I have a text from the Nebonidus Harran inscriptions that I want to specifically reference in my paper. The quote looks like this:

…(But) the sons of Babylon, Borsippa,
15. Nippur, Ur, Erech, Larsa, priests (and)
16. people of the capitals of Akkad, against his great
17. divinity offended, whenever(?) they sought after (anything) they did wickedly,
18. they knew not the wrath, (the resentment), of the king of the gods, (even) Nannar,
19. they forgot their duty, whenever(?) they talked (it was) treason…

How do I input this text? Do I keep it in separate lines like they have it in the inscription? Or do I remove the numbers and put it all together?

I am using the MLA format in my paper. It will be a Research/Argumentative paper.

2 Answers 2


A common way to quote lines of text in continuous running text is to separate the lines by forward slashes:

The Nebonidus Harran inscriptions says: "... (But) the sons of Babylon, Borsippa, / Nippur, Ur, Erech, Larsa, priests (and) / people of the capitals of Akkad ..." (Nebonius Harran 14-16) From this description we can infer that bla bla.

This is appropriate for poems, Bible verses, ancient manuscripts, and inscriptions. I don't know the source, so I made one up; just make sure you add the line numbers to your citation.

But usually only very brief quotations are given in text. If the quotation is longer (than 40 words), then you should cite the text as a block quote, if possible with the lines preserved as in the original.


I looked it up on this site: owl.english.purdue.edu (emphasis mine)

Long quotations

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented ½ inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Only indent the first line of the quotation by an additional quarter inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

While your quote is not in verse form in the sense that they are supposed to be part of a "poetic rhythm" I would argue that these lines are supposed to be kept separate, similar to "the short numbered divisions of a chapter in the Bible or other scripture". Especially the "other scripture" part seems to apply to your usecase.

As you have multiple lines you should therefore keep them on separate lines and keep the numbers.

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