CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 007 (P346125)

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

-

Has fragments Witness

tablet
obverse
1. gu7#?-a#?-zu si! sa2-e gi gu esir nu-mu-un-dab5-be2
 en: No one holds/catches your eating (i.e., food?) properly with reed(?), a cord(?), or a caulked (container)(?)
2. lu2 lah5#-a-zu szu-ni su2-bi-sze3 nu-ub#?-tag-tag-ge
 en: Your plunderer does not touch his hand to his skin
3. ambar mah sug-ga dagal-la-ba ga2-e galla-zu-me-en
 en: In the great swamp, in the broad marsh, I am your ranger
4. u2 du10-ga nu-mu-e-szi-ib-gu7 gu3!-gu10 mu-un-ti-ti
 en: One cannot eat (its) good food because of me(?), my voice(?) approaches there(?)
5. i7-da nir gal2-la#!?-bi# nu-mu-un-DU#?-DU# ulu3?{+lu}-gu10 ba-dul-dul
 en: One cannot move(?) in the river/canal confidently(?), my “south wind"(?) covers completely
6. igi-gu10-ta gesz-gi gi-szu2-a mu-e-gir5-gir5-e-ne
 en: From before me they are diving into the reed-bed and marsh(?)
7. di4-di4-la2-zu-ta sa2 du11-sze3# ma-a-gar#?-gar sza3-gal-gu10#-sze3# u3#?-[...]
 en: From among your little ones, you (might as well) pile up for me as a regular offering, for my sustenance ...
8. gal-gal-zu ki {gesz}bun-na-ka ki#?-bur2#?-[...] na#-nam
 en: Your large ones are indeed the “solution"(?) of the site of a banquet
9. ga2-e muszen sa6-ga gal#-an-zu-me-en
 en: I am the beautiful and knowledgable bird
10. kin2#? sa6-ga ugunu? tag-ga-gu10-sze3!
 en: Beautiful work (occurred) on behalf of my adornment
11. lalx(TA)-hurx(BIR) ku3-zu kin2 la-ba-an-si-ga
 en: But there is no one who has prepared the working of your pure wax/mold(?)
12. e2-gal lugal-la#-ka DU-DU he2-du7-bi-me-en
 en: In the palace of the king, I am the ornament of movement
13. kisal#?-la2 mu7?-mu7?-gu10 me-te-am3 ASZ im-mi-in#-gar
 en: In the courtyard(?) my noise is a fitting thing, one established (it as such!?)/set it apart(!?)
14. akkil# gar-ra-gu10 nig2-ku7-ku7-da-kam#?
 en: My cry is “that of a sweet thing"(?)
15. su2-bar {d}szul-gi-re me-te-am3 ASZ im-mi-in-x
 en: On the body of Shulgi(?) it is a fitting thing, one established(?) (it as such!?)/set it apart(!?)
16. nig2-tuh-hum gurun pu2-{gesz}kiri6-pu2-{gesz}kiri6-a sa2 du11 gal-gal-gu10
 en: Fruits of the orchard (are for) my many regular offerings
17. ba-ba-za BU gu2-nida zi3! AN-NA nig2 ka du10-ge-gu10
 en: babaza porridge, malt(?), hulled grain(?), and emmer(?) flour(?) (are for) my things/food that sweetens the mouth
18. ur5-ta nam-mah-gu10 nu-zux(SU)? gu2 ki-sze3 la2#-a
 en: Thus(?) (you?) do not know my greatness! Bow (your) neck to the ground!
19. u4-bi-a muszen-e ku6-e in-sze3 mu-ni-in-dub2
 en: At that time, the bird insulted the fish
20. ku6 lipisz tuku a2 nam-ur-sag-ga2 engur-ra nir! gal2
 en: The fish, possessed of anger, trusting in the heroic might of the deep water(?)
21. muru9 dugud-gin7 ki nam-mi-in-us2 a-da-min3-e ba-a-gub
 en: Like a heavy rain cloud it touched the ground, it stood in an adamin contest
22. in muszen a-na-am3 mu-ni-in-dub2-ba sza3-sze3! nu-mu-un-na-gid2
 en: Whatever insults the bird had struck it with, it did not ponder
23. gu2 ki-sze3 ba-da-gar inim bur2!-bi im-me
 en: It was able to(?) set its neck on the ground (sarcastically?), it was speaking freely/humbly(?)
24. 2(disz@t)-kam-ma-sze3! ku6-e muszen-e mu-un-na-ni-ib#-gi4-gi4
 en: For the 2nd time the fish replied to the bird
25. muszen-e nam-mah-gu10 nu-zu egir-ga2 nu-zukumx(|ZI&ZI.MIN|)-zukumx(|ZI&ZI.MIN|) bar-ga2 en3# li-bi2-[...]
 en: Bird, (you) do not know my greatness, (you) did not tread behind me, (you are one who) has not inquired after me
