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56 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um)

and the Queen of Äarran1

by Maria Vittoria Tonietti – Firenze

Among the scanty evidence concerning war practices in the Early Dynastic period,
the Ebla texts provide a rich source of information for the Syrian area. A new reading
of some passages from an annual metal account, based on proposed new interpretations of
many of the terms employed therein (among others, tuš.lú×til and š u - d u 8 ), enables us
to reconstruct the sequence of some important moments of the military expedition against
Ašdar(um). The king of Ebla himself seems to have taken part in this expedition – an un-
usual occurrence in Ebla at the time. Even more remarkably, the queen of Harran, who was
the daughter of the previous king of Ebla, seems also to have participated; curiously, the
king of Harran, rarely mentioned in the texts, has never to date appeared in the same texts
as the much better documented queen.

Despite the important contributions to the field of Assyriology that

have recently enriched our knowledge of various technical and ideological
aspects of military practice,2 data concerning this question are still scanty
for the Early Dynastic Period. For this reason the information contained in

1 The following abbreviations are here employed: AAM = Annual Accounts of Allo-
cations of Metals; MAT = Monthly Accounts of Deliveries of Textiles; D. = DILMUN
(determining gín); Ibr. = ‘minister’ Ibri<um; I.Z. = the ‘minister’ Ibbi-Zikir; t. = textiles.
For Ebla PNs the current form is given for an easier understanding; the correct linguistic
interpretation is given in the case of the kings’ and ministers’ PNs, when thea occur for
the first time.
When the present article had already been concluded and presented to the editors for
publication the important work of F. Pomponio, Testi amministrativi: assegnazioni men-
sili di tessuti. Periodo di Arrugum, parte I. ARET 15, 1 (Roma 2008), came out. There-
fore, the texts contained in that work, some of which support the interpretations pro-
posed here, could not be systematically taken into consideration in this paper. We hope
to do this in the future. Nonetheless, in one case (see n. 56) we have inserted the refer-
ences of some particularly significant passages.
This paper had been read in May 2008 at the Ebla seminar in Florence; I wish to thank
my Florentine colleagues and Walther Sallaberger for their helpful comments.
2 The latest publications on this subject came out very recently: P. Abrahami/L. Battini
(eds.), Les armées du Proche-Orient ancien (IIIe–Ier mill. av. J.-C.). Actes du colloque
international organisé à Lyon les 1er et 2 décembre 2006, Maison de l’Orient et de la
Méditerranée (Oxford 2008) (for the III millennium, see the contributions of P. Abra-
hami and B. Lafont); Z. Bahrani, Rituals of war: The body and violence in Mesopotamia
(New-York 2008).

Zeitschr. f. Assyriologie Bd. 100, S. 56–85 DOI 1515/ZA.2010.004

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 57

the Ebla Archives is of particular interest, especially as the Ebla texts es-
sentially constitute to date the only direct source on this subject concern-
ing the Syrian area during the above-mentioned period. Even among the
numerous contemporary inscriptions coming from Mari, for example,
royal inscriptions are extremely rare, in contrast to Old Akkadian sources.
Moreover, those royal inscriptions that do exist, such as the inscription
of Iški-Mari, make no reference to military campaigns.3 The same is true
for the few contemporary administrative texts from Mari and Nabada
(Tell Beydar), whose internal structure does not provide this kind of
information. The situation is different for Early Dynastic Ebla, where no
royal inscriptions have been found to date,4 but the chancellery texts – his-
torical, letters and treatises – represent a precious source for information
on military questions.5 What is more, much important data can be found
in the administrative texts thanks to their structure, which is particularly
exact in indicating the reasons for and occasions of outgoing and incoming
A fairly recent article by Maria Giovanna Biga and Alfonso Archi
represents an essential point of reference for all research on wars and
expeditions at Ebla.6 Starting from a new interpretation of the term
n í g - k a s 4 no longer as “commercial expedition”,7 but rather as “mili-
tary expedition”, the authors have demonstrated, among other things, that
the Eblaite texts document numerous expeditions carried out by Ebla
and/or by other important centres in the central-north region of Syria.
Schematically listing the expeditions recorded year by year in ARET 10
100 (= TM.75.G.427)8 – a text concerning allocations of cereals and flour
from the epoch of the ‘minister’ Ibbi-Zikir (Yibbi<-Üikir) which covers a
seven-year period – the authors fix a chronological sequence of the cam-
paigns concerning the years Ibbi-Zikir (I.Z.) 9–15, into which they may in-

3 The military activity of the Mari sovereigns is, on the contrary, well known from the
Ebla texts, not only the administrative texts but others as well, such as the so-called
letter of Enna-Dagan, conserved in the Eblaite Archives, while the original was probably
written in Mari, see now P. Fronzaroli, Testi di cancelleria: i rapporti con le città, ARET
13 (Roma 2003), text 1, and especially p. 12.
4 The only (royal) inscription found at Ebla, that of Yibbit-Lim, though presenting many
elements of continuity with Early Dynastic Ebla, dates back to the Amorite Period.
5 These texts have already been partly published in Fronzaroli, ARET 13.
6 A. Archi/M. G. Biga, A victory over Mari and the fall of Ebla, JCS 55 (2003) 1–44, par-
tic. 8 n. 26. In this article the two authors announce that they are about to publish a work
on the wars in Ebla.
7 See for ex., M. G. Biga/F. Pomponio, Critères de rédaction comptable et chronologie
relative, MARI 7 (1993) 115.
8 Published by G. Pettinato, AfO 25 (1974/77) 1–36.

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58 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

sert with certainty the Annual Accounts of Allocations of Metals (AAMs)

connected to these campaigns, according to the new chronology estab-
lished for the period of the Archives.9
Among the expeditions mentioned in ARET 10 100 is the one against
Asˇ-dar ki , at obv. vii 11–12, recorded in the list inferred by ARET 10 100 at
month vi year 2. This expedition is documented in some passages of the
AAM TM.75.G.2429=MEE 12 36,10 dated by Archi and Biga in the 10th
year of Ibbi-Zikir (I.Z. 10).
The new interpretation of n í g - k a s 4 suggests a complete rereading of
the passages on the expedition of Ašdar(um) found in MEE 12 36. Con-
sidering the new meanings proposed for some of the Sumerian and Eblaite
terms employed here, it is possible to make further hypotheses to clarify
the lexicon and so to arrive at a new overall interpretation of the passages
that adds substantially to our knowledge of the conduct and salient mo-
ments of this military campaign, as of others. It is thus possible to con-
tribute to the definition of the terminology employed, thereby identifying
a sort of sequence of key moments into which the majority of military
campaigns in the Ebla texts are divided.11

1. The expedition against Ašdar(um)

In its central part MEE 12 36 documents numerous consignments con-

nected to the expedition against Ašdar(um). The king of Ebla himself,
Iš<ar-Damu, takes part in this expedition, a fact not in itself obvious,
given that many of the Eblaite military expeditions recorded in this period
are led by the sovereign’s ‘minister’, Ibbi-Zikir. But even more noteworthy
is the participation in this campaign of the queen of Äarran, Zugalum. Her
participation is confirmed in a parallel text, TM.75.G.1979 rev. x 8H–13H, as
we shall see in the second part of this article, which is concerned with the
noteworthy figure of this queen.12

9 JCS 55 (2003) 13–14; for the chronology they propose for the three last kings and ‘min-
isters’ of Ebla, see ibid. 6–9.
10 For the synchronism between the expeditions in these two texts, see already Biga/Pom-
ponio, MARI 7 (1993) 107–128, § ii.
11 This article derives from an overall examination, soon to be published, of the material
concerning the term ä i - m u -du on the basis of an idea we incidentally proposed in
Subartu IV /2 (1998) 87 and n. 56.
12 See below, p. 75–85. For the passages of the unpublished texts quoted in this article, the
bibliographic reference of the source is provided only when they do not already
appear in the lists of M. Baldacci, Partially Published Eblaite Texts (Napoli 1992) and
G. Conti, Index of Eblaic Texts. QuSemM 1 (Firenze 1992).

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 59

The expedition against Ašdar(um) is also recorded in an annual dating

formula, ARET 1 20 rev. iii 1–3: diš m u n í g - k a s 4 Ásˇ-da-rúm ki , though
this not necessarily gives any special importance to the expedition in ques-
tion, in light of the different value set on dating formulas in Ebla com-
pared, for example, to Mesopotamia.13
The place-name Ašdar(um) is rarely attested in Eblaite texts: there are
roughly ten attestations only, contained almost exclusively in MEE 12 36
and in ARET 10 100 concerning the above-mentioned expedition.14
It appears both with and without the nominalising suffix, -um, in variants
that reflect the well-known oscillations of the graphic representation of the
/r/ in Ebla. Unfortunately, none of these attestations allows us to infer data
useful for its localization. The name recalls the >©trt of texts from Ugarit,
which has been related to the analogous place-name recorded in the Egyp-
tian texts of execration in the annals of Tuthmosis III, as well as with the
biblical >Aštarot, now identified with Tell >Aštarah, east of the Sea of Gali-
lee and not far from the modern Der>a.15 However, this site would seem
too far south to be included within the scope of the Eblaite texts.16 In any
case, it is likely that the Eblaite Ašdar(um) was the site of a sanctuary of
the goddess >Aštar.17
Based on the sequence of the allocations of MEE 12 36 and on
the occasional references to single months that appear in the text regard-
ing other allocations, the pertinent passages would seem datable starting

13 For the value of annual dating formulas in Ebla see Biga/Pomponio, MARI 7 (1993) 116
and n. 21.
14 The name appears with different graphic variants: Asˇ-dar ki : ARET 10 100 obv. vii 12;
dAsˇ-dar-lum ki : MEE 12 36 obv. xxvii 15, xxviii 5; Asˇ-dar-lum ki : ibid. obv. xxxi 5, 25, rev. i

12, ii 17, iii 5; TM.75.G.1979 rev. x 13H; ARET 3 115 rev. ii 2H: ] (1+1 textiles)
Asˇ-dar-lum ki ; Ásˇ-da-lum ki : ARET 4 24 obv. viii 1: (in a list of PNs) Il-<à-nu / Ásˇ-da-lum ki ;
Ásˇ-da-rúm ki : ARET 1 20 rev. iii 3: diš m u / n í g - k a s 4 / Ásˇ-da-rúm ki . To these
Asˇ-dar-da-lum ki in TM.75.G.2507 rev. v 29: e n Asˇ-dar-da-lum ki (cit. in A. Archi/
P. Piacentini/F. Pomponio, I nomi di luogo dei testi di Ebla, ARES 2, [Roma 1993] 171)
could perhaps be added. See below p. 72. See also M. Bonechi, I nomi geografici dei
testi amministrativi e di cancelleria di Ebla protosiriana. RGTC 12/1 (Wiesbaden 1993)
61. The employ of the sign lum for /rum/ is common in Ebla, see M. Krebernik, ZA 72
(1982) 194, and G. Conti, Il sillabario della fonte D. MisEb 3 (Firenze 1990) 54.
15 See S. Ribichini/P. Xella, Milk>aštart, Mlk(m) e la tradizione siropalestinese sui Refaim,
Rivista di Studi Fenici VII/2 (1979) 148.
16 It also seems possible that more than one centre named after >Aštar existed in Syro-Pa-
lestinian area.
17 See F. Pomponio, UF 15 (1983) 155, P. Fronzaroli, OrSu 33–35 (1984–1986) 141, and
W. von Soden, Ebla 1975–1985 (Napoli 1987) 84, who maintains that Asˇ-dar ki and Asˇ (!)-
da-rúm ki are two different centres for the cult of this goddess.

