For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Za (cuneiform).

Za (cuneiform)

Cuneiform za, ṣa, and ZA sign. (Assyrian)
Cuneiform sign ZA, 13 line, 3rd character from line end, EA 15, Obverse. (See line drawing below)

The cuneiform sign za is a common use sign in the Amarna letters and the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is used syllabically for ṣa, za, and ZA (ZA as parts of personal names, places, or common words, etc.), and alphabetically for "ṣ" (s), "z", or "a". (All the 4 vowels, a, e, i, o are interchangeable.)

In the 14th century BC Amarna letters, "za" is used in the spelling of the word for "mayor" (city, city-state administrator), Akkadian hazannu.[1] For example, in EA 144 (from Zimreddi of Sidon), obverse, line 5: "man-hazzanu", -Ha-za-nu. Za has a fairly high usage in the vassal states sub-corpus of the Amarna letters.

Epic of Gilgamesh use

For the Epic of Gilgamesh, the following usage is found in Tablets I-XII: ṣa-(79 times); za-(32); ZA-(15 times).[2]


—Cuneiform sign ZA

  • Borger (2003): 851
  • Borger (1981):
  • HZL: 366
phonetic values
  • Sumerian: ZA
  • Akkadian: za, sà, ṣa
  • Hittite:


  1. ^ Rainey, 1970. El Amarna Tablets, 359-379, Glossary:Vocabulary, hazannu, pp. 55-87, p. 64.
  2. ^ Parpola, 1971. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Sign List, p. 165, Sign no. 586, ṣa/za.
  • Held, Schmalstieg, Gertz, 1987. Beginning Hittite. Warren H. Held, Jr, William R. Schmalstieg, Janet E. Gertz, c. 1987, Slavica Publishers, Inc. w/ Glossaries, Sign List, Indexes, etc., 218 pages.
  • 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 through 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)

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Za (cuneiform)
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?