Two Fragmentary Old Babylonian Nippur Inheritance Divisions From the Reign of Samsuiluna

CDLN 2019:1

Cuneiform Digital Library Notes (ISSN: 1546-6566)

Published on 2020-05-01

© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

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

1. Introduction

The following communication treats two previously unpublished fragmentary inheritance divisions from Old Babylonian Nippur found among no.16 of the 1929 lots of the University Museum in Philadelphia. These two fragmentary texts are of particular interest due to the fact that they preserve some relatively rare implements, some of which are only otherwise known contemporarily from the lexical tradition. 

The single column tablet fragment UM 29-16-672 (CDLI no. P257098) is the bottom half of a tablet that documents the division of an estate, including houses, fields, tools, doors, furniture, and other household items. The preserved text, which includes two preserved seal impressions on the left side of the tablet, names the inheriting principals dNuska-nišu and Ili-ippalsam, sons of dNinurta-mušalim, who also occur on one of the preserved seals and dDa-mu-iddinam, as well as dSîn-lidiš, the owner of a neighboring house. An additional Ilšu-ibnišu son of dDa-mu-…, perhaps another heir, occurs on one of the preserved seal impressions. All of these names occur in the so-called “Mannu-mēšu-liṣṣur archive” (Stone and Owen 1991, van de Mieroop 1991-1993, Meinhold 2015), and the available prosopographical evidence suggests that dNuska-nišu and Ili-ippalsam may be the same people who occur in this archive. The date is not preserved, but it is likely that the text dates to the first decades of the reign of Samsuiluna. The paleography, ductus, and sealing practice all further support this date.

The single column tablet fragment UM 29-16-191 (CDLI no. P256773) is the bottom right corner of a tablet that documents the division of an estate, including fields, clothes, tools and household items, as well as the sale of a slave. It preserves minimal prosopographical data: the only name that is fully preserved is one Ilī-išmeani, who is identified as the elder brother (šeš gal).

2. Texts, Translation, and Commentary

2.1. UM 29-16-672

    1’) x x x […]
    2') 3 na4kinkin [...]
    3') 1 uruduU2-E-DIM2 ki-la2-┌bi┐ 1 ┌ma┐-[na ...]
    4') ha-la ba dDa-mu-i-din-nam šeš-┌a┐-[ni]
    (section ruling)
    5') 1 sar e2 du3-┌a? ┐ ib2-si ba-la2 da e2 DIŠ dSUEN-li-di-┌iš┐
    6') eše3 GANA2 a-šag4 hu-bi-ZI us2-a-du šeš-a-ni
    7') limmu2 GANA2 a- šag4 apin nu-zu us2-a-du šeš-┌a┐-┌ni┐
    8') 3? ĝišig mi-ri2-za 2 ĝiši[g ...]
    9') 2 ĝiš -nu2 2 ĝišgu-za 12? [...]
    10') ┌(no.) ┐ na4kinkin ad-bar šu s[i3-ga ...]
    11') [no.] urudušen zi-ir ki-la2-bi ┌10?┐[+?…]
    12') 1 ma-na urudu šag4 ha-la ba-na d┌Nuska┐-[ni-šu ...] /DIŠI3-li2-ip-pa-al-s[a3-
    13') [no.?] x gur šag4 ┌x┐ [...]
    14'?) [...]┌x┐ [...]
    15') [... GANA2 a-šag4] ┌hu┐-┌bi┐-ZI us2-a-[du ...]
    16') 24? x a-[ša]g4 apin nu-zu us2-a-[du ...]
    17') 2 ĝišig mi-ri2-za 2 ĝ[iš ...]
    18') 2 ĝišig ze2-na 2 ĝišbanšur 1 na4?na?-[...] /? 1 naĝa3 esir e3-a gaba-ri ĝišig mi-ri2-    z[a]
    19') ┌6? ┐ ša-u18-šazabar 2 zabar-šu 1 uruduŠEŠ?-[...]
    20') 1 uruduaga-šilig 1 urudugin2 sal 1 uruduha-zi-in
    21') [...] urudu? 7 ma-na gaba-ri urudušen zi-ir
    22') 1 ma-┌na┐ ┌urudu┐ [...] dNuska-ni-šu
    23') DIŠ [...] 12? sar

 Left Edge: Seal
    dumu dDa-mu-x-x
    dumu-me d┌Nin┐-┌urta┐-┌mu┐-[ša-lim?]

