Sumerian composition from the Ur III period, featuring
Enmerkar, a historical king of Uruk and the lord of Uruk´s arch-rival city, Aratta.
It forms part of the so-called Geste d´ Uruk, which also includes Enmerkar and
the lord of Aratta, the story of Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh and the Akka of Kish.
In this tale, we have for the first time the name of Enmerkar´s arch-rival, the ruler of Aratta, the priest-king Ensuhgir-ana. The poem begins with a description of the wealth and beauty of Uruk, which is said to be greatly superior to Aratta´s. The lord of Aratta, En-suhgir-ana, nevertheless, challenges Enmerkar, priest-king of Uruk, to surrender to him. To challenge Uruk, Enshukeshdanna declares himself to be the "true bridegroom" of Inanna, the Great Goddess of Love and War, and this offends Enmerkar beyond measure, because he also happens to be the priest-king of Uruk, and as such, both a worshipper and spouse of Inanna. Enraged, Enmerkar replies that it is he who is the legimate bridegroom of the Goddess, he who has the right to Inanna.
Back in Aratta, when En-suhgir-ana hears of Enmerkar´s claim to be the first in Inanna´s graces, he assembles a council in order to decide how to proceed against Enmerkar. A "sorcerer" volunteers, and is dispatched to the surroundings of Uruk, where he dires up the milk supply in the holy stables of Nisaba, the goddess who holds the pure stylus, the laws of the land and who knows of the numbers, the patroness of the learned scribes.
As a result, the milk production stops and the distraught shepherds leave the folds and ask the sun-god Utu for help. The sorcerer goes then to the river. But a wise old woman from Uruk, called Sagburru, arrives and the two specialists in magic begin a contest of transformations. Each throws a metal object into the river. The sorcerer pulls up a carp, whereupon the woman pulls out an eagle which seizes the carp. Next he brings forth a ewe and its lamb, she produces a wolf that devours them both. This pattern is repeated three more times, with Sagburru´s predators carrying off the domestic animals produced by the sorcerer of Aratta. The magician admits defeat. The old woman reprimands him for his interference with the goddess´ milk supply and throws him into the river. When En-suhgir-ana knows the outcome of the contest, he sends a message to Enmerkar, acknowledging his superiority. The text closes with a praise to Nisaba.
Now, let´s see the clues hidden in the myth.
First, no man or woman can ever claim ownership towards the goddess, especially a Great Goddess like Inanna. However, Enmerkar and Enshukeshdanna selfishsly wanted Inanna for themselves only, showing that they could well be kings... but as priests they still had a lot of growing up to do! Repeating a basic principle already stated this site: all things precious cannot be possessed, but shared in an eternal flow. This is the reason why all Great Love Goddesses and Gods belong to all. Can one possess sunshine, wisdom, creatitivy and laughter? One has all these things at one´s reach. To be used, lived up and shared with.
Secondly, a closer look at the personalities of the two kings will show that Enmerkar is the doer, or the magician-king, whereas Enshukeshdanna is the mystic. In High Magic, eventually a magician, or the extrovert mystic, will thread the path to Mystical Vision, whereas the mystic, or the introvert magician, will become more of a doer. In this case though both are unbalanced, it is true, otherwise none would have not started a quarrel they could not win.... because no way would Inanna allow either Uruk or Aratta to be destroyed. The point was to see which city and proud en (priest-king) would concede defeat more graciously.
The magician from Aratta makes a fateful mistake when he tries to starve Uruk by drying up the milk of its cowherds. Indeed, he affronted Inanna indirectly through the goddess Nisaba, and as such a sorceress from Uruk comes into the scene. In the longer composition Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, there is a passage that tells of Aratta´s request for Uruk to find a champion that was not red, or white or yellow, and then is followed by broken lines, but we know that the champions from Uruk arrive in Aratta with a singer and the wise woman. I will say that the champion from Uruk, whose appearance was impossible to match, was not a man, but a woman, who came to Aratta all dressed in skins and with a turban around the head. Because in the longer composion it is also said that after the rites of Dumuzi, the old woman becomes a maiden after a time in the Mountain, and that she marries Enmerkar in the end.
So I will follow my mystical hunch and propose that the old woman was not that old.... but she came to fight Aratta as an old woman because this was the vision the broken Uruk that could never be. We have seen that the Mountain is an euphemism for the Underworld, and the rites of the Dumuzi means the rites of the priest-king. Enmerkar proved himself worthier than En-suhgir-ana in the battle of wits, and as such conquered the victory, but Aratta did not lose the battle, was not destroyed or turned into rubbles. As the goddess would rightly demand.
There is a line which is not mine, but Esharra´s of the Twin Rivers Rising, who knows of these sacred things so well. "Love changes, but doesn´t necessarily has to die". This is my experience of what the sorceress would have said to En-suhgir-ana, the phrase that made him understand that he was also equally loved by the goddess. For when Ensuhkesh concedes defeat in the myth, he does with such grace that we have to bow to his greatness of heart, mind, body and soul.
1-5 Brickwork rising out from the pristine mountain (on the edge of ms. C: of the shining plain) -- Kulaba, city which reaches from heaven to earth; Unug, whose fame like the rainbow reaches up to the sky, a multicolored sheen, as the new moon standing in the heavens.
6-13 Built in magnificence with all the great powers, lustrous mount founded on a favourable day, like moonlight coming up over the land, like bright sunlight radiating over the land, the rear cow and ...... cow coming forth in abundance: all this is Unug, the glory of which reaches the highland and its radiance, genuine refined silver, covers Aratta like a garment, is spread over it like linen.
14-24 At that time the day was lord, the night was sovereign, and Utu was king. Now the name of the lord of Aratta's minister was minister Ansiga-ria. The name of the minister of Enmerkar, the lord of Kulaba, was Namena-tuma. He with the ...... lord, he with the ...... prince; he with the...... lord, he with the...... prince; he with the ...... lord, he with the ...... prince; he with the man born to be a god; he with a man manifest as a god, with the lord of Unug, the lord of Kulaba -- En-suhgir-ana, the lord of Aratta, is to make a contest with him, saying first to the messenger concerning Unug:
25-39 "Let him submit to me, let him bear my yoke. If he submits to me, indeed submits to me, then as for him and me -- he may dwell with Inana in the E-jar, but I dwell with Inana in the E-zagin of Aratta; he may lie with her on the splendid bed, but I lie in sweet slumber with her on the adorned bed, he may see dreams with Inana at night, but I converse with Inana awake. He may feed the geese with barley, but I will definitely not feed the geese with barley. I will ...... the geese's eggs in a basket and ...... their goslings. The small ones into my pot, the large ones into my kettle, and the rulers of the land who submitted will consume, together with me, what remains from the geese." This is what he said to Enmerkar.
40-51 The messenger runs like a wild ram and flies like a falcon. He leaves in the morning and returns already at dusk, like small birds at dawn, he ...... over the open country, like small birds at midnight, he hides himself in the interior of the mountains. Like a throw-stick, he stands at the side. Like a perfect donkey of Cakkan, he runs over (1 ms. has instead: cuts through) the mountains, he dashes like a large, powerful donkey. A slim donkey, eager to run, he rushes forth. A lion in the field at dawn, he lets out roars; like a wolf which has seized a lamb, he runs quickly. The small places he has reached, he fills with ...... for him; the large places he has reached, he ...... boundary (?).
52-69 He entered the presence of the lord in his holy jipar (1 ms. has instead: in his most holy place). (1 ms. adds the line: He entered the presence of Enmerkar in his most holy place.) "My king has sent me to you. The lord of Aratta, En-suhgir-ana, has sent me to you." (some mss. add the lines: "What does your king have to tell me, what does he have to add me? What does En-suhgir-ana have to tell me, what does he have to add me?" "This is what my king said, what he added, this is what En-suhgir-ana said, what he added. ") "This is what my king says: "Let him submit to me, let him bear my yoke. If he submits to me, indeed submits to me, then as for him and I -- he may dwell with Inana in the E-jar, but I dwell with Inana in the E-zagin of Aratta; he may lie with her on the splendid bed, but I lie in sweet slumber with her on the adorned bed, he may see dreams with Inana at night, but I converse with Inana awake. He may feed the geese with barley, but I will definitely not feed the geese with barley. I will ...... the geese's eggs in a basket and ...... their goslings. The small ones into my pot, the large ones into my kettle, and the rulers of the land who submitted will consume, together with me, what remains from the geese.""
70-76 The lord of Unug ...... he is their ......, he is their rudder. ...... he is the neck-stock which clamps down upon them, ...... to the place of its foundation. He is their falcon which flies in the sky, he is their bird-net. The brickwork of the great temple of Aratta ....... ...... in Aratta ...... great ....... ...... bring (?) .......