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60 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

from the v–vi month,18 and therefore in agreement with the indications of
ARET 10 100.19
In MEE 12 36, Ašdar(um) appears in the motivation for seven allo-
[1] obv. xxvii 10–14: (objects) e n / l ú n í g - k a s 4 / dAsˇ-dar-lum ki
[2] obv. xxvii 21–xxviii 5: (objects) Ga-du-um / m a š k i m / Ki-ti-ir / ä i - m u - t ú m / masˇ-
bí-tum / l ú n í g - k a s 4 / dAsˇ-dar-lum ki
[3] obv. xxx 29–xxxi 6: (objects) Kùn-nap-äu / l ú A-ne-za-mu 20 / n í g - m u l ( - a n ) /
Asˇ-dar-lum ki / š u b a 4 - t i

18 The use of the conditional here is due to the fact that in the AAMs the sequence of the
allocations does not always follow a strict chronological order.
19 It is interesting to note that in this tablet which, being an AAM, records the occasions
of outgoing consignments in a single year, mention is made of as many as 4 expeditions.
– Besides the expedition against Ašdar(um), which as we have said is treated in the
middle of the text, the first part refers to the expedition against Si-da-lu ki , which in
ARET 10 100 is mentioned both at obv. iv 24–26 as the last of the three expeditions
of the I year (m u I), and at obv. v 28–30, in the dating formula: diš m u n í g - k a s 4
Si-da-lu ki . The expedition was probably carried out between the first and the second
years, terminating at the beginning of the second year, as can be understood from MEE
12 36 obv. iv 1–3: n í g - m u l ( - a n ) Si-da-ù ki š u b a 4 - t i “for the news that Šidalu has
been taken”.
– In the last part of the text, instead, there is an allusion to a probable expedition against
Niliga<u. This centre is also mentioned in the dating formula at the end of the text, but it
is to be noted that the term used here is not n í g - k a s 4 but š u b a 4 - t i : diš mu šu bae-ti
ni-li-ga-ù ki . A n í g - k a s 4 ni-li-ga-ù ki is instead mentioned in the only other certain attes-
tation of this place-name, MEE 12 3 (= TM.75.G.2070) (47): 2 m a - n a b a b b a r : k ù /
m u - t ú m / Ir-i-tum ki / in / n í g - k a s 4 / ni-li-ga-ù ki (see also Archi et alii, ARES 2, 403);
in the same text at obv. xi 6–7 the n í g - k a s 4 Si-da-ù ki is mentioned. The text seems then
to be dated to the same year as MEE 12 36 (I.Z. 10). The two texts refer then to the same
expeditions. For the relative passages of MEE 12 36, see p. 12. There are no certain
data that allow us to locate this place-name; in ARET 7 155 obv. iii 9 “è fra i centri cui
sono riferiti beni fondiari (ki é) relativi ai figli di Irig-Damu, figlio di Ibri<um: potrebbe
dunque trovarsi nella regione di Ebla”, Bonechi, RGTC 12/1, 265. ni-li-ga-ù ki does not
appear in ARET 10 100, but it could perhaps be identified with the place-name ni-si-ga ki
mentioned at obv. ix 27: in n í g - k a s 4 ni-si-ga ki , to be dated to month xii year 2,
immediately after the expedition against Ašdar(um) (cf. Biga/Pomponio MARI 7 [1993]
116, and Bonechi, RGTC 12/1, 269). The expedition against ni-si-ga ki is not mentioned
in the list of JCS 55 (2003) 13–14.
– The n í g - k a s 4 Äu-sa-um ki mentioned in MEE 12 36 (100) seems, instead, to be
related to the expedition against this town recorded for the I year in ARET 10 100 obv.
iii 2, and documented by TM.75.G.2508 (=MEE 12 37) (I.Z. 9), the AAM immediately
preceding MEE 12 36.
Thus the expeditions mentioned in MEE 12 36 follow (apart from the isolated allocation
for Äu-sa-um ki ) the same sequence as in ARET 10 100, where they are dated: month x
year 1: Äušaum (I.Z. 9); month ii year 2: Šidalu (I.Z. 9); month vi year 2: Ašdar(um)
(I.Z. 10); month xii year 2: ni-li-ga-ù ki/ni-si-ga ki(?) (I.Z. 10).
20 The reading A-bí-za-ras (Archi et alii, ARES 2, 170) seems to be rejected on the basis of

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 61

[4] obv. xxxi 7–25: (objects) I-bí-zi-kir / tuš.lú×til / in / Asˇ-dar-lum ki

[5] rev. i 3–12: (objects) Bar-za-ma-ù / l ú Ga-da-mu / š u - d u 8 / e n / Asˇ-dar-lum ki
[6] rev. i 26–ii 17: (objects) Ìr-ì-ba / (objects) Íl-ba-um / 2 m a š k i m / Ki-ti-ir / tuš.lú×til
/ in / Asˇ-dar-lum ki
[7] rev. ii 24–iii 5: (objects) ma-lik-tum / Äa-ra-an ki / l ú n í g - k a s 4 / Asˇ-dar-lum ki

As we shall see below, the passages recorded here refer to significant

moments in the military expedition in question.

[1]21 obv. xxvii 10–14: 1 m a - n a b a b b a r : k ù / n í g - s a 10 1 g í r - m a r -

t u k ù - s i g 17 / e n / l ú n í g - k a s 4 / dAsˇ-dar-lum ki “1 mine of silver, price
of one gold ‘Martu’ dagger (for) the king (of Ebla), who (was present/ took
part in) the expedition (of/against) Ašdar(um)”

The expression l ú n í g - k a s 4 (d)Asˇ-dar-lum ki recurs three times in our

passages ([1], [2], [7]), referring to different subjects: the sovereign of Ebla,
the (Eblaite) army, the queen of Äarran. The determinative-relative pro-
noun22 seems here directly referable to the king of Ebla (and to
the army in [2] and the queen of Äarran in [7])23 and can therefore be
translated: “the one of/in the expedition of Ašdar(um)” or, better, with the
implied verb, “who (was present/took part in the) expedition of
Ašdar(um).24 The omission of some prepositions or other elements not
semantically essential is a well-known practice in Ebla administrative

the Ebla PNs A-na-za-mu and a-ni-za-mu, already compared by M. Krebernik, PNE (=
Die Personennamen der Ebla-Texte, Berlin 1988) 127.
21 In the commentary the single passages will be quoted for greater clarity and ease in
reading, specifying the detail of the allocation as well, since it is important for the ap-
preciation of differences in the hierarchy and the function of the consignees.
22 On the interpretation of šè as determinative-relative pronoun in Ebla texts, and on the
two graphemes used for its representation, the Sumerogram l ú and the corresponding
Semitic grapheme sˇè, see, recently, M. V. Tonietti, “Problèmes de morphologie éblaïte
dans une perspective comparative. ŠÈ à Ebla: pronom déterminatif-relatif ou préposi-
tion?”, dans A. Lonnet/A. Mettouchi, Les langues chamito-sémitiques (afro-asiatiques)
vol. I. Faits de Langues 26 (Paris 2005) 181–200, with the discussion of the preceding
In particular, for the alternation with the Semitic grapheme in the formula in question,
cf. e. g. ARET 1 39 obv. i 1–ii 5: (objects) n í g - b a / I-bí-zi-kir / sˇè / n í g - k a s 4 / Äar-zu ki .
23 On the basis of [2] we have to discard the possibility that the pronoun is referred to the
allocation itself rather than to the consignee.
24 Indeed, also in Eblaite the determinative-relative pronoun has the double function, well-
documented in other Semitic languages, of nota genitivi “the one of/relative to” and nota
relationis “he who/the one who”, see Tonietti, Faits de Langues 26 (2005) 189–191 and
198. Whereas for passage [2], where the reference is to masˇ-bí-tum “army”, both trans-
lations could be suitable, passages [1] and [7] lead us to prefer the function of nota re-

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62 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

texts.25 Whichever option is chosen, however, the sense of the motivation

of the allocation remains substantially unchanged.

The formula l ú /sˇè n í g - k a s 4 GN could in these contexts be parallel or

even an elliptical formula for l ú /sˇè ì - t ì l n í g - k a s 4 GN.26 Compare, e. g.:
ARET 8 539 rev. iv 16–22: (silver) / n í g - b a / Sˇu-ga-du / Ma-rí ki / l ú ì - t ì l / n í g -
k a s 4 / Ba-za-sá-du ki ;
TM.75.G.10070 rev. v 6–11: ] m u - t ú m e n Kak-mi-um ki l ú ì - t ì l n í g - k a s 4 Ma-rí ki 27

The equivalence of these two expressions seems confirmed especially

by the passage
MEE 2 40 obv. x 7–13: Ti-sˇa-li-im / ma-lik-tum / Ì-mar ki / sˇè / ì - t ì l / n í g - k a s 4 /

in a context that corresponds perfectly to [7] ma-lik-tum / Äa-ra-anki / l ú

n í g - k a s 4 / Asˇ-dar-lum ki .28
The formula also appears in the texts in a more complete form,
in which the preposition is also expressed: l ú ì - t ì l in n í g - k a s 4 GN, see:
ARET 8 524 rev. ii 15–19: e n / I-bu-tum ki / l ú ì - t ì l / in / n í g - k a s 4 (with no GN)
TM.75.G.12450 obv. iii 7H–11H: I-bí-zi-kir l ú ì - t ì l in n í g - k a s 4 Ma-rí ki29
TM.75.G.2278 obv. vii 1–11: Da-dub-da-mu] 1 d u m u - m í e n Äu-za-an ki d a m -
d i n g i r l ú du.du i g i - d u 8 I-bí-zi-kir l ú ì - t ì l in n í g - k a s 4 Ma-rí ki30

For ì - t ì l 0/in /mi-nu, which as we have seen above is generally trans-

lated as “to be present/available” (in/from), Sallaberger has recently pro-
posed the translation “to arrive” (reading ì - t i ).31 This new translation,
which actually seems very convincing (even if it is still to be verified
in the totality of the attestations), does not contradict our interpretation;
on the contrary, this interpretation would seem to be strengthened as
regards the passages in question as indicating the participation of the con-
signees in the military expeditions referred to.
As is shown in the examples quoted above, the participation in military

25 Cf. already J. Krecher, QuSem 13 [1984] 79.

26 For the meaning of ì - t ì l as “to be present” cf. Krecher, QuSem 13 (1984) 78–83. For
the employ of this term in the chancellery texts, see Fronzaroli, ARET 13, 274.
27 Cited and translated in JCS 55 (2003) 22 n. 57: “the king of Kakmium, who took part in
the expedition against Mari”.
28 See below, p. 75.
29 Cit. in Archi/Biga, JCS 55 (2003) 18.
30 Parallel to TM.75.G.2426 obv. xiii 17–30; both cited in JCS 55 (2003) 23.
31 W. Sallaberger, Rechtsbrüche in Handel, Diplomatie und Kult. Ein Memorandum aus
Ebla über Verfehlungen Maris (ARET 13, 15), Kaskal 5 (2008) 93–110, esp. 104.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 63

expeditions of sovereigns from centres different from Ebla is also rec-

orded in the archives.32

[2] obv. xxvii 21–xxviii 5: 50 g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / n í g - s a 10 1 g í r -

m a r - t u k ù - s i g 17 / Ga-du-um / m a š k i m / Ki-ti-ir / ä i - m u - t ú m / masˇ-
bí-tum / l ú n í g - k a s 4 / dAsˇ-dar-lum ki
“50 D. shekels price of a gold ‘Martu’ dagger for Gadum, commis-
sioner of Kitir, who accompanied the army, who was present/took part in
the expedition against Ašdar(um)”