    1’) …
    2’) Three millstones...
    3’) One maul?, its weight one mina(?) ...
    4’) This is the allocated share of Damu-iddinam, his brother
    5’) A developed house plot with a house on it of one sar area, as much (area) as it
extends to, next to the house of Sîn-lidiš
    6’) A field plot of one eše of hubiZI field beside (the field of) his brother
    7’) A field plot of four iku of unplowed field beside (the field of) his brother
    8’) Three? doors made of small boards, two ... doors ...
    9’) Two beds, two chairs, twelve? ...
    10’) ... basalt millstone(s) together with (their) pounder(s), ...
    11’) ... plastered cauldrons, their weight ...
    12’) One mina of copper, among the contents of the allotted portion of Nuska-nišu,
    13’) ...
    14’) ...
    15’) A field plot of ... in the hubiZI field, next to ...
    16’) A field plot of ..., not plowed, next to ...
    17’) Two doors made of small boards, two ...
    18’) Two doors made of datepalm midribs, two tables, one ... one mortar coated with dry bitumen, the equivalent(?) of a door made of small boards
    19’) Six(?)...., two mirrors, one copper ...
    20’) One agašilig axe, one light hoe, one hazin axe/maul
    21’) ... seven mina, opposing (i.e.? the equivalent or physically adjacent to(?)) of a plastered cauldron
    22’) One mina ...., Nuska-nišu
    23’) ... twelve sar

3’: This term occurs, with some orthographic variance, in OB ur5-ra Nippur division 2 (MSL 7 225: DCCLT entry no. 511) and OB ur5-ra Nippur division 1 571 (Veldhuis 1997: 115, 247). It also occurs in UM 29-15-609, an enigmatic OB list of birds and reed, leather and metallic items, line 6 (Peterson 2010: 82-83). If the unit of measure is restored correctly, the weight of the item appears to be given as one mina.

5’: The expression ib2-si-(a) ba-la2, corresponding roughly to the Akkadian expression mala maṣû “as far as it extends,” is utilized at Old Babylonian Nippur to describe house plots (Ni 1921 (ARN 26) obv. 2, Ni 1688 (ARN 44) obv. 12, Ni 9299 (ARN 149) 6', 3N-T 85=A 30138 (SAOC 44 no. 46, pl. 63) obv. 2, N 1253 (Stone 1976: no. 16) obv. 6), field plots (Ni 2440 (ARN 40) obv. 2), and orchard plots (Ni 620 (ARN 15) obv. 2, Ni 2164 (ARN 113) obv. 4'). 

6’: The field name a-šag4 hu-bi-ZI also occurs, for example, in the inheritance division CBS 7120 (PBS 8/2 146) lines 12, 23, 37 and OB ur5-ra Nippur division 5 (MSL 11 97, DCCLT version entry no. 13).

8’: For the frequently occurring door designations mi-ri2-za and ze2-na, see the discussion of Veldhuis 2004, who understands these designations as describing doors made of small boards and palm fronds, respectively. See also Prang 1976: 24-25 and van de Mieroop 1987: 141.

10’: For some occurrences of na4kinkin ad-bar, “basalt millstone,” at Old Babylonian Nippur, see Prang 1976: 20 and note also the general remarks of Sallaberger 1996: 15. As Civil notes (Civil 1989: 17, Civil 2006: 132, Civil 2008: 77), the meaning “basalt millstone together with its pounding stone” is made clear by MB ur5-ra Emar (Emar 6/4 553: 119’): kinkin ad-bar šu-si-g[a] = e-ri ad-ba-ri a-di nar3-ka-bi-šu.