77-113 He patted it like a lump of clay, he examined it like a clay-tablet: "He may dwell with Inana in the E-zagin of Aratta, but I dwell with her ...... as her earthly companion (?). He may lie with her in sweet slumber on the adorned bed, but I lie on Inana's splendid bed strewn with pure plants. Its back is an ug lion, its front is a pirij lion. The ug lion chases the pirij lion, the pirij lion chases the ug lion. As the ug lion chases the pirij lion and the pirij lion chases the ug lion, the day does not dawn, the night does not pass. I accompany Inana for a journey of 15 leagues and yet Utu the sun-god cannot see my holy crown, when she enters my holy jipar. Enlil has given (?) me the true crown and sceptre. Ninurta, the son of Enlil, held me on his lap as the frame holds the water-skin. Aruru, the sister of Enlil, extended her right breast to me, extended her left breast to me. When I go up to the great shrine, the mistress screeches like an Anzud chick, and other times when I go there, even though she is not a duckling, she shrieks like one. She ...... from the city of her birth. No city was made to be so well built as the city of Unug (?). It is Unug where Inana dwells and as regards Aratta, what does it have to do with this? It is brick-built Kulaba where she lives, and as regards the mount of the lustrous me, what can it do about this? For five or ten years she will definitely not go to Aratta. Since the great holy lady of the E-ana took counsel with me (?) about whether to go also to Aratta, since she let me know (1 ms. has instead: told me) about this matter, I know that she will not go to Aratta. He who has nothing shall not feed the geese with barley, but I will feed the geese with barley. I will ...... the geese's eggs in a basket and ...... their goslings. The small ones into my pot, the old ones into my kettle, and the rulers of the Land (some mss. has instead: of Sumer) who submitted will consume, together with me, what remains from the geese."
114-127 The messenger of Enmerkar reached En-suhgir-ana, reached his holy jipar, his most holy place, the most holy place where he was sitting, its ....... En-suhgir-ana asked for instructions, he searched for an answer. He summoned the icib priests, the lumah priests, the gudu priests, and girsiga attendants who dwell in the jipar and took counsel with them. "What shall I say to him? What shall I say to him? What shall I say to the lord of Unug, the lord of Kulaba? His bull stood up to fight my bull and the bull of Unug has defeated it. His man has been struggling with my man and the man of Unug has defeated him. His warrior (?) has been struggling with my warrior (?) and the warrior (?) of Unug ...... him."
128-134 The convened assembly answered him straightforwardly: "It was you who first sent a boastful (?) message to Unug for Enmerkar. You cannot hold back (?) Enmerkar, you have to hold back (?) yourself. Calm down; your heart will prompt you to achieve nothing, as far as can be known (?)." "If my city becomes a ruin mound, then I will be a potsherd of it, but I will never submit to the lord of Unug, the lord of Kulaba."
135-150 A sorcerer whose skill was that of a man of Hamazu, Ur-jirnuna, whose skill was that of a man of Hamazu, who came over to Aratta after Hamazu had been destroyed, practiced (?) sorcery in the inner chamber at the E-jipar. He said to minister Ansiga-ria: "My lord, why is it that the great fathers of the city, the founders in earlier times (?), do not ......, do not give advice. I will make Unug dig canals. I will make Unug submit to the shrine of Aratta. After the word of Unug ...... , I will make the territories from below to above, from the sea to the cedar mountain, from above to the mountain of the aromatic cedars, submit to my great army. Let Unug bring its own goods by boat, let it tie up boats as a transport flotilla towards the E-zagin of Aratta." The minister Ansiga-ria rose up in his city , he .......
151-162......Ansiga-ria ......, if only ....... "My lord, why is it that the great fathers of the city, the founders in earlier times (?), do not ......, do not give advice. I will make Unug dig canals. I will make Unug submit to the shrine of Aratta. After the word of Unug ......, I will make the territories from below to above, from the sea to the cedar mountain, from above to the mountain of the aromatic cedars, submit to my great army. Let Unug bring its own goods by boat, let it tie up boats as a transport flotilla towards the E-zagin of Aratta."
163-169 This made the lord extremely happy, so he gave five minas of gold to him, he gave five minas of silver to him. He promised him that he would be allotted fine food to eat, he promised him that he would be allotted fine drink to drink. "When their men are taken captive, your life ...... happiness (?) in your hand (?) prosperity (?)", he promised to him.
170-184 The sorcerer, farmer of the best seeds, directed his steps towards Erec, the city of Nisaba, and reached the animal pen, the house where the cows live. The cow trembled with fear at him in the animal pen. He made the cow speak so that it conversed with him as if it were a human being: "Cow, who will eat your butter? Who will drink your milk?" "My butter will be eaten by Nisaba, my milk will be drunk by Nisaba. My cheese, skillfully produced bright crown, was made fitting for the great dining hall, the dining hall of Nisaba. Until my butter is delivered from the holy animal pen, until my milk is delivered from the holy byre, the steadfast wild cow Nisaba, the first-born of Enlil, will not impose any levy on the people." "Cow, your butter to your shining horn; your milk to your back." So the cow's butter was ...... to its shining horn; its milk was ...... to its back .......
185-197 He reached the holy byre, the byre of Nisaba. The goat trembled with fear at him in the byre. He made the goat speak so that it conversed with him as if it were a human being. "Goat, who will eat your butter? Who will drink your milk?" "My butter will be eaten by Nisaba, my milk will be drunk by Nisaba. My cheese, skilfully produced bright crown, was made fitting for the great dining hall, the dining hall of Nisaba. Until my butter is delivered from the holy animal pen, until my milk is delivered from the holy byre, the steadfast wild cow Nisaba, the first-born of Enlil, will not impose any levy on the people." "Goat, your butter to your shining horn, your milk to your back." So the goat's butter was ...... to its shining horn; its milk was made to depart to its back.
198-205 On that day the animal pen and the byre were turned into a house of silence; they were dealt a disaster. There was no milk in the udder of the cow, the day darkened for the calf, its young calf was hungry and wept bitterly. There was no milk in the udder of the goat; the day darkened for the kid. The kid and its goat lay starving, its life ....... The cow spoke bitterly to its calf; The goat ...... to its kid. The holy churn was empty, ...... was hungry, ...... lay starving.
206-221 On that day the animal pen and the byre were turned into a house of silence; they were dealt a disaster. The cow-herd dropped his staff from his hand: he was shocked. The shepherd hung the crook at his side and wept bitterly. The shepherd boy did not enter (?) the byre and animal pen, but took another way; the milk carrier did not sing loudly, but took another road. The cow-herd and shepherd of Nisaba, sons born of the same mother, were brought up in the animal pen and byre. The name of the first one was Mac-gula, the name of the second one was Ur-edina. At the great gate, facing sunrise, the place marvelled at by the land, both of them crouched in the debris and appealed to Utu for help : "The sorcerer from Aratta entered the animal pen. He made the milk scarce, so the young calves could not get any. In the animal pen and the byre he caused distress; he made the butter and milk scarce 1 ms. has instead: ...... diminished ......, ...... he made the milk of the goat scarce. He threw its ......, ...... was dealt a disaster."
222-227...... approached. ...... caused damage (?)„„....... ...... turned toward Erec. ...... the Euphrates ...... the river of the gods. She made her way to the city whose destiny was decreed by An and Enlil ....... Wise Woman Sajburu ...... hand ...... for him.
228-231 Both of them threw fish spawn (?) into the river. The sorcerer made a giant carp come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. Wise Woman Sajburu, however, made an eagle come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. The eagle seized the giant carp and fled to the mountains (1 ms. has instead: The eagle seized the giant carp out of the waves and went up to the sky).
232-235 A second time they threw fish spawn (?) into the river. The sorcerer made a ewe and its lamb come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. Wise Woman Sajburu, however, made a wolf come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. The wolf seized the ewe and its lamb and dragged it to the wide desert.
236-239 A third time they threw fish spawn (?) into the river. The sorcerer made a cow and its calf come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. Wise Woman Sajburu, however, made a lion come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. The lion seized the cow and its calf and took (some mss. have instead: dragged) them to the reedbeds.
240-243 A fourth time they threw fish spawn (?) into the river. The sorcerer made an ibex and a wild sheep come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. Wise Woman Sajburu, however, made a mountain leopard come out (1 ms. has instead: arise) from the water. The leopard seized the ibex and the wild sheep and took them to the mountains.
244-248 A fifth time they threw fish spawn (?) into the river. The sorcerer made a gazelle kid come out from the water. Wise Woman Sajburu, however, made a tiger and a ......-lion come out from the water. The tiger and the ......-lion seized the gazelle kid and took (1 ms. has instead: dragged) them to the forest. What happened made the face of the sorcerer darkened, made his mind confused.
