The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
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ETCSL: full catalogue of Sumerian literary compositions

This catalogue shows all the compositions which will be included in the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. It is based closely on the catalogue devised by Miguel Civil, with his co-operation.

For practical reasons, certain categories of composition will not be included in this phase of development of the ETCSL. These are, principally, the various genres of cult songs and prayers in Emesal which were the preserve of the gala singers, and the extensive literature of magical incantations. The catalogue is thematically arranged and each composition has a number whose first element reflects the broad category to which it has been assigned. This arrangement reflects modern perceptions and may raise misleading expectations concerning the nature of a composition and its relationship to other compositions and to other genres. These categories are as follows:

The ancient lists of literary compositions (Group 0) are of considerable interest because of the compositions that are included and the order in which they are listed. Group 1 (narrative and mythological compositions) is organised into subgroups according to who the protagonist of the narrative is. Group 2 (mainly royal praise poetry, and hymns to deities with prayers for rulers) is organised chonologically according to the rulers, as are the attributable letters, letter-prayers, and law codes in Group 3. Group 4 (hymns and cult songs (mostly hymns addressed to deities)) is organised alphabetically according to the deity's name.

Sumerian literary compositions have been edited and translated in modern studies under a range of sometimes confusing titles. The ancient practice was to refer to them by their incipits (first lines), but this is clearly less useful for a modern readership, especially when working in translation. Therefore for the purposes of this catalogue, each composition has been assigned a standardised title which will be the working title for that composition throughout the ETCSL project. (It may prove necessary to revise some of these in due course.)

The unavoidable result of this has been that the standardised title for some compositions may not be that by which it has been most commonly known hitherto. In many cases an ancient genre description (e.g. adab, tigi) has been retained in the standardised title.

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Page created on 01.i.1998 by ER. Last revised on 7.ix.2001 by ER.