Uncertain Texts (1001-1010)

1001   1002   1003   1004   1005   1006   1007   1008   1009   1010  

1001 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006641/]

An "historical(?) tablet" was found in Room 166 (the chapel of Adad) of Sargon's palace at Khorsabad (Loud and Altman, Khorsabad 2 p. 104 no. 18). Nothing further is known about the inscription, but it is placed here since most historical inscriptions from Khorsabad come from the reign of Sargon II.


Loud and Altman, Khorsabad 2 p. 104 no. 18

1002 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006632/]

Drawing of a clay sealing published in Botta,
Monument de Ninive 2 pl. 164 no. 2 (text no. 1002).

A sealing published by P.E. Botta together with his finds from Khorsabad depicts a man killing a lion; see Botta, Monument de Ninive 2 pl. 164 no. 2; Albenda, Palace of Sargon p. 114 no. 14 (entry by C.B.F. Walker) and pl. 152; and Figure 30. The image appears have a cuneiform inscription around it and to be from a royal stamp seal similar to other royal Assyrian seals; see Sachs, Iraq 15 (1953) pp. 167–170 and pls. XVIII–XIX; and Millard, Iraq 27 (1965) pp. 12–16 and pl. I. According to Walker, "One could think of restoring the visible signs at the top as šar₄ KUR aš-šur, 'king of Assyria', but this could be completely wrong." Since the piece presumably comes from Khorsabad, the inscription might have mentioned Sargon and is thus presented here. The current location of the sealing is not known. Cf. the sealing Sm 2297 (see Figure 1 in the Introduction to this volume), as well as the seal depicted on Botta, Monument de Ninive 2 pl. 154 no. 2 and listed in Albenda, Palace of Sargon p. 114 no. 14.


Botta, Monument de Ninive 2 pl. 164 no. 2

1003 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006633/]

A fragment of a clay cone from Aššur bears an inscription that may come from the time of Sargon II. The initial publisher of the inscription assigned it to Ashurnasirpal II, but the text mentions Akkadî in line 2´ and that does not appear in the inscriptions of Ashurnasirpal II. Ḫašmar (line 3´) appears only in inscriptions of that king and Sargon II (see Bagg, Rép. Géogr. 7/2-1 p. 219), and thus the text is tentatively assigned here to Sargon. It should be noted that Ḫanigalbat (line 4´) does not appear in any other inscription of Sargon II, while it does appear in early Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions and in one inscription of Esarhaddon (ibid., p. 206).

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VA Ass 2066 (Ass 23090)


1982 Jakob-Rost, FuB 22 pp. 141 and 159 no. 41 (copy, study)
1991 Grayson, RIMA 2 pp. 339–340 commentary to A.0.101.67 (study)
1997 Pedersén, Katalog p. 152 (study)

1004 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006634/]

A fragment of a clay cone found at Aššur may bear an inscription from the time of Sargon II. L. Jakob-Rost, the initial publisher of the inscription, tentatively assigned it to Sargon II, but R. Borger has stated that it should more probably be assigned to Shalmaneser III (ZA 76 [1986] p. 301). Very little of the inscription is preserved and it does not appear to duplicate exactly the known inscriptions of either ruler. Note that like text no. 67 (an inscription also on clay cones from Aššur), this cone originally bore the date on which it was composed. O. Pedersén's and A. Nunn's recent works follow Jakob-Rost's tentative assignment of the text and thus, arbitrarily, this inscription is presented with those of Sargon. The fragment was found with several other clay cone fragments; for further details on the provenance compare Nunn, Knaufplatten p. 73 and p. 164. Line 3´ of the inscription is indented.

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VA Ass 2049 (Ass 10112Ah)


1913 Andrae, Festungswerke pp. 11 and 118 (study)
1982 Jakob-Rost, FuB 22 pp. 146 and 175 no. 110 (copy, study)
1986 Borger, ZA 76 p. 301 (study)
1997 Pedersén, Katalog p. 140 (study)
2006 Nunn, Knaufplatten pp. 73 and 164 no. 1515 (study)

1005 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006635/]

A fragment of a baked brick, or perhaps more likely a clay plaque, from Aššur in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin bears a fragmentary inscription — [...] ⸢KUR⸣ aš-šur.⸢KI?⸣ [...] — that A. Nunn has tentatively assigned to Sargon II (Knaufplatten p.  117 no. 273). The inscription was collated by F. Weiershäuser. If the piece comes from a plaque it might be a duplicate of text no. 66.


VA Ass 4194 (Ass 6471c?)

