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HistoryBeginsatSumer

ThirtyNineFirstsinRecordedHistory
SamuelNoahKramer

UniversityofPennsylvaniaPress Philadelphia

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Copyright1956SamuelNoahKramer Thirdrevisededitioncopyright1981UniversityofPennsylvaniaPress Allrightsreserved PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmericaonacidfreepaper 109876 Publishedby UniversityofPennsylvaniaPress Philadelphia,Pennsylvania191044011 LibraryofCongressCataloginginPublicationData Kramer,SamuelNoah,18971990 HistorybeginsatSumer. Originallypublishedundertitle:FromthetabletsofSumer:IndianHills, Colo.:Falcon'sWingPress,1956. 1.Sumerians.I.Title DS72.K71981935.018151144 AACR2 ISBN0812212762(pbkalkalinepaper)

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TO THEMASTEROFSUMEROLOGICALMETHOD MYTEACHERANDCOLLEAGUE ArnoPoebel

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Contents
PrefacetotheFirstEdition ListofIllustrations PhotographicSources Introduction 1Education:TheFirstSchools 2Schooldays:TheFirstCaseof"ApplePolishing" 3FatherandSon:TheFirstCaseofJuvenileDelinquency 4InternationalAffairs:TheFirst"WarofNerves" 5Government:TheFirstBicameralCongress 6CivilWarinSumer:TheFirstHistorian 7SocialReform:TheFirstCaseofTaxReduction 8LawCodes:TheFirst"Moses" 9Justice:TheFirstLegalPrecedent 10Medicine:TheFirstPharmacopoeia 11Agriculture:TheFirst"Farmer'sAlmanac" 12Horticulture:TheFirstExperimentinShadeTreeGardening 13Philosophy:Man'sFirstCosmogonyandCosmology 14Ethics:TheFirstMoralIdeals 15SufferingandSubmission:TheFirst"Job" 16Wisdom:TheFirstProverbsandSayings 17"Aesopica":TheFirstAnimalFables ix xiii xvii xix 3 10 14 18 30 36 45 51 56 60 65 70 75 101 111 116 124

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18Logomachy:TheFirstLiteraryDebates 19Paradise:TheFirstBiblicalParallels 20AFlood:TheFirst"Noah" 21Hades:TheFirstTaleofResurrection 22SlayingoftheDragon:TheFirst"St.George" 23TalesofGilgamesh:TheFirstCaseofLiteraryBorrowing 24EpicLiterature:Man'sFirstHeroicAge 25TotheRoyalBridegroom:TheFirstLoveSong 26BookLists:TheFirstLibraryCatalogue 27WorldPeaceandHarmony:Man'sFirstGoldenAge 28AncientCounterpartsofModernWoes:TheFirst"Sick"Society 29DestructionandDeliverance:TheFirstLiturgicLaments 30TheIdealKing:TheFirstMessiahs 31ShulgiofUr:TheFirstLongDistanceChampion 32Poetry:TheFirstLiteraryImagery 33TheSacredMarriageRite:TheFirstSexSymbolism 34WeepingGoddesses:TheFirstMaterDolorosa 35Uaaua:TheFirstLullaby 36TheIdealMother:HerFirstLiteraryPortrait 37ThreeFuneralChants:TheFirstElegies 38ThePickaxeandthePlow:Labor'sFirstVictory 39HomeoftheFish:TheFirstAquarium CorrigendaandAddendatotheSecondEdition Glossary AppendixA:ACurseandaMap:NewGleaningsfromtheTabletsofSumer AppendixB:TheOriginoftheCuneiformSystemofWriting:Commentsonthe Illustrations

132 141 148 154 168 181 223 245 250 255 259 270 277 284 289 303 325 329 333 336 342 348 351 358 369 381

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PrefacetotheFirstEdition
ForthepasttwentysixyearsIhavebeenactiveinSumerologicalresearch,particularlyinthefieldofSumerianliterature.Theensuingstudieshaveappearedprimarily intheformofhighlyspecializedbooks,monographs,andarticlesscatteredinanumberofscholarlyjournals.Thepresentbookbringstogetherforthelayman, humanist,andscholarsomeofthesignificantresultsembodiedinthoseSumerologicalresearchesandpublications. Thebookconsistsoftwentyfiveessaysstrungonacommonthread:theyalltreatof"firsts"inman'srecordedhistory.Theyarethusofnolittlesignificanceforthe historyofideasandthestudyofculturalorigins.Butthisisonlysecondaryandaccidental,abyproduct,asitwere,ofallSumerologicalresearch.Themainpurposeof theessaysistopresentacrosssectionofthespiritualandculturalachievementsofoneofman'searliestandmostcreativecivilizations.Allthemajorfieldsofhuman endeavorarerepresented:governmentandpolitics,educationandliterature,philosophyandethics,lawandjustice,evenagricultureandmedicine.Theavailable evidenceissketchedinwhat,itishoped,isclearandunambiguouslanguage.Aboveall,theancientdocumentsthemselvesareputbeforethereadereitherinfullorin theformofessentialexcerpts,sothathecansampletheirmoodandflavoraswellasfollowthemainthreadsoftheargument. Thegreaterpartofthematerialgatheredinthisvolumeisseasonedwithmy"blood,toil,tears,andsweat"hencetheratherpersonalnotethroughoutitspages.The textofmostofthedocumentswasfirstpiecedtogetherandtranslatedbyme,andinnotafewcasesIactuallyidentifiedthetabletsonwhichtheyarebasedandeven preparedthehandcopiesoftheirinscriptions.

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Sumerology,however,isbutabranchofcuneiformstudies,andthesebeganmorethanacenturyago.Inthecourseoftheseyears,scoresofscholarshavemade innumerablecontributionswhichthepresentdaycuneiformistutilizesandbuildson,consciouslyandunconsciously.Mostofthesescholarsarenowlongdead,and today'sSumerologistcandonotmorethanbowhisheadinsimplegratitudeasheusestheresultsofhisunnamedpredecessors'labors.Soonhisdays,too,willcome toanend,andhismorefruitfulfindingswillbecomepartofthecollectivestreamofcuneiformprogress. Amongthemorerecentdead,therearethreetowhomIfeelespeciallyindebted:totheeminentFrenchsavant,FranoisThureauDangin,whodominatedthe cuneiformsceneforhalfacenturyandwhoexemplifiedmyidealofascholarproductive,lucid,awareofthesignificant,andeverpreparedtoadmitignorancerather thanovertheorizetoAntonDeimel,theVaticanscholarwithakeensenseoflexicographicalorderandorganization,whosemonumentalSchumerischesLexikon provedhighlyusefulinspiteofitsnumerousdrawbacksandtoEdwardChiera,whosevisionanddiligencehelpedpavethewayformyownresearchesinSumerian literature. AmongthelivingcuneiformistswhoseworkIhavefoundmostvaluable,especiallyfromthepointofviewofSumerianlexicography,areAdamFalkensteinof Heidelberg,andThorkildJacobsenoftheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicago.Theirnamesandworkwillappearfrequentlyinthetextofthisbook.Inthe caseofJacobsen,moreover,aratherclosecollaborationhasdevelopedasaresultofthetabletfindsofthejointOrientalInstituteUniversityMuseumexpeditionto Nippurintheyears19481952.ThestimulatingandsuggestiveworksofBennoLandsberger,oneofthemostcreativemindsincuneiformstudies,provedtobea constantsourceofinformationandguidancehismorerecentworksinparticulararecrowdedtreasurehousesofcuneiformlexicography. ButitistoArnoPoebel,theleadingSumerologistofthepasthalfcentury,thatmyresearchesowetheheaviestdebt.Intheearlythirties,asamemberoftheAssyrian DictionaryStaffoftheOrientalInstitute,Isatathisfeetanddrankinhiswords.Inthosedays,whenSumerologywaspracticallyanunknowndisciplineinAmerica, Poebel,amasterofSumerologicalmethod,gavemegenerouslyofhistimeandknowledge.

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Sumerology,asthereadermaysurmise,isnotreckonedamongtheessentialdisciplineseveninthelargestAmericanuniversities,andmychosenpathwashardly pavedwithgold.Theclimbtoarelativelystableandmoreorlesscomfortableprofessorialchairwasmarkedbyaconstantfinancialstruggle.Theyears193742were particularlycriticalformyscholarlycareer,andhaditnotbeenforaseriesofgrantsfromtheJohnSimonGuggenheimMemorialFoundationandtheAmerican PhilosophicalSociety,itmightwellhavecometoaprematureend.Inrecentyears,theBollingenFoundationhasmadeitpossibleformetosecureatleastaminimum ofclericalandscientifichelpformySumerologiealresearches,aswellastotravelabroadinconnectionwiththem. TotheDepartmentofAntiquitiesoftheRepublicofTurkeyandtotheDirectoroftheArchaeologicalMuseumsinIstanbul,Iamdeeplygratefulforgenerous cooperation.TheymadeitpossibleformetobenefitfromtheuseoftheSumerianliterarytabletsintheMuseumoftheAncientOrient,whosetwocuratorsofthe TabletCollectionMuazzezCigandHaticeKizilyayhavebeenaconstantsourceofveryrealhelp,particularlybycopyingseveralhundredfragmentsinscribedwith portionsoftheSumerianliteraryworks. Finally,IwishtoexpressmyheartfeltthankstoMrs.GertrudeSilver,whohelpedpreparethetypescriptforthisbook. SAMUELNOAHKRAMER Philadelphia,Pa.

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ListofIllustrations
LineDrawings 1.Eighteenrepresentativesignsinthedevelopmentofcuneiformwriting 2.EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta:handcopyfromIstanbultablet 3.EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta:handcopyfromIstanbultablet 4.GilgameshandAgga:handcopyofNippurtablet 5.Socialreformand"freedom" 6.UrNammulawcode:handcopyofprologue 7.Farmer'sAlmanac:handcopy 8.Plowingscene 9.HymntoEnlil 10.Socialjustice:fragmentsinscribedwithpartsoftheNanshehymn 11.SummerandWinter:handcopyoftwoleftcolumns 12.SummerandWinter:handcopyoftworightcolumns 13."Birdfish"and"Treereed":debates 14.Theflood,theark,andtheSumerianNoah 15&16.ThedeedsandexploitsofNinurta 17."GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving":dragonslayingmyth 18."GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving":avariantversion 19.NetherWorldtaboos 20.EnmerkarandEnsukushsiranna 21.LugalbandaandEnmerkar:fragmentintheMuseumoftheAncient Orient xxiii 20 23 32 47 53 66 68 90 103 134 135 138 150 173 174 175 187 225 232

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22.LugalbandaandEnmerkar:fragmentinUniversityMuseum 23."LugalbandaandMountHurrum":anepictale 24.Alovepoem 25."LibraryCatalogue" 26.Man's"GoldenAge" 27.Ancientsites:mapofsouthernIraq 28.MapofNippur:handcopygivinglocationofbuildings,rivers,walls,and gates

238 242 247 252 256 257 378

Halftones 1.TheTempleatTellHarmal 2.TheZigguratatAqarQuf 3.Nippurscribalquarternewexcavations 4.Schooldays:TheTeacher'sBlessing 5.ReverseoftextofSchooldays,plate4 6.JuvenileDelinquency 7.LimestonestatuetteofaSumerianofabout2500B.C. 8.Dudu.StatuetteofaSumerianScribeofabout2350B.C. 9.ABeardedPriest.StatuettefromexcavationatKhafaje 10.ClaycylinderinscribedwithEnlilmyth 11.A"BotanyZoologyTextbook."FromexcavationinruinsofTell Harmal 12.EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta:Istanbultablet 13.WarandPeace:The"Standard"fromUr 14.UrNanshe,KingofLagash:limestoneplaque 15.SteleoftheVultures 16.Aesopica:reverseoftextoftabletinscribedwithanimalproverbsand fables 17.UrNammuLawCode:TheLaws.ReverseofIstanbultablet 18.UrNammu:partofsteleexcavatedinUr 199 199 200 201 201 202 203 203 203 204 205

206 207 208 209 210

211 211

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19.Man'sOldestPrescriptions:reverseoftabletfromNippur 20.InannaandShukalletuda:reverseofsixcolumntablet 21.SeparationofHeavenandEarth:aNippurtablet 22.ReverseofsixcolumntabletinscribedwithmythaboutInannaandEnki 23/24.CreationofMan:obverseofsameNippurtablet,beforeandafter joining 25.Proverbs:ninecolumnNippurtabletinscribedwithproverbsaboutfate andanimals 26.TabletXIIoftheBabylonianEpicofGilgamesh 27.Sacred(?)Cows:mosaicdairyfriezefromabout2500B.C. 28.MapofNippur,photographoforiginaltablet 29.Reverseoftabletinscribedwithdisputebetweentwostudents 30.Shulgi,theIdealKing 31.LyrefromUroftheChaldees 32.DeathandResurrection:obverseoftabletfromUr 33.Rightedgeoftablet32 34.Uaaua:obverseof''Lullaby''tablet

212 212 213 214 215

216

217 217 218 219 219 220 221 221 222

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PhotographicSources
TheUniversityMuseum,UniversityofPennsylvania(ReubenGoldberg,photographer):Figures1,7,and26Plates3,4,5,6,7,9,10,12,16,18,19,21,22,23, 24,25,26,27,29,30,31,and34andformakingthephotographsofPlates13,14,and15fromillustrationsinDcouvertesenChaldebyErnestdeSouzecand LeonHeuzey. Plates32and33arefromthePhotographicDepartmentoftheBritishMuseum. TheMuseumofAncientOrient,Istanbul:Plates8,12,17,and20. AntranEvan(staffphotographeroftheIraqiDirectorateofAntiquities,Baghdad:Plates1and2. PhotographicInstituteoftheFriedrichSchillerUniversity,Jena:Figure27andPlate28.

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Introduction
TheSumerologistisoneofthenarrowestofspecialistsinthehighlyspecializedacademichallsoflearning,awellnighperfectexampleofthemanwho"knowsmostest abouttheleastest."HecutshisworlddowntothatsmallpartofitknownastheMiddleEast,andlimitshishistorytowhathappenedbeforethedaysofAlexanderthe Great.HeconfineshisresearchestothewrittendocumentsdiscoveredinMesopotamia,primarilyclaytabletsinscribedinthecuneiformscript,andrestrictshis contributionstotextswrittenintheSumerianlanguage.Hewritesandpublishesarticlesandmonographsbearingsuchstimulatingtitlesas"TheBeandBiPrefixinthe TimesoftheEarlyPrincesofLagash,""LamentationovertheDestructionofUr,""GilgameshandAggaofKish,''"EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta."Aftertwentyto thirtyyearsoftheseandsimilarworldshakingresearches,hegetshisreward:heisaSumerologist.Atleastthatishowitallhappenedtome. Incredibleasitmayseem,however,thispinpointhistorian,thisToynbeeinreverse,hassomethingofunusualinterest(an"aceinthehole,"asitwere)tooffertothe generalreader.TheSumerologist,morethanmostotherscholarsandspecialists,isinapositiontosatisfyman'suniversalquestfororiginsfor"firsts"inthehistoryof civilization. What,forexample,wereman'sfirstrecordedethicalidealsandreligiousideashisfirstpolitical,social,andphilosophicalrationale?Whatdidthefirsthistories, myths,epics,andhymnssoundlike?Howwerethefirstlegalcontractsworded?Whowasthefirstsocialreformer?Whendidthefirsttaxreductiontake

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place?Whowasthefirstlawgiver?Whendidthefirstbicameralcongressmeet,andforwhatpurpose?Whatwereman'sfirstschoolsliketheircurriculum,faculty, andstudentbody? Theseandmanysimilar"firsts"inman'srecordedhistoryaretheSumerologist's"meat."Hecangivethecorrectanswertomanyofthequestionsconcerningcultural origins.Not,ofcourse,becauseheisparticularlyprofoundorclairvoyant,unusuallysagaciousorerudite.Actually,theSumerologistisaverylimitedfellowindeed, whorates"waydown,"evenamongthelowlyacademicians.Creditforthehighnumberofcultural"firsts"goesnottotheSumerologistbuttotheSumeriansthat giftedandpracticalpeoplewho,asfarasisknowntoday,werethefirsttoinventanddevelopausableandeffectivesystemofwriting. OneremarkablefactisthatonlyacenturyagonothingwasknownevenoftheexistenceoftheseSumeriansinancientdays.Thearchaeologistsandscholarswho, somehundredyearsago,beganexcavatinginthatpartoftheMiddleEastknownasMesopotamiawerelookingnotforSumeriansbutforAssyriansandBabylonians. OnthesepeoplesandtheircivilizationstheyhadconsiderableinformationfromGreekandHebrewsources,butofSumerandtheSumerianstheyhadnoinkling. Therewasnorecognizabletraceeitherofthelandorofitspeopleintheentireliteratureavailabletothemodernscholar.TheverynameSumerhadbeenerasedfrom themindandmemoryofmanformorethantwothousandyears. YettodaytheSumeriansareoneofthebestknownpeoplesoftheancientNearEast.Weknowwhattheylookedlikefromtheirownstatuesandstelesscattered throughoutseveralofthemoreimportantmuseumsinthiscountryandabroad.Here,too,willbefoundanexcellentrepresentativecrosssectionoftheirmaterial culturethecolumnsandbrickswithwhichtheybuilttheirtemplesandpalaces,theirtoolsandweapons,potsandvases,harpsandlyres,jewelsandornaments. Moreover,Sumerianclaytabletsbythetensofthousands(literally),inscribedwiththeirbusiness,legal,andadministrativedocuments,crowdthecollectionsofthese samemuseums,givingusmuchinformationaboutthesocialstructureandadministrativeorganizationoftheancientSumerians.Indeedandthisiswherearchaeology, becauseofits

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muteandstaticcharacter,isusuallyleastproductivewecanevenpenetratetoacertainextentintotheirheartsandsouls.Weactuallyhavealargenumberof SumerianclaydocumentsonwhichareinscribedtheliterarycreationsrevealingSumerianreligion,ethics,andphilosophy.AndallthisbecausetheSumerianswereone oftheveryfewpeopleswhonotonlyprobablyinventedasystemofwriting,butalsodevelopeditintoavitalandeffectiveinstrumentofcommunication. ItwasprobablytowardtheendofthefourthmillenniumB.C.,aboutfivethousandyearsago,thattheSumerians,asaresultoftheireconomicandadministrative needs,cameupontheideaofwritingonclay.Theirfirstattemptswerecrudeandpictographictheycouldbeusedonlyforthesimplestadministrativenotations.Butin thecenturiesthatfollowed,theSumerianscribesandteachersgraduallysomodifiedandmoldedtheirsystemofwritingthatitcompletelylostitspictographiccharacter andbecameahighlyconventionalizedandpurelyphoneticsystemofwriting.InthesecondhalfofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,theSumerianwritingtechniquehad becomesufficientlyplasticandflexibletoexpresswithoutdifficultythemostcomplicatedhistoricalandliterarycompositions.Thereislittledoubtthatsometimebefore theendofthethirdmillenniumB.C.theSumerianmenoflettersactuallywrotedownonclaytablets,prisms,andcylindersmanyoftheirliterarycreationswhich untilthenhadbeencurrentinoralformonly.However,owingtoarchaeologicalaccident,onlyafewliterarydocumentsfromthisearlierperiodhaveasyetbeen excavated,althoughthissameperiodhasyieldedtensofthousandsofeconomicandadministrativetabletsandhundredsofvotiveinscriptions. ItisnotuntilwecometothefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.thatwefindagroupofseveralthousandtabletsandfragmentsinscribedwiththeSumerianliterary works.Thegreatmajorityofthesewereexcavatedbetween1889and1900atNippur,anancientSumeriansitenotmuchmorethanahundredmilesfrommodern Baghdad.TheyarenowlocatedprimarilyintheUniversityMuseumofPhiladelphiaandtheMuseumoftheAncientOrientatIstanbul.Mostoftheothertabletsand fragmentswereobtainedfromdealersratherthanthroughexcava

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tions,andarenowlargelyinthecollectionsoftheBritishMuseum,theLouvre,theBerlinMuseum,andYaleUniversity.Thedocumentsrangeinsizefromlarge twelvecolumntablets,inscribedwithhundredsofcompactlywrittenlinesoftext,totinyfragmentscontainingnomorethanafewbrokenlines. Theliterarycompositionsinscribedonthesetabletsandfragmentsrunintothehundreds.Theyvaryinlengthfromhymnsoflessthanfiftylinestomythsofclosetoa thousandlines.Fromthepointofviewofformandcontent,theydisplayavarietyoftypesandgenreswhich,consideringtheirage,isbothstartlingandrevealing.In Sumer,agoodmillenniumbeforetheHebrewswrotedowntheirBibleandtheGreekstheirIliadandOdyssey,wefindarichandmatureliteratureconsistingofmyths andepictales,hymnsandlamentations,andnumerouscollectionsofproverbs,fables,andessays.Itisnottoounrealistictopredictthattherecoveryandrestorationof thisancientandlongforgottenliteraturewillturnouttobeamajorcontributionofourcenturytothehumanities. Now,theaccomplishmentofthistaskisnosimplematter.ItwilldemandtheconcentratedeffortsofnumerousSumerologistsoveraperiodofyearsespeciallyin viewofthefactthatmostofthesunbakedclaytabletscameoutofthegroundbrokenandfragmentary,sothatonlyasmallpartoftheiroriginalcontentsispreserved oneachpiece.OffsettingthisdisadvantageisthefactthattheancientSumerian"professors"andtheirstudentspreparedmanycopiesofeachliterarywork.The breaksandlacunaeofonetabletorfragmentcanthereforefrequentlyberestoredfromduplicatingpieces,whichmaythemselvesbeinafragmentarycondition.To takefulladvantageofthesetextrestoringduplications,however,itisnecessarytohavethesourcematerialavailableinpublishedform.Thisfrequentlyentailscopying byhandhundredsandhundredsofminutelyinscribedtabletsandfragmentsatedious,wearisome,timeconsumingtask. ButletustakethoserareinstanceswherethisparticularhurdlenolongerblocksthewaywherethecompletetextoftheSumeriancompositionhasbeen satisfactorilyrestored.Allthatremainsinthoseinstancesistotranslatetheancientdocumentandgetatitsessentialmeaning,whichiseasiersaidthandone.Tobe sure,

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1. TheOriginandDevelopmentoftheCuneiformSystemofWriting.Atableshowingtheformsofeighteenrepresentativesignsfromabout3000B.C.toabout600B.C.

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thegrammarofthelongdeadSumerianlanguageisnowfairlywellknown,asaresultofthecumulativecontributionsofscholarsoverthepasthundredyears.Butthe vocabularyissomethingelseagain.Inthematterofsemantics,theuncomfortableSumerologistfindshimselftimeandagain"chasinghisowntail."Veryoftenhecan onlyguessthemeaningofawordfromthesenseofthesurroundingcontext,whichitselfmaydependonthemeaningofthewordaratherfrustratingstateofaffairs. Nevertheless,inspiteoftextualdifficultiesandlexicalperplexities,anumberofreasonablytrustworthytranslationsoftheSumerianliteraryworkshaveappearedin recentyears.Basedonthecontributionsofvariousscholars,livinganddead,thetranslationsvividlyillustratethecumulative,cooperative,andinternationalcharacterof productivescholarship.Thefactisthat,inthedecadesfollowingtheexcavationsoftheSumerianliterarytabletsfromNippur,morethanonescholar,realizingthevalue andimportanceoftheircontentsforOrientalstudies,examinedandcopiedsomeofthem.AmongthemwereGeorgeBarton,LeonLegrain,HenryLutz,andDavid Myhrman,allofwhomcontributedtothistask. HugoRadau,thefirsttodevotemuchtimeandenergytotheSumerianliterarymaterial,preparedcarefulandtrustworthycopiesofmorethanfortypiecesinthe UniversityMuseumatPhiladelphia.Thoughthetimewasnotripe,heworkeddiligentlyonthetranslationandinterpretationofthetextsandmadesomeprogressinthis direction.ThewellknownAngloAmericanOrientalist,StephenLangdon,pickedup,inasense,whereRadauleftoff.Hecopiedclosetoahundredpiecesfromthe NippurcollectionsofboththeIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrientandourownUniversityMuseum.Langdonhadatendencytocopytoorapidly,andnotafew errorscreptintohiswork.Moreover,hisattemptedtranslationsandinterpretationshavefailedtostandthetestoftime.Ontheotherhand,hedidsucceedinmaking available,inoneformoranother,anumberofveryimportantSumerianliterarytextsthatmightotherwisehaveremainedstoredawayinthemuseumcupboards.Byhis zestandenthusiasmhehelpedtomakehisfellowcuneiformistsrealizethesignificanceoftheircontents.

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AtthesametimetheEuropeanmuseumsweregraduallymakingavailabletheSumerianliterarytabletsintheircollections.Asearlyas1902,whenSumerologywasstill initsinfancy,theBritishcuneiformistandhistorianL.W.KingpublishedsixteenexcellentlypreservedtabletsfromtheBritishMuseum.Sometenyearslater,Heinrich ZimmernofLeipzigpublishedtwohundredoddcopiesofpiecesintheBerlinMuseum.In1921,CyrilGadd,thenaKeeperintheBritishMuseum,publishedcopies oftenunusualpieces.In1930,thelateHenrideGenouillac,Frenchexcavator,madeavailableninetyeightcopiesofunusuallywellpreservedtabletswhichthe Louvrehadacquired.OneoftheoutstandingcontributorstothefieldofSumerianliteratureandtoSumerologicalstudiesasawholeisArnoPoebel,thescholarwho putSumerologyonascientificbasiswithhispublicationofadetailedSumeriangrammarin1923.InhismonumentalandinvaluableHistoricalandGrammatical Texts,whichcontainssuperbcopiesofmorethan150tabletsandfragmentsfromtheNippurcollectionoftheUniversityMuseuminPhiladelphia,therearecloseto fortythatareinscribedwithpartsofSumerianliteraryworks. ButitisthenameofEdwardChiera,formanyyearsamemberofthefacultyoftheUniversityofPennsylvania,whichispreeminentinthefieldofSumerianliterary research.HehadaclearerideathananyofhispredecessorsofthescopeandcharacteroftheSumerianliteraryworks.Awareofthefundamentalneedforcopying andpublishingthepertinentNippurmaterialinIstanbulandPhiladelphia,hetraveledtoIstanbulin1924andcopiedsomefiftypiecesfromtheNippurcollection.A numberofthesewerelargeandwellpreservedtablets,andtheircontentsgavescholarsafreshinsightintoSumerianliteraryworks.Intheyearsthatfollowed,he copiedmorethantwohundredliterarytabletsandfragmentsfromtheNippurcollectionoftheUniversityMuseum.Thushemadeavailabletohisfellowcuneiformists moreofthesetextsthanallhispredecessorsputtogether.ItislargelyasaresultofhispatientandfarsightedspadeworkthatthetruenatureofSumerianbelleslettres finallybegantobeappreciated. Myowninterestinthishighlyspecializedfieldofresearch

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stemmeddirectlyfromEdwardChiera'scontributions,thoughIactuallyowemySumerologicaltrainingtoArnoPoebel,withwhomIwasprivilegedtoworkclosely foranumberofyearsintheearlythirties.WhenChierawascalledtotheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicago,asheadofitsAssyrianDictionaryproject,he tookwithhimhiscopiesoftheNippurliterarytablets,andtheOrientalInstituteundertooktopublishthemintwovolumes.UponChiera'sdeathin1933,theeditorial departmentoftheOrientalInstituteentrustedmewiththepreparationofthesetwovolumesforposthumous(underChiera'sauthorship)publication.Itwasinthe courseofcarryingoutthistaskthatthesignificanceoftheSumerianliterarydocumentsdawnedonme,aswellastherealizationthatalleffortstotranslateandinterpret thedocumentswouldremainlargelyfutileandbarrenuntilmanymoreoftheuncopiedNippurtabletsandfragmentsinIstanbulandPhiladelphiahadbeenmade available. InthetwodecadesthatfollowedIhavedevotedmostofmyscientificeffortstothecopying,piecingtogether,translation,andinterpretationoftheSumerianliterary compositions.In1937ItraveledtoIstanbulasaGuggenheimFellow,and,withthefullcooperationoftheTurkishDirectorateofAntiquitiesandofitsauthorized museumofficials,IcopiedfromtheNippurcollectionofitsmuseummorethan170tabletsandfragmentsinscribedwithportionsofSumerianliteraryworks.These copieshavenowbeenpublishedwithadetailedintroductioninTurkishandEnglish.ThesucceedingyearswerespentlargelyattheUniversityMuseuminPhiladelphia. Here,withthehelpofseveralgenerousgrantsfromtheAmericanPhilosophicalSociety,IstudiedandcataloguedthehundredsofunpublishedSumerianliterary documents,identifyingthecontentsofmostofthemsothattheycouldbeattributedtooneoranotherofthenumerousSumeriancompositions,andIcopiedanumber ofthem.In1946ItraveledonceagaintoIstanbulandcopiedanotherhundredoddpieces,practicallyallinscribedwithportionsofmythsandepictalestheseare nowbeingpreparedforpublication.Butthisstillleft,asIknewonlytoowell,hundredsofpiecesintheIstanbulmuseumuncopiedandunutilizable.Itwasforthe purposeofcontinuingthistaskthatIwasawardedaFulbrightresearchpro

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fessorshiptoTurkeyfortheacademicyear195152.Inthisperiod,threeofustheladiesHaticeKizilyayandMuazzezCig(theTurkishcuratorsoftheTablet ArchivesoftheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient)andIcopiedcloseto300additionaltabletsandfragments. Inrecentyears,finally,anewstockofSumerianliterarypiecesbecameavailable.In1948,theOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicagoandtheUniversity MuseuminPhiladelphiapooledtheirfinancialresourcesandsentoutajointexpeditiontorenewexcavationsatNippurafteralapseofsomefiftyyears.Not unexpectedly,thisnewexpeditionuncoveredhundredsofnewtabletsandfragments,andthesearebeingcarefullystudiedbyThorkildJacobsenoftheOriental Institute,oneoftheworld'soutstandingcuneiformists,andthepresentwriter.Itisalreadyapparentthatthenewlydiscoveredmaterialwillfillinmanylacunaein Sumerianbelleslettres.ThereisgoodreasontohopethatnotafewSumerianliteraryworkswillbemadeavailableinthenextdecade,andthatthese,too,willreveal numerous''firsts"inman'srecordedhistory.

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Chapter1 Education TheFirstSchools


TheSumerianschoolwasthedirectoutgrowthoftheinventionanddevelopmentofthecuneiformsystemofwriting,Sumer'smostsignificantcontributiontocivilization. ThefirstwrittendocumentswerefoundinaSumeriancitynamedErech.Theyconsistofmorethanathousandsmallpictographicclaytabletsinscribedprimarilywith bitsofeconomicandadministrativememoranda.Butamongthemareseveralwhichcontainwordlistsintendedforstudyandpractice.Thatis,asearlyas3000B.C., somescribeswerealreadythinkingintermsofteachingandlearning.Progresswasslowinthecenturiesthatfollowed.Butbythemiddleofthethirdmillennium,there musthavebeenanumberofschoolsthroughoutSumerwherewritingwastaughtformally.InancientShuruppak,thehomecityoftheSumerian"Noah,"therewere excavated,in19021903,aconsiderablenumberofschool"textbooks"datingfromabout2500B.C. However,itwasinthelasthalfofthethirdmillenniumthattheSumerianschoolsystemmaturedandflourished.Fromthisperiodtherehavealreadybeenexcavated tensofthousandsofclaytablets,andthereislittledoubtthathundredsofthousandsmorelieburiedintheground,awaitingthefutureexcavator.Thevastmajorityare administrativeincharactertheycovereveryphaseofSumerianeconomiclife.Fromthemwelearnthatthenumberofscribeswhopracticedtheircraftthroughout thoseyearsranintothethousands.Therewerejuniorand"high"scribes,royalandtemplescribes,scribeswhowerehighlyspecializedforparticularcategoriesof administrativeactivities,andscribes

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whobecameleadingofficialsingovernment.Thereiseveryreasontoassume,therefore,thatnumerousscribalschoolsofconsiderablesizeandimportanceflourished throughouttheland. ButnoneoftheseearliertabletsdealdirectlywiththeSumerianschoolsystem,itsorganization,anditsmethodofoperation.Forthistypeofinformationwemustgoto thefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.Fromthislaterperiodtherehavebeenexcavatedhundredsofpracticetabletsfilledwithallsortsofexercisesactually preparedbythepupilsthemselvesaspartoftheirdailyschoolwork.Theirscriptrangesfromthesorryscratchesofthefirstgradertotheelegantlywrittensignsofthe faradvancedstudentabouttobecomea''graduate."Byinference,theseancient"copybooks"tellusnotalittleaboutthemethodofteachingcurrentintheSumerian schoolandaboutthenatureofitscurriculum.Fortunately,theancientSumerianteachersthemselveslikedtowriteaboutschoollife,andseveraloftheiressaysonthis subjecthavebeenrecoveredatleastinpart.FromallthesesourceswegetapictureoftheSumerianschoolitsaimsandgoals,itsstudentsandfaculty,itscurriculum andteachingtechniques.Thisisuniqueforsoearlyaperiodinthehistoryofman. TheoriginalgoaloftheSumerianschoolwaswhatwewouldterm"professional"thatis,itwasfirstestablishedforthepurposeoftrainingthescribesrequiredto satisfytheeconomicandadministrativedemandsoftheland,primarilythoseofthetempleandpalace.ThiscontinuedtobethemajoraimoftheSumerianschool throughoutitsexistence.However,inthecourseofitsgrowthanddevelopment,andparticularlyasaresultoftheeverwideningcurriculum,theschoolcametobethe centerofcultureandlearninginSumer.Withinitswallsflourishedthescholarscientist,themanwhostudiedwhatevertheological,botanical,zoological,mineralogical, geographical,mathematical,grammatical,andlinguisticknowledgewascurrentinhisday,andwhoinsomecasesaddedtothisknowledge. Moreover,ratherunlikepresentdayinstitutionsoflearning,theSumerianschoolwasalsothecenterofwhatmightbetermedcreativewriting.Itwasherethatthe literarycreationsofthepastwerestudiedandcopiedhere,too,newoneswerecom

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posed.WhileitistruethatthemajorityofgraduatesfromtheSumerianschoolsbecamescribesintheserviceofthetempleandpalace,andamongtherichand powerfuloftheland,thereweresomewhodevotedtheirlivestoteachingandlearning.Liketheuniversityprofessoroftoday,manyoftheseancientscholars dependedontheirteachingsalariesfortheirlivelihood,anddevotedthemselvestoresearchandwritingintheirsparetime.TheSumerianschool,whichprobably beganasatempleappendage,becameintimeasecularinstitutionitscurriculum,too,becamelargelysecularincharacter.Theteacherswerepaid,apparently,Outof tuitionfeescollectedfromthestudents. Educationwasneitheruniversalnorcompulsory.Mostofthestudentscamefromwealthyfamiliesthepoorcouldhardlyaffordthecostandtimewhichaprolonged educationdemanded.Untilrecentlythiswasassumedaprioritobethestateofaffairs,butin1946aGermancuneiformist,NikolausSchneider,ingeniouslyprovedit fromactualcontemporarysources.Inthethousandsofpublishedeconomicandadministrativedocumentsfromabout2000B.C.,somefivehundredindividualslisted themselvesasscribes,andforfurtheridentificationmanyofthemaddedthenameoftheirfatherandhisoccupation.Schneidercompiledalistofthesedata,andfound thatfathersofthescribesthatis,oftheschoolgraduatesweregovernors,"cityfathers,"ambassadors,templeadministrators,militaryofficers,seacaptains,hightax officials,priestsofvarioussorts,managers,supervisors,foremen,scribes,archivists,andaccountants.Inshort,thefatherswerethewealthiercitizensofurban communities.Notasinglewomanislistedasascribeinthesedocuments,anditisthereforelikelythatthestudentbodyoftheSumerianschoolconsistedofmales only. HeadoftheSumerianschoolwastheummia,"expert,""professor,"whowasalsocalled"schoolfather,"whilethepupilwascalled''schoolson."Theassistant professorwasknownas"bigbrother,''andsomeofhisdutiesweretowritethenewtabletsforthepupilstocopy,toexaminethecopiesmadebythepupils,andto hearthemrecitetheirstudiesfrommemory.Othermembersofthefacultywere"themaninchargeofdrawing"and"themaninchargeofSumerian."Therewerealso monitorsin

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chargeofattendanceand"amaninchargeofthewhip,"whowaspresumablyresponsiblefordiscipline.Weknownothingoftherelativerankoftheschoolpersonnel, exceptthattheheadmasterwasthe"schoolfather."Nordoweknowanythingabouttheirsourcesofincome.Probablytheywerepaidbythe"schoolfather''fromthe tuitionfeeshereceived. InregardtothecurriculumoftheSumerianschool,thereisatourdisposalawealthofdatafromtheschoolsthemselves,whichisindeeduniqueinthehistoryofearly man.Inthiscasethereisnoneedtodependonthestatementsmadebytheancientsoroninferencefromscatteredbitsofinformation.Weactuallyhavethewritten productsoftheschoolboysthemselves,fromthebeginner'sfirstattemptstothecopiesoftheadvancedstudent,whoseworkwassowellpreparedthatitcouldhardly bedistinguishedfromthatoftheprofessorhimself.ItisfromtheseschoolproductsthatwerealizethattheSumerianschool'scurriculumconsistedoftwoprimary groups:thefirstmaybedescribedassemiscientificandscholarlythesecondasliteraryandcreative. Inconsideringthefirst,orsemiscientificgroup,itisimportanttostressthatthesubjectsdidnotstemoutofwhatmaybecalledthescientificurgethesearchfortruth fortruth'ssake.Rather,theygrewanddevelopedoutofthemainschoolaim:toteachthescribehowtowritetheSumerianlanguage.Inordertosatisfythis pedagogicalneed,theSumerianscribalteachersdevisedasystemofinstructionwhichconsistedprimarilyinlinguisticclassificationthatis,theyclassifiedthe Sumerianlanguageintogroupsofrelatedwordsandphrasesandhadthestudentsmemorizeandcopythemuntiltheycouldreproducethemwithease.Inthethird millenniumB.C.,these"textbooks"becameincreasinglymorecomplete,andgraduallygrewtobemoreorlessstereotypedandstandardforalltheschoolsofSumer. Amongthemwefindlonglistsofnamesoftreesandreedsofallsortsofanimals,includinginsectsandbirdsofcountries,cities,andvillagesofstonesandminerals. Thesecompilationsrevealaconsiderableacquaintancewithwhatmightbetermedbotanical,zoological,geographical,andmineralogicalloreafactthatisonlynow beginningtoberealizedbyhistoriansofscience.

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Sumerianschoolmenalsopreparedvariousmathematicaltablesandmanydetailedmathematicalproblemstogetherwiththeirsolutions.Inthefieldoflinguisticsthe studyofSumeriangrammarwaswellrepresentedamongtheschooltablets.Anumberareinscribedwithlonglistsofsubstantivecomplexesandverbalforms, indicatingahighlysophisticatedgrammaticalapproach.Moreover,asaresultofthegradualconquestoftheSumeriansbytheSemiticAkkadiansinthelastquarterof thethirdmillenniumB.C.,theSumerianprofessorspreparedtheoldest"dictionaries"knowntoman.TheSemiticconquerorsnotonlyborrowedtheSumerianscript butalsotreasuredhighlytheSumerianliteraryworks,whichtheystudiedandimitatedlongafterSumerianhadbecomeextinctasaspokenlanguage.Hence,there arosethepedagogicalneedfor"dictionaries"inwhichSumerianwordsandphrasesweretranslatedintotheAkkadianlanguage. AsfortheliteraryandcreativeaspectsoftheSumeriancurriculum,itconsistedprimarilyinstudying,copying,andimitatingthelargeanddiversifiedgroupofliterary compositionswhichmusthaveoriginatedanddevelopedmainlyinthelatterhalfofthethirdmillenniumB.C.Theseancientworks,runningintothehundreds,were almostallpoeticinform,ranginginlengthfromlessthanfiftylinestoclosetoathousand.Thoserecoveredtodatearechieflyofthefollowinggenres:mythsandepic talesintheformofnarrativepoemscelebratingthedeedsandexploitsoftheSumeriangodsandheroeshymnstogodsandkingslamentationsbewailingthe destructionofSumeriancitieswisdomcompositionsincludingproverbs,fables,andessays.Oftheseveralthousandliterarytabletsandfragmentsrecoveredfromthe ruinsofSumer,notafewareintheimmaturehandoftheancientSumerianpupilsthemselves. LittleisknownasyetoftheteachingmethodsandtechniquespracticedintheSumerianschool.Inthemorning,uponhisarrivalinschool,thestudentevidentlystudied thetabletwhichhehadpreparedthedaybefore.Thenthe"bigbrother"thatis,theassistantprofessorpreparedanewtablet,whichthestudentproceededto copyandstudy.Boththe"bigbrother"andthe"schoolfather"probablyexaminedhiscopiestoseeiftheywerecorrect.Nodoubtmemorizingplayedaverylargerole inthe

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students'work.Theteachersandassistantsmusthavesupplemented,withconsiderableoralandexplanatorymaterial,thebarelists,tables,andliterarytextswhichthe studentcopiedandstudied.Butthese"lectures,"whichwouldhaveprovedinvaluabletoourunderstandingofSumerianscientific,religious,andliterarythought,were inallprobabilityneverwrittendownandhencearelosttousforever. Onefactstandsout:theSumerianschoolhadnoneofthecharacterofwhatwewouldcallprogressiveeducation.Inthematterofdiscipline,therewasnosparingof therod.Whileteachersprobablyencouragedtheirstudents,bymeansofpraiseandcommendation,todogoodwork,theydependedprimarilyonthecanefor correctingthestudents'faultsandinadequacies.Thestudentdidnothaveaneasytimeofit.Heattendedschooldailyfromsunrisetosunset.Hemusthavehadsome vacationintheschoolyear,butonthiswehavenoinformation.Hedevotedmanyyearstohisstudies,stayinginschoolfromhisearlyyouthtothedaywhenhe becameayoungman.Itwouldbeinterestingtoknowif,when,andtowhatextentthestudentswereexpectedtospecializeinonestudyoranother.Butonthispoint, asindeedonmanyotherpointsconcernedwithschoolactivities,oursourcesfailus. WhatwastheancientSumerianschoolhouselike?InseveralMesopotamianexcavations,buildingshaveturnedupwhichforonereasonoranotherwereidentifiedas possibleschoolhousesoneinNippur,anotherinSippar,andathirdinUr.But,exceptforthefactthatalargenumberoftabletswerefoundintherooms,there seemslittletodistinguishthemfromordinaryhouserooms,andtheidentificationmaybeerroneous.However,inthewinterof193435,theFrench,whoexcavated ancientMarifartothewestofNippur,uncoveredtworoomswhichdefinitelyseemtoshowphysicalfeaturesthatmightbecharacteristicofaschoolroom,especially sincetheycontainedseveralrowsofbenchesmadeofbakedbrick,capableofseatingone,two,orfourpeople.Strangelyenough,notabletswerefoundinthese rooms,andsotheidentificationmustremainsomewhatuncertain.

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Justhowdidthestudentsthemselvesfeelaboutthissystemofeducation?Foratleastapartialanswer,weturn,inChapter2,toaSumerianessayonschoollife writtenalmostfourthousandyearsagobutonlyrecentlypiecedtogetherandtranslated.Itisparticularlyinformativeonpupilteacherrelationsandprovidesaunique "first"inthehistoryofeducation.

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Chapter2 Schooldays TheFirstCaseof"ApplePolishing"


OneofthemosthumandocumentseverexcavatedintheNearEastisaSumerianessaydealingwiththedaytodayactivitiesofaschoolboy.Composedbyan anonymousschoolteacherwholivedabout2000B.C.,itssimple,straightforwardwordsrevealhowlittlehumannaturehasreallychangedthroughoutthemillenniums. Inthisancientessay,aSumerianschoolboy,notunlikehismoderncounterpart,dreadsbeinglatetoschool"lesthisteachercanehim."Onwakingup,heurgeshis mothertopreparehislunchhurriedly.Inschool,wheneverhemisbehaves,heiscanedbytheteacherandhisassistantsofthiswearequitesure,sincetheSumerian signforfloggingconsistsof"stick"and"flesh."Asfortheteacher,hispayseemstohavebeenasmeagerthenasateacher'spayisnowatleasthewasonlytoohappy tomakealittleextrafromtheparentstoekeouthisearnings. Thecomposition,whichwasnodoubtthecreationofoneofthe"professors"inthe"tablethouse,"beginswithadirectquestiontothepupil:"Schoolboy,wheredid yougofromearliestdays?"Theboyanswers:"Iwenttoschool.''Theauthorthenasks:"Whatdidyoudoinschool?"Therefollowsthepupil'sreply,whichtakesup morethanhalfthedocumentandreadsinpart:''Irecitedmytablet,atemylunch,preparedmy(new)tablet,wroteit,finisheditthentheyassignedmemyoralwork, andintheafternoontheyassignedmemywrittenwork.When

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schoolwasdismissed,Iwenthome,enteredthehouse,andfoundmyfathersittingthere.Itoldmyfatherofmywrittenwork,thenrecitedmytablettohim,andmy fatherwasdelighted....WhenIawokeearlyinthemorning,Ifacedmymotherandsaidtoher:'Givememylunch,Iwanttogotoschool.'Mymothergavemetwo 'rolls'andIsetoutmymothergavemetwo'rolls'andIwenttoschool.Inschoolthemonitorinchargesaidtome'Whyareyoulate?'Afraidandwithpoundingheart, Ienteredbeforemyteacherandmadearespectfulcurtsy." Butcurtsyornot,itseemstohavebeenabaddayforthispupil.Hehadtotakecaningsfromthevariousmembersoftheschoolstaffforsuchindiscretionsastalking, standingup,andwalkingoutofthegate.Worstofall,theteachersaidtohim,"Yourhand(copy)isnotsatisfactory,"andcanedhim.Thisseemstohavebeentoo muchforthelad,andhesuggeststohisfatherthatitmightbeagoodideatoinvitetheteacherhomeandmollifyhimwithsomepresentsbyalloddsthefirst recordedcaseof"applepolishing"inthehistoryofman.Thecompositioncontinues:"Tothatwhichtheschoolboysaidhisfathergaveheed.Theteacherwasbrought fromschool,andafterenteringthehousehewasseatedintheseatofhonor.Theschoolboyattendedandservedhim,andwhateverhehadlearnedoftheartoftablet writingheunfoldedtohisfather.'' Thefatherthenwinedanddinedtheteacher,"dressedhiminanewgarment,gavehimagift,putaringonhishand."Warmedbythisgenerosity,theteacherreassures theaspiringscribeinpoeticwords,whichreadinpart:"Youngman,becauseyoudidnotneglectmyword,didnotforsakeit,mayyoureachthepinnacleofthescribal art,mayyouachieveitcompletely....Ofyourbrothersmayyoubetheirleader,ofyourfriendsmayyoubetheirchief,mayyourankthehighestoftheschoolboys.. ..Youhavecarriedoutwelltheschool'sactivities,youhavebecomeamanoflearning." Withtheseenthusiasticandoptimisticwordsoftheprofessor,the"schooldays"essaycomestoanend.Littledidhedreamthathisliteraryvignetteonschoollifeashe knewitwouldberesurrectedandrestoredsomefourthousandyearslaterbyatwentiethcenturyprofessorinanAmericanuniversity.Fortunatelyitwas

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apopularessayinancientdays,ascanbeseenfromthefactthattwentyonecopies,invariousstatesofpreservation,havecometolight:thirteenareintheUniversity MuseuminPhiladelphiasevenareintheMuseumoftheAncientOrientinIstanbul,andoneisintheLouvreinParis. Thestoryofthegradualpiecingtogetherofthetextisasfollows:Asearlyas1909thefirstbitoftextfromthe"schooldays"documentwascopiedandpublishedbya youngcuneiformist,HugoRadau.Itwasanextractfromthemiddleofthecomposition,andRadauhadnowayofknowingwhatitwasallabout.Inthenexttwenty fiveyears,additionalbitswerepublishedbythelatefamedOrientalists,StephenLangdon,EdwardChiera,andHenrideGenouillac.Butstilltherewasnotenough materialonhandtogathertherealsignificanceofthetext.In1938,duringaprolongedstayinIstanbul,Isucceededinidentifyingfivemorepiecesbelongingtoour document.Oneofthesewasafairlywellpreservedfourcolumntabletwhichhadoriginallycontainedtheentiretextofourcomposition.Itenabledmetoplacethe otherpiecesintheirproperposition.Sincethen,additionalpiecesintheUniversityMuseumhavebeenidentified,ranginginlengthfromawellpreservedfourcolumn tablettosmallfragmentscontainingnomorethanafewbrokenlines.Asaresult,exceptforafewbrokensigns,practicallytheentiretextofthedocumentwaspieced togetherandrestored. Butthiswasonlythefirsthurdleinthescholarlyprocessofmakingthecontentsofourancientdocumentavailabletotheworldatlarge.Atrustworthytranslationis everybitasimportantandfarmoredifficult.SeveralportionsofthedocumenthavebeensuccessfullytranslatedbytheSumerologistsThorkildJacobsen,ofthe OrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicago,andAdamFalkenstein,oftheUniversityofHeidelberg.Thesetranslations,togetherwithanumberofsuggestionsby BennoLandsberger,formerlyofLeipzigandAnkaraandnowoftheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicago,wereutilizedinthepreparationofthefirst translationoftheentiredocument.Thiswaspublishedin1949inthehighlyspecializedJournaloftheAmericanOrientalSociety.Needlesstosay,notafewofthe Sumerianwordsandphrasesintheancientessayarestillun

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certainandobscure.Nodoubtsomefutureprofessorwillsucceedinarrivingatanexactrendering. Thoughtheymayprefernottoadmitit,itisnottheprofessorsandpoetswhoruntheworldbutthestatesmen,politicians,andsoldiers.Andsoournext"first,"in Chapter3,isabout"powerpolitics"andaSumerianruleroffivethousandyearsagowhocouldmanage"politicalincidents"successfully.

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Chapter3 FatherandSon TheFirstCaseofJuvenileDelinquency


Ifjuveniledelinquencyisaseriousprobleminourday,itmightbeconsolingtoknowthatthingswerenottoodifferentinancientdays.Wayward,disobedient,and ungratefulchildrenwerethebaneoftheirparentsthousandsofyearsagoaswellastoday.Theyroamedthestreetsandboulevardsandloiteredinthepublicsquares, perhapseveningangs,inspiteofthefactthattheyweresupervisedbyamonitor.Theyhatedschoolandeducationandmadetheirfatherssicktodeathwiththeir everlastinggripesandcomplaints.AllthiswelearnfromthetextofaSumerianessay,whichwasonlyveryrecentlypiecedtogether.Theseventeenclaytabletsand fragmentsonwhichtheessayhasbeenfoundinscribedactuallydatebacksome3,700yearsitsoriginalcompositionmaygobackseveralcenturiesearlier. Thecompositionwhichconcernsascribeandhisperverseson,beginswithanintroductionconsistingofamoreorlessfriendlydialoguebetweenfatherandson,in whichthelatterisadmonishedtogotoschool,workdiligently,andreportbackwithoutloiteringinthestreets.Tomakesurethattheladhaspaidcloseattention,the fatherhashimrepeathiswordsverbatim. Fromhereontheessayisamonolgueonthepartofthefather.Itstartswithaseriesofpracticalinstructionstohelpmakeamanofhissonnottogadaboutinthe streetsandboulevardstobehumblebeforehismonitortogotoschoolandlearnfromtheexperienceofman'searlypast.Therefollowsabitterrebuketothe

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waywardson,who,hisfatherclaims,hasmadehimsicktodeathwithhisperennialfearsandinhumanbehavior.He,thefather,isdeeplydisappointedattheson's ingratitudehenevermadehimworkbehindploworox,nordidheeveraskhimtobringfirewood,orsupporthimasotherfathersmaketheirsonsdo.Andyethis sonturnedouttobelessofamanthantheothers. Likemanyadisappointedparentoftoday,thefatherseemstobeespeciallyhurtthathissonrefusestofollowinhisprofessionalfootstepsandbecomeascribe.He admonisheshimtoemulatehiscompanions,friends,andbrotherstofollowhisownprofession,thescribalart,inspiteofthefactthatitisthemostdifficultofall professionswhichthegodofartsandcraftsthoughtupandbroughtintobeing.Itismostuseful,thefatherargues,forthepoetictransmissionofman'sexperience.But inanycase,hecontinues,itisdecreedbyEnlil,thekingofallthegods,thatasonshouldfollowhisfather'sprofession. Afterafinalupbraidingfortheson'spursuitofmaterialisticsuccessratherthanhumanisticendeavor,thetextbecomesratherobscureitseemstoconsistofbrief,pithy sayings,intendedperhapstoguidethesonintruewisdom.Inanycasetheessayclosesonahappynote,withthefatherblessinghissonandprayingthathefindfavor intheeyesofhispersonalgod,themoongodNannaandhiswife,thegoddessNingal. Herenowisaquiteliteral,iftentative,translationofthemoreintelligibleportionsoftheessay,omittingonlyhereandthereanobscurephraseorbrokenline. Thefatherbeginsbyaskinghisson:
Wheredidyougo? Ididnotgoanywhere. Ifyoudidnotgoanywhere,whydoyouidleabout?Gotoschool,standbeforeyour'schoolfather,'reciteyourassignment,openyourschoolbag,writeyourtablet,letyour'big brother'writeyournewtabletforyou.Afteryouhavefinishedyourassignmentandreportedtoyourmonitor,cometome,anddonotwanderaboutinthestreet.Comenow,do youknowwhatIsaid? Iknow,I'lltellittoyou. Come,now,repeatittome. I'llrepeatittoyou. Tellittome. Comeon,tellittome.

Page16 Youtoldmetogotoschool,recitemyassignment,openmyschoolbag,writemytablet,whilemy'bigbrother'istowritemynewtablet.Afterfinishingmyassignment,Iamto proceedtomyworkandtocometoyouafterIhavereportedtomymonitor.That'swhatyoutoldme.

Thefathernowcontinueswithalongmonologue:
Comenow,beaman.Don'tstandaboutinthepublicsquare,orwanderabouttheboulevard.Whenwalkinginthestreet,don'tlookallaround.Behumbleandshowfearbefore yourmonitor.Whenyoushowterror,themonitorwilllikeyou.

..........[Aboutfifteenlinesdestroyed.]
"Youwhowanderaboutinthepublicsquare,wouldyouachievesuccess?Thenseekoutthefirstgenerations.Gotoschool,itwillbeofbenefittoyou.Myson,seekoutthefirst generations,inquireofthem. "PerverseoneoverwhomIstandwatchIwouldnotbeamandidInotstandwatchovermysonIspoketomykin,compareditsmen,butfoundnonelikeyouamongthem. "WhatIamabouttorelatetoyouturnsthefoolintoawiseman,holdsthesnakeasifbycharms,andwillnotletyouacceptfalsephrases.Becausemyhearthadbeensatedwith wearinessofyou,Ikeptawayfromyouandheedednotyourfearsandgrumblingsno,Iheedednotyourfearsandgrumblings.Becauseofyourclamorings,yes,becauseof yourclamoringsIwasangrywithyouyes,Iwasangrywithyou.Becauseyoudonotlooktoyourhumanity,myheartwascarriedoffasifbyanevilwind.Yourgrumblings haveputanendtome,youhavebroughtmetothepointofdeath. "I,neverinallmylifedidImakeyoucarryreedstothecanebrake.Thereedrusheswhichtheyoungandthelittlecarry,you,neverinyourlifedidyoucarrythem.Ineversaidto you'Followmycaravans.'Ineversentyoutowork,toplowmyfield.Ineversentyoutoworktodigupmyfield.Ineversentyoutoworkasalaborer.'Go,workandsupportme,'I neverinmylifesaidtoyou. "Otherslikeyousupporttheirparentsbyworking.Ifyouspoketoyourkin,andappreciatedthem,youwouldemulatethem.Theyprovide10gur(72bushels)barleyeacheven theyoungonesprovidedtheirfatherswith10gureach.Theymultipliedbarleyfortheirfather,maintainedhiminbarley,oil,andwool.Butyou,you'reamanwhenitcomesto perverseness,butcomparedtothemyouarenotamanatall.Youcertainlydon'tlaborlikethemtheyarethesonsoffatherswhomaketheirsonslabor,butmeIdidn'tmake youworklikethem.

Page17 "PerverseonewithwhomIamfuriouswhoisthemanwhocanreallyhefuriouswithhissonIspoketomykinandfoundsomethinghithertounnoticed.ThewordswhichI shallrelatetoyou,fearthemandheonyourguardbecauseofthem.Yourpartner,youryokemateyoufailedtoappreciatehimwhydoyounotemulatehim?Yourfriend,your companionyoufailedtoappreciatehimwhydoyounotemulatehim?Emulateyourolderbrother.Emulateyouryoungerbrother.Amongallmankind'scraftsmenwhodwellin theland,asmanyasEnki(thegodofartsandcrafts)calledbyname(broughtintoexistence),noworkasdifficultasthescribalartdidhecallbyname.Forifnotforsong (poetry)likethebanksofthesea,thebanksofthedistantcanals,istheheartofsongdistantyouwouldn'tbelisteningtomycounsel,andIwouldn'tberepeatingtoyouthe wisdomofmyfather.ItisinaccordancewiththefatedecreedbyEnlilformanthatasonfollowstheworkofhisfather. I,nightanddayamItorturedbecauseofyou.Nightanddayyouwasteinpleasures.Youhaveaccumulatedmuchwealth,haveexpandedfarandwide,havebecomefat,big, broad,powerful,andpuffed.Butyourkinwaitsexpectantlyforyourmisfortune,andwillrejoiceatitbecauseyoulookednottoyourhumanity.

(Herefollowsanobscurepassageof41lineswhichseemstoconsistofproverbsandoldsawstheessaythenconcludeswiththefather'spoeticblessing.)
"FromhimwhoquarrelswithyoumayNanna,yourgod,save you, FromhimwhoattacksyoumayNanna,yourgod,saveyou, Mayyoufindfavorbeforeyourgod, Mayyourhumanityexaltyou,neckandbreast, Mayyoubetheheadofyourcity'ssages, Mayyourcityutteryournameinfavoredplaces, Mayyourgodcallyoubyagoodname, MayyoufindfavorbeforeyourgodNanna, MayyouberegardedwithfavorbythegoddessNingal."

Butthoughtheymayprefernottoadmitit,itisnottheprofessors,poets,andhumanistswhoruntheworld,butthestatesmen,politicians,andsoldiers.Andsoour next"first,"inChapter4,isabout"powerpolitics,"andaSumerianruleroffivethousandyearsagowhocouldmanage"politicalincidents"successfully.

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Chapter4 InternationalAffairs TheFirst"WarofNerves"


WheretheSeaofMarmarabranchesoutintothegulflikeGoldenHornandtheriverlikeBosphorus,issituatedapartofIstanbulknownasSarayburnuor"Palace nose."Here,intheshelterofhighandimpenetrablewalls.MehmedII,theconquerorofIstanbul,builthispalaceandresidencealmostfivehundredyearsago.Inthe centuriesthatfollowed,sultanaftersultanaddedafreshtothispalacecomplex,buildingnewkiosksandmosques,installingnewfountains,layingoutnewgardens.In thewellpavedcourtsandterracedgardenswanderedtheladiesoftheharemandtheirattendants,theprincesandtheirpages.Fewwereprivilegedtoenterthe palacegrounds,andfewerstillwerepermittedtowitnessitsinnerlife. Butgonearethedaysofthesultans,and"Palacenose"hastakenonadifferentaspect.Thehightoweredwallsarelargelybrokendown.Theprivategardenshave beenturnedintopublicparksforthepeopleofIstanbultofindshadeandrestonhotsummerdays.Asforthebuildingsthemselvestheforbiddenpalacesandthe secretivekiosksmostofthemhavebecomemuseums.Goneforeveristhesultan'sheavyhand.Turkeyisarepublic. Inamanywindowedroominoneofthesemuseums,theMuseumoftheAncientOrient,Isitatalargerectangulartable.Onthewallfacingmehangsalarge photographofthebroadfaced,sadeyedAtaturk,thebelovedfounderandheroofthenewTurkishRepublic.Muchisstilltobesaidandwrittenaboutthis remarkableman,insomewaysoneofthemostsignificant

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politicalfiguresofourcentury.Butitisnotwithmodern"heroes"thatIamconcerned,nomatterhowepochmakingtheirachievements.IamaSumerologist,andmy businessiswiththelongforgotten"heroes"ofthefardistantpast. Onthetablebeforemeisaclaytabletwrittenbyascribewholivedalmostfourthousandyearsago.Thescriptiscuneiform,orwedgeshapedthelanguageis Sumerian.Thetabletissquareinshape,ninebynineinchesitisthereforesmallerinareathanastandardsheetoftypewriterpaper.Butthescribewhowrotethis tabletdivideditintotwelvecolumns.Byusingaminutescript,hesucceededininscribinginthislimitedspacemorethansixhundredlinesofaSumerianheroicpoem. Wemaycallit"EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta."Thoughitscharactersandeventsgobackalmostfivethousandyears,theyhaveastrangelyfamiliarringtoour modernears,forthepoemrecordsapoliticalincidentsuggestiveofthepowerpoliticstechniquesofourowndayandage. Onceuponatime,thispoemtellsus,manycenturiesbeforethescribewhowroteitwasborn,therelivedafarfamedSumerianheronamedEnmerkar.Heruledover Erech,acitystateinsouthernMesopotamia,betweentheTigrisandEuphratesRivers.FartotheeastofErech,inPersia,layAratta,anothercitystate.Itwas separatedfromErechbysevenmountainranges,andwasperchedsohighonamountaintopthatitwasdifficulttoapproach.Arattawasaprosperoustown,richin metalandstonetheverymaterialsthatwereentirelylackingintheflatlowlandsofMesopotamia,whereEnmerkar'scity,Erech,wassituated.Nowonder,then,that EnmerkarcastlongingandcovetouseyesuponArattaanditsriches.Determinedtomakeitspeopleandrulerhissubjects,heproceededtounloosea"warofnerves" againstthelordofArattaanditsinhabitants.Hesucceededinbreakingdowntheirmoraletothepointwheretheygaveuptheirindependenceandbecamethevassals ofErech. Allthisistoldintheleisurely,roundaboutstylecharacteristicofepicpoetrytheworldover.OurpoembeginswithapreamblethatsingsthegreatnessofErechand Kullab(adistrictwithinErechorinitsimmediateneighborhood)fromtheverybegin

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ningoftime,andstressesitssuperiorityoverArattaasaresultofthegoddessInanna'spreference.Therealactionthenbeginswiththewords''onceuponatime." ThepoetrelateshowEnmerkar,sonofthesungodUtu,havingdeterminedtomakeavassalstateofAratta,imploreshissister,Inanna,thepowerfulSumerian goddessofloveandwar,toseetoitthatthepeopleofArattabringgold,silver,lapislazuli,andpreciousstones,andbuildforhimvariousshrinesandtemples, particularlytheAbzutemplethatis,the"sea"templeofEnki,theSumerianwatergod'smainseatofworshipinEridu,acitynearthePersianGulf. Inanna,heedingEnmerkar'splea,adviseshimtoseekouta

2. EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta.HandcopyfromtwelvecolumntabletinIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient.

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suitableheraldtocrosstheimposingmountainsofAnshan(theyseparatedErechfromAratta)andassureshimthatthepeopleofArattawillsubmittohimandcarry outthebuildingoperationshedesires.EnmerkarselectshisheraldandsendshimtothelordofArattawithamessagethreateningtodestroyandmakedesolatehiscity unlessheandhispeoplebringdownsilverandgoldandbuildanddecorateEnki'stemple.TofurtherimpressthelordofAratta,Enmerkarinstructshisheraldto repeattohimthe''spellofEnki,"whichrelateshowthegodEnkihadputanendtoman's"goldenage"underEnlil'suniversalswayovertheearthanditsinhabitants. Theherald,aftertraversingsevenmountains,arrivesatAratta,dulyrepeatshismaster'swordstoitslord,andasksforhisanswer.Thelatter,however,refusestoyield toEnmerkar,claimingthatheisInanna'sprotgandthatshehadbroughthimtoArattaasitsruler.ThereupontheheraldinformshimthatInanna,whoisnow"Queen ofEanna"inErech,haspromisedEnmerkarthatArattawouldsubmittohim. ThelordofArattaisstunnedbythisnews.Hecomposesananswerfortheheraldtotakebacktohisking,inwhichheadmonishesEnmerkarforresortingtoarms andsaysthatheprefersthe"contest"(afightbetweentwoselectedchampions).Hegoesontosaythat,sinceInannahasbecomehisenemy,heisreadytosubmitto Enmerkaronlyifhewillsendhimlargequantitiesofgrain.TheheraldreturnstoErechposthasteanddeliversthemessagetoEnmerkarinthecourtyardofthe assemblyhall. Beforemakinghisnextmove,Enmerkarperformsseveralacts,apparentlyritualisticincharacter.FirsthetakescounselwithNidaba,theSumeriangoddessof wisdom.Thenhehashisbeastsofburdenloadedwithgrain.TheyareledtoArattabytheherald,whoistodelivertoitslordamessageeulogizingEnmerkar'sscepter andcommandingthelordtobringEnmerkarcarnelianandlapislazuli.Onarrival,theheraldpilesupthegraininthecourtyardanddelivershismessage.Thepeople, delightedwiththegrain,arereadytopresentEnmerkarwiththedesiredcarnelian(nothingseemstobesaidofthelapislazuli)andtohavethe"elders"buildhis"pure house"forhim.Butthehysterical

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lordofAratta,aftereulogizinghisownscepter,insists,inwordsidenticalwiththoseofEnmerkar,thatthelatterbringhimcarnelianandlapislazuli. Ontheherald'sreturntoErech,Enmerkarseemstoconsulttheomens,inparticularoneinvolvingareedsushima,whichhebringsforthfrom"lighttoshade"andfrom "shadetolight,"untilhefinallycutsitdown''afterfiveyears,aftertenyearshadpassed."HesendstheheraldforthonceagaintoAratta,thistimemerelyplacingthe scepterinhishandwithoutanyaccompanyingmessage.ThesightofthescepterseemstoarouseterrorinthelordofAratta.Heturnstohisshatammu,and,after speakingbitterlyoftheplightofhiscityasaresultofInanna'sdispleasure,seemsreadytoyieldtoEnmerkar.Nevertheless,heonceagainissuesachallengeto Enmerkar.ThistimehedemandsthatEnmerkarselect,ashisrepresentative,oneofhis"fightingmen"toengageinsinglecombatoneofthelordofAratta's"fighting men."Thus''thestrongerwillbecomeknown."Thechallenge,inriddleliketerms,asksthattheselectedretainerbeneitherblacknorwhite,neitherbrown,yellow,nor dappledallofwhichseemstomakelittlesensewhenspeakingofaman. Ontheherald'sarrivalatErechwiththisnewchallenge,EnmerkarbidshimreturntoArattawithathreefoldmessage:(1)He(Enmerkar)acceptsthelordofAratta's challengeandispreparedtosendoneofhisretainerstofightthelordofAratta'srepresentativetoadecision.(2)HedemandsthatthelordofArattaheapupgold, silver,andpreciousstonesforthegoddessInannainErech.(3)HeonceagainthreatensArattawithtotaldestructionunlessitslordandpeoplebring"stonesofthe mountain"tobuildanddecorateforhimtheEridushrine. InthefirstpartofthemessageEnmerkar'swordsseemtoclearupthelordofAratta'sriddleliketermsaboutthecoloroftheretainertobeselected.Enmerkar substitutestheword"garment"for"fightingman."Presumablythecolorreferredtogarmentswornbythecombatantsratherthantotheirbodies. Therefollowsaremarkablepassage,which,ifcorrectlyinterpreted,informsusthatEnmerkar,thelordofKullab,was,intheopinionofthepoet,thefirsttowriteon claytablets,anddidsobecausehisheraldseemed"heavyofmouth"andunabletorepeat

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themessage(perhapsbecauseofitslength).TheheralddeliverstheinscribedtablettothelordofArattaandawaitshisanswer.Buthelpnowseemstocometothe lordofArattafromanunexpectedsource.TheSumeriangodofrainandstorm,Ishkur,bringstoArattawildgrownwheatandbeansandheapsthemupbeforethe lordofAratta.Atthesightofthewheatthelattertakescourage.Hisconfidenceregained,heinformsEnmerkar'sheraldthatInannahadbynomeansabandoned ArattaandherhouseandbedinAratta. Fromhereonthetextbecomesfragmentaryandthecontextis

3. EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta.HandcopyfromtwelvecolumntabletinIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient.

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difficulttofollow,exceptforthestatementthatthepeopleofArattadidbringgold,silver,andlapislazulitoErechandheapedthemupinthecourtyardofEannafor Inanna. SoendsthelongestSumerianepictaleasyetuncovered,thefirstofitskindinworldliterature.Thetextwasrestoredfromtwentytabletsandfragments,ofwhichthe mostimportantbyfaristhetwelvecolumntabletintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient,copiedbymein1946,anddescribedintheforegoingparagraphs.The scientificeditionofthepoemforthespecialist,consistingoftheSumeriantextwithtranslationandcommentary,waspublishedasaUniversityMuseummonographin 1952.Buteventhenonspecialistwillfindthisearlyexampleofheroicpoetryofinterestandmerit.Following,therefore,isaliteraltranslationofseveralofthebetter preservedpassagesinthefirsthalfofthepoemwhichwillservetoillustrateitsparticularmood,temper,andflavor.ThepassagesincludeEnmerkar'spleatohispatron deityInannaInanna'sadviceEnmerkar'sinstructionstohisheraldtheexecutionoftheseinstructionsbytheheraldthelordofAratta'sindignantrefusaltheherald's furtherargumentthatInannaisnowonEnmerkar'ssideanditsdistressingeffectonthelordofAratta.(Notethattwo,three,andfourdotsindicatetheomission,for onereasonoranother,ofone,two,andmorethantwowords,respectively.) OnceuponatimethelordchosenbyInannainherholyheart, ChosenfromthelandShubabyInannainherholyheart, Enmerkar,thesonofUtu, Tohissister,thequeenofgood...., TotheholyInannamakesaplea: "Omysister,InannaforErech LetthepeopleofArattafashionartfullygoldandsilver, Letthembringdownpurelapislazulifromtheslab, Letthembringdownpreciousstoneandpurelapislazuli OfErech,theholyland...., OfthehouseofAnshanwhereyoustand, Letthembuildits.... Oftheholygiparwhereyouhaveestablishedyourdwelling, MaythepeopleofArattafashionartfullyitsinterior, I,Iwouldofferprayers....initsmidst LetArattasubmittoErech, LetthepeopleofAratta,

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Havingbroughtdownthestonesofthemountainsfromtheir highland, Buildformethegreatchapel,setupformethegreatshrine, Causetoappearformethegreatshrine,theshrineofthegods, CarryoutformemydivinelawsinKullab, FashionformetheAbzulikeaholyhighland, PurifyformeEridulikeamountain, CausetoappearformetheholychapeloftheAbzulikeacavern I,whenIutterthehymnsfromtheAbzu, WhenIbringthedivinelawsfromEridu, WhenImakeblossomthepureenshiplikea..., WhenIplacethecrownonmyheadinErech,inKullab, Maythe..ofthegreatchapelbebroughtintothegipar, Maythe..ofthegiparbebroughtintothegreatchapel, Maythepeopleadmireapprovingly, MayUtulookonwithjoyfuleye." Shewhois...thedelightofholyAn,thequeenwhoeyesthe highland, ThemistresswhosekohlisAmaushumgalanna, Inanna,thequeenofallthelands, SaystoEnmerkar,thesonofUtu: "Come,Enmerkar,instructionIwouldofferyou,takemy instruction, AwordIwouldspeaktoyou,giveeartoit! Chooseawordwiseheraldfrom..., LetthegreatwordsofthewordwiseInannabebroughttohim in.., Lethimascendthe..mountains, Lethimdescendthe..mountains, Beforethe..ofAnshan, Lethimprostratehimselflikeayoungsinger, Awedbythedreadofthegreatmountains, Lethimwanderaboutinthedust ArattawillsubmittoErech ThepeopleofAratta, Havingbroughtdownthestonesofthemountainsfromtheir land, Willbuildforyouthegreatchapel,setupforyouthegreat shrine, Causetoappearforyouthegreatshrine,theshrineofthegods, CarryoutforyouyourdivinelawsinKullab, FashionforyoutheAbzulikeaholyhighland, PurifyforyouEridulikeamountain, CausetoappearforyoutheholychapeloftheAbzulikea cavern

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You,whenyouutterthehymnsfromtheAbzu, WhenyoubringthedivinelawsfromEridu, Whenyoumakeblossomthepureenshiplikea..., WhenyouplacethecrownonyourheadinErech,inKullab, The..ofthegreatchapelwillbebroughtintothegipar, The..ofthegiparwillbebroughtintothegreatchapel. Thepeoplewilladmireapprovingly, Utuwilllookonwithjoyfuleye ThepeopleofAratta, ..........[Fourlinesomitted.] Willbendthekneebeforeyoulikehighlandsheep Oholy'breast'ofthehouse,whosecomingoutislikethesun, Youareitsbelovedprovider, O....Enmerkar,sonofUtu,praise!" ThelordgaveheedtothewordoftheholyInanna, Choseawordwiseheraldfrom..., BroughttohimthegreatwordsofthewordwiseInannain..: "Ascendthe..mountains, Descendthe..mountains, Beforethe..ofAnshan, Prostrateyourselflikeayoungsinger, Awedbythedreadofthegreatmountains, Wanderaboutinthedust Oherald,speakuntothelordofArattaandsayuntohim: 'Iwillmakethepeopleofthatcityfleelikethe..birdfrom itstree, Iwillmakethemfleelikeabirdintoitsneighboringnest, Iwillmakeit(Aratta)desolatelikeaplaceof..., Iwillmakeitholddustlikeanutterlydestroyedcity, Aratta,thathabitationwhichEnkihascursed Iwillsurelydestroytheplace,likeaplacewhichhasbeen destroyed, Inannahasrisenupinarmsbehindit, Hasbroughtdowntheword,hasturneditback, Liketheheapedupdust,Iwillsurelyheapdustuponit Havingmade...goldinitsore, Pressed..silverinitsdust, Fashionedsilver..., Fastenedthecratesonthemountainasses The...houseofSumer'sjuniorEnlil, ChosenbythelordNudimmudinhisholyheart, Letthepeopleofthehighlandofpuredivinelawsbuildforme, Makeitflowerformeliketheboxwoodtree, LightitupformelikeUtucomingoutoftheganun,

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Adornformeitsthresholds.'" ..........[Twentysevenlinesomitted.] Theheraldgaveheedtothewordofhisking. Duringthenighthejourneyedbythestars, DuringthedayhejourneyedwithUtuofheaven, ThegreatwordsofInanna....werebroughtuntohimin.., Heascendsthe..mountains, Hedescendsthe..mountains, Beforethe..ofAnshan, Heprostratedhimselflikeayoungsinger, Awedbythedreadofthegreatmountains, Hewanderedaboutinthedust Fivemountains,sixmountains,sevenmountainshecrossed, Liftedhiseyes,approachedAratta, InthecourtyardofArattahesetajoyousfoot, Madeknowntheexaltednessofhisking, Spokereverentlythewordofhisheart. TheheraldsaystothelordofAratta: "Yourfather,myking,hassentmetoyou, ThelordofErech,thelordofKullab,hassentmetoyou." "Yourking,whathashespoken,whathashesaid?" "Myking,thisiswhathehasspoken,thisiswhathehassaid Mykingfitforthecrownfromhisverybirth, ThelordofErech,theleadingserpentofSumer,who...likea.., Theramfullofprincelymightinthewalledhighland, Theshepherdwho...., Bornofthefaithfulcowintheheartofthehighland Enmerkar,thesonofUtu,hassentmetoyou, Myking,thisiswhathesays: 'Iwillmakethepeopleofhiscityfleelikethe..birdfromitstree, Iwillmakethemfleelikeabirdintoitsneighboringnest, Iwillmakeitdesolatelikeaplaceof..., Iwillmakeitholddustlikeanutterlydestroyedcity, Aratta,thathabitationwhichEnkihascursed Iwillsurelydestroytheplacelikeaplacewhichhasbeen destroyed. Inannahasrisenupinarmsbehindit, Hasbroughtdowntheword,hasturneditback, Liketheheapedupdust,Iwillsurelyheapdustuponit Havingmade...goldinitsore, Pressed..silverinitsdust,

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Fashionedsilver..., Fastenedthecratesonthemountainasses The...houseofSumer'sjuniorEnlil, ChosenbythelordEnkiinhisholyheart, Letthepeopleofthehighlandoftheholydivinelawsbuild forme, Makeitflowerformeliketheboxwoodtree, LightitupformelikeUtucomingoutoftheganun, Adornformeitsthresholds.' ..........[Twolinesomitted.] "CommandwhatIshallsayconcerningthismatter, Andtothededicatedonewhowearsalongbeardoflapislazuli, Tohimwhosemightycow..sthelandofpuredivinelaws. TohimwhoseseedcameforthinthedustofAratta, Tohimwhowasfedmilkinthefoldofthefaithfulcow, TohimwhowasfitforlordshipoverKullab,thelandofallthe greatdivinelaws, ToEnmerkar,thesonofUtu, IwillspeakthatwordasagoodwordinthetempleofEanna Inthegiparwhichbearsfruitlikeafresh..plant, Iwilldeliverittomyking,thelordofKullab." Afterhehadthusspokentohim, "Oherald,speakuntoyourking,thelordofKullab,andsay untohim: 'Me,thelordfitforthepurehand, Shewhoistheroyal..ofheaven,thequeenofheavenand earth, Themistressofallthedivinelaws,theholyInanna, HasbroughtmetoAratta,thelandoftheholydivinelaws, Hasmademeclose"thefaceofthehighland"likealargedoor HowthenshallArattasubmittoErech! ArattawillnotsubmittoErech'sayuntohim." Afterhehadthusspokentohim, TheheraldanswersthelordofAratta: "Thegreatqueenofheaven,whoridesthefearfuldivinelaws, WhodwellsinthemountainsofthehighlandShuba, WhoadornsthedaisesofthehighlandShuba Becausethelord,myking,whoisherservant, Madeherthe'QueenofEanna.' 'ThelordofArattawillsubmit' ThussaidtohiminthebrickworkofKullab." Thenwasthelorddepressed,deeplypained,

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Hehadnoanswer,hekeptseekingananswer, Athisownfeetheeastatroubledeye,hefindsananswer.... TheearlyrulersofSumer,nomatterhowgreattheirsuccessasconquerors,werenotunbridledtyrantsandabsolutemonarchs.Onallthemoreimportantquestionsof state,particularlythoseinvolvingwarandpeace,theyconsultedtheirmoreimportantfellowcitizensgatheredinsolemnassembly.Onesuchcrucial"congress"took placeattheverydawnofSumerianhistory,somefivethousandyearsago,althoughitisrecordedinaheroicpoemcomposedinamuchlaterday.This"first"in politicalhistoryisrecordedinChapter5.

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Chapter5 Government TheFirstBicameralCongress


Man'ssocialandspiritualdevelopmentisoftenslow,devious,andhardtotrace.Thefullgrowntreemaywellbeseparatedfromitsoriginalseedbythousandsof milesandyears.Take,forexample,thewayoflifeknownasdemocracyanditsfundamentalinstitution,thepoliticalassembly.Onthesurfaceitseemstobepractically amonopolyofourWesterncivilizationandanoutgrowthofrecentcenturies.Whocouldimaginethattherewerepoliticalcongressesthousandsandthousandsofyears ago,andinpartsoftheworldrarelyassociatedwithdemocraticinstitutions?Butthepatientarchaeologistdigsdeepandwide,andheneverknowswhathewillcome upwith.Asaresultoftheeffortsofthe"pickandspade"brigade,wecannowreadtherecordofapoliticalassemblythattookplacesomefivethousandyearsago inofallplacestheNearEast. Thefirstpolitical"congress"inman'srecordedhistorymetinsolemnsessionabout3000B.C.Itconsisted,notunlikeourowncongress,oftwo"houses":a"senate," oranassemblyofeldersanda''lowerhouse,"oranassemblyofarmsbearingmalecitizens.Itwasa''warcongress,"calledtogethertotakeastandonthe momentousquestionofwarandpeaceithadtochoosebetweenwhatwewoulddescribeas"peaceatanyprice"orwarandindependence.The"senate,"withits conservativeelders,declaredforpeaceatallcost,butitsdecisionwas"vetoed"bytheking,whothenbroughtthematterbeforethe"lowerhouse."Thisbody declaredforwarandfreedom,andthekingapproved. Inwhatpartoftheworlddidthefirst"congress"knownto

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manmeet?Not,asyoumightsurmise,somewhereintheWest,onthecontinentofEurope(thepoliticalassembliesin"democratic"GreeceandrepublicanRomecame muchlater).Ourhoarycongressmet,surprisingasitmayseem,inthatpartofAsianowgenerallydesignatedastheNearEast,thetraditionalhomeoftyrantsand despots,apartoftheworldwherepoliticalassemblieswerethoughttobepracticallyunknown.ItwasinthelandknowninancientdaysasSumer,situatednorthof thePersianGulfbetweentheTigrisandEuphratesRivers,thattheoldestknownpoliticalassemblywasconvened.Andwhendidthis"congress"meet?Inthethird millenniumB.C.Inthosedays,thisNearEasternlandSumer(itcorrespondsroughlytothelowerhalfofmodernIraq)wasinhabitedbyapeoplewhodevelopedwhat wasprobablythehighestcivilizationinthethenknownworld. Sumer,somefourtofivethousandyearsago,boastedofmanylargecitiescenteringaboutmonumentalandworldrenownedpublicbuildings.Itsbusytraderscarried onanextensivecommercebylandandseawithneighboringcountries.Itsmoreseriousthinkersandintellectualsdevelopedasystemofreligiousthoughtwhichwas acceptedasgospelnotonlyinSumerbutthroughoutmuchoftheancientNearEast.Itsgiftedpoetssanglovinglyandferventlyoftheirgods,heroes,andkings.To crownitall,theSumeriansgraduallydevelopedasystemofwritingbymeansofreedstylusonclay,whichenabledmanforthefirsttimetomakeadetailedand permanentrecordofhisdeedsandthoughts,hishopesanddesires,hisjudgmentsandbeliefs.Andsoitisnotsurprisingtofindthatinthefieldofpolitics,too,the Sumeriansmadeimportantprogress.Particularly,theytookthefirststepstowarddemocraticgovernmentbycurbingthepowerofthekingsandrecognizingtheright ofpoliticalassembly. Thepoliticalsituationthatbroughtabouttheconveningoftheoldest"congress"recordedinhistorymaybedescribedasfollows:LikeGreeceofamuchlaterday, Sumer,inthethirdmillenniumB.C.,consistedofanumberofcitystatesvyingforsupremacyoverthelandasawhole.OneofthemostimportantofthesewasKish, which,accordingtoSumerianlegendarylore,hadreceivedthe"kingship"fromheavenimmediatelyafterthe"flood.''Butintimeanothercitystate,Erech,whichlayfar to

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thesouthofKish,keptgaininginpowerandinfluenceuntilitseriouslythreatenedKish'ssupremacyinSumer.ThekingofKishatlastrealizedthedangerand threatenedtheErechiteswithwarunlesstheyrecognizedhimastheiroverlord.ItwasatthiscrucialmomentthatErech'stwoassemblieswereconvenedtheelders andthearmsbearingmalesinordertodecidewhichcoursetofollow,whethertosubmittoKishandenjoypeaceortotaketoarmsandfightforindependence. ThestoryofthestrugglebetweenErechandKishistoldintheformofaSumerianepicpoemwhosechiefcharactersareAgga,thelastrulerofthefirstdynastyof Kish,andGilgamesh,thekingofErechand"lordofKullab."ThepoembeginswiththearrivalinErechofAgga'senvoysbearinganultimatumtoitskingGilgamesh. Beforegivingthemhisanswer,Gilgameshgoes

4. GilgameshandAgga.HandcopyofobverseofoneofelevenNippurtabletsandfragmentsutilizedtorestoreepicpoem.

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before"theconvenedassemblyoftheeldersofhiscity"withanurgentpleanottosubmittoKishbuttotakeuparmsandfightforvictory.The"senators,"however, areofadifferentmindtheywouldrathersubmittoKishandenjoypeace.TheirdecisiondispleasesGilgamesh,whothengoesbefore''theconvenedassemblyofthe menofhiscity"andrepeatshisplea.ThemenofthisassemblydecidetofightratherthansubmittoKish.Gilgameshisdelighted,andseemsconfidentoftheresultsof theexpectedstruggle.Inaveryshorttimeinthewordsofourpoet,"Itwasnotfivedays,itwasnottendays"AggabesiegesErech,andtheErechitesare dumfounded.Themeaningoftheremainderofthepoemisnottooclear,butitseemsthatGilgameshinsomewaysucceedsingainingthefriendshipofAggaandin havingthesiegeliftedwithoutafight. Here,now,aretheancientSumerianpoet'sactualwordsdealingwiththeErech"congress"thetranslationisquiteliteral,butomitsanumberoflineswhosecontents arestillunintelligible.


TheenvoysofAgga,thesonofEnmebaraggesi, ProceededfromKishtoGilgameshinErech. ThelordGilgameshbeforetheeldersofhiscity Putthematter,seeksouttheword: "LetusnotsubmittothehouseofKish,letussmiteitwith weapons." Theconvenedassemblyoftheeldersofhiscity AnswersGilgamesh: "LetussubmittothehouseofKish,letusnotsmiteitwith weapons." Gilgamesh,thelordofKullab, WhoperformsheroicdeedsforthegoddessInanna, Tooknotthewordsoftheeldersofhiscitytoheart. AsecondtimeGilgamesh,thelordofKullab, Beforethefightingmenofhiscityputthematter,seeksoutthe word: "DonotsubmittothehouseofKish,letussmiteitwithweapons." Theconvenedassemblyofthefightingmenofhiscity AnswersGilgamesh: "DonotsubmittothehouseofKish,letussmiteitwithweapons."

Page34 ThenGilgamesh,thelordofKullab, Atthewordofthefightingmenofhiscityhisheartrejoiced, hisspiritbrightened.

OurpoetisalltoobriefhemerelymentionstheErech"congress"anditstwoassemblies,withoutgivinganyfurtherdetails.Whatwewouldliketoknow,forexample, isthesizeofthemembershipofeachbody,andjusthowthe"congressmen"and"senators"wereselected.Couldeachindividualvoicehisopinionandbesureofa hearing?Howwasthefinalconsensusofthebodyasawholeobtained?Didtheyhaveadevicecorrespondingtothevotingtechniqueofourownday?Certainlythere musthavebeena"speaker''inchargeofthediscussionwho''spoke"fortheassemblytotheking.Thenagain,inspiteofthepoet'sloftylanguage,wemayrestassured thattherewasconsiderable"politicking"and"wirepulling"amongtheoldpolitical"boys."ThecitystateofErechwasevidentlysplitwideopenintotwoopposing camps,awarpartyandapeaceparty.Therewasprobablymorethanonebehindthescenesconferenceofourown"smokefilledroom"type,beforetheleadersof each"house"announcedthefinalandseeminglyunanimousdecisions. Butofalltheseancientpoliticalbickeringsandcompromiseswewillprobablyneverrecoveratrace.Thereislittlelikelihoodthatwewilleverfindanywrittenhistorical recordsfromthedaysofAggaandGilgamesh,since,intheirtime,writingwaseitheraltogetherunknownorhadonlyjustbeeninventedandwasstillinitsearlypicture stage.Asforourepicpoem,itmustbeborneinmindthatitisinscribedontabletswrittenmanycenturiesaftertheincidentsitdescribestookplaceprobablymore thanathousandyearsaftertheErech"congress"hadmetandadjourned. Thereareknown,atpresent,eleventabletsandfragmentsinscribedwithourpoliticalassemblypoem.Fouroftheelevenpieceswerecopiedandpublishedinthepast fourdecades.Butthesignificanceoftheircontentsforthehistoryofpoliticalthoughtandpracticewasnotrealizeduntil1943,whenThorkildJacobsen,oftheOriental InstituteoftheUniversityofChicago,publishedastudyonPrimitiveDemocracy.Sincethenitwas

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mygoodfortunetoidentifyandcopytheremainingsevenpiecesinIstanbulandPhiladelphia.Asaresult,thepoem,consistingof115lines,isnowcomplete.A scientificeditionofitstext,togetherwithanewlyrevisedtranslation,appearedin1949intheAmericanJournalofArchaeology. ThetwopoliticaleventsdescribedhereandinChapter3tookplaceabout3000B.C.Theyareknowntousnotfromcontemporaryhistoricaldocumentsbutfrom epicpoemswrittendownatamuchlaterdate,andthesepoemscontainonlyakernelofhistorictruth.Itisnotuntilsomesixcenturieslaterthatwecomeupona numberofinscriptionsrecordingandinterpretingsocialandpoliticaleventsinastylewhichstampsthemasman'sfirstattemptathistorywriting.Oneofthese documentsisdescribedandanalyzedinChapter6,afteranintroductorycommentontheintellectualandpsychologicallimitationsofourfirst"historians."Itisprimarily concernedwithabitterandtragiccivilwarbetweentwoSumeriancitystatesthatendedinatemporaryanduneasystalemate,theonlyvictorsbeingdeathand destruction.

