< Back   Home

Ancient Man and His First Civilizations

Sumerian Prayers

[Click on bookmark]

 

 

A prayer for Rim-Sin (Rim-Sin E): translation

A prayer for Samsu-iluna (Samsu-iluna E): translation

A prayer for Samsu-iluna (Samsu-iluna B): translation

A prayer for Samsu-iluna (Samsu-iluna C): translation

A prayer to An for Rim-Sin (Rim-Sin C): translation

A prayer to Marduk (?) for Hammu-rabi (Hammu-rabi B): translation

 

 

A prayer for Rim-Sin (Rim-Sin G): translation

May lord Nanna, king of heaven and earth, your good protective deity, accept the holy food offerings that you prepare, and the holy pure drink offerings that you proffer with holy hands; the sacrifices that you bring, what you say in your heart, what you utter out loud, your reverent gestures and your holy hands raised in prayer. May the august queen Ningal, your queen of favourable signs, accept them also. O king, they who have suppressed famine, the great gods Nanna and Ningal, have conferred abundance on you, kingRim-Sīn, in the temple of the gods.

O king named with a name by Enlil, the destiny of whose reign is abundance, a time of richness and years of happiness! May a destiny of stability and a destiny of abundance be your lot. O king, day and night, even at dead of night, time shall pass for you in endless abundance, and be agreeable and stable for you. O king, since you have offered your food offerings first offered in the abzu; o king, since you have offered your food offerings afterwards in the great courtyard, there shall be no end to the abundance. O King, the temple shall be well-organised for you. Rim-Sīn, king of Urim, has restored the august divine powers of the Ki-ur.

 

May Nanna, the king of heaven and earth, fit perfectly onto your head the legitimate august headdress of kingship. May the august queen Ningal, who has saved you from famine thanks to her benignity, let you live (?) an agreeable life for these days. As you receive from her holy hands the great splendour of kingship, may she place the august sceptre of heaven and earth in your hands like a ceremonial robe. Rim-Sīn, king of the Ki-ur, endowed with abundance, constant attendant! O king, may the Tigris bring you abundance, and may the upper (?) Nun canal be filled for you with flowing water in its full flood. May the Nun canal, the good Nun canal, the life-bringing canal of the Land, bring you fish and fowl; from the ocean, the wide sea, from the standing reservoirs, may it bring an unending supply of creatures for your kingship. In the wide open spaces of the wide desert, the four-footed animals ....... May water levels rise for you in the irrigation ditches, with their levees, and the water-channels.

May there be life for you, and may there be a favourable response to your prayers. May there be joy for you, and may there be favourable signs for you. May your heart be satisfied, may your body be satisfied; may your mood and your definite signs from the gods be good. May there be favourable omens in the heart of Nanna and Ningal, and a destiny of life be granted for ever. Rim-Sīn, seemly king, who holds abundance in his hands from the great gods, may the country be stable for you, and may the foundations of the country be secure for you. May Nanna, king of heaven and earth, cause the Land to respond to you with a single voice. Rim-Sīn, you are my king!

 

 

 

 

A prayer for Rim-Sin (Rim-Sin E): translation

......, who is fitted for holy lustration rites, Rim-Sīn, purification priest of An, who is fitted for pure prayers rites, whom you summoned from the holy womb ......, has been elevated to lordship over the Land; he has been installed as shepherd over the black-headed. The staff which strengthens the Land has been placed in his hand. The shepherd's crook which guides the living people has been attached at his side. As he steps forward before you, he is lavishly supplied with everything that he offers with his pure hands.

Your attentive youth, your beloved king, the good shepherd Rģm-Sīn, who determines what should be brought as offerings for his life, joyfully pours out offerings for you in the holy royal cultic locations which are perfect for the cultic vessels: sweet-smelling milk and grain, rich produce of the Land, riches of the meadows, unending abundance, alcoholic drink, glistening wine, very sweet emmer beer fermented with pure substances, pure ...... powerful beer made doubly strong with wine, a drink for your lordship; double-strength beer, superior beer, befitting your holy hands, pale honey exported from the mountains, which you have specifically requested, butter from holy cows, ghee as is proper for you as prince; pressed oil, best oil of the first pressing, and yellow cream, the pride of the cow-pen, for the holy abode of your godhead.

Accept from him with your joyful heart pure food to eat as food, and pure water to drink as water: offerings made for you. Grant his prayer: you are indeed respected. When he humbly speaks fair words to you, speak so that he may live. Guide him correctly at the holy lordly cultic locations, at the august lordly cultic locations. Greet him as he comes to perform his cultic functions.

May his kingship exist forever in your presence. May he be the first of the Land, called (?) lord and prince. Following your commands he shall be as unshakeable as heaven and earth; may he be ...... over the numerous people. May the mother goddesses among the gods attend to his utterances; may they sit in silence before that which he says, and bring restorative life. May he create heart's joy for the population, and be the good provider for their days. May the terrifying splendour that he wears cover like a heavy raincloud the king who is hated by him. May all the best what he has be brought here as their offerings.

