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The bestseller clay tablet that unintentionally gave rise to the tourism industry
This unusual passage from The Condemnation of Mara throws some light on Sumerian views of the known world around 4000 years ago. Mara’s geography ‘Death in All Directions’ follows the “Woes,” a vast collection of judgments distinguished by the high frequency of the introduction “Woe to [those, ye who …]”. Its position after the Woes was determined by chronology. The most remarkable feature of Death In All Directions is Mara’s amicable tone, so unlike the prophetess’ two major prose styles: (a) Declarative statements of detached elegance that speak of finality and fate, and (b) Harshly emotional and accusatory judgements conveyed in a propulsive rhythmic style. Entirely free of the malice which taints the second style, this colloquium also contradicts the fatalism of the first. Death prevails throughout the text but these threats intend only to discourage travelling. Eternal damnation is not an issue nor is the reader berated for real or imagined transgressions. Due to her high regard for death she viewed the possible demise of any fellow citizen outside the borders as a grievous loss to Shumer & Akkad.
To Mara’s fury and bitterness, the popular clay tablet box set instead promoted the antithesis. Travel and tourism took off in a big way. One week after release, the set hit the bestseller clay tablet lists in Nippur, Ur and Uruk. Within three months, it had reached number one in every major city of Shumer and entered the top 10 in Agade up north. Within a year, the Akkadian translation became a hit all over again in Northern Mesopatamia whilst the Sumerian version still found itself in the top 5. As evidenced by later sections in The Condemnation of Mara, the prophetess’ initial rage at the boom in foreign travel which was inspired by the box set changed to a wry and grim satisfaction at the incorrigibility of the human soul.
For where ever thou movest. that thou per chance mightest escape doom ahead of the appointed time. that thine heeding might arouse He-who-looketh-after-the-traveller. These are not credited as it is not known which were drawn by Mara and which by her studio artists. however. Heed thou my words. 2 . Stay in the land which hath been appointed thee for life and death. If thou be obstinate. DEATH IN ALL DIRECTIONS Lo! Travel not. I shall warn thee of every snare that awaiteth thee in the foreign lands.We’ve made every effort to adapt the original illustrations and maps so that the modern reader may experience the original mood and style. For there be no escaping doom in the end. there thou wilst meet death sooner.
Assuredly the Kasku Mountains at the end of Urattu will bar thy way. The air will become cold and upon the plains. home of the Gurru and the Hattu. He is long dead. Noah. Do not lend thine ears to fairy tales. Thou traversest the lands Matu and Subar. Utnapishtim] thou wilst not meet. To the right and the left lies a sea in which dwells certain death. man-eating wolves will stalk thee by day and by night. Followest thou the Idiŋina [swift water = Tigris] northwards to the upper lands.DEATH TO THE NORTH: Zin-Suddu [Ziusudra. seeking to devour thee. Verily the waters of the one is poisonous to the touch whilst the other is the lair of the leviathan and the sea snake that killeth by 3 .
Also.lightning bolts. What seekest thou there. anyway? Go not. 4 . thou mightest succumb to freezing cold in those realms.
The people are sybarites who will murder thee slowly with rich foods. powerful beer and other unspeakable pleasures and luxuries. Further on the mighty 5 . a city where the natives intoxicate the traveller by potions that cause extended.DEATH TO THE EAST: Proceedest thou through Shushin and Elam to the east. In the unlikely event thou managest to go beyond. the wealthy cities of Meluhha will lie before thee. painful death with much writhing and vomiting. thou wilst come upon Barashi. Should’st thou by miracle not perish in that barren place. an horrible desert will entrap thee where dwell huge scorpions and man-eating lizards.
Kushu Mountains and impenetrable jungles infested by cannibals prevent further traveling. 6 . What wouldst thou in Meluhha? Go not.
DEATH TO THE SOUTH: Thou mayest sail beyond Dilmun to Magan. The seasons occur at opposite times and the constellations of heaven become strange. What wouldst thou in the Upper Apsu? Go not. Assuredly willeth insanity be thy share. 8 . Should’st thou take ship southwards into the sea of terror (but which mad captain of Magan willeth sail south?) thou wilst enter the Upper Apsu which mirroreth the real world. The air is filled with whispering spirits and visions of dancing skeletons that assault thy soul. From madness to death thou wilst go in less than nine weeks should thou starvest not first of hunger or thirst.
Ibilu [Ebla?].DEATH TO THE WEST: Hark! The western realms are the most perilous of all! When thou crossest the Buranuna [Euphrates] into the lands of Amuru. the abode of fallen angels. In it resides some few righteous. 9 . Do not go near it but cross the River Retenu to the south of it. Its southern end is marked by Mount Siruna. Leave the city at thy peril for the White Mountains and the Great Forest where the trees are taller than the Ziggurats. the land of Aranu holds a huge city.
Do not follow the vale of Retenu to the south. these accursed would seek to penetrate each and every one of thine orifici! 10 . to the abominable cities of the plains. dwell perverse people who became demonic after sacrificing their children to demons. Forsooth.Hark! Cross the river and immediately get thee to the coast of the Great Sea without looking north or south. Humurra and Bila [Sodom & Gomorra & Zoar]. There in Sitamu.
Make haste along the way of the sea – when the coast turneth westwards. for the land be infested with man-eating giants. they will kill thee first before feasting on thine corpse. including the dung beetle. They will dine on thee with delicious condiments from the land of Bashanu. an upland of tasty herbs. If thou be lucky. the Anaku and the Nipiren.Neither go thou south along the hill country of Kinanu. 11 . thou wilst be safer. the land of the Mizuru who are idolaters that worship everything that moveth. Let thine feet carry thee to Kimu.
thou wilst come upon the holy city of Tapi [Thebes?]. Should’st thou wish to risk death by drowning or by man-eating water lizard to journey upstream. Beyond that is Wawatu where the air becometh hot and flying insects suck the blood of the foreigner. Ankitawu [Memphis?] adorned by enormous ziggurats and the statue of the lion angel.A great river runneth through it and there is a splendid city. 12 .
Await thine death here in Shumer and Akkad. Turn back. Burning deserts and malarial swamps suffocate them or fearsome animals devour them.None of those who goeth further hath ever returned. go around them back to Ibilu in Aranu – and return to thine own land. 13 . West of Kimu only harsh deserts wait to swallow thee. Rather go nowhere. the place appointed for thee. Sela. In vain shalt thou attempt to travel further west. therefore. and sail downstream to Ankitawu. Take a barge to the coast of the White Mountains.
The first literary criticism ever discovered.scribd. http://www.com/doc/125927090/Ancient-literary-criticism-of-The-Epic-of-Gilgamesh-by-thebeloved-prophetess-Mara-of-Nippur-plus-a-brief-biographical-note-on-the-Blessed-Mara 14 .RELATED READING Ancient literary criticism of The Epic of Gilgamesh by the beloved prophetess Mara of Nippur plus a brief biographical note on the Blessed Mara. Plus a brief biographical sketch of the author who lived in the city Nippur in the land of Shumer 4000 years ago. by the Sumerian prophetess Mara on the famous Epic of Gilgamesh.
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