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Chapter6 CivilWarinSumer TheFirstHistorian


TheSumerians,itissafetosay,nohistoriographyinthegenerallyacceptedsenseoftheword.CertainlynoSumerianmanofletterswrotehistoryasthemodern historianconceivesit,intermsofunfoldingprocessesandunderlyingprinciples.Boundbyhisparticularworldview,theSumerianthinkersawhistoricaleventsas comingreadymadeand"fullgrown,fullblown"ontheworldscene,andnotastheslowproductofman'sinteractionwithhisenvironment.Hebelieved,forexample, thathisowncountry,whichheknewasalandofthrivingcitiesandtowns,villagesandfarms,andinwhichflourishedawelldevelopedassortmentofpolitical, religious,andeconomicinstitutionsandtechniques,hadalwaysbeenmoreorlessthesamefromtheverybeginningofdaysthatis,fromthemomentthegodshad plannedanddecreedittobeso,followingthecreationoftheuniverse.ItprobablyneveroccurredeventothemostlearnedoftheSumeriansagesthatSumerhad oncebeendesolatemarshlandwithbutfewscatteredsettlements,andhadonlygraduallycometobewhatitwasaftermanygenerationsofstruggleandtoilmarkedby humanwillanddetermination,manlaidplansandexperiments,anddiversediscoveriesandinventions. Thepsychologicaltechniquesofdefinitionandgeneralization,whichthemodernhistoriantakesmoreorlessforgranted,seemtohavebeenunknowntotheSumerian teacherandthinker,atleastonthelevelofexplicitformulation.Thus,inthelinguisticfield,wehavequiteanumberofSumeriangrammaticalliststhatimplyan awarenessofnumerousgrammaticalclassifications,but

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nowheredowefindasingleexplicitgrammaticaldefinitionorrule.Inmathematicswefindmanytables,problems,andsolutions,butnostatementofgeneralprinciples, axioms,andtheorems.Inwhatmightbetermedthe"naturalsciences,"theSumerianteacherscompiledlonglistsoftrees,plants,animals,andstones.Thereasonfor theparticularorderingoftheobjectslistedisstillobscure,butcertainlyitdoesnotstemfromafundamentalunderstandingof,orapproachto,botanical,zoological,or mineralogicalprinciplesandlaws.TheSumerianscompilednumerouslawcodes,whichnodoubtcontained,intheiroriginalcompletestate,hundredsofindividual laws,butnowhereisthereastatementoflegaltheory.Inthefieldofhistory,theSumeriantempleandpalacearchivistsnotedandwrotedownavariedassortmentof significanteventsofapolitical,military,andreligiouscharacter.Butthisdidnotleadtothewritingofconnectedandmeaningfulhistory.Lackingtherelativelyrecent discoverythathistoryisaconstantlychangingprocess,andseeminglyignorantofthemethodologicaltoolofcomprehensivegeneralization,theSumerianmanofletters couldnotpossiblyhavedonehishistorywritinginthemodernsenseoftheword. WhileitisnotsurprisingthattheSumerianwritersfailedtoproducethe"modern"typeofhistoriography,itdoesseemstrangethatevenhistoricalworksofthekind currentamongtheHebrewsandGreekswereunknowninSumer.NoSumerianwriterorscribe,asfarasweknow,evermadeaconsciousefforttowriteacultural orpoliticalhistoryofSumeroranyofitscomponentstates,letaloneofthethenknownworld.Tobesure,Sumerianmenoflettersoriginatedanddevelopedanumber ofwrittenliterarygenresmythsandepictales,hymnsandlamentations,proverbsandessaysandseveralofthese,theepicsandlamentationsinparticular,do utilize,atleasttoaverylimitedextent,whatmightbetermedhistoricaldata.Butthethoughtofpreparingaconnectedhistory,promptedeitherbytheloveoflearning orevenbywhatwewouldtermpurposesofpropaganda,neverseemedtooccurtotheSumerianteachersandwriters.Thedocumentsthatcomeclosesttowhat mightbetermedhistoryarethevotiveinscriptionsonstatues,steles,cones,cylinders,vases,andtablets.Buttheeventsrecordedonthemare

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merelyabyproductoftheurgetofindfavorwiththegods.Moreover,theseinscriptionsusuallyrecordsinglecontemporaneousevents,inverybriefform. Nevertheless,thereareseveralamongthemwhichdoreferbacktoearliercircumstancesandevents,andtheserevealasenseofhistoricaldetailwhichforthatearly date,about2400B.C.iswithoutparallelinworldliterature. Allourearliest"historians,"asfarasextantmaterialgoes,livedinLagash,acityinsouthernSumerthatplayedadominantpoliticalandmilitaryroleforoveracentury, beginningabout2500B.C.ItwastheseatofanactivedynastyofrulersfoundedbyUrNanshe.ThedynastyincludedUrNanshe'sconqueringgrandson,Eannatum, whosucceededforabriefperiodinmakinghimselfrulerofpracticallyallSumerEannatum'sbrother,Enannatumandthelatter'sson,Entemena.Itwasnotuntilthe reignofUrukagina,theeighthrulerfollowingUrNanshe,thatLagash'sstarfinallyset.UrukaginawasdefeatedbyLugalzaggisiofUmma,whowasconqueredinturn bythegreatSargonofAkkad.Itisthepoliticalhistoryofthisperiod,fromthedaysofUrNanshetothoseofUrukagina,thatisknowntousfromavariedgroupof contemporaryrecordspreparedbyanonymous"historians"who,presumablyaspalaceandtemplearchivists,hadaccesstofirsthandinformationontheeventsthey described. Oneofthesedocumentsisoutstandingforitsfullnessofdetailandclarityofmeaning.ItwaspreparedbyoneofthearchivistsofEntemena,thefifthinthelineof Lagashrulers,startingwithUrNanshe.ItsprimarypurposewastorecordtherestorationoftheboundaryditchbetweenLagashandUmma,whichhadbeen destroyedinastrugglebetweenthetwocities.Inordertosettheeventinitsproperhistoricalperspective,thearchivistdeemeditadvisabletodescribeitspolitical background.Herecounted,eversobrieflytobesure,someoftheimportantdetailsinthestruggleforpowerbetweenLagashandUmmafromasfarbackashis writtenrecordsreachedthatis,fromthedaysofMesilim,thesuzerainofSumerandAkkadabout2600B.C.Indoingso,however,hedidnotusethestraight factualformofnarrativewritingexpectedofthehistorian.Insteadhestrovetofitthehistoricaleventsintotheacceptedframeworkofhistheo

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craticworldview,thusdevelopingaratheruniqueliterarystyle,whichconstantlyinterweavesthedeedsofmenandgodsandoftenfailstodistinguishbetweenthem. Asaconsequence,theactualhistoricalincidentsarenotreadilyapparentfromthetextofthedocument,butmustbepainstakinglyextractedanddiscriminatelyfilledin withthehelpofrelevantdataobtainedfromotherSumerologicalsources.Clearedofitstheologicalcloakandpolytheisticphraseology,thedocumentrecordsthe followingseriesofpoliticaleventsinthehistoryofSumer(theycanbeverifiedinlargepartfromotherextantsources): InthedayswhenMesilimwaskingofKish,andatleastthenominalsuzerainofSumer,therearoseaborderdisputebetweenLagashandUmma,twoSumeriancity stateswhichevidentlyacknowledgedMesilimastheiroverlord.Heproceededtoarbitratethecontroversybymeasuringoffaboundarylinebetweenthetwocitiesin accordancewithwhatwasgivenouttobeanoracleofSataran,adeityinchargeofsettlingcomplaints,andheerectedaninscribedsteletomarkthespotandprevent futuredisputes. However,thedecision,whichwaspresumablyacceptedbybothparties,seemedtofavorLagashratherthanUmma.NotlongafterwardUsh,anishakkuofUmma, violatedthetermsofthedecision(thetimeisnotstated,butthereareindicationsthatthisviolationtookplacenotlongbeforeUrNanshefoundedhisdynastyat Lagash).UshrippedoutMesilim'ssteletoindicatethathewasnotboundbyitsterms,andthencrossedtheborderandseizedthenorthernmostterritorybelongingto Lagash,knownastheGuedinna. ThislandremainedinthehandsoftheUmmaitesuntilthedaysofEannatum,thegrandsonofUrNanshe,amilitaryleaderwhoseconquestshadmadehimsopowerful thathedaredassume,atleastforabriefperiod,thetitle"KingofKish,"andthusclaimtheoverlordshipofallSumer.ItwasthisEannatum,accordingtoour document,whoattackedanddefeatedtheUmmaitesmadeanewbordertreatywithEnakalli,thentheishakkuofUmmadugaditchinlinewiththenewboundary whichwouldhelpinsurethefertilityoftheGuedinnaerectedthereforpurposesoffuturerecordtheoldMesilimstele,aswellasseveralstelesof

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hisownandconstructedanumberofbuildingsandshrinestoseveraloftheimportantSumeriandeities.Tohelpminimizethepossiblesourceoffutureconflict betweenUmmaandLagash,hesetasideastripoffallowlandontheUmmasideoftheboundaryditch,asakindof"noman'sland."Finally,Eannatum,probablyin anefforttoalleviatethefeelingsoftheUmmaitestosomeextent,sincehewaseagertoexpandhisconquestsinotherdirections,agreedtoletthemfarmthefieldslying intheGuedinnaandevenfurthersouth.ButhegrantedthisonlyundertheconditionthattheUmmaitespaytheLagashrulersashareofthecropsfortheuseofthe land,thusassuringhimselfandhissuccessorsofaconsiderablerevenue. Thusfar,Entemena'sarchivistdealtonlywithpasteventsintheconflictbetweenUmmaandLagash.Henextturnedtothemostrecentstrugglebetweenthecities,of whichhewasinallprobabilityacontemporarywitnessthebattlebetweenUrLumma,thesonoftheunfortunateEnakalli,whohadbeencompelledtoagreeto Eannatum's"shameful"terms,andEntemena,thesonofEnannatumandnephewofEannatum. DespiteEannatum'smightyvictory,ittooktheUmmaitesonlyaboutagenerationorsotorecovertheirconfidence,ifnottheirformerstrength.UrLummarepudiated thebitterlyranklingagreementwithLagash,andrefusedtopayEnannatumtherevenueimposeduponUmma.Moreover,heproceededto"dryup"theboundary ditchesrippedoutandputtofirebothMesilim'sandEannatum'ssteleswiththeirirritatinginscriptionsanddestroyedthebuildingsandshrineswhichEannatumhad constructedalongtheboundaryditchtowarntheUmmaitesthattheymustnottrespassonLagashterritory.Hewasnowsettocrosstheborderandenterthe Guedinna.Toassurehimselfofvictory,hesoughtandobtainedthemilitaryaidoftheforeignrulertothenorthofSumer. ThetwoforcesmetintheGanaugiggaoftheGuedinna,notfarsouthoftheborder.TheUmmaitesandtheirallieswereunderthecommandofUrLummahimself, whiletheLagashiteswereledbyEntemena,sincehisfather,Enannatum,musthavebeenanoldmanatthetime.TheLagashiteswerevictorious.Ur

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Lummafled,hotlypursuedbyEntemena,andmanyofhistroopswerewaylaidandkilled. ButEntemena'svictoryprovedtobeephemeral.UponUrLumma'sdefeatandprobabledeath,anewenemyappearedonthescene.Thisnewenemy,whosename wasIl,wasthetempleheadofacitynamedZabalam,situatednotfarfromUmmatothenorth.Ilhadevidentlybeenshrewdenoughto"waititout"whileEntemena andUrLummawerestrugglingforadecision.Butassoonasthebattlewasover,heattackedthevictoriousEntemena,metwithinitialsuccess,andpenetrateddeep intoLagashterritory.AlthoughhewasunabletoholdontohisgainssouthoftheUmmaLagashborder,hedidsucceedinmakinghimselfishakkuofUmma. IlproceededtoshowhiscontemptfortheLagashclaimsinalmostthesamemannerashispredecessor.Hedeprivedtheboundaryditchesofthewatersoessentialto theirrigationofthenearbyfieldsandfarms,andrefusedtopayallbutafractionoftherevenueimposeduponUmmabytheoldEannatumtreaty.AndwhenEntemena sentenvoysdemandinganexplanationforhisunfriendlyacts,IlansweredbyarrogantlyclaimingtheentireGuedinnaashisterritoryanddomain. TheissuebetweenIlandEntemena,however,wasnotdecidedbywar.Instead,acompromiseseemstohavebeenforceduponthembyathirdparty,probablythe northernnonSumerianrulerwhoclaimedoverlordshipoverSumerasawhole.Byandlarge,thedecisionseemedtofavorLagash,sincetheoldMesilimEannatum linewasretainedasthefixedboundarybetweenUmmaandLagash.Ontheotherhand,nothingissaidofcompensationbytheUmmaitesfortherevenuewhichthey hadwithheld.NordotheyseemtohavebeenheldresponsibleanylongerforensuringthewatersupplyoftheGuedinna.ItwasnowuptotheLagashitesthemselves toseetothewatersupply. ThehistoricaleventsmarkingthestruggleforpowerbetweenLagashandUmmaarebynomeansselfevidentfromafirststudyofthetextofourdocument.Muchof thehistoryisderivedfromreadingbetweenthelines.Thefollowingliteraltranslationoftheinscriptionasawholewillhelptoshowhowthis

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wasdone,andatthesametimegivethereadersomeideaoftheunusualhistoriographicstyledevelopedbytheSumerianmenofletters:
Enlil(leadingdeityoftheSumerianpantheon),thekingofallthelands,thefatherofallthegods,markedofftheboundaryforNingirsu(thepatrondeityofLagash),andShara(the patrondeityofUmma)byhissteadfastword,(and)Mesilim,thekingofKish,measureditoffinaccordancewiththewordofSataran,(and)erectedastelethere.(But)Ush,the ishakkuofUmma,violated(both)thedecree(ofthegods)andtheword(givenbymantoman),rippedoutits(theboundary's)stele,andenteredtheplainofLagash. (Then)didNingirsu,Enlil'sforemostwarrior,dobattlewith(themenof)Ummainaccordancewithhis(Enlil's)straightforwardwordbythewordofEnlilhehurledthegreatnet uponthem,andheapeduptheirskeleton(?)pilesintheplainintheir(various)places.(Asaresult)Eannatum,theishakkuofLagash,theuncleofEntemena,theishakkuof Lagash,markedofftheboundarywithEnakalli,theishakkuofUmmaledoutits(theboundary's)ditchfromtheIdnun(canal)totheGuedinnainscribed(several)stelesalong thatditchrestoredMesilim'ssteletoits(former)place(but)didnotentertheplainofUmma.He(then)builttheretheImdubbaofNingirsu,theNamnundakigarra,(aswellas)the shrineofEnlil,theshrineofNinhursag(theSumerian"mother"goddess),theshrineofNingirsu,(and)theshrineofUtu(thesungod). (Moreover,followingtheboundarysettlement)theUmmaitescouldeatthebarleyof(thegoddess)Nanshe(anotherpatrondeityofLagash)(and)thebarleyofNingirsutothe amountofonekaru(foreachUmmaite,andonly)forinterest(also)he(Eannatum)leviedataxonthem,(andthus)broughtinforhimself(asrevenue)144,000"large"karu. Becausethisbarleyremainedunpaid(besides)UrLumma,theishakkuofUmmadeprivedtheboundaryditchofNingirsu(and)theboundaryditchofNansheofwaterripped outits(theboundaryditch's)steles(and)putthemtofiredestroyedthededicated(?)shrinesofthegodswhichhadbeenbuiltintheNamnundakigarraobtained(thehelpof)the foreignlandsand(finally)crossedtheboundaryditchofNingirsuEnannatumfoughtwithhimintheGanaugigga(whereare)thefieldsandfarmsofNingirsu,(and)Entemena, Enannatum'sbelovedson,defeatedhim.UrLumma(then)fled,(while)he(Entemena)slew(theUmmaiteforces)upintoUmma(itself)(moreover)his(UrLumma's)eliteforce (consistingof)60soldiershewipedout(?)onthebankoftheLummagirnuntacanal.(Asfor)its(Umma'sfighting)men,he(Entemena)lefttheirbodiesintheplain(forthebirds andbeaststodevour)

Page43 and(then)heapeduptheirskeleton(?)pilesinfive(separate)places. Atthattime(however)Il,thetempleheadofZabalam,ravaged(?)(theland)fromGirsutoUmma.IltooktohimselftheishakkushipofUmmadeprivedofwatertheboundary ditchofNingirsu,theboundaryditchofNanshe,theImdubbaofNingirsu,thattract(ofarableland)oftheGirsutractswhichliestowardtheTigris,(and)theNamnundakigarraof Ninhursag(and)paid(nomorethan)3600karuofthebarley(due)Lagash.(And)whenEntemena,theishakkuofLagash,repeatedlysent(his)mentoIlbecauseofthat (boundary)ditch,Il,theishakkuofUmma,theplundereroffieldsandfarms,thespeakerofevil,said:"TheboundaryditchofNingirsu,(and)theboundaryditchofNansheare mine"(indeed)he(even)said:"IshallexercisecontrolfromtheAntasurratotheDimgalabzutemple."(However)EnlilandNinhursagdidnotgrantthistohim. Entemena,theiskakkuofLagash,whosenamewaspronouncedbyNingirsu,madethis(boundary)ditchfromtheTigristotheIdnuninaccordancewiththestraightforwardword ofEnlil,inaccordancewiththestraightforwardwordofNingitsu,(and)inaccordancewiththestraightforwardwordofNanshe,(and)restoreditforhisbelovedkingNingirsuand forhisbelovedqueenNanshe(after)hehadconstructedofbricksthefoundationoftheNamnundakigarra.MayShulutula,the(personal)godofEntemena,theishakkuof Lagash,whomEnlilgavethescepter,whomEnki(theSumeriangodofwisdom)gavewisdom,whomNanshefixedupon(inher)heart,thegreatishakkuofNingirsu,themanwho hadreceivedthewordsofthegods,stepforward(inprayer)forthelifeofEntemenabeforeNingirsuandNansheuntodistantdays. TheUmmaitewho(atanyfuturetime)willcrosstheboundaryditchofNingirsu(and)theboundaryditchofNansheinordertotaketohimselffieldsandfarmsbyforce,whether hebe(really)anUmmaiteoraforeignermayEnlildestroyhimmayNingirsu,afterhurlinghisgreatnetonhim,bringdownonhimhisloftyhand(and)hisloftyfootmaythe peopleofhiscity,havingriseninrebellion,strikehimdowninthemidstofhiscity.

Thetextofthisuniquehistoricalinscriptionhasbeenfoundinscribedinpracticallyidenticallanguageontwoclaycylinders.Oneofthesecylinderswasfoundnear Lagashin1895,andwascopiedandtranslatedbythelateFranoisThureauDangin,atoweringfigureincuneiformstudiesforalmosthalfacentury.Thesecond cylinderisintheYaleBabylonianCollection.Itwasobtainedfromanantiquedealer.Itstextwaspublishedin

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1920byNiesandKeiserintheirHistorical,Religious,andEconomicTexts.In1926abrilliantpaperonthedocument,withadetailedstudyofitsstyleand contents,waspublishedbytheeminentSumerologistArnoPoebel.Itisprimarilyonthisworkthatmytranslationandanalysisarebased. Fortunatelyforus,theancientSumerian''historians''wrote,intheirvotiveinscriptions,notonlyofbattlesandwarsbutalsoofsignificantsocialandeconomicevents. Chapter7tellsaboutoneofthemostpreciousdocumentsinthehistoryofpoliticalevolutionacontemporaryaccountofasocialreform,includingaratherenviable taxreductionprogramthattookplaceaboutthirtyyearsafterthedeathofEntemenaofLagash.Thisdocumentusestheword"freedom"(amargi)forthefirsttimein allhistory.

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Chapter7 SocialReform TheFirstCaseofTaxReduction


ThefirstrecordedsocialreformtookplaceintheSumeriancitystateofLagashinthetwentyfourthcenturyB.C.Itwasdirectedagainsttheabusesof"formerdays" practicedbyanobnoxiousandubiquitousbureaucracy,suchasthelevyingofhighandmultifarioustaxesandtheappropriationofpropertybelongingtothetemple.In fact,theLagashitesfeltsovictimizedandoppressedthattheythrewofftheoldUrNanshedynastyandselectedarulerfromanotherfamilyaltogether.Itwasthisnew ishakku,Urukaginabyname,whorestoredlawandorderinthecityand"establishedthefreedom"ofitscitizens.Allthisistoldinadocumentcomposedandwritten bytheUrukaginaarchiviststocommemoratethededicationofanewcanal.Tobetterunderstandandappreciatethecontentsofthisuniqueinscription,hereisa backgroundsketchofsomeofthemoresignificantsocial,economic,andpoliticalpracticesinaSumeriancitystate. ThestateofLagash,intheearlythirdmillenniumB.C.,consistedofasmallgroupofprosperoustowns,eachclusteringaboutatemple.NominallythecityofLagash, liketheotherSumeriancitystates,wasundertheoverlordshipofthekingoftheentirelandofSumer.Actuallyitssecularrulerwastheishakku,whoruledthecityas therepresentativeofthetutelarydeitytowhom,inaccordancewiththeSumerianworldview,thecityhadbeenallottedafterthecreation.Justhowtheearlier ishakku'scametopowerisuncertainitmaywellbethattheywereselectedbythefreemenofthecity,amongwhomthe

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templeadministrators(sanga's)playedaleadingpoliticalrole.Inanycase,theofficebecamehereditaryintime.Themoreambitiousandsuccessfuloftheishakku's naturallytendedtoaugmenttheirpowerandwealthattheexpenseofthetemple,andthisledattimestoastruggleforpowerbetweentempleandpalace. Byandlarge,theinhabitantsofLagashwerefarmersandcattlebreeders,boatmenandfishermen,merchantsandcraftsmen.Itseconomywasmixedpartly socialisticandstatecontrolled,andpartlycapitalisticandfree.Intheory,thesoilbelongedtothecitygod,andtherefore,presumably,tohistemple,whichhelditin trustforallthecitizens.Inactualpractice,whilethetemplecorporationownedagooddealofland,whichitrentedouttosomeofthepeopleassharecroppers,much ofthesoilwastheprivatepropertyoftheindividualcitizen.Eventhepoorownedfarmsandgardens,housesandcattle.Moreover,becauseofLagash'shot,rainless climate,thesupervisionoftheirrigationprojectsandwaterworks,whichwereessentialtothelifeandwelfareoftheentirecommunity,necessarilyhadtobe communallyadministered.Butinmanyotherrespectstheeconomywasrelativelyfreeandunhampered.Richesandpoverty,successandfailure,were,atleastto someextent,theresultofprivateenterpriseandindividualdrive.Themoreindustriousoftheartisansandcraftsmensoldtheirhandmadeproductsinthefreetown market.Travelingmerchantscarriedonathrivingtradewiththesurroundingstatesbylandandsea,anditisnotunlikelythatsomeofthesemerchantswereprivate individualsratherthantemplerepresentatives.ThecitizensofLagashwereconsciousoftheircivilrightsandwaryofanygovernmentactiontendingtoabridgetheir economicandpersonalfreedom,whichtheycherishedasaheritageessentialtotheirwayoflife.Itwasthis"freedom"thattheLagashcitizenshadlost,accordingto ourancientreformdocument,inthedaysbeforeUrukagina'sreign.ItwasrestoredbyUrukaginawhenhecametopower. Oftheeventsthatledtothelawlessandoppressivestateofaffairs,thereisnotahintinthedocument.Butwemaysurmisethatitwasthedirectresultofthepolitical andeconomicforcesunloosedbythedriveforpowerthatcharacterizedtheruling

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dynastyfoundedbyUrNansheabout2500B.C.Inflatedwithgrandioseambitionsforthemselvesandtheirstate,someoftheserulersresortedto"imperialistic"wars andbloodyconquests.Inafewcasestheymetwithconsiderablesuccess,andforabriefperiodoneofthemactuallyextendedtheswayofLagashoverSumerasa whole,andevenoverseveraloftheneighboringstates.Theearliervictoriesprovedephemeral,however,andinlessthanacenturyLagashwasreducedtoitsearlier boundariesandformerstatus.BythetimeUrukaginacametopower,Lagashhadbeensoweakenedthatitwasareadypreyforitsunrelentingenemytothenorth,the citystateofUmma.

5. SocialReformand"Freedom."CopyoftextinscribedonclayconeexcavatedbyFrenchatTello,siteofancientLagash.

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ItwasduringthesecruelwarsandtheirtragicaftermaththatthecitizensofLagashfoundthemselvesdeprivedoftheirpoliticalandeconomicfreedom.Inordertoraise armiesandsupplythemwitharmsandequipment,therulersfounditnecessarytoinfringeonthepersonalrightsoftheindividualcitizen,totaxhiswealthandproperty tothelimit,andtoappropriatepropertybelongingtothetemple.Undertheimpactofwar,theserulersmetwithlittleopposition.Oncedomesticcontrolswereinthe handsofthepalacecoterie,itsmembersweremostunwillingtorelinquishthem,eveninpeacetime,forthecontrolsprovedhighlyprofitable.Indeed,ourancient bureaucratsdevisedavarietyofsourcesofrevenueandincome,taxesandimposts,thatmightwellbetheenvyoftheirmoderncounterparts. ButletthehistorianwholivedinLagashalmost4,500yearsago,andwasthereforeacontemporaryoftheeventshereports,tellitmoreorlessinhisownwords:The inspectoroftheboatmenseizedtheboats.Thecattleinspectorseizedthelargecattle,seizedthesmallcattle.Thefisheriesinspectorseizedthefisheries.Whenacitizen ofLagashbroughtawoolbearingsheeptothepalaceforshearing,hehadtopayfiveshekelsifthewoolwaswhite.Ifamandivorcedhiswife,theishakkugotfive shekels,andhisviziergotoneshekel.Ifaperfumermadeanoilpreparation,theishakkugotfiveshekels,theviziergotoneshekel,andthepalacestewardgot anothershekel.Asforthetempleanditsproperty,theishakkutookitoverashisown.Toquoteourancientnarratorliterally:"Theoxenofthegodsplowedthe ishakku'sonionpatchestheonionandcucumberpatchesoftheishakkuwerelocatedinthegod'sbestfields."Inaddition,themoreimportanttempleofficials, particularlythesanga's,weredeprivedofmanyoftheirdonkeysandoxenandofmuchoftheirgrain. Evendeathbroughtnorelieffromleviesandtaxes.Whenadeadmanwasbroughttothecemeteryforburial,anumberofofficialsandparasitesmadeittheirbusiness tobeonhandtorelievethebereavedfamilyofquantitiesofbarley,bread,andbeer,andvariousfurnishings.Fromoneendofthestatetotheother,ourhistorian observesbitterly,"Therewerethetaxcollectors."Nowonderthepalacewaxedfatandprosperous.Itslandsandpropertiesformedonevast,continuous,and unbroken

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estate.InthewordsoftheSumerianhistorian,"Thehousesoftheishakkuandthefieldsoftheishakku,thehousesofthepalaceharemandthefieldsofthepalace harem,thehousesofthepalacenurseryandthefieldsofthepalacenurserycrowdedeachothersidetoside." AtthislowpointinthepoliticalandsocialaffairsofLagash,ourSumerianhistoriantellsus,anewandgodfearingrulercametothefore,Urukaginabyname,who restoredjusticeandfreedomtothelongsufferingcitizens.Heremovedtheinspectoroftheboatmenfromtheboats.Heremovedthecattleinspectorfromthecattle, largeandsmall.Heremovedthefisheriesinspectorfromthefisheries.Heremovedthecollectorofthesilverwhichhadtobepaidfortheshearingofthewhitesheep. Whenamandivorcedhiswife,neithertheishakkunorhisviziergotanything.Whenaperfumermadeanoilpreparation,neithertheishakku,northevizier,northe palacestewardgotanything.Whenadeadmanwasbroughttothecemeteryforburial,theofficialsreceivedconsiderablylessofthedeadman'sgoodsthanformerly, insomecasesagooddeallessthanhalf.Templepropertywasnowhighlyrespected.Fromoneendofthelandtotheother,ouronthescenehistorianobserves, "Therewasnotaxcollector."He,Urukagina,"establishedthefreedom"ofthecitizensofLagash. ButremovingtheubiquitousrevenuecollectorsandtheparasiticofficialswasnotUrukagina'sonlyachievement.Healsoputastoptotheinjusticeandexploitation sufferedbythepooratthehandsoftherich.Forexample,"Thehouseofalowlymanwasnexttothehouseofa'bigman,'andthe'bigman'saidtohim,'Iwantto buyitfromyou.'If,whenhe(the'bigman')wasabouttobuyitfromhim,thelowlymansaid,'paymeasmuchasIthinkfair,'andthenhe(the'bigman')didnotbuy it,that'bigman'mustnot'takeitout'onthelowlyman." Urukaginaalsoclearedthecityofusurers,thieves,andmurderers.If,forinstance,"apoorman'ssonlaidoutafishingpond,noonewouldnowstealitsfish."No wealthyofficialdaredtrespassonthegardenofa"poorman'smother,"pluckthetrees,andcarryofftheirfruit,ashadbeentheirwont.Urukaginamadeaspecial covenantwithNingirsu,thegodofLagash,thathe

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wouldnotpermitwidowsandorphanstobevictimizedbythe"menofpower." HowhelpfulandeffectivewerethesereformsinthestruggleforpowerbetweenLagashandUmma?Unfortunately,theyfailedtobringabouttheexpectedstrength andvictory.Urukaginaandhisreformsweresoon"gonewiththewind."Likemanyanotherreformer,heseemedtohavecome"toolate"with"toolittle."Hisreign lastedlessthantenyears,andheandhiscityweresoonoverthrownbyLugalzaggisi,theambitiousrulerofnearbyUmma,whosucceededinmakinghimselftheking ofSumerandthesurroundinglands,atleastforaverybriefperiod. TheUrukaginareformsandtheirsocialimplicationsmadeaprofoundimpressiononourancient"historians."Thetextofthedocumentshasbeenfoundinscribedin fourmoreorlessvaryingversionsonthreeclayconesandanovalshapedplaque.AllofthemwereexcavatedbytheFrenchatLagashin1878.Theywerecopied andfirsttranslatedbyFranoisThureauDangin,thesamepainstakingcuneiformistwhotreatedthehistoricaldocumentdescribedinChapter6.However,the interpretationoftheUrukaginareformsinthepresentvolumeisbasedonastillunpublishedtranslationofthedocumentpreparedbyArnoPoebel,theleading Sumerologistofourtime. Freedomunderlaw,itshouldnowbeevident,wasawayoflifenotunknowntotheSumeriansofthethirdmillenniumB.C.Whetherlawshadalreadybeenwritten downandpromulgatedintheformofcodesinUrukagina'sdayisstilluncertainatleastnolawcodesfromthatperiodhaveasyetbeenrecovered.Butthatproves little.Foralongtimetheoldestlawcodeknownwasonedatingbacktoabout1750B.C.,butonlyrecentlythreeearliercodeshavecometolight.Theoldestofthese isthecodeoftheSumerianrulerUrNammuitdatesfromtheendofthethirdmillenniumB.C.Itwasexcavatedin18891900,butitwasnotuntil1952thatitwas identifiedandtranslated,andeventhenmoreorlessbyaccident.ForUrNammu'slawcode,seeChapter8.

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Chapter8 LawCodes TheFirst"Moses"


Themostancientlawcodebroughttolightuptill1947wasthatpromulgatedbyHammurabi,thefarfamedSemitickingwhobeganhisruleabout1750B.C.Written inthecuneiformscriptandintheSemiticlanguageknownasBabylonian,itcontainsclosetothreehundredlawssandwichedinbetweenaboastfulprologueanda curseladenepilogue.ThedioritesteleonwhichthecodeisinscribednowstandssolemnandimpressiveintheLouvre.Fromthepointofviewoffullnessoflegaldetail andstateofpreservation,itisthemostimposingancientlawdocumentasyetuncoveredbutnotfromthepointofviewofageandantiquity.In1947therecameto lightalawcodepromulgatedbyKingLipitIshtar,whoprecededHammurabibymorethanonehundredandfiftyyears. TheLipitIshtarcode,asitisnowgenerallycalled,isinscribednotonastelebutonasunbakedclaytablet.Itiswritteninthecuneiformscript,butinthenonSemitic Sumerianlanguage.Thetabletwasexcavatedshortlyaftertheturnofthecentury,butforvariousreasonshadremainedunidentifiedandunpublished.Asreconstructed andtranslatedwithmyhelpbyFrancisSteele,formerlyassistantcuratorintheUniversityMuseum,itisseentocontainaprologue,epilogue,andanunknownnumber oflaws,ofwhichthirtysevenarepreservedwhollyorinpart. ButLipitIshtar'sclaimtofameastheworld'sfirstlawgiverwasshortlived.In1948,TahaBaqir,thecuratoroftheIraqMuseuminBaghdad,wasdigginginan obscuremoundcalledHarmal,andheannouncedthediscoveryoftwotabletsinscribed

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withanolderlawcode.LiketheHammurabicode,thesetabletswerewrittenintheSemiticBabylonianlanguage.Theywerestudiedandcopiedthatveryyearbythe wellknownYalecuneiformistAlbrechtGoetze.Inthebriefprologuethatprecedesthelaws(thereisnoepilogue),akingbythenameofBilalamaismentioned.He mayhavelivedsomeseventyyearsbeforeLipitIshtar.ItisthisSemiticBilalamacode,therefore,whichseemedtobeentitledtopriorityhonorsuntil1952,whenI wasprivilegedtocopyandtranslateatabletinscribedwithpartofalawcodepromulgatedbyaSumeriankingnamedUrNammu.Thisruler,whofoundedthenow wellknownThirdDynastyofUr,beganhisreign,evenaccordingtolowestchronologicalestimates,about2050B.C.,somethreehundredyearsbeforethe BabylonianKingHammurabi.TheUrNammutabletisoneofthehundredsofSumerianliterarytabletsinthecollectionoftheMuseumoftheAncientOrientin Istanbul,whereIspenttheyear195152asFulbrightResearchProfessor. InallprobabilityIwouldhavemissedtheUrNammutabletaltogetherhaditnotbeenforanopportuneletterfromF.R.Kraus,nowProfessorofCuneiformStudies attheUniversityofLeideninHolland.IhadmetKrausanumberofyearsbefore,duringmyearlierSumerologicalresearchesintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncient Orient,wherehewascurator.HearingthatIwasonceagaininIstanbul,hewrotemealetterofreminiscencesandshoptalk.Hislettersaidthatsomeyearsago,inthe courseofhisdutiesascuratorintheIstanbulMuseum,hehadcomeupontwofragmentsofatabletinscribedwithSumerianlaws,hadmadea"join"ofthetwopieces, andhadcataloguedtheresultingtabletasNo.3191oftheNippurcollectionoftheMuseum.Imightbeinterestedinitscontents,headded,andperhapswouldwant tocopyit. SinceSumerianlawtabletsareextremelyrare,IhadNo.3191broughttomyworkingtableatonce.Thereitlay,asunbakedtablet,lightbrownincolor,20by10 centimetersinsize.Morethanhalfofthewritingwasdestroyed,andwhatwaspreservedseemedatfirsthopelesslyunintelligible.Butafterseveraldaysof concentratedstudy,itscontentsbegantobecomeclearandtakeshape,andIrealizedwithnolittleexcitementthatwhatIheldin

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6. UrNammuLawCode.HandcopyoftheProloguefromtabletinMuseumoftheAncientOrient.

myhandwasacopyoftheoldestlawcodeasyetknowntoman. Thetabletwasdividedbytheancientscribeintoeightcolumns,fourontheobverseandfouronthereverse.Eachofthecolumnscontainsaboutfortyfivesmallruled spaces,lessthanhalfofwhicharelegible.Theobversecontainsalongprologuewhichisonlypartiallyintelligible,becauseofthenumerousbreaksinthetext.Briefly,it runsasfollows: Aftertheworldhadbeencreated,andafterthefateofthe

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landSumerandofthecityUr(theBiblicalUroftheChaldees)hadbeendecided,AnandEnlil,thetwoleadingdeitiesoftheSumerianpantheon,appointedthe moongodNannaastheKingofUr.Oneday,UrNammuwasselectedbythegodtoruleoverSumerandUrashisearthlyrepresentative.Thenewking'sfirstacts hadtodowiththepoliticalandmilitarysafetyofUrandSumer.InparticularhefounditnecessarytodobattlewiththeborderingcitystateofLagash,whichwas expandingatUr'sexpense.Hedefeatedandputtodeathitsruler,Namhani,andthen,''withthepowerofNanna,thekingofthecity,''hereestablishedUr'sformer boundaries. Nowcamethetimetoturntointernalaffairs,andtoinstitutesocialandmoralreforms.Heremovedthe"chiselers"andthegrafters,or,asthecodeitselfdescribes them,the"grabbers"ofthecitizens'oxen,sheep,anddonkeys.Hethenestablishedandregulatedhonestandunchangeableweightsandmeasures.Hesawtoitthat "theorphandidnotfallapreytothewealthy""thewidowdidnotfallapreytothepowerful""themanofoneshekeldidnotfallapreytothemanofonemina(sixty shekels)."Althoughtherelevantpassageisdestroyedonthetablet,itwasnodoubttoensurejusticeinthelandandtopromotethewelfareofitscitizensthathe promulgatedthelawswhichfollowed. Thelawsthemselvesprobablybeganonthereverseofthetablet.Theyaresobadlydamagedthatthecontentsofonlyfiveofthemcanberestoredwithsomedegree ofcertainty.Oneofthemseemstoinvolveatrialbywaterordealanotherseemstotreatofthereturnofaslavetohismaster.Butitistheotherthreelaws, fragmentaryanddifficultastheircontentsare,thatareofveryspecialimportanceforthehistoryofman'ssocialandspiritualgrowth.Fortheyshowthat,evenbefore 2000B.C.,thelawof"eyeforeye"and"toothfortooth"stillprevalenttoalargeextentintheBiblicallawsofamuchlaterdayhadalreadygivenwaytothefar morehumaneapproachinwhichamoneyfinewassubstitutedasapunishment.Becauseoftheirhistoricalsignificance,thesethreelawsareherequotedintheoriginal Sumerian,astranscribedintoouralphabet,togetherwiththeirliteraltranslation:

Page55 tukumbi (lulura gish...ta) ...ani girinkud 10gink ubabbar ilae tukumbi lulura gishtukulta girpaddu almurani inziir 1manak ubabbar ilae tukumbi lulura geshputa k a...inkud 2/3manak ubabbar ilae If (amantoaman witha...instrument) his... thefoothascutoff, 10silvershekels heshallpay. If amantoaman withaweapon hisbones of... severed, 1silvermina heshallpay. If amantoaman withageshpuinstrument thenose(?)hascutoff, 2/3ofasilvermina heshallpay.

HowlongwillUrNammuretainhisplaceastheworld'sfirstlawgiver?Perhapsnotforlong.ThereareindicationsthattherewerelawgiversinSumerlongbeforeUr Nammuwasborn.Soonerorlater,alucky"digger"willcomeupwithacopyofalawcodeprecedingthatofUrNammubyacenturyormore. LawandjusticewerekeyconceptsinancientSumer,inboththeoryandpractice,andSumeriansocialandeconomiclifewaspermeatedbythem.Inthepastcentury, archaeologistshaveuncoveredthousandsofclaytabletsinscribedwithallsortsofSumerianlegaldocumentscontracts,deeds,wills,promissorynotes,receipts,and courtdecisions.InancientSumertheadvancedstudentdevotedmuchofhisschooltimetothefieldoflaw,andheconstantlypracticedthewritingofthehighly specializedlegalterminology,aswellasoflawcodesandthosecourtdecisionswhichhadtakenontheforceoflegalprecedents.Thefulltextofonesuchcourt decisionbecameavailablein1950.Thisdocument,whichrecordswhatmightbetermed"thecaseofthesilentwife,"isdiscussedinChapter9.

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Chapter9 Justice TheFirstLegalPrecedent


AmurderwascommittedinthelandofSumerin1850B.C.orthereabouts.Threemenabarber,agardener,andonewhoseoccupationisnotknownkilleda templeofficialbythenameofLuInanna.Themurderers,forsomeunstatedreason,theninformedthevictim'swife,Nindada,thatherhusbandhadbeenkilled. Strangelyenough,shekepttheirsecretanddidnotnotifytheauthorities. Butthearmofthelawwaslongandsure,eveninthosedays,atleastinthehighlycivilizedstateofSumer.ThecrimewasbroughttotheattentionofKingUrNinurta, inhiscapitalcityIsin,andheturnedthecaseoverfortrialtotheCitizensAssemblyatNippur,whichactedasacourtofjustice. Inthisassembly,ninemenarosetoprosecutetheaccused.Theyarguedthatnotonlythethreeactualmurderers,butthewifeaswell,shouldbeexecuted,presumably becauseshehadremainedsilentafterlearningofthecrimeandcouldthusbeconsideredanaccessoryafterthefact. Twomenintheassemblythenspokeupindefenseofthewoman.Theypleadedthatthewomanhadtakennopartinthemurderofherhusband,andthatsheshould thereforegounpunished. Themembersoftheassemblyagreedwiththedefense.Theyarguedthatthewomanwasnotunjustifiedinremainingsilent,sinceitseemedthatherhusbandhadfailed tosupporther.Theirverdictconcludedwiththestatementthat"thepunishmentofthosewhoactuallykilledshouldsuffice."Accordingly,onlythe

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threemenwerecondemned,bytheNippurassembly,tobeexecuted. TherecordofthismurdertrialwasfoundinscribedintheSumerianlanguageonaclaytabletthatwasdugupin1950byajointexpeditionoftheOrientalInstituteof theUniversityofChicagoandtheUniversityMuseumoftheUniversityofPennsylvania.ThorkildJacobsenandIstudiedandtranslatedit.Thetranslationofsomeof theSumerianwordsandphrasesonthetabletisstillindoubt,buttheessentialmeaningisreasonablyassured.Onecornerofthenewlyfoundtabletisdestroyed,butit waspossibletofillinthemissinglinesfromasmallfragmentofanothercopyofthesamerecorddugupatNippurbytheearlierexpeditionoftheUniversityMuseum. ThefactthattwocopiesofthesamerecordhavebeenfoundshowsthatthedecisionoftheNippurAssemblyinthecaseofthe"silentwife"wascelebratedthroughout thelegalcirclesofSumerasamemorableprecedent,notunlikeadecisionofourownSupremeCourt.


Nannasig,thesonofLuSin,KuEnlil,thesonofKuNanna,thebarber,andEnlilennam,theslaveofAddakalla,thegardener,killedLuInanna,thesonofLugalapindu,the nishakkuofficial. AfterLuInanna,thesonofLugalapindu,hadbeenputtodeath,theytoldNindada,thedaughterofLuNinurta,thewifeofLuInanna,thatherhusbandLuInannahadbeen killed. Nindada,thedaughterofLuNinurta,openednothermouth,(her)lipsremainedsealed. Theircasewas(then)broughtto(thecity)Isinbeforetheking,(and)theKingUrNinurtaorderedtheircasetobetakenupintheAssemblyofNippur. (There)Urgula,sonofLugal..,Dudu,thebirdhunter,Aliellati,thedependent,Buzu,thesonofLuSin,Eluti,thesonof..Ea,SheshKalla,theporter(?),LugalKan,the gardener,Lugalazida,thesonofSinandul,(and)Sheshkalla,thesonofShara..,faced(theAssembly)andsaid: "Theywhohavekilledamanarenot(worthy)oflife.ThosethreemalesandthatwomanshouldbekilledinfrontofthechairofLuInanna,thesonofLugalapindu,thenishakku official."

Page58 (Then)Shu..lilum,the..officialofNinurta,(and)UbarSin,thegardener,faced(theAssembly)andsaid: "GrantedthatthehusbandofNindada,thedaughterofLuNinurta,hadbeenkilled,(but)whathad(?)thewomandone(?)thatsheshouldbekilled?" (Then)the(membersofthe)AssemblyofNippurfaced(them)andsaid: "Awomanwhosehusbanddidnotsupport(?)hergrantedthatsheknewherhusband'senemies,andthat(after)herhusbandhadbeenkilledsheheardthatherhusbandhad beenkilledwhyshouldshenotremainsilent(?)about(?)him?Isitshe(?)whokilledherhusband?Thepunishmentofthose(?)who(actually)killedshouldsuffice." Inaccordancewiththedecision(?)oftheAssemblyofNippur,Nannasig,thesonofLuSin,KuEnlil,thesonofKuNanna,thebarber,andEnlilennam,theslaveofAddakalla, thegardener,werehandedover(totheexecutioner)tobekilled. (Thisis)acasetakenupbytheAssemblyofNippur.

Afterthetranslationhadbeenmade,itseemedrelevanttocomparetheverdictwithwhatthemoderndecisionmighthavebeeninasimilarsituation.Wethereforesent thetranslationtothelateOwenJ.Roberts,thendeanoftheLawSchool,UniversityofPennsylvania(hehadbeenassociatejusticeoftheUnitedStatesSupreme Court,193045),andaskedhisopinion.Hisanswerwasofgreatinterest,forinthislegalcasemodemjudgeswouldhaveagreedwiththeSumerianjudgesoflong ago,andtheverdictwouldhavebeenthesame.ToquoteJusticeRoberts,"Thewifewouldnotbeguiltyasanaccessoryafterthefactunderourlaw.Anaccessory afterthefactmustnotonlyknowthatthefelonywascommitted,butmustalsoreceive,relieve,comfort,orassistthefelon." ButlawisnottheonlyfieldinwhichsignificantSumeriandocumentshaverecentlycometolight.In1954amedicaldocument,inscribedwithman'sfirst pharmacopoeia,wasdescribedinapreliminaryreportincludingatranslationofthemoreintelligiblepartofthedocument.Tobesure,thephysicianwas

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knowninSumerthroughoutthethirdmillenniumB.C.AphysicianbythenameofLulupracticedhisprofessioninUr,theBiblicalUroftheChaldees,asearlyas2700 B.C.orthereabouts.ButallothermedicaltextsfromMesopotamiapublishedbefore1954werefromthefirstmillenniumB.C.,andtheseareoftenfullofspellsand incantationsratherthanrealmedicaltreatment.Thenewlytranslatedtablet,ontheotherhand,datesbacktothelastquarterofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,andthe prescriptionsinscribedonitdonotcontainatraceofmagicandsorcery.Thistablet,theoldestmedicaldocument,isdiscussedinChapter10.

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Chapter10 Medicine TheFirstPharmacopoeia


AnanonymousSumerianphysician,wholivedtowardtheendofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,decidedtocollectandrecord,forhiscolleaguesandstudents,hismore valuablemedicalprescriptions.Hepreparedatabletofmoistclay,33/4by61/4inchesinsize,sharpenedareedstylustoawedgeshapedend,andwrotedown,in thecuneiformscriptofhisday,morethanadozenofhisfavoriteremedies.Thisclaydocument,theoldestmedical"handbook"knowntoman,layburiedintheNippur ruinsformorethanfourthousandyears,untilitwasexcavatedbyanAmericanexpeditionandbroughttotheUniversityMuseuminPhiladelphia. IfirstlearnedoftheexistenceofthetabletfromapublicationbymypredecessorintheUniversityMuseum,Dr.LeonLegrain,curatoremeritusoftheBabylonian Section.Inanarticleinthe1940BulletinoftheUniversityMuseum,underthetitle"NippurOldDrugstore,"hemadeavaliantattempttotranslatepartofitscontents. Butitwasobviousthatthiswasnotataskforthecuneiformistalone.Thephraseologyoftheinscriptionwashighlytechnicalandspecialized,andthecooperationofa historianofsciencewasneeded,particularlyonetrainedinthefieldofchemistry.AfterIhadbecomecuratorofthetabletcollectionsintheUniversityMuseum,Ioften wentlonginglytothecupboardwherethis"medical"tabletwaskeptandbroughtittomydeskforstudy.MorethanonceIwastemptedtomakeanothereffortat translatingitscontents.FortunatelyIdidnotsuccumb.Again

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andagainIreturnedittoitsplaceandawaitedtheopportunemoment. OneSaturdaymorninginthespringof1953,ayoungmancameintomyofficeandintroducedhimselfasMartinLevey,aPhiladelphiachemist.Adoctorateinthe historyofsciencehadjustbeenconferredonhim,andheaskedifIknewofanytabletsintheMuseum'scollectionthathecouldhelpwithfromthepointofviewofthe historyofscienceandtechnology.Herewasmyopportunity!OnceagainItookthetabletfromitscupboard,butthistimeitdidnotgobackuntilitwasatleast tentativelytranslated.ForseveralweeksLeveyandIworkedonitscontents.IrestrictedmyselfprimarilytothereadingoftheSumeriansignsandtheanalysisofthe grammaticalconstruction.ItwasMartinLevey,withhisunderstandingandknowledgeofthechemicalandtechnologicalprocessesoftheancients,whobroughttolife againtheintelligibleportionsofman'sfirstpharmacopoeia. TheSumerianphysician,welearnfromthisancientdocument,went,asdoeshismoderncounterpart,tobotanical,zoological,andmineralogicalsourcesforhismateria medica.Hisfavoritemineralsweresodiumchloride(salt)andpotassiumnitrate(saltpeter).Fromtheanimalkingdomheutilizedmilk,snakeskin,andturtleshell.But mostofhismedicinalscamefromthebotanicalworld,fromplantssuchascassia,myrtle,asafoetida,andthyme,andfromtreessuchasthewillow,pear,fir,fig,and date.Thesesimpleswerepreparedfromtheseed,root,branch,bark,orgum,andmusthavebeenstored,astoday,ineithersolidorpowderedform. Theremediesprescribedbyourphysicianwerebothsalvesandfiltratestobeappliedexternally,andliquidstobetakeninternally.Theusualinstructionsfor compoundingsalvesweretopulverizeoneormoresimples,toinfusethepowderwith"kushumma"wine,andtospreadbothcommontreeoilandcedaroiloverthe mixture.Foroneprescriptioninwhichpulverizedriverclaywasoneofthesimples,thepowderwastobekneadedinwaterandhoney,and"sea"oilinsteadoftreeoil wastobespreadoverthemixture. Thefiltrateprescriptionsweremorecomplicatedandwerefol

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lowedbydirectionsfortreatment.Threeoftheprescriptions(theSumeriantextisreasonablycertain)madeuseoftheprocessofdecoction.Inordertoextractthe soughtforprinciples,theingredientswereboiledinwater,andalkaliandsaltswereadded,probablytoobtainagreateryieldoftotalextract.Toseparatetheorganic materials,theaqueoussolutionwasnodoubtsubjectedtofiltration,althoughthisisnotstatedexplicitlyinanyoftheprescriptions.Theailingorganwasthentreated withthefiltrate,eitherbysprinklingorwashing.Followingthis,oilwasrubbedonit,andthenoneormoreadditionalsimpleswereadded. Asforthoseremedieswhichweretobetakeninternally,beerwasusuallythevehiclechosentomakethempalatabletothepatient.Theseveralsimpleswereground toapowderanddissolvedinbeerforthesickmantodrink.Inonecase,however,wheremilkaswellasbeerseemstohavebeenusedforinfusion,anunidentified "river"(?)oilwasthevehicle. EvenfromthislonetablettheonlymedicaltextasyetrecoveredfromthethirdmillenniumB.C.itisclearthatSumerianpharmacologyhadmadeconsiderable progress.Thetabletreveals,thoughindirectly,abroadacquaintancewithquiteanumberofratherelaboratechemicaloperationsandprocedures.Forexample,in severaloftheprescriptionstheinstructionswereto"purify"thesimplesbeforepulverization,astepwhichmusthaverequiredseveralchemicaloperations.Foranother example,thepulverizedalkaliusedasasimpleinoneoftheprescriptionsisprobablythealkaliashproducedbythepitburningofoneofanumberofplantsofthe Chenopodiaceae(mostlikelytheSalicorniafruticosa),whicharerichinsoda.SodaashderivedinthismannerwasusedintheseventhcenturyB.C.,andinthe MiddleAgesitwasusedforglassmaking.Chemicallyspeaking,itisofinterestthatthetwoprescriptionsonourtabletthatcalledforalkaliusedittogetherwith substanceswhichcontainagreatdealofnaturalfat,thusproducingasoapforexternalapplication. AnothersubstanceprescribedbyourSumeriandoctorwhichcouldhavebeenobtainedonlywithsomechemicalknowledgeispotassiumnitrate,orsaltpeter.To judgefrommuchlaterAssyriantimes,itisnotunlikelythattheSumeriansinspectedthesurfacedrainsinwhichnitrogenouswasteproducts,suchas

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urine,flowed,andremovedforpurificationwhatevercrystallineformationwastobefound.Theproblemofseparatingthecomponents,whichnodoubtincluded sodiumchlorideandothersaltsofsodiumandpotassium,aswellasdegradationproductsofnitrogenousmatter,wasprobablysolvedbythemethodoffractional crystallization.InIndiaandEgyptthereisstillcurrenttheancientprocedureofmixinglimeoroldmortarwithdecomposingnitrogenousorganicmattertoformcalcium nitrate,whichisthenlixiviatedandboiledwithwoodashcontainingpotassiumcarbonatetoyieldniteronevaporationofthefiltrate. Inonerespectourancienttextismostdisappointing.Itfailstonamethediseasesforwhichtheremedieswereintended,andweareunabletochecktheirtherapeutic value.Theremedieswereprobablyoflittlevalue,sincetheSumerianphysicianseemstohavemadenouseofexperimentandverification.Theselectionofmanyofthe drugsnodoubtreflectedthelongstandingconfidenceoftheancientsintheodoriferouspropertiesofplants.Someoftheprescriptionshadtheirgoodpointsfor example,themakingofadetergentwasofvalue.Andsuchsubstancesassaltandsaltpeterwereeffective,theformerasanantisepticandthelatterasanastringent. TheseSumerianprescriptionssufferfromatleastoneotherobviousomission:theyfailtospecifythequantitiestobeusedincompoundingthesimples,aswellasthe dosageandfrequencyofapplicationofthemedicine.Thismayhavebeentheresultof"professionaljealousy,"andtheSumerianphysicianmayhavepurposely concealedthequantitativedetailsinordertoprotecthissecretsfromnonmedicalgroupsorperhapsevenfromhiscolleagues.Moreprobably,thequantitativedetails justdidnotloomimportanttotheSumerianprescriptionwriter,sincetheycouldbefiguredoutmoreorlessempiricallyinthecourseofactualpreparationanduseof theremedies. ItisinterestingtonotethattheSumerianphysicianwhowroteourtabletdidnotresorttomagicspellsandincantations.Notonegodordemonismentionedanywhere throughoutthetext.ThisdoesnotmeanthattheuseofcharmsandexorcismstocurethesickwasunknowninSumerinthethirdmillenniumB.C.Quitethecontraryis true,asisobviousfromthecontentsof

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somethreescoresmalltabletsinscribedwithincantationsandsodesignatedbytheauthorsoftheinscriptions.LiketheBabyloniansoflaterdays,theSumerians attributednumerousdiseasestotheunwelcomepresenceofharmfuldemonsinthesickman'sbody.HalfadozensuchdemonsareactuallynamedinaSumerianhymn dedicatedtothepatrondeityoftheartofmedicine,agoddessvariouslyknownasBau,Ninisinna,andGula,anddescribedas''thegreatphysicianoftheblackheaded people(theSumerians).''However,thestartlingfactremainsthatourclaydocument,theoldest"page"ofmedicaltextasyetuncovered,iscompletelyfreefrom mysticalandirrationalelements. ThediscoveryofamedicaltabletwrittentowardtheendofthethirdmillenniumB.C.wasasurpriseeventothecuneiformist,sinceitisinthefieldofagriculturerather thanmedicinethatourfirst"handbook"mighthavebeenexpected.AgriculturewasthemainstayoftheSumerianeconomy,theprimarysourceofitswealthandwell being.FarmingmethodsandtechniqueswerealreadyhighlydevelopedbeforethethirdmillenniumB.C.Buttheonlyfarmers'"handbook"thathasasyetcometolight datesfromtheearlysecondmillenniumB.C.ItisdiscussedinChapter11.

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Chapter11 Agriculture TheFirst"Farmer'sAlmanac"


AsmallclaytabletdiscoveredbyanAmericanexpeditioninIraqmadepossibletherestorationofadocumentmorethan3,500yearsoldthatisofprimeimportance inthehistoryofagricultureanditstechniques.The194950expedition,sponsoredjointlybytheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicagoandtheUniversity MuseumoftheUniversityofPennsylvania,excavatedthe3by41/2inchinscriptionintheancientSumeriansiteNippur.Thetabletwasinpoorconditiononits arrival.Butafterithadbeenbaked,cleaned,andmendedinthelaboratoryoftheUniversityMuseum,practicallyitsentiretextbecamelegible.Beforethediscoveryat Nippur,eightotherclaytabletsandfragmentsinscribedwithdifferentpartsofthisagricultural"primer"werealreadyknown,butitwasimpossibletomakea trustworthyrestorationofthetextasawholeuntilthenewNippurpiece,withthirtyfivelinesfromthemiddleofthecomposition,cametolight. Therestoreddocument,108linesinlength,consistsofaseriesofinstructionsaddressedbyafarmertohissonforthepurposeofguidinghimthroughouthisyearly agriculturalactivities,beginningwiththeinundationofthefieldsinMayJuneandendingwiththecleaningandwinnowingofthefreshlyharvestedcropsinthefollowing AprilMay.BeforetheNippurdiscovery,twosimilarfarmer's"handbooks"wereknownfromancientdays:Virgil'sfarfamedandhighlypoeticGeorgicsand Hesiod'sWorkandDays.Thelatter,whichisbyfartheearlierofthetwo,wasprobablywrittenintheeighthcenturyB.C.Ontheotherhand,

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thenewlyrestoredSumerianclaydocumentwasactuallyinscribedabout1700B.C.,andthusantedatesHesiod'sworkbyapproximatelyamillennium. TheSumerianfarm"handbook"beginswiththeline,"Indaysofyoreafarmergave(these)instructionstohisson."Thedirectionsthatfollowconcernthemore importantchoresandlaborsthatafarmermustperformtoensureasuccessfulcrop.SinceirrigationwasessentialforSumer'sparchedsoil,thein

7. Farmer'sAlmanac.Handcopy(unpublished)offourcolumntabletexcavatedinNippur,194950.

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structionsbeganwithadviceconcerningirrigationworks:Caremustbetakenthattheirwaterdoesnotrisetoohighoverthefieldwhenthewatersubsides,thewet groundmustbecarefullyguardedagainsttramplingoxenandotherprowlersthefieldmustthenbeclearedofweedsandstubbleandfencedabout. Thefarmerwasnextcounseledtohavehishouseholdandhiredhelpprepareinadvanceallthenecessarytools,implements,baskets,andcontainers.Hemustseetoit thathehasanextraoxfortheplow.Beforebeginningtoplow,heshouldhavethegroundbrokenuptwicebythemattockandoncebythehoe.Wherenecessarythe hammermustbeusedtopulverizetheclods.Hewascounseledtostandoverhislaborersandseetoitthattheydidnotshirktheirwork. Theworkofplowingandsowingwascarriedonsimultaneouslybymeansofaseederthatis,aplowwithanattachmentthatcarriedtheseedfromacontainer throughanarrowfunneldowntothefurrow.Thefarmerwasinstructedtoploweightfurrowstoeachstripofapproximatelytwentyfeet.Hewastoldtoseetoitthat theseedwasplacedatanevendepth.Inthewordsofthe"handbook":"Keepaneyeonthemanwhoputsinthebarleyseedthathemaketheseedfalltwofingers uniformly."Iftheseedfailedtopenetratetheearthproperly,hemustchangetheshare,"thetongueoftheplow."Therewereseveralkindsoffurrows,accordingtothe writerofthe"handbook,''whoadvisedinparticular:''Whereyouhaveplowedstraightfurrows,plow(now)diagonalfurrowswhereyouhaveploweddiagonal furrows,plow(now)straightfurrows."Followingthesowing,thefurrowshadtobeclearedofclods,sothatthesproutingofthebarleywouldnotbeimpeded. "Onthedaywhentheseedbreaksthroughtheground,"theSumerian"handbook"continues,thefarmershouldsayaprayertoNinkilim,thegoddessoffieldmiceand vermin,lesttheseharmthegrowinggrainheshouldalsoscareawaythebirds.Whenthebarleyhadgrownsufficientlytofillthenarrowbottomsofthefurrows,he wastowateritandwhenitwasdenseenoughtocoverthefieldlikethe"matinthemiddleofaboat,"hewastowateritasecondtime.Athirdtimehewastowater theroyal"grain.Shouldhethennoticeareddeningofthewet

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grain,itwasthedreadsamanadiseasethatwasendangeringthecrops.Ifthecropshowedimprovement,hewastowateritafourthtime,andthusgetanextrayield of10percent. Whenthetimecameforharvesting,thefarmerwasnottowaituntilthebarleybentunderitsownweight,butwastocutit"inthedayofitsstrength"thatis,justatthe rightmoment.Threemenworkedasateamonthestandinggrainareaper,abinder,andathirdwhosedutiesarenotclear. Thethreshingwhichfollowedimmediatelyupontheharvestingwasdonebymeansofasledgedrawnbackandforthovertheheapedupgrainstalksforaperiodof fivedays.Thebarleywasthen"opened"withan"opener,"whichwasdrawnbyoxen.Bythistime,however,thegrainhadbecomeuncleanthroughcontactwiththe ground.Therefore,followinganappropriateprayer,thegrainwaswinnowedwithpitchforks,laidonsticks,andthusfreedofdirtanddust. Thedocumentcloseswiththestatementthattheagriculturalruleslaiddownwerenotthefarmer'sownbutthoseofthegodNinurta,thesonand"truefarmer"ofthe leadingSumeriandeity,Enlil. Inorderthatthereadermighttastetherealflavorofthefirstfarmer'shandbookinman'srecordedhistory,hereisaliteral

8. PlowingScene.ReconstructionofplowingscenefromacylindersealimpressiononNippurtabletinUniversityMuseum.Noteseederplow.

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translationofitsfirsteighteenlines.Thereaderisaskedtobearinmindthattherenderingsareinsomecasestentative,sincethetextisfullofobscureandperplexing technicalterminology.Thetranslationthatfollows(itwillnodoubtbeconsiderablyimprovedovertheyearsasourknowledgeofSumerianlanguageandculture grows)hasbeenworkedoutprovisionallybyBennoLandsbergerandThorkildJacobsencuneiformistsoftheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicagoand thepresentwriter.


Indaysofyoreafarmergave(these)instructionstohisson:Whenyouareabouttocultivateyourfield,takecaretoopentheirrigationworks(sothat)theirwaterdoesnotrise toohighinit(thefield).Whenyouhaveemptieditofwater,watchthefield'swetgroundthatitstaysevenletnowanderingoxtrampleit.Chasetheprowlersandhaveittreated assettledland.Clearitwithtennarrowaxes(weighingnomorethan)2/3ofapoundeach.Itsstubble(?)shouldbetornupbyhandandtiedinbundlesitsnarrowholesshallbe goneoverwithadragandthefoursidesofthefieldshallbefencedabout.Whilethefieldisburning(inthesummersun)letitbedividedupintoequalparts.Letyourtoolshum withactivity(?).Theyokebarshouldbemadefast,yournewwhipshouldbefastenedwithnails,andthehandletowhichyouroldwhipwasfastenedshouldbemendedbythe workers'children.

NotonlycerealfarmsbutalsovegetablegardensandfruitgrovesweresourcesofSumer'seconomicwealth.Oneofthemoresignificanthorticulturaltechniques practicedinSumerfromearliestdayswasshadetreegardeningthatis,theplantingofbroadshadetreestoprotectthegardenplantsfromsunandwind.Thiswe learnfromaSumerianpoemthatispresentedinChapter12.

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Chapter12 Horticulture TheFirstExperimentinShadeTreeGardening


AsannualprofessoroftheAmericanSchoolsofOrientalResearchandrepresentativeoftheUniversityMuseum,ItraveledtoIstanbulandBaghdadin1946.In IstanbulIstayedsomefourmonthsandcopiedmorethanahundredtabletsandfragmentsinscribedwithSumerianepicsandmyths.Themajorityofthecopiedpieces consistedofsmallandmiddlesizedfragments.Butamongthemwereanumberofconsiderablylongertabletsforexample,thetwelvecolumntabletinscribedwith the"warofnerves"(seeChapter4)theeightcolumntabletinscribedwiththedisputationbetweensummerandwinter(seeChapter18)andasixcolumnpiece inscribedwithahithertounknownmythwhichIhavetitled"InannaandShukallituda:TheGardener'sMortalSin." Thislastmentioneddocumentoriginallymusthavemeasured6by71/4inches,butnowmeasuresonly41/4by7inches.Thefirstandlastcolumnsarealmostentirely destroyed,buttheremainingfourcolumnspermittherestorationofsometwohundredlinesoftext,ofwhichmorethanhalfarecomplete.Asthecontentsofthemyth graduallybecameintelligible,itwasobviousthatnotonlywasitsplotunusual,butthepoemwashighlysignificantintwootherrespects.Inthefirstplace,itfeaturesan incidentinwhichadeity,angeredbytheimpiousdeedofamortal,turnsthewaterofanentirelandintoblood.Theonlyparalleltothis"bloodplague"motifinthe entirerangeofancient

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literatureistheBiblicalexodusstoryinwhichJahwehturnsthewaterofallEgyptintobloodwhenPharaohrefusestosendforththeenslavedIsraelitestoservehim. Secondly,theauthorofourancientmythseemstoexplaintheoriginofshadetreegardening,andthusrevealsthatthehorticulturaltechniqueofplantingshadetreesin agardenorgrovetoprotecttheplantsfromwindandsunwasknownandpracticedthousandsofyearsago.Theplotofthismythrunsasfollows: OnceuponatimetherelivedagardenerbythenameofShukallituda,whosediligenteffortsatgardeninghadmetwithnothingbutfailure.Althoughhehadcarefully wateredhisfurrowsandgardenpatches,theplantshadwitheredaway.Theragingwindssmotehisfacewiththe"dustofthemountains."Allthathehadcarefully tendedturneddesolate.Hethereuponliftedhiseyeseastandwesttothestarryheavens,studiedtheomens,observedandlearnedthedivinelaws.Havingacquired newwisdom,heplantedthe(asyetunidentified)sarbatutreeinthegarden,atreewhosebroadshadelastsfromsunrisetosunset.Asaconsequenceofthis horticulturalexperiment,Shukallituda'sgardenblossomedforthwithallkindsofgreens. OnedaythegoddessInanna(theSumeriancounterpartoftheGreekAphroditeandtheRomanVenus),afterhavingtraversedheavenandearth,laydowntoresther tiredbodynotfarfromthegardenofShukallituda.Hespiedonherfromtheedgeofhisgarden.Thenhetookadvantageofherextremewearinessandcohabitedwith her.Whenmorningcameandthesunrose,Inannalookedaboutherinconsternationanddeterminedtoferretout,atallcosts,themortalwhohadsoshamefully abusedher.ShethereforesentthreeplaguesagainstSumer:(1)Shefilledallthewellsofthelandwithblood,sothatallthepalmgrovesandvineyardsbecame saturatedwithblood.(2)Shesentdestructivewindsandstormsagainsttheland.(3)Thenatureofthethirdplagueisuncertain,sincetherelevantlinesaretoo fragmentary. Despitethethreeplagues,Inannawasunabletolocateherdefiler.AftereachplagueShukallitudawenttohisfather'shouseandinformedhimofhisdanger.Thefather advisedhissontodirecthissteptohisbrothers,the"blackheadedpeople"(thepeopleofSumer),andtostayclosetotheurbancenters.Shukal

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litudafollowedthisadvice,andasaresultInannadidnotfindhim.Sherealizedbitterlythatshewasunabletoavengetheoutragecommittedagainsther.Shetherefore decidedtogotothecityEridu,tothehouseofEnki,theSumeriangodofwisdom,toseekhisadviceandhelp.Herethetabletbreaksoff,andtheendofthestory remainsunknown. Thefollowingisatentativetranslationofoneoftherelevantandmoreintelligibleportionsofthepoem:


Shukallituda,...., Whenpouringwateroverthefurrows, Whendiggingwellsbythepatches,...., Stumbledoveritsroots,wascutupbythem Theragingwindswithwhatevertheycarried, Withthedustofthemountains,struckhisface, Athis..faceand..hands, Theyblewitabout,heknewnotits.. He(thereupon)liftedhiseyestowardthelandsbelow, Lookedupatthestarsintheeast, Liftedhiseyestowardthelandsabove, Lookedupatthestarsinthewest, Gazedattheauspiciousinscribedheaven, Fromtheinscribedheavenlearnedtheomens, Sawtherehowtocarryoutthedivinelaws, Studiedthedecreesofthegods. Inthegarden,infivetotenunapproachableplaces, Inthoseplacesheplantedonetreeasaprotectingcover, Thetree'sprotectingcoverthesarbatutreeofwideshade Itsshadebelow,dawn, Noon,anddusk,didnotturnaway. Onedaymyqueen,aftercrossingheaven,crossingearth, Inanna,aftercrossingheaven,crossingearth, AftercrossingElamandShubur, Aftercrossing...., Thehierodule(Inanna)inherwearinessapproached(thegarden), fellfastasleep, Shukallitudasawherfromtheedgeofhisgarden,.... Copulatedwithher,kissedher, Returnedtotheedgeofhisgarden. Dawnbroke,thesunrose, Thewomanlookedaboutherindread. Inannalookedaboutherindread.

Page73 Then,thewoman,becauseofherpudendum,whatharmshedid! Inanna,becauseofherpudendum,whatdidshedo! Allthewellsofthelandshefilledwithblood, Allthegrovesandgardensofthelandshesatedwithblood, The(male)slavescomingtogatherfirewood,drinknothingbut blood, The(female)slavescomingtofillupwithwater,fillupwith nothingbutblood, "Imustfindhimwhocopulatedwithmeamongallthelands," shesaid. Buthimwhocopulatedwithhershefoundnot, Fortheyoungmanenteredhisfather'shouse, Shukallitudasaystohisfather: "Father,whenpouringwateroverthefurrows, Whendiggingwellsbythepatches,...., Istumbledoveritsroots,wascutupbythem Theragingwinds,withwhatevertheycarried, Withthedustofthemountains,struckmyface, Atmy..faceand..hands, Theyblewitabout,Iknewnotits.. "I(thereupon)liftedmyeyestowardthelandsbelow, Lookedupatthestarsintheeast, Liftedmyeyestowardthelandsabove, Lookedupatthestarsinthewest, Gazedattheauspiciousinscribedheaven, Fromtheinscribedheavenlearnedtheomens, Sawtherehowtocarryoutthedivinelaws, Studiedthedecreesofthegods. Inthegarden,infivetotenunapproachableplaces, InthoseplacesIplantedonetreeasaprotectingcover. Thetree'sprotectingcoverthesarbatutreeofwideshade Itsshadebelow,dawn, Noon,anddusk,didnotturnaway. "Onedaymyqueen,aftercrossingheaven,crossingearth, Inanna,aftercrossingheaven,crossingearth, AftercrossingElamandShubur, Aftercrossing...., Thehieroduleinherwearinessapproached(thegarden),fell fastasleep Isawherfromtheedgeofmygarden, Copulatedwithher,kissedher, Returnedtotheedgeofmygarden. "Dawnbroke,thesunrose,

Page74 Thewomanlookedaboutherindread, Inannalookedaboutherindread. Then,thewoman,becauseofherpudendum,whatharmshedid! Inanna,becauseofherpudendum,whatdidshedo! Allthewellsofthelandshefilledwithblood, Allthegrovesandgardensofthelandshesatedwithblood, The(male)slavescomingtogatherfirewood,drinknothingbut blood, The(female)slavescomingtofillupwithwater,fillupwith nothingbutblood, 'Imustfindhimwhocopulatedwithme,'shesaid." Buthimwhocopulatedwithhershefoundnot, Forhisfatheranswerstheyoungman, HisfatheranswersShukallituda: "Son,stayclosetoyourbrothers'cities, Directyourstepandgotoyourbrothers,theblackheadedpeople, Thewoman(Inanna)willnotfindyouinthemidstofthelands." He(Shukallituda)stayedclosetohisbrothers'cities, Directedhissteptohisbrothers,theblackheadedpeople, Thewomanfoundhimnotinthemidstofallthelands. Then,thewoman,becauseofherpudendum,whatharmshedid! Inanna,becauseofherpudendum,whatdidshedo!.... (Thepoemcontinueswiththesecondplague.)

Weturnnowfromthematerialtothespiritual,fromtechnologytophilosophy.TheSumeriansofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,thereisgoodreasontobelieve,evolveda numberofmetaphysicalandtheologicalconceptswhich,thoughneverexplicitlyformulated,becamemoreorlessparadigmaticfortheentireNearEast,andevenleft theirimprintontheHebrewandChristiandogmasoflaterdays.ThemoresignificantoftheirconceptsarepresentedinChapter13,togetherwithananalysisofthe largelyunformulatedandunarticulatedrationalandlogicalinferencesbehindthem.ThechapteralsoshowshowtheSumerianintellectualspeculationsandphilosophical conclusionswereisolatedandadducedprimarilyfromtheSumerianmythsandepictales,inspiteofthefactthattheseresorttofantasyandimaginationratherthan reasonandlogicfortheirliteraryeffect.

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Chapter13 Philosophy Man'sFirstCosmogonyandCosmology


TheSumeriansfailedtodevelopasystematicphilosophyintheacceptedsenseoftheword.Itneveroccurredtothemtoraiseanyquestionsconcerningthe fundamentalnatureofrealityandknowledge,andtheythereforeevolvedpracticallynothingcorrespondingtothephilosophicalsubdivisionwhichiscommonlyknown todayasepistemology.Theydid,however,speculateonthenatureand,moreparticularly,theoriginoftheuniverse,andonitsmethodofoperation.Thereisgood reasontoinferthatinthethirdmillenniumB.C.thereemergedagroupofSumerianthinkersandteacherswho,intheirquestforsatisfactoryanswerstosomeofthe problemsraisedbytheircosmicspeculations,evolvedacosmologyandtheologycarryingsuchhighintellectualconvictionthattheirdoctrinesbecamethebasiccreed anddogmaofmuchoftheancientNearEast. Thesecosmologicalideasandtheologicalspeculationsarenowhereexplicitlyformulatedinphilosophicaltermsandsystematicstatements.Sumerianphilosophershad failedtodiscoverthatallimportantintellectualtoolwhichwetakeforgranted:thescientificmethodofdefinitionandgeneralization,withoutwhichourpresentday sciencewouldneverhavereacheditsprominence.Totakeevensorelativelysimpleaprincipleascauseandeffect,theSumerianthinker,whilefullyawareofthe innumerableconcreteexamplesofitsoperation,nevercameupontheideaofformulatingitasageneral,allpervadinglaw.Almostallourinformationconcerning Sumerianphilosophy,theology,cos

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mology,andcosmogony,hastobeferretedoutandpiecedtogetherfromSumerianliteraryworks,particularlymyths,epictales,andhymns. Whatweresomeofthe"scientific"dataattheirdisposal,whichunderpinnedtheirassumptionsandledtothenarrowingdownoftheirphilosophicalspeculationsto theologicalcertainties?IntheeyesoftheSumerianteachersandsages,themajorcomponentsoftheuniversewereheavenandearthindeed,theirtermforuniverse wasanki,acompoundwordmeaning"heavenearth."Theearth,theythought,wasaflatdiskheaven,ahollowspaceenclosedattopandbottombyasolidsurface intheshapeofavault.Justwhatthisheavenlysolidwasthoughttobeisstilluncertain.TojudgefromthefactthattheSumeriantermfortinis"metalofheaven,''itmay havebeentin.Betweenheavenandearththeyrecognizedasubstancewhichtheycalledlil,awordwhoseapproximatemeaningis"wind''(air,breath,spirit)itsmost significantcharacteristicsseemtobemovementandexpansion,anditthereforecorrespondsroughlytoour"atmosphere."Thesun,moon,planets,andstarswere takentobemadeofthesamestuffastheatmosphere,butendowed,inaddition,withthequalityofluminosity.Surroundingthe"heavenearth"onallsidesandattop andbottomwastheboundlesssea,inwhichtheuniversesomehowremainedfixedandimmovable. Fromthesebasicassumptionsconcerningthestructureoftheuniverse,whichseemedtotheSumerianthinkersobviousandindisputablefacts,theyevolveda cosmogonytofit.First,theyconcluded,wastheprimevalseatheindicationsarethattheylookedupontheseaasakindof"firstcause"and"primemover,"andthat theyneveraskedthemselvesjustwhatwaspriortotheseaintimeandspace.Inthisprimevalseawassomehowengenderedtheuniverse,the"heavenearth," consistingofavaultedheavensuperimposedoveraflatearthandunitedwithit.Inbetween,separatingheavenfromearth,wasthemovingandexpanding "atmosphere."Outofthisatmospherewerefashionedtheluminousbodiesthemoon,sun,planets,andstars.Followingtheseparationofheavenandearthandthe creationofthelightgivingastralbodiesplant,animal,andhumanlifecameintoexistence.

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Whocreatedthisuniverseandkeptitoperating,dayindayout,yearinyearout,throughouttheages?Fromasfarbackasourwrittenrecordsgo,theSumerian theologianassumedasaxiomatictheexistenceofapantheonconsistingofagroupoflivingbeings,manlikeinformbutsuperhumanandimmortal,who,thoughinvisible tomortaleye,guideandcontrolthecosmosinaccordancewithwelllaidplansanddulyprescribedlaws.Eachoftheseanthropomorphicbutsuperhumanbeingswas deemedtobeinchargeofaparticularcomponentoftheuniverseandtoguideitsactivitiesinaccordancewithestablishedrulesandregulations.Oneoranotherof thesebeingshadchargeofthegreatrealmsofheavenandearth,seaandairthemajorastralbodies,sun,moon,andplanetatmosphericforcessuchaswind,storm, andtempestand,intherealmoftheearth,naturalentitiessuchasriver,mountain,andplainculturalentitiessuchascityandstate,dikeandditch,fieldandfarmeven implementssuchasthepickax,brickmold,andplow. BehindthisaxiomaticassumptionoftheSumeriantheologians,nodoubt,layalogicalinference,sincetheycouldhardlyhaveseenanyofthesehumanlikebeingswith theirowneyes.Theytooktheircuefromhumansocietyastheyknewit,andreasonedofcoursefromtheknowntotheunknown.Theynotedthatlandsandcities, palacesandtemples,fieldsandfarmsinshort,allimaginableinstitutionsandenterprisesaretendedandsupervised,guidedandcontrolled,bylivinghumanbeings, withoutwhomlandsandcitiesbecomedesolate,templesandpalacescrumble,fieldsandfarmsturntodesertandwilderness.Surely,therefore,thecosmosandallits manifoldphenomenamustalsobetendedandsupervised,guidedandcontrolled,bylivingbeingsinhumanform.Butthecosmosbeingfarlargerthanthesumtotalof humanhabitations,anditsorganizationbeingfarmorecomplex,theselivingbeingsmustobviouslybefarstrongerandmuchmoreeffectivethanordinaryhumans. Aboveall,theymustbeimmortal.Otherwisethecosmoswouldturntochaosupontheirdeathandtheworldwouldcometoanendalternativeswhich,forobvious reasons,didnotrecommendthemselvestotheSumerianmetaphysician.Itwaseachoftheseinvisible,anthropomorphicyetsuperhumanandimmortalbeingsthatthe

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Sumeriandesignatedbyhisworddingir,whichwetranslatebytheword"god." Howdidthisdivinepantheonfunction?Inthefirstplace,itseemedreasonabletotheSumerianstoassumethatthegodsconstitutingthepantheonwerenotallofthe sameimportanceorrank.Thegodinchargeofthepickaxorbrickmoldcouldhardlybeexpectedtocomparewiththegodinchargeofthesun.Norcouldthegodin chargeofdikesandditchesbeexpectedtoequalinrankthegodinchargeoftheearthasawhole.And,onanalogywiththepoliticalorganizationofthehumanstate,it wasnaturaltoassumethatattheheadofthepantheonwasagodrecognizedbyalltheothersaskingandruler.TheSumerianpantheonwasthereforeconceivedas functioningasanassemblywithakingatitshead,itsmostimportantgroupsconsistingofsevengodswho"decreethefates"andfiftyknownas"thegreatgods."Buta moresignificantdivisionsetupbytheSumeriantheologianswithintheirpantheonwasthatbetweencreativeandnoncreativegods,anotionarrivedatasaresultof theircosmologicalviews.Accordingtotheseviews,thebasiccomponentsofthecosmoswereheavenandearth,seaandatmosphereeveryothercosmic phenomenoncouldexistonlywithinoneoranotheroftheserealms.Henceitseemedreasonabletoinferthatthefourgodsincontrolofheaven,earth,sea,andair werethecreatinggods,andthatoneoranotherofthesefourcreatedeveryothercosmicentityinaccordancewithplansoriginatingwiththem. Asforthecreatingtechniqueattributedtothesedeities,SumerianphilosophersdevelopedadoctrinewhichbecamedogmathroughouttheNearEastthedoctrineof thecreativepowerofthedivineword.Allthatthecreatingdeityhadtodo,accordingtothisdoctrine,wastolayhisplans,uttertheword,andpronouncethename. Probablythisnotionofthecreativepowerofthedivinewordwastheresultofananalogicalinferencebasedonobservationofhumansociety.Ifahumankingcould achievealmostallhewantedbycommandbynomorethanthewordsofhismouththeimmortalandsuperhumandeitiesinchargeofthefourrealmsofthe universecouldachievemuchmore.Butperhapsthis"easy"solutionofthecosmologicalproblems,in

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whichthoughtandwordalonearesoimportant,isareflectionofthedrivetoescapeintowishfulfillmentcharacteristicofpracticallyallhumansintimesofstressand misfortune. Similarly,theSumeriantheologiansarrivedatwhatwasforthemasatisfyingmetaphysicalinferencetoexplainwhatkeepsthecosmicentitiesandculturalphenomena, oncecreated,operatingcontinuouslyandharmoniously,withoutconflictandconfusion.ThisistheconceptdesignatedbytheSumerianwordme,whoseexact meaningisstilluncertain.Ingeneralitwouldseemtodenoteasetofrulesandregulationsassignedtoeachcosmicentityandculturalphenomenonforthepurposeof keepingitoperatingforeverinaccordancewiththeplanslaiddownbythedeitiescreatingit.Herewasanothersuperficial,butevidentlynotaltogetherineffective, answertoaninsolublecosmologicalproblem,whichmerelyhidthefundamentaldifficultiesfromviewwithalayeroflargelymeaninglesswords. TheSumerianmenoflettersdevelopednoliterarygenrecomparableinanywaytoasystematictreatiseoftheirphilosophical,cosmological,andtheologicalconcepts. Themodernscholariscompelledto"dig"outtheseconceptsfromthenumerousmythsrecoveredtodate,whollyorinpart.Andthisisnosimpletask,sincethemyth makersandmythwritersmustnotbeconfusedwiththemetaphysicianandtheologian.Psychologicallyandtemperamentallytheyarepolesapart,althoughoften,no doubt,theywerecombinedinoneandthesameperson. Themythographerswerescribesandpoetswhosemainconcernwastheglorificationandexaltationofthegodsandtheirdeeds.Unlikethephilosophers,theywere notinterestedindiscoveringcosmologicalandtheologicaltruths.Theyacceptedthecurrenttheologicalnotionsandpracticeswithoutworryingabouttheiroriginand development.Theaimofthemythmakerswastocomposeanarrativepoemthatwouldexplainoneoranotherofthesenotionsandpracticesinamannerthatwould beappealing,inspiring,andentertaining.Theywerenotconcernedwithproofsandargumentsdirectedtotheintellect.Theirfirstinterestwasintellingastorythat wouldappealtotheemotions.Theirmainliterarytools,therefore,werenotlogicandreason,butimaginationandfantasy.Intellingtheirstory,thesepoetsdid

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nothesitatetoinventmotivesandincidentspatternedonhumanactionwhichcouldnotpossiblyhaveanybasisinreasonableandspeculativethought.Nordidthey hesitatetoadoptlegendaryandfolkloristicmotifsthathadnothingtodowithrationalcosmologicalinquiryandinference. ThefailuretodistinguishbetweentheSumerianmythographerandphilosopherhasconfusedsomeofthemodernstudentsofancientOrientalthought,particularly thosestronglyaffectedbythecurrentdemandsfor"salvation"ratherthan"truth,"andhasledthemintobothunderestimatingandoverestimatingthemindsofthe ancients.Ontheonehand,theyargued,theancientswerementallyincapableofthinkinglogicallyandintelligentlyoncosmicproblems.Ontheotherhand,theyargued, theancientswereblessedwithanintellectually"unspoiled''mythopoeicmind,whichwasnaturallyprofoundandintuitiveandcouldthereforepenetratecosmictruthsfar moreperceptivelythanthemodernmindwithitsanalyticandintellectualapproach.Forthemostpart,thisisjuststuffandnonsense.Themorematureandreflective Sumerianthinkerhadthementalcapacityofthinkinglogicallyandcoherentlyonanyproblems,includingthoseconcernedwiththeoriginandoperationoftheuniverse. Hisstumblingblockwasthelackofscientificdataathisdisposal.Furthermore,helackedsuchfundamentalintellectualtoolsasdefinitionandgeneralization,andhad practicallynoinsightintotheprocessesofgrowthanddevelopment,sincetheprincipleofevolution,whichseemssoobviousnow,wasentirelyunknowntohim. Nodoubt,insomefutureday,withthecontinuedaccumulationofnewdataandthediscoveryofhithertoundreamedofintellectualtoolsandperspectives,the limitationsandshortcomingsofthephilosophersandscientistsofourowndaywillbecomeapparent.Thereis,however,thissignificantdifference:modernthinking manisusuallypreparedtoadmittherelativecharacterofhisconclusionsandisskepticalofallabsoluteanswers.NotsotheSumerianthinkerhewasconvincedthat histhoughtsonthematterwereabsolutelycorrectandthatheknewexactlyhowtheuniversewascreatedandoperated. WhatevidencedowehaveoftheSumerianconceptionofthecreationoftheuniverse?Ourmajorsourceistheintroductory

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passagetoapoemIhavetitled"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld."TheplotofthispoemisdescribedinChapter23.Whatisofinteresthereisnotthepoem asawholebutitsintroduction,fortheSumerianpoetsusuallybegantheirmythsorepicpoemswithacosmologicalstatementthathadnodirectbearingonthe compositionasawhole.Partofthisintroductionto"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld"consistsofthefollowingfivelines:


Afterheavenhadbeenmovedawayfromearth, Afterearthhadbeenseparatedfromheaven, Afterthenameofmanhadbeenfixed, After(theheavengod)Ancarriedofftheheaven, After(theairgod)Enlilcarriedofftheearth....

Uponhavingpreparedthetranslationoftheselines,Ianalyzedthemanddeducedthattheycontainedthefollowingcosmogonicconcepts: 1.Atonetimeheavenandearthwereunited. 2.Someofthegodsexistedbeforetheseparationofheavenandearth. 3.Upontheseparationofheavenandearth,itwastheheavengodAnwhocarriedoffheaven,butitwastheairgodEnlilwhocarriedofftheearth. Amongthecrucialpointsnotstatedorimpliedinthispassagearethefollowing: 1.Wereheavenandearthconceivedascreated,andifsobywhom? 2.WhatwastheshapeofheavenandearthasconceivedbytheSumerians? 3.Whoseparatedheavenfromearth? IhuntedaroundamongtheavailableSumeriantextsandfoundthefollowinganswerstothesethreequestions: 1.Inatablet,whichgivesalistoftheSumeriangods,thegoddessNammu,writtenwiththepictographforprimeval"sea,"isdescribedas"themother,whogavebirth toheavenand

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earth."HeavenandearthwerethereforeconceivedbytheSumeriansasthecreatedproductoftheprimevalsea. 2.Themyth"CattleandGrain,"whichdescribesthebirthinheavenofthegodsofcattleandgrain,whoweresentdowntoearthtobringprosperitytomankind(see Chapter14),beginswiththefollowingtwolines:


Onthemountainofheavenandearth AnbegottheAnunnaki.

3.Apoemwhichdescribesthefashioninganddedicationofthepickax,thevaluableagriculturalimplement,isintroducedwiththefollowingpassage:
Thelord,inordertobringforthwhatwasuseful, Thelordwhosedecisionsareunalterable, Enlil,whobringsuptheseedofthe"land"fromtheearth, Plannedtomoveawayheavenfromearth, Plannedtomoveawayearthfromheaven.

