transactions, pp. 58 and 72.

This sign [CUNEIFORM] is explained in 2R 7, 49 by [CUNEIFORM] khasakhu a wish, or desire: which is the Heb. חשק cupiit, desideravit. This verb also signifies ligare 'to bind' which applies to [CUNEIFORM] in the sense of 'a curse' or 'spell,' as we say 'spell-bound.'

In the Michaux inscription we find, 'May the gods curse him (liruru-su) with curses or spells which cannot be untied (arrat la napsuri).'

The Syllabary S 17.

109. [CUNEIFORM] (effaced) [CUNEIFORM] (effaced)
110. [CUNEIFORM]. (broken off)
u or sam la


111. [CUNEIFORM] (broken).
u  ru isbu (a flower)
kha kha kua

[CUNEIFORM] is rendered nabutu (an oracle) in Smith's Phonetic Values No. 320; and Kua was the name of the great oracle of Marduk at Babylon: see an interesting notice of it in Norris's dictionary p. 512. [CUNEIFORM] is explained in 2 R 48, 49 by [CUNEIFORM] nabutu 'a prophecy.' The following is an example of the use of the word, Annals of Assurbanipal p. 118. "This eclipse [CUNEIFORM] (prophecied) to the king of Elam, his death."

117. [CUNEIFORM] (kua)
119. (effaced). [CUNEIFORM] (kua gunu)

This important gloss, pish, kua gunu is also found in a glossary which Mr. Smith brought home in his first expedition: where [CUNEIFORM] rendered [CUNEIFORM]. thus leaving no doubt of its pronunciation.

The Tablet S 12.

This is a bilingual tablet in two columns, in very fair preservation. It begins with a list, apparently, of persons employed about the Court in Babylon.



I believe kissala means a 'court'.

kissalukhu (as before)
kissalukhatu (the feminine of the preceding)
akir kissalukhi

This may mean 'another kisallukh.' Heb. אהר alius.


From what follows I conjecture that [CUNEIFORM] in the first column and [CUNEIFORM] in the second column mean door or gate. This last sign is given in 2R22 lines 1 to 7, where it appears to mean 'gate.'

nigab pitu dalti
porter opener of the gate.

This word nigab, a porter or gate keeper, is well known from the legend of Ishtar.

nigab muselu dalti
porter opener of the gate.

This word muselu is the participle of the verb sela to admit which occurs frequently. It is the S conjugation of elah Heb. עלל 'to enter' and therefore means 'to cause to enter' (i.e. to admit).

I have little doubt that [CUNEIFORM] means 'a gate.' I find an example of the word in the Accadian tablet 174 [CUNEIFORM] (with a gate) [CUNEIFORM] (of cedar wood).

To this may be added that [CUNEIFORM] followed by [CUNEIFORM] or [CUNEIFORM] evidently means 'gate-opener' in 2 R 44, lines 42 &c. being rendered by the Assyrian mupattitu, naptartu, and [p.516] naptitu derived from the Hebrew verbs פתה and פטר 'to open.' Indeed, we find in the same plate col. 3 line 39 the  explanation [CUNEIFORM] sikkatu, a gate or lock, related to the Heb. סגר, but here the last syllable tu is  broken off. Elsewhere (2R45 lines 21 and 24) [CUNEIFORM] is rendered [CUNEIFORM] sikkat and [CUNEIFORM] sikkatu.

Sikkat are also 'gates,' i.e. defiles or narrow passes, between high mountains. See Tigl. iii, 19.

In the phrase mentioned above [CUNEIFORM] the sign [CUNEIFORM] means 'open.' This explains the term [CUNEIFORM] which occurs so often in 2R plate 8 in the sense of 'hand.' It is not the 'hand' simply, but the 'open hand,' palma.

(homo) mut sha arpi

In these lists [CUNEIFORM] frequently rendered by [CUNEIFORM] sha which either means 'the man' or 'he who': 'the man who.'

(homo) uddu sha nainzaki
(homo) sakakti sha namzaki (as before).
(homo) mia dudu khaida

The first word is 'the man going by night': the night watchman: [CUNEIFORM] (night) [CUNEIFORM] (going). The second appears to be khaidu the Patrol, going the rounds, Arab, הוט and האט ambiit, circumivit.

