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the_middle_assyrian_period [2016/04/19 22:49]
wagensonner [The Middle Assyrian period]
the_middle_assyrian_period [2016/04/22 22:28]
wagensonner [The Middle Assyrian period]
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 In other instances the scribes' origin cannot be verified with certainty, at least not due to the lack of any archival material. Such is the case of the scribal family of Ninurta-uballissu, who was in the prestigious office of a royal scribe (//tupšar šarre//). Not many of these scribes are known for this period. All our information about this official stem from the colophons of three sons, who were //tupšarrū sehrū//, "young scribes" according to the texts they copied. The texts identified so far only date to a few eponyms. \\ In other instances the scribes' origin cannot be verified with certainty, at least not due to the lack of any archival material. Such is the case of the scribal family of Ninurta-uballissu, who was in the prestigious office of a royal scribe (//tupšar šarre//). Not many of these scribes are known for this period. All our information about this official stem from the colophons of three sons, who were //tupšarrū sehrū//, "young scribes" according to the texts they copied. The texts identified so far only date to a few eponyms. \\
  
-The scribal programme of these scribes contained //full// copies of literary, lexical, and other technical literature, which came from places such as Babylon and Nippur. Extracts by these scribes are not known so far. Although the term "young scribes" or "apprentice scribes" might indicate a school background, the copies of these and other such scribes in the Middle Assyrian period are rather accomplished, both regarding uniformity and quality of the various scribal hands as well as the layout of the tablets. One among the afore-mentioned sons of Ninurta-uballissu, Marduk-balāssu-ēreš, for instance, copied several compositions onto large rectangular tablets (e.g., [[***|VAT 8875]] with a copy of //Ana ittišu// 6). \\+{{ :ura5ma.png?direct&300|}} 
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 +The scribal programme of these scribes contained //full// copies of literary, lexical, and other technical literature, which came from places such as Babylon and Nippur. Extracts by these scribes are not known so far. Although the term "young scribes" or "apprentice scribes" might indicate a school background, the copies of these and other such scribes in the Middle Assyrian period are rather accomplished, both regarding uniformity and quality of the various scribal hands as well as the layout of the tablets. One among the afore-mentioned sons of Ninurta-uballissu, Marduk-balāssu-ēreš, for instance, copied several compositions onto large rectangular tablets (e.g., [[http://cdli.ucla.edu/P282494|VAT 8875]] with a copy of //Ana ittišu// 6). \\
  
 A particularly interesting question for the Middle Assyrian period is the relationship of the texts to the later tradition of the 1st millennium BC from both Assyria and Babylonia, and the texts' relevance for questions of "canonicity". As for the lexical texts, putting aside variants in the entries themselves, the sequence of entries is very close to what we find in parallel texts half a millennium later. Due to this fact and the extraordinary good state of preservation of the Assur texts these texts served as primary sources for the reconstruction of the major lexical lists. \\ A particularly interesting question for the Middle Assyrian period is the relationship of the texts to the later tradition of the 1st millennium BC from both Assyria and Babylonia, and the texts' relevance for questions of "canonicity". As for the lexical texts, putting aside variants in the entries themselves, the sequence of entries is very close to what we find in parallel texts half a millennium later. Due to this fact and the extraordinary good state of preservation of the Assur texts these texts served as primary sources for the reconstruction of the major lexical lists. \\
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 Middle Assyrian scribes were rather prolific in copying texts and introducing new genres of lexical material. Among these texts is the first palaeographical list. The intention of such lists was to collect sign forms that are older in date. Inscriptions on stone are usually rather conservative in the selection of sign forms. An archaizing script underlined the prestige of the inscription. It is not surprising that the overwhelming use of older sign forms on inscriptions such as, for instance, //kudurrus// triggered a sub-discipline of lexical texts, namely the collection of sign forms. Of course these sign forms are not collected arbitrarily. The entries in the palaeographical list from Assur follow the sequence of a widely used syllabary, the so-called //Syllabary// A (or //S//<sub>a</sub>). Its scribe Marduk-kabit-ahhēšu was well aware of the antiquity of the signs he collected in this list. Each entry contains an annotation with the corresponding sign form in Middle Assyrian script. This scribe's awareness is further reflected in the tablet's colophon, in which he uses palaeographically older sign forms as well. The same scribe is also known from a large copy of the incantation series //Udug-hul// (VAT 8883 (+) BM 130660), which is fully written in a Middle Assyrian scribal hand. \\ Middle Assyrian scribes were rather prolific in copying texts and introducing new genres of lexical material. Among these texts is the first palaeographical list. The intention of such lists was to collect sign forms that are older in date. Inscriptions on stone are usually rather conservative in the selection of sign forms. An archaizing script underlined the prestige of the inscription. It is not surprising that the overwhelming use of older sign forms on inscriptions such as, for instance, //kudurrus// triggered a sub-discipline of lexical texts, namely the collection of sign forms. Of course these sign forms are not collected arbitrarily. The entries in the palaeographical list from Assur follow the sequence of a widely used syllabary, the so-called //Syllabary// A (or //S//<sub>a</sub>). Its scribe Marduk-kabit-ahhēšu was well aware of the antiquity of the signs he collected in this list. Each entry contains an annotation with the corresponding sign form in Middle Assyrian script. This scribe's awareness is further reflected in the tablet's colophon, in which he uses palaeographically older sign forms as well. The same scribe is also known from a large copy of the incantation series //Udug-hul// (VAT 8883 (+) BM 130660), which is fully written in a Middle Assyrian scribal hand. \\
  