Fromthefirstlineof"CattleandGrain,"itisnotunreasonabletoassumethatheavenandearthunitedwereconceivedasamountainwhosebasewasthebottomof theearthandwhosepeakwasthetopoftheheaven.Andthepoemaboutthepickaxanswersthequestion,Whoseparatedheavenfromearth?Itwastheairgod Enlil. AftermyhuntamongavailableSumeriantextshadledtotheseconclusions,itwaspossibletosumupthecosmogonicorcreationconceptsevolvedbytheSumerians. Theirconceptsexplainedtheoriginoftheuniverseasfollows: 1.Firstwastheprimevalsea.Nothingissaidofitsoriginorbirth,anditisnotunlikelythattheSumeriansconceiveditashavingexistedeternally. 2.Theprimevalseaengenderedthecosmicmountainconsistingofheavenandearthunited. 3.Conceivedasgodsinhumanform,An(i.e.,heaven)wasthemaleandKi(i.e.,earth)wasthefemale.FromtheirunionwasbegottentheairgodEnlil. 4.Enlil,theairgod,separatedheavenfromearth,andwhilehis

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fatherAncarriedoffheaven,Enlilhimselfcarriedofftheearth,hismother.TheunionofEnlilandhismotherearthsetthestagefortheorganizationoftheuniversethe creationofman,animals,andplants,andtheestablishmentofcivilization. Fortheoriginandnatureoftheluminousbodiesmoon,sun,planets,andstarspracticallynodirectexplanationisgiven.Butfromthefactthat,asfarbackasour writtensourcesgo,theSumeriansconsideredthemoongod,knownbythetwonamesSinandNanna,tobethesonoftheairgodEnlil,itisnotunreasonabletoinfer thattheythoughtofthemoonasabright,airlikebodythatwasfashionedinsomewayfromtheatmosphere.AndsincethesungodUtuandtheVenusgoddess Inannaarealwaysreferredtointhetextsaschildrenofthemoongod,theprobabilityisthatthesetwoluminousbodieswereconceivedashavingbeencreatedfrom themoonafterthelatterhadbeenfashionedfromtheatmosphere.Thisisalsotrueoftheremainingplanetsandthestars,whicharedescribedpoeticallyas"thebig oneswhowalkabout(themoon)likewildoxen,"and"thelittleoneswhoarescatteredabout(themoon)likegrain." ConcerningthebirthofthemoongodSin,wehaveacharmingandveryhumanmythwhichseemstohavebeenevolvedtoexplainthebegettingofthemoongodand ofthreedeitieswhoweredoomedtospendtheirlivesinthenetherworldinsteadofintheeasternskywherethemorefortunatedeitiesdwelt.Myfirstattempttopiece togetherandtranslatethismythwaspublishedinSumerianMythologyin1944.However,theinterpretationoftheplotcontainedseveralseriouserrorsofomission andcommission.ThesewereclarifiedandcorrectedbyThorkildJacobseninacarefulandconstructivereviewpublishedin1946inVolumeVoftheJournalofNear EasternStudies.Moreover,in1952theexpeditiontoNippursponsoredjointlybytheOrientalInstituteandtheUniversityMuseumdugupawellpreservedtablet thatfillsinsomeofthegapsinthefirstpartofthepoemandclarifiesitconsiderably.Theplotofthemyth,asrevisedinaccordancewithmostofJacobsen's suggestionsandthecontentsofthenewlydiscoveredpiecefromNippur,follows:

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WhenmanhadnotyetbeencreatedandthecityofNippurwasinhabitedbygodsalone,"itsyoungman"wasthegodEnlil"itsyoungmaid"wasthegoddessNinlil and"itsoldwoman"wasNinlil'smotherNunbarshegunu.Onedaythelatter,havingevidentlysethermindandheartonNinlil'smarriagetoEnlil,instructsherdaughter thus:


"Inthepurestream,woman,batheinthepurestream, Ninlil,walkalongthebankofthestreamNunbirdu, Thebrighteyed,thelord,thebrighteyed, The'greatmountain,'fatherEnlil,thebrighteyed,willseeyou, Theshepherd...whodecreesthefates,thebrighteyed, willseeyou, Willforthwithembrace(?)you,kissyou."

Ninliljoyfullyfollowshermother'sinstructions:
Inthepurestream,thewomanbathes,inthepurestream, NinlilwalksalongthebankofthestreamNunbirdu, Thebrighteyed,thelord,thebrighteyed, The"greatmountain,"fatherEnlil,thebrighteyed,sawher, Theshepherd...whodecreesthefates,thebrighteyed,saw. her. Thelordspeakstoherofintercourse(?),sheisunwilling, Enlilspeakstoherofintercourse(?),sheisunwilling "Myvaginaistoolittle,itknowsnottocopulate, Mylipsaretoosmall,theyknownottokiss"....

WhereuponEnlilcallshisvizierNuskuandtellshimofhisdesireforthelovelyNinlil.Nuskubringsupaboat,andEnlilrapesNinlilwhilesailingonthestream,and impregnatesherwiththemoongodSin.Thegodsaredismayedbythisimmoraldeed,and,thoughEnlilistheirking,theyseizehimandbanishhimfromthecitytothe netherworld. Therelevantpassage,oneofthefewtoshedsomelightontheorganizationofthepantheonanditsmethodofoperation,reads:


EnlilwalksaboutintheKiur(Ninlil'sprivateshrine), AsEnlilwalksaboutintheKiur,

Page85 Thegreatgods,thefiftyofthem, Thefatedecreeinggods,thesevenofthem, SeizeEnlilintheKiur(saying): "Enlil,immoralone,getyououtofthecity, Nunamnir(anepithetofEnlil),immoralone,getyououtof thecity."

AndsoEnlil,inaccordancewiththefatedecreedbythegods,departsinthedirectionoftheSumerianHades.Ninlil,however,nowbigwithchild,refusestoremain behindandfollowsEnlilonhisforcedjourneytothenetherworld.ThisdisturbsEnlil,foritwouldmeanthathissonSin,originallydestinedtobeinchargeofthe largestluminousbody,themoon,wouldhavetodwellinthedark,gloomynetherworldinsteadofinthesky.Tocircumventthis,hedevisesarathercomplicated scheme.OnthewaytoHadesfromNippur,thetravelermeetsupwiththreeindividuals,probablyminordeities:thegatekeeperinchargeofthegates,the"manofthe netherworldriver,"andtheferryman(theSumerian"Charon"whoferriesthedeadacrosstoHades).WhatdoesEnlildo?Hetakestheformofeachoftheseinturn (thefirstknownexampleofdivinemetamorphosis)andimpregnatesNinlilwiththreenetherworlddeitiesassubstitutesfortheirolderbrotherSin,whoisthusfreeto ascendtoheaven. Here,now,areseveraloftherelevantpassages(itshouldbestressedthattherealmeaningofanumberofthelinesisstillfarfromclear,andthatthesignificanceofthis partofthemythmayultimatelybemodified):


Enlil,inaccordancewithwhatwasdecreedforhim, Nunamnir,inaccordancewithwhatwasdecreedforhim, Enlilcame,Ninlilfollowed, Nunamnircame,Ninlilenters, Enlilsaystothemanofthegate: "Manofthegate,manofthelock, Manofthebolt,manofthesilverlock, Yourqueenhascome Ifsheasksyouaboutme, Tellhernotmywhereabouts." Ninlilsaystothemanofthegate: "Manofthegate,manofthelock,

Page86 Manofthebolt,manofthesilverlock, Enlil,yourlord,whence....'' Enlilspeaksupforthemanofthegate: "Mylorddidnot..thefairest,thefair, Enlildidnot..thefairest,thefair, He..dinmyanus,he..dinmymouth Mytruedistantheart...., ThushasEnlil,thelordofallthelands,commandedme." "Enlilisindeedyourlord,butIamyourlady." "Ifyouaremylady,letmyhandtouchyourcheek(?)." "Theseedofyourlord,theallbrightseed,isinmywomb, TheseedofSin,theallbrightseed,isinmywomb." "Letthenmylord'sseedgototheheavenabove, Letmyseedgototheearthbelow, Letmyseedinmylord'sseed'ssteadgototheearthbelow." Enlil,as[thatis,impersonating]themanofthegate,laywith herinthebedchamber, Copulatedwithher,kissedher, Havingcopulatedwithher,kissedher, HeplantsinherwombtheseedofMeslamtaea...

Enlilthenproceedstothe"netherworldriver"(theSumerianStyx),followedbyNinlil,andthereexactlythesameconversationstakeplacebetweenEnlil,the"manof thenetherworldriver,"andNinlil.HereEnlil,impersonatingthe"manoftheriver,"impregnatesNinlilwiththeseedofthenetherworlddeityknownasNinazu.From thereEnlil,followedbyNinlil,proceedstowheretheSumerian"Charon"isstationed.Thesceneisrepeatedathirdtime,andEnlil,impersonatingtheferryman, impregnatesNinlilwiththeseedofathirddeity(hisnameisdestroyed,buthetooisnodoubtagoddoomedtodwellinHades).Themyththencloseswithabrief paeantoEnlilasthelordofplentyandprosperity,whosewordisunalterable. ThismythillustratesvividlytheanthropomorphiccharacteroftheSumeriangods.Eventhemostpowerfulandmostknowingamongthemwereregardedashumanin form,thought,anddeed.Likeman,theyplannedandacted,ateanddrank,marriedandraisedfamilies,supportedlargehouseholds,andwereaddictedtohuman passionsandweaknesses.Byandlarge,theypreferredtruthandjusticetofalsehoodandoppression,buttheirmotive

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arebynomeansclear,andmanisoftenatalosstounderstandthem.Theywerethoughttoliveonthe"mountainofheavenandearth,theplacewherethesunrose," atleastwhentheirpresencewasnotnecessaryintheparticularcosmicentitiesoverwhichtheyhadcharge.Justhowtheytraveledfromplacetoplaceisbynomeans certain.Fromavailabledatawecaninferthatthemoongodtraveledinaboatthesungodinachariotor,accordingtoanotherversion,byfootthestormgodonthe clouds.ButtheSumerianthinkersseemnottohavetroubledthemselvestoomuchwithsuchrealisticproblems,andsowearenotinformedjusthowthegodswere supposedtoarriveattheirvarioustemplesandshrinesinSumer,norhowtheyperformedsuchhumanactivitiesaseatinganddrinking.Thepriestspresumablysaw onlythestatuesofthegods,whichnodoubtweretendedandhandledwithgreatcare.Butjusthowthestone,wooden,andmetalobjectsweretoberegardedas havingbone,muscle,andthebreathoflifewasaquestionthatneveroccurredtotheSumerianthinkers.Nordidtheyseemtobetroubledbytheinherentcontradiction betweenimmortalityandanthropomorphism.Althoughthegodswerebelievedtobeimmortal,theyneverthelesshadtohavetheirsustenancecouldbecomesickto thepointofdeathfought,wounded,andkilledandcouldthemselvesbewoundedandkilled. NodoubtSumeriansagesdevelopednumeroustheologicalnotionsinafutileattempttoresolvetheinconsistenciesandcontradictionsinherentinapolytheisticsystem ofreligion.Buttojudgefromavailablematerial,theyneverwrotethemdowninsystematicform,andwemaythereforeneverlearnmuchaboutthem.Inanycase,itis hardlylikelythattheyresolvedmanyoftheinconsistencies.Whatsavedthemfromspiritualandintellectualfrustrationwasnodoubtthefactthatmanyaquestion whichaccordingtoourwayofthinkingshouldhavetroubledthem,nevercametotheirmind. TheSumeriansofthethirdmillenniumB.C.hadhundredsofdeities,atleastbyname.Weknowthenamesofmanyofthem,notmerelyfromlistscompiledinthe schoolsbutalsofromlistsofsacrificesontabletswhichhavebeenunearthedoverthepastcentury.Weknowothersfromsuchproper

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namesas"Xisashepherd,""Xhasagreatheart,""whoislikeX,"''theservantofX,""themanofX,''"thebelovedX,""Xhasgivenme,"andsoon,Xrepresenting thenameofadeityineachcase.Manyofthesedeitiesaresecondarythatis,theyarethewivesandchildrenandservantsofthemajordeitiesthoughtupforthemon thehumanpattern.Othersareperhapsnamesandepithetsofwellknowndeitieswhocannotatpresentbeidentified.Butalargenumberofdeitieswereactually worshipedthroughouttheyearwithsacrifices,adoration,andprayer.Ofallthesehundredsofdeities,thefourmostimportantweretheheavengod,Antheairgod, Enlilthewatergod,Enkiandthegreatmothergoddess,Ninhursag.Thesefourusuallyheadthegodlistsandareoftenlistedasagroupperformingsignificantacts together.Atdivinemeetingsandbanquetstheytooktheseatsofhonor. ThereisgoodreasontobelievethatAn,theheavengod,wasatonetimeregardedbytheSumeriansasthesupremerulerofthepantheon,althoughinouravailable sources,reachingtoabout2500B.C.,itistheairgod,Enlil,whoseemstohavebeentheleaderofthepantheon.ThecitystateinwhichAnhadhismainseatof worshipwascalledUruk,or,asitisvocalizedintheBible,Erech,acitywhichplayedapreeminentpoliticalroleinthehistoryofSumer.(AtthesiteofUruk,notlong beforetheSecondWorldWar,aGermanexpeditionuncoveredhundredsofsmallclaytablets,inscribedwithsemipictographicsigns,whichdatefromabout3000 B.C.,notlongafterwritingwasfirstinvented.)AncontinuedtobeworshipedinSumerthroughoutthemillenniums,buthelostmuchofhisprominence.Hebecamea rathershadowyfigureinthepantheonandisrarelymentionedinthehymnsandmythsoflaterdays,bywhichtimemostofhispowershadbeenconferreduponthe godEnlil. ByfarthemostimportantdeityintheSumerianpantheon,onewhoplayedadominantrolethroughoutinrite,myth,andprayer,wastheairgod,Enlil.Theevents leadinguptohisgeneralacceptanceasaleadingdeityoftheSumerianpantheonareunknown,butfromtheearliestintelligiblerecordsEnlilisknownas"thefatherof thegods,""thekingofheavenandearth,""thekingofallthelands."KingsandrulersboastedthatitwasEnlil

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whogavethemthekingshipoftheland,whomadethelandprosperousforthem,whogavethemallthelandstoconquerbytheirstrength.ItwasEnlilwho pronouncedtheking'sname,gavehimhisscepter,andlookeduponhimwithfavorableeye. FromlatermythsandhymnswelearnthatEnlilwasregardedasabeneficentdeitywhowasresponsiblefortheplanningandcreatingofmostproductivefeaturesof thecosmos.Hewasthegodwhomadethedaycomeforth,whotookpityonhumans,wholaidtheplansthatbroughtforthallseeds,plants,andtreesfromtheearth. Itwashewhoestablishedplenty,abundance,andprosperityintheland.Itwashewhofashionedthepickaxandtheplowastheprototypesoftheagricultural implementstobeusedbyman. IstressthebeneficentfeaturesofEnlil'scharacterinordertocorrectamisconceptionwhichhasfounditswayintopracticallyallhandbooksandencyclopedias treatingSumerianreligionandculturenamely,thatEnlilwasaviolentanddestructivestormdeitywhosewordanddeednearlyalwaysbroughtnothingbutevil.As notinfrequentlyhappens,thismisunderstandingisduelargelytoanarchaeologicalaccident.AmongtheearliestSumeriancompositionspublishedtherewasan unusuallylargenumber,proportionately,ofthe"lamentation"typeinwhichEnlilhadtheunhappydutyofcarryingoutthedestructionandmisfortunesdecreedbythe godsforonereasonoranother.Asaresulthewasstigmatizedasafierceanddestructivedeitybyearlierscholarsandevenbylaterones.Actually,whenweanalyze thehymnsandmyths,especiallythosewhichhavebeenpublishedsince1930,wefindEnlilglorifiedasafriendly,fatherlydeitywhowatchesoverthesafetyandwell beingofallhumans,particularlytheinhabitantsofSumer. OneofthemostimportanthymnstoEnlilwaspiecedtogetherin1953fromanumberoftabletsandfragments.In195152,whileworkingintheIstanbulMuseumof theAncientOrient,IwasfortunateenoughtouncoverthelowerhalfofafourcolumntabletwhoseupperhalfisintheUniversityMuseuminPhiladelphiaandhad beenpublishedasearlyas1919bythelatecuneiformistStephenLangdon.Andin1952theexpeditiontoNippurunderthejointauspicesoftheOrientalInstituteof theUniversity

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9. HymntoEnlil.ReverseoflowerhalfoffourcolumnNippurtabletinIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient.

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ofChicagoandtheUniversityMuseumuncoveredanotherlargefragmentofthehymn.Thetextisstillincomplete,anditstranslationisnosimplematter.Itbeginswith apaeantoEnlilhimself,particularlyasagodwhopunishesevildoerscontinueswithaglorificationofhisgreattempleinNippurknownastheEkurandcloseswitha poeticsummaryofcivilization'sdebttohim.Thefollowingaresomeofthemoreintelligiblepassagesofthe170linehymn:


Enlil,whosecommandisfarreaching,whosewordisholy, Thelordwhosepronouncementisunchangeable,whoforever decreesdestinies, Whoseliftedeyescansthelands, Whoseliftedlightsearchestheheartofallthelands, Enlilwhositsbroadlyonthewhitedais,ontheloftydais, Whoperfectsthedecreesofpower,lordship,andprinceship, Theearthgodsbowdowninfearbeforehim, Theheavengodshumblethemselvesbeforehim..... Thecity(Nippur),itsappearanceisfearsomeandawesome,...., Theunrighteous,theevil,theoppressor, The...,theinformer, Thearrogant,theagreementviolator, Hedoesnottoleratetheirevilinthecity, Thegreatnet...., Hedoesnotletthewickedandevildoerescapeitsmeshes. Nippurtheshrinewheredwellsthefather,the"greatmountain," Thedaisofplenty,theEkurwhichrises..., Thehighmountain,thepureplace..., Itsprince,the"greatmountain,"FatherEnlil, HasestablishedhisseatonthedaisoftheEkur,loftyshrine Thetempleitsdivinelawslikeheavencannotbeoverturned, Itspurerites,liketheearthcannotbeshattered, Itsdivinelawsarelikethedivinelawsoftheabyss,nonecan lookuponthem, Its''heart"likeadistantshrine,unknownlikeheaven'szenith...., Itswordsareprayers, Itsutterancesaresupplication...., Itsritualisprecious, Itsfeastsflowwithfatandmilk,arerichwithabundance, Itsstorehousesbringhappinessandrejoicing,...., Enlil'shouse,itisamountainofplenty.....

Page92 TheEkur,thelapislazulihouse,theloftydwellingplace,awe inspiring, Itsaweanddreadarenexttoheaven, Itsshadowisspreadoverallthelands Itsloftinessreachesheaven'sheart, Allthelordsandprincesconductthithertheirholygifts,offerings, Utterthereprayer,supplication,andpetition. Enlil,theshepherduponwhomyougaze(favorably), Whomyouhavecalledandmadehighintheland,...., Whoprostratestheforeignlandswhereverhestepsforth, Soothinglibationsfromeverywhere, Sacrificesfromheavybooty, Hasbroughtinthestorehouse, Intheloftycourtyardshehasdirectedhisofferings Enlil,theworthyshepherd,everonthemove, Oftheleadingherdsmanofallwhohavebreath(theking), Broughtintobeinghisprinceship, Placedtheholycrownonhishead..... Heavenheisitsprincelyoneearthheisitsgreatone, TheAnunnakiheistheirexaltedgod When,inhisawesomeness,hedecreesthefates, Nogoddarelookonhim. Onlytohisexaltedvizier,thechamberlainNusku, Thecommand,thewordofhisheart, Didhemakeknown,didheinform, Didhecommissiontoexecutehisallembracingorders, Didheentrustalltheholyrules,alltheholylaws. WithoutEnlil,thegreatmountain, Nocitieswouldbebuilt,nosettlementsfounded, Nostallswouldbebuilt,nosheepfoldsestablished, Nokingwouldberaised,nohighpriestborn, Nomahpriest,nohighpriestesswouldbechosenbysheepomen, Workerswouldhaveneithercontrollernorsupervisor,...., Theriverstheirfloodwaterswouldnotbringoverflow, Thefishoftheseawouldlaynoeggsinthecanebrake, Thebirdsofheavenwouldnotbuildnestsonthewideearth, Inheaventhedriftingcloudswouldnotyieldtheirmoisture, Plantsandherbs,thegloryoftheplain,wouldfailtogrow, Infieldandmeadowtherichgrainwouldfailtoflower, Thetreesplantedinthemountainforestwouldnotyieldtheir fruit.....

ThethirdoftheSumerianleadingdeitieswasEnki,thegodin

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chargeoftheabyss,or,astheSumerianwordforitreads,theabzu.Enkiwasthegodofwisdom,anditwasprimarilyhewhoorganizedtheearth,inaccordancewith thedecisionsofEnlil,whomadeonlygeneralplans.TheactualdetailsandexecutionwerelefttoEnki,theresourceful,skillful,hardy,andwise.Forexample,inamyth thatmaybetitled"EnkiandtheWorldOrder:TheOrganizationoftheEarthandItsCulturalProcesses,"anaccountisgivenofEnki'screativeactivitiesininstituting thenaturalandculturalphenomenaessentialtocivilization.Thismyth,thecontentsofwhichIsketchedforthefirsttimeinSumerianMythology(pages5962),also servesasavividillustrationoftheSumerians'relativelysuperficialnotionsaboutnatureanditsmysteries.Nowhereisthereanattempttogetatthefundamentalorigins, eitherofthenaturalorculturalprocesses.InsteadtheyareascribedtoEnki'screativeefforts,inwordsapproximatingthestatement"Enkididit."Wherethecreative techniqueismentionedatall,itconsistsofthegod'swordandcommand,nothingmore. Thefirstonehundredlines(approximately)ofthepoem"EnkiandtheWorldOrder"aretoofragmentaryforareconstructionoftheircontents.Whenthepoem becomesintelligible,EnkiisdecreeingthefateofSumer:


"OSumer,greatland,ofthelandsoftheuniverse, Filledwithsteadfastlight,dispensingfromsunrisetosunsetthe divinelawsto(all)thepeople, Yourdivinelawsareexaltedlaws,unreachable, Yourheartisprofound,unfathomable, Thetruelearningwhichyoubring...,likeheavenis untouchable, Thekingtowhomyougivebirthisadornedwiththeeverlasting diadem, Thelordtowhomyougivebirthsetsevercrownonhead, YourlordisanhonoredlordwithAn,theking,hesitsonthe heavenlydais, Yourkingisthegreatmountain,thefatherEnlil,...., TheAnunnaki,thegreatgods, Inyourmidsthavetakenuptheirdwellingplace, Inyourlargegrovestheyconsume(their)food. OhouseofSumer,mayyourstablesbemany,mayyourcows multiply,

Page94 Mayyoursheepfoldsbemany,mayyoursheepbe myriad,...., Mayyoursteadfasttempleslifthandtoheaven, MaytheAnunnakidecreethefatesinyourmidst." EnkithengoestoUr(probablythecapitalofSumeratthetimethispoemwascomposed)andblessesit. ToUr,theshrine,hecame, Enki,kingoftheabyss,decreesthefate: "OCity,wellsupplied,washedbymuchwater,firmstandingox, Daisofabundanceoftheland,kneesopened,greenlikethe mountain, Hashurforest,wideofshade,heroicbeyond.., Mayyourperfecteddivinelawsbewelldirected, Thegreatmountain,Enlil,inheavenandearthhasutteredyour exaltedname CitywhosefateshavebeendecreedbyEnki, ShrineUr,mayyouriseheavenhigh."

EnkithencomestoMeluhha,the"blackmountain"(itcanprobablybeidentifiedwithEthiopia).Remarkablyenough,Enkiisalmostasfavorablydisposedtothisland astoSumeritself.Heblessesitstreesandreeds,itsoxenandbirds,itssilverandgold,itsbronzeandcopper,itshumanbeings. FromMeluhha,EnkigoestotheTigrisandEuphratesRivers.HefillsthemwithsparklingwaterandplacesthegodEnbiluluincharge.Enkithenfillstheriverswith fishesandmakesadeitydescribedasthe"sonofKesh"responsibleforthem.Henextturnstothesea(PersianGulf),setsupitsrules,andappointsthegoddessSirara incharge. EnkinowcallstothewindsandappointsoverthemthegodIshkur,whoridesthethunderingstorms.Next,Enkidirectstheplowandyoke,fieldsandvegetation:


Theplowandtheyokehedirected, ThegreatprinceEnki...., Openedtheholyfurrows, Madegraingrowintheperennialfield, Thelord,thejewelandornamentoftheplain, Fittedoutonitsstrength,Enlil'sfarmer, Enkimdu,thegodofthecanalsandditches, Enkiplacedintheircharge.

Page95 Thelordcalledtotheperennialfield,causedittoproduce gunugrain, Enkimadeitbringforthabundantlyitssmallandlargebeans, The....grainsheheapedupforthegranary, Enkiaddedgranarytogranary, WithEnlilhemultipliedabundanceforthepeople...., Theladywho..,thesourceofstrengthoftheland,the steadfastsupportoftheblackheadedpeople, Ashnan,strengthofallthings, Enkiplacedincharge.

Enkinowturnstothepickaxandthebrickmold,andappointsthebrickgodKabtaincharge.Hethendirectsthebuildingimplementgugun,laysfoundations,and buildshouses,andplacesthemunderthechargeofMushdamma,the"greatbuilderofEnlil."Hethenfillstheplainwithplantandanimallife,andplacesSumugan, "KingoftheMountain,"incontrol.FinallyEnkibuildsstablesandsheepfolds,fillsthemwithmilkandcream,andputstheminthecareoftheshepherdgodDumuzi. (Therestofthetextisdestroyed,andthereisnowayofknowinghowthepoemends.) FourthamongthecreatingdeitieswasthemothergoddessNinhursag,alsoknownasNinmah("theexaltedlady").Inanearlierday,thisgoddesswasofevenhigher rank,andhernameoftenprecededthatofEnkiinthegodlistsofonetypeoranother.ThereisreasontobelievethathernamehadoriginallybeenKi("Earth"),and thatshewastakentobetheconsortofAn("Heaven''),andthattheyweretheparentsofallthegods.ShewasalsoknownasNintu("theladywhogavebirth").All theearlySumerianrulerslikedtodescribethemselvesas''nourishedbythetrustworthymilkofNinhursag."Shewasregardedasthemotherofalllivingthings,the mothergoddess.Inonemythinvolvingthisgoddess,sheplaysanimportantroleinthecreationofman(seeChapter14),andinanothermythshestartsachainof divinebirthswhichleaduptoa"forbiddenfruit"motif(seeChapter19). Finallywecometotheme's,thedivinelaws,rules,andregulationswhich,accordingtotheSumerianphilosophers,governedtheuniversefromthedaysofitscreation andkeptitoperating.Inthiscasewehaveconsiderabledirectevidence,particularlyin

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regardtotheme'sgoverningmanandhisculture.OneoftheancientSumerianpoets,incomposingorredactingoneofhismyths,founditdesirabletolistallthese culturalme's.Hethereforedividedcivilizationasheknewitintooveronehundredelements.Onlysixtyoddoftheseelementsareatpresentintelligible,andsomeare onlybarewordswhich,becauseoflackofcontext,givebutahintoftheirrealsignificance.Butenoughremainstoshowthecharacterandimportofthisfirstrecorded attemptatcultureanalysis,resultinginaconsiderablelistofwhatarenowgenerallytermed"culturetraitsandcomplexes."Theseconsistofvariousinstitutions,priestly offices,ritualisticparaphernalia,mentalandemotionalattitudes,andsundrybeliefsanddogmas. HerearethemoreintelligibleportionsofthelistintheexactordergivenbytheancientSumerianwriterhimself:(1)lordship(2)godship(3)theexaltedandenduring crown(4)thethroneofkingship(5)theexaltedScepter(6)theroyalinsignia(7)theexaltedshrine(8)shepherdship(9)kingship(10)lastingladyship(11) "divinelady"(thepriestlyoffice)(12)ishib(thepriestlyoffice)(13)lumah(thepriestlyoffice)(14)gutug(thepriestlyoffice)(15)truth(16)descentintothenether world(17)ascentfromthenetherworld(18)kurgarru(theeunuch)(19)girbadara(theeunuch)(20)sagursag(theeunuch)(21)the(battle)standard(22)the flood(23)weapons(?)(24)sexualintercourse(25)prostitution(26)law(?)(27)libel(?)(28)art(29)thecultchamber(30)"hieroduleofheaven"(31)gusilim (themusicalinstrument)(32)music(33)eldership(34)heroship(35)power(36)enmity(37)straightforwardness(38)thedestructionofcities(39)lamentation (40)rejoicingoftheheart(41)falsehood(42)therebelland(43)goodness(44)justice(45)artofwoodworking(46)artofmetalworking(47)scribeship(48) craftofthesmith(49)craftoftheleatherworker(50)craftofthebuilder(51)craftofthebasketweaver(52)wisdom(53)attention(54)holypurification(55) fear(56)terror(57)strife(58)peace(59)weariness(60)victory(61)counsel(62)thetroubledheart(63)judgment(64)decision(65)lilis(the

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musicalinstrument)(66)ub(themusicalinstrument)(67)mesi(themusicalinstrument)(68)ala(themusicalinstrument). WeowethepreservationofthisbitofancientanthropologicalloretothefactthatitwasutilizedintheplotofaSumerianmyth.involvingthepopularSumerian goddessInanna.Thelistofmorethanonehundredculturalelementsisrepeatedfourtimesinthestory,andhence,inspiteofthenumerousbreaksinthetext,canbe reconstructedinlargepart.Asearlyas1911,afragmentbelongingtothismyth(itisintheUniversityMuseum)waspublishedbyDavidW.Myhrman.Threeyears later,ArnoPoebelpublishedanotherPhiladelphiatabletinscribedwithpartofthecompositionalarge,wellpreservedsixcolumntabletwhoseupperleftcorner wasbrokenoff.ThisbrokencornerpieceIwasfortunateenoughtouncoverin1937,intheMuseumoftheAncientOrientatIstanbul.Althoughalargepartofthe mythhadbeencopiedandpublishedby1914,notranslationhadbeenattempted,sincethestoryseemedtomakenoconnectedsenseandtolackintelligent motivation.ThesmallpiecethatIlocatedandcopiedinIstanbulsuppliedthemissingclue,andasaresultthischarmingtaleofthealltoohumanSumeriangodswas sketchedandanalyzedforthefirsttimeinSumerianMythology(pages6468). Inanna,QueenofHeaven,thetutelarygoddessofErech,isanxioustoincreasethewelfareandprosperityofhercity,tomakeitthecenterofSumeriancivilization, andthustoexalthernameandfame.ShethereforedecidestogotoEridu,theancientseatofSumerianculture,whereEnki,theLordofWisdom,"whoknowsthe veryheartofthegods,"dwellsinhiswateryabyss,theAbzu.Enkihasunderhischargeallthedivinelawsthatarefundamentaltocivilization,andifshecanobtain them,byfairmeansorfoul,andbringthemtohercity,Erech,itsgloryandherownwillbeunsurpassed.AssheapproachestheAbzuofEridu,Enki,nodoubttaken inbyhercharm,callshismessengerIsimud,whomheaddressesasfollows:
"Come,mymessengerIsimud,giveeartomyinstructions, AwordIshallsaytoyou,takemyword. Themaid,allalone,hasdirectedhersteptotheAbzu,

Page98 Inanna,allalone,hasdirectedhersteptotheAbzu, HavethemaidentertheAbzuofEridu, HaveInannaentertheAbzuofEridu, Givehertoeatbarleycakewithbutter, Pourforhercoldwaterthatfreshenstheheart, Givehertodrinkbeerinthe'faceofthelion' Attheholytable,theTableofHeaven, SpeaktoInannawordsofgreeting."

Isimuddoesexactlyasbiddenbyhismaster,andInannaandEnkisitdowntofeastandbanquet.Aftertheirheartshavebecomehappywithdrink,Enkiexclaims:
"Bythenameofmypower,bythenameofmypower, ToholyInanna,mydaughter,Ishallpresentthedivinelaws."

Hethereuponpresents,severalatatime,themorethanonehundreddivinelawsthatarethebasisoftheculturepatternofcivilization.Inannaisonlytoohappyto acceptthegiftsofferedherbythedrunkenEnki.ShetakesthemandloadsthemonherBoatofHeaven,andmakesoffforErechwithherpreciouscargo.Butafter theeffectsofthebanquethavewornoff,Enkinoticesthattheme'saregonefromtheirusualplace.HeturnstoIsimud,whoinformshimthathe,Enkihimself, presentedthemtohisdaughterInanna.EnkibitterlyrueshismunificencemddecidestopreventtheBoatofHeavenfromreachingErechitallcosts.Hetherefore dispatcheshismessengerIsimud,togetherwithagroupofseamonsters,tofollowInannaandherboattothefirstofthesevenstoppingstationsthataresituated betweentheAbzuofEriduandErech.HeretheseamonstersaretoseizetheBoatofHeavenfromInanna,butInannaherselfmusthepermittedtocontinueher journeytoErechafoot. ThepassagecoveringEnki'sinstructionstoIsimudandIsimud'sconversationwithInanna,whoreproachesherfatherforexpectinghisgifttobereturned,is,initsway, apoeticgem.Itrunsasfollows:


TheprincecallshismessengerIsimud, EnkigivesthewordtotheGoodNameofHeaven. "OmymessengerIsimud,myGoodNameofHeaven."

Page99 "Omyking,hereIstand,foreverispraise." "TheBoatofHeaven,wherenowhasitarrived?" "AtthewharfIdalithasarrived.'' ''Goandlettheseamonstersseizeitfromher." Isimuddoesasbidden,overtakestheBoatofHeaven,andsaystoInanna: "Omyqueen,yourfatherhassentmetoyou, OInanna,yourfatherhassentmetoyou, Yourfather,exaltedishisspeech, Enki,exaltedishisutterance, Hisgreatwordsarenottogounheeded." HolyInannaanswershim: "Myfather,whathashespokentoyou,whathashesaidtoyou? Hisgreatwordsthatarenottogounheeded,what,pray,arethey?" "Mykinghasspokentome, Enkihassaidtome: 'LetInannagotoErech, Butyou,bringmebacktheBoatofHeaventoEridu.'" HolyInannasaystothemessengerIsimud: "Myfather,why,pray,hashechangedhiswordtome? Whyhashebrokenhisrighteouswordtome? Whyhashedefiledhisgreatwordstome? Myfatherhasspokentomefalsely,hasspokentomefalsely, Falselyhasheswornbythenameofhispower,bythenameof theAbzu." Barelyhadsheutteredthesewords, TheseamonstersseizedtheBoatofHeaven. InannasaystohermessengerNinshubur: "Come,mytruemessengerofInanna, Mymessengeroffavorablewords, Mycarrieroftrueword, Whosehandneverfalters,whosefootneverfalters, SavetheBoatofHeavenandInanna'spresenteddivinelaws."

ThisNinshuburdoes.ButEnkiispersistent.HesendsIsimud,accompaniedbyvariousseamonsters,toseizetheBoatofHeavenateachofthesevenstoppingpoints betweenEriduandErech.AndeachtimeNinshuburcomestoInanna'srescue.FinallyInannaandherboatarrivesafeandsoundatErech,where,amidst

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jubilationandfeastingonthepartofthedelightedinhabitants,sheunloadsthedivinelawsoneatatime. TheSumerianthinkersdidnotformulateasystemofphilosophy,nordidtheyevolveanexplicitsystemofmorallawsandprinciples.Theyproducednoformal treatisesonethics.WhatwedoknowaboutSumerianethicsandmoralshastobesearchedoutinvariousSumerianliteraryworks.Chapter14analyzessomeofthe Sumerianethicalideas,togetherwithrelevantevidence.

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Chapter14 Ethics TheFirstMoralIdeals


Sumerianthinkers,inlinewiththeirworldview,hadnoexaggeratedconfidenceinmanandhisdestiny.Theywerefirmlyconvincedthatmanwasfashionedofclayand createdforonepurposeonly:toservethegodsbysupplyingthemwithfood,drink,andshelter,sothattheymighthavefullleisurefortheirdivineactivities.Life,they believed,isbesetwithuncertaintyandhauntedbyinsecurity,sincemandoesnotknowbeforehandthedestinydecreedforhimbytheunpredictablegods.Whenhe dies,hisemasculatedspiritdescendstothedark,drearynetherworld,wherelifeisbutadismalandwretchedreflectionofearthlylife. Onefundamentalmoralproblem,afavoritewithWesternphilosophers,nevertroubledtheSumerianthinkersatallnamely,thedelicateproblemoffreewill. Convincedbeyondallneedforargumentthatmanwascreatedbythegodssolelyfortheirbenefitandpleasure,thethinkersacceptedman'sdependentstatusjustas theyacceptedthedivinedecisionthatdeathisman'slotandthatonlythegodsareimmortal.Tothegodswasattributedallcreditforthehighmoralqualitiesand ethicalvirtuesthattheSumerianshadnodoubtevolvedgraduallyandpainfullyfromtheirsocialandculturalexperiences.Itwasthegodswhoplannedmanonly followeddivineorders. TheSumerians,accordingtotheirownrecords,cherishedgoodnessandtruth,lawandorder,justiceandfreedom,righteousnessandstraightforwardness,mercyand compassion.Andtheyabhorredevilandfalsehood,lawlessnessanddisorder,injustice

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andoppression,sinfulnessandperversity,crueltyandpitilessness.Kingsandrulersconstantlyboastedofthefactthattheyhadestablishedlawandorderintheland protectedtheweakfromthestrong,thepoorfromtherichandwipedoutevilandviolence.IntheuniquedocumentanalyzedinChapter7,theLagashiteruler Urukagina,wholivedinthetwentyfourthcenturyB.C.,proudlyrecordedthatherestoredjusticeandfreedomtothelongsufferingcitizens,didawaywithubiquitous andoppressiveofficials,putastoptoinjusticeandexploitation,andprotectedthewidowandtheorphan.Lessthanfourcenturieslater,UrNammu,founderofthe ThirdDynastyofUr,promulgatedhislawcode(seeChapter8),whichlistsinitsprologuesomeofhisethicalachievements:hedidawaywithanumberofprevalent bureaucraticabuses,regulatedweightsandmeasurestoensurehonestyinthemarketplace,andsawtoitthatthewidow,theorphan,andthepoorwereprotected fromilltreatmentandabuse.Sometwocenturieslater,LipitIshtarofIsinpromulgatedanewlawcode,inwhichheboastedthathewasespeciallyselectedbythe greatgodsAnandEnlilfor"theprinceshipofthelandinordertoestablishjusticeinthelands,tobanishcomplaints,toturnbackenmityandrebellionbyforceofarms, andtobringwellbeingtotheSumeriansandAkkadians."ThehymnsofanumberofSumerianrulersaboundinsimilarclaimsofhighethicalandmoralconduct. Thegods,too,accordingtotheSumeriansages,preferredtheethicalandmoraltotheunethicalandimmoral,andpracticallyallthemajordeitiesoftheSumerian pantheonareextolledinSumerianhymnsasloversofthegoodandthejust,oftruthandrighteousness.Indeed,therewereseveraldeitieswhohadthesupervisionof themoralorderastheirmainfunctionthesungodUtu,forexample.Anotherdeity,aLagashitegoddessbythenameofNanshe,isalsosporadicallymentionedin thetextsasdevotedtotruth,justice,andmercy.Butitisonlynowthatwearebeginningtogetsomeideaofthesignificantroleplayedbythisgoddessinthesphereof man'sethicalandmoralconduct.In1951aSumerianhymnconsistingofabout250lineswaspiecedtogetherfrom19tabletsandfragmentsexcavatedinNippur,and thishymncontainssomeofthemostexplicitethical

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10. SocialJustice.Unpublishedfragments,inIstanbulMuseum,inscribedwithpartsofNanshehymn.

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andmoralstatementsyetfoundinSumeriandocuments.ItdescribesthegoddessNansheasfollows:
Whoknowstheorphan,whoknowsthewidow, Knowstheoppressionofmanoverman,istheorphan'smother, Nanshe,whocaresforthewidow, Whoseeksout(?)justice(?)forthepoorest(?). Thequeenbringstherefugeetoherlap, Findsshelterfortheweak.

Inapassagewhosemeaningisstilllargelyobscure,NansheispicturedasjudgingmankindonNewYear'sday.ByhersideareNidaba,thegoddessofwritingand accounts,andNidaba'shusbandHaia,aswellasnumerouswitnesses.Theevilhumantypeswhosufferherdispleasurearedescribedasfollows:
(People)whowalkingintransgressionreachedoutwithhigh hand,...., Whotransgresstheestablishednorms,violatecontracts, Wholookedwithfavorontheplacesofevil,...., Whosubstitutedasmallweightforalargeweight, Whosubstitutedasmallmeasureforalargemeasure,...., Whohavingeaten(somethingnotbelongingtohim)didnot say"Ihaveeatenit." Whohavingdrunk,didnotsay"Ihavedrunkit,"...., Whosaid"Iwouldeatthatwhichisforbidden." Whosaid''Iwoulddrinkthatwhichisforbidden.''

Nanshe'ssocialconscienceisfurtherrevealedinlineswhichread:
Tocomforttheorphan,tomakedisappearthewidow, Tosetupaplaceofdestructionforthemighty, Toturnoverthemightytotheweak,...., Nanshesearchestheheartofthepeople.

Althoughtheleadinggodswereassumedtobemoralintheirconduct,thefactremainsthatintheworldviewoftheSumerianstheseweretheverygodswho,inthe processofestablishingcivilization,alsoplannedevilandfalsehood,violenceandoppressioninshort,alltheimmoralmodesofhumanconduct.Forexample,thelist ofme'stherulesandregulationsdevisedbythe

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godstomakethecosmosrunsmoothlyandeffectivelyincludednotonlyrulesconcerning"truth,""peace,"''goodness,""justice,"butalsorulesconcerning ''falsehood,""strife,""lamentation,""fear."Whydidthegodsfinditnecessarytoplanandcreatesinandevil,sufferingandmisfortune?(OneSumerianpessimistcould say,"Neverhasasinlesschildbeenborntohismother.")Tojudgefromouravailablematerial,theSumeriansages,iftheyaskedthequestionatall,werepreparedto admittheirignoranceinthisrespectthewillofthegodsandtheirmotiveswereattimesinscrutable.ThepropercourseforaSumerian"Job"topursuewasnotto argueandcomplaininthefaceofseeminglyunjustifiablemisfortune,buttopleadandwail,tolament,andtoconfesshisinevitablesinsandfailings. Butwouldthegodsgiveheedtohim,aloneandnotveryeffectivemortal,evenifheprostratedandhumbledhimselfinheartfeltprayer?Probablynot,itseemedtothe Sumerianteachers.Astheysawit,godswerelikethemortalrulerstheworldover,andnodoubthadmoreimportantthingstoattendto.Andso,asinthecaseof kings,manmusthaveanintermediarytointercedeinhisbehalf,onewhomthegodswouldbewillingtohearandfavor.TheSumerianthinkersthereforeevolvedthe notionofapersonalgod,akindofgoodangeltoeachparticularindividualandfamilyheadhisdivinefatherwhohadbegothim,asitwere.Itwastohim,tohis personaldeity,thattheindividualsuffererbaredhisheartinprayerandsupplication,anditwasthroughhimthathefoundhissalvation. TheSumerianethicalconceptsandidealsweredominatedbythedogmathatmanwasfashionedofclaytoservethegods.Thepertinentevidencecomesprimarily fromtwomyths.Oneisdevotedentirelytothecreationofman.Theotherconsistslargelyofadisputationbetweentwominordeities,butcontainsanintroduction whichgivesadetailedstatementofthepurposeforwhichmanwascreated. Thecompositionnarratingthecreationofmanhasbeenfoundinscribedontwoduplicatingtablets:oneisaNippurtabletintheUniversityMuseumtheotherisinthe Louvre,whichacquireditfromanantiquedealer.TheLouvretabletandthegreaterpartoftheUniversityMuseumtablethadbeencopied

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andpublishedby1934,yetthecontentsremainedlargelyunintelligible,primarilyowingtothefactthattheUniversityMuseumtablet,whichisbetterpreservedthanthe Louvrefragment,arrivedinPhiladelphia,somefourorfivedecadesago,brokenintofourparts.By1919twoofthepieceshadalreadybeenrecognizedandjoined thesewerecopiedandpublishedbyStephenLangdon.In1934EdwardChierapublishedthethirdpiece,buthefailedtorecognizethatitjoinedthetwopieces publishedbyLangdonin1919.IrealizedthisfactadecadeorsolaterwhiletryingtopiecetogetherthetextofthemythformySumerianMythology.AtthattimeI identifiedintheUniversityMuseumtabletcollectionthefourthandstillunpublishedfragmentofthetablet,whichactuallyjoinsthethreepublishedpieces.Itwas nowpossibleforthefirsttimetoarrangethecontentsofthemythintheirproperorderandtoprepareatleastatentativeinterpretationofthemyth,althoughthetext wasstilldifficult,obscure,andfarfromcomplete(seeSumerianMythology,pages6872). Thepoembeginswithwhatmaybeadescriptionofthedifficultiesofthegodsinprocuringtheirbread,especiallyafterthefemaledeitieshadcomeintobeing.The godscomplain,butEnki,thewatergodastheSumeriangodofwisdomhemighthavebeenexpectedtocometotheiraidislyingasleepinthedeepandfailsto hearthem.Thereuponhismother,theprimevalsea,"themotherwhogavebirthtoallthegods,"bringsthetearsofthegodsbeforeEnki,saying:
"Omyson,risefromyourbed,fromyour...workwhatiswise, Fashionservantsofthegods,maytheyproducetheir doubles(?)."

Enkigivesthematterthought,leadsforththehostof"goodandprincelyfashioners,"andsaystohismother,Nammu,theprimevalsea:
"Omymother,thecreaturewhosenameyouuttered,itexists, Binduponittheimage(?)ofthegods Mixtheheartoftheclaythatisovertheabyss, Thegoodandprincelyfashionerswillthickentheclay,

Page107 You,doyoubringthelimbsintoexistence Ninmah(theearthmothergoddess)willworkaboveyou, Thegoddesses(ofbirth)....willstandbyyouatyourfashioning Omymother,decreeits(thenewborn's)fate, Ninmahwillbinduponittheimage(?)ofthegods, Itisman....."

Herethepoemturnsfromthecreationofmanasawholetothecreationofcertainimperfecthumantypesinanattempttoexplaintheexistenceoftheseabnormal beings.IttellsofafeastarrangedbyEnkiforthegods,nodoubttocommemorateman'screation.Atthisfeast,EnkiandNinmahdrinkmuchwineandbecome somewhatexuberant.ThereuponNinmahtakessomeoftheclaythatisovertheabyssandfashionssixdifferenttypesofabnormalindividuals,andEnkidecreestheir fateandgivesthemBreadtoeat.Thecharacterofonlythelasttwoimperfecttypesthebarrenwomanandthesexlesscreatureisintelligible.Thelinesread:


The...she(Ninmah)madeintoawomanwhocannotgive birth. Enki,uponseeingthewomanwhocannotgivebirth, Decreedherfate,destinedhertobestationedinthe"woman house." The...she(Ninmah)madeintoonewhohasnomaleorgan, whohasnofemaleorgan. Enki,uponseeinghimwhohasnomaleorgan,whohasno femaleorgan, Tostandbeforetheking,decreedashisfate.

AfterNinmahhascreatedthesesixtypesofman,Enkidecidestodosomecreatingofhisown.Thewayinwhichhegoesaboutitisnotclear,but,whateveritisthat hedoes,theresultingcreatureisafailureitisweakandfeebleinbodyandspirit.Enki,anxiousthatNinmahhelpthisforlorncreature,addressesherasfollows:
"Ofhimwhomyourhandhasfashioned,Ihavedecreedthefate, Havegivenhimbreadtoeat Doyoudecreethefateofhimwhommyhandhasfashioned, Doyougivehimbreadtoeat."

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Ninmahtriestobegoodtothecreature,buttonoavail.Shetalkstohim,buthefailstoanswer.Shegiveshimbreadtoeat,buthedoesnotreachoutforit.Hecan neithersitnorstand,norbendhisknees.AlongconversationbetweenEnkiandNinmahthenfollows.(Thetabletsaresobadlybrokenatthispointthatitis impossibletomakeoutthesense.)FinallyNinmahseemstoutteracurseagainstEnkibecauseofthesick,lifelesscreaturehehasproducedacursewhichEnki seemstoacceptashisdue. ThesecondmythsignificantfortheSumerianconceptionofthecreationofman,whichmaybetitled"CattleandGrain,"representsavariationofthedisputationgenre ofcompositions,whichwasverypopularwithSumerianwriters.TheprotagonistsofthemytharethecattlegodLaharandhissister,thegraingoddessAshnan.These two,accordingtothemyth,werecreatedinthecreationchamberofthegodsinorderthattheAnunnaki,thechildrenoftheheavengodAn,mighthavefoodtoeat andclothestowear.ButtheAnunnakiwereunabletomakeeffectiveuseofcattleandgrainuntilmanwascreated.Allthisistoldinanintroductorypassagewhich reads:


Afteronthemountainofheavenandearth, An(theheavengod)hadcausedtheAnunnaki(hisfollowers)tobe born, BecausethenameAshnan(thegraingoddess)hadnotbeen born,hadnotbeenfashioned, BecauseUttu(thegoddess.ofclothing)hadnotbeenfashioned, BecausetoUttunotemenoshadbeensetup, Therewasnoewe,nolambwasdropped, Therewasnogoat,nokidwasdropped, Theewedidnotgivebirthtoitstwolambs, Thegoatdidnotgivebirthtoitsthreekids. BecausethenameofAshnan,thewise,andLahar(the cattlegod), TheAnunnaki,thegreatgods,didnotknow, Thesheshgrainofthirtydaysdidnotexist, Thesheshgrainoffortydaysdidnotexist, Thesmallgrains,thegrainofthemountain,thegrainofthe purelivingcreaturesdidnotexist. BecauseUttuhadnotbeenborn,becausethecrown(of vegetation?)hadnotbeenraised,

Page109 Becausethelord...hadnotbeenborn, BecauseSumugan,thegodoftheplain,hadnotcomeforth, Likemankindwhenfirstcreated, They(theAnunnaki)knewnottheeatingofbread, Knewnotthedressingofgarments, Ateplantswiththeirmouthlikesheep, Drankwaterfromtheditch. Inthosedays,inthecreationchamberofthegods, IntheirhouseDuku,LaharandAshnanwerefashioned TheproduceofLaharandAshnan, TheAnunnakioftheDukueat,butremainunsated Intheirpuresheepfoldsshummilk,thegood, TheAnunnakioftheDukudrink,butremainunsated Forthesakeoftheirpuresheepfolds,thegood, Manwasgivenbreath.

ThepassagefollowingtheintroductiondescribesthedescentofLaharandAshnanfromheaventoearth,andtheculturalbenefitswhichtheybestowonmankind:
InthosedaysEnkisaystoEnlil: "FatherEnlil,LaharandAshnan, TheywhohavebeencreatedintheDuku, LetuscausethemtodescendfromtheDuku." AtthepurewordofEnkiandEnlil, LaharandAshnandescendedfromtheDuku. ForLaharthey(EnlilandEnki)setupthesheepfold, Plantsandherbsinabundancetheypresenttohim ForAshnantheyestablishahouse, Plowandyoketheypresenttoher. Laharstandinginhissheepfold, Ashepherdincreasingthebountyofthesheepfoldishe Ashnanstandingamongthecrops, Amaidkindlyandbountifulisshe. Abundancewhichcomesfromheaven, LaharandAshnancausedtoappear(onearth), Intheassemblytheybroughtabundance, Inthelandtheybroughtthebreathoflife, Thelawsofthegodstheydirect, Thecontentsofthewarehousestheymultiply, Thestorehousestheyfillfull. Inthehouseofthepoor,huggingthedust,

Page110 Enteringtheybringabundance Thepairofthem,wherevertheystand, Bringheavyincreaseintothehouse Theplacewheretheystandtheysate,theplacewheretheysit theysupply, TheymadegoodtheheartofAnandEnlil.

ButthenLaharandAshnandrinkmuchwine,andsotheybegintoquarrelinthefarmsandfields.Intheargumentsthatensue,eachdeityextollshisachievementsand belittlesthoseofhisopponent.FinallyEnlilandEnkiinterveneanddeclareAshnanthevictor. TheSumeriansagesbelievedandtaughtthedoctrinethatman'smisfortunesaretheresultofhissinsandmisdeeds,andthatnomaniswithoutguilt.Theyarguedthat therearenocasesofunjustandundeservinghumansufferingitisalwaysmanwhoistoblame,notthegods.Inmomentsofadversitymorethanonesufferermust havebeentemptedtochallengethefairnessandjusticeofthegods.Itwas,perhaps,inanefforttoforestallsuchresentmentagainstthegodsandtowardoff disillusionmentwiththedivineorder,thatoneoftheSumeriansagescomposedtheedifyingessaypresentedinChapter15,whichcontainstheearliestknownexample ofthe"Job"motif.

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Chapter15 SufferingandSubmission TheFirst"Job"


ApaperIreadbeforetheSocietyofBiblicalLiteratureonDecember29,1954,wastitled"ManandHisGod:ASumerianVersionoftheJobMotif."Itwasbasedon aSumerianpoeticessayconsistingofabout135lines.ThetextoftheessaywaspiecedtogetherfromsixclaytabletsandfragmentsexcavatedbythefirstUniversity ofPennsylvaniaexpeditiontoNippur,aboutahundredmilessouthofmodernBaghdadinIraq.FourofthesixpiecesarenowintheUniversityMuseumin Philadelphia,andtwoareintheMuseumoftheAncientOrientinIstanbul. Uptothedateofmylecture,onlytwoofthesixpieces,bothfromtheUniversityMuseum,hadbeenpublished,andthetextofthepoemhadthereforeremained largelyunknownandunintelligible.WhileinIstanbulin195152asFulbrightResearchProfessor,Irecognizedandcopiedthetwopiecesbelongingtothepoeminthe MuseumoftheAncientOrient.UponmyreturntoPhiladelphia,IidentifiedthetwoadditionalfragmentsintheUniversityMuseumwiththehelpofEdmundGordon,a researchassistantintheMesopotamianSectionofthemuseum.Whileweweregoingovermytranslationofthepoemforfinalpublication,itdawneduponusthatthe twoIstanbulfragmentsjointwoofthefourPhiladelphiapiecesthatis,theyactuallybelongtotheverysametabletsbuthadbecomedetachedeitherinveryancient daysorinthecourseoftheexcavations,andhadbeenbroughtseparatelytothetwofarflungmuseumsontheMarmaraandtheSchuylkill.FortunatelyIwasableto verify

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theselongdistance"joins"in1954onavisittoIstanbulasaBollingenFellow. Thenewidentificationsandthe"joins"acrosstheoceanmadeitpossibleformetopiecetogetherandtranslatethelargerpartofthetextofthepoem.Itthenbecame obviousthatherewasthefirstwrittenessayonhumansufferingandsubmission,thethememadefamousinworldliteratureandreligiousthoughtbytheBiblicalBook ofJob.TheSumerianpoeminnowaycompareswiththelatterinbreadthofscope,depthofunderstanding,andbeautyofexpression.Itsmajorsignificanceliesinthe factthatitrepresentsman'sfirstrecordedattempttodealwiththeageoldyetverymodernproblemofhumansuffering.Allthetabletsandfragmentsonwhichour SumerianessayisinscribeddatebacktomorethanathousandyearsbeforethecompilationoftheBookofJob. Themainthesisofourpoetisthatincasesofsufferingandadversity,nomatterhowseeminglyunjustified,thevictimhasbutonevalidandeffectiverecourse,andthat istoglorifyhisgodcontinually,andkeepwailingandlamentingbeforehimuntilheturnsafavorableeartohisprayers.Thegodconcernedisthesufferer's"personal" godthatis,thedeitywho,inaccordancewiththeacceptedSumeriancredo,actedastheman'srepresentativeandintercessorintheassemblyofthegods.Toprove hispoint,ourpoetdoesnotresorttophilosophicalspeculationandtheologicalargumentationinstead,withcharacteristicSumerianpracticality,hecitesacase.Hereis aman,unnamedtobesure,whohadbeenwealthy,wiseandrighteous,oratleastseeminglyso,andblessedwithbothfriendsandkin.Onedaysicknessandsuffering overwhelmedhim.Didhedefythedivineorderandblaspheme?Notatall!Hecamehumblybeforehisgod,withtearsandlamentation,andpouredouthisheartin prayerandsupplication.Asaresult,hisgodwashighlypleasedandmovedtocompassionhegaveheedtohisprayer,deliveredhimfromhismisfortunes,andturned hissufferingtojoy. Structurally,thepoemmaybetentativelydividedintofoursections.Firstcomesabriefintroductoryexhortationthatmanshouldpraiseandexalthisgodandsoothe himwithlamentations.

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Thepoetthenintroducestheunnamedindividualwho,uponbeingsmittenwithsicknessandmisfortune,addresseshisgodwithtearsandprayers.Therefollowsthe sufferer'spetition,whichconstitutesthemajorpartofthepoem.Itbeginswithadescriptionoftheilltreatmentaccordedhimbyhisfellowmenfriendandfoealike continueswithalamentagainsthisbitterfate,includingarhetoricalrequesttohiskinandtotheprofessionalsingerstodolikewiseandconcludeswithaconfessionof guiltandadirectpleaforreliefanddeliverance.Finallycomesthe"happyending,"inwhichthepoetinformsusthattheman'sprayerdidnotgounheeded,andthathis godacceptedtheentreatiesanddeliveredhimfromhisafflictions.Allofthisleadstoafurtherglorificationofhisgod. Toillustratethemoodandtemperofthepoem,someofitsmoreintelligiblepassagesarequotedhere.ThereadermustconstantlybearinmindthatSumerianisstill notfullyunderstood,andthatintimesomeofthetranslationswillbemodifiedandimproved.Hereispartofthesufferer'spetitioninhisownwords:


"Iamaman,adiscerningone,yetwhorespectsmeprospersnot, Myrighteouswordhasbeenturnedintoalie, ThemanofdeceithascoveredmewiththeSouthwind,Iamforced toservehim, Whorespectsmenothasshamedmebeforeyou. "Youhavedoledouttomesufferingeveranew, Ienteredthehouse,heavyisthespirit, I,theman,wentouttothestreets,oppressedistheheart, Withme,thevaliant,myrighteousshepherdhasbecomeangry, haslookeduponmeinimically. "Myherdsmanhassoughtoutevilforcesagainstmewhoam nothisenemy, Mycompanionsaysnotatruewordtome, Myfriendgivesthelietomyrighteousword, Themanofdeceithasconspiredagainstme, Andyou,mygod,donotthwarthim.... "I,thewise,whyamIboundtotheignorantyouths? I,thediscerning,whyamIcountedamongtheignorant? Foodisallabout,yetmyfoodishunger,

Page114 Onthedayshareswereallottedtoall,myallottedsharewas suffering. "Mygod,(Iwouldstand)beforeyou, Wouldspeaktoyou,...,mywordisagroan, Iwouldtellyouaboutit,wouldbemoanthebitternessofmypath, (Wouldbewail)theconfusionof.... "Lo,letnotmymotherwhoboremeceasemylamentbefore you. Letnotmysisterutterthehappysongandchant. Letheruttertearfullymymisfortunesbeforeyou, Letmywifevoicemournfullymysuffering, Lettheexpertsingerbemoanmybitterfate. "Mygod,thedayshinesbrightovertheland,formetheday isblack. Thebrightday,thegooddayhas..likethe... Tears,lament,anguish,anddepressionarelodgedwithinme, Sufferingoverwhelmsmelikeonechosenfornothingbuttears, Evilfateholdsmeinitshand,carriesoffmybreathoflife, Malignantsicknessbathesmybody.... "Mygod,youwhoaremyfatherwhobegotme,liftupmyface. Likeaninnocentcow,inpity...thegroan, Howlongwillyouneglectme,leavemeunprotected? Likeanox,...., Howlongwillyouleavemeunguided? "Theysayvaliantsagesawordrighteousandstraightforward: 'Neverhasasinlesschildbeenborntoitsmother, ....asinlessyouthhasnotexistedfromofold.'"

Somuchfortheman'sprayerandsupplication.The"happyending"readsasfollows:
Themanhisgodharkenedtohisbittertearsandweeping, Theyoungmanhislamentationandwailingsoothedtheheartof hisgod. Therighteouswords,thepurewordsutteredbyhim,hisgod accepted. Thewordswhichthemanprayerfullyconfessed, Pleasedthe....,thefleshofhisgod,andhisgodwithdrew hishandfromtheevilword, ..whichoppressestheheart,....heembraces, Theencompassingsicknessdemon,whichhadspreadwideits wings,hesweptaway.

Page115 The(disease)whichhadsmittenhimlikea...,hedissipated, Theevilfatewhichhadbeendecreedforhiminaccordance withhissentence,heturnedaside, Heturnedtheman'ssufferingintojoy, Setbyhimthekindlygeniiasawatchandguardian, Gavehim..angelswithgraciousmien.

Wenowturnfromthesublimetothemundane,fromSunday'spreachingtoMonday'spractice,frompoeticprayerstoprosaicproverbs.Itisinitsproverbsthata peoplegivesitselfaway,asitwere,forproverbsrevealthecharacteristicattitudes,thebasicdrives,andtheinnermotivesbehindman'sdaytodayactions,whichthe morepoeticliteraryworkstendtocloakanddisguise.Sumerianproverbsbythehundredsarenowintheprocessofrestorationandtranslation,primarilythroughthe effortsofEdmundGordon,andsomearepresentedinChapter16.

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Chapter16 Wisdom TheFirstProverbsandSayings


TheHebrewBookofProverbswaslongbelievedtobetheoldestcollectionofmaximsandsayingsinman'srecordedhistory.Withthediscoveryandunravelingof theancientEgyptiancivilization,inthepastcenturyandahalf,collectionsofEgyptianproverbsandpreceptswereuncoveredwhichantedatetheBiblicalBookof Proverbsbymanyyears.Butthesearebynomeanstheoldestofman'srecordedaphorismsandadages.TheSumerianproverbcollectionsantedatemost,ifnotall,of theknownEgyptiancompilationsbyseveralcenturies. Untilabouttwodecadesago,almostnoSumerianunilingualproverbswereknown.Asmallnumberofbilingualsayings,writteninSumerianwithAkkadian translations,hadbeenpublished,andthesewerepracticallyallinscribedontabletsdatingfromthefirstmillenniumB.C.In1934,however,EdwardChierapublished severalproverbtabletsandfragmentsfromtheUniversityMuseum'sNippurcollection,whichwereinscribedintheeighteenthcenturyB.C.Theyindicatedthatthe Sumerianmenoflettersmusthavecompiledquiteanumberofcollectionsofproverbsandsayings.Since1937Ihavedevotedmuchtimetothisliterarygenre, identifyingalargenumberofproverbpiecesintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrientandtheUniversityMuseuminPhiladelphia,andactuallycopyinganumber oftheminbothmuseums.Butitwasnotuntil195152,duringmystayinTurkeyasaFulbrightResearchProfessor,thatIsucceededincopyingpracticallyallthe Istanbulmaterial,consistingofmorethaneightytabletsandfragments.

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OnmyreturntoPhiladelphiaandtheUniversityMuseum,withitshundredsofproverbfragments,itbecameevidentthat,becausetherewassomuchtodoon Sumerianliteratureingeneral,Iwouldnothavethetimetoconcentrateonthishugecollectionofproverbmaterial.IthereforeturnedovermyIstanbulcopiesand otherpertinentdatatoEdmundGordon,researchassistantintheUniversityMuseum.Aftermonthsofdevotedeffort,GordonfoundthatmorethanadozenSumerian collections,eachcontainingscoresandevenhundredsofproverbs,couldbepiecedtogetherandrestoredfromtheavailablematerial.Hehasalreadyprepareda definitiveeditionoftwosuchcollectionsandpiecedtogethersomethreehundredpracticallycompleteproverbs,manyofwhichwereunknown.Someofhismaterialis utilizedinthischapter.Thereadershouldbearinmind,however,thatproverbsareparticularlydifficulttotranslatebecauseoftheirlaconiclanguage,andthatfuture studymayshowthatsomeofthesayingsherequotedmissthemeaning,whollyorinpart. Oneofthesignificantcharacteristicsofproverbsingeneralistheuniversalrelevanceoftheircontent.Ifyoueverbegintodoubtthebrotherhoodofmanandthe commonhumanityofallpeoplesandraces,turntotheirsayingsandmaxims,theirpreceptsandadages.Morethananyotherliteraryproducts,theypiercethecrustof culturalcontrastsandenvironmentaldifferences,andlaybarethefundamentalnatureofallmen,nomatterwhereandwhentheylive.TheSumerianproverbswere compiledandwrittendownmorethanthirtyfivehundredyearsago,andmanyhadnodoubtbeenrepeatedbywordofmouthforcenturiesbeforetheywereputin writtenform.Theyconcernapeoplethatdiffersfromusinlanguageandphysicalenvironment,inmannersandcustoms,inpolitics,economics,andreligion,andyetthe basiccharacterrevealedbytheSumerianproverbsisremarkablylikeourown.Wehavelittledifficultyinrecognizinginthemreflectionsofourowndrivesand attitudes,foiblesandweaknesses,confusionsanddilemmas. Forexample,wefindtherethewhiner,whoattributesallhisfailurestofateandkeepscomplaining,''Iwasbornonanillfatedday.''

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Thentherearetheperpetualexplainerswhoparadetheirtransparentexcusesinspiteoftheclearestevidencetothecontrary.Ofthem,theancientssaid:
Canoneconceivewithoutintercourse, Canonegetfatwithouteating!

WhattheSumeriansthoughtoftheirmisfitsisshownintheirsaying:
Youareputinwater,thewaterbecomesfoul, Youareputinagarden,thefruitbeginstorot.

Asinourowntimes,confusionandhesitationineconomicmattersbesetnotafew.Ourancientsputitthisway:
Wearedoomedtodie,letusspend Wewilllivelong,letussave.

Andinanotherway:
Theearlybarleywillthrivehowdoweknow? Thelatebarleywillthrivehowdoweknow?

Sumerhad,ofcourse,itsperennialpoorwiththeirtroubles,andthesearerathernicelysummedupinthecontrastinglines:
Thepoormanisbetterdeadthanalive Ifhehasbread,hehasnosalt, Ifhehassalt,hehasnobread, Ifhehasmeat,hehasnolamb, Ifhehasalamb,hehasnomeat.

Thepoormanfrequentlyhadtodigintohissavings.AstheSumerianproverbwriterputsit,"Thepoormannibblesawayathissilver."Whenhissavingsgaveout,he hadtoborrowfromtheancientcounterpartsofourownloansharks.Hencethesaying:"Thepoormanborrowsandworries."ThisistheSumerianequivalentofour own:"Moneyborrowedissoonsorrowed." Nodoubtthepoorasawholeweresubmissive.Thereisnoth

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ingtoindicatethattheSumerianpoorconsciouslyrebelledagainsttherichrulingclasses.Nevertheless,theirproverb,"Notallthehouseholdsofthepoorareequally submissive,"ifthetranslationiscorrect,doesindicateacertaindegreeofclassconsciousness. SuggestiveofEcclesiastes5:12,"Thesleepofalabouringmanissweet,"andparticularlyoftheTalmudic"Whomultipliespossessionsmultipliesworry,"isthis Sumerianproverb:


Whopossessesmuchsilvermaybehappy, Whopossessesmuchbarley,maybehappy, Butwhohasnothingatall,cansleep.

Occasionallythepoormanrealizedthathewasafailurenotthroughafaultofhisownbutbecausehehadtiedupwiththewrongassociates:
Iamathoroughbredsteed, ButIamhitchedtoamule Andmustdrawacart, Andcarryreedsandstubble.

Ofthepoorartisanwho,ironicallyenough,couldnotaffordtohavetheverythingshemade,theSumeriansaid:"Thevaletalwayswearsdirtyclothes." Clothes,incidentally,werehighlyappreciatedbytheSumerians,fortheysaid,"Everybodytakestothewelldressedman." Inanycasethereweresomevaletswhoevidentlysucceededingettingaformaleducation,tojudgefromthesaying,"HeisavaletwhohasactuallystudiedSumerian." Evidentlynotallancientscribes,anymorethanalltheirmoderncounterparts,thestenographers,wereperfectattakingdictation.HencetheSumeriansaying:


Ascribewhosehandmovesinaccordancewiththemouth (thatis,thedictatedword), Heisindeedascribe!

TheSumeriansevenhadtheirquotaofscribeswhocouldnotspellproperly,asisimpliedinthisrhetoricalquestion:

Page120 AscribewhodoesnotknowSumerian, Whatkindofscribeishe!

ThesocalledweakersexiswellrepresentedinSumeriansayings,andnotalwaystoitsadvantage.Tobesure,the"golddigger"seemstohavebeenunknownin Sumer,butSumerianshadtheirshareofpracticalvirgins.Asonemarriageableyoungladywhohadgrownwearyofwaitingfortheidealmatch,anddecidedtostop pickingandchoosing,said:


Whoiswellestablished,whoiswind, ForwhomshallIholdmylove?

MarriageamongtheSumerianswasnolightburden.Theyputitinanegativeway:
Whohasnotsupportedawifeorchild, Hisnosehasnotbornealeash(theallusionistothenoseleash ofprisoners).

TheSumerianhusbandfelthimselffrequentlyneglected,asshowninthesaying:
Mywifeisinchurch(literally"theoutdoorshrine"), Mymotherisdownbytheriver(probablyattendingsomereligiousrite), AndhereamIstarvingofhunger.

Asfortherestless,discontentedwifewhojustdidnotknowwhatwaswrongwithher,eveninthoseancientdaysthedoctorwasherrefuge.Atleastsowemight gather,ifthetranslationiscorrect,fromthesaying:
Arestlesswomaninthehouse Addsachetopain.

Nowonder,then,thattheSumerianmaleattimesregrettedhismarriage,asisevidentfromtheproverb:
Forhispleasure:marriage. Onhisthinkingitover:divorce.

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Nowonderthebrideandgroomenteredintomarriageinquitedifferentspirits,tojudgefromthesetersewords:
Ajoyfulheart:thebride. Asorrowfulheart:thegroom.

Asforthemotherinlaw,sheseemstohavebeenfarlessdifficultthanhermoderncounterpartatleast,noSumerianmotherinlawstorieshaveasyetcometolight. InancientSumeritwasthedaughterinlawwhohadanunenviablereputation.ThisseemsevidentfromaSumerianepigramonwhatisgoodandbadforaman, whichreads:


Thedesertcanteenisaman'slife, Theshoeisaman'seye, Thewifeisaman'sfuture, Thesonisaman'srefuge, Thedaughterisaman'ssalvation, Thedaughterinlawisaman'sdevil.

FriendshipwashighlyvaluedbytheSumerians.But,aswithourselves,"bloodwasthickerthanwater."Astheyputit:
Friendshiplastsaday, Kinshipenduresforever.

Interestinglyenoughfromthepointofviewofcomparativeculture,thedogwasbynomeansconsidereda"man'sbestfriend"bytheSumerians.Rather,hewas thoughtofasessentiallydisloyaltoman,tojudgefromsuchsayingsasthese:
Theoxplows, Thedogspoilsthedeepfurrows. Itisadogthatdoesnotknowitshome. Thesmith'sdogcouldnotoverturntheanvil He(therefore)overturnedthewaterpotinstead.

IftheSumerian'sattitudetowardthedogseemsabitstrangetous,hereareseveralpsychologicalinsightswhicharepractically

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identicalwithourown,thoughexpressedindifferentwords:"Theboatmanisamanofbelligerence"compareswithour"Asailorwillfightatthedropofahat." TheSumeriansaying,
Hedidnotyetcatchthefox, Yetheismakinganeckstockforit,

istheequivalentofour"Don'tcountyourchickensbeforetheyarehatched." Finally,
Uponmyescapingfromthewildox, Thewildcowconfrontedme,

isjustanotherwayofsaying:"Outofthefryingpan,intothefire." Theneedfordiligencehas,nodoubt,beenpreachedinallplacesandatalltimes.Buteven"PoorRichard"couldhardlyhaveputitbetterthantheSumerianwhosaid:
Handandhand,aman'shouseisbuilt Stomachandstomach,aman'shouseisdestroyed.

AtleastsomeSumerianstriedhardto"keepupwiththeJoneses."Forthem,thisratherdrasticwarningwascoined:
Whobuildslikealord,liveslikeaslave Whobuildslikeaslave,liveslikealord.

Withrespecttowarandpeace,ourancientsfoundthemselvesinthesamedilemmathatconfrontsus.Ontheonehand,preparednessseemstobenecessaryforself preservation,or,astheyputit:
Thestateweakinarmaments Theenemywillnotbedrivenfromitsgates.

Ontheotherhand,thefutilityofwaranditstitfortatcharacterareonlytooobvious:

Page123 Yougoandcarryofftheenemy'sland Theenemycomesandcarriesoffyourland.

Butwarorpeace,thethingtodoisto"keepyoureyeontheball"andnotbefooledbyappearances.TheSumerianputitinwordswhicharenotuntimely:
Youcanhavealord,youcanhaveaking, Butthemantofearisthetaxcollector!

TheSumerianmenoflettersincludedintheirnumerousproverbcollectionsnotonlysayingsofallkinds,suchasmaxims,truisms,adages,bywords,andparadoxes, butfablesaswell.Theseapproachquitecloselythecassical"Aesopic"fableinthattheyconsistofashortintroductorypassageinnarrativeform,followedbyabrief quotedspeechservingasapunchline.Occasionallythereisevenaprotracteddialoguebetweenthecharacters.Chapter17willcitenumerousexamplesoftheseearly "Aesopica"fromtranslationspreparedbyDr.EdmundGordoninthepastyearortwo.

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Chapter17 "Aesopica" TheFirstAnimalFables


AmongtheGreeksandRomans,theinventionoftheliterarygenreofanimalfableswasascribedtoAesop,wholivedinAsiaMinorduringthesixthcenturyB.C. Today,however,itiswellknownthatatleastsomeofthefablesattributedtoAesopwerealreadyinexistencelongbeforeAesop.Inanycasetheanimalfableofthe "Aesopic"typeisfoundinSumermorethanamillenniumbeforeAesopwasborn. Animals,asmightwellhavebeenexpected,playedalargeroleinSumerianwisdomliterature.InthepastseveralyearsGordonhaspiecedtogetherandtranslateda totalof295proverbsandfablesrelatingtosome64differentspeciesofanimallife:mammals,birds,andmembersofthesocalledlowerclassesofanimallifedownto insects.Theorderoffrequencyofthevariousanimalsinthesetexts,ifwemayjudgefromtheextantmaterial,isinitselfnotuninstructive.Thedogcomesfirst,being referredtoinsome83proverbsandfables.Nextcomedomesticcattle,andthenthedonkey.Thenthefox,followedbythepig,andonlythenthedomesticsheep. Nextinprominencecomethelionandwildox(thatis,thenowextinctBosprimigenius),followedbythedomesticgoatandthewolf,andsoon.Herenoware Gordon'stentativetranslationsofsomeofthebetterpreservedandmoreintelligibleSumerianfables,startingwiththedogandendingwiththemonkey. Thegreedinessofthedogisillustratedbythesetwobrieffables:
1.Thedonkeywasswimmingintheriver,andthedogheldtightlyontohim,saying:"Whenishegoingtoclimbout,andbeeaten."

Page125 2.Thedogwenttoabanquet,butwhenhelookedatthebonesthere,hewentaway,saying:"WhereIamgoingnow,Ishallgetmoretoeatthanthis."

Ontheotherhand,oneofthefinestexpressionsofmotherloveisvoicedinadogfablewhichreads:
Thusspeaksthebitchwithpride:WhetherIhavefawncolored(puppies)orwhetherIhavebrindledones,Ilovemyyoung.

Inthecaseofthewolf,itwashispredatorynaturethatwasforemostinthemindsoftheSumerians,tojudgefromthebetterpreservedfablesinwhichheappears.In onefable,whichunfortunatelyhastwoshortbreaksinthetext,apackoftenwolveshaveattackedsomesheep,butoneofthewolvesmanagestoplayadeceitful trickontheotherswithashrewdbitofsophistry,thus:


Ninewolvesandatenthoneslaughteredsomesheep. Thetenthonewasgreedyanddidnot(oneortwowordsbroken)...Whenhehadtreacherously(oneortwowordsbroken)...hesaid:"Iwilldividethemforyou!Thereare nineofyou,andsoonesheepwillbeyourjointshare.ThereforeI,beingone,shalltakenine.Thisshallbemyshare."

Thewildanimalwhosecharacterseemstobemostclearlydelineatedisthefox.IntheSumerianproverbs,thefoxisananimalfullofconceit,whoconstantly exhibitsinbothhisactionsandspeechatendencytoexaggeratehisownroleintheworld.But,beingatthesametimeacoward,heisfrequentlynotequaltothe taskoflivinguptohisbravado.Forexample:


Thefoxtroduponthehoofofthewildox,saying:"Didn'tithurt?"

Or:
Thefoxcouldnotbuildhisownhouse,andsohewenttothehouseofhisfriendasaconqueror!

Or:
Thefoxhadastickwithhim(andsaid):"WhomshallIhit?" Hecarriedalegaldocumentwithhim(andsaid):"WhatcanIchallenge?"

Or:
Thefoxgnashesitsteeth,butitsheadistrembling!

Herearetwoofthelongestfablesaboutthefox,whichfurther

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illustratehiscowardiceandconceit.Botharerathercomplexandseemtoleaveushanginginmidairattheend,butbyandlargetheirmeaningandimplicationsare clear:
Thefoxsaystohiswife: "Come!LetuscrushthecityofUrukwithourteeth,asthoughitwerealeek!LetusstrapthecityofKullabuponourfeetasthoughitwereasandal!"Butwhentheyhadnoteven comewithinadistanceof600gar(abouttwomiles)fromthecity,thedogsbegantohowlatthemfromwithinthecity:"GemeTummal,GemeTummal!(presumablythenameofthe fox'swife)Gohome!Getalongnow!"theyhowledmenacinglyfromwithinthecity.

Andwecanassumethatthefoxandhiswifeturnedontheirheels,anddidexactlythat. TheotherSumerianfableusesamotifwhichlateroccursinAesop,notinconnectionwiththefox,butinthefableof"TheRatsandtheWeasels."Itreadsasfollows:
ThefoxrequestedthehornsofawildoxfromthegodEnlil(andso)thehornsofawildoxwereattachedtohim.Butthenthewindandrainwerestirredup,andhecouldnotenter hisburrow.Towardtheendofthenight,whenthecoldnorthwindandstormcloudsandrainhadshowered(?)downuponhim,hesaid:"Assoonasitgetslight... (unfortunatelythetextbreaksoffhere,andwecanonlyguessthatthefoxbeggedthatthehornsberemoved).

Thus,thefoxoftheSumeriansseemstohavelittleincommonwiththecleverandslybeastthatheisinmuchofthelaterEuropeanfolklore,althoughinanumberof waysheisverymuchakintothefoxinseveralofAesop'sfables,includingthe"SourGrapes"fable.ItshouldalsobenotedthattwoSumerianfablesexistbothof themunfortunatelyinapoorstateofpreservationinwhichthefoxappearswiththeravenorthecrow,acombinationwhichoccursalsointhelaterfablesofAesop. ThebearisrepresentedbyonlytwoSumerianfables,inoneofwhichthereseemstobeanallusiontohisannualhibernation. Whileverylittlecanbesaidaboutthebear,thereisagoodbitofinformationtobegleanedfromtheproverbsaboutthemongoose.Themongoosewaskeptasa domesticanimalinancientMesopotamia,asitisinmodernIraq,forthepurposeofkillingrats.TotheSumerians,themongooseseemstohavebeennotedforitsdi

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rectnessinattackingitsprey,incontrasttothecat'spatientandapparentlydeliberatemannerbeforepouncinguponitsquarry.Thustheysaid:
Acatforitsthoughts Amongooseforitsactions!

Ontheotherhand,thefoodstealingandalcoholfilchinghabitsofthemongooseseemtohavebeenregardedwithasortofbittertolerance:
Ifthereisanyfoodaround,themongooseconsumesit Ifitleavesanyfoodforme,astrangercomesandconsumesit!

Inoneproverb,however,apetmongoosewasregardedbyitsownerasasourceofamusement,becauseofits''poortaste'':
Mymongoose,whicheatsonlyspoiledfood,willnotclimbupafterbeerandghee!

Thehyenamaybealludedtoinoneproverb,buteveninthiscasethemeaningoftheallusionisuncertain. Asforthecat,itoccursbutrarelyinSumerianliterature,andtherearetworeferencesintheproverbs.Onewasjustcitedaboveinconnectionwiththemongoose.In theother,acowwhofollowsabasketcarrieraroundiscomparedtothecat. Thelion,accordingtotheproverbsandfables,wasathomeinatypeofterrainovergrownwithtreesandreeds,whichcanbereferredtoas"thebush,"althoughat leasttwofables,whichareeitherbadlybrokenorobscure,locatehimintheopensteppecountry.Whilethe"bush"providedthelionwithaprotectivecover,menhad toprotectthemselvesfromhimbylearninghishabits.Thus:


Olion,thedense"bush"isyourally!

And:
Inthe"bush,"theliondoesnoteatupthemanwhoknowshim!

Thelatterproverbsoundsatleastsuperficiallylikethemotifof"AndroclesandtheLion." Anotherfable,whichisbadlybroken,tellsofalionwhohadfallenintoatrap,andafox.Inanumberoffables,thelion'snaturalroleaspredatorybeastparexcellence isplayedup,hispreytherebeingsheep,goats,andthe"bush"pigthus:

Page128 Whenthelioncametothesheepfold,thedogwaswearingaleashofspunwool!

And:
Thelionhadcaughta"bush"pigandproceededtobitehim,saying:"Upuntilnow,yourfleshhasnotfilledmymouth,butyoursquealshavecreatedadininmyears!"

Butthelionisnotalwaysthevictor,forhecanevenheoutwittedbytheflatteryofthe"helplessshegoat."HerewehaveoneofthelongerSumerianfables,which mostcloselyresemblesthoseofAesop:
Thelionhadcaughtahelplessshegoat."Letmego,(and)Iwillgiveyouasheep,oneofmycompanions!"(saidtheshegoat)."IfIamtoletyougo,(first)tellmeyour name!"(saidthelion).Theshegoat(then)answeredthelion:"Doyounotknowmyname?Mynameis'Youareclever'!"(Andso,)whenthelioncametothesheepfold,heroared out:"NowthatIhavearrivedatthesheepfold,Iwillreleaseyou!''She(then)answeredhimfromtheotherside(ofthefence[?]),saying:"Soyouhavereleasedme!Wereyou (reallyso)clever?Insteadof(givingyou)thesheep(whichIpromisedyou),evenIshallnotstayhere!''

ThereisoneSumerianfableconcernedwiththeelephant.Itpresentsthebeastasaboaster,whomustbe"takendownapeg"byoneofthesmallestofbirds,the wren:
Theelephantboasted(?)abouthimself,saying:"Thereisnothinglikemeinexistence!Donot(thetextisbrokenattheendofthisline,butwemightexpectsomesuchphraseas "Donotcompareyourselftome!)...!"Thewren(then)answeredhim,saying:"ButI,too,inmyownsmallway,wascreatedjustasyouwere!"

Thedonkey,asiswellknown,servedasthechiefbeastofburdenanddraughtanimalinancientMesopotamia,andtheSumeriansgoodhumoredlyrepresentedhim asthesameslowmoving,andfrequentlyfoolish,creaturethatheisinEuropeanliteratureofalaterdate.Hismainobjectiveinlifeseemstobetoactcontrarytothe wishesofhismasterforexample:


Onemustdrivehim(byforce)intoaplaguestrickencitylikeapackass!

Or:
Thedonkeyeatsitsownbedding!

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Or:
"Yourhelplessdonkeyhasnomorespeedleft!OEnlil,yourhelplessmanhasnomorestrengthleft!"

Or:
Mydonkeywasnotdestinedtorunquickly,hewasdestinedtobray!

Or:
Thedonkeylowereditsface,anditsownerpatteditonthenose,saying: "Wemustgetupandawayfromhere!Quicklynow!Comeon!"

Attimesthedonkeyeventhrewoffhisburden,andwasberatedforit:
Thedonkey,afterhehadthrownoffhispacks,said:"Thewoesofthepastarestillplentifulinmyears!"

Andonoccasionthedonkeymightrunaway,andnotreturntoitsmaster.Therunawaydonkeyprovidesaninterestingsimileintwoproverbs:
Likearunawaydonkey,mytonguedoesnotturnaroundandcomeback!

And:
Myyouthfulvigorhasquitmythighslikearunawaydonkey.

Therearealsoallusionstocertainunpleasantphysicaltraitsofthedonkey,asforexample:
Werethereadonkeywithoutastench,hewouldbeadonkeywithoutagroom!

Finally,thereisaproverbwhichgivesusaninterestingbitofsociologicalinformation,sincethisproverbwhichreads:
Iwillnotmarryawifewhoisonlythreeyearsoldasthedonkeydoes!

apparentlyindicatesdisapprovalofchildmarriage. Asforthehorse,oneSumerianfablehasnowquiteunexpectedlythrownsomenewlightontheearlyhistoryofthehorse'sdomestication,foritprovidesuswithwhat isclearlytheearliestreferencetohorsebackridingnowknown.Tobesure,thetabletsonwhichthisproverbisinscribeddatefromabout1700B.C.Butsincethis fableisfoundbothonalargetabletfromthecityofNippur,as

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wellasonaroughlycontemporaneousschooltabletfromthecityofUr,onemaydeduceaconsiderablyolderdatefortheactualoriginalcompositionofthefableto allowtime,notonlyforitsdiffusion,butalsoforitsinclusionwithinoneofthestandardproverbcollections.Itisnotunlikelythereforethatthehorsewasalreadybeing usedforridinginMesopotamiabyabout2000B.C.,eventhoughthenextoldestallusiontohorsebackridingnowknownissomethreecenturieslater.Thefable reads:


Thehorse,afterhehadthrownoffhisrider,said:"Ifmyburdenisalwaystobethis,Ishallbecomeweak!"

Anotherproverbseemstorefertothesweatingofthehorse:
Yousweatlikeahorseitiswhatyouhavebeendrinking!

whichisessentiallyourcolloquialEnglishphrase"Hesweatslikeahorse." Thereisonlyoneextantproverbaboutthehybridmule,andthatproverb,interestinglyenough,actuallyalludestotheanimal'sparentage!Itreads:
Omule,willyoursirerecognizeyou,orwillyourdamrecognizeyou?

Thepig,interestinglyenoughwasfortheSumeriansoneofthemost"kosher"ofanimals,sincetheanimalmostfrequentlymentionedintheproverbsasbeing slaughteredforfoodisactuallythepig!Forexample:
Thefattedpigisabouttobeslaughtered,andsohesays:"ItwasthefoodwhichIate!"

Or:
Hewasattheendofhismeans(?),andsoheslaughteredhispig!

Or:
Theporkbutcherslaughtersthepig,saying:"Mustyousqueal?Thisistheroadwhichyoursireandyourgrandsiretraveled,andnowyouaregoingonittoo!(Andyet)youare squealing!"

AsyetnoSumerianfablesconcernedwiththemonkeyhavecometolight.Butwehaveoneproverb,andarelatedmockletterfromamonkeytohismother,and thesebothindicatethatthemonkeywasusedforentertainmentintheSumerianmusichalls,andthathewastreatedrathershabbily.Theproverbreads:

Page131 AllofEriduisprosperous,butthemonkeyoftheGreatMusicHallsitsinthegarbageheap!

Therelatedlettergoesasfollows:
ToLusalusa,my"mother,"speak! ThussaysMr.Monkey: "UristhedelightfulcityofthegodNanna, EriduistheprosperouscityofthegodEnki ButhereamI,sittingbehindthedoorsoftheGreatMusicHall, ImusteatgarbagemayInotdiefromit! Idon'tevengetatasteofbreadIdon'tevengetatasteofbeer. SendmeaspecialcourierUrgent!

Itwouldseem,therefore,thatamonkeybelongingtotheGreatMusicHallatEridu,theprosperouslakeportcityofsoutheasternSumer,wentunfedandwasforced toseekhisownfoodinthegarbageheapsofthecity.Forsomereason,thepooranimal'spredicamentbecameproverbialand,asseemsprobable,eventuallyoneof thescribeswithabentforsatireexpandedtheproverbintoamockletteraddressedtothemonkey's"mother,"whosenameLusalusamaypossiblybeintendedto mean"ApingMan."The''letter,"inviewofthefactthatatleastfourcopieshavecomedowntous,seemstohavebecomeaminorliteraryclassic,whiletheoriginal proverbitselffounditswayintooneoftheproverbcollections. CompilationsofproverbsandfablesconstituteonlyonecategoryofSumerianwisdomliterature.TheSumerianmenoflettersalsodevelopedthedidacticessay,which mayconsistofacollectionofpreceptsorinstructionssuchasthe"Farmer'sAlmanac"(Chapter11)ormaybedevotedtoadescriptionoflifeinschool(Chapter2). ButtherewasonetypeofwisdomcompositionthatwasaparticularfavoritewithSumerianwriters:thedisputation,abattleofwordsutilizingtherivalrymotif.It consistsprimarilyofadisputebetweentworivals,eachofwhommaypersonifyaseason,animal,plant,metal,stone,or,asinthehighlyabbreviatedBiblicalCain Abelstory,anoccupation.ThesubjectofthefirstliterarydebatesinhistoryisdiscussedinChapter18.

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Chapter18 Logomachy TheFirstLiteraryDebates


Sumerianteachersandmenofletterswerenotandindeedcouldnotbesystematicphilosophersandprofoundthinkers.Buttheywerekeenobserversofnature andtheimmediateworldaboutthem.Thelonglistsofplants,animals,metals,andstoneswhichtheprofessorscompiledforpedagogicpurposes(seeChapter1)imply acarefulstudyofatleastthemoreobviouscharacteristicsofnaturalsubstancesandlivingorganisms.Too,theSumerianforerunnersofourmoderncultural anthropologistsconsciouslysetaboutanalyzingcivilizationastheyknewit,anddivideditintomorethanonehundredinstitutions,occupations,crafts,attitudes,and modesofaction. Oneoftheobviousfeaturesintheworldaboutusisthenaturalclusteringintopairsofcertainseasons,animals,plants,metals,andimplementssomuchsothatthe merementionoftheoneimmediatelybringstheothertomind.IntheagriculturalmilieutypifiedbySumeriansociety,suchpairswere,forexample,summerandwinter, cattleandgrain,birdandfish,treeandreed,silverandbronze,pickaxandplow,shepherdandfarmer.Tosomedegreeandincertainrespects,eachofthepairwas theoppositeoftheothertheircommonfeaturewasthesignificantandusefulroletheyplayedinman'slife.Thequestionthatnaturallycomestomindis,Whichwas moreusefulforman?ThisparticularproblemofevaluationstruckasympatheticchordamongSumerianschoolmen,andthemorecreativeamongthemdeviseda literarygenredevotedespeciallytoitthedebateordisputation.Itsmajorcomponentistheargumentbet

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tweentwoprotagonists,whichgoesbackandforthseveraltimes,andinitscourseeachoftherivals"talksup"hisownimportanceand"talksdown"thatofhis opponent.Allthisiswritteninpoeticform,sincetheSumerianmenofletterswerethedirectheirsanddescendantsoftheilliterateminstrelsofmuchearlierdays,and poetrycametothemmorenaturallythanprose.Thecompositionwasroundedoutformallywithanappropriatemythologicalintroduction,whichusuallytoldofthe creationoftheprotagonists,andwithasuitableendinginwhichthedisputewassettledbythedecisionofoneormoreoftheleadingdeitiesoftheSumerianpantheon. Wenowhavethetext,whollyorinpart,ofsevensuchliterarydebates,butonlythreeofthesehavebeenmoreorlessadequatelystudiedtodate.Oneisthedebate betweencattleandgrainsketchedinconsiderabledetailinChapter14.Thesecondmaybetitled"SummerandWinter:EnlilChoosestheFarmerGod."Itisoneof thelongestofthegroup,andoncethetexthasbeenpiecedtogetherfromallavailablematerial,itwillprobablyprovetobeoneofthemostinformingfromthepointof viewofancientagriculturalpractice.Itscontentsmaybetentativelysketchedasfollows: Enlil,theairgod,hassethismindonbringingforthallsortsoftreesandgrain,andonestablishingabundanceandprosperityintheland.Forthispurpose,twocultural beings,thebrothersEmesh(Summer)andEnten(Winter)arecreated,andEnlilassignstoeachhisspecificduties.Thefollowinglinestellhowthesedutieswere executed:
Entenmadetheewegivebirthtothelamb,thegoatgivebirth tothekid, Cowandcalftomultiply,creamandmilktoincrease, Intheplainhemaderejoicetheheartofthewildgoat,sheep, anddonkey, Thebirdsofheaveninthewideearthhemadethemsetup theirnests, Thefishoftheseainthecanebrakehemadethemlaytheireggs, Inthepalmgroveandvineyardhemadehoneyandwineabound, Thetrees,whereverplanted,hecausedtobearfruit, Thegardenshedeckedoutingreen,madetheirplantsluxuriant, Madegrainincreaseinthefurrows,

Page134 LikeAshnan(thegraingoddess),thekindlymaid,hemadeit comeforthsturdily. Emeshbroughtintobeingthetreesandfields,madewidethestallsandthesheepfolds, Inthefarmshemultipliedproduce,bedeckedtheearth...., Causedtheabundantharvesttobebroughtintothehouses,thegranaries tobeheapedhigh, Citiesandhabitationstobefounded,housestobebuiltinthe land, Templestorisemountainhigh.

