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Assyrian King Lists (1.135)

(1,646 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Lists of Assyrian kings have been found at Assur, Nineveh and Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad). The ‘Assyrian King List’ is known in five copies, none complete, two being only small fragments; there are slight variants between them. It begins with names of nomadic kings who lived about 2000 bce, which some scholars think may be names of tribes rather than persons because there are similarities between them and names in the Genealogy o…

The Sacred Marriage of Iddin-Dagan and Inanna (1.173)

(3,119 words)

Author(s): Jacobsen, Thorkild
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Commentary This hymn was apparently written under Iddin–Dagan, the third king of the dynasty of Isin, for he is mentioned by name in it. It may even be that it was meant for use at the yearly rite of the sacred marriage in which the king took on the identity of the god Ama–ushumgal–anna and as such married Inanna, who was almost certainly incarnated in the reigning queen, as shown by the epithet N…

Ugaritic King List (1.104)

(739 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary This poorly preserved, enigmatic tablet (RS 24.257 =  Ugaritica  5 .5 =  KTU 1.113) contains a retrograde1 list of the kings of Ugarit in two columns on its verso. The very broken recto seems to preserve some sort of ritual, consistently alternating between two musical instruments (tp “a tambourine/drum” and ṯlb “a flute) and the word lnʿm “for the Pleasant One.” What the exact relationship is (if any) between the recto and the verso …

The Hittite Conquest of Cyprus: Two Inscriptions of Suppiluliuma II (1.75)

(1,785 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary The present text derives from a single tablet found in the 1961 season of excavations at Boğazköy in the area of the House on the Slope. It was published in cuneiform copy by Heinrich Otten in 1963 in Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi, Heft XII, No. 38, and was partially transliterated and translated in the same year by Otten (1963a). The definitive edition was by Hans Güterbock in 1967 (see also Carruba 1968), who cites all anterior literature. The tablet …

King Lists (1.37)

(563 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary King–lists of various types abound in ancient Egyptian sources. Technically, a collection of three or more names is a “group” and a true king–list arranges names in proper historical order and provides the length of reign. Following this definition, the only Egyptian source that meets these requirements is the Turin Canon, and it is not fully preserved. Nevertheless, the term king–l…

A Hymn Celebrating Assurnasirpal Ii’s Campaigns to the West (1.139)

(1,631 words)

Author(s): Hurowitz, Victor
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Commentary This text was found by the German excavations at Assur in the house of a nargallu (chief singer).1 It begins as a hymn to Enlil (Assur),2 but then praises Assurnasirpal II (883–859 bce) for his campaigns to the mountains in the west and for contributing to various temples the wood taken on the campaigns. It ends with a blessing of the king.3 The events referred to are described in detail in the king’s annals and mentioned briefly in his royal titles.4 A Hymn Ce…

The Kirta Epic (1.102)

(9,401 words)

Author(s): Pardee, Dennis
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Epic Commentary The Kirta story was recorded on three tablets that were discovered during the second and third campaigns at Ras Shamra (1930–1931). Lacunae prevent a complete understanding of the story, which must have been longer, recorded on tablets never discovered. On the other hand, the high degree of poetic narrative repetition permit the comparatively certain restoration of some important lacunae. …

Amenemhet (1.36)

(1,724 words)

Author(s): Lichtheim, Miriam
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Instructions Commentary When first studied, the text was regarded as the genuine work of King Amenemhet I, composed by him after he had escaped an attempt on his life. The currently prevailing view is that the king was in fact assassinated in the thirtieth year of his reign, and that the text was composed by a royal scribe at the behest of the new king, Sesostris I. The attack on the king’s life is told in a deliberately veiled manner; yet there are sufficient hints in th…

An Assurbanipal Prayer for Mullissu (1.144)

(520 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns An Assurbanipal Prayer for Mullissu (1.144) (1) […] … […] […] she provides […][…] … she is in authority, does not … […][…], who grants scepter, throne, and a long reign, ( 5) [who makes] their offspring abundant, fashions totality, […]. at its mention the Igigi tremble.[At its …] who made the Anunnaki tremble.[Humanity], — mankind, the black-headed people, beseech you for their lives!Merciful, sparing [sovereign], who grants clemency, ( 10) [who makes joyful] the wa…

The Babylonian Chronicle (1.137)

(1,597 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary The series of cuneiform tablets known as The Babylonian Chronicle covers the years from 745 bce into the late Seleucid period (2nd century bce). Entries follow a chronological order, introduced by the year of reign of the king of Babylon, although not every year is included. Warfare is the most common topic, within Babylonia and beyond, the accessions and deaths of kings are noted, the celebration or laps…

Proclamation of Anitta of Kuššar (1.72)

(1,690 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Proclamation of Anitta of Kuššar (1.72) Subject: Deut 13:16; Josh 6:26; 1 Kgs 16:34; Isa 25:2; Ezek 26:14; Ezra 4:12–22; 1 Sam 4–6; Judg 6:1; 13:1; 2 Kgs 18–19; Isa 36–37; Jer 12:7; 21:10; Judg 9:45; Josh 8:19 Reign of Pitḫana of Kuššar §1 ( lines 1–4) (Thus speaks) Anitta, son of Pitḫana, king of Kuššar. Say:1 (Pitḫana) was dear to the Stormgod of the Sky.2 When (Pithana) was dear to the Stormgod of the Sky, the king of Neša3 was …4 to the king of Kuššar (…