11’: urudušen zi-ir occurs in OB Nippur ur5-ra division 2 500, where it is spelled variously across the sources as zi-ir, ze2-er and zi-ru-um. In the inventory Ni 1993 (ARN 29) obv. 3, the urudušen zi-ir is attributed with a weight of 10 ma-na. For the lexeme /zir/, “to smear, cover with,” corresponding to Akkadian sêru(m), possibly as a loan-adaptation, see Sallaberger 1996: 11, 16 n. 73 and Attinger 2005: 259.

18’: ĝišnaĝa3 esir3 UD-DU-A, which Stol defines as a mortar coated with dry bitumen as opposed to a mortar for crushing bitumen (Stol 2012: 52 and n. 47), occurs in OB ur5-ra Nippur division 1 258 (Veldhuis 1997: 229) and MB Ur5-ra Emar division 3 (Emar 6/4 544 124’, with the corrected reading of Veldhuis 1997: 174). For esirx UD-DU-A with the meaning “dry bitumen” in OB contexts, see Prang 1976: 16-17, Stol 2012: 49.
If the final sign is read correctly, it is theoretically possible that the broken final entry may reflect na4na, a stone implement (derived from or lending itself to the name of a type of stone?) involved with the grinding and reduction of materials that is associated with the leatherworker (ašgab) in the ur5-ra tradition. For this entity, see the discussion of Mittermayer 2009: 276-278, Schuster-Brandis 2008: 435, and note the potential earlier occurrence in the na eren and na šembi of that occur in EDPV (Civil 2008: 52, 77). However, to my knowledge there is no good indication from elsewhere that it bore particular economic value, making its occurrence here doubtful.

19’: The number at the beginning of the line is too worn to be read with certainty. The identity of the implement /šauša/, which is rendered with the same orthography as Ur III renderings of the Hurrian goddess Šawuška and therefore may also be of Hurrian origin, perhaps pertaining to either a semantic development of the lexeme ša(v)oši “great” or a semantically divergent homonym, is ambiguous. Most straightforwardly, the word labels the rock crystal vessel dedicated to Amurru for Rīm-Sîn by Šēp-Sîn, son of the chief physician Ipquša RIM ex. 1 (CDLI P431824, see most recently Földi 2016, with evidence for its authenticity). In other attestations, it is determined variously as a wooden (ĝiš) or metallic (ku3-sig17, ku3-babbar, zabar, urudu) object. As a bronze item, it is attributed with a weight of 8 ma-na in YBC 12896 obv. 1-2 (SAT 3 1536, CDLI P144736, BDTNS 049719). This term occurs in the unprovenienced lentil MS 3360 (Alster 2007: 65-66), containing what seems to parallel Proverb Collection 3.57, as suggested by Alster: uruduša-u18-ša u3 šen nu-┌me┐-┌en┐ u3 šen-dilim2 nu-me-en “šauša object, you are neither a cauldron nor a ewer,” which could be taken as implicit evidence that it was a specific type of vessel. However, it is also possible that the proverb may be playing on the ambiguities raised by multiple referents for the same lexeme. Later ur5-ra tradition (SB ur5-ra 7b 304-305, SB ur5-ra 11 381, 386-388 (MSL 6 135, MSL 7 144)) translates the term, which is determined as both a wooden and copper object (ĝiš/uruduša-u19-ša4), with various divergent Akkadian terms: azmarû(m) “lance,” ḫaṣṣinnu(m) “axe,” makdādu(m) (meaning unclear, perhaps “scraper”), and sappu(m), of which CAD S 166-167 identifies two separate lexemes, sappu(m) A “metal object or container” and sappu(m) B “lance.” The lexeme /šauša/ also qualifies the musical instrument ĝišgu3-de2 in the ur5-ra/mur-gud tradition (SB ur5-ra 8b 133-134, mur-gud B II 173-174 (MSL 6 127, 142: ĝišgu3-de2 ša3-u18-ša4, ĝišgu3-de2 ša3-u18-ša4 gu2-ĝar-ra). Kilmer understands /šauša/ to reflect “a scraping, whining noise,” presumably understanding it as either a secondary semantic development of its primary meaning or an ideophone. Here it may constitute part of the instrument, with the phrase gu2 ĝar-ra may refer to a point of attachment for the component part or may be describing its function as a neck rest, or it is possible that the meaning of the compound verb gu2 ... ĝar “to submit” (Karahashi 2000: 97-98) somehow obtains here.