The presence in this passage of the noun masˇ-bí-tum unequivocally

clarifies the military nature of the expedition against Ašdar(um). The term,
which also appears in LL 140 as a gloss of é r e n -ki.gar, finds a direct
equivalence in ge. masb”<it “army” (Leslau, CDG 545), and is also com-
parable to akk. sabu, ug. sb<, he. saba<, etc.;33 it can therefore be interpreted
as /masbi<-t-um/ “army”. The same term also appears in a chancellery
text, ARET 13 13 obv. vi 9–13, in a clearly military context: ap / masˇ-bí-
tum / in / k u r ki / i-da-ba-an “And then the army went forward on the
In cases when the verb ä i - m u -du refers to persons, either individuals
or groups, the meaning of “to accompany”, “to guide (not in the military
sense)” has been proposed;35 for its use with this meaning in analogous
context compare the following passages:

ARET 4 18 rev. ix 15–x 7: (1+1+1 textiles) I-ti-ni / fKakj-mi-um ki / ä i - m u - t ú m /

n í g - k a s 4 / si-in / Na-bù ki36

32 See also, for instance: ARET 8 534 obv. xii 11–15: n í g - m u l ( - a n ) / e n Ar-mi ki /
mi-nu* (collated on the photo) / n í g - k a s 4 / ì - t ì l , better specified in ARET 12 796
ivH 9–16: n í g - m u l ( - a n ) / e n / Ar-mi ki / mi-nu / n í g - k a s 4 / fsi j-in / u r u k i -sù / ì - t ì l
“for the news that the king of Armi was present (“arrived”, following Sallaberger’s
interpretation) (in ARET 12 796: “in his town”) (back) from the expedition (with no
33 See Conti, MisEb 3 (1990) 84–85, followed by Fronzaroli, ARET 13, 282 ad 13 obv. vi
10. For other Semitic equivalents, see W. Leslau, Comparative Dictionary of Ge>ez,
(Wiesbaden 1987) 545.
34 See Fronzaroli, ibid. 139.
35 Tonietti, Subartu IV/2 (1998) 87, and the article announed above at n. 11.
36 It is not possible to establish a relation between the place of origin of the person indi-
cated and the destination of the expedition, given that the location of Nabu is not cer-
tain, see Bonechi, RGTC 12/1, 252. On the contrary, Kakmium can be located with cer-
tainty in northwest Syria, most likely west of the Euphrates. Many indications point
more specifically to the region just north of Eblaite territory, towards the modern
Syrian-Turkish border. Cf. Archi et alii, ARES 2, 326 and Bonechi, RGTC 12/1, 144,

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64 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

“(for) Itini from Kakmium who guided (not in the military sense) the expedition to

To contextualize this passage it is important to note that ARET 4 18 rec-

ords the end of an expedition against the city of Nabu in passages analogous
to those in MEE 12 36 concerning Ašdar(um) and ni-li-ga-ù ki.37
TM.75.G.2401 rev. vii 3–10: (2 textiles) 1 š u - k e š d a ä i - m u - t ú m sa.zaxki wa Ib-la ki in
Äa-a-bí-du ki “(2 pieces of cloth) and 1 strap38 to (the man who) led (the men) of Saza and
Ebla to Äalabitu”.

This passage is cited without translation in JCS 55 p. 17. The translation

that we propose is supported by what the authors have to say about it, as
well as by two other passages quoted in their article: “Äalabitu is the place
where, according to TM.75.G.2277 obv. xv 6–13,39 numerous garments had
been sent in expectation of the Eblaite army passing through on its way to-
wards Mari”;40 cf. also TM.75.G.2401 obv. i 1–8, where a hundred clothes
are consigned as “set of clothing (for people of) the Palace [of Ebla] in
Äa(l)abitu” m u 4mu-m u 4mu sa.zaxki in Äa-a-bí-du ki.41 As in [2], therefore, we
feel that also in ARET 4 18 and TM.75.G.2401 rev. vii 3–10 the reference is
to military contingents accompanied from Ebla to Nabu and Äalabitu, re-
spectively, by persons familiar with the routes to be followed.42

[3] obv. xxx 29–xxxi 6: 8 g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k /

2 (g í n ) k ù - s i g 17 / 2 g e š t u x - l á / Kùn-nap-äu / l ú A-ne-za-mu / n í g -
m u l ( - a n ) / Asˇ-dar-lum ki / š u b a 4 - t i
“8 D. shekels of silver in exchange for 2 (shekels) of gold for 2 earrings

where other less convincing hypotheses are also made concerning localization, all with
reference to an area much farther east, in relation to an identification with the Kakmium
of Old Babylonian texts.
37 The passages of ARET 4 18 in question are given below on p. 69. For ni-li-ga-ù ki see
above, n. 19.
38 See J. Pasquali, MisEb 4 (1997) 237–38 and 257 “fiocco, laccio”; F. Pomponio, RSO 63
(1989) 302 n. 10 “javelin binding”.
39 Cit. in JCS 55 (2003) 15.
40 Äalabidu is, in fact, very probably to relate to Äalabit in Old Babylonian Mari texts,
which has been identified with moden Halabiyé, classical Zenobia (on the Euphrates
half way between the confluence of the Baliä and that of Äabur), see Bonechi, RGTC
12/1, 172, with bibliography.
41 Cit. in JCS 55 (2003) 17; see also the passage TM.75.G.2335 rev. xii 1–9, cit. ibid. 25.
42 A similar function could apparently be expressed by the term p á l i l , LL 720 = a-me-lu,
ba-li-lu-um/lum, for which a translation “guide” has been proposed by Franzaroli, SEb 7
(1984) 148–9, 176, followed by Conti MisEb 3 (1990) 184, and accepted by M. Kreber-
nik, ZA 73 (1983) 27, but its employ in the texts demands further analysis.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 65

for Kunapäu of anezamu (who) brought the news that Ašdar(um) has
been taken”

This passage also takes on a new interpretation, thanks to the trans-

lation of n í g - m u l ( - a n ) as “(give) news” proposed by Sallaberger.43 This
term recurs with high frequency in relation to military campaigns, and is
very often connected specifically to “GN š u b a 4 - t i ”44, the expression
that indicates the decisive event of the majority of military expeditions:
that is the capture, the taking of the enemy centre.45

[4] obv. xxxi 7–25: 15 g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 3 g í n D.

k ù - s i g 17 / 2 g e š t u x - l á / wa / 10 m a - n a b a b b a r : k ù /
š u - b a l - a k / 2 m a - n a k ù - s i g 17 / […] / 5 m a - n a b a b b a r : k ù /
š u - b a l - a k / 1 m a - n a k ù - s i g 17 / 1 í b - l á 1 si-ti-tum 1 g í r - k u n /
1 m a - n a b a b b a r : k ù / n í g - s a 10 1 g í r - m a r - t u k ù - s i g 17 / I-bí-zi-
kir / tuš.lú×til / in / Asˇ-dar-lum ki
“15 D. shekels of silver in exchange for 3 D. shekels of gold for 2 ear-
rings and 10 mines of silver in exchange for 2 mines of gold […] 5 mines of
silver in exchange for 1 mine of gold for 1 belt, 1 “clasp”?,46 1 curved
dagger, 1 mine of silver, price of 1 gold ‘Martu’ dagger for Ibbi-Zikir
(installed as) occupier in Ašdar(um)”

Consignments with analogous motivations for their allocation recur

quite regularly in texts concerning military expeditions. In a recent, de-
tailed study aimed at discovering the semantic particularity of the terms
tuš.lú×til and š u - d u 8,47 Pomponio reaches the conclusion that they in-
dicated two types of functionaries (the first of higher rank than the sec-

43 Nachrichten an den Palast von Ebla. Eine Deutung von n í g̃ - m u l - ( a n ) , in: A.A.V.V.
(eds.), Semitic and Assyriological Studies presented to Pelio Fronzaroli (Wiesbaden
2003) 600–625.
44 In military contexts the meaning of š u b a 4 - t i as “to take (by storm)” is widely
attested, cf. M. G. Biga, Amurru 1 (1996) 54: “il semble évident qu’il s’agit d’une camp-
agne militaire, et non d’une mission commerciale, conclue par la prise de la ville de
Nabu (šu ba4-ti)”. And, lastly, JCS 55 passim, especially 32 and n. 89.
45 But not, for example, in expeditions whose purpose is raiding rather than conquest, ob-
46 In my opinion, a sort of sheath or, simply, of loop or clasp to hang the dagger to the belt.
For the etymology and bibliography see J. Pasquali, Il lessico dell’artigianato nei testi di
Ebla, QuSem 23 (Firenze 2005) 175–176.
47 F. Pomponio, La terminologia amministrativa di Ebla: šu-du8 and TUŠ.LÚxTIL, in:
Fs. Fronzaroli (2003) 540–559; see also M. Bonechi, Quaderni del Dipartimento di Lin-
guistica 16 (2006) 88, 93: “tax collector”.

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66 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

ond). For tuš.lú×til in particular he proposes the translation “collettore

(di tasse)”, on the basis of the interpretation of the gloss of LL 1284H:
tuš.lú×til = a-äa-sum made by Fronzaroli as a profession name, pattern
1a22a3 (parras): /<aääaü-um/ “esattore”,48 starting from the meaning “to
take over (money and merchandise)”. According to this hypothesis, there-
fore, these were functionaries whose role was probably the collection of
tributes for Ebla, and who were stationed in various centres throughout
the territory.49 We do not preclude the possibility that the two logograms
may in some contexts indicate the name of some kind of function or pro-
fession. However, if we limit ourselves to military expeditions we feel that
in these cases the term tuš.lú×til has another meaning. Indeed, even the
most widespread translation of this term, “resident”,50 seems too vague to
us and certainly does not fit in our contexts, where certain passages clearly
show that the term cannot simply indicate “to reside” in a given place: in
TM.75.G.10074,51 for example, the queen consigns (ì - n a - s u m ) goods to
I-bí-zi-kir l ú tuš.lú … Na-bù ki , who at the time of the allocation has
clearly already come back and is present at Ebla.
In the sequence of phases of a military campaign, the allocation
indicated as tuš.lú×til generally follows the capture of the city (š u
b a 4 - t i ). This is not the place for analysing all the pertinent documen-
tation. However, precisely in the last two columns of our text there is a se-
quence (four consignments) which is highly significant in this regard:

MEE 12 36 rev. xxix 13–24 (99a): 12 g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 3 g í n

D. k ù - s i g 17 / 2 g e š t u x - l á / Ib-gi / l ú Gi-gi / fn í g - m u l ( - a n )j / ni-li-ga-ù ki / š u
b a 4 - t i / wa / e n / tuš.lú×til
rev. xxix 32–xxx 11 (99c): 10 m a - n a b a b b a r : k ù / [ š u ] - b a l - a k / 2 m a - n a
k ù - s i g 17 / 1 d i b 15 (g í n ) D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 3 g í n D. k ù - s i g 17 /
2 g e š t u x - l á / e n / tuš.lú×til / in / ni-li-ga-ù ki
rev. xxx-12-26 (99d, e): š u š a n a x 5 g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 5 g í n D.