Theirmissionaccomplished,thetwobrothersdecidetogoto

11. Handcopyoftwoleftcolumnsofobverseoftextfor"SummerandWinter."

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Nippurtothe"houseoflife,"andbringthankofferingstotheirfatherEnlil.Emeshbringssundrywildanddomesticanimals,birds,andplantsashisgift,whileEnten choosespreciousmetalsandstones,trees,andfishashisoffering.Butrightatthedoorofthe"houseoflife,"thejealousEntenstartsaquarrelwithhisbrother.The argumentsgobackandforthbetweenthem,andfinallyEmeshchallengesEnten'sclaimtothepositionof"farmerofthegods.''AndsotheybetakethemselvestoEnlil's greattemple,theEkur,andeachstateshiscase.EntencomplainstoEnlil:

12. Handcopyoftworightcolumnsofobverseoftextfor"SummerandWinter."

Page136 "FatherEnlil,youhavegivenmechargeofthecanals,Ibrought thewaterofabundance, FarmImadetouchfarm,heapedhighthegranaries, Imadegrainincreaseinthefurrows, LikeAshnan,thekindlymaid,Imadeitcomeforthsturdily, NowEmesh,the....,whohasnounderstandingforfields, Hasjostledmy...armand..shoulder, Attheking'spalace...."

Emesh'sversionofthequarrel,whichbeginswithseveralflatteringphrasescunninglydirectedtowinEnlil'sfavor,isbriefbut(asyet)unintelligible.ThenEnlilanswers EmeshandEnten:
"ThelifeproducingwatersofallthelandsEntenisincharge ofthem, Farmerofthegodsheproduceseverything, Emesh,myson,howdoyoucompareyourselfwithyourbrother Enten!" TheexaltedwordofEnlil,withmeaningprofound, Whoseverdictisunalterablewhodarestransgressit! EmeshbentthekneebeforeEnten,offeredhimaprayer, Intohishousehebroughtnectar,wine,andbeer, Theysatethemselveswithheartcheeringnectar,wine,andbeer, EmeshpresentsEntenwithgold,silver,andlapislazuli, Inbrotherhoodandcompanionship,theypourjoyous libations.... InthedisputebetweenEmeshandEnten, Enten,thefaithfulfarmerofthegods,havingprovedhimself thevictoroverEmesh, ....FatherEnlil,praise!

Thethirdofthedisputationcompositionsmaybetitled,"TheWooingofInanna."Informalstructureitactuallydiffersfromtheothersofthisgenre.Itisbuiltupmore likeaplaylet,withanumberofcharacters,eachhavinghissayinhisproperplace,andthereisthereforenomythologicalintroduction.Moreover,themainbodyofthe poemdoesnottaketheformofanargument,butratherconsistsofalonguninterruptedspeechbyoneofthecharacters,who,feelingrejectedandfrustrated,is impelledtoenumeratehissuperiorqualities.Tobesure,atalatermomentthischaracteractuallygoeslookingforaquarrelwithhis

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rival,butthelatterprovestobeapeaceful,cautioustypewhowouldratherappeasethanfight. Therearefourcharactersinthispoem:thegoddessInannaherbrother,thesungodUtutheshepherdgodDumuziandthefarmergodEnkimdu.Itscontentsmay besummarizedasfollows:Afterabrief(butlargelyfragmentary)introduction,UtuaddresseshissisterandurgeshertobecomethewifeoftheshepherdDumuzi.


Herbrother,thehero,thewarrior,Utu SaystothepureInanna: "Omysister,lettheshepherdmarryyou, OmaidInanna,whyareyouunwilling? Hiscreamisgood,hismilkisgood, Theshepherd,everythinghishandtouchesisbright, OInanna,lettheshepherdDumuzimarryyou, Oyouwhoarebedeckedwithjewels,whyareyouunwilling? Hisgoodcreamhewilleatwithyou, Oprotectoroftheking,whyareyouunwilling?"

Inanna'sanswerisaflatrefusalsheisdeterminedtomarrythefarmerEnkimdu.
"Metheshepherdshallnotmarry, Inhisnewgarmentheshallnotdrapeme, Hisfinewoolshallnotcoverme, Me,themaid,thefarmershallmarry, Thefarmerwhomakesplantsgrowabundantly, Thefarmerwhomakesgraingrowabundantly..."

Afterseveralfragmentarylinesofuncertainmeaning,thetextcontinueswithalongaddressbytheshepherd,whichisproblemablydirectedtoInanna.Inithedetails hissuperiorqualitiesascomparedwiththefarmer.
"ThefarmermorethanI,thefarmermorethanI,thefarmer whathashemorethanI? Enkimdu,themanofdike,ditch,andplow, MorethanI,thefarmer,whathashemorethanI? Shouldhegivemehisblackgarment, Iwouldgivehim,thefarmer,myblackeweforit, Shouldhegivemehiswhitegarment,

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13. "Birdfish"and"Treereed."Unpublishedhandcopiesoffragments,inMuseumofAncientOrient,inscribedwithdebatesbetweenbirdandfish,andtreeandreed.

Page139 Iwouldgivehim,thefarmer,mywhiteeweforit, Shouldhepourmehisprimebeer, Iwouldpourhim,thefarmer,myyellowmilkforit, Shouldhepourmehisgoodbeer, Iwouldpourhim,thefarmer,mykisimmilkforit, Shouldhepourmehisseductivebeer, Iwouldpourhim,thefarmer,my..milkforit, Shouldhepourmehisdilutedbeer, Iwouldpourhim,thefarmer,myplantmilkforit, Shouldhegivemehisgoodportions, Iwouldgivehim,thefarmer,myitirdamllk, Shouldhegivemehisgoodbread, Iwouldgivehim,thefarmer,myhoneycheeseforit, Shouldhegivemehissmallbeans, Iwouldgivehim,thefarmer,mysmallcheesesforthem AfterIshallhaveeaten,shallhavedrunk, Iwouldleaveforhimtheextracream, Iwouldleaveforhimtheextramilk MorethanI,thefarmer,whathashemorethanI?"

Wethenfindtheshepherdrejoicingontheriverbank,perhapsbecausehisargumenthadconvincedInannaandinducedhertochangehermind.Therehemeets Enkimduandstartsaquarrelwithhim.
Herejoiced,herejoicedontheriverbankloam,herejoiced, Ontheriverbank,theshepherdontheriverbankrejoiced, Theshepherd,moreover,ledthesheepontheriverbank. Totheshepherdwalkingtoandfroontheriverbank, Tohimwhoisashepherd,thefarmerapproached, ThefarmerEnkimduapproached. Dumuzi...thefarmer,thekingofdikeandditch, Inhisplain,theshepherdinhisplainstartsaquarrelwithhim, TheshepherdDumuziinhisplainstartsaquarrelwithhim.

ButEnkimdurefusestoquarrel,andagreestoallowDumuzi'sflockstopastureanywhereinhisterritory.
"Iagainstyou,shepherd,againstyou,shepherd,Iagainstyou WhyshallIstrive? Letyoursheepeatthegrassoftheriverbank, Inmycultivatedlandsletyoursheepwalkabout, InthebrightfieldsofErechletthemeatgrain, LetyourkidsandlambsdrinkthewaterofmyUnun(canal)."

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Dumuzi,thusappeased,invitesthefarmertohisweddingasoneofhisfriends.
"Asformewhoamashepherd,atmymarriage, Farmer,mayyoubecountedasmyfriend, FarmerEnkimdu,asmyfriend,farmer,asmyfriend, Mayyoubecountedasmyfriend."

WhereuponEnkimduofferstobringhimandInannaseveralselectedfarmproductsasaweddinggift:
"Iwillbringyouwheat,Iwillbringyoubeans, Iwillbringyoulentils...., You,maid,whateveris..foryou, Maid,Inanna,Iwouldbringyou....."

Thepoetthenendsthecompositionwiththeseconventionalliterarynotations:
Inthedisputewhichtookplacebetweentheshepherdand thefarmer, OmaidInanna,yourpraiseisgood. Itisabalbale(poem).

ThereaderofthesepageshasnodoubtcaughtthefaintsoundsofmorethanoneBiblicalecho.Theprimevalsea,separationofheavenandearth,fashioningofman fromclay,ethics,lawsandlawcodes,sufferingandsubmission,CainAbellikedisputesallarereminiscent,atleasttosomesmallextent,ofOldTestamentthemes andmotifs.WenowturntoaSumerianpoemrevolvingaboutaparadisemyththatbringstomindseveralpassagesintheBookofGenesis.Tobesure,thisisadivine, notahuman,paradise.AndinitarenoAdamandEvetosuccumbtotemptation.ButthemythdoeshaveseveralmotifsparalleltotheBiblicalparadisestory,anditis barelypossiblethatitprovidesarathersurprisingexplanationfortheoriginandbackgroundofthe"rib"episode.

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Chapter19 Paradise TheFirstBiblicalParallels


ArchaeologicaldiscoveriesmadeinEgyptandintheNearEastinthepasthundredyearshaveopenedoureyestoaspiritualandculturalheritageundreamedofby earliergenerations.Whatwiththeunearthingofcivilizationsburieddeepindirtanddust,thedecipheringoflanguagesdeadformillenniums,andtherecoveryof literatureslonglostandforgotten,ourhistoricalhorizonhasbeenwidenedbyseveralmillenniums.Oneofthemajorachievementsofallthisarchaeologicalactivityin ''Biblelands"isthatabrightandrevealinglighthasbeenshedonthebackgroundandoriginoftheBibleitself.Wecannowseethatthisgreatestofliteraryclassicsdid notcomeuponthescenefullblown,likeanartificialflowerinavacuumitsrootsreachdeepintothedistantpastandspreadwideacrossthesurroundinglands.Both informandcontent,theBiblicalbooksbearnolittleresemblancetotheliteraturescreatedbyearliercivilizationsintheNearEast.Tosaythisisnottodetractinany wayfromthesignificanceoftheBiblicalwritings,orfromthegeniusoftheHebrewmenofletterswhocomposedthem.Indeed,onecanonlymarvelatwhathasbeen welltermed"theHebrewmiracle,"whichtransformedthestaticmotifsandconventionalizedpatternsoftheirpredecessorsintowhatisperhapsthemostvibrantand dynamicliterarycreationknowntoman. TheliteraturecreatedbytheSumeriansleftitsdeepimpressontheHebrews,andoneofthethrillingaspectsofreconstructingandtranslatingSumerianbelleslettres consistsintracingresemblancesandparallelsbetweenSumerianandBiblicalliterary

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motifs.Tobesure,theSumerianscouldnothaveinfluencedtheHebrewsdirectly,fortheyhadceasedtoexistlongbeforetheHebrewpeoplecameintoexistence. ButthereislittledoubtthattheSumerianshaddeeplyinfluencedtheCanaanites,whoprecededtheHebrewsinthelandthatlatercametobeknownasPalestine,and theirneighbors,suchastheAssyrians,Babylonians,Hittites,Hurrians,andArameans.AgoodillustrationofSumerianHebrewparallelsisprovidedbythemyth"Enki andNinhursag."Itstextwaspublishedin1915,butitscontentsremainedlargelyunintelligibleuntil1945,whenIpublishedadetailededitionofthetextas SupplementaryStudyNo.1oftheBulletinoftheAmericanSchoolsofOrientalResearch.Thepoemconsistsof278linesinscribedonasixcolumntabletnowin theUniversityMuseum,withasmallduplicateintheLouvreidentifiedbyEdwardChiera.Brieflysketched,theplotofthisSumerianparadisemyth,whichtreatsof godsratherthanhumans,runsthus: Dilmunisalandthatis"pure,""clean,"and"bright''a"landoftheliving,"whichknowsneithersicknessnordeath.Whatislacking,however,isthefreshwaterso essentialtoanimalandplantlife.ThegreatSumerianwatergodEnkithereforeordersUtu,thesungod,tofillitwithfreshwaterbroughtupfromtheearth.Dilmunis thusturnedintoadivinegarden,greenwithfruitladenfieldsandmeadows.InthisparadiseofthegodseightplantsaremadetosproutbyNinhursag,thegreat mothergoddessoftheSumerians(probablyoriginallyMotherEarth).Shesucceedsinbringingtheseplantsintobeingonlyafteranintricateprocessinvolvingthree generationsofgoddesses,allbegottenbythewatergodandbornsothepoemrepeatedlyunderlineswithouttheslightestpainortravail.Butperhapsbecause Enkiwantedtotastethem,hismessenger,thetwofacedgodIsimud,plucksthesepreciousplantsonebyone,andgivesthemtohismasterEnki,whoproceedstoeat themeachinturn.WhereupontheangeredNinhursagpronouncesuponhimthecurseofdeath.Evidentlytomakesurethatshewillnotchangehermindandrelent, shedisappearsfromamongthegods. Enki'shealthbeginstofaileightofhisorgansbecomesick.AsEnkiissinkingfast,thegreatgodssitinthedust.Enlil,the

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airgod,thekingoftheSumeriangods,seemsunabletocopewiththesituation.Thenthefoxspeaksup.Ifproperlyrewarded,hesaystoEnlil,hewillbringNinhursag back.Asgoodashisword,thefoxsucceedsinsomeway(therelevantpassageisunfortunatelydestroyed)inhavingthemothergoddessreturntothegodsandheal thedyingwatergod.Sheseatshimbyherside,andafterinquiringwhicheightorgansofhisbodyachehim,shebringsintoexistenceeightcorrespondinghealing deities,andEnkiisbroughtbacktolifeandhealth. HowdoesallthiscomparewiththeBiblicalparadisestory?First,thereissomereasontobelievethattheveryideaofadivineparadise,agardenofthegods,isof Sumerianorigin.TheSumerianparadisewaslocated,accordingtoourpoem,inthelandofDilmun,alandthatwasprobablysituatedinsouthwesternPersia.Itisin thissameDilmunthat,later,theBabylonians,theSemiticpeoplewhoconqueredtheSumerians,locatedtheir"landoftheliving,"thehomeoftheirimmortals.Thereis goodindicationthattheBiblicalparadise,whichisdescribedasagardenplantedeastwardinEden,fromwhosewatersflowthefourworldriversincludingtheTigris andEuphrates,mayhavebeenoriginallyidenticalwithDilmun,theSumerianparadiseland. Again,thepassageinourpoemdescribingthewateringofDilmunbythesungodwithfreshwaterbroughtupfromtheearth,issuggestiveoftheBiblical,"Butthere wentupamistfromtheearth,andwateredthewholefaceoftheground"(Genesis2:6).Thebirthofthegoddesseswithoutpainortravaililluminatesthebackground ofthecurseagainstEvethatitshallbeherlottoconceiveandbearchildreninsorrow.AndEnki'seatingoftheeightplantsandthecurseutteredagainsthimforthis misdeedcallstomindtheeatingofthefruitofthetreeofknowledgebyAdamandEve,andthecursepronouncedagainsteachofthemforthissinfulaction. ButperhapsthemostinterestingresultofourcomparativeanalysisistheexplanationprovidedbytheSumerianpoemforoneofthemostpuzzlingmotifsintheBiblical paradisestorythefamouspassagedescribingthefashioningofEve,"themotherofallliving,"fromtheribofAdam.Whyarib?Whydidthe

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Hebrewstorytellerfinditmorefittingtochoosearibratherthananyoftheotherorgansofthebodyforthefashioningofthewomanwhosename,Eve,accordingto theBiblicalnotion,meansapproximately"shewhomakeslive"?ThereasonbecomesclearifweassumethataSumerianliterarybackground,suchasthatrepresented bytheDilmunpoem,underliestheBiblicalparadisetale.IntheSumerianpoem,oneofEnki'ssickorgansistherib.TheSumerianwordfor"rib"isti(pronounced tee).ThegoddesscreatedforthehealingofEnki'sribiscalledNinti,"theladyoftherib."ButtheSumerianwordtialsomeans"tomakelive."ThenameNintimay thereforemean''theladywhomakeslive,''aswellas"theladyoftherib."InSumerianliterature,therefore,"theladyoftherib"cametobeidentifiedwith"thelady whomakeslive"throughwhatmaybetermedaplayonwords.Itwasthis,oneofthemostancientofliterarypuns,whichwascarriedoverandperpetuatedinthe Biblicalparadisestory,althoughhere,ofcourse,itlosesitsvalidity,sincetheHebrewwordfor"rib"andthatfor"whomakeslive"havenothingincommon. IcameuponthispossibleSumerianbackgroundfortheexplanationoftheBiblical"rib"storyquiteindependentlyin1945,butithadalreadybeensuggestedthirty yearsearlierbytheeminentFrenchcuneiformistPreScheil,astheAmericanOrientalistWilliamAlbright,whoeditedmypublication,pointedouttomewhich makesitallthemorelikelytobetrue. ToillustratethemoodandtemperoftheSumerianpoem,Ishallquoteseveralpertinentandcharacteristicextracts.ThusDilmun,asalandofimmortalitywherethere isneithersicknessnordeath,isdescribedinanobliquelyphrasedpassageasfollows:
InDilmuntheravenuttersnocry, Theittidubirduttersnotthecryoftheittidubird, Thelionkillsnot, Thewolfsnatchesnotthelamb, Unknownisthekiddevouringwilddog, Unknownisthegraindevouring.., Unknownisthewidow, Thebirdonhigh..snothis.., Thedovedroopsnotthehead,

Page145 Thesickeyedsaysnot"Iamsickeyed," Thesickheadedsaysnot"Iamsickheaded," Its(Dilmun's)oldwomansaysnot"Iamanoldwoman," Itsoldmansaysnot''Iamanoldman," Unbathedisthemaid,nosparklingwaterispouredinthecity, Whocrossestheriver(ofdeath?)uttersno.., Thewailingpriestswalknotroundabouthim, Thesingeruttersnowail, Bythesideofthecityheuttersnolament.

Thepassageconcernedwiththepainlessandeffortlessbirthofthegoddessesafteronlyninedays,insteadofninemonths,ofbearing,readsinpartasfollows:
ThegoddessNinmucameouttotheriverbank, Enkiinthemarshlandslooksabout,looksabout, HesaystohismessengerIsimud: "ShallInotkisstheyoungone,thefair? ShallInotkissNinmu,thefair?" HismessengerIsimudanswers: "Kisstheyoungone,thefair, KissNinmu,thefair, FormykingIshallblowupamightywind." Alonehesethisfootintheboat, Asecondtimehesetthere...., Heembracedher,hekissedher, Enkipouredtheseedintothewomb, Shetooktheseedintothewomb,theseedofEnki, Onedaybeingheronemonth, Twodaysbeinghertwomonths, Ninedaysbeingherninemonths,themonthsof"womanhood," Like..cream,like..cream,likegood,princelycream, Ninmu,like..cream,like..cream,likegood,princelycream, GavebirthtothegoddessNinkurra.

TheeatingoftheeightplantsistoldinapassagerevealingatypicalSumerianrepetitionpattern:
Enkiinthemarshlandslooksabout,looksabout, HesaystohismessengerIsimud: "OftheirplantstheirfateIwoulddecree,their'heart'I wouldknow What,pray,isthis(plant)?What,pray,isthis(plant)?"

Page146 HismessengerIsimudanswers: "Myking,thetreeplant,"hesaystohim Hecutsitdownforhim,he(Enki)eatsit. "Myking,thehoneyplant,"hesaystohim Heplucksitforhim,heeatsit. "Myking,theroadweed(?)plant,"hesaystohim Hecutsitdownforhim,heeatsit. "Myking,thewaterplant,"hesaystohim Heplucksitforhim,heeatsit. "Myking,thethornplant,"hesaystohim Hecutsitdownforhim,heeatsit. "Myking,thecaperplant,"hesaystohim Heplucksitforhim,heeatsit. "Myking,the..plant,"hesaystohim Hecutsitdownforhim,heeatsit. "Myking,thecassiaplant,"hesaystohim Heplucksitforhim,heeatsit. Oftheplants,Enkidecreedtheirfate,knew(?)theirheart. ThereuponNinhursagcursedthenameofEnki: "UntilheisdeadIshallnotlookuponhimwiththeeyeoflife."

Ninhursagnowdisappears,butthefoxinsomewaysucceedsinbringingherback.WhereuponsheproceedstohealEnki'seightsickorgans,includingtherib,through thebirthofeightdeities,thus:
NinhursagseatedEnkibyherpudendum, "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "My..hurtsme." ''TothegodAbuIhavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "Myjawhurtsme." "TothegodNintullaIhavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "Mytoothhurtsme." "TothegoddessNinsutuIhavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "Mymouthhurtsme."

Page147 "TothegoddessNinkasiIhavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "My..hurtsme." "TothegoddessNaziIhavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "Myarmhurtsme." "TothegoddessAzimuaIhavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "Myribhurtsme." "TothegoddessNinti(thatis,'ladyoftherib'or'ladywhomakeslive')Ihavegivenbirthforyou." "Mybrother,whathurtsyou?" "My..hurtsme." "TothegodEnshagIhavegivenbirthforyou."

Paradise,accordingtotheSumeriantheologians,wasfortheimmortalgods,andforthemalone,notformortalman.Onemortal,however,andonlyone,accordingto theSumerianmythmakers,didsucceedingainingadmittancetothisdivineparadise.ThisbringsustotheSumerian"Noah"andthedelugemyth,theclosestandmost strikingBiblicalparallelasyetuncoveredincuneiformliterature.

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Chapter20 AFlood TheFirst"Noah"


ThattheBiblicaldelugestoryisnotoriginalwiththeHebrewredactorsoftheBiblehasbeenknownfromthetimeofthediscoveryanddecipheringoftheeleventh tabletoftheBabylonian"EpicofGilgamesh"bytheBritishMuseum'sGeorgeSmith.TheBabyloniandelugemythitself,however,isofSumerianorigin.In1914Arno PoebelpublishedafragmentconsistingofthelowerthirdofasixcolumnSumeriantabletintheNippurcollectionoftheUniversityMuseum,thecontentsofwhichare devotedinlargeparttothestoryoftheflood.Thisfragmentstillremainsuniqueandunduplicated,andalthoughscholarshavebeen"alleyesandears"fornewdeluge tablets,notasingleadditionalfragmenthasturnedupinanymuseum,privatecollection,orexcavation.ThepiecepublishedbyPoebelisstillouronlysource,andthe translationpreparedbyhimisstillbasicandstandard. Thecontentsofthislonetabletarenoteworthynotonlyforthefloodepisode,althoughthatisitsmaintheme,butalsoforthepassagesprecedingandintroducingthe delugestory.Badlybrokenasthetextis,thesepassagesareneverthelessofsignificanceforSumeriancosmogonyandcosmology.Theyincludeanumberofrevealing statementsconcerningthecreationofman,theoriginofkingship,andtheexistenceofatleastfiveantediluviancities.Here,then,ispracticallytheentireextanttextof themythwithallitstantalizingobscuritiesanduncertainties.Itprovidesanaptexampleofwhatthecuneiformistisupagainst,andofthesurprisesthefutureholdsin storeforhim.

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Sinceitisthelowerthirdofthetabletthatispreserved,westartrightoffwithabreakofsome37lines,andthereisnowayofknowingjusthowthemythbegan.We thenfindadeityaddressingotherdeities,probablystatingthathewillsavemankindfromdestructionandthatasaresultmanwillbuildthecitiesandtemplesofthe gods.Followingtheaddressarethreelineswhicharedifficulttorelatetothecontexttheyseemtodescribetheactionsperformedbythedeitytomakehiswords effective.Thencomefourlinesconcernedwiththecreationofman,animals,andplants.Thisentirepassagereads:


"Mymankind,initsdestructionIwill.., ToNintuIwillreturnthe...ofmycreatures, Iwillreturnthepeopletotheirsettlements, Ofthecities,theywillbuildtheirplacesofthedivinelaws, Iwillmakerestfultheirshade, Ofourhouses,theywilllaytheirbricksinpureplaces, Theplacesofourdecisionstheywillfoundinpureplaces." Hedirectedthepurefirequenchingwater, Perfectedtheritesandtheexalteddivinelaws, Ontheearthhe...d,placedthe...there. AfterAn,Enlil,Enki,andNinhursag Hadfashionedtheblackheadedpeople, Vegetationluxuriatedfromtheearth, Animals,fourlegged(creatures)oftheplain,werebrought artfullyintoexistence.

Therefollowsanotherbreakofabout37lines,afterwhichwelearnthatkingshipwasloweredfromheavenandthatfivecitieswerefounded:
Afterthe...ofkingshiphadbeenloweredfromheaven, Aftertheexaltedtiaraandthethroneofkingshiphadbeen loweredfromheaven, Heperfectedtheritesandtheexalteddivinelaws...., Foundedthefivecitiesin...pureplaces, Calledtheirnames,apportionedthemascultcenters. Thefirstofthesecities,Eridu,hegavetoNudimmud,theleader, Thesecond,Badtibira,hegaveto.., Thethird,Larak,hegavetoEndurbilhursag,

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14. TheFlood,theArk,andtheSumerianNoah.ArnoPoebel'shandcopyof"flood"tablet,inUniversityMuseum,remainsonlydocumentofthismyth.

Page151 Thefourth,Sippar,hegavetotheheroUtu, Thefifth,Shuruppak,hegavetoSud. Whenhehadcalledthenamesofthesecities,apportionedthem ascultcenters, Hebrought...., Establishedthecleaningofthesmallriversas....."

Abreakofabout37linesfollowsnextthesemusthavedealtlargelywiththedecisionofthegodstobringthefloodanddestroymankind.Whenthetextbecomes intelligibleagain,wefindsomeofthegodsdissatisfiedandunhappyoverthecrueldecision.WearethenintroducedtoZiusudra,thecounterpartoftheBiblicalNoah. Heisdescribedasapious,godfearingking,whoisconstantlyonthelookoutfordivinerevelationsindreamsorincantations.Ziusudraseemstostationhimselfbya wall,wherehehearsthevoiceofadeityinforminghimofthedecisiontakenbytheassemblyofthegodstosendafloodand"todestroytheseedofmankind."The longestpassagereads:


Theflood.... .... Thuswastreated..... ThendidNintuweeplikea..., ThepureInannasetupalamentforitspeople, Enkitookcounselwithhimself, An,Enlil,Enki,andNinhursag...., ThegodsofheavenandearthutteredthenameofAnandEnlil. ThendidZiusudra,theking,thepashishuof...., Buildagiant.... Humbly,obedient,reverentlyhe...., Attendingdaily,constantlyhe...., Bringingforthallkindsofdreams,he...., Utteringthenameofheavenandearth,he..... ....thegodsawall...., Ziusudra,standingatitsside,listened. "Standbythewallatmyleftside...., BythewallIwillsayawordtoyou,takemyword, Giveeartomyinstructions: Byour..afloodwillsweepoverthecultcenters Todestroytheseedofmankind...., Isthedecision,thewordoftheassemblyofthegods.

Page152 BythewordcommandedbyAnandEnlil..... Itskingship,itsrule(willbeputtoanend)."

ThetextmusthavecontinuedwithdetailedinstructionstoZiusudratobuildagiantboatandthussavehimselffromdestruction.Butthisismissing,sincethereis anotherbreakofabout40linesatthispoint.Whenthetextbecomesintelligibleonceagain,wefindthatthefloodinallitsviolencehadalreadycomeuponthe"land" andragedthereforsevendaysandnights.ThenthesungodUtucomesforthagain,bringinghispreciouslighteverywhere,andZiusudraprostrateshimselfbeforehim andofferssacrifices.Thelinesread:


Allthewindstorms,exceedinglypowerful,attackedasone, Atthesametime,thefloodsweepsoverthecultcenters. After,forsevendaysandsevennights, Thefloodhadsweptovertheland, Andthehugeboathadbeentossedaboutbythewindstormson thegreatwaters, Utucameforth,whoshedslightonheavenandearth, Ziusudraopenedawindowonthehugeboat, TheheroUtubroughthisraysintothegiantboat. Ziusudra,theking, ProstratedhimselfbeforeUtu, Thekingkillsanox,slaughtersasheep.

Here,again,therefollowsabreakofabout39lines.ThelastextantlinesofourtextdescribethedeificationofZiusudra.AfterhehadprostratedhimselfbeforeAnand Enlil,hewasgiven"lifelikeagod"andbreatheternal,andtranslatedtoDilmun,"theplacewherethesunrises."Thus:
AnandEnliluttered"breathofheaven,""breathofearth,"by their..itstretcheditself, Vegetation,comingupoutoftheearth,risesup. Ziusudra,theking, ProstratedhimselfbeforeAnandEnlil. AnandEnlilcherishedZiusudra, Lifelikeagodtheygivehim: Breatheternallikeagodtheybringdownforhim.

Page153 Then,Ziusudratheking, Thepreserverofthenameofvegetationandoftheseedof mankind, Inthelandofcrossing,thelandofDilmun,theplacewherethe sunrises,theycausedtodwell.

Theremainderofthetablet,containingabout39linesofthetext,isdestroyed,andsoweknownothingofwhatmayhavehappenedtothetransfiguredZiusudrainthe homeoftheimmortals. FromParadisewenowturntoHades,fromthe"greatabove"tothe"greatbelow,"or,astheSumeriansthemselvesdescribedit,"thelandofnoreturn."Tothisdark, dreadlandofthedeadarestiveandunrulygoddessdescendstosatisfyherunboundedambitions.Thestoryofthis''descenttothenetherworld,"toldinChapter21, isoneofthebestpreservedSumerianmythsthusfaruncovered.ItprovidesarareparalleltooneofthemostsignificantNewTestamentmotifs.

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Chapter21 Hades TheFirstTaleofResurrection


TheSumerianwordfortheGreekHadesandtheHebrewSheolisKur,whichoriginallymeant''mountain"andlatercametomean"foreignland"becausethe mountainouscountriesborderingSumerwereaconstantmenacetoitspeople.Cosmicallyconsidered,Kuristheemptyspacebetweentheearth'scrustandthe primevalsea,andtoitwentalltheshadesofthedead.Toreachit,a''mandevouringriver"hadtobecrossedonaboatconductedbyaspecial"manoftheboat" theSumeriancounterpartoftheriverStyxandtheboatmanCharon. Thoughthenetherworldistheabodeofthedead,"life"inithasits"lively"side.Isaiah14:911,forexample,describesthestirringofSheolandtheshadesofformer kingsandchiefsattheapproachofakingtoBabylon.IntheUniversityMuseumthereisatabletpublishedbyStephenLangdonin1919,inscribedwithapoemwhich actuallydescribessomeoftheexperiencesofaSumeriankinginthenetherworld.Theextantpartofthetabletrunsasfollows: Afterhisdeath,thegreatkingUrNammucomestoKur.Hefirstpresentsgiftsandofferingstothesevenunderworlddeitiestoeachinhisownpalace.Hethen bringsgiftstotwootherdeities,oneofwhomisthescribeofthenetherworld,tomakesureoftheirsupport.Finallyhearrivesatthespecialspotwhichthepriestly officialsofKurhavepreparedashishabitation.

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Hereheisgreetedbycertainofthedeadandmadetofeelathome.ThedeadheroGilgamesh,whohasbecome"thejudgeofthenetherworld,"initiateshimintothe rulesandregulationsthatgoverntheinfernalregions.Butafter"sevendays,"after''tendays,"hadpassed,the"wailofSumer''reacheshim.ThewallsofUrwhichhe hadleftunfinished,hisnewlybuiltpalacewhichhehadleftunpurified,hiswifewhomhecouldnolongerpresstohisbosom,hischildwhomhecouldnolongerfondle onhiskneeallthesedisturbhispeaceinthenetherworld,andhesetsupalongandbitterlament. Theshadesofthedeadcouldonspecialoccasionsbe"raised"totheearthtemporarily.TheFirstBookofSamuel(Chapter28)tellsofthecallingupoftheshadeof theprophetfromSheolattheinsistenceofKingSaul.ThisisparalleledintheSumerianpoem"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld"(seeChapter23)whichtells oftheascentoftheshadeofEnkidufromKurtothewaitingembraceofhismasterGilgamesh,andreportstheensuingconversationbetweenthem. AlthoughKurmightbeassumedtohavebeenformortalsonly,quiteanumberofsupposedlyimmortaldeitieswerefoundthere.Weevenhavethemythsexplaining thepresenceofseveraldeitiesinthenetherworld. Accordingtothepoem"TheBegettingoftheMoonGod"(seeChapter14),Enlil,theleadingdeityoftheSumerianpantheon,isbanishedfromNippurtothenether worldbytheothergodsbecauseherapedthegoddessNinlil.Onthewayhebegetsthreeunderworlddeities(twoofthematleastarewellknownfromother sources).ButitisinthecaseoftheshepherdgodDumuzi,themostrenownedofthe"dead"gods,thatwecanfollowinconsiderabledetailtheeventsleadingtohis downfall,inamythwhichprimarilyconcernshiswife,thegoddessInanna,ahighfavoritewithSumerianmythmakers. Thegoddessoflove,whateverhernameamongancientpeoples,sparkedtheimaginationofmenthroughouttheages.VenustotheRomans,AphroditetotheGreeks, IshtartotheBabylonians,hadminstrelsandpoetssingingoftheirdeedsandmisdeeds.TheSumeriansworshipedthegoddessofloveunderthenameofInanna, "queenofheaven."Herhusbandwastheshepherdgod

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Dumuzi,theBiblicalTammuz,theweepingforwhosedeathwasdenouncedasanabominationbytheprophetEzekielaslateasthesecondhalfofthefirstmillennium B.C.HiswooingandwinningofInannaistoldintwoversions.One,involvingarival,thefarmergodEnkimdu,wassketchedinChapter18.Intheother,Dumuziis thesolesuitorforInanna'shand.Accordingtothisstory,theshepherdDumuzicomestoInanna'shouse,milkandcreamdrippingfromhishandsandsides,and clamorsforadmittance.Afterconsultationwithhermother,Inannabathesandanointsherself,putsonherqueenlyrobes,adornsherselfwithpreciousstones,and opensthedoorforhergroomtobe.Theyembraceandprobablycohabit,andhethencarriesherofftothe"cityofhisgod." LittledidDumuzidream,however,thatthemarriagewhichhesopassionatelydesiredwouldendinhisownperditionandthathewouldbedraggeddowntohell.He failedtoreckonwithawoman'soverwhelmingambition.Thisistoldin"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld,"amythnoteworthyforitsresurrectionmotif.Theplots runsasfollows: Thoughalreadymistressofheaven,the"GreatAbove,"ashernameindicates,Inannalongsforstillgreaterpowerandsetshergoaltoruletheinfernalregions,the "GreatBelow,"aswell.Shethereforedecidestodescendtothenetherworldtoseewhatcanbedone.Havingcollectedalltheappropriatedivinelawsandhaving adornedherselfwithherqueenlyrobesandjewels,sheisreadytoenterthe"landofnoreturn." Thequeenofthenetherworldisheroldersisterandbitterenemy,Ereshkigal,Sumeriangoddessofdeathandgloom.Fearing,notwithoutreason,lesthersisterput hertodeathinthedomainsherules,InannainstructshervizierNinshubur,whoisalwaysatherbeckandcall,thatifafterthreedaysshehasfailedtoreturn,heisto setupalamentforherbytheruins,intheassemblyhallofthegods.HeisthentogotoNippur,thecityofEnlil,theleadinggodoftheSumerianpantheon,andplead withhimtosaveherandnotletherbeputtodeathinthenetherworld.IfEnlilrefuses,NinshuburistogotoUr,thecityofthemoongodNanna,andrepeathisplea. IfNanna,too,refuses,heistogotoEridu,thecityofEnki,thegodofwisdom,

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who"knowsthefoodoflife,"who"knowsthewateroflife,"andhewillsurelycometoherrescue. InannathendescendstothenetherworldandapproachesEreshkigal'stempleoflapislazuli.Atthegatesheismetbythechiefgatekeeper,whodemandstoknow whosheisandwhyshehascome.Inannaconcoctsafalseexcuseforhervisit,andthegatekeeper,oninstructionsfromhismistress,leadsherthroughthesevengates ofthenetherworld.Asshepassesthroughonegateafteranother,hergarmentsandjewelsareremovedpiecebypieceinspiteofherprotests.Finally,afterentering thelastgate,sheisbroughtstarknakedandonbendedkneesbeforeEreshkigalandtheAnunnaki,thesevendreadedjudgesofthenetherworld.Theyfastenupon hertheireyesofdeath,andsheisturnedintoacorpse,whichisthenhungfromastake. Threedaysandthreenightspass.Onthefourthday,Ninshubur,seeingthathismistresshasnotreturned,proceedstomaketheroundsofthegodsinaccordancewith herinstructions.AsInannahadsurmised,bothEnlilandNannarefuseallhelp.Enki,however,devisesaplantorestorehertolife.Hefashionsthekurgarruandthe kalaturru,twosexlesscreatures,andentruststothemthe"foodoflife"andthe"wateroflife,"withinstructionstoproceedtothenetherworldandsprinklethis"food" and''water"onInanna'simpaledcorpse.Thistheydo,andInannarevives. ThoughInannaisonceagainalive,hertroublesarefarfromover,foritwasanunbrokenruleofthe"landofnoreturn"thatnoonewhoentereditsgatesmightreturn totheworldaboveunlessheproducedasubstitutetotakehisplaceinthenetherworld.Inannaisnoexceptiontotherule.Sheisindeedpermittedtoreascendtothe earth,butisaccompaniedbyanumberofheartlessdemonswithinstructionstobringherbacktothelowerregionsifshefailstoprovideanotherdeitytotakeher place.Surroundedbytheseghoulishconstables,InannafirstproceedstovisitthetwoSumeriancitiesUmmaandBadtibira.Theprotectinggodsofthesecities,Shara andLatarak,terrifiedatthesightoftheunearthlyarrivals,clothethemselvesinsackclothandgrovelinthedustbeforeInanna.Inannaseemstobegratifiedbytheir humility,andwhenthedemonsthreatentocarry

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themofftothenetherworldsherestrainsthedemonsandthussavesthelivesofthetwogods. Inannaandthedemons,continuingtheirjourney,arriveattheSumeriancityofKullab.TheguardiandeityofthiscityistheshepherdgodDumuzi,andsinceheisher husband,itisnotsurprisingtofindhimrefusingtowearsackclothandgrovelinthedustbeforehisspouse.Hedressesupinsteadinfestivearrayandsitsloftilyupon histhrone.Enraged,Inannalooksdownuponhimwith"theeyeofdeath"andhandshimovertotheeagerandunmercifuldemonstobecarriedofftothenetherworld. Dumuziturnspaleandweeps.HeliftshishandstotheskyandpleadswiththesungodUtu,whoisInanna'sbrotherandthereforehisownbrotherinlaw.Dumuzi begsUtutohelphimescapetheclutchesofthedemonsbychanginghishandintothehandofasnake,andhisfootintothefootofasnake. Here,unfortunately,rightinthemiddleofDumuzi'sprayertoUtu,ourtabletscometoanend.ButsinceDumuziiswellknownfromvarioussourcesasanunderworld deity,thelikelihoodisthathispleatoUtuwasnotheededandthathewasactuallycarriedofftothenetherworld. Hereisthemythinthewordsoftheancientpoethimself(anumberofrepetitiouspassagesareomitted):


Fromthe"greatabove"shesethermindtowardthe"great below," Thegoddess,fromthe"greatabove"shesethermindtowardthe "greatbelow," Inanna,fromthe''greatabove"shesethermindtowardthe ''greatbelow." Myladyabandonedheaven,abandonedearth, Tothenetherworldshedescended, Inannaabandonedheaven,abandonedearth, Tothenetherworldshedescended, Abandonedlordship,abandonedladyship, Tothenetherworldshedescended. Thesevendivinelawsshefastenedattheside, Gatheredallthedivinelaws,placedtheminherhand, Allthelawsshesetupatherwaitingfoot, Theshugurra,thecrownoftheplain,sheputuponherhead, Locksofhairshefixeduponherforehead,

Page159 Themeasuringrodandlineoflapislazulishegrippedinherhand, Smalllapislazulistonesshetiedaboutherneck, Twinnunuzstonesshefastenedtoherbreast, Agoldringshegrippedinherhand, Thebreastplate"Come,man,come"sheboundaboutherbreast, Withthepalagarmentofladyshipshecoveredherbody, Theointment"Lethimcome,lethimcome"shedaubedonher eyes. Inannawalkedtowardthenetherworld, HervizierNinshuburwalkedatherside, ThepureInannasaystoNinshubur: "Oyouwhoaremyconstantsupport, Myvizieroffavorablewords, Myknightoftruewords, Iamnowdescendingtothenetherworld. "WhenIshallhavecometothenetherworld, Setupalamentformeas(isdone)byruins, Intheassemblyshrinebeatthedrumforme, Inthehouseofthegodswanderaboutforme, Loweryoureyesforme,loweryourmouthforme,..., Likeapauperinasinglegarmentdressforme, TotheEkur,thehouseofEnlil,allalonedirectthystep. "UponenteringtheEkur,thehouseofEnlil, WeepbeforeEnlil: 'OfatherEnlil,letnotyourdaughterbeputtodeathinthe netherworld, Letnotyourgoodmetalbecoveredwiththedustofthe netherworld, Letnotyourgoodlapislazulibebrokenupintothestoneofthe stoneworker, Letnotyourboxwoodbecutupintothewoodofthe woodworker, LetnotthemaidInannabeputtodeathinthenetherworld.' IfEnlilstandsnotbyyouinthismatter,gotoUr. "InUruponenteringthe..houseoftheland, TheEkishnugal,thehouseofNanna, WeepbeforeNanna: 'OFatherNanna,letnotyourdaughter....'(Fivelines repeated.) IfNannastandsnotbyyouinthismatter,gotoEridu. "InEriduuponenteringthehouseofEnki, WeepbeforeEnki: 'OFatherEnki,letnotyourdaughter....'(Fivelines repeated.)

Page160 FatherEnki,thelordofwisdom, Whoknowsthe'foodoflife,'whoknowsthe'wateroflife,' Hewillsurelybringmebacktolife." Inannawalkedtowardthenetherworld, TohermessengerNinshuburshesays: "Go,Ninshubur, ThewordwhichIhavecommandedyoudonotneglect." WhenInannahadarrivedatthepalace,thelapislazulimountain, Atthedoorofthenetherworldsheactedboldly, Inthepalaceofthenetherworldshespokeboldly, "Openthehouse,gatekeeper,openthehouse, Openthehouse,Neti,openthehouse,allaloneIwouldenter." Neti,thechiefgatekeeperofthenetherworld, AnswersthepureInanna: "Who,pray,areyou?" "Iamthequeenofheaven,theplacewherethesunrises." "Ifyouarethequeenofheaven,theplacewherethesunrises, Why,pray,haveyoucometothelandofnoreturn? Ontheroadwhosetravelerreturnsnot,howhasyourheart ledyou?" ThepureInannaanswershim: "MyeldersisterEreshkigal, Becauseherhusband,thelordGugalanna,hadbeenkilled, Towitnessthefuneralrites, ....sobeit." Neti,thechiefgatekeeperofthenetherworld, AnswersthepureInanna: "Stay,Inanna,tomyqueenletmespeak, TomyqueenEreshkigalletmespeak,...letmespeak." Neti,thechiefgatekeeperofthenetherworld, EntersthehouseofhisqueenEreshkigalandsaystoher: "Omyqueen,itisamaidwholikeagod....,...., Thesevendivinelaws...."(Theentirethirdstanzais hererepeated.) ThenEreshkigalbitherthigh,wasfilledwithwrath, SaystoNeti,herchiefgatekeeper: "Come,Neti,chiefgatekeeperofthenetherworld, ThewordwhichIcommandyou,neglectnot. Ofthesevengatesofthenetherworld,lifttheirbolts,

Page161 OfitsonepalaceGanzir,the'face'ofthenetherworld,press openitsdoors. Uponherentering, Bowedlow,letherbebroughtnakedbeforeme." Neti,thechiefgatekeeperofthenetherworld, Heededthewordofhisqueen. Ofthesevengatesofthenetherworld,heliftedtheirbolts, OfitsonepalaceGanzir,the"face"ofthenetherworld,he pressedopenitsdoors. TothepureInannahesays: "Come,Inanna,enter." Uponherentering, Theshugurra,"thecrownoftheplain"ofherhead,wasremoved. "What,pray,isthis?" "Besilent,Inanna,thelawsofthenetherworldareperfect, O,Inanna,donotdeprecatetheritesofthenetherworld.'' Uponherenteringthesecondgate, Themeasuringrodandlineoflapislazuliwasremoved. "What,pray,isthis?" "Besilent,Inanna,thelawsofthenetherworldareperfect, OInanna,donotdeprecatetheritesofthenetherworld." Uponherenteringthethirdgate, Thesmalllapislazulistonesofherneckwereremoved. (Inanna'squestionandthegatekeeper'sanswerarerepeated here,andinthefollowingparallelpassages.) Uponherenteringthefourthgate, Thetwinnunuzstonesofherbreastwereremoved. Uponherenteringthefifthgate, Thegoldringofherhandwasremoved. Uponherenteringthesixthgate, Thebreastplate"Come,man,come"ofherbreastwasremoved. Uponherenteringtheseventhgate, Thepalagarmentofladyshipofherbodywasremoved. Bowedlow,shewasbroughtnakedbeforeher. ThepureEreshkigalseatedherselfuponherthrone, TheAnunnaki,thesevenjudges,pronouncedjudgmentbefore her, Shefastenedhereyeuponher,theeyeofdeath, Spokethewordagainsther,thewordofwrath, Utteredthecryagainsther,thecryofguilt,

Page162 Thesickwomanwasturnedintoacorpse, Thecorpsewashungfromanail. Afterthreedaysandthreenightshadpassed, HervizierNinshubur, Hervizieroffavorablewords, Herknightoftruewords, Setupalamentforheras(isdone)byruins, Beatthedrumforherintheassemblyshrine, Wanderedaboutforherinthehouseofthegods, Loweredhiseyesforher,loweredhismouthforher,...., Likeapauperinasinglegarmentdressedforher, TotheEkur,thehouseofEnlil,allalonehedirectedhisstep. UponhisenteringtheEkur,thehouseofEnlil, BeforeEnlilheweeps: "OfatherEnlil,letnotyourdaughterbeputtodeathinthe netherworld, Letnotyourgoodmetalbecoveredwiththedustofthenether world, Letnotyourgoodlapislazulibebrokenupintothestoneofthe stoneworker, Letnotyourboxwoodbecutupintothewoodofthewoodworker, LetnotthemaidInannabeputtodeathinthenetherworld." .... FatherEnlilstoodnotbyhiminthismatter,hewenttoUr. InUruponhisenteringthe..houseoftheland, TheEkishnugal,thehouseofNanna, BeforeNannaheweeps: "OFatherNanna,letnotyourdaughter...."(Fivelines repeated.) .... FatherNannastoodnotbyhiminthismatter,hewenttoEridu. InEriduuponhisenteringthehouseofEnki, BeforeEnkiheweeps: "OFatherEnki,letnotyourdaughter...."(Fivelines repeated.) FatherEnkianswersNinshubur: "Whatnowhashappenedtomydaughter!Iamtroubled, WhatnowhashappenedtoInanna!Iamtroubled, Whatnowhashappenedtothequeenofallthelands!Iam troubled, Whatnowhashappenedtothehieroduleofheaven!Iam troubled."

Page163 Hebroughtforthdirtfromhisfingernailandfashionedthe kurgarru, Hebroughtforthdirtfromtheredpaintedfingernailand fashionedthekalaturru, Tothekurgarruhegavethe'foodoflife,' Tothekalaturruhegavethe'wateroflife,' FatherEnkisaystothekalaturruandkurgarru: "....

OnlythelastpartofEnki'sspeechispreserved.Itreads:
"They(thenetherworldgods)willofferyouthewaterofthe river,donotacceptit, Theywillofferyouthegrainofthefield,donotacceptit, 'Giveusthecorpsehungfromthenail,'saytoher(Ereshkigal), Oneofyousprinkleuponherthe'foodoflife,'theotherthe 'wateroflife,' ThenwillInannaarise." ThekurgarruandkalaturrucarryoutEnki'sinstruction,butonlythelastpartofthispassageispreserved.Itreads: Theyofferthemthewateroftheriver,theyacceptitnot, Theyofferthemthegrainofthefield,theyacceptitnot, "Giveusthecorpsehungfromthenail,"theysaidtoher. ThepureEreshkigalanswersthekalaturruandkurgarru: "Thecorpse,itisyourqueen's." "Thecorpse,thoughitisourqueen's,givetous,"theysaidtoher. Theygivethemthecorpsehungfromthenail, Onesprinkleduponherthe"foodoflife,"theother,the "wateroflife." Inannaarose. Inannaisabouttoascendfromthenetherworld, TheAnunnakiseizedher(saying): "Whoofthosewhohavedescendedtothenetherworldever ascendsunharmedfromthenetherworld! IfInannawouldascendfromthenetherworld, Lethergivesomeoneashersubstitute." Inannaascendsfromthenetherworld, Thesmalldemonslikeshukurreeds,

Page164 Thelargedemonslikedubbanreeds, Heldontoherside. Whowasinfrontofher,thoughnotavizier,heldascepter inhishand, Whowasatherside,thoughnotaknight,hadaweapon fastenedabouttheloin. Theywhoaccompaniedher, TheywhoaccompaniedInanna, Werebeingswhoknownotfood,whoknownotwater, Eatnotsprinkledflour, Drinknotlibatedwater, Takeawaythewifefromtheman'slap, Takeawaythechildfromthenursemaid'sbreast.

InannaproceedstothetwoSumeriancitiesUmmaandBadtibira,whosetwodeitiesprostratethemselvesbeforeherandarethussavedfromtheclutchesofthe demons.ThenshearrivesatthecityKullab,whosetutelarydeityisDumuzi.Thepoemcontinues:
Dumuziputonanoblerobe,hesathighon(his)seat. Thedemonsseizedhimbyhisthighs...., Theseven(demons)rushathimasatthesideofasickman, Theshepherdsplaynotthefluteandpipebeforehim. She(Inanna)fastenedtheeyeuponhim,theeyeofdeath, Spokethewordagainsthim,thewordofwrath, Utteredthecryagainsthim,thecryofguilt: "Asforhim,carryhimoff." ThepureInannagavetheshepherdDumuziintotheirhands. Theywhoaccompaniedhim, TheywhoaccompaniedDumuzi, Werebeingswhoknownotfood,knownotwater, Eatnotsprinkledflour, Drinknotlibatedwater, Satenotwithpleasurethewife'slap, Kissnotthewellfedchildren, Takeawaytheman'ssonfromhisknee, Carryoffthedaughterinlawfromthehouseofthe fatherinlaw. Dumuziwept,hisfaceturnedgreen, Towardheavento(thesungod)Utuheliftedhishand: "OUtu,youaremywife'sbrother,Iamyoursister'shusband, Iamonewhobringscreamtoyourmother'shouse,

Page165 IamonewhobringsmilktoNingal'shouse, Turnmyhandintothehandofasnake, Turnmyfootintothefootofasnake, Letmeescapemydemons,letthemnotseizeme."

Thereconstructionandtranslationof"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld"hasbeenaslowandgradualprocess,inwhichanumberofscholarsplayedanactive role.Itbeganin1914,whenArnoPoebelfirstpublishedthreesmallpiecesbelongingtothismythintheUniversityMuseumatPhiladelphia.Inthesameyear,thelate StephenLangdonpublishedtwopieceswhichhehaduncoveredintheMuseumoftheAncientOrientatIstanbul.Oneofthesewastheupperhalfofalargefour columntabletwhichprovedtobeofmajorimportanceforthereconstructionofthetextofthemyth.EdwardChierauncoveredthreeadditionalpiecesinthe UniversityMuseum.ThesewerepublishedinhistwoposthumousvolumesconsistingofcopiesofSumerianliterarytexts.Ipreparedthesevolumesforpublicationfor theOrientalInstitutein1934. By1934wehadeightpieces,allmoreorlessfragmentary,dealingwiththemyth.Nevertheless,thecontentsremainedobscure,forthebreaksinthetabletswereso numerousandcameatsuchcrucialpointsinthestorythatanintelligentreconstructionoftheextantpartsofthemythremainedimpossible.Itwasafortunateand remarkablediscoveryofChiera'sthatsavedthesituation.HeidentifiedintheUniversityMuseumatPhiladelphiathelowerhalfofthesamefourcolumntabletwhose upperhalfhadbeenfoundandcopiedbyLangdonyearsbeforeintheMuseumoftheAncientOrientatIstanbul.Thetablethadevidentlybeenbrokenbeforeor duringtheexcavation,andthetwohalveshadbecomeseparated.OnehadbeenretainedinIstanbul,andtheotherhadcometoPhiladelphia.Chieradiedbeforehe wasinapositiontoutilizeitscontents. ItwasChiera'srecognitionofthelowerhalfofthe"Inanna'sDescent"tabletthatenabledmetopublishthefirsteditionofthemythin1937intheRevued' Assyriologie,for,whenthelowerwasjoinedtotheupperhalf,thecombinedtextfurnishedanexcellentframeworkinwhichalltheotherextantfragments

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couldbeproperlyarranged.Therewerestillnumerousgapsandbreaksinthetextwhichmadeitstranslationandinterpretationnoeasymatter,andthemeaningof severalsignificantpassagesinthestoryremainedobscure.In1937,whileworkingintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrientasaGuggenheimFellow,Iwas fortunateenoughtodiscoverinIstanbulthreeadditionalpiecesbelongingtothemyth,anduponreturningtotheUnitedStatesin1939Ilocatedanotherlargepiecein theUniversityMuseumatPhiladelphiaandyetanotherin1940.Thesefivefragmentshelpedtofillinsomeofthemostseriouslacunaeinthefirstreconstructionand translation,anditwasnowpossibletoprepareaconsiderablyfullereditionofthetext.ThisappearedintheProceedingsoftheAmericanPhilosophicalSocietyin 1942. Butmattersdidnotrestthere.Sometimeafterward,IwasprivilegedtoexamineandhelpidentifythehundredoddSumerianliterarytabletsintheYaleBabylonian Collection,whichcontainsoneofthemostimportanttabletcollectionsintheworld.Inthecourseofthiswork,Icameuponanexcellentlypreservedtablet,already identifiedbyEdwardChieraasearlyas1924inanotewhichhadescapedmyattention,inscribedwithninetytwolinesoftext.Thelastthirtylinescontainanentirely newpassagewhichcarriesonthestoryfromwhereithadbrokenoffinpreviouslyknowntexts. Thisnewmaterialturnedouttohaveanunexpectedsignificance.ItclearedupamisconceptionconcerningthegodDumuziwhichstudentsofMesopotamian mythologyandreligionhadheldformorethanhalfacentury.AlmosteversincetheSemiticversionofourmyth,commonlyknownas"Ishtar'sDescenttotheNether World,"wasfirstpublished,andlongbeforeitsSumeriancounterpartcametobeknowntoanyextent,ithadbeengenerallysupposedthatthegodDumuziwas carriedofftothenetherworld,forsomeunknownreason,beforeInanna'sdescent.IthadbeenassumedthatInannadescendedtothelowerregionsinordertofree herhusbandDumuziandbringhimbacktoearth.ThenewYaletext,however,provedtheseassumptionstobegroundless.InannadidnotsaveherhusbandDumuzi fromthenetherworld.Rather,itwasshewho,angeredbyhiscon

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temptuousattitude,actuallyhandedhimovertothedemonstobecarriedofftothelandofnoreturn.TheadditionoftheYaletablet(FerrisStephens,Curatorofthe YaleBabylonianCollection,preparedanexcellentcopy)madeitnecessarytopublishathirdeditionofthemyth.Thisuptodaterevision,whichincludesmany constructivesuggestionsbymySumerologicalcolleaguesAdamFalkenstein,BennoLandsberger,andThorkildJacobsen,waspublishedin1951inVolumeVofthe JournalofCuneiformStudies. Inthefirstpartofthepresentchapter,thewordKurwasexplainedasthecosmicspaceseparatingtheearth'scrustfromtheviolentprimevalsea(theBiblicalTehom) below.ButKuralsoseemstohavestoodforamonstrousdragonwhoheldTehom'sdestructivewatersincheck.Theslayingofdragonsbygodsandheroes,a favoritemotifinSumerianmythology,isdiscussedinChapter22.

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Chapter22 SlayingoftheDragon TheFirst''St.George"


Thedragonslayingmotifisahighfavoritewiththemythographersofalmostallpeoplesandages.InGreeceespecially,wheretalesinvolvinggodsandheroeswere legion,therewashardlyaherowhodidnotslayhisdragon.PerhapsHeraclesandPerseusarethebestknownoftheGreekkillersofmonsters.Withtheriseof Christianity,theheroicfeatwastransferredtothesaintswitnessthestoryofSt.GeorgeandtheDragon,anditsubiquitousparallels.Thenamesandthedetailsvary fromplacetoplaceandstorytostory.Butwhatistheoriginalsourceoftheincidents?SincethedragonslayingthemewasanimportantmotifintheSumerian mythologyofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,itisreasonabletoassumethatmanyathreadinthetextureoftheGreekandearlyChristiandragontaleswindsbackto Sumeriansources. AtpresentwehaveatleastthreeversionsofthedragonslayingmotifasitwascurrentinSumermorethanthirtyfivehundredyearsago.Intwooftheseversionsthe heroesaredeitiesthewatergodEnki,theclosestSumeriancounterpartoftheGreekPoseidon,andNinurta,thegodinchargeoftheSouthWind.Thethirdversion introducesamortaldragonkillertheheroGilgameshwhomaywellbetheoriginal"St.George." InthemythinvolvingEnki,itisthemonsterKurwhoseemstobethevillainofthepiece.Thestruggleprobablytookplacenotlongaftertheseparationofheavenand earth,and(ifthefragmentarylinesarecorrectlyinterpreted)Kur'swrongdoingconsistedintheabductingofaskygoddess,whichcallstomind

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theGreekstoryoftherapeofPersephone.Unfortunatelywehaveonlyadozenlaconiclinesfromwhichtoreconstructthestory,fornoneofthetabletsonwhichthe detailsofthemythwereinscribedhaveasyetbeenexcavated.Thestoryistoldinabriefpassagewhichispartoftheprologuetotheepictale"Gilgamesh,Enkidu, andtheNetherWorld."Thepassagecomesimmediatelyafterthe"creation"lines.Thecontentsareasfollows: Afterheavenandearthhadbeenseparated,An,theheavengod,carriedoffheaven,whileEnlil,theairgod,carriedofftheearth.Itwasthenthatthefouldeedwas committed.ThegoddessEreshkigalwasprobablycarriedoffviolentlyastheprizeoftheKur(itisnotstatedwhocommittedthedeed,butitisnotunlikelythatitwas theKuritself).ThereuponEnkisetoutinaboattotheKur.HispurposeisnotstatedbutitwasprobablytoavengetheabductionofthegoddessEreshkigal.TheKur foughtsavagelywithallkindsofstones,anditattackedEnki'sboat,frontandrear,withtheprimevalwaterswhichitcontrolled.Herethebriefprologuepassageends, sincetheauthorof"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld"wasnotinterestedinthedragonstoryprimarily,butwasanxioustoproceedwithhisGilgameshtale. Andsoweareleftinthedarkconcerningtheoutcomeofthebattle.Thereislittledoubt,however,thatEnkiwasvictorious.Anditisnotunlikelythatthemythwas inventedforthepurposeofexplainingwhy,inhistoricaltimes,Enki,liketheGreekPoseidon,wasconceivedasaseagodandwhyhistempleinEriduwasdesignated astheAbzu,aSumerianwordfor"sea." Here,infull,istheprologuepassagefromwhichthisparticulardragonslayingmythisadduced:
AfterAnhadcarriedofftheheaven, AfterEnlilhadcarriedofftheearth, AfterEreshkigalhadbeencarriedofftoKurasitsprize, Afterhehadsetsail,afterhehadsetsail, AfterthefatherhadsetsailagainstKur, AfterEnkihadsetsailagainstKur, Againsttheking,thesmallonesit(Kur)hurled AgainstEnki,thelargeonesithurled.

Page170 Itssmallones,stonesofthehand, Itslargeones,stonesof"dancing"reeds, ThekeeloftheboatofEnki Inbattle,liketheattackingstorm,overwhelm. Againsttheking,thewaterattheheadoftheboat Likeawolfdevours, AgainstEnki,thewaterattherearoftheboat Likealionstrikesdown.

Thesecondversionofthedragonslayingmotifformspartofapoemofmorethansixhundredlines,whichmaybetitled"TheDeedsandExploitsoftheGod Ninurta."Itscontentsarereconstructedfromseveralscoresoftabletsandfragments,manyofwhicharestillunpublished. ThevillainofthepieceisnotKurbutAsag,thedemonofsicknessanddisease,whoseabodeisintheKurthatis,thenetherworld.TheheroisNinurta,thegodof theSouthWind,whowasregardedasthesonofEnlil,theairgod.Followingahymnalintroduction,thepoembeginsthestorywithanaddresstoNinurtabySharur, hispersonifiedweapon.ForsomeunstatedreasontheSharurhassethismindagainsttheAsagdemon,andthereforehisaddressisfullofphrasesextollingtheheroic qualitiesanddeedsofNinurta,whomheurgestoattackanddestroythemonster.Ninurtasetsouttodoasbidden.Atfirstheseemstohavemetmorethanhismatch, andhe"fleeslikeabird."However,theSharuraddresseshimonceagainwithreassuringwords.NinurtanowattackstheAsagfiercelywithalltheweaponsathis command,andthedemonisdestroyed. WiththedestructionoftheAsag,aseriouscalamityovertakesSumer.TheprimevalwatersoftheKurrisetothesurface,andasaresultoftheirviolencenofresh waterscanreachthefieldsandgardens.ThegodsofSumerwho"carrieditspickaxandbasket"thatis,whohadchargeofirrigatingSumerandpreparingitfor cultivationaredesperate.TheTigrisdoesnotriseithasno"good"waterinitschannel.
Faminewassevere,nothingwasproduced, Atthesmallrivers,therewasno"washingofthehands," Thewatersrosenothigh.

Page171 Thefieldswerenotwatered, Therewasnodiggingof(irrigation)ditches. Inallthelandstherewasnovegetation, Onlyweedsgrew. Thereuponthelordputhisloftymindtoit. Ninurta,thesonofEnlil,broughtgreatthingsintobeing.

NinurtasetsupstonesovertheKur,heapingthemlikeagreatwallinfrontofSumer.Thesestonesholdbackthe''mightywaters,"andasaresultthewatersofthe Kurnolongerriseto(thesurfaceofthe)earth.Asforthewaterswhichhavealreadyfloodedtheland,NinurtagathersthemandleadsthemintotheTigris,whichis nowinapositiontowaterthefieldswithitsoverflow.Inthelanguageofthepoet:


Whathadbeenscattered,hegathered, WhatoftheKurhadbeenscattered, HeguidedandhurledintotheTigris, Thehighwatersitpoursoverthefields. Behold,now,everythingonearth, RejoicedafaratNinurta,thekingoftheland. Thefieldsproducedabundantgrain, Thevineyardandorchardboretheirfruit, (Theharvest)washeapedupingranariesandhills, TheLordmademourningtodisappearfromtheland, Hemadehappythespiritofthegods.

Hearingofherson'sgreatandheroicdeeds,hismother,Ninmah,isfilledwithcompassionforhimshebecomessorestlessthatsheisunabletosleepinher bedchamber.ShethereforeaddressesNinurtafromafarwithaprayerforpermissiontovisithimandgazeuponhim.Helooksatherwiththe"eyeoflife,"saying:
"Olady,becauseyouwouldcometotheKur, ONinmah,becauseformysakeyouwouldentertheinimicalland, Becauseyouhavenofearoftheterrorofthebattle surroundingme, Therefore,ofthehillwhichI,thehero,haveheapedup, LetitsnamebeHursag(Mountain)andyoubeitsqueen."

NinurtathenblessestheHursagthatitmayproduceallkinds

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ofherbswineandhoneyvariouskindsoftreesgold,silver,andbronzecattle,sheep,andall"fourleggedcreatures."Followingthisblessing,heturnstothestones, cursingthosewhichhadbeenhisenemiesinhisbattlewiththeAsagdemon,andblessingthosewhichhadbeenhisfriends.Thispassage,instyleandtone,bringsto mindtheblessingandcursingofJacob'ssonsintheBookofGenesis.ThepoemthencloseswithalonghymnalpassageinexaltationofNinurta. Inthethirdversionofthedragonslayingtales,aman,notagod,istheprotagonist.HeisGilgamesh,themostrenownedofallSumerianheroes.Themonsterwhom hekillsisHuwawa,theguardianofthe"LandoftheLiving,"particularlyitsholycedars.ThestoryistoldinapoemwhichIhavetitled"GilgameshandtheLandofthe Living,"piecedtogetherfromfourteentabletsandfragments,andlastpublishedin1950inAncientNearEasternTexts(editedbyJamesPritchard).Asyetonlythe first174linesofthepoemhavebeenrecovered.Evenso,thepoemisrecognizableasaliterarycreationwhichmusthavehadaprofoundemotionalandaesthetic appealtoitshighlycredulousSumerianaudience.Itsmotivatingtheme,man'sanxietyaboutdeathanditssublimationinthenotionofanimmortalname,hasauniversal significancethatlendsithighpoeticvalue.Itsplotstructurerevealsacarefulandimaginativeselectionofsuchdetailsasareessentialtoitspredominantlypoignant mood.Stylistically,thepoetobtainsafittingrhythmiceffectbyhisskillfuluseofvariedpatternsofrepetitionandparallelism.Allinall,thispoemisoneofthefinest Sumerianliteraryworksasyetuncovered.Itscontentsmaybesummarizedasfollows: The"lord"Gilgamesh,realizingthat,likeallmortals,hemustdiesoonerorlater,isdeterminedatleastto"raiseupaname"forhimselfbeforehemeetshisdestined end.Hethereforesetshisheartonjourneyingtothefardistant"LandoftheLiving,"withtheprobableintentionoffellingitscedarsandbringingthemtoErech.He informshisloyalservantandconstantcompanion,Enkidu,ofhisproposedundertaking.EnkiduadviseshimfirsttoacquaintthesungodUtuwithhisplan,foritisUtu whohaschargeofthecedarland. Actingonthisadvice,GilgameshbringsofferingstoUtuand

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15.&16. TheDeedsandExploitsofNinurta.Handcopiesofthreepieces,inMuseumofAncientOrient,inscribedwithpartofSumeriandragonslayingmyth.

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pleadsforhissupportofthecontemplatedjourneytothe"LandoftheLiving."AtfirstUtuseemsskepticalofGilgamesh'squalifications,butGilgameshrepeatshisplea inmorepersuasivelanguage.Ututakespityonhimanddecidestohelphimprobablybyimmobilizingthesevenviciousdemonspersonifyingthedestructiveweather phenomenathatmightmenaceGilgameshinhisjourneyacrossthemountainsbetweenErechandthe"LandoftheLiving."Overjoyed,Gilgameshgathersfifty volunteersfromErechunattachedmenwhohaveneither"house"nor"mother''andwhoarereadytofollowhiminwhateverhedoes.Afterhehashadweaponsof bronzeandwoodpreparedforhimselfandhiscompanions,theycrossthesevenmountainswiththehelpofUtu. Justwhathappensimmediatelyafterthecrossingofthelastofthesevenmountainsisnotclear,sincetherelevantpassageispoorlypreserved.Whenthetextbecomes intelligibleagain,wefindthatGilgameshhasfallenintoaheavysleepfromwhichheisawakenedonlyafterconsiderabletimeandeffort.Thoroughlyarousedbythis delay,heswearsbyhismotherNinsunandhis

17. GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving.HandcopyoftwounpublishedNippurfragmentsinMuseumofAncientOrient.

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fatherLugalbandathathewillenterthe"LandoftheLiving"andwillbrooknointerferencefromeithermanorgod.Enkidupleadswithhimtoturnback,forthe guardianofthecedarsisthefearfulmonsterHuwawa,whosedestructiveattacknonemaywithstand.ButGilgameshwillhavenoneofthiscaution.Convincedthatwith Enkidu'shelpnoharmcanbefalleitherofthem,hebidshisservanttoputawayfearandgoforwardwithhim. ThemonsterHuwawa,spyingthemfromhiscedarhouse,makesfranticbutapparentlyvaineffortstodriveoffGilgameshandhisadventurousband.Followinga breakofsomelines,welearnthatGilgamesh,aftercuttingdownseventrees,hasprobablycometoHuwawa'sinnerchamber.Strangelyenough,attheveryfirst,and seeminglyverylight,attackbyGilgamesh,Hu

18. GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving.HandcopyofobverseofunpublishedfourcolumnNippurtablet,inMuseumofAncientOrient,inscribedwithavariantversionofdragon slayingmotif.

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wawaisovercomewithfright.HeuttersaprayertothesungodUtu,andadjuresGilgameshnottokillhim.Gilgameshwouldliketoactthegenerousvictor,and,in riddlelikephrases,suggeststoEnkiduthatHuwawabesetfree.ButEnkiduisfearfuloftheconsequencesandadvisesagainstsuchunwiseaction.Following Huwawa'sindignantcriticismofEnkidu'sungenerousattitude,ourtwoheroescutoffHuwawa'sneck.TheythenseemtobringhiscorpsebeforeEnlilandNinlil.But whatfollowsisaltogetheruncertain,forafterseveralfragmentarylines,theavailablematerialcomestoanend. Hereistheliteraltranslationofthemoreintelligibleportionsofthepoem:


Thelord,towardtheLandoftheLivingsethismind, Thelord,Gilgamesh,towardtheLandoftheLivingsethismind, HesaystohisservantEnkidu: "OEnkidu,not(yet)havebrickandstampbroughtforththe fatedend, Iwouldenterthe'land,'Iwouldsetupmyname, Initsplaceswherethenameshavebeenraisedup,Iwouldraise upmyname, Initsplaceswherethenameshavenotbeenraisedup,Iwould raiseupthenamesofthegods." HisservantEnkiduanswershim: "Omymaster,ifyouwouldenterthe'land,'informUtu, InformUtu,theheroUtu The'land,'itisUtu'scharge, Thelandofthecutdowncedar,itistheheroUtu'scharge informUtu." Gilgameshlaidhishandsonanallwhitekid, Abrownkid,anoffering,hepressedtohisbreast, Inhishandheplacedthesilverstaffofhis..., HesaystoUtuofheaven: "OUtu,Iwouldenterthe'land,'bemyally, Iwouldenterthelandofthecutdowncedar,bemyally." Utuofheavenanswershim: "Trueyouare...,butwhatareyoutothe'land'?" "OUtu,awordIwouldspeaktoyou,tomywordyourear, Iwouldhaveitreachyou,giveeartoit. Inmycitymandies,oppressedistheheart, Manperishes,heavyistheheart,

Page177 Ipeeredoverthewall, Sawthedeadbodies...floatingintheriver Asforme,Itoowillbeservedthusverily'tisso. Man,thetallest,cannotreachtoheaven, Man,thewidest,cannotcovertheearth. Not(yet)havebrickandstampbroughtforththefatedend, Iwouldenterthe'land,'Iwouldsetupmyname, Initsplaceswherethenameshavebeenraisedup,Iwouldraise upmyname, Initsplaceswherethenameshavenotbeenraisedup,Iwould raiseupthenamesofthegods." Utuacceptedhistearsasanoffering, Likeamanofmercy,heshowedhimmercy, Thesevenheroes,thesonsofonemother,...., Hebringsintothemountaincaves. Whofelledthecedar,actedjoyfully, ThelordGilgameshactedjoyfully, Inhiscity,asoneman,he...., Astwocompanions,he...., "Whohasahouse,tohishouse!Whohasamother,tohis mother! LetsinglemaleswhowoulddoasI(do),fifty,standatmyside." Whohadahouse,tohishousewhohadamother,tohismother, Singlemaleswhowoulddoashe(did),fifty,stoodathisside. Tothehouseofthesmithshedirectedhisstep, The..,the..ax,his"MightofHeroism"hecausedtobecast there. Tothe..gardenoftheplainhedirectedhisstep, The..tree,thewillow,theappletree,theboxtree,the..tree hefelledthere. The"sons"ofhiscitywhoaccompaniedhimplacedthemin theirhands.

Thenextfifteenlinesarefragmentary,butwelearnthatGilgamesh,aftercrossingthesevenmountains,hasfallenasleep,andsomeoneiswakinghim,thus:
Hetoucheshim,herisesnot, Hespeakstohim,heanswersnot. "Whoarelying,whoarelying, OGilgamesh,lord,sonofKullab,howlongwillyoulie? The'land'hasbecomedark,theshadowshavespreadoverit, Duskhasbroughtforthitslight,

Page178 Utuhasgonewithliftedheadtothebosomofhismother,Ningal, OGilgamesh,howlongwillyoulie? Letnotthesonsofyourcitywhohaveaccompaniedyou, Standwaitingforyouatthefootofthemountain, Letnotyourmotherwhogavebirthtoyoubedrivenofftothe 'square'ofthecity.'' Hegaveheed, Withhis"wordofheroism"hecoveredhimselflikeagarment, Hisgarmentofthirtyshekelswhichhecarriedinhishandhe wrappedabouthisbreast, Likeabullhestoodonthe"greatearth," Heputhismouthtotheground,histeethshook. ''BythelifeofNinsun,mymotherwhogavebirthtome,ofpure Lugalbanda,myfather, MayIbecomeasonewhositstobewonderedatonthekneeof Ninsun,mymotherwhogavebirthtome." Asecondtimemoreoverhesaystohim: "BythelifeofNinsun,mymotherwhogavebirthtome, ofpureLugalbanda,myfather, UntilIwillhavekilledthat'man,'ifhebeaman,untilIwill havekilledhim,ifhebeagod, Mystepdirectedtothe'land,'Ishallnotdirecttothecity." Thefaithfulservantpleaded,..dlife, Heanswershismaster: "Omymaster,youwhohavenotseenthat'man,'arenot terrorstricken, Iwhohaveseenthat'man'amterrorstricken. Thewarrior,histeetharetheteethofadragon, Hisfaceisthefaceofalion, His..istheonrushingfloodwater, Fromhisforeheadwhichdevourstreesandreeds,noneescape. Omymaster,journeyyoutothe'land,'Iwilljourneytothecity, Iwilltellyourmotherofyourglory,lethershout, Iwilltellherofyourensuingdeath,lethershedbittertears." "Formeanotherwillnotdie,theloadedboatwillnotsink, Thethreeplyclothwillnotbecut, The...willnotbeoverwhelmed, Houseandhut,firewillnotdestroy. Doyouhelpme(and)Iwillhelpyou,whatcanhappen tous?.... Come,letusgoforward,wewillcasteyesuponhim, Ifwegoforward, (And)therebefear,therebefear,turnitback, Therebeterror,therebeterror,turnitback, Inyour...,come,letusgoforward."

Page179 Whentheyhadnotyetcomewithinadistanceof1200feet, Huwawa..dhiscedarhouse, Fastenedhiseyeuponhim,theeyeofdeath, Noddedhisheadtohim,shookhisheadathim,.... He(Gilgamesh)himselfuprootedthefirsttree, The"sons"ofhiscitywhoaccompaniedhim Cutdownitscrown,bundleit, Layitatthefootofthemountain. Afterhehimselfhadfinishedofftheseventh,heapproached hischamber, Turneduponthe"snakeofthewinequay"inhiswall, Likeonepressingakissheslappedhischeek. Huwawa,(his)teethshook,...hishandtrembled, "Iwouldsayawordtoyou..., (OUtu),amotherwhogavebirthtomeIknownot,afather whorearedmeIknownot, Inthe'land'yougavebirthtome,youraisedme." HeadjuredGilgameshbythelifeofheaven,lifeofearth,life ofthenetherworld, Tookhimbythehand,broughthimto.... ThendidtheheartofGilgameshtakepityonthe..., HesaystohisservantEnkidu: "OEnkidu,letthecaughtbirdgo(back)toitsplace, Letthecaughtmanreturntothebosomofhismother." EnkiduanswersGilgamesh: "Thetallestwhohasnotjudgment, Namtar(demonofdeath)willdevour,Namtarwhoknowsno distinctions. Ifthecaughtbirdgoes(back)toitsplace, Ifthecaughtmanreturnstothebosomofhismother, Youwillnotreturntothecityofthemotherwhogavebirth toyou." HuwawasaystoEnkidu: "Againstme,OEnkidu,youhavespokeneviltohim, Ohiredman....youhavespokeneviltohim." Whenhehadthusspoken, Theycutoffhisneck Placeduponhim...., BroughthimbeforeEnlilandNinlil....

GilgameshisthemostcelebratedofallSumerianheroesandafavoritewithancientpoetsandminstrels.However,modern

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OrientalistsfirstcametoknowofhimandhisheroicexploitsnotfromSumerianbutfromSemiticsources.HeistheprotagonistintheBabylonianepicnowgenerally admittedtobethemostsignificantliterarycreationofthewholeofancientMesopotamia.ButacomparativeanalysisofthisBabylonianepicanditsSumerian forerunnersshowsthattheBabylonianauthorsandredactorsutilized,modified,andmoldedSumerianepicsfortheirownpurposes.InChapter23aneffortismadeto distinguishtheSumerianwarpfromtheSemiticwoof.

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Chapter23 TalesofGilgamesh TheFirstCaseofLiteraryBorrowing


GeorgeSmith,anEnglishmanwhohadbeenstudyingthethousandsofclaytabletsandfragmentsbroughttotheBritishMuseumfromthemoundscoveringancient Nineveh,readapaper,onDecember3,1862,beforethethenrecentlyorganizedSocietyofBiblicalArchaeology.HispaperprovedtobeamilestoneforBiblical studies,particularlyintheircomparativeaspects. InthispaperSmithannouncedthat,ononeoftheclaytabletsdugupfromthelongburiedlibraryofKingAshurbanipal,whoreignedintheseventhcenturyB.C.,he haddiscoveredanddecipheredaversionofthedelugemythwhichshowedmarkedresemblancestothefloodstoryintheBookofGenesis.Theannouncement causednosmallsensationinscholarlycirclesandevenarousedtheenthusiasmofthegeneralpublictheworldover.TheDailyTelegraph,aLondonnewspaperofthe period,immediatelyvolunteeredfundsforanewexpeditiontoNineveh.GeorgeSmithhimselfundertooktheexcavations,buthishealthandtemperamentwere unsuitedtotheNearEast.Hediedinthefieldattheearlyageofthirtysix. NotlongafterhehadannouncedthediscoveryoftheBabylonianfloodstory,Smithrealized,onfurtherstudyofthetabletsandfragmentsfromtheAshurbanipal library,thatthisdelugemythformedbutasmallpartofalongpoem,andthattheancientBabyloniansthemselvesreferredtoitasthe"Gilgamesh

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Cycle."Accordingtotheancientscribes,itconsistedoftwelvesongsorcantosofaboutthreehundredlineseach.Eachcantowasinscribedonaseparatetabletinthe Ashurbanipallibrary.Thedelugestoryformedthemajorpartoftheeleventhtablet. SincethedaysofGeorgeSmith,numerousnewpiecesofthisSemitic"GilgameshCycle,"or"EpicofGilgamesh"asitisnowgenerallycalled,havebeenexcavatedin Iraq.SomeofthesewereinscribedintheOldBabylonianperiodthatis,asearlyastheseventeenthoreighteenthcenturyB.C.Ancienttranslationsofpartsofthe poemintoHurrian,aswellastheIndoEuropeanHittitelanguage,havebeenfoundonclaytabletsexcavatedinAsiaMinor,fromthesecondhalfofthesecond millenniumB.C.ItisthusevidentthattheBabylonian''EpicofGilgamesh"wasstudied,translated,andimitatedinancienttimesallovertheNearEast.Todayabout halfofitsapproximately3,500linesoftexthavebeenrecovered.Asuperbeditionofpracticallyalltheavailablematerialwaspublishedin1930byanother Englishman,thelatearchaeologistandhumanistR.CampbellThompson.SincethentwonewandmoreuptodateEnglishtranslationshaveappeared:Alexander Heidel'sTheGilgameshEpicandOldTestamentParallelsandEphraimSpeiser'sinAncientNearEasternTexts(editedbyJamesPritchard). Thereisgoodreasonforthispopularity,bothancientandmodern,for,fromthepointofviewofhumaninterestanddramaticimpact,the"EpicofGilgamesh"isunique inBabylonianliterature.InmostBabylonianliteraryworks,itisthegodswhoholdthecenterofthestagegodswhotendtorepresentabstractionsratherthan personalities,personifiedintellectualizationsratherthanprofoundspiritualforces.EveninBabyloniantaleswheretheprotagonistsseemtobemortalmen,therolethey playismechanical,impersonal,andlackingindramaticimpact.Thecharactersarebloodless,colorlesscreatureswhosepuppetlikemovementsservethepurposeof thehighlystylizedetiologicalmyth. Thesituationisdifferentinthe"EpicofGilgamesh."InthispoemitismanwhoholdsthecenterofthestagethemanGilgamesh,wholovesandhates,weepsand rejoices,strivesand

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wearies,hopesanddespairs.True,thegodsarenotabsentindeed,Gilgameshhimself,inthemythologicalpatterandpatternofthetimes,istwothirdsdivineand onethirdmortal.ButitisGilgameshasmanwhodominatestheactionofthepoem.Thegodsandtheiractivitiesserveonlyasbackgroundandsettingforthedramatic episodesinthehero'slife.Whatgivestheseepisodeslastingsignificanceanduniversalappealistheirhumanquality.Theyrevolveaboutforcesandproblemscommon tomaneverywherethroughtheagestheneedforfriendship,theinstinctforloyalty,theimpellingurgeforfameandname,theloveofadventureandachievement,the allabsorbingfearofdeath,andtheallcompellinglongingforimmortality.Itisthevariedinterplayoftheseemotionalandspiritualdrivesinmanthatconstitutesthe dramaofthe"EpicofGilgamesh"dramawhichtranscendstheconfinesoftimeandspace.Littlewonderthattheinfluenceofthispoemonancientepicliteratures wasaswideasitwasdeep.Eventhereaderoftodayismovedbytheuniversalsweepofitsaction,theelementalpowerofitstragedy. ThepoembeginswithashortintroductorypassageinpraiseofGilgameshandhiscity,Erech.WethenreadthatGilgamesh,thekingofErech,isarestlesshero, unrivaledandundisciplined,whotyrannizesoverthedwellersofhiscity.EspeciallyoppressivearehisdemandsforthesatisfactionofhisRabelaisiansexappetite.The Erechitescryoutinanguishtothegods,who,realizingthatGilgameshactsthetyrantandbullybecausehehasstilltofindhismatchamonghisfellowhumans,direct thegreatmothergoddessArurutoputanendtotheintolerablesituation.SheproceedstofashionfromclaythepowerfulEnkidu,who,nakedandlonghaired,and innocentofallhumanrelations,spendshisdaysandnightswiththewildbeastsoftheplains.ItisEnkidu,morebrutethanman,whoistosubdueGilgamesh's arroganceanddisciplinehisspirit.First,however,Enkidumustbe"humanized,"aprocesswhichturnsouttobelargelywoman'stask.AnErechitecourtesanarouses andsatisfieshissexinstincts.Asaresulthelosesinphysicalstatureandbrutestrengthbutgainsinmentalandspiritualstature.Thissexexperiencemakes

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Enkiduwise,andthewildbeastsnolongerrecognizehimastheirown.Patientlythecourtesanguideshiminthecivilizedartsofeating,drinking,anddressing. ThehumanizedEnkiduisnowreadytomeetGilgamesh,whosearrogantandtyrannicalspiritheisdestinedtosubdue.Gilgameshhasalreadylearnedinhisdreamsof thecomingofEnkidu.EagertodisplayhisunrivaledpositioninErech,hearrangesanocturnalorgyandinvitesEnkidutoattend.Enkidu,however,isrepelledby Gilgamesh'ssexualcravings,andblockshiswayinanefforttopreventhimfromenteringthehouseappointedfortheunseemlygathering.Thereuponthetwotitansjoin incombatGilgamesh,thesophisticatedtownsman,andEnkidu,thesimpleplainsman.Enkiduseemstobegettingthebetterofhisrival,when(forsomeunstated reason)Gilgamesh'swrathleaveshim,andthetwokissandembrace.Outofthisbitterstruggleisbornthefriendshipofthetwoheroesafriendshipdestinedto becomeproverbialinworldloreasloyalandlasting,andrichinheroicachievement. ButEnkiduisnothappyinErech.Itsgay,sensuouslifeismakingaweaklingofhim.AndsoGilgameshrevealstohisfriendhisadventurousplantojourneytothefar distantcedarforest,killitsfearfulguardian,themightyHuwawa,fellthecedartree,and"destroyallthatisevilfromtheland."Enkidu,whoinhisearlysavagedayshad wanderedfreelythroughthecedarforest,warnsGilgameshofthemortaldangeroftheundertaking.ButGilgameshonlymockshisfearsitisenduringfameandname thathelongsfor,notaprolongedbutunheroicexistence.HeconferswiththeeldersofErech,obtainstheapprovalofthesungodShamash,thepatronofalltravelers, andhasthecraftsmenofErechcastgiganticweaponsforhimselfandEnkidu.Thusprepared,theysetoutontheiradventure.Afteralong,wearisomejourney,they arriveatthedazzlinglybeautifulcedarforest,killHuwawa,andfellthecedar. Adventureleadstoadventure.UpontheirreturntoErech,Ishtar,thegoddessofloveandlust,becomesinfatuatedwiththewellformedGilgamesh.Withthepromise ofmanyrichfavors,shetriestoinduceGilgameshtosatisfyherdesires.ButGilgameshisnolongertheundisciplinedtyrantofformerdays.

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Wellawareofherpromiscuityandfaithlessness,hemocksatherofferandspurnsit.ThereuponIshtar,bitterlydisappointedanddeeplyoffended,triestopersuade Anu,theheavengod,tosendtheBullofHeavenagainstErechtodestroyGilgameshandhiscity.Anuatfirstrefuses,butwhenIshtarthreatenstobringupthedead fromthenetherworld,heisforcedtoconsent.TheBullofHeavendescendsandbeginstolaywastethecityofErech,slaughteringitswarriorsbythehundreds. GilgameshandEnkidutogethertakeupthestruggleagainstthebeast,andinamightyconcertedeffortsucceedinkillinghim. Thetwoheroeshavenowreachedthepinnacleoftheircareer,andthecityofErechringsoutwiththesongoftheirexalteddeeds.Butinexorablefatebringsasudden andcruelendtotheirhappiness.BecauseofhispartinkillingHuwawaandtheBullofHeaven,Enkiduissentencedtoanearlydeathbythegods.Afteratwelveday illness,Enkidubreatheshislast,whilehisfriendGilgameshlooksonhelplessly,stunnedwithgrief.Hisanguishedspiritisnowobsessedwithonedoublybitterthought: Enkiduisdead,andsoonerorlaterhewillmeetthesamefate.Hefindslittlecomfortinthefameandgloryofhispastheroicdeeds.Itistangible,physicalimmortality whichhistormentedspiritnowcraves.Hemustseekandfindthesecretofeternallife. AsGilgameshwellknew,therewasbutoneindividualinhistorywhohadsucceededinobtainingimmortalityUtanapishtim,thewiseandpiouskingofancient Shuruppak,oneofthefiveroyalcitiesthathadexistedbeforetheflood.(ThemoundwhichcoversthiscitywasexcavatedbyGermanandAmericanexpeditions,and alargegroupoftabletsfromthefirsthalfofofthethirdmillenniumwerediscovered.) GilgameshdecidestomakehiswayatallcoststothedistantdwellingplaceofUtanapishtim.Perhapsthatimmortalizedherowouldrevealhisprecioussecret.He wanderslongandfar,overmountainandplain,everexposedtowildbeastsandfamine.Hecrossestheprimevalseaand"thewatersofdeath."Finally,wearyand emaciated,hishairlongandshaggy,hisfilthybodycoveredwithrawanimalhides,theonceproudrulerofErechstandsbeforeUtanapishtim,eagertolearnthe mysteryofeternallife. ButUtanapishtim'swordsarefarfromencouraging.Theking

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ofShuruppaknarratesatgreatlengththestoryofthedestructivedelugethatthegodshadoncebroughtagainsttheearthinordertoexterminatealllivingcreatures. He,too,wouldsurelyhaveperished,haditnotbeenfortheshelteringboathehadbuiltontheadviceofthegreatEa,thegodofwisdom.Asforthegiftofeternallife, itwasthegodswhowilleditsbestowaluponhimwhere,however,wasthegodwhowilledGilgamesh'simmortality?Despairingofhisfate,Gilgameshisreadyto returnemptyhandedtoErech,whenarayofhopeappears.Utanapishtim,attheurgingofhiswife,revealstoGilgameshthewhereaboutsoftheplantofeternalyouth thatliesatthebottomofthesea.Gilgameshdivestothebottom,bringsuptheplant,andproceedsjoyfullytoErech.Butthegodswilledotherwise.WhileGilgamesh goesbathinginawell,asnakecarriesofftheplant.Wearyandbitterlydisappointed,theheroreturnstoErech,tofindwhatcomforthecaninitsenduringwalls. SomuchforthecontentsofthefirsteleventabletsoftheBabylonian"EpicofGilgamesh."(Thesocalledtwelfthtablet,whichactuallydoesnotbelongtotheepicat all,istreatedattheendofthepresentchapter.)Astothedateofthecompositionofthepoem,acomparisonofthetextoftheOldBabylonianversionwiththatofthe muchlaterAssyrian,showsthatthepoemwascurrent,insubstantiallytheforminwhichweknowit,asearlyasthefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.Astoits origins,evenasuperficialexamination,restrictedmainlytoonomasticconsiderations,showsthatmuchofitscontentsmustgobacktoSumerianratherthanSemitic sources,inspiteoftheantiquityoftheBabylonianpoem.Thenamesofthetwoprotagonists,GilgameshandEnkidu,areinalllikelihoodofSumerianorigin.The parentsofGilgameshbeartheSumeriannamesLugalbandaandNinsun.ThegoddessAruru,whofashionedEnkidu,istheallimportantSumerianmothergoddess morecommonlyknownunderthenamesNinmah,Ninhursag,andNintu(seeChapter14).TheSumeriangodAn,whofashionedtheBullofHeavenforthevengeful Ishtar,wastakenoverinBabylonianasAnu.ItistheSumeriangodEnlilwhodecreedEnkidu'sdeath.Inthedelugeepisode,itistheSumeriangodswhoplayedthe predominantroles.

