A Late Composition Dedicated to Nergal

Ludovica Cecilia

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This article treats a composition that was probably dedicated to Nergal, a god with a long cultic tradition in ancient Mesopotamia who was mainly related to war and death. The text was first edited by Böhl (1949; 1953: 207-216, 496-497), followed by Ebeling (1953: 116-117). Later, Seux (1976: 85-88) and Foster (2005: 708-709) translated and commented upon it. I will present a new reading of the invocation on the tablet's upper edge, which confirms that the tablet originated in Uruk during the Hellenistic period. Furthermore, I will discuss the many Neo-Babylonian and Late Babylonian grammatical elements of this composition. The high frequency of these elements, typical of the vernacular language, is unusual for a literary text and suggests that not only the tablet, but also the composition of the text stems from the first millennium BCE, and perhaps, just like the tablet, from Hellenistic Uruk. The purpose of this contribution is, therefore, to show through an analysis of this text, that the conservative and poetic literary language was reworked and adapted to the cultural situation of the late period in Mesopotamian literary production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-213
Number of pages10
JournalAltorientalische Forschungen
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2019


  • First Millennium BCE
  • Mesopotamia
  • Neo-Babylonian
  • Grammar
  • ancient studies
  • hymn
  • first millennium BCE
  • Neo-Babylonian grammar
  • Nergal


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