Joe Baker
The positioning of MEC D
Thu May 10, 2018 06:32

Hi Anonymous

As for fragment MEC D and how it aligns with KEL G, I go with the Early alignment model of Günbattı (as followed by Kryszat and also Nahm) against the Late alignment model of Birot, Barjamovic and the soon to be published paper by Veenhof. For Werner Nahm’s opinion see
This video is one of several taken from the 2015 conference entitled “New Perspectives on the Chronology of the Early Second Millenium BC in the Near East and Egypt”. These papers will be published soon (hopefully - and it is supposed to including the above mentioned paper by Veenhof). Also relevant is Werner’s paper “The Case for the Lower Middle Chronology”, AfO 40 (2013) 2, 350-372. For Guido Kryszat’s placement see his paper “Herrscher, Kult und Kulttradition in Anatolien nach den Quellen aus den altassyrischen Handelskolonien – Teil 3/2: Grundlagen für eine neue Rekonstruktion der Geschichte Anatoliens und der assyrischen Handelskolonien in spätaltassyrischer Zeit II”, AoF 35 (2008) 2, 195-219, which you can download from his page. The two placement are set out in the following table (and note that the Late alignment model results in additional required limus over the Early alignment model. I label the limu order in the Late alignment model, as found in Barjamovic et. al., as REL (as they themselves do) and the limu order in the Early alignment model as found in Nahm as NEL

                        Early alignment of MEC D
KEL 166 Dadaya D1 1' ........
KEL 167 Puzur-Šamaš D2 2' Pu[.....]
KEL 168 Abiya D3 3' A-[..]a
KEL 169 Edinum D4 4' E?-ta-num
KEL 170 Aššur-taklaku D5 8' dA-šur-tak-la-ku
KEL 171 Isim-Suen
KEL 172 Adad-bani
KEL 173 Abi-šagiš
KEL 174 Ṭab-ṣilla-Aššur
KEL 175 Iddin-Aššur
KEL 176 Namiya
KEL 177 Attal-šarri Late alignment of MEC D
KEL 178 Dadaya D1 1' ........ KEL 178 Dadaya
D2 3' [...]-dA-š[ur] REL 179 Ennam-Aššur
D3 4' A?-ta-nim REL 180 Atanum
D4 8' dA-šur-tak-la-ku REL 181 Aššur-taklaku
NEL 179 Ḫaya-malik D5 9' [....]-lik REL 182 Ḫaya-malik

Now the highly fragmentary four line entry under limu Atanum = Edinum on MEC D (S.24-3) refers to the defeat of 12 kings amongst whom was Yaḫdun-[Lim of Mari] (EVENT 1 - presumably this occurred in the late spring/early summer, that is late in the limu year, say month X of the Samsi-Addu calendar). Now Mari was in the hands of Samsi-Addu by the 30/X/Ḫaya-malik, of the Samsi-Addu calendar, when there occurred a cataloguing of inventories of the palace of Mari (EVENT 2).

Between these events we have to place the following events, as told in ARM I 3, a letter addressed by Yasmaḫ-Addu to the god Nergal. “Now following the offence that Yaḫdun-Lim committed against Samsi-Addu ... Sumu-Yaman removed (his father) Yaḫdun-Lim from the throne. Sumu-Yamam ... committing unbelievable acts ... when you (that is, Nergal) found out, you condemned him, so that his own servants killed him ... Because of the offence Sumu-Yamam committed against Samsi-Addu, you turned over to him [Mari] and the “Banks of the Euphrates”.”

If the positioning of MEC D in the Late alignment model of Birot is correct, than there is only a maximum of 24 months (or 25 if we include an intercalary month), overlapping 3 Samsi-Addu calendar years and also overlapping 3 Mari calendar years), between EVENT 1 (Atanum) and EVENT 2 (Ḫaya-malik). On the other hand, if the positioning of MEC D in the Early alignment model is correct, then there is 10 years between EVENT 1 (Edinum) and EVENT 2 (Ḫaya-malik).

When making his positioning of MEC D, Birot was influenced by Charpin who suggested the reference to Yaḫdun-Lim in MEC D referred to his downfall and that the reign of Sumu-Yamam lasted only into his 3rd year. Now in Charpin and Ziegler’s book the year names of Sumu-Yamam are listed as

1a  Year Sumu-Yamam entered his father’s house
- 1 text, rest of date is not preserved.
1b Year Sumu-Yamam fortified Ḫalabit
- 9 texts preserved dates - 9+/I (A.3562), 9/VI, 3/VIII. 5/XII, 15/XII, 29/XII, 30/XII.
1ab Year Sumu-Yamam entered his father’s house and fortified Ḫalabit
- 1 text, rest of date is not preserved.
2 Year Sumu-Yamam fortified the wall of Sagaratum
- 6 texts preserved dates - -/VIII, 15/VIII, 9/IX, 12/X, 5/XIIb (T.467)
3 Year 2 (after) Sumu-Yamam fortified the wall of Sagaratum
- 24 texts, 23 preserve month 12b with 20 covering days 1 to 15.

