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Ancient Mesopotamian riddles translated

A 3,500-year-old clay tablet found in southern Mesopotamia contains ancient riddles written in the Akkadian language. Thanks to the diligence of some researchers, they have now been translated.

Two of the riddles, now in a fragmentary state, are sexual, crude and difficult to understand.

One of them, whose translation is uncertain, reads:

The deflowered (girl) did not become pregnant

The undeflowered (girl) became pregnant (-What is it?)

The answer, strangely enough, appears to be “auxiliary forces,” a group of soldiers that tend not to be reliable.

Wasserman said that the meaning of this riddle eludes him. “I don’t understand what is really going on,” he said, adding that auxiliary forces are often below-average soldiers, “and they are not really trustworthy, sometimes they run away in the middle of the battle.”

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Story: Owen Jarus, Live Science | Photo: LiveScience

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