The Scents of Larsa: A Study of the Aromatics Industry in an Old Babylonian Kingdom

CDLJ 2014:1

Cuneiform Digital Library Journal (ISSN: 1540-8779)

Published on 2014-03-24

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

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Old Babylonian, Akkadian, Larsa, aromatics


-§1. Introduction[1]
§1.1. Abstract
§1.1.1. The aromatics trade is a luxury trade with origins in distant antiquity. Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian techniques at perfume production are the roots of the Arabic perfume industry so famous in the Middle Ages (Levey 1959: 141). The south Arabian incense trade, so important to the Greeks and Romans, seemingly appears fully grown with the domestication of the camel (Groom 1981: 229). However, this trade and the production of perfumes arose from a much older tradition of which the sources are difficult to grasp. There are no texts which describe perfume production before the Middle Assyrian period, nor did the ancient Mesopotamians state where many of the raw materials they imported came from.


§1.1.2. This work will discuss the aromatics trade in the early Old Babylonian Kingdom of Larsa. It will be seen that at this time and place, a vibrant trade in fragrant products and raw materials existed which involved many sectors of the society and economy in the Kingdom of Larsa. In this section, section one, the groundwork for this discussion will be laid, starting with a history of aromatic scholarship, moving on to a textual discussion, and ending by stating both the modern and ancient terms used to describe aromatics and perfumes, as well as defining the use and non use of the šim determinative. Section two will describe the manufacture of aromatic products; beginning with an examination of the materials used in production, moving on to an overview of the methods involved in perfume manufacture, then describing the perfumer, and finishing by exploring the places of aromatic production. Section three will discuss how aromatics and fragrances fit into the society and economy of the Kingdom of Larsa. This section will investigate the sources of aromatic raw materials, the people involved in the aromatics trade, and the availability and uses of aromatics in the Kingdom of Larsa’s society.


§1.2. History of Scholarship
§1.2.1. Scholarship in aromatics in the early and middle 20th century took place in three often overlapping branches: investigating chemistry technology and production processes, identifying and defining the aromatics mentioned in texts, and examining their place in the economy and role of aromatics in society. The beginnings of the first branch of scholarship can perhaps be traced to several papers and books in the early 20th century, which dealt with “chemistry” in Assyria. Works, such as H. Zimmern’s “Assyrische chemisch-technische Rezepte” in ZA 36 and Thompson’s book on chemistry in the neo-Assyrian period, show the beginnings of scholarship on technical processes in Mesopotamia (Zimmern 1925 and Thompson 1925, respectively). These studies were important in that they brought about discussion of ancient Mesopotamian technology.


§1.2.2. However, it was not until Ebeling’s Parfümrezepte and its precursors in Orientalia NS (E. Ebeling, 1950; idem 1948, 1949 and 1950a) that scholars began to discuss the technical knowledge held by ancient Assyrians in the field of perfume production. Not only did Ebeling produce copies of Middle Assyrian chemical recipes, he also translated these recipes, in addition to providing a discussion and list of terms used in these recipes.[2]


§1.2.3. In 1955, Robert J. Forbes began his series Studies in Ancient Technology (Forbes 1965: vol. 3). This series, updated starting 1964, began to synthesize archeological materials and the written sources concerning chemistry. However, as the title implies, this series was devoted to technologies all over the ancient and classical world and the section dealing with Mesopotamian chemistry and in particular the aromatics industry are therefore very limited in scope and length.[3]


§1.2.4. It is not until 1959 with Martin Levey’s book, Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Ancient Mesopotamia that we see a discussion of the technology involved in aromatic preparation (Levey, 1959: chapter 10).[4] In addition to a chapter describing the “perfumery,” there is a chapter on chemical apparatuses, furnaces, chemical extraction techniques, and oils, fats, and waxes (Levey 1959: chapters 2, 3, 4, and 6, respectively). Beyond Levey’s book little discussion has appeared on chemistry technology, especially technology surrounding the aromatics industry.[5]


§1.2.5. There are two works in particular which deal with the second branch introduced above, identifying and defining the aromatics mentioned in texts: R. Campbell Thompson’s Dictionary of Assyrian Botany, published in 1949 and Charles F. Myers’ 1975 PhD thesis, The Use of Aromatics in Ancient Mesopotamia (Thompson 1949 and Myers 1975, respectively). These two resources offer in depth encyclopedic entries on many raw materials used in aromatic production, their uses, and their appearances in literature. However, the latter of the two mentioned above is limited mainly to items referred to by the šim determinative in lexical lists (Myers 1975: 21) and relies heavily on the former for definitions (ibid. 21, n. 1) and the CAD and AHw for textual references (ibid. 24-25). It is therefore limited, leaving much out that could be mentioned in such an investigation.[6]


§1.2.6. In addition to these two works, numerous discussions on individual ingredients or ingredient types have appeared in many journals and books (for instance Potts et al. 1996). The series Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture has been particularly bountiful in this way, as it has produced several articles that mention and describe materials pertinent to the aromatics trade since first appearing in 1984 (see for instance Van de Mieroop 1992b and Kupper 1992). Reference must be made to John Halloran’s 2006 Sumerian Lexicon, where definitions and descriptions of many terms discussed here appear (cf. especially 259-261) and which this author was unfortunately not aware of at the time of submission.


§1.2.7. Discussion and identification of the role of aromatics in Mesopotamian society and its place in the economy has its roots in the publication of many texts such as the medical texts published by Friedrich Küchler or those by R. Campbell Thompson (Küchler 1904, Thompson 1923, 1930 and 1937).[7] These texts often show uses for aromatic products in ritual and medicinal settings and their publication show the importance of aromatics in Mesopotamian society. This importance was further underlined in the Myers dissertation mentioned above (Myers 1975). The true strength of the Myers dissertation lies in its easy to utilize description of the attested uses for each aromatic that Myers mentions.


§1.2.8. Examination of the place the aromatics industry held in the economy begins with Leemans’ book on Old Babylonian foreign trade (Leemans 1960). In this book we see for the first time the merchant’s role in procuring resources for aromatic production and hints at their destinations.[8] For the first time the reader is shown the aromatics trade as part of a greater economic system. Since Leemans’ book, archives have been published, like those presented in YOS 14, Early Old Babylonian Documents, by Stephen D. Simmons (Simmons 1978), and discussed by D. Charpin in Bibliotheca Orientalis (Charpin 1979), or the oil texts discussed by Charpin in MARI 3 (Charpin 1984) and those discussed by D. Soubeyran in ARM 23 (Soubeyran 1984), which offer glimpses of aromatics and perfume production within the greater palace or temple administrative and economic structures. Finally, Daniel Snell’s monograph, Ledgers and Prices, has shown aromatics as part of a greater economic structure during the Ur III period (Snell 1982; see in particular pp. 156-168 and 213-215).


§1.2.9. In addition to the avenues of scholarship outlined above, there have been several articles which survey the aromatics industry, in particular at Mari. Charles F. Jean’s article “Pharmacopée et Parfumerie dans Quelques Lettres de Mari,” which appeared in the 1949 volume of Archiv Orientální, is the first such attempt (Jean 1949). This work discusses several documents which involve aromatics in the Mari royal archives. Divided into two halves, it starts out discussing the various salves and aromatics mentioned in the documents and, in the second half of his work, the use of oils. He saw oils used in several ways: foods, medicines, perfumes, and religious or quasi religious usages (ibid. 325). Noteworthy is the use of u2 / šammum to represent drugs in particular (ibid. 320). What is particularly striking about Jean’s article is that it showed aromatics being used by the royal household in the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia (see the letter published, ibid. 328, B 287). Of further note, he is the first to discuss aromatics in the Old Babylonian period.


§1.2.10. Particularly noteworthy for their synthesis of the aromatics industry as a whole are H. Limet’s “Pharmacopée et Parfumerie Sumériennes” in Revue de la Pharmacie 25, Francis Joannès “La Culture Matèrielle à Mari V: les Parfums” in MARI 7, and most recently Michael Jursa, “Die Krall des Meeres und andere Aromata,” in the Alexander Sima Festschrift (Limet 1978, Joannès 1993, and Jursa 2009, respectively). In the first article, Limet’s goal is to investigate the perfume and pharmacological industries in the Ur III period and discuss current knowledge of the industry based on a comparative study of a text, TCL 5, 6042, with other texts from the time, letters from Larsa, royal inscriptions, Ebeling’s Parfümrezepte, Assyrian medical texts, and later accounts of perfume production from Dioscorides and al-Kindi.[9] Of particular note is his discussion of the processes evident at Ur found on pages 153-157. The second survey, Francis Joannès’ discussion, has a similar goal as Limet’s survey but limited to the perfumery of Mari in the Old Babylonian period. His work provides a more detailed picture of the perfume industry at Mari due to the relative abundance of texts.


§1.2.11. Jursa’s work discusses several ingredient lists and perhaps recipes for incense in the Neo Babylonian period (Jursa 2009).[10] Of particular interest in this work is that prices for particular raw materials are collected, though a thorough treatment of these prices is not attempted (ibid. 157-166). In the final section of this work Jursa discusses aromatics within Neo Babylonian trade and society directly (ibid. 166-171).


§1.2.12. The 10th volume of the Reallexikon der Assyriologie offers a short overview of the perfume and aromatics industry in the Ancient Near East by Michael Jursa (Jursa 2005). The title, “Parfüm (rezepte)” is somewhat misleading since it deals with more than perfumes and perfume recipes. This work, while very useful as a tool to understand the history of scholarship concerning aromatics, is limited to outlining past studies in the aromatics industry, where they have gone and where they are lacking, while adding little to the discussion.


§1.2.13. Finally, appearing around this article’s submission and thus too late for incorporation here, was Hagan Brunke and Walther Sallaberger’s 2010 discussion of the Ur III aromatics industry at Umma within an institutional context. Discussion centers around Lugalzagim, šabra, translated as “Hausehofmeister” by Brunke and Sallaberger, in the city of Umma’s administration (Cf. especially 42-45). In this work we see the need for and use of aromatics in cultic festivals (45-47), a lexical discussion of aromatics (47-51) and oils (52-54), aromatic use in the production of scented oils (described by the authors as “Rezepte von Duftӧlen,” 54-62), as well as an investigation of aromatic prices (62-72). Brunke and Sallaberger provide an invaluable study of the aromatics industry in the Ur III period, the period immediately prior to the early Old Babylonian period discussed her.


§1.3. Terms of the Trade: a Textual Discussion
§ The texts collected here have two things in common; each deals with the aromatic industry and, aside from two letters (CT 29, 13-14, that are believed to be from Sippar; see §3.3.2.), are limited to the territory occupied by the Kingdom of Larsa in the Old Babylonian period. The earliest, YOS 14, 212, an oil bureau text, was produced in the fifth year of Sumuel’s reign. The latest, NBC 8584, a receipt of various products, was written down in the 22nd year of Samsu-iluna’s reign. It is difficult, if not impossible, to know the origin of many texts in this collection. Therefore, an attempt at providing the provenance of the tablets compiled here is not made. A wide variety of text types are examined in this collection, from a building inscription, to three letters, to deliveries, receipts, and other administrative and economic transactions. Each text provides a glimpse into the economic, production, and social processes involved in the acquisition, production, and use of the various fragrant products.


§ It is often difficult to establish exactly what type of text is being examined in this collection. For example, there is no set format to separate deliveries, internal transfers, and disbursements of finished products from each other. Further, names of Merchants can appear representing the palace (see below under ba-zi). This difficulty is perhaps derived from the nature of the administrative apparatuses: Merchants are directly involved in palace and temple administrations (this will be discussed more in §3.3.3). This is discussed by Yoffee: “One of the most striking results of this concatenation of documents was the finding that texts that would otherwise have been routinely adjudged private documents when analyzed in isolation could be ordered as elements in a complicated administrative procedure” (Yoffee 1977: 144-145).[11]


§ With this in mind, we may note three different verbs which often occur in nominal forms that do help to define a document within its administrative system: mu-DU, šu-ti-a, and ba-zi. In addition, several other terms can be used in the text to help describe the circumstances surrounding a transaction and establish the text’s purpose. This is not the place for a detailed discussion of each term. However, an understanding of each word or phrase can help define a text’s position within the administrative and economic systems existent in the kingdom of Larsa. Therefore, what follows is a brief summary of how each is used in the texts.


§1.3.2. Product Descriptions[12]
§ ku3-bi: Its value. This term refers to the silver value of a commodity. Curtis and Hallo already note in 1959 that “The usual entry “x amount of commodity y” is occasionally amplified by the specification “its silver (-equivalent) is z.”” (Curtis and Hallo 1959: 105) This is the usual pattern for the texts under discussion here. However, there is also seen ‘x amount of y commodity, kar q, ku3-bi z,’ that is, ‘x amount of y commodity, market rate q, its silver z.’ See §, kar, for this clause.


§ kar: Market rate. This term is used to describe the market value of a single unit of a commodity, as opposed to ku3-bi where the value of the whole commodity is described. A typical accounting often reads: ‘x amount of y commodity, kar q, ku3-bi z,’ where x is the item quantity, y is the commodity name, z is its silver equivalent, and q is the market rate (Breckwoldt 1994: part III 133). Thus, when the silver of z is divided by the market rate of q, one should arrive at the amount of x: x = z / q. Conversely, if we multiply the amount of a commodity x by the market rate q we should arrive at its silver equivalent z: z = x . q and so on. Occasionally an odd rate is given, as in TCL 10, 72: 10: ‘1(ban2) šim kar 3 sila3 ku3-bi 3 1/3 gin2,’ ‘1 seah perfumed oil, rate of 3 (shekel) its value 3 1/3 shekel.’ In this example, 1 seah of šim is valued at the market rate of only 3 qûm without giving what this rate is. This is understood as 3 qûm per shekel. The market rate is 1 unit = 1/3 shekel. 1 seah, equal to 10 qûm, when multiplied by 1/3 is 3 1/3, the silver value given in the text. Thus, the market rate can be described by a unit quantity, in TCL 10, 72: 10 that quantity is in qûm, which is the value of 1 shekel silver.


§1.3.3. Descriptions of Use
§ a-na/še3: For, to. This term states to whom, to where, or for what use a commodity is disbursed. It occurs in such phrases as a-na place name (YBC 4451: 5 a-na e2 gu-la, ‘to the e-gula’), a-na PN. / WP. (YBC 4451: 7 a-na ir3 e2-gal / ta-al-pu-ni šu-ku6 sag, ‘to the palace servant Talpuni, head bā’eru’), a-na purpose (TCL 10, 56: 6-7 a-na ṣi-iḫ-ḫi-ir-tum / ša-mi-im, ‘to buy a small scrap’). In YBC 10512: 5, še3 is used instead of ana.


§ i-nu-(u2-)ma: When. Inūma is used to describe the circumstances of a transaction which presumably bear on the transaction. The reason for this clause can be difficult to grasp, as in YBC 5151: 2, i-nu-u2-ma ku-lu-am tu-ki-il-lu, ‘when you withheld the withholding.’ (See YBC 5151’s textual commentary and §3) In other instances it states the reason for a transaction, as in YOS 5, 172: 8-9, where the reason for a transaction is described as ‘when Awīlum was delayed at the temple of Inanna in Uruk’ (i-nu-u2-ma a-wi-lim [a]-na e2-dinanna / ša3 unuki ik-ka-lu-u2).


§ ki-bi-ta: From it. This is seen in YBC 5151: 5, where it is used to describe a secondary transaction derived from the main transaction in the text. The use is then enumerated. Its appearance represents a second transaction in YBC 5151: 5-6, 1 mina of arganum is allotted for oil manufacture that a second PN receives.[13]


§ nig2(-šu): Good(s). This term is understood as implying the good(s) preceding it is/are property of the name which follows (cf. Akk. būšu, which nig2-šu is equated with, CDA 50, CAD B, 353ff.). This word appears without -šu in YBC 10759 “nig2 i-din-dsuen,” and with -šu in YBC 4402 and in YBC 10758: 4 “nig2-šu i-din-dsuen.”


§1.3.4. Disbursements and Deliveries
§ mu-DU: Delivery. Yoshikawa states concerning this word in similar circumstances: “mu-TÚM in the context like this is apparently not the finite verbal form, but a nominal ...” (Yoshikawa 1992: 393 n. 2). It occurs as ‘mu-DU PN,’ ‘delivery of PN,’ often with šu-ti-a.


§ ki: From. Used with or without mu-DU or ba-zi.


§ ba-zi: Disbursed. ba-zi is often used with ki and šu-ti-a. Transactions of this type are often single disbursements, or lists of a series of single disbursements (Breckwoldt 1994: 125). The use here is limited to transfers within the administration and final products for consumption. However, the term ba-zi is a disbursement made by anyone acting for a palace or temple administration; as is seen by TCL 10, 54,[14] where Itti-Sîn-milki, Merchant overseer of Zarbilum, disburses 92 pigs for soldiers on the march to Ešnunna. This is understood as a disbursement for royal use, in this example for consumption by royal soldiers, made with a merchant as intermediary, the merchant overseer of Zarbilum in TCL 10, 54. Perhaps there is a similarity in use between this verb and ‘zi-ga’ at Mari.[15]


§ šu-ti-a: Receipt. This, like mu-DU, is a nominal form. It is often, though not always, used with mu-DU or ba-zi. Van de Mieroop translates this phrase “receipt (by) PN” (Van de Mieroop 1994: 316) This term could also be translated as “revenue, income” (šu-ti-a = melqētu, CAD M, 13), as in AUCT 4, 87: 5-6, a text from Larsa: “a-na šu-ti-a / 1 gin2 ku3-[babbar],” translated by Sigrist as “1 shekel of silver as salary.” šu-ti-a in AUCT 4, 87, can perhaps be understood as literally “for receipt of 1 shekel silver (as compensation).” The finite verb, šu ba-an-ti, occurs in NBC 8584: 8.


§1.3.5. Others Involved
§ giri3: Via. This word is used for all transfers and disbursements, usually within an administrative hierarchy. giri3’s use implies that the ultimate recipient of a transaction, usually described by šu-ti-a, was not present during the transaction. At Mari, the giri3 official was often used with important transfers of valuable products and materials within an administrative apparatus (Talon 1985: 228-229).[16] At Isin, this individual was used for all transfers, whether during deliveries, within a workshop, or in the movement of finished products (Van de Mieroop 1987: 9-18).


§ kišib3: Seal of. In MLC 1683 this word forms part of the verb kišib3–ra. In the oil bureau texts, the noun is used most often with the ša3-tam official. In all uses, it is a form of administrative oversight. An administrator is used to verify a transaction. I do not follow Snell’s understanding of this term for the Ur III texts, as the ultimate recipient in a transaction (Snell 1981: 29). kišib’s use follows Van de Mieroop’s description of use for the early OB city of Isin (Van de Mieroop 1987: 9-18, in particular 18).


§ inim: Order. It is suggested here that inim is used to state by whose authority a transaction is performed.


§1.3.6. Towards a Typology
§ While it is often difficult to establish exactly what a text is, three general types of texts can be suggested based on the evidence available here: deliveries of raw materials and finished products into an institution, transfers within said institution, and disbursements of finished products for use by the institution. Not all texts fit neatly into this system, such as YBC 5151, where both a delivery and internal transfer are visible. Indeed, as stated above, there does not seem to be a standard format for any type of text. What can be surmised is tentatively proposed here.


§ In the first type of transaction suggested, Van de Mieroop notes two possibilities at Isin which seem to be the case here: a delivery from the perspective of the deliverer and from the perspective of the administration (ibid. 9-11). The former, transactions from the viewpoint of the deliverer, often uses the term mu-DU followed by an individual who is usually a merchant.[17] Often preceding the deliverer, but in one instance after, is šu-ti-a followed by one or several personal names, understood here as institutional administrators.[18] Several groups of receivers can be enumerated on a text, which correspond to different transactions.[19] In addition, the silver equivalent (ku3-bi) of the items delivered, and more rarely the market rate (kar), can be enumerated in such transactions.[20]


§ The second type of delivery, from the institutional perspective, lacks mu-DU but often has the silver equivalent enumerated. There are only two of these in this corpus: YBC 5232 and YBC 5765. In the former, there is a receiver, marked by šu-ti-a PN, and the deliverer is described by ki PN. The latter is broken and a full typology is thus impossible.


§ MLC 1683 and YBC 5151 both seem to be deliveries, though they lack the product values. This understanding is based on circumstances described in each text. The former is understood as the separation and sealing of items owned by the administration and stored in a deceased official’s household. As such, the executor of the estate sealed the royal property for delivery to the administration. The second, YBC 5151, where the phrase i-nu-u2-ma ku-lu-am tu-ki-il-lu, ‘when you withheld the withholding’ is used. The deliverer in question, Watar-Šamaš, is perhaps the same individual as that treated by Feuerherm (Feuerherm 2004: vol. 1, 6-55, where he is a servant of Abu-waqar, a nagar, or both). I understand this text as a collection text from a private individual or member of a private household by a temple or palace administration.


§ The latter two transaction types, internal transfers and disbursements of finished products, are typically designated by the verb (ki PN) ba-zi or just ki PN. The name of the person disbursing the item is not always given.[21] Both usually have a receiver marked by šu-ti-a. Both can also make use of a conveyor, designated by giri3, ‘via.’ It can be difficult to tell these two text types apart, especially when dealing with a raw material that can be used as a finished product (see §2 and §3.4). One text where an internal transfer is specifically mentioned is YBC 5151, a delivery already mentioned above. In this text one mina out of six delivered is separated by means of the term ‘ki-bi-ta’ for perfume production (i3-šešx, lit. oil allotment). It is then transferred to a third party, possibly the perfumer, from the recipient of the initial delivery.


§ A use is often mentioned in disbursements of finished products.[22] Thus we see in TCL 10, 71, the term ana to state a destination, such as a-na e2-nin, ‘for the queen’s house,’ in column i l. 28. In addition, šu-ti-a without ki or ba-zi can appear. This occurs in TCL 10, 71-72, both receipts of finished products, and TCL 10, 81, understood as an internal transfer of products or a delivery of products from the administrative perspective.


§1.4. What Was an Aromatic?
§1.4.1. The definitions of some modern and ancient terms pertinent to this study will be established here in order to better understand the aromatics industry. In this section there are two parts: The first is a brief survey of modern definitions surrounding aromatics and their ancient counterparts. The second part is limited to describing the šim determinative as it was used in the kingdom of Larsa. The purpose of this section is not an in-depth discussion of each, but to state fundamental concepts which will be examined in more detail in the following sections.


§1.4.2. Definitions
§ The transfer of definitions between the modern world and ancient Mesopotamia is not always one to one. Different understandings of the world around the ancient Mesopotamians and around us often lead to different or overlapping descriptions of items and concepts. This part of the section attempts to survey these items and concepts, starting with the modern and followed by the ancient Mesopotamian. Not all modern words or concepts enumerated or mentioned in the following pages have a direct ancient cognate. But these words or concepts could be understood as a constituent or sub-category of another term or phrase native to ancient Mesopotamian thought.


§ We will start with the modern definitions found in Merriam-Webster. The word “aromatic,” as a noun, has two possible meanings: “1: an aromatic plant or plant part; esp: an aromatic herb or spice 2: an aromatic organic compound.” As an adjective, aromatic is anything “of, relating to, or having aroma: a: FRAGRANT b: having a strong smell c: having a distinctive quality.”


§ In addition to the term “aromatic,” several words have been or will be used to describe aromatic products and raw materials: ‘perfume,” “incense,” “condiment,” “resin,” “oleo-resin,” and “gum.” Perfume, as a noun, is described as: “1: the scent of something sweet-smelling 2: a substance that emits a pleasant odor; esp: a fluid preparation of natural essences (as from plants or animals) or synthetics and fixatives used for scenting.” As a verb, perfume means “to fill or imbue with odor.” Incense is defined as “1: material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned 2: the perfume exhaled from some spices and gums when burned; broadly: a pleasing scent.” A condiment is “something used to enhance the flavor of food; esp: a pungent seasoning.” (ibid. 259) Resin is understood as “1 a: any of various solid or semisolid amorphous fusible flammable natural organic substances that are usu. transparent or translucent and yellowish to brown, are formed esp. in plant secretions, are soluble in organic solvents (as ether) but not in water, are electrical nonconductors, and are used chiefly in varnishes, printing inks, plastics, and sizes and in medicine... 2 b: any of various products made from a natural resin or natural polymer.” Oleo-resin is: “1: natural plant product (as copaiba) containing chiefly essential oil and resin; esp: TURPENTINE 1b 2: a preparation consisting essentially of oil holding resin in solution.” Finally, a gum is “1 a: any of numerous colloidal polysaccharide substances of plant origin that are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying and are salts of complex organic acids ... b: any of various plant exudates (as oleoresin or gum resin) 2: a substance or deposit resembling plant gum (as in sticky or adhesive quality).”


§ Several of these terms have a rough equivalent in Akkadian and/or Sumerian (see §6.1 for more discussion of each term mentioned here). Thus we see Akkadian rīqu, Sumerian šim, translated variously as “Duftstoff, Würzholz,” an “aromatic plant,” and an “aromatic substance.” (AHw II 988, CAD R 368, and CDA 305, respectively) Akkadian urû, Sumerian šim ḫi-a is defined as “aromatics,” and “Bez. für Räucher-Kräuter” (CDA 427 and AHw III, 1436, respectively). šim ḫi-a is understood here as general term for a mixture of perfumed oils (see §1.4.3, §2.3, and §6.1 for more on this term). Akkadian ḫīlu, Sumerian a-kal, is described as an “exudation of plants, resins,” “exudation, resin,” “Harz,” and “gum” (CAD Ḫ 188, CDA 116 AHw I, 345, and Thompson 1949: 338, respectively). In addition, Limet points to the use of Sumerian šim-du10 to describe resins and šim-im to describe gums (Limet 1978: 149). These understandings are followed here. Finally Akkadian qutrīnu is translated as “incense” (CAD Q 323, CDA 292) and “Weihrauch-(opfer)” (AHw II, 930).


§ Other words, like “perfume,” “oleo-resin,” and perhaps “gum,” do not have a direct equivalent but were understood as sub-categories or types of other words. Thus, the term perfume, “a substance that emits a pleasant odor,” can be understood as part of Akkadian rīqu and Sumerian šim, which underlined an items fragrant quality (this will be further elaborated below, §1.4.3 and §2). As a manufactured product, perfumes were often described by their base, such as oil or more rarely water. Thus we see items like cedar oil or cypress oil, understood by the modern reader as a form of perfume, described by the ancient Mesopotamian living in Larsa as oil (§1.4.3 and §2). We also see the Sumerian word i3-du10-ga, literally ‘fine oil,’ used to describe any processed oil, including perfumes (see §2.2.3 and §6.1). Oleo-resins and gums were likely described by the word ḫīlu, ‘resin.’ Indeed, Thompson understands ḫīlu as a gum while rīqu is the equivalent of resin or essence (Thompson 1949: 335-339; see also §2.2 and §6.1).


§ What must be understood here is that the terms used by the ancient Mesopotamians often overlapped in their use. Therefore, we see the word for aromatics, šim or rīqu, also in use as a general term for perfumes and perfumed products, and as a determinative for anything having an aromatic quality, such as perfumed oils and incenses, both resinous and as wood shavings (for more on this see below, §1.4.3 and §2), while the word for resin, ḫīlu, was also used for oleo-resins and gums (Thompson 1949: 336-337). Thus, identifying an aromatic exactly can be difficult and is often impossible.


§1.4.3. šim Determinative
§ This part’s purpose is to outline the use and non-use of the šim determinative. As a determinative, šim is often given artificial values and limitations based on preconceived notions and opinions of what it should mean. Thus we read in Thompson concerning the determinative and rīqu:

Our Assyrian word rîqu is at once referable to the Arabic rawwaqa “to clarify”, and its derivation rāwūq “filter” and raiq “the best part of a thing”, so that if we pursue this meaning in the determinative ŠIM(riq), we should get an indication of a fluid from another substance, which will admirably suit the gum-resins which it makes... Riqqu (rîqu), then, represents the substance which have oozed or filtered forth from trees... The word, therefore, which would appear to cover riqqu (rîqu), the evacuations or filtering of trees, is, I suggest, “essence”, with all its comprehensive English implications (ibid. 336-337).

§ In the Old Babylonian period and earlier there is no cause for limiting either the term rīqu or its corresponding determinative to a resin or an “essence.” Indeed, as Limet argues, there is no hint in the textual evidence for a process of extracting the “essence” as C. Thompson describes (see Limet, 1978: 154, contra Levey 1959: 31).[23] Myers states describing the determinative: “šim became the determinative for all plants and substances which the Mesopotamians classified as aromatics” (Myers 1975: 21). This, however, ignores the fact that many materials, including some in his dissertation, can and often do occur with different determinatives[24] while other materials that do not normally receive this determinative appear on occasion with it.


§ My definition of the šim determinative is: ‘anything of which the primary, observed, or desired value is its aroma.’ To examine this determinative, evidence will be brought from both within and without of the corpus presented here. Several aspects of the šim determinative are discussed: Its use was not limited to items generally recognized for their aromatic quality. Nor was it always used with items valued or known for such a quality; indeed, the use of another determinative could be used with an aromatic item to outline another quality it was to be used for. Further, some items need not have this determinative; in particular items of which its use would have been redundant. This also allowed an aromatic item to take a different determinative. The use or non use of the šim determinative tells us much about an item’s qualities and purpose.


§ The use of the šim determinative with some items in the texts is very unusual, for instance šimsig7- sig7, elšim, and šimlal3 in the primary corpus (MLC 1683: 2, NBC 8584: 3, and YBC 10758: 1, respectively). With each of these items, the use of the šim determinative helps to underline a specific quality of the items and perhaps helps enumerate their uses. The first listed, šimsig7- sig7, possibly Akkadian guḫlu, normally occurs with the im determinative which describes it as a paste. Here as well as in other Old Babylonian texts (see its entry in Appendix I below for other occurrences of this item in the OB period), the use of šim with this sig7-sig7 tells us that this item was also known and used for its aromatic quality.[25] elšim, Akkadian akkullaku, normally takes the u2 determinative before it. el’s use here with šim in postposition is an exceptional occurrence, pointing to its aromatic quality. The same can be said about lal3, Akkadian dišpu, honey, which normally occurs without a determinative. Each of these items normally appears with a different determinative or without a determinative. Their occurrence with šim both shows they held a recognized fragrant quality and shows that this quality was what each item was used for.[26]


§ The šim determinative was not always used with materials that had or were used for their aromatic quality. The use of a determinative other than šim with these items may point to a different use or form. Three examples will be used here to illustrate this point: the use of geš with two different items in NCBT 1808 and TCL 10, 57, as well as the use of geš in lines 134-135 of the Curse of Agade.


§ Cypress, šu-ur2-min3, is written with the geš determinative for wood in NCBT 1808: 5. However, its occurrence between šimše-li, juniper berries, and šimše-gir2, an unidentified aromatic,[27] in this receipt attests to šu-ur2-min3’s use for its fragrance. Further, its appearance with geš, in addition to šu-ur2-min3’s measurement by weight (2 minas, 1 kg), marks it as a raw material. Before it, šimše-li is measured by capacity which shows še-li was possibly an oil or, more likely, a seed or berry. After it, in the same receipt, šimše-gir and šimaz are measured by weight as well (both 2 minas, 1 kg). I believe these later two as well as geššu-ur2-min3 are all condiments as they appear on a text with other condiments and are destined for a kitchen (line 9: a-na gir4-maḫ, ‘for the Girmaḫ’). The difference between these three items measured by weight here seems to be that geš is used to differentiate a condiment derived from the tree’s wood or foliage from two resinous condiments which are designated by šim.[28]


§ In TCL 10, 57: 7 cedar, Sumerian eren, occurs with geš as its determinative and is measured at 11 minas, 5.5 kg. It occurs after šim ḫi-a, translated as mixed perfumes, in line 6 and i3-sag, premium or virgin oil, in line 5, both finished products. These show us that gešeren in this occurrence is probably also a finished product, though it is in its raw form. Its destination is a royal sacrifice (10: “geštag-ga lugal”). Thus, it is likely a form of wooden incense, as opposed to a resin which would have taken the šim determinative (§2). The scribe in this text, as well as the previous, is trying to tell us exactly what the item in question is by means of the determinative.


