The Correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud.

Author:Yamada, Shigeo
Position:Book review

The Correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud. By MIKKO LUUKKO. State Archives of Assyria, vol. 19. Helsinki: NEO-ASSYRIAN TEXT CORPUS PROJECT, 2012. Pp. lxxiv + 287, 3 plts., illus. $89.50 (paper).

This volume provides a critical edition of the so-called Nimrud Letters, which consist of more than two hundred epistolary texts discovered at the North-West Palace of Nimrud during the 1952 British excavations. The corpus is composed of the late eighth-century B.C.E. state correspondence from the reigns of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II, possibly including a few letters from the short reign of Shalmaneser V as well. One hundred five letters of the corpus were first published by H. W. F. Saggs in the journal Iraq in 1966 and 1974. Later, Saggs published more than a hundred additional letters, as well as a revised edition of the previously published ones in his volume The Nimrud Letters, 1952 (CTN 5 = Saggs 2001). Though the republication of the same group of texts only eleven years after Saggs' editio princeps may look unusual in Assyriological convention, Luukko's volume is full of merits, which justify his re-editing.

The tablets of the corpus are held in two collections, one in the British Museum and the other in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. Luukko was able to collate only the former half of the corpus, and was dependent on Saggs' hand copies, generally considered to be highly accurate, for the remainder. Luukko's edition is much better than CTN 5 in many respects. He reads fragmentary passages with extensive restorations and valuable critical apparatus, elucidating the contents of the letters. He has made four new joins (to nos. 39, 52, 147, and 206), in addition to the earlier indirect join made by S. Parpola (SAA 15 [= Fuchs and Parpola 2001], no. 83), and has edited five previously unpublished fragments (nos. 7, 32, 58, 64, and 204). Excluding eight non-epistolary texts published in CTN 5, Luukko presents a total of 229 (201 Neo-Assyrian and 28 Neo-Babylonian) letters; these include the twelve letters already edited in SAA 1, 5, and 15 as correspondence from the reign of Sargon II, for which Luukko gives only cross-references to the previous SAA volumes but no transliteration and translation. The concordance to SAA 1, 5, and 15 is missing in the book's indices, but it is now provided on the website "Assyrian empire builders" (Luukko, "Updates to Nimrud Letters Editions Previously Published in the State...

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