CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 004 (P346123)

Literary tablet excavated in Ur (mod. Tell Muqayyar), dated to the Old Babylonian (ca. 1900-1600 BC) period and now kept in British Museum, London, UK

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Chemical Data

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Museum Collection(s)

British Museum, London, UK

Museum Number

BM —

Period

Old Babylonian (ca. 1900-1600 BC)

Provenience

Ur (mod. Tell Muqayyar)

Artifact Type

Tablet

Material(s)

Clay

Genre / Subgenre(s)

Literary (ETCSL 5.03.05 Debate between Bird and Fish (witness))

Language(s)

Sumerian

Measurements

-

Witness

tablet
obverse
1. [...]-ta#? nam du10 tar-ra-a-ba
 en: In ancient time, in the (time that) good fate was decreed
2. [...]-bi#? an-ki gesz-hur-bi mu-un-gar-re-esz#
 en: An and Enlil established the plans of the universe
3. [...] mah# en gesztu2 dagal-la-ke4
 en: Enki, the supreme leader, the lord of broad wisdom
4. [... kur]-kur#-ra 3(disz@t)-kam-ma-bi na-nam
 en: The junior Enlil of the lands, he was the “3rd one”
5. [...]-bi#-[...] mu#-un-kikken2 dur2 ki ba-an-gar
 en: He sought(?) the me of both heaven and earth and founded a dwelling/sitting there(?)
6. [...]-gal2 numun# zi# u3-tu szu-sze3 im-ma-ab-la2
 en: The water(?) that engenders the true seed(?) was bound(?) to (his) hand
7. [{i7}]idigna# {i7}buranun-na za3-ga ba-al a kur-kur-ra mi-ni-ib-tum3
 en: The Tigris and Euphrates, (having been) excavated on the edge, brought water into the lands
8. [...]-tur#-ra szu-luh ba-an-ak sur-sur mi-ni-ib2-gar-gar
 en: He dredged the small canals, the ditches were established there
9. [... {d}]en-ki-ke4 turx(SZILAM)? amasz szu bi2-in-dagal sipa unux(|AB2.TUL2|) bi2-in-tuku
 en: ... Enki broadened the cattle pen and sheepfold, he made them acquire a shepherd and cow herder
10. iri{ki} a2-dam ki-a mi-ni-in-gar-gar sag-gig2 mu-ni-lu
 en: He established cities and outlying settlements on the earth, the blackheaded flourished there
11. lugal-e nam-sipa-bi-sze3 mu-un-tuku nam-nun-bi-sze3! mu-un-il2
 en: He made(?) the king acquire their shepherdship, he raised him to their princeship
12. lugal u4 zi-de3-esz kur-kur-ra mu-un-e3
 en: He brought out the king as faithful sunlight in the lands
13. {d#}en#-ki-ke4 ambar-ambar-ra zu2 bi2-kesz2 gi sumun gi henbur bi2-in-mu2
 en: Enki knotted the marshes together, he made the old reed growth and fresh reed stalks grow
14. [...] umah#? mah ku6 muszen mi-ni-in-lug
 en: He made fish and birds live in the great marshes, the ponds(?) and the supreme(?) marshes
15. [...]-zi-pa-an-pa-ag2-ne gu7 nag-bi mi-ni-in-szum2
 en: In the plain he gave the (means of?) eating and drinking (to!?) living creatures
16. [...] en dingir-re-e-ne-ke4 za3-ba am3-mi-ni-in-gub
 en: Enki the lord of abundance, the lord of the gods, stationed ... at its side (in charge)
17. [...] en gesztu2 dagal-la-ke4
 en: Nudimmud, the supreme prince, the lord of broad wisdom
18. [...] u3-mu-un-dim2-dim2
 en: After he created both the fish and the bird
19. [...] mi-ni-in-si
 en: He filled the marsh and reedbed (with them)
20. [...] im-mu-e-szi-in-pa3
 en: He chose their station on behalf of you(!?) ...
21. [...] igi-bi im-mi-in-pa3
 en: He made their eyes discover(?) their design
22. [...] nunuz ki ba-ni-in-tag
 en: At that time, the fish laid eggs in the deep water/marsh(?)
23. [...] gud3# im-ma-ni-ib-us2
 en: The bird founded a nest at the intake of the reed bed
24. [...]-bi!?-ta mi-ni-in-hu-luh
 en: The bird terrified the fish in the deep water/marsh by means of its scream
25. [...]-gub# gu3 mu-un-na-de2-e
 en: The fish stood, he was shouting to (the bird)
26. [...] ga-ba-al mi-ni-in-ak
 en: It was boasting, by means of a fight he (intiated) a quarrel
27. [...]-zi# u3-na-bi ba-an-DU
 en: It arose in the street in the manner of a quarrel, it stood there(?) wildly
28. [...] gu3#? mur?-ra-bi inim mu-un-na-ni-ib2-be2
 en: (At that time) the fish was speaking to the bird in the deep water/marsh with an outcry(?)
29. [...] IM LUM NIG2 nu-gar
 en: Bird, releasing (i.e. uninhibited?), shouting, ... was not present/placed(?)
30. [...] x bur2-re bulug5-ge26
 en: Croaker(?) of the deep water/marsh, screaming(?), “releasing and growing/boasting” the lips (perhaps an ideophone?)
31. [...] sza3# hul-bi sur-sur
 en: Spending time eating way too much, having horrible diarrhea
reverse
1. [...]-x KA# mu#-e#-da-ra-ah#? mi-x-ib2#?-sar-sar-re-ne
