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Man and Nature in Mesopotamian Civilization


A. Leo Oppenheim


Mesopotamian man lived in a concrete world that he experienced directly and strove to adapt to his immediate needs and special demands. The data provided to him by his senses were utilized in two essentially different ways by his intellect. On the one hand, he constructed around himself an orderly world in which he could make rational decisions within a frame of predictable events and situations. On the other, after experience had taught him to recognize a pattern in the sequence of certain events and in the predictable features of specific phenomena, he considered any deviations and irregularities to be endowed with meaning—and, more than that, to be meaningful with regard to himself. They were taken to convey a message that referred to impending events, fortunate or unfortunate.

Moreover, Mesopotamian man attempted to construct an integrated whole extending beyond the objects he could touch and see, a whole of which he himself was to be an essential part. Its internal organization and purpose were to provide a setting and a direction for man's role within and beyond the dimensions of observable reality.

In none of these respects were the intellectual achievements of Mesopotamian man outstanding among the cluster of civilizations that had evolved in the ancient Near East and beyond in the last three to four millennia b.c. Still, in a few respects he did succeed in creating unique and characteristic formulations and attitudes, the possible origins and essential consequences of which this essay presents and discusses.

The relationship between man and nature in the ancient Near East is nowhere as pointedly formulated as in Genesis 1:26, where it is said that God gave man “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” The parallel version of the Creation story (Genesis 2:19) formulates the same relationship differently, and in a way that is more relevant to the characteristic attitude of those civilizations that relied on writing for the preservation of their intellectual traditions. It says, “God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” While it was thus man's privilege as the lord of creation to give names to the animals, the knowledge of all their names and their individual features and behavior was considered the privilege of the sage. This is illustrated by the passage (I Kings 4:33) that extols the wisdom of Solomon: “And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.”

While the last passage clearly focuses on practical wisdom, oriented toward exemplary behavior as illustrated by generally known characteristics of certain animals seen as moral prototypes, a far more encyclopedic view is taken by a small group of Egyptian texts published by Alan Gardiner as Ancient Egyptian Onomastica. In these texts, scribes make a conscious effort to organize the entire known world by means of lists of names comprising “everything created by Ptah, recorded by Thoth,” as the solemn introductory sentence states. The list includes heaven and what pertains to it; earth and what is on it; all the things upon which the sun god shines; and what grows on earth—specifically, gods and human beings (from kings to foreign tribes), the towns of Egypt, buildings and their parts, cereals and their products, food and drink, cuts of meat and other viands. The purpose of the text—datable to about 1100 B.C., with fragments of similar lists about half a millennium older—is difficult to establish within the framework of the conventional interests of the Egyptian scribes.1Its terseness, the restrictions in subject matter, and the exclusive use of nouns in the lists pose problems in view of the grandiose claims of the preamble. Obviously the onomastica are devoid of the “wisdom” connotations of the just-cited verse describing Solomon’s knowledge;2 they should probably be compared to the Genesis passage in which Adam gives names to alt the animals. Although the outward expression of the passage is man’s dominion over the animal world, its underlying concept may have been that it was man’s responsibility not only to give names but also to know the names of all animals (and plants). In a civilization that knew writing, from such an attitude there might have developed the desire to enumerate such names so as to demonstrate both erudition and the power of the human intellect in confronting nature, the world around the scribe.

From Mesopotamia come somewhat similar texts, written on clay; they are far more numerous and more elaborate, and their function is much better known than those from Egypt.3

For elementary as well as for advanced training, Mesopotamian scribes used a great variety of sign lists that contained cuneiform signs representing Sumerian words, written one underneath the other, in long and narrow columns. If a sign had several readings—that is, phonetic values —it was repeated as many times as there were values. Because of the application of several principles of arrangement (acrophonic or acrographic sequences, and topical organization) and the accretion of auxiliary columns on both sides of the nuclear list, these syllabaries or “vocabularies” grew into a large body of scholarly literature. From a tool for teaching they turned into a vehicle for philological research. Among the types that evolved, only the topically arranged lists are the concern of this essay.4These lists contain nouns referring to man-made objects, trees, plants, minerals, classes of persons, localities, deities, and stars. All nouns are written (syllabically or with word signs) after a class determinative (for instance, wood + plow; silver + ring; green plant + lettuce; stone + lapis lazuli; deity + moon; man + blind), which leads automatically to such topical arrangements. From the middle of the second millennium on, the Sumerian lists were provided with a corresponding column in Akkadian; the column to the left contained the Sumerian noun with its classifier, and the one to the right the translation into Akkadian5

Prominent among the topical vocabularies is the one called HAR . r a = hubullu (hereafter cited as Hh), which contains on twenty-two of its twenty-four tablets (tablets III-XXIV) from eight to ten thousand lexical entries, although about one-third of its content is lost through the fragmentary state of some tablets. The topics treated are trees, wooden objects, reeds and reed objects, earthenware, leather and leather objects, metals and metal objects, domestic animals, wild animals, parts of the human and animal body, precious stones and stone objects, green plants, fish and birds, wool and garments, localities within Babylonia, beer, barley and its products, honey, and other foodstuffs. The series was very much used, and copies of it or of its monolingual Sumerian prototypes are often found outside Mesopotamia wherever the Akkadian language was taught.6 In the first millennium it was brought up to date, so to speak, with a third column added at the right in order to explain obsolete expressions by means of contemporary words. Mention also should be made of a four-tablet series, likewise extant in Sumerian prototypes, that lists designations of human beings, officials, professions, craftsmen, social classes, and deformed and crippled persons. A similar list exists with the names of the major and minor deities of the Mesopotamian pantheon.7

Nearly all Assyriological work on the topical series was, and is, concerned with the reconstruction of the texts on the basis of fragmentary copies, school tablets, and similar sources, as well as with the utilization of this mine of information for the purposes of Sumerian and Akkadian lexicography. The internal history of their composition —that is, their growth by accretion caused by the general Mesopotamian preference for additive elaboration—and the internal logic of their sequences have, however, hardly been touched upon.

In view of the passages from the Old Testament and from the Egyptian onomastica cited above, the Mesopotamian lists appear to be the product of two needs: that for training the scribe and maintaining his bilinguality (considered proof of scholarly status), and that for organizing, classifying, and defining the phenomena of nature in an established order, ranging from the topography of the home country to the stars and embracing animals, plants, and minerals and whatever man was able to produce from them.8Unlike the Egyptian onomastica, which are an isolated literary phenomenon, the Sumero-Akkadian word lists are part of an extensive body of similar literature.

Although the sequence of entries in the lists often cannot be explained, and the number of entries assigned to a specific topic (a plant, a stone, an animal, a man-made object) seems to vary according to the practical or the emotional interest it arouses, attempts toward classification are repeatedly in evidence. Such contrasts as male versus female, native versus foreign (often with the names of countries), and domestic versus wild are stressed; colors, and qualitative and quantitative differences, are listed (although sometimes only schematically). At times (see Hh III 37, 216; XVI 151 f.) two different plants, or stones, are listed side by side to fit an atypical entry into existing classifications.

It cannot and should not be claimed, of course, that the word lists containing, for example, the names of plants, animals, or stones constitute the beginnings of botany, zoology, or mineralogy in Mesopotamia. They are not a scientific (not even a prescientific) achievement; rather, they result from a peculiar interaction of a genuine interest in philology (or, at any rate, lexicography) and a traditional Near Eastern concern for giving names to all things surrounding the scribe, thus linking nature to man.

Apparent sequels to the topical lists are the somewhat more elaborate descriptive texts that, likewise in a very standardized way, concern similar subjects. They exhibit a very characteristic pattern in each line: “a stone/plant/snake that has the looks of the… stone/plant/snake but has… [certain qualifications follow] is called the… stone/plant/ snake.” In these texts the object to be identified is compared, as a whole or through its specific parts (specks, leaves, flowers), with a better-known object by pointing out both similarities and differences; then its name is given. The description of the object often reveals a keen interest on the part of the observer in details of stones, plants, and snakes. Unfortunately, the extant tablets of this type of text are quite fragmentary.9 Their purpose, however, is clearly stated (in Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon, X [1970], p. 68 vi 17 f.): to help the user identify the objects.

Another listlike arrangement of names of plants, minerals, insects, and other medicinal substances should be mentioned here, although the purpose of the composition cannot definitely be established. This is the series Ú u r u.a n . n a = Ú maštakal, which seems to enumerate in its two juxtaposed columns the entire range of the Mesopotamian pharmacopoeia. There is no overt indication of the relationship between the two columns, and it has been suggested that the materia medica in the right column might serve as a substitute for those in the left.10

Let us turn from the scribe, who, as a means of relating himself to nature, classifies and lists the world around him (thereby fashioning a screen that prevents its immediate perception) to the poet and his relationship to nature. The poetic interest of Mesopotamian literati clearly is attracted more to the impact on man of nature’s awe-inspiring destructive forces (fire, storms, flood) than to natural phenomena that appeal to detached observation, be it unselfish interest or admiring curiosity. Man and his works under the impact of the elements are central to the poet’s concerns. To a certain extent such preference is created by the tenor of the texts in which poetic imagery based on the observation of nature is used; it is by such comparisons that royal inscriptions, as well as hymns in praise of the major deities, strive to render the tremendum of gods and kings alike.11

A rare and atypical document such as the letter written by Sargon II of Assyria (721–705 b.c.) to the deities and the citizens of the ancient capital Assur should make us realize, however, that the marvels of nature themselves appealed to the poet under certain conditions. Through the quite unconventionally wide range of interests of the writer of this text, for whom foreign mores are as worthy of description as are the activities of his king during the spectacular raid into Urartu and the sack of the enemy’s capital, we learn above all how the wild mountains through which Sargon penetrated impressed the observer.12 The thickness of the forests (line 16), which even the light of the sun could not penetrate, the thunder of the cascading waterfalls (line 326), the repeated crossings of the rushing mountain streams (line 17), the dizzying chasms (line 21), the snow and ice (lines 100 f.) of the mountaintops towering over each other (line 32), and the sweet smell of the vegetation (line 28) are described by a poet-scribe sensitive to such impressions. His power of observation is directed not only at the grandeur of the scenery, but also at its smallest details. He produces the unique simile that compares the defeated king’s fear with that of a partridge fleeing, with palpitating heart, from an eagle (line 149).13 He reacts to the beauty of a fertile garden, and admires the architectural and agricultural achievements of the enemy (lines 200–212 and KAH 2 141). In short, we are allowed a glimpse into a world of experiences and attitudes that the severe formalism of this genre of literature, and the tyranny of a traditional and restricted imagery, do not as a rule tolerate.

The stance expected of a poet in creative Mesopotamian literature is a distinct disengagement from his oeuvre. This disengagement breaks down so rarely that the few instances we are able to cite as exceptions only serve to underline this rigidity. The famous prayer to the Gods of the Night, with its sophisticated description of the silence of the starred night and its solemn address to the gods, seems to have been well appreciated by the ancient scribes and was repeatedly used by them.14 The short threnody spoken by a dead wife, touching in its unusual wording, remains, however, unique in Akkadian.15 In both instances the empathy is on the human level; solely the topos of the lonely reed cane or tree, in the isolation of which the poet sees his own loneliness and misery, attests to a link of sympathy between a human being and a part of nature,16

Beyond the limits of the urban settlement, the fields and gardens around it, and the far-reaching steppes with their few tracks, and beyond the river or canal that brings the water for irrigation, floods, and traffic, there lies, for Mesopotamian man, the oikumene, the totality of the inhabited regions with their many tongues, capitals in which kings rule, and fortresses that guard border points.17 Those speaking different languages are not considered barbarians,18 nor are their customs looked down upon,19 with the exception of the Martu tribes and other groups living in the desert.20 Not language, therefore, but social practices separate the civilized from the uncivilized. The borders of the oikumene are formed by the seas that seem to surround it, although in the direction of the Persian Gulf there was very early contact across the sea with islands and far-off coastal regions.21

The need to import into Mesopotamia such essential raw materials as timber for a wider roof span for the abodes of gods and kings, metals for war and peace, and stones for utilitarian and decorative purposes, led to the creation of a series of mythographic terms. The fact that most of the metal, stone, and timber had to come through the passes of the Zagros Mountains gave rise to the assumption that the source of these materials were specific “mountains” in far-off regions. Thus the royal inscriptions and even the geographical lists speak readily of the Gold Mountain,22 the Cedar Mountain, and the Lapis Lazuli Mountain. These enumerations provide us with a mixture of names of distant mountains in foreign languages, trade names for specific stones, and mythical mountains where certain deities are said to live. A late litany contains the names of mountains yielding gold, silver, copper, and tin (no Iron Mountain is ever mentioned), precious stones and millstones, cedar, boxwood, juniper, oak trees and fruit trees, and even mountains belonging to deities of the Mesopotamian pantheon or inhabited by foreign peoples (Elamites, Gutians, Subarians, Amorites, Lullubi).23 Thus, the mountain chains that surrounded the Mesopotamians in the northeast-northwest quadrant were thought of as full of treasures and inhabited by hostile tribes, but also as the home of certain of their own gods. The deserts beyond the steppes held more terror for them than the mountain regions. They knew the desert tribes and their strange way of life (tents,24 camels, the scarcity of water), as we know best from Assurbanipal’s record of campaigns against the Arabs.25 Only rarely do such descriptions speak of imaginary animals encountered, such as the two-headed snakes mentioned in the damaged report of Esarhaddon (680–669 b.c.) that describes in considerable detail a journey to Egypt through the desert.26 The high seas are avoided by the Mesopotamians. With obvious pride Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 b.c.) reports that he harpooned a killer whale in the Mediterranean Sea;27 still, there is no evidence of a belief in fabulous sea monsters, as there was in Egypt, Ugarit, and the Old Testament.28

After having surveyed what literary texts and lists tell us incidentally about the regions at the border of the oikumene, a unique and difficult scholarly tablet must now be adduced. The scribe’s name is broken, those of his father and family do not appear in any other document, and the tablet itself is badly damaged.

After a short (eleven-plus lines) introduction, the document shows a not very carefully drawn mappamundi on its obverse. The reverse comments on that map in some twenty-three lines, which are followed by the “title” of that oeuvre: “[(these are) the region]s of the four rims of the entire u[niverse(?)]; the interior of the […] nobody knows.”29

The map shows a circle surrounding the oikumene, which is conceived as circular, surrounded by a body of water that is identified by the words Ídmarratu written four times. This designation is probably a double entendre, meaning “salt water river” as well as “circular river.”30 Inside the circle the following conventions can be observed: parallel lines represent watercourses, small circles (sometimes with a dot in the center), cities and countries; a large rectangle must denote Babylon. An oval formed by a curved line at the upper inner rim of the periphery is inscribed šadû (“mountain[s]”). It can safely be assumed that the river drawn as flowing out of the mountain region, bisecting the rectangle of Babylon, represents the Euphrates. Downstream from Babylon, the end of the river is marked by its branching into a watercourse of the same size that, to the left, is inscribed with the word bitqu (“(small) canal”) and, to the right, with the word apparu (“swampland”). Before the branching point a horn-shaped arm seems to connect the Euphrates with the swamp. Unfortunately. the signs inscribed in the “horn” are damaged.31 The lower right quadrant is broken. In the upper right quadrant four circles appear; they are inscribed as follows: City Ú-ra-[x-x]; Land of Assyria; a point; and City of Dêr. The arrangement fits the identification of the river as the Euphrates, and shows that the top of the circle is oriented toward the northwest. On the left side three cities are indicated: the first is called Habban, the second has a point in the center and no subscript, and the third has the subscript Bīit-Ja’kinu. The position of Bīt-Ja’kinu on the lower Euphrates is correct, but that of Habban poses a problem. A region of that name is known to be located east of the Tigris, toward the foothills of the Zagros.32 Possibly we have here another of the not-too-rare instances of topographical homonymy in Mesopotamia. In what is left of the lower half of the circle there is the symbol of a city, the name of which is lost in a break.

The occurrence of the geographical names Habban and Bīt-Ja’kinu, and possibly also the representation of Babylon lying on both banks of the Euphrates. suggest that the tablet was written in the first millennium b.c., most likely in Babylon.33

But the geographer did not let his map end at the okeanos-like circular river. He drew on its outer edge several isosceles triangles; as far as they are preserved, they had written in or near them the words nagû(“district, province, region”) and, underneath. n bēru ina birīt (“n double hours [distance] in between”). The triangle at the upper right has an interesting addition: “where the sun is not seen.” This, of course, calls to mind the passage in the Odyssey (XI. 14 ff.) that refers to the land of the Cimmerians, who live at the rim of the world, where the sun is never seen.34 The Mesopotamian and Greek traditions reflect travelers’ tales about the polar night.

Only five of the triangles are extant, and neither their spatial arrangement nor the distances between them show any regularity. Since the commentary on the reverse of the tablet has eight sections, it seems to follow that there were originally eight such triangles on the map.35 The purpose of the commentary was to give additional information about these eight mysterious regions beyond the okeanos. The above-mentioned addition to the upper-right nagū (and whatever additions may be tost in the break) is not repealed or alluded to in the text of the reverse. The commentary follows a definite pattern for each of the regions.36 Each entry begins: “When you go to the first/second/… region, [the distance(?)] is seven double hours.” Unfortunately, none of the descriptions is complete, and nearly all are too damaged to be of any value. Most are short—one line each for the second to the fourth and the sixth to the eighth nagû the description of the fifth is nine lines long, but badly broken. Names of animals are mentioned, and figures and measures are given; but only here and there can a phrase be made out. Thus, it is said of the third region: “[even] the winged bird cannot complete the journey(?)ǀ” and of the seventh: “bull [shaped] [, . .]s that are provided with horns […] they run about and chase […].” The last passage suggests that monstrous creatures were thought to live at the rim of the world, a notion well-known from the Greek world.

It cannot be ascertained to what extent this document (or certain sections of it) represents traditional views or expresses the insight of just one individual scholar. In their damaged state, the introductory lines yield too little information. They speak of “the abolished gods that live on islands in the sea.”37 and also of the flood hero UtnapiŠtim, and of King Sargon of Akkad and his adversary Nūr-Dagan, all located at or concerned with the very rim of the worlds38 as well as of wild and foreign animals, even of people(?)] with birds’ wings.39

It is rather difficult to draw something like a cognitive map of the universe as Mesopotamian man conceived of it beyond the confines of the oikumene that was known to him either directly or by hearsay. An important source of information for such an endeavor would have been cosmological and cosmogonic tales. Although a good number of such stories are preserved, they do not, however, shed much light on cosmography, which is my interest in this context. Not only does man occupy the central position in such stories, he is practically their unique concern. Theogony and cosmogony are but prolegomena to human history, meant primarily to establish man’s nature and function in the social and moral order of the cosmos.40 The organizing activities of the creating deity focus on the temple and the city, and their economic requirements, such as water, fields, and workmen. There is hardly a trace here of the universal concern in the Creation story of the first chapter of Genesis that reaches from the luminaries of the sky to all plants and all living beings.

An important but isolated exception is offered in the fifth tablet of the Babylonian Epic of Creation (Enūma eliŠ), which deals in its first sixty-six lines with the organization of the celestial sphere, including atmospheric phenomena.41 This section contains two parts. In lines 1 – 46 we learn about the installation of the stars in certain places to determine the length of the year; the creation (šūpû) of the moon to fix the length of the month; and —in a very damaged group of eighteen lines—the creation of the sun to establish the boundaries of day and night. In the second part (lines 47 – 66) Marduk fashions heaven and earth out of the corpse of the slain Tiamat, using her head —out of her two eyes come the rivers Tigris and Euphrates—her body (kabattu), her udders (see n. 64). and her tail.42

The organization of the stars and constellations, the assignment of certain stars to the twelve months of the year, the role of the polestar, and the paths of the planets along the ecliptic are described in a very succinct way and in technical terms that are difficult to understand.43 The creation of the moon is couched in a long command (lines 15 – 26) addressed to the moon god (Nannaru) and concerns shape and timing of the phases of the moon and their relation to the sun. The passage dealing with the sun is almost completely destroyed. It is obvious that all the luminaries of the sky function primarily for the sake of man; they establish the calendar in order to allow him to organize his time—and, more important, his work. In other words, the regularity of agricultural and sacral activities is the sole concern of the gods.

In the verses on the creation of atmospheric phenomena (lines 47 – 52). Marduk fashions the rain-bearing clouds from the “spittle” of Tiamat and reserves for himself the power to make the wind blow and the rain fall, and to create cool weather and fog.

The badly preserved final lines turn to the completion of the cosmos. They speak of the durmāhu, the Great Band with which Marduk ties together heaven and earth,45 using for this purpose the tail of Tiamat. Marduk also props up the sky and places it as a roof (sullulu) over the earth.

This grand vision of a tightly structured and functional cosmos, with its interest in celestial matters, seems to represent the concept of an individual scholar-poet rather than a living tradition. About the latter we learn much more from pertinent passages in religious and literary texts that mention either the marvels of heaven or the secrets of the netherworld only incidentally. As can be expected, they exhibit considerable variation, due partly to secondary elaboration and partly to divergent local traditions. They are mentioned here to give some insight into Mesopotamia “cosmographic speculations as one aspect of Mesopotamian man’s relation to the world around him.

The opposition heaven-earth is basic in Mesopotamian cosmography, although Sumerian theogonic speculations posit an original sexual union between the two, whereupon the earth gave birth to gods, mankind, and animals.46 The Babylonian Epic of Creation locales the primeval couple (Apsû and Tiamat) in the lower world as progenitors of the gods, including Anu (the sky god).

