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Cuneiform Collection – SMM 5

Cuneiform Collection – SMM 5

For transliteration, translations, and discussions on the individual texts, click on the links below.

Museum #: SMM 14/22 (14/5) Period: Ur III Dynasty
Publ. #: SET 223 Date: Shu-Suen, year 5, mo. 5, day 24; ca. 21st cen. BCE
Acquired from: C. Ames, 1915 Provenience: Umma (Jokha), Iraq
Sumer-Southern Mesopotamia
(view map)
Measurements: H 28, W 23, Th 12 mm Culture: Sumerian
Condition: Intact; baked Language: Sumerian
Description: Cuneiform tablet; voucher for rations at way station ("messenger text")

Transliteration: Translation:
obv. 1. 5 sì[la kaš sig5 3 sìla ninda] 5 gín sum 1. 5 qu[arts fine beer, 3 quarts porridge,] 5 shekels onion,
2. 3 g[ín ì 2 gín nag]a 2. 3 sh[ekels oil, 2 shekels alka]li(-plant),
3. AB[ ] 3. AB[…];
4. 5 sìla k[aš sig5 3 sìla ninda 5] gín sum 4. 5 quarts [fine beer, 3 quarts porridge, 5] shekels onion,
5. 3 gín ì [2 gín nag]a 5. 3 shekels oil, [2 shekels alka]li(-plant)
6. RI - mu 6. Rimu;
7. 5 sìla kA[š 3] sìla ninda 5 gín sum 7. 5 quarts be[ER, 3] quarts porridge, 5 shekels onion,
8. 3 gín ì [2 gín NA]GA 8. 3 shekels oil, 2 shekels alkali(-plant)
9. Puzur4 - ì - lí 9. Puzur-ili;
10. 5 sìla kaš 3 sìla ninda 5 gín sum 10. 5 quarts [fine beer, 3 quarts porridge, 5] shekels onion,
11. 3 gín ì [2 gín NA]GA 11. 3 shekels oil, [2 shekels alk]ali(-plant)
12. A - u - ni Auni;
lo.e.13. 3 sìla kaš 2 sìla ninda 5 gín sum 3 quarts beer, 2 quarts porridge, 5 shekels onion,
14. 3 gín ì 2 gín naga 14. 3 quarts beer, 2 quarts porridge, 5 shekels onion,
15. Nam - a - ni 15. Nam - a - ni
rev.16. 3 sìla kaš 2 sìla ninda 5 gín
sum
3 quarts beer, 2 quarts porridge, 5 shekels (onion),
17. 3 gín ì 2 gín naga 17. 3 shekels oil, 2 shekels alkali(-plant)
18. Lú - dNanna 18. Lu-Nanna;
19. 3 sìla kaš 2 sìla ninda 5 gín sum 19. 3 quarts beer, 2 quarts porridge, 5 shekels onion,
20. 3 gín ì 2 gín naga 20. 3 shekels oil, 2 shekels alkali(-plant)
21. Ì - lí - ia5 21. Iliya.
22. šu-nígin 1xBÁN kaš sig5 2xBÁN lá dida(!?) gin 22. Total: 10 quarts fine beer, 19 quarts ordinary beer-mix;
23. šu-nígin 1xBÁN 8 sìla ninda ½ sìla 5 gín sum 23. Total: 18 quarts porridge, one pint (and) five shekels onion;
24. šu-nígin 1/3 sìla 1 gín <ì> 14 gín naga 24. Total: 1/3 quart (and) one shekel (oil), 14 shekels alkali(-plant)
25. u4 24.kam iti RI 25. Day 24, month RI, year after Shu-Suen the king built the wall (to keep out the) Amorite.
26. mu ús-sa dŠu-dEN.ZU
27. lugal e bàd mar-
28. tu mu - dù

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cuneiform inscription cuneiform inscription

 

cuneiform inscription

cuneiform inscription

cuneiform inscription

Discussion

SMM 5 lists amounts of victuals, drink, and condiments apportioned to seven individuals – AB[…], Rimu, Puzur-ili, Ahuni, Namhani, Lu-Nanna, and Iliya – for one day. Tablets of this type have come to be known as “messenger texts” because the recipients of foodstuffs named therein are often identified as messengers or couriers en route from place to place. State employees were entitled to receive provisions in the course of their travels on the job, and provisions were supplied at the way stations or rest houses of the Ur III state road system. These “messenger texts” apparently served as vouchers for the receipt of food and drink at such rest houses (information courtesy Miguel Civil). At the end of each month the vouchers were collected and put in a sack, which was sealed with a clay tag inscribed with the total quantities of provisions dispensed, summed up on the basis of the vouchers; the sack of tablets was sent back to central administration at the provincial capital, where records were stored. One such clay tag is UM 19, kept in Special Collections and Rare Books in the Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota.