On Sun, 2 Mar 2008, Giuseppe Del Monte wrote:
> At 16.16 02/03/2008, you wrote:
> >On Sun, 2 Mar 2008, Bob Whiting wrote:
> > > Dear Robert, or Victor, if I could impose just one more time on this
> > > question.
> > > I managed to obtain a facsimile of the text in question. Would you be
> > > so kind as to determine whether these Sikala actually "lived" in those
> > > ships, or were simply "in their ships"?
> > > http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h246/drifter_03/sikala.jpg
> >Apparently, neither. The letter apparently refers to a report that the
> >Hittite king ("The Sun, the Great King") would like to have verified. The
> >relevant portion reads:
> > a$-$um 1.ib-na-du-$u $a LU2.ME$.KUR.URU-$i-ka-la-iu-u2
> > i$6-pu-ur2-$u-u2-ni
> > $a i-na muh-hi GI$.MA2.ME$
> > u$10-bu-u2-ni
> >"Concerning Ibnadu$u who reported about the Sikaleans that they had taken
> >to their ships"
> I have appreciated very much the analysis by Bob
> Whiting of the letter RS 34.129 and found it very
> stimulating, mainly because it changes
> substantially the historical scenario in which
> the letter is usually set. Whiting's case is
> worth to be taken further and I hope to delve
> into it sooner or later - alas, the dreadful second semester ;--(
> According to the usual picture the
> Sikalayu/Shekels "live" actually "on their
> ships", and you can easily trace the expected
> stative only changing slightly your transliteration:
It is true that one sometimes encounters preterites of (w)a$a:bu that need
to be translated as statives, so this is not definitive.
> a-nu-um-ma it-tu-ka
> LUGAL EN-ka Se-hi-ir
> mi-im-ma la-a i-di
> u3 a-na-ku d.UTU-$i
> a-na muh-hi-$u u2-ta2-e-ra-$u (Assyrianism)
The first sign of the verb is not u2-, but um-.
> a$-$um 1.ib-na-du-$u $a LU2.ME$.KUR.URU-$i-ka-la-iu-u2
> iS-bu-tu-$u-u2-ni (Assyrianism; see the shape of the TU-sign at lines 4
> and 15)
A remarkably Assyrian form showing vowel harmony (iSbutu: for i$batu:),
subjunctive in -ni, and lengthening of the vowel before -ni. The TU-sign
is more clearly TU in this line than in line 22 where it is much closer to
UR2. To judge from the copy, it would seem that the scribe was writing
with a split stylus, the "shadow" wedges that resulted sometimes being
recorded by the copyist (note the additional "shadow" wedges in the IN
sign in line 3, in the HI sign in line 6, in the DA and RA sign in line
and in the IA sign in line 11). These additional wedges often cause
problems for copyists and it is conceivable that the signs could be
either TU or UR2, the only restriction being that both signs are to be
read the same way. On the other hand, there is a clear UR sign in line
29. On the third hand, there is also a willingness to read the DA sign as
ta2 despite there being clear TA signs in the text (lines 20, 30).
I was encouraged to read the GI$ sign as i$6 because of the unequivocal
use of US for u$10 in line 14.
> $a i-na muh-hi GI$.MA2.ME$
> us-bu-u2-ni (Assyrianism)
The only thing that makes this an Assyrianism is if the -ni is taken as a
subjunctive marker. It can equally well be considered a ventive. This is
unlike lines 12 and 22 where the -ni can only be a subjunctive marker.
> "Now then, by you the king your lord is young and
> does not know anything, and yet I had sent to him
> about Ibnadu$u whom the Sikila people had
> captured, (the Sikila) who live on ships".
The only real problem with this translation is that it makes "(the
Sikilia) who live on ships" an irrelevant afterthought rather than the
point of the entire letter. Unless, of course, there are so many
Sikileans about that he has to specify which ones he means.
> What follows is the request to the soken to comply with the orders the
> too young king of Ugarit had failed to conform to:
> a-nu-um-ma ni-ir-ga-i-li
> a-na muh-hi-ka
Again, the first sign is um-, not u2-. What is clearly written in both
lines is um-da-e-ra- followed by -$u or -ku. Reading (against the copy)
u2-ta-e-ra- makes it possible to take the form as a D stem of târu, a
middle weak verb that is a by-form of (w)âru "to order, command" with an
initial t- augment rather than initial w-. Reading um-da-e-ru, this is no
longer possible. This is why I skated around this when I was translating.
> u3 at-ta m.ib-na-du-$u
> $a lu2.me$ KUR URU $i-ka-la-u2
> a-na muh-hi-ia
I really have to say that I don't see an a$ in the copy.
> "Now I send back to you Nerikkaili, the groom
> hier by me, and you will send to me Ibnadu$u whom
> the Sikila people had captured", etc.
Again, there is no implication of sending "back". My interpretation would
be: "Now then I am sending PN, the groom, for my part, and you send me
Ibnadu$u ...". I would take the groom sent by the Hittite king to be
meant as an escort for Ibnadu$u to ensure his speedy departure and safe
> The general impression is that at Hattusa little or nothing was known
> about this people, and Ibnadu$u, ransomed from his captivity, could have
> been an excellent eyewitness.
This part doesn't change; regardless of how Ibnadu$u came by his
knowledge, it is obviously something that the Hittite king is anxious to
question him closely about. And I'm not sure that the historical scenario
changes all that much. It's really a question of whether the Sikilia live
on ships as a matter of course, in which case the mention of this is just
a throwaway line, or whether the fact that a Sikilean fleet has set out is
As for lines 12 and 22, whether the verb is $apa:ru or Saba:tu the form
has to be an Assyrianism as there is no other way to account for the final
-ni. Unfortunately, the sources for Middle Assyrian are so sparse that
I'm not sure that the vowel harmony indicated by iSbutu:$uni is attested
that early (which, of course, doesn't mean that it couldn't be). In any
case, I'm not sure that I would defend my interpretation very strongly as
there are things about the letter that remain obscure. It is clearly part
of an ongoing correspondence and both parties are aware of context that we