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Achie~ement in the Thi1}dMillennium B;'C.

A Study of Spirituel and Literary


ISBN 9781605060491

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Sumerian Mythology
A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achieve ent in the Third Millennium B.C.

Samuel Noah Kramer

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About the Book "The Sumerians were a non-Semitic, non-Indo-European people who lived in southern Babylonia from 4000-3000 B,C. , They invented cunieform writing, and their spiritual beliefs influenced all successive Near Eastern religions, including J daism, Christianity and Islam, They produced an extensive ody of literature, among the oldest in the world, Samuel Noah Kramer spent most of his life studying this literature, by piecing together clay tablets in far-flung museums, This sho work gives translations or summaries of the most im ortant Sumerian myths," (Quote from sacred-te About the Author Samuel Noah Kramer (1897 -1990) "Kramer was born in 1897 in the Ukraine, In 1905 as a r suit of the anti-Semitic pogroms of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, hi family emigrated to Philadelphia, where his father establi hed a Hebrew school. After graduating from high school and a taining a bachelor's degree, Kramer tried a variety of occu ations, including teaching in his father's school, becoming a wri er and becoming a business man, He later stated in his autobiography, concerning the tim when he began to approach the age of thirty, still without a career: ·'Finally it came to me that I might well go back to m begin-

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nings and t to utilize the Hebrew learning on which I had spent so m ch of my youth, and relate it in some way to an academic fu ure." [citation needed] He then enr and Cognat Egyptology. Department with "the br become on Studies. "[cl cuneiform t 1300 BC; it understandi Kramer earn bling tablets between di from formal throughout lied at Dropsie College of Philadelphia for Hebrew learning, and became passionately interested in He then transferred to the Oriental Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, working work lliant young Ephraim Avigdor Speiser, who was to of the world's leading figures in Near Eastern tion needed] Speiser was trying to decipher blets of the late Bronze Age dating from about s now that Kramer began his life-long work in g the cuneiform writing system. d his Ph.D. in 1929, and was famous for assemrecounting single stories that had been distributed erent institutions around the world. He retired academic life in 1968, but remained very active is post-retirement years.

In his auto iography, published in 1986 he sums up his accomplish ents as follows: "First, and most important, is the role I playe in the recovery, restoration, and resurrection of Sumerian lit rature, or at least of a representative cross section ... Throug my efforts several thousand Sumerian literary tablets and ragments have been made available to cuneiformists, a basic eservoir of unadulterated data that will endure for many decad s to come. Second, I endeavored ... to make available re sonably reliable translations of many of these the academic community, and especially to the anthropolog ,historian, and humanist. Third, I have helped to spread the ame of Sumer to the world at large, and to make people awa of the crucial role the Sumerians played in the ascent of civ lized man. "[citation needed]

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ramer died in 1990 in the United States," (Quote from

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1 7 39 44 110 139 147 176 182

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Sumerran Mythology'



HE Sumerians were a no -Semitic, non-Indo-European people who flourished in southern Babylon ia from the beginning of the fourth t the end of the third millennium B. C. During this long stretc oftime the Sumerians, whose racial and linguistic affiliati ns are still unclassifiable, represented the dominant cult ral group of the entire Near East. This cultural dominance manifested itself in three directions: loped and probably invented the cuneiform system of writing which was adopted by nearly all the peoples of the Near East nd without which the cultural progress of western Asia would h ve been largely impossible. 2. The Sumerians developed re together with a remarkably we influenced profoundly all the peo the Hebrews and the Greeks. Christianity, and Mohammedanis and religious concepts have pe world. igious and spiritual concepts I integrated pantheon which les ofthe Near East, including oreover, by way of Judaism, ,not a few of these spiritual meated the modern civilized
1. It was the Sumerians who de

3. The Sumerians produced a vast and highly developed literature, largely poetic in char cter, consisting of epics and myths, hymns and lamentatio s, proverbs and "words of wisdom." These compositions ar inscribed in cuneiform script on clay ta blets wh ich date large Iy from approxi mately 1750 B. C. a In the course of the past hund d years, approximately five b thousand such literary pieces ave been excavated in the

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mounds of ancient Sumer. Of this n mber, over two thousand, more than two-thirds of our source aterial, were excavated by the University of Pennsylvania in th mound covering ancient Nippur in the course of four grueli g campaigns lasting from 1889 to 1900; these Nippur tablets and fragments represent, therefore, the major source for he reconstruction of the Sumerian compositions. As literary products, these Sumerian compositions rank high among the reations of civilized man. They compare not unfavorably wi h the ancient Greek and Hebrew masterpieces, and like the mirror the spiritual and intellectual life of an otherwise littl known civilization. Their signfficance for a proper appraisal 0 the cultural and spiritual development of the Near East can hardly be overestimated. The Assyrians and Babylonians took the over almost in toto. The Hittites translated them into their 0 n language and no doubt imitated them widely. The form an contents of the Hebrew literary creations and to a certain extent even those of the ancient Greeks were profoundly influenced by them. As practically the oldest written lite ature of any significant amount ever uncovered, it furnishes new, rich, and unexpected source material to the archaeologist and anthropologist, to the ethnologist and student of folklor , to the students of the history of religion and of the history f literature. In spite of their unique and extra rdinary significance, and although the large majority of the t blets on which they were inscribed were excavated almost half a century ago, the translation and interpretation of the umerian literary compositions have made relatively little pro ress to date. The translation of Sumerian is a highly compli ted process. It is only in comparatively recent years that the grammar has been scientifically established, while the lexical problems are still numerous and far from resolved. By ar the major obstacle to a trustworthy reconstruction and tran lation of the compositions, however, is the fact that the great r part of the tablets and

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fragments 0 which they are inscribed, and which are now largely locat d in the Museum of the Ancient Orient at Istanbul and in the U iversity Museum at Philadelphia, have been lying about unco ied and unpublished, and thus unavailable for study. To re edy this situation, I travelled to Istanbul in 1937, and, with th aid of a Guggenheim fellowship, devoted some twenty mon hs to the copying of 170 tablets and fragments in the Nippur c lIection of the Museum of the Ancient Orient. And largely with he help of a grant from the American Philosophical Society, the better part of the past three years has been devoted to t e studying ofthe unpublished literary pieces in the Nippur colle tion of the University Museum; their copying has already begu . c It is the utiliz tion of this vast quantity of unpublished Sumerian literary tabl ts and fragments in the University Museum, approximate 675 pieces according to my investigations, which will make ossible the restoration and translation of the Sumerian lit rarv compositions and lay the groundwork for a study of Su erian culture, especially in its more spiritual aspects; a s udy which, considering the age of the culture involved, th t of the third millennium B. C., will long remain unparalleled or breadth of scope and fullness of detail. As the writer visua izes it, the preparation and publication of this survey woul be most effective in the form of a seven-volume series bearin the general title, Studies in Sumerian Culture. The first volume, the present Memoir, is therefore largely introductorv in cha cter; it contains a detailed description of our sources tog her with a brief outline of the more significant mythological concepts of the Sumerians as evident from their epics and m hs. The five sub equent volumes, as planned by the author, will consist prim rilyof source material, that is, they will contain the

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..;}.._ ~.te>l:t of ttl e res Sumeria I'll com pos- lens,

comma nta ry


we 11.d

the i the

a II t ne pe rti ent uncopied materia I

ntation ; (5 l


:ay ttl ma In be um

ut ili2@d to r t e raeonstru rtion of tha ILime'S will b devoted to a pa rtku ta r klass ition: (1) e ie'S; (2) mvth5i; (3) hvmn ; (4) lsdo m t It c "not be too stro"81v st ssad task is comp d and Su merian lite-rat re i5. ~ availa ble 0 sehol ar an d layma n, the e nrlehec by one of t ne most mag., if ee nt ts ever bro ght to light- As the ea hold i3I un iq ue position i the eea use of the ir p rofoun and I and re ligiou~ develop nt of rtta ble untapped min u rce material and inval .a bla he re leva nt h L.I rna n itie's:. eligion: A Co mpa rative S , will 5 k@tcn tha rEI igiou ans a'S: revea led in th ~ir r, it will en d avor to trace tne Influe I'll ee prs on tne spirit ual and cu ttu ral deY N@.a r E.a st. T is work i5. leh to t n@ la asons: it ls 0. Iy after the SUmenan I' been sc- ntiflca IIV reeenst ructe d ted that we sha II be i I'll a position to re:.asona ble srta inty tnat all-irn portan mpl lcared su je C1, Wh ile, then. 1: he fi i., primarily the data and the sou rces ill atte mpt formulate rhe rssu Its an h istorta n .a n t ha layma n, And the he ,30:;,.3 resu It th is meth od of pr~ pa fina I 10rm u I ic I'll will prove both 'Sign i , Sume ria n udyr and own


oreov Su me ia n co of th @nti if 0 iou s


lopfor ra and


tra ns
uat@ly nd wit d iffiOJ and c




nju s;-.:ifi d th

n, t n

tic n

ea nt

I wish to ~:w:

Jayne Me

of tru ee 5, ictl s@1@(t@(j rna as the n n ual k!ctu ra r for 1 2 to '50 eoil on the k su bject of umerl n myth ologV. I al~ aekn ledge my gratitude to he boa of ma nage rs ttl e Unlver5
cu rat

ess my smcarest a nd ria I Fou dation a nd it

0'51: '"