(homo) rit tatara kanniku

Tatara is explained in 4R19 by the Assyrian word nammir 'bright.' It comes from [CUNEIFORM] 'bright' or 'white.'

(homo) si harharra sha piti inu


[CUNEIFORM] means 'the eyes' in Accadian: [CUNEIFORM] 'open.' Sha piti inu is 'the man with open eyes' i.e. 'the vigilant watchman.' In 2 R 39, 4, we find this gloss: [CUNEIFORM] barra, pitu, which means that barra in Accadian is pitu (open) in Assyrian.

We now come to a long and curious list of the watchmen who were set to guard the city, apparently Babylon.

inniui mazartu

Both of these words are well known and frequently employed. Mazartu (custodia) is a verbal substantive derived from the Hebrew verb גצר custodire. The custos himself was called more simply mazar [CUNEIFORM].

Since all the words of this column begin with [CUNEIFORM] written at full length, I have thought it sufficient to write ditto.

134. ditto [CUNEIFORM]

This is a curious phrase: innun ki innim, the guard of the guard-house; (ki meaning 'a place'). The Assyrian phrase is mazar tsibitti the guard of the prison. Mr. Smith informs me that tsibitti often means 'a prison.'

135. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
innun mia mazar musi

That is, 'watchman of the night.' [CUNEIFORM] is constantly used to express 'the same' or 'ditto': here therefore we must read it mazar. I will write 'idem' for it in the rest of the column.

136. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
hehal hekalli

i.e. the guard of the palace.

137. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
hahi hekalli babi hekalli

i.e. the guard of the palace gate.


138. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
hahi rahi abulli

i.e. the guard of the great gate of the city. Abulli is a new word.

139. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
nakantu nakanti

i.e. the guard of the Treasury.

140. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
naditu naditi

This I believe means the guard of the King's Corn-store or Granary. Heb. גר acervus.

141. ditto [CUNEIFORM]
bit biti

i.e. the guard of the house.

142. ditto [CUNEIFORM]

i.e. the guard of the house of god—the guard of the temple. [CUNEIFORM] is used in Accadian as the genitive case of [CUNEIFORM], as in the well known name of Babylon [CUNEIFORM], "gate of god" Bah-ili.

143. ditto [CUNEIFORM], idem [CUNEIFORM]

i.e. the guard of the temples (houses of the gods). This is very curious. [CUNEIFORM] (gods) is the Accadian plural of [CUNEIFORM] an Assyrian plural of [CUNEIFORM]. We frequently find this sign of the plural [CUNEIFORM] which means 'multitude': see the explanation of it given m 2R42, 27 [CUNEIFORM] mahadutu [plurality]. The Accadian plural [CUNEIFORM] 'gods' is also found in 2 R 22, 16 which relates to the holy vessels of the temples.

144. ditto [CUNEIFORM] idem [CUNEIFORM] (ikli)

i.e. the guard of the fields. Ikli Chald. חקל ager is usually rendered by [CUNEIFORM] in Accadian.


145. ditto [CUNEIFORM] idem [CUNEIFORM] (kiri)

i.e. the guard of the woods or plantations, or fruit orchards. (The rest of this column is broken off.)

Reverse of Tablet S 12.

This contains a long list of titles of honour.

146. (broken) [CUNEIFORM] (bil gubhu)

This means a nobleman: see 2 R 32, 19 where we read [CUNEIFORM], [CUNEIFORM] gubba makkim (a nobleman). Heb. גבה altus, elatus, eminens.

147. (broken) [CUNEIFORM]
Bil kumrnu
, lord of the palace.
148. (broken) [CUNEIFORM]
Nin kummu, lady of the palace.
kisib gallu

[CUNEIFORM] kisib is explained [CUNEIFORM] rit, and [CUNEIFORM] rittu, in the old Syllabary No. 120, where it is placed among words meaning rank or dignity. Kisib is probably the Arabic חסיב a nobleman. Schindler says (p. 668) Hasib vir magnæ existimationis: nobihs: generosus: patricius. In Rabbinic literature חשוב is vir honoratus, raagnse existimationis.

Bit gal ap gallu

Here [CUNEIFORM] ap is rendered by [CUNEIFORM] a house. This is confirmed by the old Syllabary No. 188, which renders [CUNEIFORM] by [CUNEIFORM] but Esarhaddon (col. vi, 25) calls his new building the [CUNEIFORM] ap gal or palace.


