Gadal-iama, Part 4: English Translation
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Gadal-iama, Part 4: English Translation

In another part of the Achaemenid empire, a cavalryman in hood and body armour rides down his enemies with a spear.  Cropped from a photo y Dan Diffendale under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
In another part of the Achaemenid empire, a cavalryman in hood and body armour rides down his enemies with a spear. Cropped from a photo by Dan Diffendale under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Although many translations and summaries of the contract between Gadal-iama and Rimut-Ninurta have been printed, most of the English ones are based on earlier translations into French or German rather than on the difficult original text. As part of my dissertation I have read this text, and I thought that I should provide a translation too. The following text and translation is based on my poster at Melammu Symposium 10, Societies at War, presented on 27 September 2016 with one or two typos and careless choices of word corrected. I hope that I have not inserted any more mistakes in converting from PDF to HTML.

Gadal-Yâma, the son of Raḫim-ilē, spoke in the joy of his heart to Rīmūt-Ninurta, the son of Murašû, as follows: (1) {m}Ga-da-al-ia-a-ma A šá {m}Ra-hi-im-DINGIR{meš} ina hu-ud lìb-bi-šú
(2) a-na {m}Ri-mut-AN.BAR A šá {m}Mu-ra-šú-ú ki-a-am iq-bi um-ma
He will provide me with (12) … i-bi-in-nam-ma
(i.) the standing grain and stubble, ŠE.NUMUN zaq-pu u KA šul-pu
the horse estate of Raḫim-ilē, É ANŠE.KUR.RA šá {m}Ra-hi-im-DINGIR{meš}
as much as is the share of Bariki-Ilē, who adopted Enlil-šum-iddin, your brother, into the sons of Raḫim-Ilē, ma-la (4) HA.LA šá {m}Ba-ri-ki-DINGIR{meš} ša a-na DUMU-ú-ut {m}Ra-hi-im-DINGIR{meš} (5) a-na {m.d} EN-LÍL-MU-MU ŠEŠ-ka a-na lìb-bi il-qu-ú
(ii.) and a kit:


u kul-la-ta
one horse with its bit and tack, (6) išten ANŠE.KUR.RA a-di hu-šu-ki-šu u pu-gu-da-tum
one suḫattu-textile, išten {túg}su-hat-tum
one iron armour, (7) išten ši-ir-i ˀ -a-nu AN.BAR
one hood of the armour, išten kar-bal-la-tum šá ši-ir-i ˀ -an-nu
one suḫattu kūrapānu, (8) išten ku-ú-ra-pa-nu šá su-hat-tum
one suḫattu hood, išten kar-bal-la-tum su-hat-tum
one bronze/empty bowcase, išten {kuš}šal-ṭu šá e-ru-ú
120 ?mounted? arrows 10/and ?campaign? arrows, (9) 1 ME 20 ši-il-ta-ah šu-uš-ku-pu u ši-il-ta-ah gi-ir-ri
1 iron ?beater? of the bowcase, išten ri/di-e-bu AN.BAR (10) šá {kuš}šal-ṭu
2 wooden spears with iron heads, 2 {giš}aš-ma-ru-ú AN.BAR
(iii.) and 1 mina of silver for provisions, in order to go to Uruk on king’s business so that I may go represent the horse estate, as much as is your share. (10) … ù 1 ma-na KÙ.BABBAR
(11) a-na ṣ i-di-tum a-na ṣ i-bu-tu šá LUGAL
(12) a-na a-la-ku a-na Uruk{ki}
Then Rīmūt-Ninurta heard him, and gave him (13) … ár-ku {m}Ri-mut-AN.BAR iš-me-šú-ma … (17) MU{meš} id-daš-šú
(a.) one horse and battle gear, (14) išten ANŠE.KUR.RA u ú-nu-ut ta-ha-zu
everything according to that which is written above, gab-bi a-ki-i šá ina la-li en-na šá-ṭar
(b.) and 1 mina of silver for provisions in order to go to Uruk on the king’s business (15) ù 1 ma-na KÙ.BABBAR a-na ṣ i-di-tum a-na ṣi-bu-ut-tum šá LUGAL a-na
(16) a-na a-la-ku a-na Uruk{ki}
and represent the horse estate (16) … u(!) a-na UGU É ANŠE.KUR.RA
Gadal-Yâma takes it upon himself not to appoint a substitute pu-ut la šá-ka-nu šá pi-qú-ud/me-KU-tú {m}Ga-da-al-ia-a-ma (18) na-ši
Gadal-Yâma will register himself with Zabin, the foreman of the alphabet-scribes of the ūqu, in place of Rīmūt-Ninurta, the son of Murašû. ú-ša-az-za-az-ma {m}Ga-da-al-ia-ma it-ti
(19) {m}Za-bi-in {lú}šak-nu ša {lú}si-pi-ri{meš}
šá {lú}ú-qu a-na (20) {m}Ri-mut- AN.BAR A ša
{m}Mu-ra-šu-ú i-nam-din
Witnesses, scribe, date (18-x-2 Darius II = 8 January 421 BCE)  

Note that the word šalṭu, which was understood by Ebeling 1952 and Cardascia 1951 as a “Schild” or “bouclier” and faithfully re-translated by later writers with English “shield”, is now agreed to mean “bow-and-arrow case” (gorytos) because some šalṭū are said to contain large numbers of arrows. The idea that šalṭu meant “shield” was the only basis for translating dêpu parzillu ša šalṭu as “iron boss (umbo) of the shield.”

Further Reading: For a list of earlier translations and commentaries, see part 2 of this series. For an explanation of the un-translated and uncertain words, see my conference poster which cites the most important articles on each problem.

Edit 2019-09-11: Updated the date using MesoCalc by Baptiste Mélès.

Edit 2022-03-18: fixed link broken when WordPress introduced the block editor

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