On the Present Edition

The objective of the present edition is to make examples of Late Assyrian literary creativity available in a manner usable by both the specialist and lay reader, following the objectives set for the SAA series, and already exemplified in the first two volumes. Every effort has been expended to make the edition as complete and reliable as possible, by collation of the originals and identification of previously unpublished fragments, but no claim is laid to absolute finality. Obviously, the final word can only be said when the whole of Akkadian literature becomes available and detailed comparative study of textual history can be attempted with confidence. Even a small discovery can cast an entirely new light on a text. Moreover, major collections of texts already discovered are not yet available: a case in point is the contents of the Nabû temple library in Calah.

General Structure of this Edition

The classification is necessarily a modern one, since whatever ancient system of classification might have been used is unknown. Broadly, compositions of a more poetical type have been placed in the first section of the book, and prose sections at the end, but subject matter has also been taken into account. The structure of the edition is clear from the itemized list of texts and the notes on Assyrian and Babylonian literature given above. It is intended at a later stage to give a full-scale commentary on selected texts.

Texts Included and Excluded

An attempt has already been made above to define what is understood by literature in the present corpus, and why the term "Court Poetry" has been intro03 duced, as well as to emphasize the complexity of the Babylonian influence on Late Assyrian culture and literature. All those texts have been included which constitute literature in a strict sense, and can be shown to have been composed in Assyria in Neo-Assyrian times. However, texts which merely insert, for example in a prayer, the name of an Assyrian king, perhaps supported by a single line of epithet, have been excluded. M. Streck (Asb p. CLXIVff) gives a list of thirty hymns or prayers attributable to Assurbanipal, but the majority of these have been excluded here because they are votive, functional, or simply follow standard prayer formulations with the name of the king inserted. Also excluded are a number of marginal cases, where an Assyrian temple is involved but the text seems to be substantially Babylonian in origin (rather than simply in language), with minor alterations. It is conceded that in some cases, for example where numerous Babylonian parallels, or even forerunners can be adduced, absolute consistency is impossible. The problem of where to draw the line is even more difficult with regard to the historical-literary material. The recently published texts concerning Esarhaddon's attempts to return the statue or symbol of Marduk represent a typical borderline case.[[20]]

Critical Apparatus

Collations are indicated by a single exclamation mark and supported by copies of signs or explanations in the final section of the book. Some copies of newly identified texts or fragments are also given. Double exclamation marks indicate emendations. The textual apparatus gives variants, where there is more than one manuscript available. Comments are kept to a minimum, and are mainly devoted to problems in the text, elucidation of lexical items, or Akkadian expressions necessarily left untranslated.

Glossary and Indices

The glossaries, electronically generated, are intended to be as comprehensive as possible, and generally follow the pattern set by previous volumes. Keywords are given in both Assyrian and Babylonian form (e.g., arādu and urādu, with cross-references under both lemmata) depending on the morphology of the relevant context form, homophonic forms being listed under Assyrian lemma ta only (e.g. urrad under urādu only, not under arādu). The meanings assigned to the lemmata are kept to a minimum and only include ones actually attested in the volume. Please note that the sorting programme treats short and long vowels as different letters and hence ālu comes after atû, bābu after batāqu, etc.



20 W. G. Lambert, "Esarhaddon's Attempt to return Marduk to Babylon," in AOAT 220 (Fs Deller, 1988 ), p. 157ff.

Alasdair Livingstone

Alasdair Livingstone, 'On the Present Edition', Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea, SAA 3. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1989; online contents: SAAo/SAA03 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/onthepresentedition/]

 
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