Suggestions and corrections to ATFU – 3. Again on EREN₂+S. 161bki

CDLN 2014:22

Cuneiform Digital Library Notes (ISSN: 1546-6566)

Published on 2014-07-15

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except when noted otherwise and in the case of artifact images which follow the CDLI terms of use.

On EREN2+X(S. 161b, “KIŠ”), attested in ATFU 60, 63, 65 and perhaps ATFU 13, O0202, see also: Krebernik (1998: 276, fn. 461) and Mittermayer (2005: 81-85) with bibliography (cf. Pomponio 1980 for a value lumx; Steinkeller 1986: 29 for a reading zu(m)x); add: Bauer (1987b: 7-8) and Marchesi (2006: 22-23).

As first suggested by Burrows (1935: 16, Occupation 54 and 22, Place 16), EREN2+X.KI refers in the archaic texts from Ur to a geographical name. The documents published in ATFU mention a new graphical variant of this term, which consists of a ligature of the sign KI and a Tierkopfzeichen, either S. 161 or S. 163 [note that the tablet recently edited by Bartash, CUSAS 23, 144 may also have the sign S. 161b: O0202. 1N1 NIG̃2 Amar-S. 161b, interpreted by the author as PEŠ2. The shape of this sign seems nevertheless similar to UET 2, 9: O0201]. Similarly, the writing of this term undergoes slight differences in the texts published in UET 2.

  • UET 2, 9. O0201. 1N1 PA S. 161b+EREN2 KI
  • UET 2, 34. R0101. 1N14 1N1 PA S. 161b+EREN2 KI
  • UET 2, 112. O0505''. S. 161b+EREN2 KI
  • UET 2, 235. R0101'. [xN1] S. 161b ME-EREN2 KI
  • UET 2, 235. R0202. PA S. 161b KI EREN2
  • UET 2, 348. R0101. 1N1 PA PIRIG (S. 162) KI [...]
  • ATFU 60. O0405. 1N1 PA EREN2-S. 163+KI
  • ATFU 63. O0202. 3N14 PA.SI S. 161b+KI
  • ATFU 65. O0103. 3N1 S. 161b+KI (Although the case is damaged, the presence of the sign PA? can be hypothesized, just before the sign S. 161b+KI)

Notwithstanding the previous comments in ATFU [Lecompte (2013: 139)], the signs showing a ligature of KI and S. 161/163 in ATFU 60, 63 and 65 (in both without EREN2) are likely to match the expression EREN2+X (S. 161b). As suggested by Burrows (1935: 16, Occupation 52) and Bauer (1987a: 5, 1987b: 7), the official from this place designated by the sign PA might be identical with the title ensix, “governor” (PA.SI). Also note that similar officials of Ur and Dugin2 can be called either PA or PA.SI. The attestation in ATFU 63 of the ensix of S. 161b+KI, tallies with such an identification. Nevertheless, in other occurrences, the sign PA might also merely refer to an overseer, ugula, who is in charge of a troop, EREN2, however missing in ATFU 63.

The alternative use of different signs representing animal head in this expression is somewhat puzzling, as shown in Table 1.

S. 161b variant 1
1 = UET 2, 9. O0201
2 = UET 2, 235. R0202
3 = UET 2, 235. R0101'
4 = UET 2, 34. R0101
5 = ATFU 63. O0202
6 = ATFU 65. O0103
1:     2: 
3:     4: 
5:     6: 
S. 161b variant 2
UET 2, 112. O0505''
S. 162
UET 2, 348. R0101
S. 163
ATFU 60, O0405
Table 1: Attestations for the signs S. 161b, S. 162, and S. 163


Nevertheless, the sign PIRIG (= S. 162) also presents some similarities with the first variant of S. 161b, although the gunû of the rear part are vertical in the former, horizontal in the latter. The second variant of the sign S. 161b and the sign S. 163 also present a similar shape, the latter having in addition a kind of MA upon the “head” of the sign.

With regard to the interpretation of this term in the archaic texts from Ur, it has been assumed that it represents a geographical name associated with its administrator, either ugula or ensix, followed by the sign EREN2:

  • according to Bauer 1987b: 8, ME.EREN2 mentioned in UET 2, 235, may be compared to a term referring to “battle”, ME+LAK526 (EREN2 in archaic Ur being LAK527) in an inscription of Ur-Nanše (RIME, Rs. i 6)
  • according to Marchesi 2006: 23, fn. 93, this term could merely mean: “troops/workers of / stationed at (the city of)...”