48 SEb 1 (1979) 79–80.

49 See Pomponio, Fs Fronzaroli (2003), with bibliography.
50 See, for ex., F. D’Agostino, The Sumerian Verbal System in the Lexical Texts of Ebla
(Rome 1990) 41: “prendere possesso (di un luogo)” i. e. “abitare”; id. MEE 7, p. 33
ad obv. xv 13 “stanziare, stanziato (momentaneamente in una località diversa da quella
di residenza), risiedere, residente (fuori sede)” (on p. 343, as lú-/:tuš, among the names
of professions); followed by Waetzoldt MEE 12 p. 121 ad 7 §7b; Biga/Pomponio, MARI
7 (1993) 115, n. 19 “résident”. Archi/Biga, JCS 55 (2003) 23 affirm that in TM.75.G.2426
obv. xiv 4–xv 5 (and in the parallel text TM.75.G.2335 obv. x 23–xi 7) among various
allocations relative to the expeditions against Mari, 7? persons, “traders”? “received a
gold plate in recognition of their having stayed or established themselves (tuš-LÚ×TIL)
in Mari for some time”.
51 See below, p. 70.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 67

k ú - s i g 17 / 2 g e š t u x - l á / 2 ba-ga-ne-sa 52 / I-bí-zi-kir / t a r b a b b a r : k ù / š u -
b a l - a k / 6 g í n D. k ù - s i g 17 / 4 g e š t u x - l á / Du-bù-ä[u-d]f<À-[da] / [ ] / tuš.lú×til
/ in / ni-li-ga-ù ki 53

Differently from the case of Ašdar(um), there is no explicit mention

of a campaign against ni-li-ga-ù ki ; however, as we have seen, a n í g - k a s 4
ni-li-ga-ù ki is mentioned in MEE 12 3 (47), a text in my opinion datable to
the same year as MEE 12 36.54 We are therefore convinced that the pas-
sages MEE 12 36 (99a–e) refer to the same campaign.
The allocations show the following sequence:

– allocation for PN (who) brought the news that GN has been taken and
the king tuš.lú×til
– allocation for the king tuš.lú×til in GN
– allocation for Ibbi-Zikir and Dubuäu-Adda (Tubuä-Hadda), i. e. the
‘minister’ and his son, tuš.lú×til in GN

These attestations reveal with absolute clarity that š u b a 4 - t i and

tuš.lú×til indicate the two culminating, closely-connected moments of
an expedition against an enemy centre. Here, too, as in our and in many
other campaigns, tuš.lú×til refers in the first instance to the most im-
portant figures of the Eblaite realm, and even to the sovereign himself. In
other cases sovereigns or notables of other centres may also be mentioned
as tuš.lú×til besides the king or the ‘minister’ of Ebla, receiving import-
ant allocations.55 Thus, it seems clear that the hypothesis that the term
tuš.lú×til always indicated a functionary can be discarded. Here as in
other military contexts, the term most likely indicates the occupation and
military possession of a city that has just been taken (š u b a 4 - t i ) (thus,
e. g., at [99 c]: “objects for the sovereign [installed/who has taken over as]
occupier in GN”).

52 A jewel, see J. Pasquali QuSem 23, 13–114.

53 The entity of the allocation seems fitting for the importance of the occasion.
54 See above at n. 19.
55 See, for ex., TM.75.G.2428 (Amurru 1 (1996) 55–56) obv. vii 37–viii 7 // TM.75.G.1419
obv. iv 12–v 4: (1+1+2+2 t., gold objects) I-bí-zi-kir / tuš.lú / in / Ib-al6ki ;
TM.75.G.2428 obv. viii 8–23 // TM.75.G.1419 obv. v 14–vi 4: (1+1+1 t., gold and silver
objects) Gu-sˇa / d u m u - n i t a / Ìr-am6-ma-lik / Zi-ikki / tuš.lú / in / Ib-al6ki . Here Guša,
the son of a notable of Zig receives a very rich consignment for taking part in the
occupation of Ibal together with Ibbi-Zikir. (for Zi-ikki / Zi-gúki see ARES 2, 482–483).
The passages of both texts are cited in Amurru 1 [1996] 56; only TM.75.G.1419 contains
the allocations of textiles, but in the AAM TM.75.G.2428 metal allocations are much
richer and more detailed. For differences in the deliveries to individuals indicated as
tuš.lú(×til) see below n. 82. For tuš.lú see below n. 60.

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68 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

Significant examples in this sense are also found in older texts, from the
period of ‘minister’ Arrulum and king Irkab-Damu (Yirkab-Damu).56
The meaning of “occupy, take over (in the military sense)” also agrees
well with the Eblaite gloss of tuš.lú×til cited above, to be interpreted
as /<aäaü-um/. A meaning “occupy, conquer” in the strictly military sense
is also well-attested for the root *<äü in Ugaritic texts; cf. DLU 17, s. v.
<-ä-d (/ü ) G: 3) “conquistar, apoderarse, requisar, apresar, detener”, see,
e. g., ibid. 18: ©© l ©©m aäd >r “sesenta y seis ciutades conquistó”; hm qrt tuäd
“si se conquista la ciutad”. The same meaning is attested for the Akkadian,
see CAD A/1 aäazu c) to take (a region): a-äi-iz kisˇad tâmti sabit kur […]
“(the Arameans) who occupy the seashore, hold the country [GN]” Craig
ABRT 1 81:6. Compare also ge. <aäaza “possess, control, occupy, domi-
nate”, see Leslau, CDG 14.

Regarding the Sumerogram employed,57 it seems to us that an interpre-

tation “to collect/collecting corpses”, attested for d a b 5 lú×til, should be
discarded, even if it were in perfect agreement with military contexts:
among other problems, it would make it virtually impossible to give a
similar interpretation to the term tuš.lú×til when it refers to notables
compared to when it, much more frequently, refers to commissioners and
common individuals. Instead, based on the meaning of t i l at Ebla, which
when followed by GN does not seem to take on the meaning of “to kill”
but rather of “to win”, “to defeat”, “to annihilate (in the military sense)”,58
we would propose the interpretation “to take control of the defeated

56 Such as ARET 15 8 (9), 15 (31), 24 (29), 26 (64). See, in this regard what has been said
above at n. 1. It should in any case be noted that for some of the attestations of ARET 15
Pomponio seems to suggest, although somewhat hesitatingly, an interpretation similar to
our own (see especially p. 39). This interpretation is not however discussed or in any
way supported by the author, nor is it adopted systematically. With the only exception of
ARET 15 8 (9) (“in occasione della presa di NL”) he prefers to maintain the translation
“ricevuta” (receipt)/“ha ricevuto” (received).
57 Pomponio, Fs. Fronzaroli (2005) 556–557 suggests: “il nome di funzione tuš.lú×til
potrebbe essere formato da due distinti logogrammi: il primo è da leggere dab5, con il
significato all’incirca di “ricevitore”, mentre la lettura del secondo, ancora sconosciuta,
deve essere quella del segno TIL, che in numerosi testi di Ebla dovrebbe indicare un
particolare tipo di spostamento di personale o, se unito a nì, di assegna-
58 See for ex. ARET 8 524 (I.Z. 12) obv. vi 4–12: (1+1+1 t.) Rí-ì-ma-lik / Ì-mar ki / n í g -
m u l ( - a n ) / e n / Ì-mar ki / m a r - t u ki / til / in k u r ki “(1+1+1 t.) for NP from NG who
brought the news that the sovereign of Emar had defeated the Amorites in the moun-

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 69

people”59 which also seems to agree well with the Eblaite gloss. Therefore,
“to occupy by military means”, “to take over as occupier”.

[5] rev. i 3–12: t a r b a b b a r : k ù / 1 gú-li-lum / š u š a n a x f4j g í n

D. b a b b a r : k ù / 6 g í n D . k ù - [ s i g 17] / n u 11- z a - s ù / Bar-za-ma-ù /
l ú Ga-da-fmuj / š u - d u 8 / e n / Asˇ-dar-lum ki
“30 (shekels) of silver for a bracelet, 24 D. shekels of silver for 6 D.
shekels of gold for its decoration for Barzamau of Gadumu, who has taken
charge of / captured the king of Ašdar(um)”

Closely connected to actions of conquest may also be the function

expressed by the term š u - d u 8, which is often mentioned in relation to
a centre that has been taken and occupied. Indeed, frequently (as in MEE
12 36) after or between the consignments entered as tuš.lú×til another
one is inserted for one or more persons, who are also generally m a š k i m
commissioners of other individuals, designated as š u - d u 8 . Cf. e. g.:
ARET 4 18 obv. i 7–18: (1+1+1 t.) / 2 k ù - s i g 17 / 2 g e š t u x - l á / <À-zi / ma-lik-tum /
ì - n a - s u m / in u 4 / n í g - m u l ( - a n ) / Na-bù ki / š u b a 4 - t i / wa / I-bí-zi-kir / tuš.lú60
// TM.75.G.1007461 obv. xxx 20–26: (gifts for Azi) sˇ[è ] / n í g - m u l ( - a n ) / Na-bù ki /
š u b a 4 - t i / wa / I-bí-zi-kir / tuš.lú
ARET 4 18 obv. ii 10–18: (1 t.) 3 k ù - s i g 17 2 g e š t u x - l á / I-bí-zi-kir / ma-lik-tum /
ì - n a - s u m / tuš.lú / l ú š u b a 4 - t i / Na-bù ki 62
// TM.75.G.10074 obv. xxix 36–xxx 5: 15 g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 3 g í n

59 Another possibility is to consider tuš not as dab5 = *<äü, but as tuš = *w©b, thus inter-
preting “to install oneself (on) the defeated people”; less convincing, also because the
whole Sumerogram seems to point better to a direct object relationship.
60 For the variant tuš.lú cf. Pomponio, Fs. Fronzaroli (2005) 555 and n. 22. In some
cases, however, the photo collation shows a presence of til which is not recorded in the
transliteration. A systematic collation of the passages would be useful, also so as to be
able to establish whether the presence or absence of the sign til is in some cases at-
tributable merely to the practice of graphic simplification well-known in Ebla texts, or if
instead it takes on a particular meaning.
61 TM.75.G.10074 is the AAM corresponding to the Monthly Account of Deliveries of
Textiles (MAT) ARET 4 18; the passages given here are quoted in Biga, Amurru 1 (1996)
62 Note that in ARET 4 18 obv. i 19–ii 6, between the consignment of the queen to the per-
son who brought the news of the conquest and occupation of Nabu by Ibbi-Zikir, and
her consignment to the latter, there is recorded a consignment of textiles and precious
objects to Ibbi-Zikir on the part of the king: (1+1+1 t.) / 1 m a - n a k ù - s i g 17 / 1 í b - l à
1 si-ti-tum 1 g í r - k u n / I-bí-zi-kir / e n / ì - n a - s u m . Also on the basis of a comparison
with parallel texts, this clearly confirms that the campaign against Nabu, like many
others, was led by Ibbi-Zikir without the presence of the sovereign of Ebla.

