4. Loose Ends

18. Sa arki

Many questions about the Eponym List and eponyms in general remain unsettled. The name of a new eponym often took months to reach outlying regions of the Assyrian empire. In the interim, documents might be dated limmum sa arki PN, which can be translated, eponymy: he who (came) after PN.

The sa arki idiom is one of several formulas that scribes used to date documents when the eponym was unknown or not yet selected. The formulas occasionally are equivocal and have no clear interpretation. Still, in order to track years, a scribe's eponym list calls for a yearly entry, even when the selection process falters.

19. Post-canonical

The Assyrian Empire endured until the destruction of Nineveh circa 612 BC, nearly four decades after the last year named in the Eponym List. Documents during the final years were still dated by eponym, but no listing of the post-canonical names has been found.

The task of resolving the post-canonical sequence is complicated by an overabundance of eponyms. The 50 eponyms found in dated documents have to fit into about 37 years. A recent study of the cohort commander Kakkullanu brings some order to the later eponyms.

20. After effects

Following the sack of the capital Nineveh, documents from the Assyrian provinces reflect the authority of the Babylonian conquerors. The documents are dated by regnal year rather than by eponym.

A study of four Seh Hamad texts from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 600 BC) discloses that the switch from Assyrian to Babylonian practices was uneven. In noting the regnal year, the scribe confused ordinal and cardinal years of the Babylonian king, writing year 2 in one document and 2 years in another. Still, the local Assyrian idiom prevailed in the language and the writing style.

21. Monumental Eponyms

At Assur, a principal city of Assyria, excavators uncovered about 100 stone stelae bearing the names of kings and high-ranking officials. A single name is inscribed on each monument.

Aside from three royal women, all the named grandees served as eponyms. One theory proposes that an imposing line of stelae originally graced the site. Each monument counted as a year, and when they originally stood upright in in order, they appeared like soldiers marching through time.