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How to recognize a personal name in the HBTIN corpus:





Morphology of Akkadian names

Akkadian personal names are generally short sentences, consisting of subject-object-verb (standard Akkadian syntax).  The subject is a god (or quality that is treated as a theophoric [divine] element). The verb is most frequently a preterite (simple past tense) or  imperative.

A complete Akkadian name looks like:

            DN      - object            -verb


            Anu      - zēr                 -iddin

            Anu      seed (heir)        (he) gave (=Anu gave an heir)

            Anu      -šar                  -uṣur

            Anu      king                  guard! (=Anu, guard the king!)

OR like:

            Verb    - DN


            Protect him, o Anu!


            Nabu gave

Abbreviations of  Akkadian names may eliminate the subject.  Thus,  


            Anu      - zēr                 -iddin (DN       - object            -verb)

may be shortened to:

Zēr                   -iddin (object   -verb)

            OR to:

            Anu      -iddin (DN       -verb)



It is not always possible to associate persons with short-form name instances with individuals whose bear the full expression from which the shortened name derives.  Thus, it may be that the individual named Anu-zēr-iddin may elsewhere be cited as Zēr-iddin.  But determination of this depends on prosopographic and activity and location information.

In the Hellenistic period, name orthographies tend to include a hefty dose of Sumerian logograms to represent the Akkadian elements.  Thus:

Anu-zēr-iddin might be written:

{m}{d}60-NUMUN-MU        where NUMUN = zēru and MU = nadānu, the infinitive of the verb "to give", which is normally rendered in the past tense form iddin

But names can also be written with a combination of logographic and syllabic writings for the elements, as in the name Abu-ṭab ("the father is good"), which may be written:

            {m}AD-DU10.GA       where AD = abu = father and DU10.GA = ṭabu = good

            OR as

            {m}ab-bu-DU10.GA   where the term father is written ab-bu (an orthography that differs from a more conventional a-bu).

Logograms within names can be augmented by phonetic complements, which offer some clue how to read the logogram.  For example the name Anu-iqīša may be written:

            {m}{d}60-BA-šá-a, where BA = qiāšu (to gift), and the -šá-a indicate that the verbal component is to be read -iqīša, rather than -iqīš or any other possible form.

Because the cuneiform writing system tolerates a great deal of flexibility, some names may be expressed by a wide range of orthographies.  For example, here are the orthographies attested in HBTIN for the royal name Antiochus:







What do these points mean for reconstructing broken names?

            1. with a name authority index, suggestions for restoration can be made

            2. the success of a suggestion for restoration depends on the degree to which the corpus specialist has determined the number of elements he believes to be missing from a broken or damaged orthography AND can represent that number of elements.  This is generally done on the basis of the familiarity with the corpus and a physical assessment of how many signs could fit into the damaged space. When a large stretch of text is damaged, it may not even be possible to reconstruct how many elements are missing

If, for example, the transliteration shows {m}{d}60-x, this should suggest that only one element is missing (-iddin, perhaps).  If the specialist believes the broken name is missing two elements, {m}{d}60-x-x (for a possible Anu-zer-iddin).

Another approach would be to treat any damaged name as entirely damaged and allow the probabalistic modeling suggest possibilities as the family tree and SN is developed.  However, in the case of cuneiform corpora, most specialists will already have a good idea of the possible reconstructions.

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