And here’s star philologist and religion scholar Ola Wikander with a guest lesson in Akkadian.

The word of the day is nuḫatimmu. It means “a cook” in Akkadian (or sometimes “a baker”). Maybe something to interest Gordon Ramsay? And wouldn’t it be great if there was an Akkadian version of the TV show MasterChef, named Rab Nuḫatimmê? Taken literally, that term means “top cook”, “best cook”, but it was also used in a slightly different context way back when. In 586 BC, when Jerusalem had surrendered to Babylonian invaders, the victors sacked the city under the command of a certain Nebuzaradan (in Akkadian actually Nabû-zēr-iddina, see 2 Kings 25). The man was in fact “master chef” at the court of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. But this official’s duties had clearly expanded at the time to include a few more aggressive tasks. Maybe the parallel with Gordon Ramsay isn’t so far-fetched after all…

Translated by MR.

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  1. #1 Phillip IV
    August 9, 2010

    But this official’s duties had clearly expanded at the time to include a few more aggressive tasks

    Nebuchadnezzar II: “These dumplings are terrible! They’re so hard, you could use them as catapult projectiles….say, that gives me an idea…”

  2. #2 stripey_cat
    August 9, 2010

    I’m thinking that if you’re worried about poisoning, your chief of kitchen staff needs to be a *very* trusted individual. Going on the medieval model, this makes him a fellow-noble with the usual military background, and potentially a blood relative. Do we know enough about the Akkadian social structure to know the status of senior servants?

  3. #3 Origuy
    August 9, 2010

    Akkadian? Is that where Kajan cooking originated?

  4. #4 Martin R
    August 10, 2010

    Don’t know, us Akkademikks can’t cook.

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