Turning now to the identification of this geographical name, Steinkeller 1992: 265 cautiously suggested that EREN2+Xki referred to the gentilic Tidnum and was “an alternative logogram for ditānu/tidānu, which originated in archaic Ur”. However, since the geographical scope presented in the archaic texts from Ur seems limited to Southern Babylonia, this place name is more likely to refer to a city located in Sumer, or in the region of Kiš. On the other hand, the existence of a city ruler, ensix, might indicate that this place corresponded to an independent state, probably mighty enough to be mentioned in the documents from Ur. As long as the value of this sign cannot be determined, any attempt to identify this place name remains speculative. Furthermore, EREN2+S. 161b does not refer anymore in the sources from the Fāra period to a city, but is mainly part of personal names or designates an epithet of Šamaš (Krebernik 1992: 112; Steinkeller 1992: 258-264). While uncertain, the value of the sign S. 161b, regarded by E. Burrows as KIŠ, cannot be discarded in view of the attestations in UET 2, 112. O0522, ATFU 60. O0405, ATFU 63. O0202, and was therefore kept in ATFU. Furthermore, according to Mittermayer 2005: 82-83, two variants of the sign “X” occur in texts from Fāra, SF 63, and Abū Ṣalābīḫ, IAS 503, the former with KIŠ, the latter with a sign similar to ANŠE, which might point out ties with the sign KIŠ. The term should nevertheless be transliterated in the archaic texts from Ur as S. 161b/S. 163+KI and EREN2+S. 161b/162.

In a document recently published by Steinkeller 2013, a geographical name, read by the author PIRIG KALAM (v. ii), can be compared to S. 161b/163+KI from the archaic texts from Ur, namely with the first variant of S. 161b.

After Steinkeller 2013: col. v. 2. (copy by the author)

It may be speculated that the sign “PIRIG” from the aforementioned inscription and S. 161b+KI refer to the same place, although the former lacks any horizontal gunû inside its “head”. Since the document published by Steinkeller probably originates from Northern Babylonia, the comparison between both terms tallies with the hypothesis suggested by the same scholar that the sign S. 161/X was adopted or created within the frame of the “Kišite” tradition (Steinkeller 1992: 263-265). Needless to say, the uncertainty pertaining to the interpretation of both signs makes it difficult to reach any firm conclusions as to whether both geographical names are identical or connected with the logograms representing Tidnum, KIŠ PIRIG and GIR3.GIR3. Also note that Steinkeller 2013: 140 identified the sign KIŠ in the aforementioned inscription with a sign considered as a variant of ZATU219 (= “GIR3”). It could, however, also be compared to the sign S. 163 in UET 2 (= ALIM?).

A brief analysis of the context of the occurrences of the terms EREN2+S. 161b and S. 161b+KI permits me to highlight further aspects:

  • UET 2, 9: PA S. 161b+EREN2 KI occurs in an unclear account, in the core of the text; note the presence of PA uri5 = ugula / PA. uri5?
  • UET 2, 34: PA S. 161b+EREN2 KI occurs on the reverse of the tablet, isolated in the final clause; unclear account mentioning personal names (note the presence of a potter, baḫar4) UET 2, 112: S. 161b+EREN2 KI occurs in the core of a list of personals, just after a broken case probably referring to the name of a person (originating from this place?)
  • UET 2, 235: two mentions of PA S. 161b KI EREN2 in the core of the text; list referring to structures mainly designated as G̃A2 and sag̃-g̃al2 (ki sag̃-g̃al2, NIG2-saḫar?-ra-sag̃-g̃al2, etc.), maybe stations (?); note the presence of the official ugula Dugin2
  • UET 2, 348: flour (?), ŠE3 bad3; PA PIRIG (S. 162) KI [...] mentioned in the core of the text with the same quantity as other persons; note the presence of: ensix(PA.SI) BU-MA; ensix-x; nunuzx-zi-Nannax
  • ATFU 60: PA EREN2-S. 163+KI occurs in the core of an account probably referring to cereals, associated with an average quantity; presence of many personal names and of a “cook”, engiz
  • ATFU 63: PA.SI S. 161+KI occurs in an unclear account referring to fields; note the presence of the ensix of Ur and the presence of an “individual from Dugin2”, lu2 Dugin2
  • ATFU 65: S. 161b+KI is mentioned in the core of the tablet, associated with an average quantity of cereal; note the presence of an official from Dugin2