Over the solid and stable earth (ersetu, ammatu, dannatu) that extends to the shore of the salty sea, the sky (šamû, irmeanu) is spread at unreachable height.47 It is conceived of as a vault48 of which the top is called elât šomê (“top/crown of heaven”), and its lower part išid šame (“base/root of heaven”), a term that in astronomical contexts refers to the horizon.49 Heaven and earth come together at a cosmic structure called šupak šamê (Sumerian ul.gan), probably conceived of as a dikelike structure upon which the base of heaven rests. This zone is important for the astral deities, because through it they enter and leave the sky to manifest themselves to mankind. This is clearly stated in a bilingual incantation (CT 16 19:54 ff.): “Enlil considered the matter and took counsel with Ea and they assigned the šupuk šame to Sin [the moon], šamaš [the sun] and Ištar [the plant Venus] to organize [it].” It was assumed that these luminaries had to pass through the structure. This is well attested for the sun god, for whom Marduk installed two gates, in the east and in the west (Epic of Creation V 9), but it is not attested for the moon. Of Ištar it is said that she rises heliacally from the šupuk šamê after opening the “bars of heaven.”50Whether the “gate of the great gods” through which the “Gods of the Night” make their appearance refers to this or another entrance to heaven remains uncertain,51 as does the unique Neo-AsSyrian oracle passage in which we read of Aššur; “Leaning down from the gate of heaven I have heard your cry of distress.”52

The most elaborate description of the sun’s gate comes from the ninth tablet (ii 1-8) of the Gilgameš Epic. There the sun is said to enter and leave heaven every day through a mountain called Māšu that reaches up to the šupuk šamê and down to the netherworld. This mountain has a gate guarded by two awe-inspiring monsters that combine human and scorpion forms; they are male and female. The use of the same gate for the rising and setting of the sun is difficult to understand (lines 3 and 9), especially because the gate is said to be at the head of a long tunnel —twelve double hours—through which, one has to assume, the sun passes during the night from its setting to its rising point. The iconography of Old Babylonian seal cylinders, often showing the sun god stepping up from between two mountains and brandishing the key to a gate, suggests that the imagination of (he poet was influenced more by the idea of a sunrise mountain than by cosmographical considerations.53 At any rate, there is evidence that the sun was thought to pass the night in the subterranean realm of the apsû (É. nun, Sumerian agrun), where, probably, the stars also stayed during daytime. (See Richard I. Caplice,“É. nun in Mesopotamian Literature.” in Orientalia, n.s. 42 [1973], 299–305, esp. 304 f.)

It is often said in Akkadian texts that high mountains touch the sky. In a way this concept is fused with that of mountaintops inhabited by deities, which is well attested for Mesopotamia. Apart from such purely mythological localities as h u r . s a g and k u r in Sumerian texts54 we find, for example, in the late litany cited in note 23 of this article, a mountain of Enlil (called Mt. Sâbu) and a mountain called Lil-mun of a storm god of uncertain identity (dim). Moreover, the letter of Sargon describes a mountain in Urartu as “higher than the mountain, the dwelling place of the goddess Bēlet-ilī” (line 18). We also know that Aššur loved Mt. Ebih (not far from his city), where Tukuiti-Ninurta I (1244–1208 B.C.) built a sanctuary for him.55 Much more evidence for such mountains comes from the West; Mt. Cäsium, Mt. Sapan. Mt, Hermon, and others are considered the abodes of important deities.56

Mountains, moreover, seem to have provided an access to heaven. We learn from the version of the mythical story of Nergal and Ereškigal (STT 28 v 13’ and 42’) that the messenger of the netherworld ascended the simmilat šamâmi to arrive at the gate of Anu, Enlil, and Ea, probably the entrance to the heavenly mansion of the great triad. The word simmiltu may mean ladder as well as stairs; here, however, stairs would be more appropriate, since the mountains towering over each other appear to be steps of a giant stairway leading up to heaven, the abode of the gods57 The fact that diseases are spoken of in an Old Babylonian conjuration (Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 9 [1955], 8 A:10) as descending from the “temple lower of heaven” (ziqqurrat šamê) confirms this interpretation, as does the poetic expression for mountaintop — ziqqurrat šacfî — in the Gilgameš Epic (XI 156).58

In daytime the surface of the heaven shows —in addition to the sun god moving across the sky with his horse-drawn chariot59 and his driver—clouds in many colors and shapes.60 When clouds covered the entire sky, they were called nalbašu, as was the fleece of a sheep; therefore the north wind clearing the sky of clouds was, for the poet, the gallāb šamê the “shearer of the sky” (Maqlû V 85). The clouds, filled with rain, release their content —despite the claims of Marduk —upon the command of the storm god Adad, who may also withhold rain or use it for destructive purposes when angered.61 Magic means by which to produce rain are not mentioned.62 and diviners prognosticated rain only rarely,63 Rain is also thought, although only in highly literary contexts,64 to come out of the udders of the primeval monster Tiamat. as do dew and evil spirits. Interestingly, there are traces of a different concept concerning the origin of rain. In a letter, addressed probably to King Sargon II of Assyria (721–705 b.c.), an administrative officer reports that on the fifth day “after the pegs of the rain had been released [? ú-sa-ri-a] [it rained] all night and the entire following morning” (ABL 707:5). This suggests the idea that rain was somehow stored in heaven, perhaps in waterskins closed by wooden pegs, and was released by removing these pegs.65

At night the sky exhibits the “heavenly writing” (šitir šamê), that is, the stars in their orderly and lasting arrangement (riksu). A late bilingual text speaks of the stars moving side by side (sunnuqu), as if in furrows, across the sky.66 Only late texts speak of the polestar as markas šamê (“center of the sky”);67 in earlier texts a “crossing point” (nēberu) of uncertain location in the sky is mentioned.68 The multitude of stars is organized in constellations the names of which appear in early lists ;69 special stars are singled out, and their heliacal risings and settings are used to establish the months of the year.70 The stars used for dating were called lumāšu stars, a term that in the late first millennium was applied to the zodiacal constellations that came into use only then.71 Apart from these stars and the Milky Way (“river of heaven”),72 five planets were distinguished; as a category they were called bibbu (“wild sheep”).73 The same word also refers to comets, although there is no direct evidence that any were sighted. The description of a comet appears in a text with celestial omens and runs as follows: “the star which has a coma in front and a tail in back.74 Shooting stars appear quite often in divinatory texts and conjurations.75 They are also recorded as a prodigy when very numerous.76

Although certain ritual acts had to be performed “under, or before, the stars,” there is evidence that evil forces (diseases, demons) also were thought to come down from the stars to attack man.77 Dew was believed to be produced by the stars, probably because it appears during clear and cool nights.78

All atmospheric and astral phenomena take place on the visible surface of the heaven (pan šamê). Beyond is the inscrutable realm called qereb šamê (“interior of heaven”), the abode of the gods. There they dwell or return from stays in their sanctuaries.79 Only one text, KAR 307, offers a scholar-poet’s vision of the entire cosmos.80 It describes the nature and organization of the hidden heavens in the following way: “The uppermost heaven is of lulu-dānītu-stone and belongs to the sky god Anu; the 300 Igigu gods reside in it. The middle heaven is of saggilmut-stone and belongs to the [other] Igigu gods;81 the ’Lord’ resides in it on a sublime dais, he resides in it on a dais of lapis lazuli; he made it resplendent like būsu-glass and crystal.82 The lower heaven is of jasper [?] on which are drawn the divine constellations [reverse lines 30–33]. “This tripartite division of the upper world, which corresponds to a similar structuring of the lower world in the same text, suggests careful consideration of the status and function of the gods. The lower heaven shows what is visible to mankind; the middle heaven, the splendor of which the poet obviously stresses, harbors the “Lord” ruling earth and mankind; from the upper heaven Anu, exalted but aloof, as is his wont, presumably rules the entire cosmos.83

All three levels are thought of as made of precious stones, a concept for which there is an isolated parallel in the Old Testament: “and I saw the God of Israel and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness” (Exod. 24:10).84 That the jasper [?] of the lower level was a greenish or bluish stone, the color of the sky, is also indicated in the series abnu šikinšu, which describes that stone as” looking like the clear J variant, “faraway”] sky,85 The stone of the middle heaven, saggilmut, probably has a similar color.86 while the stone of the upper heaven, luludātīu, seems to have had a marblelike texture; the series abnu šikinšu describes luludānītu as having black, red, and while veins.

The dais of lapis lazuli and other precious material assigned to the “Lord” is reminiscent of the golden chamber (massuku ša hurāsi) in the inner heaven, mentioned in an Assyrian oracle as the place from which the goddess Ištar promises to watch over Esarhaddon (680–669 b.c.).87 It is probable that all the major deities had abodes of their own in that part of heaven.88

For those who live “under the sky” (as it says in the Hattušili Bilingue),89 the area beneath the surface of the earth consists of several distinct regions. such as the realm of the dead, the reservoirs of the subterranean fresh water that causes the rivers to swell and to inundate the arable land, and a passageway for the sun god to use at nighttime to return to the sunrise point. All was surrounded by the sea. According to a rarely mentioned tradition, the earth, and perhaps the entire world, was tied to a cosmic mooring post (tarkullu90). a floating but securely anchored structure.

It is very difficult to describe the topography of the netherworld. There the god Nergal and his queen Ereškigal reside in a palace with seven gates; and there is the realm of the dead, about the condiions and needs of which mythological texts, conjurations, and frequent allusions in other literary texts yield a complex picture of several, and at times conflicting, traditions. All this falls outside the concern of this article.91 as do the traditions about the abode of demons and other nefarious phantoms that plague mankind and are said to originate in the netherworld.

It is to the realm of Ea (Sumerian. Enki), deep in the Apsû, the cosmic and primeval freshwater body,92 that a number of persistent traditions ascribe the origin of god and man alike. Equally essential is Ea’s role in the organization of the social and intellectual life of man. Unlike the other gods, who primarily demand service from man, Ea, on the mythological level (like Prometheus), intervenes for man again and again; on the legendary level, Ea repeatedly instructs man through his fish-shaped emissaries, the purãdu93

The scholar-poet who described the heavenly mansions also attempted (in KAR 307) to create a well-structured picture of the lower half of the cosmos, likewise seen as divided into three levels. The passage (reverse lines 35–38) is unfortunately quite broken, and my translation is based to a certain extent on reconstructions and guesses. Linguistic difficulties also abound. The poet begins, in my opinion, with the inhabited world; “He [Marduk] placed in secure folds the spirit-endowed [?] mankind94 [upon the…] of the upper level of the ‘earth’.” Then follows a reference to the Apsû “He installed his father Ea in the […] of the middle part of the ’earth. ’ “The last two lines are quite fragmentary and seem to me to allude to the rebellious gods relegated to the very depth of the abyss.95 They seem to run as follows;” He does not forget the rebellion of his […]s [and] imprisoned the Anunnaku-gods [?] [in the… of] the lowest part of the ’earth. ’” 96

The main motivation for Mesopotamian man’s interest in keeping the manifestations of animal and plant life, the movements of the heavenly bodies, and other phenomena under close and constant surveillance was his hope to obtain from them timely warning of impending misfortune or disasters. In a way that is never explicitly stated or even hinted at. Mesopotamian man assumed the existence of an unknown, unnamed, and unapproachable power or will that intentionally provided him with “signs.” This is at the base of what Seneca expresses so succinctly; “non quia facta sum significant, sed quia signifieatura sunt, fiant” —that is, ominous events happen and ominous features present themselves because they are meant to convey meaning, but they do not convey that meaning because they become manifest.97 The very necessities of everyday life focus man’s attention on the atypical; it shocks and alerts him.

Forms of primitive divination are practically ubiquitous. as are certain elaborations on the folklore level. Good and evil portents are readily attributed by means of subconscious as well as linguistic (paronomastic) associations; and they are often preserved by various mnemonic devices, such as rhymes, alliterations, and numerical sequences. In Mesopotamia, in the first half of the second millennium B.C.. such afolklore-level system of divination seems to have undergone expansion and elaboration, probably stimulated by the transfer from an oral to a written tradition. In a civilization where an extensive bureaucracy centered in temple and palace is geared to recording all activities, the desire might easily arise to retain in writing divinatory folklore sayings, individually or in sets.

From small collections united by topical connections, larger ones are bound to develop for practical or prestige purposes. Certain early tablets still show evidence for the growth of such a corpus98 This is again an example of the process of additive rather than structural changes that is evidenced in nearly all types of Mesopotamian literary production.99 Eventually omens —that is, events or features and their interpretation-are more or less freely invented to complement certain sets, such as right-left, above-below, the traditional four-color scheme, and numerical elaboration, in order to increase the usefulness of the collection. The nature of the writing system and the calligraphic interest of the scribe also contribute to both elaboration and standardization. especially in the protasis, the part of the omen that describes what is observed.100

Once in the hands of scholar-scribes, these compendiums grew more and more complex and arcane, The preservation of the written text became important to the copyist, and this concern increased the philological difficulties, since a discrepancy developed between the scribe’s language and that of the text he copied. Explanatory glosses and commented texts became necessary as divination moved completely into the domain of scholarship.101

Even the apodoses, the predictions, changed in the course of this process. Thus they often grant us insight into actual living conditions, into the gamut of expectations and apprehensions shared by everybody. from king to commoner.102 In the second millennium texts the apodoses were often stated quite specifically and with much detail. In the first millennium they became increasingly standardized, apparently because they came to be viewed solely as either favorable or unfavorable. In this form, moreover. they were more amenable to hermeneutic manipulations, as one can easily see in certain Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian communications addressed to the Assyrian kings, where the diviner is at work as interpreter of the apodoses.103

All this holds true only in a rather general way. Each medium through which the unknown power activated signs (abnormal features inside the body of a slaughtered lamb, the birth of deformed animals and humans, the strange behavior of animals, atypical formations on plants, the movements of the planets) had its own history within Mesopotamian divination, as well as its own circle of practitioners and believers. Some techniques were long-lived, such as extispicy and birth omina; others went out of fashion, such as the observation of oil in water, of the movements of smoke, or dream experiences; others came to the foreground, such as the observation of celestial signs, of the weather, or of the behavior of animals. The king, the wealthy, and the poor made use of different divination methods. We, of course, know only of those that were fixed in writing and were popular enough to be preserved.104

Evidently each technique requires a different degree and range of actual observations of natural phenomena. We discuss here only those techniques that evolved a special terminology for exact descriptions. This will make evident the inherent limitations of this “prescientific” attitude toward facts observed.

The most complex and most consistent terminology was created by the diviners who searched the inner parts (exta) of a slaughtered sheep for deviations from their normal size, shape, texture, and coloring. They developed special terms for atrophies, hypertrophies, and other abnormalities; they freely used comparisons with well-known objects, and even offered graphic illustrations to identify the deformation with sufficient clarity. They also established a unified terminology to refer to all important parts of the animal’s anatomy.105 And yet they exhibited no curiosity about the role and function of these organs beyond the most rudimentary facts; after all, deviations from the normal state were considered neither congenital nor the result of diseases, but were believed to have materialized inside the slaughtered animal solely to provide a “sign,” a message for the person for whom the sheep was inspected, or for his city and state. The prayers that preceded the extispicy in the second millennium asked expressly for propitious signs on the exta; in the first millennium the oracle god. šamaš, was asked in prayers to “write” his decision on the organs as an answer.106

With a similar interest in observing nature, the divination-oriented “physician.” the āšipu, scrutinized his patient to establish the disease affecting him and to predict its outcome.107 We know of this from a considerable corpus of omens culled “If When the Āšipu Goes to the House of a Patient.”108 The first two tablets deal exclusively with possible signs and happenings to which the āšipu has to pay attention while en route to the patient, because they may portend the outcome of the sickness. The main body of the compendium (tablets 3–40 and a number of unclassiliable fragments) is concerned, in the sequence from head to toe, with the patient’s symptoms.109 Observation is concentrated on the temperature of the skin and its coloring, on the breathing of the patient, on swollen or otherwise abnormal tissues, on the appearance of his excretions, and on a few other symptoms. Subjective complaints also are taken into account. Obviously, we can learn much from this omen collection about anatomic nomenclature and about terms describing normal as well as morbid features and functions of the human body. Blood vessels are carefully examined at several locations for their coloring and blood flow. These observations of the pulse, like all others, are made by the āšipu for the purpose of identifying “signs” that portend whether or not the patient will recover and when this will happen.110 The signs are listed systematically in the compendium, No treatment is ever prescribed, however, in contrast with medical texts, which instruct the physician on how to proceed and what medication to use.

Thus we have the interesting situation that the observation of natural phenomena within a narrowly defined context —the human body —takes place on two distinct levels; on one, the observed features and phenomena are considered “signs” that indicate the nature of the disease; on the other, the same phenomena are observed by the physician, who then applies his treatment (medication, manipulations, even magic means) in order to heal the patient. Still, the two levels are not rigidly separated; the observer of the signs, once the disease is recognied as amenahle to a cure, may well hand over the patient to the ministrations of a physician. From the point of view of scribal scholarship, however, the two approaches are carefully kept apart: the form and structure of the omen literature are adopted for the one,111 and the pattern of technical handbooks for the other.

A similar case for the separation of the two levels on which nature is observed in Mesopotamia can be found in celestial observation. Most of the tablets of the large series Enūma Anu Enlil deal with omens derived from the moon, the sun, and the planets.112 This compendium has a complex history, the roots of which at limes go back to the second millennium. Its internal development is still problematic because of the large number of fragments at hand that come partly from Assyria (Assur and Calah) and partly from Babylonia (from Sippar to Ur).113 The timing of the phases of the moon, the moon’s relationship to the sun, and the eclipses of the moon receive much attention, as do the movements of the planets Venus (heliacal risings and settings), Jupiter, Saturn. Mars, and Mercury. The prognostications concern the welt-being of the king and his country, harvests, floods, and so on. The terminology created for the identification of all these phenomena is not nearly as rich and diversified as that evolved by the experts in extispicy and physiology.

At about the same time, and certainly in the same region, the same celestial phenomena came within the ken of the observer’s attention on another level. When the Mesopotamia diviners began seriously, perhaps even exclusively,114 lo read the “signs” offered by the heavenly bodies, and when religionoriented poetry turned its emphasis toward stars and planets, the same phenomena, whose unpredictability made them appear carriers of meaningful messages, were subjected lo a fully rational scrutiny. Their timing, especially, was observed and recorded115 for the purpose of predicting the appearances and disappearances of stars and planets, Thus, on one level, the heliacal rising of a planet was observed and interpreted as presaging certain events; on another, scholars, who related lo nature in an entirely different manner, made the same observation in order to establish or lo test a pattern in the recurrence of the phenomenon. The mathematical methods used to calculate the parameters of the planets are not our concern, nor is this the place to present the development and achievements of Mesopotamian astronomy. However, it should be stressed that the scholars who computed parameters and predicted eclipses116 were called Enūma-Anu-Enlil-scribes, as were the diviners who studied the omen compendium Enüma Anu Enlil to decode the messages conveyed by the same phenomena and who reported their interpretations to the king and other clients. As in the case of the observation of a patient, this situation underlines both the separation and the interconnection of the two levels on which nature was observed in Mesopotamia —the mantic and the rational.

The regularity of the celestial bodies was viewed as divinely ordained only insofar as they were related to timekeeping; this is clear from the verses of the fifth tablet of the Babylonian Epic of Creation. The movements of the planets (the “wild sheep”), however, were considered outside such limitations. When, in the middle third of the first millennium B.C., for reasons unknown, a new and different attitude of the observers prevailed and the order in planetary movements was discovered, this knowledge failed to suggest in Mesopotamia the concept of an orderly functioning cosmos (with all its moral consequences), as it did later in Greek thought.

What has been discussed so far makes it rather obvious that one should not speak of Mesopotamian astrology and astrologers, as is often done even by Assyriologists. In Mesopotamia the signs that appear in the sky are in their nature and function as relevant and meaningful as those produced by animals or plants on earth.117 The Mesopotamian diviners observing celestial signs were no astrologers, if one takes the term astrology —as one obviously must —in its Hellenistic sense. In this sense, astrology presumes that celestial bodies affect this sublunar world directly, instantaneously, and irrevocably, because of their placement in the sky at a given moment and their mutual relationship. From the sky they release their influence, conceived of as a “power” that acts on such events as the conception or birth of a child, or any undertaking begun at the moment this power is released, if it is not modified or counteracted by another dynamis created by simultaneous and competing celestial events,118

Astrology119 and Mesopotamian divination based on celestial signs are worlds apart.120 One of the essential characteristics of Mesopotamian divination based on unprovoked signs (such as the birth of malformed animals, untoward events, or strange behavior of animals) is the belief that all evil portended by such signs can be effectively counteracted by a ritual act. Such ritual acts (namburabû121) are also used, as we know from contemporary letters. to avert unfavorable celestial signs, although no text of such a conjuration is yet known.122 This clearly shows that celestial signs were considered on the same level as any other unprovoked sign; they had no special standing.

Another important but only spottily attested development in Mesopotamian divination methods may well have had a lasting influence on the history of astrology. Since the late Old Babylonian period. the concept of intrinsically favorable and unfavorable days has produced a type of text that Assyriologists call hemerologies. These tablets list every day of the month and indicate whether it is propitious or not for certain undertakings, such as a business journey, a marriage, or the performance of a religious act, or whether one should avoid certain or even all actitivies. Later texts dealing with the months of the year (menologies) tell their users about the prospects of undertakings planned during these months.123 It is therefore not unexpected that the birth dale of a child should be taken to indicate its fate. We know about this through a Hittite fragment found in Asia Minor, obviously a translation of an Old Babylonian divination text, that derives predictions from the date of a child’s birth.124 A small and damaged fragment (K 11082) in the library of Assurbanipal (668–627 B.C.) in Nineveh offers fürther evidence for the existence of this type of divination.125 After a long gap. a new development of that old idea appears in a group of tablets from Uruk (Erech). datable to the Seleucid period (beginning 311 B.C.). Advice is given concerning the ritual and private activities to be carried out when an eclipse of the moon has occurred in a specific constellation of the zodiac.126 Among the predictions is one that refers to the fate of a child conceived under such circumstances.127 In another contemporary text from Uruk (TCL 6 14), studied by Abraham Sachs in Journal of Cuneiform Studies (6 [1952], 65–75), predictions are offered for a child born when the moon, the sun. or certain planets were rising above the horizon, or when planets, singly or in conjunction, were in a particular position. At times these predictions refer also or only to the parents or family of the child (reverse lines 7– 12). Becaue the zodiac is not mentioned, Sachs insists that these are not “horoscopic omens” in the strict sense.

A group of real horoscopes on clay tablets, however, has been assembled and studied by Sachs.128 They were written between 410 and 142 B.C. and in general contain the date of birth (sometimes even the hour), the name of the child or of his father, and the report on the positions at that time of moon, sun. and planets in the zodiac; predictions about the child’s future usually conclude the text.