Since all these words are names or epithets of a king or nobleman, it follows that No. 150 [CUNEIFORM] also meant 'the king,' as I have already remarked in my notes to the legend of Ishtar; just as Pharaoh is now known to mean "the great house" i.e. "the king." Of course, [CUNEIFORM] also meant the king's residence: the context will generally show which is meant.

The next seven numbers all commence with [CUNEIFORM] nibu mi, a very common phrase, in which rubu signifies 'king' or 'prince,' but [CUNEIFORM] has not been explained.

152. [CUNEIFORM] (imqu).

Imqu is probably the Heb. עמק profundus, an epithet expressive of the profound wisdom of the king. The word seems to occur in the legend of Ishtar col. 2, 11. "Hea in the profound wisdom of his heart [CUNEIFORM] as imqi lihhi-su formed a plan," &c. But the niphal form nimiqi is much more common. It expresses deep thoughts, mysterious wisdom, &c. &c.


Mudu 'wse' is a frequent epithet of the King.


Ippisu is probably the same as itpisn 'active,' a very common epithet of the King.


Khazzu or Khazizu is an unusual spelling of [CUNEIFORM] khasizu 'intelligent,' a very frequent epithet of the King. For example in Layard's inscriptions 43, 3 the king calls himself irsu-mndu the wise leader; khasizu intelligent; pit nzni nimiqi with an expanded mind profound.



This epithet of the king, tar ummani, may mean 'son of the faith,' i.e. 'religious': but this is doubtful.


Bil tarti, an epithet of uncertain meaning.

rubu ruble (a king or lord).
ku (a lord) ruhu (a lord).
nin (a lady) rubatu (a queen or lady).

This is an old form of the sign nin, almost reverting to the hieratic form of it.

[great man] surbu (king or chief)
[man] bilu

The six following words are also explained by Bilu, written in the same way. Although No. 162 is merely a 'man' or perhaps 'husband,' 'lord of the house,' all the others express lords or men of rank.

163. [CUNEIFORM] (king) . bilu.
164. [CUNEIFORM] (lord) . bilu.
165. [CUNEIFORM] bilu.

This is important; for it shows that [CUNEIFORM] Ak meant 'a lord,' and therefore when Nebo is called [CUNEIFORM] only means that he was "the Lord," and not that Ak was his proper name. Another word for 'a king' was Uk, apparently related to Ak.


166. [CUNEIFORM] . bilu

[CUNEIFORM] very frequently means 'a king.'

167.[CUNEIFORM] . bilu.

Here we see that a chief or nobleman was called [CUNEIFORM] which means 'a Sword.' So also in Western Europe. In German Degen means 'a sword' but anciently it meant a brave chief or warrior: as in the Nibelungen Lied. The corresponding Anglo-Saxon word is Thegen or Thagn a soldier or knight; but more especially one serving the king; a THANE, nobleman, or baron. Bosworth's A.S. dictionary p. 99 k.

168. [CUNEIFORM] (sib) . bilu.

This is a very frequent word for 'king.'

sib ribu

This word is separated from the others by a line; which shows that it is the first word of the next tablet: and since ribu means 'a king' we see that the next tablet also began with another list of titles of honour. By the side of [CUNEIFORM] in this line some one has written [CUNEIFORM] showing how he pronounced it. These marginal glosses are frequently useful.


This is not the whole of the interesting tablet S 12. There are yet two columns on one side, and one on the other, but they are injured, and in other respects seem less valuable than those I have given.



Addenda to the Preceding Syllabaries.

I have sought to find other passages in which these words occur, in order to ascertain their meaning more accurately, as well as to confirm the orthography of the tablets. I will here annex some of these which seem likely to be useful.


No. 4. [CUNEIFORM] Ku and Zuhatu both mean 'a victim'; but they also both mean 'cloth.' It is therefore uncertain which is meant here.

No. 6. Us and Ku also mean 'King.' See No. 159 for Ku in this sense. The inscriptions of the old Accadian kings employ us danga in the sense of 'great king,' where the Assyrians would have written sar dannu.

No. 8. I will add some more examples of [CUNEIFORM] used as dalakh. In 4R 26, 55, it is rendered itallakh. In 211 47, 10, itallakhu, 'they disturb.' In 4R 11, 2, ittatlakhi, in the T conjugation.

No. 10. Here [CUNEIFORM] is explained Kar, a wall, or walled fortress. Example: [CUNEIFORM] Kardunias, otherwise spelt [CUNEIFORM] ancient name for Babylonia. See Norris's dictionary, p. 596.

No. 12. Gukkal may be Heb. עגל vitulus, for I think that [CUNEIFORM] Lu, occurs in both senses, viz., a 'sheep' in No. 11, and 'a calf' in No. 12.

No. 15. [CUNEIFORM] is also the name of a constellation m 2 R 49, 49.

In 2R 57, 39, the god Nmib is called [CUNEIFORM] Nin kattin barzil, 'the lord of the coat of iron,' meaning the armour which he wore as god of war. Hence kattin must be the Hebrew כתן 'a coat': also tunica, vestis. In Syriac it means 'linen.' Gesenius thinks it is also cognate with the Arabic kotn (cotton), so that his authority confirms my conjecture.


No. 16. Here we see that [CUNEIFORM] meant cloth or dress. This is confirmed by 2 R 89, 52, where it is rendered luhustu (dress); and in the next line [CUNEIFORM] Ku is rendered nalhasu (dress), a niphal form of [CUNEIFORM]. Supatu is the same as [CUNEIFORM] 'dress': See the legend of Ishtar, Znhat hulti sha zumri-sha, velum pudoris corporis ejus. In 2 R 25, 40, zuhat sarri, 'the dress of a king.' In 2R 30, 21, zubat eliti 'a royal dress,' in Accadian [CUNEIFORM] harra 'dress of a king or prince.'

The tablet S 13 brought home by Mr. Smith is chiefly about clothing. The word [CUNEIFORM] supatu occurs in it several times; also its Accadian equivalent [CUNEIFORM] 'cloth.' Among the kinds enumerated we find 'the cloth of Elam' [CUNEIFORM] the cloth of Martu (Phoenicia); and the cloth of Canaan, written [CUNEIFORM] Kanana.

No 17. This explanation of [CUNEIFORM] by dahiniu, [CUNEIFORM] is fully confirmed by a gloss in S 13, which explains it [CUNEIFORM] dahimatu.

No. 18. This sign [CUNEIFORM] evidently require great attention before it is properly understood. It answers to the Assyrian pasas or busus, not only in the sense of byssus, but in several other meanings. For instance, busus in Assyrian means 'to pour' (Heb.פרצצ spargere), ex. gr. Esarh. vi, 68 [CUNEIFORM] 'pour a libation' and though this has nothing to do with 'byssus,' yet the same Accadian monogram is employed. See the following passage m 4 R 26, 49, "Pour this magic liquor seven times over the body of the sick man"! Here the Assyrian has [CUNEIFORM] busus 'pour it'! The Accadian [CUNEIFORM]. These two signs are sometimes redoubled (which has a very complicated appearance), for example in 4R 19, 11, where the Assyrian has usafha, 'he came' or 'he went.' The Hebrew verb פשע 'to walk or go,' seems, to give a clue to this meaning, at least if it is susceptible of the reduplicate form [CUNEIFORM]. Another and quite different meaning of the double sign is 'to groan or cry.'


See 4 R 19, 59, where it is rendered by the Assyrian adammum, 'I groaned' (perhaps Heb. רמע lacrymavit). A more remarkable instance is found in 4 R 10, 60, "I cried aloud for help, but no one drew nigh." Here "I cried aloud" is rendered in Accadian by this same reduplicate sign.

No. 19. This sign [CUNEIFORM] occurs also in 2 R 17, 6 where it appears to be translated by zumri (body). [CUNEIFORM] is rendered in Syll. 260 zumur (body or trunk) and kimmatu which may be the Arab, hurrnat 'trunk of a tree,' see Catafago's dictionary. In our gloss No. 19 Munsup is probably the trunk of a tree, from root nasb: khirtit is 'a tree.' Suki is its trunk or stock.

