A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to author Roby Sweet. Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Two More Ancient Ways to Say “Cat”



“Cat” (sa-a) in cuneiform, Neo-Babylonian style.
Just remember that She of Little Talent did this, so it
is probably wrong.
Some cats bring gifts of dead mice. I, Miss Cuddlywumps, prefer gifts of interesting but largely useless tidbits from the distant past. There’s no mess, no horrified humans, and I don’t get that dead-mouse taste in my mouth.

Today’s tidbit is all the way from Mesopotamia in the first millennium BC. (I remind you that last week’s tidbit was from the same area but roughly a thousand years earlier.) I give you two more ancient ways to say “cat”:

In the Akkadian language (c. 900-626 BC) the word for “cat” is shu-ra-a-nu. In Neo-Babylonian (c. 626-539 BC) it is sa-a. Both of these words refer to domestic cats (unlike the Old Babylonian su-a, which referred to the wildcat). This tells us that by some point in the first half of the first millennium BC, domestic cats were living in Mesopotamia.

Bonus Tidbit


There were different words for “wildcat.” In Akkadian it was mu-ra-shu-u, and in Neo-Babylonian it was sa-a-ri.

[She of Little Talent reminds me to tell you that information for this post came from page 45 of David Engels’ fascinating book, Classical Cats (London: Routledge, 1999).]

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