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Re: Urusalim (was Re: SV: [ANE-2] Solomon and Ur-Salimu)

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  • Robert Whiting
    ... Thank you for pointing out this marvellous resource. I had been searching the net for photographs of Amarna texts, but without large-scale success. ...
    Message 1 of 23 , Mar 1, 2006
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      On Wed, 1 Mar 2006, Giuseppe Del Monte wrote:

      > Photos of EA 287 (and of many other EA tablets
      > from the VaM Berlin) are published in:
      >
      > http://amarna.filol.csic.es/amarna/Tablillas/

      Thank you for pointing out this marvellous resource. I had been searching
      the net for photographs of Amarna texts, but without large-scale success.

      > Line 25 has a lot of space for an additional KI;
      > it's not lack of space the reason for the omission.

      Yes, this was always a non-starter, especially since it required a desire
      for a justified right margin. Such justification may be characteristic
      of copies of literary texts for archives or libraries or of monumental
      inscriptions, but not of everyday texts such as letters, contracts, or
      administrative texts. There are exceptions, of course, to both
      categorizations, but the Amarna texts that I have seen did not seem to
      be exceptional in this regard.


      Bob Whiting
      whiting@...
    • Robert Whiting
      ... ... Fortunately, with the link to a photograph of the tablet by Giuseppe del Monte, your reasonable explanation (viz. just-so
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 1, 2006
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        On Tue, 28 Feb 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

        > Robert Whiting wrote:
        > >
        > > On Tue, 28 Feb 2006, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
        >
        > > > Couyld it be as simple a matter as whether there was room on the
        > > > line to write the KI?
        > >
        > > Unlikely since the name is not at the end of the line.  The full line
        > > is
        > >
        > >   287:025  [a-]mur KUR URU ú-ru-$a10-lim an-n[i-]ta
        <undocumented snip>
        > > Akkadian cuneiform, on the other hand, was a logogram-including syllabic
        > > system (much as English is a logogram-including alphabetic system).
        > > Logograms were used quite frequently in writing Akkadian, but basically it
        > > could be written entirely syllabically.  With completely syllabic writing,
        > > determinatives are not essential because the reading of a sign group is
        > > explicit.  Hence determinatives could be, and often were, dispensed with
        > > in conjunction with syllabic writing.
        > >
        > > In the Amarna texts, as with Ur III Sumerian, the determinative KI was
        > > most often used, but not infrequently omitted when a name was written
        > > syllabically.
        >
        > The scribe did not want to break a word onto the next line, and the
        > scribe wanted a neat right margin. Thus he could have included the KI if
        > there was room for four signs, or omitted it if there wasn't.
        >
        > If there was even less space, he might even have written a-ni-ta instead
        > of an-ni-ta, since <a> is much narrower than <an>.
        >
        > You noted that the GN occurs both ways on the same tablet, so unless you
        > want to claim the use of KI is totally random, this is a reasonable
        > explanation.

        Fortunately, with the link to a photograph of the tablet by Giuseppe del
        Monte, your "reasonable explanation" (viz. "just-so story") has become
        a scientific theory (i.e., it has a test for falsification).

        The photograph of the obverse (http://amarna.filol.csic.es/amarna/Tablillas/EA%20287/EA%20287-VAT%201644%20(2).jpg),
        shows clearly that the right margin is not justified and, as NPL and
        Giuseppe del Monte have observed, there is room on the line for an
        additional KI, especially since, as NPL has again observed and the
        photograph of the right edge (http://amarna.filol.csic.es/amarna/Tablillas/EA%20287/EA%20287-VAT%201644%20(5).jpg)
        clearly shows, the scribe had no compuction about continuing the lines
        onto the right edge of the tablet.

        I don't claim that the use is random, only that when a name is written
        syllabically, determinatives are no longer essential to interpretation
        and thus more easily elided. Differences that don't make a distinction
        tend to become neutralized. When differences are important to
        interpretation and understanding they are preserved even in English
        where, when the context is unclear, we use determinatives to clarify
        whether we are talking about "the city (of) Assur" or "the god Assur."

        However, if you require a "reasonable explanation" for the missing KI,
        try this:

        The scribe was part of an espionage ring sending information
        to the Egyptian chancery and the message was conveyed by the missing
        signs in the text. The recipient had to note what signs were missing
        and then combine them correctly to interpret the message. The missing
        KI in line 26 and the missing URU in line 61 indicate that the writer
        was sending information about some city, but since portions of the
        tablet are destroyed we'll probably never be able to reconstruct the
        full message.

        Now there's something for the next ANE thriller. But the point is that
        "reasonable explanations" aren't evidence. They are what we use to
        bridge the gaps where there isn't any evidence.


        Bob Whiting
        whiting@...
      • Kevin P. Edgecomb
        ... KPE writes: You should publish this as The DUB.SAR Code and become a wealthy benefactor to impoverished Assyriology departments throughout the world.
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 1, 2006
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          Bob Whiting wrote:
          > However, if you require a "reasonable explanation" for the missing KI,
          > try this:
          >
          > The scribe was part of an espionage ring sending information
          > to the Egyptian chancery and the message was conveyed by the missing
          > signs in the text. The recipient had to note what signs were missing
          > and then combine them correctly to interpret the message. The missing
          > KI in line 26 and the missing URU in line 61 indicate that the writer
          > was sending information about some city, but since portions of the
          > tablet are destroyed we'll probably never be able to reconstruct the
          > full message.

          KPE writes:

          You should publish this as "The DUB.SAR Code" and become a wealthy benefactor to impoverished Assyriology departments throughout the world.

          Regards,
          Kevin P. Edgecomb
          Berkeley, California
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