What we have here seems to be but a transfer to a new and more sophisticated level of the old Mesopotamian method of predicting the fate of a child on the basis of the date of its birth. In addition to the traditional lunar date, a series of synchronous astral events is now taken into consideration, probably from the information provided by pertinent compendiums of celestial omens. This method, which, according to classical writers,129 was very popular in Seleucid Babylonia, seems eventually to have moved westward into Hellenistic Egypt and eastward into India and beyond.130

The parameters of the planets, established in Babylonia, were brought to Hellenistic Egypt in the course of the extensive exchange of scholarly information that took place during the last centuries of the first millennium B.C. They were used by Greek astronomers in a manner utterly alien to their Mesopotamian counterparts. What the latter regarded as a sequence of points in time (based on observations and projected into the future by computation). Greek thinkers explained by geometry in such a way that a mechanical model could be constructed to produce these ‘irregularities ’ automatically. The Greeks posited a universe functioning in time as well as in space, in a continuous and regular circular movement of the planets that, combined with the ingenious invention of secondary circles (epicycles), did what their philosopher is said to have demanded of the astronomer, that is,” to save the phenomena.131 This resulted in the picture of a nonarbitrary universe, kept in motion by a divine power beyond the religious imagination of Mesopotamia, whether it is called divine love or —gravity.

To investigate the extent of Mesopotamian medical knowledge, it would seem best to establish the relation between diseases and the materia medica prescribed for them. Theoretically, this could shed light on the etiological thinking of the ancient physicians and help us to identify the inventory of their pharmacopoeia.132 This approach is, however. fraught with difficulties. The botanical identification of the plants and herbs of which the roots, stems, bark, leaves, blossoms, and fruit (seeds) were used is extremely hazardous; and one has to rely too much on etymologies from cognate languages (where the designation is Semitic in origin) or on telltale names.133 Names of diseases are only rarely transparent-such as the word for dropsy (aganutillû, “unending water,” or malia mê, “full of water”), leprosy134 (saharšuhbû, “covered with scales”), itch (ekketu), fever (humtu, scrhu)—or directly descriptive — for example, miqit irrī (“fall of he intestines”) for prolapse of the rectum or hernia, kīs libbi (“stricture of the intestine”) for an intestinal disease. There are many nontechnical terms that refer to conditions of the hair, skin, throat, or stomach, or to the abnormal functioning of the intestines or to breathing difficulties. Some of these names make it possible to establish that certain herbs were used as laxatives, diuretics, or cough and stomach remedies. This might well help with their botanical identification by a botanist well versed in the history of pharmacology and al home in the flora of the modern Near East. A caveat should be added here; while at times the relation between remedy and disease seems discernible, at other times such diverse medication is prescribed that a reason for its use other than a knowledge of the specific effectiveness of a given herb for a given disorder must be assumed.136

No evidence from the rather numerous letters concerned with the sick and their treatment suggests that rare, and therefore expensive, materials were used for medical purposes.

Apart from herbs —and “herb” was the generic term for “medication—minerals (such as salt, alum, crushed stones) and animal parts were used.137 The ingredients were applied either dry (ground and sifted) or wet (soaked, boiled). Taken internally, they were swallowed with beer and other liquids, or were used in enemas and suppositories. Externally, they were applied in lotions and salves, or on bandages. The rarely mentioned medical instruments were scalpels, lanceis, spatulas, and metal tubes; no mention is made of syringes for the frequently given enemas. Other instruments may well have been known; but the texts do not refer to them expressly, probably because their use was self-evident.

There was a certain admixture of what we call “magic” practices, even in therapeutic medicine. The preference for magic numbers (three, seven, and their multiples), the requests for both special timing and special persons (a child, a virgin girl, an old woman) for the preparation or application of the medication, as well as the recitation of an occasional conjuration, may seem to us only an intrusion of magic into medicine. The borderline between the two methods for relating man to nature —magic and protoscience —cannot yet be drawn, and any attempt to do it might distort and falsify whatever picture we may eventually obtain from our text material.138

In view of the folklore character of Mesopotamian medicine, it is not surprising that surgery plays no role, in contrast with the situation in Egypt, where it is so well developed.139 The passage in the Codex Hammurapi (sees. 215–220), often cited as evidence of cataract operations, most likely refers to scarifications in the eye region for relief of certain diseases of the eye. Scarification —a common practice in Alexandrian medicine —could have endangered the patient’s life through infection. And that is why the law intervened.140 An Old Babylonian text141 mentions rather casually a Caesarian section, apparently performed after the death of the mother. We know of such operations as emergency measures not only from primitive tribes but also from classical and Talmudic sources. Neither trepanation, nor excision of teeth, nor circumcision is attested from Mesopotamian sources, either archaeological or documentary. Direct references to castration142 and midwifery143 are quite rare in literary and secular texts. Herodotus ’ low opinion of Babylonian medicine (1,197) is not contradicted by what we know of it today; still, there is no evidence for the Babylonians’ bringing the sick to the market to learn about remedies and treatment from passers-by, as he asserts.144

Besides the “practical” or “therapeutic” school145 or tradition, there is a “scientific” one. Just because its lore is couched in the form of omens, we must not fail to realize that the compendium of these prognostic omens represents an achievement of Mesopotamian medicine.

Formally, the medical texts of the practical school represent a fusion of the pattern of omens (“if a person has the following symptoms… he suffers of the… disease — he will get well” or“he will die”) with that of instructional texts, inasmuch as the physician is addressed in the second person in prescribing the treatment. This follows the protasis. The entries are topically arranged in collections dealing with specific diseases or particular symptoms and sometimes are also classified according to the affected parts of the body. Thus, they are useful “handbooks” for the practicing physician. To what extent —if at all —the codification of the medical art affected the development of the discipline can hardly be ascertained. Did the written formulations stifle any interest in observation, any desire to rely on actual experience, not to mention attempts at experimentation—as often happens when traditionalism is rampant? Or did another medical lore develop, independent of the written corpus that had become the domain of scholar-physicians —that is, of the scribes who copied and recopied the texts? Although no answer can be given to the last question, 1 would like to point out that in the abundant correspondence of the last Assyrian kings with scholars at court and abroad, omen collections are repeatedly cited by title, whereas medical advice is often given or mentioned in these letters without any reference to medical compendiums. This may be accidental; but it may also indicate that, at least at court,146 medicine was practiced on the basis of experience rather than of textbooks,

A text type (KAR 203 = BAM 1 and many, mostly unpublished, fragments from Nineveh) may be mentioned here because it has the earmarks of a learned composition arranged for systematic, and not for practical, purposes. It has more than 160 lines, each listing first a medicinal herb, then the name of the disease for which it is used, and finally the way it is to be applied. Quite atypically, these latter instructions are couched in infinitives instead of in the second person singular.

In social position, the physician ranked with the diviner —as well as with the baker and innkeeper.147 This means that when not attached to a court, he lived on payments he received for his services. He is said, at times, to carry a bag, probably containing herbs and certain instruments, a libation jar, and a censer; and he seems to have been attired in a characteristic way.148 Specialized physicians were very rare; an eye doctor is mentioned once, in a late text.149 Veterinarians are mentioned from time to time.150

Although certain deities with healing powers. such as Marduk and Gula, are called “physicians.” no deified physician, such as Imhotep in Egypt and Asclepius in Greece and Rome, is known from Mesopotamia.


A systematic and critical inventory of the technological achievements of Mesopotamian civilization is needed to establish the degree to which Mesopotamian man succeeded in mastering nature, an essential aspect of the man-nature relationship in any civilization. This inventory will remain woefully inadequate, however, for two reasons; the paucity of the evidence available and the lack of scholarly interest in material culture.151

One would expect that the spade of the archaeologist, by now active in that region for nearly a century, would have yielded ample evidence not only of buildings and works of art, but also of the wide range of manufactured objects produced by the many craftsmen about whom we know from our texts. In contrast with the soil of Egypt, however, the Babylonian alluvium, and even the soil of the higher ground in the piedmont regions, has to a large extent destroyed such wooden objects, fabrics. leather, and bone utensils as the cuneiform tablets list and so often describe in detail. Human habitation in Mesopotamia is determined rather narrowly by such ecological conditions as availability of water for irrigation and transportation, and the need for protection from the often severe Hooding. These conditions created a stability of location that, combined with the use of sun-dried bricks as the main building material, produced the phenomenon of “tells” — that is, hills consisting of well-layered debris accumulated during millennia of occupation.152 Under such conditions the chances for the survival of smaller artifacts are slim, especially since such essential raw materials as metal and stone are scarce. Sanctuaries in particular tended to be bound strictly to their traditional emplaeement;153 their rapidly decaying mud-brick walls repeatedly required complete rebuilding from the foundation up. Thus, their maintenance —a sacred duty of all rulers —destroyed rather than preserved them and their fürnishings. The nearly complete absence of prestigious tombs154 and the paucity of the funerary inventory, typical of Mesopotamian burials, adversely affect the probability of the survival of both artistically important and everyday utensils, personal decorations, and weapons.

Another kind of archaeological evidence bears on the topic at hand —pictorial material. This may supplement what knowledge we are able to derive from actual objects, vestiges of constructions, and descriptions in texts. Sometimes iconographic evidence is nearly all we have for such artifacts as chariots,155 wagons, thrones and other fürniture, weapons, jewelry, and attire; for temples and fortifications, of which normally only the foundations are preserved; and for a number of animals. Indeed, the iconographic repertory retrieved from small seal cylinders and from palace reliefs and murals represents an important source of information. To interrelate representations, physical remains, and linguistic evidence is a task for many scholars.156 Unfortunately, discrepancies in purpose, style, timing, and subject matter among these three “media”constitute obstacles that grow more serious as the questions that we are trying to answer become more specific.

An aggravating factor is that Near Eastern archaeology has always been, and to a certain degree still remains, a prestige activity of Western as well as Near Eastern nations, and accordingly is directed, consciously or not, toward museum objects. Only as scientific methods became increasingly refined did objects made of clay and nonprecious metals move into the ken of the archaeologist, as their value for dating and coordinating sites became evident. A similar shift in focus is now occurring as one comes to realize the importance of even minute animal and plant remains for the light they shed on a wide range of social and economic areas, such as trade, density of population, and the stages of the domestication of plants and animals. Much valuable evidence of that nature was destroyed or disregarded at a number of famous and crucial sites.157

Still, considerable evidence has been gathered from Mesopotamia and neighboring areas. It ranges from imposing mud-brick structures, reliefs, statues and other decorated objects made of slone, and vessels of metal, stone, glass, and clay, to smaller artifacts used as weapons and personal decoration. As a rule, evaluation and technical analysis of individual finds are restricted to their evidentiary value in an immediate context, their artistic excellence, and the provenience of the material. Systematic investigation and appreciation of the techniques used to produce such objects are rather rare in the vast archaeological literature. There are exceptions to this, such as the research done in architecture by the school of the German excavator Robert Koldewey, a number of studies in metallurgy158 (oriented more toward the origins of the craft than toward the techniques employed), a study on brewing techniques,159 and a study on glass and glassmaking. Of the other fields of technology, only ceramics and textiles have come under closer scrutiny.160 Such ample and explicit evidence as human apparel has been left practically untouched,161 notwithstanding all the statuary, reliefs, and murals that could serve as illustration, together with the abundant evidence provided by texts.

In the time span of nearly three millennia during which we follow Mesopotamian man dealing with his environment, we cannot ignore the question of possible changes in the raw materials (either native or imported) at his disposal and in the techniques and tools employed. Instead of superimposing a developmental scheme upon whatever picture one could piece together, I prefer in this respect to focus on differences created by region, period, and social context. Admittedly the lacunae that beset this type of research must be attributed to the accidents of survival; but even so, two levels of technological advance can be discerned; the level of “subsistence technology,” which remains rather stable, evolving only in restricted areas and under special conditions, and that of “prestige technology,” subject to more drastic, although sometimes short-lived, changes.162 The evidence at hand —be it documentary or physical remains —does not illuminate these levels equally; that for the “prestige” level, hearing on the life styles of gods and kings, is far more explicit. coming from the archives of the “Great Organizations,” temple and palace; in the same archives the only segments of the “subsistence” level that are recorded are those that pertain to the large-scale agricultural activities (and related manufacturing procedures) that formed the economic basis of the temple and palace “households.” Many other segments of the “subsistence” level are rather poorly attested.

The Mesopotamian environment placed at the disposal of its inhabitants a limited number of native raw materials that increased but little prior to the invasion of the Iranian and Greek armies that brought about the end of the political (and cultural) independence of the region.163 This event affected the “subsistence” level, whereas earlier, outside influences had extended solely to the “prestige” techniques.164

The basis of Mesopotamian subsistence was cereal agriculture, made possible in the rainstarved alluvium by irrigation and by the use of “cattle for plowing, seeding, harrowing, and threshing. Sheep and goats provided a meat supply and fibers for textiles; the pig had only limited economic importance. Fish were utilized in several ways; ducks and geese were kept and, at least in the first millennium, fattened.165 Other fowl were known, but their identification is doubtful.166 The donkey carried loads overland.167 The dog assisted the shepherd,168 and the horse and the donkey are attested as draught animals.169

Ranking first among the raw materials available locally are clay, reeds, wood, and animal products (wool, hair, skins, bones, horns, and shells), supplemented by easily accessible stones170 and the local bitumen.171 Metals,172 obsidian, amber,173 stone beads, stones for milling, mineral dyes, and ivory174 can be assumed always to have been brought into the alluvial plain via petty hand-to-hand trading, as gifts, or as loot. The gamut of techniques required to utilize these raw materials and those yielded by the domesticated plants constituted the basis of both subsistence and prestige production. Over time, the prosperity of the country and the warlike activities or fame of its rulers increased the quantity and the variety of metals, stones, and timber coming from foreign parts. Moreover, finished objects were imported as booty or gifts and made Mesopotamian craftsmen conversant with new techniques of production and decoration.175

The techniques invented,176 adapted, or taken over covered three main areas; food technologies; shelter technologies; and the production of tools, fürnishings, and personal attire and decoration.

Most diversified of these are the food technologies. They require special tools and appliances for preparing the soil, for seeding, harvesting, and milling grain, and for pressing oilseeds. They also utilize special methods for cooking, baking, and brewing, as well as containers and buildings for the proper storage of cereals.177 All this concerns the two main staples, barley and wheat,178 the latter appearing much more rarely than the former. Millet was equally rare. The identification of the main oilseed plant (sesame) still poses a problem. The most important fruit tree was the date palm, a cultigen in the region;179 other fruit trees, such as apple, fig. and pomegranate, were relatively rare. Grapes for wine were grown mainly outside of Babylonia proper.180 Among the vegetables we are able to identify, on linguistic grounds, are those of the genus Allium (onion, leek, garlic), chick-peas, lentils, cucumbers, lettuce, mustard, and a number of spice plants, such as coriander and Ammi. The proper preparation and preservation of food of animal origin (meat or fish) likewise require special techniques.

The essential materials used in housing technology were clay, wood, and reed; bitumen, stone, (colored) plaster, and even melais were used only on the prestige level. Earth or clay to build walls was treated in several distinct ways (from terre pisée to kiln-fired brick). Timber (native or import-ed),181 branches, or reed and clay were used to make a watertight roof. Reed (bundled, plaited, or woven) served many purposes, mainly to create temporary protection and shelters for the indigent. Clay con-tainers, baskets, and (rarely) stone vessels provided storage facilities; reed and wood, household für-nishings. Metal mountings and inlays of polished stone and shells decorated the fürnishings of the rich and of the temples and palaces.

The need for clothing, and for protection and adornment, required techniques that could change wool and hair into fabrics, skins into leather, and wood, metal, and stone into tools for defense and attack. Metal, reed, animal sinews, bones, horns. tusks, mineral dyes, shells, and colorful stones can be put to many decorative uses.

From the vantage point of the archaeologist, the evidence for this extensive complex of techniques is unevenly distributed. Architecture is best repre-sented;182 of the royal and religious prestige build-ings, city gates and walls, and private houses, enough has been left undisturbed to permit us in-sight into the methods of construction, the functions of certain buildings, and the aspirations of the architect. For weapons, vehicles, fürniture, tools, har-nessing, clothing and ornaments, and musical in-struments we have very few actual remains at hand.183 Tools connected with agriculture, crafts, and other types of production were made predomi-nantly of wood and have disappeared completely. Some information about these objects can be gleaned, however, from the iconographic repertory preserved on decorated containers, seal cylinders. murals, and reliefs. This repertory often adds anoth-er dimension to excavated buildings and shows clothing, weapons, harness, musical instruments, and other utensils in considerable detail, as well as the way in which they were used. Iconographic rep-resentations often provide revealing insights into warfare, hunting, and acts of worship about which texts, even when amply available, contain little fac-tual information because of the extremely stylized form in which such events are usually described.

Three types of documents form the main sources of information bearing on technology; administra-tive texts, lexical lists, and technical manuals. Of course, any tablet-a private letter, a report on his-toric events, even a poetic text—can speak, either directly or through imagery, of craftsmen and their activities, materials, and tools.184

Clay tablets that record the issuing of raw materi-als to craftsmen and the delivery of the finished work concern, as a rule, those crafts that are of prime importance to the “Great Organizations” (temple and palace). Most of them refer to the tex-tile industry, the brewing of beer, and certain basic agricultural activities. Others deal with the con-struction of boats, the making of bricks, and the manufacture of precious objects (metalwork, jewel-ry, fürniture). Such an essential craft as that of the potter is hardly mentioned. Still, from texts of this kind we learn little more than the names of materi-als.185 of craftsmen, and of finished products, and hardly anything about the technical processes ap-plied. Only exceptionally is a work of art (if wrought of precious materials) described in details that are of interest to both the philologist and the historian of art.186

The word lists that enumerate basic materials and the products fashioned from them are quite infor-mative but rarely specific enough to be of much use to students of applied science. One list, dating to the second half of the second millennium B.C., presents nearly one thousand items, many of them names of professions (see note 7), many more than we are able to allocate to specific crafts—a real embarras de rÍchesse.

The best source of meaningful information bear-ing on Mesopotamian man’s technical know-how is contained in a special text category that I call “pro-cedural instructions.” They are written in the sec-ond person singular, thus directly addressing the person who is to carry out the instructions. One set of documents deals with mathematical and astro-nomical operations or with expiatory and prophy-lactic ritual acts and medical treatments; another is addressed to what we call craftsmen.

The extant manuals refer to the following crafts; the brewing of beer; the dyeing of wool (to make it resemble purple-dyed wool); the coloring of stones (to look like precious stones); the making of certain alloys (to look like silver or gold). Apart from these isolated texts, there are instructions for the prepara-tion of perfumes (attested in the Middle and Neo-Assyrian periods)187 and the training of chariot horses (Middle Assyrian and Hittite).188 The man-uals on the making of colored glasses are best at-tested in a few Middle Babylonian and a large num-ber of Neo-Assyrian copies; apparently there are also a few in Hittite.189 These instructions, with the exception of those concerning brewing, belong to the category of prestige technologies; instructions for brewing beer are found in an Old Babylonian text from Harmal190 and in a hymn to the beer god-dess.191 The hymn, which exhorts the beer goddess to make beer and gives her explicit instructions (in the second person singular), actually does not be-long to the category of procedural instructions. It might be likened, rather, to an Old Babylonian text (UET 6 414) that addresses the fuller with similarly styled instructions on how to treat a piece of tex-tile.192 These documents are quite sophisticated literary works that happen to throw considerable light on certain crafts.

In a paper entitled “Mesopotamia in the Early History of Alchemy” (Revue d’assyriologie et d’archéotogie orientale, 60 [1966], 29–45), 1 pub-lished two fragmentary clay tablets, one of the Mid-dle Babylonian period from Babylon and one from the library of Assurbanipal, both of which are clear-ly “procedural” in character. The former instructs the craftsman on how to produce imitations of two kinds of precious stones, apparently by applying some kind of glaze to a base carrier; the latter concerns the making of a silver-like alloy from base metal. My reason for treating these two texts together, and under the title chosen, was that the same two techniques are listed side by side in a group of Greek chemical papyri of the second cen-tury B.C. found in Egypt.193 My use of the word “al-chemy” in the title, however, was as unwarranted as is the use of “astrology”—criticized earlier in the present article—in connection with Mesopotamian celestial omens.194 Alchemy, like astrology, is a cre-ation oTthe Greek genius in Hellenistic Egypt. It is based on the concept of transmutation, the discov-ery that matter is but a mixture of a restricted num-ber of primary elements, a mixture that can, at least theoretically, be altered. Its roolsgo back to Aristot-le, if not to pre-Socratic atomism. Still, it was cor-rect to relate the two cuneiform tablets to the Greek papyri on the basis of their content, A recently discovered damaged tablet from Babylon dating to the first millennium B.C.195 contains instructions for dyeing wool in several shades of the coveted purple. The same topic also appears in the Greek papyri mentioned above.

The manuals dealing with the making of perfume and colored glasses, and with the training of fast chariot horses, clearly have their background in the royal court.196

In two papers I have stressed the importance of the royal courts of the ancient Near East in the network of exchange of intellectual, artistic, and technological information between civilizations.197 In fact, these courts provided the only channels through which such contacts could lake place. Embassies with gifts were more consequential in acquainting one country with the artistic and techni-cal achievements of another than was tribute or booty. Tribute, normally delivered annually, con-sisted mainly of raw materials and was therefore less important for the transfer of technical informa-tion. This special and ritualized form of commercial relations between countries moved essential metals, timber, domestic animals, and certain chemicals across borders. Even such finished products as were part of the tribute were merely standardized, “mass-produced” items, such as garments and metal bowls. Moreover, most of these objects were simply transferred from one governmental store-house to another and functioned mainly as a stimu-lus to the industrial activity of the delivering and the receiving countries —that is, the workshops of the palaces.

Victory in war produced not only booty and trib-ute but also prisoners of war and deportees. Such persons were always in great demand in Mesopota-mia because of the royal policies of forced urbaniza-tion and internal colonization. The preference was always for craftsmen, partly to prevent the defeated enemy from rearming or from returning to activities above the mere subsistence level, and partly to alle-viate the dire need for skilled laboral home. Thus. the craftsmen who produced the objects normally imported through trade and diplomatic channels198 could practice their skills on Mesopotamian soil.

The gift “circulation”199 not only disseminated ideas —methods and forms —but also stimulated new demands. Individual pieces sent from king to king caught the fancy of the ruler and his entourage by their novelty, intrinsic value, or artistic quality. Sumptuous garments, elaborate jewelry, weapons, harnesses, and household fürnishings200 created something like a royal fashion all over the ancient Near East, setting a style of elegant living accepted everywhere. Every king prided himself on having the attire, the jewelry, and the fast horses that pro-claimed his status. New things and ideas spread from the realm of personal decoration to that of liv-ing standards, leading to new architectural designs that changed the palaces201 and their fürnishings.202 and may well have influenced religious concepts and literary forms as well.203 The replacement of cuneiform writing on clay by a technique that used perishable materials (for writing Aramaic), how-ever, has robbed us of this segment of the intellec-tual history of the ancient Near East.

