An Account of Vegetable Oil from Girsu

CDLN 2005:1

Cuneiform Digital Library Notes (ISSN: 1546-6566)

Published on 2011-11-11

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The tablet BM 15956 (96, 6-12-176)1 belongs to a group of texts from Girsu characterized by the technical term nig2-ka9-aka, “(balanced) account,” of PN. There is another term that is peculiar to this category of texts: ša3-bi-ta that divides the former section of the balanced accounts, dedicated to the incomes, from the latter one that records the withdrawals. As a matter of fact, ša3-bi-ta does not appear in our tablet, but it is likely that it was mentioned in the initial break of the text, preceded by the amount of oil to be delivered. On the basis of this hypothesis and the comparison with the other texts of the group that will be published by F. D'Agostino and F. Pomponio, The Texts ša3-bi-ta from Girsu in the British Museum (=Nisaba 7; Messina 2005)2, we present the following transliteration of the tablet, including a reconstruction of the first two lines:
1. [1(barig) 1(ban2) 4(diš) sila3 i3-geš] [74 ‘liters' of vegetable oil,
2. [ša3-bi-ta] therefrom:]
3. [4(ban2) 6(diš)] sila3 i3-geš mu?-[DU?] [46] ‘liters' of vegetable oil, as delivery(?),
4. giri3 gu3-de2-a conveyor: Gudea;
5. 1(ban2) 9(diš) 1/2(diš) sila3 giri3 šu-eš18-dar 19 1/2 ‘liters': conveyor Šu-Ešdar.
6. |ŠU+LAGAB| 1(barig) 5(diš) 1/2(diš) sila3 i3-geš mu-DU Total: 65 1/2 ‘liters' of vegetable oil, as delivery.
1. si-i3-tum 8(diš) 1/2(diš) sila3 i3-geš Remainder: 8 1/2 ‘liters' of vegetable oil:
2. mu-tum-ilum Mutum-ilum.
3. nig2-ka9-aka dba-ba6-zi-mu Balanced account of Baba-zimu,
4. giri3 šu-eš18-dar conveyor: Šu-Ešdar.
5. iti še-KIN-ku5 Month: “harvest” (11th month),
6. [mu] ma2- gur8-mah [...] Year: “the processional boat [(was caulked)]” (ŠS 8).


If our interpretation is correct, this text records an amount of vegetable oil with two withdrawals, each with a different conveyor. The total, as well as perhaps the former issue, is defined “delivery” (mu-DU), a term that in the balanced accounts of Girsu seems to characterize a type of “withdrawals,” used in parallel, but distinct from the term zi-ga, “expenditure.” After the total of the two deliveries, the “remainder,” indicated as si-i3-tum, instead of the normal la2-NI, is calculated. The name that follows, Mutum-ilum, should be that of the official to whom this remainder is due. The term “(balanced) account of Baba-zimu” defines our tablet and it mentions the author of its compilation. A conveyor, who is the same conveyor of the latter amount of the issued oil, is cited before the date (month and year), in reference to the oil of the entire operation.

rev. 2. This personal name is unusual: it belongs to a conveyor of an amount of barley, together with i-ri-ib-bu-um (MVN 3, 376 obv. 3, from Adab, without date) and to a “fugitive” mentioned in a long roster from Girsu (CST 263 rev. i 11; AS 3).

1 The tablet is of a reddish grey colour and its dimensions are 8x58x23 mm. It is published with the kind permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. The text was transliterated during a mission in London as part of the research PRIN 2004-2006 with the title of “Catalogazione, pubblicazione e studio delle tavolette neo-sumeriche inedite appartenenti alle Collezioni del British Museum,” coordinated by F. Pomponio.
2 Fourteen texts from Girsu that register, in the section of the document following the term ša3-bi-ta, expenditures characterized by the term mu-DU, are discussed in D'Agostino and Pomponio, Nisaba 7, pp. 9-10.