 en: You may be able to croak/chew(?) when you stand in the plain, but they will chase you(!?) away
2. [...]-na# dumu engar-ra-ke4-ne KA sa nam#?-mi-ri-ak
 en: In the furrow, the members of the ranks of farmers should not (cease?) ... a net(?) for you
3. [nu-{gesz}]kiri6-ke4 pu2-{gesz}kiri6-a sa na-mu-e-ri-gub
 en: The gardener should not (cease?) setting up a net in the irrigated orchard for you
4. [...]-lu#?-usz2#!?-ta DA-ni nu-ga2-ga2 dub3 nu-mu-x-szi-ib2-gurum-e
 en: His arm is not set apart (to rest) from(?) the sling, he does not bend his knee (to sit) because of you
5. sar#-sar-ra nig2 mu-ni-ib-hul-hul su nu-mu-un-da-du10-ga
 en: (You are) one who is destroying things/food in the garden, (you are) one who cannot sweeten the flesh (of the land?)
6. [a]-sza3 ki duru5 gal2-gal2-bi giri3-zu nu-zil2-zil2-le
 en: Your feet are not good (for) fields that have wet patches
7. muszen tesz2 nu-zu kisal-e szed6 su3-su3
 en: Bird, shameless one who sprinkle feces in the courtyard
8. kisal-luh tur e2-e sa# la2-e esz2 hul mi-ni-in-sar-re
 en: The young sweeper who is sweeping in the temple is braiding(?) a malevolent rope there (for you)
9. za-pa-ag2-zu-ta e2#-gal im-suh3-suh3 ka-ka-ta szub-bu-de3
 en: The palace is confused by your scream, it is to be abandoned(?) by the agency of your mouth(?)
10. e2 kuruszda-ka mu-ni-ib-ku4?-ku4?
 en: (They) bring one (of your kind) into the fattener's shed
11. gu4 udu-gin7 mi-ni-ib-mu7-e-ne
 en: They make one (of your kind) babble like livestock
12. a sed4 {dug?}epig-ga? ma-ra-de2-e-ne
 en: They pour cold water into the watering trough(?) for you
13. za-e sa2 du11-sze3 mu-e-da-gid2-de3
 en: You can then be accepted(?) as a regular offering
14. muszen-du3 a2 la2-ta mu-ni-ib-tum2-tum2-mu
 en: The fowler delivers one (of your kind) with bound wings
15. szu-ku6-de3 e2-gal-am3 mu-ni-ib-ku4-ku4
 en: The fisherman brings one (of your kind) into(?) the palace
16. pa-zu igi-zu i3-im-sul-sul-ne
 en: They(?) cripple(?) your wings/feathers(?) and face/eyes
17. gu3 de2-de2-zu ki-sze-er! nu-tuku dal-dal-zu a-na-am3
 en: Your shouting has no limit, what is your flying?
18. gu3 hul-zu-ta ge6 hu-luh-en u3 du10 nu-mu-un-ku-ku
 en: By means of your horrible cry you frighten the night, one does not sleep well
19. ASZ muszen-e sug#?-ta e3-ba-ra za-pa-ag2#-zu ugu-gu10-ta
 en: Bird, leave the marsh, (remove) your scream from above me
20. pu2-sag isz dub-ba-ka e3-ni-ib urx(SUR3)-ra me-te-zu
 en: Bring out a pit in the sand dunes(?), thus is (what is) appropriate for you
21. u4#-bi-a ku6-e muszen-ra in-sze3 mu-ni-in-dub2
 en: At that time the fish insulted the bird
22. muszen#? bar gun3#-gun3#!? igi gun3-gun3 sa6-ga-a-ni-sze3 mu-un-zu
 en: Because of its beauty, the bird knew about (its) multicolored back and multicolored face
23. [...] a#-na mu-ni-in-E-ba sza3-sze3! nu-mu-un-gid2-de3
 en: Whatever insults fish had assailed it with(!?), it did not ponder them
24. e-gi#-in#?-zu#? emeda{+da} u5-a-asz mu-ni-ib2-be2
 en: It was as if a nursemaid was singing a lullaby
25. inim-sze3 gu2-ni nu-mu-na-ab-szum2 zu2 hul-bi? bir9-bir9
 en: It was not heeding (these) words(?), laughing malevolently (instead)(?)
26. u4-bi-a muszen-e ku6-e mu-un-na-ni-ib-gi4-gi4
 en: At that time, the bird was replying to the fish
27. a-gin7 sza3-zu sza3 gur4-ra i-im-DU ni2-zu mu-e-sun5-sun5
 en: Thus your heart, produces exuberance(?), you have (actually) humilated yourself
28. ka-zu habrud!?(KI)-da-am3 zu2 ib2-ta-an-ni10-ni10 egir-zu igi nu-bar-re
 en: Your mouth is a hole(?) which ... surrounded with teeth(?), (you cannot) see your back
29. tuhulx(|AD4.NAGAR|) ku5 a2-szu-giri3 ku5 giri3-bi gu2 bala-bi-ib
 en: (Possessor of) blunted limbs and blunted appendages, “turn your neck by means of the fins"(!?)
30. [...] nu-du10-ga a-ha-an duh-duh ka ba giri17 urx(SUR3)-urx(SUR3)
 en: (Possessor) of a smell that is not good, inducing(?) vomiting, opening the mouth(?), and wrinkling of the nose(?)
31. gu7#-a-zu si sa2-bi gi |A.ENGUR| gu nu-mu-un-dab5!-be2
 en: No one holds/catches your eating (i.e., food?) properly with a caulked container(?) or a cord(!?)
32. [...] lah5#-a-zu szu-ni su2-ni-sze3! nu-ub!-tag-tag-ge
 en: Your plunderer does not touch his hand to his skin
33. 1(disz) szu-szi 3(disz)
 en: (Total) 63 (lines)
left
1. im-gid2#?-da#? dam#?-qi2#?-i3#-li2#-szu# {iti}ud2#?-duru5#? [n]
 en: "Long-tablet" of Damqi-ilišu, month of Udduru, day n.

