Post by randidanielle on Jul 19, 2017 11:33:43 GMT -5
Hi again last question...In addition to "earth" and "moon" I'd like to find the proper tense in Akkadian cuneiform for " free" or "liberation".
But the closest I can find is "to liberate" as presented in Snell's Workbook - "wu-uš-šu-ru"
With my novice I don't know if contextually 'to liberate" In Akkadian is how this concept is interpreted/represented ? Or is there a specific and different reference in Akkadian that actually means "free " such as in untethered or "liberation " such as in freedom both physical and spiritual ?
I very much appreciate your insight and suggested resource you think I should consult.
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Jul 23, 2017 16:07:10 GMT -5
Glad you have found our forum useful and have found some things interesting. I think we are all students here, striving to learn, we would like to be scholars some day. Should you want to pursue Akkadian language in earnest, let me know and I can give directions. It's one of those things that takes a major investment though, to really work with cuneiform and remember things, hours a week for a long long time. As for the questions at hand..
The first word you asked about was the Akkadian word for earth. This is indeed erṣetum, which means earth (as opposed to heaven) as well as land and also netherworld. There are a few possible words with similar meanings, but this is the most common. erṣetum is written with the Sumerian sign KI. Meaning, Akkadian scribes continued to the convention of using the old Sumerian sign KI to indicate 'earth' - when an Akkadian wrote the sign KI, he would read it with the Akkadian value erṣetum.
The second word, moon, is in Akkadian arhum (in older writings, warhum). This word could potentially by spelled syllabically, that is, using the ar and the hu and um signs to spell out the sounds: ar-hu-um. But again, it was more conventional for an Akkadian scribe to use the time honored Sumerian sign ITI, as a sort of short-hand. The Akkadian scribe would write Sumerian ITI, which stood for the Akkadian value arhum "moon."
As for a meaning 'liberate/free' I think we can only be so hopeful in searching Mesopotamian vocabulary for words like this. Their notions of freedom were shaped by their life experience, and this world was far from the liberated modern world. I don't think they had a notion of spiritual liberation - Mesopotamia is famous today for its notion of mankind as the slaves of the gods, this is particularly clear in the creation story Atrahasis, wherein mankind was created to relieve the gods of toil. The spirit may be in communication with the Netherworld, but the human soul would inevitably descend to this dreary locus of future, there was no transcendence or possible route to heaven. As for freedom, freedom generally meant freedom from debt servitude, from the oppression of the state basically, but would be nothing like the liberty we enjoy and freedom would remain precarious.
One dictionary (Parpola 2007) gives the word šubarrû as meaning "freedom, amnesty; released, exempted person" - another dictionary (Black) gives šubarrû as '(tax) exemption, release from burdon'. Perhaps a better word would be zakû which can be a verb meaning 'to be clean, free' but can also function as an adjective meaning: clean,candid, chaste, pure; exempt, free; impeccable, spotless, stainless, tidy; faultless, sinless, blameless, guiltless, innocent, sincere. So which word do you want to use?
As for the two logograms mentioned above (ki - earth, iti - moon) there are different scripts you could choose. Old Babylonian cuneiform script comes from around 1900-1750 . Another option is Neo-Assyrian cuneiform script from around 900 BC. They appear in the image below:
Post by randidanielle on Jul 29, 2017 4:16:32 GMT -5
Thank you for your thorough and genuinely appreciate your thoughtful response/education. I wanted to take some time to attempt to research a bit more before reply to try my best to not waste your time Alas, I think I just really need a Compendium of Cuneiform for Dummies
Though the running trail of cuneiform script across a tablet is just visual poetry to me, I think my goal of having something meaningful (to me) that transcends millennium of civilization and honors the sophistication and beauty of written communication (again, to me , I think that for now staying with the concept of "the moon" and "the earth" is what I'd like to tattoo
To that end , I much prefer the Old Babylonian script you provided for these two words/logograms thank you ! Now I am trying to determine how the two signs for the words below might be used instead, but perhaps you can tell me if they differ in time period from what you suggested and whether I can depend on these signs in the manner they are interpreted here? Otherwise I think I will stick with the very clear strong suggestions you provided
"Ki-sar 2 " as whole earth, totality and "girgirdala" as phases of the moon? I got these from psd.museum.upenn.edu
What I continue to struggle with in my novice is basic fundamentals To help me navigate resources I'm using ( EPSD, CDLI, U. Penn museum dictionary links/dictionaries within those sites):
1) I just don't understand foundational principles of the nexus between for instance , " ITI " and "Arhum" - is the name for the logogram different than the spoken word ? 2) when I look at variations for Ki what is the distinctions of Ki for instance with numbers and so forth? 3) is there an Old Akkadian script distinct from the Old Babylonian that I can consider? Or with regard to cuneiform are these periods not distinct in writing?