.i! rtfelt


nks to the

to Or, Georg C. Vail nt, its director to M , Horae his predsoas or; a nd to Professor L on roil n, th i

its Babylon ia sectlon, for their seien ific C tt1 e Su me (n lite rv ta elees a liable Profo"U1d th n ks a due to the M nist ry Turkish R.e u blit: .a d its Depa rt nt permitt i n.s e to st dv and copy p rt of tablets in th N Ipp u collect Ion of t e Mu
Orient at Is Pennsylva ni n b ul, acted

-operatl n in ma 'ng to me 10 r st dy.



io n

of the


Oriental s.e n .a sa nse as

of Ant u itias, to r he SLIm .a n Irt~ .a ry um of he An


of ttl e

read ing of t e first d raft of th e c ,,-,po neeu nta

eago I am
inor fi na ndal ntri h il esopbka I So .etv prepa ration u dy po"-'''-'ible; - is t h e II'trao and generos is society wn le is e a b Ii ng struct oil d t nslate n a scia ntitic a d tru worthv n extan t SLI m ian lite a rv compos it' ns: piece

prim rily made the


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..... *:-. , ~the world red • .i3 nd one of ttl i!!! To the Macm i llan Comp,a n .am in ebted for p~rmi!;si spec 1ft acknowledgme nt s of plates VII. X.

-tv of Chic.ago Pre'Ss; I ce seve ra I iIIu'Str.ation-s:

~ IX" Is made in the


on will be- found on io ns will be 10 und on p


excav tlon rs pre ent t eo b.a sk mate ial detail the pe and da e
o ncl das wit h a of vente in 13 rge 1M rt ~ trust rt tra nsl tion of the 5 urne lan Iit€-r.a co th e d tail&, not uninte in in tt1 ms.e t:t1!! n he- Iactors IN hi h p rey reconstruct i n 3 nd position", I., tepa st; vas, furn is h a eali"g


(110 F[)ft~



e nta ry 0" the eou ., u man i5tit: effo rts m etail wh ase of f W!!it@ rem Bib such n.a

ian in one s gn ificant detail..3

t he facto~

n ha mpoefing the p g ress


I'rtent For in the nnia, the in 51 ig_atin& '5C hola I"!i .at the r isposa I muc releva nt mat~ria I and lasslcs I sou s, Not only were Astl ...r, a d Babylo" II knowfl. but at I and w th rnuc h limita ia n .and qu.a liti eatl the poles wao:; not Itogether Llnf.a mil s, however, the sit uaticn was

st to a n r @\I'@O
r. In th quite drent; the

!early recog ua b Ie t race of 'Su

r or

people a

in tha ent ["@ Biblical, classi I, and -classi , The very n me Sumer wa~ era d trom he mind a of man 10 r er two theusa nd ea rs, Tn d i.,;.covery ria ns and th i r langu age ea me u itt=! an pectedly a it u 0 I 00 kad r; a nd ttl is more r less ir le:vdint d@ st partially respons ible for th t rOLlbl~ progress I ~ from the arll ese days to the

Iyr the

d!!dp erment of Sul'Jl@ria wi'! id'l in t m followed the d I an. Briefly s:ketched. t he pro "-'''-' was e Dan ish t veler a nd schcl r, ca

from that

nt of cun

s follows.

ason diblf! d in P epolls. th s .of the Achae me

uage. Fonu nately, at ap proximate

Old Persidin was com ing known to western E rope: n sc th rough tf1 e-fFo of Ou perrc n, who t1 ad st\l did in t:t1!! Pa rsaa .aI nd .as pre p.a ring tran slat ion s of he


by 1802 with e he Ip of the newly aeq ui kn Old Persia a nd by kee n rna n Ipu latio n of t e s as ha nded down in Biblica I a n cia'S ita I it rapp::!rsianvers ion of th e inscri re made by n u me reus the crowning achieve ment Ftawl inson. A rnernba r of th lin son wao; fi rst stat ioned in ian la nguageo. In 1835 he wa learne-d of the huge tri Ii ngu
io n

E nglish man ge nee Se rvl mastered t Pef'5,kl, wh

H. C. e. R.a eo Pe rs he
Beh i

ehel be En is h I India wh ua ~er I jr1'S ripti

t:t1!! rod

un.a nd del!!! rm inad to cop

hirtun inscript ion co rl!;is:1o; n a'S;tl e E13 mite ve rsicn, co n sts t ird, t e Accad ian (d esign ated in ea lie r ;as ssyri.a n (] r Ba bVIa nla n~~see n e 12 lin s. 0 uri ng th e ye aI'S 1&35-37. lh awll n on succeeded in copying 0 II ion, H rewrned in 1844 and eernel ted tan a well as the Elam ire ve rsio • Th inscri ptlon, owe er, was se 'Situated that it t1 im to co it. 3 d tt was not until 1847 that rna king sq U eze-s f tne- text. To retu rn to d1e e"Cip erm aJ n@iform arsla • bv 1846 Ft.awlinson pu b lis"!! his me th e .J ou rna of he Roya I Asiatic Socie-ty, h ich ga tra nsllte rati nan tra nslation of the Pe rsian 8el'1 ist\l r1 ripti n lOgetne r wit h a c:opy

Voeriion of getond. no wt1 ile the (31 lit!! u conslsts of and 11m b.



ori,g inal,


.....*:-. '- ~-


d1 e Persia.,

n, of the B@hist un i nse tty as soon as progress; an, ~i ee rt uses a svlla b ry n

r n syste m f wing. Tne major figures in s Wes:t!!!rg.ard .aI d Norris. As aa rly as 18 5 of the va I iatic Soci~. PLlblished t e of the Beh Irtu n in~crlpt I n, , toget r witt1 a tra ns li •


'\.._tf. ~


standard wo k on t tlrifte
SiU bjact until WI:!! s.b:ilcn zweiter Art in 1 6-

'II be noted, noth ing h 5 yet rians A5 ea rly as 1850 howe the mit it in habita of A

n heard or , Hjncks beg ria and 8a

to doubt Semitic the wwel tt1at the yin wI'1idl


@mi!!!d go back owe to

itic eq ival~ nt cou kI be the e ne !form S'i$'tem

und,H f wrtti

itic pe pie wt1 0. ha cI pree ded th 855R wli nson pu blis ha

I A'iia lc Society in wh i itic in" rl pt Ion s on brick Ionia ueh (IS N ippu r r La ha p blern of this; n!!: utlnarl e in eharacter, guals h Ich ha d come vehe tavatio ns, The n nats oil s 5cyth ie or @v@ .sive to the Se mitie Ionia, In 1869, however. elf 0 the roya I title, ing t at Acrad r@furr itic po uIation. right ~ uage s o ken by the non


bill Nin

ne mi.sht f the sign~ he syllabic whicn no to suspect by a nonpctarnia. nal of the ry of nonseuehern lneks took • ["@Cogn iz@d hat it; the first exa ple-; from rit 1"t1 M use u from the vario.usly

ing as the d t he 'SCript, lIablc values


ry DoiIm@
tongu the Fr 'king d to t ribLrted Semiti syria and rt. basing cad," and d by the ian to the invented




u ..... *:-. '- ..~the cunei followed . Neventl eless Oppe rt was not im ajority of the '§.SVria logists, .i! nd he na to be used for u meria n 10 r many ea rs 5

e>l: e nee ltv a II the ".;OiIJ e materia I for it"" eclptl e I'IIsisted of t ne b h"gua Is and sylla nss fro s following th ~ iscorJe
rba n ipal lib ra eh, Th is mate· e flftee n tl u nd politica I entity.
Su marl din s

rv of the


011 most

of brid::-:., Sumerian

Mu-s.eum- I

and cyl.nd ~rs wh lch had fou tl oweve r, bega s ite, In yea at T~11o the a n h RI THE FLRST H

wh ict! was dis a I dates from t h d yeaN after the As for t he materia ntk!! tv of a v@ry '5 m th ~ Su me rial'l d their way Ime t ttl e fi rst sueees r the F rf! nch u nda r ient SLI erja n city m F OF TJ1E THJRD

red an seven h jsappea from t all ,g ro p I'Id P e Brlti Ie~ f


s w re a non-Semit i • non- Indo-eiIJ rope red Me'SOpOtil i a from the east who prcba iIIen n ium B. C. At the time of th '= during the invagol'll m c e 13nd betwee th e Tligli5 and the inha bited by t e Sem ites, a nd ttl do arkad the beg n ning of a st ruggle the twc r co ntrol 'Of th two- rive r 1111 nd r wh I'IIn To jiIJdge f om 0 ur pre-;.ent ea ta, for some eria ns, The re is ason to assu me t first fuU to 1'115 were in co rol of t ne bette ttl at t ney even earned t nei r ton q s, It W:iI'§. no DU bt during th i'5. more di COI'I Q uest 1'1 r in the fuu millenl'lium B. C. porta nt aeva n es in their econo sumerlans