No. 20. The central sign is written [CUNEIFORM] in the syllabary 3 R No. 67 which I believe to be the correct form of it, for it is found again in 4 R 14. (No. 3, 13.) In our text this sign is explained gur and karu which I consider to mean 'a wall,' in Hebrew קר and קיר paries: murus. The gloss karu is well confirmed by the aforesaid example m 4 R 14 which reads, Bil kabtu mustappiki kari, 'the great lord, the builder of the wall.' Elsewhere we find karu astappak, 'I raised up the wall'; and kari usepik, see Norris's dictionary p. 594 who also quotes the gloss in 2 R 13, 20.

No. 21. It must be admitted however that the scribes themselves sometimes wrote [CUNEIFORM] for the name of the Cedar, as in 2 R 50, 65.

No. 24. Ikla is also explained Basu in 4 R 28, 7 and 29, 37. Basu generally means 'to be,' and in the tablets of portents it often means 'it will be,' and nu ik 'it will not be.' Thus 2 R 39, 44 "Corn in the land will be" ([CUNEIFORM]). It is however rendered nasu, not basu, in 4 R 25, 42 salumrnatu nasi, lift up the shadows, or the darkness.

No. 29. This complicated sign is confirmed by the passage in 2 R 16, 61 where [CUNEIFORM] explained in Assyrian by [CUNEIFORM] ikkillu. In 2 R 61, [CUNEIFORM] a temple of that name is mentioned, which may be rendered the Bit killu, and in the next line a similar temple having 'a splendid base.'


No. 30. This word is very difficult, but evidently of great importance. It generally has [CUNEIFORM], the sign for a tree or plant, prefixed to it, thus: [CUNEIFORM] translated [CUNEIFORM] Unu ha 4 R 2(3, 37 and 27, 5. This agrees perfectly with our No. 30. But what is the meaning of Unu? I suspect that it is closely related to the Latin vinum (wine) or vinea (a vine). It is often followed by [CUNEIFORM] Uinmis which appears to me to be Greek (wine). If it is not that word the coincidence at least is singular. This phrase therefore contains eight cuneiform signs. Examples of it are found in 4 R plate 16, 31 and 25, 32 and 26, 36. The Hebrew language has the same name for 'wine,' in the form [CUNEIFORM], so that the word was very generally diffused and might well be found in Accadian.

This explanation receives much support from the context of the passages in which [CUNEIFORM] occurs. These usually relate that Hea sends his son Marduk to heal a sick man, or at least to comfort him, which he is directed to do by giving him precious liquors to drink, and pouring them over his body. It is evident that Wine is a most appropriate word in such passages as these. Moreover the word binu can hardly have any other meaning than 'wine' in the passage 4R 27, 5 Binu sha, as inusari, mi la ishtu: "Wine which among the songs (i.e. in the musical festivals) they drank without water." The vinum merum may have been enjoined by their religion. So in Homer [Greek].

Since writing the above I have found the following explanation of [CUNEIFORM] 2 R 23, 17—viz. [CUNEIFORM]: Gumalu, which I think is the Hebrew כרמל Carmel; a fruit orchard; fruit garden; or vineyard (Furst and Gesenius). The word Sinik by which it is translated in No. 30 is the Heb. ציכק an enclosure, derived from צכק to enclose, meaning 'a garden' enclosed from the waste, and hedged around. Similar roots are צכג and גג to hedge or enclose.

No. 31. Gallabu appears to be 'the hand.' It is explained m 2 R 46 col. ii, 47 by [CUNEIFORM] which immediately [p.527] follows [CUNEIFORM] 'the hand.' And in same plate col. iv, 50 it stands next to kati 'the hand.'

No. 58. This word [CUNEIFORM] Ku 'cloth' occurs very frequently in S. 13 with various epithets added, such as [CUNEIFORM] explained [CUNEIFORM] issu 'new': [CUNEIFORM] explained [CUNEIFORM] lahiru 'old': [CUNEIFORM] ura explained also labiric 'old.' Same tablet explains Ku by supatu 'cloth' and ittu sha zuhati 'kinds of cloth?' Another important rendering of Ku is [CUNEIFORM] which may be read saku or garku. This is explained in Assyrian by [CUNEIFORM] lubus (dress) Heb. לבש. This is followed by the composite words [CUNEIFORM] explained [CUNEIFORM] (ditto of a god) i.e. 'the dress of a god,' where observe that [CUNEIFORM] merely the Accadian genitive case of [CUNEIFORM]. And then [CUNEIFORM] explained [CUNEIFORM] 'dress of a king.' I also find this word [CUNEIFORM] in 2 R 25, 26 combined with, pasasu 'byssus' so as to mean apparently 'a linen dress.'