I have been traveling for over two years and in the airport from Israel to London I happened to meet an American graduate student who had been on an archaeology dig- he told me his graduate advisor says that study of ancient writing and language is " like riding a bike - where the seat is a chainsaw" !
With that, I continue to be humbled your knowledge , including the well researched passion of this sites' contributors and inquiries
Gratefully , Randi Danielle I'm currently in London- if you think the British museum has a good book I might pick up please let me know yes, I would very much like to develop a foundation that helps me at least know the history and more than copying what I'm doing in Snells work book I agree with something a contributor on the threads said- there is meditative aspect to this... and perhaps something more
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Aug 2, 2017 19:02:31 GMT -5
Well first to answer your questions. Assyriology is not an easy discipline because one must contend with various modern languages in addition to various ancient languages. Many of the difficulties one encounters at first are the conventions of ancient scribes and, equally obscure, the conventions of modern scholars.
1) I just don't understand foundational principles of the nexus between for instance , " ITI " and "Arhum" - is the name for the logogram different than the spoken word ?
One has to recognize that cuneiform was invented by the Sumerians, so far as we can tell, sometime in the Uruk period (circa 3200 C). Secondarily, it was adopted by Semitic scribes to write Akkadian. In the early days of cuneiform writing Sumerian used many pictograms, signs that closely resembled the shape of what they represented, a crude drawing of an object, basically. Later, cuneiform would become increasingly syllabic (the sign stood for a syllable, *in addition* to its original pictographic value, potentially). When the Akkadians adapted cuneiform writing for their language they maintained the traditional Sumerian values for many signs, for example, ITI still signified ITI =(Sumerian for 'moon'), although the Akkadian scribe would read the value as arhum, the Semitic for 'moon'. In the earlier periods Akkadian scribes needed to learn Sumerian as well, so he would understand the sign as Sumerian ITI which carries also the Akkadian value arhum. Whe encountering logograms today, the student must also juggle both languages.
2) when I look at variations for Ki what is the distinctions of Ki for instance with numbers and so forth?
This is a phenomenon called 'homophony' which means that Mesopotamian scribes often assigned numerous signs with the same syllable value - i.e., they assigned 7 signs the value 'ki' (or even more). Each of the 7 ki signs may have other values as well. There could be many explanations for this situation of multivalient signs, there were many local scribal traditions, and writing practices could vary from city to city and from century to century. Just because there are say 7 ki signs (or more) doesn't mean all 7 were in play in one place in one time. Safe to say, cuneiform is not an efficient writing system, there is a reason why it eventually was replaced by the alphabet. The complexity of the system makes it a huge burden for modern students who are tasked with 3,000 years of development. And the numbering of the signs, for example ki 1-7, is purely a modern convention invented by scholars in the last 100 years to keep track of the different sign values.
3) is there an Old Akkadian script distinct from the Old Babylonian that I can consider? Or with regard to cuneiform are these periods not distinct in writing?