While it is evident that such skills as the training of chariot horses, and the production of beautiful glass objects and sophisticated perfumes, have their place in royal courts.204 another social milieu must be assumed for the production of materials that simulate the expensive —that is. that look like cer-tain precious stones, or real purple-dyed wool, or genuine silver. These materials were no doubt pro-duced for patrons who demanded but could not afford the style of living, if not of the court, then of those who were in some way connected with it. There seems to have developed in the early first millennium —this is the date of most of these in-structional manuals —a small urban middle class for whom these substitutes for the precious were pro-duced.

I have a final point to make about the socio-economic background of Mesopotamian technol-ogy. Apart from the quasi-industrial crafts of weaving205 and beer brewing, which were in the domain of the “Great Organizations.” there were those that required a less trained personnel; the crafts of the smith, carpenter, leatherworker, potter, and mat and basket weaver. We know, if only spot-tily, about these craftsmen, from the records of the well-organized shops of the temple and palace. Smaller households probably did weaving and brewing as part of the normal routine. Other crafts in the Babylonia of the second millennium B.C. stayed within certain families, so that an outsider had to be adopted in order to receive instruction and to practice the craft. A change occurred during the next millennium; apprentices were accepted to be trained for a certain number of years, after which they presumably could work on their own;206 even slaves are attested as apprentices and masters. It is difficult to establish the reason for such a change.207

The maintenance of the professional tradition was assured by the unchanging nature of the essen-tial raw materials and tools used. Wood, clay, metals, wool,208 and colored stones were not re-placed by new materials, nor were the techniques used in working them affected by alien influence or the ingenuity of an inventor. The changes that hap-pened after the collapse of Babylonian indepen-dence, when the country was suddenly exposed to influences from the West and from Iran (and central Asia), only underline the basic stability —not to say inertia —of Mesopotamian technology209 This holds true mainly for subsistence technology,210 because prestige technology was always-and especially in the middle of the second millennium —ready for changes.

We can draw conclusions about the techniques used by these craftsmen only from their finished work, if available, or from linguistic evidence.

The most frequently applied method is using fire, Although, curiously enough, we still do not know how fire was produced in Mesopotamia, its techni-cal utilization was very diversified. There was vari-ety in the range of temperatures obtained and in the lengths of the processing. The installations are little known apart from domestic hearths and pottery kilns;211 not much evidence can be gathered from texts about bellows and their use,212 or the arrange-ments for controlling the access of air.

In food technology, fire had many uses; for boil-ing the essential gruellike dishes made of cereals, parching kernels, and baking the yeastless bread, as well as the preparation of vegetables and the rather infrequent meat dishes.213 The extraction of oil from certain oilseed plants (especially sesame) likewise required the application of heat.214 Moreover, the brewing of beer required lire for drying the malted kernels and baking the beer “breads.” Ashes of cer-tain plants yielded lye, which, combined with oil, served as a detergent,215 The charcoal made for bra-ziers and censers could, moreover, be used to ob-tain rather high temperatures in kilns.

The two techniques that rely on high tempera-tures are metallurgy and glassmaking. We are still ill-informed about metals and their treatment, de-spite a number of excellent products of Mesopo-tamian craftsmanship that have survived the rav-ages of time and men. They bear testimony to the competence with which these people worked gold,216 silver, copper, bronze, iron, and even anti-mony, in various distinct techniques.

Goldsmiths, often working with jewelers, provid-ed temple and palace with innumerable serving con-tainers, fürnishings, and decorative objects cast of gold,217 and with wooden objects coated with gold sheets, often embellished with mounted colored stones.218 The descriptions of royal palaces always use a limited inventory of stereotyped phrases,219 but we have ample archaeological evidence for the first millennium B.C.; the temples that were built, renewed, or refürbished by the last kings of Baby-lonia must have been sumptuously decorated with gold and silver, from threshold to roof, according to their eloquent foundation documents, not to men-tion the paraphernalia of the cult. We may assume the same for earlier periods, even if such evidence is rare;220 after all, the Babylonia of the last kings was to become the richest satrapy of the Persian em-pire.221

Silver was used in much the same way as gold, but also —and this creates complications —as a means of payment, especially in the first millen-nium. As such it was often alloyed with base metals,222 a fact always indicated in contemporary texts in exact figures, although we do not know how this ratio was established or controlled.223

Copper and bronze, of course, were used most frequently for weapons,224 tools, containers, and other items, as the long lists of such objects in lexi-cal texts, administrative documents, and other evi-dence suggest.225

Iron objects, however, are rare, according to ar-chaeological and philological evidence.226 As to the treatment of iron by the smith —the ironsmith as specialist appears only in first-millennium Assyrian texts —hardly anything is known, for example. about the use of carbonization for improving the quality of certain tools. For the present investiga-tion it is of interest that magnetism was recognized as a quality of certain iron ores.227

Tin,228 lead, and antimony229 were also used by the Mesopotamian metallurgists.

In general, it would appear that these craftsmen knew much more about the techniques they ap-plied—their timing, effects, and limitations —than we are inclined to assume. This has become clear from the manuals dealing with the production of colored glasses. Although extant metalwork from Mesopotamia is hardly outstanding when compared with the discoveries made elsewhere in the ancient Near East, especially Egypt,230 we must make al-lowance for lost evidence.

We have a level of technical information about glassmaking that is unparalleled in the investigation of ancient Near Eastern technology. Our texts not only allow us insight into a new chapter of this art, but do so from an angle not accessible for any other aspect of ancient technical knowledge.231 We learn about special techniques, tools, and ingredients, denoted by an extensive technical vocabulary that we can trace in other documents and there discover hitherto unsuspected evidence for glass and glass-making. Thus, the horizon of the investigation ex-pands, leading to the discovery of cross-cultural technological contacts.

The main body of the glassmaking texts from the library of Assurbanipal in Nineveh shows clear traces that they represent at least two earlier collec-tions of prescriptions based on different shop tradi-tions that use distinct sets of technical terms for both materials and procedures. Philological indica-tions suggest that the originals were written down in the last third of the second millennium, a time that saw the great flowering of glassmaking in Mesopo-tamia. The methods used are basically those of the preindustrial stage of glassmaking; silicate-carrying minerals and ashes of certain plants were crushed and heated together, then allowed to cook the mix-ture was repeatedly ground and remelted until a high-quality glass was produced.232 Sintering and melting were done in special types of kilns. Anti-mony compounds were added to produce opacity, since the goal of the Mesopotamian glassmaker was to imitate precious stones rather than to make trans-parent or even translucent glasses. Copper com-pounds were used as colorants to make the glass red or blue by either preventing or increasing oxidation, according to how the access of air was manipulated. In short, a consistent and well-thought-out pro-cedure was applied to change the base ingredients into a new material of intense coloration and smooth texture that could be fashioned at will when hot and pliable or, when cooled, could be cut, pol-ished, and mounted in precious metal like a stone.233

Philological and archaeological indications sug-gest that the home of this ingenious invention was Upper Syria.234 At least, it is first attested in that region; there glass technology remained in a state of constant advance into the first millennium of the Christian era. From there it spread as a royal art from court to court, into Egypt as well as into Mes-opotamia.235 It is essential to note here that the glazing of ceramic beads, bowls, and tiles had been practiced in the entire ancient Near East from the fifth millennium B.C. on,236 so that the change from glaze to glass that occurred in the middle third of the second millennium does not represent a techni-cal breakthrough but an organic, if sudden, develop-ment. Still, the rise and spread of the new craft throughout the great civilizations of the region für-nishes an impressive example of the degree to which the nature of an invention and the speed of its transmission are related to the socioeconomic stra-tum in which it materializes.

A final observation concerning the manuals for glassmaking is in order. In three places in the Nine-veh collection (one in the introductory section and two in atypical prescriptions sec. 13 and sec. L]) ritual acts are prescribed; all are quite similar in content and style, as well as in their timing; before the kiln is healed, certain sacrifices are to be made to deities related to fire. In evaluating this practice, one could suggest that the ritual acts performed per-tained to the use of fire for technical purposes, and may have been enacted also by metalworkers and potters.237 Or one could argue that the atypical pre-scriptions represent an older tradition—the bulk of the prescriptions dispensed with any ritual act —and that an editor relegated all ritual acts to the general introduction, expressing a tendency toward dere-alization.

Fire was, of course, also applied to produce ce-ramic wares destined for storing, preparing, and serving foodstuffs. Most of these uses were on the subsistence level; and our information is quite inad-equate, in view of the variety of techniques applied. Of bricks, sun-dried or kiln-fired, and their uses we know much more from excavated constructions, especially from those on the prestige level.238 Still, Mesopotamian architecture makes use of kiln-fired bricks mainly for utilitarian purposes.239 The early stamped-earth technique has left its imprint on the way walls are erected, with sun-dried bricks laid in mud mortar and completely covered with mud fac-ing. Height is achieved at the price of thickness of the walls, and the size of wooden beams determines the width of the rooms (and hence the layout of the building).240 In the constructions of the enormous temple towers, the Mesopotamian architects241 knew very well how to deal with problems of mass and stress.242

Very little is known about the less prestigious crafts and about the work of the artists; the con-struction of fürniture,243 implements, tools, and weapons;244 the application of dyes to fabrics; and the making of reed mats and ropes, to mention but a representative selection. There are also those ar-tisans who engrave stamp and cylinder seals; use chemicals to etch designs on carnelian beads; cut and polish precious stones for containers, inlays, weights, and decorative pendants; design and exe-cute statuary and wall reliefs; and paint murals.

The most complex items produced by the carpenter245 are chariots and wagons,246 boats.247 plows,248 and, on a smaller scale, fürniture, certain musical instruments, and looms.249 The number of words recorded in the Sumero-Akkadian word lists for the parts of all these implements attests to the complexity of their construction; metal, wood, bitu-men, ropes, and leather were used ingeniously, as we know from administrative documents that re-cord materials handed out to craftsmen.

There is an exception worth mentioning. We would know nothing about the working methods of the tanner were it not for a few passages in religious texts describing—or. rather, prescribing—certain ritual acts. For unknown reasons, these passages in-struct the officiating person on how to prepare cer-tain animal skins to serve specific ritual purposes.250

Quite early, many ways were discovered to pro-tect animal skins from decay and to make them into that effective and lasting raw material of many and diverse uses, tanned leather. Pieces of apparel, con-tainers of all sorts, coatings of wooden objects, and straps to reinforce constructions or to secure at-tachments were made of leather. From administra-tive texts we know that the Mesopotamian tanner used vegetable substances and certain minerals. The ritual texts tell us that the skins had to be soaked in several liquids, such as water, vinegar, wine, and beer, to which were added various types of flour and, at times, aromatic matters that often cannot be identified. Fats, mainly tallow and oils, were used to make the skins pliable.251

One must keep in mind that the nature of these prescriptions was ceremonial rather than practical; thus, certain stages of the tanning process, such as the dehairing of the skins and the scraping and beat-ing of them with stones, are omitted. It is important to note that the chemical used was alum252 and the vegetable tanning agent was called hurant, while in second-millennium administrative texts a mineral called alluharu253 and a plant written Ú.háb are mentioned in this context.254 The change in tanning methods, like other developments in technology. seems to have occurred during the crucial centuries of the middle of the second millennium B.C. From then on, alum was imported in large quantities into Mesopotamia, not only for tanning but also as a mordant for dyeing wool, a technique that had be-come the fashion.

There is another tanning method, applied to goat-skins that are tanned and dyed at the same time (to produce cordovan leather). In this process the skins become the color of the stone called dušû.255 This is most likely a shade of red or orange, judging from textual evidence; in an Old Babylonian text a sun disk for a sanctuary is said to be made of dušû-col-stone, and a late medical text mentions dušû-col-ored urine as one of the symptoms of a patient. This type of leather, rarely mentioned in earlier texts, became so common in the first millennium that a new profession arose, that of the cordovan tanner, which is not mentioned in the traditional word lists (sārip dušê).256

We felt singularly fortunate when Leo Oppenheim cordially agreed to contribute the article on natural philosophy and natural history in ancient Mesopo-tamia. We were correspondingly distressed when word came of his death in 1974. It is fortunate that he had largely completed the article that we are privileged to publish. At Mrs. Oppenheim’s request, in which the Board wholeheartedly joined, Dr. Erica Reiner consented to prepare the manuscript for publication. The Board would like to express our very profound gratitude for her generosity.

The Bosard of Editors

The final draft of this essay had been completed at the lime of Leo Oppenheim’s death. Although he would have made fürther changes or additions, I know specifically only of his intention to add a sec-tion on scales and weights. Rather than attempt to add anything of my own, I have left the present form of the essay, with its rather abrupt ending, unchanged. Of the additional material that he had accumulated after the final draft was written — mainly bibliographic references —I have made very selective and sparing use.

I am most grateful to my colleagues at the Orien-tal Institute whom Oppenheim asked to read the draft for their advice, and to Professor Edith Para-da, Coin in hi a University,for help with selecting the references that were added. Mrs. Oppenheim read the manuscript and contributed many helpful suggestions. Ear the editing for style, thanks are due to Mrs. Marjorie Cutler let; Palo Alto, California, and to Mrs. Olga A. Titelbaum, Book Editor, Orien-tal Institute, who also assumed the task of verifying the footnotes and making them consistent.

April 15, 1975



ABL Robert Francis Harper. Assyrian and Babylonian Letters. 14 vols. (London-Chicago, 1892–1914).

ADD Claude Hermann Walter Johns, Assyria Deeds and Documents, 4 vols. (Cambridge, 1898– 1923).

Ai Benno Landsberger, Die Serie ana ittišu, which is Materialien zum Sumerischen Lexikon. 1 (Rome. 1937),

BAM Franz Köcher, Die babylonisch-assyrische Me-dizin in Texten und Untersuchungen (Berlin. 1963-).

BM Sigla of cuneiform tablets in the British Muséum.

CT Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, &c in the British Musé um (London. 1896-).

GCCI Raymond Philip Dougherty, Archives from Erech. Goucher College Cuneiform Inscriptions, 2 vols, (New Haven-London, 1923-1933).

Gilgameš Epic The Epic of Gilgamish, text, trans-literation. and notes by R. Campbell Thompson (Oxford, 1929).

Hh Lexical series HAR . ra = hubullu, published in Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon, V-Xl (Rome, 1956– 1974).

K Sigla of cuneiform tablets in the Kuyunjik collection of the British Muséum.

KAH Keilschrifttexte aus Assur historischen Inhalts, Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. 16 and 37 (Leipzig. 1911–1922).

KAR Keilschrifttexte aus Assur religiösen Inhalts, Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft, 28 and 34 (Leipzig. 1919–1923),

KAV Keilschrifttexte aus Assur verschiedenen Inhalts. Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. 35 (Leipzig, 1920).

KUB Keilschriflurkuuden aus Boghazköi(Berlin, 1921).

LKA Erich F.beling, Literarische Keilschrifttexte aus Assur (Berlin. 19531.

Maqlû Gerhard Meier, Die assyrische Beschwö-sammiung Maqlü, which is Archiv für Orientforschung., supp. 2, Ernst F. Weidner, ed. (Berlin, 1937; repr. Osna-brück, 1967).

PBS University Muséum. University of Pennsylvania Publications of the Babylonian Section (Philadelphia, 1911).

R The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, pre-pared for publication by Major-General Sir Henry Cres-wicke Rawlinson, 5 vols. (London. 1861- 1884).

STT Oliver Robert Gurney, Jacob Joel Finkelstein. and Peter Hulin. The Sultantepe Tablets. 2 vols, (London. 1957–1964).

TCL Musée du Louvre, Département des Antiquités Orientales, Textes canéiformes (Paris. 1910-).

UET U’r Excavations. Texts. Publications of the Joint Expedition of the British Muséum and of the University Muséum. University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, to Mesopotamia (London. 1928-).

VAS Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler der Königlichen Museen zu Berlin (Leipzig, 1907-).

YOS Yule Oriental Series, Babylonian Texts (New Haven-London. 1915-).


1. This has to be qualified somewhat. The grammatical texts mentioned by Alan Gardiner in Ancient Egyptian Onomas-tica. I (London,1947)4, n. 2, have their counterparty in the Old and Neo-Babylonian grammatical texts published by Richard T. Hallock and Benno Landsberger in Materialien zum Sumerischen Lexikon. IV (Rome, 1956), 45-207.

2. The tenor of Solomon’s knowledge about trees and animals is indicated by the preceding line (1 Kings 4;32); “and he spake three thousand proverbs and his songs were a thou-sand and five.”

3. J, See Albrecht All, “Die Weisheit Salomos,” in Theolo-gische Literaturzeitung (1951), 139– 144.

4. For the entire text category, see A. Leo Oppenheim, An-cient Mesopotamia, Port rail of a Dead Civilization (Chieago, 1964), 244–249; and Wolfram von Soden, “Leistung und Grenze sumerischer und babylonischer Wissenschaft.” in Die Welt als Geschichte, II (Stuttgart, 1936), 411–464, 509–557, esp. 433–436, of which there is a reprint ed, with additions and corrections, in Benno Landsberger, Die Eigenbegrifkhkeii der babylonische Well (Darmstadt, 1965).”

5. At times not the entire Sumerian entry, but only its qualifying adjective, is translated into Akkadian (for instance, tree + date palm + early ripening = early),

6. There are such lists with added columns of Ugaritic and Human translations. See Jean Noagayrol. “Vocabulaires polyglottes,” in Ugaritic 5, which is Mission de Ras Shamra 16 (Paris, 1968). 230–251. From the Hellenistic period come clay table is with one column or both transcribed in Greek letters; see Edmond Sollberger, “Graeco-Babyloniacu,” in Iraq, 24 (I 962), 63-72.

7. For the series HAR . r a = hubullu. see Materialien zum Sumerischen Lexikon, V-XI (1956– 1974); for the list of human classes, ibid.. XII (1969). “there is no definitive edi-ion of the list of deities as yet.

8. My position as outlined here differs in certain ways from that expressed in my Ancient Mesopotamia. 248.

9. For the stone text (abnu šikinšu), see STT 108 and 109, also K 4751 and BAM 194 and 378; for the plant text (šammu šikinšu), which, however, has an explicit pharma-cological orientation, see Franz Köcher in BAM 4, p. xxvi ad no. 379; for the snake list (sēru šikinšu). see the isolated text CT 14 7 K. 4206+ obv.(!) and Benno Landsberger, Die Palma des alten Mesopotamien (Leipzig, 1934), 52 f. There is an obvious interest in fantastic snakes; see the ref-ences in Assyrian Dictionary (Chicago, 1956) sub sera B and the F.sarhaddon passage mentioned in no. 26 (below).

10. Lists are also used to describe cities by systematically enumerating divine images, temples and other sacral buildings, fortifications, gates, and other structures. This has been done for Babylon —see Eckhard Unger, Babylon, die heilige Stadt mich der Beschreibung der Babylon—et (Berlin-Leipzig, 19311 —for Borsippa, ibid.. 250 ff.; and for Assur —see Eckhard Unger, Das Stadtbild von Assur, which is Der Alte Orient. XXVII, no. 3 (Leipzig, 1929). 12-16.

11. See Albert Schott, Die Vergleiche in den akkadischen Königsinschriften, which is Mitteilungen der Vorderasia-tisch-Acgypiischcti Gesellschaft, XXX. no. 2 (Leipzig. 19261; and Wolfgang Heimpel. Tierltilder in der sumerischen Literatur (Rome, 1968).

12. For the purpose and tenor of this text, see A. Leo Oppenheim, “The City of Assur in 7 14 B.C.,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 19(1960), 133– 147.

13. A comparison of similar force and subject matter, based again on the observation of wild animals, can be found in the NeoAssyrian literary work published by Wolfram von Soden as “Die Unterweltsvision eines assyrischen Kronprinzen.” in Zeitschrift Jür Assyriologie, 43 (1936). I -30, II. 69 f. It is not likely that court poets used imagery of this sort because of its appeal to the king alone, as a hunter, since both texts cited were destined for a wider public. Thus, it would appear that the well to-do Assyrians to whom these texts were addressed were likewise hunters, not for food but for pleasure, a practice that is not reflected in written documents of any kind.

14. See A. Leo Oppenheim, “A New Prayer to the ’Gods of the Night,’” in Analecta biblica, 12 (1959), 282–301.

15. See the text K 890, published by S. Arthur Strong, in “On Some Oracles to Esarhaddon and Ašurbanipal.” in Beiträge zur Assyriologie, 2 (1894), 634, Its central topos, the ship adrift, reflects a Sumerian prototype. See Clans Wilekc. “Eine Schicksalsentseheidung für den loten Ulrnammu.” in Actes de la XVII Rencontre assyriologique internationale (Ham-Sur-Heure, 1970). 89;214,

16. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub ēdu (lex. section) and bīnu A.

17. Note in this context the first millennium Assur text KAV 92, which lists countries and gives distances spanning the region from the islands of the Mediterranean Sea to Dilmtin in the Persian Gulf and to Makan and Meluhha. For a discussion, see Ernst F. Weidner. “Das Reich Sargons von Akkad,” in Archiv für Orientforschung. 16 (1952–53). 1–23. Old Babylonian itineraries also giving distances were written for practical purposes; see Albrecht Goetze, “An Old Babylonian Itinerary,” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 7 (1953). 51–72; and William W. Hallo. “The Road to Emar,” ibid., 18 (1964). 57– 88. For Neo-Assyrian lists of way stations (mardītu), see Frnst F. Weidner, “As-syrische Itinerare,” in Archiv fiir Orientforschung, 21 (1966).42–46.

18. Interest in foreign languages is also reflected in lists. See n. 6 (above) and Heinrich Otten and Wolfram von Soden. Das akkudisch-helthitische Vokabular KBo I 44 + KBo XIII I (Wiesbaden, 1968). which is Studien zu den Boğazköy-Texten. 7; for Egyptian and Kassite word lists. see the papers cited in Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia. 371. no. 25.

19. Witness the rather detailed description of the coronation ritual of an Urartian king— François Thureau-Dangin, Une retalion de la huitième campagne de Sargon, which is Musée du Louvre. Textes Cunéiformes, 3 (Paris, 1912), II. 339– 342; s&i Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 19 (1960), 141—and the obvious respect shown in an inscription of Assurbanipal (668–627 B.C.) when describing the temple and sacred grove of the Elamite capital — Maximilian Streck, Assurbanipal. II (Leipzig. 1916). 52–54, vi 30–69.