e ntrsn

h last . v letc

at (It

ests in

that t ie, 'SOc l -

and politica I 0 iz tion. Th is mate ria I p reg t:t1 I! growth a nd d velopl'l'M!nt of the spirit eeneeers wh id'l e m panied rt, must nave impress on 0111 th p op!@s of tha N!!.a r EOI'5t wh th ~ fou rth mi lien niu wit h the Sumeria suring But ttl e ea rIy d
rna rk the end of control of Mes inva-s-Ion he rdes a of t ne Se mites by rhe struggle betw"@!! n the t amia. No doub.: with t

gradtl allv rega in

m the Arabian penjnsu • me of their strength a d

more: aggress ive. n '50 in the first part of the we fk,d the Sum ia s be i n.s ~r.a d ua IIV pus hed Me'.;opota mla, rough Iv fr 90 utherlv portio rap. North of Nipptlr the Pef'5,kl n G u tf 0" we II entre-nch@d. Approximately in great Semitic co Aa:::ad. H@ and t d efe3t~d the Su

moreover, to car
oottle Semites in
of ths end tor th of the th ird mil polltica I co ntrol Dynasty of U~I importa nt roll! Su me ria n· kingd ind Itilted by the bore Semit ie na capita], in .appro d isa ppe.ared as S meria ns. It is true t kat t n m the Sumeria ns made e sepeea mta and under ttl "5 rth a eerta i" inilia I sueee S. H la ed by the Se:m it@5 @v@ w hie h la'Sted for no more that the 1a"5t three ki Witl'1 tt1 e de struetion @Iy 2050 B. C., the Su i lit leaI e ntitv. Not long pie who had begu n t


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.....*:-. '- ~-


lower Me
est! bl ishI!

petam ia towa rei the end of the c ity of Babylon as thei r CiI i

r such

rule rs as arnm urabi succeeds d in obtai

the seeen and first millennia B. c., the c ruled by t e Su me rUM ca me to be kn own
ave r M@5 pot.a mia, B@rau51! ot the pro

sway Ion in
Id and


wh ieh 1'1 as contin uedin use to' the p resent {M ap dr.a n by M.arie Strobe I, afte r on Ha nd buc h de r Archaologi;e (Mun chen, 19
in ))

1'!.oV!.P' 1. Sou ME A I,. 11-1E ~ IR5.T HALF OF 1b1

(F(Jr Ik:sul p1:fQr1,
.s.t=1!" opp



e. c..

An c lent sl es, antie

An c iant si

ne na me", (in ve rticalle

(i n

inm I@
ri ng]



(I- 2(11 F~~ 0



rian rlptlons m d tho

.d nd

witn Ie g i nterru ptic ns Il"I'K]st

s at ttl
none hun

site t at the first


orta nt

xca'lfat d, ths obja f lagash, He


from th pre-Sa
ajor e:.:c vation

S. meria n site ity of P nn~yfv nta, t he fir5t A


II ttl rough


.a d haen gOi to the fe asib Iity of

here both 8 rit stl and 1.U1td

he Nippu r el<p d it jon,

ia more tha n 'Specii! I inte re ns, s uppc ned
p yean

a nd

r .a

of Ph Iladel p iaM of re reseo nsib to no

ious. •
iI.I sed

h aeology~con

reave r, it
tn@ Nippu r i!iooveri

rest a d endl usiasm a

that Ie to th fuu nd i nc: CI nd

of the Un i rs ity M seu rn a

rgi1 nizin 51 it tio n wh i t::h for Irno st



..;}.._ ~.pionee r in a II bran ches


n southern Meosopota-

s, Th yare divide d into two of the Shatt-e nANI l a tf1 e Euph rate 5 and
rran t@rTitory t hroug h the tempi ~ st ruep of bu lid 1"85 wh Ie h lib ra ry; it is in ttl is pan I' was !!)(, The of the city prope r. 7

Ira CI Nipp

nde r ttl e

of Pen nsylvan ta.

im ortant mau nds in Iraqr


ely d ifficu tt excavat ing


\.....~. 11 to ndu cted d u

in tne ye ars 188990. 1


!! 5!!V@rl!!

nd d ism u

fie kI. an d there was

r of the members;
nt and at time

ass u

of the obstacle's. h

and fril8
part of from the

n[ hand

v.aried. The- {:; ats r slsts of contracts .3 nd ill~ of

s, li~'S- an d accou nts, wills,

ar leg.aI a"d ad mi" is rati've lsttars: some ;i rE h - orical I in cha mete r. t hat is they gra mmat leal mate r I of priceless iKtu.altv e~peciall 1750 8.

bs oil nd ~wis

sen bas tn@ms@l\.r@'. But rc up of ta blets dated bout with t he s..J merl.a n I era I'Y
and rnyt:h'5, hymn and

la ngu age, si nee th

com posit 0"'5



l' ..... *:-. '- ..~r Ni pur. t e e~vation'5ood ~ city Sku ruppa k) of C icage at Bi5ima rta nt Su marian

elv fr m the pre-Sargo B. C. E:< Ion

v@ yi@ld@d im p

ot far from K lets that go b.a we re u rH:O\te r

G@ r ans con d uctad



war. a large those fotJ nd at

fumi!!ihe!!i a bi s uncovered .a n s. d I add ition, score Sippar, and number of sien of the
mu urn .a nd rivat@ colle:cria

pro btv a COI'I rvati'Ve gUM'S. at now is con e nts of t hi vast aecu mu ta I n of 5 um






ifica nt

In ths Iirst pi ace it is import

five pe-r cent of a II the S d1 aracter, t nat is., tney con." rt of sale and e>«: ha rlge, agree
wills and testaments, trad ttio na I lists

aeea use these d ocu me nts

patte rn wh Ich is

mel'fU. of the- sa me eha raet

more: romp llcate d Cilses, is

th ese ta blets wh lch fu m ish picture of d1 eoseel al a nd e~'~

the third millennium

8, C, econo mic dot: rnents

one mastic materia I to be re prese-nts; a fruitful 'SOLI rce tion in a nd a be ut su mer diU rl Of the Su I1l@ ria n i nscri ption one grou p conslsts of a pp d ed icatory In 5cription~ on

of the- eth n ic d



h istory of 5 urna r has bet! n I rg Iv r th ese in$(;riptlons, too, offe. n eente Itt." are 1,1"-' ua Ily brief a d and pattern of t ne Su m n fu llowe d to .a Ia rg!! ext@n t inscri ptlons: th e bil ingua I te ia I, All In all, therefore. except i Sume ria n h istorical mate rial int@rprat, 10

fro m this relative

tv srna II

re d. The tra nsl tion of

t d iffIcu kie-i, '5i c:e the

oreover, d1 eo ory in scri pti 0 s are
r AcCildia

u itdin& hel p.

of con sid era b

m ple:< in...,.tan es, the imple to tra nsl and

(I- (11 F[)ft~

to tf1 e eecn om it and h istorica I


is also


vari i!!!d

.iI nd

im porn n

le;.::ical and maths matiea I incant ti 0 s. 11 But by fa r the most sign ifica t mate ria st Lldy of me nan c LiltLire. e spec iaIIV in 0; me re aspe • C Mist"-' of a greu p of i'lite-ra ry. ta lets. d at 1750 _C- teh are inscribed with Sumeria e pies an hym nand lamantst ions, proverbs and I' wo s of wisd it is i po a nt to note that. in sp ite of th vast qu nt ity Su me 'S-Crlpbonal material €,)CC3l1ated t date, 0 Iv 'SCI three iiUld ta bien b iiUld fragments, n more msc ribed with Su ma nan lit@r.a compos Ion'S. these th euss nd piece~. a ppro>t:imately n in~ hun red a d I"-'trlb ted a s follow~. Some t hree h u nd very._.. II fra me nts ha e bee-n 10 un cI in Kish by the ren c: had we pu blis ed by D!! G@nauillac in 1924. A fln:lxim Iv h LInd d blets and fragmenes we re be LJ ht by th Be i MU'5e m f m dea !er-s;= these we re pu bllsh by Zim ern 1912· 3. ppro)Cimately on e h u nd red we acquired by t
Louv fro d@al!!rs; thesa W@r@' blished b pu De G!!n u iliac


1930. ess ha n a hundred pieces have fou n their 'INa to t Britl'5h M~ e u m a nd the A'5hmclean M~ seu ; the,,-,e h e pu blis ed n tf1 e COY rse (If sew ral decades by Ki"g. ngd and G dd, o these must ba addad an unce in num @r (
h LInd 7)

the B r i~h

:tC3vated in Ur wh ic:h a re to be PLI lished by Gad d U'SeU m in the n ea r futu re, 12

Th@ r m.a i ing two thousa nd .a nd one hu a frag nts, by tar the major p.a rt of OLir Sume rian ta bl re e:<ta\llated by the Un l\IIers tty Pen n,,-,yl an ia fifty ye ars il8o. Of th is n Y moor. over one u nd un their w.ay to the University of .appr ima ~Iy eight hu ndred .3 re in the 'Ss;ion of t MU'5e m f the Ancie nt Orient In I~n b I; aim h u nd d a located in ttl e Un iverstty Muse m at Ph i delp"


ggeratio n to st of d'",~ U nive rsi large

credited in

pa rt witn t

too, in tha th~ ~cribe ~ncodjfled

nstrous creatu 10 the Ba bVlo i:a n

0 bv-

odde s

'na mat. th ~ 1-1 bre IN

n.d pe rha po_;. the Gre k Typh n, As 10r th

nts, wh leh

usIv enough represe"t



so u n:::e rna rial for ou r 5u ria myth ogy. will b~ wit h consl era ble deta il in the followi ehapters, la mmu:z s dea IIn.g with he ying de - y and h Is res r d: Ion will be om - ed; rhe cente nt a re till tee bseu re for rs s na bly ion. 13