 +{{:ea1complex.png?300 |}}
  
 +Scribes were in general rather aware of the antiquity of their sources. This antiquity is frequently indicated in their colophons. The large six-column tablet [[http://cdli.ucla.edu/P282497|VAT 10172]] containing a copy of the first tablet of the syllabary //Ea// refers to it as GIŠ.GAR<sub>3</sub> A.A<sup>meš</sup> LIBIR.RA<sup>meš</sup>, "old A.A series." Although most of the tablet's entries contain sign forms that are consistent with other Middle Assyrian texts, this list particularly provides archaizing sign forms in such cases, in which they are part of complex graphemes. Another copy of the same text ([[http://cdli.ucla.edu/P453275|BM 108862]]) uses only contemporary sign forms. \\
  
-Return to [[Lexical texts]]+All being considered, the Middle Assyrian lexical texts appear to be well-executed copies of lists imported from Babylonia. Whether the so-called "Emesal Vocabulary" also was first created in Babylonia and subsequently found its way to Assyria cannot be determined with the present state of knowledge. An interesting feature of the Middle Assyrian lexical corpus is also the comparatively high density of manuscripts belonging to the legal phrasebook //Ana ittišu//. \\
  
 +As mentioned above, both lexical and literary texts bear colophons. Colophons are already attested much earlier in the Mesopotamian textual record, but the Middle Assyrian period for the first time provides more detailed information on the scribes involved and the provenience of the source material. The sons of the royal scribe Ninurta-uballissu are particularly careful with their colophons, as the subsequent example of [[http://cdli.ucla.edu/P282494|VAT 8875]] demonstrates:\\
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 +{{ ::ai6ma.png?direct&400|}}
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 +(double ruling) MAN BE MAN\\
 +(catch line) \\
 +(blank space)\\
 +7th tablet of **ki-ulutin-bi-še<sub>3</sub>** //a-na it-ti//-[//šu//]\\
 +In total: 180 are its lines.\\
 +It is complete. It is checked. Copy from Nippur.\\
 +Hand of Marduk-balāssu-ēreš, young scribe,\\
 +son of Ninurta-uballissu, royal scribe.\\
 +By the name of Aššur my written name you must not erase!\\
 +(blank space)\\
 +(Date formula)\\
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 +\\ Klaus Wagensonner (Freie Universität, Berlin)\\
 +For suggestions and corrections please email [[mailto:klauswagensonner@gmail.com|Klaus Wagensonner]]\\
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 +Return to [[Lexical texts]]
the_middle_assyrian_period.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/22 22:28 by wagensonner
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