In Royal Inscriptions of Assyria sometimes there are half brackets around phrases. For example:

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In this excerpt from the online version of RIM we see raised half brackets around "ri-ik-DI-DINGIR" in the first line, around the "EN" in the second line, and around "sur" in the third line. The same kind of notation is found in the printed version. What does this notation mean?

What book describes these notations? I have read the paper volumes of RIM and they do not explain the notation in the book. It seems kind of strange that RIM should use a notation and not explain it. Is there a particular volume of RIM that explains how they use notation? (Note that in the preface to the books it says that "Further technical details of the system of transcription is given in the Editorial Manual", but nowhere can I find this so-called 'editorial manual'.)

  • Could you provide a link to that site?
    – Yellow Sky
    Apr 12, 2017 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


The full brackets mean that these signs have been restored by the editor; the tablet is broken and nothing is visible at this point. The half-brackets mean that the enclosed signs are partially damaged, but at least partially legible. This is the standard convention in Assyriology.

  • 1
    Does that mean that the inferred text is ambiguous? In other words, let's imagine there are two possibilities: (1) a symbol is partially obliterated but even so, what is left leaves no ambiguity at all and the reading is certain, and (2) the text is uncertain, but the remaining part of the letters reduce the possibilities, so the reading is likely but not certain. Would the half-brackets be used in both cases (1) and (2), or only in case (2)? Apr 12, 2017 at 22:34
  • 3
    Both are possible. To decide it you have to look at the original cuneiform text (or a hand-copy of it). The half-brackets really only mean: "check the original".
    – fdb
    Apr 12, 2017 at 22:37

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