Consult previous versions and their differences
Consult sign list of Old Babylonian (ca. 1900-1600 BC)
Consult word list of Old Babylonian (ca. 1900-1600 BC)

  • Artifact type: Tablet
  • Material: Clay
  • Measurements (mm):
  • Weight:
  • Artifact Preservation:
  • Condition Description:
  • Join Information:
  • Seal no.:
  • Seal information:
  • Artifact comments:

  • Genre(s): Literary (ETCSL 5.03.05 Debate between Bird and Fish (witness))
  • Language(s): Sumerian


  • history: UET 6, 0038

    [Gadd1963] Gadd, Cyril J., and Aaron Shaffer. 1963, 1966.

  • Composite No.:
  • Museum No.: BM —
  • Accession No.:

  • Provenience: Ur (mod. Tell Muqayyar)
  • Elevation:
  • Stratigraphic Level:
  • Excavation No: U —
  • Findspot Square:
  • Findspot Comments:

Created Creator Type Authors Project Reviewer Status Action
2023-06-15 at 20:34:30 Rattenborg, Rune Artifact Rattenborg, Rune Geomapping Landscapes of Writing Rattenborg, Rune approved View
2019-06-11 at 22:00:28 Englund, Robert K. Atf Englund, Robert K. CDLI approved View
2019-06-01 at 14:34:09 Englund, Robert K. Atf Peterson, Jeremiah CDLI approved View
2019-05-29 at 21:01:58 Englund, Robert K. Atf Englund, Robert K. CDLI approved View
2006-11-02 at 00:00:00 CDLI Artifact Foxvog, Daniel A.; Guerra, Dylan; Peterson, Jeremiah; Veldhuis, Niek; Wolfe, Jared N. CDLI approved View

This artifact is a witness to the following composite(s):

Composite Score
CDLI Literary 000764 (Debate between Bird and Fish) composite (P478958) View the score

General Notes: -
CDLI Notes: -
Cite this Artifact
“CDLI Literary 000764, Ex. 004 Artifact Entry.” (2006) 2023. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). June 15, 2023. https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346123.
CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 004 artifact entry (No. P346123). (2023, June 15). Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346123 (Original work published 2006)
CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 004 artifact entry (2023) Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). Available at: https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346123 (Accessed: July 19, 2024).
@misc{2023CDLI,
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-07-19]},
	year = {2023},
	month = {jun 15},
	title = {CDLI {Literary} 000764, ex. 004 artifact entry},
	url = {https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346123},
	howpublished = {https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346123},
}

TY  - ELEC
DA  - 2023/6/15/
PY  - 2023
ID  - P346123
LB  - CDLI:P346123
M1  - 2024/7/19/
TI  - CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 004 artifact entry
UR  - https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346123
ER  - 
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