The good shepherd Rim-Sīn looks to you as to his personal god. Grant him ...... a life that he loves, and bestow joy on him. May you renew it like the daylight. As he prays to you, attend to his ....... When he speaks most fair words to you, sustain his life power for him. May he be respected ......, and have no rivals. As he makes supplication to you, make his days long. In the ...... of life, ...... the power of kingship. May his correct words be ever ....... May he create heart's joy in his ....... ...... make the restorative ...... rest upon him, the lion of lordship. When he beseeches you, let his exterior (?) ...... shine. Give him ...... life ....... May you bring ...... for his life with your holy words. Hear him favourably as he lifts his hands in prayer, and decide a good destiny for him.

As his life ......, so may it delight his land. Cast the four quarters at his feet, and let him be their ruler. Reclining in meadows in his own land, may he pass his days joyously with you ....... In the palace, lengthen the days and reign of Rim-Sīn, your compliant king who is there for you; whose name you, Acimbabbar, have named, ...... life. ...... the august good headdress. ...... due praise for his life. ...... the throne, and may the land be safe. May satisfaction and joy fill his heart. May ...... be good for his ....... Place in his hand the sceptre of justice; may the numerous people be bound (?) to it. Shining brightly, the constant ...... in his ....... Confer on him the benefit of months of delight and joy, and bestow on him numerous years as infinite in number as the stars in the lapis-lazuli coloured heavens. In his kingship may he enjoy a happy reign forever.

May you preserve the king, the good provider. May you preserve Rim-Sīn, the good provider. May his reign be a source of delight to you. Lengthen the days of his life, and give him kingship over the restored land. For him gladden the heart of the land, for him make the roads of the land passable. For him make the Land speak with a single voice. May you preserve alive Rim-Sīn, your shepherd with the compliant heart. May his canals bring water for him, and may barley grow for him in the fields. May the orchards and gardens bring forth syrup and wine for him, and may the marshes deliver fish and fowl for him in abundance. May the cattle-pens and sheepfolds teem with animals, and may rain from the heavens, whose waters are sporadic, be regular for him. May the palace be filled with long life. O Rim-Sīn, you are my king!

 

 

 

A prayer for Samsu-iluna (Samsu-iluna E): translation

My ...... of eternal fame, head lifted high in princely worth, ...... who loves righteousness and truth, ...... named with an august name, for whom Enlil ...... has determined a great destiny, and Ninlil ......! The valiant Ninurta is your helper. In the E-kur, Nuska the august minister of Enlil, the assembly leader of all lands, is your foremost palace superintendent. Throughout your life, may you carry your neck high; in princely manner may you lift your head high! "Prolong the days of his life for Samsu-iluna, of princely worth!"

May An, king of the gods, look upon you favourably; the great and august An, the father of the gods, he with the splendid crown, full of great and august radiance, ...... your royal throne whose branches and sprouts ...... as wide as the sky. May he bestow upon you, during the days of your long life, the power to make decisions ......, to direct ......, to serve as the provider of the black-headed creatures in all their multitude! May Enlil, ......, the king of all countries, protect you ...... command. May he ...... for you the city of your country. May he make firm for you the foundation of your country. May Ninlil, the queen of deities, joyfully ...... for you, and may she look upon you with shining face; may she who takes counsel ...... with Enlil, and who cares for ......, ...... her favourable word.

May Ninurta, the strong warrior of Enlil, the lord of decisions, whose august commands are as weighty as those of An and Enlil, he of lordly character, terrifying splendour and heroism, who resists the forceful, the strong shepherd (?) who crushes the evil and wicked -- may he spread out in heaps for you the inhabitants of the cities which you hate, and may he deliver your enemies into your hands! May Nuska, the august minister of Enlil, let you enter brick-built E-kur joyfully with your offerings, and escort you before the shining faces of Enlil and Ninlil; in Babylon, the city of heroes, may he make firm for you the foundation of your kingship. The august command ...... Enlil ....... ......, may ...... be their king! ......, may he ...... a place for you! ......, like the light born monthly in the pure sky. ......, and may you too grow throughout your life like a fresh fruit, o Samsu-iluna, my king!

 

 

 

 

 

A prayer for Samsu-iluna (Samsu-iluna B): translation


unknown no. of lines missing
Life ....... Life ....... Life ....... ...... of your name ....... ...... holy life ....... Enki ....... Prince Samsu-iluna, ....... ...... terrifying splendour which spreads far and wide. Enki ...... your throne, and ...... bestow on you a sceptre of long years and days; may he ...... your crown ...... like Utu.

May your kingship be as stable as heaven and earth! You are king of numerous lands and peoples! You are the people's good shepherd! You are the herdsman of the settled people! When like Utu you impart just verdicts, ...... justice, ...... you call by name ......, then you, Samsu-iluna, shall be the king of the eloquent words of Utu, and you shall be the foremost of kings.

