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Document number: 10088
Date: 10 Nov 1876
Recipient: DELITZSCH Conrad Gerhard Friedrich
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Zentralarchiv
Collection number: IV-NL Delitzsche
Last updated: 10th August 2019

Lynwood house
Nov. 10. 1876

My Dear Sir

Many thanks for your very interesting letter.

I visit London so seldom that I remain ignorant of the publication of many valuable books: thus for instance I was not aware that you had published a German translation of Smith’s Chaldean account of Genesis and had there given the true rendering of is-tin is-rit, otherwise I would certainly have referred to your work and quoted your opinion.

Your remarks on the word [Cuneiform] that it should be pronounced ti-amat are of great weight, nevertheless I find some objections. (1) Berosus renders the word into Greek letters by [Greek]. Now the form tisallate easily becomes tithallat (as in the Lacedamian [Greek] for [Greek]) and that would be the [Greek] of Berosus. But he could never have trans-literated ti-amat by [Greek].

(2) You have found the variant form [Cuneiform] but was that variant on a tablet concerning Bel and the Dragon? I am aware that it occurs in the inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar in the form ti-am-tu, but I considered that to be a different word, tiamatu sipliter, the lower Sea.

You propose to translate Istar immu in sumilu tallata ispati, “right and left carrying a quiver”. But I would object to this that there is a with certainty “a Tower” or “Great Building”, nor anything which signifies “Confusion of Tongues” – the drift of the Fragment appears to me to be something quite different.

When the six cases of Babylonian antiquities are at length unpacked, I shall be glad to hear your opinion as to their value. Mr Smith has left some manuscript translations and annotations on them which I presume have reached the Museum.

I am glad that you are going to print a Sumerische Grammatik. I have sometimes thought that the Literati of Alsurbranipal’s time to whom we owe so many of the tablets, were not well acquainted with the Sumerian or Accadian language, which was in their time a dead language for their translations seem often doubtful.

I remain Dear Sir Yours very truly
H. Fox Talbot

Dr. Delitzsch, British Museum

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