Reports on Royal Rituals in the Aššur Temple (9-11)

These three texts share the same setting and cultic frame as nos. 1-6 presented in Chapter 1. Differing from the aforementioned, however, the performances described by these tablets refer to the entire period of the Shebat-Adar cycle and not only to the first month. Similarly to the ones presented earlier, they also clarify and complement to each other; in addition, text no. 11 is the only one that includes the 8th day of Adar, absent from any other source. However, the major difference between these two groups lies in the fact that they are no longer prescriptive texts, but rather reports. They do not aim to provide information on the proper procedures to follow but describe in a slightly more synthetic way cultic activities that have already been conducted and registered by the city scribes.

The actions and rituals performed are the same, and yet they open a view on other sources as well, since in a few cases they use similar (though never identical) expressions: we thus deduce that formulas such as "prostrate oneself' actually referred to the act of kissing the ground (see for the 18th day of Shebat text 1, 5 "ina IGI aš-šur⸣-ka-na and text 9, 12 "[kaq-qar] ina IGI daš-šur i-t[i]-šiq") or that behind the laconic expression "sheep offerings" different sacrifices for many gods were intended (see text 1, 20 and its detailed record in text 10 ll. 2-5).

Moreover, texts 9 and 10 record the distribution of gifts made by the ruler to the temple personnel who accompanied him through the rite (NÍG.BA.MES: 9 ii 11 and r. iv 21; 10 8, r. 2, r. 11), a fact not mentioned by the ritual texts 1-6 but that must have been considered a fundamental element of these circumstances.

Stefania Ermidoro

Stefania Ermidoro, 'Reports on Royal Rituals in the Aššur Temple (9-11)', Assyrian Royal Rituals and Cultic Texts, SAA 20. Original publication: Winona Laka, IN, Eisenbrauns, 2017; online contents: SAAo/SAA20 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2020 []

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