(110 ~~

u ..... *:-. ._ ..~_

th roya I and dj~ne. e TI'1 latter consist of i!!!:.ta Itation d i raetad to a I the mo ri!!! impor.

me nan pa ntheen: they a nd conta nt, The roy;a I hym

quite diversified '5., Iraq uently s@1f·

for the kings: of

e r.
.artual Third

were composed


U r and of the lsi n Dyt1 a of m urn reigned

wt1 leh followed

nt t1istori cal fact, 10 r rt: e Ip5i us date the

of o ur Sumarl n ure, The

tnird mil king Ibi-S

.a: polmca

du ring the last 0 cent urjes of the . C.: with t he defeat and c ptu re of the ir last ill i mate Iv 2050 8. C- S ume ceased to exist as
he ki of the Is in Dyn.a e


r u
tha conq 1

wh ich followe:d rthe les:s: their hvm M, Ii these of t hei r ccmaosed a nd wrltte n j SUmer ian .. wt1 ic h d a s the litera ry and rei ious langu age of f tr.agic cornposi-

t ion de \I'eIIO
destructi peoples;
Book of

he Sumerl ans to com mem rate the freq uent Ir ctties; by the -5U rrc un dig me re boa .-baric re ru., ner of su Eh bhcaI mpo5iit ions as the




One 101 r:gE!: poem, consi

inc. of more t ha n

Ii e wh lch

lament the d estru i on of the city of b en restored a.,d publi"-'n d." and a "-'Imdar Ii g with the destruction f N ippu rand its
. In add itilon it is

c-totr-~5i a litenl ry cata 108 us co pi led in approx['ay tabl~ 29.15. ts.5 in th

N i ppu r

l!@.ctia n

rs y Muse um]. The uppoe-r ea re presents the O\I\Ier pa rt, the auther's an d copy of the these comp05iit lens wt1 aerua I co ntents n ruct in Iii r:gt! part all! as to 1oW!i~

1. Hymn bu Igi (a ppro:-: ima 2. Hvmn ipit~ Ishta r (.i! ppr .3, Myth, stien cf tha Pic 4. Hvmn Inan a, quaa n of h@av 5. Hvmn E"nli he air-~od. I, 6. Hymn 0 the t m pie of the m city of Ke h. 7. Epic ta!!:, "Gi amash, Ifnkidur 30). 8. Epic ta ,i'lna na and Eblh· ('S 9, Epic ta ," Gil mesh and H uwa 10. If pk.!: I!!!, I'G i mash iii nd 11. Myth "Catt and Grain" (see 12. lame ta tlc n ver t he f.aII of (a ppro>:i tely 00 B. C.),

8- C.). im.i3te: 19S0 B. .). :-:"(se p, 5l), n, g in the p.

ely 2l

a." .53). ra ~Sln

ian Vf!rth@ destruct on of ippur.

15. La me tic n ver the eestruct on of 16. Epic t Ie, !ILl.! albanda and En rkar.' 17. Myth "I naI'IIn 's Descent to th Nethe World II 18. s iii hy n to Inan n.a. 19. Col ~hort hymn s 10 aII 11'1 e imeerta position s dese r bing t be a s riba. m CO o~it.on. "I nstru io ns 0 a Peasan


n. •


201 0 F~~




.....*:-. '- ~-


as a
ed as
r part Agade d part oft And
"SO nJ led

in the ea rlie r

8. C.14 f the



ar, itions.

not .a

a logu e Ttlat is, it lists by


sui be:


bes of
nseu s m pi ling

rnposftlo ta lc Lie wM


re, is ntempo w ich it li5:ts. His flu r OS!! in d

bt practi I. For a is now c ea r, by app Kima ely 2000 8. C a large n u ber of Irter.a ry mposilion of al tv pes an siz:e were cu r rrt in S mer. i"'Sic bed on tabl ts of II shapes oil nd irnens ions wh ich h d to be: andled, stc d. an cared me of th sc ribes in eh a of the

ts In

e tem


late "'ta bl
U rpo5@'5

1'10 use, therefor • fou nd es of tf1 s or tf1at roup of


of ref!!ra n

@ss@ I to the nti

e re p~ctive ta tets,

line bet

!!@n nub!!~


1. The e rna in ing ~ntyrou p~, t e fl rst


conta nts we

we probably who,,-,e titles; title of a

. And what is W hich ttl is; re of compositio s whose aetuaI et in larg!! part. adlass to Sdi'tr :d-i of man", me e com po~itio ns N Ippu r cats I08U . e ut since the
nty-on e- of the it s

AND DE HWPMENTOF SYSTEM 0 F WRIT IN G proba otde..,t Inri pdo!'llS u nea 11h and ¥fa rnents from t he I recent yeil Ia nguage. 8 t invented the sc
. C. wh ic were ill I Iik ihood


ori,gin.ated by

to cate-ove r er ha If of the


n Erec kin ve ry i he Sume ria n

her or ot it wa~ the erlans who it was rea i n Iy they who he ceurse of B. C. fa h ioned it into an writing OJ grildually rec g i led by the who bo rowed It from t h LI merka ns and wn Ia ngu gas, By the seco dille nn i~m B.


be,san s plctog raph Ie w It ng; ea ch sIg n

was a pjct~ a word wh

the object p obviou-s: the

number of


use, The S~

grad ua Ily sim until their pi


nd d iffic

or more concrete objects n represe nted ant leal witn, or d s Iv re lated to, t his type .are rm of the sIgn~ nd the huge der it too unwie d for praenea I eve rca me t he fi d Ifflcu ltv by a nd co n ntio naliz:i n.g the of the signs nit: origi n .iJ'5 no longar aPfl r nt. ~ for the ~V reduc d the number of s and kept it it".; by rt I.,g to lJarleus Ipfu I devices.

v.i3lues. T e: ra ble- e n the urse of the- centuries: ad

op po ile:d d

PagE!! W.i35

e purpose of iUustrati ng d1 two


lei developri ption will


the first e t Itleos

h~ tim pan of k.nowing

but whose
at the s ilCty@

number of of th~ third

umber runs;
i" southern



..;}.._ ~.e Su meria n Iite-ra ry co m positjo


t nat au r

will be

nlarg d.16
So t

5C nd 00

nte nts of 5u marts n Iit@ratu reo Let

c th

what ent mad e 11'11 preced I.,g page".; that the re p rese nts tne olde-s.t writte n hteratu re of nt eY@ r u nCOV@ red. The toil b lats

pro blem of dating in order to


IT It NJPFU R ARCHAI C GYUNDER ri pt. the NiPPUf eyl i., der d I~st rate d cn th is ip pu r eells d: ien of the U" iversity Muse I.Im)
2500 B. C. Alth ough [0 pied .1 nd pu blished sa 110fl a-s ea rly as 1918. 20 It,_; contents. bOll the Sumelia n ai r-god EnIil and the godde ss sti I Iarge Iv un irrtelligibte. Neve rtheless. mue h own r misu nderstood at the tim!!: of its; pu bl learadu ltv b~comjng cia rtf led, and there is good e tn t t he not too dista nt futu re wi II see the eo te nts re:lldv for tra nslatlcn.

a rlv org

m E. de Sa raee. Deco uvertes en Cha Idee (pa rls, I. 37) iII~st rate 5 0., e of t he two G udaa cyli I'll de rs


see is hi dev


a pro i~tety :;2150B. C. They were eXCfl'LI~ted by t.aga h more tha n half a centu ry .ago r .and bot h ers a ow n the Louvre. Th ev a re Inscribed IN Ith long s tc t d i ngirsu (another .,arne for t he god N in urea80) his t mple In Lagash. Tne ~yle of th e com pos~o I'll "Iv a need and points to a long prnced i 1'118 pe riod of pm@ , in w iLh much lite ra ry material must hava bee n w· en down. The contents of the two Gude a osed ers ca fu Ily copl ed and tra nslated by the eml nent

French Assyrio
daca de of ou r imp!!r,nive, entu


ore of the

past severa I d ades,

ra slatlen




Fe(" D!"SC1'lptlofl,


0 F~~

'INW'rN.r~~jJ(I~-II'iI II I I


..... *:-. '- ~-



t k~m!ielve!i. to judge evidence, -were iI'IIscrib period following im IIl@ of Ur. Ju~ as a rough wrltll'llg of the ta blet", As for the eernposjtten emu p of hymn!i devot much of it actua ltv t wh Ich la'Sted a pproKi ver, an 41"41 lysis of the so-called G udea cvli n 2250 B. C., and of t (Vii., der pu bl is.hed by '5C ript, dates cons id e c I@arty ind icat!!s that n materia I h ad a I ready Fina 1Iy, an a na lysis of bu ilcl i"g and cled ieatc period, rough Iv 2600In she rt W~ are a

rom t i!!! scri pt CI!i well rom in d in t e Ea rly Po -S um n perio ine Iv upon the t II of th hird oint f reference there . the be dated .app r ximat 1750 the contents, 0 jy d d to t @ kings of t !! Th i ok p ce in that Neo-S tely m 2150 2050 8 C. h conte ts of ttl e h ri bed wh ir::h da

arnal ,the


ctual . C. a

a 1- I~ of ths ny
een he rei

00 II pty j I.a ble

nal a mposed se ral io U$ cone iptions of C., lead s t ified in

practiea IIv a II ou r a date from a pproxima

lit!! rat'l.ln! ot t n@ s.u m latter ha If of the 1: hi Ute ra ry mate ria I fro m he se a r her poerio to date is in Ia rge pa rt a m r of arch41 it not basn r for !!)(;i1 I@ for t ha Nippu r mr have ve little Sume r n Iite ary maten Su me ria n period.