20’: The urudu/ĝišaga-silig possesses an average individual weight of approximately 1.95 mina among a delivery of “tools/utensils from Larsa” (u2-nu-tu ša iš-tu Larsaki) by the šapiru(m) official dSîn-muštal to the king dating from Rīm-Sîn I 3.10.23 (YBC 5701 (YOS 5 227) 1-2, see PSD A III 42).
The urudugin2 sal occurs in Farmer’s Instructions 9, where it is a field implement
given a weight of 2/3 mina, which is somewhat heavier than the weights that are reported from Ur III economic texts. The item is attested during the reign of Rīm-Sîn I in CBS 7686 o2 (see Robertson 1983: 378-379), but the weight is reported among other implements and cannot be further disambiguated. For the implement, see Civil 1994: 70-71, who defines it “a light metal hoe.” The term also occurs in Two Women A 27f. (quoted by Civil 2000: 116), where context implicates it as a tool that was used by women, as well as in the tigi composition Ninurta D, line 3, where Ninurta seems to allude to the use of this tool, along with the urudugin2 gal, in simile in conjunction with the verb gu2-gur5 (... dug4) to describe his felling of trees, thickets, and city walls(?).
The uruduha-zi-in/ha-zi-inzabar, which is described as a field implement in Silver and Copper section D 31, is given a weight of 1 mina in MVN 16 1554 1 (Umma: Šulgi 37-45) and the average weights of 2 and 1 1/2 mina, respectively, in BM 106197 (SNAT 300) (Umma, Šulgi 47) lines 1 and 2.

21’: The total of 7 ma-na given in this line may reflect a total of the copper implements listed in the previous line. The meaning of the phrase gaba ri, with a basic sense of “oppose” and a derived nominalized sense of “copy,” eludes me for this broken context.

2.2. UM 29-16-191

    1') [...]┌TUN3?┐ [...]
    2') [...EDI]N?-za-nu-u[m] ┌x┐ ┌x┐ ┌x┐
    3') [... urud]u? ┌KIN? ┐ 1 ĝiš┌gana2?┐-┌ur3?┐
    4') [no. ... h]i-a 10 tug2 hi-a 20 tug2bar-si hi-a
    5') [no. uru]duU2-DIM 1 urudugin2
    6') [no. urud]ušen ki-la2-bi 10 ma-na urudu
    7') [no. urud]ušen-da-la2 1 zabar-šu
    (line blank)
    8') [h]a-la ba I3-li2-iš-me-a-ni šeš gal
    1) [...]-┌x┐ šeš-a-ni
    2) [...]┌x┐-[x-x]-i3-li2-šu-ta
    3) [...] E ┌x┐ [...]-ga-aš
    4) [...]-ra eše3 GANA2 a- šag4 e2!-duru5-niĝ2-gin6-na
    5) [...] GANA2 a-šag4 SAHAR-ŠEŠ
    6) [...] NIG2 ki KA-kug-ga-ni-ta
    7) [...]-┌x┐-hi-a min-am3 ┌x┐-┌x┐ min ku3-bi 10 gin2-am3
    8) [...š]a3?-mul e2 ┌ad?┐-da-na
    9) [...]-am3 šeš-a-ni na-an-šum2
    10) [...]-┌x┐-┌x┐-qar-ra-ad mu-ni-im
    11) [...]┌x┐

    1’) ...
    2’) ... muruzanum implements, ...
    3’) ... sickles, one harrow
    4’) ..., ten garments, twenty barsi garments
    5’) ..., one gin axe
    6’) ... one cauldron, its weight ten mina of copper
    7’) ... hanging kettles, one hand-held mirror
    8’) ... the allotted share of Ili-išmeani, the older brother

