CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 006 (P346126)

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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Text / annotations

Text data


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Chemical Data

Seal Chemistry


Museum Collection(s)

British Museum, London, UK

Museum Number

BM —


Old Babylonian (ca. 1900-1600 BC)


Ur (mod. Tell Muqayyar)

Artifact Type




Genre / Subgenre(s)

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






1. 2(disz@t)-kam-ma-sze3! muszen-e ku6-ra in# [...]
 en: A 2nd time the bird insulted the fish
2. ku6 lipisz tuku a2 nam-ur-sag-ga2#!? [...]
 en: The fish, possessed of anger, trusting in the heroic might of the deep water(?)
3. muru9 dugud-gin7 ni2 ki bi2-ib2-us2 [...]
 en: Like a heavy rain cloud it set itself on the ground, it stood in an adamin contest
4. in muszen-e a-na mu-ni-in-dub2-ba sza3-sze3! nu-mu-un#-na#-an-gid2
 en: Whatever insults the bird had struck it with, in did not ponder
5. gu2 surx(SAG) ba-da-an-gar inim BUR2-bi im-me
 en: It was able to(?) submit furious(ly)(?), it was speaking freely/humbly(?)
6. 2(disz@t)-kam-ma-sze3! ku6-e muszen-ra mu-na#-ni-ib-gi4-gi4
 en: A 2(diš)nd time fish was answering the bird
7. a2-ur2 gu2-guru5 giri3 su#?-ul-su#!?-ul KA x eme sal-sal
 en: (Possessor of) trimmed limbs, crippled(?) feet, a ... mouth/beak, and a thinned out/flattened(?) tongue
8. nam-nu-zu-a-ta KA e-da-ra-HAR ni2-zu umun2 li-bi2-ak
 en: By means of ignorance you have been able to sneer/shout/chew(?), (but) you yourself have not contemplated(?)
9. mah gu7-gu7 sag#? szu zi bi2-ib2-du11-ga kisal-e szed6! si-si
 en: Eating way too much, ..., filling the courtyard with feces
10. kisal-luh tur e2 sa# lax(ME)-e esz2! mu-ri-ib2-sar-re
 en: The young courtyard sweeper who is sweeping in the temple is braiding(?) a rope for you
11. muhaldim {lu2}lunga?-e i3-du8 e2 ti-la zi mu-da-ri-esz
 en: The cook, the brewer, and the gatekeeper who reside in the temple are distressed with (you)
12. muszen nam-mah-gu10 egir-bi nu-zukumx(|LAL2.SAR|)-zukumx(|LAL2.SAR|) bar-ga2 en3 li-bi2-tar
 en: Bird, (you are one who) my greatness does not tread behind, (you are one who) does not inquire after me
13. si-ga kal-ga-ga2 nu-mu-e#-da#-zu#? inim# u3-bu-bu-ul i3-bala!
 en: You cannot know (either) my weakness(?) or my strength, (you) have conversed in an inflammatory manner(?)
1. nig2-ak-ga2 ki-bi nu-mu-x-x diri-sze3! ni2 sun5-ni-ib
 en: You have not sought the site of my deeds, (now) humble yourself excessively!
2. inim-zu nam-bur2-ra im-da-ab#?-tum3 ni2-zu ad# li-bi-gi4
 en: Your word has brought “release,” you have not taken counsel with yourself
3. ga2-e ku6-me-en he2-gal2 AB sikil-la tesz2-bi gar#-gar#?-me-en
 en: I, the fish, am the one who piles up(?) the abundance of the pure shrine/sea(?) together
4. du8 mah nindaba gal-gal dingir-re-ne-ka sag il2-la DU?-me-en
 en: At(?) The supreme mound(?), I am the one who brings/goes/stands among(?) the great nindaba offerings of the gods proudly
5. {d}asznan-gin7 sza3#?-gar#? kalam-ma-ke4 ba-gal2-e-en [...]-tah#-ni ga2-e-me-en
 en: Like (the grain goddess) Ašnan (I) am here as the sustenance of the land, I am her helper
6. ug3-e gesztux(|GISZ.TUG2|)-ga ma-du3-du3 igi-bi mu-e-szi-gal2
 en: The people have listened to me, they have looked to me
7. kur ezem-gin7 mu-e-da-hul2!?-e en3 tar-gu10 i3-gal2
 en: The land(?) rejoices with me as if (it was) a festival, my inquirer is there(?)
8. nig2-gal-gal a-na me-dim2-ma-zu gur4-ra-zu#? ga-ri-ib-zu
 en: Bird, what is your great thing that (you) accomplished? I will make you know your (over) exuberance
9. sun7-na inim# lul-la bala-zu szu-zu ga-ba-ni-ib-si
 en: I want to give (back into) your hand your arrogance and false speech
10. u4-bi-a ku6-e muszen-ra sa2 im-si-si-ge
 en: At that time the fish was setting plans in place against the bird
11. si-ga# lul-ba a2-ba mu-un-DU-DU
 en: Silently and deceptively(?) it went on its “arms”
12. u4 muszen gud3-bi zi-ga-a-gin7 amar-bi-sze3! nig2#-gu7-bi tum3-de3
 en: When the bird got up from its nest in order to bring (back) food for its chick
13. ku6-e ki si-ga a2-ba mu-un-[...]
 en: The fish sought? the place silent(ly) “on its arms”
  double ruling
  blank space

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, 0041

    [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 16886
  • Findspot Square:
  • Findspot Comments:

Created Creator Type Authors Project Reviewer Status Action
2023-06-28 at 23:15:35 Rattenborg, Rune Artifact Hafford, William B.; Rattenborg, Rune Geomapping Landscapes of Writing Rattenborg, Rune approved View
2023-06-15 at 20:34:30 Rattenborg, Rune Artifact Rattenborg, Rune Geomapping Landscapes of Writing Rattenborg, Rune approved View
2019-06-12 at 08:57:29 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. 006 Artifact Entry.” (2006) 2023. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). June 28, 2023.
CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 006 artifact entry (No. P346126). (2023, June 28). Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). (Original work published 2006)
CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 006 artifact entry (2023) Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI). Available at: (Accessed: July 14, 2024).
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-07-14]},
	year = {2023},
	month = {jun 28},
	title = {CDLI {Literary} 000764, ex. 006 artifact entry},
	url = {},
	howpublished = {},

DA  - 2023/6/28/
PY  - 2023
ID  - P346126
LB  - CDLI:P346126
M1  - 2024/7/14/
TI  - CDLI Literary 000764, ex. 006 artifact entry
UR  -
ER  - 
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