Iv 2

meria n t S- Co. a la



exp!!d . n r W@ I from t e ea fly post-

Now let us compare t

lit~ rateres know n to might have expected rate with its h i,g h cult

ent, In n anc nt written literat ra 1 d e lopment. .,d, i tI

ttl !! pt, f r



fro m the pyra mid i nse

did navl!!! .iI we II d@ve m illenn iu m 81. C. Un
largely en papyrusr

ens, t he Egyptian s in a II prcba

r1 Jte-fy

n Iit@ rature

in thl!!!

il h

a r a ily peris ablE!: rnata ria t and th


hava bee n w tt

little he pe th.3t enough it will er be reccve red to g rs asona bly adeq uaee c r -section the Egyptian Irteratu th at an cient period. 1't1 n too. th rs is the h rtherto un k 0 ancia nt Canaa nite Iit@r3 u wnich as been fou nd msc ri tabl~t-; excavated in th e p st decac by the French at Rash e Shamra in northern ... 111 e ta blets, relatively fe n y moor. i nd ieate that n ites, too. had a h d!!!V@ loped I it@r,nu re itt 1400 B, C., that is. the late r t nan CI u r Su merta Babylon ian Iite rat ure as e of Creatia n," t "f pi sh," @tc •• it is not 0 con-sider.3bty later th a erl an lit~rat Lire. but inchJ des much that I~bo IV from tt. 22


We tu m now to ths anc i

lite ratu @s nit: h h i3IV@ ex~ rcise t w

mort profou nd infl uenc n the 0 re spiritLia I aspects tivdizatlon. The~ are h 81ble, teh conta in~ t he Ii he Iliad nd Odyssey. wh ich are Gr@!!k!i; the Ft i.g~veda, wit h the @pic .a nd myth i conta in s 1: e lite rary p r h ets et a cte nt India; a nd the A n clent I n, NO ne of these Ii wt1 ic h conta Ins tI1 ose collect iOr1'50 were wrttte n in t Ii! ir p resent form befo f rst half af t n@ first mi I@ n lu m B. C. 0 ur 5'1.1me ria n lit@ra inscri bed on ra b lets d fro m a pp rox.m.a1:~tv 2000 literatu 5 by more than a m tl1 e refore a nredates th n iu m, More-over. the re n oth er ital ddfere nee - The te t:t1!! Bible, of t ha Iliad n Odysse , an d of the RitVveda Ave sta, .3$ 'We have 1: h have ~e n mod ified. ~d ited, redacted by compile ~ n rs with varied motives

a a


..... *:-. '- ~-


diverse po i ts

compilers point, The tal Importa has it rn .a.v.a ilabk:!: t sch imped~d t d Why has itt Ie t ra"'&lation f t h unfortuna presented language;

rnrnentators, And '50 c m@ to the c rue i I lu e of s.J merla n lite ra Lire and it!; fiJ nda me r t he related t....J rna n tt sing obvlou$, wh (I rge Iv un k"own; why has it not bee" mad I.a r .a nd byl"l\1l D? Wh h '5 h arnpared an iphe rme nt of the Su rl n litera ry ta blets regress been made in d1e on ~ ructio nan ir contents 1 The fa ct rs r spen sible for ti'l t, the difficult i of the Sumeria

~t of t he phVSi

c ha raerens

H u nan

seems to h
therefore. la nguage

i n8

the tonu nate fa rs of Sumer n

to ngu e, but a I~

la nguage. As

the study compiled diet lena ri

t ra nslated

at in
' to t eir own

rei s
la ng',ce, Aa::: d i.a

also drew in whicn

rtlnea rs of the Su me ri me rian Ii ne is foil



t ra"'&lation

.a nd As5y ri.a !"IUd , 11'1 ~V the refo ua I syllabaries or ph rases y.;.e • I n .additien th ra rv corn pes itie by it~ Accad ia ngue rs lawd t

niangua s, was decip ilingua Is beca mE!' tn@ b e pherment Su me an, fo r by e dian word ith ths eorres n ing of ttl latte r u lei be ded LJe€! d~ re lativ IV sl mpl so t hasa

ered latively early, ic tarial fur the mpa ri g the known on d i Su IIl@ rian, the ,No while-.all t bls I practice the

e pherment
any .era rnatkal nd

has rs SiU ked

and ing'5., Fe r u menan a bu Ia ry and Ing ecrrespon ~ neie nt d i ars freq uently leadmg, ped.allv sinc@ n a f W ot tha earlier 0 ne reas n or anoth er, e nde to d raw hasty enel usio s, As a conseq en ce 0 many errc rs laxical mi u nds re a'S dive rge C3 n be. an d t

dian a nc:l u re as tw es in the

d very


e phere rs, fo n supe la I into SU erien


gr m rna rand

v cabu I
n Su

I.a rs


r@s@nted with

some of

u r u ilingua I I rter.a ry



wt1 en

ts, t hat is 'h theIting effo proved I s the atte pted tra n em usly TEV,

blets i Mclibec:l

rgely un prod u lations we re a I isk!:ad i ng. It is 0

ri.anonly, the ndeed in ma ny rniretv untru Sitn@ last


and ~VII ba ries campi I he 8a bylo nian he ir st u of e Su me i iU1 ngu~ge, wh sic d in@, vari@d co 1d!!: Iv in make- up r



n~ of th mort usetu I ~S' th e ·Chlcago· ba rv. a sci€' tific ed iti n of wI'! ict1 was rece n Iv pu blished by ard Halb: of the 0 -ental I" Sit itute. 2.3 It 5i iIIust rated 10" U02 d hers pi! ission of the , It was in.,;crlb c:I in t e latter part of a Itho~gt1 th e d ica io ns a re that rt etime ln the sa nd


Md@d into tw

ha I'll'!! , a nd



h h aH

is su bd ivicIed ."to fo

cohimn writ~!i out

p onetka

'Sign represe nts. wh i e the

t ran-s:latjon,






Poebe I'~ GnJ nd:z uge de r ttl at Sume ria 1"11 mrna r ha s been gra for t ha Iexit::oiI pm blems, these still I uft of Arne

re-solved, 26

as ttl e Iingu istic PI"(! ble ms

in ths p ......... of reconstructing ..,,..,..

ta bl~.

r, the m

nd tra nslating are not in-;upera ble, The m.ajor serlous 5t~ m bling block, is the te>:t~ al ia Ily thaw irlscri bed wit h the wh ich oil H! larg!!ly un ba k@d, m the grau nd. usua lIy they are in a uent Iv 11"11 very fr.agme Ma I'Y a i sadvantage isrhe ha ppy fact that the tha n one ropy of any gi'lff!n one ta blet may 1 herefc re freq uent tv


IN njch

may t he rm.elves be

me rs breken fragme nts, T us. i., the to the Net:t!!! r World4' (see fl. 83:), I ut fragments. In ttl e case of t e rees ntly Ov!! r t ha O@structicn ot U(, 1 S th~ t@:Kt twenty-two different trag nts, And
fragments. To ta ke fu II ad con S!!q ue nt restoratksns. much .3'S peso;ible of the




lized fou

u b lished ream ru

Feat~ and EKploit'S of Nin u a'' (see p. .,tage of t h se d uph

urce maleri

in I'€!con ructl g L I utillz 49 -

ow@v@r, it s essant i I co pi~d

But of the NI pp ur lite ra rv t Pen nsy Ivan ia a nd now 10 'S01'Jl@ t'WO th OUY nd in nu bee n copied and pu bl ish appro:< Imately 'Seven h u nd teuvre, Berli n Mu se u m. a copied .a nd pubhshad, 12 'S not a ppea r until a relative ta nees, the tru'StWOrt t ra "slation of au r Su me ria sea Ie was obvio usly impossi

b leu e>:eav te d by t h ted in I nbu I and bar, only.a LIt fiv@ u nd

d to date. An d IN hi a II d pieces ., the Bri stl d Astl mole n Mu seu h me of tha ore impo nt rece nt da . Under t e se n d 'Sclent- ic recon lite rary co


