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Some Notes on the So-called Hieroglyphic-Tablet. — By 
Ellen Sbton Ogdbn, Ph. D. Albany, N. Y. 

The following notes are an attempt to read the so-called 
Hieroglyphic Tablet published in T. S. B. A. Vol. VI, p. 
454 ff. Menant 1 , Houghton 2 and Delitzsch 3 have each dis- 
cussed it wholly or in part, and for their suggestions grateful 
acknowledgment is here made. 

The tablet is clearly a sign list. The characters at the 
right hand of each column correspond to those on the kudurrus 
of the Cassite and Pasbe dynasties, differing from those of 
Hammurabi's time on the one hand and from the archaic forms 
of Nebuchadnezzar II on the other. 4 The' signs on the left, 
except a few obviously late ones, are seemingly older and show 
little more than a passing resemblance to Babylonian traditions 
of writing. 

Two problems are therefore to be solved: 

1. The general plan and interpretation of the sign list. 

2. The identification as to origin and date of the archaic 
characters at the left. 

The association of several words under one sign seems to 
have been determined partly by unity of idea and partly by 
similarity of sound. In some groups a clue was found in the 



1 Lecons d'epigraphie Assyrienne (Paris, 1873), p. 51 ff. 

2 Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, Vol. VI p. 454 ff. 
8 Die Entstehung des altesten Schr if tsy stems (Leipzig, 1897), p. 199 ff. 
* My attention was first called to this fact by Dr. Geo. A. Barton of 

Bryn Mawr. 



Vol. xxxiii.] Some Notes on the So-catted Hieroglyphic-Tablet. 17 

chief syllabic value, which under varying transcriptions stood 
for other more or less closely related words. Elsewhere, with 
several syllabic values, the divergence is greater. Generally 
the meanings given to the signs at the left fall within those 
listed by Briinnow and Meissner under the case-sign, but this 
has not been held to rigidly, because the present knowledge 
of lexicographical material is still far from complete. Of 
course the equations assigned these unknown characters 
and couched in the phraseology of Babylonian signs hold only 
as far as the idea, if the theory of a non-Babylonian origin 
is accepted. 

As to the identification of the archaic signs three theories 
are tenable: — 

a) That they are Babylonian, of a date and locality as yet 
unknown. 

b) That they are foreign to Babylonian life and writing. 

c) That they are Babylonian, but strongly under some 
foreign influence. In favor of the first view is the resemblance 
of certain of the characters to Babylonian signs, but at best 
this evidence is slight. A more clearly defined similarity exists 
between them and the proto-Elamitic, and if the parallel 
tablet in C. T. V., 81—7—27, 49 1 and 50, be collated together 
with this one, it makes a total of thirty-one signs in which 
this similarity challenges attention. What really results there- 
fore is a triangular relationship between the three, the Ba- 
bylonian, proto-Elamitic and these characters. AVhether this 
is due to coincidence or to common origin with subsequent 
independent development, only future research can answer. 

Meanwhile the writer would suggest the following as a 
possible solution, though one as yet unproved. 

If, as has been 'thought by some, the Cassites were an 
Elamitic people, it is likely that they used or were familiar 
with the early Elamitic writing now known as proto-Elamitic, 
and also with its later forms. As part of their very strong 
influence upon Babylonian affairs, may not these Cassites have 
made some attempts to equate their own older signs with those 
of the language about them? If so, something like the present 
sign-list would have resulted. 

» See J. A. 0. S. Vol. 32. 

VOL. XXXIII. Part I. 2 




Col. I. Cases 1, 2. The case sign is RA (Hinke 113).' 
Col. II. Cases 3, 4. The case sign is NAM (Hinke 37). 



3) 
4) 



T = 



=T? 



? ? 



Cases 5, 6. The case sign is AB, ES (Hinke 77). 

5) fcJcT= g^y, AB, (Eec. 344, 550 bis),* abu, father; 
nasilcu, prince; sibu, old man. Allied with this 
sign is AB = <C^r, littu, offspring; miru, the 
young of an animal; banu, $a alddi. 