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Butthereisnoneedtorelyonlogicaldeductionalonefortheconclusionthatmuchofthe"EpicofGilgamesh"isofSumerianorigin.WeactuallyhavetheSumerian forerunnersofseveraloftheepisodesnarratedinthepoem.From1911to1935,twentysixSumeriantabletsandfragmentsinscribedwithGilgameshpoemswere publishedbysuchwellknowncuneiformistsasRadau,Zimmern,Poebel,Langdon,Chiera,DeGenouillac,Gadd,andFish.Fourteenofthesetextscamefromthe handofEdwardChieraalone.Since1935IhaveidentifiedinIstanbulandPhiladelphiamorethansixtyadditionalGilgameshpiecesandhavecopiedagoodlyportion ofthem. ThuswenowhavearelativelylargegroupofSumerianGilgameshtexts.Acomparativeanalysisoftheircontentswiththoseofthe"EpicofGilgamesh"willrevealin whatmannerandtowhatextentthecreatorsoftheBabylonianepicutilizedSumeriansources.However,theproblemoftheSumerianoriginofthe"Epicof Gilgamesh"isnotassimpleasitmayseematfirstglance,andunlesstheunderlyingcomplexitiesareclearlygrasped,theycouldleadtothewrongsolution.Thereforeit isadvisabletorestatetheproblemintheformofanoutlineofquestions:

19. NetherWorldTaboos.Handcopyofunpublishedtablet,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedwithextractofepictale"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld,"whichhelpedtoclarifyplot.

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1.IsthereaSumerianoriginalforthe''EpicofGilgamesh"asawhole?Thatis,canweexpecttofindaSumerianpoemwhich,inspiteofdifferencesinformand content,socloselyresemblestheBabylonianepicthatitcanbereadilyrecognizedandacceptedasitsSumerianprecursor? 2.IfitbecomesclearfromthematerialonhandthatthereisnoSumerianoriginalfortheBabylonianepicasawhole,andthatonlysomeofitsepisodesgobackto Sumerianprototypes,areweinapositiontoidentifytheseepisodeswithreasonablecertainty? 3.InthecaseofthoseepisodesforwhichnoSumerianversionisasyetavailable,arewejustifiedinassumingaSemiticorigin,oristherereasontobelievethatthese, too,gobacktoSumeriansources? Withthesequestionsinmind,wearereadytomakeacomparativeanalysisofthecontentsoftherelevantavailableSumerianmaterial.Thismaterialconsistsofsix poemswhichmaybetitledasfollows: "GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving" "GilgameshandtheBullofHeaven" "TheDeluge" "TheDeathofGilgamesh" "GilgameshandAggaofKish" "Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld" Itshouldbeunderstoodthatthetextofmostofthesepoemsisstillfragmentaryandthatthetranslationisoftendifficultanduncertainevenwherethetextiscomplete. Nevertheless,theavailableSumerianmaterialdoesprovidesufficientdatatoanswerwithcertaintyNos.1and2inouroutlineofquestions.Andwhilethequestionin No.3cannotbeansweredwithequalcertainty,wecanarriveatsomereasonablysafeconclusions. Beforethethreequestionscanbeanswered,itisnecessarytoexaminethecontentsofeachofthesixpoems: 1.Thecontentsofthepoem"GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving"weresketchedinChapter22.Thistaleisobviouslythecounterpartofthecedarforestepisodeof theBabylonian"EpicofGilgamesh."Butwhenthetwoversionsareputside

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bysideforacomparison,theyarefoundtohaveonlythebareskeletonofthestoryincommon.InbothversionsGilgameshdecidestojourneytothecedarforesthe isaccompaniedbyEnkiduheseeksandobtainstheprotectionofthesungodtheyarriveattheirdestinationthecedarisfelledHuwawaiskilled.Butthetwo versionsvarygreatlyindetail,arrangement,andemphasis.Forexample,intheSumerianpoem,GilgameshisaccompaniednotonlybyEnkidubutalsobyapartyof fiftyErechites,whileintheBabylonianversionheisaccompaniedbyEnkidualone.Again,intheSumerianpoem,noreferenceismadetothecouncilofeldersofthe cityofErech,whichplayssoprominentaroleintheSemiticversion. 2.TheSumerianpoem"GilgameshandtheBullofHeaven"isstillunpublished.Itscontents,poorlypreservedastheyare,maybesketchedasfollows:Afteralacuna ofsometwentylines,thepoemcontinueswithanaddresstoGilgameshbythegoddessInanna(theSumeriancounterpartoftheBabylonianIshtar),inwhichshe describesthegiftsandfavorssheispreparedtoshoweruponhim.ItisreasonabletoassumethattheprecedingmissingportionofthetextcontainedInanna'slove proposals.Anotherbreakinthetextfollows,whichmusthavecontainedGilgamesh'srejectionofInanna'soffers.Whenthetextbecomesintelligibleonceagain,we findInannabeforeAn,theheavengod,askingtobepresentedwiththeBullofHeaven.Anatfirstrefuses,butInannathreatenstotakeupthematterwithallthegreat godsoftheuniverse.Terrified,Angrantsherrequest.InannathensendstheBullofHeavendownagainstErech,anditravagesthecity.Fromhereon,theavailable text,whichconcludeswithanaddressbyEnkidutoGilgamesh,becomesunintelligible.Theendofthepoem,whichprobablydescribedGilgamesh'svictoriousstruggle withtheBullofHeaven,ismissingaltogether. WhenthecontentsofthisSumerianpoemarecomparedwiththoseofitsBabyloniancounterpartinthe"EpicofGilgamesh,"theyshowacloseandunmistakable resemblanceinthebroadoutlinesoftheplot.InbothpoemsInanna(Ishtar)offersherloveandtemptinggiftstoGilgameshtheofferisrejectedwiththeunwilling consentofAn(Anu),theBullofHeavenissent

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toattackErechthebeastravagesthecity,butisfinallykilled.Asforthedetails,thetwoversionsvaryalmostbeyondthepointofrecognition.Thegiftsofferedby Inanna(Ishtar)totemptGilgamesharequitedifferentinthetwoversions.Gilgamesh'srejectionspeech,which,intheBabylonianepic,consistsof56linesandisfilled withlearnedallusionstoBabylonianmythologyandproverbs,ismuchbrieferintheSumerianversion.TheconversationsbetweenInanna(Ishtar)andAn(Anu)bear littlesimilarityinthetwoversions.NoristhereanyreasontodoubtthattheconcludingdetailsoftheSumerianpoem,whenthesearerecovered,willhavebutlittlein commonwiththoseoftheBabylonianepic. 3.TheSumerianpoemknownas"TheDeluge"isdescribedinChapter20,whichgivesatranslationofthepoem'sentirefloodepisodepassage.Thefloodepisode alsoconstitutesthemajorpartoftheeleventhtabletoftheBabylonian"EpicofGilgamesh."ThefactthattheSumerianaccountofthefloodisnotinanyway connectedwiththeSumerianGilgameshtalesprovidesuswithacluefordeterminingsomeoftheproceduresemployedinancientliteraryborrowing. TheSumerianfloodepisodeispartofapoemdevotedprimarilytothemythoftheimmortalizationofZiusudra,andthismythwasartfullyutilizedbytheBabylonian poetsfortheirownpurposes.Thus,whenthewearyGilgameshcomesbeforeUtanapishtim(theBabylonianZiusudra)andquestionshimconcerningthesecretof eternallife,theBabylonianpoetsdidnotlethimanswerbrieflyandtothepointinstead,theytookadvantageofthisopeningtoinserttheirversionofthedelugemyth. Thefirst(thecreation)partoftheSumerianmyth,theyomittedaltogetherasunnecessarytotheirtheme.TheyretainedonlythedelugeepisodeendingwithZiusudra's immortalization.AndbymakingUtanapishtim(Ziusudra)thenarrator,andputtingthenarrationintothefirstpersoninsteadofthethird,theychangedtheSumerian form,inwhichthenarratorwasanamelesspoet. Inadditionwefindvariationindetails.Ziusudraisdescribedasapious,humble,godfearingking,butUtanapishtimisnotthusdescribed.Ontheotherhand,the Babylonianversionismuchmorelavishwithdetailsconcerningthebuildingoftheboat,and

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thenatureandviolenceoftheflood.IntheSumerianmyththefloodlastssevendaysandsevennightsintheBabylonianversionitlastssixdaysandsevennights. Finally,thesendingofthebirdstotestthedegreeofwaterabatementisfoundonlyintheBabylonianepic. 4.Thetextofthepoemdesignatedtentativelyas"TheDeathofGilgamesh,"isstillquitefragmentary(seeAncientNearEasternTexts,pages5052).Fromits meagerextantportions,onlythefollowingcontentsarerecognizable:Gilgameshstillseemstobeonhisquestforimmortality.Heisinformed,however,thateternallife isimpossibletoobtain.Kingship,prominence,heroisminbattleallthesehavebeendecreedforhim,butnotimmortality.Fragmentaryasitis,theavailabletextof ourpoemshowsanindubitablesourcerelationshiptotheportionsoftheninth,tenth,andeleventhtabletsofthe"EpicofGilgamesh."ThesetabletscontainGilgamesh's pleaforeternallife,andtherejoinderthatitisdeath,notimmortality,whichisman'sfate.AsfortheSumeriandescriptionofthedeathofGilgamesh,strangelyenough ithasnocounterpartintheextantversionsoftheBabylonian''EpicofGilgamesh.'' 5.ThereisnotraceoftheSumerianpoem"GilgameshandAgga"(seeChapter5)intheBabylonianepic.ThisisoneoftheshortestofallSumerianepictalesit consistsofnomorethan115linesoftext.Nevertheless,itisofsignificancefromseveralpointsofview.Inthefirstplace,itsplotdealswithhumansonlyunlikeother Sumerianepictales,itintroducesnomythologicalmotifsinvolvingtheSumeriandeities.Secondly,itisofconsiderablehistoricalimportance,foritprovidesanumber ofhithertounknownfactsconcerningtheearlystrugglesoftheSumeriancitystates.Finally,itisofspecialsignificanceforthehistoryofpoliticalthoughtandpractice, sinceitrevealstheexistenceofwhatweretosomeextentdemocraticinstitutionsasearlyas3000B.C.Perhapsthesearetheveryfactorswhichinducedthe Babylonianredactorstoomitthisepictalealtogetherfromthe"EpicofGilgamesh."TheSumeriantalelacksthosesuperhumanqualitiesandsupernaturalheroicsso characteristicofepicpoetry. 6.ForcommentsonBabylonianborrowingsfromtheSumer

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ianpoem"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld,"seetheendofthepresentchapter. ThisbringstoanendthecomparativeanalysisofthecontentsoftherelevantSumerianGilgameshmaterialatourdisposal,anditisnowpossibletoanswerthe questionsformulatedearlier. 1.IsthereaSumerianoriginaloftheBabylonian"EpicofGilgamesh"asasingleorganicunit?Obviouslynot.TheSumerianpoemsvaryconsiderablyinlength,and theyconsistofindividual,disconnectedtales.TheplotsequenceoftheBabylonianepic,inwhichtheseveralepisodesaremodifiedandconnectedtoforma reasonablyintegratedwhole,isaBabylonianinnovationandachievement. 2.AreweinapositiontoidentifythoseepisodesintheBabylonianepicwhichgobacktoSumerianprototypes?Yes,atleasttosomeextent.Thecedarforest episode(TabletsIIIVoftheepic)the"BullofHeaven"(TabletVI)portionsofthe"questforimmortality"episode(TabletsIX,X,XI)the"deluge"story(Tablet XI)allhavetheirSumeriancounterparts.TheBabylonianversions,however,arenoslavishreproductionsoftheirSumerianoriginals.Itisonlythebroadoutlinesof theplotthattheyhaveincommon. 3.Butwhatofthoseportionsofthe"EpicofGilgamesh"forwhichnoSumerianprototypeshavebeenfound?Theseincludetheintroductionatthebeginningofthe epictheseriesofincidentsculminatingintheforgingofthebondoffriendshipbetweenGilgameshandEnkidu(TabletsIandII)thedeathandburialofEnkidu (TabletsVII,VIII).AretheseofBabylonianorigin,ordothey,too,gobacktoSumeriansources?Theanswertothesequestionsmustbehypothetical.Nevertheless, ananalysisofthisBabylonianmaterialinthelightofextantSumerianepicsandmythspermitsanumberofsuggestive,iftentative,conclusions. First,thereistheintroductorypassageoftheBabylonianepic.Afterportrayingtheheroasanallseeing,allknowingwandererwhohadbuiltthewallsofErech,the poetcontinueswitharhapsodicdescriptionofthesewalls,largelyintheformofa

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rhetoricaladdresstothereader.InnoneoftheknownSumerianepicmaterialdowefindaparallelstylisticfeature.Wemaythereforeconcludethattheintroductionto theepicwasaBabylonianinnovation. Thechainofeventsleadingtothefriendshipbetweenthetwoheroes,whichfollowstheintroductionandconstitutesthemajorpartofTabletsIandIIofthe Babylonianepic,consistsofthefollowingepisodes:thetyrannyofGilgameshthecreationofEnkiduthe"fall"ofEnkiduthedreamsofGilgameshthecivilizingof Enkiduthestrugglebetweentheheroes.Theseincidentsformawellknitplotprogression,culminatinginthefriendshipofthetwoheroes.Inallprobability,this friendshipmotifwasthenutilizedbythepoettohelpmotivatethejourneytothecedarforest.NosuchmotivationistobefoundintheSumerianversionofthejourney tothecedarforest,andwemayassumethatwewillfindnoSumeriancounterpartofthechainofincidentsaslinkedintheBabylonianepic.Itwouldnotsurpriseus, however,tofindSumerianprototypesforseveraloftheindividualincidentscomprisingtheplotchain,althoughtheseprototypesneednotalwaysconsistofGilgamesh tales.ThemythologicalmotifsintheepisodesconcernedwiththecreationofEnkidu,thedreamsofGilgamesh,andthestrugglebetweentheheroes,certainlyreflect Sumeriansources.Asforthe"fall"andcivilizingofEnkidu,thecriteriaforareasonablysafeconclusionarelackingatthemoment,andwemustleaveundecidedthe interestingquestionwhethertheconceptthatsexexperienceisresponsibleforman'swisdomisofSemiticorSumerianorigin. Finally,thestoryofthedeathofEnkiduandhisburialisinalllikelihoodofBabylonianratherthanSumerianorigin.AccordingtotheSumerianpoem"Gilgamesh, Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld,"EnkidudidnotdieatallintheordinarysenseofthewordbutwasseizedandheldfastbyKur,adragonlikedemoninchargeofthe netherworld,afterhehadknowinglybrokenthetaboosofthenetherworld.TheincidentofthedeathofEnkiduwasinventedbytheBabylonianauthorsofthe"Epic ofGilgamesh"inordertomotivatedramaticallyGilgamesh'squestforimmortality,whichclimaxesthepoem.

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Tosumup:Ofthevariousepisodescomprisingthe"EpicofGilgamesh,"severalgobacktoSumerianprototypesactuallyinvolvingtheheroGilgamesh.Eveninthose episodeswhichlackSumeriancounterparts,mostoftheindividualmotifsreflectSumerianmythicandepicsources.Innocase,however,didtheBabylonianpoets slavishlycopytheSumerianmaterial.Theysomodifieditscontentandmoldeditsform,inaccordancewiththeirowntemperandheritage,thatonlythebarenucleusof theSumerianoriginalremainsrecognizable.Asfortheplotstructureoftheepicasawholetheforcefulandfatefulepisodicdramaoftherestless,adventuroushero andhisinevitabledisillusionmentitisdefinitelyaBabylonian,ratherthanSumerian,developmentandachievement.Inaverydeepsense,therefore,the"Epicof Gilgamesh"maybetrulydescribedasaSemiticcreation. Butitisonlythefirsteleventabletsofthe"EpicofGilgamesh"whichcanbedescribedasaSemiticliterarycreation(inspiteofobviousborrowingsfromSumerian sources).TabletXII(thelasttabletoftheepic)isnothingmorethanapracticallyverbatimtranslationintotheSemiticAkkadianalsoknownasBabylonianor AssyrianofthesecondhalfofaSumerianpoem.TheBabylonianscribestackedthisontothefirsteleventabletsintotaldisregardofthesenseandcontinuityofthe epicasawhole. Ithadlongbeensuspectedthatthetwelfthtabletwasnothingmorethananappendagetothefirsteleventablets,whichconstituteareasonablywellintegratedunit,but theproofwasnotavailableuntilthetextoftheSumerianpoem"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld"waspiecedtogetherandtranslated.However,asearlyas 1930,inconnectionwithhispublicationofaSumeriantabletfromUrinscribedwithpartofthepoem,C.J.Gadd,formerlyoftheBritishMuseum,recognizedthe closerelationshipbetweenitscontentsandthoseofthetwelfthtabletoftheSemiticepic. Thefulltextofthepoem"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld"isstillunpublished.(See"GilgameshandtheHuluppuTree,"AssyriologicalStudyNo.8ofthe OrientalInstituteof

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theUniversityofChicagoandSumerianMythology,pages30ff.)Hereisabriefsketch: Thepoembeginswithanintroductionoftwentysevenlines,thecontentsofwhichhavenothingtodowiththestoryitself.Thefirstthirteenlinesofthispassagecontain someofthebasicdatafortheanalysisoftheSumerianconceptsofthecreationoftheuniverse(seeChapter13),whiletheremainingfourteenlinesdescribethe strugglebetweenEnkiandKur(seeChapter22).Thenfollowsthestory: Onceuponatimeahulupputree(perhapsawillow),plantedonthebankoftheEuphratesandnurturedbyitswaters,wasviolentlyattackedbytheSouthWindand floodedbythewatersoftheEuphrates.ThegoddessInanna,walkingby,tookthetreeinherhandandbroughtittohercity,Erech,wheresheplanteditinherholy garden.Thereshetendeditmostcarefully,forsheplannedthatwhenthetreehadgrownbigshewouldmakeofitswoodachairforherselfandacouch. Yearspassed.Thetreematuredandgrewbig.ButInannafoundherselfunabletocutitdown,foratitsbasethesnakewho"knowsnocharm"hadbuiltitsnestinits crown,theImdugudbirdhadplaceditsyounginitsmiddle,Lilithhadbuiltherhouse.AndsoInanna,thelightheartedandeverjoyfulmaid,shedbittertears. Asdawnbroke,andherbrother,thesungodUtu,cameforthfromhissleepingchamber,Inannatearfullyrepeatedtohimallthathadbefallenherhulupputree. ThereuponGilgamesh,whopresumablyheardherplaint,chivalrouslycametoheraid.Hedonnedhisarmour,weighingfiftyminasandwithhisaxoftheroad,seven talentsandsevenminasinweight,heslewthesnakewho"knowsnocharm"atthebaseofthetree.Seeingthis,theImdugudbirdfledwithitsyoungtothemountain, whileLilithtoredownherhouseandfledtothedesolateplaces.GilgameshandthemenofErechwhoaccompaniedhimthencutdownthetree,andgaveittoInanna forherchairandcouch. WhatdidInannado?Fromthebaseofthetreeshefashionedapukku(perhapsadrum)andfromitscrown,amikku(drumstick).Therefollowsapassageoftwelve linesdescribingGil

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gamesh'sactivityinErechwiththispukkuandmikku,or"drum"and"drumstick."Despitethefactthatthetextisinperfectcondition,itisstillimpossibletopenetrate itsmeaning.ItisprobablethatitdescribescertaintyrannicalactswhichbroughtwoetotheinhabitantsofErech.Whenthestorybecomesintelligibleonceagain,it continueswiththestatementthat"becauseoftheoutcryoftheyoungmaidens,"thepukkuandthemikkufellintothenetherworld.Gilgameshputinhishandandhis foottoretrievethem,butwasunabletoreachthem.Hethenseatedhimselfatthegateofthenetherworldandlamented:


"Omypukku,Omymikku, Mypukkuwithlustinessirresistible, Mymikkuwithdancerhythmunrivaled, Mypukkuwhichwaswithmeformerlyinthehouseofthe carpenter Thewifeofthecarpenterwaswithmethenlikethemother whogavebirthtome, Thedaughterofthecarpenterwaswithmethenlikemy youngersister Mypukku,whowillbringitupfromthenetherworld, Mymikku,whowillbringitupfromthe'face'ofthenether world?"

Gilgamesh'sservantEnkiduthereuponvolunteeredtodescendtothenetherworldandbringthemupforhim,saying:
"Omymaster,whydoyoucry,whyisyourheartsick? Yourpukku,lo,Iwillnowbringitupfromthenetherworld, Yourmikku,Iwillbringitupfromthe'face'ofthenether world."

Hearinghisservant'sgenerousoffer,Gilgameshwarnedhimofanumberofnetherworldtabooswhichhemustguardagainst.Thepassagerunsasfollows:
GilgameshsaystoEnkidu: "Ifnowyouwilldescendtothenetherworld, AwordIspeaktoyou,takemyword, InstructionIofferyou,takemyinstruction. Donotputoncleanclothes, Lestlikeanenemythe(netherworld)stewardswillcomeforth,

Page197 Donotanointyourselfwiththegoodoiloftheburvessel, Lestatitssmelltheywillcrowdaboutyou. "Donotthrowthethrowstickinthenetherworld, Lesttheywhowerestruckbythethrowstickwillsurroundyou, Donotcarryastaffinyourhand, Lesttheshadeswillflutterallaboutyou. "Donotputsandalsonyourfeet, Inthenetherworldmakenocry Kissnotyourbelovedwife, Strikenotyourhatedwife, Kissnotyourbelovedson, Strikenotyourhatedson, LesttheoutcryofKurwillseizeyou, (Theoutcry)forherwhoislying,forherwhoislying, TothemotherofNinazuwhoislying, Whoseholybodynogarmentcovers, Whoseholybreastnoclothwraps."

ThemotherofNinazuintheselinesmayrefertothegoddessNinlil,who,accordingtothemythconcerningthebirthofthemoongodSin(seeChapter13), accompaniedthegodEnliltothenetherworld. Enkidudidnotheedtheinstructionsofhismaster,butcommittedthoseveryactsagainstwhichGilgameshhadwarnedhim.AndsohewasseizedbyKurandwas unabletoascendagaintotheearth.ThereuponGilgameshproceededtoNippurandweptbeforeEnlil:


"OFatherEnlil,mypukkufellintothenetherworld, Mymikkufellintothe'face'ofthenetherworld, IsentEnkidutobringthemup,Kurhasseizedhim. Namtar(thedemonofdeath)hasnotseizedhim,Asag(the demonofdisease)hasnotseizedhim, Kurhasseizedhim. Nergal'sambusher(thatisDeath),whosparesnoone,hasnot seizedhim, Kurhasseizedhim. Inbattle,theplaceofmanliness,hehasnotfallen, Kurhasseizedhim."

ButEnlilrefusedtostandbyGilgamesh,whothenproceededtoEriduandrepeatedhispleabeforeEnki.Thelatter

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orderedthesungodUtutoopenaholeinthenetherworldandtoallowtheshadeofEnkidutoascendtotheearth.Utudidasbidden,andtheshadeofEnkidu appearedbeforeGilgamesh.Masterandservantembraced,andGilgameshquestionedEnkiduaboutwhathesawinthenetherworld.Thefirstsevenquestions concernthetreatmentinthenetherworldofthosewhowerefathersoffromonetosevensons.Theremainingtextofthepoemispoorlypreserved,butwehaveparts oftheGilgameshEnkiducolloquyconcerningthetreatment,inthenetherworld,ofthepalaceservant,ofthebirthgivingwoman,ofhimwhofallsinbattle,ofhim whoseshadehasnoonetocareforit,andofhimwhosebodyliesunburiedintheplain. ItisthesecondhalfofthepoemwhichtheBabylonianscribestranslatedpracticallyverbatimandappendedtothe"EpicofGilgamesh"asitstwelfthtablet.Forthe modernscholarthiswasnomeanboon,since,withtheaidoftheSumerianversion,itwaspossibletorestorenumerousbrokenwords,phrases,andwholelinesinthe Akkadiantext,andthustoclarify,atlonglast,thecontentsofthetwelfthtablet,whichhadremainedunintelligibleinspiteoftheeffortsofanumberofdistinguished cuneiformists. GilgameshwasnottheonlySumerianhero.Histwopredecessors,EnmerkarandLugalbanda,werealsofavoriteswithSumerianpoets.Asamatteroffact,the Sumerians,tojudgefromtheirepicliterature,haddevelopedasocalledHeroicAge.ThisHeroicAge,togetherwithitssignificancefortheearlyhistoryofSumerand Mesopotamia,isdiscussedinChapter24.

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1. TheTempleatTellHarmal.

2. TheZigguratatAqarQuf.

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3. NippurScribalQuarterNewExcavations.Ruinsofhouseson"TabletHill"unearthedduringjointOrientalInstituteUniversityMuseumexpedition,194852.

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4. Schooldays:TheTeacher'sBlessing.Obverse(CBS6094)offour columntablet,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedwithessayonschoollife.Notesignatureofwriterbelowdoublelineonleftcolumn.

5. ThisisthereverseofSchooldays,plate4.

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6. JuvenileDelinquency.ObverseofasmalltabletintheUniversityMuseumTabletCollection.

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7. ASumerianofabout2500B.C.LimestonestatuetteexcavatedbytheUniversityofPennsylvaniainthetempleatKhafaje.

8. Dudu.ASumerianscribeof(ca.)2350B.C.wholivedinLagash.StatueisnowinIraqMuseuminBaghdad.

9. ABeardedPriest.StatuetteexcavatedatKhafajebyaUniversityofPennsylvaniaexpedition.ItisnowintheUniversityMuseum.

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10. EnlilMyth.Claycylinderinscribedwithmythwrittenabout2400B.C.,nowintheUniversityMuseum.

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11. A''BotanyZoologyTextbook.''ReverseoftabletexcavatedinruinsofTellHarmalonoutskirtsofBaghdad.IraqMuseum,Baghdad.

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12. EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta:TheIstanbultablet.ObverseoftwelvecolumnNippurTabletinIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient.

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13. WarandPeace:The"Standard"fromUrdepictingscenesofSumeriankinginbattleandcelebratingvictory.BritishMuseum,London.

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14. UrNanshe,KingofLagash.Thislimestoneplaque,nowintheLouvre,depictsrulerofLagashdynastysurroundedbyhischildrenandcourtiers,andsittinganddrinkingatafeast.

15. SteleoftheVultures.WarscenesdepictingEannatum,conqueringheroofLagashdynasty,leadingLagashitestobattleinscriptionrecordshisvictoryoverUmmaitesandtreatyofpeaceforcedupon

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16. Aesopica.ReverseofatabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwithanimalproverbsandfables.

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17. UrNammuLawCode:TheLaws.ReverseofIstanbultablet.

18. UrNammu:TheFirst"Moses."PartofsteleexcavatedinUr,nowinUniversityMuseum.

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19. Man'sOldestPrescriptions.Reverseof"medical"tabletfromNippurinUniversityMuseum.

20. InannaandShukalletuda:TheGardener'sMortalSin.ReverseofsixcolumntabletinIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrientinscribedwithmythnotedforits"bloodplague"motif.

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21. SeparationofHeavenandEarth.Nippurtablet,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedwithpartofpoem,"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld."

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22. CulturalAnthropology.ReverseofsixcolumntabletinscribedwithmythaboutInannaandEnki.UniversityMuseum.

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23/24. CreationofMan.ObverseofsameNippurtablet,inUniversityMuseum,beforeandafter''joining.''

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25. Proverbs:The"Fate"Collection.NinecolumnNippurtablet,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedinthemainwithproverbsaboutfateandvariousanimals.

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26. SumerianOriginaloftheTwelfthTabletoftheBabylonianEpicofGilgamesh.Reverseofunpublishedsix columnNippurtablet,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedwithepictale"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld."

27. Sacred(?)Cows.MosaicdairyfriezeunearthedatAlUbaidnearUr,datingfromabout2500B.C.

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28. MapofNippur.Photographoforiginaltablet.SeealsoAppendixA.HilprechtCollection.

29. PerverseStudents.ReverseofatabletfromtheUniversityMuseuminscribedwiththeconcludingsectionofadisputebetweentwostudents.

30. Shulgi,theIdealKing.FragmentfromalargetabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwithaShulgihymninwhichheportrayshimselfassage,sportsman,diviner,diplomat,patronofthearts,andha

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31. LyrefromUroftheChaldees.AreconstructionofalyreexcavatedbyLeonardWoolleyintheroyalcemeteryatUr.ItispartoftheUniversityMuseum'scollectionandhasjustrecentlybeenrebuilt.

32. DeathandResurrection.ObverseofatabletfromUr,excavatedbyLeonardWoolleyandnowintheBritishMuseum.ThistabletprovidestheconcludingepisodetoInanna'sDescenttotheNetherWo

33. Rightedgeoftablet32.

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34. Uaaua.Obverseofthe"lullaby"tabletexcavatedatNippurandnowintheUniversityMuseum.

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Chapter24 EpicLiterature Man'sFirstHeroicAge


Historiansnowgenerallyrealize(andthisislargelytothecreditoftheEnglishscholarH.MunroChadwick)thatthesocalledHeroicAges,whicharecomeuponfrom timetotimeandfromplacetoplaceinthehistoryofcivilization,representnotmereliteraryimaginationbutveryrealandsignificantsocialphenomena.Thus,totake onlythreeofthebetterknownexamples,thereistheGreekHeroicAge,whichflourishedonthemainlandofGreecetowardtheveryendofthesecondmillennium B.C.theHeroicAgeofIndia,whichprobablydatesonlyacenturyorsolaterthanthatofGreeceandtheTeutonicHeroicAge,whichdominatedmuchofnorthern EuropefromthefourthtothesixthcenturiesA.D.AllthreeoftheseHeroicAgesrevealamarkedresemblanceinsocialstructure,governmentalorganization,religious concepts,andaestheticexpression.Itisobviousthattheyowetheiroriginandbeingtosimilarsocial,political,andpsychicfactors. TheSumerianheroicnarrativepoemssketchedinthisandtheforegoingchaptersconstituteanepicliteraturewhichintroducesanewHeroicAgetoworldhistoryand literaturetheSumerianHeroicAge.AlthoughitprobablyhaditsfloruitnolaterthanthefirstquarterofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,andthusprecedesbymorethan 1,500yearseventheoldestofthethreeIndoEuropeanHeroicAges(thatoftheGreeks),itsculturepatternisremarkablyclosetotheculturepatterntypicalofthe longknownHeroicAges. TheGreek,Indian,andTeutonicHeroicAges,asChadwick

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concludesfromrelevantliteraryrecords,areessentiallybarbaricperiodswhichshowanumberofsalientcharacteristicsincommon.Thepoliticalunitconsistsofa pettykingdomruledbyakingorprincewhoobtainsandholdshisrulethroughmilitaryprowess.Hismainstayinpowerconsistsofthecomitatus,aretinueofarmed loyalfollowerswhoarepreparedtodohisbiddingwithoutquestion,nomatterhowfoolhardyanddangeroustheundertaking.Theremaybeanassembly,butitis convenedattheruler'spleasureandservesonlyinanadvisoryandconfirmatorycapacity.Therulingkingsandprincesoftheseparateprincipalitiescarryonamong themselvesalively,andattimesfriendlyandevenintimate,intercourse.Theythustendtodevelopintowhatmaybetermedaninternationalaristocraticcastewhose thoughtsandactshavelittleincommonwiththoseoftheirsubjects. Onthereligiousside,thethreeIndoEuropeanHeroicAgesarecharacterizedbyaworshipofanthropomorphicdeities,whichtoalargeextentseemtoberecognized throughoutthevariousstatesandprincipalities.Thesegodsformorganizedcommunitiesinachosenlocality,though,inaddition,eachgodhasaspecialabodeofhis own.Therearefewtracesofachthonicorspiritcult.Atdeaththesoultravelstosomedistantlocalitythatisregardedasauniversalhomeandisnotreservedfor membersofanyparticularcommunity.Someoftheheroesareconceivedasspringingfromthegods,butthereisnotraceofheroicworshiporherocults.Allthese featurescommontotheHeroicAgesofGreece,India,andNorthernEurope,aresharedbytheHeroicAgeofSumer. Buttheparallelismextendsevenfurther.Indeed,itisparticularlyapparentontheaestheticplane,especiallyinliterature.Oneofthenotableachievementsofallfourof theseHeroicAgeswasthecreationofheroicnarrativetalesinpoeticformthatweretobespokenorsung.Theyreflectandilluminatethespiritoftheageandits temper.ImpelledbythethirstforfameandnamesocharacteristicoftherulingcasteduringaHeroicAge,thebardsandminstrelsattachedtothecourtweremovedto improvisenarrativepoemsorlayscelebratingtheadventuresandachievementsofkingsandprinces.Theseepiclays,withthe

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primaryobjectofprovidingentertainmentatthefrequentcourtlybanquetsandfeasts,wereprobablyrecitedtotheaccompanimentoftheharporlyre. Noneoftheseearlyheroiclayshavecomedowntousintheiroriginalform,sincetheywerecomposedwhenwritingwaseitheraltogetherunknownor,ifknown,of littleconcerntotheilliterateminstrel.ThewrittenepicsoftheGreek,Indian,andTeutonicHeroicAgesdatefrommuchlaterdays,andconsistofhighlycomplex literaryredactionsinwhichonlyaselectednumberoftheearlierlaysareimbedded,andtheseinahighly

20. EnmerkarandEnsukushsiranna.HandcopyoftwounpublishedfragmentsinIstanbulMuseumofAncientOrient.

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modifiedandexpandedform.InSumer,thereisgoodreasontobelieve,someoftheearlyheroiclayswerefirstinscribedonclayfivetosixhundredyearsfollowing thecloseoftheHeroicAge,andthenonlyaftertheyhadundergoneconsiderabletransformationatthehandsofpriestsandscribes.However,itshouldbecarefully notedthatthecopiesoftheSumerianepictextswhichwehaveatpresentdatealmostentirelyfromthefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C. ThewrittenepicsofthethreeIndoEuropeanHeroicAgesshowanumberofstrikingsimilaritiesinformandcontent.Inthefirstplace,allthepoemsareconcerned primarilywithindividuals.Itisthedeedsandexploitsoftheindividualherothataretheprimeconcernofthepoet,notthefateorgloryofthestateorcommunity. Moreover,whilethereislittledoubtthatsomeoftheadventurescelebratedinthepoemshaveahistoricalbasis,thepoetdoesnothesitatetointroduceunhistorical motifsandconventions,suchasexaggeratednotionsofthehero'spowers,ominousdreams,andthepresenceofdivinebeings.Stylistically,theepicpoemsaboundin staticepithets,lengthyrepetitions,andrecurrentformulas,andindescriptionsthattendtobeoverleisurelyandunusuallydetailed.Particularlynoteworthyisthefact thatalltheepicsdevoteconsiderablespacetospeeches. Inalltheserespects,thepatternofSumerianheroicpoetryissimilartothepatternofGreek,Indian,andTeutonicepicmaterial.Sinceitishardlylikelythataliterary genresoindividualinstyleandtechniqueasnarrativepoetrywascreatedanddevelopedindependently,atdifferenttimeintervals,inSumer,Greece,India,and NorthernEurope,andsincethenarrativepoetryoftheSumeriansisbyalloddstheoldestofthefour,itseemsreasonabletoconcludethatinSumermaybefoundthe originofepicpoetry. Tobesure,thereareanumberofoutstandingdifferencesbetweentheSumerianepicmaterialandthatoftheGreeks,Indians,andTeutons.Forexample,the Sumerianepicpoemsconsistofindividual,disconnectedtalesofvaryinglength,eachofwhichisrestrictedtoasingleepisode.Thereisnoattempttoarticulateand integratetheseepisodesintoalargerunit.AsshowninChapter23,thiswasfirstachievedbytheBabylonianpoets,who

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borrowed,modified,andmoldedtherelativelybriefandepisodicSumeriantalesparticularlyintheir''EpicofGilgamesh''withtheviewoffashioninganepicof considerablelengthandcomplexity.ThereisrelativelylittlecharacterizationandpsychologicalpenetrationintheSumerianmaterial.Theheroestendtobebroadtypes, moreorlessundifferentiated,ratherthanhighlypersonalizedindividuals.Moreover,theincidentsandplotmotifsarerelatedinaratherstaticandconventionalized stylethereislittleofthatplastic,expressivemovementwhichcharacterizessuchpoemsasHomer'sIliadandOdyssey.Anotherinterestingdifference:Mortalwomen playhardlyanyroleinSumerianepicliterature,whiletheyhaveaveryprominentpartinIndoEuropeanepicliterature.Finally,inthematteroftechnique,theSumerian poetgetshisrhythmiceffectsprimarilyfromvariationsintherepetitionpatterns.HemakesnousewhateverofthemetersoruniformlinesocharacteristicofIndo Europeanepics. LetusturnnowtothecontentsoftheextantSumerianepicpoems.Atpresentwecanidentifynineepictalesvaryinginlengthfromonehundredtomorethansix hundredlines.TwooftheserevolveabouttheheroEnmerkartworevolveabouttheheroLugalbanda(inoneoftheseEnmerkar,too,playsaconsiderablerole)and fiverevolveaboutthemostfamousofthethreeheroes,Gilgamesh.AllthreeareknownfromtheSumeriankinglist,ahistoricaldocumentwhich,likeourepicmaterial, hasbeenfoundinscribedontabletsdatingfromthefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.Thelistwasprobablycomposedinthelastquarterofthethirdmillennium B.C.Inthekinglist,thesethreeheroesarestatedtobethesecond,third,andfifthrulersofthefirstdynastyofErech,which,accordingtotheSumeriansages, followedthefirstdynastyofKish,whichinturnfollowedimmediatelyupontheflood.ThecontentsofoneoftheEnmerkartalesandofallfiveGilgameshpoemshave beendiscussedinChapters4,5,22and23.ThisleavesonlythreetalesoneofEnmerkarandtwoofLugalbandatocompletethesketchoftheextantSumerian epicliterature. ThesecondEnmerkartale,likethetaletreatedinChapter4,isconcernedwiththesubmissionofalordofArattatoEnmerkar.

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However,inthispoemitisnotEnmerkarwhomakesthefirstdemandsonhisrival,thelordofAratta.Itis,rather,thelordofArattahimselfwhofirstissuesthe challengethatleadstohisowndiscomfiture.ThroughoutthesecondEnmerkarpoem,thelordofArattaisreferredtobyhisactualname,Ensukushsiranna,anditis thereforenotcertainwhetherheisidenticalwiththelordofArattawhoremainsunnamedinthefirstEnmerkarpoem.Asfortheavailablecontentsofthissecond Enmerkartale,until1952onlyapproximatelyonehundredwellpreservedlines,atthebeginningofthepoem,andsometwentyfivewellpreservedlinestowardthe end,wereidentifiable.Butinthe195152excavationsofNippurunderthejointauspicesoftheOrientalInstituteandtheUniversityMuseum,twoexcellently preservedtablets,whichfillinmuchofthemissingtext,wereunearthed.Asaresult,theplotcannowbetentativelyreconstructedasfollows: InthedayswhenEnnamibaraggaUtuwas(perhaps)kingofSumerasawhole,Ensukushsiranna,thelordofAratta,whosevizierhadthenameAnsiggaria,issueda challengeviaaheraldtoEnmerkar,thelordofErech,whosevizierwasNamennaduma.ThegistofthemessagewasthatEnmerkarshouldrecognizeEnsukushsiranna ashisoverlord,andthatthegoddessInannashouldbebroughttoAratta. Enmerkariscontemptuousofthechallengeand,inalongaddressinwhichhedepictshimselfasthefavoriteofthegods,declaresthatInannawillremaininErechand demandsthatEnsukushsirannashouldbehisvassal.ThereuponEnsukushsirannagathersinthemembersofhiscouncilandasksthemwhattodo.Theyseemtoadvise himtosubmit,butherefusesindignantly.ThenthemashmashpriestofAratta,probablyUrgirnunnabyname,comestohisaid,andboasts(unfortunatelyitis uncertainfromthetextjustwhothespeakeris)thathewillcross"theriverofErech,"subdueallthelands"aboveandbelow,fromtheseatothecedarmountain,"and returnwithheavilyladenboats(sic!)toAratta.Ensukushsirannaisdelighted,andgiveshimfiveminasofgoldandfiveminasofsilver,aswellasthenecessarysupplies. WhenthemashmashreachesErech(thepoemdoesnotstate

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howhegotthere)hestepsuptotheholystableandsheepfoldofthegoddessNidabaandinduceshercowandgoattowithholdtheircreamandmilkfromherdining halls.Theflavorofthepassagemaybefeltfromthefollowingtentativerendering:
He(themashmash)speakswiththecow,converseswithher likeahuman, "Cow,whoeatsyourcream,whodrinksyourmilk?" "Nidabaeatsmycream, Nidabadrinksmymilk, Mymilkandcheese...., Isplacedasfittinginthelarge(dining)halls,thehallsofNidaba. Iwouldbringmycream..fromtheholystable, Iwouldbringmymilk..fromthesheepfold, Thesteadfastcow,Nidaba,Enlil'sforemostchild....." "Cow,..yourcreamtoyour..,..yourmilktoyour....." Thecow..dhercreamtoher..,..dhermilktoher..,.....

(Theselinesarethenrepeatedforthegoat.) AsaresultofthiswithholdingactonthepartofNidaba'scowandgoat,thestablesandsheepfoldsofErecharelaidwaste.Theshepherdsmournandwailwhiletheir helperstaketotheroad.ThereuponNidaba'stwoshepherds,MashgulaandUredinna,"sonsbornofonemother,"interveneand,probablyontheadviceofthesun godUtu(therelevantpassageispoorlypreserved),theysucceedinoutwittingthemashmashwiththehelpofMotherSagburru.Thepassagefollows:


Thetwoofthem(MashgulaandUredinna)threwtheprince intotheriver, Themashmashbroughtforththegreatsuhurfishoutofthewater, MotherSagburrubroughtforththe..birdoutofthewater, The..birdsnatchedthesuhurfish,broughthimtothe mountain. Asecondtimetheythrewtheprinceintotheriver, Themashmashbroughtforthaeweanditslamboutofthewater, MotherSagburrubroughtforththewolfoutofthewater, Thewolfsnatchedtheeweanditslamb,broughtthemtothe wideplain.

Page230 Athirdtimetheythrewtheprinceintotheriver, Themashmashbroughtforthacowanditscalfoutofthewater, MotherSagburrubroughtforththelionoutofthewater, Thelionsnatchedthecowanditscalf,broughtthemtothe canebrake. Afourthtimetheythrewtheprinceintotheriver, Themashmashbroughtforththewildsheepoutofthewater, MotherSagburrubroughtforththemountainleopardoutof thewater, Themountainleopardsnatchedthewildsheep,broughthimto themountain. Afifthtimetheythrewtheprinceintotheriver, Themashmashbroughtforththeyounggazelleoutofthewater, MotherSagburrubroughtforththegugbeastoutofthewater, Thegugbeastsnatchedtheyounggazelle,broughthimtothe forests.

Havingthusbeenoutwittedagainandagain,themashmash's"faceturnsblack,hiscounselisdissipated."WhenMotherSagburrubeginstotaunthimforhisstupidity, hepleadswithhertolethimreturntoArattainpeace,andpromisestosingherpraisesthere.ButSagburruwillhavenoneofthis.Insteadshekillshimandthrowshis deadbodyintotheEuphrates. WhenEnsukushsirannahearsofwhathashappenedtothemashmash,hehurriedlysendsamessengertoEnmerkarandcompletelycapitulates:


"YouarethebelovedofInanna,youaloneareexalted, Inannahastrulychosenyouforherholylap Fromthelower(lands)totheupper(lands)youaretheir lord,Iamsecondtoyou, From(themomentof)conception,Iwasnotyourequal,you arethe'bigbrother,' Icannotcomparewithyouever."

Thepoemendswithlinescharacteristicofa"disputation"composition(seeChapter18):
"InthedisputebetweenEnmerkarandEnsukushsiranna, After(?)victoryofEnmerkaroverEnsukushsirannaONidaba, praise."

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WeturnnowtotheepictalesinwhichtheheroLugalbandaplaystheleadingrole.Thefirst,whichmaybetitled"LugalbandaandEnmerkar,"isapoemofmorethan fourhundredlines,themajorityofwhichareexcellentlypreserved.Inspiteoftherelativelyfewbreaksinthetext,thesenseofmanypassagesisfarfromclear,andthe followingsketchoftheintelligiblepartsofitscontents,basedonrepeatedeffortstogetatthemeaningofthepoem,muststillbeconsideredhighlytentative. TheheroLugalbanda,whoseemstofindhimselfagainsthiswillinthefardistantlandofZabu,iseagertogetbacktohiscity,Erech.Heisdeterminedtofirstwinthe friendshipoftheImdugudbirdwhodecreesthefatesanduttersthewordwhichnonemaytransgress.WhiletheImdugudbirdisaway,therefore,hegoestohisnest andpresentshisyoungwithfat,honey,andbread,paintstheirfaces,andplacestheshugurracrownupontheirheads.TheImdugudbird,uponreturningtohisnest, ismostgratifiedwiththisgodliketreatmentofhisyoung,andproclaimshimselfreadytobestowfriendshipandfavoruponwhatevergodormanhasdonethisgracious deed. Lugalbandastepsuptoreceivehisreward,andtheImdugudbird,inaeulogisticpassagerepletewithblessings,bidshimgo,headhigh,tohiscity.Upon Lugalbanda'srequest,hedecreesforhimafavorablejourney,andaddssomepertinentadvicewhichheistorepeattonoone,notevenhisclosestfollowers.The Imdugudbirdreentershisnest,whileLugalbandareturnstohisfriendsandtellsthemofhisimminentjourney.Theytrytodissuadehim,foritisajourneyfromwhich nonereturn,sinceitinvolvesthecrossingofhighmountainsandofthedreadedriverofKur.However,Lugalbandaisadamant,andtheoutcomeisthesuccessful journeytoErech. InErech,Lugalbanda'slordandliege,Enmerkar,sonofthesungodUtu,isingreatdistress.Formanyyearspast,theSemiticMartuhadbeenravagingbothSumer andAkkad.NowtheywerelayingsiegetoErechitself.Enmerkarfindsthathemustgetthroughacallforhelptohissister,thegoddessInannaofAratta.Buthecan findnoonetoundertakethedangerousjourneytoArattatodeliverhismessage.WhereuponLugalbandastepsuptohiskingandbravelyvolunteersforthetask. Upon

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Enmerkar'sinsistenceonsecrecy,heswearshewillmakethejourneyalone,unaccompaniedbyhisfollowers.AfterreceivingfromEnmerkartheexactwordsofhis messagetoInannaofAratta,Lugalbandahastenstohisfriendsandfollowersandinformsthemofhisimminentjourney.Theytrytodissuadehim,buttonoavail.He takesuphisweapons,crossesthesevenmountainsthatreachfromoneendofAnshantotheother,andfinallyarriveswithjoyfulstepathisdestination. ThereinAratta,LugalbandaisgivenawarmwelcomebyInanna.OnheraskingwhatbroughthimallalonefromErech

21. LugalbandaandEnmerkar:Istanbul.HandcopyofunpublishedNippurfragmentinMuseumofAncientOrient,inscribedwithpartofepictale.

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toAratta,herepeatsverbatimEnmerkar'smessageandcallforhelp.Inanna'sanswer,whichmarkstheendofthepoem,isobscure.Itseemstoinvolveariverandits unusualfish,whichEnmerkaristocatchalsocertainwatervesselsthatheistofashionandfinally,workersofmetalandstonewhomheistosettleinhiscity.Butjust howallthiswillremovethethreatoftheMartufromSumerandAkkad,orliftthesiegefromErech,isfarfromclear. ThesecondLugalbandatale,whichmaytentativelybetitled"LugalbandaandMountHurrum,"probablyrunswelloverfourhundredlines.Atpresent,however,with boththebeginningandendofthepoemmissing,wecanaccountonlyforsomethreehundredandfiftylinesoftext,ofwhichabouthalfareinexcellentcondition.The availablecontents,asfarastheycanbereconstructedfromthefragmentaryanddifficulttext,maybesketchedasfollows: InthecourseofajourneyfromErechtothefardistantAratta,LugalbandaandhisfollowersarriveatMountHurrum.ThereLugalbandafallsill.Hiscompanions, believingthatheissoontodie,decidetoproceedwithouthim.TheyplantopickuphisdeadbodyontheirreturnfromAratta,andtocarryitbacktoErech.Totake careofhisimmediatewants,however,theyleavewithhimaconsiderablequantityoffood,water,andstrongdrink,andhisweapons.Alone,ill,andforsaken, LugalbandauttersaprayertothesungodUtu,whoseestoitthathishealthisrestoredbymeansofthe"foodoflife"andthe"wateroflife." Uponregaininghishealth,Lugalbandawandersaloneoverthehighlandsteppe,livingbyhuntingitswildlifeandgatheringitsuncultivatedplants.Once,havingfallen asleep,hedreamsthatheiscommanded,perhapsbythesungodUtu,totakeuphisweapons,huntandkillawildox,andpresentitsfattotherisingUtualsoto slaughterakidandpouroutitsbloodinaditchanditsfatontheplain.Uponawaking,Lugalbandadoesexactlyashewasbidden.Inadditionhepreparesfoodand strongdrinkforAn,Enlil,Enki,andNinhursagthefourleadingdeitiesoftheSumerianpantheon.Theapproximatelylasthundredlinesoftheextanttextseemto containaeulogyofsevenheavenlylights

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whichhelpNannathemoongod,Ututhesungod,andInannatheVenusgoddess,toilluminatethecosmos. SomuchforoursurveyofextantSumerianepicliteratureandtheHeroicAgewhichitreveals.LetusturnnowtoahistoricalquestionwhichhastroubledNear Easternarchaeologistsandscholarsfordecades,andhascometobeknownas"TheSumerianProblem."ItrevolvesaboutthearrivaloftheSumeriansin Mesopotamia.Thequestionis,WeretheSumeriansthefirstpeopletosettleinLowerMesopotamia,orweretheyprecededbysomeotherethnicgrouporgroups? Onthesurface,thereseemstobelittleconnectionbetweenthisproblemandtheSumerianHeroicAge.However,thediscoveryoftheexistenceoftheSumerian HeroicAgeprovestobehighlysignificantfortheresolutionofthe"SumerianProblem."ItevenpermitsareinterpretationoftheearliesthistoryofMesopotamiathatis possiblyclosertothetruththananyearlierinterpretation.Butthe"SumerianProblem,''whichhasservedtodivideNearEasternarchaeologistsintotwodiametrically opposedcamps,needstobestatedhereinbrief: Asaresultoftheexcavationoftheprehistoriclevelsofanumberofsitesinthepastseveraldecades,theearliestculturephaseofLowerMesopotamiaisdivided,by generalagreement,inaccordancewithanumberofpertinentarchaeologicalcriteria,intotwodistinctperiods:theObeidperiod,theremainsofwhicharefound everywhereimmediatelyabovevirginsoilandtheUrukperiod,theremainsofwhichoverliethoseoftheObeidperiod.Moreover,theUrukperiodissubdividedinto twomajorstages,anearlierandalaterone.ItisinthelaterstageoftheUrukperiodthatwefindtheintroductionofthecylindersealaswellasthefirstinscribed tablets.Andsince,accordingtopresentindications,thelanguagerepresentedonthesetablets,inspiteofthelargelypictographiccharacterofthesigns,seemstobe Sumerian,mostarchaeologistsagreethattheSumeriansmustalreadyhavebeeninLowerMesopotamiaduringthelaterstageoftheUrukperiod. ItiswithrespecttotheearlierUrukperiod,andthestillearlierObeidperiod,thatwefindaveryseriousconflictofviews.Fromanalysisofthematerialremainsof theseearlierperiods,

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onegroupofarchaeologistsconcludesthatwhiletheremainsoftheearlierstagedifferconsiderablyfromthoseofthelaterstageoftheUrukperiod,andoftheperiods whichfollow,theearlierremainscanneverthelessberecognizedastheprototypesofthelaterremains.AndsincethelaterremainsareadmittedlySumerian,the earliestremainsmustalsobeattributedtotheSumerians.Hence,thisgroupconcludes,theSumerianswerethefirstsettlersinMesopotamia.Anothergroupof archaeologists,afteranalyzingpracticallythesamearchaeologicaldata,arrivesatanexactlyoppositeconclusion.Thisgroupclaimsthatwhiletheremainsofthe earliestperiodsdoshowcertainsimilaritiestothoseofthelaterandadmittedlySumerianperiods,thedifferencesbetweenthemaresignificantenoughtoindicatea majorethnicbreakbetweenthelaterstageoftheUrukperiodandtheprecedingstagesandsincethelaterstageisSumerian,theearlierstagesmustbeattributedtoa preSumeriancultureinLowerMesopotamia.Hence,saysthisgroup,theSumerianswerenotthefirstsettlersinthatregion. Thesolutionofthe"SumerianProblem"hasreachedmoreorlessofanimpasse.Themerepilingupofmorearchaeologicalmaterialfromnewexcavationswilldolittle toresolvethedeadlock,fortheevidenceprovidedbythenewfindswillnodoubtbeinterpretedinlinewithoneortheotherschoolofthought.Whatisneededisnew evidencebasedondatadifferinginessenceandkindfromthenecessarilyambiguousmaterialremainsutilizedhitherto. ThisiswhytheSumerianepicpoems,andtheHeroicAgewhichtheyreveal,aresoimportant.Theyprovidenewandsignificantcriteriaofapurelyliteraryand historicalcharacter.Tobesure,theproofisbynomeansobviousanddirecttherearenoexplicitstatementsintheancienttextsconcerningthefirstarrivalofthe SumeriansinMesopotamia.ItisadducedanddeducedfromastudyoftheculturalpatternandhistoricalbackgroundoftheSumerianHeroicAgeascomparedwith thelongknownHeroicAgesoftheGreek,Indian,andTeutonicpeoples. TherearetwofactorsthatareprimarilyresponsibleforthecharacteristicfeaturesofGreek,Indian,andTeutonicHeroicAges(hereagain,Chadwick'sstudiesare fundamental),the

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secondfactorbeingbyfarthemoresignificant:(1)TheseHeroicAgescoincidewithaperiodofnationalmigrations,aVlkerwanderungszeit.(2)Thesepeoples thatis,theAchaeans,theAryans,andtheTeutonswhilestillonarelativelyprimitiveandtriballevel,hadcomeincontactwithacivilizedpowerintheprocessof disintegration.Particularlyasmercenariesinthemilitaryserviceofthispowerduringitsstruggleforsurvival,theyabsorbedthemilitarytechniqueand,toasuperficial extent,someoftheculturalaccomplishmentsoftheirfarmorecivilizedneighbors.Itiswhentheyfinallybreakthroughthefrontiersofthiscivilizedempireandcarve outkingdomsandprincipalitiesforthemselveswithinitsterritory,amassingconsiderablewealthintheprocess,thattheydevelopthatratheradolescentandbarbaric culturalstageknownasaHeroicAge. TheHeroicAgewhosehistoricalantecedentsarebestknowntheTeutonicHeroicAgecoincidedwithaperiodofnationalmigrations.Butmoresignificantly,fora numberofcenturiesprecedingtheirHeroicAge,therelativelyprimitiveTeutonicpeopleshadcomeincontactwiththefarmorecivilizedbuteverweakeningRoman Empire,andhadbeensubjectedtoitsculturalinfluences,particularlyashostagesinitscourtandasmercenariesinitsarmies.BythefifthandsixthcenturiesA.D., theseTeutonicpeopleshadsucceededinoccupyingmostoftheterritorieswhichhadformerlybeenpartoftheRomanEmpire,andthesearethetwocenturiesthat markthefloruitoftheTeutonicHeroicAge. IfweassumethatthefactorsresponsiblefortheoriginanddevelopmentoftheSumerianHeroicAgewereanalogoustothoseresponsiblefortheoriginand developmentoftheGreek,Indian,andTeutonicHeroicAgesandthereseemstobenoreasontoassumeotherwisewemayconcludethattheSumerianHeroic Agemusthavecoincidedwithaperiodofnationalmigrations.Moreimportant,theoccupationofLowerMesopotamiabytheSumerians,whichgavebirthtotheir HeroicAge,musthavemarkedtheculminatingstageinahistoricalprocessthathadbegunseveralcenturiesearlier,whenLowerMesopotamiawasstillpartofa powerwhosestateofcivilizationwasfarmoreadvancedthanthecivilizationoftheSumerians,whoweresettled

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somewherealongitsouterfringes.ItisfromthismorecivilizedpowerthattherelativelyprimitiveSumeriansnodoubtlargelyasmercenariesinthatpower'smilitary employhadabsorbedsomeoftheessentialsofitsmilitarytechniqueaswellassomeofitsculturalattainments.Finally,theSumerianssucceededinbreakingthrough thefrontiersofthispower,occupyingaconsiderableportionofitsterritoryandamassingconsiderablewealthintheprocess.Itisthisperiodwhichmarksthefloruit oftheSumerianHeroicAge. AsaresultofdeterminingtheexistenceofaSumerianHeroicAge,weseemjustifiedindrawingtheconclusionthattheSumerianswerenotthefirstsettlersinLower Mesopotamia,butthattheymusthavebeenprecededbyacivilizedpowerofsomemagnitude,onethatwasculturallyfarmoreadvancedthanweretheSumerians. Whatisgenerallyspokenofas''Sumerian"civilizationacivilizationthatplayedapredominantroleintheAncientNearEast,andwhoseinfluencepersistedlongafter theSumerianshadceasedtoexistasapoliticalentitymustbelookeduponastheproductofsomefiveorsixcenturiesofculturalactivityfollowingtheimmature andbarbaricSumerianHeroicAge,andresultednodoubtfromaconstructiveapplicationoftheSumeriangeniustothematerialandspiritualheritageofthepre SumeriancivilizationinSouthernMesopotamia. WiththisfreshinsightintotheculturalmorphologyofearlyLowerMesopotamia,wecannowattempttoreconstructthemajoroutlinesofitshistory.This reconstruction,thoughtentativeandhypothetical,shouldproveofconsiderablevaluefortheinterpretationandintegrationoftherelevantarchaeologicalmaterial alreadyunearthedinSouthernMesopotamia,andthematerialstilltobeunearthed.FromthedaysofthefirstsettlementstothoseofthegreatAkkadiankingSargon, whomaybesaidtomarkthebeginningoftheendofSumerianpoliticaldominationintheland,thehistoryofLowerMesopotamiamaybedividedintotwomajor periods:thepreSumerian(whichmightbemoremeaningfullynamedtheIranoSemitic),andtheSumerian. ThepreSumerianperiodbeganasapeasantvillageculture.Asisnowgenerallyassumed,itwasintroducedintoLowerMeso

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22. LugalbandaandEnmerkar:Philadelphia.HandcopyofunpublishedNippurfragment,inUniversityMuseum,joinslargetabletpublishedin1934.

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potamiabyimmigrantsfromsouthwesternIrannotedfortheirspecializedtypeofpaintedpottery.NotlongaftertheestablishmentofthefirstsettlementbytheIranian immigrants,theSemitesprobablyinfiltratedintoSouthernMesopotamia,bothaspeacefulimmigrantsandaswarlikeconquerors.Asaresultofthefusionofthesetwo ethnicgroupstheIraniansfromtheEastandtheSemitesfromtheWestandthecrossfertilizationoftheircultures,therecameintobeingthefirstcivilizedurban stateinLowerMesopotamia.LikethelaterSumeriancivilization,itconsistedofagroupofcitystatesbetweenwhichtherewascontinualstrifeforsupremacyoverthe landasawhole.Butnowandagainthroughthecenturies,relativeunityandstabilitywerenodoubtachieved,atleastforbriefintervals.Atsuchtimesthe Mesopotamianpower,inwhichtheSemiticelementwasnodoubtpredominant,musthavesucceededinextendingitsinfluenceovermanyofthesurroundingdistricts, anddevelopedwhatmaywellhavebeenthefirstempireintheNearEast,probablythefirstempireinthehistoryofcivilization. Partoftheterritorywhichthisempirecametodominate,bothculturallyandpolitically,nodoubtconsistedofthemorewesterlypartsoftheIranianplateau,including thecountrylaterknownasElam.Itwasinthecourseofthesepoliticalactivitiesandtheiraccompanyingmilitarycampaigns,thattheMesopotamianstatefirstcamein conflictwiththeSumerians.Thisprimitiveandprobablynomadicpeople,whomayhaveeruptedfromeitherTranscaucasiaorTranscaspia,waspressinguponthe districtsofwesternIran,andthesehadtobedefendedatallcosts,sincetheyservedasbufferstatesbetweentheMesopotamianempireandthebarbariansbeyond. Intheirfirstencounters,thereislittledoubtthattheMesopotamianforces,withtheirsuperiormilitarytechnique,weremorethanamatchfortheSumerianhordes.But inthelongrun,itwasthemobileprimitiveSumerianswhohadtheadvantageovertheirmorecivilized,sedentaryadversary.Overtheyears,ascaptivehostagesin Mesopotamiancities,andasmercenariesintheMesopotamianarmies,theSumerianwarriorslearnedwhattheymostneededofthemilitarytechniquesoftheir captors.AndastheMesopotamianpowerweakenedand

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tottered,theSumerianspouredthroughthebufferstatesofwesternIranandinvadedLowerMesopotamiaitself,wheretheytookoverasmastersandconquerors. Tosummarize,thepreSumerianperiodinMesopotamiabeganasapeasantvillageculture,introducedbytheIraniansfromtheEast.Itpassedthroughan intermediatestageofimmigrationandinvasionbytheSemitesfromtheWest.Itculminatedinanurban,andprobablypredominantlySemitic,civilizationwhose politicalrulewasbroughttoanendbytheinvadingSumerianhordes. TurningnowfromthepreSumerian,orIranoSemitic,periodintheearlierhistoryofLowerMesopotamia,tothefollowingSumerianperiod,wefindthelatterto consistofthreeculturalstages:thepreliterate,theprotoliterate,andtheearlyliterate.Thefirst,orpreliterate,stageoftheSumerianperiodbeganwithaneraof stagnationandregressionfollowingthecollapseoftheearlierandmoreadvancedIranoSemiticcivilization,andtheincursionoftheSumerianbarbaricwarbandsinto LowerMesopotamia.Duringthesecenturies,whichculminatedintheSumerianHeroicAge,itwastheculturallyimmatureandpsychologicallyunstableSumerianwar lords,withtheirhighlyindividualisticandpredatorydispositions,whoheldswayoverthesackedcitiesandburntvillagesofthefirstvanquishedMesopotamianempire. TheseSumerianinvaderswerethemselvesfarfromsecureintheirnewMesopotamianhabitat,foritseemsthatnotlongaftertheyhadmadethemselvesmastersinthe land,newnomadichordesfromthewesterndesertSemitictribesknownastheMartu,"whoknownotgrain"pouredintoLowerMesopotamia.Aslateasthe daysofEnmerkarandLugalbandathatis,atthepeakoftheSumerianHeroicAgethestrugglebetweenthesedesertbarbariansandthebutrecently"citified" Sumerianswasstillraging.UnderthesecircumstancesitishardlylikelythatthetimesimmediatelyfollowingthearrivaloftheSumerianhordeswereconduciveto economicandtechnologicalprogressortocreativeeffortsinthefieldsofartandarchitecture.Onlyintheliteraryfieldmayweassumeamarkedcreativeactivityon thepartofthecourtminstrels,whoweremovedtocomposeepiclaysfortheentertainmentoftheirlordsandmasters.

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Itiswhenwecometothesecond,orprotoliterate,stageoftheSumerianperiodthatwefindtheSumeriansfirmlyplantedanddeeplyrootedintheirnewland.Itwas probablyinthisculturalphasethatthenameSumerfirstcametobeappliedtoLowerMesopotamia.Bythistimethemorestableelementsoftherulingcaste particularlythecourtandtempleadministratorsandintellectualswerecomingtothefore.Therewasastrongmovementforlawandorderintheland,andan awakeningofcommunityspiritandpatrioticpride.Moreover,theunusuallyfruitfulfusion,bothethnicandcultural,oftheSumerianconquerorswiththevanquishedbut morecivilizednativepopulation,broughtaboutacreativespurtthatwasfraughtwithsignificancenotaloneforSumerbutforWesternAsiaasawhole. Itwasduringthisculturalstagethatarchitecturewasdevelopedtoanewhighlevel.Thiswasalsothetimethatprobablywitnessedtheinventionofwriting,anevent whichprovedtobethedecisivefactorinmoldingtheNearEastintoaculturalunitinspiteofitsdiverseandpolyglotethnicelements.TheSumeriansystemofwriting, initslaterconventionalizedform,wasborrowedbypracticallyalltheculturedpeoplesofWesternAsia.Asaresult,thestudyoftheSumerianlanguageandliterature becameamajordisciplineinthenarrowlyrestricted,buthighlyinfluential,literatecirclesoftheancientNearEast.ItwasthisleavenofSumerianachievementonthe intellectualandspiritualplanethatraisedtheNearEasternethostoanewhighpointintheearlyhistoryofcivilization.(NotethatSumerianachievementswereactually theproductofatleastthreeethnicgroupstheprotoIranian,theSemitic,andtheSumerian.) Thelast,orearlyliterate,culturalstageoftheSumerianperiodwitnessedthefurtherdevelopmentofthosematerialandspiritualachievementswhichmainlyoriginated inthepreceding,andmorecreative,protoliteratestageparticularlyinthematterofwriting.Thelargelypictographicandideographicscriptoftheprecedingerawas moldedandmodifiedovertheyearsintoathoroughlyconventionalizedandpurelyphoneticsystemofwriting.Bytheendofthisperioditcouldbeutilizedforeventhe morecomplexhistoricalcompositions. Itwasprobablyduringthisearlyliteratestage,orperhaps

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23. LugalbandaandMountHurrum.HandcopyofobverseofNippurtablet,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedwithpartofepictale.Noteunusualshapeofpiece.

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eventowardtheendoftheprecedingprotoliteratephase,thatstrongSumeriandynastiesfirstcameintobeing.Inspiteoftheconstantstrifebetweencityandcityfor thehegemonyoverSumer,someofthemdidsucceed,ifonlyforbriefintervals,inextendingthepoliticalboundariesofSumerconsiderablybeyondLower Mesopotamiaitself.ThustherecameintobeingwhatmightbetermedthesecondandthistimepredominantlySumerianempireinthehistoryoftheNearEast. FinallytheSumerianempire,likeitspresumedSemiticpredecessor,weakenedandcrumbled.Asaresultofcontinuedinfiltrationintotheland,theSemiticAkkadians becameevermorepowerful,until,withthereignofSargon,whichmaybesaidtomarkthebeginningoftheSumeroAkkadianperiod,theSumerianperiodcomesto aclose. Inconclusion,itmayproveofvaluetoattempttoassignspecificdatestotheculturalstagesdescribedintheforegoingreconstructionoftheearliesthistoryofLower Mesopotamia,particularlysinceoflateapredispositiontoa"high"chronology(anunderstandablearchaeologicalweakness)isagainmanifestingitself. LetusstartwiththewellknownHammurabi,akeyfigureinMesopotamianhistoryandchronology.Severaldecadesago,thebeginningofhisreignwasdatedasearly asthetwentiethcenturyB.C.Itisnowgenerallyagreedthatthiswasfartooearly,andthat1750B.C.wouldbeamorelikelydate.Infact,eventhisdatemayprove toohighbyfourtofivedecades.TheintervalbetweenthebeginningofHammurabi'sreignandthatofSargontheGreatofAkkad,thekeyMesopotamianruler,which notlongagowastakentobesomesevencenturies,turnsouttobeonlyaboutfiveandahalfcenturies.Sargon'srule,therefore,beganabout2300B.C.Ifnow, judginginpartfromthedevelopmentofthecuneiformsystemofwriting,weattributesomefourcenturiestotheearlyliteratestageoftheSumerianperiod,its beginningwouldreachbacktoapproximately2700B.C.Theprecedingprotoliteratestageprobablydidnotlastlongerthantwocenturies,andthebarbaricSumerian HeroicAgewhichitfollowedmaythereforebeassignedtothefirstcenturyofthethirdmillenniumB.C.Asforthefirstarrivaloftheconquering

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butprimitiveSumeriansinLowerMesopotamia,thismusthavetakenplaceinthelastquarterofthefourthmillenniumB.C.Ifwefurtherattributesomefivetosix centuriestotheIranoSemiticcivilization,thefirstsettlementsinLowerMesopotamiamayhavetakenplaceinthefirstquarterofthefourthmillenniumB.C. Unlikenarrativeandhymnalpoetry,thelyricisratherrareinSumerianliteratureparticularlythelovelyric.Todate,onlytwolovepoemshavebeenrecovered amonghundredsandthousandsofSumeriantablets.Thesetwopoems,asisapparentfromthetranslationsinChapter25,arenotlovepoemsinthesecularsense. Bothareprobablyrhapsodicsongsofloveutteredbyaroyalbridetoherking.TheycalltomindtheBiblical''SongofSongs."

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Chapter25 TotheRoyalBridegroom TheFirstLoveSong


WhileworkingintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrientasFulbrightResearchProfessoritwastowardtheendof1951Icameuponalittletabletwiththe museumnumber2461.ForweeksIhadbeenstudying,moreorlesscursorily,drawerfulafterdrawerfulofstilluncopiedandunpublishedSumerianliterarytablets,in ordertoidentifyeachpieceand,ifpossible,assignittothecompositiontowhichitbelonged.Allthiswasspadeworkpreparatorytotheselection,forcopying,of thosepieceswhichweremostsignificantsinceitwasclearthattherewouldbenotimethatyeartocopyallofthem.Thelittletabletnumbered2461waslyinginone ofthedrawers,surroundedbyanumberofotherpieces. WhenIfirstlaideyesonit,itsmostattractivefeaturewasitsstateofpreservation.IsoonrealizedthatIwasreadingapoem,dividedintoanumberofstanzas,which celebratedbeautyandlove,ajoyousbrideandakingnamedShuSin(whoruledoverthelandofSumerclosetofourthousandyearsago).AsIreaditagainandyet again,therewasnomistakingitscontent.WhatIheldinmyhandwasoneoftheoldestlovesongswrittendownbythehandofman. Itsoonbecameclearthatthiswasnotasecularpoem,notasongoflovebetweenjust"amanandamaid."Itinvolvedakingandhisselectedbride,andwasnodoubt intendedtoberecitedinthecourseofthemosthallowedofancientrites,theriteofthe"sacredmarriage."Onceayear,accordingtoSumerianbelief,itwasthesacred dutyoftherulertomarryapriestessand

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votaryofInanna,thegoddessofloveandprocreation,inordertoensurefertilitytothesoilandfecunditytothewomb.Thetimehonoredceremonywascelebrated onNewYear'sdayandwasprecededbyfeastsandbanquetsaccompaniedbymusic,song,anddance.ThepoeminscribedonthelittleIstanbulclaytabletwasinall probabilityrecitedbythechosenbrideofKingShuSininthecourseofoneoftheseNewYearcelebrations. ThepoemwascopiedbyMuazzezCig,oneoftheTurkishcuratorsoftheIstanbultabletcollection.Aneditionofthepoemconsistingofcopy,text,transliteration, translation,andcommentarywaspublishedjointlywithCigintheBelletenoftheTurkishHistoricalCommission,Volume16(pages345ff.).Hereisatentative translation:


Bridegroom,deartomyheart, Goodlyisyourbeauty,honeysweet, Lion,deartomyheart, Goodlyisyourbeauty,honeysweet. Youhavecaptivatedme,letmestandtremblinglybeforeyou, Bridegroom,Iwouldbetakenbyyoutothebedchamber, Youhavecaptivatedme,letmestandtremblinglybeforeyou, Lion,Iwouldbetakenbyyoutothebedchamber. Bridegroom,letmecaressyou, Mypreciouscaressismoresavorythanhoney, Inthebedchamber,honeyfilled, Letusenjoyyourgoodlybeauty, Lion,letmecaressyou, Mypreciouscaressismoresavorythanhoney. Bridegroom,youhavetakenyourpleasureofme, Tellmymother,shewillgiveyoudelicacies, Myfather,hewillgiveyougifts. Yourspirit,Iknowwheretocheeryourspirit, Bridegroom,sleepinourhouseuntildawn, Yourheart,Iknowwheretogladdenyourheart, Lion,sleepinourhouseuntildawn. You,becauseyouloveme, Givemeprayofyourcaresses, Mylordgod,mylordprotector, MyShuSinwhogladdensEnlil'sheart, Givemeprayofyourcaresses.

Page247 Yourplacegoodlyashoney,praylay(your)handonit, Bring(your)handoveritlikeagishbangarment, Cup(your)handoveritlikeagishbansikingarment, ItisabalbalesongofInanna.

TheonlyotherknownSumerianlovesongisalsoinscribedonanIstanbultablet.AlthoughitwaspublishedbyEdwardChierain1924,itwasnottranslateduntil 1947,whenAdamFalkenstein'sexcellentanddetailededitionofthetextappearedinDieWeltdesOrients(pages4350).Thispoem,too,consistsoftheloving wordsofanunnamedvotarytoherking,butitsstructureisnottooclearanditsmeaningisobscureinspots.Itseemstoconsistofsixstrophes:twooffourlineseach, oneofsixlines,twomoreoffourlines,andoneofsixlines.Thelogicalrelationshipbetweenthevariousstrophesisnottooclear.Thefirststrophesingsofthebirthof ShuSin,whilethesecondseemstoconsistofexclamatorylinesexaltingShuSin,hismotherAbisimti,andhiswifeKubatum.Inthethirdandlongerstrophe,

24. LovePoem.HandcopyofobverseandreverseofIstanbultabletinscribedwithlovepoemtoKingShuSinreminiscentofBiblical''SongofSongs."

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thepoetesstellsofthegiftspresentedherbythekingasarewardforherjoyousallarisongs.Ofthelastthreestrophes,thefirstandthirdconsistofexclamatorylines exaltingtheking,whilethesecondsingstemptinglyofthepoetess'owncharms.Hereisthetentativetranslationoftheentirepoem:
Shegavebirthtohimwhoispure,shegavebirthtohimwho ispure, Thequeengavebirthtohimwhoispure, Abisimtigavebirthtohimwhoispure, Thequeengavebirthtohimwhoispure. Omy(queen)whoisfavoredoflimb, Omy(queen)whois..dofhead,myqueenKubatum, Omy(lord)whois..dofhair,mylordShuSin, Omy(lord)whois..dofword,mysonofShulgi! BecauseIutteredit,becauseIutteredit,thelordgavemeagift, BecauseIutteredtheallarisong,thelordgavemeagift, Apendantofgold,asealoflapislazuli,thelordgavemeasagift, Aringofgold,aringofsilver,thelordgavemeasagift, Lord,yourgiftisbrimfulof..,liftyourfaceuntome, ShuSin,yourgiftisbrimfulof..,liftyourfaceuntome. ....lord....lord...., ....likeaweapon...., Thecityliftsitshandlikeadragon,mylordShuSin, Itliesatyourfeetlikealioncub,sonofShulgi. Mygod,ofthewinemaid,sweetisherdrink, Likeherdrinksweetishervulva,sweetisherdrink, Likeherlipssweetishervulva,sweetisherdrink, Sweetishermixeddrink,herdrink. MyShuSinwhofavoredme, Omy(ShuSin)whofavoredme,whofondledme, MyShuSinwhofavoredme, MybelovedofEnlil,(my)ShuSin, Myking,thegodofhisland! ItisabalbaleofBau.

TheSumerianpoemsandessaysthatareanalyzedinthepresentvolumerepresentonlyasmallfractionoftheavailableSumerianliteraryremainsnottomentionthe innumerabletabletsstillunderground.BythefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.a

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largenumberofSumerianliteraryworksofalltypeswerecurrentinSumerianschools.Theywereinscribedonclaytablets,prisms,andcylindersofassortedsizesand shapes,whichhadtobehandled,stored,andcaredfor.AprioriitseemedreasonabletosupposethatsomeoftheSumerianfacultypersonnelwouldfindit convenienttolistthenamesofgroupsofliteraryworksforpurposesofreferenceandfiling.In1942twosuchbooklistswereidentified.OneisintheLouvre,andthe otherintheUniversityMuseum.These,thefirst"librarycatalogues,"arediscussedinChapter26.

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Chapter26 BookLists TheFirstLibraryCatalogue


TheUniversityMuseumhasatabletcataloguedasNo.2915166.ItisanancientSumerian"booklist."Itissmall,only21/2inchesinlengthby11/2inchesin width,andinpracticallyperfectcondition.Thescribe,bydividingeachsideintotwocolumns,andbyusingaminutescript,succeededincataloguingthetitlesofsixty twoliteraryworksonthissmalltablet.Thefirstfortytitleshedividedintogroupsoftenbyrulingadividinglinebetweennumbers10and11,20and21,30and31, 40and41.Theremainingtwentytwoheseparatedintotwogroups,thefirstconsistingofninetitlesandthesecondofthirteen.Atleasttwentyfourofthetitleswhich thisscribelistedinhiscataloguecanbeidentifiedasbelongingtocompositionsforwhichwenowhavethetextsthemselves,infullorinlargepart.Wemayhave considerableportionsofthetextsofmanymoreofthelistedworks.ButsincethetitleofaSumeriancompositionconsistedofpartandusuallythefirstpartofits firstline,thereisnowayofidentifyingthetitlesofthosepoemsoressaysinwhichthefirstlineswerebrokenawayorseriouslydamaged. TherecognitionofthecontentsofthelittletabletintheUniversityMuseumasa"booklist"didnotcomeaboutsimplyandatfirstglance.WhenIfirsttookthelittle tabletfromitsplaceinthecupboardtostudyit,Ihadnoinklingofthetruenatureofitscontents.BlithelyassumingthatitwasbutanotherSumerianpoem,Itriedto translateitasaconnectedtext.Tobesure,Iwastroubledbytheextremebrevityoftheindividual

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lines,andbytheinexplicabledivisionofthetextintovariousgroupingsbymeansofruledlines.Butthethoughtthatitwasa"booklist"wouldprobablyneverhave enteredmymind,hadInotgrownfamiliarwiththeinitiallinesofanumberoftheSumerianliteraryworksinmyefforts,overtheyears,topiecetogethertheiravailable texts.AsIreadandreread,againandagain,theindividualphrasesonthelittletablet,thesimilaritybetweenthemandthefirstlinesofanumberofthepoemsand essaysstruckmeasunusual.Fromthereonitwasrelativelysimple,andadetailedcomparisonledtotheconclusionthatthelinesinscribedonthetinydocument containednotaconnectedtext,butadisjointedlistoftitlesofanumberofSumerianliteraryworks. Oncethecontentsofthecataloguetablethadbeenrecognizedanddeciphered,itseemedadvisabletolookthroughalltheSumerianmaterialpublishedbythevarious museumsduringthepastdecadestoseeifasimilardocument,thenatureofitscontentsunrecognized,hadalreadybeenpublished.Sureenough,insearchingthrough theLouvrepublicationTextesReligieuxSumriens,IfoundthattheLouvretabletAO5393,describedasahymnbyitscopyist,theFrenchscholarHenride Genouillac,isreallyacataloguecorrespondinginlargeparttoourUniversityMuseumtablet.Indeed,tojudgefromthescript,itmayhavebeenwrittenbythevery samescribe.TheLouvretabletisalsodividedintofourcolumns.Itcataloguessixtyeighttitles,sixmorethantheUniversityMuseumtablet.Fortythreeofthetitlesare identicalonthetwotablets,althoughtheorderfrequentlyvaries.TheLouvretabletthereforehastwentyfivetabletsthatarenotintheUniversityMuseumtablet,while thelatterhasnineteentitlesthatarenotintheformer.Altogether,thetwocatalogueslistthetitlesofeightysevenliterarycompositions.Amongthetwentyfivelisted onlyontheLouvretablet,eighttitlesareofcompositionswhosetextswenowhaveinlargepart.Thisbringsthetotalidentifiablecompositionstothirtytwo. Asfortheprincipleswhichguidedthescribeinthearrangementofhiscatalogue,thesearebynomeansclear.Inthefirstplace,sincethefortythreetitlescommonto bothcataloguesdifferconsiderablyintheorderoftheirarrangement,itisobvious

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thattheguidingprincipleswerenotidenticalforthetwocatalogues.Apriorionemighthaveexpectedthenatureofthecontentsofthecompositionstohavebeenthe determiningcriterion.Actually,thisisrarelythecase.Theonlyveryconvincingexampleofarrangementaccordingtocontentisthatofthelastthirteentitlesofthe UniversityMuseumtablet,whichareall"wisdom"compositions.Interestinglyenough,noneofthesearefoundontheLouvretablet. Atpresentweareignorantofthepracticalpurposeswhichthecataloguewasintendedtoserveandcanonlyguessattheactualfactorsthatimpelledthescribetoa particularchoice.Tomentionsomeofthemoreobviouspossibilities,hemayhavewrittenthetitlesashe"packed"theliterarytabletsinajar,orashe"unpacked" them,orperhapsashearrangedthemontheshelvesofthelibraryroomofthe''tablethouse."Inanycase,thesizeofthetabletmayhaveplayedaconsiderablerolein theorderofselection.Untiladditionaldatacomestolight,theproblemofthecataloguearrangementmustremainobscure. Forpurposesofillustration,hereisalistofthosetitlesinthetwodocumentswhichcanbeidentifiedwiththepoemsandessaysdiscussedthroughoutthisbook:

25. "LibraryCatalogue."Compositionstreatedinthisbook.Inthishandcopyof"Catalogue,"numbersrefertoliteraryworksdiscussedinpresentvolume.

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1.Enenigdue("TheLord,ThatWhichIsAppropriate"),listedasNo.3intheUniversityMuseumtablet(andprobablyalsointheLouvredocument,whichisbroken atthispoint),beginsthemyth"TheCreationofthePickax,"thefirstlinesofwhichwereutilizedfordeducingtheSumerianconceptsofthecreationoftheuniverse(see Chapter13). 2.EnlilSudushe("EnlilFarreaching"),listedasNo.5inbothdocuments,beginstheEnlilhymnquotedinlargepartinChapter13. 3.Uria("TheDaysofCreation"),listedasNo.7inbothcatalogues,beginstheepictale"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld"(seeChapter23).ThetitleUria appearstwomoretimesinthecatalogues,whichindicatesthatthecataloguermusthavehadtwoadditionalworksbeginningwiththisphrase.Nevertheless,hedidnot seemtofeelitnecessarytodistinguishbetweenthesethreeidenticaltitles. 4.Enekurlutilashe("TheLordtowardtheLandoftheLiving"),listedasNo.10inbothcatalogues,beginsthedragonslayingtale"GilgameshandtheLandofthe Living"(seeChapter22). 5.LukingiaAg("TheHeraldsofAg(ga)"),listedasNo.11intheUniversityMuseumtabletbutomittedintheLouvrepiece,beginsthepoliticallysignificantepictale, "GilgameshandAgga"(seeChapter5).TheSumeriantitlestopswiththesyllableAg,althoughthisisonlythefirstpartofthename. 6.Hursagankibida("OntheMountainofHeavenandEarth"),listedasNo.17intheUniversityMuseumtabletbutomittedintheLouvredocument,beginsthe disputation"CattleandGrain"(seeChapter14),whichisimportantfortheSumerianideasconcerningthecreationofman. 7.Urunanam("Lo,theCity"),listedasNo.22intheUniversityMuseumtabletbutomittedintheLouvrepiece,beginstheNanshehymn(seeChapter14),whichis importantforthehistoryofSumerianethicsandmorals. 8.Lugalbanda("Lugalbanda"),listedasNo.39intheUniversityMuseumtabletbutomittedintheLouvrepiece,beginstheepictale"Lugalbandaand Enmerkar"(seeChapter24). 9.Angaltakigalshe("FromtheGreatAbovetotheGreatBe

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low''),listedasNo.41intheUniversityMuseumdocumentbutasNo.34intheLouvretablet,beginsthemyth"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld"(seeChapter 21). 10.Mesheamiduden("WhereDidYouGo?"),listedasNo.50intheUniversityMuseumtabletbutomittedintheLouvredocument,istheendofthefirstlineofthe "schooldays"compositiondiscussedinChapter2.TheentirefirstlineofthisessayreadsDumuedubbauulammesheiduden("Schoolboy,wheredidyougofrom earliestdays?").Buttheancientscribechosethelastratherthanthefirstpartofthislineforhiscatalogue,perhapsbecausetherewereanumberofessaysbeginning withthewordDumuedubba("Schoolboy"),andhewishedtodistinguishbetweenthem. 11.Uulengarra("InDaysofYoretheFarmer"),listedasNo.53intheUniversityMuseumtabletbutomittedintheLouvrepiece,beginstheessaycontainingthe instructionsofafarmertohisson,anddescribedasthefirst"Farmer'sAlmanac"inChapter11. 12.Lugaleumelambinirgal,listedasNo.18intheLouvretabletbutomittedintheUniversityMuseumdocument,beginsthedragonslayingmyth"TheDeedsand ExploitsoftheGodNinurta"(seeChapter22). 13.Lulunammahdingire("Man,theExaltednessoftheGods"),listedasNo.46intheLouvrepieceandomittedintheUniversityMuseumtablet,beginsthepoetic essayonhumansufferingandsubmissiondiscussedinChapter15. TheSumeriansheldoutnocomfortinghopesformanandhisfuture.Tobesure,theylongedforsecurityandatleastthreeofthefourfreedomsthatweespouse todayfreedomfromfear,want,andwar.Butitneveroccurredtothemtoprojecttheselongingsandwishesintothefuture.Instead,theythoughtofthemin retrospectandrelegatedthemtothelonggonepast.ThefirstrecordedideasconcerningaGoldenAgearepresentedinChapter27.

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Chapter27 WorldPeaceandHarmony Man'sFirstGoldenAge


Inclassicalmythology,theGoldenAgeisrepresentedasanageofperfecthappiness,whenmenlivedwithouttoilorstrife.InSumerianliterature,wehave,preserved forusonatablet,man'sfirstconceptionoftheGoldenAge.TheSumerianviewoftheGoldenAgeisfoundintheepictale"EnmerkarandtheLandofAratta"(see Chapter4).Inthistalethereisapassageoftwentyonelinesthatdescribesaonceuponatimestateofpeaceandsecurity,andendswithman'sfallfromthisblissful state.Hereisthepassage:
Onceuponatime,therewasnosnake,therewasnoscorpion, Therewasnohyena,therewasnolion, Therewasnowilddog,nowolf, Therewasnofear,noterror, Manhadnorival. Onceuponatime,thelandsShuburandHamazi, Many(?)tonguedSumer,thegreatlandofprinceships' divinelaws, Uri,thelandhavingallthatisappropriate, ThelandMartu,restinginsecurity, Thewholeuniverse,thepeopleinunison(?), ToEnlilinonetonguegavepraise. (But)then,thefatherlord,thefatherprince,thefatherking, Enki,thefatherlord,thefatherprince,thefatherking, Theirate(?)fatherlord,theirate(?)fatherprince,the irate(?)fatherking, ....abundance.... ....(5linesdestroyed) ..man....

