The Lungs and Their Parts

FIG. 9. Lung model with annotations (Neo-Assyrian). Rm 620.

The lungs (hašû, logogram MUR), are the next organ of the exta to be examined. They are well-represented already in extispicy reports of the OB and MB periods, where they are commonly said to tie either "suspended" (talil) or "not suspended," a condition whose meaning is not entirely clear.[[169]] A major source for these parts of the exta are the "orientation" texts, such as CT 31 1-8, of which plates 2-5 deal with the lungs. These texts served as an aid to the diviner in locating the parts of the exta, and their purpose was thus similar to that of the liver models. They simply articulated what the latter depicted. Aside from the major parts of the lungs, these texts list also others whose identification remains unknown. Only a few of the parts enumerated in the "orientation" texts appear in the extispicy reports or in omen texts in general,.[[170]] A list of the parts of the lungs, arranged alphabetically, follows below.

ah nāri "bank of the river"nīru "yoke"
dannatu/dunnu "hard part"nīs rēši/mukīl rēši "head lift"[[170]]
ekallu "palace"[[171]]pušqu "narrow part"
gipšu "mass"rupšu/tarpašu
imēru "donkey"ruqqu "cavity"
kappu "lobe"samiltu/samištu
kubšu "cap"z/siniptu
kutallu "rear"ṣēru "back"
maṣṣartu/niṣirtu "watch"ṣulultu
nakkapu (CAD N/1 s.v., 186a)ummatu
nāru "river"ubān hašî qablītu "middle finger"
nību ubān hašî kidītu "outer finger"

169 See Goetze, JCS 11 (1957) no. 18:8, 15 and ibid. p. 98 n. 58 and, for the ominous significance of this observation, Starr Rituals, p. 113. Examples from OB and MB reports are numerous, e.g. JCS 11 no. 4:7, 7:7, 8:21, 21:6b, r.4b; JCS 21 222ff G:9, H:8, K:7, etc. The protases usually note that "the lung is 'suspended' on the right;" for the opposite case, see JCS 21 221 E:7, and cf. KAR 422 r.16ff. An OB omen text dealing with the lungs is YOS 10 36. For a text from Assur, see KAR 422.

170 See Starr, JNES 42 (1983) 109ff.

171 See KAR 428:49f and no. 151 r.10b.

172 It is not entirely certain that the two are one and the same.

Ivan Starr

Ivan Starr, 'The Lungs and Their Parts', Queries to the Sungod: Divination and Politics in Sargonid Assyria, SAA 4. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1990; online contents: SAAo/SAA04 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 []

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