249-254 Wise Woman Sajburu said to him: "Sorcerer, you do have magical powers, but where is your sense? How on earth could you think of going to do sorcery at Erec, which is the city of Nisaba, a city whose destiny was decreed by An and Enlil, the primeval city, the beloved city of Ninlil?"
255-263 The sorcerer answered her: "I went there without knowing all about this. I acknowledge your superiority -- please do not be bitter." He pleaded, he prayed to her: "Set me free, my sister; set me free. Let me go in peace to my city. Let me return safely to Aratta, the mount of the lustrous me. I will make known (1 ms. has instead: declare) your greatness in all the lands. I will sing your praise in Aratta, the mount of the lustrous me."
264-273 Wise Woman Sajburu answered to him: "You have caused distress in the animal pen and the byre; you have made the butter and milk scarce there. You have removed the lunch-table, the morning- and evening-table. You have cut off butter and milk from the evening meal of the great dining hall, ......... distress ...... . Your sin that butter and milk ...... cannot be forgiven. Nanna the king ...... the byre ...... milk; ...... established that it was a capital offence and I am not pardoning your life." Wise Woman Sajburu ...... her decision about the sorcerer in the assembly (?). She threw her prisoner from the bank of the Euphrates. She seized from him his life-force and then returned to her city, Erec.
274-280 Having heard this matter, En-suhgir-ana sent a man to Enmerkar: "You are the beloved lord of Inana, you alone are exalted. Inana has truly chosen you for her holy lap, you are her beloved. From the west to the east, you are the great lord, and I am only second to you; From the moment of conception I was not your equal, you are the older brother. I cannot match you ever."
281-283 In the contest between Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana, Enmerkar proved superior to En-suhgir-ana. Nisaba, be praised!
Grandiloquent lord of heaven and earth, self-reliant, father Enki, engendered by a bull, begotten by a wild bull, cherished by Enlil the Great Mountain, beloved by holy An, king, mes tree planted in the Abzu, rising over all lands; great dragon who stands in Eridug, whose shadow covers heaven and earth, a grove of vines extending over the Land, Enki, lord of plenty of the Anuna gods, Nudimmud, mighty one of the E-kur, strong one of heaven and earth! Your great house is founded in the Abzu, the great mooring-post of heaven and earth. Enki, from whom a single glance is enough to unsettle the heart of the mountains; wherever bison are born, where stags are born, where ibex are born, where wild goats are born, in meadows ......, in hollows in the heart of the hills, in green ...... unvisited by man, you have fixed your gaze on the heart of the Land like a halhal reed.
Counting the days and putting the months in their houses, so as to complete the years and to submit the completed years to the assembly for a decision, taking decisions to regularise the days: father Enki, you are the king of the assembled people. You have only to open your mouth for everything to multiply and for plenty to be established. Your branches ...... green with their fruit ......, ...... do honour to the gods. ...... in its forests is like a fleecy garment. Good sheep and good lambs do honour to ....... When ...... the prepared fields, ...... will accumulate stockpiles and stacks. ...... there is oil, there is milk, produced by the sheepfold and cow-pen. The shepherd sweetly sings his rustic song, the cowherd spends the day rocking his churns. Their products would do honour to the late lunches in the gods' great dining hall.
Your word fills the young
man's heart with vigour, so that like a thick-horned bull he butts about in the
courtyard. Your word bestows loveliness on the young woman's head, so that the people
in their settled cities gaze at her in wonder.
2 lines unclear
Enlil, the Great Mountain, has
commissioned you to gladden the hearts of lords and rulers and wish them well. Enki, lord of prosperity, lord of wisdom, lord, the beloved of An, the ornament of Eridug, who establish
commands and decisions, who well understands the decreeing of fates: you close
up the days ......, and make the months enter their houses. You bring down
......, you have reached their number. You make the people dwell in their
dwelling places ......., you make them follow their herdsman .......
2 lines unclear
You turn weapons away from their houses ......, you make the people safe in their dwellings .......
When father Enki goes forth to the inseminated people, good seed will come
forth. When Nudimmud goes forth to the good pregnant
ewes, good lambs will be born; when he goes forth to the fecund cows, good
calves will be born; whe he goes forth to the good pregnant goats, good kids will
be born. If you go forth to the cultivated fields, to the good germinating
fields, stockpiles and stacks can be accumulated on the high plain. If you go
forth to the parched areas of the Land,
2 lines missing or unclear
Enki, the king of the Abzu, justly praises himself in his majesty: "My father, the king of heaven and earth, made me famous in heaven and earth. My elder brother, the king of all the lands, gathered up all the divine powers and placed them in my hand. I brought the arts and crafts from the E-kur, the house of Enlil, to my Abzu in Eridug. I am the good semen, begotten by a wild bull, I am the first born of An. I am a great storm rising over the great earth, I am the great lord of the Land. I am the principal among all rulers, the father of all the foreign lands. I am the big brother of the gods, I bring prosperity to perfection. I am the seal-keeper of heaven and earth. I am the wisdom and understanding of all the foreign lands. With An the king, on An's dais, I oversee justice. With Enlil, looking out over the lands, I decree good destinies. He has placed in my hands the decreeing of fates in the 'Place where the sun rises'. I am cherished by Nintud. I am named with a good name by Ninhursaja. I am the leader of the Anuna gods. I was born as the firstborn son of holy An."
After the lord had proclaimed his greatness, after the great prince had eulogised himself, the Anuna gods stood there in prayer and supplication:
"Praise be to Enki, the much-praised lord who controls all the arts and crafts, who takes decisions!"
In a state of high delight Enki, the king of the Abzu, again justly praises himself in his majesty: "I am the lord, I am one whose word is reliable, I am one who excels in everything. "
"At my command, sheepfolds have been built, cow-pens have been fenced off. When I approach heaven, a rain of abundance rains from heaven. When I approach earth, there is a high carp-flood. When I approach the green meadows, at my word stockpiles and stacks are accumulated. I have built my house, a shrine, in a pure place, and named it with a good name. I have built my Abzu, a shrine, in ......, and decreed a good fate for it. The shade of my house extends over the ...... pool. By my house the suhur carp dart among the honey plants, and the ectub carp wave their tails among the small gizi reeds. The small birds chirp in their nests. "
"The lords ...... to
me. I am Enki! They stand before me, praising me. The abgal
priests and abrig officials who ...... stand before me ...... distant
days. The enkum and ninkum officiants organise ....... They
purify the river for me, they ...... the interior of the shrine for me. In my
Abzu, sacred songs and incantations resound for me. My barge 'Crown', the 'Stag
of the Abzu', transports me there most delightfully. It glides swiftly for me
through the great marshes to wherever I have decided, it is obedient to me. The
stroke-callers make the oars pull in perfect unison. They sing for me pleasant
songs, creating a cheerful mood on the river. Nijir-sig,
the captain of my barge, holds the golden sceptre for me. I am Enki!
He is in command of my boat 'Stag of the Abzu'. I am the lord! I will travel! I
am Enki! I will go forth into my Land! I, the lord who
determines the fates, ......,"
4 lines unclear
"I will admire its green cedars. Let the lands of Meluha, Magan and Dilmun look upon me, upon Enki. Let the Dilmun boats be loaded (?) with timber. Let the Magan boats be loaded sky-high. Let the magilum boats of Meluha transport gold and silver and bring them to Nibru for Enlil, king of all the lands."
He presented animals to those who have no city, to those who have no houses, to the Martu nomads.
The Anuna gods address affectionately the great prince who has travelled in his Land: "Lord who rides upon the great powers, the pure powers, who controls the great powers, the numberless powers, foremost in all the breadth of heaven and earth; who received the supreme powers in Eridug, the holy place, the most esteemed place, Enki, lord of heaven and earth -- praise!"
All the lords and rulers,
the incantation-priests of Eridug and the linen-clad
priests of Sumer, perform the purification rites of the
Abzu for the great prince who has travelled in his land; for father Enki they stand guard in the holy place, the most esteemed place.
They ...... the chambers ......, they ...... the emplacements, they purify the
great shrine of the Abzu ....... They bring there the tall juniper, the pure
plant. They organise the holy ...... in the great music room ...... of Enki. Skilfully they build the main staircase of Eridug on the Good Quay. They prepare the sacred uzga
shrine, where they utter endless prayers.
7 lines missing, damaged or unclear
For Enki, ...... squabbling together, and the suhurmac carp dart among the honey plants, again fighting amongst themselves for the great prince. The ectub carp wave their tails among the small gizi reeds.
The lord, the great ruler
of the Abzu issues instructions on board the 'Stag of the Abzu' -- the great
emblem erected in the Abzu, providing protection, its shade extending over the
whole land and refreshing the people, the principal foundation (?), the pole
planted in the ...... marsh, rising high over all the foreign lands. The noble
captain of the lands, the son of Enlil, holds in his hand
the sacred punt-pole, a mes tree ornamented in the Abzu which received
the supreme powers in Eridug, the holy place, the most
esteemed place. The hero proudly lifts his head towards the Abzu.