§ The third example comes from the Curse of Agade, where another determinative appears which underlines that the material was not supposed to be used for its fragrance. The lines in question are 134-135: “gešeren geššu-ur2-min3 gešza-ba-lum geštaškarin/ geš gi-gun4-na-be2-eš3 GUM ba-an-sur-sur” (transliteration from Cooper 1983: 56). I believe this passage refers to the grinding up of woods for their use in aromatic perfume production and translate them thus: “cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, woods for its giguna he ground up completely for (fragrant) oils” (for this understanding, see §2.3). The importance this text bears on our discussion here rides on the use of geš as a determinative instead of šim. This work is describing an act performed by Naram-Sîn which goes against what is normal and proper. The woods mentioned are supposed to remain as paneling and furniture in the giguna. The author underlines this by the use of geš for wooden objects, not šim for a fragrant material. The non-use of šim helps to underline the author’s point: these woods are to remain in the giguna, in their original state. It also points to a sin of Naram-Sîn, in that he has these woods ground up for perfume production, an act which goes against the woods’ purpose.


§ Finally, šim was not always necessary and its use would have been redundant in certain instances. Again, three examples will be given: ḫibištum, šim ḫi-a, and three perfumed oils, all of which occur without determinatives. ḫibištum, mentioned in NBC 8584: 1 is defined by the CAD as “(1) cuttings (of undefined nature), (2) cuttings of resinous and aromatic substances, (3) plants yielding aromatic substances, (4) fragrance; from OB on” (CAD Ḫ 180). This term, as described by Myers, “is an Akkadian word which was used generically to refer to cuttings and aromatic plants” (Myers 1975: 74).[29] As a generic term for aromatic cuttings and plants, its fragrant quality was understood. The use of šim with this item was both unnecessary and redundant.


§ The same can be said for šim ḫi-a, which occurs in TCL 10, 57: 6, TCL 10, 71 iv: 56, TCL 10, 72: 16, and YBC 5169: 2. šim ḫi-a is, again, an item name, mixed perfumes. Thompson treats šim ḫi-a as a form of riqqu, which he sees as a generic term for aromatic resins (Thompson 1949: 337; for this term, see above, §1.4.2 and below, §6.1). The quantity of this item in YBC 5169 is curious and helps explain my translation, “mixed perfumes.” ḫi-a cannot refer to this item’s plurality as it is 1 seah, measured as a single item. However, šim ḫi-a can be explained if this is a mixture of various fragrant substances, in my opinion oils, which are measured as a unit of capacity.[30] The item in question, oil-based or not, as an aromatic substance is already recognized for its fragrance and again, the use of the šim determinative would have been both unnecessary and redundant as those reviewing the record would understand immediately its aromatic quality. Further, the non-use of šim again allowed for an additional determinative such as geš with šim in YBC 5257: 1.


§ Finally, cypress oil, i3-šu-ur2-min2, cedar oil, i3-geš-eren, and myrtle oil, i3-a-su all occur in two letters: CT 29, 13-14.[31] In all instances there is no determinative.[32] However, they are all forms of perfumed oil, their fragrance was understood. Indeed, Charpin translates each of these items respectively as: “huile parfumée au cyprès,” “huile parfumée au cèdre,” and “huile parfumée au myrte” (Charpin 1984: 112, 111-112, and 111, respectively). The use of the determinative with each of these oils was unnecessary as again they were finished products already known for a fragrant quality (for more on this see §2.3).


§ What is to be taken from this part is that the determinative was used to describe the item it augmented; it gave the reader a better understanding of what was being dealt with. Another determinative could replace šim when appropriate. The use of one determinative over another can lead to a big difference in understanding and helps to define an item. Further, it was not necessary in some instances and could be redundant. This redundancy was solved by omitting šim or replacing it with another determinative to better qualify the item in question.


§2. Production and Aromatic Products
§2.1. Introduction
§2.1.1. In addition to a history of aromatics scholarship and a textual discussion, §1 described basic meanings in the study of aromatics, as well as how the šim determinative was used in the kingdom of Larsa. This section will investigate aromatic products and production. According to the texts, there were several aromatic products which required varying degrees of processing. Items used as condiments, such as those in NCBT 1808: 4-7 which were delivered to the gir4-maḫ at Ur, or those used as incense, such as in TCL 10, 72: 11-14 which were delivered for a royal sacrifice, did not require much processing at all. They were consumed in their original form or perhaps mixed together and with oils to form more complex fragrances.[33] However, perfumes and fragrant waters required much skill and effort to produce the final product.


§2.1.2. YBC 5151 exemplifies this distinction of worked and un-worked products (this text is discussed in §1.3.6 and §3). It is a delivery of six minas of a fragrant substance, arganum, to an administrator. This administrator removes one mina of the delivery for oil production. In this example, the use of only one mina in oil production is important. This means five minas must have had different uses which did not require the perfumer.


§2.2. Raw Materials
§2.2.1. In the texts examined, there are two main types of aromatic raw materials: those derived from plants and trees, and those which are the plants or trees themselves. The former are seen in several forms, such as berries, resins, and gums.[34] The latter, as noted by Joannès concerning perfumes in the city of Mari, could take the form of twigs or pieces of wood.[35]


§2.2.2. Evidence[36]
§ There are several words which describe aromatic raw materials specifically: Akkadian ḫibištum, understood here as ‘aromatic cuttings’ as well as Akkadian ḫīlu and Sumerian šim-du10, both understood as ‘resin’ and perhaps even ‘gum’ (see §1 and §6.1 for more on these terms). The first term, ḫibištum is used independently and may be understood as a general term for raw vegetable materials such as foliage, woods, bark, etc. As a general term, however, it does not state the material’s nature specifically. The former two, ḫīlu and šim-du10, both appear most often as the head in a genitive chain.[37] Thus we see šimḫi-li hal in YBC 4451: 3, šimḫi-il ba-lu-ḫu in TCL 10, 71: 22, and šimdu10-eren in YBC 5761: 1. Further evidence for an aromatic raw material’s form can occasionally be seen by the determinative it takes and the unit of measure it is described by. Therefore, an aromatic that takes the šim determinative and is measured by weight is likely a form of resin, especially when the geš determinative is used to describe another aromatic material measured by weight in the same text. The material described by geš would then be a wooden or vegetable product. The name of a material along with its context can also describe the form it took or its use as a raw material. Thus šimše-li, measured by capacity and surrounded by condiments in NCBT 1808, refers to its form as juniper berry or seed (for more on condiments, see §2.5.2 and §3.4), while the four woods mentioned together in TCL 10, 72, mentioned above, all measured by weight and occurring with other finished products destined for a royal sacrifice are all used as wooden incense.


§2.2.3. Aromatics and Oils
§ As already mentioned (§1.4), oil was used as the vehicle for most perfumes in Mesopotamia during the first centuries of the 2nd millennium BC.[38] Thus, the qualities and grades of oils, and how these qualities affected perfume production, will be discussed here. There are three main designations for oil in the texts: i3-geš, i3-du10-ga, and i3-sag (see §6.2 for the distribution of each). Of all three types, i3-geš appears the most often, and is the only one that can be directly related to perfume production.[39] It is perhaps to be translated as simply ‘vegetable oil,’ but implied sesame oil in the Kingdom of Larsa,[40] and, on occasion, is used as a general term for any oil product.


§ The reasons to understand i3-geš as sesame oil, as opposed to another oil type, such as linseed, almond, or olive, are manifold. First, as opposed to the almond or olive, the sesame plant can be locally grown.[41] Both the olive tree and almond were limited to the Mediterranean basin.[42] Further, as a summer crop, Sesame does not interfere with the barley cycle (Charles 1985: 49).[43] Indeed, it thrives with high heat and much sunlight (Renfrew 1985: 64). Second, as F. R. Krause showed in his 1968 article “Sesam im Alten Mesopotamien,” sesame was very likely cultivated in Mesopotamia during the Old Babylonian period.[44] Third, the nature of sesame oil is such that it is easily used as a vehicle for fragrances. Sesame oil, as well as safflower oil, yields the highest quality of fixed oil (Charles 1985: 50). In addition, it, unlike safflower but like olive and almond oils, is a non-drying oil, a term which “reflects the level of saturation and is measured by its potential for iodine uptake (which is equal to air uptake)” (ibid. 50). Non-drying oils are the oils most suitable as a medium for perfumes (ibid. 60). Sesame seed also yields from 45-65 percent oil and is very stable with little chance of rancidity, and, after oil is produced, the cake is a very valuable feed for oxen and is safe for human consumption (Renfrew 1985: 65). Thus, we can exclude outright the use of linseed oil, which is less suitable for perfume production (Charles 198: 60, table 3) and its cake is only safe for consumption after hot pressing or boiling (Renfrew 1985: 64).[45] Sesame oil is a very versatile variety of oil used as a raw material in perfume production, of which its by-products could be further used as animal feed or for human consumption, and the sesame from which it was derived was readily available to those residing in southern Mesopotamia in the early 2nd millennium BC.


§ i3-geš, as sesame oil, is, then, an oil used in production of oil-based products, in addition to a finished product doled out for other uses, such as food rations.[46] As is seen by the oil bureau texts, i3-geš is also a generic term for oils, both processed and unprocessed (see Charpin 1979 for a discussion of these texts). It is used to describe all oils in these texts, whether received as taxes (YOS 14, 249), disbursed as rations (YOS 14, 182), in festivals (YOS 14, 238), in anointing,[47] or as an unguent during sickness (YOS 14, 187).


§ Thus, i3-geš is a general term for oils of all types, both when used as a raw material and used as a finished product. This is not the case for i3-du10-ga or i3-sag. Both refer explicitly to finished products.[48] Here, i3-du10-ga is understood as ‘processed oil’ and describes any processed oil-based or oily product, while i3-sag is understood as ‘premium’ or ‘virgin’ oil.[49] As to i3-sag, it is perhaps the virgin oil which, in cold oil production, is derived from the ground sesame meal before it is first pressed.[50]


§ Evidence that i3-du10-ga refers to processed oil is seen in several ways. First, in Ḫḫ xxiv 13-20, oils are listed: “u2 ša-am-˹nu˺ / i3 MIN / i3-geš el-lu / [i3]-geš bara2-ak-a ḫal-ṣu / i3-˹geš ˺-du10-ga ṭa-a-bu / [i3]-˹geš ˺ ku7-ku7 mat-qu / [i3]-gu-la ŠU-u / [i3]-sag re-eš-tu-u.”[51] In this list, i3-du10-ga is clearly differentiated from sweetened oil, represented by i3-geš ku7-ku7 (for matqu translated sweet, see CDA 204), “best quality oil,” which is understood as i3-gu-la (Levey 1959, 89), and premium or virgin oil, known as i3-sag. Further, its position after three generic terms for oil, u2, i3, and i3-geš, and one term designating a specific oil process, i3-geš bara2-ak-a, ‘filtered oil, (Soubeyran 1984: 416-19),[52] all generic words for oils used in oil product manufacture, reinforces the understanding of i3-du10-ga as ‘processed oil.’ It is listed after basic oils but before finished oil products which further underlines this meaning.[53]


§ In addition, the location of oil storage at Larsa during the reign of Sumuel is the e2 i3-du10-ga. This is where all oils, designated by i3-geš as seen above, were doled out. If understood correctly, it is the “house of processed oil” (for more on this see §2.5.1). The use of i3-du10-ga in the name of this workshop is perhaps similar to the use of i3-ra2-ra2 in the name of the perfumer’s workshop (e2 i3-ra2-ra2), both refer to what is housed in the location, the former houses processed oils, the later houses the perfumer.


§ Finally, the occurrence of i3-du10-ga and šim ḫi-a together in YBC 5169 and other texts (as noted by Limet 1978, 152) makes sense if they are understood as generic terms for finished products.[54] In addition, i3-sag-du10-ga in TCL 10, 81: 17, measured by quantity, makes more sense if i3-sag is viewed as a designation of oil quality, premium or virgin oil, and the use of -du10-ga refers to a process by which the oil is worked. Its measurement by quantity can be understood as a type of container this item was stored in, perhaps akin to one of the containers in ARM 23 discussed by Soubeyran (Soubeyran 1984: 417), or the ‘ku-du’ in YBC 4451.


§ To support these points we may turn to BIN 9, 366: 1-5, a document from Isin where both a ša3-tam official and a perfumer carry leather lids for storage jars of i3-du10-ga.[55] YOS 14, 212, clearly separates the e2 i3-du10-ga from the e2 i3-ra2-ra2, albeit in the kingdom of Larsa. Yet lids for storage jars of processed oil are being delivered to the perfumer’s workshop at Isin. This only makes sense if i3-du10-ga represents all processed oils, of which perfumed oils belong. Thus we see ‘processed oils,’ i3-du10-ga, produced in the perfumer’s workshop.


§ This understanding can be applied outside of Larsa as well, as in TCL 5, 6042, dated to the Ur III period. In column i, lines 1-2, where we read “ 2/3 sila3 gin2 i3-du10-ga geš-gal-gal,” (transliteration by Limet 1978: 158) translated by Limet as “16 sila 2/3 et 1 sicle d’onguent de grands arbres,” (ibid. 158) and in column ii, line 9, where we read “šim geš,” (transliteration by ibid. 159) translated as “onguent parfumé de grands arbres” (ibid. 159). I do not agree with the translation as “onguent.” In the first occurrence, i3-du10-ga is followed immediately by various aromatic products measured first by weight (ll. 3-14), then by capacity (ll. 15-18). The second occurrence is preceded by various products such as excellent beer (ii 2: kaš saga) and dates (ii 6: zu2-lum). As the term i3-du10-ga is followed by geš-gal-gal in both occurrences, I understand this phrase as “processed oil of large trees.” I would argue that this text refers to a series of products, all to be used in the states described by the text: processed oil of large trees, resins, woods, gums, perfumed oils, beer, dates, etc. Column i line 9 is telling. The word šim precedes i3-du10-ga. It may be better understood as a determinative, used to underline the fact that this is a variety of perfumed oil. This line would then be translated: ‘(fragrant) processed oil of large trees,’ or even ‘perfumed oil of large trees’ if šim refers to the process by which these trees were worked. The difference between ‘processed oils of large trees’ and ‘perfumed oil(s),’ written i3-du10-ga geš-gal-gal and šim respectively, is perhaps a difference between two manufacture processes (for which see §2.3).[56] i3-du10-ga simply makes more sense when understood as processed oils. In this instance it is perhaps similar to šim ḫi-a discussed below (§2.3).


§ We then see three designations of oil in the texts at Larsa: i3-geš, the basic term for oil, both unrefined oil used in perfume production and as any type of oil to be distributed; i3-sag, a grade of high quality oil, possibly the virgin oil retrieved from the sesame meal before it is pressed in cold oil production; and i3-du10-ga, a term used to represent a variety of processed oil, occasionally perfumed but not necessarily. All three were perhaps used in perfume production.


§2.3. Perfume Production
§2.3.1. There are no texts from this period, outside of Mari,[57] that make specific mention of the perfumer’s process. Thus, an understanding of the processes involved in perfume manufacture must come from ancillary sources. Therefore, evidence of the means of production used in the Kingdom of Larsa is derived from the Middle Assyrian perfume recipes, the Mari corpus, and the Curse of Agade, in addition to the items and products specifically mentioned in the documents from the kingdom of Larsa.


§2.3.2. First we will look at items seen in the documentation. At the outset, we may note two types of perfumed items which required skilled manufacturing techniques: water and oil.[58] In addition, there seems to be a distinction in the texts between oils known by the name of their main ingredient, such as i3(-geš)-eren or i3-šu-ur2-min3 as well as in certain instances when an aromatic ingredient is measured by capacity and not by weight,[59] and those designated by šim, a vague word that does nothing to describe what was in the perfume. It is held here that such a vague reference, as opposed to perfumes known by a specific ingredient, usually represents a different, more complex production process.[60] Those perfumes known by i3 plus an ingredient may have occasionally used hot steeping but more often than not involved cold maceration while those termed simply šim more often than not used heated steeping. šim ḫi-a is understood as a mixture of cold steeped perfumed oils.


§2.3.3. Two production types are then seen for oiled perfume production: cold steeping and warm or hot steeping. Evidence of the first, grinding up and steeping aromatic ingredients in cold to room temperature oil for perfume production, is seen already in the Curse of Agade, lines 134-135: “gešeren geššu-ur2-min3 gešza-ba-lum geštaškarin/ geš gi-gun4-na-be2-eš2 GUM ba-an-sur-sur.”[61] I believe this passage refers to the grinding up of woods for their use in aromatic perfume production and translate them thus: “cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, woods for its giguna he ground up completely for fragrant oil production.” My translation relies on the use of ‘GUM’ and ‘sur’ together. Sur, as proposed by M. Civil, means ““to perform an action from which a liquid product results” without indicating concretely the action by means of which the liquid is obtained” (Civil 1964: 81).[62] GUM must refer to the action and can be normalized as kum, Akkadian hašālu, “to grind.” (CAD Ḫ, 137) This phrase would then mean ‘to grind up for liquid fragrance extraction,’ and, if my understanding is correct, refers to the cold extraction process discussed below. The woods mentioned here are perhaps the ‘large trees’ seen in TCL 5, 6042 (see §2.2.3 for a discussion of this text). Cedar and cypress as well as myrtle and kanaktum all appear as oils preceded by i3 in the texts collected here.[63] In addition, cedar, cypress, and juniper, as well as myrtle, are also singled out by Joannès as woods used in cold maceration at Mari (Joannès 1993: 260). Therefore, a Sumerian word for cold perfumed oil production may be found in kum...sur. The technical term for this process in Akkadian was the D stem verb rummukum at Mari and is perhaps alluded to in ARM 18, 14.[64]


§2.3.4. The process of cold steeping involved the maceration of raw materials by steeping them in cold or room temperature oil. This often entailed the crushing or grinding of said product and placing it in oil for several days. The aromatic substances were dissolved by this steeping and infused the oil with their fragrance. At the end of the process, the oil was filtered to remove impurities (for this process, see Joannès 1993: 259-260). The benefit of this manner of production was the ease in which it created fragrant oil in large quantities. One need only soak an ingredient in oil to infuse the oil with the desired fragrance. The downside was it took a very long time (ibid. 260). These perfumed oils could then be mixed together to form more complex fragrances. It is proposed here that such a mixture was described by the word šim ḫi-a.[65]


§2.3.5. Production of oil using heat is outlined in several of the Parfümrezepte’s published by Ebeling and discussed by Levey in more detail (Ebeling 1950 and Levey 1959: 136-139). It may be described by the word ruqqû.[66] These texts describe the repeated soaking or steeping of raw materials in water and oil which was heated over a fire in order to soften the raw material and extract its fragrances. In such a way the oil or water was progressively charged with the desired fragrances. This process was much more elaborate and required greater labor to produce smaller quantities,[67] but provided a better, purer product than cold maceration.


§2.3.6. The process of maceration and enfleurage by heated water and oil typically used a mixture of aromatic ingredients (ibid. 140 citing Ebeling 1950, 47),[68] which is why it is singled out as the production process used for perfumes described by šim alone. It allowed for the skilled production of compound fragrances which cold steeping was ill suited for.[69] On the other hand, cold maceration allowed for mass production of single ingredient perfumes, and these mass produced perfumes could be mixed together to form more complex fragrances, though of lesser quality.


§2.3.7. In addition to perfumed oils, there is mention in one text, NBC 8584: 4, of perfumed water (šima). The process of impregnating water with a desired fragrance took much more time due to the “slight solubility of most essential oils in water.” (Levey 1959: 140) A process involved in perfumed water production reads:

Following is the method of preparation of 10 qa of commercial oil production for balsam odor. In a fine sieve, clarify it and pour into a flask. Let it remain still for a month. After a full month, you will decant it into a diqaru pot. You will produce it by 40 washings with balsam. Wash water for the king is the name of this (ibid. 139 translating Ebeling 1950: 40-41).[70]

Note in particular the length of time one step took, one month, and the number of ‘washings’ required to produce this product, forty. The production of perfumed water was no small feat, requiring much time and skill to produce a small amount.


§2.3.8. We see in this section the amount of skill and time required to produce perfumed oils and water. In cold maceration, much time but little skill was required to produce large quantities of a single ingredient perfume. In heated oil production, much skill was required, though less time, to produce a high quality mixed product. In perfumed water production, much time and skill went into production. Repeated steeping of raw materials was the common characteristic of all three production process. Two general terms are seen for more complex fragrances: šim ḫi-a, which describes a mixture of lower quality perfumed oils produced via cold maceration, and šim, which describes perfumed oils produced through warm maceration.


§2.4. The Perfumer: i3-ra2-ra2[71]
§2.4.1. The person involved in perfume production in the Kingdom of Larsa was called the i3-ra2-ra2 in Sumerian and the raqqû in Akkadian. The latter is derived from the verb ruqqû, understood here as ‘to process oil by the addition of aromatics’ (see also §2.3 for the verb ruqqû). The term raqqû has been variously translated as: “oil presser, perfume maker,” “oil-perfumer,” and “Ölkelterer” (CAD R, 173, CDA 299, and AHw II 958 respectively). Confusion of the perfumer with the oil presser is seen with the CAD and AHw entries and has made its way into literature concerning this subject.[72] This confusion is understandable due to the nature of the perfumer, who worked primarily with oils as a medium for fragrances, and the ambiguity of the ancient terms.


§2.4.2. This ambiguity is seen in the Canonical Series lu2 = ša, no. 257-261 (MSL 12, 137; VAT 09558, 34-39; VAT 09717 23-26 (omitting no. 258), VAT 10386, 13-17), which reads: “ŠIM.SAR = raq-qu-u / ša3-tam = ki-min / i3-˹ra˺ra2-rara2 = ki.min” (no. 257-259) This is followed after a ruling by two more entries: “i3-sur = ṣa-ḫi-tu / lu2 geštin-sur-ra = MIN ka-ra-ni.” (no. 260-261) The first on the list, šim-sar, better understood as šim-mu2, is discussed by Pomponio and Visicato (1994: 62-63 n. 15):

Among the archaic professional lists, the Prof.N šim-mú recurs only in a Fara tablet (SF 70 r. iii 1). Later it recurs in OB lexical tablets and in a LB bilingual text as the translation of the Akkadian (w)ašipu(m), “exorcist”, raqqû(m), “oil presser,” (cf. AHw s.vv., lex.) and ša’ilu(m), “dream interpreter” (cf. AHw, s.v., 2). This Prof.N should be compared with the much more frequent munu4-mú , but seems to have a more specific employment in rituals.

The šim-mu2 was a profession name that both invoked the use of rituals, as it could be translated into Akkadian as (w)āšipu(m),[73] and could also be described as a raqqû in Akkadian, as it’s appearance in the Canonical Series lu2 = ša indicates. šim-mu2’s location with medical personel in “Nintinugga’s Dog,” a dedicatory text (discussion, copy, transliteration, and translation in Ali 1966), shows us that this term also represented a type of medical professional. The line in question, line 9, reads: “a-zu sa6-ge šim-mu2 tu-ra-ta šà lu2-ulu3 igi-du8” (ibid. 290), and is translated here as “the good physician, herbalist of the sick, psychologist of man-kind.” The term ‘herbalist’[74] is admirably suited to describe a medical professional who employed both pungeunt ingredients and rituals or prayer to cure disease.[75] As a mixer of pungeunt materials, the connection between the herbalist and the perfumer is quite resonable.


§2.4.3. The second profession on the list, ša3-tam, is treated by M. Gallery. Gallery explains concerning this official: “A survey of all the occurrences of the š. official with certain standard administrative formulas has shown that they served in almost every department of the palace economy, in the capacity of inventory controllers, recording and authorization clerk” (Gallery 1980: 12). She further notes two temple servants and the ša3-tam officials “are responsible for sesame given to the oil presser for the work force of the Šamaš temple” of Sippar during the reign of Abi-ešuḫ (ibid. 22, citing Harris 1975:163). This is supported by a survey of the Larsa oil bureau from Gungunum to Sumuel (see Charpin 1979), where the ša3-tam official’s seal is on most disbursements of oil.[76] Moreover, BIN 9, 366: 3, mentioned above shows a ša3-tam official and a perfumer, written i3-ra2-ra2, as conveyors of lids for jars of processed oils to the perfume workshop (for this line of text, see also §2.2.3). Thus, a connection may be made between the ša3-tam official and the raqqû. The former would have been charged with controlling the inventory of the latter, as well as the latter’s supply of raw materials.[77]


§2.4.4. We now turn to the fourth and fifth professions mentioned, the i3-sur or ṣaḫitu and the lu2 geštin-sur-ra or &#ṣaḫitu karani. Postgate discusses these terms and their Akkadian verbal roots: “for &#ṣaḫātum a meaning for “press (to extract liquid)” is favored both by its use for wine from grapes, and by the meaning of cognate verbs in other semitic languages.” And “&#ṣaḫātum is the process which results in the extraction of oil: the saḫitum is a lú ì.sur, a term meaning literally “oil-presser.” (Postgate 1985: 146) As to the term i3-sur, one can look at the two constituents: i3 + sur. Already noted above, sur, as proposed by M. Civil, means ““to perform an action from which a liquid product results” without indicating concretely the action by means of which the liquid is obtained.” (Civil 1964: 81; see above §2.3) In addition to this, Civil provides several examples of this, all of which involve some qualifier. Pertinent to our discussion are i3–sur, and geštin–sur (ibid. 81-82). Both describe liquid extraction processes, the former oil, the latter wine. The officials mentioned in this latter part are to be understood then as ‘oil presser’ and ‘wine presser.’ What is important for our purposes is that both work in liquid extraction processes.


§2.4.5. The i3-ra2-ra2, as a profession on the Canonical Series lu2 = ša, is clearly separated from those involved in liquid extraction; a ruling separates them. It is connected to two professions, the šim-mu2 and ša3-tam professions. The first involved rituals and the mixing of aromatic materials and may be understood as an herbalist. The second profession involved inventory and oversight and specifically performed administrative oversight in the Larsa oil bureau, and perhaps the office of the perfumer as well.


§2.4.6. However, the i3-ra2-ra2 is still connected with the oil presser. As seen above, the vehicle of most perfumes was oil. In YOS 14, 212, the perfumer receives oil from an official of the processed oil storage depot who is clearly in charge of oil disbursements. In addition, the perfumer in YOS 14, 212, was previously this oil bureau official.[78] Further, at Mari, the e2 (lu2) raqqî, where perfumes are produced, both received oils from the oil storage depot and supplied perfumed oils as finished products to this depot (Soubeyran 1984: 419). This workshop is clearly differentiated from the oil press in the Mari archive (ibid. 419). At Larsa, like at Mari, there is a clear difference between the oil presser and the perfumer.


§2.5. Places of Aromatic Processing
§2.5.1. The Perfumer’s workshop
§ This brings us now to the perfumer’s workshop. This workshop was known in Sumerian as the e2 i3-ra2-ra2, in Akkadian as the bīt raqqî (CAD R 174). This is where the perfumer produced worked aromatic products.[79] As seen above there was a close connection between the perfumer’s workshop, both in the kingdom of Larsa and at Mari. Soubeyran, in discussing the Mari oil storehouse, even compares it to that seen in the Larsa oil bureau texts. This is especially evident in the movement of oil between the oil bureau, literally ‘the processed oil house,’ and the perfumer’s workshop (Soubeyran 1984: 419, citing Charpin 1979: 188-200). At Mari, and very likely at Larsa, unprocessed oils were stored at the oil storehouse or at their place of manufacture.[80] From there, unprocessed oils were delivered to the perfumer’s workshop, where they were processed into perfumed oils. After processing, they were returned to the oil bureau for storage and eventual distribution.[81] This situation possibly changed by the reign of Rīm-Sîn, as is seen by both TCL 10, 56-57. In these two tablets oils are delivered which are given a market rate. It seems from these texts that at least some oils were procured by entrepreneurs separate from the temple or palace workshops.[82]


§ In addition to oil, aromatic raw materials were delivered to the perfumer’s workshop for production, as is seen in YBC 5151 mentioned above and YBC 10512, where a chunk of wood weighing 20 shekels according to the market rate, was delivered to the perfumers workshop. Interestingly, whereas oils were delivered by a palace agency in the Oil bureau texts, which range in date from Gungunum to Sumuel, raw materials, a chunk of marguṣum wood in YBC 10512 and 6 mina’s arganum in YBC 5151, were delivered by what I take to be private entrepreneurs during the reigns of Sîn-iqīšam and Rīm-Sîn. This will be developed further below (§3.3).


§ Suffice it to say for now the perfumer’s workshop received raw materials in the form of vegetable products, such as woods, gums, etc. (see §2.2), from either an institution or a private entrepreneur by perhaps the reign of Sîn-iqīšam and certainly during the reign of Rīm-Sîn. Oil was received from an oil bureau, to which the perfumer’s workshop was closely aligned until at least the reign of Sumuel, and perhaps from a private entrepreneur also by the reign of Rīm-Sîn. At the perfumer’s workshop, oil and water was fortified with aromatic fragrances by the perfumer, to be delivered to a storage facility and distributed as need demanded from there. That water was perfumed at this workshop seems only logical, as many skills needed to perfume oils were also required to aromatize water. As will be seen below, there is evidence for private perfumers during the reign of Rīm-Sîn (§3.3).


§2.5.2. The Kitchen
§ A further location where aromatic items were processed into finished products is seen also in the kitchen. We may note the delivery of aromatic products, likely condiments, delivered to the gir4-maḫ at Ur for food preparation in NCBT 1808. As stated in the text’s commentary, this was a workshop in the Nanna temple complex, of which the role was meal production: it was the temple kitchen. What is seen here is the use of aromatic products, resins, oils, and seeds or berries, delivered in the raw along with other condiments for use in this facility. Indeed, by the neo-Assyrian period a term for spice is raqqûtu, derived from ruqqû.[83] Further, Bottéro informs us of the use of tree sap in the production of meals (Bottéro 1985: 37; this will be discussed more in section §3.4).


§3. Aromatics and Society
§3.1. We may now turn to the role aromatics played in society: their sources, the figures involved in the aromatic trade and industry, as well as how and by whom the various aromatic products were used.


§3.2. Sources of Aromatic Raw Materials
§3.2.1. It is clear from the sources that there was a wide variety of aromatic raw materials. These materials came from both sources within Mesopotamia and from without. This section will give a brief overview of the sources of some aromatic raw materials in the texts. Unfortunately, there is much debate as to the nature of many raw materials mentioned. Further, in some cases, such as Mukal Myrrh discussed below, the location of cultivation is very broad, leaving multiple possibilities to a commodity’s origin. Thus a thorough attempt at identifying the origin of all products would require a work unto itself. In this brief discussion, however, it will be seen that the aromatics trade was an international exchange, stretching from perhaps India in the east to the Levant in the west, and south to the southern Arabian Peninsula.


§3.2.2. šimšeš, Akkadian murru, is seen in YBC 7189: 5. Its suggested translation is ‘myrrh,’ more specifically ‘Balsamodendron or Commiphora Myrrh.’[84] Groom states concerning the location of this commodity in the ancient world: “Frankincense and myrrh grew only in southern Arabia, Somalia and parts of Ethiopia, and the trade to Europe and Mesopotamia was controlled by south Arabians” (Groom 1981: 229).[85] He further notes: “Myrrh is found growing to this day all over south and south-west Arabia, including ‘Asīr, as well as in Somalia and Ethiopia. It comes from a number of different species of the genus Commiphora, but principally Commiphora myrrha.” (Groom 1981, 232) The occurrence of myrrh here is not definitive evidence of south Arabian incense trade; it occurs in only one text. However, it does attest to some contact and occasional trade with south Arabia’s incense bearing region, perhaps using Dilmun as an intermediary.


§3.2.3. Another item, šimsig7-sig7, understood here as Akkadian guḫlu, is perhaps evidence for further contact with south Arabia or even India.[86] It is understood here as Commiphora mukul, also known as Mukal Myrrh and Bdellium, following Potts, et al (Potts et al. 1996: 291-305). Potts also states concerning this item: “Commiphora mukul has a wide distribution, extending from Dhofar in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula to India.” (Potts 2007: 135) The ultimate origin of this material is thus difficult to trace but does allude to distance trade. This trade would have connected these areas to Mesopotamia through Dilmun in the Persian Gulf as well (ibid. 135). Thus evidence for contact and even trade with south Arabia and perhaps even India is established with the use of both Myrrh and Mukal Myrrh.