20. For the Sumerian evidence, see Dietz Otto Edzard, Die “Zweite Zwischenzeit” Babyloniens (Wiesbaden, 1957), 31– 33. It should be stressed that such descriptions are not meant to characterize the living habits of the desert dwellers as barbaric but. rather, as what we would call “primitive.” For evidence, see Giovanni Pettinato, Das Bitorientalische Menschenbild und die sumerischen und akktt-disclten Schäpfungsmythen (Heidelberg, 1971), 20–25.

21. See Ignace J.Gelb, “Makkan and Meluhha in Early Mesopotamian Sources,” in Revue d’ assyriologie et d’ar-chélogie Orientale, 64 (1970). 1 –8; also John Hansman. “A Periplus of Magan and Meluhha,” in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 36 (19731, 554–587.

22. Gold, however, is somehow associated with the netherworld. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub arallü, sind note the possible connection with the country Harali in Sumerian literary texts. See Géza Komoróczy, “Das mythische Goldland Harali im alten Vorderasien,” in Acta Orientalin Acadentiae scientiarum hungaricae. 26 (1972), 113–123, Only in an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser 1II (744–727 h,c) can one find a reference to gold from a specific known mountain (region). šikrakki; Paul Rost. Die Keilschrift-texte Tiglat-fÍlesers III (Leipzig, 18931,62;32.

23. See Erica Reiner. “Lipšur Litanies,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 15(1956), 146 f.

24. The sedentary population of Mesopotamia considered the tent to be the main feature of momadism (see Assyrian Dietionary, sub kuštāru and bīt sēri), as did St rabo, referring to the scenitae Arabs.

25. Streck. Assurbanipal. II. 70–80 viii 79–ix 114;and Rykle Borger, Die Inschriften Asarhaddons, Königs von Assy-rien, which is Archiv für Orientforschung, supp, 9 (Graz, S956). 112– 113, 6–r. 19. The Assyrian army knew well how to survive in the “region of thirst,” as the desert was called at times. They dug special deep wells — Borger, op. cit., 112;17 —or made water holes in dry riverbeds —Wolf-gang Schramm, “Die Annalen des assyrischen Königs Tukulti-Ninurta II.” in Bibliotheca urieniulis. (1970). 147– 160, II. 48, 63. The latter has an interesting parallel in the Old Testament; 2 Kings 3;16.

26. Borger.op. cit 112.

27. See Ernst F. Weidner. “Die Feldzüge und Bauten Tiglatpilesers 1,” in Archiv für Orientforschung. 18 (1957– 1958), 355–356.

28. For Egypt, the Old Testament, and Ugarit, see Otto Kai-ser, Die mythische Bedeutung des Meeres in ägypten, Ugarit und’Israel (Berlin, 1959), 140 ff.; Godfrey Rolles Driver, “Mythical Monsters in the Old Testament,” in Studi orientalislici in onore di Giorgio Levi ilclla Vida. I (Rome. 1956). 234–249; Herbert Gordon May. “Some Cosmic Connotations of mayîm rubbîm.” in Journal of Biblical Literature, 74 (1955), 921.

29. The text is BM 92687, published in Felix E. peiser, “Eine baby tonische Landkarte,” in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie. 4 (1889). 361 – 369, and in CT 22 48. Translations of the text are in Ernst F. Weidner. Der Zug Sargons von Akkad nach Kleinasien, which is Boghazköi-Studien, 6 (Leipzig, 1922), 86-91; and Linger, Babylon. 254– 258.

30. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub marratu.

31. One is tempted to connect the “horn” drawing with the Sumerian name of the city Borsippa; Bàd,si. (“Fortress-at-the-horn-of-the-sea/lake”). See Eckhard Unger, in Reallexikon der Assyriologie, 1 (Berlin-Leipzig. 1928). 404. Its placement on the map may lend support to this suggestion.

32. See Reallexikon der Assyriologie. IV (1972), 71.

33. This date is confirmed by the use of the measure subbān on the reverse (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub voce), and fits the style of the script,

34. The same is said of the region of the Hyperboreans. For literature see Edward Lipiński. “El’s Abode; Mythological Traditions Related to Mount Hermon and to the Mountains of Armenia,” in Orientada Lovaniensia periodica, 2 (1971), 13–69, esp. 44. nn. 156, 157.

35. The problem is that if eight triangles were intended, one would expect a symmetrical arrangement, which is not the case. The actual traces and the partly reconstructed copy by Felix F. Pciser, in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie. 4 (1889), 361 f, suggest seven triangles. On the other hand, one can find eight sections only if one assumes a dividing tine after line 17. copied by Peiscr (and assumed by Weidner) but omitted by Thompson.

36. Note that nagû, when taken over into Aramaic (nagwān), means specifically “island” or “coastal region.”

37. The notion of deposed gods is also attested in the expressions ilāni darsūti — for which see Rintje Fran ken a. Tāktsi-tu de saccule Maallijd in Is et assyrische Ritueel (Leiden, 1954), 13 f.—and (ilāni kamûti — see Assyrian Dictionary. sub kamû. adj. usage a. See also it. 95 I below).

38. Utnapištim. the hero of the Babylonian flood story, lives as does his Sumerian counterpart Ziusudra) on an island beyond the sea. enjoying eternal life on that prototype of the “Island of the Blessed” known from classical mythology. Sargon of Akkad and his adversary Nūr-Dagau appear in the old legend culled “King of Battle” (šar tamhāri). in which a campaign to far-off Asia Minor is the central topic. See Hans Gustav Güterbock. “Die historische Tradition und ihre literarische Gestaltung hei Bubyloniern und Hethitern bis 1200,” in Zeitschrift fuumlr Assyriologie, 42 (1934), 86–91; and the Hittite version, ibid.. 44 (1938). 45–49; also Wilfred G, Lambert, “A New Fragment of The King of Battle,” in Archiv für Orienatforschng, 20 (1963). 161– 162. In Sumerian mythological literature, the island of Dilmun appears as the “pure land.” the “land of the living.” the “place where the sun rises.” and the place where the Hood hero Ziusudra was transported, to live there a “life like a god.” Still, the reference to three harvests per year (UET 6/1 Iii 24) points in a different direction, per-haps to a land of Cockaigne,

39. The animals listed correspond only partly to the traditional Mesopotamian enumerations of exotic animals. For Sumerian. see, for example, Adam Falkenstein, “Fluch über Akkade,” 1. 21. in Zeitschrift für Assyrioiogie, 57 (1965). 43– 124; and the unpublished text 3 NT 385 iv 20. The lion, the wolf, the cat, the ostrich, and various animals al-ways mentioned with the gazelle do not really lit. Only the kusarikkii (?) is strictly mythological, as is probably the luīmu at that period (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub voce). while the lulīmu and the pagītu — the baboon—are not; for baboons (rather than monkeys) in Sumerian literary texts. see Edmund I. Gordon. “Animals as Represented in the Sumenan Proverbs and Fables; A Preliminary Study,” in Drevny mir, sbornik statey akademiku V. V. Struve, N. V, Pigulevskaya et al., eds. (Moscow, 1962), 228. In Akkadi-an proverbs the cat from Meluhha and the bear (see Assyri-an Dictionary, sub margû) from Parahše (Persia) are men-tioned in the proverb published by Wilfred G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature (Oxford, 1960), 272;6f.; for Elamite. Persian, and Meluhha dogs, see Assyrian Dic-tionary, sub kalbu. meaning le. Interest in exotic animals is expressed in repealed demands of the Babylonian king addressed to the pharaoh for representations of them to be sent to Babylon; “The experts who are at your disposal should make lifelike replicas of the strange animals of land and river; the skin [especially ǀ should be like that of a living animal; your messenger should bring [themǀ here. Bui, if when my messenger Sindišugab arrives there and there are available some old and finished [replicas], they should load them quickly on wagons and come here with dispatch, and [then] they should make new ones for later.” Jörgen Alexander Knudtzon, ed.. Die El-Amarna-Tufeln, Vorderasiatische Bibliothek. 1 (Leipzig. 1915), no. 10;32–40, letter of Burnaburiaš. See also ibid., letter no. 4;24 and 35 in a letter of Kadašman-Harhe.

40. See Peltinato, Das altoricntalischc Menschenbild, 1–22.

41. See Benno Landsberger and James V. Kinnier Wilson, “The Fifth Tablet of Enūma eliš,” in Journal of Neat EasternStudies,20 (1961), 154– 179; Ephraim Avigdor Speiser, in James Bennett Pritchard. ed.. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (Princeton, 1955), 67 f.; and Albert Kirk Grayson, ibid, 3rd ed, with supp. (Princeton, 1969), 501 f.

42. Verse 11 of tablet V. the first of the sections dealing with the moon, is out of place because it refers, proleptically. to the creation of the upper half of the cosmos (elâti) from the body Tiamat. The topic has already been taken up in a short passage (IV. 137 f.) which speaks of the victorious Marduk splitting the corpse of Tiamat as one would a fish to prepare it for drying in the sun (also KAK 307 r. 2). He uses one-hall to roof the sky.

43. For a parallel to the astronomic section of the Babylonian Epic of Creation, see Ernst F. Weidner. “Die astrologische Serie Enûma Anu Enlil.” in Archiv für Orientforschung. 17 (1954– 1956), 89; and Landsberger and Kinnier Wilson, “The Fifth Tablet.” 172.

44. For rain clouds pictured with raindrops inside them, see Walter Andrae, Farbige Keramik aus Assur und ihre Vorstufen in altassyrischen Wandmalereien (Berlin. 1923), pl. 8.

45. The Great Band is also mentioned in two of the names of Marduk enumerated in Enūma eliš VII. 80 and 95,

46. Sec Pcllinato. Das altorientalische Menschenbild, 62 f. In the Hittite myth of Kumarbi — see Hans Gustav Güter-bock, Kumtabi, which is Istanbuler Schriften 16 (Zurich-New York, 1946) –heaven and earlh are separated with a cleaver; compare the splitting of the corpse of Tiamat (n. 42). See also Heinrich Otten and J. Siegelová, “Die hethitischen Gulš-Gottheiten und die Erschaffung des Menschen,” in Archiv für Orientforschung, 23 (1970), 32–38.

47. See the passage 4 R 9;28f. an.sud.dam ; kīma šamê rūsqūti (“like the far-off heaven”); also Lambert, Babylo-nian Wisdom Literature, 148;83. The distance from earth to heaven is vividly and quite naturalistiealIy described in the story of the ascent of Etana on the back of an eagle. The ever-diminishing size of the earth as seen from aloft represents a very rare instance in Mesopotamian literature of the imaginative rendering of a fantastic experience,

48. The comparison in KAR 23;16, “the apsû is your [the gods’] hamû-kett1e[?]. your censer (niknakku)is the heaven of Ann.” points to a spherical shape of the cosmos. Note that the word kippatu in kippat šamê/erseti (“totality,” literally “circumference of heaven/earth”) denotes a hoop, a loop-shaped handle of a container, a loop of a snare, the curl of a tendril of the grapevine.

49. The Sumerian words corresponding, respectively, to elât and išid šamê arc used in certain Assyrian and Neo-Buby-lonian royal inscriptions (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub et-âtu. meaning 5c-2) to refer to East and West; “from sun-rise [an.Úr] to sunset [] wherever the sun shines,”

50. The text —Friedrich Delitzsch, Assyrische Lesestücke, 2nd ed. (Leipzig, 1876). 73;41 f. —speaks of the šigar šamê, while an omen tablet— Archiv für Orientforschung. 14 (1941–1944), pi. 16. VAT 9436—speaks of the handūh šamê (r. 6 and 12) and the sikkat same as essential parts of the lock of this gate (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub handūhu). The šamaš prayer in Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts. VI (London, 1924), 45 L;6 ff., describes in detail the god’s leaving the aerebsanté; by removing locks and bars and opening the doors of heaven.

51. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub abullu, meaning 2b.

52. James Alexander Craig. Assyrian and Babylonian Reli-gious Texts, I (Leipzig. 1895), 22 ii 15; I interpret attaqat-lalu as a rare Neo-Assyrian form connected with šuqallulu,

53. The connection of the topographical name with māšul māštu (“twin”) is also suggested by the Ugaritic passage speaking of the “two hills at the border of the netherworld” (tlm gśr ars). See Nicholas J. Tramp. Primitive Concep-tions of Death and the Nether World in the Old Testament (Rome, 1969), 7.

54. For the Sumerian key word k u r , see Samuel Noah Kramer, The Sumerians, Their History, Culture and Character (Chicago. 1963), 151–153, 296; for h u r . s a g . see Thorkild Jacobsen. “Sumerian Mythology; A Review Article.” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 5 (1946), 141.

55. See KAH 2 54, edited by Ernst F. Weidner, Die Inschriften TakultiNinurtus I und seiner Nachfolger, which is Archiv für Orientforschung supp. 12 (Graz, 1959), 36, no. 25; English trans, in Albert Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Royal inscriptions.) (Wiesbaden. 1972), 25*.

56. The pertinent material has recently been collected from biblical, Ugaritic, and classical sources by E. Lipiński in “El’s Abode.” For the Egyptians’ quite different concept of chaos and darkness surrounding the edges of the world, see Hellmut Brunner, “Die Grenzen von Zeit und Raum hei den Ägyptern,” in Archiv für Orientforschung, 17 (1954–1956), 141 f.; and Rudolf Kilian, “Gen. I 2 und die Urgöttervon Heliopolis,” in Vetus testamentum, 16 (1966). 420–438.

57. There is no evidence from Mesopotamia for pillars supporting the heaven as we have them in the Old Testament (Job 26;1 Hand in Egypt.

58. For the “ladder” of Jacob, see Gen. 28;12– 17; and the discussion by Allan Millard, “The Celestial Ladder and the Gale of Heaven,” in Expository Times, 78 (1966– 1967), 86–87.

59. We know, incidentally, that in Sippar, the city of the sun god. a golden chariot drawn by horses was used at religious ceremonies. See Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, 193 and no. 20.

60. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub erpetu, usage a.

61. See the passage “[the king . , .] whoangered Adad in heaven so that he did not let it rain for three years nor [allow] vegetation to grow for three years.” in Erica Reiner. “The Etiological Myth of the ’Seven Sages,’” in Orientalia, n.s. 30 (1961), 3;15 ff. No connection, however, is assumed between lightning and rain, as it is in Jer. 51:16.

62. For omens predicting rain, see Assyrian Dictionary, sub zanānu A. meaning la-1-4.

63. For traces of rain magic in the Old Testament, see M. Delcor, “Rites pour I’obtention de la pluie à Jérusalem et dans Ie ProcheOrient,” in Rente de i’histoire ties religions, 178 (1970). 117–132.

64. see Assyrian Dictionary, nub sirtu A. Add there Revue “assyriologie et d’archeoiogie Orientale, 67 (1973), 42;18; Archiv für Orientforsckung, 19 (1959– 1960). 619; and the passages sub serretu A, meaning 4a. Also see Rykle Borger, in Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 18 (1964), 55.

65. Similar concepts exist in the Old Testament; the “bottles of heaven” in Job 38;37; the “windows of heaven” in Gen. 7;1 1 and 8;2, the opening of which spells abundance for the country (2 Kings 7;2 and 19. Mai. 3;10). See also in Ugaritic the opening of the hdqt ’rpt. Joseph Aistleitner. Wörterbutch der ugaritischen Sprache (Berlin. 1967), no. 2290; and David Neiman, “The Supercaelian Sea.” in Journal of Near Eastern Studie?,. 28 (1969), 243 – 249, “Storehouses” for the winds of heaven are mentioned in Jer. 10;13, 51;16; and Ps. 135:7.

66. TCL 6 51 r. 17 f., in Revue d’assyriologie et d’archeotogie Orientale, 11 (1914), 149;29. Note also the passage in Beiträge zur Assyriologie, 5 (1906), 653;21, which says of the command of the god Assur “like the stars of heaven it does not miss its adannu.”; The term adannu. denoting a normal, expected, computed or prearranged point in time, refers to the punctuality of the stars. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub adannu. meaning 2a—-3’.

67. See the first-millennium hymn in François Thureau-Dangin, Rituels accadiens (Paris, 1921). 139;330.

68. For this difficult word, see Landsberger and Kinnier Wilson. “The Fifth Tablet.” I72f

69. For such lists, see Materials for the Sumerian lexicon, XI (1974). 105 f., 131 f.. 134 f., 141 f.

70. See Albert Schott, “Das Werden der babylonischassy-rischen Positions-Aslronomie und einige seiner Bedingungen,” in Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenliindischcn Gesellschaft. 88 (1934), 303-337. esp. 309 ff.; and Ernst F. Weidner, “Ein astrologischer Sammeltext aus der Sargonidenzeil,” in Archiv flir Orientforsckung, 19 (1959–1960), 105–113.

71. For the several meanings of lumāšu see Assyrian Dictionary. sub voce.

72. See Landsberger and Kinnier Wilson, “The Fifth Tablet,” 174.

73. They are Mercury. Venus. Mars. Jupiter, and Saturn, al-though a lute text (Thureau-Dangin, Rituels accadiens. 79;33) mentions offerings to seven bibbu. For late tablets with pictures of some constellations in which the moon and planets reach their hypsoma, see Ernst F. Weidner, “Geslirn-Darstellungen auf babylonischen Tontafeln.” in Sitzungsberichte der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil-hist. Kl.. 254. no. 2 (1967). 7-11.

74. See A. Leo Oppenheim, “A Babylonian Diviner’s Manual,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 33 (1974), 204,

75. See Erica Reiner, “Fortune-Telling in Mesopotamia,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 19 (1960), 23–35. esp. 27 f.

76. See CT 29 48;19—“any stars were falling from the sky.”

77. Demons were often called “the spawn of heaven” (rehût šamê). See Richard 1. Caplice, “É.NUN in Mesopotamian Literature,” in Orientalia, n.s. 42 (1973), 304 f.; also called “spawn of the stars” in Franz Köcherand A, Leo Oppen-heim, “The Old-Babylonian Omen Text VAT 7525,” in Archiv für Orientforschung, 18 (1957– 1958), 63;12 and no. 9; and “spawn of Anu” (CT 16 15 v 3 and passim).

78. See PBS 1/2 113;53.

79. There they retreat before the flood that engulfed the earthGilgameš Epic XI, 114.

80. A shortened version of the description of the three heavens is given as an insert in a collection of miscellaneous star identifications and “astrological” interpretations studied by Weidner, “Ein astrologischer Sammeltext.” 105-113. It reads (iv 20-22, on p, I 10); “upper [heaven]; luludānītustone, for Anu; middle [heaven]; saggilmut-stone. for the lgigu; lower heaven; jasper [?]. for the stars.” See Benno Landsberger, “über Farben im sumerisch-akkadischen,” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 21 (1 967), 154 f.

81. For the designation igigu of the heavenly deities, see Wolfram von Soden, “Babylonische Göttergruppen; Igigu und Anunnaku. Zum Bedeutungswandel theologischer Begriffe.” in Compte rendu de l’ XI Rencontre assyriologique internationale (Leiden. 1964), 102– 111; and “Die Igigu-Götter in altbabylonischer Zeit,” in Iraq, 28 (1966). 140–145; and Uurkhart Kienasl, “lgigū und Anunnakkū nach den akkadischen Quellen.” in Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on His Seventy-Fifth Birthday, April 21, 1965. which is Assyriological Studies, 16(Chicago, 1965), 141–158.

82. A. Leo Oppenheim, Robert H. Brill. Dan Barag, and Axel von Saldern, Glass and Glassmaking in Ancient Mesopotamia. An Edition of the Cuneiform Texts Which Contain Instructions for Glassmakers, With a Catalogue of Surviving Objects (Corning. N.Y., 1970), 16 and n, 31.

83. For three heavens, see also Gerhard Meier, “Die Zweite Tafel der Serie bit mêseri.” in Archiv für Orientforschung, 14 (1941 –1944), 142–143. This is reflected in the New Testament (2 Cor. 12:2), while later Jewish folklore and the Koran speak of seven heavens.

84. However, there is also evidence from the Old Testament for a sky conceived of metal (bronze) —“the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking-glass” (Job 37;18) —which we find also as “brazen heaven” in Homer (.Iliad, 5.504. [7.425; Odyssey. 3.2).

85. See STT 108;76; but the next line likens the color of the stone to that of a storm cloud (urpat rihsi).

86. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub liasinãnu.

87. Assuming, against Wolfram von Soden, Akkadisches Handwörterbuch (Wiesbaden. 1959-). that massuku is Assyrian for maštaku.

88. In a telling contrast with such Near Eastern celestial sumptuosily are the heavenly meadows and the great tree (harikešriaš) under which the gods assemble, as the Hittite texts tell us. See Maurice Vieyra. “Ciei et enfers hittites,” in Revue d’assyriologie et d’archéotogie orientate, 59 (1965), 127-130, esp. 128 f. See also Jaan Puhvel, “Meadow of the Otherworld” in Indo-Fuiopean Tradition, “in Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, 83 (19691,64–69.

89. See Heinrich Otten, “Keilschrifttexte,” in Mitteilungen derDeutschen Orient-Gesellschaft zu Berlin, 91 (1958), 83 r. 13.

90. For tarkullu, see Åke W. Sjöberg and E. Bergmann, The Collection of the Sumerian Temple Hymns (Locust Valley, N.Y., 1969), 67 n. to line 79.

91. See also Samuel Noah Kramer, “Death and Nether World According to the Sumerian Literary Texts.” in Iraq, 22 (1960), 59–68; Vieyra. “Ciel et enters hittites.” 127–130; and Anton Jirku. “Die Vorstellungen von Tod und Jenseits in den alphabetischen Texten von Ugaril,” in Ugaritica 6, which is Mission de Ras Shamra 7 (Paris, 19691. 303– 308.

92. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub anzanunzû, asurakku; see also nagbu, another subterranean source of water, with which compare the “fountains of the deep” in Gen. 7;1 I, 8;2; and Prov. 8;24. 28; and the “springs in hidden places” 2 Sam. 22;16 and Ps. 18;16, cited in Lipiiiski. “El’s Abode.” 36.