When like a raging storm you batter the foreign lands that are hostile to you, may your head be raised high, o king; may your head be raised high, o Samsu-iluna! In Babylon, the city of the divine powers of Suen, may you let your cleverness shine like the sun! May Marduk, the god who created you, lift your head high in the midst of lords and princes! On the field of battle, of mźlée and conflict, may he never stray from your side! May he be your helper with weapons, may he cause you to excel until distant days! May An, king of the gods, make your life last until distant days! May Enlil, king of the foreign lands, who confirms your words, make your words weighty! May Inana, the great queen of heaven, grasp you firmly with her holy word! May Enki deliver numerous people into your hands! May Asari, the great ruler of the abzu, who provides advice for all the foreign lands, the lordly one of Eridug, the god who in his ...... calls all the ...... with a good name -- may he be your great princely strength!

May Namma, the mother who ...... the house, place water in your mouth at the ...... of the Land! May Damgalnuna, the great lady of Eridug, when she intercedes joyfully in the good bedchamber,
1 line unclear
pray on your behalf for days of plenty and days ...... from her husband. May the ...... deity, the protective goddess of the abzu, be your source of good omens ...... for ever and ever! O Samsu-iluna, my king!

 

 

 

 

 

A prayer for Samsu-iluna (Samsu-iluna C): translation

Lord, may you confirm your royal position by taking your seat on the throne, the lofty dais! Samsu-iluna, may you confirm your royal position by taking your seat on the throne, the lofty dais! May you strengthen the foundations of your throne by grasping the shepherd's crook of lordship! May you bring to perfect completion the princely divine powers by inspiring awe in the holy place, the pure place! When you ...... on the holy royal dais, may you lift your head high in a lordly manner!

When you are embued with the terrifying splendour of royalty, ...... shining like the sun! When you perfectly wield the august divine powers, the great divine powers, may you be cloaked as if with a mantle in the great awesomeness of royalty! When you come forth in brilliance like the shining day, may An and Enlil determine a great destiny for you! When you appear like Nanna over the Land, may the great prince Enki pray on your behalf in his overflowing heart!

May your headdress sparkle over the Land like Utu! May your sceptre correctly guide the numerous people! May Suen let you control the living beings! With your shepherd's crook may you lead Sumer and Akkad as if you were their mother and father! May the widespread people, the people whom you have united, pray to you as you shine like the Barge of Heaven! May you be the god of the foreign lands that are settled together!

When you come forth like Utu, joy ......, and their gaze is fixed as if on their own parents. When you feed them lavishly, may their lives ......! When you generously give them drink, ......! May the black-headed people ...... cool themselves in your shade! Your shepherdship .......
1 line fragmentary
2 lines missing
May ...... be praised! May your royal ...... be forever stable! May you be ......! May you be ......! May you shine ......! O Samsu-iluna, my king!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A prayer to An for Rim-Sin (Rim-Sin C): translation

Shepherd, called by name, for whom holy An has determined in heaven a great destiny! Rim-Sīn, called by name, for whom holy An has determined in heaven a great destiny! Prince who achieved kingship when still in the true womb, you grandly exercise lordship over the numerous people. In Larsa, the ...... mountain befitting the princely divine powers, you are truly called to be shepherd of Sumer and Akkad. Great An, august in heaven and earth, lord who is wise in everything, father of the gods, has determined to fix the destinies for that place, never interrupting the uttering of weighty commands, ...... in the pure interior of heaven.

Prince Rim-Sīn, you are the shepherd, the desire of his heart. May great An manifest brilliantly his heart's love for you; may he bless you for your justice. May An in his profound heart make the days of your life abundant for you, and give you kingship over the widespread lands until distant days. With his holy words may he determine for you a destiny of life, and with a wholly unalterable command give you long life in addition. May he fix the holy headdress on your head, and seat you grandly on the throne of life. May he hand over to you the sceptre of justice, and suspend by your side the staff which strengthens the Land. May he make you grasp the shepherd's crook that causes the people to multiply. May he open for you the breasts of the brilliant heavens, and cause the rain to rain for you. From the heart of heaven may he assemble for you years of abundance and days of plenty. May he make splendid radiance and heart's joy for your days, and place in your hands an agreeable reign of justice.May the great An forever be the protector of your kingship! Rim-Sīn, you are my king!

28 lines. A prayer to An.

 

 

 

 

A prayer to Marduk (?) for Hammu-rabi (Hammu-rabi B): translation

May Lugalcubur place on your head the sacrosanct (?) crown of kingship! May Enki, the lord of life, ...... life, and in the E-unir, the house of the plans of heaven and earth which rides upon all the divine powers, may he cover your priestly headdress in awe and splendour! May he make the divine powers of kingship resplendent for you, and fit you up forever with the plans appropriate to the rank of en priest! May he gently recite for you live-giving incantations, bestowing in addition a long-lived destiny; may the uttering of your name delight Enki as much as the uttering of his own name! May he reward you with wisdom and intelligence! May your royal name be as something unchangeable! May father Enki prolong the years of your life, and may he grant you lordship over every one of the foreign lands. O Hammu-rabi, my king!

 

 

 

 

 

< Back   Home