6 lines missing or unclear
Sirsir ......, the boatman of the barge, ...... the boat for the lord. Nijir-sig, the captain of the barge, holds the holy sceptre for the lord. The fifty lahama deities of the subterranean waters speak affectionately to him. The stroke-callers, like heavenly gamgam birds, .......
The intrepid king, father Enki ...... in the Land. Prosperity was made to burgeon in heaven and on earth for the great prince who travels in the Land. Enki decreed its fate:
"Sumer, Great Mountain, land of heaven and earth, trailing glory, bestowing powers on the people from sunrise to sunset: your powers are superior powers, untouchable, and your heart is complex and inscrutable. Like heaven itself, your good creative force (?), in which gods too can be born, is beyond reach. Giving birth to kings who put on the good diadem, giving birth to lords who wear the crown on their heads -- your lord, the honoured lord, sits with An the king on An's dais. Your king, the Great Mountain, father Enlil, the father of all the lands, has blocked you impenetrably (?) like a cedar tree. The Anuna, the great gods, have taken up dwellings in your midst, and consume their food in your giguna shrines with their single trees. Household Sumer, may your sheepfolds be built and your cattle multiply, may your giguna touch the skies. May your good temples reach up to heaven. May the Anuna determine the destinies in your midst."
Then he proceeded to the sanctuary of Urim. Enki, lord of the Abzu, decreed its fate:
"City which possesses all that is fitting, bathed by water! sturdy bull, altar of abundance that strides across the mountains, rising like the hills, forest of hacur cypresses with broad shade, self-confident! May your perfect powers be well-directed. The Great Mountain Enlil has pronounced your name great in heaven and on earth. City whose fate Enki has decreed, sanctuary of Urim, you shall rise high to heaven!"
Then he proceeded to the land of Meluha. Enki, lord of the Abzu, decreed its fate:
(Egypt? KMT = Black land) may your trees be great trees, may your forests
be forests of highland mes trees! Chairs made from them will grace royal
palaces! May your reeds be great reeds, may they ......! Heroes shall ......
them on the battlefield as weapons! May your bulls be great bulls, may they be
bulls of the mountains! May their bellowing be the bellowing of wild bulls of
the mountains! The great powers of the gods shall be made perfect for you! May
the francolins of the mountains wear cornelian beards! May your birds all be
peacocks! May their cries grace royal palaces! May all your silver be gold! May
all your copper be tin-bronze! Land, may all you possess be plentiful! May your
people ......! May your men go forth like bulls against their fellow men!"
2 lines unclear
He cleansed and purified the land of Dilmun. He placed Ninsikila in charge of it. He gave ...... for the fish spawn, ate its ...... fish, bestowed palms on the cultivated land, ate its dates. ...... Elam and Marhaci ....... ...... to devour ....... The king endowed with strength by Enlil destroyed their houses, demolished (?) their walls. He brought their silver and lapis-lazuli, their treasure, to Enlil, king of all the lands, in Nibru.
Enki presented animals to those who have no city, who have no houses, to the Martu nomads.
After he had turned his gaze from there, after father Enki had lifted his eyes across the Euphrates, he stood up full of lust like a rampant bull, lifted his penis, ejaculated and filled the Tigris with flowing water. He was like a wild cow mooing for its young in the wild grass, its scorpion-infested cow-pen. The Tigris ...... at his side like a rampant bull. By lifting his penis, he brought a bridal gift. The Tigris rejoiced in its heart like a great wild bull, when it was born ....... It brought water, flowing water indeed: its wine will be sweet. It brought barley, mottled barley indeed: the people will eat it. It filled the E-kur, the house of Enlil, with all sorts of things. Enlil was delighted with Enki, and Nibru was glad. The lord put on the diadem as a sign of lordship, he put on the good crown as a sign of kingship, touching the ground on his left side. Plenty came forth out of the earth for him.
Enki, the lord of the destinies, Enki, the king of the Abzu, placed in charge of all this him who holds a sceptre in his right hand, him who with glorious mouth submits to verification the devouring force of Tigris and Euphrates, while prosperity pours forth from the palace like oil -- Enbilulu, the inspector of waterways.
He called the marshes and
gave them the various species of carp, he spoke to the reedbeds and bestowed on
them the old and new growths of reeds.
2 lines missing
He issued a challenge
....... Enki placed in charge of all this him from whose
net no fish escapes, him from whose trap no living thing escapes, him from
whose bird-net no bird escapes,
1 line unclear
-- ......, who loves fish.
The lord established a
shrine, a holy shrine, whose interior is elaborately constructed. He
established a shrine in the sea, a holy shrine, whose interior is elaborately constructed.
The shrine, whose interior is a tangled thread, is beyond understanding. The
shrine's emplacement is situated by the constellation the Field, the holy upper
shrine's emplacement faces towards the Chariot constellation. Its terrifying
awesomeness is a rising wave, its splendour is fearsome. The Anuna
gods dare not approach it. ...... to refresh their hearts, the palace rejoices.
The Anuna stand by with prayers and supplications. They
set up a great altar for Enki in the E-engura,
for the lord ....... The great prince ....... ...... the pelican of the sea.
1 line unclear
He filled the E-kur, the house of Enlil, with goods of all sorts. Enlil was delighted with Enki, and Nibru was glad. Enki placed in charge of all this, over the wide extent of the sea, her who sets sail ...... in the holy shrine, who induces sexual intercourse ......, who ...... over the enormous high flood of the subterranean waters, the terrifying waves, the inundation of the sea ......, who comes forth from the ......, the mistress of Sirara, ...... -- Nance.
He called to the rain of the heavens. He ...... as floating clouds. He made ...... rising at the horizon. He turned the mounds into fields ....... Enki placed in charge of all this him who rides on the great storms, who attacks with lightning bolts, the holy bar which blocks the entrance to the interior of heaven, the son of An, the canal inspector of heaven and earth -- Ickur, the bringer of plenty, the son of An.
He organised ploughs, yokes and teams. The great prince Enki bestowed the horned oxen that follow ......, he opened up the holy furrows, and made the barley grow on the cultivated fields. Enki placed in charge of them the lord who wears the diadem, the ornament of the high plain, him of the implements, the farmer of Enlil -- Enkimdu, responsible for ditches and dykes.
The lord called the cultivated fields, and bestowed on them mottled barley. Enki made chickpeas, lentils and ...... grow. He heaped up into piles the early, mottled and innuha varieties of barley. Enki multiplied the stockpiles and stacks, and with Enlil's help he enhanced the people's prosperity. Enki placed in charge of all this her whose head and body are dappled, whose face is covered in syrup, the mistress who causes sexual intercourse, the power of the Land, the life of the black-headed -- Acnan, the good bread of the whole world.
The great prince fixed a string to the hoe, and organised brick moulds. He penetrated the ...... like precious oil. Enki placed in charge of them him whose sharp-bladed hoe is a corpse-devouring snake that ......, whose brick mould in place is a tidy stack of hulled grain for the ewes -- Kulla, who ...... bricks in the Land.
He tied down the strings and coordinated them with the foundations, and with the power of the assembly he planned a house and performed the purification rituals. The great prince put down the foundations, and laid the bricks. Enki placed in charge of all this him whose foundations once laid do not sag, whose good houses once built do not collapse (?), whose vaults reach up into the heart of the heavens like a rainbow -- Mucdama, Enlil's master builder.
He raised a holy crown over the upland plain. He fastened a lapis-lazuli beard to the high plain, and made it wear a lapis-lazuli headdress. He made this good place perfect with grasses and herbs in abundance. He multiplied the animals of the high plain to an appropriate degree, he multiplied the ibex and wild goats of the pastures, and made them copulate. Enki placed in charge of them the hero who is the crown of the high plain, who is the king of the countryside, the great lion of the high plain, the muscular, the hefty, the burly strength of Enlil -- Cakkan, the king of the hills.
He built the sheepfolds, carried out their cleaning, made the cow-pens, bestowed on them the best fat and cream, and brought luxury to the gods' dining places. He made the plain, created for grasses and herbs, achieve prosperity. Enki placed in charge of all this the king, the good provider of E-ana, the friend of An, the beloved son-in-law of the youth Suen, the holy spouse of Inana the mistress, the lady of the great powers who allows sexual intercourse in the open squares of Kulaba -- Dumuzid-ucumgal-ana, the friend of An.