§3.2.4. While there is evidence for southern trade in the texts, via Dilmun, far more items are imported from the west.[87] In CT 29, 13, we see oil of Uršum, perhaps located in Syria or southern Anatolia (Groneberg 1980: 250), explicitly stated. In addition, the ‘west’ seems to have been the source for many aromatic woods mentioned in the texts. Thus, Rowton (1967: 271) states concerning this region:

Very tentatively one can suggest the following “phytogeographical” pattern for the region west of the Euphrates. The great stand of mixed coniferous timbers in the Maraş region, both north and south of the Maraş gap, was known as the Cedar Forest, later Cedar Mountain, a term ultimately extended to the whole of the Amanus. The mountainous country between the Cedar Forest and the Euphrates was known as the oak and terebinthe region. From the Lebanon, a cypress mountain, all the way up into the southern Amanus, the coastal mountains constituted the cypress and boxwood region. The utilitarian element is conspicuous. It can be seen in the emphasis on boxwood which was in great demand but was nowhere a dominant tree, and it shows also in the designation of the Lebanon as a cypress mountain, certainly never a dominant tree there. The great stand of cedar in the Lebanon were of no particular interest since cedar was available much closer, in the Maraş region.[88]

The most prevalent item likely imported from this region is Sumerian eren, Akkadian erēnu, which is often translated cedar.[89] Eren appears in the texts in three states: wood, resin, and perfumed oils (see §6.2 under šim/gešeren and i3-(geš-)eren). The appearance of this item alone, if from the region west of the Euphrates, points to considerable trade between Larsa and the West. These items were acquired via trading agents stationed abroad, who use cities such as Ešnunna[90] or even Susa despite its location east of Larsa (YOS 2, 112) as trade emporiums, though it seems Mari or the Middle Euphrates region was at least one entry point for many aromatic raw materials from the West into Mesopotamia and the East.[91] Since this period was a very volatile one politically, these emporiums would have changed with the political atmosphere.[92]


§3.2.5. In addition to those aromatic materials which came from abroad, a number of items were produced in Mesopotamia itself. Sumerian ḫašḫur, apple, is mentioned as an aromatic item in TCL 10, 71: 15 and YBC 1928: 1. This item was grown in orchards around the city of Larsa and other southern Mesopotamian cities (Van de Mieroop 1992b: 156-57, 159). Powell states concerning the apple in Mesopotamia: “The apple was the preferred species among the Rosaceae in the 3rd mill. precisely because it had been domesticated and filled an important niche in the available domesticates” (Powell 2003-2005: 16).[93] šimlal3 also appears in one text (YBC 10758: 1), while lal3 alone appears on several occasions (TCL 10, 57: 4, TCL 10, 71 iv: 47, 50, 62). This sweet product was likely derived from the locally grown fig tree.[94] Further, in later Babylonian and Assyrian royal gardens and in orchards, aromatic trees and shrubs were planted to support the perfume industry (Wiseman 1983: 142). This can perhaps be surmised for the Old Babylonian period as well. Thus, locally produced items could and did occur in the aromatics trade.


§3.2.6. The aromatics trade involved a wide geographic area. Merchants brought goods from the south Arabian Peninsula or India, likely through the emporium of Dilmun. Other materials were derived from the west, including many of the woods mentioned in the texts, from cedar to terebinthe, to myrtle, and to the juniper. Finally, several ingredients could be derived from locally produced goods, such as the apple or fig. We can surmise three groups involved in the procurement and production of aromatic materials: the local cultivator, as in the case of apples and figs, the merchant, who acquired aromatic materials both locally and abroad, and the administrator, who received these materials for an administration and disbursed them for consumption in the production of perfumed oils, as a condiment for food, or as a finished product such as incense. These last two individuals, the merchant and administrator as well as the perfumer, will be the subject of the next section.


§3.3. The Merchant, the Administrator, and the Craftsman
§3.3.1. YBC 5151, seen already (§1.3, §2.5.1, and throughout this section), shows three different steps in the procurement and disbursement of raw materials. It is a delivery of six minas of an aromatic material, arganum, delivered to an administrator, who then detaches 1 mina of it for oil production. We see three individuals involved in this process: Watar-Šamaš, a servant who, representing a merchant, acts as the supplier,[95] Puzur-ilabi, who acts as both a receiving and a disbursement official for a temple or palace household,[96] and a third individual, whose name is broken but probably represents the perfumer’s workshop.[97] This section will discuss the place of all three individuals in the administration.


§3.3.2. The Merchant and the Administration
§ There are two types of merchants enumerated in the texts: the trading agent (Akkadian šamallūm) who, located abroad (relative to the local merchant), acquired goods for a local merchant (Akkadian tamkārum) who directed the trading agent as to which goods were to be acquired and provided said goods to the administration (these two merchants are discussed in Leemans 1950: 22-35). Leemans (1950: 22) states this concerning the relationship of the merchant and the trading agent:

In a society whose commerce is little developed, trade is only carried out by merchants, who buy and sell. But when commerce increases, the business of a merchant assumes larger proportions and the merchant no longer makes journeys to buy and sell goods personally, but he has this done, either by subordinates or by agents whom he furnishes with money.

Three letters, YOS 2, 112, from the Kingdom of Larsa, and CT 29, 13-14, possibly from Sippar (Leemans 1960: 94-95), will help to enumerate the relationship between both merchant types.


§ In YOS 2, 112, a merchant, Šēp-Sîn, instructs two other merchants, Dadâ and Sîn-uselli, to procure several items, including aromatic oils and juniper, take on a citizen of Susa as a partner, and then to rendezvous in al-Aha-nūta with Šēp-Sîn and royal soldiers. In addition, Šēp-Sîn reprimands Dadâ and Sîn-uselli for previously writing that they would have the items sent; he wants to see them in person. Several aspects of this text must be noted. First, Dada and Sîn-uselli are merchants stationed abroad at Susa. Second, they acquire goods in Susa using a local citizen as a partner to help facilitate this trade. Third, an unexplained situation requires these merchants leave Susa and accompany their goods to al-Aha-nūta where Šēp-Sîn, a local merchant who seems to have authority over Dada and Sîn-uselli, is waiting for them with royal soldiers.


§ CT 29, 13-14 are both addressed to Ilum-pî-Šamaš from Sîn-aḫam-idinnam and both deal with the same thing: the procurement of perfumed oils for sale by Sîn-aḫam-idinnam abroad.[98] Here, however, the roles seem to be reversed; the merchant abroad both requests items for trade from the trade agent and reprimands the trading agent for not fulfilling this request. In these texts the trading agent is located within the Kingdom of Babylon. In the first text, Sîn-aḫam-idinnam, who according to Leemans operated east of the Tigris, writes to Ilum-pî-Šamaš requesting several oils because his stocks are low. The second, more urgent letter reproaches Ilum-pî-Šamaš for not doing this, but sending a servant empty handed. Interestingly in CT 29, 13: 16, Sîn-aḫam-idinnam asks “u2-ul ti-di,” “Don’t you understand?” after listing oils he should purchase and in CT 29, 14: 14-22, it states: i-na ku3-babbar / ša u2-ša-bi-la-ak-ku-u2 / 1ki-ib-ra-ab-ba pe-ni-ka / li-iṣ-ba-at-ma i3-da-am-qa-am / ša 10 gin2 ku3-babbar i3 šu-ur2-min3 / ša 3 gin2 ku3-babbar i3 a-su / u3 5 gin2 i3-gešeren / ša-ma-am-ma li-qi-a / i3 ma-ṣi, “Kibrabba should guide you in the silver which I sent you so that you buy for me good quality oil and take possession (of it): cypress-oil worth 10 shekels silver, myrtle-oil worth 3 shekels silver, and cedar-oil worth 5 shekels. The oil is available.” It seems Ilum-pî-Šamaš was not familiar with the various qualities and types of oil products; he requires additional assistance from Kibrabba to perform his duties.


§ In all texts, there is an agent or two. In YOS 2, 112, they works abroad in Susa in order to acquire raw materials for the local merchant in the Kingdom of Larsa. In CT 29, 13-14, he works locally, that is, within the Kingdom of Babylon to acquire finished products for sale abroad. What we see is a semi-subordinate status in both cases. Leemans notes a certain amount of freedom given to the trading agent in the Hammurapi code (Leemans 1950: 22-29). He sees this as the norm for the trading agent in the Old Babylonian period. The merchants in the examples given here need to write twice and reprimand the trading agents to get them to do what the merchants want.


§ The true subordinate of both the merchant and trading agent was the &#ṣuḫarum, the servant, who is mentioned specifically in CT 29, 14: 9, and alluded to in YOS 2, 112: 23. This individual was likely the intermediary between the merchant and the trading agent, either a servant given a wage or as a slave (Leemans 1950: 34-35). The need to specifically request the agents appear in person in YOS 2, 112, would show that the physical presence of the trading agent was out of the ordinary. It seems that the norm was to send a servant to deliver goods and letters (as stated by Leemans 1950: 34). This is likely the case in YBC 5151 discussed above where Watar-Šamaš, likely a servant of Abu-waqar’s, acts on Abu-waqar’s behalf to deliver goods to an administrative household.


§ The trading agent in both sets of letters needs additional help in providing the required commodities. In YOS 2, 112, a local resident needed to be taken as a partner to help facilitate trade. In CT 29, 14, a knowledgeable individual is sent to assist in the acquisition of the commodities in question. This leads to an important point: the trading agent was not an expert in everything, only a representative of the merchant abroad. He needed a local citizen to enhance his abilities to procure items in Susa and an expert in oil products to acquire good quality oils for sale abroad.


§ In addition to the relationship between the merchant and trading agent, these letters also help show the role of the merchant in society and in relationship to the aromatics industry. First, we will note that the merchant could be located outside of Babylonia proper. This is seen in CT 29, 13-14. The merchant requests finished products in the form of perfumes be delivered to him. As noted the trading agent may have resided in Sippar while the merchant worked abroad, possibly east of the Tigris as Leemans states. In this case the merchant is an exporter of perfumes manufactured in Babylonia. He is also very likely independent of the administration in Babylon, as is seen by the need to purchase items on the market. He certainly lacks the clout shown by Šēp-Sîn in YOS 2, 112, who has royal soldiers at his disposal. Indeed, Sîn-aḫam-idinnam seems to beg his associate in Sippar to send him ingredients whereas Šēp-Sîn takes a commanding tone when demanding his associates meet him in person at al-Aha-nūta.


§ The appearance of soldiers in YOS 2, 112, as just stated, shows that: “Šēp-Sîn apparently had the assistance of the king at his disposal” (Leemans 1960: 81). This support by the king is due to the merchant’s role in the royal and temple administrations. As described by Renger in 1979 and again in 2004, institutional households, specifically the palace and temple households, handed over both resource gathering in kind and in silver, as well as certain administrative operations, to entrepreneurs as franchised individuals (Renger 1979: 254 and 2004: 145, respectively).[99] Under this system, the merchant acted in an administrative capacity to procure raw materials and silver for an administrative government. Thus Šēp-Sîn, in so far as he is acting on the government’s behalf, had access to government resources, such as soldiers in this example, to assist in resource gathering when necessary.


§ Another merchant, Itti-Sîn-milki the merchant overseer of Zarbilum, appears several times in the texts (TCL 10, 56, 57, 61, and 72)[100] delivering items to a temple administration. In three out of the four texts (TCL 10, 56, 61, and 72), one of the receiving individuals is Ikūn-pî-Adad, perhaps the same individual as the disbursement official in YBC 5169, the sanga of Ninurta. The first delivery, TCL 10, 56, is for a caravan or journey to Dēr. In the second and fourth texts, TCL 10, 57, and 72 respectively, he makes a delivery for a royal sacrifice. The third, TCL 10, 61, does not enumerate the purpose of the delivery but it is received by Ikūn-pî-Adad. In each text Itti-Sîn-milki serves in an administrative capacity, he provides materials, including aromatics, for temple consumption. In addition, TCL 10, 57 and 72, both show him performing this function on behalf of the king for a royal sacrifice.[101]


§ The merchant was perhaps used to procure some aromatic items already during the reign of Sîn-iqīšam. This is seen in several aspects of YBC 10512. Whatever the date of this text,[102] it describes the process of procuring a commodity by a palace or temple agency from the market. First, kar-ra and ku3-bi appear in YBC 10512: 2-3 and are described in §1.3 as ‘market rate’ and ‘its value’ respectively. Their appearance in YBC 10512 implies the existence of a market independent of the administration used by the administration to value a commodity. In addition, the appearance of kar and ku3-bi here shows that the commodity here, marguṣum, was traded on this market. Next we see ‘na4 dutu,’ ‘standard of Šamaš.’ This phrase shows a standard weight, verified by the temple of Šamaš, used to measure the commodity and its silver equivalent.[103] Further, the phrase ‘dub šu-bala’ ‘tablet of the exchange’ describes what the transaction in question was, an exchange of silver for goods. Finally, line five enumerates the reason for this transaction: the perfumer’s workshop. We may therefore understand the transaction as a delivery of a commodity, procured on the market in exchange for its silver equivalent using a specific standard, in this case that of Šamaš, to an institution and ultimately destined for the perfumer’s workshop.


§3.3.3. The Craftsman, the Merchant, and the Administration
§ The perfumer’s involvement with the administration varied considerably from the beginning of the reign of Sumuel to the middle of the reign of Rīm-Sîn. YOS 14, 212, dated to Sumuel year five shows that the perfumer’s workshop formed part of the administration and was intimately linked to the oil bureau at Larsa. Indeed, the head of the oil bureau during much of the reign of Abi-sare, Lipit-Irra, was promoted to the head of the perfumer’s workshop by Sumuel’s fifth year as king. Perhaps during the reign of Sîn-iqīšam, if the dating of YBC 10512 is correct, and certainly by the reign of Rīm-Sîn, a merchant provides aromatic items to an administration to be distributed to the perfumer’s workshop. A perfumer’s workshop is still, however, part of an administrative apparatus at this time as well. This is evident by the building inscription Rīm-Sîn 17, dated by Frayne to around Rīm-Sîn year eight (RIME 4, p. 280),[104] which commemorates the (re)building of the perfumer’s workshop at Ur. Indeed, there was a perfumer’s workshop connected to an administration up through at least Rīm-Sîn year 54, as is evident by YBC 5151 discussed above.


§ We may also suggest the existence of private perfumers, operating independently of the temples or palace at this time. In TCL 10, 56 and 57, Itti-Sîn-milki, the merchant overseer of Zarbilum, delivers perfumed oils to temple administrators. In CT 29, 14: 22-25, we read: šum-ma i3 / ša i-ba-tum la da-mi-iq / šu-ḫu-ur-ma i3-da-am-qa-am / ša-ma-am-ma li-qi-a, “If the oil of Ibatum is not good quality, search. Buy me good quality oil and take possession (of it)!” The author of this text expects there to be more than one source for his trading agent to purchase perfumed oils. His trading agent has the luxury of shopping around for the best quality of perfumed oil. Thus, there is not only one independent perfumer or perfume shop in Sippar; there are several offering different qualities of fragrant oils. I see no reason for the situation to be different at Larsa. In addition, Šēp-Sîn in YOS 2, 112, requests the delivery of perfumed oils from Susa, and in CT 29, 13, ‘oil of Uršum’ is mentioned, which would have been an import into Babylonia. Not only were perfumes produced in the temple and palace households themselves, they were also produced by local independent craftsmen in the Kingdom of Larsa and produced abroad.


§3.4. The Place of Aromatics in the Economy and Society of Larsa
§3.4.1. It is clear perfumes only made up a small portion of fragrant products in the Kingdom of Larsa. YBC 5151 is representative of this point. Of the aromatic commodity delivered, only one mina out of six was destined for perfumed oil production. The rest must have had another use, some possibilities of which can be seen in the texts collected here.


§3.4.2. We have already seen aromatic items and products traded on the market in the kingdom of Larsa. Itti-Sîn-milki delivers both aromatic incense as well as perfumed oils for a royal sacrifice in TCL 10, 72. These are each given their silver equivalent and the market rate they were procured at. Also, in CT 29, 13-14, we see the shipment of perfumes produced in the Kingdom of Babylon out of foreign raw materials for sale by a merchant working abroad. This shows that perfumes were an export of Babylonia and that they were purchased by a private individual for sale abroad. The ability to purchase and trade in aromatics and aromatic products by private individuals both on behalf of local administrative apparatuses and for private gain is therefore attested by at least the middle of Rīm-Sîn of Larsa’s reign.


§3.4.3. Private possession of aromatic items is even more explicitly stated in YBC 10758 and 10759. In the former, Iddin-Sîn owns 1 mina of scented honey, which Sîn-išmeanni receives. In the latter text, Iddin-Sîn possesses a quantity (two is written without a unit of measurement) of baluḫḫu resin which Unaḫḫid-Ištar receives. In both texts, nig2 or nig2-šu, ‘goods,’ is used followed by Iddin-Sîn. Unfortunately neither the reason for these transactions nor their dates are stated in the documents.


§3.4.4. Further evidence for private ownership is perhaps seen in the prices given for these items as well. High quality aromatic oils, such as šim in TCL 10, 72: 10, were expensive, we see a rate of three qûm oil per shekel silver. In the same document, i3-sag has the ratio of 1:5 1/18 qûm per shekel. These two oils would have been inaccessible to most people. However, a lower quality of oil, šim ḫi-a, the mixed perfumes discussed in chapters one and two, receives a ratio of 60 qûm to one shekel in the same document. Its price is much more accessible to the population. For comparison, note that i3-geš in the same tablet, well known for cooking oil and distributed as rations (see §2.2.3), is given the ratio of 18 qûm per shekel. Kukru, perhaps terebinthe-oil which would have been manufactured using cold maceration as seen in chapter two, is ordered by Sîn-aḫam-idinnam in CT 29, 13: 21, at a rate of 28 qûm per shekel silver. Again, below the cost of common oil as seen in TCL 10, 72.


§3.4.5. In addition, prices tell us that resins, possibly used as condiments in cooking, and incense were relatively inexpensive as well. Prices are very low for these. For instance, note šimaz, perhaps myrtle resin, is given the rate of 600 shekels per shekel silver in YBC 3365. gešza-ba-al, juniper wood used as incense in the royal sacrifice of TCL 10, 72, is given the rate of 720 shekels per one shekel silver. And šimdu10-eren, cedar resin, is sold at the rate of 1200:1 in YBC 5765. These are all very inexpensive items. While it is nowhere explicitly stated that the average person bought or used oils, resins, and incense, they were by no means out of the reach of much of the population. This is not to say that people bought large amounts of aromatic items on a regular basis. But, if these prices are typical, this would back up Bottéro’s assertion that the average household cook in Mesopotamia could “turn out dishes which were just as tasty and imaginative as those which the nuḫatimmu of the palace created” (Bottéro 1985: 46). Some spices for cooking were definitely within reach of much of the society (for a list of aromatic commodities used as condiments, see §2 and NCBT 1808).


§3.4.6. This brings us to the palace administration and royal use of aromatics. Bottéro quoted above also notes the use of aromatics as spices in the preparation of elite and royal meals as well (Bottéro 1985: 46). This also is not documented in the texts but can be assumed.[105] However, there is documentation for royal consumption of aromatics and aromatic products in the texts. First, we will note the royal sacrifices seen in TCL 10, 57 and 72 and mentioned above. The sacrifices are made on behalf of the king and are thus a royal use of incense and oils. In addition, TCL 10, 71 i 15-26 represents a receipt of aromatic oils and resins for the e2-nin, understood here as the queen’s house. The same text, lines 27-29 lists a receipt of one seah perfumed oil “for the princes,” “a-na dumu-meš lugal.” We see here elite consumption of aromatic products. We can also surmise the use of aromatics as medicines based on later medicine recipes. Indeed for all the aromatic items mentioned in the documents R. Campbell-Thompson mentions a medicinal use (see §6.1 for the location of each entry within Thompson 1949).


§3.4.7. More often mentioned are temple uses of aromatic items. As seen above, Ikūn-pî-Adad, the sanga of Ninurta, receives three deliveries from Itti-Sîn-milki on behalf of the temple administration for a journey or caravan to Dēr and a royal sacrifice. YOS 5, 171, 172, and 194, are especially fruitful in enumerating temple uses of oils. We may note the disbursement of oils and perfumed oils both[106] distributed for several temple uses, including the e2-dinanna u3 dna-na-a (YOS 5, 171: 1, 172: 1 and 194: 1), the e2-a-ab-ba-a (YOS 5, 171: 10), and the e2-gešgu-za en den-ki (YOS 5, 194: 11), for the door-bolt of a temple to the deified Sîn-idinnam (YOS 5, 171: 7 and 194: 10), to polish a door bolt (YOS 5, 171: 8-9), to anoint the copper lion of the e2-dinanna (YOS 5, 171: 16), to anoint the temple of Šamaš (YOS 5, 171: 18), for the deaths of two individuals (YOS 5, 171: 11-13), for a supplication (YOS 5, 172: 11), and for various individuals who presumably were affiliated with the temple (YOS 5, 171: 2-6, 172: 2-6, and 194: 2-5).[107] TCL 10, 71, lists several receipts of aromatics for festivals.[108] In addition, we may again note the delivery of aromatics for food preparation in NCBT 1808 already mentioned (see §2.5.2 and NCBT 1808’s textual discussion).


§3.4.8. We can say from this that aromatics were present in all sectors of the economy and society of the Kingdom of Larsa. They were both an import in the form of raw materials and occasionally perfumed oils as well as an export in the form of fragrant oils. Lower qualities of perfumed oil and basic resins and incense were both available and were accessible to the average person, while higher qualities of perfumed oils were certainly used by the wealthier stratums of society, the temples, and the palace. They were used in food preparation, medicine, incense, and perfumes for conspicuous consumption by the elites and, at a lower quality, perhaps by the average individual. In the temple aromatics were used as incense and perfumed oils to anoint individuals and things, in sacrifices, libations, and on various feast days. Gifts or disbursements of perfumed oils were made by the temple and perhaps the palace to favored functionaries and visiting dignitaries.


§4. Conclusion
§4.1. What we see in the aromatic texts from the Kingdom of Larsa is a significant international trade and industry that touched many stratums of this kingdom’s society. Fragrant products arrived in the land ruled by Larsa from all over. Incense came in from the gulf via Dilmun. Woods arrived from the west through the middle Euphrates region and possibly the upper Euphrates as well. Due to the instability of the period, merchants from the Kingdom of Larsa acquired goods arriving from the west through several different emporiums, such as Ešnunna or even Susa, in spite of Susa’s location east of Larsa, when conditions required. Other materials were produced locally in gardens and orchards.


§4.2. Once in the cities of Larsa, raw materials were traded on the market, perhaps by the reign of Sîn-iqīšam and certainly by the reign of Rīm-Sîn. Merchants during this period acted in a semi-administrative capacity as suppliers to the temples and palace households. They acted as middlemen, collecting and purchasing from the local craftsmen and farmers for the temple and palace administrations the raw materials and finished products necessary for the upkeep of these estates. We therefore see the merchants purchasing these raw materials on the market or supplying them at the market rate to such administrations. Raw materials could have also been procured by the local populace for household use or for perfume production by local perfumers who were independent from the palace and temple estates and administrations. Perfumed oils produced by the perfumers were also sold to the local populace and merchants for sale abroad or to supply the various administrative apparatuses.


§4.3. Once delivered to the palace or temple households, administrators divided up the raw materials for different uses. Most raw materials would have remained in the state they arrived in. These were used as condiments for food, such as the items delivered to the gir4-maḫ in NCBT 1808, or as incense in sacrifices, or in the royal household, as the receipt of incense for the queen’s house in TCL 10, 71 would show. Some items were held in the households of individual officials, as is seen by MLC 1683. Other fragrant materials were dispatched to the perfumer’s workshop for processing into perfumed oils or water.


§4.4. Two processes of perfume production are alluded to in the texts: cold maceration and heated maceration. Cold maceration produced a lower quality product and required much time for production. The benefits of this production process were that it required little skill and allowed for mass production. Heated maceration was also used. This process took much less time to produce perfumed oils, allowed the mixing of fragrances, and produced a higher quality. Its downside was the amount of skill it required and the low quantities it produced. Perfumed water was also produced, which required the same skills needed in heated maceration and the time required for cold maceration. Its value is reflected in that it only appears once in the texts. All three processes required repeated soakings of aromatic materials to produce a finished product.


§4.5. The perfumer’s workshop, at least during the reign of Sumuel, was closely connected with the oil storage bureau. The perfumer’s workshop received oil, probably sesame oil, from this bureau to be processed into perfumes and likely stored its finished products in the oil storage bureau, literally the ‘processed oil house.’ Moreover, the person who headed this storage house during the majority of the reign of Abi-sare was promoted to the perfumer’s workshop by the fifth year of Sumuel. It seems skill with oil was a prerequisite to work in the perfumer’s workshop.


§4.7. Once finished, these oils were distributed to the temple for sacrifices, feast days, and to anoint individuals and temple objects, such as the copper lion of the Inanna temple in YOS 5, 171, or the door bolt of the temple of Sîn-Idinnam in the same text. Oils were also distributed to important individuals, such as those seen in YOS 5, 171, 172, and 194, to visiting dignitaries, and to various royal or merchant households, such as the queen’s house in TCL 10, 71, or the estate of Abu-waqar in YOS 5, 194.


§4.8. That aromatics were available to the local populace is clear from the prices of the raw materials and even some perfumed oils seen in the texts. However, this was also a prestige industry. Certain oils were priced so high that only the very wealthy could afford them. Perfumed oils were both an import and an export of the Old Babylonian Kingdom of Larsa. This was a vibrant industry that involved all stratums of the society and the economy of this kingdom.


§5. Texts
§5.1. Texts are divided between a primary corpus, made up of administrative and economic documents which appear here for the first time, a secondary corpus of texts, also of administrative and economic documents, which have appeared in copy in other works, three letters, and one royal inscription. Texts in the secondary corpus are from TCL 10, YOS 5, and YOS 14. Three letters, CT 29, 13-14, and YOS 2, 112, appear after the economic documents and one royal inscription, Rīm-Sîn 17 is translated last. Each has a publication history when available which states where copies, transliterations and translations, and discussions or commentaries appear. Additional commentary appears for each text when appropriate and when such commentary does not repeat already stated material in the discussion above.


§5.2. Primary Corpus
§5.2.1. MLC 1683 SE 27

1) 3 gešqu2-ta-«ḫi»-nu-umḫi-a 3 pieces of thin wood?,
  2 ma-na šimsig7-sig7 2 mina bdellium,
  šu-ti-a receipt of
  dsuen-še-mi Sîn-šemi;
5) kaskal egir lugal caravan after (the departure of) the king
  iriki sa-bu-um-še3 to al-Sabum,
  ša3 e2-du6-la2 inside the ‘house in probate’
  lu2-ga-a-a the executor
  kišib3 mu-ub-ra sealed.
4) itine-ne-gar m 5
  mu us2-sa 5-kam en-dšeš ba-hun-ga2 SE 27


§ MLC 1683 is a record of the separating and sealing off of royal property from private property in a household of an official which has come to an end through said official’s death. There are several reasons to describe it thus. First, it is a receipt of goods which I understand as designated for a caravan after the king’s departure to the city of Sabum, near Maškan-šapir and on the Euphrates.[109] More important for this synopsis are lines R. 7-9: ša3 e2-du6-la2/ lu2-ga-a-a/ kišib3 mu-ub-ra, “the executor sealed inside the ‘house in probate.’” I follow Heimpel’s understanding of the term e2-du6-la2, ‘ceased house,’ found in ASJ 19, 63-82.[110] Heimpel, comparing Maekawa’s Ur III evidence to Old Babylonian Mari evidence, comes to the conclusion that this word is used when sealing estates in order to take possession of royal property which had been held by an official in the Ur III period, even a minor one according to the Mari evidence, and also the property of criminals or enemies of the state in the Mari evidence (Heimpel 1997: 72-73, 75).[111] The process involved the sealing of property after the official’s death, retirement, etc (ibid. 76-77); hence the use of ‘kišib...ra.’ Hiempel also notes that the deceased/retiree’s holdings may have been a mixture of public and private property and thus involved the separating of royal from private belongings in the inheritance (ibid. 77-78). Lu2-ga, is understood here as some type of familial relationship to the deceased who had charge of his estate after death; either the estate’s heir or more likely the executor.[112] Thus we may say that the items in the house official, which is set aside at his next of kin’s or executor’s residence or in the deceased’s residence now under the authority of his executor. The items are sealed after this official’s death, to be sent out in the next caravan after the king’s departure.


§5.2.2. NBC 8584 SI 22

1) 4(ban2) ḫi-bi-iš-ti x 4 seah x aromatic cuttings,
  4(ban2) ba-ba-za-am 4 seah pappāsu-meal,
  1(ban2) 2/3 elšim 1 2/3 seah akkullaku,
  3 (sila3) šima 3 qûm fragrant water,
left edge
5) ki da-da-a from Dadā,
  di3-li2-na-ap-še-ra-am Ili-napširam
  šu ba-an-ti received;
  itiše-sag11-ku5 u4 12-kam m 12, d 12
3) mu sa-am-su-i-lu-na u6?-nir? SI 22
  za-ba4-ba4 d[inanna?] šu-gibil?-ak?


§5.2.3. NCBT 1808 RS 25

1) 1(ban2) kar3-šumsar 1 seah leeks,
  1(ban2) ḫa-za-nu-umsar 1 seah garlic
  4 sila3 an-da-aḫ-šumsar 4 qûm andaḫšum-plant,
  2 sila3 šimše-li 2 qûm juniper berries,
5) 2 ma-na geššu-ur2-min3 2 mina cypress,
  2 ma-na šimše-gir2 2 mina myrtle seed,
  2 ma-na šimaz 2 mina myrtle,
  4 gazi2sar 4 mustard,
  a-na gir4-maḫ for the Girmaḫ,
10) [šu]-ti-a i3-li2-ma-a-bi [rec]eipt of Ilima-abi;
  [...] x a tum [(...)] ...
  [ki ...] ta-x [from ...] ...
  [ba]-zi disbursed;
  itiab-e3 u4 5 kam m 10 d 5
15) mu a2 maḫ an den-lil2 en-ki-ga-ta RS 25
  iriki dam-qi2-i3-li2-šu šu-an-dib


§ NCBT 1808 appears to be a receipt by one Ilima-abī of food and spices for the Girmaḫ. I understand Girmaḫ here as the building which housed the “great oven” that was restored by Nur-Adad for the Nanna-temple of Ur, as stated in UET 8, 67, specifically ll. 37-48: “u4-bi-a / gir4-maḫ / u2-su3-su3 dsuen-na-ka / ninda il2-e /kilib3 dingir-re-e-ne-er / du8-maḫ / unu2-gal-ba / mi2-zi-de3-eš du11-ga / kin-sig kin-nim-ma / ka-nun-bi di-dam / nam-ti-la-ni-še3 / mu-na-du3.”[113] This passage is translated in RIME as:

37-41) at that time, a great oven for the meals of the god Suen which provides bread for all the gods
42-45) (and) a great cauldron cared for in the (dining) hall, roaring loudly at the morning and evening meals,
47-48) he made for him (the god Nanna) and for his own life.

The translation of gir4-maḫ here is seen in the AHw entry, “ein groβer kīru-Ofen.” (AHw I 284, as opposed to CAD K, 408, where it is transalted as a “large crucible.”) Falkenstein, followed by Salonen (Falkenstein 1960: 148-149, and Salonen 1964: 121, respectively), sees this oven as part of the “‘kitchen’ building” (UE 5, 38) described by Wooley in UE 5, 37-38[114] and connected to the gir4-maḫ mentioned in “the Second Lamentation of Ur,” l. 18 (Gadd 1963: 62-63),[115] and the e2 gir4-maḫ mentioned in CT 42, BM 16919: rev. 12 (e2-gir4-maḫ-a-ni ḫe2-gal2-la bi2-DU). Bottéro further makes mention of this building and oven in his RlA entry under “Küche” (Bottéro 1980-1983: 281).


§ Based on the evidence presented by UET 8, 67, “the Second Lamentation of Ur,” and CT 42, 40, it may be surmised that NCBT 1808 is a text pertaining to the delivery of condiments, to be used for the preparation of meals at the e2 gir4-maḫ for the God Nanna or another divinity worshipped at the temple complex of Ur. One sees this text as somewhat reminiscent of those presented by Lafont on pp. 292-294 of ARM 23 which were “sans doute principalement destinée au “travail des intendants” ou des cuisiniers chargés de la préperation des repas du roi” (Lafont 1984: 293). Here, however, the ingredients are in all likelihood intended for the craftsmen or cooks serving the god.