Apart from S. 161b+KI, four other places attested in the archaic texts from Ur have been managed by an official called ensix or PA, as already observed by Bauer (1987a: 5-6): Dugin2, BU-MA, Larsa and the city of Ur itself. It is therefore possible to draw two conclusions from the topic of the present article:

  • either the texts distinguish the official ensix of the city called S. 161b+KI and the captain, ugula, in charge of a troop or all these terms refer to the same person, according to the identity between the terms PA and PA.SI
  • S. 161+KI / EREN2+S. 161b KI either refers to a city far from Ur, probably in the region of Kiš (or Kiš itself?), whose troops might be present in Ur (unless those come from Ur), or corresponds to a place in the vicinity of Ur (maybe held by this city's troop?), such as probably Dugin2 and BU-MA; since the latter names are also apparently scarcely attested in later documentation, geographical names mentioned in archaic Ur may be specific to the ED I-II period.

Bauer, Josef
  1987a “Ortsnamen in den frühen Texten aus Ur”. WO 18:5-6.
  1987b Altorientalische Notizen (31-44). Höchberg.
Krebernik, Manfred
  1998 “Die Texte aus Fāra und Tell Abū Ṣalābīḫ”. In: J. Bauer, R. K. Englund & M. Krebernik (ed.) Mesopotamian. Späturuk-Zeit und Frühdynastische Zeit. Annäherungen 1 (OBO 160/1; Freiburg & Göttingen).
Marchesi, Gianni
  2006 LUMMA in the Onomasticon and Literature of Ancient Mesopotamia, HANE 10. S.a.r.g.on.: Padua.
Mittermayer, Catherine
  2005 Die Entwicklung der Tierkopfzeichen. Eine Studie zur syro-mesopotamischen Keilschriftpaläographie des 3. und frühen 2. Jahrtausends v. Chr, AOAT 319. Ugarit-Verlag: Münster.
Pomponio, F.
  1980 “La lettura del segno ÉREN+x”. AION 40:549-553.
Steinkeller, Piotr
  1986 “Seal of Išma-Ilum, Son of the Governor of Matar”. VO 6:27-40.
  1992 “Early Semitic Literature and Third Millennium Seals with Mythological Motifs”. In: P. Fonzaroli (ed.) Literature and Literary Language at Ebla (Quaderni di Semitistica 18; Dipartimento di Linguistica: Florence):243-284.
  2013 “An Archaic ‘Prisoner Plaque' from Kiš”. RA 107:131-157.
Cite this Article
Lecompte, Camille. 2014. “Suggestions and Corrections to ATFU – 3. Again on EREN₂+S. 161bki.” Cuneiform Digital Library Notes 2014 (22).
Lecompte, Camille. (2014). Suggestions and corrections to ATFU – 3. Again on EREN₂+S. 161bki. Cuneiform Digital Library Notes, 2014(22).
Lecompte, Camille (2014) “Suggestions and corrections to ATFU – 3. Again on EREN₂+S. 161bki,” Cuneiform Digital Library Notes, 2014(22). Available at: (Accessed: April 24, 2024).
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-04-24]},
	address = {Oxford; Berlin; Los Angeles},
	author = {Lecompte,  Camille},
	journal = {Cuneiform Digital Library Notes},
	issn = {1546-6566},
	number = {22},
	year = {2014},
	publisher = {Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative},
	title = {Suggestions and corrections to {ATFU} -- 3. {Again} on {EREN2}+{S}. 161b\textsuperscript{ki}},
	url = {},
	volume = {2014},

AU  - Lecompte,  Camille
DA  - 2014///
PY  - 2014
ET  - 2014/7/15/
ID  - cdln-2014-22
IS  - 22
J2  - CDLN
SN  - 1546-6566
T2  - Cuneiform Digital Library Notes
TI  - Suggestions and corrections to ATFU – 3. Again on EREN₂+S. 161bki

UR  -
VL  - 2014
Y2  - 2024/4/24/
ER  - 
This website uses essential cookies that are necessary for it to work properly. These cookies are enabled by default.