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"To be ill" in Akkadian:The Verb Salā'u and the Substantive Sili'tu

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Chapter Summary

There are two words for "to be ill" in Akkadian: marāṣu and salā'u. The substantives derived from these verbs, globally meaning "disease", are murṣu and sili'tu. The first pair, marāṣu and murṣu, is widely attested, and the verb has cognates in other Semitic languages, where it also means "to be ill". This chapter concentrate on the second pair. In the Old Babylonian period the verb salā'u is attested with the literal meaning "to sprinkle" in the contexts given in the chapter. In Old Assyrian letters this means: "with evil words": überschütten. In literary texts, sili'tu seems to be no more that a variant of murṣu "disease". Like the latter, it can be removed. The word sil'u means "micturation" according to CDA. This is based on the context, "When his 'sprinkling' has soiled him.

Keywords: Akkadian; old Babylonian period; salā'u; sili'tu



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