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5979Re: Cuneiform variants

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  • Jim Wagner
    Sep 2, 2007
      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
      > On Sun, 2 Sep 2007, Jim Wagner wrote:
      > > I've been working my way through some of the Annals of the Kings of
      > > Assyria
      > >
      > >
      > > Mainly because they have transliterations so I can check my own work
      > > afterward. I'm using Labat's sign list. On occasion, however, I find
      > > a sign that doesn't exist in Labat.
      > I suspect that what you are saying is that you come across a variant
      > form that isn't shown in Labat. If you are reading Akkadian texts,
      > sign you come across will be in Labat. However Labat is much
      > as far as the paleography of cuneiform signs is concerned, so not every
      > variant form of every sign is illustrated.
      Yes, I understand that.
      > > An example is on p. 103. line 55, the sign transliterated as 'su' in
      > > "an-ḫu-su-nu" is not in Labat's list.
      > You do realize that the cuneiform signs in this volume are typeset
      from a
      > modern font and don't have anything to do with cuneiform impressed in
      > clay, don't you?
      I understand that. They are "standardized" (by modern scholars), from
      the original engraved-in-clay representations.
      > > A further interesting thing is that in one of the earlier annals,
      > > Pudu-ili, p3, line 9, "Å¡arra-su" is written with an unusual sign
      > > representing the "su." It is not the same as the one on p103 but it
      > > looks, to me, as if it could be an earlier development of the same
      > It is the same sign. The two signs are the principal variants of the SU
      > sign in Assyrian script. The second is the standard from of the SU sign
      > in Assyrian script. The first is a variant that developed from the
      > Babylonian form of the sign.
      > > The sign does not appear to occur in the _List of Neo-Assyrian
      > > Cuneiform signs_, based on Borger (with the caveat that I may have
      > > missed a variant sign too different for my eyes to distinguish.)
      > Look at the "Pal�ographie" beginning on p. 5 of Borger's
      > Assyrisch-Babylonische Zeichenliste (AOAT 33/33A) under no. 7 and
      you will
      > find these variants of the SU sign along with a number of others.
      > > Part of the impetus behind this letter is that I have discovered, here
      > > and there, three different methods of writing the sign meaning
      > > iṣṣuru, _bird_. These differences are radical differences,
      not simple
      > > alterations
      > They are alterations. You just have to be aware of the principles
      > the alterations.
      > > Clearly, signs change through the ages.
      > As does everything else (with the possible exception of sharks).
      > > The question is, is there a "better" signlist to be using, or should I
      > > just go on as I have been, making separate notes of each sign and its
      > > apparent value as I come on it?
      > The best manual on cuneiform paleography remains C. Fossey, Manuel
      > d'assyriologie, vol. 2: Evolution des cun�iformes (Paris 1926).
      Thank you very much for the advice.
      > There is no need to guess about these things. Cuneiform script has been
      > thoroughly studied and extensively written about. You can of course
      > continue to reinvent the wheel if you wish; if you think your wheel
      may be
      > more efficient or effective than the one currently in use it might be
      > worthwhile. Otherwise, I don't see much point to it.
      At the present moment, I am interested only in being able to read
      cuneiform, in the Semitic varieties, mostly Neo-Assyrian and late
      Babylonian. Once I get to the state where I can actually read texts,
      I will maker up my mind what the next step might be.
      I need to be able to do this from here, and the University of
      Saskatchewan does not offer any courses in Ancient Near Eastern Languages.

      I am also on a limited budget, and can only build up my library very
      slowly. Having discovered things on the net like the numerous
      publications of the Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets has made
      the very notion of studying Cuneiform more viable.

      Also, the Province of Saskatchewan has a very admirable Inter-library
      Loan system, through which I can get access to many books that would
      otherwise be beyond my means.
      > > Or is there some other suggestion I have not thought of?
      > Among these, the most productive might be to see the list of published
      > lists of cuneiform signs provided by the Cuneiform Digital Paleography
      > Project <http://www.cdp.bham.ac.uk/Publications/signlists.htm>. You can
      > also use the CDP Project database to see examples of the signs in
      > cuneiform. Go to <http://www.cdp.bham.ac.uk/Database/login.htm> and
      > on "Click here for Guest Access". If you want to see examples of the SU
      > sign, click on "Search instances - simple" and when the search form
      > appears type "su" (without the quotation marks) in the "Sign" space.
      > This will take you to a page where you can select different examples of
      > the SU sign. Examples 1 and 3 will illustrate the two primary
      variants of
      > the sign in Assyrian script. If you look at all the examples, you will
      > see the relationship between the various forms of the sign.
      I very much appreciate your advice and assistance, and your patience
      with extremely pre-basic questions.

      Jim Wagner
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