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Thefirstelevenlines,whichareexcellentlypreserved,describethosehappy"longago"dayswhenman,fearlessandunrivaled,livedinaworldofpeaceandplenty, andallthepeoplesoftheuniverseworshipedthesamedeity,Enlil.Indeed,if"inonetongue"istobetakenliterally,andnotasafigurativeexpressionforaphrasesuch as"withoneheart,"thewordswouldindicatethattheSumerians,liketheHebrewsoflatertimes,believedintheexistenceofauniversalspeechpriortotheperiodof theconfusionoflanguages. Asforthetenlinesthatconstitutethenextpartofthepassage,theyaresofragmentarythatwecanonlyguessattheircontent.Tojudgefromthecontext,itseemssafe tosurmisethatEnki,displeasedwith,orjealousof,theswayofEnlil,tooksomeactiontodisruptit,andthusputanendtoman'sGoldenAgebybringingabout conflictsandwarsamongthepeoplesoftheworld.Perhaps(ontheassumptionthatlines10and11aretobetakenliterally),Enkievenbroughtaboutaconfusionof languages.Ifso,wemayhaveherethefirstinklingofaSumerianparalleltotheBiblical"TowerofBabel"story(Genesis11:19),exceptthattheSumeriansattributed man'sfalltothejealousybetweenthegodswhiletheHebrewsbelieveditresultedfromElohim'sjealousyofman'sambitiontobelikeagod.

26. Man's"GoldenAge."HandcopyofobverseandreverseofNippurfragment,inUniversityMuseum,inscribedwithpartofepictale,"EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta."

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ThepoetoftheGoldenAgepassagedesignateditasthe"SpellofEnki."Enmerkar,thelordofErechandafavoriteofthegodEnkisorunsthestoryis determinedtomakeavassalstateofthemineralrichAratta.HethereforesendsaheraldtothelordofArattawithamessagethreateningAratta'sdestructionunless heandhispeoplebringdownpreciousmetalandstone,andbuildanddecorateEnki'stemple,theAbzu.ItwastofurtherimpressthelordofArattathatEnki instructedtheheraldtorepeatthe"SpellofEnki,"whichrelateshowEnki

27. AncientSites.MapofsouthernIraqlocatingimportantexcavatedsites.

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hadputanendtoEnlil'sswayovertheearthanditsinhabitants. BesidessheddinglightontheSumerianideasofman'sblissfulpast,thepassageoftwentyonelinesisofimportanceforanotherreason:Itgivessomeideaofthesize andgeographyofthephysicalworldknowntotheSumerians.Tojudgefromlines6to9,thepoetconceivedoftheuniverseasfourmajorlanddivisions.Hisown country,Sumer,formedthesouthernboundaryofthisuniverseandconsisted(roughlyestimated)oftheterritorybetweentheTigrisandEuphratesRiversfromaline somewhatbelowthethirtythirdparalleldowntothePersianGulf.DirectlynorthofSumerwasUri,whichprobablyconsistedoftheterritorybetweentheTigrisand Euphratesnorthofthethirtythirdparallel,andincludedthelaterAkkadandAssyria.EastofSumerandUriwasShuburHamazi,whichnodoubtincludedmuchof westernIran.TothewestandsouthwestofSumerwasMartu,whichincludedtheterritorybetweentheEuphratesRiverandtheMediterraneanSea,aswellas Arabia.Inshort,theuniverseasconceivedbytheSumerianpoets,extendedatleastfromtheArmenianhighlandsonthenorthtothePersianGulf,andfromtheIranian highlandsontheeasttotheMediterraneanSea.

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Chapter28 AncientCounterpartsofModernWoes TheFirst"Sick"Society


Ithaslongbeenmycontentionthatinspiteoftheobviousdifferences,bothsuperficialandprofound,betweentheculture,character,andmentalityoftheancient Sumerianandmodernman,theyarefundamentallyanalogous,comparable,andreciprocallyilluminating.Inviewoftoday'spervadingconcernwiththediverseand variegatedsocialillsthatmarkandmarmodernlife,ithasoccurredtomethatitmightbeinterestingandusefultotrytodeterminewhetherornotsomeofthese disturbingproblemstroubledancientSumeriansocietyaswell.IthereforeturnedtotheSumerianliterarydocuments,theonlycuneiformwritingswithwhichIammore orlessonintimateterms,toseeif,althoughcomposedbyvisionarypoetsandemotionalbardsratherthanscholarlysociologists,theymightnotproverevealingforthis comparativeinquirynotdirectlyofcourse,butinferentiallyandbetweenthelines,asitwere.Thischapterwillsummarizesomeoftheresultsofthisquestfor sociologicalevidencefromnonsociologicalsourcesandwilltrytodemonstratethatnotunlikeourowntormentedsociety,theSumeriansocietyofsome4000years agohaditsdeplorablefailingsanddistressingshortcomings:itsutopianidealshonoredmoreinthebreachthaninobservanceits"SundaypreachingandMonday practice"ityearnedforpeacebutwasconstantlyatwaritprofessedsuchidealsasjustice,equity,andcompassion,butaboundedininjustice,inequality,and oppressionmaterialisticandshortsighted,itunbalancedtheecologyessentialtoitseconomyitsufferedfromthe"generationgap"betweenparentsandchildren

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andbetweenteachersandstudentsithadits"dropouts,""copouts,"hippiesandpervertsithadits"unisex"devotees,andperhapsevensomethinglikea"minimaxi" controversy.Inanycase,forwhateveritisworth,hereissomeoftheevidencefortheancientcounterpartsofthemodernwoes,beginningwithwhatisgenerally deemedtobesociety'smostcatastrophicaffliction:war. ThatwarandwarfarewererampantallovertheAncientNearFastis,ofcourse,awellknownmelancholytruth,andmodernhistorybooksarefilledwithgrislydetails takenfromnumerousroyalinscriptions,andparticularlytheannalsoftheAssyriankings.Theseroyalinscriptionsandannals,however,werewrittenprimarilyforthe purposeofexaltingthevictorsandconquerorsandthereforeprovidelittleinformationonwar'scataclysmicaftereffectsontheeconomic,social,political,andreligious lifeoftheconqueredandvictimizedcommunities.ForthiskindofinformationwemustturntotheSumerianliterarygenrecommonlyknownas"lamentation,"which mayhavehaditsrudimentarybeginningsasearlyasthesecondhalfofthethirdmillenniumB.C.,butdidnotbecomeasignificantcomponentoftheSumerianliterary andliturgicalrepertoirebeforethefirsthalfofthesecondmillennium.Theselamentsdepictcopiouslyandvividlythemiseryandsuffering,theagonyandtormentofthe conqueredvictims.Thus,inthe"LamentationovertheDestructionofSumerandUr"welearnthatasaconsequenceofthedefeatoftheSumeriansbytheir neighboringenemies,lawandorderceasedtoexist.City,house,andbyrewereinruinsriversandcanalsweredriedupfields,gardens,orchards,andgrazinglands layuntendedanduncultivatedfamilylifewasutterlydisruptedthepeopleandtheirkingwerecarriedoffintocaptivityandforeignersweresettledintheirplace templesweredefiledandtheirritesandritualsabolishedcommunicationsonlandandwaterbrokedownpanic,massacre,andfamineravagedtheland. War,asiswellknown,isamajorcauseofinflationinourowntime,andthiswastrueofancientSumeraswell.Fromacompositiongenerallyknownasthe"Curseof Agade"welearnthatfollowingtheravagingofSumerbytheinvadingGutianhordes,pricesrosesohighthatashekelofsilvercouldbuybuthalfasilaofoil,halfa silaofgrain,halfaminaofwool,andonlyonebanof

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fish,thatis,priceswereanywherefromtwentytotwohundredtimesabovenormal. Withthebitterfruitofwarallaboutthem,thepeopleofSumeryearnedforpeaceandsecurity,ascanbegatheredfromtheimpressive,thoughnodoubtexaggerated claimsofrulerafterruler.Thus,about2300B.C.,Lugalzaggesiboaststhatafterhehadbecomemasterofallthelands,east,west,north,andsouth,thepeople"slept (peacefully)inthemeadow"throughouthisreign,andhepraystoEnliltoseetoitthat"thelands(continue)tosleep(peacefully)inthemeadows,"andthat"allmankind thrivelikeplantsandherbs."Sometwocenturieslater,onthedaythatGudeabroughtNingirsuintotherestoredandpurifiedEninnu,inwordsreminiscentofthe prophetIsaiah,heprofessesthat


Thebeasts,thecreaturesofthesteppe,togetherkneel, Thelion,theleopard(?),thedragonofthesteppe,togetherin sweetsleepkneel.

Lessthanacenturylater,Shulgi,oneofthetrulygreatrulersoftheancientworld,asserts:
Onthat(?)day,inmyinscriptions, Thatnocitywasdestroyedbyme, nowallswerebreachedbyme, Thatlikeafrailreednolandwascrushedbyme, Thesingerwillputtosong.

Aglowingpictureofthemuchlongedforpeace,security,andstabilityisprovidedbythepoetwhocomposedthe"LamentationovertheDestructionofNippur,"who allegesthatafterNippurandSumerhadbeendeliveredbyIshmeDaganfromtheirenemies,therecame
Adaywhenmanabusesnotman,thesonfearshisfather, Adaywhenhumilitypervadestheland,thenobleishonoredby thelowly, Adaywhentheyoungerbrotherdeferstotheolderbrother, Adaywhentheyoungsit(attentive)tothewordsofthelearned, Adaywhenthereisnostrife(?)betweentheweakandstrong, whenkindnessprevails, Adaywhen(any)chosen(?)roadcanbetraveled,theweeds (havingbeen)rippedout, Adaywhenmancantravelwherehewills,when(even)inthe steppe(?)his...willnotbeharmed,

Page262 Adaywhenallsufferingwillbegonefromtheland,lightwill pervadeit, Adaywhenblackdarknesswillbeexpelledfromtheland,[and] alllivingcreatureswillrejoice.

Whatpeaceandprosperitymeanttoacitycanalsobegaugedfromtheaforementionedcomposition,the''CurseofAgade,"whichbeginswithagraphicdescription ofthehappycitybeforeitsking,NaramSin,committedtheunforgivablesacrilegethatbroughtaboutitsdestructionanddesolation.Accordingtothepoet,itwasthen asecurehabitationrichlysuppliedwithfoodanddrinkitscourtyardswerejoyousanditsfestiveplaceswerebeautifulandattractiveitspeoplelivedinharmonyits homeswerefilledwithgoldandsilveritssilosbulgedwithgrain"itsoldwomenwereendowedwith(wise)counsel,itsoldmenwereendowedwitheloquence,its youngmenwereendowedwithprowess(literally,strengthofweapons),itslittlechildrenwereendowedwithjoyoushearts"musicandsongfilleditinsideandoutits quayswereabustlewiththeloadingandunloadingofthedockingboats. SodeepwasthelongingforpeaceamongtheSumeriansthattheybuiltaspecialgateintheirholycityNippur,knownasthe"GateofPeace."Justwhenandwhyit wasfirstconceivedandconstructed,isunknownatpresent,butaccordingtothepoetwhocomposedthe"CurseofAgade,"oneofNaramSin'sdefiantand desecratingactswasbreakingdowntheGateofPeacewithapickaxe,andasaconsequence"peacewasestrangedfromthelands."Ifnothingelse,therefore,this NippurGateofPeaceservedasasymbolofpeace,anditsbreachingwasasignalfortheoutbreakofwarandstrife. Thecausesofthewars,bothcivilandforeign,thatfinallyoverwhelmedtheSumeriansandbroughtabouttheendoftheirpreeminence,were,asinthecaseofthewars ofourowndays,variedandcomplex:economic,theneedtoobtaintheresourcesnotavailableinthelandpolitical,thepressingdemandforsecurityfromattackbyits inimicalneighborspsychological,thedriveforpowerandprestige,preeminenceandrenown,retaliationandrevenge.Thesepsychologicalincentivesplayedan inordinatelylargeroleinSumeriansocietywhich,notunlikesomeofthemore"advanced"ofourmodernsocieties,putexcessivestressonrivalryandsuperiority, ambitionandaccomplishment,competitionandsuccess.Su

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meriansociety,like,forexample,presentdayAmericansociety,was,touseacurrentexpression,intensely"achievementoriented,"andasaconsequence,was polarizedintopoorandrich,weakandstrong,impotentandpowerful,oppressedandoppressor.TakeforexamplethepoeticprologueoftheUrNammuLawCode whichinpartreads:


ThendidUrNammu,themightywarrior,kingofUr,kingofSumerandAkkad,bythemightofNanna,lordofthecity,andinaccordancewiththetruewordofUtu,establishequity intheland,banishabuse,violence,andstrife...Hefashionedthebronzesilameasure,standardizedtheoneminaweight,andstandardizedthestoneweightofashekelofsilver inrelation(?)toonemina...Theorphanwasnotdelivereduptotherichman,thewidowwasnotdelivereduptothepowerfulman,themanofoneshekelwasnotdeliveredupto themanofonemina.

Tojudgefromthesehighmindedclaims,itisobviousthatSumeriansocietyinthedaysofUrNammu,andnodoubtlongbeforehisdays,sufferedfrominjustice, inequity,poverty,andoppression. WhetherornotUrNammumadeaseriousefforttoachievethehumanitarianidealsprofessedinhisprologue,itishardlylikelythathehadmuchsuccess.Inanycase, thekinglyclaimsofguaranteeingjusticeandequityinthelandbecamealiterarystereotypeoftheroyalhymns.Thiswasusuallynomorethanabriefgeneralstatement thatherespectedjustice,lovedtruth,andhatedevil,butthepoetwouldsometimesexpandonthishumanitariantheme,andoneofthelengthierversionsoftheroyal utopiandispensationsisfoundinaselflaudatoryhymntoIshmeDaganwhoboaststhat


Utuplacedjusticeandtruthinmymouth Togivejustverdictsanddecisionstothepeople, Tomaketruthprevail, Tosustaintherighteous,destroytheevil, Toseetoitthatbrotherspeaksthetruthtobrother,thatthe fatherisrespected, Thattheoldersisterinnotcontradicted,thatthemotherisfeared, Thattheweakarenotdelivereduptothestrong,thatthefrail areprotected, Thatthepowerfulshouldnotworktheirwill,thatmanshould notstriveagainstman, Thatevilandviolencebewipedout,justiceflourish Utu,thesonbornofNingal,setasmyallottedportion.

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Laterinthesamehymn,IshmeDaganfurtherelaboratesonhisimpressiveachievementsintheareaofsocialjusticeinthesewords:
EvilandviolenceIcurbed(?), TruthIestablishedinSumer. Iamashepherdwholovesjustice, IamonewhowasborninSumer,acitizenofNippur,..., Iamajudgewhotoleratesnotinequity(?), Whogivesnothingbutjustdecisions, (Sothat)thepowerfulactsnothighandmighty, Thestrongoppresses(?)nottheweak Thenoblemistreatsnotthefreeman,..., Thepoordarestotalkbacktotherich,.... Foralltimes,bribedverdicts,twistedwords,Ibanished(?), Iwipedouttheunseemly,theabusive,..., Iputtorightthatwhichhasbeenperverted,falsehood,and mischief. Thewronged,thewidow,theorphan Irespondtotheircry''OUtu,ONanna,"..., Iputanendtothecutthroatsthatharry(?)thesteppe(?), FirmlydoIsustainthejust,....

Tojudgefromthesepassages,Sumeriansocietysufferedfromsuchevilsasviolenceandabuse,injusticeandinequity,oppressionandwrongdoingandthat,inmany respects,itwasasicksocietycanalsobegatheredfromahymntoEnlil,whichportrayshiscityNippurastheholiestofallcities,theguardianofman'sloftiestmoral andspiritualvalues.Accordingtothepoet


Itgrantsnotlongdaystothebraggart, Allowsnoevilwordtobeutteredagainstjudgment, Hypocrisy(?),distortion, Abuse,malice,unseemliness, Insolence(?),enmity,oppression, Envy,(?),force,libelousspeech, Arrogance,violation,agreement,breachofcontract, abuse(?)ofaverdict(?), (Alltheseevils)thecitydoesnottolerate.

Evenifwecreditourpoet'snoblewordsandgranthimthatNippur,asSumer'smosthallowedcity,actuallywasmorallypureandethicallyspotless,itisnot unreasonabletoinferthattheotherandlessholycitiesofSumer,aswellasSumeriansocietyasawhole,didtoleratethevicesandevilsitemizedbytheauthor.Itis notsur

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prising,therefore,tofindtheSumeriantheologians,inthehopeofatleastminimizingthesedistressingsocialflawsandfailings,threateningthewrongdoerswithdire divinepunishment.ThusahymntothegoddessNanshe,who,forsomeunknownreason,hadbeenassignedtheroleoftheguardianofsocialjusticeandethical behaviorandwhoisdescribedbythepoetasonewho


Knowstheorphan,knowsthewidow, Knowstheoppressionofmanoverman,ismothertotheorphan, Nanshecaresforthewidow, Findscounselforthewretched(?), Thequeenbringstherefugeeto(her)lap, Looksaftertheweak....

welearnthatthegoddessholdscourteveryNewYear'sDayforthepurposeofjudgingmankind.WithNidaba,the"noblescribe"whoholdsthe"precioustablets"on herkneeandthe"goldenstylus"inherhand,andwithherhusbandHaiia,the''manoftablets''actingasexaminer,shesearchestheheartofmanforsuchvicesas boastfulness,greed,violationofcontract,falsificationofweightsandmeasures,actsofoppressionbythemightyandpowerful,improperandunseemlyfamily behavior.Iffoundguilty,andnodoubtmanyaSumerianwasguiltyofoneoranotherofthesesocialoffenses,Nanshe'svizier,Hendursag,sawtoitthattheydidnot gounpunished. Turningtoanotheraspectofthesocialmalaise,onerelatingtoSumer'seconomicdeterioration,wefindthatnotunlikemodernindustrialsociety,Sumerianagricultural society,materialisticandshortsighted,tamperedwithnature'sdelicateecologicalbalanceandgraduallyunderminedit.Eagerandimpatientforeverricherharvests fromtheirfieldsandfarms,theyoverirrigatedandthus"salted"thesoilintosterilityandunproductiveness,anunfortunatepredicamentthatwasfurtheracceleratedby therecurringpollutionandsiltingofthelifegivingcanals. AnotherbanefuleconomicplagueofbothmodernandSumeriansociety,isthecheatingmerchant.IntheNanshehymnmentionedabove,heisdescribedasonewho
Substitutesthesmallweightforthelargeweight, Substitutesthesmallmeasureforthelargemeasure.

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UrNammu,tojudgefromtheprologuetotheLawCodecitedabove,evidentlytriedtothwartthemerchants'iniquitouspracticesbystandardizingweightsand measuresthroughouttheland.Evenso,hewasfarfromsuccessful,asisclearfromthecomplaintofoneladycustomerwhogrumbled:
Themerchanthowhehasreducedprices! Howhehasreducedtheoilandbarley.

Thismerchanthadpresumablyreducedpricestoattractcustomers,andthenreducedtheweightofthemerchandiseontheslytomakeupforthepricecuts. Inthespheresoffamilylifeandeducation,the"generationgap,"thecankerousblightofmodernsociety,infectedandembitteredSumerianlifeaswell.Thereseemed tobeconstantsquabblingandbickeringbetweenparentsandchildren,betweentheolderandyoungermembersofthefamily,betweenteachersandstudents.No wonderthattheSumerianslongedfortheblessedutopiandaywhentheirsocietywouldbefreefromdiscordandstrifebetweenthegenerations.Welearn,for example,thatwhenGudeawaschosentobeensiofLagash,oneofhisnoteworthysocialreformswastoseetoitthatthe"motherdidnotstriketheson."Againwhen hefounditimperativetopurifyhiscitymorallyandspirituallyinordertomakeitafitplaceforhisnewlyrestoredtemple,theEninnu,hemadesurethat"themother scoldednottheson,thatthesonspokenotdisrespectfullytohismother."Similarly,Shulgiclaimsthatduringhisreign''themotherspeakskindlytotheson,theson answerstruthfullytohisfather.''ThehalcyonerausheredinbyIshmeDagan,thesaviorofNippurandSumer,wasnotedforsuchcommendablefamilyconductasthe sonfearingthefather,andtheyoungerbrothershowingdeferencetotheolderbrother.Inhisselflaudatoryhymnmentionedearlier,IshmeDaganclaimsthatduring hisreign"brotherspeaksthetruthtobrother,""thefatherisrespected,""theoldersisterisnotcontradicted,""themotherisfeared."Amongthereprobatesthat Nanshe,Sumer'ssocialconscience,asitwere,uncoveredintheland,are:"themotherwhospokeviolentlytotheson,thesonwhospokehatefullytohismother,the youngerbrotherwhodefied(?)hisolderbrother,whotalkedbacktothefather."

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Agraphicdepictionofthe"generationgap"betweenfatherandsonisprovidedbythefathersondialogueessaypreparedbyananonymousSumerianschoolman, treatedindetailinChapter3.Beginningwithapassagethatvividlyrevealsthelackofmeaningfulcommunicationbetweenthetwo,itcontinueswithanharanguebythe father,repletewithstereotypicalparentalinjunctionsthatonlyservetoexposethewidechasmbetweenthem.Thefathercomplainsbitterlyofhisson'sincessant gripingandbaseingratitudewhich,heclaims,isdrivinghimtoanearlygravewhatespeciallyrankleshimishisson'srefusaltofollowhisprofessionandbecomea scribe.Andsothefathercontinueswithhisangryreproofsandbitterreproaches,althoughhehasachangeofhearttowardtheendofthecomposition,andrather unexpectedlycloseshisharshtiradewithablessingforhissonratherthanwithacurse,asmightperhapshavebeenanticipatedfromtheruefulSumerianproverb:


Aperversesonhismothershouldnothavegivenbirthtohim, Hisgodshouldnothavefashionedhim.

ThatSumeriansocietysufferedfromastudentteacherriftaswellasa"generationgrap"canbesurmisedfromthewordsofoneboredstudentwho,inreportingonhis schoolactivities,saysresignedly:
Hereisthemonthlyrecordofmyattendanceinschool: Myvacationdayseachmontharethree, Myrecurrent(?)monthlyholidaysarethree, (Thatleaves)twentyfourdayseachmonth ThatImuststayinschool(and)longdaystheyare.

Notonlyweretheschooldayslongandboring,butthedisciplinewasharshandoppressive,andonestudentcomplainedofbeingthrashedsooftenbyhisteachers andmonitorsthathegrewtohateschool.Tobesure,hefoundapractical,thoughratherunethicalsolutiontohisproblembyhavinghisfathervirtuallybribethe teacherwithgiftsandbonuses.Butthemoreactivisttypestudentscouldbecomedefiantandevenviolent,asisevidentfromthesethreateningwordsutteredperhaps byoneofthemonitorsinchargeofthemoreobstreperousstudents:


Whydoyoubehavethus! Whydoyoupush,curse,hurlinsults!

Page268 Whydoyoucausecommotionintheschool!...! Whydoyouhumiliatehimwhoisyoursheshgal Whoknowsmuchmoreaboutthescribalartthanyou Disobeyhim,curse,andhurlinsults! Theummia,theallknowing, Hasfrownedatyourperversity(saying),"Dowhatyouwill tothem. IfIreallydidwhatIwantedtoyou, Toyouwhobehavethusanddisobeyyoursheshgal Iwouldgiveyousixtylasheswiththecane..., Wouldputcopperchainsonyourfeet, Lockyouupinaroom(?)andnotletyououtofschoolfor twomonths.

Whateverthefutureofthesevocal,defiant,contentiousstudentsmayhaveturnedouttobe,itisclearthatschoolwashardlyahappy,comfortableplacefortheless ambitiousandmoreeasygoingstudents,andcertainlynotforthosewhowerenotintellectuallygiftedandstudyoriented,andwho,likemanyoftheirmodern counterparts,wereunabletofinishasentence,takedictation,doarithmetic,geometry,orwriteagoodhand.Notafewofthesemusthavebecomethatsociety's "dropouts,"havinglefthometowanderaboutinthestreetstofollowtherestfulshadeinsummerandthewarmsunshineinwinter.Theywereundoubtedlyfilthyand didnothesitatetocarryalyrealthoughquiteunmusical.Whatismore,theSumeriancity,aswelearnfromtheGudeainscriptions,haditsshareof"unclean,"perverts anddepravedpersons,whohadtobeexpelledonspecialhallowedoccasionsas,forexample,duringthedayswhenthecity'smaintemplewasrestored,consecrated, andsanctified.Therewereeven"unisex''cultistswhopracticedtransvestism,thatismenworewomen'sclothesandviceversainterestinglyenoughtheywere devoteesofInanna,thegoddessofsexuallove,thepassionthatisalltherageofmanyoftoday'syoung.Eventhe''maximini"controversymaynothavebeen unknown,ifwesticktotheliteraltranslationofaratherambiguousproverbinwhichonewomansaystoanother:


"You(cankeepon)wearingthelargegarments, (But)Iwillcutdown(even)myloincloth."

Inconclusionletmestressthatthischapterconcernedwithpointingoutsomeofthemoredistressingsimilaritiesbetweenmod

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ernsocietyandthatofancientSumer,asevidencedbytheliterarydocuments,isneithercomprehensivenorexhaustiveitonlyskimseversolightlyoverthesurfaceof theavailablematerial.WiththecontinuingaccelerationoftherestorationoftheSumerianliterarydocuments,andthedeepeningunderstandingoftheircontents, especiallyofsuch"wisdom"compositionsasdialogues,disputations,proverbs,andprecepts,manymoreparallelswillcometolightandwillhelptoenrich comparativesociologicalresearchfromasourcewhichisveryoldandyetquite"new." Asnotedinthischapter,theSumerianlamentationsprovidethemajorsourcematerialofthecatastropiceffectsofwarandtheyearningforpeacethatpervadedthe landanditspeople.Atpresentthereareavailablewellnighcompletetextsofthreesuchdocuments:(1)"LamentationovertheDestructionofUr,"whichIpublished morethanthirtyyearsagoasAssyriologicalStudyNo.12oftheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicago(2)"LamentationovertheDestructionofSumerand Ur,"atranslationofwhichIpublishedin1969inthethirdeditionofAncientNearEasternTextsRelatingtotheOldTestament,pages611619(3)''Lamentation overtheDestructionofNippur,"nowbeingeditedintheUniversityMuseum,whichisthesubjectofthenextchapter.

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Chapter29 DestructionandDeliverance TheFirstLiturgicLaments


TheSumerianLamentationisaliterarygenreoriginatedanddevelopedbythepoetsofSumerandAkkadinmelancholyresponsetotheperiodicandrecurrent ravagingoftheirlandanditscitiesandtemples.ItsincipientgermmaybetracedasfarbackasthedaysofUrukagina,inthetwentyfourthcenturyB.C.,oneofwhose archivistshasleftusadocumentinscribedwitharemarkablydetailedlistofthetemplesandshrinesofLagashwhichwereburned,looted,anddefiledbyhisfellow Sumerian,LugalzaggesiofUmma.Tobesure,onthesurfaceitseemsnothingmorethanamatteroffactaccountoftheimpiousdeedsperpetratedbyLugalzaggesi againstLagash,compiledforthepurposeof"keepingtherecordstraight,"sothattheevildoermayreceivehisjustpunishmentatthehandsoftheoffendedgods.Even so,thestarkitemizingoftheshrinesdestroyed,withitsimplicationofbitternessandsorrow,itstoneofresignationtothedivinewill,anditsfaithintheretributionofthe culprit,areallreminiscenttonolittleextentoftheemotionallymoreexplicitanddemonstrativelamentsthathavecomedowntousfromlatertimes. Onceonitsway,thelamentationgenrenodoubtgrewanddevelopedamongtheSumerianpoetsduringthedistressingdaysoftheDynastyofAkkad,whenthe mightySargonandhissuccessorsattackedandconqueredsuchcitiesasErech,Ur,Lagash,Umma,andAdab.Butasoftoday,nolamentationfromthosedays,when AkkadianpowerandinfluencebegantoprevailinSumer,havecomedowntous.Nor,forthatmatter,fromtheGutianperiodthatfollowed,whenchaos,anarchy, andfamineragedintheland,

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whenitspeopleweremassacredanditscitiesdestroyed,when,therefore,thedirgeandlamentmusthavebeenanimportantliteraryformofthepoets. OneperiodinthehistoryofSumerandAkkadwhen,itmaybesurmised,thelamentationcertainlydidnotflourish,orindeedexistatall,wasthatoftheThirdDynasty ofUr.ForfollowingthegloriousvictoryovertheGutiansbyUtuhegalofErechandtheestablishmentofUrbyUrNammuasthecapitalofarenascent,powerful SumerandAkkad,thepoetsnaturallyturnedtothejoyousglorificationofitsgodsandrulersaswellastosuchcompositionsasheroicepictalesanddivinemyths thiswasnotimeforweepingandlamenting,asisevidentfromthehymnscomposedforUrNammu'sson,Shulgi(seeChapter31). LittledidShulgiandhiscourtbardsdreamthatonlyhalfacenturylater,themournful,plaintivelamentwouldbecomeamajorcomponentoftheSumerianliteraryand liturgicalrepertoire,aroleitwouldcontinuetohaveforwellnightwomillennia.ForthetragicdestructionofUrbytheSupeopleandtheElamites,andthecarryingoff intocaptivityofitspatheticruler,Shulgi'sgrandson,IbbiSin,leftadistressingandharrowingimpressontheSumerianpoets,particularlythosewhostudiedinthe academiesofUrandNippurwhichthewise,learned,andmightyShulgiboastsofestablishing.Andwhenintheyearsfollowingthiscalamitouscatastrophe,someof thesebardswerecalledupontohelpconductthetempleservicesandtopreparetheliturgiesaccompanyingthem,theyweremovedtocomposepoemsof considerablelength,consistingprimarilyofmournfulandsorrowfullamentsoverthebitterfatethatafflictedSumeranditscities,especiallyUrandNippur,thoughthey endedonanoteofconfidenceandhope,ofdeliveranceandrestoration. Inthecenturiesthatfollowed,thelamentationgenrewasalteredandmodifiedwithtimeandplace,graduallyevolvingintoaliturgicalstereotypeusedthroughoutthe templesofBabyloniarightdowntotheSeleucidperioditseemstohavestruckaresponsivenoteintherathermelancholy,jaundiced,andominousMesopotamian experience.Justhowdeeplythismournfulliterarygenreaffectedtheneighboringlandsisunknown,nolamentationshaveasyetbeenrecoveredfromHittite, Canaanite,orHurriansources.

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ButthereislittledoubtthattheBiblicalBookofLamentationsowesnolittleofitsformandcontenttoitsMesopotamianforerunners,andthatthemodernorthodox Jewwhouttershismournfullamentatthe"WesternWall"ofSolomon'slongdestroyedTemple,iscarryingonatraditionbeguninSumersome4,000yearsago where,tocitealinefromthe"LamentationovertheDestructionofSumerandUr":"Byits(Ur's)wallsasfartheyextendedincircumference,lamentswereuttered." "TheLamentationovertheDestructionofNippur,"thethirdofthethreedocumentsreferredtoattheendoftheprecedingchapter,isalamentationinitsfirstpartonly, thesecond,andlargerpart,isactuallyasongofjubilationcelebratingthedeliveranceofNippurbyIshmeDagan,whobeganhisreignabouthalfacenturyafterIbbi Sin,thelastruleroftheThirdDynastyofUr.Itiscomposedoftwelvestanzas,asfollows: Thefirststanzabeginswithapassagedominatedbytheplaintiverefrain,"whenwillitberestored?""it"referringtooneoranotheroftheNippurshrines.Therefollows alamentoverthedestructionandravagesofNippur:itsritesandritualfeastsarenolongercelebratedthecityinwhosemidstthegodsissuedtheirinstructionsforthe guidanceofmankindandmadeknowntheirdecisions,thecitywherethegodshaveestablishedtheirdwellingsandwheretheypartakeoftheirsacredfood,thecity thatrefreshedtheblackheadedpeoplewithitsshadethatcity,Nippur,hasbeenmadedesolate,anditspeoplehavebeendispersedlikescatteredcowsitsgodsno longercareforit,anditsgreatestatesthatwerefullofhustleandbustle,liedesolateandabandoned.Why,criesthepoet,havethemultitudinousshrinesofNippur perished!Howlongwilltheblackheadedpeoplelieprostrate,eatgrasslikesheep,sufferinbodyandspirit!Whydothemusiciansandbardsspendthedayinwails andlaments,mourninginexilefortheirdestroyedcitiesandabandonedfamilies,somuchsothatallreasonislostandunderstandingconfused. Inthesecondstanza,thepoetdepictsthecityitselfbewailingandbemoaningthedreadfulmisfortunesthathavebefallenit:thedesecrationofitsritesandritualsthe slaughteranddespoliationofitspeoplethemassacreofitsyoungmenandwomenthebitternessofitstemplethatwalksaboutlikeamothercowseparatedfromits

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young.Nowonder,thepoetcontinues,thattheminstrelsaccustomedtosweetmusicnowturntheirsongstoalamentthatsoundslikeanursemaid'slullaby.Because Enlil,thelordofthecity,hadturnedawayfromit,itstemple,theEkur,onceforemostintheland,andhadgivenguidancetotheblackheadedpeoplehowthecity wasdestroyedandravaged! Thethirdstanzabeginningwiththeplaintivequery,"Thecitytillwhenwillitsangered(?)lordnotturntoitandutterits'Enough'(toitssuffering),"thepoetcontinues withsuchanguishedplaintsas,Whyhasheforsakenitsbrickworkandmadeitscooingdovesflyawayfromtheircotes!Whyhasheturnedawayfromthehouse accustomedtosweetmusic!Whydidbeabandonandrejectitsmeasiftheywereunsanctified,anditsritualsasiftheyhadnotplacated(?)allthelands!Why, indifferenttoitsfate,didhestrikeitdownasifitwereofnoaccount!Whyhashebanishedjoyfromitsbrickwork,andfilleditsheartwithlamentdayandnight!Lo, continuesthepoet,becausehetreatedthecitywithbitterenmity,becauseitslordhasturnedhishandagainstitlikeanevilwind,itshousehasbeendestroyed,its foundationsuprooted,tornupbythepickaxe,anditswomenandchildrenputtodeath.Thecityhasfallenintoruins,itspossessionshavebeencarriedoff,itsreason gone,itsconductconfused,itsfoodanddrinkcarriedoff.Thehouse,theEkur,thepoetconcludes,hasbeentreatedwithbitterenmityandthereforemultipliesin wailingandlamenting,whileitssweetsingingminstrelsechoitssuffering.Enlilhasbanisheditsme,henolonger"touchesitsarm,"ortakesheedofitscondition. Butnow,inthefourthstanza,comesthefirstglimmerofhopeforNippur'sdeliveranceandrestoration.Thestanzaconsistsentirelyofasoliloquyutteredbythecity itself.Asaresultofthepersistenceofherpoets,minstrels,andbardsinlamentingandbemoaningherbitterfate,hersufferingspirit,heranguishedheart,the destructionofhershrines,andher"land"asawhole,thelordEnlil,thefatherofallthe"blackheads,"tookpityonherandorderedherrestoration. ThehopefulnoteofNippur'sdeliveranceisfurtherdevelopedinthefifthstanza,whichconsistsentirelyofanaddressbythepoettothecity.Hefirstmakesthejoyous announcementofthegoodnews

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thatEnlilhasacceptedhertearsandlaments,andthenimploreshertokeeponprayingtoEnlilforhelpandsupport.Thestanzaconcludeswiththehappypromisethat Enlilwillshowthecitymercyandkindness,andtransformheranguishtocheerhewillgrantjoyfullythatsheholdhighherhead,andwillturnbackanyinimicaldeed directedagainsther. Inthesixthstanza,thepoetcontinuestoaddressthecity,depictingherdeliverancenolongerasapromiseforthefuture,butasanactualreality:Herlordhastaken pityonherandblessedherandsaid,"Itisenough,"andbroughtherjoyfulnessofspirithehasmadethemightygodNinurta,thesonofEnlil,herguardian.Andbest ofall,hehascommissionedIshmeDagan,hisbelovedshepherd,torebuildthemightyEkurandtorestoreeverythingthatbefitsit,reinstitutingitsritesandritualswhich theenemyhassuppressedanditsmethathavebeendispersed. Intheseventhstanza,thepoetcontinuestocomfortNippurwiththegladtidingsthatEnlilhastakenpityonherthathehascausedlamentingtodepartfromthecity andbroughtinitssteadhappinessofspiritthathehascommandeditsrestoration.Moreover,thepoetcontinues,Ninlil,thegreatmother,hasofferedaprayertoher husbandEnlil,pleadingwithhimtorebuildherhouse.Andso,afterthetwodeitieshadtakencounseltogether,Enlilturnedthedestroyedhouseintoagracioushouse turnedbackitstearsandmadejoyenterdecreedforitthehumofthepouringoflibationscried:"Enough!Tillwhen!Ceaseweeping!"blesseditwithalongreign. Enlil,thepoetcontinues,alsoblessedthegashuashrinebothEnlilandNinlilsetuptheirdaisesintheEkur,suppliedwithfoodandstrongdrink,andtookcounselto establishfirmlytheblackheadsintheirhabitationsEnlilreturnedtoNippurthepeoplewhohaddepartedinalldirections,"thechildrenfromwhomtheirmothershad turnedaway,""thepeoplewhohadwanderedtowherevertheycouldresttheirhead." ThethemethatitwasnotNippuralone,butthatallofSumerandAkkadaswell,weredeliveredbyIshmeDaganfromenemyhands,iselaboratedintheeighthstanza whichrecordstherestorationofthemajorcities:Eridu,theseatofwisdomUr,thecityfoundedinmeadowlandErechKullab,thehandiworkofthegodsZabalam whose"strengthhadcometoanendlikethehieroduleof

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An"Lagash,An's"greatsword""Girsu,"foundedindaysofyoreUmma,thathadbeenoccupiedbythebarbarianTidnumitesKish,theleadingcityofSumerand AkkadMardu,thecityblessedwithfreshwaterandrichgrain.Andlastly,therewasIsin,IshmeDagan'scapital,thecitywhosereignthegodsEnlil,Enki,and Ninmahhadsettoendureforalongtime,thecitythattheyhadturnedovertoNinurta,themightyhero,andwheretheyhadordainedthatNinisinna,"thegreat daughterofAn,"''thedreaminterpretessoftheland,''shouldrefreshherselfinherloftytemple,andthathersonDamushouldsubduealltheforeignlands. Intheninthstanza,thepoetdepictsthedaysofprosperityandwellbeingwhichEnlilhasnowbroughttoNippurandallofSumerandAkkad,daysinwhich"Nippur raisedhighitshead"andtheEkurprospereddaysinwhichSumerandAkkadexpanded"houseswerebuilt,fieldsfencedabout""seedcameforth,livingcreatures wereborn""stallswerebuilt,sheepfoldsfounded""adversitywasturnedintoprosperity"and"justicewasproclaimedintheland""theewegavebirthtothelamb,the mothergoatgavebirthtothekid""theewemultiplieditslambs,themothergoatmultiplieditskids." Thethemeofdivinedeliveranceandrestorationiscontinuedanddevelopedinthetenthstanza,althoughitisprimarilyNippurandtheEkurratherthanthelandasa wholethatthepoetcelebrates,andespeciallythejoyousreestablishmentofthefoodofferingsforthetablesofthegods,providedinlargequantitiesbyIshmeDagan intheEkur,onceagainpureandholy. Intheeleventhstanza,thepoetdepictstheutopiandaysthatEnlilhasordainedforitspeople:dayswhennomanwillutteranunfriendlywordtohisfellowmanandthe sonwillrespectthefatherdayswhenhumilitywillprevail,thenobleshonoredbythelowly,theolderbrotheresteemedbytheyoungerbrotherdayswhentheweak willhavenocomplaintagainstthestrongandkindlinesswillprevaildayswhenmanwilltravelwhereverhisheartdesireswithoutfearorhindrancedayswhen bitternesswillhavedepartedfromthesundrenchedland,whenblacknesswillhavebeenexpelledandallbreathingcreatureswillrejoice. ThetwelfthandlaststanzaisdevotedalmostentirelytoIshmeDagan'sactsofpiety.Aftersheddingtearsbeforethemerciful

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Enlil,IshmeDaganputingoodorderthemethathadbeendefiled,sanctifiedtheritesthathadbeenabrogated,aswellasthegigunawhichhefilledwithabundance, comfort,andjoy.Hethenofferedprayers,supplications,andorisonstoEnlilwho,pleasedwithhispiety,humility,andreligiosity,ordainedforhimahappyreign duringwhichthepeoplewillliveinsecurity.Andso,concludesthepoet,allthepeopleofSumerandAkkadwillglorifytheloftinessofEnlil,"thegreatmountain,"the rulerofheavenandearth. IshmeDagan,thesaviorofNippurandSumer,aswellasmanyofhispredecessorsandsuccessors,wereexaltedbytheSumerianpoetsandbardsinroyalhymns reminiscenttonolittleextentoftheroyalpsalmsintheBookofPsalmsthateulogizeandglorifythekingastheshepherdofIsraeltowhomtheLordhadsaid:"Youare mysonandIamyourfather."Thekingisdepictedbythepsalmistsasoneendowedwithprincelygiftsfrombirthandblessedfromthewombhehasbeengivena scepterasasymbolofhispowerhewearsagoldcrownonhishead,andiscoveredwithmajestyandglory.Justandrighteous,hecrushestheoppressorandgives succortothepoorandneedyhedestroysandannihilatesallenemiesandbringspeaceandprosperitytohispeopleheisblessedwithlonglife,anenduringreign,and longlivednameandfame.Alltheseroyalqualities,virtues,andachievementsandagoodmanymoreareattributed,aswillbedemonstratedinthefollowing chapter,bytheSumerian"psalmists"tothekingofSumer,thefaithfulshepherdoftheland,whomthepeopleenvisagedasanideal,Messianicruler.

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Chapter30 TheIdealKing TheFirstMessiahs


BeginningwithUrNammuofUr(andprobablyevenearlier),andcontinuingrightdowntoHammurabiofBabylonandhissuccessors,theSumerianpoetscomposed avariedassortmentofroyalhymnsthatglorifytherulerinhyperbolicdictionandextravagantimagerytheytellusverylittleabouttheking'struecharacterand authentichistoricalachievements,buttheydorevealtheidealtypeofruler,akindofSumerianMessiah,whomthepeoplemusthaveenvisagedandlongedfor.Inthis chapterIhavecollectedsomeofthemoresignificantrelevantstatementsthathelptodepictinonewayoranothertheattributesandqualities,thepowersandduties, thedeedsandachievementsoftheruler. Tostartwiththeidealking'sembryonicbeginnings,itisofinteresttonotethatthepoetswhocomposedtheroyalhymnsconceivedofhisbirthontwolevels,the humanandthedivine,andthatitwasthelatterratherthantheformerthatwasclosetotheirhearthardlyeverdotheymentionthenameoftherealparentsofthe king.Onthedivinelevel,onthecontrary,thehymnalpoetsrarelyfailtomentiontheruler'sparentage,althoughtherelevantstatementsareusuallyratherbriefandat timescontradictory,orseeminglyso.InthecaseofthekingsoftheThirdDynastyofUr,thedivineparentsareLugalbanda(adeifiedhero)andhiswife,thegoddess Ninsun.Incaseofthelaterkings,theparentswereusuallysaidtobethegreatgodEnlilandhiswifeNinlil,whileHammurabi,ontheotherhand,boastsofMardukas hisfather. Oneofthemorepoeticstylisticfeaturesoftheroyalhymnsistheuseofimaginativesymbolismtakenprimarilyfromtheanimalking

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dom,andmorerarelyfromtheworldofvegetation.Thusinconnectionwiththeroyalbirth,akingmaybedescribedasa"trueoffspringengenderedbyabull, speckledofheadandbody""acalfofanallwhitecow,thickofneck,raisedinastall""akingbornofawildcow,nourished(?)oncreamandmilk""acalfbornina stallofplenty''''ayoungbullborninayearofplenty,fedonrichmilkinhalcyondays""afierceeyedlionbornofadragon""afiercepanther(?)fedonrichmilk,a thickhornedbullborntoabiglion""amightywarriorborntoalion." Thekingcameintotheworldblessedfromthewomb,ifwetakeliterallysuchexultingphrasesas"fromthewombofmymotherNinsunasweetblessingwentforthfor me""Iamawarriorfromthewomb,Iamamightymanfrombirth""Iamanoblesonblessedfromthewomb""Iamakingadored,afecundseedfromthewomb" "aprincefit(?)forkingshipfromthefecundwomb."Butitmusthavebeenduring,orfollowing,hiscoronation,orwhenhewasabouttoconductacampaignagainst theenemythatthepoetsenvisagedhimasreceivingvariousdivineblessings,mostfrequentlyfromEnlilofNippur.Usuallythiscameaboutthroughtheinterventionof anotherdeity.Avivid,concreteexampleofthisprocedureasimaginedbythepoets,isprovidedbyaShulgihymnwhichstatesthattheking"onthedayhehadbeen raisedtokingship,"camebeforeNanna,thetutelarydeityofUr,withapromisetojoyfullyrestoretheme.WhereuponthegodjourneyedtoNippur,enteredtheEkur wherehewasgreetedbytheassemblyofthegods,andaddressedEnlilasfollows:
"FatherEnlil,lordwhosecommandcannotbeturnedback, Fatherofthegodswhoestablishedtheme, Youhaveliftedyourfaceuponmycity,youhavedecreedthe fateofUr, BlessthejustkingwhomIhavecalledtomyholyheart, Theking,theshepherdShulgi,thefaithfulshepherdfullofgrace, Lethimsubjugatetheforeignlandforme."

Enlil,thepoetcontinues,respondedfavorablytoNanna'splea,andthegodreturnedtoUrwithEnlil'sblessingandsaidtoShulgi:
"Enlilhasperfectedforyouthemightoftheland, SonofNinsun,king,shepherdShulgi,mayyourscepterreachafar.

Accordingtotheauthorofthishymn,Nannawentalonetothe

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EkurtoobtaintheblessingforShulgi,thekinghimselfstayedinUr.Buttherearehymnsthatdepicttheinterveningdeitytakingthekingalongtoreceivetheblessing directlyfromEnlil'smouth.ThusaccordingtoahymnconcernedwithIshmeDagan,thekingisbroughttotheEkurbythegoddessBauwhoasksforhisblessing, whichEnlilproceedstopronounceinwordsthatsummarizesuccinctlyeverythingessentialforanidealreign:athronethatgathersallthemeanenduringcrowna scepterthatexercisesfirmcontroloverthepeopleoverflowofriversfertilityofthewombandsoilanamefamousandglorioustributefromthelandsnearandfar thesendingofperennialgiftstotheEkurofNippur. Anotherhymn,onethatisevenmoreinstructivefortheconcrete,realisticmannerinwhichthepoetsenvisionedtheking'sdivinebenediction,involvesthegoddess InannaandherroyalhusbandUrNinurta.ThiscompositionbeginsbystatingthatInanna,havingmadeuphermindtoseetoitthatthemeofkingshipberestoredand thatthe"blackheads"beproperlyguidedandgoverned,haschosenUrNinurtaastheshepherdoverallthepeople.Powerfulgoddessthoughshewas,she neverthelessdeemsitnecessaryfirsttoobtainforhimtheblessingsofAnandEnlil,bothofwhomresideintheEkurofNippur.Shethereforetakesthekingbythe hand,bringshimtotheEkur,andimploresthetwodeitiesfortheirbenediction.Anrespondsfirstwithaseriesofblessingsaddresseddirectlytotheking,andEnlil followswithhisbenediction.AftertheassemblyofthegodsinNippurhadsaid"Amen"totheseblessings,InannaturnedovertoNinurtaallthe''lofty''me,andthetwo ofthemlefttheEkurtogetherfortheirowndomicilewherethegoddessfurthereulogizesthekingastheblessedofEnlil. Theking,however,didnotalwayshavetheneedofadeitytointerveneinhisbehalfhecouldjourneyallalonetoreceiveblessingsfromvariousgods.Shulgi,for example,accordingtoonehymn,traveledbyboatfirsttoErechwhere,followingtheperformanceofthe"SacredMarriage"rite,Inannablessesandexaltshimasthe onetrulyfitforroyaltyinallitsaspects.FromErechhecontinueshisjourneytotwoothercitiesandisblessedandexaltedbytheirtutelarydeities.Finallyhearrivesin hisowncityUrwherehepresentsofferingstoNannaandisfurtherextolledandblessed. Betweentheking'sbirthandhiscoronationwerethedaysofhis

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childhoodandadolescence,andthemodernhistorianiseagerforinformationabouttheeducationandupbringingofthekingtobe.Butasoftodaythereisonlyone hymnthatintimatesanythingatallabouttheyoungprince'seducation,andthatonlyinaverybriefpassage.However,iftakenatitsfacevalue,oreveniftrueinpart only,itscontentismostenlighteningandculturallyspeaking,invaluable.InthishymnkingShulgihasthistosayabouthiseducation:


Duringmyyouththerewastheedubba(school)where OnthetabletsofSumerandAkkadIlearnedthescribalart, NoyouthcouldwriteaswellasIonclay, Iwasinstructed(?)inthelearnedplacesofthescribalart, Ifinishedtotheveryendsubtraction,addition,arithmetic, accounting, Nidaba,thefairNanibgal, Hasgivenmegenerouslyofwisdomandunderstanding, Iamadextrousscribewhomnothingimpedes.

Inshort,thisking,ifwemaytrustthehymn,washimselfoneofthemostliterateanderuditepersonagesofhisrealm. Afewrathervague"humaninterest"particularsaboutthelifeofaveryyoungprinceandmotherlylovemaybegatheredfromacompositionthatisnotahymnbuta lullabypurportedtobeutteredbythewifeofShulgitoherillandrestlessson(seeChapter35).Inthispoemwereadofthemotherrockinghersontosleep,asit were,withwistful,reassuringchants,andpromisesofsweetlittlecheesesandwellwateredlettuce,aswellaswithsuchblessingsasalovingwife,andbeloved childrenattendedbyajoyousnursemaid,abundanceoffood,goodangels,andahappyreign,oncehecomestothethrone. Butwhateverhiseducationandupbringing,thekingofSumerandAkkad,wastheperfect,idealman:physicallypowerfulanddistinguishedlookingintellectually withoutpeerspiritually,aparagonofpietyandprobity.UrNammuisdescribedasa"comelylord"investedwithgraceandahaloofsplendor.Shulgihasacomely mouthandacountenancemostfairhis"lapislazuli"beardoverlayinghisholychestisawondertobeholdhismajesticappearancequalifieshimeminentlyfordaisand throne,andforthepreciousregaliathatcoverhimfromthecrownonhisheadtothesandalsonhisfeet.LipitIshtarhasa''lapislazuli"beard,afair

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countenance,acomelymouththatmakesbrighttheheart,afigurefullofgrace,lipsthataretheornamentofspeech,fingersfairheisavirilemansweettogazeat. UrNinurtaisacomely,virilemanwithfairlimbs,heisfullofgrace,anornamentoflordship.RimSinhasagracefulforehead,princely(?)limbs,atallfigure. Evenmoreimpressivethanhismajesticappearanceweretheking'sphysicalpowers,hiscourageandbravery.Shulgi,forexample,isawarriorfromthewomb,a mightymanfromthedayhewasbornhisgodNannagavehim"warriorship"andmightinhistempleEnlilgavehima"loftyarm"heisamightykingalwaysinthevan heisamightywarriorborntoalionheisakingofpreeminentstrength,whoexercisesfirmlyhis"warriorship,"andwhoglorifiesinsonghisstrengthandhismight. Theimportanceattributedtotheking'sphysiqueandcourageisevidencedbytherichimageryandsymbolismevolvedbythehymnalpoets:Shulgiisalionwithwide openmouthagreatwildbullwithpowerfullimbsadragonwiththefaceofalionheisasstrongasanoak(?)plantedbythewatercourseafertilemestree bedeckedwithfruit,sweettogazeat.IshmeDaganisatallmestreethickofrootandwideofbranchaloftymountain(?)thatcannotbetouchedheflashesbrightly overthelandlikeelectrum(?)heisacedarshootplantedinacedarforestheisluxuriantliketheboxwoodtree.LipitIshtarholdshighhisheadlikeacedarshoot heisalionontheprowlthathasnorivalanopenmoutheddragonthatistheterrorofthetroopsawildbullwhomnonedareattack. ThepowerfulphysiqueandheroicbraveryofthekingwerenaturallyofvitalimportanceforvictoryintherecurrentdestructivewarsthatplaguedSumerandAkkad. Manyoftheprayersinterspersedintheroyalhymnsareforvictoryinwar,anditisinconnectionwithwarthatthepoetsevolvedsomeoftheirmoreextravagant imagery:Shulgiisatorrentthunderingagainsttherebelliouslandhisweapongrindsitsteethlikeasharptoothedbeasthisfierceweaponpoursoutvenomlikea snakeallsetforthebitehisarrowsflyintothebattlelikeflyingbatshisbowpierceslikeadragonheisawarriorinbattlewhoknowsnorival,adragonwhose tonguedartsoutagainsttheenemyhespeedstosubduetheenemylikealion.IshmeDaganis"awarriorofwarriors,"the

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wrathofweapons.LipitIshtarisanattackingfloodwaveinbattleheflasheslikelightning.UrNinurtarageslikeastormagainsttheenemyhishaloofsplendorcovers therebelliouslandlikeaheavycloud. Relatedtotheking'sprowessinwarwashisskillinthechase.Shulgiboaststhathehuntslionsandserpentsinthesteppemantoman,asitwere,withouttheaidofa netoranenclosurehesimplywaitsuntilthebeastopensitsmouthandhurlsthespearheadintoit.Heclaimstobesofastonhisfeetthathecancatcharunning gazelle. Thekingwasendowedwithgreatwisdomandprofoundunderstandingaswellaswithphysicalprowessandheroiccourage.Virtuallyallthekingsinthehymnal repertoireweresaidtobeendowedwithwisdombyEnki,thegodofwisdom,andwithlearningbyNidaba,thegoddessofwriting.Thekingwasalsopsychologically penetratingandastute:hecouldgivewiseandeloquentcounselintheassemblyhecouldseekandfindthewisewordhecoulddiscern"thewordsthatwereinthe heart"todeterminethetruefromthefalsehecooled"thehotheart,"and"putanendtotheburningword."Hehadagreatloveformusicandsong,bothofwhichhe knewexpertlyandpracticeddiligently.AtleastthiswastrueofShulgiagoodlypartofatleasttwoShulgihymnsdepicthisdevotiontomusic,bothinstrumentaland vocal,andaccordingtotheauthorofoneofthesehymns,thekinghimselfhad"thepowerofapoet,"andwasabletocomposesongsandpsalms. Spiritually,theachievementsofthekingconcernedtwomajorareas:religionandsocialbehavior.Inthesphereofreligion,itwastheruler'sdevotiontothecultthatin themaininterestedthehymnalpoets:thekingknewhowtoservethegods,andsawtoitthatthetempleritesandritualswereproperlyconsummated,thatlibations wereoffereddailyaswellasduringthevariousmonthlyholidaysandNewYeardaywhentheking'ssacredmarriageofInannawascelebrated.Shulgialsoclaimsthat hecouldhimselfinterpretoraclescarryoutperfectlythelustrationritesfillthehighpriestlyofficesinaccordancewiththeomensreadthepreciouswordsofthegods beforegoingtowarbyexaminingtheentrailsofawhitesheep.Thehymnsonthewholeleavetheimpressionthatthekingcaredforthecultinallthemoreimportant religiouscen

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tersofSumerandAkkad.ButitwastheEkurofNippurthatwasuppermostintheirmindsvirtuallyeverykingintherepertoirebroughtgifts,offerings,andsacrifices toEnlilinhistemple.Asforsocialbehavior,allthekingsclaimedtobecompassionateandhumanitarian,devotedtojustice,equity,law,andethicalfamilyconduct. TheOrientalmonarchs,includingthoseofSumerandAkkad,areoftencitedbythemodernhistorianasstrikingexamplesofdespotictyrants:cruel,oppressive, ruthless.ThisiscertainlynothowtheSumerianpoetsviewedtheirrulersastheysawit,alltheking'sactionsconductingwars,constructingtemples,maintainingthe cult,diggingandrestoringcanals,buildingandrepairinghighways,promulgatinglawcodesallhadonesupremegoal:tomakethepeoplehappy,prosperous,and secure.Thisthemeisaneverrecurringmotifinthehymns:thekingisthefarmerwhofillsthegranariesandtheshepherdwhoenrichesthestallsandthesheepfoldshe isthehighprotectingwallofthelandthepeoplelookuptohimastheirfather,andlivesecurelyinhissweetshade.Inbrief,toquotetheoftrepeatedsummaryphrase ofthepoet:"hemakessweetthefleshofthepeople."Tobesurethiswasnothissolemotivetherewasatleastoneothersignificantsourceofinspirationfortheruler's brave,wise,pious,andbenevolentdeeds:anobsessive,ambitiousdriveforfameandname.Throughouttheirhymns,thepoets,whoobviouslyhadavestedinterestin theglorificationofthekingandthecelebrationofhisachievements,donottireofreiteratingthat,asaresultofhismightydeedsandunrivaledaccomplishments,his "sweet,""noble"namewillbehonoredandexaltedinallthelandsuntodistantdays,especiallybythe"scribes"oftheedubba,thatisbypoetsandmenofletterslike themselves. Speed,asnotedabove,wasanessentialattributeoftheidealking,andthereisoneextanthymnthatactuallyexaltstherulerasachampionlongdistancerunner.This unusualcompositioninwhichthekingboastsofhisloveoftheroadandhisinterestintravelhebuiltthefirst"motel"inrecordedhistoryistreatedindetailinthe followingchapter.

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Chapter31 ShulgiofUr TheFirstLongDistanceChampion


OneofthemorerenownedkingsofSumerandAkkadwasShulgi,thesonofUrNammu,thefounderoftheThirdDynastyofUr,whosereignenduredforwellnigh halfacentury.Infact,itisnottoomuchtosaythatShulgiwasoneofthemostdistinguishedandinfluentialmonarchsoftheancientworldasawhole,onewhomade hismarkasanoutstandingmilitaryleader,punctiliousadministrator,energeticbuilderofmonumentaltemples,andasaculturalMaecenas.HeextendedSumer's politicalpowerandinfluencefromtheZagrosrangesontheeasttotheMediterraneanSeaonthewest.Heinstitutedaneffectivebookkeepingandaccountingsystem inpalaceandtemplerearrangedthecalendarandstandardizedweightsandmeasuresthroughouttheland.HebroughttocompletiontheconstructionofSumer'smost imposingstagetower,thezigguratofUr,whichhisfatherhadleftunfinished,andbuiltnumerousreligiousstructuresinanumberofSumeriancities.Finally,ashas becomemoreandmoreapparentinrecentyears,Shulgiwasalavishpatronofthearts,especiallyofliteratureandmusichefoundedandliberallysupportedSumer's twomajoredubba,atUrandatNippur.NowonderthattheSumerianpoetsandmenoflettersoutdidthemselvesincomposinghymnsofexaltationandglorification inhishonor,andoneofthemoreremarkableoftheseisahymnof101lines,whichthekinghimselfispurportedtohaveuttered,andinwhichheportrayshimselfasa championrunnerwhousedhisgiftofspeedforculticpurposes,andasonewhomadetravelpleasantandsecurebyimproving

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roadsandhighwaysaswellasbuildinggardenfringedresthousestheancientcounterpartsofthemodernmotelsrunby"friendlyfolk,"wherethewearywayfarer couldstayandrefreshhimself. Thisratherunusualcomposition,whichispartlynarrativeincharacter,beginswithanitemizationofShulgi'svirtuesandendowments,typicalofSumerianroyal hymnographyexceptfortherathersurprisinginclusionofhisloveoftheroadandpassionforspeed.


I,theking,awarriorfromthe(mother's)wombamI, I,Shulgi,amightymanfrom(theday)Iwasborn, AfierceeyedlionbornofadragonamI, Kingofthefourcorners(oftheuniverse)amI, Herdsman,shepherdoftheblackheadsamI, Thetrustworthy,thegodofallthelandsamI, ThesonbornofNinsunamI, CalledtotheheartofholyAnamI, HewhowasblessedbyEnlilamI, Shulgi,thebelovedofNinlilamI, TrulycherishedbyNintuamI, EndowedwithwisdombyEnkiamI, ThemightykingofNannaamI, TheopenmouthedlionofUtuamI, ShulgichosenforthevulvaofInannaamI, AprincelydonkeyallsetfortheroadamI, AtailswinginghorseonthehighwayamI, AnobledonkeyofSumuganeagerforthecourseamI, ThewisescribeofNidabaamI. Likemyheroship,likemymight, Iamaccomplishedinwisdom, Ivie(?)withits(wisdom's)trueword, Ilovejustice, Idonotloveevil, Ihatetheevilword, I,Shulgi,amightyking,supreme,amI.

Shulginextelaboratesonhisgreatinterestintravel,claimingthathesawtoitthattheroadsandhighwaysofthelandwerealwaysingoodrepair,andthathe constructedalongsideofthemresthousesforthewearytraveler:
BecauseIamapowerfulmanrejoicinginhisloins, Ienlargedthefootpaths,straightenedthehighwaysoftheland, Imadetravelsecure,builtthere"bighouse,"

Page286 Plantedgardensalongsideofthem,establishedrestingplacesthere, Settledtherefriendlyfolk, (Sothat)whocomesfrombelow,whocomesfromabove, Mightrefreshthemselvesatthecooloftheday, Thewayfarerwhotravelsthehighwayatnight, Mightfindrefugethereasinawellbuiltcity.

Hethenassertsthat,eagertoestablishhisnameandfameasachampionrunner,hemadeajourneyfromNippurtoUr,adistanceoffifteen"doublehours"roughtly about100miles,asifitwereonlyone"doublehour":
Thatmynamebeestablisheduntodistantdays,thatitleavenot themouth(ofmen), Thatmypraisebespreadwideintheland, ThatIbeeulogizedinallthelands, I,therunner,roseinmystrength,allsetforthecourse, FromNippurtoUr, Iresolvedtotraverseasifitwere(butadistance)ofone "doublehour." LikealionthatweariesnotofitsvirilityIarose, Putagirdle(?)aboutmyloins, Swungmyarmslikeadovefeverishlyfleeingasnake, SpreadwidethekneeslikeanAnzubirdwitheyesliftedtoward themountain.

ArrivingatUramidsttheplauditsofthemultitudes,hebroughtimmensesacrificesintheEkishnugal,thefarfamedtempleofSin,totheaccompanimentofmusicand song:
(Theinhabitantsof)thecitiesthatIhadfoundedintheland, swarmedallaboutme, Myblackheadedpeople,asnumerousasewes,marveledatme. Likeamountainkidhurryingtoitsshelter, WhenUtushedhisbroadlightonman'shabitations, IenteredtheEkishnugal, Filledwithabundancethegreatstall,thehouseofSin, Slaughteredoxenthere,multipliedsheep, Maderesoundtherethedrumandthetimbrel, Conductedtherethetigimusic,thesweet.

Afterresting,bathing,anddininginhispalace,hereturnedtoNippurinspiteofaraginghailstorm,andsocouldcelebratetheesheshfeastsinbothUrandNippuron theverysameday:
I,Shulgi,themultiplierofallthings,broughtbreadofferings there,

Page287 Inspiringfearfrommyroyalseatlikealion, IntheloftypalaceofNinegal, Iscouredmyknees,bathedinfreshwater, Benttheknees,atebread, Likeanowl(and)afalconIarose, ReturnedtriumphantlytoNippur. Onthatday,thestormhowled,thetempestswirled, TheNorthWindandtheSouthWindroaredviolently, Lightningdevouredinheavenalongsidethesevenwinds, Thedeafeningstormmadetheearthtremble, Ishkurthunderedthroughouttheheavenlyexpanse, Therainsaboveembracedthewatersbelow, Its(thestorm's)littlestones,itsbigstones, Lashedatmyback. (But)I,theking,wasunafraid,uncowed, LikeayounglionIwassetforthespring, LikeadonkeyofthesteppeIrushedforward, MyheartfullofhappinessIspedalongthecourse, Racinglikeadonkeyfoaljourneyingallalone, (Like)Utufacinghomeward, Itraversedthejourneyoffifteen"doublehours." Myacolytesgazedatme(inwonder), AsinonedayIcelebratedtheesheshfeastsin(both)Ur(and Nippur).

ThereinNippur,hebanquetedwiththesungodUtuandhis(Shulgi's)divinespouse,thefertilitygoddessInanna.
WithvirileUtu,mybrotherandfriend, IdrankbeerinthepalacefoundedbyAn, Myminstrelssangformetheseventigihymns, Myspouse,themaidInanna,thequeen,theluxurianceofheaven andearth, Seatedmebyhersideatits(thepalace's)banquet, Iexaltedmyself(saying): "WheresoeverIliftmyeyes,thitherwillyougowithme, Wheresoevermyheartmovesme,thereyouwillbewelcomed."

ItwasinNippur,too,thatthegodAninvestedhimwiththeroyalinsignia,sothathebecameamightykingwhosepowerandglorywereexaltedinthefourcornersof theuniverse.
Ansettheholycrownuponmyhead, Gavemetoholdthescepterinthe"lapislazuli"Ekur,

Page288 Raisedheavenhigh(my)firmlyfoundedthroneonthewhite dais, Exaltedtherethepowerofmykingship, (Sothat)Ibentlowalltheforeignlands,madesecuretheLand (Sumer) (And)thefourcornersoftheuniverse,thepeoplewithheads bowedcallmyname, Chantholysongs, Pronouncemyexaltation(saying): "Hethatisthenoblepowerofkingship,thecherishedone, PresentedbySinoutoftheEkishnugal, Heroship,night,andagoodlife, EndowedwithnoblepowerbyNunamnir, Shulgi,thedestroyerofalltheforeignlands,whomakessecure theLand(Sumer), Whoinaccordancewiththemeoftheuniversehasnorival, Shulgi,cherishedbythetrustworthysonofAn(Nanna)!" Oh,Nidaba,praise!

Hymns,laments,myths,epics,infactthevastmajorityoftheSumerianliteraryworks,areallwritteninpoeticform.TheSumerianpoets,however,knewnothingof rhymeandmeterthemainstylisticdeviceswererepetition,parallelism,epithets,andsimiles,anditisthelatterthatwillbeanalyzedandillustratedinthenextchapter.

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Chapter32 Poetry TheFirstLiteraryImagery


ForoverthirtyyearsnowIhavebeenstatinginpublicationafterpublicationthatoneoftheoutstandingcontributionsofthiscenturytothehumanitiesistherecovery, restoration,translation,andinterpretationoftheSumerianliterarydocuments,thevastmajorityofwhichwerecomposedfromabout2100to1800B.C.Sincethis assertionmightsoundsubjectiveandselfserving,letmesummarizethedatainitssupport. Atpresent,scatteredthroughoutthemuseumstheworldover,therearemorethan5,000tabletsandfragmentsinscribedwithSumerianliteraryworks.Manyofthese arenowavailabletothescholarlyworldinoneformoranotheroriginals,copies,photographs,andcastsandtheircontentshavebeen,orareintheprocessof beingpainstakinglyreconstructedbyanumberofcuneiformists.Asaresultitisnowknownthatwehaveabout20mythsvaryinginlengthfromjustover100toclose to1,000lines(about5,000linesinall)9epictalesvaryinginlengthfromjustover100linestoover500lines(about3,000linesinall)overonehundredhymnsroyal anddivinevaryinginlengthfromunder100tocloseto500lines(about10,000linesatleast)ascoreorsooflamentationsandlamentationliketextswithaboutsome 3,000lines12disputationsandschoolessayswithabout4,000linesadozenorsocollectionsofproverbsandpreceptsofsome3,000lines.Allinall,atotalof some28,000lines! Notafewofthecompositionslistedabovestillhaveconsiderablegapsintheirtext,buttomakeupforthis,therearequiteanumberoftabletsandfragmentswhose contentsareasyetunidentifiable

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andunplaceable,andthesewillnodoubtaddseveralthousandlinestothetotal.Moreoverwenowhaveanumberofliterarycataloguescompiledbytheancient schoolmenthemselves,whichlistquiteanumberofcompositionsofwhichlittleornothinghasbeenrecoveredtodate,althoughsomeofwhichnodoubtwillturnupin futureexcavationsthesemaywellincreasethetotaltofortyorevenfiftythousandlines.Thereiseveryreasontoconclude,therefore,thatquantitativelyspeakingthe SumerianbelleslettressurpassedbyfarsuchancientliterarycompilationsastheIliadandOdyssey,theRigveda,andthemoreliterarybooksoftheBible. Asforquality,mostscholars,andIamoneofthem,wouldagreethattheSumerianliteraryworksareinferiortotheGreekandHebrewclassicsinsensibility, perception,profundity,andartistry.Literaryevaluationandappreciation,however,aremattersoftaste,anditismyfeelingthatwhen,inthecourseoftime,the Sumerianbelleslettrescometobebetterunderstoodandlosesomeofthestrangenessthatveilsthemfromthemindandheartofthemodernreader,theywill comparenottoounfavorablywiththeliteraturesoftheancientHebrewsandGreeks.Itisnotaltogetherirrelevanttonotethattheselaterandmoresophisticated literaturesmightneverhavecomeintobeingatall,haditnotbeenfortheinnovative,pioneeringSumerianpoetsandscribeswhopreparedtheway. ThevastmajorityoftheSumerianliteraryworksarewritteninpoeticform,characterizedprimarilybyskillfuluseofrepetitionandparallelism,aswellasbysuch figuresofspeechasmetaphorandsimile.Thischapterpresentsapioneeringattemptatcollectingandinterpretingthemoreintelligiblesimilesinmorethanascoreof compositionsrepresentingvirtuallyeverySumerianliterarygenremyth,epictale,hymn,lament,and''wisdom.''Theimagesevokedinthesesimilesderivefrom nature,theanimalworldaswellasmanandhishandiwork.Muchofthe"footwork"forthischapterwasdonebymyyoungcolleagueattheUniversityof Pennsylvania,BarryEichler,who,inthecourseoftime,hadplannedtoprepareafarmorecomprehensiveandthoroughgoingstudyofSumerianimagery,andItake thisopportunitytoexpresstohimmydeepgratitudeforhishelpinthepreparationofthischapter,whichisbutafaintharbingerofbetterthingstocome.

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ThecosmicspheresandentitiesrepresentedinSumerianimageryareheaven,earthandsea,andtheheavenlybodies,moon,sun,andstar.Heavenappealedtothe Sumerianpoetsbecauseofitsheight.Nippur,Sumer'sholycityis"asloftyasheaven"theziggurats(templetowers)arerepeatedlydescribed"ashighasheaven"the heightofthegoddessInanna,accordingtoamagnificatglorifyingherpowersanddeeds"islikeheaven."Relatedtoheaven'sheightisitsdistancefromtheearth hencewefindoneofSumer'smostfamousrulers,UrNammu,cryingoutintheNetherWorldagainsttheinjusticeofthegodswhomhehadservedpiouslyduringhis lifetimebutwhofailedtostandbyhiminhistimeofneed,that"hisgoodomenisasfarawayasheaven.''Heaven'sbeautyalsoimpressedthepoets.KingShulgi,son ofUrNammu,followinghisvictoryovertheenemy,andtheavengingofhiscapitalUr,buildsaboatanddecoratesitwith''starslikeheaven"Nippurisdescribedby onepoetas"beautifulwithinandwithoutlikeheaven." Liketheheightofheaven,thewidthoftheearthlentitselftoreadycomparison:thegoddessInanna,forexample,inthemagnificatmentionedabove,wasnotonly"as highasheaven,"butalso"aswideastheearth."TheearthwasalsothoughtaseternallyenduringhencetheritualsoftheEkur,Sumer'sholiesttemple,were"as everlastingastheearth."Thesea,ontheotherhand,seemstohavebeenusedsparinglyinSumerianimagerytheonlyexamplefoundinthetextsutilizedforthisstudy is"asterrifyingasthesea." Height,asmightbeexpected,isalsousedintheimageryofthemoon:mountains,forexample,areashighasNanna(i.e."themoon")intheuppersky.Butitisthe beautyofitslightthatappealedmosttothepoets:Inanna(i.e.theVenusstar)"shinesforthlikethemoonlight"she(Inanna)isfilledwithbeautylikethe"rising moonlight."Light,too,isnaturallythemostattractivefeatureofthesun:thekingLipitIshtarboastsof"comingforthlikethesun,thelightoftheland"temples"fillthe landwithsunlight"andareadornedwith"splendidhornslikethesuncomingforthfromitsganun."Butsince,accordingtotheSumeriantheologians,thesunisalsothe godofjustice,kingsboastofmaking"justdecisions"likeUtu,thesungod. Incontrasttothelightofthemoonandthesun,itwasthedimnessofduskthatservedforpoeticcomparison.Thus,thedepthof

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thedownfalloftheEkishnugal,thegreattempleofthemoongodatUr,isdescribedinthesewords:
It(theEkishnugal)thathadfilledthelandlikesunlight, (now)hasbecomeasdimasdusk.

However,sinceduskisthetimeofthegoldensunset,onepoetseemstodescribeit"asgoingtoitshousewithbloodfilledface."Asforthestars,itwastheir permanenceratherthantheirtwinklingthatseemedtoimpressthepoetshencetheprayerthatUr"shouldnotcometoanend,likeastar." Turningtoweatherphenomena,itisnotsurprisingtofindthattheleadingplacewasgiventoMesopotamia'smajoraffliction,thestormtheNearEastcounterpartto ourhurricaneandtornado.Angeredgodsrageabout"likethestorm"fiercewindsdestroycities"likeafloodstorm"thevengefulInannaattacksagainandagainin battle,"liketheallattackingstorm"whenthegreatgodsdecreedthedestructionofUrduringthereignofitslastandratherpatheticking,IbbiSin,theysentadeluge that"roaredlikeagreatstormovertheearth.Whocouldescapeit!" Aweakerrelativeofthestormisthe"torrent"(literally"thegushingforthofhighwaters).Thuswereadthat"fiercewindscannotberestrainedliketorrents"inorderto destroyUr,thegodssentthecruelElamiteswho"trampleditlikeatorrent"andifcorrectlyinterpreted,wefindtheoldestcounterparttoourEnglish"torrentof words''intheepictale"EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta,''intheline,"He(Enmerkar)spoketohisheraldfromwherehesat,likeatorrent." Theimageryevokedbyrainwasthatofplentitudeandcopiousness:kingsboastofpouringoutlibationsofstrongdrink"likeraingushingfromheaven."andonafar moresombernote,thearrowsoftheenemyfillthebodiesofthepeopleofUr"likeheavyrain."Theobservationthatrainsinksintotheearthanddoesnotreturnto heavenprovidedtheauthorofthe"LamentationovertheDestructionofUr"withthewishfulcurseagainstthestormthathadattackedUrthatit"shouldnotreturntoits place,likerainfromheaven."Asforwater,wefindtheoldestcounterpartofthesadbutalltoocommonsimile"bloodflowedlikewater,"intheboastofShulgi,that hisweapon"madeflowthebloodofthepeoplelike

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water"aswellasthelessaptbutnolessbitterimagethat"faminefilledthecitylikewater,therewasnorespitefromit." TheobviousandwidespreadimageofflashinglightninghasitsSumeriancounterpartsinsuchroyalboastsasarrows"flashbeforemelikelightning,"or"Iamonewho flashesinbattlelikelightning."AndwhenthewanderingheroLugalbanda,eagertoreturntoErechasquicklyaspossible,asksthegratefulImdugudbirdforhis blessing,hepleads:"Iwouldriselikeaflame,flashlikelightning.''ThemoongodSin,distraughtbecauseofthesufferingofhiscity,pleadsbeforehisfatherEnlil:"On theanguishedheartthatyouhavemadetremblelikeaflame,castafriendlyeye.'' Intherealmofnature,itwasthemountain,highandpure,thatplayedasignificantroleinSumerianimagery:citiesaremade"pureasamountain"templesarebuiltin pureplaces"likearisingmountain"citywallsreachtoheavenlikeamountain.Buttherewasalsotheminedmountainwhosecutsandgashesevokedthoughtsofruin anddestructionthustheangeredNaramSinisdepictedasforgingmightyaxesinorder"toturnit(theEkur)intodustlikeamountainminedforsilver,tocutitto pieceslikeamountainoflapislazuli."Riversrarelyservedasimages:inthematerialexaminedthusfar,wefindtworatherforcedandcolorlesssimiles:thegatesofa cityaresaidtoopentheirmouths"liketheTigrisemptyingitswatersintothesea,"andtheriversofoneunfortunatecitywerewithoutwater"likeriverscursedbythe (watergod)Enki." Vegetation,asmightbeexpectedinabasicallyagriculturalcountry,iswellrepresentedinSumerianimagery.Thetreemostpopularwiththepoetswasthecedar: Shulgiboaststhatheisa"goodshade"(fortheland)likeacedarLipitIshtarheapedupincense"likeafragrantcedarforest."Thedatepalmandespeciallythedate palmofDilmunwashighlythoughtof:Shulgi,accordingtoonepoetwascherishedbythegoddessNingal"likeadatepalmofDilmun."Butsincevirtuallyeverypartof thedatepalmwasbrokenupandutilizedinoneformoranotherbytheancients,onepoetwasmovedtolamentthat"aheavenlythrone,"aswellasthetemples' choiceoxenandsheepwerecuttopieceslikedatepalms.TheboxwoodimpressedthepoetswithitsluxurianceandheighthencethelordEnmerkarwantsthe craftsmenofArattatobuildhimatempleforEnkiandmakeit"luxuriantliketheboxwood."Thestill

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unidentifiedmestreewasnotedforitsfruit,asmaybesurmisedfromsuchsimilesas"you(Shulgi)areawondroussightlikeafertilemestreeadornedwithfruitor thegipar(partofatemple)ispiledhighwithfruit"likeamestree."Theildagtree,perhapsavarietyofthepoplar,musthavebeenremarkableforitsstrengthhence Shulgiissaidtobe"asvigorousasamatureildagtreeplantedbythewatercourse.'' ThoughthereedofMesopotamiawasputtomanypracticaluses,itevokedasomber,melancholymoodinthepoeticimagination.HencethecityUrinitstravail "droopsitsheadlikeasolitaryreed,"andwhenDumuzi,doomedtodieasasurrogateforhisangeredwifeInanna,dreamsofasolitary,droopingreed,itisinterpreted ashismother"droopingherhead"inmelancholyanticipationofhisdeath.Moreoverthereedpipewasthemusicalinstrumentplayedonallsad,funerealoccasions, anditisnowonderthegreatShulgi,whoboastsofhisloveformusicandhisabilitytoplayanynumberofmusicalinstruments,assertsthatoneinstrumenthedidnot liketoplaywasthewailingreedpipethatbroughtnothingbutsadnesstoman'sspiritandheart.Reedrushesevokedimagesoftearingandplucking,asdidalsothe easilypluckedcrunchedleek,inspiteofitsvalueasastaplefood. ThemajorsourceofimageryfortheSumerianpoetswastheanimalkingdom,wildanddomesticanimalsaswellasbirdsandfish.Thelionprovidedsuchexpected stereotypicalsimilesas"thekinginspiringterrorlikealion,"or"springingforwardlikealion"aratherunusualexampleoccursinamythicalmotifwhichdescribes angeredwatersattemptingtodestroyaboatby"devouring"itsbow''likeawolf,"andstrikingatitsstern"likealion."Amessengerspringingforwardtohurryonhis missionislike"awolfpursuingakid." Thewildox,or"mountainbull,"tousetheliteralmeaningofthecompoundsignfortheword,wasahighfavoritewiththeSumerianpoets:thekiuroftheEkurof Nippur,forexample,raisesitsshininghornsoverSumer"likeawildox"IshmeDaganboastsofbeingthickofneck"likeawildox"amansecureinhiswellbeingis "likeawildox,"and(thoughthisexpressedametaphor,ratherthanasimile),thecityUr,initsheyday,was"agreatwildoxthatstepsforthconfidently,secureinits ownstrength"Shulgi

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isdepictedas"adornedwithsplendidhornslikeavirilewildox,borntoalargewildox."Butpowerfulthoughhewas,thereseemedtobeSumerian"cowboys"who hadnodifficultyincatchingandthrowinghimbymeansofanoserope,theancientequivalentofthemodernlariat,tojudgefromsuchsimilesas''He(Gilgamesh)tied anoseropetohim(Huwawa),likeacapturedwildox,"or"TheUskumgalstatueswerehurledtothegroundbynoseropeslikecapturedwildoxen."Itsometimes tookaconsiderablenumberofhunterstokillalargewildox,ascanbeseenfromacursepronouncedbythegodNinurtaagainsttheshamstone,"Bedivideduplike alargewildoxkilledbyacompanyofmen." Unlikethewildox,thewildcowisrarelyusedinthesimiles.Thereisbutoneexampleinourtexts,andthatratherambiguous:aheraldwhohadreceivedapleasing messagefordeliverytohiskingissaidtohave"turnedonhisthighlikeawildcow."Fortheelephant,too,thereisonlyonereasonablyintelligiblesimile,andthat relatestohisclumsiness:"Youare(thekindofman)whoclimbsonasinkingboatlikeanelephant."Thegazelle,inspiteofitsspeed,wasreadilytrappedand thereforeevokedanimageofutterdefeat:"Likeagazellecaughtinatrap,they(thepeopleofUr)bitthedust""I(Shulgi)trappedthem(theenemy)likeagazellein thethicket."ItwasthemountainkidratherthanthegazellethatservedasanimageofspeedhenceShulgi'sboast,"Likeamountaingoathurryingtoitsshelter...I enteredtheEkishnugal.''ThesufferingofanimalswhohavedrunkcontaminatedwaterservesasasimilefortheagonyofUrNamma'squeenasaresultofhisdeath: "Likethebeastsofthesteppebroughttoafoulwell,a'heavyhand'wasplaceduponher."Finally,theimageryofthesnakerelatestosuchobviouscharacteristicsas crawling,slithering,andspittingforthvenom. Turningtodomesticanimals,wefindthebull(orox)likehiswildancestor,thewildox,ahighfavoriteintheimageryofthepoets.Thebull'sbellowingroarservedas animageforthevoiceofrulers,thebusybustleofatemple,theutteranceoftempleoraclesitisnowonderthatthenecksofSumerianlyresareoftenadornedwith theheadofabull.Theimageofthefirmstandingbullappearsinsuchsimilesas"He(Gilgamesh)stoodonthe'greatearth'likeabull""thehero(Ninurta)whomIlean onlikeabull."Butfirm

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nesscanbecarriedtothepointofobstinacy,hencetheSumeriancounterpartofour"bullheaded"intheproverb:"Youare(amanwho)likeabull,doesnotknow howtoturnback."Ifangered,thebullbecomesviolent,hencetheexpression"toattacklikeabull."ThegoddessNingalwhohadabandonedherunfortunatecityUris imploredbythepoettoreturn"likeabulltoyourstall,likeasheeptoyourfold.''Sotoo,thefishforwhomahouse,akindofancientaquarium,hadbeenbuiltis urgedtoenter''likeabulltoyourstall,likeasheeptoyourfold." Theox,notpermittedtoeatanyofthegrainhethreshes,servesasanimageforthefrustratedman:"Heisamandeceived,likeanoxescapingfromthethreshing floor."Oxenbelongingtoimportantbureaucratswereallowedtowanderfreelythroughthestreetsaccordingtotheproverb,"Youwanderaboutinthestreetlikethe oxofashabra(ahighofficial)."Theoldestrecordedexampleof"throwingthebull"(intheliteral,notfigurative,sense)isfoundintheSumerianpoet'slamentthatthe greatgodshadmadethebitterdecisionthatUr,"thecityoflordshipandkingship,builtonpuresoil,bethrowninstantaneouslybythenoserope,fastenedneckto earth,likeabull."AndthepathosofthebullthrowntothegroundisrevealedinNingal'sbitterwords,"LikeafallenbullIcannotriseupfromyourwall(yourrefersto herdestroyedcityUr)." Thecow,ulikethebullfailedtoinspirethepoeticimagination.Ofthetwointelligiblesimilesfoundinourtexts,oneseemstorelatetocompassion:thegoddessNingal, onwitnessingthesufferingofhercityUr,issaidtoprostrateherselfontheground"likeacowforhercalf"theotherisinaproverbthatcharacterizesamangivento illusionsinthesewords:"Likeabarrencowyoukeeponseekingyourcalfwhichdoesnotexist." Eweswereimagesoffecundity,hencetheoftrepeatedsimile"asnumerousasewes."Buttheywerereadilyscattered,andthepeopleofArattaindistressare comparedto"scatteredewes."Theeweswereoftendeprivedoftheirlambs,hencethegoddessNingal'sbitterlament,"Ohmycity,likeaninnocenteweyourlamb hasbeentornfromyou."Theeagernessofsheeptoreturn"home"promptedthesimilecitedearlierinconnectionwiththeox:"Likeanoxtoyourstall,likesheepto yourfold,"andthemore"bookish"comparisonin"Whenyou(thefishurgedtoenterthehouse

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newlybuiltforhim)raisetheheadlikeasheeptothesheepfold,theshepherdDumuziwillrejoicewithyou." Theimageoftheheavilyladendonkey,thebeastofburdenoftheancientworld,promptedtheratherobvioussimile:"TheElamitesandSubarians(Sumer'sinimical neighbors)carried(toAgade)allsortsofgoodslikesackladendonkeys."Thecharacteristicstubbornnessofthedonkeyseemstobethesourceoftheratherstrange soundingproverb:"Intoaplaguestrickencityhehastobedrivenlikearebellious(?)donkey."Itisprobablythestupidityofthedonkeythatisalludedtoinaproverb ofnolittleculturalsignificancethatseemstosay,''Iwillnotmarryawifewhois(only)threeyearsold,likeadonkey."TheSumerianpoetsalsoknewofwilddonkeys, "donkeysofthesteppe,''andcarefullybred"nobledonkeys,"allofwhichevokedimagesprimarilyofspeedonjourneysmadebyheraldsorbytravelmindedkings, suchasShulgi,theoldestknowncounterparttothemodernspeedmaniac. Thedog,hischaracter,andwayoflifeevokedimageswhich,ifcorrectlyinterpreted,areofnolittleculturalandpsychologicalsignificance:awomansufferinginsilence is"likeadogimprisonedinacage"thebloodthirstygoddessInannadevoursdeadbodies"likeadog"amanwhostandsupforhisrightsisone"whohatestogrovel asifhewereadog"thereisalsothechapwhowhelpslike"a'noble'dogbeatenbyastick,"andthemanwhohastobeadmonishednottolethimselfbemauledbya nobledog"likeabone"andthereisfinallythemanwhoactshighhandedlylikethe"bitchofthescribe." Birdsandtheirimagerymaybedividedintotwogroups.Thelargebirdsofpreynaturallyinvokedimagesoffearlessflight:peopleswoopdownonabanquet"like eagles"Shulgiboastsofrising(inflight)likeafalconthesoulfliesfromDumuzi'sbody,"likeafalconflyingagainstanotherbird."Asforthesmallerbirds,itisperhaps notwithoutsignificanceforSumeriancultureandcharacterthattheydidnotinspireimagesof"sweetsong,"butofterrorandmourning:thegoddessNingalfleesher destroyedcityUr,"likeaflyingbird"patheticIbbiSinledawaycaptivebytheElamites"willnotreturntohiscitylikeasparrowthathasfleditshouse"thehigh priestessEnheduannabemoansherfate,saying,"Iwasforcedtofleethecotelikeasparrow"ahusbandlamenting

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thedeathofhiswifemoans"likeadoveinitshole,"thrashesabout"likeadoveinterror"Shulgiboastsofswinginghisarms"likeadovehystericallyfleeingasnake.'' Batsevokeasimilarimagery:"TheAnunna,thegreatgods"fleebeforeInanna"likeflutteringbatstotheclefts,"thebarbararrowsaresaidtoflyinbattle"likeflying bats."Arareexampleofanimagefortendernessisprovidedbytheasyetunidentifiedgamgambirdinthesimile:"They(thefriendsofthesickheroLugalbanda) gavehimfoodtoeatandwatertodrinklikeagamgamfledglingsittinginhisnest." Fromtheinsectworld,thelocustisrepeatedlyusedasanimageofdevouringanddestruction:thepossessionsofUraredevouredasbya"heavyswarmoflocusts." Shulgiboastsofmakingtheenemy"eatbitterdustlikeanallcoveringlocust,"andofcuttingdowntheenemywiththrowsticks(?)andslingshots"likealocust."Flies, onthecontrary,thoughassuredlyapestandnuisanceinSumer,providebutonesimileinourtexts,andthatratherblandanduninformative:thetwosexlesscreatures especiallyfashionedbyEnki,thegodofwisdom,andsentdowntotheNetherWorldtoflatteritsqueenEreshkigalandthusgainaccesstothe"wateroflife"under hercharge,aresaidto''flyaboutthedoor(ofEreshkigal'spalace)likeflies."Theant,notunlikethesparrow,dove,andbat,servedasanimageforterrifiedmenas wellasgodsseekingrefugeandwhoaredescribedasscurryingintocrevices"likeants." Fishinvokedthetragicimageofdeath:thelifeofthepeopleofUriscarriedofflike"fishcaughtbythehand"or"likefishwrithingforlack(?)ofwater"thelittle children(ofUr)lyingintheirmother'slap"werecarriedoffbythewaterslikefish." Theimageryofinanimateobjects,primarilyman'sartifactsandhandiwork,islimitedinnumberandratherpoorinquality,butitdoeshelptoilluminatecertainaspects ofSumerianculture.The"city"appearsinoneratherinterestingsimilethatrecordsthebuildingofman'sfirstroadhouseor"motel":"He(thenighttraveler)willfind refugethere(intheresthouseespeciallybuiltbyShulgi)likeawellbuiltcity."Intwoothersimiles,however,itistheruinedcitythatisdepicted:Urisaruin"likeacity tornupbythepickaxe,"andtheimpiousNaramSinplanstorazetheEkurtotheground"likeacityravagedbyIshkur."Highwallsandlarge

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doorsaresaidto"lock"theapproachesofSumerortheneighboringhighland.Thegatesofthecitieswereclosedatnighthencethesimile,"Maythedoorbeclosed onit(thedestructivestorm)likethegatesofthenight."Stalls,sheepfolds,andgardenhutsserveascomparisonsfordestroyedcitiesbecauseoftheeasewithwhich theycaveinandfallapart.Copperisdepictedaspileduponthecityquay"likeheapsofgrain.''Moltencopperandtinserveasanimageforbloodflowingin devastatedUr.Stonesaresaidtobecrushed''likeflour,"cutup"likesacks,"andplucked"likerushes." Milk,strangeasitmayseem,providesanimagefortheemptyingofacityorlandinsuchsimilesas"Gaeshispouredoutlikemilkbytheenemy"or"Ningirsuemptied outSumerlikemilk."Asforfat,deadbodiesmeltaway"likefatinthesun."Ghee,onthecontrary,isusedasanimagefortheeasewithwhichgoddessesgivebirthto theirprogeny.Honeynaturallyimpliedsweetness:wordsare"sweet"andtheloverisa"honeyman." Thirtyshekels,forsomeunknownreason,isanimageofcontemptanddisregard:"Likearunnercontemptuous(?)ofhisbody'sstrengthhetreatedthegiguna(ofthe Ekur)likethirtyshekels."Gilgameshissaidtohandlehisarmorweighingfiftyminasaslightlyasthirtyshekels.Thebrokenpotandthepotsherd,thejoyanddelightof today'sarchaeologist,wereimagesofshatteringandabandonment.Theparchedovenisanimageforthedesiccatedplainandsteppe.Garmentsandlinenareusedfor suchcomparisonsas"Your(Ninurta's)aweinspiringmelamcoveredEnlil'sshrinelikeagarment""It(thestorm)coveredUrlikeagarment,envelopeditlikelinen" He(Gilgamesh)clothedhimselfwith"thewordofheroismlikeagarment,envelopedhimselfwithitlikelinen."TheclingingragservedasanimageofNamtar,the demonofdeath:"Namtarisabitingdogheclingslikearag."ThestormtossedboatisanimageforthedistraughtwifeofUrNammuwho"wassetadriftina tempestuousstormlikeaboat,heranchorwasofnoavail."Amanofvacillatingcharacterisonewho"bobsupanddowninthewaterlikeaboat."Theboatprovided acumulativeseriesofterselywordedcomparisonsinoneofthemostextendedsimilesasyetknownfromSumerianliteraturewhichreads(theImdugudbirdis speakingtotheheroofLugalbandawhoiseagertoreturntohiscityKullab):

Page300 ComemyLugalbanda, Likeaboat(ladenwith)metal, likeaboat(ladenwith)grain, Likeaboat(ladenwith)balbaleapples, Likeaboat(ladenwith)wellshaded(?)cucumbers, Likeaboat,aplaceofluxuriantharvest, GoheadhightothebrickworkofKullab.