§ What can be said concerning the Girmaḫ in NCBT 1808 is that it was a building proper, not simply a big oven, evidenced by its appearance as a destination in this tablet, and that it was still in use during the reign of Rīm-Sîn as a food preparation facility, as is clear from the year date. Of more interest for our purposes is the use of aromatics in this text with other condiments. We see juniper berries, myrtle seeds?, myrtle, and cypress measured by capacity or weight depending on the condiment, delivered with possibly leeks, garlic, lentils, and mustard, measured by capacity and quantity. In particular, myrtle, delivered by weight, was likely the hardened sap used as a sweetener for foods.[116]


§5.2.4. YBC 1928 RS 52

1) 5 sila3 šimḫašḫur-ra 5 qûm apple,
  šu-ti-a receipt of
  1ib-bi-dutu Ibbi-Šamaš,
  ki 1ib-bi-dsuen from Ibbi-Sîn;
  seal impression
5) itiudruduru5 Sealing m 11
  mu ki 23-kam RS 52?


§5.2.5. YBC 4451

1) 1/2 ma<-na> šimeren 1/2 mina cedar,
  1 ma<-na> šimḫal 1 mina galbanum,
  1/2 ma<-na> šimḫi-li ḫal 1/2 mina galbanum resin,
  1/2 ma<-na> šimḫi-li sikil 1/2 mina sikillu resin,
5) a-na e2-gu-la to the E-gula;
  1 ku-du? 2 sila3 i3-geš 1 kudu?, 2 qûm sesame oil,
  a-na ir3-e2-gal to the palace servant,
  ta-al-pu-ni šu-ku6 sag Talpuni, head bā’eru;
  iti[sig4-a?] ki 5 u4 16-kam 5th intercalary month? d 16


5) George’s House Most High lists, as 424-431, eight separate entries for e2-gu-la. The entry which strikes me as the more likely for the e2-gu-la of YBC 4451: 5 is entry 425, “a shrine of Ninlil in the é-kur at Nippur” (George 1993: 96).[117] e2-gu-la possibly appears in CT 42, 40: 15. It is first described by F. R. Kraus as a chapel where Ninlil was honored in the Ekur complex of Nippur (Kraus 1963: 154). Reference is also seen in the Nippur Lament, l. 32, translated by Tinney as “the great temple whose noise (of activity) was famous” (Tinney 1996: 99).[118] That the e2-gu-la was a place of offerings is seen in both this document (YBC 4451: 5) and in UM 29-13-357 + N 915 + N 1911: rev. v 35, vi 23-24, where it is directly connected to Ninlil (published by Heimerdinger 1976: 228).


However, in the Nungal Hymn, e2-gu-la is described as a “prison, «house of misdeed», where the sinful man is under heavy sentence, house which selects the righteous and evil man ...” (translation from Sjöberg, 1973: p. 30, l. 10).[119] Indeed, as Civil notes, e2-kur-ra is also equated with prison (ṣibittu) and therefore the Nungal hymn need not, and probably should not, reference a shrine in the Ekur at Nippur (Civil 1993, 75). That offerings would take place in a prison seems odd. However, if we follow Civil’s understanding of Nungal’s role as a warden, we see two things: First, Nungal is compassionate, and “from the perspective of the author of the text, a prison sentence is a compassionate alternative to the death penalty, and compassion in Mesopotamia is mainly a female attribute.” (ibid. 78) In addition, the prison is both a source of light and a place of rebirth, where the guilty are reborn honest. (ibid. 78) If the prison is both a place of passion and rebirth, it only makes sense that it would be a place of offerings as well, especially offerings made by those seeking compassion in a court case where they want to be found innocent and honest or desire leniency. Leniency, after all, is proposed by Civil as the motive of the author of the Nungal Hymn (ibid. 72).


6) The reading of ku-du is enigmatic. It is understood here as a type of container, perhaps the kd jars which were used to store oil rations, among other items at Ugarit. This is seen in a rations list, CTC 136 (UT 84) in which, as noted by Heltzer; “eleven persons are listed who received from 1-3 kd—“jars”—of oil (šmn) each.” (Heltzer 1976: 27) Comparison of this jar is made to the DUG sign in Akkadian texts (ibid 27, note 51). Another possible explanation is the kuddu described in CAD K, 493: “On the one hand (A, EA and Ḫḫ VI 47 and IX 381) the word seems to denote a piece of wood or reed, a log, on the other hand (Ḫḫ IV, 239 and IX, 218) it describes a container made of wood or reed.”


§5.2.6. YBC 5151 RS 54

1) 6 ma-na šimar-ga-num 6 mina arganum,
  i-nu-u2-ma ku-lu-am tu-ki-il-lu when you withheld the withholding,
  šu-ti-a puzur4-dingir-a-ba4 receipt of Puzur-ilabi,
  ki wa-tar-dutu from Watar-Šamaš,
5) ki-bi-ta 1 i3-šešx from it 1 (is for an) oil allotment,
  šu-ti-a[...] x [...] receipt of [...],
  ki puzur4-dingir-a-ba4 from Puzur-Ilabi;
  itisig4-a u4 25-kam-ma m 3 d 25
  mu ki 25 i3-si-in-na in-dab5-ba RS 54


3) According to Roberts (1972: 34), Ilaba “plays a brief but important role before fading into obscurity at the end of the sargonic period.” This is, perhaps, corroborated by Richter 2004, where no mention of this deity is made. However, Bowes (1987: vol. 2, 954) notes two other occurrences of this divinity in personal names during the OB period: Nabi-Ilaba at Sippar and more importantly for this text, Ṣilli-Ilaba at Larsa.

5) the understanding of še is based on Poebel 1911, where it is argued that in the Old Babylonian period at Larsa and Babylon a phonetic spelling (for šeš2) could be used for a Sumerian word.


§5.2.7. YBC 5169 RS 28

1) 2 sila3 i3-du10-ga 2 qûm worked oil,
  1(ban2) šim ḫi-a 1 seah mixed perfumes,
  šu-ti-a dgu-la-du-um-qi receipt of Gula-dumqi;
  inim ša i-ni-ia-tum order of Iniyatum,
5) giri3 dnin-urta- us2-eden via Ninurta-us-eden,
  ki i-ku-un-pi4-diškur from Ikūn-pî-Adad,
  sanga? dnin-urta-kam the sanga of Ninurta?;
  blank space
  [iti...]-x ki 2 u4 13-kam intercalary month, d 13
  [...]du-un-nu-umki RS 28
  10) [...]in-dab5-ba


§5.2.8. YBC 5227

1) 4 sila3 geššim 4 qûm aromatic,
  šu-ti-a x x x-az receipt of ...-az,
  giri3 x [...]-ab? via ...-ab;
  blank space
  [iti]du6 u4 7-kam m 7 d 7


§5.2.9. YBC 5232 RS 39

1) 1(ban2) šim[...] 1 seah ...-aromatic,
  ku3-bi 10 gin2 [(...)] its value 10 shekels,
  ša a-na a-ḫi-na-x [...] which is for Aḫina-...,
  lu2-dnin-šubur-tu-kul2-[ti] Lu-Ninšubur-tukul[ti]
  ki ša-ad-di-nu[(...)] from Šaddinnu,
  šu-ti-a tu?-[...] receipt of Tu-[...];
  itiapin-du8-a m 8
  mu ki 25 i3-si-in-na? RS 39


§5.2.10. YBC 5765 RS 16

1) 15 ma-na šimdu10-eren 15 mina cedar-resin,
  ku3-bi 2/3 gin2 15 še its value 2/3 shekel 15 grain,
  ša diškur-ma-an-šum2 which Adad-manšum
  break ...
  itidu6-ku3 u4 12-kam m 7 d 12 y
5) mu i7 eden-na i7 ḫe2-gal2-la RS 16


§5.2.11. YBC 7189 RS 04

1) 2 gu2 15 ma-na šimgeš-eren 2 talent 15 mina cedar-wood,
  1 gu2 šimšu-ur2-man3 1 talent cypress,
  1 gu2 šimši-mi-iš-la2 1 talent box,
  1 gu2 šim dnin-urta 1 talent euphorbia,
5) n gu2 šimšeš n talent myrrh,
  1 gu2 15 ma-na šimgi-du10-ga 1 talent 15 mina sweet-reed,
  [n] gu2 šimaz n talent myrtle,
  [n] šimše-li n juniper berries,
  [n] šimgig n kanaktu,
  10) mu-DU a-da-al-lalx(LA)-a-a delivery of Adallal-Ayya;
  itidu6-ku3 u4 15-kam m 7 d 15
  mu e2 dinanna dnanna RS 04
  u3 den-lil ki Larsaki-ma mu-un-du3-a


§5.2.12. YBC 10512 Sîn-iqīšam 5a

1) 1 šimmar-gu-[ṣum] 1 marguṣum,
  geš-nig2 1/2 10 kar-ra the chunk of wood (is) 1/2 (shekel)
  at 10 (shekels) on the market,
  ku3-bi 2 gin2 its value 2 shekel,
  na4 dutu standard of Šamaš,
5) e2-i3-ra2-ra2-še3 for the perfumer workshop;
  mu-DU dsuen-be-el-ap-[lim] delivery of Sîn-bēl-aplim,
  dumu den-lil2-na-ši? son of Enlil-naši,
  dub šu-bala? tablet of the exchange?;
  break ...
  2') itix-x [...] m x
  mu ka [...] ugnim[...] x-x [...] Sîn-iqīšam 5a?


§ I understand this text as a delivery of a piece of wood valued at 2 shekels. Two additional quantities are given in line two: 1/2 and 10. The only standard measurements given are shekels in line 3 and na4 dutu, lit. ‘weight of Šamaš,’ in line 4. I therefore understand both measurements in line two as weights. The first is that of marguṣum, the second of silver. The market rate, then, is 1/2 shekel marguṣum for every 10 shekels of silver, or a rate of 1:20 marguṣum / silver according to the market. The weight of this chunk of wood is thus 1/10 shekel, measured by the weight of Šamaš. l. 8 helps explain the transaction: it is an exchange of silver for its equivalent in the wood at the market. Unfortunately the rest of the line is broken.


§5.2.13. YBC 10758

1) 1 ma-na šimlal3 1 mina (scented) honey,
  šu-ti-a receipt of
  1 dsuen-iš-me-a-ni, Sîn-išmeanni
  nig2-šu i-din-dsuen goods of Iddin-Sîn.


1) This is understood here as a hardened sugary honey, measured by weight, rather than a syrup meausured by capacity.


§5.2.14. YBC 10759

1) 2 šimdu10-ḫal 2 galbanum-resin,
  šu-ti-a receipt of
  u-na-ḫi-id-iš8-tar3 Unaḫḫid-Ištar,
  nig2 i-din-dsuen goods of Iddin-Sîn;
5) itiab-bi-e3-a u4 2 kam m 10 d 2


§5.3. Secondary Corpus
§5.3.1. TCL
§ TCL 10, 56, AO 8479 RS 22
Leemans states concerning this tablet: “In the text published in TCL X, the fragment A is a piece of the tablet, projecting from the partly broken case; it is now entirely effaced. B is the text on the case. Copy and transliteration of the tablet are given here, the latter complemented by the fragmentary copy of A in TCL X” (Leemans 1960: 14).


§ Tablet
Copies: TCL 10, 56 A, Leemans (1960: 147)
Transliteration, translation: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 66-67), Leemans (1960: 148)
Discussion: Breckwoldt (1994: part 3, 108-109, part 5 68), Kraus (1958: 15), Leemans (1960: 77, 146, 157, 174)

1) [n] ma-na ku3-babbar [n] mina silver,
  šu-ti-a dnin-urta-mu-pa3-da x receipt of Ninurta-mupada, x,
  kaskal BAD3.ANki caravan of Der;
  ša3-ba 5/6 ma-na 4 gin2 ku3-babbar out of this 5/6 mina 4 shekels silver,
5) šu-ti-a za-a-lim receipt of Zâlim,
  a-na ṣi-iḫ-ḫi-ir-tum to buy
  ša-mi-im a small scrap;
  [1] tug2na-al-ba-šum [1] nalbašum-garment,
  [...] n la2? gin2 [... its] n minus? the shekel,
  [... ku3]-bi 2/3 gin2 [... its] value 2/3 shekel,
  [... ku3]-bi 2/3 gin2 [... its] value 2/3 shekel
  [... ku3-bi 2/3 gin2 [...] its value 2/3 shekel
5) [...] x ku3-bi 3 1/3 gin2 [...] its value 3 1/3 shekel
  [šu-ti-a] a-ḫu-um-wa-qar dumu lu2?-x-ta [receipt] or Aḫum-waqar, son of Lu?-x,
  [kaskal] BAD3.ANki [caravan] of Dēr;
  [n 10] ma-na 7 1/3 gin2 [n 10] mina 7 1/3 shekels
  šu-ti-a i-ku-un-pi4-diškur receipt of Ikūn-pî-Adad
10) u3 i3-li2-i-din-nam and Ili-idinnam,
  mu-DU it-ti-dsuen-mil-ki delivery of Itti-Sîn-milki;
  itigan-gan-e3 m 9
  mu du11-ga zi-da den-lil2 den-ki-ga-ta RS 22
  i7 ul-li2-ta mu-bi-na [sa4-a sipa]
  ri-im-suen mu-ba-al


§ Case
Copy: TCL 10, 56 B
Transliteration, translation: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 67)
Discussion: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 68), Kraus (1958: 15), Leemans (1960: 77, 146, 157, 174)

1) [n ma-na] ku3-babbar [n mina] silver,
  [šu-ti]-a dnin-urta-mu-pa3-da [recei]pt of Ninurta-mupada,
  [kaskal] BAD3.ANki [caravan] of Dēr;
  [ša3]-ba! 5/6 ma-na 4 gin2 ku3-babbar out of this 5/6 mina 4 shekels silver,
5) šu-ti-a za-a-lim receipt of Zâlim,
  a-na ṣi-iḫ-ḫi-ir-tum to buy
  ša-mi-im a small scrap;
  1 tug2na-al-ba-šum 1 nalbašum-garment,
  [n] 1 gin2 [n] 1 shekel,
10) 2 sag? ir3 ku3-bi 1 2/3 gin2 2 heads? of slave, their value 1 2/3 shekel,
  2 sila3 i3-sag ku3<-bi> 2/3 gin2 2 qûm premium oil, its value 2/3 shekel,
  2 sila3 i3-gešeren 2 qûm cedar oil,
  ku3-bi 2/3 gin2 its value 2/3 shekel,
  5 sag gu4 al-zu2-a 5 head plow ox,
15) ku3-bi 3 2/3 gin2 their value 3 2/3 shekels,
  kaskal BAD3.ANki caravan of Dēr;
  10 ma-na 7 2/3 gin2 10 mina 7 2/3 shekels,
  šu-ti-a i-ku-un-pi4-diškur receipt of Ikūn-pî-Adad
  u3 i3-li2-i-din-nam and Ili-idinnam,
20) mu-DU It-ti-dsuen-mil-ki delivery of Itti-Sîn-milki;
  [itigan-gan]-e3 m 9
  mu du11-ga zi-da den-lil2 den-ki-ga-ta RS 22
  i7 ul-li2-ta mu-bi-na [sa4-a sipa ri-im-
  suen] mu-ba-al-la2 [...]-kam2?


4) ki on the tablet copy.

9) One expects ku3-bi 1 gin2, as Breckwoldt (1994) restores. However, Leemans’ copy does not allow this reading.

10) The second sign on the case makes the restoration tentative; my reading of it is based on l. 14. Leemans (1960) restores “2 udu-nita2 ku3-bi 2/3 gin2” which is also a possibility. Breckwoldt’s restoration “2 sila3 šim! ku3-bi 2/3 gin2” is unlikely though her statement that 2/3 shekel is low is valid. The sign, according to the copy, is not šim, however, but ir3.


§ TCL 10, 57, AO 8469 RS 22
Copy: TCL 10, 57
Editions: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 68), Leemans (1960: 148-149)
Discussion: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 68-69), Leemans (1960: 157)

1) 1.58 udu-nita2 118 rams,
  2(ban2) gešlam-tur 2 seah šer’azu-nut,
  2(ban2) gešlam-gal 2 seah pistachios,
  2(ban2) lal3 2 seah honey,
5) 3(ban2) 2 sila3 i3-sag 3 seah 2 qûm premium oil,
  5(ban2) šim ḫi-a 5 seah mixed perfumes,
  11 ma-na gešeren 11 mina cedar,
  mu-DU it-ti-dsuen <-mil-ki> delivery of Itti-Sîn-milki
  zar-bi2-lumki of Zarbilum,
10) geš-tag-ga lugal royal sacrifice,
  itidu6-ku3 m 7
  ša i-na kun i7du-uš-šu when? into the outlet of the dušu-canal
  il-la-[ak/ku] he? went/goes;
  itidu6-ku3 u4 25-kam m 7 d 25
15) mu du11-ga zi-da dsuen] [den-ki-ga-ta RS 22
  i7ul-ta mu-bi nu-sa4[a] sipa- dri-im-
  dsuen ba-al-[la2] iriki didli-be2-eš3 gan2-
  [dagal-la] bi2-in-[daḫ-e]


8) Leemans notes the presence of ‘mil-ki’ on the tablet though it is absent from the copy. Since this makes sense, Itti-Sîn-milki was a merchant, the merchant overseer of Zarbilum in fact as seen in TCL 10, 61, below, I follow Leemans.

10) For the translation of geš–tag as ‘to sacrifice,’ see Thompson (1984: 318). Leemans (1960: 149), leaves this untranslated. Breckwoldt’s understands this phrase as derived from “to offer.” See Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 68 n. 10).

12) Leemans transliteration of this text shows a -šu at the end of this line. In addition, he notes the alternative reading of the sign preceding -šu as UŠ (Leemans 1960: 149 n. 2). The translation “when” for ša is tentative following Leemans and Breckwoldt.


§ TCL 10, 61, AO 8497 RS 23
Copy: TCL 10, 61.
Transliteration, Translation: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 69), Jean (1931: no. 24), Leemans (1960: 149-150)
Discussions: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 70); Leemans (1960: 157)

1) 21(gur) 3(barig) 5(ban2) sila3 i3-geš 21 kor 3 pānû 5 seah, qûm oil,
  53(gur) 2(barig) 2(ban2) gur še-geš-i3 53 kor 2 pānû 2 seah, kor sesame,
  mu-DU it-ti-dsuen-mil-ki delivery of Itti-Sîn-milki,
  ugula dam-qar zar-bi2-limki merchant overseer of Zarbilim,
5) šu-ti-a i3-li2-i-din-nam receipt of Ili-idinnam
  u3 i-ku-un-pi4-diškur and Ikūn-pî-Adad,
  a-na amar-ne2-ru-um for Būr-nêrum;
  gešba-an 10 nig2-gi-na the normal seah-measure of 10;
  itikin-dinanna u4 5-kam m 6 d 5
10) mu du11 an den-lil2 RS 23
  den-ki-ga-ta i7 ud-kib-nun-na di4-lim-da
  ku3-ga nanna-ta nesag tum3 e2-kur-ad?
  nam-ti-la-še3 sipa-zi dri-im-dsuen-e
  Larsaki-ta zag a-ab-ba-še3 mu-ba-la2


2) Leemans reading of 3(barig [pi]) must be a typo since he translates it as 2.

7) I follow Jean (1931: 142) in restoring ZUR, understood here as amar and thus making this a personal name, against both Leemans (1960: 150) followed by Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 69-70), who both see this as a mistake for SIZKUR, a sacrifice.

8) Following Leemans (1960) for nig2-gi-na. Breckwoldt translates “correct.”


§ TCL 10, 63, AO 8510 RS 24
Copy: TCL 10, 63
Collation: Arnaud (1976: 86).

1) 8 sila3 i3-geš bara2-ga 8 qûm filtered-sesame oil,
  3 sila3 i3-geš 3 qûm oil,
  1(ban2) kar3-šumsar 1 seah leeks,
  šu-ti-a receipt of
5) 1dri-im-dsuen-mu-ba-li2-iṭ Rīm-Sîn-muballiṭ
  u3 kur-mar-da-maḫ-ni2 and Kur-Marda-maḫni,
  ki ḫa-ba-an-nu-um from Ḫabannum
  ba-zi disbursed;
  iti gešapin-du10-a m 8
10) mu du11-ga an den-lil2 RS 24
  den-ki-ga-ta i7maš-tab-ba
  a nag un dagal-la?
  gal2?-še3 gal2-la gu2
  diri-a-bi he2-gal2 dašnan
  gar-gar-ra sipa-zi dri-im-dsuen-e
  lu2 igi-gal2 tuku
  banda3da-bi diri-bi zag
  a-ab-ba-še3 mu-ba-al
  a-gar3 didli-bi gan-zi-še3 in-ku4-re

3) Arnaud’s collation sees the beginning of this line as: ‘1/2 gu2-.’ The gu2- is possibly a mistake for kar3-, which look very similar in these texts. This understanding seems relatively certain as there is no gu2-šumsar I am aware of, but there is a kar3-šumsar (see appendix 1). As this material is routinely measured by capacity, it is likely that Arnaud’s 1/2 should be read as 1 ban2.


§ TCL 10, 71, AO 8453 RS 27
Copy: TCL 10, 71
Transliteration, translation: Jean (1931: 144-148 no 27)
Discussions: Leemans (1960: 16, 158)

Obverse i
1) 4 sila3 [...] 4 qûm ...,
  ur-mes a [...] ...,
  a-na gešin-[...] for x-...,
  giri3 SI-x-AB-x [...] conveyor ...
5) u3 [e2-a?]-ra-bi [...] and Ea-rabi ...,
  16 ba-ba-az giri3?[...] 16 pappāsu, via? [...],
  šu-ti-a ša-li-mu-um receipt of Šalimum,
  giri3 x-lim [...] via ...,
  i!a-li2-d[...] Ali-[...]
10) u3 e2-a-ra-[bi ...] and Ea-Rabi;
  20 gu2 im-[babbar ...] 20 talents gy[psum],
  15 gur naga 15 kor potash,
  a-na tukmu-sir2-ra ša e2-nin for a misarru-garment of the queen’s house,
  šu-ti-a i3-li2-inim-gi-na receipt of Ili-inim-gina;
15) 15 gur naga 1(ban2) šimḫašḫur 15 kor potash, 1 seah apple,
  1(ban2) šimmar-gu-ṣum 1 seah marguṣum,
  1(ban2) šimba-ri--a-tum 1 seah sagapanum?,
  1(ban2) šimli 1 seah juniper,
  1(ban2) šimdup-ra-[num] 1 seah juniper (drupacea) ,
20) 4 ma-na šimgir2 4 mina myrtle,
  4 ma-na šimḫal 4 mina galbanum,
  4 ma-na šimḫi-il ba-lu-ḫu 4 mina galbanum-resin,
  4 ma-na imḫa-gir2 4 mina puquttu?,
  2(ban2) za3-ḫi-li-a 2 seah cress,
25) a-na e2-nin šu-ti-a mar-ra!-bi for the queen’s house receipt of Marrabi?,
  inim ša ša-li-mu-um order of Šalimum;
  1(ban2) šim a-na dumumeš lugal 1 seah perfumed oil for the princes,
  šu-ti-a ša-li-mu-um receipt of Šalimum,
  giri3 a-ba-a via Abâ;
30) 4 gur a-du-a-a 4 kor ...,
  1 a ba? 1 ...
  a-na ar ku ka x x ab is is for ...,
  x x še rad-da si-[ ]-a-ni ...,
  giri3 gi-mil-suen via Gimil-Sîn;
35) a x ku3 geš ...,
  1 ma-na gaba lal3 1 mina wax,
  10 gin2 lu-ur-pi-a-nu-um 10 shekel lurpianum-mineral,
  1 sila3 imzu-ge6 kur-ra 1 k. black x-resin,
  1/2 gin2 na4du8-ši-a 1/2 shekel dušû-stone,
40) 1/2 gin2 na4za-gin3 1/2 shekel lapis-lazuli,
  1 ma-na uruda 1 mina copper,
  1/3 ma-na šimsig7 1/3 mina guḫlu?,
  1/3 ma-na šimbar-sig7 1/3 mina ...,
  šu-ti-a dsuen-du-ur-šu receipt of Sîn-dūršu,
45) giri3 ša-li-mu-um via Šalimum,
  ra-bu-ut-dsuen Rabût-Sîn and
  e2-a-ra-bi Ea-rabi;
41) 1 1/3 gin2 ku3-[babbar] a-na ku-kur 1 1/3 shekel silver for flood?
  a-na e2 šu-zi in-na-ad-nu granted to the E-šuzi,
  1(ban2) kar3-šumsar šu-ti-a x-mu-ga 1 seah leeks, receipt of ...,
  giri3 nu-ur-dkab-ta dumu x-a via Nur-Kabta, son of [...]-a;
45) 7 sila3 kar3-šumsar giri3 ir3-dmar-tu 7 qûm leeks, via Warad-Amurru,
  šu-ti-a dsuen-an-dul7-a-ni receipt of Sîn-andul-ani;
  1 sila3 i3-gešeren 1 sila3 lal3 1 qûm cedar oil, 1 qûm honey,
  3 sila3 šimli a-na dingir-inim-ma 3 qûm juniper, for Ilu-inimma,
  ša u4 bara2-ma of the ...;
50) 1 sila3 i3-gešeren 1 sila3 lal3 1 qûm cedar oil, 1 qûm honey,
  3 sila3 šimli 3 qûm juniper,
  a-na dingir-inim-ma iriki! ib-ra-at Ibrat for Ilu-inimma of the town of
  ezem ma-ka-tum makatum festival;
  15 gur naga a-na geškiri 15 kor potash, for the orchard,
55) šu-ti-a ša-li-mu-um giri3 zi-ik-rum receipt of Šalimum, via Zikrum;
  3 sila3 i3-sag 5 sila3 šim ḫi-a 3 qûm premium oil, 5 qûm mixed perfumes,
  ezem itine-ne-gar dingir-inim-ma Nenegar festival of Ilu-inimma,
  giri3 suen-ma-ḫa-[...] via Sîn-maḫa-[...];
  1 gin2 sar 1 mu 1 shekel ...,
60) a-na pe2-ḫi ur2-ša-a-dx to caulk the ...,
  2 sila3 i3-sag 1 sila3 i3-gešeren oil 2 qûm premium oil, 1 qûm cedar,
  1 sila3 lal3 a-na dumu-i3-li2 1 qûm honey, for Mār-ili,
  inim ša i-din-dsuen order of Iddin-Sîn;
  1 tug2ma-aṣ-ṣum a-na den-lil2-x x x 1 maṣṣum garment, for Enlil-...,
65) 2 tug2ma-aṣ-ṣum šu-ti-a ša-li-mu-um 2 maṣṣum garments, receipt of Šalimum,
  a-na narmeš ma-ar-ṣu-tum for the sick singers,
  giri3 im-gur-dsuen via Imgur-Sîn;
  1 gin2 ku3-babbar a-na geššinig 1 shekel silver, for a tamarisk,
  ša gur ezem dne3-eri11-gal that of the kor-measure of the feast of Nergal,
70) šu-ti-a im-gur-dutu receipt of Imgur-Šamaš;
  blank space
  iti gešapin-du8-a u4 20-kam m 8 d 20
  mu du11 an en-lil2 en-ki-[ga-ta] i7 RS 27
  gu3-nun-na-di ul-[ta ba-ra-si-ga]
  GAN2 gi dagal-la gan2 [zi nu gal2-la]
  dri-im-d[en-zu sipa geš tuk
  kur gal-la igi] a-ab-[ba-še3 (e da-ri2


49, 53) I cannot document these festivals.


§ TCL 10, 72, AO 8464 RS 27
Copy: TCL 10, 72
Collation: Arnaud (1976: 86).
Transliteration, translation: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5, 72-73), Jean (1931: no. 128), Leemans (1960: 150-152)
Discussions: Ebeling (1948, 130), Leemans (1960: 119-120, 127, 151, 157)

1) 3 ma-na ku3-babbar 3 mina silver,
  8 gin2 ku3-gi kar 4 gin2 8 shekels gold, rate 4 shekels,
  ku3-bi 1/2 ma-na 2 gin2 its value 1/2 mina 2 shekels;
  5 gin2 ku3-gi kar 3 gin2 5 shekels gold, rate of 3 shekels,
5) ku3-bi 15 gin2 its value 15 shekels;
  4 (gur) 1(ban2) gur i3-geš kar 1(ban2) 8 (sila3) 4 kor 1 seah kor oil, rate of 1 seah 8 (qûm),
  ku3-bi 1 ma-na 7 gin2 1/6 its value 1 mina 7 1/6 shekels;
  1(barig) 1 sila3 i3-sag kar 5 gin2 10 še 1 pānû 1 qûm premium oil, rate of 5 shekels 10 grains,
  ku3-bi 12 gin2 igi 6-gal2 6 še its value 12 1/6 shekels 6 grains
10) 1(ban2) šim kar 3 sila3 ku3-bi 3 1/3 gin2 1 seah perfumed oil, rate of 3 (shekels) its value 3 1/3 shekels;
  10 ma-na gešeren 10 mina cedar,
  10 ma-na gešza-ba-al 10 mina juniper (excelsa),
  10 ma-na geššu-ur2-min3 10 mina cypress,
  10 ma-na gešli-wi-ir 10 mina white cedar,
15) kar 12 ma-na ku3-bi 3 1/3 gin2 rate of 12 mina, its value 3 1/3 shekels;
  4(ban2) 2 sila3 šim ḫi-a kar 1 (barig) 4 seah 2 qûm mixed perfumes, rate of 1 (pānû),
  ku3-bi 2/3 gin2 6 še its value 2/3 shekel 6 grains;
  40 udu-nita2 kar 2/3 gin2 40 rams, rate of 2/3 shekel,
  ku3-bi 1/3 ma-na 6 2/3 gin2 its value 1/3 mina 6 2/3 shekels;
20) 1.07 udu-nita2 kar 1/2 gin2 67 rams, rate of 1/2 shekel,
  ku3-bi 1/2 ma-na 3 1/2 gin2 its value 1/2 mina 3 1/2 shekels;
  9 udu-nita2 bar-su3 kar 1/3 gin2 9 rams without fleece, rate of 1/3 shekel,
  ku3-bi 3 gin2 its value 3 shekels;
  1.39 ganam4 kar 1/2 gin2 99 ewes, rate of 1/2 shekel,
25) ku3-bi 2/3 ma-na 9 1/2 gin2 its value 2/3 mina 9 1/2 shekels;
  10 ganam4 bar-su3 kar igi 4-gal2 10 ewes without fleece, rate of 1/4,
  ku3-bi 2 1/2 gin2 its value 2 1/2 shekels;
  16 sila4 kar 1/3 gin2 ku3-bi 5 1/3 gin2 16 lambs, rate of 1/3 shekel, its value 5 1/3 shekels;
  34 maš2-munus-aš2 kar 1/3 gin2 34 female x-goats, rate of 1/3 shekel,
30) ku3-bi 11 1/3 gin2 its value 11 1/3 shekels;
  šu-nigin 7 1/3 ma-na 5 1/3 gin2 total 7 1/3 mina 5 1/3 shekels,
  22! x x 22 ...,
  mu-DU it-ti-dsuen-mil-ki delivery of Itti-Sîn-milki,
  geš-tag-ga lugal royal sacrifice,
35) itiudruduru5 month of šabattu,
  šu-ti-a i-ku-un-pi4-diškur receipt of Ikūn-pî-Adad
  u3 i3-li2-i-din-nam and Ili-idinnam;
  itiudruduru5 m 11
  mu? i7 gu3-nun-di [...] ba-ra-si?[...] RS 27?


6) Arnaud’s collation of 8 gin2 at the end of this line is unlikely. One would have to understand this as 1/2 (mina) 8 shekels which the math does not support.

7) Leemans (1960: 151-52) notes the possibility of this line as 7 1/6 shekels 10 še, which Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 72) follows.

18-19) Arnaud’s collation suggests the possibility of 40 at the beginning of this line, which is backed up by Leemans’ review of the document in Leemans (1960: 151).

19) Jean (1931: no 128) reads: zi?-nin.

32) Leemans notes the text is clearly 22, against the copy in TCL 10. Leemans would further prefer to restore ku3-babbar after it, though he states “the traces hardly allow this reading.” (Leemans 1960: 151 n. 3)

34) For the translation of geš–tag as ‘to sacrifice,’ see Thompson 1984: 318. Leemans (1960: 149) leaves this untranslated. Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 68 n. 10) understands this phrase as derived from “to offer.”


