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Late form of cuneiform LÚ sign
Simplified version of Sumerogram (also in texts).
Amarna letter EA 365-(Reverse), Biridiya to Pharaoh, "Furnishing Corvée Workers";[1]
2nd line: .MEŠ-ha-za-nu-ta-meš. (best example on EA 365, reverse)
"Men.(plural)-hazzanu-(pl.)"-('mayor(s)'/'chief magistrate(s)' of a city)[2]
(high resolution exandable photo)

The cuneiform sign (𒇽) is the sign used for "man"; its complement is the symbol for woman: šal (𒊩). Cuneiform , (or as rendered in some texts) is found as a Sumerogram in the Epic of Gilgamesh. It also has a common usage in the 1350 BC Amarna letters as the Sumerogram for "man".

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, is only used as the Sumerogram, -(58 times).[3]

Both , for "man", and šal for "woman" are also considered as determinatives. In the Amarna letters' Rainey's glossary (Rainey 1970) which is the glossary for Akkadian language words, Sumerograms,[4] etc., for Amarna letters EA 359–379, uses for both and are recorded. For the Amarna letters in Rainey's glossary, "LÚ" as the Sumerogram becomes Akkadian amēlu,[5] for "man".

Two styles of "LÚ" sign

The digitized version of the sign (Parpola 1971) is a member of the "3-horizontals" section (listed sign nos. 326-349[6] in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Parpola 1971). Notably the digitized version contains the 3-verticals along the horizontal base; the 3-upper-large-wedges (actually strokes) are digitized with a 4th, at the top of the digital cuneiform representation.

The alternate, abbreviated version of (as seen in the chart above), shows an upward angled base horizontal; the 3-wedges (strokes) are attached to it at approximately a right angle (approximating 90 degrees). Some of the Amarna letters (for example EA 34), show in compacted use, and with a high angle for the horizontal-base stroke. The result is that the entire sign appears triangular, much like the triangular 1+3 stroke sign, triangular, the hi (cuneiform). (Cuneiform hi is also used for he, and three Sumerograms, in Tablets I-XII of the Epic of Giglamesh[7]).


  1. ^ Moran, William L. 1987, 1992, The Amarna Letters, letter EA 365, Furnishing Corvée Workers, p. 363
  2. ^ Rainey, 1970. El Amarna Tablets, 359-379, Glossary:Vocabulary, hazzanu, pp. 55-87, p. 64.
  3. ^ Parpola, 1971. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Sign List, pp. 155-165, Sign No. 330, , p. 160.
  4. ^ Rainey, 1970. Glossary, Sumerograms, p. 98-99. Glossary, pp. 53-94.
  5. ^ Parpola, 1971. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Glossary, pp. 119-145, amēlu, p. 120.
  6. ^ Parpola, 1971. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Sign List, pp. 155-165, Sign Nos. 326-349, pp. 160-161.
  7. ^ Parpola, 1971. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Sign List, pp. 155-165, Sign No. 396, hi, p. 162.
  • Moran, William L. 1987, 1992. The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, 1992. 393 pages.(softcover, ISBN 0-8018-6715-0)
  • Parpola, 1971. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Parpola, Simo, Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, c 1997, Tablet I thru Tablet XII, Index of Names, Sign List, and Glossary-(pp. 119–145), 165 pages.
  • Rainey, 1970. El Amarna Tablets, 359-379, Anson F. Rainey, (AOAT 8, Alter Orient Altes Testament 8, Kevelaer and Neukirchen -Vluyen), 1970, 107 pages.
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