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Article

Poetic Line Boundaries in Hittite Epic “Song of Ullikummi”

AULA ORIENTALIS. 2019. Vol. 37. No. 2. P. 275-292.
Maria Molina.

The paper presents one of the possible methods to determine poetic line boundaries in Hittite poetic texts. The method has been developed on the material of “Song of Ullikummi” (Kumarbi cycle). Poetic lines in Hittite texts might have or have not coincided with cuneiform line boundaries — we have no graphic data on this score. This poses a big question for the Hittite verse analysis. It has been suggested before that a poetic line in the Hittite verse coincided with a clause and was based on stress count, 4 stresses per line (2x2), following the Akkadian verse and so called Mesopotamian tradition. Detailed analysis of “Song of Ullikummi” demonstrated, though, that the Hittite verse cannot be described in this manner in at least 60% of the text. This could only mean that segmentation for poetic lines should be different. Typological and graphical evidence was involved in determining the most probable segmentation of the text for poetic lines. Repetitions and assonances applied on the next stage yielded a piece of quite a satisfactory verse where poetic lines differed from clauses. The suggested method is yet to be proven against a bulk quantity of texts, but it has already survived the first application to “Song of Ullikummi”, with stable results throughout the text. The first preliminary results hint at the accentual nature of Hittite verse and at combinations of 3 and 2 stresses per line