The Great Fatted Bull
Tablet #36
Sumerian Images
Sumerian History
The Royal Tombs of Ur
The Standard of Ur:  War
The Standard of Ur:  King
The "Standard" of Ur?
Vulture Stele Translation
Sumerian War Chariots
War Chariot Deconstructed
Gudea Translation
The Face of Gudea
The Face of Ur-Ningirsu
The Face of Lugal-agrig-zi
Ur-Namma Translation
The Face of Ur-Namma
Face of Ur-Namma, part II
I am Ur-Namma
The Face of Shulgi
Who Were the Sumerians?
Other Sumerian Kings
The Princess Wife
BE 31,28 Sign List
Sumerian Trick Signs
The Great Fatted Jackass
Sargon's Victory Stele
Helmet: the King of Kish
The Standard of Mari?
The Invention of Writing
Adventures in Cuneiform
The Sumerian Scribe
A Masterpiece
Site Map

   Princess Wife 

This page provides citations to support my transliteration of tablet BE 31,28. The page is intended for anyone interested in cuneiform studies who wishes to verify that my translation
of tablet BE 31,28 is correct. There's nothing of interest on the page for the general reader,
so you can skip it without hurting my feelings.

This is an abbreviated sign list. I didn't include an example of every sign on the tablet,
as I did for the Tablet #36 Sign List. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Tablet #36
was my first translation, so I needed to prove my abilities in terms of "sign recognition".
BE 31,28 and SEM 114 are my second and third translations respectively, so I have already demonstrated my abilities and there's no need to belabor the point. Second, on this tablet there are not many "compressed signs", like on Tablet #36 (the signs are simplified to make them easier to write, and shortened to save space on the line). Compressed signs
are difficult to recognize for someone who is only familiar with the classic cuneiform script.

On this tablet, most of the signs resemble their ePSD fonts and they are easy to read.
For this sign list, I include only the compressed signs and a few others that are written
in a very simplified, abstract way. The scribe often doesn't include all the details of the signs, which makes them somewhat difficult to read.

For each sign, I provide a picture of the ePSD font, followed by an example from the tablet.
I also provide an example (or two) from other tablets on the CDLI.

Click on the given line number (e.g., o2,4 for obverse (front of the tablet) column 2, line #4, or r5 for reverse (back) line #5) to see a line-drawing of the tablet with the sign highlighted in red. To check on the transliteration of a sign, click on the CDLI's “P” number, which links to the tablet’s page on the CDLI, and it will show the sign name in the given line number. It may be necessary to click on “View line art” to see the line drawing of the tablet. Note: on the CDLI, š is written as sz, ĝ is written as just g, and ḫ is just h.

Tablet 31,28 sign list:

ad = bead   P236246 o5

anše = donkey   P392719 r1   P346255 r5  


bi = these.  On BE31 28, bi occurs in both it's normal and compressed forms,
like on P236047 o9.

dam = wife   P100082 o4 

gemeX (geme2) = female servant or slave. GemeX is a trick sign. It is written with just two reverse cunei, instead of the usual three, so that it looks like gu, "cord". This was done to help disguise the meaning of the text, as explained in Sumerian Trick Signs. GemeX also appears in line o2 of SEM 114, the story of The Great Fatted Jackass, and on Tablet #36, the story of The Great Fatted Bull, as shown by the two signs on the right.

gug2 = cake    P101233 o1 and r1 

ĝeštin = wine   P346096 o37

lum = satisified, manure.  Only in Sumerian could you find a sign that means both "satisfied" and "manure".   P368394 o10   P252228 o2 

munu4 = malt   P227979  multiple occurrences  Munu4 also has a more simplified version,
as seen on the right. Multiple examples are shown on P392795.

ni2 = self,  ni2 also occurs on Tablet #36, the story of The Great Fatted Bull.

nu-nus (nu-nuz) = woman.  It would be difficult to write this sign within the narrow lines of a tablet, so the scribes found a simpler way to write it. I was unable to find a line drawing of
nu-nus on the CDLI. On the right is nuz (nus) by itself, as seen on CDLI P227751, line o4,12.
Nu-nus is the trick sign on BE 31,28. For an explanation, see Nu-nus.

pad3/pa3 ( = reveal.  The igi portion of the sign is always written the same, but there are many compressed versions of ru.   P260882 r1,3 

šag4/ša3 = heart, stomach   P236210 r2  

ša2 = pig   P254031 o4,9

sam2 = purchase, barter.  I was unable to find any line-drawings of sam2 on the CDLI.

su = support   P346099 r1

sur = squeeze   P423487 o17

za2 = equal  P236079 r2   P236085 r3 

zu = know, inform.   P254211 o22  The scribe uses a very simplified version of zu (and many other signs). Zu is also written this way in line r4 of SEM 114, the story of the Great Fatted Jackass, as seen on the right.