§ TCL 10, 81, AO 8470 RS 30
Copy: TCL 10, 81
Editions: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5, 75-76), Feuerherm (2004b, 202-203), Leemans (1960: 152)
Discussions: Ebeling (1948: 130, 141), Feuerherm (2004: vol. 2, 203), Leemans (1960: 47, 119, 127, 151-52, 157)

1) [n] gu2 30 ma-na geššu-ur-min3 n talents 30 mina cypress,
  30 ma-na šimmar-ga-nu2-um 30 mina marganum,
  ša e2-a-bu-wa-qar of the estate of Abu-waqar;
  1 gu2 gešeren 1 talent cedar,
5) 30 ma-na gešli-wi-ir 30 mina white cedar wood,
  30 ma-na šimaz 30 mina myrtle,
  30 ma-na šimgi-du10-ga 30 mina sweet reed,
  30 ma-na šimdu10-eren? 30 mina cedar resin,
  30 ma-na šimḫal 30 mina galbanum,
10) 30 ma-na šim ša-me!-eš!-la 30 mina box,
  šim dnin-urta euphorbia,
  šimmug bullukku,
  3(ban2) šimgam-gam 3 seah terebinthe,
  gešza-[ba-al] juniper (excelsa),
15) 3(ban2) šim [...] 3 seah ...,
  3(ban2) šim[še]-li 3 seah juniper berries,
  1 i3-sag du10-ga 1 premium worked oil
  giri3 dingir-ga-mil diri-ga via Ilu-gāmil, replacement
  šu-ti-a i-ku-un-pi4-diškur receipt of Ikūn-pî-Adad;
  itiše-sag11-ku5 u4 9-kam m 12 d 9
  mu i3-si-inki ba-an-dab5 RS 30


4) Leemans (1960: 152) gives gešbara6-eren

8) For šim-du10-x see Feuerherm (2004: vol. 2, 203 n. c). As he notes, this is not šim ḫi-a. EREN is broken but supported by the copy.

10) Following Ebeling’s reading. Cf. YBC 7189: 3, where we see šimši-mi-iš-la2.

18) Following Feuerherm (2004: vol. 2, 203 and n. l)


§ Tablet
Copy: Leemans (1960: 153)
Transliteration, translation: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 76), Leemans (1960: 154)
Discussions: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 76), Leemans (1960: 154)

1) 6 sila3 i3-gešeren 6 qûm cedar oil,
  10 gu2 11 ka na x gešeren 10 talents 11 x cedar,
  a-na dme-an? for ...
  šu-ti-a i-ku-un-pi4-diškur receipt of Ikūn-pî-Adad,
5) ki dutu-mu-ba-li2-iṭ from Šamaš-muballiṭ,
  inim ša ta-ri-bu-um order of Taribum;
  iti gešapin-du8-a u4 20-kam m 8 d 20
  mu geštukul-maḫ den-lil2 dsuen RS 30
  i3-si-inki ba-an-dab5  


§ Case
Copy: TCL 10, 82
Transliteration, translation: Leemans (1960: 154)
Discussions: Leemans (1960: 154)

1) 6 sila3 i3-gešeren 6 qûm cedar oil,
  10 gu2 11 ma-na x geš-i3-a 10 talents 11 x x,
  a-na dme-an? for ...,
  šu-ti-a i-ku-un-[pi4]-diškur receipt of Ikūn-pî-Adad,
5) ki dutu-mu-ba-li2-iṭ from Šamaš-mubaliṭ
  ba-zi disbursed;
  iti gešapin-du8-a u4 20-kam m 8 d 20
  mu geštukul-maḫ den-lil2 dsuen RS 30
  i3-si-inki ba-an-dab5  


2 (tablet and case)) Breckwoldt (1994: part 5, 76) notes the possibility that the first two signs are to be read ‘aš-šum.’


§5.3.2. YOS
Perhaps YOS 5, 171, 172, and 194, are related to RIME, a Rīm-Sîn inscription dealing with the construction of the Ešaḫulla. Frayne would like to attach this to Rīm-Sîn 4 and locate it in Larsa (RIME 4, p. 274), but George would place this more likely in Uruk (George 1993: 143 no. 1018), which would fit these texts well. Of additional interest is the year date for these three texts, year 6, which notes the building of a temple of Baraulegarra in Adab, and, though not stated in the year dates of these texts, the production of gold statues of Sîn-iddinam. Perhaps a connection can be made between these statues and YOS 5, 171: 7, and 194: 10, where the temple of Sîn-iddinam is mentioned.


§ YOS 5, 171, YBC 6143 RS 06
Copy: YOS 5, 171

1) 2 sila3 i3-geš e2-dinanna u3 dna-na-a 2 qûm oil, temple of Ištar and Nanaya;
  4 sila3 i3-eren a-wi-lim 4 qûm cedar oil, Awīlim;
  1(ban2) i3-eren bi-tim 1 seah cedar oil, Bītim;
  1(ban2) i3-eren li-iq-tum 1 seah cedar oil, Liqtum;
5) 1(ban2) i3-eren be-ta-tum 1 seah cedar oil, Bettatum;
  1(ban2) i3-eren ša-at-ib-bi 1 seah cedar oil, Šāt-ibbi;
  1(ban2) si-gar e2-dsuen-i-din-nam bad2-[x] gir2 [x] 2 seah, door-bolt, temple of Sîn-Idinnam Bad-[...] x [...];
  1(ban2) pi-iš-ti-ia i-nu-ma si-gar e2-dx x 1 seah, Pištiya, when the door-bolt of the temple of ...
  u2-ša-ki-lu [...] she polished;
10) 1(ban2) a-na e2-a-ab-ba-a i-nu-ma i-din-dsuen 1 seah, to the Eabba when Iddin-Sîn
  [...] aḫ-ra-ma [...] was delayed;
  1(ban2) ṣi-li2-dutu dumu si-im-mu-ug-ra 1 seah, Ṣilli-Šamaš son of Simmugra;
  2 sila3 a-na nig2-du3-e3-a a-na e2-i3-li2-tu-kul2-ti 2 qûm, for ... (and) for the estate of Ili-tukulti,
  i-nu-ma i-mu-tu when they died;
15) 4 2/3 sila3 ir3 e2-mar-ba-tum 4 2/3 qûm, servant of the Marbatum estate;
  1 sila3 a-na uruda ur-maḫ ša e2-dinanna pa-ša-ši-im 1 qûm, to anoint the copper lion of the Ištar temple;
  1/2 sila3 a-na maš2-šu-gid2-gid2 giri3 i3-li2-[...] 1/2 qûm, to the diviner, via Ili-x;
  1/3 sila3 a-na e2-dUtu pa-ša-ši-im3 1/3 qûm, to anoint the temple of Šamaš;
  [n] sila3 ku3-d[...] n qûm, holy-x ...;
20) 3 sila3 a-na [...] 3 qûm, to ...;
  1(ban2) ku3-dinanna [...] 1 seah, Ku-Inanna ...;
  3(ban2) ku3-dinanna-uḫ-me x x [...] 3 seah, Ku-Inanna-uḫ-me ...;
  1/3 sila3 ir3 e-[...] 1/3 qûm, servant of ...;
  1 sila3 a-na nig2-i3-de2-a ddumu-[zi ...] 1 qûm, for libation of Dumuzi ...;
25) 2 sila3 a-na ddumu-zi i-nu-ma šu?-ma? [...] 2 qûm, for Dumuzi when ...;
  1(ban2) im-gur-dsuen maš2-šu-gid2-gid2 1 seah, for Imgur-Sîn, diviner when [...];
  1/2 sila3 a-ma-at-dsuen 1/2 qûm, Amat-Sîn;
  5 sila3 a-ḫu-ṭa-bu-um i-nu-ma aḫ-ra-ma 5 qûm, Aḫum-ṭābum; when he was delayed;
  1(ban2) 5 1/3 sila3 i3-eren nanna-ma 1 seah 5 1/3 qûm cedar oil, of Nanna,
30) x-lum-x-il-bi [...]; ...
  2 sila3 pi-iš-ti-ia 2 qûm, Pištia,
  i-nu-u2-ma nu-ur2-ub-tum aḫ-ra-ma when Nūr-ubtum was delayed;
  3 (pi) 5 2/3 sila3 i3-geš 3 pānû 5 2/3 qûm, oil
  ba-zi disbursed;
35) itišu-numun-a u4 30-kam m 4 d 30
  mu e2-dbar3-ul-e-gar-ra RS 06
  ša3 adabki mu-un-du3-a


1) See also YOS 5, 172: 1 and 194: 1, below where the temple of Inanna and Nanaya is also mentioned. If the e2-dinanna u3 dna-na-a of this text and those below are related to the mention of dinanna u3 dna-na-a in TCL 10, 100, then a location in Uruk is certain (ll 36-37: a-na dinanna u3 dna-na-a / ša3 unuki). This is supported by YOS 5, 172: 8-9, where an allotment is given to one Awīlum while he was delayed at Uruk. Thus reference is possibly made here to a part of the Eanna-complex at Uruk, for which see George (1993: 67-68 no. 75, 99 no. 460, and 126 no. 793).

4) Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 152) also notes the possible appearance of Liqtum in SVJAD 52: 6 (nig2-ba li-iq-[...]). SVJAD 52: 7-8 “i-nu-ma iš-tu mu-x-[x il]-li-kam-ma / i-na e2-dinanna ik-ka-lu-u2,” as noted by Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 152), is similar to YOS 5, 172: 8-9, thus making this identification likely. Unfortunately the name in SVJAD 52: 6 is broken, as is the town name in l. 7, thus rendering certain identification impossible.

5) For Bettatum, see Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 152 n. 5), where a personal correspondence between T. Breckwoldt and G. Beckman makes note of an unpublished seal in the Babylonian collection which identifies her as the daughter of Balmunamḫe and spouse of Nurum-liṣi, a diviner.

7-31) I understand the majority of oils in this text and the following two to be cedar oil.

7) The tablet itself shows this is clearly the door-bolt, si-gar. This line refers to a temple of Sîn-idinnam, a deified predecessor of Rīm-Sîn, for which see above and under the introduction to this section. Mention of this temple is also made in YOS 5, 194: 10

11) aḫ-ra-ma is clear upon a reexamination of the tablet. Note also its appearance in ll. 28 and 32 of this text, and in YOS 5, 95: 6. This is understood as the predicative masculine singular of aḫāru, translated in CDA 7 as “to be behind” and AHw I, 18 as “hinten sein,” plus a ventive ending, which is represented in the following -ma. Its use here is perhaps of the same purpose as kalû in YOS 5, 172: 8-9.

12) For Simmugra, see TCL 10, 17: R 7, TCL 17, 1: 20, YOS 5, 172: 7 (below) and 174: 9. In the latter two he is also identified as the father of Ṣilli-Šamaš.


§ YOS 5, 172, YBC 7185 RS 06
Copy: YOS 5, 172
Transliteration, translation, commentary: Breckwoldt (1994: part 5 150-151)

1) 2 sila3 i3-geš e2-dinanna u3 d[na-na-a] 2 qûm oil, temple of Inanna and Nanaya;
  4 sila3 i3-eren a-wi-lim 4 qûm cedar oil, Awīlim;
  1(ban2) i3-eren bi-tim 1 seah cedar oil, Bītim;
  1(ban2) i3-eren li-iq-tum 1 seah cedar oil, Liqtum;
5) 1(ban2) i3-[eren be-ta]-tum 1 seah cedar oil, Bettatum;
  1(ban2) i3-[eren ša-at-ib]-bi 1 seah cedar oil, Šāt-ibbi;
  1(ban2) ṣi-li2-dutu dumu si-im-mu-ug-ra 1 seah, Ṣilli-Šamaš, son of Simmugra;
  2 (pi) 1(ban2) i-nu-u2-ma a-wi-lim [a]-na e2-dinanna ša3 unuki ik-ka-lu-u2 2 pānû 1 seah, when Awīlum at the temple of Inanna in Uruk was delayed?;
10) 2 2/3 sila3 a-na gešma2 ḫa-te-e-im kaskal unuki 2 2/3 qûm, to load ship (for) the journey of Uruk;
  5 sila3 a-na nig2-i3-de2-a a-na e2-dinanna zabalaki 5 qûm, for supplication for the temple of Inanna of Zabalam;
  2(barig) 2(ban2) wa-ar-ki a-wi-lim kaskal iriki ra-ḫa-bu-um 2 pānû 2 seah, after Awīlum’s journey to Raḫabum;
  1(ban2) i-šar-re-i-ni 1 seah, Išar-re’ini;
  5 sila3 dnanna-ma-an-si2 šidim 5 qûm, Nanna-mansī, builder;
15) 1 (gur) 4(ban2) 8 2/3 sila3 i3-geš 1 kor 4 seah 8 2/3 qûm oil
  ba-zi disbursed;
  itiše-sag11-ku5 [u4] 6-[kam] m 12 d 6
  mu e2-dbar3-ul-[e-gar-ra] ša3 [adabki] mu-un-[du3-a] RS 06
  u3 [alan ku3]-sig17 d[sîn-i-din-nam] [lugal]
  larsaki-[ma mu-na-an-dim2]


10) Breckwoldt (1994: 151 understands ḫa-te-e-im as “to rivet/patch,” based on a suggestion by Postgate “on the basis of the meaning “zusammenscharren” given for the Semitic cognate seah ” (ibid 152). Levey (1959: 92), mentions the use of oil, along with bitumen and wool to caulk ships. “Zusammenscharren” is suggested in the AHw I, 336 iii, again based on Semitic cognate seah. However, the AHw is uncertain on this point, as is CAD Ḫ, 152 B (3) on the meaning altogether in this example. CDA 112 suggest ““to load” ship ?,” which I follow. This is likely if the oil used here is cedar oil as I understand it.

11) This line perhaps refers to the same Inanna of Zabalum whose temple was rebuilt by Warad-Sîn in RIME See also George (1993: 92 no. 369, 107 no. 562, and 140 no. 968).

12) For the Kittum temple and mention of Raḫabum, see Frankena (1966: 20 no. 30: 6-7, 10-11). For Raḫabum: YOS 5, 106: 5, the partitioning of a built up estate, and 217 iv 18, a contract concerning sheep and wool, both from the reign of Rīm-Sîn.

13) Išar-re’ini appears in YOS 8, 14: 3 and 9: case 2. There are two interpretations for this name: that of AHw II, 978 as i-šar-re-e/e’-ilī or that of Bowes 1987 2, 424: i-šar-re-e/e’-i-ni. Its appearance here as i-šar-re-i-ni lacks the first sign for i3-li2 or the middle radical for re’u, which shows that the AHw interpretation is incorrect, at least in this example.


§ YOS 5, 194, YBC 6219 RS 06
Copy: YOS 5, 194

1) 2 sila3 i3-geš e2-dinanna [u3 dna-na-a] 2 qûm oil, temple of Inanna and Nana;
  4 sila3 i3-eren a-wi-il-[i3-li2?] 4 qûm cedar oil, Awīl-[ilī?];
  1(ban2) i3-eren bi-tim 1 seah cedar oil, Bītim;
  1(ban2) i3-eren ša-at-ib-bi 1 seah cedar oil, Šāt-ibbi;
5) 1(ban2) i3-eren li-iq-tum 1 seah cedar oil, Liqtum;
  10 gin2 še be-ta aḫ-ra-ma 10 shekels grain, Beta was delayed;
  1/3 sila3 dumu-munus ša-at-dnin-šubur 1/3 qûm, daughter of Šāt-Ninšubur;
  2 (barig) 3(ban2) e2 a-bu-wa-qar 2 pānû 3 seah, estate of Abu-waqar;
  1(ban2) e2-dIškur-ḫe2-gal2 nagar 1 seah, estate of Iškur-ḫegal, carpenter;
10) 1(ban2) e2-dsuen-i-din-nam 1 seah, temple of Sîn-idinnam;
  1 sila3 e2-gešgu-za en den-ki 1 qûm, E-guza of the en of Enki;
  3 (barig) 2(ban2) 7 1/2 sila3 i3-geš 3 pānû 2 seah 7 1/2 qûm oil
  ba-zi disbursed;
lower edge
  3.27.30 3.27.30
  itigu4-si-su u4 30-kam m 2 d 30
  mu bad3 iriki gar-ra? [...] RS 06?


2) The beginning of this broken name, a-wi-il, matches that of YOS 5, 108: 8, rather than of the a-wi-lim of the two notables mentioned above (171: 2, 172: 2), making an identification with the former more likely. However the occurrence of Bītim, Šāt-ibbi, and Liqtum render the opposite plausible as well.

6) Be-ta could be a mistake for be-ta- in YOS 5, 171: 5 and 172: 5.

8) Note also Abu-waqar’s appearance in UET 5, 130: R 10 and possibly UET 5, 540: 11 (as a-ad-da-wa-qar). For a study of this notable at Larsa, see Feuerherm (2004).

9) The same Iškur-ḫegal appears in YOS 5, 191: 6, a grain disbursement dated to RS 10.

16) This line is broken though what is clear does not match the formula for Rīm-Sîn year 6, thus the date is uncertain. However, the content of this document closely matches that of YOS 5, 171 and 172. It seems therefore likely that this text dates from the same year.


§ YOS 14, 212, YBC 10317 SE 05
Copy: YOS 14, 212
Transliteration, Translation: Gallery (1980: 8)
Discussion: Gallery (1980: 8-9), Whiting Jr. (1987: 108)

1) 2 (barig) 1(ban2) 1 1/2 sila3 i3-geš 2 pānû 1 seah 1 1/2 qûm oil,
  mu-DU delivery of
  ir3-ra-a-zu Irra-azu,
  e2-i3-du10-ga processed oil house,
5) šu-ti-a receipt of
  li-pi2-it-ir3-ra Lipit-Irra,
  [e2]-i3-ra2-ra2 perfumer’s [workshop],
  [...]-e-x-x ...;
  itiudruduru5 m 11
10) mu ugnim SE 05
  unuki geštukul ba-se3


7) Restoration of e2 seems likely for two reasons. First, this is the only text of the oil bureau which names specifically where any official works. Second, this is the only text where both Lipit-Irra and Irra-azu are named together. My understanding is that, Lipit-Irra, as the former head of the oil bureau, needed to be differentiated from the current oil bureau head, Irra-azi. Thus the name of the location where each worked was written. It would seem, then, that Lipit-Irra received a promotion from the chief of the ‘processed oil house,’ where I believe oil products were worked, to the perfumer’s workshop, where oil was infused with aromatic materials (§2.2.3). Perfumed oil production would have required more skill as more production steps went into their manufacture.[120] Perhaps a family relation (this suggestion is based on name only), Irra-azu replaced him as the head of the ‘processed oil house.’

8) An examination of the text itself shows there is a break right before -e. There is plenty of room in this break for a sealing official, such as a ša3-tam-official, to be named.


§5.4. Letters
It must be noted outright that the first two texts discussed are not from the Kingdom of Larsa, but likely from Sippar (Leemans 1960: 94-95). However, as there are relatively few letters dealing with the procurement by merchants of aromatics in this period in what would become Babylonia, their inclusion here is justified.


§5.4.1. CT 29, 13 BM 80685
Copy: CT 29, 13
Transliteration, Translation: Leemans (1960: 92)
Discussions: Leemans (1960: 47, 94ff, 105,110, 112)

1) [a-na] dingir-pi4-dutu
  um-ma dsuen-a-ḫa-am-i-din-nam
  ša aš-ta-na-ap-pa-ra-ak-ku-u2
5) la ta-na-az-zi-iq
  ku3-babbar i-ba-aš-ši-ma aš-ta-na-ap-pa-ra-ak-ku
  ša 10 gin2 ku3-babbar ba-lu-ḫa
  3 gu2 ba-lu-ga 1 gur ku-uk-ri
  qa-du-um ša lugal-dsuen
10) 1 (barig) 3(ban2) su-um-la-li-e
  ša 5 gin2 ku3-babbar bu-ra-ša
  ša 3 gin2 i3-a-si [ ]
  ša 10 gin2 i3-šu-ur2-min3
  tu-il-ma da-am-[qa-am]
15) su-ḫu-ur-ma
  u2-ul ti-di ki-ma a-na dam-qi2-ma ku3-babbar
  u3 i3 <ṭa>-ba-am la tu-ma-ṭa3
  gešban2 2 gin2 ku3-babbar dam-qa-am ša-ma-am
  u3 i3-geš ur-šum-ma gešban2-ta
20) ša 5 gin2 ša-ma-am
  2 (barig) 2(ban2) ku-uk-ri ša 5 gin2 ku3-babbar
  i-ti lugal-dsuen ma-ḫu-ur
  lu-u2-lu ka-lu-ša na-ad-na-ad
  bu-ra-ša ša te-zi-ba
25) a-na 1 gin2 ku3-babbar at-ta-di-in
  [a]-na e-zi-zi-ia
  ku3-babbar a-ša-am u3 da-qa-[ti]
  [(...)] ka-lu-ša na-ad-na-ad
left edge
  [ki-ma] ta-at-ta-lak-ku-u da-qa-ti
30) x-zi-i ṣi2-bi-it ṭe4-mi-im
  [ku-uk]-ri ta-ba-al-ka i3-šu-ur2-min3 la tu-[ma-ṭa3]


1-3Say to Ilum-pî-Šamaš: “thus Sîn-aḫam-idinnam, 4-6‘Do not worry about what I have repeatedly written you, there is silver so I have continually written you. 7-15Galbanum worth 10 shekels silver, 3 talents ballukka, 1 talent terebinthe, together with that of Šarrum- Sîn, 1 pānû 3 seah sumlalum, juniper worth 5 shekels, myrtle-oil worth 3 shekels, cypress-oil worth 10 shekels—make inventory—look for good quality and take it. 16-17Don’t you understand? As for good quality, don’t reduce the silver or processed oil. 18-20The seah is 2 shekels fine silver, buy! Also, the Uršum oil, buy 5 shekels worth from the seah. 21-22Recieve 2 pānû 2 seah worth 5 shekels silver from Šarrum-Sîn. 23-28All the lulu has been sold. I have sold the juniper which you sent me for 1 shekel silver. I sold my ezizzu-vegetables for silver. All of the remainders are given! 29-31As soon as you have left, the remainder [...]. Take action! Bring terebinthe; don’t reduce the cypress oil!


17) Restoration of Leemans (1960: 92).

19) Ur-šum was perhaps located in Syria or southern Anatolia, cf. Groneberg (1980: 250).

26-27) Lit. “for my e. I bought silver.” Leemans suggests an error here for either “ana kaspim eziziia ašam or ana eziziia addin.” (Leemans 1960: 93 no. 1)

27-28) i.e. “my stock is all gone!

31) Restoration is based on l. 17.


§5.4.2. CT 29, 14 BM 80558
Copy: CT 29, 14
Transliteration, Translation: Leemans (1960: 93-94)
Discussions: Leemans (1960: 94ff., 105, 110, 112, 127, 129, 183)

1) a-na dingir-um-pi4-dutu
  [um]-ma dsuen-a-ḫa-am-i-din-nam
  [am-mi]-nim a-wa-tu ša
5) []-ša-pe-re e-li-ka ma-ru-iṣ
  [aš-pu]-ra-ku-ma um-ma a-na-ku-ma
  [i3]-šu-ur2-min3 ša 10 gin2 ku3-babbar šu-bi-la
  i3 u2-ul tu-ša-bi-la-am
  u3 su-ḫa-ra-am ri-qu2-su
10) ta-ṭa3-ar-ra-da-am
  iš-tu te-zi-ba-an-ni
  da-qa-ti ag-da-mar
  u3 i3-šu-ur2-min3 u3 i3 ka!-na-ak-ti
  u2-ul i-šu-u2 i-na ku3-babbar
15) ša u2-ša-bi-la-ak-ku-u2
  1ki-ib-ra-ab-ba pe-ni-ka
  li-iṣ-ba-at-ma i3 da-am-qa-am
  ša 10 gin2 ku3-babbar i3-šu-ur2-min3
  ša 3 gin2 ku3-babbar i3 a-su
20) u3 5 gin2 i3-gešeren
  ša-ma-am-ma li-qi-a
  i3 ma-ṣi šum-ma i3
  ša i-ba-tum la da-mi-iq
  šu-ḫu-ur-ma i3 da-am-qa-am
25) ša-ma-am-ma li-qi-a
  ša aš-pu-ra-ku u2-ul iq-bu-ni-ku
left edge
  ki-ma 12 [gin2 ku3]-babbar u2-ta-na-ru
  1(ban2) i3-gi-[lu] dtišpak-ga-mil
  u3 lu-u ki-ib-ra-ba li-še-pi2-ra-ka


1-3Say to Ilum-pi-Šamaš: “Thus Sîn-aḫam-idinnam. 4-5‘Why are the words which I have sent displeasing to you? 6-7I sent you as follows: “bring cypress oil worth 10 shekels silver.” 8-10You did not bring oil but dispatched to me a servant empty handed! 11-14aSince you abandoned me, I have exhausted my remainder and I have no cypress-oil or kanaktu-oil! 14b-22aKibrabba should guide you in the silver which I sent you so that you buy for me good quality oil and take possession (of it): cypress-oil worth 10 shekels silver, myrtle-oil worth 3 shekels silver, and cedar-oil worth 5 shekels. The oil is available. 22b-25If the oil of Ibatum is not good quality, search! Buy me good quality oil and take possession (of it)! 26-29Nobody told you what I sent you. Since I am entrusting 12 shekels of silver, Tišpak-gamil or Kibrabba should send you reed-oil.


13) The collation shows BIL instead of ka.


§5.4.3. YOS 2, 112 YBC 5489 RS 40
Copy: YOS 2, 112
Transliteration, Translations: Ebeling (1943: 62-63), Leemans (1960: 78-80), Stol (1981: 112, p. 73)
Discussion: Leemans (1960: 78-80)

1) a-na da-da[-a]
  u3 dsuen-u2-se2-li
  um-ma ši-ip-dsuen-ma
5) dutu u3 dašnan
  [aš-šum-ia] a-na da-ri-a-tim
  ki-a-[am aš]-pu-ra-ku-nu-ti
  um-ma a-na-ku-u2-ma
10) ki-la-ku-nu at-ta u3 dsuen-u2-se2-li
  an-na ḫi-im-mi u3 ša-ak-ti-šu
  kar3-šumsar u3 šim u3 šimli
  u3 2 gu2 uruda
15) u4-ma ka-ṣi la te-ni-zi-ba-ni
  u3 iš-te-en ma-ri šu-ši-imki
  a-na ta-ap-[pe-e]-ku?-nu!(SA)-ma
20) ki-a-am aš-[pu-ra-am]
  at-tu-nu mi-nu-[um]
  ša um-ma at!(NE)-tu-nu-[ma]
  i nu-ša-bi-il
  u4-um un-ne-du-uk-ki
25) ta-am-ma-ra-a
  ki-la-lu-ku-nu la te-ni-zi-ba-ni
  pa-a!(ZA)-ku-nu e-iš-me-ma
  qa2-du-um re-di-i šar-ri-im
  u3 un--du-uk-ka-at šar-ri-im
30) ša a-di larsaki-ma
  ma-am-ma a-na pa-ni-ku-nu
  la pa-ra-ki-im
  i-na iriki a-ḫa-nu-ta ri-is-ku-nu
  u2-ka-al iš-tu i-na-an-na
35) u4 5-kam pa-ni-ku-nu lu-mu-ur
  10 gu2 šim[li] u3 1 gu2 šimḫi-[li]
  a-ḫu-um a- ḫa-[am (...)]
  la i-pa-[ri-ik/ku]
40) iš-te-ni-iš ki-la-[lu-ku-nu]
  at-ta u3 dsuen-[u-se2-li]
  ar-ḫi-iš pa-ni-ku-[nu li-mu-ur]
left edge
  a-di i-na iriki [a-ḫa-nu-ta]
  qa2-du-um ri-di-i šar-[ri-im]
45) aš-ba?!(GIŠ)-[ku]
  ar-ḫi-iš pa-ni-ku-nu lu-mu-ur


O 1-4Speak to Dadâ and Sîn-uselli: “Thus Šēp-Sîn. 5-7‘May Šamaš and Ašnan keep you well for my sake. 8-9Thus I sent you, as follows me: 10-15“Both of you, you and Sîn-uselli, gather for me tin sweepings and its powder, leeks, perfumed oils, juniper, and two talents of copper. Do not delay! 16-19A citizen of Susa should g[o] with[ you] as yo[ur] partner.” R20Thus I sent you. 21-24What you yourselves replied is “we shall have it brought.” 25-26On the day you see my letter, both of you, do not delay. 27I heard your words. 28-34aI, together with the king’s soldiers and the king’s letter of non-interference up to Larsa, will be ready for you in al-Aha-nūta. 34b-35I shall see you 5 days from now. 36-37May he gi[ve] 10 talents of juniper and 1 talent resin. 38-39One must not hinder another.... 40-42I shall see both of you together, you and Sîn-uselli, in person soon. l.e. 43-46I, together with the kings soldier(s), shall see you soon in person while I am staying in al-Aha-nūta.


8) Stol understands -ti as a mistake for -ŠI

12) Leemans (1960: 79) transliterates u2x against Ebeling (1943) šim. I follow Ebeling as šim here is similar to the first šim in l. 36 while the second is broken but looks similar as well.

16) Following Stol. The copy shows KI, though upon examination of the tablet ŠU is clear. For this GN. see Groneberg (1980: 230) and Edel and Mayrhofer (1971: 3), where šu-ši-im is equated with Susa in Iran in the Old Babylonian period.

17) Leemans’ transliteration as ta-ap-p[e2] seems likely considering its context. My suggestion of -ku-nu-ma is very tentative. Both Stol and Ebeling do not have a restoration for this line. Stol notes the copy is wrong, it is “not AŠ2 or u2; SA is possible.” (Stol 1981: 72 n. 112c).

27) Leemans suggests pa-ZA-ku-nu and translates “your excuses;” Stol suggests pa-a-ku-nu, “your words.” The ‘e’ here is difficult. Is it e-iš-ma, ‘heard,’ following Stol, or e iš-me, ‘I shall not hear,’ a misspelling following Leemans? In each case the spelling is incorrect. I side tentatively with Stol.

29-30) Stol suggests UD.U[NUk]i. The passage is lit. “Until Larsa, nobody is to hinder you.”

33, 43) For this GN see Groneberg (1980: 5) and Leemans (1960: 80). Leemans notes of this town: “The mention of a lu2 āl-A-ha-am-nu-taki ša3 Larsaki in the letter LIH 42 (VAB 4, 25) could suggest that it was a district of the town of Larsa, but other references suggest that it was a separate town in the kingdom of Larsa, probably not a great distance from Larsa.” (ibid. 80)

36) I tentatively follow Leemans. Ebeling (1943: 62) suggests šimim-[du-um], “Zypergras?.” This does not fit the space allowed. Stol’s suggestion of šim ḫi-a is likely incorrect since šim ḫi-a is normally measured by capacity at Larsa in this period.


§5.5. Rīm-Sîn 17[121]
IM 22890
Copy: Edzard (1957: pl. 3)
Editions: Edzard (1957: 185); Kärki (1968: 88-89; 1980: 165), RIME
Discussion: (Edzard 1957: 178); Hallo (1961: 11); RIME 4, p.280

Beginning broken
1) [sag]-˹en˺-tar The supervisor
  [gir]-suki of Girsu
  [ki]-lagaški-a [(and) the land of] Lagaš,
  me gešḫur eriduki-ga who performs perfectly the
  šu-du7-du7 me’s and rites of Eridu,
5) e2-babbar-da ni te-ge26 who is in awe of the E-babbar,
  lugal larsaki-ma king of Larsa,
  lugal ki-en-giki ki-uri king of Sumer and Akkad,
  e2-i3-ra2-ra2 the house of the perfumer—
  ir-si-im-bi du10-ga-am3 its fragrances are sweet,
10) geš ḫi-a-bi peš-peš its trees very wide (of variety?)—
  mu-na-du3 he built for him.
  [...] x NI [...] ...
Rest broken


This building inscription occurs on a fragment of a clay cylinder (Hallo 1961: 11). Edzard (1957) attributes this text to the reign of Rīm-Sîn of Larsa, followed by Hallo 1961. Frayne notes that the titular on this inscription closely resembles that of RIME and thus likely comes from the same period (Rīm-Sîn 8 according to Frayne, RIME 4, p. 280). Further, Frayne sees this inscription as likely excavated by Woolley at Ur (ibid. 280). Thus this would be a building inscription for a temple workshop in Ur.[122]


10) Kärki (1968 and 1980) does not restore geš. RIME 4 translates peš-peš as “costly.” Kärki (1968 and 1980) restores -[am3] at the end of the line.


§6. Appendices
Appendices 1-3 deal directly with items found in the texts. Those in bold are materials or products understood as aromatic items. Appendix 4 lists personal names, estate names, temple or workshop names, and geographic names in that order, found within the text collection. Appendices 1-4 also list products and names found in unpublished texts from the Kingdom of Larsa. Commodities and names from these texts are of my own translations.