6) fctj = g=e=|, AB (Eec. 345) Mmfo, sea; opfw 
enclosure; (arah) Tebitu, the month of floods; (amelu) 
irreSu, irrigator. Allied with this sign is ES = 
house, inclosure. 

Col. III. Cases 1—4. The case sign is AZA, AZ, AS. (Hinke 206). 
The sign is a compound of PIRIK = lion, and 
ZA = stone, jewel. In the early archaic inscrip- 
tions it appears only in the place name AZ (hi). 
Later it is equated with 

a) (is) Sigaru, some means or implement of restraint. 

b) asu, physician, or according to Langdons 



i Hinke, Selections from the Kudurru Inscriptions. 
2 Thureau-Dangin, Becker cites sur I'origine de I'ecriture cuneiforme 
(Paris, 1908). 

* Sumerian Grammar and Chrestomathy (Paris, 1911), p. 204. 



Vol. xxxiii.] Some Notes on the So-called Hieroglyphic-Tablet. 19 

"An ointment or paste used in medicine." 
The use of AZ = Sigaru in the sense of 'chain' or 'fetter' 
is indicated by the combination in which the sign occurs. 
AZ. BAL = erinnu, nabaru, cage. 
AZ. GTJ = (is) Sigaru, Sa kiSadi, chain for neck. 
AZ. LAL = (is) Sigaru, Sa kalbi, harness or leash for 
a dog. (LAL = kasu, kamu, rakdSu, to bind, and 
samddu, to yoke). 
AZ. BAL. LAL. E = (is) erinnu, cage, but used also 
as a synonym of Sigaru. There is probably a 
connection between this Sigaru = (is) SI. GAE 
and iSkaru = (is) GAR or KAR, fetter or chain, 
if they are not the same word differently tran- 
scribed. 

1) tZrW = IH (?) + ?! > UR (?) + ZA ( Rec - 438, 9), stone 

lion colossus. UK. MAH is the usual transcription 
for nergallu, the stone bas-relief of a lion placed 
at the entrance of palace or temple to ward off 
the evil power of Nergal the "destroyer". Rec. 439, 
as yet unidentified, resembles this present sign more 
closely than Rec. 438, but may be only a variant. 
UR. MAH is also the usual form for neSu, lion, 
whereas umu, labbu, and (ilu) Nergal as the lion- 
god are transcribed by PIRIK. 

2) **|gr" = ^A + j$, NUNUZ + ZA (Rec. 282, supl. 480), 

(aban) erimmatu, necklace, or chain in the sense 
of fetter; cf. DAK. NUNUZ. GU = niru, yoke 
(Br. 8182). l Is this the same as erinnu above? 
The pictograph represents a link-chain plus the 
sign for stone. 

3) *&$&* — $A + |f, NUNUZ + ZA (Rec, 283, supl. 480), 

(is) Sigaru, chain or fetter. 

4) tfrfi^W* = ^ ^VjT , AZA (Rec. 185, supl. 518), asu, physi- 

cian. The pictograph is difficult to explain, unless 
by an association of both form and idea with GIR 
below, which see. 
Cases 5—8. The case sign is GIR, NE, PIRIK, UG, (Hinke 
202). Primarily this is GIR the sign for sandal, 

i Briinnow, A Classified List of All Simple and Compound Ideographs 
(Leyden, 1899). 

2* 



20 S. E. Ogden, [1913. 

foot, but through similarity of form, there have 
been confused with it three other signs, as follows. 1 

a) 3g> = <^TT = KIS {hi). 

b) <9pp- - <^ = GIR, sandal, foot. 

c) sgHflp- = --|^ = ANSIT, ass. 

d) <p^ = <s^ = PIRIK, UG, lion. 

Even the inscriptions of the archaic period show interchange 
of usage, a process heightened by time and growing complexity 
of the language. This interchange accounts for some of the 
parallelism between the groups above and this. 