I flm realized ttl i5 $it~ aticn a nd it'S imp a decade ago. wtl ile work ng in the Un ive~ity of Chicago as a msrn ber 0 staff. For in that die Edward copied more of the Nipp r lite rary -combined. Lo ng a me mbe of the fa
Pen nsy Ivan ia, he devoted h io;stay the re to

tcatio ns in 193 rienta I In itu its A'SSV(i n D

nlera, the sch aeerla I

io ary



th n a

of the Uni

the co pyin of me re l a n two h u dre ta blets and fragme nts In t e Un ivers. M U'S-eU m La ea lied to the rapid Iv ex and i"g 0 r ntal In Un ive~ity of Chicago as he d of its A'S rla n Dini na ry p rear
he took h is co pie'S with hi ,and the ri enta I In itu took to pu blj s h t he min volu me'S. Upon Ct1- ra's deat h, the eel iterta I de rtm ent of tne 0 rie I

nst ute

o posth umeu s
the contents

t ran slate and Ily i nadequate hshed mate rial

efforts on the

e nan

litera rv

h rt\J dy of the d "Spent some t n@ A ci ant rie: nt,. w hara I Lime ri n lite ry ta elets and
ion; u

fort LJ ate tv t n Is ~iU

this MU'5ieum

ate ...
re pa and fi are i nsaibed with

cent ted la rgeiy on t:t1 epics and 'S. B utll izin ava il ble publ ishad m terja I. together wit h t at part of the LinPLI b ished mate rial kh I copied In t e Mu'S um of he Anc nt 0 ent at Istanbul In


2010 F~~




aII the relevant unpu blist1e


la er parts of the

m at Ph il:ilde-Ipn ia, I suee ed in rf! te)(tS (If twe ty-f u r S4.l '5; 28 th '50 is th!! ba sic source ial for t erla n m hology to be $ketth the tol r the s ientiflc editlo n of th

-on s eon ~jng of the recen str

.a nd cornrna p ess of pre pa rati on; un Ie« the int rru pted. they sheu Id be com to ing two r tl1 ree yea rs,


by line- tra n lations


02(1 OF~~






the sa

H cie nee of corn pa ativ~ rnytho I v. Iike a Im s - nees, ~act .a nd exact, I'Sla tv a prod u


en ttl ce ntury:· n that of com pa ~ and literatu~.

origin and -ve philol The

the seianca
WI h

ena I g e ph ilolegy It....e wa'S.due p ri a rily to th e bot!' Sa nskrft, tel anguage tne oldes
phe ern


sa red

literatu r th e la u


the H in d U pi!!!O les, as we II as e of the old ~ sacrec lite r ere Inde- EUrope I.a nguages;: amily of languag s as Greek a
nd 0- E uro p~i1n ph

t ure

r Okl p~

based la e Iv on the ancie and Iran 3 'S,and t his;led ns

stu dV of e myttl sand lege

of th e I ra ian at k-J they bien to d Latin. Th i 1ol08V t kat fo owed w.a s t @rf! re lite ratu res 0 the Gr'"eek"i. H in us, uraIIVand dj tv to a co ara lYe ds as re lated d revea led n th m.

.,ew and u.,ex

cted fie Id


- e mytho logy. F

it was a be ieroghjph i I:: "51:: ript nd the Babyl

new rnvth

we re d c phe red, an d m u
gradu all th is fiel ecovered. What

dded im pet

of rase areh was the fact tha

ppreach to ttl i!!! udy of t k~ e eloJident th at s me of th e 0 was '"'""""""'''''Iogica I in cham c:t r, ""Inee it p


blances to the
sou rces, And

yt hs raccvs he stu dy of


40 gy

.....*:-. '- ~-


followin gin t h.
er rastricted

of ph iI logy a nd Ii
t a anei nt

u ist les, was n



t h. an cient Se mit s n d Eg Ap ro:.:i mately at th of n aImo-;t e nti of fu "dam enta I

ology. In all
.an tribes, in va


a nd pr.a ctica . rial th oples, an d th

and expande

nee of comp ra ive



uti iled by compa

co sists of t ha ............. 11:"
.M hose of the H n


of the Hebre
I'll! first mi1 onium B. C. I

he logi~'§; s the- Seand in

lch .a re derive r date - 111e econd eategc e. ete.,


a nd I!!ge nd

of t he so cal k!d prim it-

i rece t centu tes, M obta ned bv word e moo of tho e peop les nd reported a nth. pologistsgoes wit he ru n, the cent, prim itit as i p ortant a d va Iua ble

re I ted ~cienc

as that of th

cone the

Babyloo i ns and Egyptia 0'5., e. It is th e 'S ritual an religiou s cl ent literat u which perm eaee ths

.• in habita situ.a ed ee n he TigriS: a fro m the Pers.ia Gulf .,0

mod rn

c die oft

land th

alysis of th more important world; reo too. how IoJ.e r, t he will be traces of Sumer n mythology Whate r Ittt Ie is of Sume ri ., mythol gy ts la rgely urmised from the '5@n'S@, g.a rbl e S Lime ria ns ., and who steri s an,d as a ba~i and nu dey s of th ir 0 n mytk .

02 10F~~


as tha s.u mertans ~ cu neifo rm system

the Semit lc (;01'1 Q Lie

k In tha Roman period

as the liter.ary .a d rei to r ma ny centu es to

and like Latin in the



In Is

Ia g.ig

eel for many centYri the study of t nd lite rature r@nuined t"@ basic p ursu it

Ol'lly '5

riba I

d i ntell~ct ... l .a nd s:pi ltual cente rs not a sand A s-s-y Iians, lse of d1e many h as the Eia m rt-es. H u ia ns, Hjttite"5-, and of their content their a_se, th e SLI ria n mytho logi

ding Ca naa ite"S.

as w II as

iI.I rrou

I ta Ie


tl ave pen etrated .a nd permea~d t ose e r East. A. knowledge of ttl e Sumeri an myth

hi'i P ct icallv un known SU eria n mythology hlch I have Ie e of sketch ing briBfl in the page'S to foil The i I begi" wittl the rnyt:h c:e nterin8 about he c ane n

e c eation of rna n. It will

r~rting mls the reade ria n myth

I:: ultu


risi ng III full

I ng th rf!i!!! ve rsions of .d peemin nna's Descent to the I will cone! de- w- h n outl i ne of th ri!!!@ I neous myth ,All in II, e refere r it is hoped ill obta in a airlv a eq ate cress-sect Ion of ion ie, considering the age in olve d, is rna rka Iv road in SCOpE! and n eta il. KUf

ytns of


if a nd (If th

02(11 F~~~

u Itu a re LI~ua Ily he acred ".;tori es

e~p in the angi n d th ~xiste nee of

Th-e major
otthe uni which I h W~u1d,jl TI'I

e hi

ting and not ecipher the the poem-




Ci1 U5i@

rned to d u hcate Ith b~t litt Ie IJJ rlati


p reperl

a rra nged, In 1936

logiE!!my first transl ions of the mytn loin nn s

t to the Nethe r Wo rid II (see @ffon r!!(.{lnstru rt the c sly se e e d to CO nta in a eh wall_; the that I came upon t the pie 'S in t nei r proper c e c:rysta lited from .a n effect s wh ictl eha mete rize Sume nks ve low in tne seaIe of f view of tha d~cip follow-;, When th a 8fven esc riptio nor In cld e coincj e with ttl e 0 rig inal god or ern (] rders his: mes ssage, n matter how Iong.a fl ~ he n t ne me~~en8e r eco.,d t me w ne n the rne"S'S rsions a th us p ra[tirally id ssage m V be restored from

p- 83lr I decided to
ntants of the poem, wh - h

rrning an d s(gnifica nt stc e clue wtlich enabled me

LIti lizatio n of two a n poetry. The fim 0 artistic teebn iq ue but wh i @["@rs tm Iv a boon, t m i poet finds it ad~i~ I~ nt he makes th is re eat 0 th every last deta i Th en,cer to del iver a d d eta iled r is given t Is inrtNcted by nis e is act ... !ly del ive a ntical,.aI nd the brea ks in t e othe r.


d s

sitiOM. d laIe ct

and diH

quee n • .3 3 A nd t hat

may be thy'S 'Sketch usas two d ialact in his epic and he main dialect. nd anothe r knowr. The latter resem les the rnain diale rs 0 nly in shewl ng vera I r!!8 ulsr an cI d1 .aI riation s, What is OrE! int@l'e'sting,. h ow po~ uses th is Em I dialect in re nde ri a fema le, not rna Ie de tty; th 1.1 II_; ttl e spee f tl eaven, areorsgu rty rendered in the so, on sxamining ca efu Ily th@ tsxts befor hat in th e case of severaI pa$~ag~ ha ere meaningless a d unmotivated dupl"

es rnes rna be atio


n ,


.....*:-. '- ~-


ally eentai

re eats in ths E d ribed in n


sp ech of t he godde ss Ina n na i" whic I dtalaet ;jJ II that ttl I!!! poet had prevrm in the rna in dialect. Wit h


rka ble contribution.,;

(I" cI

to a 11 mad

e c hnder sea I. In vented




safeg ua rd i ng OWl1 srsh i p of

En su sta rat

"ger lsi
i mytns.

