On the Present Edition

Texts Included and Excluded

This volume completes the edition of the Neo-Assyrian component of the correspondence of Sargon II. In accordance with the plan outlined in SAA 1, the volume contains all identifiable Assyrian letters sent to Sargon from (or by Sargon to) Babylonia and the southeastern provinces of the empire. In addition, the volume contains 14 fragments which should more properly have been included in SAA 1 or SAA 5 but were overlooked at the time, as well as 94 fragments of unknown authorship and provenance which could as well have been included in the earlier volumes but were excluded from them as not pertinent. It should be noted that while all these fragments are likely to belong to the Sargon correspondence, the attribution is (because of the small size of the fragments) not certain in all cases, and some of them may in fact be addressed to later kings. It is also quite possible that some pieces of the correspondence still remain unidentified among the some 200 Assyrian letter fragments that have not yet been assigned to any particular king in the SAA database. These pieces become worth editing only if turned into more complete texts (through joins to other pieces of the corpus).

The volume includes nine fragmentary letters (K 17607, K 18297, K 18474, K 19520, K 19544, K 19588, K 19931 , K 20292, K 22065) published here for the first time. All these texts were identified by Parpola through the kind offices of I. L. Finkel and W. G. Lambert.

The Order of the Texts

As in SAA 1 and 5, the primary criterion for arranging the texts is prosopographical, so that all letters by the same sender appear together. The individual letter dossiers are grouped into separate chapters according to their provenance, those from the north coming first and those from the south last. Within each dossier, individual texts are arranged topically or (if possible) chronologically, basically following the scheme presented in the introduction. Undatable or unattributed letters are sometimes inserted among dated letters on the basis of topical or orthographical affinities. Letters not assignable to definite senders are inserted at the ends of the chapters.


The transliterations, addressed to the specialist, render the text of the originals in roman characters according to standard Assyriological conventions and the principles outlined in the SAA Editorial Manual. Every effort has been taken to make them as accurate as possible. All the texts edited have been copied and/or collated by Parpola, some of them several times.

Results of collation are indicated with exclamation or question marks. Single exclamation marks indicate corrections to published copies, double exclamation marks, scribal errors. Question marks indicate uncertain or questionable readings. Broken portions of the text and all restorations are enclosed within square brackets. Parentheses enclose items omitted by ancient scribes. Numbers that appear at the edge of a break where part of the number might be missing are followed by "[ +x" or preceded by "x+ ]," and it must be borne in mind that "x" may be zero.


The translations seek to render the meaning and tenor of the texts as accurately as possible in readable, contemporary English. In the interest of clarity, the line structure of the originals has not been retained in the translation but the text has been rearranged into logically coherent paragraphs where possible.

Uncertain or conjectural translations are indicated by italics. Interpretative additions to the translation are enclosed within parentheses. All restorations are enclosed within square brackets. Untranslatable passages are represented by dots. Quotation marks are used as follows: double quotation marks ("") indicate direct speech quoted in the original text; single quotation marks ('') indicate quotations within quoted text, or indicate literal or conventional translations of words or phrases that may have had a different meaning or sense in the original.

Month names are rendered by their Hebrew equivalents, followed by a Roman numeral (in parentheses) indicating the place of the month within the lunar year. Personal, divine or geographical names are rendered by English or Biblical equivalents if a well established equivalent exists (e.g., Esarhaddon, Nineveh); otherwise, they are given in transcription with length marks deleted. The normalization of West-Semitic names generally follows the conventions of Zadok West Semites. West Semitic phonemes not expressed by the writing system (/o/ etc.) have generally not been restituted in the normalizations, and the sibilant system follows the NA orthography.

The rendering of professions is a compromise between the use of accurate but impractical Assyrian terms and inaccurate but practical modern or classical equivalents.

Critical Apparatus

The primary purpose of the critical apparatus is to support the readings and translations contained in the edition, and it consists largely of references to collations of questionable passages and to parallels in the omen literature, astrological reports, and other letters which are used for restorations. Collations given in copy at the end of the volume are referred to briefly as "see coll." Collations included in Waterman's RCAE and Ylvisaker's grammar (LSS 5/6) are referred to as "W" and "Y" followed by page number (e.g., W 127 means a collation communicated in RCAE III p. 127).

The critical apparatus does contain some information relevant to the interpretation of the texts, but it is not a commentary. For the convenience of the reader, references to studies on individual letters and related letters in the Sargon corpus are occasionally given, but with no claim to completeness. Comments are kept to a minimum, and are mainly devoted to problems in the text. The historical and technical information contained in the texts is generally not commented upon.

Glossary and Indices

The electronically generated glossary and indices, prepared by Parpola, follow the pattern of the previous volumes. Note that in contrast to the two basic dictionaries, verbal adjectives are for technical reasons mostly listed under the corresponding verbs, with appropriate cross-references.

The references to professions attached to the index of personal names have been provided by a computer program written by Simo Parpola; it is hoped that these will be helpful in the prosopographical analysis of the texts, but it should be noted that the programme omits certain deficiently written professions and the references are accordingly not absolutely complete.

Andreas Fuchs

Andreas Fuchs, 'On the Present Edition', The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part III: Letters from Babylonia and the Eastern Provinces, SAA 15. Original publication: Helsinki, Helsinki University Press, 2001; online contents: SAAo/SAA15 Project, a sub-project of MOCCI, 2021 [http://oracc.org/saao/saa15/onthepresentedition/]

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