He filled the E-kur, the house of Enlil, with possessions. Enlil was delighted with Enki and Nibru was glad. He demarcated borders and fixed boundaries. For the Anuna gods, Enki situated dwellings in cities and disposed agricultural land into fields. Enki placed in charge of the whole of heaven and earth the hero, the bull who comes out of the hacur forest bellowing truculently, the youth Utu, the bull standing triumphantly, audaciously, majestically, the father of the Great City (an expression for the underworld), the great herald in the east of holy An, the judge who searches out verdicts for the gods, with a lapis-lazuli beard, rising from the horizon into the holy heavens -- Utu, the son born by Ningal.
He picked out the tow from the fibres, and adapted it for rags (?). Enki greatly perfected the task of women. For Enki, the people ...... in suluhu garments. Enki placed in charge of them the honour of the palace, the dignity of the king -- Uttu, the conscientious woman, the silent one.
Then, alone lacking any functions, the great woman of heaven, Inana, lacking any functions -- Inana came in to see her father Enki in his house, weeping to him, and making her complaint to him:
"Enlil left it in your hands to confirm the functions of the Anuna, the great gods. Why did you treat me, the woman, in an exceptional manner? I am holy Inana -- where are my functions? "
"Aruru, Enlil's sister, Nintud, the lady of giving birth, is to get the holy birth-bricks as her prerogative. She is to carry off the lancet for umbilical cords, the special sand and leeks. She is to get the sila-jara bowl of translucent lapis lazuli (in which to place the afterbirth). She is to carry off the holy consecrated ala vessel. She is to be the midwife of the land! The birthing of kings and lords is to be in her hands."
"My illustrious sister, holy Nininsina, is to get the jewellery of cuba stones. She is to be An's mistress. She is to stand beside An and speak to him whenever she desires. "
"My illustrious sister, holy Ninmug, is to get the golden chisel and the silver burin. She is to carry off her big flint antasura blade. She is to be the metal-worker of the Land. The fitting of the good diadem when a king is born and the crowning with the crown when a lord is born are to be in her hands. "
"My illustrious sister, holy Nisaba, is to get the measuring-reed. The lapis-lazuli measuring tape is to hang over her arm. She is to proclaim all the great powers. She is to demarcate boundaries and mark borders. She is to be the scribe of the Land. The planning of the gods' meals is to be in her hands."
"Nance, the august lady, who rests her feet on the holy pelican, is to be the fisheries inspector of the sea. She is to be responsible for accepting delectable fish and delicious birds from there to go to Nibru for her father Enlil. "
"But why did you treat me, the woman, in an exceptional manner? I am holy Inana -- where are my functions?"
Enki answered his daughter, holy Inana : "How have I disparaged you? Goddess, how have I disparaged you? How can I enhance you? Maiden Inana, how have I disparaged you? How can I enhance you? I made you speak as a woman with pleasant voice. I made you go forth ....... I covered ...... with a garment. I made you exchange its right side and its left side. I clothed you in garments of women's power. I put women's speech in your mouth. I placed in your hands the spindle and the hairpin. I ...... to you women's adornment. I settled on you the staff and the crook, with the shepherd's stick beside them. "
"Maiden Inana, how have I disparaged you? How can I enhance you? Amongst the ominous ocurrences in the hurly-burly of battle, I shall make you speak vivifying words; and in its midst, although you are not an arabu bird (a bird of ill omen), I shall make you speak ill-omened words also. I made you tangle straight threads; maiden Inana, I made you straighten out tangled threads. I made you put on garments, I made you dress in linen. I made you pick out the tow from the fibres, I made you spin with the spindle. I made you colour tufted (?) cloth with coloured threads."
"Inana, you heap up human heads like piles of dust, you sow heads like seed. Inana, you destroy what should not be destroyed; you create what should not be created. You remove the cover from the cem drum of lamentations, Maiden Inana, while shutting up the tigi and adab instruments in their homes. You never grow weary with admirers looking at you. Maiden Inana, you know nothing of tying the ropes on deep wells."
"But now, the heart
has overflowed, the Land is restored; Enlil's heart has
overflowed, the Land is restored. In his overflowing heart of mankind,"
4 lines unclear
"...... lapis-lazuli headdress ...... is your prerogative, ...... is your prerogative, ......; is your prerogative, ...... is your prerogative."
10 lines unclear
Praise be to father Enki.
WHEN on high the Heavens
had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
Nothing but ‘Primordial Apsu’ the Begetter, [Fresh Water]
and ‘Mummu Tiamat’, She Who Bore them All, [Salt Water]
—their waters commingling as a single body—
No reed hut had been
matted, no marsh land had appeared,
Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined—
THEN it was that the Gods were formed within Them.
Lahmu [‘mud’] and Lahamu [‘Mrs. Mud’] were brought forth,
by name they were called
Before they had grown in age and stature.
Anshar [‘Upper Firmament’] and Kishar [‘Lower Firmament’] were
surpassing the others.
They prolonged the days, added on the years.
Anu was their heir, the
rival of his fathers;
Yes, Anu, Anshar’s first-born, was his equal.
He begot in his image
Nudimmud [ Ea ].
This Nudimmud was the master of his fathers;
Of broad wisdom, understanding, mighty in strength,
Mightier by far than his grandfather Anshar.
He had no rival among the gods, his brothers.
The divine brothers
They disturbed Tiamat as the surged back and forth,
Yes, they troubled the mood of Tiamat
By their hilarity in the Abode of Heaven.
Apsu could not lessen their clamor
And Tiamat was speechless at their ways.
Their doings were loathsome to [ ].
Unsavory were their ways; they were overbearing.
Then Apsu, the Begetter
of the Great Gods,
Cried out, addressing Mummu his Vizier:
“O Mummu, my Vizier, who makes my spirit rejoice,
Come hither and let us go to Tiamat!”
They went and sat down before Tiamat,
Exchanging counsel about the gods, their children.
Apsu, opening his mouth, said to Resplendent Tiamat:
“Their ways are truly loathsome to me,
By day I find no relief, nor sleep at night.
I will destroy, I will wreck their ways,
So that quiet may be restored. Let us have rest!”
As soon as Tiamat heard this,
She was angry and called out to her husband;
she cried out aggrieved as she raged all alone,
Injecting woe into her mood:
“What? Should we destroy that which we have built?
Their ways indeed are most troublesome, but let us attend kindly!”
Then answered Mummu, giving counsel to Apsu;
Ill-wishing and ungracious was Mummu’s advice:
“Do destroy, my father, the mutinous ways.
Then you will have relief by day and rest at night!”
When Apsu heard this, his face grew radiant
Because of the evil he planned against the gods his sons.
As for Mummu, he embraced him by the neck
As he sat down on his knees to kiss him.
Now all that they had planned between them was
repeated to the Gods, their children.
When the Gods heard, they were upset,
then they lapsed into silence and remained speechless.
Ea-Nuddimud, surpassing in wisdom, accomplished, resourceful,
Ea the All-Wise, saw through their scheme.
A master design against it he devised and set up,
Made artful his spell against it...
... Having fettered Apsu he slew him...
[Tiamat appoints Kingu to
be her champion to avenge Apsu and
conquer the Younger Gods. The Younger Gods respond by
deciding to seek their own leader and Champion.]...
..All the Anunnaki
their lips closed tight they sat in silence,
“No god (they thought) can go to battle and
Facing Tiamat, escape with his life.”
Lord Anshar, Father of the Gods, arose in grandeur,
And, having pondered in his heart, said to the Anunnaki:
“He whose strength is potent shall be our Avenger,
He who is keen in battle, Marduk, the Hero!”...
[Marduk replies to the invitation:]
...“Creator of the Gods, destiny of the Great Gods,
If I indeed, as your Avenger,
Am to vanquish Tiamat and save your lives,
Set up the Assembly, proclaim supreme my destiny!
When you have sat down together rejoicing in Ubshukinna
Let my word, instead of you, determine the fates.
Unalterable shall be what I may bring into being;
Neither recalled nor changed shall be the command of my lips.”
...They made ready to
leave on their journey,
All the Great Gods who dtermine the fates.
They entered before Anshar, filling Ubshukinna.
They kissed one another in the Assembly.
They ate festive bread, poured the wine,
They wetted their drinking tubes with sweet intoxicant.
As they drank the strong drink, their bodies swelled.
They became very languid as their spirits rose.
For Marduk the Avenger they fixed the decrees.
They erected for him a princely throne.
Facing his fathers, he sat down, presiding....
Gilgamesh ignores the elders and goes to war against Agga of Kish: Gilgamesh looses
1-8Envoys of Aga, the son of En-me-barage-si, came from Kic to Gilgamesh in Unug. Gilgamesh presented the issue before the elders of his city, carefully choosing his words: "There are wells to be finished, many wells of the Land yet to be finished; there are shallow wells of the Land yet to be finished, there are wells to deepen and hoisting gear to be completed. We should not submit to the house of Kic! Should we not smite it with weapons? (2 mss. have instead: Let us smite it with weapons!)"