5) <£f^ = i}A (Rec. 283, supl. 480) kurzu, "FuBfessel" 

(H. W. B. p. 355). This is the same sign, without 
ZA, as in cases 2, 3 of the AZ group. 

6) <£ff=- = <gE, GIR (Rec. 224, 226, supl. 224), 2 Sepu, 

foot; kibSu, step; gasru, powerful. Without syl- 
labic value it equals tallaktu, padanu, urhu. The 
pictograph represents a sandal with thongs. The 
expression GIR or GIR NTTAH = Sakkanakku 
and the association with emuku suggests that this 
form of sandal was one of the insignia of power. 

7) l^r*" = ? = NE (?), namru, bright, niiru, light. 

The pictograph represents a lamp in the form of 
a bird, such as appears on the seal-cylinders and 
kudurrus as the emblem of the fire-god Gibil- 
JSusku. 3 Its presence here is accounted for by 
the coDfusion between NE = <{5^ and NE — 
£^£=f, fire. 

8) <£^=- = ? = NE (?), GUNNI (?) (Cf. Br. 9703) 

kimmu, brazier. Eor pictograph see Rec. 176 and 
the discussion under IE below. 
Col. IV, Cases 1, 2. The case sign is DAR, SI, SU, ITGUISr 



> For fuller discussion of this group, see E. S. Ogden, The Origin of 
the Gunu-Signs in Babylonian, Leipzig, 1911. 

2 See also Langdon, op. cit. p. 272. 

3 Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western, Asia (Washington, 1910). 



Vol.xxxiii.] Some Notes on the So-called Hieroglyphic- Tablet. 21 

(Hinke 267 and Clay, Marushu, 28). J Two signs, 
SI-GUNU and TARRU, have coalesced under 
this sign. 2 

i) -IO — ^W dab, ( Rec > 34 ) tarru i bird > or si, su 

(Rec. 48) 

2) i—V^vy = ? ? The sign seems to he composed of 

AS + SA + GA. For a possible connection compare 
SrfAf = /fcate (Br. 3486) and II. Rawlinson 37, 
45 e, f, where this is equated with libbi. 
Cases 3, 4. The case sign is SUM, SU, RIG- (Hinke 172), 
Mlutu, burning. Sassitru, uterus (or foetus?); arJcatu, 
back, behind; baltu fullness, pudendum feminae; ma- 
Mdu, to press. The pictograph equals SAL + SU 
(Rec. 190), the latter in the sense of maSku, skin; 
$tru,2umru, body; ruddu,to increase; erebu, to enter. 

3) #Kg? = ^S-sJE, SU (Rec. 330) Sassuru, uterus. 

4) £►<§? = fc^, SUM (Rec. 59), daMdu, be plentiful. 

The pictograph represents two crossed palm branches. 

Case 5. The case sign is broken, but in C. T. V, 81 — 7 — 27, 

49 and 50 and J. A. O. S. Vol. 32, the sign at the 

left of this case is equated with ^, DU, be plentiful. 




1 List of Signs Found on Tablets of the Cassite and Neo- Babylonian 
Periods. 

- See E. S. Ogden, Origin of the Gunu-Signs in Babylonian, p. 26 ff. 



22 E. S. Ogden. [1913. 

Col. I. Cases 4—6. The case sign is SAL, SAL, MUBXTBT 
(Hinke 167), zinniStu, woman; uru, pudendum 
feminae; rapdSu, to extend. 

4) £» = ? (broken). 

5) = •£>-, SAL, Eec. 327) zinniStu, woman. 

6) — £. <pf, MUEITB (Eec. 231), Hzbu, fuUness; 
pu, mouth; uru, pudendum feminae (Br. 10962 — 4). 
For the pictograph, cf. Prince, M. S. L. p. 217. 

Cases 7, 8. The case sign is SAL + KIT = NIN (Hinke 
170) beltu, lady, mistress. 

