The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
Catalogues: by date | by number | in full | Website info: navigation help | display conventions | recent changes
Project info: consolidated bibliography | about the project | credits and copyright | links

ETCSL site description

The catalogues

There are three different catalogues on this website. The compositions in the corpus can be accessed through any of them by clicking on "composite text", "translation" or "bibliography" to the right of the composition's name. (These English names are all modern. In antiquity literary compositions were known by their incipits, or first lines, as shown by the ancient literary catalogues.)

By date

One catalogue lists the compositions by date of publication on the website, with the most recent at the top of the list. This is the best catalogue to use if you visit the site regularly and want to see at a glance what has been published since your last visit.

By number

Another catalogue lists the published compositions by the conventional catalogue numbers which were originally devised by Miguel Civil. The numbering is thematic, and is described in more detail at the head of the full catalogue. This catalogue has the same contents as the date catalogue but the same structure as the full catalogue. It is most useful if you are looking for groups of related compositions.

In full

The full catalogue is a list of English titles for all Ur III and Old Babylonian Sumerian literary compositions, grouped thematically according to Miguel Civil's categorisation. The numbers to the left of the titles refer to this system; letters are used for provisional placing of newly-discovered compositions within the corpus. Some numbers are apparently missing: the compositions they represent have usually been re-attributed or belong outside the scope of this project. Published compositions are distinguished from unpublished ones by the fact that their catalogue numbers are shown in bold and they are linked to their composite text, translation, and bibliography.

This catalogue gives an overview of the known corpus as a whole, and the proportion of published material within it.

Website info pages

Navigation help page

This page explains our accessibility principles, give hints on navigating around the site using the headers and footers, describes other methods of moving around within the corpus, and tells you how to download the corpus.

Site description page

This page, which describes the contents of the site.

Display conventions page

Here we have summarised some unusual visual features of the corpus: how non-standard characters are displayed in transliteration of Sumerian, what all the different colours mean, and how we have chosen to number the lines and paragraphs.

Recent changes page

All changes to the website are summarised here. We also explain our policy on revising the corpus.

Project info pages

Consolidated bibliography

This bibliography contains all the items cited in the individual bibliographies attached to each composition in the corpus edited between 1997 and 2000; it does not aim to be an exhaustive bibliography of the subject. It was kindly compiled by Steve Tinney from the SGML bibliography maintained by the ETCSL project.

About the project

This section describes the project behind the creation of the corpus, outlining its history and its current aims and objectives. It is divided into the following parts:

Credits and copyright

The credits and copyright page lists the members of the project team, its sources of funding, and those who have contributed to the project in various ways. It also gives copyright information and tells you how to cite the corpus.


The links page lists other websites of related interest, including the ETCSL's sister projects and other academic sources of information on Sumerian, the ancient Near East, and electronic text corpora.

The corpus

The ETCSL corpus of Sumerian literature, accessed via the catalogues, comprises the bulk of the website. For each composition there is a transliterated Sumerian composite text, an English prose translation, and a short bibliography.

A second edition of the corpus

A second, revised edition of the corpus is now in preparation. The new edition will incorporate corrections, standardisation to eliminate earlier inconsistencies of notation and, in due course, new material. But the principal difference will be that it will be searchable over the net. An experimental second edition can be found here: ETCSL 2.

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Page created on 7.ix.2001 by ER. Last revised on 7.ix.2001 by ER. Updated on 7.vii.2003 by JE.