9-14 In the convened assembly, his city's elders answered Gilgamesh: "There are indeed wells to be finished, many wells of the Land yet to be finished; there are shallow wells of the Land yet to be finished, there are wells to deepen and hoisting gear to be completed. So we should submit to the house of Kic. We should not smite it with weapons! (1 ms. has instead: So should we not submit to the house of Kic? Should we smite it with weapons?)"
15-23 Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, placing his trust in Inana, did not take seriously the advice of his city's elders. Gilgamesh (1 ms. adds: , the lord of Kulaba,) presented the issue again, this time before the able-bodied men of his city, carefully choosing his words: "There are wells to be finished, many wells of the Land yet to be finished; there are shallow wells of the Land yet to be finished, there are wells to deepen and hoisting gear to be completed. Never before have you submitted to the house of Kic. Should you not smite it with weapons? (1 ms. has instead: We should not submit to the house of Kic. We should smite it with weapons!)"
24-29 In the convened assembly, his city's able-bodied men answered Gilgamesh: ""Standing on duty and sitting in attendance, escorting the king's son, and forever grasping the donkey's reins -- who has that much breath?", as the saying goes. You old men should not submit to the house of Kic! Should we young men not smite it with weapons?
30-39 "The great gods created the structure of Unug, the handiwork of the gods, and of E-ana, the house lowered down from heaven. You watch over the great rampart, the rampart which An founded (1 ms. has instead: its great rampart, a cloudbank resting on the earth), the majestic residence which An established. You are its king and warrior, an exuberant person, a prince beloved of An. When Aga comes, what terror he will experience! That army is small, and scattered at the rear. Its men will be incapable of confronting us."
40-47 Then Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, rejoiced at the advice of his city's able-bodied men and his spirit brightened. He addressed his servant Enkidu: "On this account let the weaponry and arms of battle be made ready. Let the battle mace return to your side. May they create a great terror and radiance. When he comes, my great fearsomeness will overwhelm him. His reasoning will become confused and his judgment disarrayed."
48-54 Not five, not ten days had passed when Aga, the son of En-me-barage-si, laid siege to Unug with his men. Unug's reasoning became confused. Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, addressed its warriors: "My warriors shall have the choice. (2 mss. have instead: My warriors, choose!) Let someone with courage volunteer "I shall go to Aga" (1 ms. has instead: , and I will send him to Aga)."
55-58 Birhur-tura, his royal guard, spoke in admiration to his king: " (2 mss. add: My king,) I shall go (1 ms. has instead: go prancing (?)) to Aga so that his reasoning will become confused and his judgment disarrayed."
59-69 Birhur-tura went out through the city gate. As soon as Birhur-tura went out through the city gate, they captured him at the gate's entrance, and then beat Birhur-tura's entire length. He came into the presence of Aga and then spoke to Aga. Before he had finished speaking, an officer of Unug climbed up on the rampart and leaned out over the rampart. Aga saw him and then spoke to Birhur-tura: "Slave, is that man your king?"
70-81 "That man is not my king! Were that man my king, were that his angry brow, were those his bison eyes, were that his lapis lazuli beard, were those his elegant fingers, would he not cast down multitudes, would he not raise up multitudes, would multitudes not be smeared with dust, would not all the nations be overwhelmed, would not the land's canal-mouths be filled with silt, would not the barges' prows be broken, and would he not take Aga, the king of Kic, captive in the midst of his army?"
82-89 They hit him, they struck him. They beat Birhur-tura's entire length. Gilgamesh climbed up on the rampart after the officer of Unug. His radiance overwhelmed Kulaba's young and old. He armed Unug's able-bodied men with battle maces and stationed them on the causeway at the city gate's door. Only Enkidu went out through the city gate. Gilgamesh leaned out over the rampart. Looking up, Aga saw him: "Slave, is that man your king?"
92-99 "That man is indeed my king." It was just as he had said: Gilgamesh cast down multitudes, he raised up multitudes, multitudes were smeared with dust, all the nations were overwhelmed, the land's canal-mouths were filled with silt, the barges' prows were broken, and he took Aga, the king of Kic, captive in the midst of his army. (1 ms. adds 1 line: Unug's able-bodied men ...... that army.)
100-106 Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, spoke to (1 ms. has instead: approached close to) Aga: "Aga my overseer, Aga my lieutenant, (1 ms. adds 1 line: Aga my governor, Aga my commander,) Aga my military commander! Aga gave me breath, Aga gave me life: Aga took a fugitive into his embrace, Aga provided the fleeing bird with grain."
107-113 (The able-bodied men acclaim Gilgamesh:) "You watch over Unug, the handiwork of the gods, the great rampart, the rampart which An founded, the majestic residence which An established. You are its king and warrior, an exuberant person, a prince beloved of An." (Gilgamesh addresses Aga:) "Before Utu, your former kindness is hereby repaid to you.'" (the other ms. has instead: "I watch over Unug, the handiwork of the gods, its great rampart, a cloudbank resting on the earth, its majestic residence which An established. The city will repay the kindness shown to me. Before Utu, your former kindness is hereby repaid to you.") He set Aga free to go to Kic.
For Enlil, whose statements are powerful, the profoundly far-sighted knowledgeable judge, who issues decisions, whose utterances are immutable, who places the ...... in his hands -- Icme-Dagan, the mighty man with muscles and body of a lion, the strong awe-inspiring youth who alone is august, the lord whose sweet name is invoked in all the lands, under whose rule the living creatures multiply, makes the black-headed people, its settled people who were entrusted to him for protection, proceed with the firstling-offerings of the land. He does not ...... in his good palace.
Then Icme-Dagan the youthful, the mightiest hero among swift athletes, the fearsome runner, who serving night and day never ceases caring for Nibru -- the city where the seed of the numerous people came forth and where life and birth came into existence -- and who provides daily for everything, established justice (?) on a grand scale. The king whose rising is a hurricane, a flood, a wind blowing in its fury, who swinging his wide open arms flashes away into the distance, who is like a fierce lion of the desert which advances in full strength and vigour, who runs fast on the roadway ...... battle and combat, a horse waving its tail on the highway, who like a young deer ...... running, ...... knees are swift and indefatigable, the son who provides Enlil with everything, who causes joy to Ninlil's heart -- he will never stop caring for the shining shrine.
Then Icme-Dagan erected a statue on his precious dais in the E-ni-gur, depicting him as inspiring terror while running in a storm, and made it iridescent with splendour, so that the great prince of the entire heaven, the lord whose utterance is immutable, should constantly direct his shining forehead and favourable glance at the true shepherd whom he engendered.
If a king issues evil orders concerning this statue, and erases its inscription and writes his own name on it; or, because of this curse, he makes another man raise his hand against it, then may Enlil my lord and Ninlil my lady curse that man! May Enki, Ickur, Ezina, Cakkan, the lords of abundance, ...... him cruelly by withholding abundance from heaven and earth under his rule!
Great lady, majestic physician to the black-headed, holy Nininsina, daughter of An, may you be praised!
Lady whose tempest, like a raging storm, ...... the interior of heaven and the trembling earth, whose upraised fierce face, like a fire, rips the bodies of the enemy; who, like a dragon, does not bring up venom in her place where ......, paws of a lion, sharpened knives, claws constantly dripping blood, ...... which prick the body with fear! When you draw through the flesh the scalpel and the lancet, knives like lion's claws -- the bodies of the black-headed people tremble because of you!
Great storm that approaches the earth and has no rival,
howling storm, roaring lion that cuts off the neck of the enemy, overpowering
storm, ...... spittle and gnashing its teeth in its ......! Storm that howls
loudly, whose mouth drips blood, storm from whose mouth spittle spews
constantly, pouring venom on the enemy,
1 line fragmentary
Great terror of the desert that ......! A lion, a leopard rising from its lair and terrifying people, that like a great snare lies in wait for the evil-doer! Lady whose radiance is awesome, born of An, who cares for the righteous of the Land, who watches over the assembly, lady of the living and of the dead, who holds the life of the Land in her hand! Mistress whom no one can withstand, who sounds a triumphal cry! Holy Nininsina, who wears the ornaments of cuba stone in Nijin-jar, the holy place! Lady who is supreme over the mountains, whose divine powers are awesome divine powers, instilled ...... in the great shrine, the everlasting house of the Land!
Lady, life-creator of the Land, your name is its great standard. Lady of the majestic divine powers who rivals great An, mistress of all the great gods, lady, you have instilled fear of you in heaven and on earth. Your face is awesome, your cry is majestic, your forehead ......, your mouth ......; your arm, ...... the evil-doer like a net, has cut off .......
Holy Nininsina, ......, whose raging heart, made like the heart of dusk (?), none can cool; whose angry heart no god can confront, which like the sea, bringing a flood-wave, drowns (?) the foe. Like the high tide, she pours spewed-out bile upon the enemy. She has made ...... known in its midst.
