Akkadian Prayer Miscellany

Alan Lenzi, University of the Pacific (Stockton, CA)

A Prayer to a Goddess


This prayer in Standard Babylonian Akkadian is only attested (so far) on the obverse(?) of a tablet, 1879-07-08, 0050, housed in the →British Museum in London. Mayer last edited the prayer (Mayer 1976: 537-540; →bibliography; →library). There is no copy of the tablet available.

There are some interesting mistakes in this tablet. The scribe wrote ḫé-pí eš-šú, “a new break,” in his copy to indicate several broken places on his Vorlage. (In line 20ˊ ḫé-pí stands alone.) Marking an old break like this is not unusual. A little more interesting: Some of the “new breaks” occur mid-word, suggesting the scribe either could not or would not fill in the gap, most of which we can restore with fairly high confidence (see Mayer 1976: 540). Was this due to respect/reverence for the original or rather inability (i.e., he didn’t know Akkadian so well)? Even more interesting: In one case, the last one in line 22ˊ, the scribe wrote the IG sign before writing “new break.” IG is not the sign we would expect in what is almost certainly a formulaic phrase at the end of this line (qí-bi NA[M.TI.LA-MU], “command l[ife for me]”).The IG is likely a mistake for NAM, which differs from IG in the Neo-Assyrian script by only two oblique wedges on the right side of the sign. Apparently, the scribe only wrote as much as he saw.