The glossary contains basic words and phrases taken from cuneiform compositions that are useful for building a Babylonian magickal vocabulary. It lists most of the words already explained in the text as well as many words that are not. It is helpful to incorporate these into your prayers and rituals. It also contains geographical and proper names, in regular type. Foreign words in regular Roman type are Sumerian; italic type is Akkadian, and CAPITALS are logograms, which may be pronounced as written.
a - "water" and "semen."
abubu - "flood;" also the proper name for the "Flood-weapon," used by various Gods.
abzu - the freshwater lake under the earth which supplies wells, springs and rivers; the name of Enki/Ea's abode; proper name for Tiamat's partner, whom Ea kills in enuma elis and thereupon establishes his Throne; ultimate origin of English "abyss," through Greek.
ahazum - "to seize;" some magickally potent substance, such a spittle, blood, semen, hair or nail clippings which make a "link" with the object of the ritual; also the name of a demon, "the seizer/grasper."
Akkad - Sargon the Great's capital city, seat of the first Mesopotamian empire. Its location is to this date unknown.
Akkadian - the semitic language of Akkad, with various dialects: Old Akkadian (2500 - 1950 b.c.e); Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian (c.1800 - 1600 b.c.e.); Middle Babylonian and Middle Assyrian (c.1600 - 1000 b.c.e.); Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian (1000 b.c.e. - c.600 c.e.); Late Babylonian (c. 600 - c. 75 c.e.). Akkadian in all periods was written in cuneiform. The two best Akkadian dictionaries are the Akkadisches Handworterbuch (von Soden, 3 volumes in German), and the CAD (Chicago Assyrian Dictionary; nearly complete in over 20 volumes, in English). These are not cuneiform dictionaries (called "sign-lists"), for which see "cuneiform."
apsu - Akkadian for abzu.
Aruru (baniat) - "Aruru, (creatress)" of humankind.
asar sepu parsat - "a place barred from access;" a direction to find a place for ritual privacy.
asipu (fem. asiptu) - "magician" (often translated "exorcist").
atra-hasis - "exceedingly wise."
awelis iwe - "to become human."
awilutum - "humanity;" the condition of being civilized.
Babylon - "Gate of the Gods" (bab-ili); there is evidence that this may be a popular etymology; Babylon is located on a branch of the Euphrates at 32 33'N 44 24'E; it first became a prominent city under the rule of Hammurabi, around 1800 b.c.e, and thereafter remained the most important cultural center in the country.
balag - a type of drum used to accompany singing and chanting, and the song named after its accompaniment; usually rendered "lamentation" because of the content of the songs.
bit emuti - "House of Marriage," "Marital Chamber," perhaps "(cultic) bedroom."
collation - piecing together a text by combining: a) fragments of the same tablet which had become separated through ancient or modern breakage; b) fragments of different clay tablets of the same text; or c) lines from other types of texts which complete lost lines in the original.
cuneiform - "wedge-shaped;" first used in 1700 to describe the type of writing on monuments in Persia and Mesopotamia. Cuneiform is a later development of an ideographic writing on clay, the earliest examples of which are from Uruk of around 3100 b.c.e. Between this and the time of Old Akkadian (c.2400 b.c.e.) the ideographic style had given way to the more linear, and easier to write, system of impressing the edge of a reed stylus in the clay, resulting in the wedge-shape. The system had also become a syllabary, where signs could represent both whole words (ideographs) as well as sound values. The scribes had by this time reduced all of the round shapes of the ideographs to the straight lines of the wedges. Developments of succeeding centuries included a reduction of the number of wedges in each sign, as well the adoption of cuneiform by surrounding peoples, such as the Elamites, Hittites, Canaanites and Persians. The two latter peoples developed simpler cuneiform systems as well. Each sign represents both a whole Sumerian and/or Akkadian word as well as one or more sound values ("polyvalence"). Context, both the date and provenance of the text as well as its genre, usually makes clear what sound or word is intended, but even in the clearest text some ambiguities must remain. Because of the lengthy period needed to master the system, as well as declining relevance in the face of Persian (539 b.c.e.) and then Greek (330 b.c.e) domination, knowledge of cuneiform retreated within ever smaller scholarly circles. The last cuneiform text dates to 75 c.e., from Babylon.
The two modern dictionaries of cuneiform are Labat, Manuel d'Epigraphie Akkadienne, and Borger, Assyrisch-Babylonische Zeichenliste.
dababu - "to recite;" used of any sort of reading, including incantations.
dullu ili - "work/labor of the Gods;" the task assigned to humanity at its creation in enuma elis VI, 8.
emegir - the Sumerian word for the Sumerian language.
emesal - "Woman-tongue(?);" a dialect of Sumerian found principally in the balag and ersemma genres, as well as other types of songs.
emu ki ilani - "to become like the Gods;" the goal of dullu ili.