Holy Nininsina, the city that fears (?) you is not restored. The ...... you address (?) is turned into ruins for you. No one moves about in the rebellious land that you curse. The ...... that fears (?) you does not cross the river.
My lady, your supreme magnitude and eminence being outstanding, the ...... of your established assembly being ......, holy Nininsina, lady ......, mistress whose majesty ......, holy Nininsina, lady ......, lion, foremost viper ......, who ......, ...... the place of oaths where the just hand is raised, the deceiver ...... your name ......, ...... on the enemies! May those who plan evil against Iddin-Dagan ......! Nininsina, let not the enemy carry away your name, O your name, Nininsina, O your name!
Sublime An, father of the gods, ......, patient-hearted, who
...... the princely divine powers ...... greatly! The voice of a flood that
covers the disobedient, that knows ......, the north wind ......,
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May the deceivers of Iddin-Dagan who ...... be overwhelmed as by a battle-net! Majestic god An, let not the enemy carry away your name, O your name, great An, O your name!
Enlil whose great divine powers cannot be overturned, viper of the gods, Nunamnir, your ...... lets loose fear and terror! The Anuna of all the lands strike ...... with their hands. Your decision ...... a tempest that ...... furiously. In the land where no enemies exist, prayers ...... to the city. May those who do not clasp the feet of Iddin-Dagan be drowned as by water! Great Mountain Enlil, let not the enemy carry away your name, O your name, Enlil, O your name!
Ninlil, garbed in white, foremost and watchful lady who brings forth ......, lady who consummately perfects all radiance, who dwells with Enlil! The king who dares to utter your name falsely, who does not fear the slaughterhouse where blood flows at the place of transgression, the Land's river of ordeal -- make him bear the heavy guilt that ......! Great mother Ninlil, let not the enemy carry away your name, O your name, Ninlil, O your name!
Aruru, whose divine powers cannot be overturned, ...... an
awesome tempest. Enlil who purifies all ......,
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...... hostility and violence, ...... Iddin-Dagan,
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Those who leave through your gate are an uncontrollable flood. Shrine Urim, your interior is a mountain of abundance, your exterior a hill of plenty. No one can learn the interior of the E-kic-nujal, the artfully fashioned mountain. Your place of marvel is ...... of cedar, your name makes the Land rejoice. Your lord is the one called as the beautiful lord, the child of Nin-sun, the ornament of all the lands. Urim, your great divine power is the gods's shackle on the Land. Your name be praised indeed!
Your gate is the blue sky imbued with fearsomeness; only when it is open does Utu illuminate from the horizon. Your platform is where the fates are determined by the gods; you make just decisions. Your name be praised indeed!
In your interior, the evildoer dares not lay hold of the holy statutes. E-kic-nujal, the evil-doer cannot even come to know your interior, which is a dragon. Your E-giguna ...... Enlil ...... your offerings . At your Dubla-mah, the place where the fates are determined, the great gods determine the fates. Worthy of the E-temen-ni-guru, born ......, your name be praised indeed!
The beautiful lord ...... the true shepherd Ur-Namma, ...... Urim ....... The E-siga ...... like Utu. Your name be praised indeed! Ur-Namma ......, adorned with a lapis lazuli beard .......
In his pure heart Acimbabbar has chosen Ur-Namma, the king endowed with allure, the radiance covering the nation. Wickedness cannot pass unnoticed before his eyes. Ur-Namma has accomplished an achievement, justice! The king, who knows (?) the spreading branches, Ur-Namma acts (?) as constable. The eloquent one of the lord, who knows (?) the spreading branches, Ur-Namma acts (?) as constable. The king, Ur-Namma, refreshes himself at the house of Suen.
She has determined a fate for the king, for the Tigris and the Euphrates and for Ur-Namma. Its lady, the lady of possessions, the lady of ......, has determined a fate for Ur-Namma. The woman of the princely seed has treated him kindly. Ur-Namma .......
Imbued with allure from the shining rooftops, Urim, your foundation rests on abundance. City, your lord rides high in joy, Ur-Namma rides high indeed; the one adorned with a lapis-lazuli beard rides high indeed! He is the tallest among all the lords, appearing as the noblest among them.
Those who leave through your gate are an uncontrollable flood. Shrine Urim, your interior is a mountain of abundance, your exterior a hill of plenty. No one can learn the interior of the E-kic-nujal, the artfully fashioned hill. Your temple is a shimmering mountain; your very name is merciful. Your lord is the one called as the beautiful lord, the child of Ninsun, the ornament of all the lands.
House, your great divine power is the shackle of the gods put on the Land. Your gate is named by your god, the beautiful god; only when it is is open does Utu illuminate from the horizon. Your platform, the place where the fates are determined by the gods, in order to make just decisions, is where the Anuna, the gods of heaven and earth, take counsel.
Your ...... makes (?) the faithful woman joyous, the father proud. In your interior the evildoer dares not lay hold of the holy statutes. The offerings of the E-giguna sprinkle the rebel lands with dust. At your Dubla-mah, the place where the fates are determined, the great gods determine the fates. Suen chose Sumer and Akkad, the black-headed people, and Ur-Namma in his heart.
Let me give praise to the king endowed with allure, the radiance covering the nation, the lord Ur-Namma! In his heart Acimbabbar has chosen Ur-Namma, Ur-Namma who is endowed with allure, the radiance covering the nation, placing thereby a shackle on all the lands and blocking the way with a strong bolt. The king is worthy of Suen! Wickedness cannot pass unnoticed before his eyes. Ur-Namma has accomplished an achievement, justice! He fills the wicked land with his battle-cry. The rebellious land is overthrown, Ur-Namma acts (?) as the constable.
She has determined a fate for the king and the temple of Suen, for the Tigris and the Euphrates and for Ur-Namma. As the sun rises from the horizon, may the population multiply! May he pass the ...... of Ninsun! ...... admiration. Its lady, the lady who loves possessions, who loves him, has determined a fate for Ur-Namma; Ningal, its lady, the lady who loves possessions, the woman of princely seed, has determined a fate for Ur-Namma.
The shepherd Ur-Namma is elevated; in the house of Suen, he is the one adorned with a lapis lazuli beard. May he pass ......! ...... is good, is sweet in its luxuriance. Like Ninlil who gives birth in a storm, child of Ninsun, she has given birth to you. May holy An sit with the shepherd! ...... with the shepherd Ur-Namma.
A cir-namcub of Nanna.
December 26, 2001
by Corey Gilkes
For most Xians the story of the birth of the Jesus figure is pretty much clear cut; simply turn to the New Testament and there outlined is everything one needed to know about how the saviour, god incarnate came into being. Exactly how Dec 25th came to be the celebrated date may pose a bit of a problem for some but that is hardly a problem worth graying hairs over. After all, the main thing is that "He" was born and he was born to save mankind from eternal damnation.
That is the story of the Jesus of faith. And, as is usually the case, the Jesus of faith is confused with actual history. The story of the baby Jesus being born to humble parents in a manger with three wise men paying homage to him and later being spirited out of the country to escape the wrath of Herod is romantic but by no means reality. In fact, as Dr John Dominic Crossan, of Depaul University once pointed out in an interview, we do not know where Jesus was born, we don't know when he was born and, if you examine the whole issues of the Virgin birth, we do not know how he was born either.
Truth is often stranger than fiction and nowhere is that more obvious than in matters relating to religion; as Edward Gibbon pointed out the historian must be more circumspect than the theologian. For "people of colour" an additional question must also be asked: "what does this have to do with my position in the world socially, politically and economically?" This question should be the single most important question in the minds of the colonised because the most destructive of the colonised institutions is religion. The best way to bring about complete subjugation of a people is to destroy their image of the Divine. The political implications of historicising age-old allegorical myths is perhaps one of the least examined aspects of religion by those who have been colonised by it. This will be explored in another article.
Beginnings of the Nativity
Even today in the so-called Information Age it comes as a profound shock to many Xians to learn that their Nativity story, far from being a miraculous event some 2000 odd years ago, is a refashioned compilation of pre-Xian myths stretching back to very ancient times. The damning evidence can still be found in the Nile Valley upon the walls of Amenope's tomb, in a cave in India called Elephanta, in the Drama of Bel and the life of Pythagoras and Zeus and a host of other historical and mythical figures all of whom preceding the Xian Era.
