Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online

    Differences between the online edition on Oracc and the print edition

    When preparing a text edition for online publication on Oracc, strict conventions have to be followed to enable a computerized approach of the data. Some of these conventions, however, differ from those used in the books published by the anti-witchcraft team. When using the online anti-witchcraft corpus for research, it is thus important to check the print editions, too! The freely accessible online editions COMPLEMENT the books with their glossaries, search possibilities & unlimited corrections and additions, but do NOT replace them.


    One of the most obvious differences with the print edition is the changed use of brackets. Any sign that is partly preserved, whatever its state of preservation, appears online between half brackets. Thus, where a book may read LUGA[L DINGI]R.MEŠ, online this appears as LUGAL DINGIR.MEŠ. In spite of this, in the online translations the brackets are used as in the printed editions and the given example would thus be translated as “kin[g of the go]ds”.
    Moreover, a visual indication of the approximate number of missing signs on a line can be realized on paper in relation with the previous and/or following lines. Besides, when it is unknown how much is missing to the left and/or right of a fragment, open-ended brackets can be used. In the online version, however, arbitrary spacing had to be provided instead as the texts are spaced by Oracc. The reader who wants to get a more accurate impression of the spacing should check the books, or better still, the hand copies and/or cuneiform tablets themselves.


    In Oracc words have to be either transliterated or transcribed – a combination of syllabic and normalized writings, as, e.g. ú-[šēpišūni], is not allowed. In this case, the word has to be restored syllabically for the online edition, e.g., as ú-[še-pi-šu-ni]; whether this is the spelling that was actually on the tablet remains uncertain. However, only words that are completely preserved or fully restored can be lemmatized.
    Restoring fragmentary words thus means introducing uncertain spellings, but on the other hand, these words enter the glossary and can help us find parallel attestations. Just note that one should not take all restorations at face value.


    The numerous and extensive notes of the printed editions are not repeated online. Variants that are mentioned in the notes may sometimes appear within the relevant transcription instead. For a more thorough treatment of the anti-witchcraft texts, it is advisable to check the relevant books.


    Basically, the online score is created automatically by converting spaces into tabulations. Hence, a row of x-es would automatically be spread over several columns, even when only one or two words are missing. In instances like these, extra hyphens have been added to create longer “words” (thus x-x-x instead of x x x) while at the same time making the tabulated score look more aesthetic.


    The authoritative reference for the text editions is the relevant printed volume of CMAwR.
    If you want to quote CMAwRo, please use the relevant text number and the following author and title reference:
    T. Abusch – D. Schwemer (with M. Luukko – G. Van Buylaere): Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online ( (accessed dd/mm/yyyy).

    © 2014 Greta Van Buylaere


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