-god. with ding on t er d esol:llt

de~ign m En id u, an d ttl

E" idu is miss" • pia no pan i t h de-s,ign and


In tha

Le ntra de sign non i!!! of t reasonable e rtain In e I

pictu re we "ate a
r ~ion!i

nd is

s to


c the left i a god, ttl ping dow I'll a tree right naif of tf1e d esi,gn

The lower de I.g I'll rna In u a ph rase as, Tne n her t:t1!! right h a mou tl1 e word use

meuntem. (Reproc:l uce d. by pe


Hen rl kf and )(VI Ili- )



acmil n Co mpan , from • 19 ), plate~ XI • X)(I a,


4, '. -;

cI u as a &u id I succaeded _ of th i~ m; th is wa~ P Llblished t he po m ~tillrem ined largely [l"d pu lished pa had seve ral
t his

ing togetha t @ fi rst part 9.38. 3:4 The I r h aJf of IIgIble, and n t he fir.;t 5 breaks i

193;9 I fou nd in

As a

!! m,

b ri@fly
low: it wa~ : it was nu red by the Wi nd tore t it, root 41"d

huluppu k~of d.e E~


nr while t
qu n of heav

e Eup ing

bro gnt it to E
it in her wh~

by, took tha seat of her mai n

she tended

ei nC1~

har hand and

, an d pia nted
ca rNu





f.c r

the tree

r w b'

she plann~d to m

wood a chair

to r er.;.elf an d
passed, t If U n.3bl e rnatu rsd

nd gre w

ig. B t In.a n na lou nd

n bird -a mythol

the tree. For t ito; se th e snake II h.a d b ui tt its ne-s:t.In i~ crown, th e Z~~ atu re wh ich at tim s wr ugnt m lsehie-f-u ng, In the midd I@ Lil ith tha a id of di!!!sol.a

had placed and


tion had bu ill: e ho

ve r jOyfu I

, And


pocor In a na. tel


h ed bttter tea rs. A d as

ight- hearted e d.awn broke

and her broth

su n-god Utu. ar
to him

his slee pi"g

d betal!@:n he r

t@artully al I hat

at S ume rian he ror

din Ere ch r ovarh Us:ly came to her m~n as-abeut fifty

ne 10 e ru n ner of the
rd Inn na's 'W@epinG S:CUe, He do nn ~d his: und -and wit h hls

talents a"d seve-n

und ~he
S I@w

n weigh t--ove r

tha sn Ice ~




e the

the tree" See i ng w lch. e ZU-Bird fled 0 untai n, and Li lit h ore own he r heuse

e places wh ~d1 sh was tcustorned to

who had i31coomp n i@d


iigal'll@sn now it to Ina n a f r he r chair and

the base of the h hippu tree she m.a d@ kku (proba b Iy a dr m)..a d of its crown e d object called t e mi ku (probably.a

and gave the

his galla ntry. fallows in Gdgamestl's a ivity W I am still una bla

Gi !game h, evide ntly

of twelve

Ii eSi

Wen 0 ur rtory tatem ent t nat he pu kku and

hrough oil ho Ie: rleve them but was quite as U

objetts w h sa (] psnat h it is in p@ comes i lIigible .3 in, it contin es ~bereaus of ttl e ry of the yo "8 ne m ikk fell into he net ne r w d, in t ha g oun d. Gi mesh put in his w.a-s una Ie to rea the m; he p sueces uLAnd so e seated him If ned witn a lien fate ~j

Puk ku. who wi I bring it mild::u, who wi I bn ng It n her world"?

. Enkid u, hi'S(0 'ita nt fol " erie", and s:aid to nj m:
rna ster, why d

~f.atellof the

ry, why is h aart sit: k? pukku, I will bing it up om the n herworkl, 0/' of the ne h~ mikku, I will b ng It up
t hou

er world.
po d Gilgariles h war ed him rs involved in hi!; cend to t he n her wo d~~a~pIe n Id passage, b lef e taee s of the I er regions. id

see nd to the nethe wo rkl. (I rd I spea k to hee, ta k my wo rd,

k.@ Io"ffur thea

k@ m advice.

not put on clea clothes

tf1e (dead)


oes will

me forth ike e ns mies;


ot a noint thyself with the goo

at its

II t n@v wi II crowd a

at throw t ha th row-'5tit: kin t h

1: hey who

we re struck down b

und thee:

ot earry a staff i" thy ha nd.

t ha

shadas wi II flutt@r all



ee P ut sa ndals on thy feet,

e nether world make no cry; nat thy bslevad wifE, Ki not thy beloved 5On. i e not thv hated wife. net tl1y nated 5-0 n,
t ny

"cry" of the n ~her world

he i-; M

cry) to r h er who is lying. for h r T

m other of t he god Nin a2 u who h se 11oty body no ga rme nt toVe sa h oly breast no cloth wraps;. eeded not t he advice of hI" a ga inst w hieh G i lea mesh ha d w the neth@r world .a nd w.a s u e reu po n Gilgam esh r g reatlv tr ippur and ~pt before tl1 e g

tl1 e city 0 god who n the tI1 ird milien" iu m B. C. wa


s.u me -

n pantheon:

OF ther Enllt my pukku fell Into th ikku fe II into t he nether worl t [nkid u to bring tharnup to h 5 seized him.




.....~*:-. 'j m,


Ashak (a demon)


e, has not

But Enlil
ot wi5do m.

neth er wo
earth, Tne sppea red Gilgam@'5.h world. The

broken. b

see to run by Gilg peated his lea befa ' En ki ordar d a nd tc aI w the u n~god Utu did as b0 Gi I,ga rnes . Mane uestioned nkid u a pas:sag~fro he re to the follow I pa niy


ade de n
ut w

h~ e

ho ttl en proceeded to ter-god En ki, the "god t to OP!! n.a hole in the r::nkidu to a seend to n the stl ade of Enbd u want embraced and a saw in th~ nether of the poem is badly Uoquv will serve (J$ an


illustration: k
hast thou seen I"

is h@ tre ted? broken)

ns h a !it thou see n'r

id u: 1'1 hava



is he tre ted? drl


2 10 FI)ft~


ted he re are du pllcat

En kid u,

a nd

he Nethe

belongln.s to the Wortd. i, The one

conta n the

ttl ~ t


blet (14068 i" e Nippu ) publish@d by C i I!!r.ain 1 3,4,36 Th@ one to the N Ippu r colle Ie n of t e M U'SeIJ m of the l5ta nbu I) is a f rnent of pri sm copied by itl1erto u" pu bl is ed- The rna rked pa5s:llges the un iv@r!ie; fa r ig nifica nt fur the eo 3;7 an d note the tra nslite


in the Nipp ur ollection Iic'l'r':lIM •.rt 38 h ere is 0 ne the 20

'Of the U nive rsity

u pllcatln.g pi eees

the te>.1: of he poem liThe ion of , S1), In first five lin es ~re ignjfi~ nt for the ot the crest io of the tra MUte ration. ee page
un ive rse: fur the an d note 39.


e :]'~PAP.A T o


~ FOr di!'Slifp1i".;)tJ.


~ H EAve I'll PO!ilL!!' p;lI£


Gilgi1l"1l@'5h: 4' Hi m w En kid u: "I h.3V~ SP::!e Gil,ga tne'5h: i, How is; Enkidui "Uke . , , hi Gilga mesh:
Enkid u: "I


seen I"

Hi m w


Gil,ga rY'!Ie'Sh

How is

En kid u: I' Like· .a 1-1 e bringo; just ice to

Gil,ga rY'!Ie'Sh


Hi m w

En kid u: 1'1 hava 5!!@ Gilga rne-sh: How i~


Enkidu: "like






Gilgam!!Si :" Him who h as E nkid u:"1 aw seen, I Gilgam!!5 : "H ow is n@ tra E"nkidLI:" 0 ne clQ~eto tI'I


n sons h ast t hou see I"

Gilgame~ : "H im whose d plain hast he u ",oon?~ E nkid u:"1 aw seen, I Gilgam!!5 E"nkidLI: .. d cdy lie'; (u n buried) i the

in the net he r world


duction to ttl is com est-

Afte.r he-a

n had been m

After eart had been sepa After the a me of ma n ha

Afte.r An d CiiI mad off h~ v@ After En Ii ad ca rried off rt. After Ere klga I tl ad bee n rr ed off into Ku r as Its prize;

After he After the After Enk

e ad §;~t sa it

r Kur

had set

, 38

Agai nst t king the sma II ne it (Ku r) hurled, Agal nst E kl, the large one it u rled;



..... *:-. '- ~-



Againrt t eking, th e Li ke a If deve urs,


If we pa rap hra may be word@d s fullows~

we re separated an d me t hereu po n the c t Ion of god, ttl e n ea rri @ant1. All th is I'll§. to be O(OJ rred o;om et ing d isnJ pt' (OiIJ nte rpa rt of t G ree k Pe of tne nettl e r rid, but goddess, was ca '@doff in No doubt to av nge th is d attack Ku r, Tne er, evide dragen, did not s nd idly by .aga in 51 the ke!! of E nkf s .attacked EnLi'o:; b

he eentents of 1'1 is pass ge, it !!n and !!.a rt:h, 0 19i nallv 0 ite d, d away from ea ct:he and was 0 rdained. n, the h avenA

ile En iii, the a ir- ad, ca rr

e h hen, ho For 1: he god dess sres hk i.g tl one, whem we now as origina ltv was robablv nsthar world, arhaps the wate r-gcd nki set 0 be con ceived s a mon hurled stones, I rge and t, wt1 ile- the :p i meval ar, Our poem d es not g' En ki and Ku r, s nee the ion has nothin to do wrom posit ion;' wa'50pia use the 5umeri n scrib~ ""wit h several In rod ueee


rd iog to pia

b b

er or malt aters
e the

tosmogo" it 0 r c
basic conte nts

ntire h the

the h ead of the

a ccustomed to b
dea ling wittl e roe
It is from the f

rst ha If of t

inned uctio n

t at we


t herefere ttl e fol


· At one time t1 eaven


d e rtf1 we re un ited.