They make the (unproven) assumption that Sumu-Yamam overthrew his father straight after Samsi-Addu’s defeat of the 12 king coalition and that the murder of Sumu-Yamam occurred just before Samsi-Addu occupied Mari. Furthermore, in their summary, they say these texts cover 20 months - as follows

  • “Year 1a/b/ab” texts cover 7 months. This makes the unproven assumption that year name 1a = year name 1b, presumably based on the single text which combines year names 1a and 1b. They also seem to forget about text A.3562 dated to 9+/I/1b (unless this is their misprint or a scribal error), which would mean that their “year 1a/b/ab” texts actually cover 12 months.

  • “Year 2” texts cover 12 months. However they seem to ignore text T.467 dated to 5/XIIb/2 (unless this also is their misprint or a scribal error).

  • “Year 3” texts cover 1 month. Here they assume that text date to XIIb/3, follow straight on from XII/2 (despite T.467) rather than XII/3 (as one would normally expect). This assumption obviously is based on the 24 texts dated to XIIb/3 but none from months I/3 to XII/3.

So at a minimum the texts would cover 25 months and maybe more if one assumes year name 1a is not the same as year name 1b (and given that A.3562 is dated to I/1b, it is not a great step to assume that year name 1a = year 1 and year name 1b = year 2). This 25 months is just equal to the maximum imposed by the Birot pasitioning of MEC D and if it were so it would mean Sumu-Yamam deposed his father immediately after his defeat (EVENT 1) and that Sumu-Yamam was killed immediately before Samsi-Addu entered Mari and immediately concluded an inventory of the palaces treasuries (EVENT 2). This is too tight for me to accept.

The chronology is much more flexible if one uses the Early alignment option. For one can then have room to have some years between the defeat of Yaḫdun-Lim and his eventual removal (and remember we have several Yaḫdun-Lim year names concerning his conflict with Samsi-Addu). It would also give some space for the overthrow of Sumu-Yamam and the arrival of Samsi-Addu and the reorganisation of authority and for scribal activity.

Now as to the position of MEC D in the Early assignment model, this is explained by Nahm, in the above video. The relative position of MEC D - which the Late assignment model positions on the reverse, near the top of column III - need not change but instead it should be flipped over so that its position is now on the obverse, at the bottom of column II. Birot had rejected this idea by saying “Specifically, its thickness and especially its “indented” arrangement of the lines of text invite us to place it on the reverse of the tablet in question ... rather than at the bottom of the obverse face”. I do not see how the “thickness” can be taken into account when the back side of fragment S.24-3 is broken away. Also although the “indented” layout of the entries on MEC D does match the layout of entries on column III (reverse), this is not a real argument because nothing really remains of column II (obverse) and so its layout of entries, at its bottom, is unknown.

By the way the majority opinion at the above 2015 conference (follows the Late alignment model) was that the eclipse date in the KEL was that of 1838. I, like Werner still hold that the correct eclipse date is 1833. Basically the main argument for Middle Chronology case of 1838 versus 1833 is the above positioning of MEC D.

Regards Joe

  • Re: KEL G and AḫiyayaAnonymous, Sun May 6 02:49
    Re: KEL G and Aḫiyaya Hi Joe, I have adjusted your chart a bit. Going over my notes, actually two different reconstructions I have, I saw I had omitted Ennam-Assur in its first occurrence. So I ... more
    • The positioning of MEC D — Joe Baker, Thu May 10 06:32
      • KEL G reconstructedJoe Baker, Thu May 10 06:35
        Hi Anonymous A more parsimonious explanation occurs to me than the ad hoc line space argument of Barjamovic, and that is that the scribe's eyes went from the first occurrence of Ennam-Assur to the... more
        • Re: KEL G reconstructedAnonymous, Mon May 14 10:42
          Thanks Joe, I get the point on what fits and does not fit. After quite a bit of reading, I have concluded that I should simply specify where the gap is and grey it out in the chronology. The eye skip ... more
          • Re: KEL G reconstructedJoe Baker, Wed May 16 06:57
            Hi Anonymouse Time, Narrative, and the Old Assyrian Trade, by Edward Stratford ... Calibrated dendrochronology favors UMC. The author favors an 1845 BC eclipse. Stratford gives as the source for him... more
            • Re: KEL G reconstructedAnonymous, Fri May 18 09:48
              Hi Joe, Fattening the space of 4 names does seem to be a bit excessive inviting ad hoc arguments for explanation. I see space in my theory to leave MEC E un-emmended, unless you know something about... more
              • Re: KEL G reconstructedJoe Baker, Sat May 19 05:12
                Hi Anonymouse unless you know something about equating Haya-malik to Ani-malik that I don't. Let me say from the start – I have little to no knowledge of Sumerian and Akkadian - only what I hear... more
                • Re: KEL G reconstructedAnonymous, Sat May 19 18:56
                  //Not only do I omit this Šalim-Aššur but he is also omitted by all recent commentators. Šalim-Aššur son of Uṣranum has multiple attestations at Mari while Šalim-Aššur son of Šalimanum only... more
                  • Re: KEL G reconstructedJoe Baker, Sun May 20 21:31
                    Hi Anonymous //... while Šalim-Aššur son of Šalimanum only occurs once . This is taken to be a scribal error ...// So this is charged to a scribal error in MEC E. No. The initial lines of MEC E... more
                    • Re: KEL G reconstructedAnonymous, Sun May 27 14:30
                      According to post;article=15335;search_term=Ebla #15335 MEC B ends with the same two eponyms as the AKL. Is this post not representing MEC B... more
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