One of the remarkable things about early Xianity is the fact that the early devotees made no mention of the birth of their supposed saviour or even his supposedly fleshly existence for that matter. The earliest Gospel, Mark, speaks nothing about the ancestry, birth and genealogy of Jesus and contemporary Greek and Roman writers and historians of that period have nothing to say about him either save vague, generic references to the [temporal] title of the Christ. In some cases where writers like Josephus and Paul make "specific" mentions of Jesus, these references turn out to be forgeries written in by zealous students, and redacting bishops. Also, there was strong opposition to the "pagan" custom of celebrating birthdays – ironic when one considers that from top to bottom "paganism" is woven into Xianity's beliefs and customs. At first, his birth date was on January 6th; however, by the 4th century it was noticed that Xian worshippers were also partaking in Mithraic celebrations of the Sun [natalis solis invicti] on December 25th. Realising that their followers were gravitating towards the worship of Mithra, Roman Xian authorities moved the feast date of Jesus from January 6th to December 25th. Such were the lengths these early proselytisers were prepared to go to win or retain converts.
The need to locate and document hard evidence of the various aspects of Jesus' life did not gain momentum until the various books that make up the bible were being compiled. Up until this time there was a prevailing belief that the end of the world was imminent and the Christ would return. By the time it was realised that this was not going to happen, the Doctors of the Church, in an effort to consolidate their positions of authority, needed to gather as much evidence of the errant saviour. The details of his "biography" and genealogy were pieced together from the numerous Asian mythologies that permeated Rome at the time. Even more profound was the influence of "pagan" Africa: up until the time of Constantine, the capital of Christendom was not in Rome at all but in Egypt. It was Egyptian monks, such as Anthony the Hermit, who started the Church's tradition of monasticism. The worship of Yusir and Auset was still immensely powerful and as I will show in a subsequent article was the main source for the Jesus myth.
It was also necessary for the Church Fathers to create a lineage that linked Jesus to the line of David. According to Jewish legend a saviour from the line of David would be born and he would lead the Hebrews out of Roman bondage. Interestingly, though the authors of the Synoptic Gospels copied from Mark, theirs was a shabby job indeed. To this day there are two almost totally contradicting genealogies [thank goodness the authors – who, remember, were "inspired men" – were not able to meet and match their stories! If we were to accept these biblical narratives as historical, as Xians say we should, innumerable inconsistencies would pop up. In fact, the Gospels are so muddled – even if we allow for the well-documented mistranslations, liberal editing and outright forgeries – it almost impossible to extricate reality from mythology and fact from absurdity. We have, for instance, the much misrepresented virgin birth; virtually all pre-Xian sacred sciences had their saviours born of a Virgin – among the Nile Valley Africans, Heru/Horus, as was his father Yusir/Osiris, was born of a virgin, the Great Mother Auset/Isis. The Osirian Drama spread to other parts of the Mediterranean and Asia becoming Mithra in Persia, Krishna in India, Bacchus and Dionysus in Greece and Rome. The creators of the biblical Jesus saw the advantage of matching the feats and characteristics of these pagan deities with similar feats and characteristics of Jesus. To this end they saw no problem with appropriating various attributes of a number of deities, particularly, those of Egypt and Asia Minor, and appending them to Christ Jesus.
Then there is the familiar story of the wise men coming from the east following a star. In Luke's account there is no star; what we do have are shepherds watching their flocks by night which itself presents a problem. Shepherds are not out in the fields in December unless they have a death wish. But the yarn about the star itself should be looked at; here we have three "kings", coming from the east, following a star from the east [can you follow a star that is behind you?]. Further, how is it that we have a star detaching itself from orbit, and no one, especially the Chinese astronomers who at this period were observing everything in the heavens, did not notice such an astounding and for many terrifying event? How did the Dogon of Mali or the Greek and Roman star-gazers fail to take note of this? Most Lay Xians are blissfully unaware that we are speaking about a period in which just about everything was documented and many of these historical documents are still around. Such abnormal phenomenon would certainly cause a noteworthy upheaval.
The American Atheists view of this star-tale is worth repeating here:
How does one follow a star, anyway? If you start to follow a star, such as described here, shortly after its rising you will begin to head east (after all, it is said to have risen in the east). Thus, the Magi would have begun to head back home to Iran. By midnight, however, the star would have been south of our wise guys and the Magi would have been heading toward Saudi Arabia. As the night wore on toward morning, they would head westward toward the Mediterranean Sea. With the beginning of a new night of travel, this mad hatter behavior would replay again, the path of our unwise men describing a series of curlicues on the earth's surface. Depending on how fast they walked how regular their rate, the absolute sizes of these curlicues would differ greatly, and the final destinations would be incredibly different.
Even allowing for the miraculous stopping of the star over the nativity scene -- an impossibility of literally astronomical dimensions -- how would the wise men know which house was under it? Every time they came to a house apparently under the star, if they just walked around to the other side of the house, they would find the star apparently had moved to be over the next house, and so on! If there are any true believers reading this message, I have a challenge. Tonight go out and try to follow a star -- any star except the North Star. See where it gets you!
On second thought, don't exclude the North Star. Go for it! When you get to Santa Claus's house, give my regards to the elves.
We are told that in the Old Testament there were several prophecies foretelling the coming of Jesus. It's claimed that the Old Testament contains numerous prophecies foretelling the coming of Jesus. For instance, Matt. 2:23 speaks about Jesus and his parents returning from Egypt and going to Nazareth "this was to fulfil the words spoken through the prophet: 'He shall be called a Nazarene'". First off, the sect known as the Nazarenes were not given that name because of anything to do with Nazareth; judging by Roman maps, Nazareth did not even exist until the 4th century. Neither is there any such prophecy anywhere in the OT. Neither is there any credence in the view that Isaiah 7. V. 14 is foretelling Jesus' birth by a virgin. The passage reads "Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel". However, the Hebrew text reads: "Behold the young woman [almah] is with child, and will give birth to a son, and she will call his name Emmanuel. This has nothing to do with any miraculous birth a few hundred years later. It is referring to a young woman who is already pregnant and it seems she has plans on naming him Emmanuel. Note that this passage was directed to King Ahaz and was not some reference to Jesus and Mary [who certainly did not name her child Emmanuel].
The term "virgin" also needs to be dealt with because, contrary to popular belief, it does not necessarily have to do with whether a woman had sexual intercourse. The Hebrews used two words to denote virgin – almah, which simply meant 'a young woman', and bathur which denoted a woman betrothed. The Greek writers, lacking a similar word in their vocabulary, used 'parthenoi' [hymen intact], thereby sowing the seeds for the misconception of the millennium. Also, in many traditional societies, 'virginity had to do with one's conduct, power, state of consciousness. So a woman who had five children would be called 'virgin' if here ways were pure, she embodied the values the values of the community, and every child she bore had an "Immaculate Conception".
Another discrepancy has to do with Herod. Now we are told that Herod murdered every male child in a grisly attempt to eliminate the infant Jesus. Remember now, we are told that all this actually happened, it is not to be read allegorically [which it should have been]. So if Herod did indeed do all this then how could he have done it from beyond the grave, because this man did after all die in the year 4 BCE? Now Herod was indeed guilty of killing infant children – his own. These children were murdered so that there could be no legitimate challenger for the position of High Priest. Note also that the many chroniclers of Herod, such as Josephus, who never hesitated to point out Herod's many crimes, made no mention of what would surely have been the piece-de-resistance. In fact given the nature of such a crime, someone, whether in Syria, Rome, India or Egypt was bound to have recorded it. But we have nothing at all.
But wait, it gets better; Jesus was a baby during the reign of Herod and Quirinius, governor of Syria. Another problem arises here; if Herod died in the year 4 BCE and Quirinius did not become governor until the year 7 CE, Jesus remained a baby for 11-odd years! Then we have the census to deal with, the same census where "all the world" [the whole world?] was to be taxed. What census was this? We have no record of any empire-wide census by Augustus and Quirinius did conduct a census, but it was in Judea, not Galilee. And, given the militancy of the Hebrews, they would have been moving away from their villages, not towards them. Had the authors and redactors been more versed in history, they would have gotten away with it. Further, had the Romans really conducted a census and instructed everyone return to his ancestral village and city, the Empire would have collapsed. What with the state of transport in those days, having Spaniards return to Spain from Egypt, Africans returning to Egypt, Carthage, etc, it would have been utter chaos.
The purpose was not to mock anyone's religious beliefs [though it could do with a kick in the backside], my aim as always is to shed some light on certain aspects of history so that there could be some discussion, research and deep introspection. Faith is no excuse for ignorance. The insistence by Eurocentric religious authorities that we simply accept these biblical stories on the basis of faith [the implication here is that these events are to be taken as historical] had and still has nothing to do with any god or piety. It has everything to do with political power and who holds it. This has been noted not only by Africentric scholars such as Dr Marimba Ani but by such outstanding Eurocentric religious scholars as Elaine Pagels and Robert Eisenman.
In another article I hope to expand upon the allegorical interpretation of the Nativity by showing its origin in the Egyptian funerary rituals and that culture's astronomical observations