The purpose of this page is to provide citations to support the transliteration of Tablet #36. As such, it will be quite dull for the general reader, who is advised to skip it. This page is intended for anyone interested in cuneiform studies who wishes to verify that my translation of Tablet #36 is correct.
For the simple and obvious signs used on this tablet, I provide a picture of the ePSD font, followed by an example from the tablet. For the compressed signs (see some of the compressed signs on Tablet #36) or the signs written in an unusual manner, I also provide an example (or two) from other tablets on the CDLI. Click on the given line number to see a drawing of the tablet, or click on the CDLI number to view the tablet’s transliteration page.
All Sumerian signs have multiple meanings, but on this page I show only the definitions that are used on the tablet. Unless otherwise stated, all of the sign definitions can be found in the ePSD. All of them are also in the Sumerian Lexicon (SL) and most of them are in the ETCSL, but finding a definition in the ETCSL requires some expertise, and of course most people don't own a copy of the Sumerian Lexicon (although it is absolutely essential to anyone translating Sumerian into English because it has a much higher word-count than the ePSD).
If you are familiar with the CDLI, ePSD, and ETCSL, you can skip the following sections.
Instructions for a CDLI search:
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.
Unfortunately, an individual sign on the ePSD is not accessible via an external link. To check on a sign’s definition, type the sign name in the window at the bottom of the ePSD page and then click on “SIGN” in the window on the right. The right-hand column will then display all of the names associated with the sign. Click on the given sign name to see its definition. Note: on the ePSD, type j for ĝ and type c for š. For example, type jec for ĝeš. Type h for ḫ.
Instructions for searching the ETCSL:
A line number is given when a sign is cited on the ETCSL. To verify the sign, click on the ETCSL link. There you will find the sign listed in the given line number. To verify the definition, click on the line number in the ETCSL transliteration page. The definition will appear in a translation of the relevant section.
ga2/ĝa2: lu2-ḫuĝ-ga2 = hired man (worker), ĝa2 (ĝar) = accumulate
gaba, see du8. gaba-ri = adversary
gal: ša3-gal = food/fodder
gal niga = great fatted P115836o8 P103460o2 The signs are a bit unusual because the horizontal element of gal completely bisects the cluster of reverse cunei. Perhaps they were written this way to save space on the line. Otherwise they are clearly a combination of gal and niga.
geme2 = slave woman P112882o1 P112430o3 What's different about the way the scribe writes this sign is that he uses only two reverse cunei instead of the usual three. Surprising, the only place that he uses all three reverse cunei is in line r6, where the sign is not only compressed but actually squashed in the crowded lettering of the line (see above right). The signs are written this way to help disguise the context of the tablet. Geme2 fits in all five instances in the three sentences where it appears. For further explanation, see line o15 in the Transliteration.
gi = return P130367o1,8 The scribe writes GI and ZI almost exactly alike, except for a very minor difference. Click on ZI and see if you can spot the difference. The answer is given in line r7 in the Transliteration.
gu4 = bull P236016o2 Four out of five times the scribe writes gu4 incorrectly (without the vertical stroke) in order to obscure the bull context of the story. The only time he writes it correctly is where it is written the smallest, crowded into the margin of the tablet (o8).
gur11 (GA) = grain heap P236299o7 (the middle sign is ga since there are no pictures of gur11 on the CDLI)
ḫe2 = may
ḫenbur = the edible parts of a reed or rush (SL p112) P227925r2, 14 The cluster of reverse cunei is not the same as še (grain), but then again, the scribe uses about eight different versions of še, in signs like zid, li, ku4, gal-niga, etc. Henbur fits into the context of all three sentences where it appears. It is yet another theme of the story.
iku = land unit of measure (approx. 1 acre) P102156o2,9 P102011o8. The third sign and the last sign have vertical lines across their lengths, but the last sign seems to lack a bold vertical stroke on its right (like the third sign) but it can be seen on the original tablet.
in = edge/ledge, also a CVNE (Compound Verb Nominal Element)
utul2 (KAM) = large bowl, tureen P101336r4 The middle sign is kam because I was unable to find a useable picture of utul2 on the CDLI.
ze2, see zi2. ze2-ed = to beat (Emesal)
zi2 = cut
zid, see zig3. zid = virtuous (ETCSL, A tigi to Nanaya for Išbi-Erra (Išbi-Erra C), line 1)
zig3 = rise The scribe uses the compressed version of the še cluster of reverse cunei (see the above še sign). This is a deliberate effort to diguise the sign, as explained in line r7 of the Transliteration.
zu = to know
The scribe puns with numbers for the same reason that he puns with words, to obscure the meaning of the text.
4(diš) = 4. It looks like niĝ2 (thing) or ĝar (to place), as seen on the far right. P254323r7 (See a tablet that has niĝ2 and 4(diš) written side by side.)
i = 5
P227771o2,8 P102233o8 The first sign on the left is i, likewise for the second sign. It is a commonly used sign, but it is not a number, it's a word, one that has no meaning that fits into the context of the three sentences where it appears. That's because the scribe uses it to represent the number five. 5(aš), which is written horizontally (unlike the vertical diš format shown above), always uses a 3-2 combination, as seen in the third sign. On Tablet #36, the scribe uses a 2-2-1 combination to represent the number 5. In a line of text, the sign would naturally be interpeted as i, which is meaningless in the context of the sentence, causing some confusion, which helps to obscure the context of the tablet. On the other hand, the "five" interpretation of the sign fits in all three sentences where it appears: field 5, pasture 5, and 5 big bowls.