No. 75. Here [CUNEIFORM] is explained Sar 'a king,' whence we find in 4 R 9, 35 the derived term naram [CUNEIFORM] explained sarrut, 'royalty.'

No. 76. [CUNEIFORM] sometimes means 'a libation,' see 2 R 58, 31. Nadaluni (they sprinkle), [CUNEIFORM] (the altars), [CUNEIFORM] (with libations). Nadaluni is probably the Chald. נזל nazal, Syr. גצל fluxit; fiidit super.

No. 88. Kummu, generally means 'a palace.' This phrase [CUNEIFORM] preceded by [CUNEIFORM] bit 'dwelling' and followed by sara 'a king' occurs in 2 R 61, 4 and probably means 'the king's palace.' Nin [CUNEIFORM] sara also occurs in 2 R 59, 30 as an epithet of the goddess Gula; and of a male deity in 2R 60, 13, where Nin is exchanged for Bil? These titles are probably identical with the bil kwmim and nin kummu of the present paper (see Nos. 147, 148).

No. 91. This is one of the most important words in the syllabary. [CUNEIFORM] is frequently used for 'a month,' and so [p.528] is arkhu which is the Heb. ירח 'the Moon' and also 'a month,' Now here our syllabary informs us that the Moon was also called Itu, or if we follow the older syllabary, idu. Observe how beautifully this agrees with Suidas, [Greek].

No. 96. Napimkhu perhaps means 'a Trumpet,' from the Heb. najpakh 'to blow.' [CUNEIFORM] is also rendered nappakhu in 2 R 58, 58 where it is an epithet of Hea god of battles. It will be observed that the word is also rendered [CUNEIFORM] in our syllabary. [CUNEIFORM] means 'a Horn' in Accadian. This agrees very well.

No. 98. Sihzu seems related to suzuhbu a kind of dress mentioned in S. 13. Buxtorf makes chlamys ocellata.

No. 99. Iskabbu may mean a foolish man: of weak intellect, see Catafago's dictionary p. 128, 129. Iskabbu is used as a term of reproach and contempt in Esarh. col. ii, 15.

No. 123. Akir kisallukhi may mean the deputy of a kisallukh or his under-officer. אחר is used in Hebrew for 'second.' In the portion of this syllabary which I have not printed, there is mention of an officer called a baru, and then of another called [CUNEIFORM] bari, the deputy of the baru.

No. 124. Here iddu seems to mean 'the opener' of the gate, he who 'throws it open,' from ירה 'to throw.'

No. 126. I have here translated [CUNEIFORM] sikkat 'a gate,' see 4R 17, 5 where it is rendered in Accadian by [CUNEIFORM] which confirms the former examples which I have given. There is an important variant [CUNEIFORM] sikrat in 2 R 62, 71 (see the marginal note there). This brings the word very close to the root I have suggested (Heb. clausit).

Nos. 128 and 129. This gloss [CUNEIFORM] is found also in 4 R 1 7, 4 where it is rendered as here, namzaki, which probably means 'gate opener,' from Arabic 'to separate.' Folding doors are separated when opened. The word [CUNEIFORM] namzakhi is also found in 2R 23, 40 explained [CUNEIFORM] arbu (Heb. i.e. door, or window): which is governed by the word in the preceding [p.529] line [CUNEIFORM] muselu (opener of), explained [CUNEIFORM] niptu (opener). The word muselu occurs in the preceding glossary No. 126. These confirmations are very satisfactory.

No. 131. Rit maybe 'sight,' from [CUNEIFORM] 'to see.' But the value of the sign [CUNEIFORM] is variable and uncertain.

No. 159. Here we have [CUNEIFORM] Ku explained Ruhu 'a king.' In accordance with which, naram ku is explained ruhut 'royalty' in 4R 9, 18. This naram is a formative particle, apparently the same as nam. So in 4 R 9, 35 from [CUNEIFORM] Sar 'a king' (see No. 75 of this paper) we find the derived word naram [CUNEIFORM] explained sarrut 'royalty.'