The doings of American philologasters are, in truth, a curious study.

Progress Report 3

I’ve lately been occupied with other things, but I found the time today to complete pp. 32 and 33, the first 18 lines of the ninth buta.  As in earlier chapters, this chapter continues the story of Yoshamin from a first-person perspective. It is not entirely free of mysteries.

The manuscripts are somewhat inconsistent in parts, and there are clearly portions where something is missing. In line two of p. 33, Lidzbarski’s Manuscripts A and D read:

hašta akṣalia uakṣalẖ el

Now it pains me and it pains […]

Similarly, Lidzbarski’s MS B reads:

hašta akṣalia ukṣalẖ el

Now it pains me and it pains […]

Clearly there is a lacuna in these three manuscripts. MS C, on the other hand, reads

hašta akṣalẖ llibai

Now it pains my heart

The suggestion is that the line should be reconstructed

hašta akṣalia uakṣalẖ el libai

Now it pains me and it pains my heart.

This is a fairly minor fix.  There are, however, two extremely enigmatic expressions towards the end of the page.  Lidzbarski suggests, on the basis of MS C, the following

laahai ḏkariuta

ularahmai ḏrahmutai

adkar ḏpšaṭilẖ kušṭa

I’ve translated this as

Neither my brothers out of pity [kariuta],

nor my friends out of my friendship [rahmuta],

have mentioned that I pledged the truth.

Literally, the text reads “brothers of sorrow” and “friends of my friendship;” one would expect a preposition here, perhaps mn or b-, but neither appears.

The other manuscripts (A, B, and D) substitute elaha “God” for laahai “Neither my brother(s)” and replace ularahmai ḏrahmutai with simply ularahmutai “and no friendship.”  This is neither especially meaningful, nor does it match the meter (if indeed I have reconstructed the meter properly).

Finally, the last verse on the page reads:

enišiuia liuma ḏhamrai

uladakria mn iumai had

They forgot the day of my reckoning [?]

and do not recall [even] one of my days.

The manuscripts are unfortunately of little help here, at least as far as I can discern; A and D have hamra for the final word of the first half, and B has ḏhamra. B also adds  after iumai. Lidzbarski translates this phrase as “day of wine;” what that could possibly mean, in this context or any other context for that matter, outside of the Jack Lemmon film, is not immediately clear to me.  The Pahlavi word āmār “reckoning, consideration”  makes an appearance in Official Aramaic as hmr “account,” possibly on its own as well as in several compounds (see DNWSI, p. 284); Drower and Macuch also list the word amar “affairs, aspects, amount” in their dictionary, which they unconvincingly derive from the “Arabic” آمار (surely they mean أمور ? Or is this the Persian word آمار “numeration; statistics,” which is not actually Arabic in origin?) .  Perhaps “the day of my reckoning” is intended? Unfortunately we are no closer to a convincing translation.


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