93. For details, see Reiner, “The Etiological Myth of the ’Seven Sages. ’” 1–11;and Jan .I.A. van Dijk. “Die Tonlafeln aus dem rēš-Heiligtum” in Vorläufiger Bericht it her die von dem Deutschen archäologischen Institut und der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft uns Mitteln der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinscliaft unternommenen Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka. XVIII (Berlin. 1962), 43–52.

94. See A. Leo Oppenheim. The Interpretation of Dreams in the Ancient Near East (Philadelphia, 1956). 235.

95. I connect this line with the passages that speak of banished gods (see nn. 37. 81). The Hittites, too, knew of gods driven out of heaven and relegated lo the netherworld— the “dark earth.” See Heinrich ötten. “Fine Beschwörung der Unterirdischen aus Bogazköy,” in Zeitschrift für Assyrioogie. 54 (1961). 120:43–48,132 iii 34 f.; also Vieyra, “Ciel et enfers hittitkes.” 130; and Hans Gustav Güterbock. in Erica Reiner and Hans Gustav Güterbock, “The Great Prayer to Ishtar and its Two Versions From Bogazköy,” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 21 (1967, published 1969), 265–266. The many mythological names referring to the realm of the dead are not our concern here. For a somewhat outdated survey, see Knut Leonard Tallqvist. Sumerisch-akkadisehe Namen der Totenwelt (Helsinki. 1934). See also Ludwig Wächter, “Unterweltsvorstellung and Unterwellsnamen in Babylonien. Israel and Ugarit,” in Mitteilungen des Instituts für Orientforschung, 15 (1969), 327–336.

96. The text is as follows; [ina KALA]G.GA KI-tim AN. [T]A(?)zi-qi-qu NAM.LU.Ux LU ina šà Ú-sar-bi-is[ ]KI-tim [MURU4]-tu DIš AD-sÚ ina šá u-se-sib [ ]KI-tim x-si-hu ul Ú-maš-ši [ ]KI-tim KI.TA-tu 600 [A-nu-na]-[ki ina lib]-bi e-sir.

97. The passage is from Questiones naturaies, 2.32,4; in ea opinione sunt, tamquam non, quia facta sunt, significant, sed quia significatura sunt, fiant.

98. A case in point is fürnished by the long (more than 670 short lines) extispicy text YOS 10 31. which deals with signs derived from the shape, size, and other characteristics of the gall bladder of a sheep. The text is obviously compiled from several smaller collections of a similar nature. as shown by the repetition of omens with identical protases and apodoses. and of omens with different apodoses based on identical protases. The former is evidenced in the passage i 5–8, repeated in x 4– 7 and xÍii 42–45 (all connecting a lizard-shaped gall bladder with Sargon of Akkad); the passage i 47–49. which recurs in x 45 –47; the passage iii 20–24, in vi 43–46; the passage ii 42–47, in xiii 46–50; and the passage v 18–24, in vi I5–22. The latter is evidenced, for example, in iii 32–35, as against x 11–14. A right-left pair is treated separately; right in vi 39–42 and left in xiii 46–50. Rhyming omens occur in i 9–11 and v 37–39. Sometimes there are awkward insertions into established sequences that should not occur in a well-integrated collection; for instance, ii 1– 12 is inserted into the connected sequence i 47–ii 15.

99. Growth by accretion —that is. by insertions or additions of similar text material prompted by the desire for elaboration, or by repetitions with minor variations—can be observed likewise in epic and hymnie works, as well as in royal inscriptions. Such additions can just as readily be omitted when economy of space or presentation demands. The resulting fluidity in text formation can be controlled only by rigid standardization. Additive instead of structural organization is also characteristic of large-scale Mesopotamian architecture.

100. The slowly evolving practice of writing omens with word signs rather than syllabically contributed to the ever-in-creasing terseness and formalistic monotony of the predictions.

101. While there exist Elamite and Hittite translations of Akkadian omens, and even Ugaritic versions-see Anson Frank Rainey. The Scribe tit Ugarit, His Position and Influence, which is Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 3 , no. 4 (1968), 13 I f. —divination in Mesopotamian style is attested only rarely in Egypt; for dream omens, see Alan Henderson Gardiner, Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum. 3rd ser., Chester Beatty Gift (London. 1935); and Aksel Volten, Demotische Traumdeutung (Papyrus Carlsberg XIII and XIV verso), which is Analecta Aegyptiaca 3 (Copenhagen. 1942); for lunar omens, see Richard Anthony Parker, A Vienna Demotic Papyrus on Eclipse- and Lunar-Omina (Providence. R.L, 1959).

102. See A. Leo Oppenheim. “Zur keilschriftlichen Omenliieratur,” in Orientalin, n.s, 5 (1936). 199–228; and Jean Nougayrol, “Divination et vie quotidienne au debut du deuxième millénaire avant J.C,” in Acta Orientalin neerlundica(1971). 28–36.

103. See A. Leo Oppenheim, “Divination and Celestial Observation in the Last Assyrian Empire,” in Centaurus, 14 (1969),97–135.

104. See the use of arrows for divination mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 2 1;2 11 but not attested in cuneiform sources. For observation of birds (known only from inference), see Oppenheim.,Ancient Mesopotamia. 209 f,

105. Economic and ritual texts provide us with the names of cuts of meat for culinary and sacral purposes. See also William I.. Moran, “Some Akkadian Names of the Stomachs of Ruminants,” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies. 21 (1967, published 1969), 178–182.

106. Another version of the same query-answer relation is suggested by a passage that has the owner of the sheep whisper his secret request (tamīt libbišu) into the ear of the animal before the diviner addresses the sun god and slaughters the sheep, Heinrich Zimmern, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der babyIonischen Religion (Leipzig, 1901), 98–99;8–9.

107. For the āšipu, see Oppenheim. Ancient Mesopotamia, 29 ff.; and Edith K. Ritter, “Magical-Expert (=āšipu) and Physician (=Asû); Notes on Two Complementary Professions in Babylonian Medicine,” in Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger, 299–321.

108. See René Labat, Tratté akkadien de diagnostics et pronostics méditaux (Paris, 1951); also James V. Kinnier Wilson, “Two Medical Texts From Nimrud.” in Iraq. 18 (1956), 130–146; and “The Nimrud Catalogue of Medical and Physiognomical Omina.” ibid., 24 (1962), 52–62. For earlier texts, see Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, 369, nn. 62, 63.

109. The fact that the text begins with an injunction to the āšipu to protect himself with a spell before approaching the patient shows the āšipu’s concept of the etiology of diseases.

110. See A. Leo Oppenheim. “On the Observation of the Pulse in Mesopotamian Medicine,” in Orientalia. n.s. 31 (1962). 27–33; and Kinnier Wilson, “The Nimrud Catalogue.” 61. See also Samuel Mendelsohn. “Die Funktion der Pulsadern and der Kreislauf des Blutes in allrabbinischcr Literatur,” in Jenaer medizin-historische Beiträge, no. 11(Jena. 1920).

111. For other uses of the formal structure of omen texts in Mesopotamian literature, see Oppenheim. Ancient Mesopotamia, 224.

112. It also contains omens derived from atmospheric phenomena (thunder, lightning, rainbows, halos, [miraculous] rain, hail) and earthquakes. See ibid., 368 f., nn. 66. 68.

113. A critical ed. of this series (based on several thousand fragments) is being written by Erica Reiner.

114. For the problem involved, see A. Leo Oppenheim, “The Position of the Intellectual in Mesopotamian Society,” in Daedalus (spring 1975), 37–46.

115. Greek tradition has it that with Nabonassar (Akkadian, Nabû-nāsir; 747–734 B.C.) a new era began, and that re-corded astronomical observations were available from the time of this king on. See John A. Brink man. A Political History of Posi-Kassite Babylonia (Rome. 1968). 226 f. and nn. 1432–1436.

116. In Old Babylonian extispicy texts one rather frequently finds apodoses predicting an eclipse. In the much more numerous omens of the later period these are quite rare, a fact that suggests a conscious process of elimination based on rational considerations. Reports on eclipses are rare. too; apart from the lunar eclipses mentioned by Ptolemy -see John A. Brinkman, “Merodaeh-Baladan II,” in Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim (Chicago, 1964). 49 sub 44.3.12 —a famous eclipse of the sun is mentioned in an eponym list-see Reallexikon der Assyriologie. II (1938). 430 r. 7, for 763 B.C.; and an eclipse of the moon in two letters from Man. Of course, we have numerous references to eclipses in the letters of the Assyrian and Babylonian experts (see n. 103. above) of the middle third of the first millennium. Observational reports on lunar eclipses, given in detail and arranged in eighteen-year groups (“Suros Canon”), are in Late Babylonian Astronomical und Related Texts, copied by Theophilus Goldridge Pinches and Johann Nepomuk Strassmaier, prepared for publication by Abraham Joseph Sachs, with the cooperation of Johann Schaumberger [Providence. R.I.. 1955), nos. 1413– 1430, The Ugarit text discussed by J. F. A. Sawyer and F. R. Stephenson. “Literary and Astronomical Evidence for a Total Eclipse of the Sun Observed in Ancient Ugarit on 3 May 1375 B.C..” in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studien, 23 (1970). 467–489. cannot be considered a report on a solar eclipse.

The two Man letters are important inasmuch as both-Archives royales de Mari, 10 (1967), no. 124; Campte rendu de la IV Rencontre assyrialogique internationale (Paris, 1951), 46 f. -resort to extispicy rather than consulting a collection of celestial omens to establish the nature of the eclipse. Still. Georges Dossin, “Les archives économiques du palaisdc Mari.” in Syria, 20 (1939), 101. mentions a tablet from Mari wilh “des presages tires d’une eclipse de lune.” This text has not yet been published. For an attempt to use for chronological purposes late omen protases mentioning eclipses in connection with names of early kings. see Johann Schaumberger. “Die Mondfinsternisse der dritten Dynastie von Ur,” in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie. 49 (1950), 50–58

117. For the special stress placed in the first millennium on the equal value of celestial and terrestrial signs, see A. Leo Oppenheim, “A Babylonian Diviner’s Manual,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 33 (1974). 206.

118. It should be stressed that in the first millennium the “power” of the celestial bodies to give signs was independent of their worship as gods. We have a prayer to Sirius — Eric Burrows, “Hymn to Ninurta as Sirius (k. 128),” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, centenary supp. (1924), 33–40; also Erich Ebeling, “Sammlungen von Beschwörungsformeln.” in Archiv orientâlní;. 21 (1953), 403 f.; 14– 19 —and. in late texts, to other stars, for example, Thureau-Dangin, Rituels an adieus, 119;31; and a list of eight such prayers, ibid., 139;325–332.

119. Literature on the development of astrology in Hellenislic Egypt is listed conveniently in 1-rederick Henry Cramer. Astrology in Raman Law and Pain its (Philadelphia, 1954). I f. There is some evidence in late Uruk (Erech) texts for a possible application of the dynamis concept insofar as it implies a link between stars and precious stones and certain plants, bor a presentation of such tablets with eclipse omens, lists of zodiacal constellations (names of stones and plants are added to each), hemerological lists (with similar additions), and other rather obscure text types that all be-speak the originality and vitality of late Mesopotamian scholarship, see Weidner. “Gestirn-Darstellungen.”

120. The case of alchemy is somewhat similar.

121. See the series of papers published by Richard 1. Caplice in Orientalia, n.s. 34-40 (1965– 1971), with an index in n.s. 40. 183.

122. The letters are ABL 23, 46, 337, 470, 629. 647. 895, and others. A fragmentary namburbū; ritual designed to avert celestial signs is partially preserved in LKA 108;13–23. transliterated by Erich Ebeling, “Beiträge zur Kennt-nis der Beschwörungsserie Namburbi.” in Revue d’as-syriologie et d’tarchéotogie Orientale, 50 (1956), 26; the pertinent lines are quoted in Assyrian Dictionary, sub anquillt, usage b-1’.

123. See René Labat. Héméralogies et ménoiogies d’Assur (Paris, 1939); and Un calendrier babylonein des travam, des signes, et des móis (Paris. 1965),

124. For the Hittite text (KUB 8 35). see Bruno Meissner, “Über Genelhlialogie bei den Babyloniern,” in Kita. 19 (1925), 432–434; and Kaspar K. Riemschneider, Babylonische Geburtsomina in hethitischer übersetzung, which is Studien zu den Bogazköy-Texten 9 (Wiesbaden. 1970), 44, n. 39a.

125. See Labat, Un calendrier bubylonien, 132 f., sec. 64. For an Egyptian parallel, see Abd-al-Muhsin Bakir, The Cairo Calendar No.86637 (Cairo. 1966), esp. 13–50,

126. See Weidner. “Gestirn-Darstellungen.” 26f 32f 35 ff,. 45 f.

127.ibid.. 14.

128. Abraham Joseph Sachs, “Babylonian Horoscopes.” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 6 (1952), 49–75; and “Naissance de I’aslrologie horoscopique en Babylonie,” in Archaeologia (Park), 15 (1967), 13–19.

129. Sec the Strabo passage cited in A. Leo Oppenheim. Letters From Mesopotamia (Chicago, 1967), 53.

130. See David Pingree, “Astronomy and Astrology in India and Iran,” in lsis, 54(1963), 229–246.

131. See A. Leo Oppenheim, “Perspectives on Mésopotamian Divination,” in La divination en Mésopotumic ancienne el dans les régions voisines (Paris, 1966). 35; for the problem, see Pierre Duhem, TO Save the Phenomena; An Essay an the Idea of Physical Theory From Plato to Galileo (Chicago. 1969), English trans, of the French original (1908); and Jürgen Mitlelslrass, Die Rettung der Phänomene (Berlin, 1962).

132. See Dietlinde Goltz, “Mitteilungen über ein assyrisches Apotheken-invenlar.” in Archives internationales d’hisloire des sciences. 21 (1968). 95– 114.

133. Thus, when a plant is called “herb for sorrows” or “herb for forgetting sorrows,” See Assyrian Dictionary, sub azaliû.

134. Although other names are known for this or a similar disease, such as garābu, garāsu, and epqu. it is difficult to de line, especially from the narrow point of view of modem medicine. See also James V. Kinnier Wilson. “Leprosy in Ancient Mesopotamia,” in Revue d’as syriologie et ttarchéotogie orientale. 60 (1 966), 47–58. The social consequences for those who suffer from such a disease are re-peatedly mentioned. Note also that the laws of Hammurapi 11792– 1751) B.C.) indicate that a man may divorce a wife suffering from a skin disease called la’bu (sec, 149), or. if she prefers, he may maintain her in his home while he takes another wife (sec. 148). 13 (135) For a text group that lists names of diseases, see “List Of Diseases.” composed by Anne D. Kilmer, edited by Benno Landsherger. in Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon, IX (1967), 77–109.

136. For a parallel, see Oppenheim et al., Class and Glassmak-ing, 80; chemicals, even herbs, that could not have affected the outcome of the process were added to the glass before heating.

137. These are listed in the series Uruanna.

138. The entire domain of magic has heen excluded from this presentation, although it admittedly concerns a large segment of the relationship between man and nature in Mesopotamial civilization. I restrict myself to citing here one of the very tew revealing passages in magic-orienled texts that speaks of the limitation of the magic approach to reality; “who can work witchcraft against heaven, who can rehel against the netherworld [death] ?” Gerhard Meier. Die assyrische Besehwärungssammlung maqlû;. which is Archiv für Orieniforschung. stipp. 2 (Berlin. 1937). V 12 and 16.

139. For the problem in Mesopotamia, sec René Labat, “A props de la Chirurgie babylonicnne,” in Journal asiatique. 242 (1954). 207–218; Wolfram von Soden, “Der Chirurg im Akkadischen,” in Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. 55 (1959). 53–54; and Helmut Freydank. “Chirurgie im alten Mesopotamien?” in Altertum, 18 (1972), 133–137.

140. The knowledge that diseases were contagious (muštahhizu) and could be transmitted through contact with the objects used by the sick person is illustrated by the Mali letter in which orders are given that “no one must drink from the cup she [the patient] drinks from, no one must sit in the chair she sits in. no one must lie on the bed she lies on, so that she does not infect other women. “See André Finet, “Les medecins an royaume de Mari,” in Annuaire de l’ln-stitut de phtÍologie et d’histoire orientates et slaves, 14 (1954– 1957), 129; the text is published as Archives roy-ales de Mari. 10 (1967). no. 129.

141. See A. Leo Oppenheim. “A Caesarian Section in the Second Millennium B.C..” in Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 15 (1960), 292–294. See also John Hurley Young, Caesarian Section, the History and Development of the Operation From Earliest Times (London. 1944).

142. For the practice of castration and the gelding of horses, see A. Leo Oppenheim, “A Note on ša rēši,” in Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University, 5 (1973), 325– 334; and a correction by Oppenheim, in Revue d’assyriologie et d’archéologie Orientale. 68 (1974). 95.

143. The length of pregnancy was set at ten months—see Labat. Traité akkadien. 212;7 — for which there is a parallel from Virgil, discussed by Otto Neugebauer. “Decern tulerunt fastidia menses,” in American Journal of Philology, 84 (1963). 64–65.

144. Letters from Nippur in the Kassite period give reports on the health of singers treated in a hospital; see Heinz Waschow. Babylonische Briefe aus der Kassitenzeit, which is Mitteilungen der Altorientalisehen Gesellschaft. 10 , no. 1 (1936), 25–40.

145. To use an expression coined by Robert D. Biggs, “Medicine in Ancient Mesopotamia” in History of Science, 8 (1969), 94–105.

146. For the importance of court physicians, see Oppenheim. Ancient Mesopotamia, 304.

147. See Heinrich Zimmem, “Der Schenkenliebeszaüber,” in Zeitschrift Jar Assyriologie, 32 (1918 – 1919). 164 – 184.

148. See Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, 301 f.

149. See VAS 6 242; also note the women physicians mentioned in Assyrian Dictionary, sub asû A, usage e.

150. In late lists, veterinarians —for early references, sec Assyrian Dictionary, sub asâ; A. usage e-are called munaišu (“healers”)-see Assyrian Dictionary, sub voce. Esarhaddon (680–669 B.C.I reports (Borger, Die Inschriften Asarhaddons, 114, sec. 80) that he brought one to Assyria among the Egyptian specialists he look as prisoners of war. For prescriptions dealing with veterinary science in Akkadian. sec BAM 159 v 33–47; in Ugaritic. Andrée Herdner. Corpus des tablttes en cunéifonnes alphabétiqucs. which is Mission de Ras Shamra 10 (Paris, 1963), 245–247; “Textes hippiatriques”; and Maurice Bear Gordon, “The Htppiatric Texts From Llgarit,” in Annals of Medical History, 3rd ser 4(1942). 406–408; in Egyptian; Hildegard von Deines, Hermann Grapow. and Wolfhart Westendorf, “übersetzung der medizinischen Texte.” in Crundriss der Medizin der alten ägypter, IV, pt. I (Berlin 1958). 317–319; and Hermann Grapow, Von den medizi-nischen Texten (Berlin. 1959). 88, n. 1. Ilse Fuhr. “Ein sumerischer Tierarzt,” in Archiv orientálnÍ, 34 (19661, 570–573, is not convincing.

151. Much valuable work in the investigation of Mesopotamian material culture has been done by Armas Salonen in an impressive series of books dealing successively (since 1939) with boats and other nautical matters, vehicles of every description, draught animals, fürniture and house-hold ulensils, doors, footwear, agriculture, fishing, and brickmaking. Salonen’s books in many respects constitute pioneering work that of necessity is word-oriented. They do not take into account the specific evidentiary value of the text types in which these words occur and the complexities of the socioeconomic structures that created the documentation, The work of Robert .lames Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology (Leiden, 1955- ; 2nd ed., 1964-), is much wider in scope, since it incorporates the technologies of the classical world; but it suffers from philological inadequacy in the realm of the ancient Near East, especially Mesopotamia.

152. The names of many late settlements — “Gold Tell.” “Brick Tell,” “Stone Tell,” “Ruin Tell.” “galala-stone Tell,”-show that the inhabitants knew well what was buried under these mounds. They also seem to have used the rubble of ancient settlements (called eperu; see Assyrian Dictionary, sub eperu, meaning 6) as fertilizer, just as the Egyptians. both ancient and modern, have done. See Ludwig Keimer. “Das ’Sandfahren’ der Totenfiguren (wsbtiw) ’um den Sand der Ostseite zur Westseite zu fahren’; Die früheste Erwärmung einer künstlichen Düngung im Alten ägypten,” in Orientulistische Literuturzeitung, 29 (1926), 98–104.

153. Deviating not a finger’s width from the original dimensions, as the Neo-Babylonian kings love to stress in iheir inscriptions.

154. The best-known exception is fürnished by the royal tombs at Ur, discovered by C. Leonard Woolley-The Royal Cemetery, which is Ur Excavations 2 (London. 1934). Only a few bricks of Neo-Assyrian sepulchral structures are left (KAH 46 and 47). For a stone sarcophagus and its cover, see Assyrian Dictionary, sub arannu, usage c. Tomb inscriptions are extremely rare in Akkadian texts.

155. See Yigael Yadin. The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands (New York, 1963); Mary Littauer. “Did the Kassites Influence the Development of the Late-Bronze-Age War and Hunting Chariot?” in Studi di archeologia e storia deli’arte del vicino oriente, 1 (1975); and “New Light on the Assyri-an Chariot.” in XXIIeRencontre assyriologiquc interna-lionule (Rome, 1974). For a unique example of an extant chariot found in Egypt, see Heinrich Schäfer, Armenisches Holz in altägytischen Wagnereien, which is Sitzungsberichte der Preussischent Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, phil.-hist. KL. 25 (1931).

156. For an attempt in that direction. see Barthel Hrouda. Die Kulturgeschichte des assyrischen Flachbildes (Bonn, 1965). although it lacks the collaboration of a philologist. which would have greatly enhanced the value of the book.

157. For modern methods in archaeology, sec, for example. Don R. Brothwell and Eric Higgs. eds., Science in Ar-chaeology. A Comprehensive Survey of Progress and Re-search (New York, 1963); rev., enl. ed., 1969. Note also the periodicals Archaeometry and Archäographie; Ar-chäologie und elektronische Datenverarbeitung.

158. See now, with previous literature, P. R. S. Moorey, Cata-logue of the Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Muséum (Oxford, 1971); and P. R. S. Moorey and F. Schweizer, “Copper and Copper Alloys in Ancient Iraq. Syria, and Palestine,” in Archaeometry, 14 (1972), 177–198.