§6.1. Glossary
In this glossary, materials and products are given their CAD, CDA and AHw definitions as well as their description in Thompson 1949, Myers 1975, and Van de Mieroop 1992b when available. See also two lexical studies the author was made aware of only after submitting this article and thus not incorporated here: Brunke and Sallaberger 2010 and Halloran 2006. Some items are also discussed here in more detail when appropriate. A thorough discussion of each material or product is not attempted here; this has already been done for many items and does not fall within the scope of this work.


šima: NBC 8584: 4. Fragrant/aromatic water? For the production of aromatic water, see KAR 140: R 4-8, treated in Ebeling 1950, 39-41 and discussed in Levey 1956, 139-40. KAR 140: R 8 calls this “e-gub2-ba ša eli šarri i-qab-b[i-u] (Ebeling’s transliteration). Note also the use of juniper water (ameš šimli) in CT 4, 5: 9 and KAR 73 :7.


a-ba: TCL 10, 71 i: 31. Meaning unknown. Van de Mieroop 1992b: 157 for gešA.BA: “this type of wood is unknown to me. In BIN 9, 97: 6 forty-two of them are issued to the queen’s palace.”


a-du-a-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 30. Meaning Unknown. There are three additional occurrences of this item I am aware of from the Ur III period: CUSAS 3, 1464: 4, CUSAS 3, 1465: 5, and CUSAS 3, 1509: 7. The first two are measured by capacity (2 seah each), the last by weight (4 mina).


an-da-aḫ-šumsar: NCBT 1808: 3. Akk. andahšum. CAD A II, 112-13 “a bulbous spring vegetable.” CDA 17: (an alliaceous plant). AHw I, 50 “eine Pflanze;” Thompson 1949: 89, 92-94: “lentils?”


an-na: YOS 2, 112: 11. annaku/anāku. CAD A II 127-30: “tin.” CDA 18: “tin, lead.” AHw I, 49: “Zinn” u wohl auch “Blei.” Interesting is its use in YOS 2, 112: “an-na ḫi-im-mi u3 ša-ak-ti-šu,” “tin sweepings and its powder.”


šimar-ga-num: YBC 5151: 1. Akk. argānu. See also variant šimmar-ga-nu2-um. CAD A II 253-54: “1. (a conifer), 2. (the resin of a conifer), from OB on.” CDA 23 “(a conifer, its resin).” AHw I, 67 “eine Pflanze.” However, see Thompson 1949: 359-364 followed by Myers 1975: 21, 26-31: “balm of Mecca.” Thompson 1949: 363 identifies it with resins or gums and notes its sweet scent in particular. Thompson, followed by Myers, mentions its medicinal uses, often in conjunction with siḫu and bariratu (Thompson 1949: 359-364, Myers 1975: 30). Note also Thompson 1949: 337, where argānu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.”


šimaz: NCBT 1808: 7, TCL 10, 81: 6, YBC 3365: 1, 6817: 13, 7189: 7. See also Variant šimgir. Akk. asu, CAD A II 342-344: “myrtle; from OAkk. on.” CDA 26: “myrtle.” AHw I 76: “myrtle.” Thompson 1949: 300-302 “Myrtus communis L., myrtle.” (listed under riqgir). Note also p. 337, where asu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 21, 32-36: “myrtle.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 160: “myrtle.”


ba-ba-za-am, var. ba-ba-az: NBC 8584: 2, TCL 10, 71 i: 6. Irr., normally. ba-ba-za. Akk. pappāsu. CAD P, 111-14: “1. (a porridge), 2 (income paid to prebends); from OAkk. on.” As income it occurs as barley, dates, flax, or even silver (CAD P, 113-14). CDA 264: “porridge.” AHw II 824: “ein Gerstenbrei oder Pudding.” See also Thompson 1949: 101, where it is listed under cereals and vetches.


ba-lu-ga: CT 29, 13: 8. See also Sum. šimmug and Akk. ballukku. CAD B, 64-65: “1. (an aromatic substance of vegetable origin) 2. (the tree which produces this substance). from OAkk. on” CAD notes that this is a resinous substance imported into Mesopotamia in large quantities (64) and sees a relationship between ballukku and baluḫḫu mentioned below. CDA 37: “(an aromatic substance produced by the b. tree).” AHw I 100: “ein Baum.” Thompson, 1949 340 “Styrax officinalis L.” or styrax. Note also p. 337, where ballukku is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 37-41: “Styrax,” following Thompson’s identification very tentatively (Myers 1975: 37).


ba-lu-ḫa: CT 29, 13: 7. See also Sum. šimḫal and perhaps also šimḫi-li-hal and šimhi-il ba-lu-hu. Akk. baluḫḫu. CAD B, 74: (a tree and its resin, possibly galbanum) from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 37: “(an aromatic plant).” AHw I 101: “Galbanum-Kraut” Thompson 1949: 342-344: “Ferula Galboniflua Boisse., galbanum.” Note also p. 337, where baluḫḫu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 42-45: “Galbanum.”


šimbar2-bar2-ra: YBC 5304: 6. An aromatic, meaning unknown.


šimba-ri-ra-a-tum: TCL 10, 71 i: 17. Akk. barīrātu. CAD B, 111: “sagapenum?” CDA 39: “sagapenum.” AHw I, 107: “Sagapenum?” Thompson, 1949, 359, 361-63: “Ferula Persica Wild., Sagapenum.” Note also p. 337, where barīrātu is listed with other gum-resins. plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Thompson, followed by Myers, mentions barīrātu’s medicinal uses, often in conjunction with siḫu and argānu (Thompson 1949: 359-364, Myers 1975: 46). Myers 1975: 22, 46-49: “Sagapenum.”


šimbar-sig7: TCL 10, 71 i: 43. An aromatic, meaning unknown.


bu-ra-ša: CT 29, 13: 11, 24. See Sum. šimli. Akk. burāšu. CAD B, 326-328: “1. juniper tree, 2. (an aromatic substance obtained from the Juniper tree); from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 49: “(species of) juniper” AHw I, 139: “(phönikischer) Wacholder.” Thompson 1949: 258-262: “Pinus pineal., pine (turpentine, resin).” Note also p. 337, where burāšu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 51-61: “Juniper (oxycedrous).” Myers 1975: 51, notes early dissention among earlier scholars, with burāšu’s identification as both cypress and pine. Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “juniper.”


šimdup-ra-num: TCL 10, 71 i: 19. Akk. duprānu, variant of daprānu. CAD D, 189-90: “a tree-like variety of juniper (Juniperus drupacea); from OB on.” CDA 56: “juniper.” AHw I 162: “Wacholder” Thompson 1949: 268, 279: “Juniperus drupacea Labill., juniper.” Note also p. 337, where daprānu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22 62-66: “Juniper (drupacea).” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 158: “a type of juniper.”


na4du7-ši-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 39. Akk. dušû. CAD D, 200-202: “1. (a precious stone of characterisitc color)...; from OAkk. on.” CDA 63: “quartz, rock crystal” AHw...


elšim: NBC 8584: 3. Akk. akkullaku. CAD A, 275: “a vegetable.” CDA 10: “(a vegetable).” AHw I, 29: “eine Pflanze.” This is the only occurrence with šim determinative I can document. Thompson 1949: 317-318: “perhaps a Zizyphus.”


šim/gešeren: TCL 10, 57: 7, 72: 11, 81: 4, 8, YBC 4451: 1, 5288: 2, 5304: 5, 5765: 1, 7189: 1. Akk. erēnu. CAD E, 274-279: “cedar (tree, wood and resin); from OAkk. on.” CDA 77: “cedar.” AHw I, 237-38: “Zeder” Thompson 1949: 282-285: “Cedrus Libani Barr., Cedar.” Note also p. 337, where erēnu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 67-72: “Cedar.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 158: “cedar.”


esir2: YBC 5288: 3, 6817: 14. Akk. kupru or iṭṭu. As kupru: CAD K, 553-55: “bitumen; from OB on.” CDA 168: “bitumen, pitch.” AHw I, 509 “(Trocken-)Asphalt.” Asiṭṭu: CAD I-J 310-12: “crude bitumen; from OB on. CDL, 137: “bitumen.” AHw I, 408: “Asphalt.”


e-zi-zi: CT 29, 13: 26 Akk. ezizzu. CAD E II, 431: “(a bulb vegetable); OA, OB, SB.” CDA 86: “an alliaceous vegetable.” AHw I 270: “ein Gemüse.” Thompson 1949: 89-94: “Lathyrus.”


gaba-lal3: TCL 10, 71 i: 36. Akk. iškuru. CAD I-J, 251-52 “wax; from OB on.” CDA 134: “wax.” AHw I, 396: “Wachs.”


šimgam-gam(-ma): TCL 10, 81: 13, YBC 5173: 2, YBC 6817: 9. See also Akk. ku-uk-ri. Akk. kukru, CAD K, 500-01: “(an aromatic plant); from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 165: “(an aromatic tree)” AHw I, 501: “etwa “Terebinthe.”” Thompson 1949: 262-265: “fir turpentine.” Note also p. 337, where kukru is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers does not mention ‘gam-gam’ as a form of kukru. However, Thompson, the CAD, and AHw do. In addition, the -ma after the gam-gam makes the value ‘gam-gam’ as, opposed to ‘gur2-gur2,’ certain in this instance. On kukru Myers 1975: 92 states: “Kukru has been variously identified as terebinthe, chickpea, and turpentine. A possible identification is not yet possible.” However, he sides with the AHw definition of kukru as terebinthe in his section on definitions (Myers 1975: 23). For more discussion see Myers 1975: 23, 92-93.


šimgam-ma: YBC 3365: 7, 5304: 7. See also su-um-la-li-e, variant of Akk. ṣumlalû. CAD L, 245: “(an aromatic); from OA, OB on.” CDA 341: “(a spice plant).” AHw III, “eine Gewürzpflanze.” Thompson 1949: 347-348: “Nerium odorum L.?.” Note also p. 338, where ṣumlalû is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 122-24: “unknown.” Myers suggests duprānu cuttings, citing its possible appearance as “sum-lu-lu” with duprānu, kikkirânu, which he translates as “berries,” (Myers 1975: 122) or “juniper seeds” (ibid. 23, see below under šimše-li) and ḫibištum, translated as “cuttings.” (ibid. 122)


ganam4: TCL 10, 72: 24. See also variant u8-udu ḫi-a. Akk. immertu. CAD I-J, 128-29: “1. ewe, 2. sheep (as a generic term); from OB on.” CDA 128: “ewe.” AHw I, 378: “MutterSchaf.” bar-su3: TCL 10, 72: 26.


gazi: NCBT 1808: 8. Akk. kasû. CAD K, 248-50: “(a native spice plant, specifically its pungent seeds); from OB on.” CDA 150: “(a spice plant, phps.) “mustard.”” AHw I, 455: “Senf(-Kohl), sinapis nigra.” Thompson 1949: 188, 192-194: “Ceratonia siliqua L.” or ibid, 188, 194-97: “the rose.”


šimgi-du10-ga: TCL 10, 81: 7, YBC 3280: 1, 3365: 3, 7189: 6. Akk. qanû ṭābu. CAD Q: 288-89 2b): ““sweet” reed.” CDA 284: “sweet reed.” AHw II, 898 4c “‘Süβrohr,’ Cymbopogon?” Thompson 1949: 19-21: “Acorus calamus L., Sweet Reed.” Note Thompson does not list qanû ṭābu under his section of plants and trees that use the “det. riq,” on pp. 337-338. Myers 1975: 23, 109-12: “Cane,” literally “sweet reed.” However, as stated on p. 109, there is no evidence to connect this material to sugar cane.


šimgig: YBC 7189: 9. Akk. kanaktu. CAD K, 135-36: “1. (a tree), 2. an aromatic product obtained from the tree); from OAkk., OB on.” CDL, 144: “(an incense-bearing tree).” AHw I, 434 “Weihruchbaum.” Thompson 1949: 344-347: “Boswellia sp., Olibanum.” Note also p. 337, where kanaktu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 23, 81-85: “Olibanum,” following Thompson 1949: 344 while noting the CAD and AHw reservations to this meaning.


šimgir2: TCL 10, 71 i: 20. See also variant šimaz. Akkadian asu. CAD A II 342-344: “myrtle; from OAkk. on.” CDA 26: “myrtle.” AHw I 76: “myrtle.” Thompson 1949: 300-302 “Myrtus communis L., myrtle.” (listed under riqgir). Note also p. 337, where asu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 21, 32-36: “myrtle.”


geš-i3-a; TCL 10, 82: (case) 2. Likely a mistake for gešeren.


imḫa-gir2: TCL 10, 71 i: 23. Perhaps a shortened form of u2ḫa-gir-ha-ah, Akk. puquttu. CAD P, 515-16: “thorn, barb; from OB on.” CDA 278: “thorn.” AHw II, 880: “ein Dornpflanze.” Thompson 1949: 178-180: “Carduus, thistle.”


šimḫal: TCL 10, 71 i: 21, 81: 9, YBC 3280: 2, 4402: 1, 4451: 2, 6817: 1, 10759: 1. see also ba-lu-ḫa, and perhaps šimhi-il ba-lu-hu and šimhi-il ḫal. Akk. baluḫḫu. CAD B, 74: (a tree and its resin, possibly galbanum) from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 37: “(an aromatic plant).” AHw I 101: “Galbanum-Kraut” Thompson 1949: 342-344: “Ferula Galboniflua Boisse., galbanum.” Note also p. 337, where baluḫḫu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers (1975: 22, 42-45): “galbanum.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “a tree and its resin, possibly galbanum.”


šimḫašḫur(-ra): TCL 10, 71 i: 15, YBC 1928: 1, YBC 6817: 2. Akk. ḫašḫūru, CAD Ḫ, 139-140: “(1) apple tree, (2) apple, (3) “apple” plant, (4) (a cut of meat); from OB on.” CDA 111: “apple(wood).” AHw I, 333-34: “Apfel(baum).” Thompson 1949: 302, 304: “Pirus malus L., apple.”


ḫa-za-nu-umsar: NCBT 1808: 2. ḫazzannu, variant of azannu, CAD A II, 526 A: “bitter garlic, OB, SB.” CDA 113 (ḫazzannu): “(an alliaceous plant).” AHw I 92: “eine Pflanze...wohl “Köcher.”” Thompson 1949: 90 only makes mention of it in lexical lists.


ḫi-bi-iš-ti: NBC 8584: 1. Akk. ḫibištum. CAD Ḫ 180-81 “(1)cuttings (of undefined nature), (2) cuttings of resinous and aromatic substances, (3) plants yielding aromatic substances, (4) fragrance; from OB on.” CDA 114: “crushed pieces (of aromatic wood).” AHw I, 344: “etwa “Harzholzscheit(e).”” Myers 1975: 22 and 74 is unsure of this items value. Ḫibištum is used in connection with perfume production in OIP 2, 116 viii: 71, though this is a later usage from the annals of Sennacherib.


šimḫi-li: YOS 2, 112: 36. Akk. ḫīlu. CAD Ḫ, 188: “exudation of plants, resins; from OB on.” Often used in medicine production(189). CDA 116: “exudation, resin.” AHw I, 345: “Harz.” Thompson 1949: 338-339: “gum.” On p. 339 Thompson states concerning ḫīlu: “...where ḫîlu is used we should suspect at least a gum-resin which will give emulsion in water.”


šimḫi-il ba-lu-hu: TCL 10, 71 i: 22. see also šimḫi-li-hal, possibly from šimḫal, Akk. ba-lu-ḫu and for which see above. CAD B, 75 and Ḫ, 189: “resin which is prepared for medicinal purposes,” related to baluḫḫu. Perhaps see also hilbanītu, galbanum: AHw I, 345, Myers 1975: 22, 75, CAD Ḫ, 185 where it is identified as “(the resin) produced by the hilbanū plant; NB*.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “resin of the baluḫḫa-tree.”


šimḫi-li sikil: YBC 4451: 4 Possibly hil sikillu. For sikillu: CAD Ḫ, 243-44: “1. (a plant), 2. (a stone); MB, Bogh., SB.” CDA 322: “1 (a plant) ... as drug, called šam tēlilte “purification plant.” AHw II, 1042: “eine Pflanze.” Thompson 1949: 52, 54-55: “(wild) onion.”


šimḫi-li hal: YBC 4451: 3 Variant of šimḫi-il ba-lu-hu above. CAD B, 75 and Ḫ, 189: “resin which is prepared for medicinal purposes,” related to baluḫḫu discussed above. Perhaps see also hilbanītu, galbanum: AHw I, 345, Myers 1975: 22, 75, CAD Ḫ, 185 where it is identified as “(the resin) produced by the hilbanū plant; NB*.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “resin of the baluḫḫa-tree.”


i3-a-si/su: CT 29, 13: 11, CT 29, 14: 19. Myrtle oil. See Sum. šimaz and variant šimgir2.


i3-du10-ga: YBC 5169: 1. Akk. šamnu ṭābu. For its understanding as ‘processed oil,’ see §2.2.3. CAD Ṭ, 19: “aromatic,” ibid, 22-23: “said of oil, herbs, reeds, perfumes.” CDA 354: ““fine oil”; aromatic “oil” of trees, e.g. myrtle, cedar.” AHw III, 1377-78: “schön, gut, süβ.” 1) “v Wasser, Getränken, Speisen.” 1) d) “v Öl”


i3-(geš)eren: CT 29, 14: 20; TCL 10, 56 (case): 12; 71 iv: 47, 50, 61; 82 (tablet): 1; 82 (case): 1; YOS 5, 171: 2-8, 10, 12-13, 15-29, 31; 172: 2-8, 10-14; 194: 25, 7-11. CAD E, 277: “šaman erēni cedar oil.” see also above šim/gešeren.


i3-gi-lu: CT 29, 14: 28. Akk. šamnu gillu, reed oil. for gillu: CAD G, 73 A: “cut reed.” CDA 93: “(a piece of reed).” AHw I, 288: “ein Stück Rohr.”


i3-geš: CT 29, 13: 19; TCL 10, 61; 1, 63: 2; 72: 6, YBC 4451: 6; YOS 5, 171: 1; 172: 1; 194: 1. See also variant u2i3-geš. see §2.2.3. Akk. ellu, šamnu. ellu: CDA 70: “sesame oil.” AHw I, 205: “(gutes) Sesam-Öl.” šamnu: CAD Š I, 321-30: “Oil, fat, cream; from OAkk. on.” ibid 325e: “for making perfume.” CDA 354: “oil, fat, cream.” AHw III, 1157-58: “Öl, Fett.”


i3-geš-bar2a-ga: TCL 10, 63: 1. Akkadian ḫalṣu. CAD Ḫ, 50-51: “adj.; (1) obtained by ḫalāṣu (said of oil, etc.), (2) pressed out (said of sesame seeds), (3) combed (said of flax); form OB on.” CDA 103: ““combed filtered”...of sesame, sesame oil “filtered”; of perfumes.” AHw I, 313: “ausgekämmt, ausgepreβt.” See §2.2.3 and Soubeyran 1984 for a discussion of this term as used in the Mari Oil bureau. For a discussion of ḫalṣu, see Postgate 1985: 146-47, and Stol 1985: 121.


i3 ka-na-ak-ti: CT 29, 14: 13. kanaktu-oil, see šimgig.


im-babbar: TCL 10, 71 i: 11. Akk. gaṣṣu. CAD G, 54-55: “gypsum, whitewash; from OB on.” CDA 91: “gypsum” AHw I, 282-83: “Gips”


ir3: TCL 10, 56 (case): 10. Akk. (w)ardu. CAD A II, 243-51: “1.) slave, 2.) official, servant, subordinate, retainer, follower, soldier, subject (of a king), worshiper (of a deity); from OAkk. on;” CDA 434: “slave, servant.” AHw III, 1464-66: “sklave, Diener.”


i3-sag: TCL 10, 56 (case): 11; 57: 5; 71 iv: 56, 61; 72: 8. Premium oil, see §2.2.3.


i3-sag du10-ga: TCL 10, 81: 17 Processed premium oil, see §2.2.3.


i3-šu-ur2-min3: CT 29, 13: 13, 31; 14: 7, 18. Cypress oil, see šimšu-ur2-min3.


kar3-šumsar: NCBT 1808: 1; TCL 10, 63: 3; 71 iv: 43, 45; YBC 5288: 1; 5304: 9, YOS 2, 112: 12. Variant of Akkadian karašum. CAD K, 212-14: “1. leek, 2. (a stone); OB, SB, NB. CDA 148: “leek.” Thompson 1949: 52-53: “Allium Porrum L., leek.” Note also 305, 307-08, where Thompson discusses karšu as a type of cherry: “Cerasus Mahaleb L., the perfumed cherry.”


ku3-babbar: TCL 10, 56: (case, tablet) 1; 71 iv: 41, 68; 72: 1. Akk. kaspu. CAD K, 245-47: “1. silver (as metal used for objects and as means for payment), 2. money (as medium of exchange), price, value, payment (usually pl); from OAkk. on.” CDA 150: “silver.” AHw I, 454: “Silber”


ku3-sig17: TCL 10, 72: 2, 4. Akk. ḫurāṣu. CAD Ḫ, 245-247: “gold; (1) as metal, (2) varieties, (3) economic use, (4) figurative use, (5) in pharmacopoeia, (6) other occ.; from OAkk. on.” CDA 121: “gold” AHw I, 358: “Gold.”


ku-uk-ri: CT 29, 13: 8, 21, 31. See also Sum šimgam-gam(-ma). Akk. kukru. CAD K, 500-501: “(an aromatic plant); from OAkk, OB on.” CDA 165: “(an aromatic tree)” AHw I, 501: “etwa “Terebinthe.”” Thompson 1949: 262-265: “fir turpentine.” Note also p. 337, where kukru is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 23, 92-93. On page 92 Myers states: “Kukru has been variously identified as terebinthe, chickpea, and turpentine. A possible identification is not yet possible.” However, he sides with the AHw definition of kukru as terebinthe in his section on definitions (Myers 1975: 23).


(šim)lal3: TCL 10, 57: 4, 71 iv: 47, 50, 62, YBC 10758: 1. Akk. dišpu. CAD D, 161-163: “honey; from OA, OB on. CDA 61: “honey, syrup.” AHw I, 173: “Honig.”


gešlam-gal TCL 10, 57: 3. Akk. buṭuttu/buṭumtu. CAD B, 359: “1.) pistachio tree (Pistacia vera), 2. pistachio wood, 3. pistachio nut; from OAkk., OB, Mari ...” CDA 51: “terebinthe.” AHw I, 144: “Terebinthe, Pistazie.” Thompson 1949: 247, 252-253: “Pistachio, prob. Pistacia Terebintheus L.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “pistachio.”


gešlam-tur: TCL 10, 57: 2. Akk. šer’azu, tur’azu. CAD T, 485: “(a nut tree).” CDA 367: “(a nut tree)?” AHw III, 1216: “ein Baum.” Thompson 1949: 247, 254-255: “perhaps Pistacia vera.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “a type of nut.”


šimli: TCL 10, 71 i: 18, iv: 48, 51; YBC 6817: 7; YOS 2, 112: 12, 36. Akk. burāšu. CAD B, 326-328: “1. juniper tree, 2. (an aromatic substance obtained from the Juniper tree); from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 49: “(species of) juniper” AHw I, 139: “(phönikischer) Wacholder.” Thompson 1949: 258-262: “Pinus pineal., pine (turpentine, resin).” Note also p. 337, where burāšu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 51-61: “Juniper (oxycedrous).” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “juniper.”


šimli-wi-ir: TCL 10, 72: 14; 81: 5. Perhaps a variant of Akk. liāru/tiālu or a variant of lip/bāru. As liāru/tiālu: CDA 405: “(a tree and its wood) ‘white cedar.’” AHw III, 1353: “Weiβzeder (Juniperus oxycedrus).” Thompson 1949: 282, 285: “Juniperus oxycedrus L.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159: “white cedar resin.” As lip/bāru: CAD L, 198: “(a fruit tree); OA, OB, Elam, Bogh., SB.” CDA 181: “(a fruit (tree)); OA, O/jB, Elam, Bogh.” AHw I, 554: “ein baum od Strauch.” This example is cited by AHw as li-pi-ir (I, 554).


lu-u2-lu: CT 29, 13: 23. meaning unknown, possibly an aromatic.


lu-ur-pi-a-nu2-um: TCL 10, 71 i: 37. CAD L, 256: “(a mineral); OB, SB.” CDA 186: “(a mineral)?” AHw I, 565 “ein Mineral?”


šimmar-ga-nu-um: TCL 10, 81: 2. See also variant šimar-ga-num. CAD M 279: variant of margūnu, “an aromatic.” CDA 197: “(a resinous bush; also its resin).” AHw II 611: “ein Harz-Busch.” Thompson 1949: 359-364 and Van de Mieroop 1992b: 159 mentions it as a variant of arganu, for which see above.


šimmar-gu-ṣum: TCL 10, 71: 16. YBC 10512: 1. Akk. marguṣu CAD M I, 279: “(an aromatic); Ur III, OB, SB. CDA 197: “(a resinous bush).” AHw II, 661: “ein Harz-Busch.” Thompson 1949: 359-364 mentions it as a variant of arganu, for which see above. Note also ibid, 337, where marguṣu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.”


tug2ma-aṣ-ṣu-um: TCL 10, 71 iv: 64, 65. CAD M I, 344A: “a garment; OB.” CDA 200: “a garment.” AHw II, 621: “ein Gewand.”


maš2-munus-aš2: TCL 10, 72: 29. meaning unknown, perhaps a type of female goat.


šimmug: TCL 10, 81: 12. Akk. ballukka. CAD B, 64-65: “1. (an aromatic substance of vegetable origin) 2. (the tree which produces this substance). from OAkk. on” CAD notes that this is a resinous substance imported into Mesopotamia in large quantities (64) and notes a relationship between ballukku and baluḫḫu mentioned above. CDA 37: “(an aromatic substance produced by the b. tree).” AHw I 100: “ein Baum.” Thompson, 1949 340 “Styrax officinalis L.” or styrax. Note also p. 337, where ballukku is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 37-41: “Styrax,” Following Thompson’s identification very tentatively (Myers 1975: 37).


tug2mu-sir2-ra: TCL 10, 71 i: 13. perhaps ‘garment of the mussiru-official.’ For Akk. mussiru: CAD M II, 235B: “(a cult functionary); lex.”CDA 220: “3. Mari, jB lex. (a cult functionary). AHw II, 678: “3) ein Beschwörer?”


or: tug2mu-bu-ra, perhaps tuk muburru. For muburru: CAD B, 158 (mubarru): “member of the temple personnel who presents offerings, announcer?; MB, SB, NB, akkadogram in Hitt.” CDA 214: “2. (a temple? official).” AHw II, 665 “ein Funktionär.” This would be a garment for a muburru-official.


naga: TCL 10, 71 i: 12, 15, iv: 54. Akk. uḫūlu. CDA 419: “potash” “as mineral; for soap.” AHw III, 1404-05: “Salzkräutern u deren alkali (Natriumkarbonat)-haltinger Asche.” Thompson 1949: 31-32: “Alkali.”


tug2na-al-ba-šum: TCL 10, 56: (tablet, case) 8. CAD N I, 200: “(a fine cloak)...; mari, EA, SB.”CDA 234: “cloak, coat.” AHw II, 724: “Mantel”


šimdnin-urta: TCL 10, 81: 11; YBC 7189: 4. Akk. nikiptu. CAD N II, 222 A: “(a plant); OAkk., OB, Bogh., EA, SB, NA.” CDA 253: ““spurge, Euphorbia”? (a shrub with male and female flowers, milky juice).” AHw II, 788: “ein Euphorbia-Strauch?” Thompson 1949: 364-367: “probably Euphorbia Antiquorum L., or similar.” Note also p. 338, where nikiptu (niqibtu) is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 23, 102-106: “milkwort.”


gešqu-ta-nu-um ḫi-a: MLC 1683: 1. Perhaps for qutānum, thin pieces of wood according to the CAD Q, 321 B. CDA 292: “’ thin’...3. OB (a piece of wood).” AHw II, 930: das Dünne.” As a low quality of thin wood see VAS 16, 182: 4-8: a-na geš hi-a aq-bi-kum / um-ma a-na-ku-ma gešma2 [...]/ geš hi-a dam-qu2-tim šu-bi-[lam?]/ at-ta qu2-ta-ni ša a-[na ...]/[la?] i-re-ed-du[...], “I spoke to you about wood, I said as follows: “send to [me] a boat [...] good quality wood,” but you [sent to me?] thin wood, which is not suitable for [...].”


imsa5: YBC 5274: 2. Akk. šaršerru. CAD Š II, 124-125: “red clay or paste; Mari, Nuzi, SB, NA, NB.” CDA 361: “red paste.” AHw III, 1191 “rote Paste.”


šimsig7: TCL 10, 71 i: 42. Perhaps a shortened form of šimsig7- sig7.


šimsig7-sig7: MLC 1683: 2; YBC 5274: 1. See possible variant šimsig7. The two occurrences here add to three previous occurrences, all from the OB period: OIP 11, OIP 11, 3: 7; OIP 11, 89+191: face e 1, 13; and ZSN 65: 10. šimsig7-sig7 is understood here as a variant of imsig7-sig7, equated to Akkadian guḫlu in Hg B III I 53, following Feuerherm’s designation in his dissertation ([i]m.sig7sig7 = e-gu-u2 = [gu-uḫ-lu] (cf. Ḫg A II 139)). However, the šim determinative’s occurrence with this item makes it unlikely to be a mistake for im, as Feuerherm suggests, leading to the likelihood that this product was used for its fragrance. Thus, its designation as antimony paste, as stated by the CAD, AHw, and CDA (CAD G, 125, AHw I, 296, and CDA 95 respectively) seems unlikely and its designation as Commiphora mukul, also known as Mukal Myrrh and Bdellium, as described by Potts (Potts et al 1996: 291-305), et al is favored here. Other possibilities variants are: geškin-sig7-sig7, ar-qu (III 6 9b C. Thompson 1949: 287 sees also gešsig7-sig7 as a form kiškanû), im-sig7-sig7, da-a’-ma-tum (x I 317 f) and šim-bi-sig7-sig7, u2 da-ma-tu2 (Uruanna III 490f).


sila4: TCL 10, 72: 28. Akk. puhādu. CAD P, 477-79: “1. lamb, young male sheep ...; from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 277: “lamb.” AHw II, 875: “Lamm.”


su-um-la-li-e: CT 29, 13: 10. See also Sum. šimgam-ma. Variant of ṣumlalû. CAD L, 245: “(an aromatic); from OA, OB on.” CDA 341: “(a spice plant).”AHw III, “eine Gewürzpflanze.” Thompson 1949: 347-348: “Nerium odorum L. ?.” Note also p. 338, where ṣumlalû is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 22, 122-24: “unknown.” Myers cites a tentative suggestion of duprānu cuttings, citing its possible appearance as “sum-lu-lu” with duprānu, kikkirânu, which he translates as “berries,” (Myers 1975: 122) or “juniper seeds” (ibid. 23; see below under šimše-li) and ḫibištum, translated as “cuttings” (ibid. 122).


ṣi-iḫ-ḫi-ir-tum: TCL 10, 56: (tablet, case) 6. Variant Akk. ṣeḫḫertum, CAD L 174: “1. minor crop, 2. scraps, small items; OB, SB.” CDA 335: “young girl” “minor crop” ““small pieces”? of wood, stone.” AHw III, 1088: “kleines Mädchen” “(Ernte-) Nebenfrucht.”


šimša-me!-eš!-la: see šimši-mi-iš-la2


še: YOS 5, 194: 6. Akk. še’u. CAD Š II, 345-55 “1. barley, grain, 2. grain (a unit of measure) 3. pine nut; from OAkk. on.” CDA 369: “barley, grain.” AHw III, 1222: “Gerste; Getreide.”


še-geš-i3: TCL 10, 61: 2, Akk. šamaššammū/u. CAD Š I, 301-307: “(the principal oleiferous plant, probably flax, and its seeds); from OAkk?. on.” CDA 353: “sesame.” AHw III 1155: “meist PL. “Sesam.”” Thompson 1949: 101-02: ““corn of the oil tree”... Arab. simsim, sesame (Sesamum indicum ...).”


šimše-gir2: NCBT 1808: 6. Perhaps myrtle seed or berry. For myrtle, see šimaz,šimgir2. For “še” used as “seed,” see šimše-li. Thompson, 301 discusses the uses of myrtle seed. However, the use of gir2 here is curios as šimaz occurs below it for myrtle, not šimgir2 as would be expected with the use of šimše-gir. Further, this item is measured by weight, as opposed to še-li above it measured by capacity. Thus the suggestion of myrtle seed is very uncertain.


