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Re: Sikel, who live in ships? (RS34:129).

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  • Jon Smyth
    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
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 1, 2008
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      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

      Many thanks in advance, Jon Smyth.
      Toronto, CAN.

      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
      > If they live in ships
      > there should be a (w)a$bu: in the text. I could, of course, simply wait
      > until Monday and check the text, but perhaps some kind soul will
      provide a
      > transliteration.
    • Robert M Whiting
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 2, 2008
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        On Sun, 2 Mar 2008, Jon Smyth 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 said earlier that if they "lived" on their ships I would expect a
        (w)a$bu: later in the text and there is a form of (w)a$a:bu there, but it
        is not a stative as one would expect if simply "live on ships" was meant,
        but is a preterite. Since (w)a$a:bu is a stative-type verb, the finite
        tenses usually indicate an ingressive or inchoative. Basically, the
        stative implies stasis, the finite tenses, change (see Rowton, JNES 21
        [1962], 289-90). This change is further emphasized by the use of the
        ventive, associated in most instances with motion. Thus while the stative
        of (w)a$a:bu means "to sit, to dwell", the finite tenses indicate "to sit
        down, to take up residence". Hence I would translate ina muhhi eleppa:ti
        u$bu:ni as "they have taken to (their) ships", implying that they are
        preparing for whatever it is that they do when they take to their ships
        (invasion, piracy, costal raids, sightseeing cruises, etc.).

        Apparently if they have taken to their ships it is cause for concern
        because the king continues:

        u3 at-ta 1.ib-na-du-$u
        $a LU2.ME$.KUR.URU.$i-ka-la-u2
        i$6-pu-ur2-$u-ni
        a-na muh-hi-ia
        $u-up-ra-$u
        a-ma-te/tu $a KUR.URU.$i-ki-li
        a-$a-al-$u
        u3 a-na ku-ta-li-$u
        a-na KUR.URU.u-ga-ri-it
        i-tu-ur-ra
        i-ta-la-ka

        "And you send Ibnadu$u, who reported about the Sikaleans, to me and I will
        interrogate him about the matter of Sikalu and afterwards he can go back
        to Ugarit."

        Bob Whiting
        whiting@...


        > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
        > > If they live in ships there should be a (w)a$bu: in the text. I
        > > could, of course, simply wait until Monday and check the text, but
        > > perhaps some kind soul will provide a transliteration.
      • Giuseppe Del Monte
        ... 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
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 2, 2008
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          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"
          ><snip>

          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:

          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-$u (Assyrianism)
          a$-$um 1.ib-na-du-$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)
          $a i-na muh-hi GI$.MA2.ME$
          us-bu-u2-ni (Assyrianism)

          "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".

          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
          it-tu-ia
          lu2.kar-tap-pu
          a-na muh-hi-ka
          u2-ta2-e-ra-ku
          u3 at-ta m.ib-na-du-$u
          $a lu2.me$ KUR URU $i-ka-la-u2
          iS-bu-tu-$u-ni
          a-na muh-hi-ia
          $u-up-ra-a$-$u
          etc.

          "Now I send back to you Nerikkaili, the groom
          hier by me, and you will send to me Ibnadu$u whom
          the Sikila people had captured", etc. The general
          impression is that at Hattusa little or nothing
          was known about this people, and Ibnadu$u,
          ransomed from his captivity, could have been an excellent eyewitness.

          A convenient (traditional) treatment of the
          letter is in: I. Singer, A Political History of
          Ugarit, in Watson and Wyatt Handbook of Ugaritic Studies, Leiden 1999, p. 722.

          Giuseppe Del Monte



          Prof. Giuseppe del Monte
          Professore Ordinario di
          Storia del Vicino Oriente antico
          Dpt. Scienze storiche del mondo antico
          Università di Pisa
          via Galvani 1 - I-56100 Pisa
          Fax 39-050-500668 - E-mail <gdelmonte@...>


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        • Robert M Whiting
          ... 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. ... The first sign of
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 2, 2008
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            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"
            > ><snip>
            >
            > 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
            > it-tu-ia
            > lu2.kar-tap-pu
            > a-na muh-hi-ka
            > u2-ta2-e-ra-ku

            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 $i-ka-la-u2
            > iS-bu-tu-$u-ni
            > a-na muh-hi-ia
            > $u-up-ra-a$-$u

            I really have to say that I don't see an a$ in the copy.