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70 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

D. k ù - s i g 17 / 2 g e š t u x - l à / I-bí-zi-kir / ma-lik-tum / ì - n a - s u m / l ú 63 tuš.lú / l ú

š u b a 4 - t i / Na-bù ki
ARET 4 18 obv. x 5–14: (1+1+1 t.) / En-na-ni / m a š k i m / Isˇ11-gi-bar-zú / š u - d u 8 / in
/ Na-bù ki / in Zu-gur-lumki / š u b a 4 - t i 64
ARET 4 18 obv. xii 4–11: (1+1+1 t.) / 1 gú-li-lum b a b b a r : k ù - s i g 17 š a - p i 2 / fIsˇ j-
[má]-da-[m]u / m a š k i m / Isˇ11-gi-bar-zú / tuš.lú / in / Na-bù ki65

In the article cited above, Pomponio affirms that “šu-du8 ha un unico

significato nella quasi totalità delle sue attestazioni eblaite, da differenziare
però in una forma verbale e in un nome di funzione. Il lessema dovrebbe
assumere questi valori rispettivamente nei rendiconti di uscite di ovini e
nei registri mensili di assegnazioni di tessili …”.66 He therefore proposes
the following translations: “prendere (in consegna)” and “collettore (di
tributi)”. Pomponio’s position (which unites and confirms previously ad-
vanced proposals) seems on the whole convincing.67 We do not, however,
agree with the distribution of the two functions of the term in the two dif-
ferent textual types cited: even leaving aside the chancellery texts (which
are treated below), the interpretation as designation of a function does not
seem to adequately cover all the phraseological relationships in which the
term is involved in administrative texts that are not accounts of outgoing
deliveries of sheep.68 Without wishing to take on a complete examination
of the attestations of š u - d u 8 which is obviously outside the scope of this
article, we limit ourselves to the observation that it also seems possible to
find, albeit rarely, a verbal value of the term with the meaning of “to take
charge of ” in other administrative texts, and not only when referring to
animals but also to persons; see for ex.:
ARET 3 506 iii 3H–8H: 1 g ú - d ù l t ú g 1 n í g - l à - s a g / I-ba-zi-nu / š u - d u 8 / g u r u š /
Äa-zu-wa-an ki / Mug-rí-ni ki
ARET 3 587 rev. ii 1–5: ] š u - d u 8 / 3 l ú / in / a m b a r / A-da-ásˇki

63 The sign l ú , lacking in the parallel text ARET 4 18, is certainly written here. I am grate-
ful to prof. Archi for this information.
64 We do not know whether the parallel TM.75.G.10074, unpublished, also has this passage
and the one following.
65 Here as in other cases the individuals called tuš.lú×til and š u - d u 8 are different indi-
viduals but all m a š k i m of the same person.
66 Fs. Fronzaroli (2003) 540. See this same page for the previous bibliography and the
other interpretations of the term.
67 And the employ of the same sumerogram as a noun and as a verb is commonly attested
in Ebla.
68 What is more, neither does the translation of š u - d u 8 only as a verb, “prendere pos-
sesso”, “prendere in consegna”, recently given by Fronzaroli in ARET 13 (see p. 41 ad
[10]), and accepted by A. Catagnoti, ARET 12, 585 s. v., seem satisfactory for the totality
of administrative texts (on the basis of passages such as the above-cited ARET 4 18 obv.
x 5–14), although it is perfectly adequate for chancellery texts.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 71

ARET 4 13 rev. ii 6–16: 2 i b +iii-t ú g - s a 6 - g ù n / In-gàr / l ú Isˇ-má-da-mu / wa / I-rí-gu

/ l ú Sá-gú-sˇum / š e š -ii-i b / k é š - d a / š u - d u 8 / d u m u - n i t a - d u m u - n i t a /
ARET 3 100 rev. iv 1–11: ] ne- d i ne- d i / sa.zaxki / in u 4 / š u - d u 8 / mi-nu / Äal-
sum ki / ì - t ì l / é / Ib-rí-um / š u b a 4 - t i / [

Moreover, for chancellery texts we feel that, besides this one, another
meaning is possible, at least in some cases: that of “to take” in the specific
sense of “to capture”:

ARET 13 5 rev. ix 7–x 7: d u m u - n i t a A-bar-sal4ki / ù-ma / d u m u - m í / A-bar-sal4ki

/ i r 11 / Ib-la ki / ì - t ì l / A-bar-sal4ki / è / Ib-flajfkij / [n í g - d u 8] / [d u ] / [su-ma] / Ib-la ki
/ g é m e i r 11 / š u - d u 8 / š u b / du-tum / 50 n i t a : u d u / äi - n a - s u m “(When) the
son of a man of Abarsal or the daughter of a man of Abarsal is servant of an Eblaite
(and) the man of Abarsal [goes] to the home of the Eblaite [to ransom him, if] the Eb-
laite frees the woman servant (or) the manservant taken,69 he will give as the price for
the ransom 50 sheep”
ARET 13 14 obv. ii 15–iii 2: wa / du-du / Ba-ti-in ki / si-in / Im-ma-[ra]-an ki / [wa] /
š u [- d u 8 ]-sù70 “And the men of Batin went towards Imma[ra]n. [And] they took them.”

A similar translation of š u - d u 8 could also be accepted for some pas-

sages of administrative texts, such as:

TM.75.G.2335 obv. vii 16–viii 1: (1+1+1 textiles) 1 d i b 30 / Ne-si / m a š k i m / I-bí-

zi-kir / n í g - m u l / l u g [ a l ] / Ma-rí ki / š u - d u 8 / in / Gú-ne-sum ki .71

It therefore seems possible to suggest the following translation for [5]:

“for Barzamau of Gadumu, who took (on consignment)/captured the
king of Ašdar(um)”. This translation, which as we have seen is perfectly
plausible on a linguistic level, would seem to find an obstacle in the
fact that the existence of a king of Ašdar(um) has been previously de-
nied.72 Thus in ARES 2 this passage is consequently translated: “‘collet-

69 “Captured” during the war that must have come before the treaty? For the translation of
this passage, see ibid. 52.
70 See ibid. 144.
71 Cit. in JCS 55 (2003) 43; at n. 107 Archi and Biga admit the difficulty of the passage, but
maintain that a translation “‘(garments to), the representative of PN, who brought the
news that the king of Mari has been captured in GN’ is not supported by other docu-
mentation”. On the interpretation of this and of other similar passages, see this author’s:
“‘Ich will den Kopf des Jokanaan’, ovvero, la testa del re di Kakmium”, currently in
72 See Archi et alii, ARES 2, 170 (contra Pettinato, Ebla. Nuovi orizzonti della Storia [Mil-
ano 1986] 344) (the record of an e n for Asˇ-dar-lum ki in ARES 2, 32 among the “Nomi
di Funzione riferiti a toponimi” seems therefore due to a misprint). On this absence see
already M. Bonechi, AuOr 8 (1990) 164.

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tore’73 del re (di Ebla) in Ašdar(um)”,74 However, we must stress that the
passages that could testify to the existence of a functionary š u - d u 8 of the
king of Ebla are extremely rare, and moreover no GN is in these cases at-
tested after the word en.75 It should also be noted that in [5], just as for the
lugal Ma-rí ki in the above-cited TM.75.G.2335, the place-name that fol-
lows is not preceded by the preposition in, as it is generally the case with
š u - d u 8 ; a genitival relationship (en of GN) seems most plausible. Let
us then consider the possible existence of a king of Ašdar(um). A king of
Asˇ-dar-da-lum ki is mentioned in TM.75.G.2507 rev. v 29.76 In MEE 12,
Waetzoldt maintains that the latter GN is a variant for Ašdar(um).77 Ac-
tually, following a suggestion of Walther Sallaberger, we could interpret
this writing as Asˇ-dar da-lum ki . In favour of this identification would also
seem to be the fact, already mentioned by Waetzoldt, that TM.75.G.2507
is an AAM dated to I.Z.11, i. e. the year immediately following the expedi-
tion against Ašdar(um). In any case, if we examine the attestations of
Ašdar(um), we see that they are very few in number and are all directly
connected to our military expedition, except for two: a very small frag-
ment that is not datable in any way, ARET 3 115 rev. ii 2H, where 2 textiles
are consigned to an unnamed person from this centre; and ARET 4 24
(dated to I.Z. 8) obv. viii 1, where a certain Il-<à-nu from Ašdar(um) is
mentioned in a list of PNs. Therefore, apart from the fragment ARET 3
115, which cannot be dated, all other attestations of Ašdar(um), date back
to the years I. Z. 8 and 10. Since all the attestations of Ašdar(um) are con-
centrated in only 3/4 years, around the expedition, it does seems perfectly
possible, then, that the king of this realm is mentioned only on the occa-
sion of his defeat, in I.Z. 10, and probably in I.Z. 11. After this defeat he
may have been removed and his realm annexed, or just left aside as it did
not represent a danger for Ebla anymore or it was no more within the
scope of Eblaite politics.

73 Archi et alii, ARES 2, 170; oddly, however, ibid. 31–36 and passim, š u - d u 8 is not num-
bered among the function designations.
74 In fact, even considering š u - d u 8 a function designation, the hypothesis of the absence
of a king of Ašdar(um) makes it impossible all the same to use the interpretation: “‘func-
tionary š u - d u 8 ’ of the king of Ašdar(um)”.
75 See for ex.: MEE 10 26 obv. iii 14–iv 3: 1 gu-zi-t ú g 1 a k t u m - t ú g 1 í b +iii-s a 6 -
g ù n 3 a k t u m - t ú g t i - t ú g 1 g í r - m a r - t u k ù - s i g 17 / A-da-um / Äa ?-[zu-wa-an *]ki
(in MEE 10: a ?-[ ]ki , to be collated) / š u - d u 8 / e n . See also Pomponio, Fs. Fronzaroli
76 See above, n. 14.
77 MEE 12 p. 469 ad 46 §59d. However, also Waetzold at rev. i 10 translates š u - d u 8 as
“Einnehmer (des Königs [der Stadt] Aštarlum)”, interpreting the term as a Funktionsbe-
zeichnung (see ibid. p. 469).

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 73

In conclusion, we think that when š u - d u 8 , differently from the major-

ity of the allocations in which it appears in connection with military ex-
peditions,78 is followed by a noun, therefore a possible direct object, the
term may indicate not the function but the verb, with the meaning of “to
take charge of/to capture”.

[6] rev. i 26-ii-17: t a r b a b b a r :[ k ù ] / 1 gú-li-lum-[?] / š u š a n a x 4 g í n

D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 6 g í n D. k ù - s i g 17 / n u 11 - z a - sù /
Ìr-ì-ba / š u š a n a x g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / 1 gú-li-lum-2 / 16 g í n
D. b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 4 g í n D. k ù - s i g 17 / n u 11 - z a - sù /
Íl-ba-um / 2 m a š k i m /Ki-ti-ir tuš.lú×til / in / Asˇ-dar-lum ki
“30 shekels of silver for a bracelet, 24 D. shekels of silver in exchange
for 6 D. shekels of gold for its decoration, for Iriba, 20 D. shekels
of silver for a bracelet, 16 D. shekels of silver in exchange for 4 D. shekels
of gold for its decoration, for Ilbaum, the two commissioners of Kitir who
have (taken office as) occupiers in Ašdar(um)”.