šimše-li: NCBT 1808: 4; TCL 10, 81: 16; YBC 3287: 1; 3365: 5, 5304: 8; 7189: 9. Akk. kikkirānu. CAD K, 351-52: “(an aromatic substance); from OB on.” CDA 157: “pine or juniper seeds.” AHw I 475: “Pinien-, Wacholdersamen”? Thompson (1949: 261): “seed of the pine.” Myers 1975: 23, 88-91: “pine seed.”


šimšeš: YBC 7189: 5. Akk. murru. CAD M II, 221-22: “myrrh?; OA, Bogh, EA, MA, SB, NA, NB.” CDA 219: “2. “myrrh.”” “AHw II 676: “2) Myrre” Thompson (1949: 339): “Balsamodendron myrrha Nees, myrrh.” Note also p. 338, where murru is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers (1975: 22, 97-101): “Myrrh.”


šim: TCL 10, 71: 27; 72: 10; YBC 5227: 1; YOS 2, 112: 12. Akk. riqqu/rīqu CAD R 368-71: “aromatic plant; from OB on.” CDA 305: “aromatic substance.” AHw II 988: “Duftstoff, Würzholz.” Thompson (1949: 335-339). On p. 336, Thompson states: “The word, therefore, which would appear to cover riqqu (rîqu), the evacuations or filtering of trees, is, I would suggest, “essence”, with all its comprehensive English implications.” (Thompson 1949: 337) Myers (1975: 152): “generic term for aromatics.” Strangely, in Myers’ section dealing with Akkadian definitions and terms for aromatics, he does not make direct mention of the Akkadian term for aromatic but only explains it in his section “Summary and Conclusions” (152-161). For more on this word see §2.3.


šim-du10: resin, see §1.4.2 and §2.2. This appears as a genitive construct before several raw materials, for which see the individual material entry here for their definitions.


šim ḫi-a: TCL 10, 57: 6; 71 iv: 56; 72: 16; YBC 5169: 2. Akk. urû, variant labānatu or riqqu. I translate the Sumerian as ‘mixed perfumes.’ Limet informs us that šim ḫi-a refers to a finished product in the Ur III period and often occurs with or in the place of i3-du10-ga (Limet 1979, 152). Its measurement in capacity make it seem likely that this is a general term for aromatic oils. See §1.4., §2.3., and §3.4. for additional discussion. Thompson 1949: 335-338 treats šim ḫi-a as form of riqqu and states on p. 337: “this word again coincides with the equivalence ŠIM ḫi-a =urû (šamrû), the latter word (if urû) probably coming from the root arû “to throw, shoot, evacuate (the body)”. Riqqu (rîqu), then, represents the substances which have oozed or filtered forth from trees.” (Thompson 1949: 337) As urû: CDA 427: “pl. tant. “aromatics.”” AHw III, 1436: “Bez. für Räucher-Kräuter.” As labānatu: CAD L, 8: “frankincense; SB, WSem. lw.” CDA 173: “incense.” AHw I, 522: “Weihrauch.” Myers (1975: 23, 95): “Frankincense.” As riqqu: CAD R, 368-71: “aromatic plant; from OB on.” This product’s measurement is by capacity rather than weight as other resins in the texts, would seem to preclude its use as labānatu or urû, at least in the texts discussed here.


šimši-mi-iš-la2: YBC 7189: 3. Var. ša-me!-eš!-la TCL 10, 81: 10. Probably a variant of šimšim-šal, šimšim-meš-li, Akk. šimeššallû. CAD Š III, 4-5: “(a tree, possibly the box); from OB on.” CDA 373: ““(type of) box-tree”?” AHw III, 1237: “eine Buchsbaumart.” Thompson (1949: 348): “Buxus longifolia Boiss., box.” Note also p. 338, where šimeššallû is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers (1975: 23, 126-128) is uncertain of this šimeššallû’s identification.


geššinig: TCL 10, 71 iv: 68. Akk. bīnum. CAD B, 239-42: “tamarisk; from OAkk., OB on.” CDA 44 “tamarisk” AHw I, 127: “Tamariske.” Thompson 1949: 279-282: “Tamarix orientalis Forsk., tamarisk.”


šimšu-ur2-min3: NCBT 1808: 5; TCL 10, 72: 13; 81: 1; YBC 6817: 15; 7189: 2; CT 29, 14: 13. Akk. šurmēnu. CAD Š III, 349-353: “a cypress; from OAkk. on.” CDA 388: “cypress.” AHw III, 1284: “Zypresse.” Thompson 1949: 286-287: “Cupressus sempervirens L., Cypress generally, and thus doubtless C. horizontalis (Mill) Gord.” Note also p. 338, where šurmēnu is listed with other plants and trees that use the “det. riq.” Myers 1975: 24, 130-31: “cypress.” Van de Mieroop 1992b: 160: “cypress.”


udu-nita2: TCL 10, 57: 1; 72: 18, 20. Akk. immeru. CAD I, 129-134: “1. sheep, 2. sheep and goats, 3. ram...; from OA, OB on.” CDA 128: “sheep.” AHw I, 378: “Schaf, Widder.”; bar-su3: TCL 10, 72: 22.


uruda: TCL 10, 71: 41; YOS 2, 112: 13. Akk. erû/werûm. CAD E, 321: “copper.” CDA 438: “copper.” AHw III, 1495: “Kupfer, Bronze”


gešza-ba-al: TCL 10, 72: 12; 81: 14. Variant of gešza-ba-lam, Akk. supālu. CAD S, 390-91: “(a variety of Juniper?); OAkk., OB, Mari, Bogh., SB.” CDA 328: “juniper.” AHw III, 1059-60: “Wacholder.” Thompson (1949: 268): “Juniperus excelsa M.B., juniper.” Van de Mieroop (1992b: 160): “a type of juniper.”


za3-ḫi-li-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 24. Akk. sahlû. CDA 312: “(a cultivated plant, phps.) “cress.”” Thompson 1949: 55-61: “Lepidium sativum L., cress.”


na4za-gin3: TCL 10, 71 i: 40. Akk. uqnû. CDA 424: “lapis lazuli; turquoise?.” AHw III, 1426: “Lapislazuli, Lasurstein, Türqis.”


imzu-ge6 kur-ra: TCL 10, 71 i: 38. Meaning unknown, a form of paste.


§6.2. Product Distribution

šima: NBC 8584:4 (3 qûm., 3 l)

a-ba: TCL 10, 71 i: 31 (# 1)

a-du-a-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 30 (4 kor, 1200 l)

an-da-aḫ-šumsar: NCBT 1808: 3 (4 qûm., 4 l)

an-na: YOS 2, 112: 11 (no figure)

šimar-ga-num: YBC 5151: 1 (6 mina, 3000 g)

šimaz: NCBT 1808: 7 (2 mina, 1 kg); TCL 10, 81: 6 (30 mina, 15 kg); YBC 3365: 1 (13 1/3 mina, 6.667 kg); YBC 6817: 13 (1 talent 58 mina, 59 kg); YBC 7189: 7 (x talent, x kg)

ba-ba-za-am: NBC 8584: 2 (4 seah 40 l); var. ba-ba-az: TCL 10, 71 i: 6 (#16)

ba-lu-ga: CT 29, 13: 8 (3 talent (silver equivalent?), 90 kg)

ba-lu-ḫa: CT 29, 13: 7 (10 shekel, silver equivalent, 83 g)

šimbar2-bar2-ra: YBC 5304: 6 (3 seah 30 l)

šimba-ri-ra-a-tum: TCL 10, 71 i: 17 (1 seah 10 l)

šimbar-sig7: TCL 10, 71: 43 (1/3 mina, 166.7 g)

bu-ra-ša: CT 29, 13: 11 (5 shekels, silver equivalent, 41.5) 24 (no figure)

šimdup-ra-num: TCL 10, 71 i: 19 (1 seah., 10 l)

na4du8-ši-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 39 (1/2 shekel, 4.15 g)

elšim: NBC 8584: 3 (1 2/3 seah, 10.667 l)

šim/gešeren: TCL 10, 57: 7 (11 mina, 5.5 kg); TCL 10, 72: 11 (10 mina, 5 kg); TCL 10, 81: 4 (1 talent, 30 kg) 8 (du10) (30 mina, 15 kg); TCL 10, 82 (tablet): 1 (10 talent 11 mina[123], 305.5 kg); YBC 4451: 1 (1/2 mina, 250 g); YBC 5288: 2(geš) (#1); YBC 5304: 5(du10) (5 mina, 2.5 kg); YBC 5765: 1(du10) (15 mina, 7.5 kg); YBC 7189: 1(geš) (2 talents 15 mina, 67.5 kg)

esir2: YBC 5288: 3 (10 mina, 5 kg); YBC 6817: 14 (1 talent 21 mina, 40.5 kg)

e-zi-zi: CT 29, 13: 26

gaba-lal3: TCL 10, 71 i: 36 (1 mina, 500 g)

šimgam-gam(-ma): TCL 10, 81: 13 (3 seah, 30 l); YBC 5173: 2 (10 mina, 5 kg); YBC 6817: 9 (2 pānû, 1 seah, 2 qûm, 132 l.

šimgam-ma: YBC 3365: 7 (2 seah. 6 qûm, 26 l); YBC 5304: 7 (3 seah, 30 l)

ganam4: TCL 10, 72: 24 (# 99)

ganam4 bar-su3: TCL 10, 72: 26 (# 10)

gazi2: NCBT 1808: 8 (# 4)

šimgi-du10-ga: TCL 10, 81: 7 (30 mina, 15 kg); YBC 3280: 1 (10 mina, 5 kg); YBC 3365: 3 (13 1/3 mina, 6.667 kg); YBC 7189: 6 (1 talent 15 mina, 37.5 kg)

šimgig: YBC 7189: 9 (# x)

šimgir2: TCL 10, 71 i: 20 (4 mina, 2 kg)

geš-i3-a; TCL 10, 82 (case): 2 (10 talents 11 mina, 305.5 kg)

gud al-zu2-a: TCL 10, 56 (case): 14 (# 5 heads)

šimḫa-gir: TCL 10, 71 i: 23 (4 mina, 2 kg)

šimhal: TCL 10, 71 i: 21 (4 mina, 2 kg); TCL 10, 81: 9 (30 mina, 15 kg); YBC 3280: 2 (10 mina, 5 kg); YBC 4402: 1 (1 talent 6 mina, 33 kg); YBC 4451: 2 (1 mina, 500 g); YBC 6817: 1 (24 mina, 12 kg); YBC 10759: 1 (du10) (# 2)

šimḫašḫur(-ra): TCL 10, 71 i: 15 (1 seah, 10 l); YBC 1928 (5 qûm, 5 l); YBC 6817: 2 (1 pānû, 4 seah. 3 qûm., 103 l)

ḫa-za-nu-umsar: NCBT 1808: 2 (1 seah., 10 l)

hi-bi-iš-tum: NBC 8584: 1 (4 seah., 40 l)

šimḫi-li: YOS 2, 112: 36 (1 talent, 30 kg)

šimḫi-il ba-lu-ḫu: TCL 10, 71 i: 22 (4 mina, 2 kg)

šimḫi-li sikil: YBC 4451: 4 (1/2 mina, 250 g)

šimḫi-li hal: YBC 4451: 3 (1/2 mina, 250 g)

i3-a-si/ su: CT 29, 13: 12 (3 shekel, silver equivalent, 24.9 g); CT 29, 14: 19 (3 shekel, silver equivalent, 24.9 g)

i3-du10-ga: YBC 5169: 1 (2 seah, 20 l)

i3-(geš)eren: CT 29, 14: 20 (5 shekel, silver equivalent, 41.5 g); TCL 10, 56: (case) 12 (2 qûm. 2 l); TCL 10, 71 iv: 47 (1 qûm, 1 l), 50 (1 qûm, 1 l), 61 (1 qûm, 1 l); TCL 10, 82: (tablet) 1 (6 qûm., 6 l); TCL 10, 82: (case) 1 (6 qûm., 6 l); YOS 5, 171: 2 (4 qûm, 4 l); 3 (1 seah, 10 l); 4 (1 seah, 10 l); 5 (1 seah, 10 l); 6 (1 seah, 10 l); 7 (1 seah., 10 l); 8 (1 seah, 10 l); 10 (1 seah, 10 l); 12 (1 seah, 10 l); 13 (2 qûm, 2 l); 15 (4 2/3 qûm, 4.667 l); 16 (1 qûm, 1 l); 17 (1/2 qûm, 0.5 l); 18 (1/3 qûm. 0.667 l); 19 (x qûm., x l); 20 (3 qûm. 3 l); 21 (1 seah, 10 l); 22 (3 seah, 30 l); 23 (1/3 qûm, 0.667 l); 24 (1 qûm, 1 l); 25 (2 qûm, 2 l); 26 (1 seah, 10 l); 27 (1/2 qûm, 0.5 l); 28 (5 qûm, 5 l) ; 29 (1 seah, 10 l); 31 (2 qûm, 2 l); YOS 5, 172: 2 (4 qûm, 4 l); 3 (1 seah, 10 l); 4 (1 seah, 10 l); 5 (1 seah, 10 l); 6 (1 seah, 10 l); 7 (1 seah, 10 l); 8 (2 pānû 1 seah, 140 l); 10 (2 2/3 qûm, 2.667 l) ; 11 (5 qûm, 5 l); 12 (2 pānû, 2 seah, 140 l); 13 (1 seah, 10 l); 14 (5 qûm, 5 l); YOS 5, 194: 2 (4 qûm, 4 l); 3 (1 seah, 10 l); 4 (1 seah, 10 l); 5 (1 seah, 10 l); 7 (1/3 qûm, 0.334 l); 8 (2 pānû 3 seah, 160 l); 9 (1 seah, 10 l); 10 (1 seah, 10 l); 11 (1 qûm, 1 l)

i3-gi-lu: CT 29, 14: 28 (1 seah, 10 l)

i3-geš: CT 29, 13: 19 (no figure); TCL 10, 61: 1 (21 kor 3 pānû 5 seah, 6.53 kl); TCL 10, 63: 2-3 (3 qûm, 3 l); TCL 10, 72: 6 (4 kor 1 seah, 1.21 kl); YBC 4451: 6 (1 KU.DU 2 qûm, x and 2 l); YOS 5, 171: 1 (2 qûm. 2 l); YOS 5, 172: 1 (2 qûm, 2 l); YOS 5, 194: 1(2 qûm, 2 l); YOS 14, 212: 1 (2 pānû 1 seah 1 1/2 qûm, 131 1/2 l)

i3-geš bara2 a-ga: TCL 10, 63: 1 (8 qûm, 8 l)

i3 ka-na-ak-ti: CT 29, 14: 13 (no figure)

im-babbar: TCL 10, 71 i: 11 (20 talent, 60 kg)

ir3: TCL 10, 56 (case): 10 (5 head)

i3-sag: TCL 10, 56 (case): 11 (2 qûm, 2 l); TCL 10, 57: 5 (3 seah 2 qûm, 32 l); TCL 10, 71 iv: 56 (3 qûm, 3 l); 61(2 qûm, 2 l); TCL 10, 72: 8 (1 pānû, 1 qûm, 61 l)

i3-sag-du10-ga: TCL 10, 81: 17 (# 1)

i3-šu-ur2-min3: CT 29, 13: 13 (10 shekels, silver equivalent, 83 g) 31 (no figure); CT 29, 14: 7 (10 shekels, silver equivalent, 83 g); 18 (10 shekels, silver equivalent, 83 g)

kar2-šumsar: NCBT 1808: 1(1 seah., 10 l); TCL 10, 63: 3 (1 seah, 10 l); TCL 10, 71 iv: 43 (1 seah, 10 l); 45 (7 qûm, 7 l); YBC 5288: 1 (5 kor 1 pānû 5 seah., 1.61 kl); YBC 5304: 9 (3 seah. 11 mu-šub 30 l.?); YOS 2, 112: 12 (no figure)

ku3-babbar: TCL 10, 56: (tablet) 1 (x mina, x g), (case) 1 (x mina, x g); TCL 10, 71 iv: 41 (1 1/3 shekel, 11.0667 g), 68 (1 shekel, 8.3 g); TCL 10, 72: 1 (3 mina, 1.5 kg)

ku3-sig17: TCL 10, 72: 2 (8 shekel, 66.4 g), 4 (5 shekel, 41.5 g)

ku-uk-ri: CT 29, 13: 8 (1 kor, 300 l), 21 (2 pānû, 1 qûm, of 5 shekels), 31 (no figure)

(šim)lal3: TCL 10, 57: 4 (no šim) (2 seah, 20 l); TCL 10, 71 iv: 47 (no šim) (1 qûm, 1 l), 50 (no šim) (1 qûm, 1 l), 62 (no šim) (1 qûm, 1 l); YBC 10758: 1 (1 mina, 500 g)

gešlam-gal TCL 10, 57: 3 (2 seah, 20 l)

gešlam-tur: TCL 10, 57: 2 (2 seah, 20 l)

šimli: TCL 10, 71 i: 18 (1 seah, 10 l), iv: 48 (3 qûm, 3 l), 51 (3 qûm, 3 l); YBC 6817: 7 (3 talent 20 mina, 100 kg); YOS 2, 112: 12 (no figure), 36 (10 talents, 300 kg)

šimli-wi-ir: TCL 10, 72: 14 (10 mina, 5 kg); TCL 10, 81: 5 (30 mina, 15 kg)

lu-u2-lu: CT 29, 13: 23 (no figure)

lu-ur-pi-a-nu-um: TCL 10, 71 i: 37 (10 shekels, 83 g)

šimmar-ga-nu2-um: TCL 10, 81: 2 (30 mina, 15 kg)

šimmar-gu-ṣum: TCL 10, 71 i: 16 (1 seah, 10 l); YBC 10512: 1 (# 1)

tug2ma-aṣ-ṣum: TCL 10, 71 iv: 64 (#1), 65 (#2)

maš2-munus-aš2: TCL 10, 72: 29 (# 34)

šimmug: TCL 10, 81: 12 (30 mina, 15 kg)

tug2mu-sir2-ra: TCL 10, 71 i: 13 (no figure)

naga: TCL 10, 71 i: 12 (15 kor, 4500 l), 15 (15 kor, 4500 l), 71 iv: 54 (15 kor, 4500 l)

tug2na-al-ba-šum: TCL 10, 56 (tablet): 8 (# x), (case): 8 (# 1)

šim dnin-urta: TCL 10, 81: 11 (30 mina, 15 kg); YBC 7189: 4 (1 talent, 30 kg)

gešqu-ta-nu-um ḫi-a: MLC 1683: 1 (# 3)

imsa5: YBC 5274: 2 (x mina, x g)

šimsig7: TCL 10, 71 i: 42 (1/3 mina, 166.7 g)

šimsig7-sig7: MLC 1683: 2 (2 mina, 1 kg); YBC 5274: 1 (n mina, n kg)

sila7: TCL 10, 72: 28 (# 16)

geššinig: TCL 10, 71 iv: 68 (no quantity)

su-um-la-li-e: CT 29, 13: 10 (1 pānû, 2 seah, 80 l)

ṣi-iḫ-ḫi-ir-tum: TCL 10, 56 (tablet/case): 6

šimša-me!-eš!-la: TCL 10, 81: 10 (30 mina, 15 kg)

še: YOS 5, 194: 6 (10 shekel, 0.05 l)

še-geš-i3: TCL 10, 61: 2 (53 kor, 2 pānû, 2 seah, 16.04 kl)

šimše-gir: NCBT 1808: 6 (2 mina, 1 kg)

šimše-li: NCBT 1808: 4 (2 qûm. 2 l); TCL 10, 81: 16 (3 seah, 30 l); YBC 3287: 1 (x mina, x g) YBC 3365: 5 (2 seah, 6 qûm, 26 l); YBC 5304: 8 (2 seah, 20 l); YBC 7189: 9 (x)

šimšeš: YBC 7189: 5 (x talent, x kg)

šim: TCL 10, 71: 27 (1 seah, 10 l); TCL 10, 72: 10 (1 seah, 10 l); YBC 5227: 1 (geš) (4 qûm., 4 l); YOS 2, 112: 12 (no figure)

šim ḫi-a: TCL 10, 57: 6 (5 seah, 50 l) TCL 10, 71 iv: 56 (5 qûm., 5 l); TCL 10, 72: 16 (4 seah 2 qûm, 42 l); YBC 5169: 2 (1 seah.10 l)

šimši-mi-iš-la2: YBC 7189: 3 (1 talent, 30 kg)

šimšu-ur2-min3: NCBT 1808: 5 (2 mina, 1 kg); TCL 10, 72: 13 (10 mina, 5 kg); TCL 10, 81: 1 (x talent 30 mina, 15+ kg); YBC 6817: 15 (2 mina, 1 kg); YBC 7189: 2 (1 talent, 30 kg); CT 29, 14: 13 (no figure)

udu-nita2: TCL 10, 57: 1 (# 118); TCL 10, 72: 18 (# 40) 20 (# 67)

udu-nita2 bar-su3: TCL 10, 72: 22 (# 9)

uruda: TCL 10, 71 i: 41 (1 mina, 500 g); YOS 2, 112: 13 (2 talent, 60 kg)

gešza-ba-al: TCL 10, 72: 12 (10 mina, 5 kg); TCL 10, 81: 14 (3 seah, 30 l)

za3-ḫi-li-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 24 (2 seah, 20 l)

na4za-gin3: TCL 10, 71 i: 40 (1/2 shekel, 4.15 g)

imzu-ge6 kur-ra: TCL 10, 71 i: 38 (1 qûm, 1 l)


§6.3. Aromatic Prices

šimaz: (YBC 3365: 1) 13 1/3 mina, value 1 1/3 shekel, rate: 600:1

šimdu10-eren: (YBC 5765: 1) 15 mina, value 2/3 shekel, 15 grains, rate: 1200:1

šimgam-ma: (YBC 3365: 7) 2 seah 6 qûm, value 1 2/3 shekel 12 grains, rate: 15:1

šimgi-du10-ga: (YBC 3365: 3) 13 1/3 mina, value 1 1/3 shekel, rate: 600:1

šimḫal: (YBC 4402: 1) 1 talent 6 mina, value 10 1/3 shekel, rate: 383 7/31: 1

i3-gešeren: (TCL 10, 56 (case): 12) 2 qûm., value 2/3 shekel, rate 3:1.

i3-geš: (TCL 10, 72: 6) 4 kor 1 seah, value 1 mina 8 shekels, rate: 18:1

i3-geš ur-šum: (CT 29, 13: 19-20) 5 shekels from the seah: rate 1:5

i3-sag: (TCL 10, 56 (case): 11) 2 qûm, value 2/3 shekel, rate: 3:1; (TCL 10, 72: 8) 1 pānû, 1 qûm, value 12 1/6 shekels 10 grain, rate: 1: 5 1/18.

ku-uk-ri: (CT 29, 13: 21) 2 pānû, 1 qûm, of 5 shekels, rate: 28:1

šimli: (YBC 6817: 7) 3 talent 20 mina, value 1/2 mina, 5 shekels, rate: 342 6/7:1

šimmar-gu-ṣum: (YBC 10512: 1) #1 (= 1/10 shekel), value 2 shekels, rate 1:20

šimše-li: (YBC 3365: 5) 2 seah 6 qûm, value 1 2/3 shekel 12 grain. rate: 15:1

šim: (TCL 10, 72: 10) 1 seah, value 3 1/3 shekels, rate: 3:1

šim ḫi-a: (TCL 10, 72: 16) 4 seah 2 qûm, value 2/3 shekel, 6 grains, rate: 60:1 (TCL 10, 72: 11-15); gešeren 10 mina; gešza-ba-al 10 mina; geššu-ur2-min3 10 mina; gešli-wi-ir 10 mina, value 3 1/3 shekels, rate: 720:1

šim[...]: (YBC 5232: 1) 1 (+) seah, value 10 (+) shekels, rate 1:1?


§6.4. Names
§6.4.1. Personal Names:

a-ba-a: TCL 10, 71 i: 29 (via)

a-ba-an-ni-a: YBC 5304: 11 (via (with ir3-dsuen)

a-bu-um-wa-qar: YBC 3280: 5 (receipt from)

a-bu-wa-qar: YBC 3287: 4 (receipt from (with [...]dingir); YBC 5173: 4 (disbursed from); YBC 5274: 5 (disbursed from); YBC 5288: 5 (receipt from); YBC 5304: 14 (receipt from)

diškur-ma-an-šum2: YBC 5765: 3 (ša...broken)

a-da-al-lalx(LA)-a-a: YBC 7189: 10 (delivery of)

a-ḫi-na-x-[...]: YBC 5232: 3 (for)

a-ḫu-um-wa-qar: TCL 10, 56: 17 (receipt of, s. of lu2[...])

a-ḫu-ṭa-bu-um: YOS 5, 171: 28 (when delayed)

amar-ne2-ru-um: TCL 10, 61: 6 (for)

a-ma-at-dsuen: YOS 5, 171: 27

a-mu-u2-a-tum: YBC 5304: 13 (receipt of)

ar-bi-tu-ra-am: YBC 3280: 3 (receipt of (with dsuen-da-mi-iq)

a-wi-lim: YOS 5, 171: 2; YOS 5, 172: 2

a-wi-lum: YOS 5, 172: 8 (delayed at the temple of Inanna in Uruk); 12 (journey to Raḫabum)

a-wi-il-i3-li2: YOS 5, 194: 2

be-ta: YOS 5, 194: 6 (delayed)

be-ta-tum: YOS 5, 171: 5, 172: 5

bi-tim: YOS 5, 171: 3 ; YOS 5, 172: 3; YOS 5, 194: 3

da-da-a: NBC 8584: 5 (received from); YOS 2, 112: 1 (letter to, with dsuen-u2-se2-li)

dingir-ga-mil: TCL 10, 81: 18 (via, replacement (diri-ga))

dingir-inim-ma: TCL 10, 71 iv: 48 (for); 53 (for, uru ku-ur-ra-ab); 57

dingir(-um)-pi4-dutu: CT 29, 13: 1 (letter to); CT 29, 14: 1 (letter to)

dumu-i3-li2: TCL 10, 71 iv: 62 (for)

e2-a-ra-bi: TCL 10, 71 i: 5 (via, with two others), 10 (via?, with two others); 46 (via, with ša-li-mu-um and ra-bu-ut-dsuen)

den-lil2-na-ši: YBC 10512: 7 (f. of dsuen-be-el-ap-lim)

gi-mil-sîn: TCL 10, 71 i: 34 (via)

dgu-la-du-um-qi: YBC 5169: 3 (receipt of)

ḫa-ba-an-nu-um: TCL 10, 63: 7 (disbursed from)

i-ba-tum: CT 29, 14: 23 (oil of)

ib-bi-dŠamaš: YBC 1928: 3 (receipt of)

ib-bi-dsuen: YBC 1928: 4 (receipt from)

i-din-dsuen: TCL 10, 71 iv: 63 (order of); YBC 10758: 4 (goods (nig2-šu) of); YBC 10759: 4 (goods (nig2) of); YOS 5, 171: 10 (delayed)

i-ku-un-pi4-diškur: TCL 10, 56: (tablet) 17, (case) 18 (receipt of, with i3-li2-i-din-nam ); TCL 10, 61: 5 (receipt of, with i3-li2-i-din-nam); TCL 10, 72: 36 (receipt of, with i3-li2-i-din-nam). TCL 10, 81: 19 (receipt of); TCL 10, 82: (tablet, case) 4 (receipt of); YBC 5169: 6 (receipt from, sanga of Ninurta)

i3-li2-i-din-nam: TCL 10, 56: (tablet) 18, (case)19 (receipt of, with i-ku-pi4-diškur); TCL 10, 61: 4 (receipt of, with i-ku-un- pi4-diškur); TCL 10, 72: 35 (receipt of, with i-ku-un-pi4-diškur)

i3-li2-inim-gi-na: TCL 10, 71 i: 14 (receipt of)

i3-li2-ma-a-bi: NCBT 1808: 10 (receipt of)

di3-li2-na-ap-še-ra-am: NBC 8584: 6-7 (received)

im-gur-dsuen: TCL 10, 71 iv: 67 (via); YOS 5, 171: 26 (divinor)

im-gur-dutu: TCL 10, 71 iv: 70 (receipt of)

im-gu-rum: YBC 6817: 23 (via, with dsuen-ga-mil and wa-tar-dutu)

i-ni-ia-tum: YBC 5169: 4 (order of)

ir3-dmar-tu: TCL 10, 71 iv: 45 (via)

i-ri-ba-am-dsuen: YBC 5288: 4 (receipt of)

ir3-dsuen: YBC 5304: 12 (via / with a-ba-an-ni-a)

ir3-ra-a-zu: YOS 14, 212: 3 (delivery, processed oil house)

i-šar-re-i-ni: YOS 5, 172: 13

it-ti-dsuen-mil-ki: TCL 10, 56: (tablet) 19, (case) 20 (delivery of); TCL 10, 57: 8 (delivery of, of Zarbilum); TCL 10, 61: 3 (delivery, merchant overseer of Zarbilim); TCL 10, 72: 33 (delivery)

mi-ka-zi-im: YBC 4402: 2

ki-ib-ra-ab-ba: CT 29, 14: 16, 29

kur-mar-da-maḫ-ni2: TCL 10, 63: 6 (receipt of, with 1dri-im-dsuen-mu-ba-li2-iṭ)

li-iq-tum: YOS 5, 171: 4; YOS 5, 172: 4; YOS 5, 194: 5

li-pi2-it-ir3-ra: YOS 14, 212: 6 (receipt of, perfumer’s workshop)

lugal-dsuen: CT 29, 13: 9, 22 (receive from)

lu2-dnin-šubur-tu-kul2-ti: YBC 5232: 4-5 (for?)

lu2-dutu: YBC 3287: 2 (receipt of)

mar-ra-bi: TCL 10, 71 i: 25 (receipt of, for the e2-nin)

dnanna-ma-an-si2: YOS 5, 172: 14 (builder)

dnin-urta?-mu-pad3-da: TCL 10, 56: (case, tablet) 2 (receipt of)

dnin-urta-us2-eden: YBC 5169: 5 (via)

nu-ur-dkab-ta: TCL 10, 71 iv: 44 (via, son of X)

nu-ur2-ub-tum: YOS 5, 171: 32 (delayed)

pi-iš-ti-ia: YOS 5, 171: 8 (when she polished the door bolt of x-temple), 31(when Nur-ubtum was delayed)

puzur4-dingir-a-ba4: YBC 5151: 3 (receipt of), 7 (receipt from)

ra-bu-ut-dsuen: TCL 10, 71 i: 46 (via, with ša-li-mu-um and e2-a-ra-bi)

1dri-im-dsuen-mu-ba-li2-iṭ: TCL 10, 63: 5 (receipt of, with kur-mar-da-maḫ-ni2)

si-im-mu-ug-ra: YOS 5, 171: 12 (father of ṣi-li2-dutu); YOS 5, 172: 7 (father of ṣi-li2-dutu)

dsuen-a-ḫa-am-i-din-nam : CT 29, 13: 3 (letter from); CT 29, 14: 3 (letter from)

dsuen-an-dul7-a-ni: TCL 10, 71 iv: 46 (receipt of)

dsuen-be2-el-ap-lim: YBC 4402: 3 (goods (nig2-šu) of) YBC 10512: 6 (delivery of, s. of den-lil2-na-ši)

dsuen-da-mi-iq: YBC 3280: 4 (receipt of, with ar-bi-tu-ra-am)

dsuen-du-ur-šu: TCL 10, 71 i: 44 (receipt of)

dsuen-ga-mil: YBC 6817: 10 (via); 24 (via, with im-gu-rum and wa-tar-dUtu)

dsuen-iš-me-a-ni: YBC 10758: 3 (receipt of)

sîn-ma-ḫa-[...]: TCL 10, 71 iv: 58 (via)

dsuen-še-mi: MLC 1683: 4 (receipt of)

dsuen-u2-se2-li: YOS 2, 112: 2 (letter to, with da-da-a); 10; 41

ṣi-li2-dutu: YOS 5, 171: 12 (son of si-im-mu-ug-ra); YOS 5, 172: 7 (son of si-im-mu-ug-ra)

ša-li-mu-um: TCL 10, 71 i: 7 (receipt of), 26 (order of), 28 (receipt of), 45 (via, with ra-bu-ut-dsuen and e2-a-ra-bi), iv: 55 (receipt of), 65 (receipt of)

dutu-dingir: YBC 5173: 3 (receipt of)

dutu-mu-ba-li2-iṭ: TCL 10, 82: (tablet, case) 5 ((disbursed) from)

ša-at-ib-bi: YOS 5, 171: 6; YOS 5, 172: 6 ; YOS 5, 194: 4

ša-at-dnin-šubur: YOS 5, 194: 7 (in dumu-munus ša-at-dnin-šubur)

ši-ip-dsuen: YOS 2, 112: 4 (letter from)

ta-al-pu-ni: YBC 4451: 8 (to; palace servant, head fisherman)

ta-ri-bu-um: TCL 10, 82: (tablet) 6 (order of)

dtišpak -ga-mil: CT 29, 14: 28

u-na-ḫi-id-eš18-dar2: YBC 10759: 3 (receipt of)

ur-lugal-banda3da: YBC 5274: 3 (via, office broken)

wa-tar-dutu: YBC 3365: 14 (receipt from); YBC 5151: 4 (receipt from); YBC 6817: 3 (via, received in his house, gur) 25 (via, with im-gu-rum and dsuen-ga-mil)

za-a-lam: TCL 10, 56: (case, tablet) 5 (receipt of); YBC 5274: 4 (receipt of, chair bearer)

zi-ik-rum: TCL 10, 71 iv: 55 (via)


§6.4.2. Titles Only:

dumu-munus ša-at-dnin-šubur: YOS 5, 194: 7

ir3 e2-mar-ba-tum: YOS 5, 171: 15

maš2-šu-gid2-gid2: YOS 5, 171: 17

nar-meš: TCL 10, 71 iv: 66.