A Hymn to Nanaya With A Blessing for Sargon II (1.141)

(588 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns A Hymn to Nanaya With A Blessing for Sargon II (1.141) Subject: 1 Sam 2:8; Ps 113:7 Obverse I.1´ [… she grasps in her hand] the naked sword, [the emblem of Nergal], and the pointed axe, appropriate to the [Pleiades].Right and left, battle is set in lines. I.5´ She is the foremost of the gods, whose play is combat, she who leads the coalition of the seven demons. Musicians of wide repertoire are seated before her, performers on the lyre, the harpsichord, the clapp…

3. Sakkara King List (sl) (1.37C)

(354 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Carved on the Sakkara tomb of the “Overseer of Works” from the reign of Ramesses II is the so called “Sakkara King List.” Like its counterpart at Abydos, this is an offering list which originally recorded the names of 58 monarchs. Above each cartouche is the word nsw, “king” with determinative of a seated king, a white or red crown; they alternate throughout. Below each cartouche is the epithet mʾʿ ḫrw, “justified,” indicating that these kings were d…

Dialogue Between Assurbanipal and Nabu (1.145)

(646 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Dialogue Between Assurbanipal and Nabu (1.145) (1) In the assembly of the great gods [I constantly] speak in your adulation, Nabu! May the [assembly] of my detractors not take control of me! ( 3) [In the temple of the Queen of] Nineveh I approach you, hero among the gods, his gods, his brothers. You are the eternal trust of Assurbanipal! ( 5) [Since I was a small] child I have lain at the feet of Nabu! Nabu, do not leave me to the assembly of my detractors! ( 7) Please listen, Assurb…

Atra-ḫasis (1.130)

(1,966 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Epic Commentary The “primeval history” of humanity, which occupies the first eleven chapters of Genesis, also exercised the Mesopotamian imagination. In Akkadian, the Epic of Atra-hasis constitutes its earliest and most systematic formulation. This epic explains the creation of man as intended to relieve the (lesser) deities of their toil, and the attempted destruction of humanity as divine response to the n…

Apology of Ḫattušili III (1.77)

(5,113 words)

Author(s): Hout, Th. P. J. van den
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Biography and Autobiography Commentary The so-called “Apology” of Ḫattušili III (1267-ca. 1240 BCE) is one of the major Hittite historical texts that have come down to us. At least eight different manuscripts must have existed among which were one-tablet and two-tablet versions, thus illustrating the relative importance the Hittites must have attached to it. All fragments have been found in the eastern storer…

Crossing of the Taurus (1.73)

(773 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Crossing of the Taurus (1.73) Subject: Num 16:15; 1 Sam 12:3; Gen 27:40; Lev 26:13; Deut 28:48; 1 Kgs 12:4–14; Isa 14:25; Jer 27:8; Jer 5:22; Deut 33:17; Pss 22:22; 92:11 §1 Thus (says) Puḫanu, the servant of Šarmaššu […] A person to him […] is dressed in a colorful tunic/garment. On his head a basket1 has been placed. He holds his bow (variant: a bow). He has called for help, (saying:) “What have I done? What?” §2 “I haven’t taken anything from anyone. I haven’t t…

Babylonian King Lists (1.134)

(1,345 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Lists of rulers with lengths of reign were needed by scribes for calculating how long ago legal deeds had been concluded. They also enabled kings to learn when their predecessors had built temples or palaces which they were rebuilding. For a royal family they could supply a genealogy and justification for kingship although in Babylonia there were many changes of dynasty, in contrast…

The Marduk Prophecy (1.149)

(1,198 words)

Author(s): Longman III, Tremper
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Fictional Royal Autobiography Commentary The Marduk Prophecy is the most complete and clearest example of fictional autobiography which ends with a prophecy. R. Borger has provided a copy, transliteration, translation into German, and commentary on the text. The Marduk Prophecy (1.149) Subject: Deut 29:29; Ps 44:21; Isa 45:19; 48:16; Prov 8:12; Eccl 1:12; Hos 9:8; 1 Sam 4:1b–11; Dan 11:7; Gen 19:16; Pss 42:4; 68:24; Exod 19:4; Ps 55:6; Job 20:29; 21:17; Jer 23:33–40; Joel 1:9; Nah…

The Adad-Guppi Autobiography (1.147)

(1,146 words)

Author(s): Longman III, Tremper
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Fictional Royal Autobiography Commentary In 1906 H. Pognon discovered a much-broken stela at Eski Harran (Nab. H 1, A). The text left many questions unanswered but was identified as composed for either the mother or grandmother of Nabonidus. Happily, D. S. Rice discovered a duplicate in the pavement steps of the northern entrance to the Great Mosque at Harran (Nab. H 2, A). Both texts had been used to construc…
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