The two allocations at rev. i 26–ii 17 are related, and the entry rev.
ii 13–17 refers to both consignees, Iriba ed Ilbaum, both m a š k i m of
Kitir, as it becomes clear from the number that at rev. ii 13 precedes the
term m a š k i m .
In passage [2], another m a š k i m of Kitir is mentioned; and a fourth
appears later in the same text, at rev. xxx 27–xxxi 6, where he receives
a large allocation of gold on the occasion of the expedition against
Äuša<um – in n í g - k a s 4 Äu-sa-um ki –, which as we have seen is con-
nected to the one cited in year 1 of ARET 10 100 obv. iii 2.79 The Kitir
whose four m a š k i m , all with important roles, are mentioned in our text
could be a fairly high-ranking Eblaite functionary.80
The contiguity of the two consignments in [4] and [6] obviously
contrasts with the possibility of two different interpretations of the term
tuš.lú×til in these contexts. This dual occurrence is not an isolated case:
as we have seen, for example, in the ARET 4 18 passages quoted above,81

78 Cf. for ex. the above-cited passages.

79 See above n. 19.
80 For example, the texts mention a Kitir with the function of š e š - i i - i b , which was
reserved for court notables. Very frequent are the other attestations that mention
m a š k i m of Kitir who performed the function of š u - d u 8 in various centres, but it is
not possible to know how many Kitir are concerned. However, in the four cases of MEE
12 36, there seems to be only one individual, since the NP is never followed by further
81 See p. 69 f.

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elsewhere in the context of military expeditions there occurs the same

sequence or one similar to that documented here, where the allocation
indicated by tuš.lú×til for the sovereign or for the ‘minister’ is followed
(in some cases even immediately) by another allocation with the same
indication, for one or more persons, frequently maškim of some notable.
If, however, in the first case the role performed by the sovereign
or the ‘minister’ is that of the “occupier” militarily installed in the con-
quered city, in the second case it is difficult to establish with certainty
the function that these individuals – always of lower rank, and rarely
notables – are asked to perform as occupiers. Their installation may
perhaps indicate the handing over of responsibility in an institutional-
ized form of control. The individuals tuš.lú×til, “installed as occupiers”
in a determined centre, could in some way prolong the control gained
by the occupation of the town by the sovereign himself or by his deputy in
the military campaign. We have no elements that allow us to ascertain the
forms or the reach of this control. It seems difficult to imagine that these
persons had military functions; moreover, their rank, usually as commis-
sioners (m a š k i m ), would not seem to indicate a politically important role
for them; perhaps the most likely hypothesis is that they were called on to
exercise control of an administrative and economic kind.82
The above-mentioned contexts in which š u - d u 8 appears connected to
the conquered centres and the co-occurrence with tuš.lú×til, correctly
noted by Pomponio, can lead us to imagine a likely complementarity, not
necessarily a similarity, between the two functions, where the š u - d u 8
generally occupies a lower role.83
In any case, it does not seem inappropriate to suppose that one of the
first acts of Eblaite power once a new centre had been conquered and oc-
cupied was the collection of tributes, perhaps then followed by the insti-
tutionalization of these payments over time, with Eblaite functionaries
serving as agents.84

82 It remains to be verified, among other things, if the decidedly richer consignments

destined in some of these contexts to individuals indicated as tuš.lú×til should be
associated with the greater or lesser importance of the conquered territory.
83 It would in any case be interesting to study the entire documentation from a diachronic
point of view for this purpose; indeed, some elements seem to indicate changes that
took place in the use of the term š u - d u 8 when compared to the oldest attestations.
84 In establishing the specific relevance of the two figures, Pomponio’s idea that the
š u - d u 8 were closely connected to the management of animals may offer a stimulating
working hypothesis, but it needs to be proven.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 75

2. The queen of Äarran

[7] rev. ii 24–iii 5: š u š a n a x g í n D. b a b b a r : k ù / bu-di / 8 g í n D.

b a b b a r : k ù / š u - b a l - a k / 2 g í n D. k ù - s i g 17 / n u 11 - z a 2 s a g - sù /
ma-lik-tum / Äa-ra-anki / l ú n í g - k a s 4 / Asˇ-dar-lum ki
“20 D. shekels of silver for toggle-pins, 8 D. shekels of silver in
exchange for 2 D. shekels of gold for the decoration of their 2 heads
for the queen of Äarran, who (was/took part in) the expedition against
For the interpretation of this passage, especially for the expression l ú
n í g - k a s 4 , see above ad [1].
The dating of the text already allows us to identify the queen of Äarran
as Zugalum. This is also explicitly confirmed by a parallel passage in a
text that, in my opinion, can likely be dated to the same year; it could
therefore constitute one of the MAT contemporary to the AAM MEE 12
TM.75.G.1979 rev. x 8H–13H: 1 z [ a r a 6 ? - t ú g ] 1 […] 20 [g í n k ù - b a b b a r k ù - s i g 17 ]
2 s a g [ - sù k ù - s i g 17 86 Zu-ga-lum ma-lik-tum Äa-ra-an ki n í g - k a s 4 Asˇ-dar-lum ki .87

The two passages have an interesting comparison in an allocation with

a similar motivation to be consigned to the queen of another important
Syrian centre, Tiša-Lim (Ti©a>-Li<m), queen of Emar, also documented in a
MAT and in the corresponding AAM:
MEE 2 40 obv. x 6–13: 1 z a r a 6 - t ú g š u š a n a x 2 bu-di k ù - s i g 17 / Ti-sˇa-li-im / ma-
lik-tum / Ì-mar ki / sˇè / ì - t ì l / n í g - k a s 4 / Ib-al6ki 88
TM.75.G.2428 obv. x: Ti-sˇa-li-im / sˇè / ì - t ì l / n í g - k a s 4 / Ib-al6ki 89

The AAM TM.75.G.2428, still unpublished, has been dated to I.Z. 8.

The text MEE 2 40 does not make any other explicit reference to a cam-

85 Even if, to my knowledge, the passage reported here is the only one of this text that is
cited (however Archi, QuSem 13 [1984] 246, mentions another attestation of the name
of Zugalum at rev. i 9H). Nevertheless, this text cannot refer to anything else but to the
expedition of I.Z. 10, since we do not know any other documented expedition against
86 Collated by Amalia Catagnoti. I wish to thank her for this and the other collations in this
87 For the omission of the determinative-relative pronoun, which frequently occurs in
administrative texts, cf. for ex., for similar contexts concerning military expeditions, the
two passages: ARET 4 21 obv. iv 6–10: (a belt for Äidar) l ú d u - d u si-in n í g - k a s 4
and ARET 9 86 rev. ii 2–6: n í g - k a s k a l g u r u š - g u r u š d u si-in n í g - k a s 4 .
88 For the use of the phonetic spelling of the demonstrative-relative pronoun, see above
p. 61–62 and n. 22.
89 Cit. in Archi, Amurru 1 (1996) 90.

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76 Maria Vittoria Tonietti

paign against Ibal; however, at obv. ix 6–x 5, there is a record of an

allocation for 11 persons from Ibal who are travelling to Ebla for the
oil ceremony (n í d b a ì - g i š ). This might be a reference to the ratification
of a peace agreement between the two cities,90 whose expedition would
then have been recorded in a previous text.91 In any case, if, as Archi and
Biga maintain, the term n í g - k a s 4 always has a military meaning, we have
here another allocation for a queen, motivated by her presence in
a military campaign. Moreover, the use of the verb ì - t ì l / t i makes this
passage more explicit than those concerning the queen of Äarran. At least
up to now Zugalum and Tiša-Lim are the only two foreign queens
for whom this sort of participation is recorded. Naturally we do not have
sufficient elements to ascertain the terms of this presence, which does not
necessarily imply direct participation in the military action in either case.
We can instead imagine that it was a question of military support for the
campaign, in terms of men and equipment, on the part of each realm. Par-
allel passages concerning other notables would, however, seem to indicate
at least their momentary presence at the sites of the expedition.92 In this
regard, it should be mentioned that on the occasion of another expedition
also supported by Äarran, the expedition against Mari, we find the bada-
lum, and not the queen, of Äarran in the list of allies to whom textiles are
to be consigned93.
However, we should point out that the two queens we have before
us are very special figures. Zugalum and even more so Tiša-Lim are the
foreign queens most frequently named in the Archives of Ebla.94 Both of
them maintain very close relations with the Eblaite court, to which they

90 This is how a similar ceremony following the campaign against Mari is interpreted
by Archi/Biga, JCS 55 (2003) 18.
91 The archives document more than one expedition against Ibal in this period, for ex. I.Z.
8 or I.Z. 11–13 (cf. TM.75.G.2428 passim [I.Z. 8]; ARET 10 100 obv. xiv 22–23 [I.Z.
11]; rev. iii 4–5//TM.76.G.534+ obv. 1H–4H [I.Z. 12]; ARET 10 100 rev. vi
6//TM.75.G.10202 [I.Z. 13]; see JCS 55 [2003] 13–14). However, it is not possible
that MEE 2 40 refers to the second one, since Tiša-Lim died in I.Z. 10. If this refers
to the campaign against Ibal of I.Z. 8, then it is the same campaign recorded in
the AAM TM.75.G.2428 and, at least, in the MAT TM.75.G.1419, quoted above on p. 12
n. 55.
92 This idea is strengthened if we follow the interpretation of ì - t i proposed by Sallaberger
(see above, n. 31) “who arrived from/with the expedition of NG”.
93 Recorded in TM.75.G.2250, quoted in Archi/Biga, JCS 55 (2003) 18.
94 The affirmation of A. Archi, Harran in the III millennium B. C., UF 20 (1988) 3, is still
substantially valid today (except for n. 16). Mentions of the queens of Burman, Manu-
wat, Lumnan, etc. are in fact less frequent, cf. also Biga, Amurru 1 (1996) 65–69.
The unpublished texts in which Zugalum is mentioned are cited in Archi, UF 20, 3–4; id.
ARES 1 (1988) 240 and 255; id. Amurru 1 (1996) 105–106; id. et alii, ARES 2, 262.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 77

are connected by family ties, and they seem to enjoy a position of great
prestige and power in their own realms. Moreover, it is interesting to note
that Zugalum in particular appears at least for a long time as the only royal
figure of Äarran. The attestations of the king (e n ) of Äarran are in fact ex-
tremely sporadic and difficult to date, and none of the texts containing
them mention Zugalum. The figure of the badalum, “representative”,
which appears far more frequently in the texts, at times along with the king
himself (as with the centres of Äalsum and Ursaum), takes on some of the
functions of the king without being his equal in rank or totally substituting
him in his role.95

2.1. Zugalum d u m u - m í e n of Ebla

The expedition against Ašdar(um) took place at least ten years

after Zugalum had become queen of Äarran. Before becoming queen she
lived at the court of Ebla. In the framework of inter-dynastic mar-
riages pursued by the Eblaite sovereigns, the queen of Äarran was
a daughter of the king (d u m u - m í e n ) of Ebla.96 Like the majority of
the other foreign queens,97 she was one of the daughters of king Irkab-
Damu.98 Archi puts forward the interesting hypothesis that, like the last
king, Iš<ar-Damu, she was the daughter of Dusigu;99 it should however be
noted that she is never called n i n - n i e n “sister of the king”. In the
period when she was still at the Eblaite court Zugalum appears, along with
her sister Arzadu, as “little daughter of the king”, d u m u - m í e n t u r, at

95 For the meaning of the term see Archi, UF 20 (1988) 3; we can also compare ug.
bdl, DLU 105, s. v.: “sustituto, personal de reserva”, and ar. badal, “representative”,
E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, Book I, Part 1. (London 1863) 168. We know
also a d a m and a d u m u - n i t a of the badalum of Äarran. As has already been noted by
Archi et alii, ARES 2, 470, a passage in TM.75.G.1252 could clarify the functions
of this office: after an allocation for the e n of U r - s á - u m ki , at obv. v 4–8 we have
Zi-mi-su u g u l a u r u <ki>-sù (this obviously holds only if the text is not prior to the
attestations of Zimisu as badalum of Ursaum.)
96 See already A. Archi, Jewels for the Ladies of Ebla, ZA 92 (2002) 166.
97 For the widespread use of a similar policy by the Eblaite sovereigns, cf. M. G. Biga, The

Marriage of Eblaite Princess Tagriš-Damu with a Son of Nagar’s King, Subartu IV/2
(1998) 17 and n. 2, and recently Tonietti, Symbolisme et mariage à Ébla. Aspects du ri-
tuel pour l’intronisation du roi, in L. Kogan et alii (ed.), Memoriae Igor M. Diakonoff.
Babel und Bibel 2 (Winona Lake 2005) 247–248.
98 For the attestations see Archi et alii, ARES 1, 240; to which ARET 3 660 obv. i 5H–6H

should be added.
99 One of the women of Irkab-Damu. See Archi, ZA 92 (2002) 166.