    1) ... his brother
    2) ... from ...-ilišu
    3) ...
    4) ... a field plot of one eše in the field of the “village of truth” 
    5) ... a field plot of ... of the “potash field”(?)
    6) ... coming from KAkugani
    7) ... two ..., two ..., their value in silver is ten gin
    8) ... the written contents of the estate of his father
    9) [...] his brother gave/sold to him
    10) ...-qarrad is his name
    11) ...

obv2’: This line seems to contain the obscure wooden implement that is spelled ĝišmuru5-za-nu-um in OB ur5-ra Nippur division 1 245 (Veldhuis 1997: 228: the Diri compound is spelled SAL.UD.DUB2! in the lone source that substantially preserves the beginning of the entry (CBS 6412 (SLT 136) o14)). It also occurs in the unpublished inheritance division(?) fragment N 2469 4' with the spelling SAL.UD.EDIN-za-nu-[…], and is a likely restoration for the model contract collective N 963 oiii’10’.

obv5’: This term could be reflective of the u2-tag that occurs in Farmer’s Instructions 11, which reflects a tool used to flatten the bottom of a furrow, as well as in late lexical contexts, where it is translated with Akkadian ingu. It also constituted a part of the tug2-sig18 plow. See the discussion of Civil 1994: 71. The paleographic similarity of the DIM and TAG signs, whose main difference in some OB paleographic environments is the presence of one versus two horizontals to begin the sign (see the forms reported by Mittermayer 2006: sign nos. 14 and 121) could explain the divergent spelling.

obv6’: Note the reported weight of 12 ma-na for the urudušen in the inheritance division Ni 1205+Ni 1539+Ni 2205+Ni 2238+Ni 2404 (ARN 103) iv 34'-35' (see Stol 2001: 540).

obv7’: urudušen-da-la2 (Akk. šandalu(m)), a type of metal container that Civil translates as “hanging kettle” (Civil 2013: 54), occurs frequently in Ur III texts, where it is determined by ku3-babbar, “silver,” zabar, “bronze,” urudu, and “copper.” Note also the early OB Isin text BIN 10 116: 2, where the term is determined by ku3-sig17, “gold,” and the urudušen-┌da┐-┌la2┐ of a OB Nippur model inheritance division (N 1369+N 1381 obverse? ii' 3', CBS 15210 obverse 5'), where a weight of 2 ma-na is given for this item in the next line. In the Ur III period there is a rather extreme variance in attested weights for this item, ranging from one-half to sixty ma-na (see Steinkeller 1981: 243-244).

rev4: A field plot in the “village of truth” is also attested in the court case Ni 182 (BE 6/2 49 o1, o10, o16, r10): see Groneberg 1980: 67.

rev5: In strictly paleographic terms, the sign is definitely SAHAR, although possibly in error, as it would otherwise be evocative of the field name a-šag4 ka-mun4 attested in ur5-ra division 5: 73, the unpublished inheritance division(?) fragment N 3206 obv 3’, and in Ur III contexts (NATN 105 left side 3, NATN 438 rev2). Perhaps the spelling is to be taken literally and it reflects sahar-ŠEŠ “potash” (Akk. idranu(m): for this lexeme, see Crisostomo 2014: 390: the term occurs in an agricultural image involving the non-growth of barley in soil with too high of a pH in Nanshe A 221).

rev8: For the expression ša3 mul (translated as libbi šiṭri “contents of a document” in Ana ittišu 3 ii 29-31 (MSL 1 39: see also Civil 1985: 77, CAD Š III 145) and the expression ša3-mul e2 ad-da-na, which seems to describe provisions for inheritance made in addition to the inheritance division, see Prang 1976: 19 n. 55 and Meinhold 2015: 12-13, who suggests that it refers to a inventory of the entire estate of the deceased that was consulted to compile the inheritance division.

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