Akkadian Word of the Week
šamšum “sun; sun-god; sun-disk; gold”
The Akkadian word šamšum “sun” is often written with the cuneiform logographic sign used to represent the sun god, Šamaš, who is pictured on the right in the image above. The image is a detail from the Šamaš Tablet, composed by the king Nabu-apla-iddina (9th century BCE) to commemorate his rebuilding of the temple to the sun god in the city of Sippar. Šamaš is also the god of justice, and in his right hand, he holds the two traditional symbols of law and divine authority: the ring and rod. In the center of the image is the sun-disk, which also represents Šamaš in his capacity as the sun god.
References to and descriptions of the šamšum in its meaning of “sun” are found in literature, omens, expressions for time, etc., and the word is also used in epithets for deities and rulers.
Sources: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Š (vol. 1), British Museum.