1006 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006636/]

Two fragments of a prismatic cylinder from Nimrud preserved in the British Museum have an inscription that is arbitrarily presented here. It might be assigned to Sargon II because another prismatic cylinder inscription of his is known from that city (text no. 76).

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BM — (ND 2075a+b)


ND 2075a, which is comprised of three joined fragments, is part of the left end of the cylinder and ND 2075b, which is composed to two joined fragments, is part of the central section. The cylinder would likely have had ten faces originally, but parts of only five inscribed faces, and traces of two others, are preserved. Unfortunately, neither the beginning nor the end of the inscription is preserved. The faces are not of the same width. The first and second inscribed faces have four lines each, while the third, fourth, and fifth have three lines each. There is an uninscribed margin ca. 1.7–1.8 cm wide to the left of the inscription.

The text is written in Neo-Babylonian script and has been collated both from the original fragments and from photographs. Photographs of ND 2075a were kindly supplied to the author by G. Van Buylaere and photos of ND 2075b by M. Touillon-Ricci.

1007 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006637/]

A fragmentary inscription on a limestone block found by R. Campbell Thompson at Nineveh and currently in the British Museum was tentatively assigned to Sennacherib by Campbell Thompson and to Sargon or Sennacherib by R. Borger (HKL 1 p. 536; and 3 pp. 26–27) and E. Frahm (Sanherib p. 143 no. 5 and NABU 2000 p. 77 no. 66). The inscription refers to an akītu-house and, as noted by Frahm, Ashurbanipal explicitly states that Sargon had built the akītu-house of Ištar at Nineveh (Novotny and Jeffers, RINAP 5/1 p. 220 no. 10 v 33–42). The inscription is thus tentatively assigned to Sargon II even though his name is not mentioned in what is preserved of the text. (For two stone fragments found at Nineveh that mention Sargon, see text nos. 93 and 94.)

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BM — (Thompson 81)


1929 Thompson, Arch. 79 p. 120 and pl. XLII no. 43 (copy, study)
1997 Frahm, Sanherib p. 143 no. 5 (study)
2000 Frahm, NABU 2000 pp. 75–79 no. 66, esp. p. 77 and p. 78 n. 23 (transliteration, study)
2005 Reade, Iraq 67 p. 380 (study)

1008 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006638/]

A.H. Layard mentions a pair of lions made of coarse limestone that were found in Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh and that had a "nearly illegible" inscription. H. Galter et al. (ARRIM 4 [1986] p. 31 no. 12) suggests that the copy of a "fragment on part of [a] yellow bull at entrance" among Layard's papers in the British Museum might represent this text. E. Frahm (Sanherib pp. 122–123) raises the possibility that the yellow bull may not come from Nineveh and that the text copied by Layard may actually duplicate part of a description of the building of Sargon's palace at Khorsabad that is found on several bulls discovered at Khorsabad (text no. 9 lines 71–78). Unfortunately, (1) the reading of a large number of the signs in lines 1´–6´ is not at all clear, (2) there are problems with regard to the space for the restorations in those lines, and (3) the traces of lines 7´–8´ do not seem to fit that inscription of Sargon. Since the present location of the piece is not known and the inscription could not be collated, the edition is based on Layard's copy and Frahm's suggested transliteration. Without examination of the original, it is not possible to determine with any degree of certainty if this inscription actually duplicates all or part of Sargon's bull inscription from Khorsabad or if it should even be attributed to this ruler.

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Layard MS C p. 58 recto


— Layard, MS C p. 58 recto (copy)
1853 Layard, Discoveries p. 230 (provenance)
1986 Galter et al., ARRIM 4 p. 31 no. 12 (study)
1997 Frahm, Sanherib pp. 122–123 and pl. 5 (copy [by Layard], transliteration, study)

1009 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006639/]

A tiny limestone fragment with part of a cuneiform inscription was found at Samaria and is currently preserved in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. Since the inscription is written on stone, it is likely to have been a royal inscription. As noted by C.J. Gadd, the script shows a mixture of Assyrian and Babylonian forms, suggesting that it comes from the time of one of the Neo-Assyrian kings of the ninth through seventh centuries. It is edited with the inscriptions of Sargon II because many inhabitants of Samaria were deported during his reign. Thus, Sargon may well have left an inscribed stele at Samaria, just as he did as Ashdod (text no. 104). There is, however, nothing in the inscription that suggests its assignment to Sargon II in particular. The inscription is edited from the published photograph.