7) t*& — ^g|, NTN (Eec. 335) beltu, lady. 

Col. II. Cases 2, 3. The case sign is GE, KIT, SAH, LIL 
(Hinke 136) Mtu, structure (?) (Prince, M. S. L. 
p. 131); lilu, storm-demon; Sdru, zakikku, wind. 

2) ggrfj = JJpEj, LEL, (Eec. 415), Msallu, a spacious place. 

3) m = ^g§;j (?) E. LIL (?) Cf. " yT jf[ E. LIL. 

LAL (Br. 6249, M. 3799), i 6lt irsiii; 6?t seri; btt 
zakiki. 
Cases 4—7. The case sign is BAE, DAG- (Br. 5528) BAE 
= parru, net; suparruru, to spread out, DAG = 
rapddu, to spread out ; nakdru and nagdSu, to destroy. 

4) HI = ? BAE (?) (M. 3869) Subtu, dwelling.* 

5) jjpzj = 5S|, BAE, (Eec. 426) parru, net; Suparruru, 

to spread out. 

6) ggf = ^|, DAK (?), I, NA, SI, ZA (Eec. 322) a&ww, 

stone or jewel. The sign was originally NT + 
UD = "shining light", "full of light". The present 
pictograph is analogous, NT + ZA, "full of bright- 
ness", or a "shining stone". 

7) jHf = ^gE|, GUG, GUK (Eec. 463), kukku(?). 

Cases 8. The case sign is E (Hinke 133) tebu, to speak; 
iku, canal. 

8) ||EEjf = J:f|, E (Eec. 109), ftj&ft, to speak; iM, canal. 
Cases 9, 10. The case sign is E (Hinke 252), bitu, house. 

1 Meissner, Seltene Assyrische Ideogramme (Leipzig, 1909). 

2 Langdon, op. cit. p. 263. 



Vol. xxxiii.] Some Notes on the So-called Hieroglyphic-Tablet. 23 

9) |pf = £:|yyy, E (Kec. 423) Utu, house. 

10) fpf - ^Mf (?), E. LIL, Cf. ^WT] , E. LIL. 

LAL = bit irsiti; bit seri (Br. 6249, M. 3799). 
Case 11. The case sign is KTJ, DUE, (Hinke 258). 

11) JHf = Ef, UDU (Rec. 456, Clay, Murashu, 219) == 

immeru, lamb. 
Col. Ill, Cases 3—5. The case sign is ID, I, A, (Hinke 146). 
The original pictograph represents a forearm and 
hand. The meanings overlap those of DA = idu, 
hand or side, and of ZAG = idu, side, and it 
is evident that the three signs were more or less 
exchanged. 

3) ^fj^f = S^:f, NE or K&grt], GIBIL (Rec. 82—5), 

burning torch. Eor a possible channel of connec- 
tion compare <]fe| S^Slf, GIBIL (Br. 9702) 
kilutu, torch; (sign name KI-IZAKKU) and 
gEAf §£:, AZAG (Br. 6592) asakku, sickness ? 
demon? It is possible that this is an allusion to the 
torch burned at the exorcism of demons of sickness. 

4) J|y|^! == gS&f ID (Rec. 115) idu, hand; emuku, power. 

It requires very little conventionalizing to reduce 
the pictograph of a hand and forearm to this 
character, which differs in outline from the Cassite 
sign to the right only by the grouping of the so- 
called gunu wedges. 

5) 1e3^! = S= gs: <. ZAG (Rec. 176) idu, pdtu, hand, side; 

emuku, power. Also aSru, eSretu, shrine. The 
pictograph represents an hour-glass shaped altar 
such as appears on the seals. 1 In support of this 
compare ZAG- AN (usug) = eSretu (Br. 6499); 
(LU) U. SUG, GA, and (LU) U. SAG, GA = 
usukku, temple devotee. 2 

i Ward, op. cit. p. 361—7. 
2 Gudea, B. 3, 15; A, 13, 14.