Enheduanna - High Priestess of Nanna at Ur, daughter of Sargon the Great, composer of nin.me.sar.ra (known as "The Exaltation of Inanna"), and traditional author of the Sumerian Temple Hymns.
enuma elis - "When above/on high...;" the first words of the story usually called in English "The Epic of Creation," used as its title in Akkadian catalogues.
epesu - "to sacrifice,"
ersemma (also irsemma) - a short song similar in content to a balag, often paired with and sung after the latter.
eš.dam - "tavern," often as a sacred location.
gadaru - "girdle" or "sash."
garza - "ritual usage," "rite," "religious duty," "symbol of religious usage or office."
ginu - regular offerings.
guhsu - "reed altar."
ha'it kibrati - "Surveyor of the (world) Regions."
Hammurabi (also Hammurapi) - c. 1800, a king of the first dynasty of Babylon, the first such king to be recognized by the priesthood at Nippur (and thereby legitimated for the whole country). The Law-code he promulgated is the most extensive and famous of all ancient Mesopotamian codes.
hassinu - "axe;" usually means the double-headed type.
he.gal - "abundance."
hi.li - "irresistible sex-appeal."
ina asri parsi - "in a secluded place;" direction for ritual privacy.
inuma ilu awilum - "When the Gods instead of Man...." the first words of the myth known in English as "Atrahasis," and used as its title in Akkadian catalogues.
izbu - an animal or human being malformed at birth; these are considered ominous, and catalogued with interpretations.
kassapu (fem. kassaptu) - "sorcerer", "witch."
kengir - the Sumerian name for their own country.
kibrat erbetti - "the four regions/directions;" can mean both "the cosmos" and "the whole earth."
kibratu - "region/direction;" the Sumerian ideogram was a pentagram.
kibsam kullimi - "Show (me) the path."
kima ili tabassi - "You are like a God;" what Samhat says to Enkidu in sa nagba imuru after they have made love for a week, and his human consciouness has been awakened.
KI.NE - "brazier."
kuzbu - "sex-appeal."
la.la - "charm," "sex-appeal."
lam abubi - "before the Flood;" the mythic era.
lullu amelu - "Primordial Man;" describes the uncivilized human being; said of Enkidu before he meets Samhat.
mala libbasu sabtu idabbub - "say what is in his heart;" a rubric giving directions to say a spontaneous prayer at this point in the ritual, "whatever is on your mind."
mamitu - "ban," "oath," "curse," or "taboo;" something consecrated to the Gods and therefore not to be touched.
maqlu - "burning" or "combustion;" the name of a series of tablets combining three separate rituals into one night-long apotropaic rite.
mashatu - "flour offering;" roasted and scattered over the altar and other offerings.
mas.mas - "magician" (often translated "exorcist").
ME - "fundamental, unalterable, comprehensive assortment of powers and duties, norms and standards, rules and regulations, relating to the cosmos and its components, to gods and humans, to cities and countries, and to the varied components of civilized life" (S.N. Kramer). Akkadian translation is usually parsu, but sometimes can be usuratu.
mimma lemnu - "what is baneful;" the magickally potent and dangerous.
musepisu - "liturgist."
mussakku - "incense offering."
nakasu - "to slaughter."
nam.lu.ux.lu - "humanity;" the condition of being civilized, fully human.
namsar - "dirk" or "dagger."
naru - stele or inscription.
nindabu - any non-meat offering.
niqe tanaqqi - "you offer sacrifices;" the rubric instructing the moment of an offering.
niqu - "sacrifice;" an animal offering.
parsu - "ritual usage," "rite," "religious duty," "symbol of religious usage or office."
passuru - "tray," "table;" could be a portable or fixed altar.
patiru - "portable altar."
polyvalence - the quality of having more than one value; said of cuneiform signs.
pukku (and) mikku - the two things which Inanna made for Gilgames from the huluppu-tree, with which he subsequently abuses the people of Uruk, the latters' outcry causing the pukku and mikku to fall into the Underworld, where Gilgames must go to retrieve them. Their literal meaning is unknown, but most scholars agree with Jacobsen that they are a ball or hoop, and a stick, respectively, used in some sort of game. Their role in the stories is such that they clearly have deep symbolic meaning.
qabu - "recite;" used of any sort of reading, including incantations.
qemu - "flour" used to make the zisurru and the zidubdubbu.