26. x-ga kal-ga-gu10 nu-e-da-an#-zu inim u3-bu#-[...]
 en: You cannot know (either) my weakness(?) or my strength, (you) have spoken an inflammatory(?) word
27. [...]-ur2# x x x x KA#? x sag? x [...]
 en: (Possessor of) trimmed limbs, crippled(?) feet, a ... mouth/beak, and a thinned out/flattened(?) tongue
28. nam-nu-zu-a KA mu-x-[...]-x IM ni2-zu ad#? i#-[...]-in-gi4#?-[...]
 en: By means of ignorance you have been able to sneer/shout/chew(?), (but) you have not advised yourself
29. ga2#-e ku6-e he2-gal2 AB# sikil-la tesz2-bi gar#-ra [...]
 en: I, the fish, am the one who piles up(?) the abundance of the pure shrine/sea(?) together
30. nindaba# gal-gal e2-kur-ra#-ke4# sag il2-la DU-me#-[...]
 en: I am the one who brings/goes/stands among(?) the great nindaba offerings of the Ekur proudly
reverse
1. {d}asznan-ma-gin7 sza3-gar kalam-ma-sze3! ba-gal2-me-en a2-tah-[...]
 en: Like (the grain goddess) Ezina (I) am here for the sustenance of the land, I am her helper
2. buru14? ezem-gin7 mu-un-da-hul2-le# en3 tar-gu10 i3-gal2
 en: The harvest(?) rejoices with me as if (it was) a festival, my inquirer is there(?)
3. muszen nig2-gal-gal# a-na mu-un-dim2#-ma#?-zu nam-gur4-zu ga-ri-ib#-[...]
 en: Bird, what is your great thing that (you) accomplished? I will make you known your (over) exuberance
4. sun7-na inim# lul#-la# bala-e-x x umusz-zu-a ga-ri-ib-gi4-[...]
 en: I want to return (back into) your mind(?) your arrogance and mendacious speech
5. u4-bi-a ku6-e muszen-ra sa2#? im-ke3-ke3-de3#
 en: At that time the fish was to make plans against the bird
6. si-ga# lul-ba a2-ba mu-un-DU-DU
 en: Silently and deceptively(?) it went on its “arms”
7. u4 muszen gud3-ba zi-ga amar-bi-sze3#!? nig2-gu7 tum3-u3-de3
 en: When the bird got up from its nest in order to bring (back) food for its chick
8. ku6-e ki si-ga-a-asz mu-un-kin2
 en: The fish sought the place silently
9. gud3 gar-ra u2 si-si-ga-ni esz3 lil2-la2 mu-un-sag3
 en: It struck (the bird's) established nest, its prepared plants, (making it?) a windswept shrine
10. e2 du3-du3-a-ni mu-un-gul-gul erim3#?-ma-ni mu-un-x-re
 en: It destroyed its built house, it tore out(?) its storeroom
11. nunuz-bi gud3#-bi a bi2-in-gaz-gaz ab-ba im-mi-in-szu2
 en: It killed its eggs and its nest with water(?), it covered them in the sea
12. 2(disz@t)-kam-ma#-sze3! ku6-e muszen-e in-sze3! mu-ni-in-dub2
 en: For a 2nd time the fish insulted the bird
13. u4-bi-a muszen igi pirig-ga2 umbin hu-ri2#-in#{muszen}-na
 en: At that time the bird, with the face of a pirig creature and the claws of a hurin bird
14. gud3-bi-sze3 a2 x i3#?-ke3#-e dal-bi sag im#?-gi4#
 en: It was beating(!?) its wings towards its nest, (but) its flight (path) was blocked(?)
15. ka-bi nu#-x-gig-gin7 an-sza3-ga gu3 mu-un-dub2-dub2-be2
 en: (With) its mouth(?) it was screaming in the midst of heaven like the nugig midwife (of heaven, i.e., Inanna)
16. u4#-bi#-a muszen gud3#-bi-sze3! igi tab#?-ba a2-ur2 ba-bur2-bur2
 en: At that time the bird, which was looking (carefully), (its) limbs were spread out(?)
17. {tu15}mar-rux(TE) an-sza3-ga-sze3! x-de3 an-na#? mu-un!?-ni10-ni10
 en: (Like) a stormwind that is to shake(?) to the midst of heaven, it roamed(?) in heaven
18. muszen#-e# ku6 engur#-ra mi-ni-in-ni10#!?-ni10# sug mi-ni-in-kikken2
 en: The bird was searching the fish in the deep water, it sought it in the marshes
19. muszen#-e# ku6#-ra# engur-ra# igi im#-ma#-an#-duh# gesztux(|GISZ.TUG2|)# ba-szi-in-gub
 en: The bird saw the fish in the deep water and planned against it