Thegodsandtheirattributesappearbutrarelyinthesimiles.InadditiontothesungodUtu,themoongodNanna,andthegodofdusk,Usan,citedabovein connectionwithcosmicimagery,wefindtwosimilespertainingtothethunderingstormgodIshkur:whenInannathunders"likeIshkur,allvegetationcomestoanend" sundrymusicalinstrumentsaresaidtobeplayed"likeIshkur."ThereisalsoonerelatingtothewarriorgodNinurta:heroesaredepictedaswearinghelmetsand"lion" garmentstobattle"likeNinurta,thesonofEnlil." ThemythologicalcreaturesandmonstersthatoccurinsimilesaretheMushhush(ragingserpent).Shulgiboastsofreleasinghisbow,"readytopiercelikeaMushhush theImdugudbird:Shulgirunsasswiftly"astheImdugudbirdwhosefaceisliftedtowardthehighland"theGudanna(BullofHeaven):(thepeopleof)Kishareputto deathliketheGudannatheGudmah(GiantBull):thehouseofErechwasgroundtodustliketheGudmahandaboveallthevenonspittingUshumgal(Dragon): Inannafillsthe(inimical)landwithvenom"likeanUshumgal"weaponspourvenomintotheenemy"likeanUshumgalpreparedtobite"weaponsdevourcorpses"like anUshumgal"Enmerkar'sheraldissaidtotravelasswiftly''asanUshumgalseekinghispreyinthesteppe.'' WecomeatlasttomanandtheimagerywhichheinvokedandwhichshedssomelightoncertainaspectsofSumeriancharacterandculture.Therewas,ofcourse,the kindly,protectivefatherandmother:IshmeDagan,forexample,compareshimselftoa"goodfatherandwatchfulmother,"andasonetowhom"allthelandsdirect theireyes"likethefatherwhobegotthem."Thecryingchildisnaturallyanimageoftragicsuffering.ASumerian"Job"saysbitterly,"Sufferingoverwhelmsmelikea weepingchild"desolatedUrgoesaboutlookingforitsgoddessNingal"likeachild(wandering)inthedevastedstreets"andratherstrangely,"thefishinitsmuttering islikeacryingchild."

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Thewelltodofarmeristheveryimageofahappyman,ifwemayjudgefromEnkidu'sreporttoGilgameshabout"life"intheNetherWorld,inwhichhestatesthat themanwhohadfoursonsonearthis"ashappyasthemanwhoyokesfourasses,"andthatthemanwhohadsixSonsis"ashappyasaploughman."Fromthesame reportwelearnthatsuccesscamereadilytoafluentscribe,forthemanwhohadfivesonscouldgostraightto(Ereshkigal's)palace"likeagoodlyscribewhosearm wasopen.''Theshepherdappearsinsuchsimilesas''Lethim(theLordofAratta)followbehindthemliketheirshepherd"and"Mayhe(theking)multiplythe sheepfoldslikeatrustworthyshepherd."Asforrichandpoor,wefindthelordcontrastedwiththeslaveintheterselywordedproverb:"Buildlikelord,livelikea slavebuildlikeaslave,livelikealord."Thesadplightofthepoorpromptedsuchsimilesas"Your(desolate)housestretches(its)handstoyou(MotherNingal)likea manwhohaslostall,"andthecommandtothegoddessNinshuburlamentingthedeathofhermistress:"Likeapauperinasinglegarmentdressforme." Sumerhaditsshareofdrunkards,gluttons,bandits,andfoulmouthedprostitutes.Hencesuchsimilesas"Yourlahamastatuesthatstandinthedubla(temple terrace)lieprostratelikehugefightingmendrunkwithwine""Yourlandholdsitsmouth,likeamanwhohasovereaten.""He(NaramSin)erectedlargeladders againstthehouse(theEkur)likeabanditwhoplundersacity.""Its(thebird's)mouthhurledinvectiveslikeaprostitute." ThattheSumerianswereeagerforfameandglory,admirationandapplause,iswellknownfromtheirheroicepictalesandboastfulroyalhymns.Still,itisnot uninterestingtoreadthatGilgameshlongsto"becomeasonewhositstobewonderedontheknee"ofhismotherNinsunorthatNaramSinisascontemptuousofthe Ekur"asarunneriscontemptuous(?)ofhisstrength"(thatis,presumablyinhiseagernesstowinarace)orthatheroesinsinglecombatfighttothebitterend,ifwe mayjudgefromthesimile,"Itscattle(thecattleofthedevastatedEkishnugal)werehurleddowninfrontofitlikeherosmitinghero"orthatthegoddessInannagoes forthtobattle"likeaherohasteningtohisweapon."Anditisnottoheroesalonethatdeitiesarecompared.TheeagernessandzealofInannatobuildupthe prosperityofAgadeisimagedinthesimile,"Likeayouthnewlybuilding(his)house,like

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amaidsettingup(her)privatechamber...Inannapermittedherselfnosleep."ThesungodUtushowsmercytoGilgameshlikeamanofmercy."The"storm" overtakesthegoddessBau"likeamortal."Eventhebrickworkofadesolatetempleissaidtocryout''likeahumanbeing,'whereareyou',"tothegoddesswhohad forsakenit. SomuchforthissurveyofSumeriansimilesandtheirunderlyingimagery.AsisclearfromthischapterandfromtheroyalhymnscitedinChapter30,imageryand symbolismwerecharacteristicfeaturesofSumerianthoughtandvision.Itisnotsurprisingtofindthereforethatsomeofthemostimaginativesymbolismcenteredabout theSacredMarriage,afertilityriteintendedtoinsurethefruitfulnessofthesoilandthefecundityofthewomb.Thefollowingchapter,basedlargelyonmyTheSacred MarriageRite(Bloomington:UniversityofIndianaPress,1969),isdevotedprimarilytothisritewhichcelebratedthemarriageofthekingtoInanna,thegoddessof loveanddesire,thecourtingandwooingthatprecededit,theritualproceduresoftheceremonyitself,therepertoireofecstatic,rapturouslovelyricsthataccompanied itwhicharereminiscentoftheBiblicalSongofSongs,themelancholytaleofdeathandresurrectionechoedeversofaintlyintheChriststory.

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Chapter33 TheSacredMarriageRite TheFirstSexSymbolism


Asistrueofallmankind,loveamongtheSumerianswasanemotionthatvariedincharacterandintensity.Therewasthepassionate,sensuouslovebetweenthesexes, usuallyculminatinginmarriagetherewasthelovebetweenhusbandandwife,betweenparentsandchildren,betweenthevariousmembersofthefamilybetween friendsandintimates.ButitislovebetweenthegodsthatisofprimaryinteresttotheSumerianmythographersandpoets.Forastheybelievedandimagined,itwasthe sexualunionofthegodsthatwasresponsibleforlifeonearth,fortheprosperityandwellbeingofmankind,andespeciallyofSumeranditspeople.Fortunatelyforthe modernhistorian,theSumerianpoetswerenoprudes:apeniswasapenis,avulvawasavulva,andwhenthetwainmet,theydidnothesitatetosayso.Andwhile,in caseofsomeofthemyths,theearthly,humanconsequencesofthedivineeroticactsarecloakedinasymbolismthatstillremainsobscuretothemodernscholar,there areothersinwhichtheyarestatedinreasonablyclearlanguage.Here,forexample,isamythologicalpassagedepictingthebirthofvegetation,theplantsandherbs, thetreesandreedsessentialtolifeonearth:
Smooth,bigEarthmadeherselfresplendent,beautifiedherbody joyously, WideEarthbedeckedherbodywithpreciousmetalandlapis lazuli Adornedherselfwithdiorite,chalcedony,andshinycarnelian, Heavenarrayedhimselfinawigofverdure,stoodupin princeship, HolyEarth,thevirgin,beautifiedherselfforHolyHeaven,

Page304 Heaven,theloftygod,plantedhiskneesonWideEarth, PouredthesemenoftheheroesTreeandReedintoherwomb, SweetEarth,thefecundcow,wasimpregnatedwiththerich semenofHeaven, JoyfullydidEarthtendtothegivingbirthoftheplantsoflife, LuxuriantlydidEarthbeartherichproduce,didsheexudewine andhoney.

Whilevegetation,accordingtotheseimagefilledpoeticlines,wasconceivedastheoffspringofFatherHeavenandMotherEarth,thetwopersonifiedseasons, SummerandWinter,werethechildrenoftheairgodEnlilandtheGreatMountainswhichheimpregnatedwithhissperm.Orasthepoetputsit:
Enlil,likeabigbull,sethisfootontheearth, Tomakethegooddaythriveinabundance, Tomakethefairnightflourishinluxuriance, Tomakegrowtalltheplants,tospreadwidethegrains,...., TomakeSummerrestraintheheaven, TomakeWinterholdbackthewaterofoverflowatthequay, Enlil,thekingofallthelands,sethismind. HethrusthispenisintotheGreatMountains,gaveasharetothe Highland, (Thesemenof)SummerandWinter,thefecundatingoverflowof theland,hepouredintotheirwomb, WheresoeverEnlilwouldthrusthispenis,heroaredlikeawild bull, ThereMountainspenttheday,restedhappilyatnight, DeliveredherselfofSummerandWinterlikerichcream, Fedthem,likebigwildbulls,thecleangrassonthemountain terraces, Madethemgrowfatinthemountainmeadows.

OneofthemoregraphicdepictionsofadivinesexualactanditsfruitfulconsequencesforSumeranditspeopleconcernstheEuphratesandTigris,thetworiversthat madelifepossibleinthathot,aridland.Accordingtoonepoet,itwasthewisewatergodEnkiwhofilledthemwiththelifegivingwatersbypouringhissemeninto themlikearampantwildbullmatingwithawildcow.Or,asthepoetpaintsthescene:


AfterFatherEnkihadlifted(hiseye)overtheEuphrates, Hestoodupproudlylikearampantbull, Liftshispenis,ejaculates,

Page305 FillstheTigriswithsparklingwater. Thewildcowmooingforitsyounginthepastures,thescorpion (infested)stall, TheTigrissurrenderedtohimas(to)arampantbull. Heliftedthepenis,broughtthebridalgift, BroughtjoytotheTigrislikeabigwildbull,madeittendtoits birthgiving, Thewaterhebrought,itissparklingwater, Thegrainhebrought,itischeckeredgrain,thepeopleeatit.

ButitwasinconnectionwithInanna,theSumeriangoddessofloveandprocreation,thatthemythographersandpoetsevolvedsomeoftheirmosteroticimageryand symbolism.ForitwastheSumerianreligiouscredothattheritualmarriagebetweenthekingofSumerandthisfertilitygoddess,fullofsexualallure,wasessentialfor thefertilityofthesoilandthefecundityofthewombandthatitbroughtabouttheprosperityofthelandandthewellbeingofitspeople.ThefirstSumerianrulerwho celebratedthisrite,wastheshepherdkingDumuzi(theBiblicalTammuz)whoreignedinErech,oneofSumer'sgreaturbancenters,earlyinthethirdmillenniumB.C. atleastthiswasthetraditioncurrentinSumerinlateryears.Here,forexample,isapoeticmythdepictingtheselectionofDumuzibythegoddessasherbridegroom, theactualmatingofthesacredcouple,thecohabitationthatmadevegetationflourishallaboutthemthedivinespouse'spleaformilkfromhershepherdhusband,and herpromiseforevertopreservethepalace,the"houseoflife."ThepoembeginswithasoliloquybythegoddessannouncingherchoiceofDumuzifor"thegodshipof theland"thekinghimselfbecamedivinebymarryingthegoddessinaccordancewithherparent'swishes.


"Icastmyeyeoverallthepeople CalledDumuzitothegodshipoftheland, Dumuzi,thebelovedofEnlil, Mymotherholdshimeverdear, Myfatherexaltshim."

Then,continuesthepoet,shebathes,scoursherselfwithsoap,dressesinherspecial"garmentsofpower,"andhasDumuzibroughttoherprayerandsongfilled houseandshrinetosithappilybyherside.Hispresencefillsherwithsuchpassionanddesirethatthen

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andthereshecomposesasongforhervulvainwhichshecomparesittoahorn,to"theboatofheaven,"tothenewcrescentmoon,tofallowland,toahighfield,toa hillock,andendsbyexclaiming:
"Asforme,myvulva, Forme,thepiledhighhillock, Me,themaidwhowillplowitforme? Myvulva,thewateredgroundforme, Me,theQueen,whowillstationhisoxthere?"

Towhichcomestheanswer:
"Oh,LordlyLady,thekingwillplowitforyou, Theking,Dumuzi,willplowitforyou."

Andjoyfullythegoddessresponds:
"Plowmyvulva,manofmyheart!"

Afterbathingherholylap,thecouplecohabit,andvegetationflourishesallaboutthemorasthepoetsays:
Attheking'slapstoodtherisingcedar, Plantsrosehighbyhisside, Grainsrosehighbyhisside, ....gardensflourishedluxuriantlybyhisside.

Andourpoetcontinues:
Inthehouseoflife,thehouseoftheking, Hisspousedweltwithhiminjoy, Inthehouseoflife,thehouseoftheking, Inannadweltwithhiminjoy.

OncehappilysettledinthekingDumuzi'shouse,thegoddessuttersapleaandmakesapromise.ThepleaisformilkandcheesefromDumuzi'ssheepfold:
"Makeyellowthemilkforme,mybridegroom,makeyellowthe milkforme, Mybridegroom,Iwilldrinkfresh(?)milkwithyou, Wildbull,Dumuzi,makeyellowthemilkforme, Mybridegroom,Iwilldrinkfresh(?)milkwithyou, Themilkofthegoat,makeflowinthesheepfoldforme, With...,cheesefillmyholychurn..., LordDumuzi,Iwilldrinkfreshmilkwithyou."

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Andherpromiseistopreserveherspouse's"holystall"whichseemstobeasymbolicdesignationoftheking'spalace:
"Myhusband,thegoodlystorehouse,theholystall, I,Inanna,willpreserveforyou, Iwillwatchoveryour'houseoflife.' Theradiantwonderplaceoftheland, Thehousewherethefateofallthelandsisdecreed, Wherepeopleand(all)livingthingsareguided, I,Inanna,willpreserveforyou, Iwillwatchoveryour'houseoflife,' The'houseoflife,'thestorehouseoflonglife, I,Inannawillpreserveforyou."

Fromthistender,passionatepoem,onemightwellgettheimpressionthatDumuziwasInanna'senthusiastic,andonlychoiceforherhusbandtobe,andthatshecould hardlywaittohavehimathersidetoplowhervulva.Yetthereisaversionofthepremaritalcourtshipthattellsanentirelydifferentstory:Inannaactuallyatfirstrejects Dumuzi,theshepherd,forhisrivalEnkimdu,thefarmer,andittooknolittleargumentandpersuasiononthepartofherbrother,thesungodUtu,aswellasalongand ratheraggressivespeechbyDumuzihimselftoinducehertochangehermind.Thismythologicalepisode,symbolizingthestrugglebetweenthepeasantandthe shepherdforfertilityandfecundity,istoldintwoplayletlikecompositionswhicharecloselyrelated,onebeginningwheretheotherends.Thefirstofthetwoconsists almostentirelyofaquestionandanswerttettebetweenUtuandthegoddesswhichconcernsthemakingofacoverletforhernuptialbed.Thedialoguerunsin partasfollows:


"LordlyQueen,thecultivatedflax,theluxurient, Inanna,thecultivatedflax,theluxuriant,...., Iwillhoeforyou,willgivetheplanttoyou, Sistermine,Iwillbringyouthecultivatedflax, Inanna,Iwillbringyouthecultivatedflax." "Brother,afteryouhavebroughtmethecultivatedflax, Whowillcombitforme?Whowillcombitforme? Thatflax,whowillcombitforme?" "Sistermine,Iwillbringittoyoucombed, Inanna,Iwillbringittoyoucombed."

Page308 "Brother,afteryouhavebroughtittomecombed, Whowillspinitforme?Whowillspinitforme? Thatflax,whowillspinitforme?" "Sistermine,Iwillbringittoyouspun, Inanna,Iwillbringittoyouspun."

Andsothepoetcontinueswiththisquestionandanswerdialogueforthebraiding,warping,weaving,anddyingofthecoverlet,anditisonlythen,attheveryendof thepoem,thatwelearnthepurposeofthecolloquy,asInannaputsforththequestionthatisreallyonhermind:
"Brother,afteryouhavebroughtittomedyed, Whowillbedwithme?Whowillbedwithme?"

TowhichUturepliesunhesitatinglythatitisDumuzi,ortousetwoofhisepithets,Ushumgalanna(TheDragonofAn)andKuliEnlil(TheFriendofEnlil),whowillbe herhusbandandbedwithher.
"Withyouhewillbed,hewillbed, Withyouyourhusbandwillbed, WithyouUshumgalannawillbed, WithyouKuliEnlilwillbed, Withyouhewhocameforthfromthefertilewombwillbed, Withyoutheseedbegottenofakingwillbed."

ButInannademurs,gentlybutfirmly:
"Nay,themanofmyheartishe Themanofmyheartishe Whohaswonmyheartishe Whohoesnot,(yet)thegranariesareheapedhigh, Thegrainisbroughtregularlyintothestorehouse, Thefarmer,hewhosegrainfillsallthegranaries."

Herethepoemends.But,continuesthesequel,Utuwillnottake"no"forananswer.HeinsiststhatInannamarrytheshepherd,notthefarmer.
"Sistermine,marrytheshepherd, MaidInanna,whyareyouunwilling? Hiscreamisgood,hismilkisgood, Theshepherd,whatsoeverhetouchesisbright. Inanna,marrytheshepherd,

Page309 Youwhoarebedeckedwithjewelsandbrilliants, Whyareyouunwilling? Hisgoodcreamhewilleatwithyou,hethekingprotector, Whyareyouunwilling?"

ButInannaisadament:
"ItheshepherdIwillnotmarry, Iwillnotwearhiscoarsegarments, Iwillnotaccepthiscoursewool, I,themaid,thefarmerIwillmarry, Thefarmerwhogrowsmanyplants, Thefarmerwhogrowsmuchgrain.

ThissoinfuriatesDumuzithathespeaksoutvehementlyinhisowndefensewiththerepeatedclaimthathehasmuchmoretoofferthanthefarmer:
"ThefarmermorethanI,thefarmermorethanI, Thefarmer,whathashemorethanI? Ifhegivemehisblackflour, Igivehim,thefarmer,myblackewe, Ifhegivemehiswhiteflour, Igivehim,thefarmer,mywhiteewe, Ifhepourmehisprimebeer, Ipourhim,thefarmer,myyellowmilk"....

Andsoonandsoon.Dumuzicontinuesinthisveintoshowhissuperiorityoverthefarmer,endingashebegan,withthewords:
"MorethanI,thefarmer,whathashemorethanI?"

Thisoutburstseemstohavehaditsintendedeffect,sinceInannamusthavehadachangeofheart.Forthepoetnexttellsusthat
Herejoiced,herejoiced, Onthe"breast"oftheriverherejoiced, Ontheriverbank,theshepherd,ontheriverbankrejoiced.

Butthen,whoshouldcomeuptotheriverbank?NoneotherthanEnkimdu,thefarmer,whichputsDumuzionceagaininafightingmood.Happily,however,the farmerisameekfellowwhocravespeaceandfriendship.Herefusestoquarrelwiththeshepherdandevenoffershimpasturinggroundandwaterforhissheep.And sothestoryhasahappyending:Dumuziinvitesthefarmertohiswedding,andthegratifiedEnkimdupromisestobringsuitablegifts

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forthebridefromtheproduceofhisfields. Dumuzihasthusseeminglyconvincedhisbridetobeoftheprimacyofhiswealthandpossessions.But,accordingtoanotherrecentlyeditedpoem,thegoddessalso hassomemisgivingsabouthispedigreewhich,sheclaims,isquiteinferiortoherown,anditisonlyafterDumuzi"cooledherdown"bydemonstratingthathispedigree isasgoodashers,thatsheconsentstohavehimforloverandhusband.Accordingtotwootherversionsofthecourtship,Inannafirstseeksparentalapprovalbefore beddingwithherloverDumuzi,butthereisalsoonepoemthatdepictsthegoddessasdeceivinghermother,andshe"getsherman"byspendingthenightmakinglove withDumuziunderthelightofthemoon,whilehermotherthinkssheisoutwithagirlfriendinthepublicsquare.Thisisthethemeofoneofthemoreardentandtender lovelyrics,whichbeginswithInannaastheVenusgoddesssoliloquizing:


"LastnightasI,theQueen,wasshiningbright, Lastnight,asI,theQueenofHeaven,wasshiningbright, Wasshiningbright,wasdancingabout, Wasutteringachantatthebrighteningoftheoncominglight, Hemetme,hemetme, ThelordKuliAnna(epithetofDumuzi)metme, Thelordputhishandintomyhand, Ushumgalannaembracedme."

Tobesure,sheclaimsthatshetriedtofreeherselffromhisembrace,sinceshedidnotknowwhattotellhermother,or,asthepoethasherpleadwithherlover:
"Comenow,wildbull,setmefree,Imustgohome, KuliEnlil,setmefree,Imustgohome, WhatcanIsaytodeceivemymother, WhatcanIsaytodeceivemymotherNingal!"

ButherloverhadananswerthatInanna,notedfordeceitfulness,wasonlytoohappytohearfromhislips:
"Letmeinformyou,letmeinformyou, Inanna,mostdeceitfulofwomen,letmeinformyou, Saymygirlfriendtookmewithhertothepublicsquare, Theresheentertainedmewithmusicanddancing, Herchantthesweetshesangforme, InsweetrejoicingIwhiledawaythetimethere.

Page311 Thusdeceitfullystanduptoyourmother, Whilewebythemoonlightindulgeourpassion, Iwillprepareforyouabedpure,sweet,andnoble, Willwhileawaythesweettimewithyouinplentyandjoy.

ButDumuzievidentlysorelishedthesavorofInanna'slovethathemusthavepromisedtomakeherhisrightfulspouse.Forthepoemendswiththegoddesssinging exultinglyandecstatically:
''Ihavecometoourmother'sgate, I,injoyIwalk, IhavecometoNingal'sgate, I,injoyIwalk. Tomymotherhewillsaytheword, Hewillsprinklecypressoilontheground, TomymotherNingalhewillsaytheword, Hewillsprinklecypressoilontheground, Hewhosedwellingisfragrant, Whosewordbringsdeepjoy. Mylordisseemlyfortheholylap, Amaushumgalanna(epithetofDumuzi),thesoninlawofSin, ThelordDumuziisseemlyfortheholylap, Amaushumgalanna,thesoninlawofSin."

WhilethecelebrationoftheDumuziInanna"SacredMarriage"probablybeganasalocalriteinErechwhereDumuziwaskingandInannawasthetutelarydeity,it wastransformedinthecourseofthecenturiesintoajoyousnationaleventinwhichthekingofSumer,andlater,ofSumerandAkkad,tookDumuzi'splaceashis mysticallyconceivedavatarorincarnation.Asyetthereisnowayofknowingjustwhenthistookplace,thatis,whowasthefirstrulertocelebratetheriteasa reincarnatedDumuziprobablyittookplacesometimeduringthethirdquarterofthethirdmillenniumwhentheSumerianswerebecomingevermorenationally minded.Inanycase,asoftoday,itisonlywithShulgiofUr,whoreignedattheveryendofthethirdmillennium,thatwebegintogetsomedescriptivedetailsofthis nationallyorientedversionoftherite.ThereisaShulgihymnwhosetextisnowbeingpiecedtogether,onewhichmaybedesignated"TheBlessingofShulgi,"and whichbeginswithadepictionoftheking'sjourneyfromhiscapitalUrtoInanna'scity,Erech.There,accordingtothepoet,helefthisboatatthequayofKullaband, loadeddownwithsacri

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ficialanimals,heproceededtoInanna'sshrine,theEanna.Oncethere,hedressedhimselfinaritualgarment,coveredhisheadwithacrownlikewig,andso impressedthegoddesswithhiswonderinspiringpresencethatshespontaneouslybrokeintoapassionatesong:
''Whenforthewildbull,forthelord,Ishallhavebathed, WhenfortheshepherdDumuziIshallhavebathed, Whenwithointment(?)mysidesIshallhaveadorned, WhenwithambermymouthIshallhavecoated, WhenwithcoalmyeyesIshallhavepainted, Wheninhisfairhandsmyloinsshallhavebeenshaped, WhenthelordlyingbyholyInanna,theshepherdDumuzi, Withmilkandcreamthelapshallhavesmoothed,..., Whenonmyvulvahishandheshallhavelaid,..., Whenlikehisblackboatheshallhave..it, Whenlikehis"narrow"boatheshallhave..it, Whenonthebedheshallhavecaressedme, ThenshallIcaressmylord,asweetfateIwilldecreeforhim, IwillcaressShulgi,thefaithfulshepherd,asweetfateIwilldecree forhim, Iwillcaresshisloins,theshepherdshipoftheland Iwilldecreeashisfate."

Andthis,accordingtoourpoet,isthesweetfatethegoddessdecreedforherbeloved:
"InbattleIamyourleader,incombatIamyourarmorbearer, IntheassemblyIamyouradvocate, OnthecampaignIamyourinspiration. You,thechosenshepherdoftheholyshrine(?), You,theking,thefaithfulproviderofEanna, You,theluminaryofAn'sgreatshrine, Inallwaysyouarefit Toholdhighyourheadontheloftydais,youarefit, Tositonthelapislazulithrone,youarefit, Tocoveryourheadwiththecrown,youarefit, Towearlonggarmentsonyourbody,youarefit, Togirdyourselfinthegarmentofkingship,youarefit, Tocarrythemaceandtheweapon,youarefit,.., Toguidestraightthelongbowandthearrow,youarefit, Tofastenthethrowstickandtheslingattheside,youarefit, Fortheholyscepterinyourhand,youarefit, Fortheholysandalsonyourfeet,youarefit,

Page313 You,thesprinter,toraceontheroad,youarefit, Topranceonmyholybosomlikealapislazulicalf,youarefit, Mayyourbelovedheartbelongofdays. ThushasAndeterminedforyou,mayitnotbealtered, Enlil,thedecreeroffatemayitnotbechanged, Inannaholdsyoudear,youarethebelovedofNingal(Inanna's mother)."

EversincethedaysofShulgi,virtuallyeverykingofSumerandAkkad,boastsofbeingthebelovedhusbandofInanna,asindeeddidShulgi'sfather,UrNammu.And atleastinonecase,namelythatofIddinDagan,akingwhoreignedaboutacenturyafterShulgi,welearnfromahymntothegoddess,thathetoo,celebratedthe SacredMarriageRiteasanavatarofDumuzi,underthenameofAmaushumgalanna.Therevelantpassagethatdescribesinsomedetailwhatactuallytookplace duringtheweddingceremony,readsasfollows:


Inthepalace,thehousethatguidestheland,the"clamp"ofall theforeignlands, Inthehallof"judgmentbyordeal,"wheregatherthepeople,the blackheads, He(theking)erectedadaisforthe''QueenofthePalace" (Inanna). Theking,asagod,livedwithherinitsmidst Towatchoverthelifeofallthelands, Toverifythetruefirstday(ofthemonth), Tocarryouttoperfectionthemeonthe"dayofsleeping"(of themoongod,thatis,thelastdayofthemonth). OntheNewYear,thedayofordinance, AsleepingplacewassetupformyQueen They(thepeople)purifyrusheswithfragrantcedar, SetthemupformyQueenastheirbed, Overittheyspreadacoverlet, Acoverletthatrejoicestheheart,makessweetthebed. MyQueenisbathedattheholylap, Isbathedatthelapoftheking, IsbathedatthelapofIddinDagan, TheholyInannaisscrubbedwithsoap, Fragrantcedaroilissprinkledontheground. Thekinggoesheadhightotheholylap, GoesheadhightothelapofInanna, Amaushumgalannabedswithher,

Page314 Fondleslovinglyherholylap, Shemurmurssoothingly, "OhIddinDagan,youareindeedmybeloved."

Then,presumablythefollowingday,arichbanquetispreparedinthelargereceptionhallofthepalaceandthisiswhattakesplace:
Whileholysacrificeswereheapedup,whilelustrationswere performed, Whileincensewasheapedup,whilecypresswasburned(?), Whilebreadofferingswerearranged,whilevesselswerearranged, Heenteredwithherintheloftypalace, Heembracedhisholywife, Ledherforthlikethelightofdaytothethroneonthegreatdais, InstalledhimselfathersidelikethekingUtu(thesungod), Directedabundance,luxuriance,andplentybeforeher, Preparedagoodlyfeastforher, Conductedthe"blackheads"beforeher. Withthedrum(?)whosespeechislouderthantheSouthWind, Thesweetvoicedalgarlyre(?),theornamentofthepalace, Theharpthatsoothesthespiritofman, Thesingersuttersongsthatrejoicetheheart. Thekingputahandtothefoodanddrink, Amaushumgalannaputahandtothefoodanddrink, Thepalaceisfestive,thekingisjoyous. Bythepeoplesatedwithplenty, Amaushumgalannastandsinlastingjoy, Mayhisdaysbelongonthefruitfulthrone.

Sometwelveyearsago,in1959tobeexact,therewerepublishedtwo"SacredMarriage"tabletswhichhadbeenlyingaboutinthecupboardsoftheBritishMuseum forwellnighacentury,andthese,too,providedanumberofinteresting,ifratherenigmatic,particularsconcerningthecelebrationoftherite.Oneofthesetextstellsus thataftera"fruitful"bedhadbeensetupinthegoddess'sshrine,Eanna,ritualpriestsdesignatedas''linenwearers,"announceherpresencetoDumuzibeforewhom foodanddrinkhadbeenplaced,andinriddlelikephrasesinvitehimtoapproachInanna.FollowingabriefblessingofDumuzibythegoddess,thecompositioncloses withapleatoInanna,probablyutteredbyDumuzi,togivehimherbreast,"herfield,"thatpoursoutrichvegetation. ThesecondBritishMuseumtextparallelstosomeextenttheShulgiandIddinDaganversionsoftheSacredMarriageRite,but

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thedetailsvarygreatly.Thepoetpriestbeginswithanaddresstothegoddess,informingherthatGibil,thefiregod,hadpurifiedher"fruitfulbedbedeckedwithlapis lazuli,"andthatthekinghimselfhisnameisnotmentionedinthetexthaderectedanaltarforherandcarriedoutherpurificationrites.Followingapleatothe goddesstoblessthekingduringthenightoflove,thepoetsingsecstaticallyoftheking'scravingforthenuptialbed,andofhispreparingacoverletforit,sothatshe might"makesweettheheartrejoicingbed."Withthebedpreparedandthegoddessreadytoreceivethebridegroom,thepoetintroducesNinshubur,Inanna'sfaithful vizier,wholeadsthekingtothebride'slapwiththepleathatsheblesshimwitheverythingessentialforahappy,memorablereign,i.e.firmpoliticalcontroloverSumer anditsneighboringlands,productivityofthesoilandfertilityofthewomb,prosperityandabundanceforallthepeople. SomuchfortheseveraldivergentandattimescontradictorySacredMarriagetextsclearlythepoetsandpriestsseemtohavebeenasfancyfreeininventingand embellishingtheritualproceduresforthenuptialceremonyastheywereindepictingthepremaritalcourtingandwooingoftheholycouple.Butwedoknowthatthe SacredMarriageceremonywasajubilant,rapturousevent,celebratedwithjoyousmusicandecstaticlovesongs.Notafewofthesehavebecomeknownoverthe years,andmanymorearenodoubtburiedintheruinsofSumer.TheseSumerianeroticsongscelebratingthemarriageofashepherdkingtothegoddesswhose SumeriannamewasInanna,andwhoseSemiticnamewasIshtar,maywellbetheforerunnersoftheSongofSongs,alooselyorganizedcollectionofsensuouslove songswhosepresenceintheOldTestament,cheekbyjowlwiththeinspiringBooksofMoses,thePsalms,andtheBooksoftheProphets,haspuzzledandperplexed manyaBiblicalscholar,ancientandmodern.For,asisnowevident,theresemblancesinstyle,theme,motif,andoccasionallyeveninphraseology,arequitenumerous andvaried. InboththeSongofSongsandtheSumerianSacredMarriageSongs,forexample,theloverisdesignatedasbothkingandshepherd,andthebelovedisnotonlyhis "bride,"butalsohis"sister."BoththeBiblicalandSumeriansongsconsistlargelyofmonologuesanddialoguesspokenbythelovers,interspersedhereandtherewith

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choruslikerefrains.Bothmakeuseofpolished,ornate,rhetoricalfiguresofspeechthatbespeakthewellstockedrepertoireoftheprofessionalcourtpoet.Andboth dwellonsuchthemesastherevelingoftheloversingarden,orchard,orfieldorthemaidbringingthelovertohermother'shousenodoubtnumerousotherswillbe identifiedinthecourseoftime.It,therefore,seemsnotunreasonabletosurmisethattheSongofSongs,oratleastagoodpartofit,isamodifiedformofanancient HebrewliturgycelebratingthemarriageofaHebrewkingaSolomonforexamplewithagoddessoffertility,aSacredMarriageritethathadbeenpartofafertility cultthattheearlynomadicHebrewstookoverfromtheirurbanizedCanaaniteneighbors,whointurnhadborrowedfromtheTammuzIshtarcultoftheSemitic Akkadians,andwhichwasitselfbutamodifiedversionoftheDumuziInannacultoftheSumerians.Noristhisassurprisingasitmightseematfirstglance.Ashas oftenbeennotedbyBiblicalscholars,tracesofthefertilitycultarefoundinseveralbooksoftheBible,andthoughtheprophetscondemneditseverely,itwasnever completelyeradicated.TherearereflectionsofitaslateasMichnaictimes,thatis,roughlythetimeofthecanonizationoftheOldTestament.Thishypothesis, moreover,wouldhelptoexplaintheacceptanceofthebookbytheRabbisaspartoftheHolyScriptures.ForevenafterJahweismhadpurgeditscontentsby obliteratingalmostalltracesofitsfertilitycultelements,theSongofSongsstillcarriedahallowedauraofreligioustraditionthatsmoothedthewayforitsadmittance intothesacredcanon,especiallysincethenameofKingSolomonhadinsomewaybecomeattachedtoit. Onereasonablyclearexampleoftheresemblanceintheme,style,anddictionbetweentheBiblicalandSumeriansongsarethefirstfourversesoftheSongofSongs, inwhichthebelovedpleadswiththeking,presumablySolomon,whomthe"maidenslove,"andwho"hasbroughtmeintohischambers,""tokissmewiththekissesof yourmouth,foryourloveisbetterthanwine,''apleathatisfollowedbythemaidenssinging:"Wewillexaltandrejoiceinyou,wewillextolyourlovermorethan wine"theseverseshavetheircounterpartandprototypesintheecstaticwordsofabelovedbrideofthekingShuSin(about2000B.C.)whosang:

Page317 Bridegroom,deartomyheart, Goodlyisyourpleasure,honeysweet Lion,deartomyheart, Goodlyisyourpleasure,honeysweet. Youhavecaptivatedme,Istandtremblingbeforeyou, Bridegroom,Iwouldbecarriedoffbyyoutothebedchamber Youhavecaptivatedme,Istandtremblingbeforeyou, Lion,Iwouldbecarriedoffbyyoutothebedchamber. Bridegroom,letmegiveyouofmycaresses, Myprecioussweet,Iwouldbelaved(?)byhoney, Inthebedchamber,honeyfilled, Letusenjoyyourgoodlybeauty Lion,letmegiveyouofmycaresses, Myprecioussweet,Iwouldbelaved(?)byhoney. Bridegroom,youhavetakenyourpleasureofme, Tellmymother,shewillgiveyoudelicacies(?), Tellmyfather,hewillgiveyougifts. YourspiritIknowwheretocheeryourspirit, Bridegroom,sleepinourhousetilldawn, YourheartIknowwheretogladdenyourheart, Lion,sleepinourhousetilldawn. You,becauseyouloveme, Lion,giveme,pray,ofyourcaresses Thelord,mygod,thelordmygoodgenie, MyShuSinwhogladdenstheheartofEnlil, Givemeprayofyourcaresses. Yourplacesweetashoney,praylayahandonit, Likeagishbangarment,bringyourhandoverit, Likeagishbansikingarment,cupyourhandoverit.

Asthelastlinesofthisrapturouslyricindicate,thiswasnocommonmaidenunburdeningherselfofherloveforanordinarysweetheart.Thiswasadevoteeofthe goddessoflovetheancientpoetactuallydesignatesitasabalbaleofInannasingingofblissfulunionwithherbridegroom,thekingShuSinwho"gladdensthe heartofEnlil,"asexualmatingthatwouldbringthefavorsofthegodtothelandanditspeople.ShuSin,notunliketheSolomonofamuchlaterday,seemedtohave beenahighfavoritewiththe"ladiesoftheharem,"thehierodulesanddevoteesthatmadeupthecultpersonnelofInannaIshtar.Itisnotsurprisingtolearnthatthe excavators

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ofancientErech,whereInannahadhermostreveredtemple,dugupanecklaceofsemipreciousstones,oneofwhichwasinscribedwiththewords:"Kubatum,the lukurpriestessofShuSin,"lukurbeingaSumerianworddesignatinganInannadevoteewhomayhaveplayedtheroleofthegoddessintheSacredMarriageRite. ShuSin,infact,appearstohavemadeitahabittopresentpreciousgiftstoInanna'sworshipers,especiallyiftheycheeredhimwithsweetsong,forwefindoneof themchanting:


BecauseIutteredit,becauseIutteredit,thelordgavemeagift, BecauseIutteredtheallarisong,thelordgavemeagift, Apendantofgold,asealoflapislazuli,thelordgavemeagift, Aringofgold,aringofsilver,thelordgavemeagift....

AndafterextollingShuSinasagreatking,shecontinues:
Mygod,sweetisthedrinkofthewinemaid, Likeherdrinksweetishervulva,sweetisherdrink, Likeherlipssweetishervulva,sweetisherdrink, Sweetishermixeddrink,herdrink.

ShuSinisalsotheloverinanotherlyricchantedbyadevoteewhomayperhapshavebeenchosenforanightoflovewiththeking,andwhohadthereforeprepareda veryspecialhairdotomakeherselfattractiveinhiseyes,forwefindhersinging:
"Lettuceismyhair,wellwatered, Gakkullettuceismyhair,wellwatered, Combed(?)smoothareitstangledcoils(?), Mynursemaidhasheapedthemhigh. Ofmyhairluxuriant..., Shehaspiledthickitssmalllocks, Sheputstorightmy'allure,' The'allure'myhairthatislettuce,thefairestofplants. Thebrotherhasbroughtmeintohislifegivinggaze, ShuSinhaschosenme...."

Followingabreakofaboutsevenlines,wefindthehierodule'scompanionssinginginchorus:
"Youareourlord,youareourlord, Silverandlapislazuli,youareourlord, Ourfarmerwhomakesstandhighthegrain,youareourlord."

Butitisthehierodulewho"solos"thelastlines:

Page319 "Forhimwhoisthehoneyofmyeyes,whoisthepassionof myheart, MaythedayoflifecomeforthformyShuSin."

LettuceseemstohavebeenafavoriteplantoftheSumeriansnotonlywastheloftyhairdoofthebelovedlikenedtoit,thelover,too,is"lettucewellwatered."Heis alsoawellstockedgarden,graininthefurrow,andafruitladenappletree,accordingtotheexuberantchantoftheecstaticbeloved:
"Hehassprouted,hehasburgeoned,heislettucewellwatered, Mywellstockedgardenofthe...steppe,my'favoriteofhis mother,' Mygrainluxuriatinginthefurrowheislettucewellwatered, Myappletreethatbearsfruituptoitscrownheislettucewell watered."

Butmostofallsheloveshimbecauseheisa"honeyman,"drippingwithsweetness.
"Thehoneyman,thehoneymansweetenedmeever, Mylord,thehoneymanofthegods,my'favoriteofhismother,' Whosehandishoney,whosefootishoney,sweetensmeever, Mysweetenerofthe...navel(?),my'favoriteofhismother,' My...offairestthighsheislettucewellwatered."

Amongtheseveralotherextantlovesongs,thereisonethatendswiththebelovedsinging:
"Lifeisyourcoming, Abundanceisyourcomingintothehouse, Lyingbyyoursideismygreatestjoy...."

Accordingtoanotherlovelyric,theparentsofthebelovedopenthedoorfortheir"soninlaw"whenthedayhaspassed,andnighthascome,and"moonlighthas enteredthehouse."Wethenfindthegoddesspleadingwithherbridegroom,toher"brotheroffairestface,"whoisdeeplyimpressedbyhisextraordinary''mane,"to "pressitclosetoourbosom.''Afterthesacredcouplehasunitedinbliss,thegoddessblessesherlover,theking,withthesecheeringwords:


"Mayyoubeareignthatbringsforthhappydays, Mayyoubeafeastthatbrightensthecountenance, Mayyoubebronzethatbrightensthehands, BelovedofEnlil,maytheheartofyourgodfindcomfortinyou.

Page320 Comeinthenight,stayinthenight, Comewiththesun,staywiththesun, Mayyourgodpreparethewayforyou, Maythebasketcarriersandaxecarrierslevelitsmoothforyou."

AfavoritemotifoftheSongofSongsisthe"goingdown"oftheloverstogarden,orchard,andfield,andthisalsoisthethemeofseveraloftheSacredMarriagelove lyrics.OneoftheseisacompositionthatpurportstobeadialoguebetweenKingShulgiandhis"fairsister"Inanna.Itopenswiththegoddesscomplainingofascarcity ofvegetation:nooneisbringingthedateclustersdueherandthereisnograininthesilos.SoShulgiinviteshertohisfieldsandasksherto"fructify(?)"it.Thegoddess thereuponcommandsafarmertoplowShulgi'sfields,andthekingnextinviteshertohisgardenandorchard,presumablyforthesamepurpose. CloserincontentandmoodtotheBiblicalbookisapassageinanInannacompositioninscribedonanasyetunpublishedtabletintheBritishMuseuminwhichthe goddesssings:


Hemademeenter,hemademeenter, Mybrothermademeenterhisgarden, Dumuzimademeenterhisgarden, Hemademeapproachwithhimahighgrove, Mademestandwithhimbyahighbed. SteadilyIkneelbyanappletree, Mybrothercomeschanting, ThelordDumuzicomesuptome, Comesuptomeoutofthereddishoakleaves, Comesuptomeoutofthemiddayheat, Ipouroutbeforehimlegumesfrommywomb, Ibringintobeinglegumesbeforehim,Ipouroutlegumes beforehim. Ibringintobeinggrainsbeforehim,Ipouroutgrainsbeforehim.

Inalikevein,thereisapassageinafragmentarypoemwhichhasthegoddesschantingthatafterherloverhadplaced"hishandinmine,""hisfootbymine,"had pressedherlipstohismouth,andhadtakenhispleasureofher,hebroughtherintohisgardenwheretherewere"standingtrees,"and''lyingtrees,"andwhereshe seemstoheapupthefruitofthepalmtreeandtheappletreeforherlover,whomsheaddressesrepeatedlyas"myprecioussweet.''

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Buttherecanbetoomuchofagoodthing,evenifitislove,atleastaccordingtoonebalbaleofInanna,wherethebelovedseemstoreproachherloverforbeingall tooeagertoleavethe"fragranthoneybed,"andreturntothepalace.Onlythelasthalfofthispoemispreserved,andtherewefindthegoddesssadlyrelating:
"Mybelovedmetme, Tookhispleasureofme,rejoicedasonewithme, Thebrotherbroughtmeintohishouse, Laidmedownonafragranthoneybed, Myprecioussweet,lyingbymyheart, Onebyone"tonguemaking,"onebyone, Mybrotheroffairestfacedidsofiftytimes,...., Myprecioussweetissated(saying): "Setmefree,mysister,setmefree, Come,mybelovedsister,Iwouldgotothepalace...."

"Forloveisstrongasdeath,jealousyascruelasthegrave,"broodsthepoetoftheSongofSongsinoneofhismoremelancholymoods.Insomewaysthisechoesthe bitterendoftheDumuziInannaromancethatbeganinjoyousblissandendedintragicdeath.Thegrim,inexorablefatethatawaitedherloverwasforeseenand foretoldbythegoddessinapoemthatlinksloveanddeathbyaninseparablebond.Itstartswiththeloverseeminglyquiteunawareofhisinevitabledoom,singing joyouslyofthedelightofhisbeloved'seyes,mouth,lips,andtastyluxuriance.Butthebeloved'sresponseissomberandsorrowful.Becausehehaddaredlovethe goddess,sacredandtabutomortals,hehasbeendoomedtodie,or,tocitetherelevantlines:


Ohmybeloved,mymanoftheheart, YouIhavebroughtaboutanevilfateforyou, mybrotheroffacemostfair, Mybrother,Ihavebroughtaboutanevilfateforyou, mybrotheroffacemostfair, Yourrighthandyouplacedonmyvulva, Yourlefthandstrokedmyhead, Youhavetouchedyourmouthtomine, Youhavepressedmylipstoyourhead, Thatiswhyyouhavebeendecreedanevilfate.

Whatthegoddessdidnotdisclosetoherforedoomedloverandhusband,inthismelancholypoem,however,isthatitwouldbeshe

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herselfwhowouldsendhimtohisdeath,butthatfortunatelyformankindhewouldberesurrectedeveryhalfyear.Thiswelearnfromoneofthemorecomplexand imaginativeSumerianmythscommonlyknownas"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld,"which,verybrieflysketched,tellsthefollowingtale:Inannahasdescended totheNetherWorldprobablytosatisfyherambitiontobecomequeenoftheregionsbelow,aswellasoftheheavensabove.TheresheisputtodeathbyEreshkigal, thelegitimatequeenoftheWorldoftheDead.Afterthreedaysandnights,sheisbroughtbacktolifewiththehelpofEnki,thegodofwisdom,andisreadyto reascendtoearth.ButitwasanunbrokenruleoftheNetherWorldthatnoonewhohadentereditsgatescouldreturntothelivingworldunlessheorsheproduceda substitutetotakehisorherplace,andInanna,greatgoddessthoughshewas,wasnoexception.Shewas,however,permittedtoreascendtotheearth,accompanied byanumberofheartlessdemonsknownasgalla,whohadinstructionstobringherbacktotheWorldoftheDeadifshefailedtoprovidesomeonetotakeherplace. Afterwanderingforatimeonearthaccompaniedbytheghastlygallawhokeptharassingherwiththeirpersistentdemandforhersubstitute,shearrivesinKullab,the sacreddistrictofherowncityErech.There,toherdismay,shefindsherhusbandDumuzisittingproudlyonaloftydaisbyabigappletree,evidentlyenjoyinghisrole ofsolerulerofErech,insteadofbewailinghiswife'sabsenceandwelcomingherreturninallhumility,ashadbeendonebyseveralgods.Enraged,Inannalookedupon himwiththe"eyeofdeath,"pronounceduponhimthe"wordofwrath,"utteredagainsthimthe"cryofguilt,"andturnedhimovertotheimpatientgallatocarryhimoff totheNetherWorld.AndeventhoughthesungodUtu,atDumuzi'stearfulplea,turnshimintoasnakesothathemightevadethecruelgalla,thereisnoescape:they catchupwithhimathissheepfold,bindandtorturehim,andcarryhimofftothe''LandofNoReturn.'' Justwhathappensthenisuncertainbecauseofthebreaksinthetext,butthefollowingisareasonableguess.ThedisappearanceofDumuzifromhissheepfoldinthe steppemusthavesodistressedhislovingsisterGeshtinannathatshenodoubtpleadedtearfullywithInannatolethertakeherbrother'splaceintheNetherWorld. Movedbythissisterlyselfsacrifice,thetwogoddesseswentsearch

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ingforDumuziinthesteppebutcouldnotfindhim.Whereuponaclever"holyfly"appearedonthesceneandofferedtoprovidethemwiththeinformationthey desiredifproperlyrewarded.Inannarewardshimbydecreeingthathecouldmakehishomeinbeerhouseandtavernwherethe"sonsofthewise"gather,andhetells themthatDumuziisnowintheNetherWorld.TheretheyfindDumuziweeping,andInannathenmakestheSolomonicdecisionthatDumuzistayintheNetherWorld halftheyearandthathissistertakehisplacetheotherhalf. ThedeathofDumuziandhistragic,tortureddescenttotheNetherWorldmovedtheSumerianmythographerstocomposepoemsfullofbitternessandgrief.The pursuitofDumuzibythegallabecameafavoritemotifwiththemandtheyfeltfreetoelaborateonthedetailsastheirfancydictated.Itwasnotinmythandsongonly thatthedeathofDumuziwascommemoratedspecialdaysofmourningweresetasideinthecitiesofSumer,inthecourseofwhichsolemnritesandritualscentering abouthisdemisewereperformed.NorwasDumuziofErechtheonlyonedoomedtodeathintheNetherWorld,thesamefateovertookanumberofdeitiesof variouscitiesthroughoutSumerandAkkad. FromMesopotamiathethemeofthedeathofDumuziandhisresurrectionspreadtoPalestine,wherewefindthewomenofJerusalembewailingTammuzatthevery gatesoftheJerusalemTemple.ItisnotatallimprobablethatthemythofDumuzi'sdeathandresurrectionleftitsmarkontheChriststoryinspiteoftheprofound disparitiesbetweenthetwoaccounts.SeveralmotifsintheChriststorywhichmaygobacktoSumerianprototypeshavebeenknownforsometime:theresurrection ofadeityafterthreedaysandthreenightsintheworldbelowthefactthat"thirtyshekels,"thesumreceivedbyJudasforbetrayinghismaster,isaSumeriantermfor contemptanddisdainsuchepithetsas"shepherd,""anointed,"andperhapseven"carpenter''thefactthatoneofthegodswithwhomDumuzicametobeidentified wasDamu,thephysician,towhomwasentrustedtheartofhealingbyexorcisingdemons.ToallthosemotifscannowbeaddedthetorturingofDumuzibythe mercilessgalla,reminiscentoftheagonyofChrist:Dumuziwasboundandpinioned,forcedtoundressandrunnaked,beatenandscourged.Aboveall,Dumuzi,not unlikeChrist,playedthe

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roleofvicarioussubstituteformankindhadhenottakentheplaceofInanna,thegoddessofprocreationandfertility,intheNetherWorld,alllifeonearthwould havecometoanend.Admittedly,thespiritualdifferencesaremoresignificantbyfarthantheresemblancesDumuziwasnoselfsacrificingMessiahpreachingthe kingdomofGodonearth.ButtheChriststorydidnotoriginateandevolveinaculturalvacuumitmusthavehaditsforerunnersandprototypes,andoneofthemost venerableandinfluentialofthesewasnodoubtthemournfultaleoftheshepherdkingDumuziandhismelancholyfate,amyththatwascurrentthroughouttheNear Eastforovertwomillennia. ThetragicdeathofDumuzi(orofanyofthedeitiesidentifiedwithDumuzi)impelledandinspiredtheSumerianpoetsandbardstocomposedirgesandlaments revolvingaroundthebereavedmotherwhobewailshergrievousloss.OneofthemorepoignantoftheseisinscribedonahithertounpublishedtabletintheBritish MuseumwhosecontentsIhaveeditedforaFestschriftdedicatedtotheeminentBiblicalscholar,HarryOrlinsky,whichwillappearinthenearfuture.Asthe translationpresentedinthefollowingchapterdemonstrates,thismotherlylamentmaywellbecharacterizedasaprototypeofRachelweepingforherchildren"because theyarenot"(Jeremiah31:15andMatthew2:18)aswellasofMaryweepingforherdeadsonJesus.

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Chapter34 WeepingGoddesses TheFirstMaterDolorosa


TheSumerians,unliketheEgyptians,forexample,tendedtotakeamelancholyandjaundicedviewoflife.AtleastthisistrueoftheSumerianthinkersandmenof letterswholivedabout2000B.C.TheylivedintheaftermathofthedevastationofthelandanddestructionofthecapitalUrbytheElamitesandSupeoples(Sumer's neighborstotheeast),aswellasintheaftermathofthecaptivityofthepatheticIbbiSin,thelastkingoftheThirdDynastyofUr,whichhadusheredinapoliticaland culturalrenaissancefullofhopeandpromise.ItwasinthewakeofthistragiceventthattheSumerianpoetsandbardscreatedanddevelopedtheimageofthe "weepinggoddess"intheirdirgesandlaments.Intheextanttextssheappearsinnumerousguises.Sheis,forexample,Ningal,thequeengoddessofUr,whobewails thedestructionofhercityandtemple,thedesecrationandsuppressionofhercult,thesufferingofherravagedanddispersedpeople.Orthe"weepinggoddess"is noneotherthanthemultifacetedInannamourningherspouseDumuziwhohadbeencarriedofftotheNetherWorldatragicfatethatservedasametaphorforthe deathofthekingandthedestructionoftheSumeriancitiesandtemples.OrshewasconceivedasDumuzi'ssisterGeshtinannawholovedhimmoredearlythanher ownlife,andwhosecuredhisfreedomfromtheNetherWorldeveryhalfyearbyofferingtobecomehissurrogate.Oftensheisdepictedasthemothergoddess, undersuchnamesasNinhursag,Ninisinna,andLisin,whowandersaboutweepingandsearchingforherdisappearedson.OneoftheselamentsisinscribedonTablet No.98396oftheBritishMuseum.

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Accordingtotheancientscribe'ssubscript,itwasutteredbyNinhursag,oneoftheseveralforerunnersofthematerdolorosaofJudaeoChristiantradition. ThecontentsofthisNinhursaglamentmaybedividedintothreeparts.Inthefirst(lines113),thepoetsetsthestageforhismelancholytheme:thecomely,attractive sonofNinhursaghaddisappeared,andthegoddess,likeaewewhoselambhadbeencutadrift,likeamothergoatwhosekidhadbeencutadrift,wentabout questioningandsearchingassheapproachedakur,amountain,whichshetraversedfromitsbasetoitssummit.Carryingdiverserushesandreedsinfrontofher,the goddess,designatedasthe"motherofthelad,"andthe"motherofthelord,"setsupalamentamongthereedthickets. Herebeginsthesecondpartofthelament(lines1425),whichconsistsofaplaintivesoliloquybythegoddesswhichislargelyobscure.AsItentativelyinterpretthe passage,itbeginswithanaffirmationbythegoddessthatonceher"man,"presumablyherson,hadbeenfound,shewouldpresenthimwith"somethinglikeaheavenly star,"perhapsameteor.Shethenseemstoturndirectlytoherson,asifhehadactuallybeenfound,andtellshimthatshefearedthisominous"somethinglikea heavenlystar,"andpaidhomagetoit.Butthetruthwasthathersonhadnotbeenfound,andsothegoddesscontinuestolamentthatshedidnotknowwherehewas, andthatshehadkeptsearchingforhimeverywhereasbestsheknewhow.However,itseemsthatthedreaded''somethinglikeaheavenlystar"hadturnednoonto duskandwassettingtheearthatremblelike"aforestfragrantwithcedars"andthispresumablyinterferedwithhersearch. Inthethirdpart(lines2631),someindividual,probablythepoethimself,revealsthebittertruthtotheweepinggoddesswhoisportrayedmetaphoricallyasacow lowingtoherlost,unrespondingcalf:thereisnopointtohersearchingandweepinghersonisinArali(theNetherWorld)andtheofficialsinchargewillnotgivehim backtoher. HerenowisaliteraltranslationofthisNinhursaglament:
1.Thecowforhercalf!Thecowforthecalf! Thecowfortheinquiredaboutcalf! Thecowitscalfhaddisappeared.

Page327 Asforthebirthgivingmotherhercomelyonehaddisappeared, Thedelightfulonehadbeencarriedoffbythewaters. Asforthebirthgivingmotherinquiring,searching,she approachedthefootofthekur, Byinquiring,searching,sheapproachedthefootofthekur, Likeaewewhoselambhadbeencutadrift,shewouldnotbe restrained, Likeamothergoatwhosekidhadbeencutadrift,shewouldnotberestrained. 10.Sheapproachedthefoot ofthekur,sheapproachedthesummitofthekur, Sheinfrontofhershecarriesthenumunrushes,shecarriesthe shumunrushes, Themotheroftheladcarriestheshushuareeds, Themotherofthelordshedsbittertearsamongthereed thickets "Asforme,mymanwhowillhavebeenfoundforme, Mymanwhosewhereaboutswillhavebeenfoundforme, TothatmanIwillgive'somethinglikeaheavenlystar.' Lad!Your'somethinglikeaheavenlystar,'somethingominous, Your'somethinglikeaheavenlystar'thathasbeenbrought toyou, IIfearedit,Ipaidhomagetoit, 20.Ilearnednotthewhereaboutsofmycalf. Iinspectedmypost, Ikeptsearchingeverywhereinaccordancewithmy understanding, Itturnednoonintoduskagainstmesomethingominous, Asformeitactedtreacherouslytowardmeitistrue!itis true! Me,thebirthgivingmotheritsetstheearthatrembleagainstme likeaforestfragrantwithcedars." "Birthgivingmother,donotlowtothecalfsetyourface! Cow,(donotlow)tothecalf,totheunanswering(calf)set yourface! Theensiwillnotgivehimtoyou, Thelord,thekiller,willnotgivehimtoyou. 30.Cow,setyourfacetowardthebankoftheriver! SetyourfacetowardthewildoxofAraliattheedgeofthe steppe!"

Theloveofthemotherforhersonasitissetforthinthisdirgeisalsomanifestedinanother,altogetherdifferenttypeofcomposi

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tion,namelyalullabyintroducedbytheexclamatoryphrasesuaauainimitationofthesingsongsoundmadebyamotherornursemaidrockingachildtosleep. Thecontentsofthisdocument,inscribedonafairlywellpreservedtabletintheUniversityMuseum,wereeditedbymein1969inavolumededicatedtotheeminent Italianhumanist,EdoardoVolterra.

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Chapter35 UaAua TheFirstLullaby


Thisuniquecomposition,theonlyoneofitskindthusfarknownfromtheAncientNearEast,probablyconsistsentirelyofachantpurportedtobeutteredbythewife ofShulgi,whoseemstohavebeenanxiousandtroubledbytheillhealthofoneofhersons.Asistrueoflullabiesingeneral,mostofthemother'schantisaddressed directlytothechild,butinseveralofthepreservedpassagesshesoliloquizesabouthersoninthethirdperson,andinonepassagesheaddressesSleeppersonified. Thecontentsofthiscompositionwhosetranslationandinterpretationaredifficultandtoaconsiderabledegreeuncertain,mayneverthelessbesketchedinthefollowing way:thepoembeginswitharatherwistfulandwishfulsoliloquyinwhichthemotherseemstoreassureherselfintheururuchant(perhapsachantofjoy)thatherson willgrowbigandsturdy.
Uaaua(pronouncedooaaooa) Inmyururuchantmayhegrowbig Inmyururuchantmayhegrowlarge, Liketheirinatreemayhegrowstoutofroot, Liketheshakirplantmayhegrowbroadofcrown.

Shethenseemstotrytobuoyupherson'sspiritwiththepromiseofoncomingsleep.
Thelord(perhapsSleep)...., Amongitsburgeoningappletrees,bytheriverarrayed, He(Sleep?)willspreadhishandoverhimwhois.., Hewilllifthishandoverhimwhoislyingdown, Myson,sleepisabouttoovertakeyou, Sleepisabouttosettleoveryou.

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Havingmentionedsleep,themothernowaddressesitdirectly,urgingittocloseherson'swakefuleyesandnotlethisbabblingtongueshutouthissleep.
ComeSleep,comeSleep, Cometowheremysonis, Hurry(?)Sleeptowheremysonis, Puttosleephisrestlesseyes, Putyourhandonhispaintedeyes, Andasforhisbabblingtongue, Letnotthebabblingtongueshutouthissleep.

ShenowturnsagaintoherailingsonandpromisesthatwhileSleepwillfillhislapwithemmer,shewillprovidehimwithsweetlittlecheesestohealhim,thesonof Shulgi,aswellaswellwateredlettucefromhergarden:
He(Sleep)willfillyourlapwithemmer, IIwillmakesweetforyouthelittlecheeses, Thoselittlecheesesthatarethehealerofman, Thehealerofman,Ohsonofthelord, OhsonofthelordShulgi! Mygardenislettucewellwatered, Itisgakkullettucewellcultivated(?), Letthelordeatthatlettuce.

Shenowseesherself,againinherururuchant,asprovidinghersonwithalovingwifeandabelovedsonwhowillbecaredforbyajoyousnursemaid.
InmyururusongIwillgivehimawife, Iwillgivehimawife,Iwillgivehimason, Thenursemaid,joyousofheart,willconversewithhim, Thenursemaid,joyousofheart,willsucklehim. IIwilltakeawifeformyson, Shewillbearhimasonsosweet, Thewifewilllieonhisburninglap, Thesonwilllieinhisoutstretchedarms, Thewifewillbehappywithhim, Thesonwillbehappywithhim, Theyoungwifewillrejoiceinhislap, Thesonwillgrowbigonhissweetknee.

Butnowanxietyabouttheillnessofhersonbeginstodominatehermood,andinhernextsoliloquy,addresseddirectlytoherson,she

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seemstoseehiminhertroubledfancyasdead,mournedbyprofessionalkeeners,andcrawledoverbyinsects:
Youareinpain, Iamtroubledbyit, Iamstruckdumb,Igazeatthestars, Thenewmoonshineswhiteonmyface: Yourboneswillbearrayedonthewall, The"manofthewall,"willshedtearsforyou, Thekeenerswillpluckthelyresforyou, Thegekkowillgashthecheekforyou, Theflywillpluckthebeardforyou, Thelizardwillbite(?)itstongueforyou. Whomakessproutwoe,willmakeitsproutallaboutyou, Whospreadsaboutwoe,willspreaditallaboutyou.

Followingafragmentarypassageinwhichsleepismentionedonceagain,wefindthemotherblessinghersonwithawifeandson,abundanceofgrain,agoodangel, andahappy,joyousreign.
Maythewifebeyoursupport, Maythesonbeyourlot, Maythewinnowedbarleybeyourbride, MayAshnan,thekusugoddessbeyourally, Mayyouhaveaneloquentguardianangel, Mayyouachieveareignofhappydays, Mayfeastsmakebrightyourforehead.

Theremainderofthepoemisveryfragmentaryandobscure,buttowardtheendthemotherseemstoturnonceagaintoherson,thefutureking,andadmonisheshim tostandbythecitiesofUrandErech,toseizeandpiniontheenemy,adogwhounlesscowed,willtearhimtopieces. Theconsumingloveofamotherforherson,depictedintheprecedingtwochapters,hasitscounterpartinthelovingadmirationofasonforhismother,asisattested inaratherunusualcompositionthatpurportstobeamessagebyadoting,affectionatesonnamedLudingirratohismother.Heportrayshismotherinextravagant, poetic,similesandmetaphorsastheidealwoman:beautiful,radiant,diligent,productive,gracious,joyous,sweetsmelling.Thetextofthispoemwasfirstpieced togetherandlatersuperblytranslated(1964)byMiguelCivil,oneofmyformerassistantsinthe

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UniversityMuseum.In1967,JeanNougayrol,aSorbonneprofessor,publishedalargetabletofafragmentexcavatedinUgaritwhichoriginallycontainedtheentire textofthedocumentinSumeriantogetherwithtranslationsintoAkkadianandHittite.Nougayrol'scareful,thoroughstudyaddedconsiderablytotheunderstandingof thistext.In1970,whilestudyingseveralhundredstillunpublishedSumerianliterarytabletsintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient,MuazzezCig,thecuratorof itstabletcollection,andIcameacrossawellpreservedduplicatethataddedanumberofsignificantvariants.Theimprovedrenderingandinterpretationthusmade possible,willbepresentedinthefollowingchapter.

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Chapter36 TheIdealMother HerFirstLiteraryPortrait


ThisunusualcompositionthatprovidesuswitharemarkableliteraryportraitoftheidealSumerianmother,consistsentirelyofaflowery,ornateaddressbyan individualnamedLudingirratoa''royal"courier,whomheisdispatchingtohismotherinNippur.ThefirsteightlinesareintroductoryLudingirratellsthecourierthat hehastraveledalongwayfromNippurwherehismotherlives,andthatsheisverymuchworriedabouthiswelfare,andthatheisthereforesendinghimtodelivera "letterofgreeting"toher:
Royalcourier,everontheroad, IwouldsendyoutoNippur,deliverthismessage. Ihavetraveledalongway, Mymotheristroubled(?),unabletosleep. She,inwhosechamberthereisneveranangryword, Keepsaskingalltravelersaftermywelfare. Putmylettersofgreetingintoherhand, (Intothehandof)myrejoicingmotherwhowillhaveadorned herselfforyou.

Sincethemotherwasastrangertothecourier,Ludingirragiveshimfivesignsasaguidetoidentifyingher.Actually,noneofthesesignsisspecificorpreciseenoughto serveitspurposetheirintroductioninthecompositionisaliterarydeviceutilizedbytheauthortoenablehimtoportraythemotherofhisdreams,asitwere.Thefirst signconcernsprimarilyherextraordinaryaccomplishmentsaswifeanddaughterinlaw,thoughseverallinesareratherobscure.

Page334 Ifyouknownotmymother,letmegiveyouhersigns (ofidentification): HernameisShatIshtar(?)...., Afigurethatisradiant...., Agoddessfair,adaughterinlawdelightful(?), Blessedisshefromthedaysofheryouth, Byherenergyshehasmanagedwellthehouseofher fatherinlaw. Shewhoservesthegodofherhusband, Whoknowstotend"theplaceof(thegoddess)Inanna," Doesnotputtonoughtthewordsoftheking. Vigiliant,shemultipliedpossessions, Shewhoisbeloved,cherished,fulloflife, Lambs,goodcream,honey,"flowing"butter"oftheheart."

Thesecondsigndepictsthemother'soutstandingbeautyinextravagant,hyperbolicmetaphors.
Letmegiveyoumymother'ssecondsign: Mymotherisabrightlightofthehorizon,amountaindeer, Themorningstarshiningbright...., Preciouscarnelian,Marhashitopaz, Ajewelofaprincess,fullofallure, Carnelianjewels,joycreating, Aringoftin,abraceletofiron, Astaffofgoldandbrightsilver, Aperfectivoryfigurine,fullofcharm, Anangelofalabaster,setonalapislazulipedestal.

FertilityoffieldandgardenisthesourceofLudingirra'smetaphoricalportrayalofhismotherinthethirdsign.
Letmegiveyoumymother'sthirdsign: Mymotherisraininitsseason,waterfortheprimeseed, Arichharvest,veryfine(?)barley, Agardenofplenty,fullofdelight, Awellwateredfirtree,adornedwithfircones, FruitoftheNewYear,theyieldofthefirstmonth, Acanalcarryingthefertilizingwaterstotheirrigationditches, AverysweetDilmundate,aprimedatemuchsoughtafter.

Inthefourthsign,Ludingirraseemstodrawhisimagesprimarilyfromfestaloccasions.
Letmegiveyoumymother'sfourthsign: Mymotherisafeast,anofferingfullofrejoicing,

Page335 ANewYearofferingawesometobehold, Adancingplacemadeformuchjoy, Aprocreationofprinces,achantofabundance, Alover,alovingheart,whosejoyisinexhaustible, Goodnewsforacaptivereturnedtohismother.

Fragranceisthethemeofthebrieffifthsign:
Letmegiveyoumymother'sfifthsign: Mymotherisachariotofpine,alitterofboxwood, Agoodlygarment(?)perfumedwithoil, Aphialofostrichshell,theinsidefilledwithprimeoil, Adelightfulgarland(?),luxuriantlyfittedout.

FinallyLudingirraconcludeshisletterwiththesewords:
"Ludingirra,yourbelovedsongivesyougreetings."

ThesameLudingirrawhohaddedicatedtheardentlovesongtohismotherwhileshewasstillvigorousandalive,alsocomposedlovingtributestobothhisfatherand wifeupontheirdeaths,intheformoftwofuneralsongsthefirstknownsuchexamplesoftheelegygenre.Thefollowingchapterwillsketchthecontentsofthesetwo elegiesinscribedonatabletinthePushkinMuseum,aswellasthoseofanaltogetherdifferenttypeofelegyinscribedonatabletintheBritishMuseumafuneral chantofanunnamedmaidenforhergir,"courier,"perhapsreferringtothekingwhohadfalleninbattleinadistantland.

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Chapter37 ThreeFuneralChants TheFirstElegies


Inthefallof1957,IreceivedaninvitationfromtheAcademyofSciencesoftheU.S.S.R.foratwomonths'staytostudyasitsguestthearchaeologicalcollectionsin LeningradandMoscow.Inexchange,theUniversityMuseumoftheUniversityofPennsylvaniainvitedthewellknownRussiananthropologist,GeorgeDebbetzofthe MoscowInstituteofEthnologyandAnthropology,tospendtwomonthsasitsguestinordertopursuehisresearchesinphysicalanthropology.Thisprofessorial exchangethefirstsuchexchangeinvolvingtheU.S.S.R.andtheUnitedStateswasnegotiatedbyF.G.Rainey,thenDirectoroftheUniversityMuseum,inthe courseofabriefvisittotheSovietUnionintheSpringof1957. ThreeweeksofmySovietstaywerepassedinMoscow,andprimarilyinthePushkinMuseumwhichhasacuneiformtabletcollectionofabouttwothousandpieces. DuringapreliminaryexaminationofthiscollectionInotedafairlywellpreservedfourcolumntabletinscribedwithaSumerianliterarytext.Oncloserstudy,thistext wasseentoconsistoftwoseparatepoems,eachcontainingafuneraldirgeasitsoutstandingfeature.Sincethefuneralsong,orelegy,wasaliterarygenrenothitherto foundamongthenumerousSumerianliterarycompositions,IwasnaturallyquiteeagertomakeacarefulstudyofthisPushkinMuseumtabletandmakeitscontents availabletothescholarlyworld.WiththecooperationofthePushkinMuseumauthorities,IthereforedevotedagoodpartofmythreeweeksinMoscowtothe preparationofacarefultranscriptionoftheSumeriantext.Asforthedetailed

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scholarlyedition,Isoonrealizedthatthiswouldtakeseveralmonthsofconcentratedeffort,andwouldthereforehavetobepreparedatleisureinPhiladelphia.The PushkinMuseumputatmydisposalanexcellentsetofphotographsofthetablet,andinduetimemyeditionofitscontentswascompletedandpublishedbythe OrientalLiteraturePublishingHouseinMoscowtogetherwithanIntroductionandtranslationintoRussianbytheeminentSoviethistorianW.W.Struve. Thetablet,whichwasprobablyinscribedintheancientcityofNippurinthefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.itmighthavebeenfirstcomposedabout2000 B.C.wasdividedbythescribeintofourcolumns.Itcontainstwocompositionsofunequallengthseparatedbyaruledline.Thefirstandlongerofthetwoconsistsof 112linesoftext,whilethesecondhasonly66lines.Followingthetextofthetwocompositions,andseparatedfromitbyadoubleline,isathreelinecolophongiving thetitleofeachofthecompositions,aswellasthenumberoflineswhichtheycontainindividuallyandtogether.Bothofthecompositionsconsistinlargepartoffuneral dirgesutteredbyasingleindividual,Ludingirra.Inthefirsthelamentsthedeathofhisfather,Nanna,whohaddiedfromwoundsreceivedinsomekindofphysical struggle.Intheseconddirge,thesameLudingirrabewailsthedeathofhisgoodandbelovedwife,Nawirtum,whoseemstohavediedofnaturalcauses. Inbothcompositions,thedirgesareprecededbyprologueswhichserve,asitwere,tosetthescene.Theprologuetothefirstdirgeconsistsof20lines,andis thereforerelativelybriefcomparedtotherestofthecomposition.Theprologuetotheseconddirge,ontheotherhand,consistsof47lines,andisthereforeabouttwo andonehalftimesaslongastheremainderofthepoem.Stylistically,bothcompositionsmakeuseofahighlypoeticdictioncharacterizedbyvarioustypesof repetition,parallelism,choralrefrain,simile,andmetaphor.Thedeedsandvirtuesofthedeceased,aswellasthegriefandsufferingofthoseleftbehind,aresungin inflatedandgrandiloquentphrasesanunderstandablefeatureoffuneralorationstheworldoverandatalltimes. Unfortunatelyquiteanumberofthelinesinbothdirgesarefragmentary,andtherenderingofmanyoftheextantlinesisratheruncertaintheinterestedreaderwillfind aliteraltranslationofthe

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entiretextofthetablet,repletewithbreaksandquestionmarks,inTheSumerians(pages21117).Asfortheirimportanceandsignificance,itgoeswithoutsaying thattheyhaveconsiderableintrinsicmeritasliteraryefforts.Theyattempttoconveyinimaginativepoeticformthedeephumanpassionsandemotionsgeneratedby thetragicloss,throughinevitabledeath,oftheclosestanddearestkin.Fromthepointofviewofthehistoryofworldliterature,theyarethefirstpreciousexampleof theelegiacgenretheyprecedebymanycenturiestheDavidicdirgesforSaulandJonathanandtheHomericlamentsforHector,whichclosetheIliadonsosaida note,andtheyshouldthereforeproveofvalueforpurposesofcomparativestudy.Thefirstofthetwopoemsisalsoofsomeimportancesinceitshedslighton Sumeriancosmology,forwelearnfromoneofitspassagesthattheSumeriansagesheldtheviewthatthesunaftersettingcontinuesitsjourneythroughtheNether Worldatnight,andthatthemoongodspendshis''dayofsleep"thatisthelastdayofthemonthintheNetherWorld.Moreover,thetwopoems,andparticularly thefirst,illuminatetosomeextenttheSumerianideasabout"life"intheworldbelow.Thus,forexample,welearnthattherewasajudgmentofthedeadandthat,as mighthavebeenexpected,itwasthesungodUtuthejudgeparexcellenceofmankindwhomadethedecisions,althoughthemoongodNanna,too,seemedto decreethefateofthedeadonthedayhevisitedtheNetherWorld. ForanelegyofanaltogetherdifferentkindweturntotheBritishMuseumTabletNo.24975,anearlyperfectlypreserveddocument,inscribedwithapoetic compositionwhichisafuneralchantforagir,anintimateofanunnamed"maid"andbelovedbyher.Mostofthetextofthecompositioncanbetransliteratedwith reasonablecertainty,andmuchofitcanbetranslatedwithafairdegreeofaccuracy.Nevertheless,itsintentandpurposearedifficulttofathom,anditsrealmeaning remainsratherdoubtful.Primarilythisisduetothekeyword,gir,anounusuallyrenderedas"courier,"designatinganindividualwhosestatus,function,andprecise relationshiptothemaidremainenigmaticthroughoutthecompositiondespitethefactthatheisdescribedinconsiderablerealisticandmetaphoricaldetail.

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Thecompositionmaybedescribedasaplayletfeaturingtwoprotagonists:theunnamedmaidandherfriendormentor,alsounnamed.Itbeginswithanaddressbythe latterconsistingof19linesinwhichhe,orshe,firstexhortsthemaidtoprepareherselfforthegir'simminentarrival,andthenproceedstodepicthimasonewhohas traveledfarafieldtodistantplacesasanillfated,tearful,sufferingindividualwhosestrickenbodyisfloatinghelplesslyonthevoraciousfloodwaters.Thedeathofthe girandthereturnofhiscorpseviamountainandrivertothehomeofthemaid,whencehehadpresumablybegunhisdisastrousjourney,aredescribedinenigmatic, metaphoricallanguageheisdepictedasaswallowwhohasdisappearedasadragonflyadriftontheriverasmistdriftingoverthemountainrangesasgrassfloating ontheriverasanibextraversingmountains. Theresponseofthemaidconstitutestheentireremainderofthecompositionwhichconsistsoftwosections.Inthefirst,lines2037,sheitemizesallthegreatthings shewillprovideforhergir,presumablyascultofferingsforhisghost:cakes,fruitsofthefield,roastedbarley,dates,beer,grapesonthevine,applesandfigs,honey andwine,hotandcoldwater,areinandwhip,acleangarment,fineoil,achair,footstoolandbed,creamandmilk.Thesecondsection,lines3849,beginswiththe maid'smelancholyportrayalofthedeadgiruponhisarrival:hecannotwalk,see,orspeak.Shethencontinueswithadescriptionofthefuneraryritualsheperformed immediatelyuponthedeadgir'sarrival,andconcludeswiththebitterrealizationthathersmittengirlaydead,andthathisspiritwhichhadonlyjustarrivedwithhis bodyhadnowthatithadbeenliberatedfromthecorpsebythefuneraryritedepartedfromherhouse. Herenowisaliteraltranslationoftheelegy:
1."Yourgirisapproaching,prepareyourself, Maid,yourgirisapproaching,prepareyourself, Yourdeargirisapproaching,prepareyourself. Ah,thegir!Ah,thegir! Yourgir,heofthefarawayplace, Yourgirofdistantfields,ofalienroads,

Page340 Yourswallowthatwillnotcomeoutuntodistantdays, Yourdragonflyoftherisingwaters,adriftontheriver, Yourmistdriftingoverthemountainranges, 10.Yourrivercrossinggrassfloatingontheriver, Youribextraversingthemountains, Your...., Your...., Yourgir,heofevilomen, Yourgirofweepingeyes, Yourgir,heofgrievousheart, Yourgir,whosebonesweredevouredbythehighflood, Yourfloatinggir,whoseheadwastossedaboutbythehighflood, Yourgirwhohasbeenstruckonhisbroadchest." 20."Aftermygirhascome,Iwilldogreatthingsforhim: Iwillofferhimcakesand.., Iwillprovideforhimthefruitsofthefield, Iwillprovideforhimroastedbarleyanddates, Iwillprovideforhimbittersweetbeer, Iwillprovideforhimgrapesonthevine, Iwillprovideforhimapplesofthewideearth, Iwillprovideforhimfigsofthewideearth, Iwillprovideforhimthe..ofthefigtree, Iwillprovideforhimdatesonthecluster, 30.Iwillprovideforhimtheorchard'shoney(and)wine. Aftermygirhascome,Iwilldogreatthingsforhim: Iwillprovideforhimhotwater(and)coldwater, Iwillprovideforhimreinandwhip, Iwillprovideforhimacleangarmentandfineoil, Iwillprovideforhimachair(and)afootstool, Iwillprovideforhimaverdantbed, Iwillprovideforhimcreamandmilkofstallandfold." "Mygirhehascome,hewalksnothehascome,hewalksnot, Hehaseyeshecannotseeme, 40.Hehasamouthhecannotconversewithme. Mygirhascomeapproach!Hehasindeedcomeapproach! Ihavecastdownbread,wipedhimcleanwithit, Fromadrinkingcupthathasnotbeencontaminated, Fromabowlthathasnotbeendefiled, Ipouredwaterthegroundwherethewaterwaspoured,drank itup. WithmyfineoilIanointedthewallforhim, InmynewclothIclothedthechair.

Page341 Thespirithasentered,thespirithasdeparted, Mygirwasstruckdowninthe mountain,intheheartofthemountain,(andnow)helies(dead)."

Princesandkings,lordsandheroes,godsandgoddessesthesearetheusualprotagonistsoftheSumerianliteraryrepertoire.Thereis,however,onetypeof composition,the"disputation"whichtellsusnolittleaboutthewayoflifeofordinarypeople.Oneofthese,"TheDisputationBetweenthePickaxeandthePlow,"has beenrecentlypiecedtogetherandtranslated,andaswillbedemonstratedinthenextchapter,fromitwegleantherathersurprisinginformationthatSumeriansociety hadanunexpectedlyhighregardforthelaborerandhiswelfare,andthatitdeemedthelowlybutdiligentpickaxesuperiortothearistocraticbutratherlazyplow.

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Chapter38 ThePickaxeandthePlow Labor'sFirstVictory


TheSumeriandisputation,theprototypeandpredecessorofthetensongenrepopularinEuropeinLateAntiquityandtheMiddleAges,wasahighfavoritewiththe Sumerianmenofletterstheirpolemical,argumentativecontentwasinharmonywiththeratherambitiousandaggressivecharacteroftheSumerianbehavioralpattern. In1956,whenHistoryBeginsatSumerwasfirstpublished,sevendisputationsinvolvingtwocontrastingentitieswereknown,butonlythreeofthesehadbeen studiedwithcare,sincetheavailabletextswerefullofbreaksandgaps.Inmorerecentyears,however,scoresoftabletsandfragmentshavebeenidentifiedand becomeavailableforstudy,andMiguelCivil,oneoftheleadingSumerologistsoftheyoungergeneration,beganworkingontherestorationandtranslationofthetexts whilestillmyassistantattheUniversityMuseuminduecourseallofthemwillbeeditedandpublishedbyhim. Oneofthemoreinterestingfeaturesofthesedisputationsisthedeterminationofthevictorwhichisnotrevealedbytheauthoruntiltheveryendofthecomposition,for itnodoubtcorrespondedtotherelativevalueattributedtothecontrastingpairitisWinteroverSummer,GrainoverCattle,BirdoverFish,TreeoverReed,Copper overSilver.Inthedebatebetween"ThePickaxeandthePlow,"thedocumenttreatedinthischapteronthebasisoftheeditionpreparedbyCivilasadissertationfor theCollgedeFrance,itisthePickaxewhoisthevictoroverthePlow. ThecompositionbeginswitharatherdrolldescriptionofthePickaxeasaninstrumentthatonewouldhardlyexpecttostanditsgroundagainstanyopponent:

Page343 Lo,thePickaxe,thePickaxe,thestringtied, ThePickaxeofpoplarwithatoothoftheashtree, ThePickaxeoftamariskwithatoothof''seawood," ThePickaxewithtwoteeth,fourteeth, ThePickaxe,poorfellow,alwayslosinghisloincloth, ThePickaxechallengedthePlow.

Theburdenofthechallengeisthatit,thePickaxe,canperformquiteanumberoftasksthatthePlowisunabletoperform.
"Ienlargewhatisitthatyouenlarge? Iexpandwhatisitthatyouexpand? Whenwaterrushesout,Idamitup, Youdon'tfillthebasketswithearth, Youdon'tmixclay,youdon'tmakebricks, Youdon'tlayfoundations,youdon'tbuildhouses, Youdon'treinforcethebaseofoldwalls, Youdon'tmakestraighttheroofsofhonestmen, Youdon'tmakestraighttheboulevards. Plow,Ienlargewhatisitthatyouenlarge? Iexpandwhatisitthatyouexpand?"

ThischallengeangerstheproudPlowwhichdepictsitselfasthecreationbythehandofthegreatgodEnlil,andasthefarmerofmankind,thefavoriteofthekingand nobles,whoseharvestedgrainadornsthesteppe,thesustenanceofmanandbeast.OrinthePlow'sownwords:
"I,thePlow,fashionedbyagreatarm,puttogetherbyagreat hand, IamthenoblefieldregistrarofFatherEnlil, Iamthefaithfulfarmerofmankind. Whenmyfeastiscelebratedinthefieldduringthemonthof Shunumun, Thekingslaughtersoxenforme,multipliessheepforme, Poursbeerinthestonevases. Thekingbringsthegatheredwaters, Drumsandtambourinescrash, AndI....fortheking. Thekingtakesholdofmyhandles, Harnessestheoxentotheyokes, Allthegreatnobleswalkbymyside, Allthelandsarefullofadmiration Thepeoplelookonwithjoy.

Page344 ThefurrowsIsetup,adornthesteppe, BytheearsofgrainthatIplaceinthefields, TheteemingbeastsofSumugankneel, Bymyripenedgrain,readyforharvesting, Thesickleblades,themighty,viewitheachother. After....thegrainhadbeenharvested, Itisashepherd'schurnatrest. Mystacksscatteredoverthefields, ArethesheepofDumuziatrest. Mymoundsspreadoverthesteppe, Aregreenhillsfullofallure. Stacksandmounds(ofgrain)IpileupforEnlil, Emmer,wheatIheapupforhim, Ifillthestorehouses.... Theorphan,thewidow,thedestitute, Takethereedbaskets, Gleanmyscatteredears. Mystraw(strewn)overthefields, Iletpeoplehaulaway, (While)theteemingbeastsofSumugancomeforthalongside. (Yetyou)Pickaxe,measlyholedigger,measlytoothgouger, (You)Pickaxewhoworksandwallowsinmud, Pickaxewhoputsyourheadinthefield, Pickaxeandbrickmoldwhospendyourdaysinuncleanmud, Who....isunfitfortheprincelyhand, Whoseheadadornstheslave'shand, Youdarehurlbitterinsultsatme! Youdarecompareyourselftome! Awaywithyoutothesteppe,Ihaveseen(enoughof)you, Whoinsultme(saying),'Plow,dig,digholes.'"

InanswertothePlow,thePickaxeholdsforthwithalongharanguethatbeginswithadescriptionofhisservicestomankindinsuchessentialactivitiesasirrigation, drainage,andthepreparationofthegroundforplowing.
"Plow...., IcomeaheadofyouintheplaceofEnlil, Imakeditches,Imakecanals, Ifillthemeadowswithwater. Whenthewaterfloodsthecanebrake, Mylittlebasketscarryitoff. Whentheriverisbreached,whenthecanalisbreached, Whenthewaterrushesonlikeariverinhighflood,

Page345 Andturnseverythingtomarshland, I,thePickaxe,setupdykesaroundit, NeithertheSouthwind,northeNorthwind,canbreakthem, (So)thefowlercollectstheeggs(undisturbed), Thefishermancatchesthefish, Thepeopletakeupthetraps, Myabundancefillsallthelands. Afterdrainingoffthewaterfromthemeadows Afterthewetearthisallsettobeworked, Iprecedeyou,Plow,intothefield, Clearforyou(its)floorandthesidesofthedykes, Heapupforyoutheweedsofthefield, Gathertogetherforyouthestumpsandrootsinthefield."

Thetroubleis,continuesthePickaxe,thatthePlowisaclumsybungler,andneedsconstantrepairing.Ittakessixoxenandfourmentooperateit,anditspartskeep onbreaking:
"(You)whoworkthefield,tramplingeverythingunderfoot, Youroxenaresix,yourmenarefour,youaretheeleventh. Alltheskilledworkersrunawayfromthefield, (Yet)youcompareyourselftome! Whenyou,farbehindme,gooutintothefield, Youlookwithecstaticeyeuponyouronefurrow. Whenyouputyourheaddowntowork, (And)becomeentangledinrootsandthorns, Yourtoothbreaks,yourtoothisrestored, (But)youcannotholdontoit, Yourfarmer(indisgust)callsyoubythename'ThatPlowIs Caput.' Thencarpentersarehiredforyou,peoplescurryallaboutyou, Theharnessmakersscrapearoughhide, Bringupwindingpegs, Workhardwithlevers, (Until)afoulpieceofleatherisputonyourhead."

MoreoverthePlowonlyworksasmallpartoftheyear,asthePickaxepointsout.
"You,whoseaccomplishmentsaremeager(but)whosewaysare proud, Myworkingtimeistwelvemonths, (But)thetimeyouarepresent(forwork)isfourmonths, (While)thetimeyoudisappeariseightmonths, Youareabsenttwicethetimeyouarepresent.

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Followinganeightlinepassageofratherobscuremeaning,thePickaxegoesonwithanarcissisticglorificationofitsachievements,beginningwithsomeofthetasks mentionedearlierintheharangue.
"I,thePickaxe,liveinthecity, Nooneismorehonoredthanme. Iamaservantwhofollowshismaster, Ibuildthehouseforitsowner, Ienlargethestall,widenthesheepfold, Mixtheclay,makethebricks, Laythefoundations,buildthehouses, Reinforcethebaseofthewalls, Makeairtighttheroofsofhonestmen, I,thePickaxe,makestraighttheboulevards."

