ETCSLcatalogue SignSign name: ZI/ZI
Values: part of compound

Complete ETCSL catalogue

This catalogue lists the compositions intended for inclusion in the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. It is based closely on the catalogue devised by Miguel Civil, with his co-operation.

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.

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 on behalf of rulers) is organised first by city and then chronologically according to ruler, as are the attributable letters and letter-prayers in Group 3. Group 4, hymns and cult songs (mostly hymns addressed to deities), is organised alphabetically according to the deity's name. Group 5 is more varied while Group 6 comprises proverbs and proverb collections.

For bibliographic data for the compositions already edited as part of the corpus (the bold numbers in the catalogue) see their transliterations at this website. For the unedited compositions see the catalogue in Analysing Literary Sumerian: Corpus-based Approaches, edited by Jarle Ebeling and Graham Cunningham (2007, London: Equinox). The catalogue numbers of unedited compositions are subject to change.

  • 0 = Ancient literary catalogues
  • 1 = Narrative and mythological compositions
  • 2 = Compositions with a historical background and royal praise poetry
  • 3 = Literary letters, letter-prayers and laws
  • 4 = Hymns and cult songs
  • 5 = Other literature
  • 6 = Proverbs and proverb collections
  • 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. For the purposes of this project each composition has been assigned a standardised title. Unavoidably this does not always match the title by which a composition has been most commonly known hitherto. In many cases an ancient genre description (e.g. adab, tigi) has been retained in the standardised title.

    For practical reasons, certain categories of composition have not been 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.


    Sumerian scribe

    © Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 The ETCSL project, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
    Updated 2006-10-23 by GC

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