They are distinct yes, Old Akkadian is closer to Pre-Sargonic Sumerian script in form. I think Old Akkadian is often more aesthetically pleasing than Sumerian from the same period, signs are a little more carefully formed and systematic, that is just an impression though. In any case, I am not aware of a comprehensive presentation of Old Akkadian sign forms, maybe it is slipping my mind at the moment. In her 2004 dissertation on Sargonic Akkadian (i.e. Old Akkadian) Hasselbach mentions that a new and updated treatment of the sign forms would be desireable (p. 28).
As for kišar written ki-šar2: This is a Sumerian word which in Akkadian is kiššat erşeti or simply kiššatu. So you would be switching languages with this. Ki in Sumerian is yes earth or land or netherworld etc and šar2 is something like complete/totality and so forth. While it seems more like an abstract cosmological concept in earlier times, meaning totality or earth (although to the Sumerians, all known land was Mesopotamian itself and a fairly small ring around that land) in later times (around the first millennium), kišar appears in personified form as a divinity, an ancestor or the god of heaven An. As An is the father of Enlil, this deity is discussed on enenuru and elsewhere in the context of the ancestors of Enlil, all of which are quite obscure - including kišar.
As for gigirdala I'm not reallly sure about this word. Again, it is Sumerian. The ePSD gives a translation "phase of the moon?" but the fact that they include a question indicates that no one is certain about what it really means. There are some Sumerian words that no scholar can be confident about. gigirdala may break down to gigir (Sumerian noun 'chariot' + da (which may be a grammatical feature or overhanging d) + la2 (Sumerian verb: to hang/balence/suspend). The Mesopotamians sometimes describe astral phenomena like the sun and moon as chariots riding across the sky...so if the context of the texts in which these words allowed for it, the modern translator could surmise that they are referring to a phase of the moon here - but the question mark indicates that this is still just a guess. So you may be better off with a more straight forward word for moon such as ITI / arhum.
As for books, I don't know that the British museum sells anything useful only very general stuff as the gift shop. It is very difficult to get quality Assyriological material because there has never been a reading public for such things. Everything comes from Academic publishers who only make a small number of printings - enough for the university libraries to buy and for a number of scholars to buy.. because there are a small number of printings, the prices of the books are set very high to cover the costs of the printing etc. As a result, students generally can't afford to buy books in this field. Your main options are to use a university library (some such libraries offer access options for the public despite being part of the campus). If money is no object, the field has an online bookseller at eisenbrauns.com. The other option is to look around for good pdf databases online, there are a good number of scanned Assyriological books online now because students have had to resort to scanning.
My favorite such site has been library genesis but unfortunately I just notice it is down at moment. Happens alot to such sites. Perhaps with some looking around we can find a mirrior site or a new url for library genesis:
Post by randidanielle on Aug 3, 2017 15:19:44 GMT -5
Thank you once again for your thoughtful and terrifically helpful responses to my questions- of course it only inspires more:) I'm so grateful for your time and your patience to break down such rudimentary concepts for me in light of the depth of study within this site.
Your explanation helps me to continue to explore variations on the concept of "moon" and "earth" with a better handle on what I'm reviewing. Trying to be mindful of a balance between contemporary lexicon and authenticity - as well as to contemplation of role of women in Mesopotamian society, mysticism then, spirituality now ... and wanting an aesthetically cool tattoo I read your post on " criticisms of the mother goddess" - thought provoking and reaffirming of things I've observed and wanted to belie enough when I visited Catalhöyük and Gobleki Tepe as well as Mesopotamian exhibits in Turkey- not to mention the Sacred /Divine Feminine trend in the yoga/meditation community- and various American feminist/feminine reclamation incarnations Ive observed in my professional life. All quite seductive, empowering and at times equally offputting , your post articulated some of the bubbling problematic thoughts I've had on the issue .
So while I was thinking to qualify "iti" and "Ki" to evoke a strong/poetic feminine vibe... perhaps simple beauty of the 2 basic logograms and how I wear it will determine that
On a whim to join a friend , in a few days I will start walking the Camino de Santiago from France through Spain for the next 3 weeks.. during that time there will be 2 lunar eclipses, one solar eclipse and a meteor shower. An auspicious opportunity it seems to contemplate this tattoo..