ThePickaxenextdepictsitscontributionstothewelfareandearningcapacityoftheworkingclass,particularlyoftheconstructionworkers,theboatmen,andthe gardeners.
"Havingcircledthecity,builtsolidwallsaboutit, Ibroughtintobeingtherethetemplesofthegods, Adornedthemwithredclay,yellowclay,multicoloredclay. Ibuilttheroyalcity, Wheredwelltheoverseers(and)supervisors. Withmewhorestoredits(thecity's)weakenedclay,who buttresseditsfragileclay, They(theworkers)refreshthemselvesinwellbuilthouses. BytheedgeofthefirelitbythePickaxetheylollabout, (But)you(Plow)donotcometotheirparty. Theyeatanddrink,arepaidtheirwages, (Thus)Imakeitpossiblefortheworkertosupporthiswife (and)children. Iconstructtheovenfortheboatman,heatuppitchforhim, Buildforhimboat(and)bark, (Thus)Imakeitpossiblefortheboatmantosupporthiswife (and)children. Iplantthegardenfor(its)owner, Havingcircledthegarden,encloseditwithwallsafterthey(the parties)cametoanagreement, Thepeopletakeholdofme,thePickaxe. AfterIhaddugitswells,setupitspoles, (And)constructedthebucketbar,Istraightenoutthetrenches, ItisIwhofillthetrencheswithwater. Aftertheappletreeshadblossomed(and)thefruithadappeared, Itsfruitisfittoadornthetemplesofthegods,

Page347 (Thus)Imakeitpossibleforthegardenertosupporthiswife (and)children."

Finally,thePickaxeissoconcernedaboutthewellbeingoftheroadworkersandfieldhandsthatitbuildsaspecialtowerwheretheycanrefreshthemselvesandfill theirwaterskinsfromthewellitdug.
"HavingworkedattheriverbythesideofthePlow,having straightenedthereitsroads, (And)builtatoweronitsbanks, Themenwhospentthedayinthefields, Theworkerwhopassedthenightinthefields, InthetowerthatIhadraisedup, Thesefolksrevivedthemselveslikeinawellbuiltcity, Inthewaterskinstheyhadfashioned,Ipourwaterforthem, Iplace'life'inthem, (Yet)you,Plow,insultme(saying):'Dig,Dig,ditches, (When)Iinthewaterlesssteppe, Havedugupitssweetwater, Hewhoisthirstyisrevivedbythesideofmytrenches."

AfterthePickaxefinisheditssideoftheargument,thePlowwasnotgivenachancetorebut.Instead,theauthorconcludedthedisputationwiththeverdictofthegreat godEnlilwhoruledinfavorofthePickaxe.Enlil,accordingtooneSumerianmyth,hadhimselfcreatedthePickaxefortheuseofmanandproclaimedthePickaxethe victoroverthePlow. Intheanimalworld,theSumerianshadadeep,tender,affectionforthefish,thehelplesscreaturethatoftenevokedtragicimagesinthemindsofthepoets,especially thosewhocomposedlamentationliturgies.Thusinapoemthatmaywellbedesignated"TheHomeoftheFish,"theanonymousauthordepictstheconstructionofa homeforthefish,akindofwellfurnishedandabundantlyprovidedaquarium,whereallsortsoffishcouldliveinundisturbedpeace,safefrompreyingbirdsand predatorsharks.ThistextwaseditedandpublishedbyMiguelCivilintheBritisharchaeologicaljournalIraq,vol.XXIII(1961):154178,andtheanalysisand translationofthedocumentpresentedinthefollowingchapterisbasedalmostentirelyonCivil'swork.

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Chapter39 HomeoftheFish TheFirstAquarium


FishingandthefishingindustrywereamajorsourceofSumer'sfoodsupply,especiallyintheearliermillenniaofitshistory.Closetoahundreddifferenttypesoffish arementionedintheSumerianeconomicandlexicaltexts,ofwhichsomethirtyoddcannowbetentativelyidentifiedaccordingtotheFinnishOrientalist,Armas Salonen,whosevaluablebook,DieFischereiinAltenMesopotamien,waspublishedin1970(Helsinki:FinnishAcademyofScience).Intheextanttextofthe ''HomeoftheFish,"sixteenfisharenamedanddescribedinterse,pithyphraseology,andoftheseahalfdozenorsocanberoughlyidentified. Theentiretextofour"aquarium"compositionconsistsofanaddresspurportedtobeutteredbysomeindividualwhoforonereasonoranotherwasanardentloverof fish.Itbeginswithareassuringannouncementthatthespeakerhasbuiltahouseforthefish,large,spacious,andunapproachable,andprovideditwithfinefoodand drink,especiallybeerandsweetcookies.
MyFish,ahouse.... MyFishIhavebuiltahouseforyou,Ihavebuiltagranaryfor you, Inthehouseanextracourt,anextendedsheepfold,Ihavebuiltfor you, ItscenterIhavecoveredwithincense,Ihavedug(?)awellof jubilation,aplacethatrejoicestheheart, Noonecanapproachyourcloselythreaded(?)house,Ihave bedecked(?)itwithplants, Inthehousethereisfood,foodoftopquality, Inthehousethereisdrink,drinkofwellbeing,

Page349 Inyourhouse,nofliesswarm(?)abouttheliquorbar, Inyourentrance(?)nocomplainersetsaninimicalfoot Atitsthresholdandboltwhereflourissprinkled,Ihavesetup thecenser, Thehousesmellssweetlikeaforestofsweetsmellingcedar, BythehouseIhaveplacedbeer,Ihaveplacedfinequalitybeer, Ihaveplacedtherehoneybeerandsweetcookiesas....

ThespeakernowurgestheFishtoletallhisfriends,acquaintances,companions,relatives,infactanyonewhosowishes,comeintohishouse.
Letyouracquaintancescome, Letyourdearonescome, Letyourfatherandgrandfathercome, Letyoursonoftheelderbrotherandsonofyouryounger brothercome, Letyourlittleonesandyourbigonescome, Letyourwifeandyourchildrencome, Letyourfriendsandyourcompanionscome, Letyourbrotherinlawandyourfatherinlawcome, Letyourcrowd(whoeversays)I,too,wouldenter,come, Letnoneofyourneighborsbeleftout.

ButitishisFish,his"belovedson,"thatthespeakerisprimarilyconcernedwith,andsoheaddresseshimsaying,
"Entermybelovedson, Entermygoodlyson, Dayispassing,nightiscoming, Enterbythelightofthemoon. Whenthedaywillhavepassed,thenightwillhavecome, Havingentered,youwillbeatrestthere,Ihavefittedoutaplace foryouthere, InitsmidstIhavearrangeda'seat'foryou, MyFish,whenlyingnoonewilldisturbyou, Whensitting,noonewillstartaquarrelwithyou. Entermybelovedson, Entermygoodlyson. Like(in?)abrackishcanalyouwillnot'know'agitation(?), Like(in?)riversiltyouwillnot'know'disturbance, Like(in?)flowingwaterdonotspread,donot(yet)spreadyour bed, Althoughthemoonlighthasentered,donot(yet)spreadyour bed,

Page350 IwouldcomewithyouthatImightgazeinwonder, Likea..IwouldcomewithyouthatImightgazeinwonder, LikeadogIwouldcomewithyoutoyoursniffingplacethatI mightgazeinwonder, Likea..Iwouldcometowhereyou'stand,'thatImightgaze inwonder. Lo!Likeanoxtoyourstall,likeasheeptoyourfold! Whenyouenterlikeanoxtoyourstall, MyFish,Ashimbabbar(thegodoftheNewMoon)willrejoice withyou. Whenyouenterlikeasheeptoyourfold, MyFish,Dumuziwillrejoicewithyou."

Followingalacunaofaboutfifteenlineswefindthespeakersaying,"MyFish,mayallkindsoffishenterwithyou,"astatementthatintroducesanitemizedlistingof somesixteendifferentfish,eachdescribedwithabrief,pithy,riddlelikecommentthosethatcanbeidentifiedwithsomedegreeofcertaintyarethebarbel,largeand small,thecarp,thesturgeon,thecatfish,andtheeel.ThespeakernowmakesanurgentpleatotheFishtocomequicklytohisnewlybuilthome,forthedayhas passedanddangerislurkingallabouthimfromthefisheatingbirdsandthesharks,concludingwiththesewords:


MyFish,thedayhaspassed,cometome, Theday(?)haspassed,cometome, Thequeenofthefishermen,thegoddessNanshe,willrejoice withyou.

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CorrigendaandAddendatotheSecondEdition
Chapter1.Thestatementthat"Notasinglewomanislistedasascribeinthedocuments,"(seep.3),isnotquitecorrectthereareseveralrarecaseswherea femalescribeismentioned.MoreoverthedaughterofSargontheGreatwholivedabout2300B.C.,Enheduannabyname,seemstohavebeenaliteraryfigureof note,cf.nowW.W.HalloandJ.J.A.vanDijk,TheExaltationofInanna(NewHaven:YaleUniversityPress,1968).Nevertheless,tojudgefromtheavailable schoolessays,womenplayednoroleintheschoolsofSumerandAkkad,andthosewomenwhowereliteratemusthavehadprivatetutoringofsomesort.Onpage 6,thestatement"Hemusthavehadsomevacationintheschoolyear,butonthiswehavenoinformation,"cannowbemodified.Accordingtoatabletexcavatedat UrandpublishedbyC.J.GaddandS.N.KramerinUrExcavationTextsVI(London,1963),thestudenthadsixfreedayseachmonth(seeChapter28,page 267). Chapter2.In1952Icopiedseveraladditionalpiecesthatbelongtothedocumenttreatedinthischapter,andthesehavenowbeenpublishedinmySumerian LiteraryTabletsandFragmentsintheArchaeologicalMuseumofIstanbul,II(Ankara,1976)thesefillinsomeofthegapsinthetext,butdonotsignificantly changethetranslationortheanalysisofthischapter. Chapter3.AdefinitiveeditionofthisdocumenthasnowbeenpublishedbymysuccessorintheUniversityMuseum,AkeSjberg(cf.JournalofCuneiform Studies,vol.XXV(1973):105169). Chapter4.Aboutadozenpiecesbelongingto"EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta"havebeenidentifiedsincethefirstpublicationofHistoryBeginsatSumer,and thesehavemadepossibleaconsiderableimprovementintherestorationofthetextofthecomposition.

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Theresultingstudyappearedin1973asadissertationpreparedbySolCohen,thenagraduatestudentintheDepartmentofOrientalStudiesoftheUniversityof Pennsylvania.Byandlarge,theplotstructureandtranslationpresentedinthischapterarestillvalid,butCohen'sdissertationcorrectsandamendstheminanumberof details. Chapter5.Atranslationoftheentirepoem"GilgameshandAggaofKish"isnowavailableinmyTheSumerians:TheirHistory,Culture,andCharacter(Chicago: TheUniversityofChicagoPress,1963),pages186190seealsomy"SumerianEpicLiterature"intheProceedingsoftheAcademiaNazionaledeiLincei(1970), pages825837. Chapters6and7.Nochanges. Chapter8.OliverGurneyofOxfordandIpublishedtwoadditionalpiecesfromtheexcavationsatUrthatweidentifiedasbelongingtotheUrNammuLawCode see"TwoFragmentsofSumerianLaws"inAssyriologicalStudies,vol.16(Chicago,1965),pages1319.In1969,J.J.Finkelstein,anacknowledgedauthorityon cuneiformlaw,publishedarevisedandimprovedtranslationoftheextanttextoftheUrNammuLawCodeintheSupplementtoAncientNearEasternTexts RelatingtotheOldTestament,JamesPritchard,Editor(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress,1969). Chapter9.In1959,ThorkildJacobsenpublishedadetailedstudyofthehomicidedocumenttreatedinthischapterinAnalectaBiblicaetOrientalia,vol.12(Rome: PontificioInstitutoBiblico,1959),pages130150,whichthereaderinterestedinlawwillfindusefulandilluminating.Byandlargehistranslationandinterpretation agreewiththosepresentedinthischapter,exceptfortheenditishisconclusionthatthewifewasalsopunishedbydeath,sinceaccordingtohisinterpretationthe Nippurassemblyfoundherevenmoreguiltythantheactualmurdererstowhomshehadgiventheinformationleadingtoherhusband'sdeath.Butthisinterpretationis basedonanumberofrestorationsofthetext,andisnotoverlyconvincing. Chapter10.Amuchimprovedtranslationofthismedicaltext,repletewithlinguisticdifficultiesbecauseofitstechnicalphraseologywillbefoundinTheSumerians, pages9398itisbasedonapenetratingstudybyMiguelCivil,publishedin1960,intheRevued'AssyriologieLIV,5972.

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Chapter11.Aconsiderablyfullerparaphraseofthe''Farmer'sAlmanac"willnowbefoundinTheSumerians,pages105109amoredetailedtreatmentwillnow befoundinAgriculturaMesopotamica,publishedbytheeminentFinnishcuneiformistArmasSaloneninAnnalesAcademiaeScientiarumFennicae,vol.149 (Helsinki,1968),pages202212.Adefinitiveeditionofthedocumentisstilllacking. Chapter12.SincethepublicationofthischapterIhaveidentified,studied,andpublishedsixadditionalpiecesinscribedwithpartsof"InannaandShukalletuda"(note thatShukalletudaispreferableto"Shukallituda"asthereadingofthename)andtheseaddconsiderablytothefirstandlastpartsofthemythwhichweremissingin theIstanbultextdescribedinthechapter.ItisnowclearthatthepoembeginswithascenedepictingInannaabandoningheavenandearthanddescendingtothe NetherWorld,althoughhowthisrelatestotherestofthepoemisaltogetherobscure,sincethetextisveryfragmentaryatthispoint.Therefollowsafolkloristic accountoftheplantingofagardenbyaravenatthecommandofhismaster,anditisonlythenthatShukalletudaisintroducedintheplot.Moreover,thoughthevery endofthepoemisstillmissing,wenowknowthefateofShukalletuda.FollowingInanna'sjourneytoEriduandherpleatoEnki(seepage72),thelatterturnsover Shukalletuda,whoseemstohavetakenrefugeintheAbzuofEridu,toInanna,andsheputshimtodeath,butconsoleshimwiththepromisethathisnamewillnotbe forgotten,foritwillbeutteredinsweetsongbytheminstrelintheroyalpalace,andbytheshepherdinthebyreasheswingshischurn.Adefinitiveeditionofthepoem isnowintheprocessofpreparationbySolCohen,myformerstudent,nowprofessorofAssyriologyatDropsieUniversity. Chapter13.Thecontentsofthischapterremainvalidvirtuallyintheirentiretyforadditionaldetails,seemySumerianMythology,Thirdedition(TheUniversityof PennsylvaniaPress,1972),pagesviixviii.Note,too,thefollowingimportantbibliographicaldetails:Thepoem"Gilgamesh,EnkiduandtheNetherWorld"(pages82 83)waseditedin1969bymyformerstudent,AaronShaffer,nowanAssociateProfessorofAssyriologyintheHebrewUniversity,asadissertationinthe DepartmentofOrientalStudiesoftheUniversityofPennsylvaniaatranslationofthepoemwillbefound

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inTheSumerians,pages197205.Themyth"EnlilandNinlil"(pages8588)hasnowbeeneditedbyHermannBehrensandpublishedasNo.8ofStudiaPohl: SeriesMajor(Rome:BiblicalInstitutePress,1978)thismythhasastillunpublishedvariantversionaccordingtoMiguelCivil,JournalofNearEasternStudies, vol.25:200205).TheEnlilhymntreatedonpages9194hasbeeneditedin1969byD.R.ReismanaspartofhisdissertationfortheDepartmentofOriental StudiesintheUniversityofPennsylvaniaatranslationofthedocumentwillnowbefoundinthethirdeditionoftheAncientNearEasternTextsRelatedtotheOld Testament,pages573576.Atranslationofthegreaterpartof"EnkiandtheWorldOrder,"cannowbefoundinTheSumerians(pages171183)aneditionof thetextwaspreparedin1970byCarlosBenitoaspartofadissertationfortheDepartmentofOrientalStudiesintheUniversityofPennsylvania.The "anthropological''mythcataloguingthelistofmetreatedonpages99103,hasbeeneditedbyGertrudFarberFlggeandpublishedasNo.10ofStudiaPohl (Rome:BiblicalInstitutePress,1973).NotealsothatthemostrecentsummationoftheSumeriancosmogenicandcosmologicalviewswillbefoundinChapter2of myFromthePoetryofSumer(Berkeley:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,1979). Chapter14.The"EnkiNinmah"creationmythtreatedonpages108110hasnowbeeneditedwiththehelpofseveralnewduplicatingfragmentsbyCarlosBenitoin thedissertationnotedaboveunfortunatelyagooddealofthemyth,especiallyitsdenouement,remainsobscure.Thereweremythologicalversionsofthecreationof manotherthanthatdepictedinthe"EnkiNinmah"myth.ThustojudgefromtheFloodpoem(seeespeciallypage151),allfourgreatgodsofSumerAn,Enlil,Enki, Ninhursagseemtohaveparticipatedinthecreationofman.AlsotobenotedisThorkildJacobsen'sinference(seehisTowardtheImageofTammuz[Cambridge, Mass.:HarvardUniversityPress,1970],pages111114)thattherewasaversionofthecreationofmanaccordingtowhichtheearthproducedmankindinprimeval days,sothatthefirstmengrewupfromtheearthlikeplants,anditwasEnlilwhobrokethroughthehardearthwithhisespeciallycreatedpickaxeinorderthatthefirst beingswhodevelopedbelowcould"sproutforth.''Hisevidenceisbasedonthefirsttwentyfourlinesofthepoem

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whichdescribethefashioninganddedicationofthepickaxe(seepage83forthefirstfivelines),apassagethatisfullofambiguitiesandobscuritiesthathavestillnot beensatisfactorilyclearedup. Chapter15.Forasomewhatfullertranslationofthe"Job"poem,seenowTheSumerians,pages125129adefinitiveeditionofthedocumentisnowinthe processofpreparationbymyformerstudentJacobKlein,nowanAssociateProfessorofAssyriologyatIsrael'sBarIllanUniversity. Chapter16.Thebeginningofthelastproverbonpage123,"Arestlesswoman"shouldbecorrectedto"Athriftlesswoman." Chapter17.Nochanges. Chapter18.Foradetailedsketchofthecontentsofoneofthesevendisputationsmentionedonpage137,seenowChapter38."TheWooingofInanna"poem treatedonpages140142,isthefullerversionofthesecondofthetworelatedcompositionswhosecontentsweresketchedinChapter33,page308,inconnection withtheSacredMarriageRite. Chapter19.ForanewfragmentaryduplicateoftheDilmunmyth"EnkiandNinhursag,"seetheIntroductiontoGaddandKramer,UrExcavationsTextsVI (1963):subNo.1(London:TheBritishMuseumandPhiladelphia:TheUniversityMuseum). Chapter20.AlthoughitisstilltruethatnoduplicatesoftheFloodtablettreatedinthischapterhavebeenuncoveredtodate,thereareseveralnewtextsavailablethat speakoftheFloodanditsdestructiveaftermathintheirintroductorylines,sothatitseemsnotunjustifiedtosurmisethatthepoetsofSumerknewofanactual catastrophicdelugethathaddoneimmensedamagetothelandanditspeopleseenow"MyReflectionsontheMesopotamianFlood"inExpedition,vol.9 (Philadelphia:UniversityMuseum,1967). Chapter21.Thetextofthemyth"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld"isnowavailablealmostinitsentiretyonlysometwentylinestowardtheendofthe compositionarestillfragmentaryseenowmy"SumerianLiteratureandtheBritishMuseum"inProceedingsoftheAmericanPhilosophicalSociety,vol.124 (1980):299310.Theendofthemythassketchedonpage322isbasedonthismostrecentstudy.Forthetranslationofthemythasawhole,seeTheSacred MarriageRite(BloomingtonandLondon:IndianaUniversityPress,1969),pages108121,butnote

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thattheendofthemythassketchedonpages119121isnolongervalid. Chapter22.Theendof"GilgameshandtheLandoftheLiving"whichwasmissingatthetimethischapterwaspublishedisnowavailableforanewtranslationofthe compositionseenowTheSumerians,pages190197(cf.alsonote16of"SumerianEpicLiterature,"thepapercitedinthecommenttoChapter5).Adefinitive editionofthemyth"TheDeedsandExploitsoftheGodNinurta"isduetobepublishedbytheeminentDutchcuneiformistJ.J.A.VanDijk. Chapter23.Thestatementonpage195thatthetextof"Gilgamesh,EnkiduandtheNetherWorld"isstillunpublishedisnolongertrue,cf.thecommenttoChapter 13. Chapter24.Forabriefrevisedsketchof"EnmerkarandEnsukushsiranna(notethatthesecondofthetwonamescanalsobereadEnsuhkeshdanna),theepictreated onpages204207,seepage825of"SumerianEpicLiterature"(Rome:AccademiaNazionaledeiLincei,1970)(citedinthecommenttoChapter5).Adefinitive editionofthetexthasjustbeenpublishedbymyformerstudent,AdeleBerlin,inOccasionalPublicationsoftheBabylonianFund,vol.2(Philadelphia:University Museum,1979).Theepictale"LugalbandaandMt.Hurum"shouldhavebeenentitled"Lugalbanda,theWanderingHero"(see''SumerianEpicLiterature,"page829 thereisnoMt.Huruminthetale). Chapter25.Forthetwolovesongstreatedinthischapterseealsopages317318.Notethatthestatement"TheonlyotherSumerianlovesong"whichimpliesthat therewereonlytwoavailablelovesongsisincorrectforalistofallthosenowavailable,seemy"TheDumuziInannaSacredMarriageRite"intheActesdelaXVIIe rencontreassyriologiqueinternationale(1969),pages135141. Chapter26.Sincethepublicationofthischapterquiteanumberofnewliterarycatalogueshavebeenidentifiedandpublishedforbibliographicaldetailsseenote3of my"ThreeOldBabylonianbalagCataloguesfromtheBritishMuseum,"toappearintheforthcomingDiakonoffFestschrift. Chapter27.AtabletinOxford'sAshmoleanMuseum,copiedbyOliverGurney,hasnowprovideduswithacompletetextofthe

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"GoldenAge"passagecitedonpages222223.Seemy"TheBabelofTongues:ASumerianVersion"intheJournaloftheAmericanOrientalSociety,vol.88 (1968):108111.Itreadsasfollows:
Onceuponatime,therewasnosnake,therewasnoscorpion, Therewasnohyena,therewasnolion, Therewasnowilddog,nowolf, Therewasnofear,noterror, Manhadnorival. Inthosedays,thelandofShuburHamazi, Sumerofclashingtongues,thegreatlandofthemeof princeship, Uri,thelandhavingallthatisappropriate, ThelandMartu,restinginsecurity, Thewholeuniverse,thepeoplewellcaredfor, ToEnlilinonetonguegavespeech. (But)then,thelorddefiant,theprincedefiant,thekingdefiant, Enki,thelorddefiant,theprincedefiant,thekingdefiant, Thelorddefiant,theprincedefiant,thekingdefiant, Enki,thelordofabundance,whosecommandsare trustworthy, Thelordofwisdomwhoscanstheland, Theleaderofthegods, ThelordofEridu,endowedwithwisdom, Changedthespeechintheirmouths,putcontentionintoit, Intothespeechofmanthathadbeenone.

Epilogue.Atranslationofthecompletetextofthe"CurseofAgade:TheEkurAvenged,"canbefoundinAncientNearEasternTextsRelatingtotheOld Testament,Thirded.,pages646651.

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Glossary
A Abisimti:MotherofShuSin,kingofUr. Abu:OneofthedeitiesfashionedbyNinhursagtohealoneofEnki'ssickorgans. Abzu:Sea,abysshomeofthewatergodEnki. Adab:AnimportantcityofSumer,midwaybetweenLagashandNippur. Agade:AcityinnorthernSumerfoundedbySargontheGreat,whomadeithiscapital.Forashorttimeitwastherichestandmostpowerfulcityintheancientworld. AccordingtoSumeriantradition,itwasdestroyedandlaidwasteduringthereignofNaramSin,Sargon'sgrandson,andremainedacityforevercursed.Followingthe reignofSargonandhisdynasty,thelandknownasSumerwascalled"SumerandAkkad"AkkadbeingavariantpronunciationofAgade. Agga:ArulerofthefirstdynastyofKish,onethemainprotagonistsintheepic"GilgameshandAgga." Akkad:SeeAgade. Akkadians:TheSemiticinhabitantsofMesopotamia.ThewordisderivedfromtheplacenameAkkad(sowrittenintheBookofGenesis).Akkadianisthenameof theSemiticlanguageusedbythepeople,thetwomaindialectsofwhichareAssyrianandBabylonian. ala:Amusicalinstrument,probablythetambourine. algar:Amusicalinstrument,probablyatypeoflyre. allari:Atypeoflovesong. Amaushumgalanna:AbynameofDumuziliterallyitseemstomean"MotherDragonofHeaven."AttimesthenameiswrittenasUshumgalanna. An:TheSumerianheavengodthewordmeans"heaven."InAkkadianthenameisAnu. Anshan:AnElamitecitystateinsouthwesternIran. Antasurra:AdistrictnorthofLagash. Anu:SeeAn.

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Anunna(alsoAnunnaki):Ageneralnameforagroupofgodswhowereprobablyoriginally"heavengods"someofthem,however,musthavefallenfromgraceand werecarriedofftotheNetherWorld. Anzu:AnzuisnowknowntobetherealpronunciationofthenameofthemythologicalbirdknownintheearlierliteratureastheImdugudbird. Arali:OneofthenamesoftheNetherWorld. Aratta:AnasyetunidentifiedcityinIran,notedforitswealthofmetalandstoneitmayhavebeenconqueredandsubjugatedbyErechearlyinthethirdmillennium B.C. Asag:AviciousdemonwhomthegodNinurtaslewinthekur.Seekur. Ashnan:Graingoddess,sisterofLahar.SeeLahar. Ashurbanipal:ThelastgreatkingofAssyriawhoreignedduringtheseventhcenturyB.C.HislibraryatNinevehwasuncoveredinthemiddleofthenineteenthcentury andmostofitstabletcollectionisnowintheBritishMuseum. Azimua(alsoNinazimua):AdeityfashionedbyNinhursagtohealEnki'sailingarm. B Babylon:AcityinnorthernSumerwhichbecamethecapitalofthelandearlyinthesecondmillenniumB.C.hencethenameBabyloniaforthelandfirstknownas SumerandlaterasSumerandAkkad. Badtibira:AcityinsouthernSumer,thelegendaryseatofoneofSumer'santediluviandynasties.ItstutelarydeitywasDumuziwhosetemplewasknownasEmushand Emushkalamma. balbale:AtypeofSumeriansongsometimescharacterizedbyadialoguebetweendeities. ban:Ameasureofcapacity,aboutagallonandafifth. Bilalama:ArulerofEshnunnawhomaybethepromulgatoroftheLawCodeexcavatedatHarmalnearBaghdadEshnunaisacitystateinnorthernSumerthat flourishedinthefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C. Blackheads(orBlackheadedpeople):AnepithetoftheSumeriansitsoriginisobscure. D Dilmun:Astillunidentifiedland,conceivedbytheSumeriansasakindofParadise. Dimgalabzu:AtemplenearthesouthernboundaryofLagash. dubbanreeds:Hedgesizedreeds. Duku:Creationchamberofthegods. Dumuzi(BiblicalTammuz):TheshepherdkingofErechwhocametobeknownasthefirstrulertowedthegoddessInannainaSacredMarriageceremony.

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DynastyofAkkad:DynastyfoundedbySargontheGreat. E Eanna:Inanna'stempleinErechitsliteralmeaningis"HouseofAn." Eannatum:ArulerofLagashwhoforabriefperiodreignedoverallSumer. edubba:"TabletHouse,"thedesignationoftheSumerianschooloracademy. Ekishnugal:ThetempleofthemoongodNannaSinatUr. Ekur:Enlil'stempleinNippur,Sumer'sholiestshrineitsliteralmeaningis"MountainHouse." Elam:ThelandtotheeastofSumerandofteninconflictwithit. Emesh:"Summer,"oneoftheprotagonistsinthe"DisputationBetweenSummerandWinter." Emush(alsoEmushkalamma):Dumuzi'stempleinBadtibira.SeeBadtibira. en:"Highpriest"or"highpriestess."Theenwasthespiritualheadofthetemplehisresidencewasthegipar,theshrinewheretheSacredMarriageRitemayhave takenplace. Enakalli:AnensiofUmmawhomadeatreatywithEannatumofLagash.Seeensi. Enannatum:ThebrotherofEannatum. Enheduanna:ThedaughterofSargontheGreatwhomheappointedtobehighpriestessofUrandwhomayhavecomposedanumberofliteraryworks. Eninnu:Ningirsu'stempleinLagash,rebuiltandrestoredbyGudea Enki:Thegodofwisdomandoftheseaandrivers,hismainseatofworshipwasthe"SeaHouse"inEridu. Enkidu:ThefaithfulservantandcompanionoftheheroGilgamesh. Enkimdu:The"farmer,"rivalofthe"shepherd"DumuziforthehandofInanna. Enlil:TheleadingdeityoftheSumerianpantheontheliteralmeaningofthenameis"LordAir"hismainseatofworshipwasNippurwithitstempletheEkur. Enmebaraggesi:OneofthelastrulersofthefirstdynastyofKishandthefatherofAgga. Enmerkar:OneoftheheroicrulersofthefirstdynastyofKish,celebratedforhisconquestofAratta. ensi:TheSumeriantitlefortherulerofacity,who,attimes,wasaspowerfulastheking.InAkkadianthiswordbecameishakku. Enshag:ThetutelarydeityofDilmun. Ensuhkeshdanna(orEnsukushsiranna):ALordofArattawhochallengedEnmerkarforfirstplaceinInanna'saffections,andlost. Entemena:SonofEnannatumandnephewofEannatum. Enten:"Winter,"oneoftheprotagonistsinthe"DisputationBetweenSummerandWinter."

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Erech(orUruk):OneofSumer'sleadingcitiesthecapitalofSumerduringitsHeroicAge. Ereshkigal:"QueenoftheGreatBelow"thegoddessinchargeoftheNetherWorld. Eridu:ThecityinsouthernSumerwhosetutelarydeitywasEnki. eshesh:Areligiousfeastaboutwhichlittleisknownatpresent. G gakkul:Aspecialkindoflettuce. galla:ThecruellittledemonsoftheNetherWorld. gamgam:Abirdasyetunidentified. Ganaugigga:SceneofabattlebetweenEnannatumandUrLumma. ganun:ThesleepingchamberofthesungodUtu. Ganzir:AbynameoftheNetherWorld. Geshtinanna:Dumuzi'sselfsacrificingsister. giguna:AgrovelikeshrinefoundinSumer'smoreimportanttemples.ItisalsothenameofInanna'stempleatZabalam. Gilgamesh:ArulerofthefirstdynastyofErechwhocametobecelebratedasSumer'soutstandingheroicfigure. gipar:Thepartofthetempleinwhichtheenhadhisorherresidence. gir:Perhaps"courier"hisdeathwasmournedbyanunnamed"maid." Girsu:OneofthequartersofthecitystateofLagash. gishbangishbansikin:Typesofgarments. Gudea:ThedevoutensiofLagashwhorebuilttheEninnu.Seeensi. Guedinna:ThenorthernmostterritorybelongingtoLagashwhichtheUmmaitestriedtomaketheirown. gug:Anunidentifiedanimal. Gugalanna:"GreatBullofHeaven,"thehusbandofEreshkigal. gur:Ameasureofcapacityequaling144sila.Seesila. Guti(orGutians):AbarbarousmountainpeopletotheeastthatoverwhelmedSumertowardtheendofthesecondmillenniumB.C. H Haiia:HusbandofhegoddessNidaba. Hamazi:SeeShuburHamazi. Hammurabi:TherulerofBabylon,famousforhisLawCode. Harmal:ArelativelysmallsiteeastofBaghdadwhichyieldedmanytablets,includingtheEshnunnaLawCode. hashur:Atypeofcedartree. Hendursag:ThevizierofthegoddessNanshe.SeeNanshe. huluppu:Anasyetunidentifiedtree. Hursag:"Highland,"themountainousregiontotheeastofSumer,sonamedbythegodNinurta. Huwawa:ThemonsterwhoguardedthecedarsoftheLandoftheLivinghewasslainbyGilgameshandEnkidu. I IbbiSin:ThelastruleroftheThirdDynastyofUr,whowascarriedoffintocaptivitybytheElamites. Idal:Amisreadnametobeeliminated.

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IddinDagan:ThethirdruleroftheDynastyofIsin,whichfollowedtheThirdDynastyofUroneofthedocumentsfromhisreignisquitesignificantfortheSacred MarriageRite. Idnun:AcanalinsouthernSumer. Il:AnensiofUmma. ildag:Anasyetunidentifiedtree. Imdugud:SeeAnzu. Inanna:Thegoddessoflove,fertility,andprocreationwhowasthetutelarydeityofErechandtheprincipalprotagonistoftheSacredMarriageRiteliterallyhername means"QueenofHeaven."HerSemiticnamewasIshtar. irina:Anasyetunidentifiedtree. ishakku:Seeensi. ishib:Apurificationpriest. Ishkur:Thedeityinchargeofrain. IshmeDagan:SonofIddinDagan,whowasthesaviorofNippur. Ishtar:SeeInanna. Isimud:Enki'svizier. Isin:ThecitythatbecamethecapitalofSumerafterthefalloftheThirdDynastyofUr. itirda:Akindofmilk. K Kabta:Aminordeityinchargeofthebrickmold. kalatur(orkalaturru):AsexlessdevoteeofthegoddessInannaamythologicalbeingcreatedbyEnkitohelpreviveInannaintheNetherWorld. Karu:Ameasureofcapacityequaling3600sila.Seesila. Kesh:AtwincityofAdab. Ki:MotherEarth. Kish:Sumer'sfirstcapitalaftertheFlood. kisim:Akindofmilk. kiur:PartofatempleandparticularlyoftheEkurinNippur. Kubatum:AlukurofShuSinanecklacepresentedherbythekingexcavatedinErech. KuliEnlil:"FriendofEnlil,"anepithetofDumuzi. Kullab:TwincityofErech. kur:Principalmeaning"mountain"thewordalsodesignatesthecosmicrealmbelowtheearthaswellastheNetherWorld. kurgarra(orkurgarru):AsexlessdevoteeofthegoddessInanna,companiontothekalatur.Seekalatur. kusu:AnepithetofthegoddessAshnan,whosemeaningisuncertain. L Lagash:AcityinsouthernSumer,thefirstSumeriancitytobeexcavatedtoasignificantextent. lahama:Atypeofseamonster. Lahar:Cattlegoddess,thesisterofAshnan. Larak:OneofSumer'santediluviancapitalsperhapsnearIsin.

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Larsa:TheprincipalseatofworshipofthesungodUtuacapitalofSumerintheearlysecondmillenniumB.C. Latarak:SeeLulal. lilis:Akettledrum. Lilith:Afemaledemon. LipitIshtar:AruleroftheIsinDynastywhoseLawCodehasbeenrecoveredinlargepart. Lisin:ASumerianmaterdolorosa. Ludingirra:Presumedauthorofthe"IdealMother"poem,andoftwoelegies. Lugalbanda:OneoftheheroickingsoftheFirstDynastyofErech,whowaslaterdeified. Lugalzaggesi:AkingofUmmawhodefeatedUrukaginaofLagashandwaslatervanquishedbySargontheGreat. lukur:ApriestessanddevoteeofInannawhomayhaverepresentedthegoddessintheSacredMarriageRite. Lulal:AgodofBadtibira,thesonofInanna(thenamewasmisreadasLatarak). lumah:Animportantpriestwhosefunctionsarestillunknown. M Magan:AcountrywhoselocationisstilluncertainperhapsEgypt. magur:Atypeofboat. magilum:Awordofunknownmeaning. mah:Apriestwhosefunctionsareunknown. Marduk:TheleadingdeityoftheBabylonianpantheon. Marhashi:AcitystateinwesternIran. mashgur:Anasyetunidentifiedtree. Mashgula:OneofNidaba'sshepherds. mashmash:Anexorcist. me:Thedivinerulesandregulationsthatkeeptheuniverseoperatingasplanned. melam:Divineaweinspiringradiance. Meluhha:AcountrywhoselocationisstillunknownperhapsEthiopia. mes:Anasyetunidentifiedtree. Mesilim:ArulerofKishwhoarbitratedadisputebetweenLagashandUmma. Meslamtaea:AnothernameforNergal.SeeNergal. mikku:AnunidentifiedobjectthatfellintotheNetherWorldtothedismayofGilgamesh. mina:Ameasureofweight,roughlyequaltoapound. Mushdamma:Aminordeityinchargeofbuildingandconstruction. mushhush:Amythologicalserpentordragon. N Namhani:ArulerofLagashdefeatedbyUrNammu. Namennaduma:ThevizierofEnmerkar. Nammu:ThegoddessinchargeoftheprimevalseathemotherofEnki.

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Namtar:''Fate"or"Death"aNetherWorlddemon. Nanibgal:AnepithetofNidabaofuncertainmeaning. Nanna:TheSumeriannameofthemoongodwhoseSemiticnameisSinhewastutelarydeityofUrandthefatherofInanna.Nannawasalsothenameof Ludingirra'sfather.SeeLudingirra. NaramSin:GrandsonofSargontheGreat,thedefileroftheEkur. Nanshe(orNazi):AgoddessofLagashinchargeofmoralconduct. Nawirtum:Ludingirra'swife. Nergal:KingoftheNetherWorld. Neti:ChiefgatekeeperoftheNetherWorld. Nidaba:Thegoddessinchargeofwritingandliterature. Ninazimua:SeeAzimua. Ninazu:ANetherWorlddeity. Nineagal:"QueenofthePalace,"anepithetoftenappliedtoInanna. Ningal:ThespouseofthemoongodNannaandthemotherofInanna. Ningirsu:ThesonofEnlilandtutelarydeityofLagash. Ninhursag:"QueenoftheHighland"theSumerianmothergoddessalsoknownasNintu,"TheBirthgivingQueen,"andNinmah,"TheNobleQueen." Ninisinna:ThetutelarydeityofIsin,oneofSumer's"weepinggoddesses." Ninkasi:Sumeriangoddessofstrongdrink,fashionedbyNinhursagtohealEnki'sailingmouth. Ninkilim:Deityinchargeoffieldmiceandvermin. Ninkurra:DilmundeityengenderedbyEnki. Ninlil:FaithfulspouseofEnlil.SeeNunbirdu. Ninmah:SeeNinhursag. Ninmu:DilmundeityengenderedbyEnki. Ninmug:DilmundeityengenderedbyEnki. Ninshubur:Inanna'sfaithfulvizier. Ninsun:ThespouseofthedeifiedLugalbanda,anddivinemotheroftherulersoftheThirdDynastyofUr. Ninti:"LadyoftheRib,"or"LadyWhoMakesLive"thegoddessfashionedbyNinhursagtohealEnki'sailingrib. Nintu:SeeNinhursag. Nintulla:ThegoddessfashionedbyNinhursagtohealEnki'sailingjaw. Ninurta:AsonofEnlilinchargeoftheSouthWindastormandwarriorgodalsoknownasthe"FarmerofEnlil." Nippur:Sumer'sholiestcity,seatofitsleadingdeity,Enlil.NippurwasthehomeofoneofthegreatacademiesofSumer,andmostoftheliterarytabletsexcavatedto datecomefromitsscribalquarter. Nudimmud:AbynameofEnki.

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numun(orshumun):Rushescarriedbytheweepingmothersearchingforherlostson. Nunnamnir:AbynameofEnlil. Nunbarshegunu:MotherofNinlilandmotherinlawofEnlil. Nunbirdu:AcanalboundingNippuronthenorthwest:sceneoftherapeofNinlil. nunuzstones:Probablyeggshapedstones. Nusku:Enlil'sfaithfulvizier. P pala:AqueenlygarmentwornbyInanna. pukku:AnunidentifiedobjectwhichlikethemikkufellintotheNetherWorld. R RimSin:ArulerofLarsawhoputanendtotheDynastyofIsin. S Sagburru:Theoldcronewhooutwittedthemashmash.Seemashmash. sagursag:AdevoteeofInanna,probablyacastrate. sanga:Ahightempleadministrator. Sargon:OneofthegreatrulersoftheancientworldfounderofthecityofAgadeandoftheDynastyofAkkad. Sataran:Adeitywhoarbitratedcomplaints. shabra:Ahightempleofficial. shagan:Atypeofvessel. shakkir:Anasyetunidentifiedplant. Shara:SonofInannatutelarydeityofUmma. sham:Anunidentifiedstone. Sharur:Ninurta'spersonifiedweapon. ShatIstar:Ludingirra'sidealizedmother. shatammu:Anofficialintheensi'sentourage. shekel:Asixtiethofamina.Seemina. shesh:Anunidentifiedtypeofgrain. sheshgal:"BigBrother"assistanttotheteacherintheedubba. shuba:AsemipreciousstoneperhapsalsonameofhighlandregioninIran. ShuburHamazi:LandstothenorthandnortheastofSumer. shugurra:AturbanlikecrownwornbyInanna. Shukalletuda:ThegardenerwhorapedInanna. shukurreeds:Smallreedsthesizeofalancehead. Shulgi:Oneofthegreatkingsoftheancientworldapatronofliteratureandmusic. Shulutul:ThepersonalgodoftherulersofLagash. shumun:Seenumun. shunumun:NameofamonthcorrespondingroughlytoAprilMay. Shuruppak:AcityinsouthcentralSumerhomeoftheSumerian"Noah." shushima:Atypeofreed. shushua:Atypeofreedcarriedbytheweepingmothersearchingforherson.

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ShuSin:SonofShulgimainprotagonistinanumberoflovesongs. sila:Ameasureofcapacityaboutonefifthofagallon. Sin:TheSemiticnameofthemoongodNanna. Sippar:AcityinnorthernSumertheseatofoneofSumer'santediluviancities. Subarians:ThepeoplethatinhabitedthelandShubur. Supeople:Anunidentifiedpeoplewho,togetherwiththeElamites,putanendtotheThirdDynastyofUr. Sumugan:Agodinchargeofthesteppeanditsanimals. T Tammuz:SeeDumuzi. ThirdDynastyofUr:Thedynastyofapproximately20501950B.C.,whichinspiredaSumerianrenaissance. Tidnum:ASemiticlandwestofSumer. tigi:Sweetsongsprobablyaccompaniedbyalyre. U ub:Asmalldrum. Ugarit:AcitystateneartheMediterraneancoastwheretabletswritteninalphabeticcuneiformwereexcavatedbyaFrenchexpedition. Umma:AcitystateneighboringLagashandalmostconstantlyatwarwithit. ummia:Sage,savantheadofaSumerianedubba. Unun:AcanalinthevicinityofErech. Ur:OneofthemostimportantcitiesofSumerandthreetimesitscapital. Uredinna:OneofNidaba'sshepherds. UrLumma:AnensiofUmma. UrNammu:FounderoftheThirdDynastyofUr. UrNanshe:FounderofanambitiousLagashdynasty. UrNinurta:ThefifthruleroftheIsindynasty. Urukagina:ArulerofLagashthefirstsocialreformerinrecordedhistory. ururu:Atypeofchant. Usaw:Godofdusk/twilight. Ush:AnishakkuofUmmawhoviolatedatreatybetweenLagashandUmma. Ushumgalanna:SeeAmaushumgalanna. Utanapishtim:TheSemiticnameofZiusudra,theSumerianFloodhero. Uttu:Goddessofweaving. Utu:ThesungodwhohadtemplesinLarsaandSippar. Z Zabalam:AcityimmediatelynorthofUmma,whereInannahadatemple. Zabu:AstillunidentifiedlocalityinwesternIran. ziggurat:ThestagetoweroftemplesthatbecameahallmarkofSumerianarchitecture. Ziusudra:TheSumerianFloodhero.

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AppendixA ACurseandaMap:NewGleaningsfromtheTabletsofSumer
ThisappendixwaswrittenlargelyinthecityofJena,whereIspenttenweeks,inthefallof1955,studyingandtransliteratingtheSumerianliterarytabletsand fragmentsintheHilprechtSammlung(''HilprechtCollection")oftheFriedrichSchillerUniversity.Thesedocuments,allofwhichwereexcavatedmorethanfiftyyears agobytheUniversityofPennsylvania(seeIntroduction),formedpartoftheprivatecollectionofantiquitiesofHermannHilprecht,thefirsttoholdthechairofClark ResearchProfessorofAssyriologyattheUniversityofPennsylvaniatheverychairwhichInowhold.OnHilprecht'sdeathin1925,theentirecollectionwas bequeathedtotheUniversityofJena,nowofficiallyknownastheFriedrichSchillerUniversity. TheHilprechtCollectionhassome2,500tabletsandfragments,butonly150oftheseareinscribedwithSumerianliteraryworks.ForfifteenyearsIhadbeentryingto gotoJenatostudythesetablets,theexistenceofwhichwasknownfromabriefnoteinoneoftheGermanscholarlyjournals.ButfirstcametheNazis,thenthewar, andthenthe"IronCurtain."Withtherelaxationofinternationaltensionsin1955,thetimeseemedripeforanothertrial.Iwasgrantedpermissiontoworkinthe HilprechtCollectionforseveralmonths,andwhiletherereceivedthefullestcooperationoftheFriedrichSchillerUni

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versityanditsDepartmentofResearch.TheAssistantKeeperoftheHilprechtCollection,Dr.InezBernhardt,whoisinchargeofthetablets,wasmosthelpful. Herearesomeofthemoreimportantresultsofthisstudy: Thereare150SumerianliterarypiecesintheHilprechtCollection.Aboutonehundredareverysmallpieces,withonlyafewbrokenlinespreserved.Buttherestare fairlywellpreservedtablets,thirteenofwhichareinscribedwithfromfourtoeightcolumns.Itisimportanttobearinmind,however,thatatthepresentstageofthe restorationprocessoftheSumerianliteraryworks,fragmentscontainingnewtext,nomatterwhattheirsize,aremorevaluablefromthescientificpointofviewthan wellpreservedtabletswithtextsalreadyavailable. The150tabletsandfragmentsrepresentpracticallyalltheknownSumerianliterarycategories:mythsandepictales,hymnsandlamentations,historiographic documentsandletters,andwisdomandgnomiccompositions,suchasproverbs,essays,debates,and"catalogues."Relativelyfewnewcompositionsarerepresented. AmongthemoreinterestingofthenewcompositionsareahymntothegodHendursaggaasthevizierofthegoddessNanshe,whosupervisedman'smoralbehaviora lovedialoguebetweenInannaandDumuziamythinvolvingtheunderworlddeityNingishzidaandthegoddessNinazimuaanextractofamyth,tellinghowtwo brothergodsbroughtdownbarleytoSumer"whichknewnobarley"fromthemountainwhereithadbeenstoredbythegodEnlilapleadingletterbyoneGudeato hispersonaldeityandfinallytwoprecious''booklists,"orcatalogues,ofthetypetreatedinChapter26. However,themajorsignificanceoftheSumerianliterarytabletsintheHilprechtCollectionliesinthefactthattheyhelptofillinnumerablegapsandbreaksin compositionsalreadyknownandpiecedtogether,inlargepart,inthepasttwodecadesfromthetabletsandfragmentsfoundinvariousmuseumstheworldover, particularlyintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrientandtheUniversityMuseuminPhiladelphia.Thetextofalmostallthesecompositionswillbenefitinsome degree.Butinthecaseofseveralofthedocuments,therelevantpiecesintheHilprechtCollectionareofcrucialimportance.

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Oneoftheseimportantdocumentsisanalyzedheretoillustratethesignificanceofthenewlystudiedmaterial.Itisacompositionofcloseto300lineswhichmaybe besttitled"TheCurseofAgade:TheEkurAvenged."Thoughmorethanascoreofpublishedandunpublishedpiecesinscribedwithpartsofthisworkhadbeen identified,itsrealcharactereludedus,particularlysincethesecondhalfofthedocumentwasstillrestorableinpartonly.Becausemuchofitstextspokeofthe destruction,devastation,anddesolationofAgade,itwastakentobealamentationoverthedestructionofAgade,althoughitsformalstructuredifferedmarkedlyfrom suchcomparableworksas"LamentationovertheDestructionofUr"and"LamentationovertheDestructionofNippur."TheHilprechtCollectionhassevenpieces inscribedwithpartsofthismyth,andoneofthese(H.S.1514)isawellpreservedfourcolumntabletinscribedwiththelast138lines.Withthehelpofthisadditional text,ithasbecomeclearthatthiscompositionisnotalamentationatallbutahistoriographicdocumentwritteninahighlypoeticprose.InitaSumerianwriterandsage presentshisinterpretationofthecausesbehindamemorablehistoricaleventwhichhadprovedtobecatastrophicforSumerasawhole,andparticularlyforthemighty cityofAgade. Thecenturybeginningwithapproximately2300B.C.tousethesocalled"lowchronology"witnessedtheriseinMesopotamiaofaSemiticconquerorandruler namedSargon.AftervanquishingtheSumeriancapitalcitiesofKishinthenorthandErechinthesouth,SargonmadehimselfmasterofpracticallytheentireNear East,includingEgyptandEthiopia.HiscapitalwasthecityofAgade,innorthernSumer,butitsexactlocationisstilluncertain.UndertheruleofSargonandhis immediatefollowers,AgadebecametherichestandmostpowerfulcityinSumer.Giftsandtributefromallthesurroundinglandswerebroughttoit.Butlessthana centuryafteritsphenomenalrisecameitsprecipitatefall.ItwasattackedanddestroyedbytheGuti,abarbaric,ruthlesshordefromthemountainstotheeast,who thenproceededtoravageSumerasawhole. ThishumiliatinganddisastrouseventmusthavepreyedontheheartsandmindsofmanythinkingSumerians,andsomeat

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leastweremovedtoseekanexplanationofthecausebehindit.Oneofthosewhosoughtanexplanationwastheauthorofourhistoriographicdocument.Hefound what,fromhispointofview(nodoubtmostoftheSumerians,andinparticulartheNippurites,agreedwithhim)wastheonlytrueanswer:NaramSin,thefourthruler oftheAgadeDynasty,hadsackedNippurandcommittedallsortsofdesecratingactsagainsttheEkur,Enlil'sgreatsanctuary.EnlilthereforeturnedtotheGutiand broughtthemdownfromtheirmountainousabode,todestroyAgadeandavengehisbelovedtemple.Moreover,eightofthemoreimportantdeitiesoftheSumerian pantheon,inordertosoothethespiritoftheirrulerEnlil,laidacurseuponAgadethatitshouldforeverremaindesolateanduninhabited.Andthis,addstheauthorat theendofhiswork,wasindeedthecase:Agadeactuallyhasremaineddesolateanduninhabited. OurhistoriographerbeginshisworkwithanintroductioncontrastingthegloryandpowerofAgadewhichmarkeditsrise,andtheruinanddesolationwhichengulfedit afteritsfall.Thefirstseverallinesofthecompositionread:"After,withfrowningforehead,EnlilhadputthepeopleofKishtodeathliketheBullofHeaven,andlikea loftyoxhadcrushedthehouseofErechintodustafterinduetime,EnlilhadgiventoSargon,thekingofAgade,thelordshipandkingshipfromthelandsabovetothe landsbelow,"then(toparaphrasesomeofthemoreintelligiblepassages)didthecityofAgadebecomeprosperousandpowerfulunderthetenderandconstant guidanceofitstutelarydeity,Inanna.Itsbuildingswerefilledwithgold,silver,copper,tin,andlapislazuliitsoldmenandwomengavewisecounselitsyoungchildren werefullofjoymusicandsongresoundedeverywhereallthesurroundinglandslivedinpeaceandsecurity.NaramSin,moreover,madegloriousitsshrines,raised itswallsmountainhigh,whileitsgatesremainedwideopen.ToitcamethenomadicMartu,thepeoplewho"knownotgrain,"fromthewest,bringingchoiceoxenand sheeptoitcameMeluhhaites,"thepeopleoftheblackland,"bringingtheirexoticwaretoitcametheElamiteandSubareanfromtheeastandnorthcarryingloads like"loadcarryingasses''toitcamealltheprinces,

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chieftainsandsheiksoftheplain,bringinggiftsmonthlyandontheNewYear. Butthencamethecatastrophe,orastheauthorputsit:"ThegatesofAgade,howtheylayprostrate....,theholyInannaleavesuntouchedtheirgiftstheUlmash (Inanna'stemple)isfearridden(since)shehasgonefromthecity,leftitlikeamaidwhoforsakesherchamber,theholyInannahasforsakenherAgadeshrinelikea warriorwithraisedweaponssheattackedthecityinfiercebattle,madeitturnitsbreasttotheenemy."Andsoinaveryshorttime,"innotfivedays,nottendays," lordshipandkingshipdepartedfromAgadethegodsturnedagainsther,andAgadelaydesolateandwasteNaramSinsulkedbyhimself,dressedinsackclothhis chariotsandboatslayunusedandneglected. Howdidthiscometobe?Ourauthor'sversionisthatNaramSin,duringthesevenyearsinwhichhisrulewasfirmlyestablished,hadactedcontrarytoEnlil'sword hadpermittedhissoldierstoattackandravagetheEkuranditsgroveshaddemolishedthebuildingsoftheEkurwithcopperaxesandhatchets,sothat"thehouselay prostratelikeadeadyouth"indeed,"allthelandslayprostrate."Moreover,attheGatecalled''GateofNoGrainCutting"hecutgrain"the'GateofPeace'he demolishedwiththepickax"hedesecratedtheholyvessels,cutdowntheEkur'sgroves,groundupitsgold,silver,andcoppervesselsintodustloadedupallthe possessionsofthedestroyedNippuronboatsdockedrightbyEnlil'ssanctuary,andcarriedthemofftoAgade. Butnosoonerhadhedonethisthan"counselleftAgade,"and"thegoodsenseofAgadeturnedtofolly."Then"Enlil,theragingfloodwhichhasnorival,becauseof hisbelovedhousewhichhasbeenattacked,whatdestructionwrought":HeliftedhiseyestothemountainsandbroughtdowntheGuti,"apeoplewhichbrooksno controls''"itcoveredtheearthlikethelocust,"sothatnonecouldescapeitspower.Communication,whetherbylandorsea,becameimpossiblethroughoutSumer. "Theheraldcouldnotproceedonhisjourneythesearidercouldnotsailhisboat....brigandsdweltonthe

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roadsthedoorsofthegatesofthelandturnedtoclayallthesurroundinglandswereplanningevilintheircitywalls."Asaresult,direfaminecameuponSumer."The greatfieldsandmeadowsproducednograinthefisheriesproducednofishandthewateredgardensproducedneitherhoneynorwine."Becauseofthefamine,prices wereinflatedskyhigh,sothatonelambbroughtonlyhalfasilaofoil,orhalfasilaofgrain,orhalfaminaofwool. Withmisery,want,death,anddesolationthusthreateningtooverwhelmpracticallyall"mankindfashionedbyEnlil,"eightofthemoreimportantdeitiesoftheSumerian pantheonnamely,Sin,Enki,Inanna,Ninurta,Ishkur,Utu,NuskuandNidabadecidethatitishightimetosootheEnlil'srage.InaprayertoEnliltheyvowthat Agade,thecitywhichdestroyedNippur,willitselfbedestroyedlikeNippur.Andsotheseeightdeities"turntheirfacestothecity,pronounce(acurseof)destruction uponAgade":


"City,youwhodaredassaulttheEkur,who(defied)Enlil, Agade,youwhodaredassaulttheEkur,who(defied)Enlil, Mayyourgrovesbeheapeduplikedust,.... Mayyourclay(bricks)returntotheirabyss, Maytheybecomeclay(bricks)cursedbyEnki, Mayyourtreesreturntotheirforests, MaytheybecometreescursedbyNinildu. Yourslaughteredoxenmayyouslaughteryourwivesinstead, Yourbutcheredsheepmayyoubutcheryourchildreninstead, Yourpoormaytheybeforcedtodrowntheirprecious(?) children,...., Agade,mayyourpalacebuiltwithjoyfulheart,beturnedinto adepressingruin...., Overtheplaceswhereyourritesandritualswereconducted, Maythefox(whohaunts)theruinedmounds,glidehistail.., Mayyourcanalboattowpathsgrownothingbutweeds, Mayyourchariotroadsgrownothingbutthe'wailingplant,' Moreover,onyourcanalboattowpathsandlandings, Maynohumanbeingwalkbecauseofthewildgoats,vermin(?), snake,andmountainscorpion, Mayyourplainswheregrewtheheartsoothingplants, Grownothingbutthe'reedoftears,' Agade,insteadofyoursweetflowingwater,maybitterwater flow,

Page375 Whosays'Iwoulddwellinthatcity'willnotfindagood dwellingplace, Whosays'IwouldliedowninAgade'willnotfindagood sleepingplace."

And,thehistorianconcludes,thatisexactlywhathappened:
Itscanalboattowpathsgrewnothingbutweeds, Itschariotroadsgrewnothingbutthe'wailingplant,' Moreover,onitscanalboattowpathsandlandings Nohumanbeingwalksbecauseofthewildgoats,vermin(?), snake,andmountainscorpion, Theplainswheregrewtheheartsoothingplants,grewnothing butthe'reedoftears,' Agade,insteadofitssweetflowingwater,thereflowedbitter water, Whosaid'Iwoulddwellinthatcity'foundnotagooddwelling place, Whosaid'IwouldliedowninAgade'foundnotagoodsleeping place.

ProbablythemostimportantdocumentintheHilprechtCollectionisnotaSumerianliteraryworkatall,butamapbyalloddstheoldestknowncitymapinhistory. Inscribedinafairlywellpreservedclaytablet,now21by18centimetersinsize,itconsistsofaplanofNippur,theancientculturalcenterofSumer,showingseveral ofitsmoreimportanttemplesandbuildings,its"CentralPark,"itsriversandcanals,andparticularlyitswallsandgates.Itgivesmorethanascoreofdetailed measurements,which,afterduechecking,showthatthemapwasdrawncarefullytoscale.Inshort,thoughthisparticularcartographerlivedperhapsabout1500 B.C.thatis,some3,500yearsagohedrewuptheplanwiththecareandaccuracyrequiredofhismoderncounterpart. Thewritingonthemap,whichincludesprimarilythenamesofbuildings,rivers,andgates,isamixtureofSumerianandAkkadian.Inmostcasesthenamesarestill writtenwiththeirearlySumerianideographs,althoughatthetimethemapwasprepared,Sumerianhadlongbeena"dead"language.Onlyafewofthewordsare writteninAkkadian,thelanguageoftheSemiticpeoplewhoconqueredtheSumeriansandmadethem

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selvesthemastersinthelandinthefirstquarterofthesecondmillenniumB.C. Themapwasorientednotduenorthsouth,butmoreorlessata45degreeangle,thus:

Inthecenteristhenameofthecity(No.1),writtenwithitsancientSumerianideographENLILKI,"theplaceofEnlil"thatis,thecitywheredwelttheairgod Enlil,theleadingdeityoftheSumerianpantheon. ThebuildingsshownonthemaparetheEkur(No.2),"MountainHouse,"Sumer'smostrenownedtempletheKiur(No.3),atempleadjacenttotheEkurwhich seemstohaveplayedanimportantroleinconnectionwiththeSumerianbeliefsconcerningthenetherworldtheAnniginna(No.4),anunknownenclosureofsome sort(thereadingofthenameitselfisuncertain)andfaroutontheoutskirtsofthecity,theEshmah(No.6),"LoftyShrine."InthecornerformedbytheSoutheastand SouthwestWallsisNippur's''CentralPark''(No.5),theKirishauru,whichmeansliterally"ParkoftheCenteroftheCity." FormingthesouthwestboundaryofthecityistheEuphratesRiver(No.7),writteninitsancientSumerianform,Buranun.Onthenorthwest,thecitywasboundedby theNunbirduCanal(No.8),where,accordingtotheancientSumerianmythofthebirthofthemoongod(seeChapter13),thegodEnlilfirstsawhisfuturespouse bathingandfellinstantlyinlovewithher.RightthroughthecenterofthecityflowstheIdshauru(No.9),literally"MidcityCanal,"nowknownastheShattenNil. Butitisthewallsandgatestowhichtheancientmapmaker

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paysparticularattention,whichmakesitseemnotimprobablethattheplanwaspreparedinconnectionwiththedefenseofthecityagainstanexpectedattack.The SouthwestWallisshownbreachedbythreegates:theKagalMusukkatim(No.10),"GateoftheSexuallyImpure"(thereadingandmeaningofthisnamewere suggestedtomeverballybyAdamFalkenstein)theKagalMah(No.11),"LoftyGate"andtheKagalGula(No.12),"GreatGate." TheSoutheastWall,too,isbreachedbythreegates:theKagalNanna(No.13),"NannaGate"(NannaistheSumerianmoongod)KagalUruk(No.14),"Erech Gate"(theBiblicalErech,acitytothesoutheastofNippur)andKagalIgibiurishe(No.15),"UrfacingGate"(UristheBiblicalUroftheChaldees).Thetwolast namedgates"gaveaway,"inasense,theorientationofthemap,sinceErechandUrwerecitieslocatedsoutheastofNippur. TheNorthwestWallisbreachedbyonlyonegate,theKagalNergal(No.16),"NergalGate."Nergalisthegodwhowaskingofthenetherworldandhusbandof thegoddessEreshkigal,whoplaysanimportantroleinthemyth"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld"(seeChapter21). Finally,thereisamoatrunningparalleltotheNorthwestWall(No.17),andanotherrunningparalleltotheSoutheastWall(No.18).BotharelabeledHiritum,the Akkadian(notSumerian)wordmeaning"moat,"bytheancientcartographer. Oneofthemostinterestingfeaturesofthismapisthedetailofthemeasurements,for,asmyassistant,Dr.EdmundGordon,informedmeaftercarefulstudy,mostof themareactuallydrawntoscale.ThemeasureusedwasinallprobabilitytheSumeriangar,althoughthisisneveractuallywrittenonthemap.Thegarwascomposed of12cubitsandmeasuredapproximately20feet.ThusthewidthoftheAnniginna(No.4)measures30(writtenasthree"tens")garthatis,about600feet.Or,to taketheMidcityCanal(No.9),itswidthisgivenas4(threeunitsontopandoneunitatthebottom)thatis,about80feet,whichcorrespondstothewidthofthe presentShattenNil.ThedistancebetweentheKagalMusukkatim(No.10)andtheKagalMah(No.11)isgivenas16(gar)thatis,about320feet,

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28. MapofNippur.CopybyDr.InezBernhardt,AssistantKeeperoftheHilprechtCollection,FriedrichSchillerUniversity,Jena.

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whilethatbetweentheKagalMah(No.11)andtheKagalGula(No.12),whichispracticallythreetimesasgreat,isgivencorrectlyas47(gar),orabout940feet. Thelayreadercanreadandtestthemeasurementsforhimself,ifhebearsinmindthataverticalwedgemaystandforeither60or1,andacornerlikewedgefor10. Thetwomeasurementsthatareoffscaletoaconsiderableextentarethe71/2(thatis,7,30=7+30/60)atthelowerrightcornerof"CentralPark"(No.5)andthe 241/2(thatis,24,30=24+30/60)ofthethirdsectionoftheNorthwestWall.Inthelattercaseitisnotimprobablethatthescribeinadvertentlyomittedacornerlike wedgeatthebeginning,andthatthenumbershouldhaveread341/2,whichwouldmakeittoscale. ThetabletonwhichthismapisinscribedwasexcavatedatNippurinthefallof1899bytheUniversityofPennsylvania.Itwasfoundinaterracottajar,togetherwitha scoreofotherinscribedpieces,whichrangedindatefromabout2300toabout600B.C.Thisjar,tojudgefromitscontents,was,astheexcavatorsdescribedit,a veritable"littlemuseum."In1903,HermannHilprechtpublishedaverysmallphotographofthetabletinhisExplorationsinBibleLands(page518).Butthis photographwaslargelyillegibleandpracticallyuselessforthetranslationandinterpretationofthedocument(severalscholarshavetriedtheirhandatit).Sincethenthe tablethaslainintheHilprechtCollectionuncopiedandunpublishedalltheseyears.NowatlastithasbeencarefullyandpainstakinglycopiedbyDr.InezBernhardt, undermyguidance,andtheresultingstudywillappearunderjointauthorshipintheWissenschaftlicheZeitschriftoftheFriedrichSchillerUniversity.

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AppendixB TheOriginandDevelopmentoftheCuneiformSystemofWritingandOtherCommentsontheIllustrations
(Numbersofhalftoneplatesareinitalics) TheOriginandDevelopmentoftheCuneiformSystemofWriting. ThecuneiformsystemofwritingwasprobablyoriginatedbytheSumerians.Theoldestinscriptionsunearthedtodatemorethanonethousandtabletsandfragments fromabout3000B.C.areinalllikelihoodwrittenintheSumerianlanguage.WhetheritwastheSumerianswhoinventedthescriptornot,itwascertainlytheywho, inthethirdmillenniumB.C.,fashioneditintoaneffectivewritingtool.Itspracticalvaluewasgraduallyrecognizedbythesurroundingpeoples,whoborroweditfrom theSumeriansandadaptedittotheirownlanguages.BythesecondmillenniumB.C.,itwascurrentthroughouttheNearEast. Thecuneiformscriptbeganaspictographicwriting.Eachsignwasapictureofoneormoreconcreteobjectsandrepresentedawordwhosemeaningwasidentical with,orcloselyrelatedto,theobjectpictured.Thedefectsofasystemofthistypearetwofold:thecomplicatedformofthesignsandthefactthatthegreatnumberof signsrequiredrenderittoounwieldlyforpracticaluse.TheSumerianscribesovercamethefirstdifficultybygraduallysimplifyingandconventionalizingtheformofthe signsuntiltheirpictographicoriginalswerenolongerapparent.Asfortheseconddifficulty,theyreducedthenumberofsignsandkeptthemwithinlimitsbyresortingto varioushelpfuldevices.Themostsignificantdevicewassubstitutingphoneticforideographicvalues.Theaccompanyingtablewaspreparedtoillustratethis development.Itproceedsfromtoptobottom: No.1isthepictureofastar.ItrepresentsprimarilytheSumerianwordan,"heaven."Thesamesignisusedtorepresenttheworddingir,"god." No.2representsthewordki,"earth."Itisobviouslyintendedtobeapictureoftheearth,althoughtheinterpretationofthesignisstilluncertain. No.3isprobablyastylizedpictureoftheupperpartofaman'sbody.Itrepresentsthewordlu,"man." No.4isapictureofthepudendum.Itrepresentsthewordsal,"pudendum."Thesamesignisusedtorepresentthewordmunus,"woman."

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No.5isthepictureofamountain.Itrepresentsthewordkur,whoseprimarymeaningis"mountain." No.6illustratestheingeniousdevicedevelopedearlybytheinventorsoftheSumeriansystemofwritingwherebytheywereenabledtorepresentpictoriallywordsfor whichtheordinarypictographicrepresentationentailedacertainamountofdifficulty.Thesignforthewordgeme,"slavegirl,"isactuallyacombinationoftwosigns thatformunus,"woman,"andthatforkur,"mountain"(signs4and5onourtable).Literally,therefore,thiscompoundsignexpressestheidea"mountainwoman."But sincetheSumeriansobtainedtheirslavegirlslargelyfromthemountainousregionsaboutthem,thiscompoundsignadequatelyrepresentedtheSumerianwordfor ''slavegirl,''geme. No.7isthepictureofahead.ItrepresentstheSumerianwordsag,"head." No.8isalsothepictureofahead.Theverticalstrokesunderlinetheparticularpartoftheheadwhichisintendedthatis,themouth.Thesignthereforerepresents theSumerianwordka,"mouth."Thesamesignrepresentstheworddug,"tospeak." No.9isprobablythepictureofabowlusedprimarilyasafoodcontainer.Itrepresentsthewordninda,"food." No.10isacompoundsignconsistingofthesignsformouthandfood(Nos.8and9onourtable).Itrepresentsthewordku,"toeat." No.11isapictureofawaterstream.Itrepresentstheworda,"water."ThissignfurnishesanexcellentillustrationoftheprocessbywhichtheSumerianscript graduallylostitsunwieldypictographiccharacterandbecameaphoneticsystemofwriting.ThoughtheSumerianwordarepresentedbysignNo.11wasused primarilyfor"water,"italsohadthemeaning"in."Thisword"in"isaworddenotingrelationshipandstandsforaconceptwhichisdifficulttoexpresspictographically. TotheoriginatorsoftheSumerianscriptcametheingeniousideathat,insteadoftryingtoinventacomplicatedpicturesigntorepresenttheword"in,"theycoulduse thesignfora,"water,"sincethewordssoundedexactlyalike.TheearlySumerianscribescametorealizethatasignbelongingtoagivenwordcouldbeusedfor anotherwordwithanaltogetherunrelatedmeaning,ifthesoundofthetwowordswereidentical.Withthegradualspreadingofthispractice,theSumerianscriptlost itspictographiccharacterandtendedmoreandmoretobecomeapurelyphoneticscript. No.12isacombinationofthesignsfor"mouth"and"water"(Nos.8and11).Itrepresentsthewordnag,"todrink." No.13isapictureofthelowerpartofthelegandfootinawalkingposition.Itrepresentstheworddu,"togo,"andalsothewordgub,"tostand." No.14isapictureofabird.Itrepresentsthewordmushen,"bird." No.15isapictureofafish.Itrepresentsthewordha,"fish."ThissignfurnishesanotherexampleofthephoneticdevelopmentoftheSumerianscript.TheSumerian wordhameansnotonly"fish"butalso"may"thatis,theSumerianshadtwowordsha,whichwereidenticalinpronunciationbutquiteunrelatedinmeaning.Andso,

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earlyinthedevelopmentofthescript,theSumerianscribesbegantousethesignforha,"fish,"torepresentalsothephoneticallysoundedha,"may." No.16isapictureoftheheadandhornsofanox.Itrepresentsthewordgud,"ox." No.17isapictureoftheheadofacow.Itrepresentsthewordab,"cow." No.18isthepictureofanearofbarley.Itrepresentsthewordshe,"barley." ThesignsinthefirstcolumnarefromtheearliestknownperiodinthedevelopmentofSumerianwriting.Notlongaftertheinventionofthepictographicscript,the Sumerianscribesfounditconvenienttoturnthetabletinsuchawaythatthepictographslayontheirbacks.Asthewritingdeveloped,thispracticebecamestandard, andthesignswereregularlyturned90degrees.Thesecondcolumninthetablegivesthepictographicsignsinthisturnedposition.Thenexttwocolumnsrepresentthe "archaic"scriptcurrentfromapproximately2500to2350B.C.:columnIIIshowsthewedgelikesignswrittenonclay,whilecolumnIVshowsthelinearformofthe signsasinscribeduponstoneormetal.ColumnsVandVIshowthesignscurrentfromabout2350to2000B.C.IncolumnVIIthesignsresemblethosecurrent duringthefirsthalfofthesecondmillenniumB.C.,theperiodinwhichmostofthetabletstreatedinthisbookwereactuallywritten.Themoresimplifiedformsdepicted inthelastcolumnwerethesignsusedbytheroyalscribesofAssyriainthefirstmillenniumB.C. CommentsontheIllustrations 1.InFrontoftheTempleatTellHarmal.Fromlefttoright:aphotographeronthestaffoftheIraqiDirectorateofAntiquities,TahaBaqir,theexcavatorofTell HarmalSelimLevy,thenAssistantDirectoroftheIraqMuseuminBaghdad(nowinIsrael),andthewriter. TellHarmal:Temple,Palace,andSchool(?).TellHarmalisasmallmoundsixmilesdueeastofBaghdad.Thesitewasprobablyfirstsettledinthemiddleof thethirdmillenniumB.C.,butthemostimportantdiscoveriesmadeherewerefromtheearlypartofthesecondmillenniumB.C.Themostnoteworthybuildingwas atemple(rightcenteronthephotograph)consistingofanentrancevestibule,courtyard,antecella,andcella,allarrangedwithcommunicatingdoorsonasingle axis,sothatthenicheinthecelia,onwhichthestatueofthedeityprobablyrested,wasvisiblefromthestreetwhenalldoorswereopen.Amongtheother buildingswereapalace,smallertemples,andwhatwasperhapsaschoolbuilding,whereanumberof"textbooks"wereexcavated,aswellastheSemiticBilalama lawcode.Thesmoothbrickwallssurroundingpartsoftheexcavationasakindoffaadearemodern.Theywerebuilttohelpconservethebuilding,atleastfora reasonabletime.Otherwisetheywouldbeturnedintoruinsbywind,rain,andstormalmostimmediatelyafterexcavation.HarmalwasexcavatedbytheIraqi, whonowhaveaflourishing,capable,andproductiveDirectorateofAntiquitiesunderthedynamicdirectorshipofDr.NajialAsil,amanofarchaeologicalvision. Membersofitsstaff

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likeTahaBaqir,FuadSafar,andMohammedAlihavebecomeworldfamousexcavators.FurtherdetailsontheHarmalexcavationscanbefoundinSumer,vols. 26. 2.InfrontoftheZigguratatAqarQuf.AqarQufisthemodernArabicnameoftheancientroyalcityDurKurigalzusituatedsometwentymileswestofBaghdad. HereKingKurigalzu(about1400B.C.)builtaziggurat,astagetower,whichinspiteofoverthreethousandyearsofwindsweptIraqiweather,stilltowersmorethan twohundredfeetabovethesurroundingplain.ThesitewasexcavatedbytheIraqiDirectorateofAntiquitiesbetweentheyears19421946,andquiteanumberof importantdiscoverieswerebroughttolightfordetails,cf.myIraqiExcavationsDuringtheWarYears(BulletinoftheUniversityMuseumvol.XIIINo.2).The photographshowsstandinginfrontoftheziggurat:Dr.NajialAsil,theDirectorofAntiquities(center)tohisrightisTahaBaqir,theexcavatorofthesite,whowas mystudentintheOrientalInstituteoftheUniversityofChicagointheearly1930stohisleftisthewriterwhospentsomesixweeksinIraqin1946studyingthe resultsoftheIraqiexcavationsduringthewaryears,asAnnualProfessoroftheAmericanSchoolsofOrientalStudies.(Theothertwoindividualsinthephotographs areunidentifiedmembersofthestaffoftheIraqiDirectorateofAntiquities.) 3.NippurScribalQuarterNewExcavations.ExpeditionphotographofruinsofhousesonTabletHill,whichwascarefullyexcavatedandrecordedbythejoint OrientalInstituteUniversityMuseumexpeditiontoNippur,underthedirectionofDonaldMcCown.AboutonethousandSumerianliterarypieces,mostlyfragments, wereunearthedinthreeexcavatingseasonsbetween1948and1952. 4.Schooldays:TheTeacher'sBlessing.ObverseofawellpreservedfourcolumntabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwithanessayonthejoysandsorrows ofschoollife.Theteacher's"blessing"ofthestudentafterhehadbeenshoweredwithgiftsbyhiswelltodofather,beginsninelinesfromthetopoftherighthand column.Belowthedoublelineontheleftcolumnisthe"signature"ofthewriterofthetablet.Itreads"CopyofNabiEnlil.'' 5.Schooldays:TheTeacher'sBlessing.ThisisthereverseofTablet4. 6.JuvenileDelinquency.ObverseofasmalltabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwithanextractofthedocumentwhichAkeSjberg,mysuccessorascurator oftheTabletCollectionoftheUniversityMuseum,haspiecedtogetherfromsomefiftytabletsandfragments.Thetextinscribedonthisobversecorrespondstolines 124134ofthecompositionthatincludesthefather'sbitterrebuketohissonasonewhoisconcernedonlywithhismaterialwellbeingtothetotalneglectofhis humanity. 7.ASumerianofabout2500B.C.Alimestonestatuette23centimetershigh,excavatedbytheUniversityofPennsylvaniainatempleatKhafaje.Theperson representedwasprobablyanimportanttempleorpalaceofficial.ThepoetswhocomposedtheEnlilmythsillustratedonplateNo.10mayhavelookedlikehim. 8.Dudu:ASumerianScribeof(ca.)2350B.C.TheSumerianschooloweditsoriginandimportancetotheverypracticalneedoftrainingtheprofessionalscribes andarchivistsessentialfortheeconomicandadministrativedevelopmentoftheland.Hereisoneofthesescribes.Helivedin

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thecityofLagashandpracticedhisprofessionabout2350B.C.ToNingirsu,Lagash'stutelarydeity,hededicatedastatueofhimselfinapositionofprayer.The statueisnowintheIraqMuseuminBaghdad.ForfurtherdetailsonDudu,seeSumer,vol.5(pp.13135). 9.ABeardedPriest.StatuetteexcavatedatKhafajebyaUniversityofPennsylvaniaExpedition.ItisnowintheUniversityMuseum. 10.EnlilMythofabout2400B.C.ThisclaycylinderisinscribedwithanEnlilmythwrittenabout2400B.C.,aperiodfromwhichveryfewliterarytextshaveasyet beenunearthed.Thecriterionfordatingthedocumentisthescript.ThesignscorrespondwiththoseincolumnIIIofthetableinillustrationNo.5.Thismythisample proofthatSumerianliteraryworkswerebeingcomposedandwrittenasearlyasthelasthalfofthethirdmillenniumB.C.ThetabletwascopiedbyGeorgeBartonand publishedin1918inhisMiscellaneousBabylonianInscriptions,butthetextstillremainsobscure. 11.A"BotanyZoologyTextbook."Reverseofatabletexcavatedin1944byTahaBaqir,oftheIraqiDirectorateofAntiquities,atTellHarmalontheoutskirtsof Baghdad.Itisinscribedwithhundredsofnamesoftrees,reeds,woodenobjects,andbirds.Thenamesofthebirds,morethanonehundredofthem,arelistedinthe lastthreecolumnsfromtheright.TheycanbereadilyrecognizedasbirdsbythereaderonceheknowsthattheyallendinthesignwhichstandsfortheSumerianword mushen,"bird."Belowthemiddleoftheuninscribedleftcolumnofthetablet,theancientscribeIrraImitti,whomayormaynothavebeentheoriginalauthorofthe "textbook,"signedhisnameoneofthefirstauthor'ssignaturesinthehistoryofwriting.Inaccordancewiththereligiousideasoftheday,hetookcaretoincludeas fellowwritersthegoddessNidaba,herhusbandHaia,andthegoddessGeshtinannathethreepatrondeitiesofthescribalart.Thesignaturereads:"Nidaba,Haia, Geshtinanna,andIrraImitti,thesonofNurumLisi,thescribe,wroteit(thatis,thistablet)." 12.EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta:TheIstanbulTablet.ObverseofthetwelvecolumnNippurtabletintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient,whichwas publishedin1952intheUniversityMuseummonograph"EnmerkarandtheLordofAratta:ASumerianEpicTaleofIraqandIran."Mostofthe"breaks"onthis tabletwerefilledinwiththehelpofnineteenothertabletsandfragmentsinIstanbulandPhiladelphia.Noteinparticularthebrokenawaylowerleftcorner. 13.WarandPeace:The"Standard"fromUr.DepictedonthisUniversityMuseumphotographaretwoscenesofthetypethatmayhavebeenpresentintheminds andheartsoftheErech"Congress"asitsmemberswereponderingfatefuldecisions.OnesceneshowstheSumeriankinginhischariot,triumphantinbattleoveran enemywhosesoldiersareshowneitherledawayascaptivesortrampledtodeathunderthechargers'mercilesshooves.Theotherscenedepictsarichroyalbanquet, probablyincelebrationofthevictory.Noteinparticularthelyrecarryingminstrelintheupperrightcornerofthetopregister.Heisnodoubtoneoftheilliterate minstrelswhoweretheprototypesofthepoetswhocomposedthemythsandepictalestreatedinthepresentvolume.Fordetailsonthe"standard"fromUr,andon otherepochmakingdiscoveries,seeLeonardWoolley'sUrExcavations:TheRoyalCemetery(1934).

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14.UrNanshe,KingofLagash.Thisruler,wholivedsome150yearsbeforeUrukagina,history'sfirstknownsocialreformer,foundedtheaggressiveLagash dynastywhich,intime,developedanoppressiveanddeeplyresentedbureaucracy.UrNansheisshowninthislimestoneplaque,nowintheLouvre,asamanof peace,surroundedbyhischildrenandcourtiers.Intheupperregisterheiscarryingonhisheadanearthfilledbasketfortheinitiationofbuildingoperationsinthe lower,heissittinganddrinkingatafeastprobablycelebratingtheircompletion.ForfulldetailsontheLagashexcavationsthefirstsuccessfulexcavationsata SumeriansitewhichhavebeenconductedbyFrencharchaeologistsintermittentlysince1877,seethecomprehensiveandvaluablebookTello,bytheFrench archaeologistAndrParrot. 15.SteleoftheVultures.WarscenesdepictingEannatum,UrNanshe'sgrandson,leadingtheLagashitestobattleandvictory.Eannatum,whoprecededUrukagina byaboutacentury,wasthegreatconqueringherooftheLagashdynasty,whichcametoaningloriousendwhendefeatedbyLugalzaggisiofUmma.Inbetweenand allaroundthefigures,whereverspacepermits,isinscribedtheoldesthistoriographicdocumentasyetknowntoman:aninscriptionrecordingEannatum'svictoryover theUmmaites,andthetreatyofpeacewhichheforceduponthem.FulldetailsofthesteleanditsinscriptionaregiveninHeuzeyandThureauDangin'sexemplary workRestitutionmatrielledelaStledesVautours.SeealsoParrot'sTello. 16.Aesopica.ReverseofatabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwithanimalproverbsandfables.Thistabletisbyfarthelargestoftwentyninetabletsand fragmentsutilizedbyEdmundGordonforhisgoundbreakingstudy"SumerianAnimalProverbsandFables:CollectionFive,"publishedintheJournalofCuneiform Studies,vol.XII(1958):121and4375.ThesideillustratedinthisphotographisinscribedwithNos.67125ofthecollectionthatrelatetothewolfandthedog. 17.UrNammu'sLawCode:TheLaws.ReverseoftheIstanbultablet,originallyinscribedwithsome22laws,ofwhichonlyfivecanbereadwithsomedegreeof confidence.IntheupperportionofthecolumnontheextremeleftarethethreelawswhichseemtoshowthatthelextalioniswasnotpracticedinthedaysofUr Nammu,atthecloseofthethirdmillenniumB.C. 18.UrNammu:TheFirst"Moses."PartofasteleexcavatedbyLeonardWoolleyinUrin1924andnowintheUniversityMuseum.InthemiddlepanelUr Nammuisshowntwice,standingandpouringalibationtothemoongodNanna(seatedontheright),thetutelarydeityofUr,andtothegod'swifeNingal(seatedon theleft).InthebottompanelUrNammuisshowncarryingbuildingimplements.Heisprecededbyadeityinahornedmiter,andfollowedbyaservantwhois lighteningtheburdenonhisshoulderbysupportingtheheavytoolswithhishands.Intheupperpanel,onlythelowerhalfofthestandingUrNammuispreserved.The words"UrNammu,kingofUr"canbeseenengravedonthelowerpartofhisgarment.ThestelewasstudiedandrestoredbyLeonLegrain,curatoremeritusofthe MesopotamianSectionoftheUniversityMuseum.Detailsaregiveninhisarticle"TheSteleoftheFlyingAngels"MuseumJournal,vol.18(1927):7598.

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19.Man'sOldestPrescriptions.Reverseofthe"medical"tabletfromNippurintheUniversityMuseum.Thetwomarkedoffsectionsaretwoprescriptionswhich readasfollows: (1)gishhashhurbabbar(whitepear(?)tree)erinaugishnanna(theroot(?)ofthe"moon"plant)ugaz(pulverize)kasheutu(dissolveinbeer)lualnag nag(letthemandrink)and (2)numunnignagarsar(theseedofthe"carpenter"plant)shimmarkazi(gumresinofmarkazi)uhashuanum(thyme)ugaz(pulverize)kasheutu (dissolveinbeer)lualnagnag(letthemandrink). Fordetails,seeIllustratedLondonNews,February26,1955,pp.37071. 20.InannaandShukalletuda:TheGardener'sMortalSin.ReverseofasixcolumntabletintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient.Thetabletisinscribedwith themythconcerningtherapeofthegoddessInannabythegardenerShukalletuda,andnotedfora"bloodplague"motifsimilartothatoftheBiblicalexodusstory. Thismythwasunknownuntil1946,whenIcopiedthetabletinIstanbul.NowanumberoffragmentsintheUniversityMuseumandIstanbulcanbeidentified. 21.SeparationofHeavenandEarth.NippurtabletintheUniversityMuseum.Thetabletisinscribedwiththefirstpartofthepoem"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andthe NetherWorld,"whichcontainsthecosmologicalpassagequotedonpages8182.ItwascopiedbyEdwardChieraandpublishedin1934inhisSumerianEpics andMyths(No.21).Seealsopage353. 22.CulturalAnthropology:ListofMe's.ReverseofasixcolumntabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwiththemyth"InannaandEnki:TheTransferofthe ArtsofCivilizationfromEridutoErech."ThetabletwascopiedbyArnoPoebelandpublishedin1914inhisHistoricalandGrammaticalTexts.Notethemissing upperleftcornerthiswasidentifiedandcopiedbythewriterintheIstanbulMuseumoftheAncientOrient,andpublishedin1944inhisSumerianLiteraryTexts fromNippur(No.31). 23/24.CreationofMan.ThesetwophotographsillustratetheobverseofthesameNippurtabletintheUniversityMuseumbeforeandafter"joining."Thelower piecewascopiedandpublishedbyStephenLangdonin1919inhisSumerianLiturgiesandPsalms(No.14).TheupperfragmentwascopiedbyEdwardChiera andpublishedin1934inhisSumerianEpicsandMyths(No.116),withouthishavingrecognizedthatitjoinedtheLangdonpiece.Thethirdpiecewasidentifiedby thewriterasbelongingtothesametabletandactually"joining"thelowerpiece. 25.Proverbs:The"Fate"Collection.NinecolumnNippurtabletintheUniversityMuseumoriginallyinscribedwith126proverbsofacollectionwhichincludesa grouponnamtar,"fate."Othergroupsinthiscollectioncenteraboutthepoorman,thescribe,thesinger,thefox,theass,theox,thedog,thehouse. 26.SumerianOriginaloftheTwelfthTabletoftheBabylonianEpicofGilgamesh.ReverseofasixcolumnNippurtabletintheUniversityMuseumoriginally inscribedwiththeentireSumerianepictale"Gilgamesh,Enkidu,andtheNetherWorld."Itsapproximatelythreehundredlinesoftextcannowberestoredfromsome twentyfivetabletsandfragments,abouthalfofwhicharestillunpublished(butseeCorrigendaandAddendatoChapter13). 27.Sacred(?)Cows.AmosaicdairyfriezeunearthedbyLeonardWoolleyatAlUbaidnearUr,datingfromaboutthetwentyfifthcenturyB.C.,

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reminiscentofNidaba'sholycowstallsandsheepfoldsmentionedinthepoem"EnmerkarandEnsukushsiranna." 28.MapofNippur.Photographoforiginaltablet.SeeAppendixA,pp.369379. 29.PerverseStudents.ReverseofatabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwiththeconcludingsectionofadisputebetweentworaucousstudents,repletewith insultsandtauntshurledbytheprotagonistsagainsteachother,includingsomedirectedagainstmembersoftheirfamily.Forseveralothercompositionsofthistype thatrevealstudentdefianceandcontentionintheschoolsofSumer,seemyTheSumerians,pp.222223. 30.Shulgi,theIdealKing.FragmentofalargetabletintheUniversityMuseuminscribedwithaselflaudatoryShulgihymninwhichheportrayshimselfasa combinationofsage,soldier,sportsman,diviner,diplomat,patronofthearts,andhappyproviderofallthatisgoodforSumeranditspeople.Ifirstsketchedthe contentsofthismythinconsiderabledetailin1967,intheSeventyFifthAnniversaryVolumeoftheJewishQuarterlyReview,publishedundertheauspicesof DropsieUniversityinPhiladelphia.In1972,theItalianscholar,G.R.Castellino,whohadstudiedsomeoftheShulgitextsintheUniversityMuseumatmysuggestion, publishedaneditionofthecompositionbasedonsomefiftytabletsandfragmentsinabookentitledTwoShulgiHymns(InstitutodeStudidelVicinoOriente, UniversityofRome).Sincethenmorethantwentynewpiecesbelongingtothehymnhavebeenidentified,andaneweditionisintheprocessofpreparationbyG. Hayyer,ayoungDutchscholar,whohasspentsomemonthsintheUniversityMuseumforthecompletionofthistask.ButthisShulgihymnisonlyoneofmorethana dozenwhosetextisnowavailablewhollyorinpart,andmostofthesearebeingeditedandpreparedforpublicationbyJacobeKline,myformerstudent,whoisnow anAssociateProfessorattheBarIlanUniversityinIsrael. 31.LyrefromUroftheChaldees.ReconstructionofanelevenstringedlyreexcavatedbyLeonardWoolleyintheroyalcemeteryatUr,nowintheUniversity Museum.ThislyreiswellnighidenticalwiththatcarriedbythecourtminstrelinthebanquetscenedepictedonthestandardofUr(seecommenttoplate13.) 32.DeathandResurrection.ObverseofatabletexcavatedbyLeonardWoolleyatUrandnowintheBritishMuseum.Thistabletprovidesatlonglastthe concludingepisodeofthemyth"Inanna'sDescenttotheNetherWorld,"whichinvolvesInanna'sSolomonlikedecisiontohaveDumuzistayintheNetherWorldhalf theyearandtolethissisterGeshtinannatakehisplacetheotherhalf(seep.325andtheCorrigendaandAddendatoChapter21). 33.Rightedgeoftablet32. 34.Uaaua.Obverseofthe"lullaby"tabletexcavatedatNippurandnowintheUniversityMuseum.Thefirstlinereadsuaauainimitationofthesingsong hummingofamotherornursemaidrockingachildtosleep.