            > etc.
            >
            > "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
            arrival.

            > 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
            important intelligence.

            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
            lack.


            Bob Whiting
            whiting@...
          • Giuseppe Del Monte
            ... As I said in my previous post, I was attracted by a couple of unconventional readings you have advanced that in my opinion are worth to be investigated
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 4, 2008
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              At 01.38 03/03/2008, Bob Whiting wrote:
              ><snip>
              >Bob Whiting
              >whiting@...

              As I said in my previous post, I was attracted by
              a couple of unconventional readings you have
              advanced that in my opinion are worth to be
              investigated further. For lack of time at present
              I'll confine myself to the two points in lines
              12/22 and the crucial 14, only trying for the
              moment to justify the communis opinio.

              1) As a general statement: the letter was sent by
              the Hittite king and written down by his staff of
              scribes trained at the scribal school of Hattusa
              - I see no trace of the hand of a foreign scribe,
              though such specialists were occasionally
              employed. But for an assessment of this question
              a photo would be indispensable.

              2) iS-bu-tu versus i$6-pu-ur2: as far as I know
              this is the first time a reading i$6-pu-ur2 is
              advanced; even von Soden red without problems
              iS-bu-tu and included it in his list of
              Assyrianisms at Ugarit (UF 11 p. 747), together
              with i-Sa-bu-tu and i-$a-aT-Tù-ru from other
              texts. Regarding your note: "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)", I can
              add the occurrence of iS-bu-tu in two letters
              from Assyria to the Hittite king, now
              conveniently edited by C. Mora and M. Giorgieri
              (Padova 2004), KBo 28 61 Ro 22' (p. 119), in all
              probability from Tukulti-Ninurta I, and KBo 1 20
              Ro 14' (p. 19: iS-bu-[ ), date uncertain, between
              Adad-nerari and Tukulti-Ninurta. As for the sign
              UR2, I'm not really able to pick it out. At least
              at Boghazköy the sign has as a rule two verticals.

              3) us-bu versus u$10-bu: again as a rule
              Boghazköy scribes can use the sign U$ (and $A
              etc.) for /u$/ and /us/, but not the other way
              round: the sign UZ only exceptionally is used
              with the value /u$/. The current reading is usbu:
              as far as I know, no one has ever doubted that
              the Sikalaju "lived on their ships", were a
              seafaring people. But this is just the crucial
              point raised by Jon Smith: how much knowledge had
              the Hittites of this people? where are they
              coming from? were they "Myceneans" coming from
              afar, say from South Italy? and their connection
              with Dor? and with Dan: "and Dan, why does he
              live on ships?" (as per I. Singer). And this will suffice.

              Giuseppe Del Monte



              Prof. Giuseppe del Monte
              Professore Ordinario di
              Storia del Vicino Oriente antico
              Dpt. Scienze storiche del mondo antico
              Università di Pisa
              via Galvani 1 - I-56100 Pisa
              Fax 39-050-500668 - E-mail <gdelmonte@...>


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            • Christian de Vartavan
              [sent on behalf of Isis Pharia Association] Dear Sirs, Volume 2 of the Bulletin of Parthian and Mixed Oriental Studies (BP&MOS) is now available for ordering.
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 4, 2008
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                [sent on behalf of Isis Pharia Association]

                Dear Sirs,

                Volume 2 of the Bulletin of Parthian and Mixed
                Oriental Studies
                (BP&MOS) is now available for ordering.

                The publication is a two parts bulletin.

                The first part is devoted to Parthian studies.

                The second part specialises on exchanges (cultural,
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                Please follow this link for contents :
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                and ordering details.

                Sincerely,

                Suzanne Garabedian
                Secretary
                ISIS-PHARIA (Association)
                Fribourg - Switzerland



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