159. See A. Leo Oppenheim and Louis F. Hartman, On Beer and Brewing Techniques in Ancient Mesopotamia; Ac-cording so the XXIIIrd Tablet of the Series HAR. ra = hubullu. Journal of the American Oriental Society. supp. no. 10(1950), See also Miguel Civil, “A Hymn to the Beer Goddess and a Drinking Song,” in Studies Presented to A. Leo Oppenheim. 67–89; Dietz Otto Edzard. “Brauerei. Bierkonstim und Trinkbrauehe im Alten Mesopotamien.” in Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte und Biblio-graphie des Brauwesens e.v (1967), 9–21; Wolfgang Roliig, Das Bier im Allen Mesopotamien (Berlin, 1970); and Marten Stol, “Zur altmesopotamischen Bierbereitung,” in Bibliotheca orienlalis. 28 (1971), 167–171.

160. See Marie-Thérèse Barrelet, Figurines et reliefs en terre cuit de la Mésopolumie antique. I Potiers, termes du mélier, procedes üe fabrication et production (Paris, 1968); and James Leon Kelso, The Ceramic Vocabulary of the Old Testament (New Haven. Conn., 1948), For textiles. see Harmul Waetzoldt, Untersuchungen zur neusumetischen Textilindustrie (Rome, 1972).

161. For an early attempt, see Walter Reimpell, Geschichte der babylonischen und assyrisehen Kleidung (Berlin, 1921).

162. Problems related to the connection between technological changes and social and/or economic developments cannot be discussed as yet in the realm of the ancient Near East. There is not enough evidence even to approach the topic presented by Moses I. Finley, “Technical Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient World.” in Economic History Review, 2nd ser.. 18 (1965). 29–45.

163. An interesting exception to this statement is fürnished by the probable use of the silk of the “Assyrian silkworm” (Pachypasa otus Drury). discussed in A. too Oppenheim, “Essay on Overland Trade in the First Millennium B.C.,” in Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 21 (1967, published 1969). 236–254. This was prior to the importing of real silk (pro-duced by Bombyx mori) in the last third of the first millennium n.c.; for problems involved, see ibid.. 252 f

164. On the level of subsistence technology, one might refer to the introduction into the Neart East of the rotary quern in-stead of the traditional push quern. As for agricultural products, cotton and rice (Strabo, XV.i. 18) came into the Near East at that time; for agricultural methods, a passage from Strabo (XV1.4.1) may be quoted; “The vine grows in the marshes, as much earth being thrown on hurdles of reeds as the plant may require; so that the vine is often carried away, and then is pushed back again to its proper place by means of poles.” This technique, also attested in the New World (segments of land artificially constructed in lakes or canals, called chinampas or cumeilones; see Charles Gibson, The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule [Stan-lord, Calif.. 1964), 120 f.). illustrates the intensification of agricultural production in late Mesopotamia, ushered in during the Achaemenid period,

165. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub mušākilu.

166. A number of domesticated birds, such as the chicken, the turkey (bustard), and the peacock, came into Mesopotamia from the East. They seem to have been considered rare and exotic animals, and had no economic importance. The rooster (not the peacock) —“bird of the god Haya” the watchman of the night—is known from Sumerian literary texts, and the chicken as the “bird that gives birth every day” from an Egyptian source — Georg Steindorff, ed., Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums (Leipzig, 1904-), IV, 700 13–14; in Syriac, the bustard has the name “Akkadian (bird)”; the peacock is not attested.

167. In that role, the donkey is well attested from the Sumerian period on. See Samuel Noah Kramer. Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta (Philadelphia, 1952), II. 127, 282–284, 331–332; see also Klaas Roelof Veenhof, Aspects of Old Assyrian Trade und Its Terminology (Leiden, 1972), 1–45 (with previous literature); and William Foxwell Albright, “Midianite Donkey Caravaneers.” in Harry Thomas Frank and W. L, Reed, eds.. Translating and Understand-ing the Old Testament (Nashville —New York. 1970), 197–205.

168. This is well attested in Archives royales de Mari, 9 (1960), no. 24 ii 23; PBS 1/2 136;34 f. The dog as helper of the hunter is difficult to find in texts, although it does appear in that role in Neo-Assyrian reliefs. Possibly the many dogs mentioned in the administrative texts of the Third Dynasty of Ur were destined for hunting.

169. The problem of the Equidae of Mesopotamia has not yet been treated in all its philological, paleozoological, and iconographic complexities. See also Burchard Brentjes, Die Haustierwerdung im Orient (Wittenberg, 1965). For the gelding of horses as a “western” practice, see Oppenheim, “A Note on ša rēš

170. Not only precious stones (strongly colored minerals that took a good polish) but also millstones were imported; see Madeleine Lurton Burke, “Lcttres de Numušda-Nahrâri.” in Syria. 41 (1964). 75 f.. an article based on certain Mari letters— Archieves royals de Mari (texts in translation and transliteration), 13 (1964), nos. 82 and 90. Lapis lazuli was imported to Mari from F.shnunna, according to Archives royales de Muri, 9 (1960), no. 254. For early stone vessels made of imported stones, see Arno Schüller, “Die Roh-stoffe der Stcingcfässe der Sumerer aus der archaischen Siedlung bei Uruk-Warka,” in Vorläufiger Bericht iiher die… Ausgrubungen in Uruk-Warka, 19 (1961), 56–58. Alabaster vessels were imported but were also imitated locally; see Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing, “ägyptische und ägyplisierende Alahastergefässe aus den deutschen Ausgrabungen in Assur.” in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, 46 (1940). 149–182; and, from Babylon. “ägyptische und ägyptisierende Alabaslergefiisse aus den deutschen Aus-grabungen zu Babylon,” ibid 47 (1942), 27–49. The tracing of cultural contacts, across the Near East and beyond, by the spread of obsidian is shown by Colin Renfrew. J. E. Dixon, and J. R, Cann, “Obsidian and Early Cultural Contacts in the Near East.” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society for 1966, n.s, 32, 30–72; and by Gary A. Wright. Obsidian Analyses and Prehistoric Near Eastern Trade; 7500 to 3500 B.C., Muséum of Anthropology, University of Michigan. Anthropological Papers 37 (Ann Arbor. 1969).

171. Bitumen was found in Hit (near Sippar) and brought from there to the rest of Babylonia. In spite of an abundance of evidence, I know of no adequate presentation of its manifold uses; but see the remarks in Armas Salonen. Die Ziegeleien im alten Mesopotamien (Helsinki. 1972), 53–57. For another source of bitumen, see Burke, “Lettres dc Numušda-Nahrâri,” 67 f.; and, from Madga, in the region of modern Kirkuk, sec Adam Falkenslein, Die Inschriften Gudeus von Lagaš, 1, which is Analecta Orientalia, 30 (Rome. 1966).51,

172. The fact that metal (ore) has to be mined is rarely alluded to in Mesopotamian texts; yes Assyrian Dictionary, sub hurru, usage c; and, for Sumerian passages, see Gude a Statue B vi 21–23, Cylinder A xvi 15–17. and 1. 86 or the story called lnanna and Epih, as cited in Benno Landsherger, “Tin and Lead; The Adventures of Two Vocables.” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 24 (1965), 291, n. 25, suh A d. For the Old Testament, see Deut. 8;9 and Job 2H; 1-2. Smelling operations at the mines seem to be mentioned by Sargon in Arthur Gotfred Lie, The Inscriptions of SargonII . Kinn of Assyria (Paris. 1929), 38;230–232. The situation was different in Egypt, where slaves worked in local and nearby mines; see Alan Henderson Gardiner. Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford, 1961). 251– 255.

173. For amber and the problem of its provenience seen from the point of view of the scientist, see R. C. A. Rottländer, “On the Formation of Amber from Pinus Resin,” in Ar-chaeometry. 12 (1970). 35–52.

174. For ivory, see A. Leo Oppenheim. “The Seafaring Mer-chants of Ur.” in Journal of the American Oriental Society. 74 (1954). 6– 17.esp. 11 f.. telling of the fluctuations in the importing of this raw material and its provenience (India versus Upper Syria). The problem persists in the first mil-lennium B.C., when, for example, ivory is mentioned in the Neo-Babylonian letter ABL 1283 r. 5 as going from Baby-lon to Nineveh. There is, as yet, no scientific method to establish the provenience of the material used for individu-al ivory objects. Ivory was sometimes dyed (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub bašlu, meaning 4) and gilded —see Max Edgar lucien Mallowan, Nimrud. II (London, 1966). 554–556 —and in the first millennium, it was used predomi-nantly as inlay for precious fürniture. For ivory as writing material, sec Donald J. Wiseman. “Assyrian Writing-Boards,” in Iraq, 17(1955). 3–13. In addilion to elephant tusks, narwhal tusks were used; see E. A. Wallis Budge and Leonard William King. eds,. Annals of the Kings of Assyria (London. 1902), 373;88.

175. Remains of industrial installations, apart from the ubiqui-tous metalworker shops and pottery kilns, are very rare. It seems that oil presses from Ugarit can be identified — Claude F. A. Sehaeffer, Ugaritica 4, which is Mission de Ras Shamra 15 (Paris, 1962). 420–433—as can oil and wine presses and dyeing vats from Palestine —see William Foxwell Albright. The Excavation of Jell Beit Mirsim. III (New Haven. 1943). sees. 36–40, 55–57. The city quar-ters in which certain craftsmen lived and worked together (such as smiths and lanners; see n. 251) have not been located.

176. Pride in invention is very rarely attested in the ancient Near East. In Egypt, Amenemhet claimed to have invented the water clock (see n. 249); see Siegfried Schott, “Voraus-setzung und Gegenstand ägyptischer Wissenschaft.” in Jahrbuch. Akademie der Wissenschaften und tier Literatur in Mainz(1951), 290; and, fora trans, of the pertinent lexl. see Ludwig Borchardt. Die altägyptische Zeitmessung (Berlin-Leipzig. 1920). B 60–63. The architect Ineni claimed credit for certain technical innovations, stressing his independence of tradition and his working for future generations; see Helmut Brunner. “7,um Zeitbegriff der ägypter,” in Studium Generale, 8 (1955), 589. In Mesopotamia, in one of the few extant inscriptions of provincial governors, we find an elaborate if not fully intelligible de-scription of a locklike arrangement on a canal, apparently invented by šamaš-rēš-usur, the governor of Suhi and Mari, published by Kran/ Heinrieh Weissbach, in Babyio-nische Miscellen (Leipzig, 1903) pl. 2 ff, and no. 4. The same official also stresses that he introduced apiculture in his province. This represents the topos of the ruler as in-ventor of technical innovations, which we encounter also in the inscriptions of Sennacherib (704-681 B.C.). See Daniel David Luckenhill, The Annuls of Sennacherib, which is Oriental Institute Publications 2 [Chicago. 1924]. 141;for collated text, see Assyrian Dictionary, sub bašālu. meaning 8.

One should also mention the representation of the Su-merian ruier Gudea of Lagash (ca. 2140 B.C.) as architect holding the plans of a building; see the statues listed in Reallexikon der Assyriotogte, III (1957– 1971). 682, sub b and b 3. A unique stance is taken by Thutmosis 111 (1469–1436 B.C.) when proclaiming that he designed (literally, “what his own heart had conceived”) precious containers; .lames H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt,(Chicago, 1906– 1907), sees. 164, 545, 775. This is in patent contrast with the concept of the ideal ruler in the Old Testament; Solomon has the temple built by foreign ar-tisans, and even its plan is of divine origin (see I Chron, 28; 19; and Num. 8;41. Pride in originally expressed by the artist is very rare in the ancient Near East. 1 know of exam-ples only from Egypt; see John A. Wilson, “The Artist of the Egyptian Old Kingdom,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 6 (1947), 231–249, esp. 247 f. and n. 68; see also Hermann Junker, Die gesellschaftliche Stellung der ägyp-tischen Künstler im alten Reich (Vienna. 1959),

177. The domesticalion of the wild-growing cereals and their adaptation lo the ecological realities of the Near Eastern agricultural centers are not the concern of this paper. See Jane Renfrew. Paleoethnobotany. The Prehistoric Food-plants of the Near East and Europe (London, 1973), Many vegetables and spice plants have left their seeds in the soil of excavated tells; the matching of these with (he equally numerous Sumerian and Akkadian plant names is a task that has not yet been undertaken.

178. In Mesopotamia, all agricultural activities aim at the sup-port of human beings; only in Urartu, as we learn from a text of Sargon 11 (TCL 3 275; also 180, and see n. 12), was a forage crop grown for horses. This seems to refer to the alfalfa (xsMedicado sativa; in Greek, “median [plant]”), which was grown on the entire Iranian plateau to feed horses; see Berthold Laufer. Simi-lranica. Field Muséum of Natural History publication no. 201, Anthropological Series, vol. XV, no. 3 (Chicago. 1919), 208–219. Strangely enough, the Pahlavi aspast appears in Mesopotamian texts (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub aspastu and asupasāti and. possibly, aspatu,) but these words predate the Persian conquest of the region and do not suggest a forage plant, On the other hand, the name of the Persian official aspastua (from Achnemenid Nippur) does refer to alfalfa.

179. For the date palm and its history, literature is given in In-grid Wallen. Die Pulmen im alten ägypten (Berlin, 1962); for Mesopotamia, sec Benno Landsberger, The Date Palm and Its By-Products According to the Cuneiform Sources (Graz, 1967).

180. Nabonidus (555–539 B.C.) stales this expressly — Leonard William King. ed.. Babylonian Boundury-Stones and Memorial-Tablets in the British Muséum (London, 1912), no. 37 r. 10; “Wine, the mountain drink, that does not exist in my country.” Wine is mentioned much more frequently in Assyrian texts and in those coming from the West than in texts from Babylonia proper, at least up to the prosperous times of the Chaldean empire. When it is mentioned, it is said to be imported from the West, There is evidence from Mari and Assyria that wine was drunk diluted with water, as it was in the classical world.

181. As an illustration of the most coveted imported tree, see Horst Klengel. “Der Libanon und seine Zedern in der Geschichte des Alten Vorderen Orients,” in Altertum, 13 (1967), 67–76. “The locally available gypsum was burned and mixed with sand to produce a fine material for plastering walls and floors. The use of lime, which requires high temperatures, is also attested. Quite early (in Uruk [Erech] and Ur) this material was used to form building “stones.”

182. For an example, see David Oates, “The Excavations at Tell al Rimah, 1968, “in Iraq, 32 (1970), 1–23. For ancient city models and city plans, see Paul Lampl, Cities and Planning in the Ancient Mear East (London. 1968); the unique detailed plan of Nippur was last published by Inez Bernhardt and Samuel Noah Kramer, “Der Stadtplan von Nippur, tier älteste Stadtplan der Welt,” in Wissenschaft-liche Zeitschrift der Friedrick Schiller Universität, Jena, 11 11970). 727–730,

183. Al times, textiles leave impressions on corroded metal sur-faces—see Jacques Jean Marie de Morgan, La préhistoire Orientale, II (Paris, 1927), 59–61— or on clay —see Koben D. Biggs, Inscriptions From Tell Abū Salābīkh, which is Oriental Institute Publications, no. 99 (Chicago, 1974), 22 f. In “çatal Hüyük —the Textiles and Twined Fabrics” Anatolian Studies, 15 (1965). 169–174, Harold B. Burnham presents textiles and twined fabrics of a much earlier period from çatal Hüyük. Egyptian fifthmillennium fabrics are extant in the Fayum; see Gertrude CatonThonipson and Elinor Wight Gardner, the Desert Foyum (London, 1934). pl. 38. See also Louisa Bellinger, “Textiles From Gordion,” in Bulletin of the Needle and Bobbin Club, 46 (1962), 5–33.

184. We know of meteoric iron (called “iron fallen from heaven”), for exam pie, only from a religious hymn —col. v, 1.21. of the Papulegarra hymn published by Theophilus G. Pinches in “Hymns to Pa pduigarra.” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, centenary Suppl. I 1924). 63;86 — from a litany—see Reiner. “Lipšur Litanies.” 140;18 and 34 —and from Sumerian literary texts, which use the term k ix. a n. n a (“metal [fallen] from heaven”) for what may be meteoric iron. See the references cited by Landsberger. “Tin and Lead,” 290 f., n. 25, esp. 291, sub Cb and Cc.

185. Even the absence of a material can be of importance. Sec A. Leo Oppenheim, “The Seafaring Merchants of Ur,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 74 (1954), 6–17, on the absence of pearls from Mesopotamia up to the Per-sian period, despite the proximity of the pearl-rich waters of the Persian Gulf. See also Robert J. Braidwood, “Some Parthian Jewelry.” in Second d’rcliminary Report Upon the Excavations at Tell Omar. Iraq(Ann Arbor, 1933), 72 and pi. 42. fig. I. Thestone beads imported from the East into Ur and called “fish eyes” (IGI.KUg) cannot be interpreted as pearls. Rather, they are black and white handed agate made into beads to look like fish eyes. The absence of pearls is the more astonishing since Gilgamesh uses a stone for div-ing, just as pearl fishers do.

186. For such instances, see the year names of the later kings of the Hammurapi dynasty, which contain, apart from de-scriptive references to divine and royal statues and sacral fürnishings, the characterization of certain copper socles (?) as showing the representations of “mountains and riv-ers” ;Reallexikon der Assyriologle, II (1938). 182 ff.. the dates no. 153 (Samsuiluna) and 261, 262, 265 (Am-mizaduga); the Middle Assyrian treasury inventory. which seems to describe representations of animals, trees, and other objects made of gold inlaid with precious stones and colored glass, and also mentions embroidered hang-ings—Franz Köcher. “Ein Inventartext aus Kär-Tukulti-Ninurta.” ia Archiv für Orientforschung, 18 (1957– 1958). 300–313; and the letter of Sargon II (TCL 3 399–404). Which enumerates the booty taken in the capital oÍ Urartu. describing certain metal statues in detail. Some inscriptions of Neo-Babylonian rulers at limes describe even buildings in technical terms, such as the bonding of the bricks — Ste-phen Langdon, ed.. Die nettbabylonischen Königsin-schriften, which is Vorderasiatische Bibliothek4 (Leipzig. 1912), 76 Sl 13 f. —or the construction of a double roof plus ceiling in CT .37 8 i 44 f.—parallel Museum Journal, 14 (1923), 267 ff. i 48 f.; also Langdon, op, cit.. 126 iii 27 ff. and230 i 21fT.

187. See Erich Ebeling. Parfümrezepte und kultische Texte aus Assur (Rome, 1950). with a Neo-Assyrian fragment from Calah — Donald J. Wiseman and J. V. Kinnier Wilson, “The Nimrud Tablets, 195(1,” in Iraq. 13 (1951), 112 ND 460.

188. See Erich Ebeling. Bruchstücke einer mittelassyrischen Vorschriftensammlung für die Akklimatisierung und Trainieruni; von Wauenpferden (Berlin, 195 I); and. for the Hitlile material. Annelies KammenhÜber, Hippologia hethitica (Wiesbaden. 1961).

189. Oppenheim et af. Glass and Glussmaking; also A, Leo Oppenheim, “More Fragments With Instructions for Glassmaking,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 32 (1973), 188–193; and “Towards a History of Glass in the Ancient Near East,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 83 (1972), 259–266.

190. Published in autograph copy by Jan J. A. van Dijk, “Textes divers du Musée de Baghdad. II.” in Sumer. 13 (1957), 115, pl. 24.

191. Published by Civil. “A Hymn to the Beer Goddess.”

192. For a translation of this difficult text, see Cyril J, Gadd, “Two Sketches From the Life at Ur,” in Iraq, 25 (1963). 183– 188.

193. They are accessible in their trans, by Earle Radcliffe Caley. “The Leyden Papyrus X,” in Journal of Chemical Education, 3 (1926). 1149–1166; and the text from Stock-holm, in “The Stockholm Papyrus,” ibid 4 (1927). 979–1002.

194. This has been pointed out in a critique of my paper by Diet-linde Goltz, “Versuch einer Grenzziehung zwischen ’Chemie’ und ’Alchemic’” in Sudhoffs Archiv für Ge-schichte der Medizin…. 32 11968), 30–47.

195. This is RM 62788. to which Professor A. Kirk Grayson drew my attention.

196. Also belonging here are such isolated texts as Erich Ebe-ling. “Ein Rezept zum Würzen von Fleisch,” in Orientalin, n.s. 18 (1949). 171–172 (referring to GCC1 2 394); and Oliver R. Gurney, “An Old Babylonian Treatise on the Tuning of the Harp.” in Iraq, 30 (1968), 229–233, also discussed by David Wulstan. “The Tuning of the Babyloni-an Harp.” ibid., 215–228.

197. A. Leo Oppenheim, “Towards a History of Glass in the Ancient Near East” and “The Position of the Intellectual in Mcsopotamian Society.”

198. In “Towards a History of Glass” I have pointed out just such an instance; prisoners or deponed craftsmen from Syria introduced glassmaking into Egypt. In Egypt they first produced containers in forms that were un- Egyptian, but later changed the style of their products to exquisite and typically Egyptian objects. See also Dan Barag, “Mcs-opotamian Glass Vessels of the Second Millennium B.C..” in Journal of Glass Studies, 4 (1962). 23–25. The problem touched upon here has hardly been treated in its implications. Pertinent evidence is not very rare — for example, the list of deported craftsmen and “professionals” taken from Egypt by Esarhaddon (see n. 150. above) and the Bible passages I Sam. I 3;19 and 2 Kings 24;14 = Jer. 24;1, 29;2 For a related problem, see Jack M. Sasson, “Instances of Mobility Among Mari Artisans,” in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 190 (1968). 46– 54.

199. See Carlo Zaccagnini. Eo scamhio dei doni nel Vicino Ori-ente durante i secoli XV- XIII (Rome, 1973).

200. The Amarnn letters (Knudtzon. Die El-Amarna-Ta feln) — nos. 13 (gifts from Babylon), 14 (from Egypt), and 22 and 25 (from Mitanni) — are the best examples of such lists. See also ADD810(=AB1.568).