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the end of a list of “king’s women”, d a m e n ,100 datable to Ibr. 14,101 and,
probably in an analogous context, in ARET 3 660.102 She also appears in
four lists of the “king’s women”, among the group of women that can be
identified as the king’s daughters. The first list103 dates back to the year of
the marriage of Zimini-kù.babbar with the king of Burman;104 the other
three can be dated to the years Ibr. 14–15.105 The texts that mention Zu-
galum as daughter or woman of the king (of Ebla) would therefore seem
datable to Ibr. 14–15 and the years immediately before. Instead, the first
attestation of Zugalum as queen of Äarran dates back to I.Z. 1. The iden-
tity of these two personages is therefore also confirmed by the lack of

100 At Ebla the term dam en was used to designate not only the “king’s wives”, but more in
general the women of the royal family.
101 TM.75.G.2417 rev. xii 4?, both preceded by Zaneäi-Mari and Maud defined, instead,
“‘old’ daughters of the king” d u m u - m í e n m a ä .
102 ARET 3 660 obv. i 5H–6H Zu-ga-lum d u m u - m í - [ e n * t u r * ?. Though it is a small
fragment composed only of two half-columns, it seems possible to date it to a time
prior to the lists of the d a m e n in which Zugalum appears. Indeed, it mentions
Zi-mi-babbar:kù (obv. ii 1H–6H: ] / Du-si-gú / a m a - g a l / e n / 14 z a r a 6 - t ú g / Di-
ne-íb-du-lum / Zi-mi-babbar:kù), king’s daughter of the older group, who does
not appear in any of the above-mentioned lists, while in the text of one of these,
TM.75.G.1793, her marriage is recorded as the queen of Burman, which explains why
she permanently leaves the Eblaite palace harem.
103 TM.75.G.1793 obv. vii 13. The m u - t ú m parallel to this text, TM.75.G.10200, was pre-
viously though with some doubt dated as tenth in the sequence of the m u - t ú m of
Ibri<um (Yibriyum) (see A. Archi, VO 12 [2002] 41). Considering the fact that Zuga-
lum appears here in the list of the d u m u - m í e n , while in TM.75.G.2417, dated to Ibr.
14, the year of the marriage of Iš<ar-Damu and Tabur-Damu, she is (still?) defined as
d a m e n t u r, we pose the question if the dating of TM.75.G.1793 can be postponed by
a few years.
104 On the basis of the chronology proposed in Archi/Biga, JCS 55 (2003) and Archi, VO
12 (2000) 19–58, it seems impossible that the queen (maliktum) of Burman, whose
name is not present in ARET 4 15 obv. ii 1–2: ] ma-lik-tum / Bur-ma-an ki , is Zimini-
kù.babbar (as supposed in Amurru 1 [1996] 68–69); this text is parallel to the AAM
TM.75.G.2362+ (see Biga, Amurru 1 [1996] 68–69), dated to Ibr. 2b: i. e. too early, in
my opinion, since the wedding of Zimini-kù.babbar recorded in TM.75.G.1793 and
TM.75.G.10200 (m u - t ú m Ibr. 10?) is not much earlier than that of the Eblaite sover-
eigns (Ibr. 14). Moreover, Zimini-kù.babbar appears as queen of Burman (for the
first time?) in the AAM TM.75.G.10143, Ibr. 10; a date which is reasonably compatible
with that of the birth of the daughter of Zimini-kù.babbar recorded in the MAT
TM.75.G.1704 and in the AAM TM.75.G.1464, dated to Ibr. 12.
105 TM.75.G.10153 obv. x 3; TM.75.G.1885 obv. iv 4; ARET 3 469 obv. vii 4. The three al-
most identical lists start with the names of Dusigu, the king’s mother, and Tabur-Damu,
his queen. Now, as it was already demonstrated by Biga, Amurru 1 (1996) 48 and
Archi, ibid. 78, the texts in which the maliktum of Iš<ar-Damu is still mentioned by
name are limited to the year of her marriage (Ibr. 14, see JCS 55 [2003] 9) and the one
immediately after.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 79

chronological overlap between Zugalum d u m u - m í / d a m e n and

queen Zugalum. According to Archi,106 Zugalum must have been at least
18 years old in I.Z. 1 (the years that had passed since the death of her
father, Irkab-Damu). This agrees well with the attestations of Zugalum,
from whose dating emerges the interesting datum that she must have
made her entry in the list of the d a m e n roughly at the age of fourteen.

2.2. Zugalum maliktum of Äarran

The texts mentioning queen Zugalum can be dated with certainty to

single years of the period of Ibbi-Zikir, with the sole exceptions of
TM.G.75.10127 and TM.75.G.2241, for which we have no certain perti-
nent dates, although it seems possible to date them all the same on the
basis of their internal data107
In JCS 55 (2003) 5, year I.Z. 1 is indicated as the year of Zugalum’s
marriage, in all likelihood on the basis of the substantial allocation
reported in MEE 10 20 and in the parallel text TM.75.G.1330. It should,
however, be noted that, differently from other d u m u - m í e n , neither in
this texts nor in others published or cited as of yet,108 is there any explicit
mention made of Zugalum’s marriage.109

I.Z. 1 MEE 10 20 = TM.75.G.1860 obv. x 17–xiii 22 // TM.75.G.1330

obv. i 1–viii 10.110 In effect, the richness of this allocation of textiles and

106 ZA 92 (2002) 166.

107 This is the list of the passages in which Zugalum, maliktum of Äarran, appears follow-
ing the chronology reconstructed for the AAMs in JCS 55:
I.Z. 1 AAM 75.1860=MEE 10 20 obv. x 17–xiii 22// MAT 75.1330 obv. i 1–viii 10
I.Z. 1–3? MAT? 75.10127 obv. iv 9–v 5
I.Z. 3 AAM 75.10088+10182 rev. xv
I.Z. 4 AAM 75.10201 obv. vii 16–20
I.Z. 6 AAM 75.10074 obv. xxviii 32–xxix 2 // 75.1381 obv. i 15–ii8
I.Z. 10 AAM 75.2429=MEE 12 36 rev. ii 24–iii 5 // 75.1979 rev. x 8H–13H
I.Z. 14–16? MAT 75.2241 obv. viii 1–10; rev. ii 4–iii 1
108 See above n. 107.
109 We do not find convincing Mander’s hypothesis in MEE 10 p. 89 ad 20 obv. xii 5, xiii
21 that the rich gift of silver artifacts is made by the queen of Äarran on occasion of the
birth of the first child (of the queen of Ebla) “(for) the first-born, the queen of Äarran
has given”.
110 The passages of TM.75.G.1860 and TM.75.G.1330 in question have been published in
Archi, ZA 92 (2002) 166–170. In consideration of their length, we refer to his article; it
should be noted that at p. 169, at 1860 obv. xii 23, obv. xiii 3, 11 and 17, š u - d u 8 is
clearly a misprint to be emended with š u - d u 7, as shown by the collation on the photo;

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jewels for Zugalum, the elders and other personages from Äarran, for the
five girls of her retinue and for the man from Äarran sent to Ebla to
accompany her (to Äarran), leads us, with some difficulties, to think of a
substantial dowry.111 In that case, since Zugalum is already defined here as
maliktum of Äarran, the wedding might have taken place in Ebla by proxy.
This practice is well-documented in the Syrian area – we need only think
of the example of Šiptu, married by proxy in Aleppo – and perhaps in
Ebla itself.112 Or else the marriage agreement preceding the wedding,
which takes place upon her arrival in Äarran, is enough to allow the future
bride to bear the royal title already. However, it must be stressed that
both texts lack not only any explicit reference to her marriage, but also
any mention whatsoever of the e n of Äarran or gifts for him. In
TM.75.G.1250+ recording the rich gifts for the trousseau of Tagriš-Damu,
daughter of Iš<ar-Damu, on the occasion of her marriage with the son
of the king of Nagar, the princess is also already referred to as maliktum
of Nagar; but the same text starts recording the gifts for the prince and
his train, arrived from Nagar to celebrate the wedding in Ebla (explicitly
mentioned in the text), and other gifts are given for the (absent) king
and queen of Nagar.113 There are no elements that offer a plausible expla-
nation for these anomalies. For now we limit ourselves to the observa-
tion that there is a gap of roughly three years in the attestations of Zuga-
lum from Ibr. 15 to I.Z. 1. However, no data seem to corroborate the
hypothesis that she had already moved to the court of Äarran during that
Even as queen, Zugalum continues to keep close contacts with the Eb-
laite court, and especially with its women.

it is likely that the same holds for the occurrence of this term in TM.75.G.1330 obv. vi 7
and vii 5.
111 The enormous quantity of textiles and objects allocated takes up roughly half of the
MAT TM.75.G.1330; the total value of the objects amounts to 2.28 mines, that is 148
shekels, corresponding to 1159 gr. of gold.
112 See recently Tonietti, Fs. Diakonoff, 250–51 and n. 30.
113 See Archi, ZA 92 (2002) 172–173 and Biga, Subartu IV/2 (1998) 17–22.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 81

I.Z. 1–3 TM.75.G.10127 obv. iv 9–v 5: (1+1+1 t.) Zu-ga-lum ma-lik-

tum Äa-ra-an ki in u 4 1 d u m u - n i t a t u - d a ; (1+1+1 t.) 1 gú-li-lum
a - g a r 5 k ù - s i g 17 15 (g í n ) n í g - m u l (- a n ) Zu-ga-lum t u - d a
“(1+1+1 t.) for Zugalum, queen of Äarran, when she gave birth to a
son; (1+1+1 t.) 1 copper and gold bracelet (worth) 15 (shekels) (for the
man who) had announced that Zugalum had given birth”
On hearing the news that Zugalum had given birth to a son, the
Eblaite court sends her a gift of textiles. This text cannot be dated with cer-
tainty, but it can probably be located before TM.75.G.10201 if, as it seems
likely, the son mentioned there is the same whose birth is recorded here.

