On the Present Edition

The Order of Texts in This Edition

The Reports are arranged in this book as follows: first the Assyrian, then the Babylonian texts. Within these two parts, Reports of the same sender are kept together; those which cannot be assigned to a sender appear at the end of each part, sorted by date, if possible, and then by subject matter. The senders are arranged approximately in chronological sequence, based on their dated reports and on information found in their letters, if available.[[39]] Within the dossier of each sender, dated texts come first; the remainder is sorted by subject matter. The subjects will be in the same sequence as in Enūma Anu Enlil: Moon (beginning of month, middle of month, halo. eclipses); sun: planets; fixed stars; weather; earthquakes. Reports on other topics (auspicious days, births, fortuitous events) will come at the end.

It could be argued that arrangement by subject matter, as it was done by Campbell Thompson in RMA, is impossible because many texts deal with more than one subject. However, this objection is less convincing if an arrangement by subject matter is applied only after the texts have been grouped first according to senders. Within the relatively small dossiers it is easy to achieve a topical ordering, and in any case a reader can quickly get an impression of the contents of each dossier even if the arrangement is not entirely consistent. An arrangement by date can be used only for about 20% of the material; arrangement by museum number is completely arbitrary.

Texts Included and Excluded

Most of the texts edited here were contained in Campbell Thompson's RMA.[[40]] A number of unpublished tablets, most of them identified by A. L. Oppenheim, are edited here for the first time. Many senders of Reports have also written letters to the Assyrian king. These letters have been excluded from this edition, even if they concern matters of celestial observation. The letters from Assyrian scholars are edited in Parpola, LAS; letters from Babylonian scholars will be included in a future volume of the series SAA. For this reason, a few of the texts published in RMA are not re-edited here.

Because of the format of the SAA series, photos or copies of all the texts could not be provided: in any case, production of copies would not have been possible within a reasonable time, and photos of more than 560 tablets would have made the book far too expensive. However, photos of most of the unpublished texts (omitting those which presented no problems of reading or were insignificant) and one copy of a badly preserved text are included.


The transliterations, addressed to the specialist, render the text of the originals in roman characters according to standard Assyriological conventions and the principles outlined in the Editorial Manual. Every effort has been taken to make them as accurate as humanly possible. All the texts edited have been collated by the editor, some also by competent colleagues.

Results of collation are indicated with exclamation marks. Single exclamation marks indicate corrections to published copies, double exclamation marks, scribal errors. Question marks indicate uncertain or questionable readings. Broken portions of the text and all restorations are enclosed within square brackets. Parentheses enclose items omitted by ancient scribes.


The translations seek to render the meaning and tenor of the texts as accurately as possible in readable, contemporary English. In the interest of clarity, the line structure of the originals has not been retained in the translation but the text has been rearranged into logically coherent paragraphs.

Uncertain or conjectural translations are indicated by italics. Interpretative additions to the translation are enclosed within parentheses. All restorations are enclosed within square brackets. Untranslatable passages are represented by dots.

Month names are rendered by their Hebrew equivalents, followed by a Roman numeral (in parentheses) indicating the place of the month within the lunar year. Personal, divine or geographical names are rendered by English or Biblical equivalents if a well established equivalent exists (e.g., Esarhaddon, Nineveh); otherwise, they are given in transcription with length marks deleted.

Critical Apparatus

The primary purpose of the critical apparatus is to support the readings and translations contained in the edition, and it consists largely of references to collations of questionable passages and to parallels in the omen literature which are used for restorations. Collations given in copy at the end of the volume are referred to briefly as "see coll."

The critical apparatus does contain son1e information relevant to the interpretation of the texts, but it is not a commentary. Comments are kept to a minimum, and are mainly devoted to problems in the text. The historical and astronomical information contained in the texts is generally not commented upon, except occasionally for establishing a date.

Glossary and Indices

The glossary and indices, electronically generated, follow the pattern of the previous volumes. Note that in contrast to the two basic dictionaries, verbal adjectives are for technical reasons listed under the corresponding verbs, with appropriate cross-references. Scribal glosses are distinguished from other glossary entries by "g" appended to the source reference. The glossary and other indices were prepared by S. Parpola and thoroughly checked by the editor.

39 Cf. LAS II Appendices l and J.

40 For other publications, see the Indices.

Hermann Hunger

Hermann Hunger, 'On the Present Edition', Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings, SAA 8. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 1992; online contents: SAAo/SAA08 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 [http://oracc.org/onthepresentedition/]

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