Any other insights or suggestions for resources or signs are so delightfully welcome !
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Aug 9, 2017 15:32:59 GMT -5
You could use the logograms, this would have been the most conventional way of writing the words you mention. Although, less conventionally, a Mesopotamian scribe may spell out the intended word syllabically as well, so this is still permissible if you prefer i.e. arhum spelled syllabically is ar-hu-um . This would increase the number of signs used in the tattoo.
As for that post I made long ago on the criticisms of the mother goddess, all insight in that post is entirely due to a woman, Lynn Meskell - however, the impressive light she shines on topic is 110% due to her functioning as an unbiased dispassionate scholar and has nothing to do with her gender or other such considerations. I think she is an excellent example of how scholarly work ought to be done, she puts biased academics to shame.
Post by randidanielle on Oct 2, 2017 4:05:20 GMT -5
Dear us4-he2-gal2, Your insights and suggestions have been instrumental in bridging my intellectual fascination, experiences and travels . My tattoo date is scheduled in two weeks time in Istanbul I have resolved to keep the ink straightfoward with the 3 logograms "moon" "sun" and " knowing/wise" in Akkadian/Sumerian cuneiform - in what I think , if I understand your explanation that Akkadian scribes adopted certain Sumerian signs, I will use the following Sumerian logograms :
i have had a difficult time trying to isolate these signs in another resource besides computer generated signs.. though I think I have found in tablets - hoping to work with artist to use photos of tablet writing and stylizing to be more precise and graceful but do you have better suggestion? my own writing practice is far too amature to use .
And if you might have to time to confirm one last time that my signs are accurate I'd really appreciate it !
The current plan is for iti/moon and gal-an-zu/knowing for my left shoulder and sun for my right shoulder - ki/earth between breasts Sincere thanks and admiration, RandiDanielle
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Oct 10, 2017 3:15:56 GMT -5
Yes, so far as the 3 logograms go, sun, moon, earth, I think you are on the right track. They are each written with Sumerian logograms in Akkadian texts, as we had discussed, so: UTU (sun), ITI (moon), KI (earth). While these are Sumerian signs with Sumerian values UTU, ITI and KI, the Akkadian words behind them (which Akkadian scribes would read) are šamšum (UTU/sun), warhum (ITI/moon) and erṣetum (KI/earth).
In the above image, I have located some examples of these logograms on Old Babylonian tablets, using CDLI. As you may note, they are of little use to the overall process, I think. The UTU seems like it is missing a wedge or two. Clay tablets tend to be messy, broken, crushed and distorted from tons of earth that once covered them - and, in some cases, they may have been from the hand of a rushed or possibly even sloppy scribe in the first place. It is a frustrating task to find even one good example of a sign on a tablet even using today's digitization and search aides, that's how many signs end up being almost unreadable. Hence, I think the computer versions will end up supplying the most useful visuals.
As for gal-an-zu 'knower' I don't think we had discussed this term. Well there is a problem with it - it is Sumerian not Akkadian. It's understandable that you have this mix up because you are using ePSD which is really a Sumerian dictionary which happens to also include Akkadian translations (only as a supplement). So we see that in the entry for gal-an-zu, they also give the Akkadian translation mūdû, the accents simply indicate long u vowels. This is what you really want I think:
The form mūdû comes from the Akkadian verb edûm/idûm 'to know' ; because it is spelled mūdû this has the sense 'one who knows' i.e. 'knower'. The signs that would be used to spell this are mu-du-u2 (unlike the logograms UTU, ITI, KI, the signs mu-du-u2 are here being used phonetically, to spell out sounds rather than ideas/concepts).
Post by randidanielle on Oct 13, 2017 13:52:04 GMT -5
Yes, thank you for presenting this education so thoughtfully and generously. This definitely does clarify things just as I needed. I am confident this foundational information will help work with the artist to stylize in a way I hope remains authentic in nature under the circumstances . I look forward to sharing photo of the tattoos soon
Once again, thank you sincerely for your inspiration