I.Z. 3 TM.75.G.10088+10182 rev. xv: ì - g i š - s a g Zú-ga-lum ma-lik-

tum Äa-ra-anki 114
“for the anointing ceremony of Zugalum, queen of Äarran”.
The text records an allocation for Zugalum’s purification ceremony on
the occasion of the death of Dusigu, the king’s mother;115 if the text, still
unpublished, lacks further specifications, it is likely that the allocation was
sent to Äarran, as it often occurred in similar cases. On this occasion the
same ceremony is held at Ebla by some women of the king and by Dusi-
gu’s three sisters.116

I.Z.4 AAM TM.75.G.10201 obv. vii 16–20: 1 í b - l á d u m u - n i t a Zu-

ga-lum l ú d u - d u n í d b a .
“I belt for the son of Zugalum who has gone (to make) the offering”
Zugalum’s son, evidently still very young, takes part in an offering cer-
emony (perhaps connected with his age), which occurs in an unspecified

114 Cit. in Archi, Amurru 1 (1996) 88.

115 Ibid. rev. xviii: a m a - g a l e n si-in é×pap, colophon: diš m u u g 7 a m a - g a l e n i t i ga-
sum (vii) u g 7 -sù “the mother of the king for the funeral ceremony”; “year of the death
of/in which died the mother of the king, month vii of her death”.
116 Instead, TM.75.G.2375 (a m u - t ú m text parallel to TM.75.G.10088+10182, then also
to be dated to I.Z. 3) rev. xii 1–8: (1+1+1 textiles) ì - g i š - s a g e n (1+1+1 textiles)
ì - g i š - s a g ma-lik-tum Äa-ra-an ki ì - n a - s u m , makes no reference to the maliktum of
Äarran, as a first reading might suggest. In fact, it should be translated: “(1+1+1 tex-
tiles) for the king’s purification ceremony, (1+1+1 textiles) for the queen’s (of Ebla) pu-
rification ceremony, Äarran has given”; here as in other passages the text records con-
signments of textiles to the members of the Eblaite royal couple for their ì - g i š - s a g
ceremony on the occasion of the death of the sovereign’s mother, also on the part of
foreign realms.

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I.Z. 6 TM.75.G.10074 obv. xxviii 32–xxix 2: 20 g í n D. k ù - s i g 17 1 gú-

li-lum Zú-ga-lum ma-lik-tum Äa-ra-an ki sˇè d u - d u t u - d a ma-lik-tum
“20 D. shekels of gold, 1 bracelet (for) Zugalum queen of Äarran who
has gone (to) the birth-giving of the queen”
In TM.75.G.10074 there is a record of the arrival of Zugalum at Saza,
the palatial quarters of Ebla, on occasion of the birth-giving of the queen
of Ebla. Like Zugalum, another Eblaite princess comes to visit the
maliktum of Ebla: Zimini-kù.babbar queen of Burman.117
It seems possible to date the MAT TM.75.G.1381 to the same year,118
which at obv. i 9–ii 8 records the arrival at Ebla of the queen and (in all
likelihood) of the badalum of Äarran:
1 a k t u m - t ú g a n - š è t ú g - t ú g I-bí-zi-kir ba-da-lum Äa-ra-an ki (1+1+1+10 textiles)
1 gú-li-lum k ù - s i g 17 20 (g í n ) 30 (g í n ) b a b b a r : k ù 2 bu-di 2 s a g - sù k ù - s i g 17
Zu-ga-lum ma-lik-tum Äa-ra-an ki l ú d u - d u si-in sa.zaxki .119

I.Z. 10 MEE 12 36 (TM.75.G.2429) rev. ii 24–iii 5. As we have seen,

this is the year when Zugalum participates in the Eblaite expedition
against Ašdar(um). In the same year Tiša-Lim dies (as is recorded in the
same text at rev. xx 20–xxi 4), shortly after the death of her daughter (obv.
i 11–17).

I.Z. 14–16? TM.75.G.2241 obv. viii 1–10: (1+1+1 textiles) / 1 gú-li-lum

b a b b a r : k ù - s i g 17 10 (g í n ) / d u m u - n i t a / Zu-ga-lum / ma-lik-tum /
Äa-ra-an ki / si-in / é×pap / Da-zi-ma-ad / š u m u - t a k a 4
“(textiles), 1 gold and silver bracelet worth 10 (shekels) for the son
of Zugalum, queen of Äarran, for the funeral ceremony; Dazimad has de-
ibid. rev. ii 4–iii 1: (1+1+1 textiles) / 1 í b - l á 1 si-ti-tum 1 g í r - k u n tar
k ù - s i g 17 / ì - g i š - s a g / ba-da-lum / wa / 1 z a r a 6 - t ú g 2 bu-di
tar b a b b a r : k ù k ù - s i g 17 / ì - g i š - s a g / Zu-ga-lum / ma-lik-tum / Äa-
ra-an ki / <À-bí / l ú Ig-rí-su / š u m u - t a k a 4 120 “(1+1+1 textiles), 1 belt,
1 ‘clasp”?, 1 dagger (worth) 30 (shekels) of gold for the anointing cer-
emony of the “representative”, 1 zara t., 2 toggle-pins (worth) 30 (shekels)

117 At obv. xvii: Zi-mi-ni-babbar:kù ma-lik-tum Bur-ma-anki sˇè d u - d u i g i - d u 8 ma-lik-

tum “Zimini-kù.babbar queen of Burman who went to pay a visit to the queen”. Cited
in Archi, Amurru 1 (1996) 89.
118 See also Biga, Amurru 1 (1996) 50.
119 Both texts, TM.75.G.10074 (cit. in Archi, Amurru 1 [1996] 89) and TM.75.G.1381 also
mention deliveries for the queen of Emar, Tiša-Lim, in connection with the birth-giving
of the queen, respectively at obv. xvi and at rev. vi 6–9.
120 Collated by A. Catagnoti.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 83

of silver and gold for the anointing ceremony of Zugalum, queen of Äar-
ran, Abi of Igrišu has delivered”.
Following Archi and Biga’s proposal, based on the mention of Äidar
king of Mari,121 this text can be dated to one of the last years of Ibbi-Zikir,
and therefore shortly before the destruction of Ebla.122 It records the death
of Zugalum’s son; and Ebla proceeds to send gifts for his burial ceremony
and for the ceremony of purification of his mother and the badalum of
Äarran. It should be stressed that there is no record of allocations for the
ceremony of purification of the king of Äarran123 as on the contrary one
would expect.124
For now this seems to be the last text in which Zugalum is mentioned.
We are close to the moment of the destruction of Ebla. And in the docu-
mentation known to date there does not seem to be any mention of the
death of the queen of Äarran,125 which probably did not occur before the
end of the Archives.

3. Conclusions

The passages of MEE 12 36 that refer to the expedition against

Ašdar(um), reread in light of new lexical interpretations, offer us a picture
of the significant moments that accompany and follow a military
expedition of a centre in central-northern Syria in this period. A compari-
son with analogous passages shows that some of these moments recur al-

121 Obv. i 1–4: (1+1+1 textiles) äi-da-ar l u g a l Ma-rí ki .

122 JCS 55 (2003) 5.
123 Not mentioned in Archi, UF 20 (1988).
124 This might demonstrate the absence of an e n of Äarran in this period. However, if the
dating proposed for it by Archi and Biga is exact, the text is more or less contemporary
with ARET 8 527, dated to the very last years of Ebla, where at obv. xiii 9–15 on the
contrary, an allocation for the e n of Äarran in relation to a military enterprise seems to
be recorded. The problem deserves further study which, however, is not within the
scope of this article and will therefore be treated elsewhere.
125 As established in JCS 55 (2003) 5, “her death does not occur in the preserved section
of the AAMs”, mostly still unpublished. The collation of the passage confirms the
absence in TM.75.G.2241 obv. vii 4–8 of any reference to the death of Zugalum (men-
tioned in JCS 55 [2003] 5), which would also be difficult to reconcile with the fact that
immediately after, at obv. viii 1–10 (cit. in UF 20 [1988] 7), as we have seen, the text
records the death of Zugalum’s son and, at rev. ii 4–iii 1 (cit. ibid., p. 2), the allocations
for the ceremony of purification ì - g i š - s a g of Zugalum and of her badalum on the oc-
casion of this death.

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most constantly, although with obvious variations, in many texts that re-
port allocations relative to the various Eblaite expeditions:126

– e n ° (l ú ) (ì - t ì l / t i ) (in) n í g - k a s 4 GN
– NP ä i - m u - t ú m (masˇ-bí-tum/NG) (l ú ) n í g - k a s 4 (si-in) GN*
– NP n í g - m u l ( - a n ) GN š u b a 4 - t i (wa e n ° tuš.lú×til)
– e n ° tuš.lú×til (in) GN
– NP1 m a š k i m / l ú NP2 š u - d u 8 (in) GN127
or: – NP1 d u m u - n i t a / m a š k i m / l ú NP2 š u - d u 8 e n /NP3 GN
– NP1 m a š k i m / l ú NP2 tuš.lú×til (in) GN

Thus, on the occasion of an expedition against a specific centre, GN,

the texts register the consignment of rich gifts or of simple allocations by
Ebla for:

– the presence of the sovereign and/or the ‘minister’ of Ebla (and/or of

other notables of Ebla or of other centres) at the expedition against GN
(or his return from the campaign),
– the transfer of troops to the sites where the campaign against GN is
– the announcement, n í g - m u l ( - a n ) , at Ebla of the capture (š u
b a 4 - t i ) of GN (and of its occupation on the part of the sovereign or his
‘minister’ [and/or other notables])
– the installation as occupier (tuš.lú×til) in GN of the sovereign and/or
the ‘minister’ (and/or other notables)
– the installation of one or more individuals as š u - d u 8 , with probably
administrative functions in GN128 or, in much rarer cases, – the
capture or the simple taking charge/custody of the king (or other
notables) of GN by a person mentioned by name
– the installation as occupier (tuš.lú×til) in GN of one or more persons,
perhaps taking the place (temporarily?) of the sovereign or the ‘min-
ister’, with some functions of control.

Besides these allocations, which are more or less recurrent elsewhere,

our text also shows the particularity of the presence of a queen in the mili-

126 Legenda: ° = or other notables from Ebla or from other centres: Ibbi-Zikir/NP/e n
GN/NP GN; * = this allocation is rarely attested; ( ) = words that may or may not ap-
pear. The order of allocations may be slightly different.
127 Of course, every attested NP may be specified by other elements, but here we want to
stress that people labelled as tuš.lú×til (in the second delivery) and š u - d u 8 are
mostly defined as m a š k i m (less frequently l ú ) of somebody else.
128 Perhaps to exact tributes as the price of the occupation which has taken place.

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The Expedition of Ebla against Ašdar(um) and the Queen of Äarran 85

tary expedition, a presence which, as we have seen, occurs only for a first-
level figure like Tiša-Lim, queen of Emar. This would seem to underline
the importance, as well as the exceptionality, of the role of the queen of
Äarran, often assisted by her badalum but never mentioned with a king.
Despite the clear chronological picture which the attestations of Zugalum
can be fit into, it is very difficult to reconstruct the relationship to the sov-
ereign of Äarran, most probably her husband, who is only present in the
archives extremely sporadically and in rarely datable documents, and is
never mentioned in the texts in which she appears (not even, probably, as
receiver of wedding gifts!).129 It therefore seems highly plausible that, in
correspondence with this absence of the king, which was not episodic but
prolonged in time, the queen of Äarran held increased responsibilities and
powers compared to other contemporary royal consorts. These are the
reasons that would seem to motivate her presence in our text.

129 It is to be noted that the prevalence of attestations regarding Zugalum over those of the
en of Äarran is not justified by her being a d u m u - m í en of the sovereign of Ebla: the
en of Burman and Lumnan, for example, who are also married to Eblaite princesses,
are attested far more frequently than are their spouses. Similarly – with the single ex-
ception of Sanapzugum, for whom a king does not ever seem to be attested –, for the
other northern realms where a badalum is documented, the attestations concerning him
are always inferior in number to those for the king. On the contrary, in the case of Äar-
ran ARES 2, 261 has 22 attestations of the badalum compared to the 4 attestations of
the king that I am familiar with.

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