201. For an example, see A. Leo Oppenheim. “On Royal Gar-dens in Mesopotamia,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 24 (1965), 328–333. For the practice of laying out a royal botanical garden to display the king’s wealth and his conquest of foreign countries, see Donald J. Wiseman. “A New Stela of Assur-nasir-pal 11.” in Iraq. 14 (1952). 33; 40–52. The difference in the style of living at court (and probably also in well-to-do circles) between West and East is a topic worthy of investigation. The use of ice lo cool drinks —latest discussions in Stephanie Page, “tee. Offerings and Deities in the Old Babylonian Texls From Tell-el- Kimah,” in Actes de la XI II Rencontre assyriotogique internationale (Ham-sur-Heure, 1970). 181–183; and Helmut Freydank. “Bīt šurīpim in Boğazköy,” in Welt des Orients, 4 (1968), 316–317 —and kings holding flowers or handkerchiefs in their hand illustrate this contrast. The difference in courtly manners also had its moral implica-tions; see the reference from Ugarit to a princess behaving eoquettishly in public-Jean Nougayrol, Le pulais royal d’Ugurit 3 Mission de RasShamra6(Paris, 1955), 43 RS 16.270;25 —as well as the case of adultery discussed by William L. Moran, “The Scandal of the ’Great Sin’ at Ugarit.” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 18 (1959),280–281.

202. For the importance of the new style of ivory-inlaid fürni-ture that characterized the palaces of the first half Of the first millennium, see Richard D. Bamett. A Catalogue of the Nimrud Ivories With Other Examples of Ancient Near Eastern Ivories in tile British Muséum (London, 1957).

203. The Old Testament offers a revealing exception. The ceaseless fight of the prophets against the strong desire of the kings (of Judah and Israel) to live, to think, and to be-have just like all other kings around them illustrates the pervasive force of “royal fashions.”

204. Trade in spices and perfumes (that is, their importation for the use of palace and temple) is attested sporadically from the end of the third millennium B.C. —see, for example, John B. Curtis and William W. Hallo, “Money and Mer-chants in Lir III.” in Hebrew Union College Annual. 30 (1959), 103–139 —To the Chaldean period. Such trading. however, is not comparable in importance with the role of, let us say. the pepper and incense trade of the subsequent two millennia. The camel-borne incense trade of the first millennium bypassed Mesopotamia, with the exception of the encroachments of the Assyrian kings (from Tukulti-Ninurta 11 to Assurbanipal, incense is mentioned as tribute coming from the Arabs). The incense was drawn out of Arabia into Egypt and Palestine (and eventually into Greece and Rome) by the demands of the cult and of per-sonal uses.

205. For the shifting of the trade pattern in textiles, see A, Leo Oppenheim, “Trade in the Ancient Near East.” in Fifth International Congrèss of Economic History, Leningrad1970 (Moscow. 1970), II.

206. See Oppenheim, Andern Mesopotamia, 283.

207. For a proposal, see Oppenheim. Letters from Mesopota-mia. 42–54,

208. For certain changes in this respect, see n. 163.

209. A case in point is fürnished by the Mesopolamian textile industry. Weaving techniques (in wool and linen) remain quite primitive throughout, producing monochrome fabrics in simple (tabby) weave patterns. Applique work and col-ored surface decorations were used at times to embellish the product; see A. Leo Oppenheim, “The Golden Gar-ments of the Gods,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, H(1949), 172– 193; and Jeanny Vorys Canby, “Decoraled Garments in Ashurnasirpal’s Sculpture,” in Iraq, 33 i 197 I). 31–53. Certain pavemenl slabs from Neo-Assyrian pal-aces show stone imitations of carpets with fringes and char-acteristic ornamentation. We do not know which craftsmen produced them. The multiheddled (Far Eastern) loom that permits pattern weaving was introduced into Mesopotamia along with silk. For the importation of “Western” textiles from the last third of the second millennium, see A, Leo Oppenheim, “Essay on Overland Trade in the First Millen-nium B.C.,” 246 f

210. An exception is an alcoholic beverage produced from dates, instead of a beer brewed of malted barley “bread,” a change that occurred around the end of the second or the beginning of the first millennium B. C . See Oppenheim, Let -ers from Mesopotamia. 44 .

211. See Armas Salonen. “Die öfen der alten Mesopolamier.” in Baghdader Mitteilungen, 3 (1964), 100–124; and “Be-merkungen zur sumerisch-akkadischen Brennholz-Termi-nologie.” in Jaabericht vim het Veoraziatisch-Egyptisch Genootschap Ex Oriente Lux.18 (1964). 331–338. For a discussion of the glassmaker’s kiln and its parts, see Op-penheim et al.. Class and Glassmaking 69– 71.

212. Except that they were activated by both hands and feel and had a leather air bag. For pot bellows preserved in the Iraq Muséum, Baghdad, see W. Winton. as quoted by Lamia al- Gailani in “Tell edh-Dhiba’i,” in Sumer, 21 (1965), pi. 6–7 and pp. 37–38; N. Avigad in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 163 (1961), 18–22; and C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, “Archaeology and Metallurgi-cal Technology in Prehistoric Afghanistan, India, and Pak-istan.” in American Anthropologist, 69 (1967), 152. Egyp-tian foot bellows are discussed by T. G. Crawhill, “Iron Working in the Sudan.” in Man, 33 (1933), 41– 43.

213. Meal was rare food for the common man. This is shown by Nabonidus’ (555– 539 B.C.) boast that he fed the workmen on his temple-building projects various kinds or bread, line beer, meat, and wine; Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts I. p. 36 iii 27. This reflects a similar statement of Sin-iddi-nam of Larsa (1834– 1823 B.C.); see Edmond Sollberger and Jean-Robert Küpper, Inscriptions royales sumeriermes el akkudiennes (Paris. 1971), 190;50–57, 192 ii 16–35. A detailed bill of fare fora royal banquet given by Aššurnasir-pal II (883–859 B.C.) on the occasion of the inauguration of his new palace was published in Wiseman, “A New Ste-la of Aššur-nasirpal II,” 24–44. See the trans, by Oppen-heim in Hritchard. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 3rd ed. with supp. (1969), 560a.

214. Since the seeds of sesame (Sesainum indicum) arc conspic-uously absent from Mesopotamian soil, we cannot eslab-lish to what oilseed the Akkadian šamaššammu refers. For the problems involved, see Fritz Rudolf Kraus. “Se-sam im alten Mesopotamien,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society. 88 (1968). 112– 119. For other oil-producing plants, see Hans Gustav Güterbock, “Oil Plants in Hittite Anatolia.” ibid., 66–71.

215. Certain plants — see Reginald Campbell Thompson. A Dictionary of Assyrian Botany (London, 1949), 31 ff.; and Immanuel Low. Die Flora der Juden. I (Vienna- Leipzig. 1928). 635 ff. — when burned, yield ashes that contain alkali. When combined with oil, a soaplike liquid is obtained; see Oppenheim et tri., Glass and Glassmaking, 74 and a. 87 . Add to the texts there cited KUB 37 55 iv 26’–29’ and 32’–35’, See also Helmuth T. Bossen. “Zur Geschichte der Seife,” in Forschungen und Fortschritte. 29 (1955), 208–213; and Eberhard Schmauderer, “Seifenähnliche Produkte im alten Orient,” in Technikgeschichte. 34 i 1967), 300–310. At times, crushed gypsum was added as an abrasive. For the use of alkali in the manufacture of glass. see Robert H. Brill, “The Chemical Interpretation of the Texts.” in Oppenheim el at.. Glass and Glassmaking, 112.

216. For the use of filigree techniques (Kornfiligran). see Robert Koldewey, Das nieder erstehende Babylon, 4th ed, (Leipzig, 1925), fig, 186. For wire filigree in the Old Testamem, see Exod, 39;3. See also Diane Lee Caroll. “Wire Drawing in Antiquity.” in American Journal of Archaeology,76 (1972),321–323.

217. For the use of the cire perdue technique for casting metal objects, see Assyrian Dictionary, sub iškuru, usage b. for second-millennium references; for the first millennium, see Johann Nepomuk Strassmaier. ed.. Babylonische Texte, Inschriften von Nabonidus (Leipzig. 1889), no. 429;1 f.

218. See K. R. Maxwell-Hyslop. Western Asiatic Jewellery c..3000–612 B.C. (London-New York, 1971); and the important review of this book by Agnès Spycket in Revue d’ussyriologie et d’archeologie Orientale. 67 (1973). 83–90, See also John F. X. Mckeon. “Achaemenian Cloisonné -Inlay Jewelry; An Important New Example,” in Harry A. Hoffner, ,Jr,. ed.. Orient and Occident, Essays Presented to Cyrus H. Gordon on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday, which is Aller Orient and Altes Testament 22 (Neukirchcn-Vluyn, 1973). 109–117.

219. For the fame of the palace in Man. see the letter published by Georges Dossin in Ugaritica I, which is Mission de Ras Shamra3 (Paris. 1939). 15 and 16, n. 2; also André Parrot. “Fouilles de Mari,” in Syria, 18 (1937), 74 ff,

220. In the inscription of the Kassite king Agum-kakrime (ca. third quarter of the second millennium) we find a more de-tailed description of the work on the temple of Marduk, including (he doors and doorways, the garments, crowns, and jewelry of the divine images made of gold and decorated with precious stones; for a now somewhal obsolete trans. see Unger. Babylon, 276 ff.

221. For the relation between the quality of the artwork and the social position of those who commissioned (or bought) in. see Edith Porada. “Gesellschaftsklassen in Werken altorienialischer Kunst,” in Gesellschaftsklassen im alten Zweistromland und in den angrenzenden Gebieten, D. O. Edzard, ed.. which is Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-hist. Kl., n.s. no. 75 (1972), 147–157.

222. Since the quality of the silver brought to the temple varied greatly, it was temple practice to melt down all silver offerings. See A. Leo Oppenheim. “A Fiscal Practice of the Ancient Near East.” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, i (1947), 116–120. with references to papers discussing parallel practices in the temples of Solomon and Zerubbabel, in Persia I according to Herodotus), and in the Egypt of (he Abbasid caliphs.

223. Silver used for payment was generally of poor quality. Wit-ness a letter from the authorities of the temple in Uruk to goldsmilhs; “If you [again ] cast [objects out of] silver pro-vided with the gin-mark [currency silver] you will commit a serious crime against the king” (UCCI 2 101;8– 10). An-other letter (CT 22 40) refers to a royal decree that refined silver, rather than silver with a gàt-niark, should be given fora specific purpose. Because even small quantities of silver are mentioned as being marked with the sign gin (“normal”), it is possible that sheets of silver stamped all over with such a mark may have been cut up and weighed out as payment.

224. A special use of copper comes into the ancient Near East in the second millennium; copper scales sewn on leather serve as mail, for the protection of men as well as of horses. Its foreign designalion (in Akkadian, suliriam; in Human. šarrijanni; in Egyptian, tryn; in Hebrew, širjōn) shows that this protective armor was brought in from the outside, See A. Leo Oppenheim, in Journal of Cuneiform Hl adies, 4 (1950), 192–195; sec also Erkki Salonen, Die Waffen der altert Mesopotamien which is Stud ia Orientalia 33 (Helsinki, 1965), 105– 107; for illustrations, see Burchard Brentjes, “Equidengerat, Equiden in der Religion des alten Orients,” in fttio, 53 (1971). 76–96. esp. 80 ff. A probably similar coat of mail (also used for men and horses) called gurpisa (see Assyrian Dictionary, sub voce; also Salunen. op. cid, 101 – 104) appears somewhat earlier in peripheral Babylonian texts (Ishchali and Mari).

225. Copper was also used as means of payment in Assyria until the eighth century B.C.; see Carlo Zaccagnini, “La terminologia accadica del rame e del bronzo nel I millennia,” in Oriens antiquas, 10 (1971), 129. For the “oxhide” ingots of copper, see Robert Maddin and James D. Muhly. “Some Notes on the Copper Trade in the Ancient Mid-East,” in Journal of Metals, 26 , no. S (May 1974). 1–7. The ratio copper:tin is rarely mentioned; the pertinent evidence is conveniently assembled in James D. Muhly, Copper und Tin. The Distribution of Mineral Resources and the Na-ture of the Metals Trade in the Bronze Age (New Haven, 1973); see also Henri Limet. Le travail du metal au pays de Sinner au temps de la HI’ dvnastie d’Ur (Paris, 1960). 71.73.

226. For iron in the second millennium, sec Paul Garelli. Lei Assyriens en Cappadoee (Paris, 1963). 272; see also Assyrian Dictionary, sub amūtu B and aši’u; and Oppenheim. “Essay on Overland Trade,” 241. For the iron called habalkinnu (hapalki in Hittite). see Emmanuel Laroche. “Eludes de vocabulaire VI.” in Revue hittite et asianique, IS, fasc. 60 (1957). 9–15. For meteoric iron, see n. 184. For the techniques of cold and hot hammering of copper and iron and their applications, sec Oppenheim. Ancient Mesopotâmia, 322 f. The still unpublished doctoral dissertation of Carlo Zaccagnini, “II ferro nel vicino Oriente” I Univ. of Rome. 1969), should he mentioned here.

227. The lexical texts fist šadânu —that is, hematite (for the identification, see Landsberger, “Tin and Lead,” 285. n. 1) —beside šadânu sābitu — that is, “clinging hematite” — which must refer to magnesite, another iron ore similar to hematite but, in contrast, very magnetic.

228. For the problem of the identification of tin. see Landsberger, “Tin and Lead.” 284-296. with previous literature. For a new theory about the provenience of tin and a review of the old theories, see Muhly. Copper and Tin. 315–338; and James D. Muhly and Theodore A. Wertime, “Evidence for the Sources and Use of Tin During the Bronze Age of the Near East; A Reply to J. E. Dayton.” in World Archaeology, 5 . no. 1 (1973). 111–122.

229. For the use of antimony For making metal objects, see Oppenheim et al., Glass and Glassmaking, 21 . For the problem of the use of antimony in glass as an opacifier see má, 20f., 87 f.; also Brill, ibid.. 116 IT.

230. See. for example. Alfred Lucas. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 4th ed. (London, 1962), 214 f.

231. Most of the texts come from the library of Assurbanipal; one was excavated in Babylon, and another (probably like-wise from Babylon) was acquired by the British Museum. A few fragments written in Hittite, but very difficult and fragmentary, were excavated in the Hittite capital in central Anatolia. See also Kaspar K. Riemschneider, “Die Gasherstellung in Anatolien nach hethitischen Quellen.” in Anatolian Studies Presented to Hans Gustav Cüterbock an the Occasion of His 65th Birthday (Istanbul, 1974), 263–278.

232. For a modern attempt to use the materials and procedures indicated in the glass texts and its results, see Oppenheim et at.. Glass and Glassmaking III f.. “A Laboratory Synthesis of zukû” performed by Robert II, Brill al the facilities of the Corning Museum of Glass.

233. For the much earlier use of thin colored glazes on faience-like carriers, see J. F. S. Stone and L. C. Thomas, “The Use and Distribution of Faience in the Ancient Easy and Prehistoric Europe,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society for 1956. n.s. 22. 37–84.

234. For details, see Oppenheim, “Towards a History of Glass,” 263 f.

235. This was not an isolated case but part of a general west-east movement of technical innovations; see Oppenheim. “Towards a History of Glass,” 264.

236. See Stone and Thomas, “The Use and Distribution of Faience” see also Klaus Kühne. Zar Kenntnis silikatischer Werkstoffe und der Technologie ihrer Herstellung im 2. Jahrtausend Z.u.which is Abhandlungen der Deulschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. Kl. für Chemie. Geologie und Biologie 11969), no. 1.

237. Mircea Eliade, “Symbolisme el riluels mélallurgiques ba-byIoniens.” in Studien zur analytischen Psychologie C. G. Jungs, II (Zurich, 1955). 42–46, represents an unwarranted distortion of the evidence.

238. See Salonen. Die Ziegeleien im alten Mesopotamien.

239. A late and probably foreign use of such bricks for decorative purposes can be found in the wall reliefs produced by preformed bricks (temple of Karaindaš in Uruk) that were later given colored glares (Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon and the Achaemenid palace in Susa). For earlier preformed mud bricks to form columns, see David Oates, “The Excavations at Tell Al Rimah, 1966,” in/ran. 29(1967), 70–96.

240. For plans of buildings, see Reatlexikon der Assyriohgie. III (1957–1971), 664–668. sub “GrundrissZeichnungen” and Donald J. Wiseman, “A Babylonian Architect?” in Anatolian Studies, 22 (1972). 141–147. Sec also Geoffrey Turner, “The State Apartments of Late Assyrian Palaces.” in Iraq, 32 (1970). 177–213.

241. The architects (šitimgallu and itinnu) worked with measuring rods, pegs, and ropes to lay out the foundations. Instructions and dimensions for the construction of a wall appear in the isolated late tablet published in Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 33 (1911), 155– 157, and pi. 21, by Thcophile G. Pinches as “The Gateways of (he Shrines of the Gods at Sippar.” and reedited and discussed by Wolfgang Röllig in Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 62 (1969). 299 f.

242. For Mesopolamian architecture, see Ernst Heinrich, “Suerisch-akkadische Architektur,” in Propyläen Kunstgeschichte. XIV (Berlin. 1975) 131–158.

243. See Helmut Kyrieleis. Throne und Klinen. Studien zur Foftngest lachte altorientaiixcher und griechischer Sitztmtl Liegemöbel vorhellenischer Zeit, which is Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts, supp. 24 (Berlin. 1969).

244. Bows were made by the sasinnu. arrows by the ēpiš qanè, shields and coats of mail (see n. 224) by the askãpu. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub vocis. The composite bow, the most sophisticated weapon used in the ancient Near East, is preserved only in Egypt. See T. Säve-Söderbergh. “The Hyksos Rule in Egypt,” in Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 37 (1951), 53–71. pl. 69–70. The earliest representation of the composite bow comes from Mali—see André Parrot, “Les fouilles de Mari. Dix-neuvième campagne (printemps 1971),” in Syria. 48 (1971), pl. XIV 4 and p. 269; and Yigael Yadin, “The Earliest Representation of a Siege Scene and a “Scythian Bow’ From Mari.” in Israel Exploration Journal22 (1972). 89–94.

245. The carpenters apparenlly were quite specialized; some built boats, others made doors and wheels. Other specialized craftsmen were the smiths, who, especially in the Middle and Neo-Assyrian periods, were differentiated by the metals they worked with (gold, silver, copper, and iron); the weavers were differentiated by material (linen) and product (ēpiš birmi, ēpiš tunšilbašmilnahlapti), or technique (käsiru).

246. While wagons retained the disk wheel, chariots changed to spoked wheels. See P. R. S. Moorey. “The Earliest Near Eastern Spoked Wheels and Their Chronology,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society for 1968, n.s.34(1969), 430–432.

247. Not quite as large as boats were the siege engines, consisting of more or less armored, wheeled battering rams. They are already attested in the second millennium and arc often shown on NeoAssyrian palace reliefs, See Heinz Waschow. 4000 Jahre Kampf uni die Mauer; der Festungskrieg der Pioniere (Bottrop, Germany, 1938). We are not well informed about wooden installations for irrigation — apart from primitive weirs, sluices, and runnels. Those of the shaduf are attested iconographically—see Armas Salonen, Die Hausgeräte der alten Mesopotamia; I (Helsinki, 1965), 264–272-as well as in certain difficult text passages (such as Ai. IV ii 33–35); irrigation devices using rotary movements are not attested.

248. The plows were provided with a seeding device that appears to have a parallel in (he Far East, See Paul Leser, “Westöstliche Lands Wirtschaft.” in Festschrift publication d’hommage offene au P. W. Schmidt (Vienna, 1928), 416–484; and, more recently, Fritz Christ JansenWen ig er, “Die anatolischen Sähpflüge und ihre Vorgänger im Zweistromland.” in Archäologischer Anzeiger (1967), 151–162. For a more primitive tool for making fürrows, see Burchard Brentjes. “Der Zugspaten und seine Vorläufer im alten Orient,” in Ethnographischarchäologische Zeitschrift. 10 (1969). 535–542.

249. Among the small-scale implements, the apparently complex construction of the royal umbrella may be mentioned here; see A. Leo Oppenheim. “Assyriological Gleanings IV, The Shadow of the King.” in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 107 (1947). 8. For mechanical devices to replace human teeth. see Don Clawson. “Phoenician Dental Art.” in Berytus. 1 (1934). 23–29; see also F. Filce Leek, “The Practice of Dentistry in Ancient Egypt,” in Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 53 (1967). 51–58. For timekeeping devices, note the clepsydra (in Akkadian, dibdibbu), for which see E. Thureau-Dangin. “Clepsydre babylonÍenne et clepsydre égyptienne,” in Revue d’ussyriologie et d’archetilogic orienluh; 30 (1933), 51–52; see also Otto Neugebauer, “The Water Clock in Babylonian Astronomy.” in Ixis , 37 (1947). 37–43. For the type called mašqû, see A. Leo Oppenheim. “A Babylonian Diviner’s Manual,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 33 (1974), 205. n. 38. Instructions for making a gnomon for astronomical observation are given in nos, 1494 and 1495 in Pinches and Strassmaier, Late Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts, identified by Abraham Joseph Sachs on p. xxxiv.

250. The texts are Thureau-Dangin. Rituels actadiens, S f. and 14 f. ii 21 –25 (paralleled in the Assur text KAR 60 r. 5–8); 4R 28* no, r. 3–5 from the library of Assurbanipal; and (again from Assur) KAR29r.l!() 13–15, See also ThureauDangin, “Notes assyriologiques.” in Revue dussyriohgic et darchéologie Orientale. 17 (1920). 29 f.

251. The tanners (both aškāpu and sārip dušê tanners) had to live in special city quarters in the Neo-Babylonian period (mainly according to texts from Uruk). Note in this connection the fuller’s field outside the city of Jerusalem in Isa. 7;3. For a city quarter of the gurgurru metalworkers in Assur, see Assyrian Dictionary, sub gurgurru, discussion section.

252. For the importing of alum, see Oppenheim, “Essay on Overland Trade.” 243. In Egypt, it was denoted in the New kingdom by a foreign word; see Wolfgang Helck, Die Beziehungen ägyptens zu Vorderasien im J. und 2. Jahrtausend v. Chr., which is ägyptologische Abhandlungen 5, 2nd cd, (Wiesbaden, 1962), 505, n. 4.

253. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub voce.

254. A parallel but not so informative passage comes from the ritual published in Thureau-Dangin, Rituels actadiens. 77; 44–47, which indicates which blessings must be said at certain stages of the preparation and the baking of bread destined for the deity’s meal.

255. It is noteworthy that the stone itself is mentioned quite rarely in second-millennium texts, and then preponderantly in those from western regions, only to disappear later. Apparently it had been imported, and contact was lost with its provenience.

256. See Assyrian Dictionary, sub dušû A and şārip dušê

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