quddusu - "to sanctify;" the part of an apotropaic ritual which may involve taking off old clothes, cleaning oneself, bathing in pure water (said to be "of the Tigris and Euphrates"), donning fresh clothing, and censing, all to the accompaniment of appropriate spells.
qutrinnu - "smoke offering."
riksa tarakkas - "offering materials;" collective term for the libations, foodstuffs and objects to offered at a sacrifice.
sa nagba imuru - "Of him who saw everything..;" the first words of the Standard Babylonian edition of Gilgames, used as its Akkadian title; can also be read sa naqba imuru "Of him who saw deep wisdom..."
sag-giga - "black-headed;" the Sumerian name for themselves.
salam - "image;" a modelled image used in magick.
salam ili - "the image of God;" "Kings in their majesty and conjurors in the exercise of their spells are said to be 'the image of the God.'" (Tigay).
salmu - "prepared image;" a model of the object of the ritual, whether a symbol for a person or a situation, which may contain some ahazum with the outcome.
Sargon, "the Great" - founder (2334 - 2279?) of the Dynasty of Agade (Akkad), which persisted until about 2100 b.c.e.
Sargon II - King of Assyria 721 - 725 b.c.e., built a new capital city called Dur-Sarrukin, "Fortress of Sargon;" the most famous example of cuneiform gematria occurs in one of his inscriptions where he states that he "built the length of the wall according to the value of his name, 16, 280."
score - the transliteration of a text which combines all known collations into a single text.
se'i napšati - "Seek life!"
ser ilani (zumursu) - "The Flesh of the Gods (is his body)."
siddu - a curtain drawn around the offering table for privacy during the sacrifice; sidda tasaddad - "draw the curtain."
sign - a cuneiform character.
sign-list - a cuneiform dictionary.
Sumer - the Akkadian name for kengir, the southern territory of ancient Mesopotamia.
Sumerian - the language of the sag-giga, called emegir by themselves. It has no apparent relationship with any known language, although some scholars see a similarity with Dravidian (in India). The last time it would have been anyone's mother-tongue would have been during the UrIII dynasty, around 2100 b.c.e. Thereafter Akkadian scribes learned it as a scholarly language, identical to the way Latin was used in the European middle ages. There is no complete Sumerian-English dictionary, although the University of Pennsylvania has begun one, of which two volumes (A and B) have appeared.
supsik ilim - "toil of the Gods;" the task assigned to humanity at its creation according to inuma ilu awilum I,191. (Also written supsikku ili, and tupsikku ili).
surpu - "burning" or "cremation;" name for a series of tablets combining several rituals into one for the purpose of removing various types of evil from a person.
surqinnu - an offering-gesture in which parts of the offering are scattered around.
sutukku - "reed hut;" a general term, but sometimes also a temporary structure for the performance of a ritual.
tamsilu - "prepared image;" a model of the object of the ritual, whether a person or situation.
tin.tir - the Sumerian name for Babylon.
tuhhu - "presentation;" the part of the ritual in which you bring the offerings forward and place them on the altar, accompanied by prayers.
ub.da.limmu.ba - "the four directions;" can mean both "the cosmos" and "the whole earth."
ullulu - "to purify;" the part of an apotropaic rite in which the person is cleansed and bathed in pure water, to the accompaniment of spells.
un.ug - the emegir name for Uruk.
uppusu - "to sacrifice."
urigallu (pl. urigalle) - four standards which the priest places in the cardinal directions during some rituals.
Uruk - (modern Warka); meaning of name unknown; city on the lower Euphrates at 31 18'N 45 40'E; worship center of An/Anu and Inanna/Istar; the city was important from around 4000 b.c.e. to the late Seleucid period; writing was probably invented in the Eanna around 3300 b.c.e. to keep track of what the temple owned, and its offerings and prebends.
usurat mati kul-lu-mu - "to teach the 'patterns' of the land;" the lore and wisdom of a society.
usuratu - "pattern"(Caplice); Akkadian equivalent of Sumerian ME.
utukku lemnutu - "evil demons;" a series of tablets containing rituals to drive away various demons/diseases.
value - a syllable (or multiple syllable) for which a cuneiform sign stands. Most signs have several values (polyvalence).
zakaru - "to invoke."
zamaru - "to sing" or "a song."
zi.an.na he.pa zi.ki.a he.pa - "By Heaven by conjured, by Earth be conjured!" a standard Sumerian closing for incantations.
zidubdubbu - "heaps of flour;" usually three or seven small heaps of flour placed somewhere in the magickal space, and which represent such things as the presence of the three Great Gods Anu, Enlil, and Ea, or the Seven Apkallu.
zisurru - the magick circle drawn in flour.
zi.sa.gal - "sustenance."