20. i-ni#-in-dab5 a-e ba-da-kar umbin mu-ni-in-la2
 en: It seized it, (it tried to) flee in the water (but) (the bird) held it with its claws
21. agargarax(NUN) tur#-tur#-bi tesz2-bi bi2-in-gar zar#!-re-esz mu#-un#-du8-du8
 en: It heaped up its little spawn(?) together, it heaped them in the manner of sheaves
22. muszen-e szu gar-bi im-mi-in-gi4 sza3-bi nu#-[...]
 en: The bird took out revenge, (but) its heart was not cooling
23. 2(disz@t)-kam-ma-sze3 muszen-e# ku6-e mu-na-ni-gi4#?-[...]
 en: For a 2nd time the bird was replying to the fish
24. galam?-ma? hu-ru# u2-hub2 galga suh3 ku6 nam-ta-e3#?
 en: "Clever” one(?), inferior one, deaf one, with muddled plans, fish, (you) should not come out(?)
25. x ni10-ni10 ka-ka-bi nu-gu7 sza3-gal u4 szu2-szu2
 en: Roaming the harbor(!?), its mouth(?) not eating, “a storm blowing away(?)” fodder
26. szah2# is-hab2 szed6 ni2-bi gu7-gu7 sag szu bi2-in-du11-ga
 en: Pig, rogue, eating its own excrement, ...
27. {lu2}en-nu-ug3-ga2!? e2 kesz2-da ti-la ni2-bi-ta sur-ra
 en: Guard who dwells in a bound-up house, slithering by itself
28. ku6# ga2-ra izi-gin7 mu-un-bar7 ki SZAKIR3 mu-un#-[...]
 en: The fish burned ... for me like fire, it sought the place silently(!?)
29. nam-nu-zu-ta sag ba-an-gid2 szu usz2-a i-ni-in#?-x
 en: Out of ignorance it got angry, it spattered(?) (its) hands in blood(?)
30. sza3 gur4-ra ni2-bi ak-a-ba ni2-bi mu-un-gul-gul
 en: In making itself feel wonderful it has destroyed itself
left
column 1
1. ge26-e <<re>> an-na dal-dal-e-me-en ki#?-a DU-DU-me#-en#
 en: I am the one who flies in heaven, I am the one who goes about on earth
2. DU-DU-gu10-sze3! mu sze21-a-ba a#-la# mu-un-szi-gal2-le-me-en
 en: (Wherever) I am going, whatever is its name, I am the happiness that is present on behalf of ...(?)
column 2
1. itix(UD)-za3-gar u4 x-[...]
 en: Month of baragzaggar, day ...
column 3
1. 1(disz) szu-szi# 2(disz)#?
 en: (Total) 62 lines

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:
  • This artifact is composed of fragments.
  • 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, 40 + 627

    [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 05641
  • 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
2019-06-12 at 09:02:02 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:

P346125 leadP346125 lead

Cite this Artifact
“CDLI Literary 000764, Ex. 007 Artifact Entry.” (2006) 2023. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). June 15, 2023. https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346125.
CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 007 artifact entry (No. P346125). (2023, June 15). Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346125 (Original work published 2006)
CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 007 artifact entry (2023) Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). Available at: https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346125 (Accessed: June 15, 2024).
@misc{2023CDLI,
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-06-15]},
	year = {2023},
	month = {jun 15},
	title = {CDLI {Literary} 000764, ex. 007 artifact entry},
	url = {https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346125},
	howpublished = {https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346125},
}

TY  - ELEC
DA  - 2023/6/15/
PY  - 2023
ID  - P346125
LB  - CDLI:P346125
M1  - 2024/6/15/
TI  - CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 007 artifact entry
UR  - https://cdli.ucla.edu/P346125
ER  - 
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