§6.4.3. Temples/Workshops:

e2 a-ab-ba-a: YOS 5, 171: 10

e2 i3-du10-ga: YOS 14, 212: 4

gir4-maḫ: NCBT 1808: 9 (for)

e2 gu-la: YBC 4451: 5 (for)

e2 gešgu-za en den-ki: YOS 5, 194: 11

e2 dinanna: YOS 5, 171: 16 (to anoint)

e2 dinanna u3 dnanna: YOS 5, 171: 1; YOS 5, 172: 1; YOS 5, 194: 1

e2 dinanna zabalaki: YOS 5, 172: 11

e2 i3-ra2-ra2: YBC 10512: 5 (for); YOS 14, 212: 7

e2 dsuen-i-din-nam: YOS 5, 171: 7 (door bolt); YOS 5, 194: 10

e2 šu-zi: TCL 10, 71 iv: 42

e2 dutu: YOS 5, 171: 18 (to anoint)


§6.4.4. Geographic Names:

BAD3.ANki: TCL 10, 56: (tablet, case) 3 (caravan of GN), (tablet) 15 (caravan of GN), (case) 16 (caravan of GN)

bad3-tibir-ra: YBC 3287: 5 (they gave to him in GN.)

larsaki: YOS 2, 112: 30

šu-ši-imki: YOS 2, 112: 16 (citizen of GN.)

unuki: YOS 5, 172: 9 (delayed at the Inanna temple in GN), 10 (caravan of GN.)

ur-šum: CT 29, 13: 19 (oil of GN)

iriki a-ḫa-nu-ta: YOS 2, 112: 33 (in), 43 (in)

iriki ib-ra-at: TCL 10, 71 iv: 52

iriki ra-ḫa-bu-um: YOS 5, 172: 12 (caravan of GN)

iriki sa-bu-um: MLC 1683: 6 (caravan to GN)

zabalaki: YOS 5, 172: 11 (Inanna temple of GN)

zar-bi2-lum/limki: TCL 10, 57: 9; 61: 4 (merchant overseer of GN)



1  This is a revised version of my master’s thesis presented to Yale in the spring semester of 2010. Thanks must be made outright to Benjamin Foster, whose kind instruction and keen eye were of significant help in translating the texts presented here and editing this work. Thanks also go to Karljürgen Feuerherm for allowing me to remark on and publish data found in YBC 3280, YBC 3287, YBC 5288, and YBC 5304, as well as for allowing me to look at his updated translations of YBC 5173, YBC 5274, and YBC 6817, previously published in his 2004 Dissertation. Additional thanks are given to Tina Breckwoldt for allowing me to remark on and publish here information from YBC 3365 and YBC 4402.

2  Several of these translations were challenged in Levey 1959 discussed below. See his translation on p. 37 and those in his chapter on the perfumery.

3  Only 13 pages in length.

4  A precursor to his chapter on the perfumery appeared as an article in 1956 (Levey: 1956) which discussed Mesopotamian chemistry, in particular the ‘perfumery,’ as compared to medieval Arabic technology. Much of what he said in the 1956 article is summed up and developed further in his 1959 book.

5  Some investigations have taken place, in the Bulletin of Sumerian Agriculture in particular, on areas relevant to aromatic production, particularly in the areas of oil production. See in particular Stol (1985) and Postgate (1985). However these, while useful, tend to be limited to broad studies on terms used or descriptions of modern techniques involved in extraction.

6  For an example, see the discussions of šim determinative below, where three ingredients, šimsig7-sig7, elšim, and šimlal3, are mentioned that are normally not used for their aromatic quality but nevertheless occur with the šim determinative. Myers (1975) lacks this possibility.

7  These works are, of course, in addition to the numerous letters, rituals, laments, etc. that offer glimpses of aromatics used in society.

8  See, for instance, CT 29, 13-14, two letters which involve a merchant requesting his agent procure for him several fragrant oils and Leemans’ synthesis of these letters (1960: 92-96).

9  Pp. 150-152 provides a list and short descriptions of the Ur III texts which he sees evidence for such an industry. al-Kindi is also discussed in Levey (1956) and again in Levey (1959).

10  Particularly pp. 148-151 BM 54060 and pp. 151-153 BM 77429. Some connections between the two are also discussed on pp. 153-157.

11  This is in reference to the Old Babylonian economy and administration. However, as seen in Van de Mieroop (1992a: 241-250), the origin of the system Yoffee is discussing can be traced to the reign of Rīm-Sîn if not earlier.

12  The sampling here is not large enough to add any discussion, nor would such a discussion fit into the scope of this work. There are several places which discuss these terms, such as Snell (1982: 11-53) on Ur III silver accounts, Van de Mieroop (1987: 9-21) on craft archives of Isin, Talon (1985: 226-231) on accounting terms at Mari, and Zeeb (2001: 126-157) on accounting in the Old Syrian palace. For Larsa, Breckwoldt (1994: part III 119-156) discusses silver accounts.

13  Unfortunately, the text is broken. It is likely not the same person as the receiver of the main transaction, as this PN. is listed as the distributor of the secondary transaction.

14  Translated and commented on by Leemans (1960: 146 and 166-171) as well as by Breckwoldt (1994: part V 66-67 and part III 126-127).

15  Talon (1985: 231) understands this term as “sorties” of goods.

16  He is supervised by the ebbūtum official, who occasionally appears along with the giri3 official to oversee transfers of greater importance or value.

17  Such as Itti-Sin-milki, the merchant overseer of Zarbilum, who appears in TCL 10, 56, 57, 61, and 72. This merchant appears in the most deliveries collected here. As overseer of merchants, he also would act in an official capacity. This will be discussed more in §3, ‘The Merchant, the Administrator, and the Craftsman.’ Two others also appear: Adallal-Ayya in YBC 7189 and Sin-bel-aplim in YBC 10512. The latter of the two is by far the earliest of this type of delivery, tentatively dated to the reign of Sîn-iqīšam. Its features do not follow those of the other texts.

18  Two occur repeatedly: Ikūn-pî-Adad and Ili-Idinnam in TCL 10, 56, 61, and 72, all of which correspond to deliveries of Itti-Sin-milki and range from Rīm-Sîn years 22-27.

19  As in TCL 10, 56, where four groups of receivers are listed.

20  See TCL 10, 56, for the silver value and TCL 10, 72, and YBC 10512 for the silver value and market rate.

21  As in YOS 5, 171, 172, and 194, where ba-zi is used without a name, or TCL 10, 71 and 81, where a series of disbursements are described without ki PN or PN ba-zi.

22  Such as with the term a-na, še3, or i-nu-(u2-)ma.

23  Levey notes on page 31 that the pottery needed for distillation existed dating back to 3500 BC. Limet, however, does not see evidence for this in the texts. It can be stated, then, that while ceramic technology may have existed which allowed for the production of aromatic essences, there are no textual evidence for this ceramic technology’s application to such production.

24  For instance, ERIN / erēnu, cedar, of which Myers even states in his dissertation “frequently the GIŠ determinative was used and sometimes both the GIŠ and the ŠIM determinatives were used with ERIN.” (ibid. 21)

25  I follow Feuerherm’s designation of this item as Akkadian gulu (see his commentary to YBC 5274, Feuerherm 2004: vol. 2, 109), but its use with šim helps support its designation as bdellium, as suggested by Potts et al. 1996. Potts, et al states that this material was used “not only as incense but also as an aromatic ointment, which agrees with the use of gulu as a cosmetic in the Near East” (Potts et al. 1996: 300). Its use with im may serve to underline its function as an ointment or paste, while its use with šim may underscore sig7-sig7’s use as incense.

26  In addition, see below, §2.2.3, where šim is used with i3-du10-ga geš-gal-gal to produce ‘refined (aromatic) oils of large trees.’ This, again, is an exceptional use of the determinative, though from the Ur III period.

27  Possibly myrtle seed, though this understanding is problematic. See its entry in §6.1.

28  For more on this see §2, esp. §2.5.2, where the use of aromatics as a raw material in the kitchen is discussed. See also NCBT 1808’s commentary for more on this document.

29  This term is used in connection with perfume production in OIP 2, 116 viii: 71, though this is a later usage from the annals of Sennacherib. More will be said on this term in §2.2.2.

30  More will be said on this term in §2.3 and §6.1.

31  i3-šu-ur2-min3: CT 29, 13: 13, 31, CT 29, 14: 7, 18; i3-geš-eren: CT 29, 14: 20; i3-a-si: CT 29, 13: 12, i3-a-su: CT 29, 14: 19

32  I understand i3-geš in i3-geš-eren as the quality of oil, not a determinative for wood. One must be aware of the opposite possibility, however -- that it is a determinative for eren.

33  Jursa 2009 offers discussions of incense lists and perhaps recipes albeit from a much later date in the neo-Babylonian period.

34  See for instance, juniper berries (šimše-li) in NCBT 1808: 4, cedar resin (šimdu10-eren) in YBC 5765: 1, and bdellium (šimsig7-sig7) in MLC 1683: 2 respectively.

35  Joannès 1993: 259; this is seen here, for instance, in YBC 10512: 2 where geš-nig2 is used to describe a chunk of wood delivered to the e2-i3-ra2-ra2, or with Akkadian ibištum discussed below.

36  This section sums up key points already made in §1.4.

37  Note that these terms do not appear together in the texts. When one occurs, the other is absent. This lends support to the understanding that both are terms for resin.

38  Limet (1978: 154), against Levey (1959: 38), explains there is no evidence in the Ur III period for the production of essential oils. This is followed by Joannès (1993: 253), who also cites a lack of evidence for essential oils at Mari. The same is understood here. Fixed oils, which are described by (Charles 1985: 50) as greasy, non-distillable, non volatile oils which are obtained from oil rich seeds of certain crops, are used as the vehicle for most perfumes in this period.

39  YOS 14, 212, shows 131 1/2 liters disbursed by Irra-azu to the perfumer’s workshop. In addition, Soubeyran (1984: 419) notes the delivery of i3-geš to the perfumer’s workshop at Mari as well.

40  Jean (1949: 325) translates this term as “l’huile végétale,” and notes the possibility that olive oil was used at Mari as well.

41  Though as Renfrew (1985: 64) points out, there is no native wild sesame in Mesopotamia which makes it probable that cultivation originated somewhere else.

42  Rieger (2006, 38): “Almond and related species are native to the Mediterranean climate region of the Middle East.” P. 289 notes the Olive originated in the Mediterranean region and is today “largely confined to the Mediterranean countries of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, where it began thousands of years ago.”

43  Charles further notes that of all crops mentioned, only sesame grows during the summer season.

44  Krause (1968: 112ff.) shows, based on etymology (cf esp. 114-115) and textual descriptions and references regarding its cultivation (pp. 115-119), that the Akkadian term šamaššammū and Sumerian še-geš-i3 are related to the modern word sesame and that sesame was cultivated and used in Mesopotamia prior to the Old Babylonian period.

45  The heat removes poisonous hydrogen cyanide.

46  Its use as rations for food is well attested. See, for instance, YOS 14, 182, dated to the 10th year of Abi-sare, where one sila3 is disbursed as a ration (i3-ba). There seems to be a consensus concerning i3-geš as unrefined oil. Joannès (1993: 253) sees three qualities of oil, of which i3-geš is the lowest quality. Soubeyran (1984: 416) also describes it as an unfiltered variety of oil which is the most frequent oil found in the texts discussed by him.

47  Such as the “palace chair” or “palace table” on the day of a boat festival in YOS 14, 268, or to anoint a door bolt, the god Nergal, and a standard in YOS 14, 247.

48  Though each could in turn be further processed, see the example of i3-sag du10-ga below.

49  According to Limet (1979: 152), “onguent” is a better translation of i3-du10-ga, as it often appears in the same context as šim ḫi-a. He is explaining in this instance both materials’ medicinal uses. Against this is Joannès (1993: 253), who sees in this a designation of quality. Joannès sees three qualities of oil, i3-geš, i3-du10-ga, and i3-sag. Accordingly, i3-du10-ga would be medium quality oil, though Joannès does not specifically state this. Soubeyran, on the other hand, believes i3-du10-ga and i3-sag are the same quality of oil (1984: 419). This makes no sense, however: Why have two words for the same thing?

50  This process of cold pressing is described in Charles 1985, 50-51. Levey (1959: 89) further notes that “best quality oil” and “oil of first pressing” are distinguished in Ḫḫ 24, 19-20 (i3-gu-la vs. i3-sag).

51  MSL 11, 78-79, understood here as ‘oil,’ ‘oil,’ ‘sesame oil,’ ‘filtered oil,’ ‘processed oil,’ ‘best quality oil,’ and ‘virgin oil,’ respectively.

52  There is one example of this grade of oil collected here, TCL 10, 63: 2, where it occurs along with i3-geš.

53  Indeed, following this section in MSL 11, there are two fragmentary lines followed by fragrant oils and other processed oils (ll. 23-43). I would argue that all processed oils, as finished products, could still be used as an ingredient in other processes. This is perhaps seen in KAR 140, presented by Ebeling (1950: 138-141) and translated by Levey 1959 139 (quoted below under Perfume Production), where “10 qa samni arrâni” (transliteration by Ebeling 1950: 139), “10 qa commercial oil” (translation by Levey 1959: 139), is used to produce perfumed water.

54  For the understanding of šim ḫi-a as a finished product, see §1.4, §2.3, §3.4, and its entry in §6.1.

55  kušdur-gar ka-tab / dugku-kur-du3 i3-du10-ga /e2 i3-ra2-ra2-še3 / giri3 PN1 i3-ra2-ra2 / u3 PN2 ša3-tam.

56  The ‘processed oils of large trees’ were perhaps obtained via cold production, while the perfumes designated by šim used heated maceration.’

57  See for instance Jean (1949: 328, letter B 287), where a certain El-Asum writes Zimri-lim concerning aromatic production.

58  Evidence for oil is cited in §1. NBC 8584: 4 lists 3 sila3 perfumed water.

59  See §6.2 for the distribution of these items. It must be noted that not all measurements by capacity refer to an aromatic perfume, only some. The item še-li is usually measured by capacity due to its nature. It was a seed or berry which required a container to transport and was thus measured by capacity. Measurement by weight would have been difficult to accomplish with this materiel.

60  A similar phenomenon perhaps occur at Mari as well, where, as Joannès notes (1993, p. 260), oils designated by the word diqârum probably involved a different production process than those designated by i3 and the main ingredient. Joannès understands this as a difference between cold steeping (i3 + ingredient) and warm or hot steeping (diqârum) (ibid. 259-261).

61  Transliteration from Cooper 1983, 56. For the bearing these lines have on the šim and geš determinatives, see §1.4.3.

62  In addition, Civil provides several examples of this, all of which involve some qualifier: ga … sur, i3 … sur, geštin … sur, and most important for his purpose, kaš … sur (1964: 81-82).

63  See §6.1. and §6.2. for these items. Of all four, cedar occurs the most. The other three only occur in CT 29, 13-14. In addition, note juniper, terebinthe, applewood, sagapanum, and other, unidentified items which occur with the šim determinative and are measured by capacity. These may also have used the process of cold maceration described below.

64  ibid. 259-60, discusses both ARM XVIII 14 and rummuqum as they deal with cold maceration. Cold maceration is not discussed by Levey, but he does make note of the use of cold steeping as part of a greater process of perfumed oil production (Levey 1959 137).

65  For šim-ḫi-a, its price in TCL 10, 72, 60: 1 qûm per shekel, makes it doubtful that this would have been produced via warm maceration. This low price could possibly be due to the expense of raw materials, the ease in which it was manufactured, or both. For more on this term, see §1.4., §3.4., and §6.1.

66  The Akkadian term for ‘perfumer,’ raqqû is related to this verb according to CAD R, 173. CAD R, 420 notes only attestations of this verb in MA, SB, and at Nuzi, making the connection to the OB period and earlier tenuous.

67  Levey 1959: 139 notes in particular that much expertise was required for a limited output. On p. 141 he points out that the chemistry techniques could require a considerable amount of time and steps to produce a perfume.

68  Levey specifically notes the following introduction to a text as typical of the perfume recipes: “When you wish to prepare oil of asaniatu, one needs 10 qa oil, 1 talent asaniatu, 1 talent myrrh, 1 mina calamus, 1 mina …, 1 qa honey…” Note the use of three different aromatic raw materials for this recipe.

69  Further, compare the price of this item in Appendix III, a rate of 3:1 liters to silver, with šim-ḫi-a in the same document, 60:1, and i3-sag, 1: 5 1/18, again in the same document. The cost seems to reflect the oil quality and skill required in production.

70  Note CAD E 49 translates egubbû “holy water,” CDA 6 (agubbû) as “holy water vessel,” AHw I 17 as “Weihwassergefäβ.”

71  The only direct, unambiguous reference to the perfumer himself in the Larsa texts is YOS 14, 212, where 131.5 liters of oil are delivered to Irra-azu at the perfumer workshop (written [e2] i3-ra2-ra2).

72  Thus we see Van de Mieroop 1987, 141 translate i3-ra2-ra2 as “oilpresser” following AHw and Gallery 1980: 9, who translates i3-ra2-ra2 as oil pressers (though she seems to misinterpret the text in question, see YOS 14, 212’s textual commentary).

73  CAD A II, 431, “exorcist,” CDA 43, “sorcerer, magician, incantation priest, exorcist.”

74  Merriam-Webster defines this as “1: a person who practices healing by the use of herbs, 2: a person who collects or grows herbs.”

75  For a typical medical prescription, see K 2488, translated in Thompson (1937: 1-2 no. 221), where an incantation and a prayer/charm along with various herbs are to be employed by an un-named professional in order to cure head maladies.

76  Unfortunately the sealing official on YOS 14, 212, is broken, thus rendering impossible which official sealed this tablet.

77  Perhaps see also Jursa (2009: 148), where BM 54060, an ingredient list (and perhaps an incense recipe) for a specific type of incense used in the Esagila during the Neo Babylonian period (ibid. 150), is translated. Of interest is the colophon, where Jursa translates: “(Kolophon) [Abschri]ft einer Alabastertafel von Marduk-ēreš, Sohn des Kidin-Marduk, Bischof (lu2ša3-tam) von Zabban, Nachkomme von Eu-ušullim aus der Familie Šumu-libši: Aromata (für) das Feinöl (und/für) den Räucherständer von Nabû-aplu-iddin …” (148). Of interest here is the direct tie between the ša3-tam official and perfume and incense production for the temple, though at a much later date.

78  Lipit-Irra appears in texts as the oil disbursement official from year five of Abi-sare to year one of Sumuel , but is replaced by Irra-Azu, whom he receives oil from as the perfumer in YOS 14, 212, by year five of Sumuel when this text is dated.

79  As is evident at least from, YOS 14, 212, BIN 9, 366, and the oil bureau texts discussed by Soubeyran (1984).

80  At Mari there are three locales where oils are worked and stored, the e2 kuprim, e2 i3-sag, and the e2 i3-du10-ga (Soubeyran 1984: 418). The latter two were likely the same place (418). All three stored unprocessed oils to be distributed for further manufacture, the difference was the latter two stored and disbursed processed oils as well (418). The e2 i3-sag and e2 kuprim are both considered a candidate for oil production (419). I believe at Larsa the oil production facility, storehouse of unprocessed oils, and storehouse of processed oils were all one and the same. They were administered by one individual throughout the reigns of Abi-sare and Sumuel; first Lipit-Irra then Irra-azu (see Charpin 1979: 192-193).

81  Storage and distribution of perfumed oils is not explicitly documented in the Larsa texts of the period. The Larsa disbursement texts only note that oils were disbursed and the reason for the disbursement.

82  This is seen at Ur, where early in the reign of Rīm-Sîn private entrepreneurs are contracted to provide the temple with needed items such as beer and are directly involved in resource and tax collections for the temple. See Van de Mieroop (1992a: 239-250) for a summary of this process.

83  According to CDA 299. CAD R, 179, understands this term (raqūtu) as “a vegetable foodstuff.”

84  See šimšeš in §6.1. Balsamodendron is an older name for this plant. Commiphora Myrrh is more accepted today.

85  However, Groom is skeptical of the use of Myrrh or Frankincense in Mesopotamia at this time, and would rather see galbanum or another form of wood instead (33 and 230). He believes the growth of the south Arabian incense trade coincided with the use and domestication of the camel. The use of galbanum instead of Myrrh, at least, is unlikely. First, it is already suggested that galbanum was connected with Sum. šimḫal, Akk. baluḫḫu (see Appendix 1). Why two Sumerian and two Akkadian names for it? Second, the use of Myrrh in texts from Larsa is very rare, only one attestation. This can be explained if the product in question is rare and difficult to procure. Third, while noted in Groom 1981, 33, “the use of incense in Mesopotamia, Palestine and Syria in these early years cannot therefore be held as evidence for the existence of the incense trade with south Arabia,” it certainly does not preclude contact with south Arabia. And finally, links with the south, via Dilmun are attested already in the third Millenium. For Dilmun as an emporium of trade in the OB period, see Oppenheim (1954: particularly p. 7) and most recently Potts (2007: 135) for aromatics in particular.

86  This identification is very tentative. See §1.4.3 and §6.1 for a discussion of this material.

87  Understood here as west of the Euphrates, specifically Syria and the Levant.

88  Note the presence of cedar, šim/gešeren and erēnu, cypress, šimšu-ur2-min3 and šurmēnu, juniper, šimli and burāšu, as well as duprānu, another variety of juniper, myrtle, šimaz, šimgir2, and asu, and terebinthe, šimgam-gam-ma and kukru, all seen in the texts listed as derived from the west.

89  However, Moorey (1994: 350) notes concerning this wood: “written sources indicate only that it yielded timber suitable for roofing beams, that it had a pleasant aroma, and that it was a source of incense.” Van de Mieroop (1992:158) notes this tree was likely imported.

90  Leemans (1960: 89) sees Ešnunna as an intermediary in trade to many states in this period.

91  Joannès (1993: 258) notes that Mari was an entry point for many raw materials from the west and a storage depot for these matarials at least during its occupation by the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia. On p. 259 he even sees a route where these materials travelled: “La fourniture des bois odorants apparaît finalement paralléle au commerce du bois en general et suit les même circuits, à partir de Qaṭna, d’Alep, ou de Karkamiš, en passant par les emporia du Moyen-Euphrate.”

92  Indeed, the ups and downs of the reign of Rīm-Sîn are an attestation to the volatility of the time. For a synopsis of Rīm-Sîn’s reign see Van de Mieroop 1993.

93  Comparison is made by Powell between ancient cultivation of apples with modern cultivation of citruses such as orange, where trees that are “too sensitive to stand the climate of S. Iraq when grown in the open, oranges (Citrus sinensis) can produce enormous harvests in properly spaced date groves” (ibid. 16).

94  Powell (2003-2005: 17), though there are four foreign varieties attested as well according to Powell: Marian, Subarian, Elamite, and Gutian. Another variety of lal3, derived from grapes, is also discussed (ibid. 17).

95  Feuerherm 2004 vol. 1, 6-55 lists this individual as either a servant of Abu-waqar, a nagar, or both.

96  The text does not exactly state his position, nor does the name occur anywhere else. His position as an administrator is only an assumption, though based on other instances, such as TCL 10 56, 61, and 72, where a temple official receives commodities from a merchant.

97  This individual receives the commodity for an oil allotment. This must mean that he is to infuse oil with the arganum.

98  This follows Leemans understanding of these texts (Leemans 1960: 95-96), which I see no reason to argue with here.

99  Van de Mieroop 1992a: 243-44, sees this form of economy begin to appear in the reign of Warad-Sîn, and grow under Rīm-Sîn.

100  These texts range in date from Rīm-Sîn 22 (TCL 10, 56, 57) to 27 (TCL 10, 72).

101  In addition, note his involvement in procuring 92 pigs for soldiers on the march for Ešnunna. See §1.3.6. We may note also that an official named za-a-lam receives silver in TCL 10, 56: 5, to purchase a garment. This is perhaps the same za-a-lam as the chair-bearer of YBC 5274 published in Feuerherm 2004: vol. 2, 109, who receives red paste and bdellium.

102  Unfortunately the date-formula is broken in this text, thus rendering its date very uncertain.

103  According to Powell 1973 242-43: “to the term “stone” could be added qualifying adjectives such as si-šá (Akkadian išaru?) “standard,” gi-na (Akkadian kittu) “true,” and mah (Akkadian kabtu?) “heavy.” Weights were also qualified according to the objects they were intended to weigh, e.g. wool, according to their geographical origin, and according to the divine or human being whose standard was thus incorporated.”

104  This is based on its titular, which is similar to RIME’s titular.

105  The use of aromatic items in temple food preparation is seen in NCBT 1808. It is not too much of a stretch to extend this use to the royal and elite cuisines, especially when prices for some spices are so low.

106  i3-geš, i3-geš-eren. In several instances it is difficult to tell which type of oil is received. Indeed, i3-geš in these tablets seems to generally refer to oils of all types, including perfumed oils.

107  These texts note several individuals, mostly ladies, who presumably receive oils. The word a-ra-ma or ik-ka-lu-u2 are used in YOS 5, 171: 10-11, 28, 32; YOS 5, 172: 9, and 5, 194: 6 when a person is delayed at some GN. or temple. Two allotments for journeys are mentioned in YOS 5, 172: 10 and 12. In addition we see allotments for a diviner, YOS 5, 171: 17 and 26, and a builder in YOS 5, 172: 14 as well as numerous distributions to estates. These are perhaps similar to those disbursements and gifts made by the royal household of Mari to favored functionaries, dignitaries, and kings discussed by Joannès 1993 263.

108  Four are mentioned in which aromatics or aromatic products are received: u4 bara2-ma in TCL 10, 71 iv 49, ezen ma-ka-tum in l. 53, ezen itine-ne-gar in l. 57, and ezen dne3-eri11-gal in l. 69.

109  For iriki Sa-bu-um see Groneberg (1980: 198) and Stol (2006-2008). Stol notes in particular the yearname Sumu-el 10, where this town is mentioned as “on the bank of the Euphrates” (ibid. 479) and two letters, HMA 9-01847 & 1849, where Sabum is mentioned as near Maškan-šapir (ibid. 479).

110  Heimpel (1997: 82) states: “An é du6-la would be a household which has come to an end.” This is in response to Maekawa (1996), who believes this term refers to the confiscation of property in the Ur III period. Maekawa (1996: 105) states: “as suggested by Jacobsen, dul-lá, é-dul-lá, and lú é-dul-lá are possibly related to the third millennium Sumerian é-dul-la, but Akk. redû in those lexical traditions could mean “to confiscate”, rather than “to follow” or “to inherit”. However, see also Van de Mieroop (1987: 137), where it is understood as “storage house or workshop” in the early OB city of Isin.

111  On page 75 Heimpel states: “The process of transfer of belongings to the crown was expressed in the Mari letters as “bringing into the palace” (ana ekallim šūrubum). In the Ur III documentation the exact Sumerian semantic equivalent…is attested once.” For our purposes, what is being underlined is the items described by the term e2-du6-la 2 are royal property to be returned to the palace.

112  lu2-ga(-a) appears in the Death of Gilgameš (n4 rev. 9, m 109, 199, 208 following Cavigneaux’s designation in Cavigneaux and al-Rawi 2000: 25) and is likely a type of familial relationship in that contexts. However see Hübner and Reizammer (1985: 626): ‘einwilligen; zustimmen.’ In particular see Cavigneaux and al Rawi (2000: 32) lines m2 198-200: ki a-a-zu pa4-bi2-ga-a-zu / ama-zu nin9-zu lu2-ga-a-zu/ ku-li kal-la-zu tu-us2-sa-a-zu (Cavigneaux’s transliteration) which I tentatively translate “where your father, your grandfather / your mother, your sister, your executor/ your valued friend, your companion (are).” The translation is based on lu2-ga’s position in the Death of Gilgameš at the end of lines involving familial relationships, but before those involving his close friends and its occurrence in MLC 1683 in reference to the estate of the deceased party.

113  Note also RBC 2000: 3 transliterated and translated by Hallo (1985, 58-59), where another gir4-maḫ appears. According to Hallo, RBC 2000 likely originated in Old Akkadian or Neo-Sumerian Lagaš (57-58).

114  Woolley states concerning this text in particular that: “in the thickness of the wall of the room at its west corner, there was sunk in the mud-brick foundation which alone remained … a box of burnt bricks … a similar box was found in the thickness of the walls in the south corner of the room. In each box there were two copper cylinders of solid metal,…three of them bore inscriptions of Nur-Adad and one apparently of Marduk-nadin-aḫe;…we thus have proof that from 1970 BC to c. 1065 BC the place was used as a kitchen in which was prepared food for Nannar and the other gods worshipped with him in the Ziggurat Temple” (UE 5, 38).

115  gir4-maḫ udun? gu4 udu nu-ag-e ir nu-mu-un-e11-e (transliteration from Gadd, p. 62)

116  Bottéro (1985: 37) notes the use of tree sap as a form of sweetener in Mesopotamian cuisine.

117  Entries 224, 226, and 227 occur too late to be considered. Entry 430 occurs in the Ur III period and is thus too early a reference. Entry 428 is mentioned once as part of a divine name in a god list. Entry 429 is a town name which occurs with ki. Entry 431, as a sanctuary in Babylon, seems unlikely.

118  The term e2-gu-la is translated as “great temple.”

119  Hallo (1979: 163) believes e2-gu-la in this passage is a version of e2-gal, which is used for a prison in that instance, and can be translated as the “big house,” a colloquial equivalent of “ “prison” in contemporary American English.” Civil (1993: 72 ff.) further supports this understanding of prison.

120  See §2.3 and Levey 195: chapter 10 for perfume production as well as Levey 1959: chapter 7 for oil production.

121  Following Hallo 1961’s designation.

122  George 1993, 103 entry 502, citing Frayne, also states: “”House of the Parfumier,” a temple (at Ur?) built by Rīm-Sîn I.”

123  Restoration of mina is not certain; see text commentary for details.



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Version: 24 March 2014  


Cite this Article
Middeke-Conlin, Robert. 2014. “The Scents of Larsa: A Study of the Aromatics Industry in an Old Babylonian Kingdom.” Cuneiform Digital Library Journal 2014 (1).
Middeke-Conlin, Robert. (2014). The Scents of Larsa: A Study of the Aromatics Industry in an Old Babylonian Kingdom. Cuneiform Digital Library Journal, 2014(1).
Middeke-Conlin, Robert (2014) “The Scents of Larsa: A Study of the Aromatics Industry in an Old Babylonian Kingdom,” Cuneiform Digital Library Journal, 2014(1). Available at: (Accessed: April 22, 2024).
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-04-22]},
	address = {Oxford; Berlin; Los Angeles},
	author = {Middeke-Conlin,  Robert},
	journal = {Cuneiform Digital Library Journal},
	issn = {1540-8779},
	number = {1},
	year = {2014},
	publisher = {Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative},
	title = {The {Scents} of {Larsa}: A {Study} of the {Aromatics} {Industry} in an {Old} {Babylonian} {Kingdom}},
	url = {},
	volume = {2014},

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TI  - The Scents of Larsa: A Study of the Aromatics Industry in an Old Babyl
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