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IAA 33.3725 (D 1430)


1942 Crowfoot, Samaria-Sebaste 1 p. 15 (provenance)
1957 Gadd in Crowfoot, Samaria-Sebaste 3 p. 35 and pl. IV nos. 2–3 (photo, copy, study)
1968 Borger in Galling, Textbuch2 p. 61 no. 31.5.a (study)
1972 Levine, Stelae p. 56 (study)
1973 Hestrin, Inscriptions Reveal2 no. 46 (photo, study)
1982 Börker-Klähn, Bildstelen no. 179 (study)
1988 Cogan and Tadmor II Kings second plate following p. 228 (photo)
1990 Stern, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible 2 p. 15 (photo)
1992 Becking, Fall of Samaria p. 114 no. 4 (study)
1993 Avigad in Stern, New Encyclopedia 4 p. 1306 (photo)
2002 Horowitz, Oshima and Sanders, JAOS 122 p. 759 Samaria 4 (study)
2006 Frame, Subartu 18 p. 53 (study)
2006 Horowitz and Oshima, Canaan pp.  19, 115, and 217 Samaria 4 (copy, edition)
2008 Cogan, Raging Torrent pp. 231–233 no. 1 (photo, study)

1010 [/rinap/rinap2/Q006640/]

A basalt stone fragment with a cuneiform inscription was found at Carchemish in the early part of the last century during excavations by a British Museum expedition. The fragment is a corner fragment of a stone object, "perhaps an obelisk" (i.e., stele) in the view of the original publisher of the piece. The inscription on it is presented with those of Sargon II since cylinder and brick inscriptions of Sargon II have also been found at Carchemish (text nos. 109–110), while inscriptions of no other Neo-Assyrian ruler have been found at this site. Sargon is also known to have left inscribed steles in various locations in the western part of his realm. According to H. Tadmor, the palaeography of the inscriptions on this fragment and text no. 1009 (from Samaria) is "very similar" to that of the Cyprus, Ashdod, and Tell Acharneh steles of Sargon (text nos. 103, 104, and 106 respectively) ('Atiqot, English Series 9-10 [1971] p. 195).

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Barnett in Woolley and Barnett, Carchemish 3 pl. A.33 m–m*


Neither the exact provenance of the fragment nor its current location is known. R.D. Barnett states that the originals of the cuneiform inscriptions from Carchemish published by him "are lost" and that he made use of squeezes in his work (Woolley and Barnett, Carchemish 3 p. 279 n. 3). The fact that the one fully preserved side is relatively narrow and that the lines of text run from that side onto the adjoining side raises questions about the idea that the fragment comes from a stele since this would be an almost unique arrangement. (The inscription on the back of the Najafabad stele [text no. 117] also runs over onto the adjoining side.) The inscription is edited from the published copy, with some help from the published photo and a scan of the original photo kindly supplied by N. Marchetti. A squeeze of the inscription is preserved in the British Museum, but it was not available for collation.

In a recent publication, G. Marchesi refers to a "very fragmentary" stele with "a non-standard inscription of Sargon that has no phraseological parallels in other texts of the Sargonid corpus" that will be published by him and Marchetti (JNES 78 [2019] p. 11 n. 9). He has kindly informed me that this object is made up of four fragments that do not join and that two of the fragments were found by the British Museum excavations and two by the recent Turkish-Italian excavations led by N. Marchetti; one of the four pieces is the one edited here.

Although the asseverative particle does occasionally appear in Sargon's royal inscriptions (e.g., text nos. 8 line 6, 14 line 12, and in particular 82 iv 7´, 8´, and 9´), the fact that it occurs in three successive lines (lines 2´, 3´, and 4´), is noteworthy.


1952 Barnett in Woolley and Barnett, Carchemish 3 pp. 265 and 279–280 and pl. A.33 m–m* (photo, copy, edition)
1982 Börker-Klähn, Bildstelen no. 178 (study)
1983 Winter, AnSt 33 p. 194 n. 89 (study)
2006 Frame, Subartu 18 p. 53 (study)

Grant Frame

Grant Frame, 'Uncertain Texts (1001-1010)', RINAP 2: Sargon II, Sargon II, The RINAP 2 sub-project of the RINAP Project, 2021 [http://oracc.org/rinap/rinap2/rinap2textintroductions/uncertaintexts10011010/]

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The RINAP 2 sub-project of the University of Pennsylvania-based RINAP Project, 2020-. The contents of RINAP 2 were prepared by Grant Frame for the University-of-Pennsylvania-based and National-Endowment-for-the-Humanities-funded Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period (RINAP) Project, with the assistance of Joshua Jeffers and the Munich Open-access Cuneiform Corpus Initiative (MOCCI), which is based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Historisches Seminar (LMU Munich, History Department) - Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Ancient History of the Near and Middle East. Content released under a CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/] license, 2007-21.
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