Some of t he god 5 e iste nd earth. · Upon the se pa ratio

!!av!! n, but it was the


eave n and earth, it

[nlil who carried ~ted


ave bee" expected. the he-aven-god An


me ng the cruc~ I pc I


re- t he following

· Were heave n a nd e

· Wnat was the sha pE!:
u me


these three
SU me rian te>.1'5 our

@i1'iIE n

an d ea rth


tI'I e created prod u

rib s the
irt:h in h@.av@n of the s i rits of cattle ;iI nd grai." nt down to ea rth to ring ('(10; pe rity to man in. than


e following two line"5:

After on the mo An had cau sed

arth, el"5i]to be born-

It is not iI.I nre asona ble t eant1 I,U1 ited were conee bottom of the @,ilrt:h a nd ;, The mytn liThe C rea ion of dese rioos th e fa 511 ni g and io .agricu Itu ["31 i mpie: ment

p of the h~.a\P@n ( ee p. 51). wt1ic t nis valaa bl

ths follow in

passage: 111e lord. that

Th e lord wi'! ese

Iv he

ca u5ed to

~clSlon En Iii. wt10 br~ng5 up t he I_O

Took ea re to rno

And so we have the an er to 0 god e nli L whe se P(I rated and re If nOW we 'Sum up the c

51 on:

tt was the ai

n from ea rtl1. concepts of til

e un i\Ie rse, ttl

Su me ria ns, ewlved to

may be stated as follows



was 1: he pnmev I sea,

bl rt h. an d it is; not un Ii havi ng e)!isted ete rnally 2, Th e prim~'Va I sea b

tv that
ot the

heaven and earth united




eived as gods i
and K {e.iJ


W.iJ'5. th


the ai

od EnliL

The identp


meu nta in

the rl s:in of Utu. the sun ays, a nd sa kn ife. He p laces hi ile (Itt ell d il1g d eit ie s ttl row ope



lion figure

he water-g e nthro !'lied ill h is. 'sea house d@5C ibed in" En ra and E du ~ the center uw. the sun-god. ith on (I e rou !, in,g de ity - Ttw len oil gatepost, is proba bty oil n mend n Utu and nkl, who r.; ell mbl


,an u niden . ied god with fi@ry

he scene ls to Nipp ur (se 47). The ste a sna ke, wh i Ie t e prow ends king oil punt in ol-!!. In the ural Implemer. and a hum a vegetation cess, perha p. de 55 of pla nts ( ee p, S7), or

re min Iseent of Na of the boat ends i ., the body of a god bon .a re v,arious n-headed lior.. a to be ide ntif~ as Asn, the god d e

what is preba

Iv a divine

con n ubi


.....*:-. '- ~-


(Reprod uced,

y, from

4. EnliL the air-


ne r An ea rri

nile his

Ki. tha aarth, Th union of f times; she is; pe aps to b~ i va riou Sily Nin m • ·great q
(eesrn icl mou

stags for the

.and the estaal ls

~heave n7~.a rth, I'


be s ubd ivided




is born of

Nann.a. th tl1e heave

,~I "tt1

e sta rs, a


on !!S, I' perha p!i the pia ats, wal

Utu, th@ '5. od, who rises i sets: in the OU ntain of the any boat 0 C a riot used by th Nor is rt c I a ju'&t wt1 at ne d t at upon re.ild1 in
h day he co rrti rUJ

ast" and ntion of the sky,

ountaln his jo rney at n'

d a ITwing at t he ~ u by the e~ant d to ths sun- 0 wni[ h reads: 4 , shepherd of ttl p,

thou Iif!st dow n, th~

ot the

ut LI, whe n tho


e hor zon g reIN br' hill_;.ga unu,



sen i

of the

'5U n

wnic:h roE!! 5; 4S d

eel head to ths

of h is

nave eonee ived of Utu as '5ileeping

r deities

is. both
le-god, in order

r.g.a 0 i tion ot the un N@

n myth of t he IiI. the Th@ r@ co ncept ation on a rmer-g



e in
io iog

u r.

re an d ivill Choose 5 the

of th earth d ~T h

contents we now h a hole the mcon-god Na g of Na.,na; The J @V!!! 0 arE' of pri ma i .0 rigin and ertablis The-s.e are Emes;h a Creatio n of the Pic k

e wh.o Ily
na: they umey of
rta nee

m ~nt of d Ente n:


and Grai

to [ ch

N inhu rsag: rgi31n iZi1ti Eridu: the


ffi1 i rs of the Wate r-god;

he Ea rth and its CuItu ral

Nippur; I

the Wate r-god to sf@ r of tn@ Arts of C ivilizi3l1ion

ur e.y of

from [rid

We ~hall n

p reed

to sketch briefly the

these myth : thel wea Ith and va riety, it is



eva Iuate t ne SU menan



th t @ir spiritual

ral igiou s

JNG OF NANNA II ThiS del ig tful

rom p let!!:. It 152 lines of te>n., 49 is almost ~n evolv!!:d to I!!xpl.1 n the i

begetting of th
iI.I nderwer

n-god Na n Nin

as we II


that of the th ree

d de it es, Nergat

, a d.a th i rd whese name- is;

po m fu m i shes us with the m rphosls of .a god: EnIii nt i Ivld ua I'i In Impregnating ..w rid de-it ies, desc riptiv@ of s ms to be conceived as of an:

illegi bla. first kno

i terpreted t n @x m e of the assu mes e for th ree d Iffe t1 is; wrfu N ., Iii w· 1'1 t e th ree net right

Tne poe

ur, t he city, kind Iy wa II:'

salla, fts pu

rasa rra. it.,.

ulal, its. well "unbirdur i pu
Eli hold

here th e boats stand,

water, canal

nlil its yaung m





.adviCE!: to

Ninlil foil

of the ,gate41 tken PLATEXJ.




to r

Su I'neri.a

i the Nippur u Ii$hed by the n Dt5, thoug h yt 0108V, h~ve


·ble a II these ye ars. SU me rological

the: past q uarta r-ea ntury and the

nine add ition al fragm ants (e ight in

one in the Mus@um of the Ancient

reccnstrucnen an d translatlen of rked passage eenta ins the tol rowing

see ms

to ta ke for him, The p

nd a.,s-we rs
s:ilge in

centai n

refu a 1 to d iv

een ce ive s Mes mta-ea, re co ki ne: of the net @rworld In splts flavor of th i-s r rna rka b I passage

resu It Ni nlil a Nergal. the

ttl e un i n IgI If! pa rts, the ill be rea il .3 ea ren t fro m

t he following q
En Iii..
NLina daparte ir (.3 na from the city, of Enlilj ... depart the city.

En Iii w Iked, N In II followe • N un a ir wa Ik-e r t ne rna i followed.

Oman 111y qu

the lock, he pure I k

n Ninlil

coming: bout me.

Tell he

If she a ksthee

not whe e I am."

proacha the man of the g.a e, man

fthe gata the lock. he pure I

fthe bol




Fou r lines folio

contal n ng th~ su . The n c mes the

t heir mean ing is obscu

betwe en N in 1il and En 1II the latte the gate·':

02(1 OF~~

Ni n lil~ liT a, En iii i'5. th Enlil; "If n w theu art


ki g, but Y ueen,


thy q ue@n. I' t my hand tou h t

Ninlil: "Th

'water' of hV lng th

bright 'water' i in

Tne hsart."

na, the br" ht wate r' is in

It let

go towa rd he-a en,


'water,' Ii

'ware of mv king, go oay down in the rt n t1 er, abited with her a ha ca used to 10

rd ea rt .' p, 46

EnIiI. '5 the man gate, He kl ed her. be 01'1 btted kis~d her ha -ng co The ~ er" of . , slarnta over (h e r) hea rt.

@ity Ninaz world, th n all ethe

tting of the et n of ttl!! river of whom Enlil i

E"nlilwalk d, Nin IiItol N~namnlr walked. th E nlil says th e rna n th~ manorld. the ma n


02 10F~~

. ...t!,

.......*:-. . ~N in Iii a pproa cha t ha

man of the riv!!!r of tn@ n

wortdr t ha man

world, tne marl evou ring riveri "0 man of the ri ar of tha nether
devou ring rive r.

EnIii, thy king, w ere is. he going t'

En Iii .a nsWf! rs he fur the man of the river of the

man evou ring riv~r: "En III. the king a II the lands, has comma nded
world, the

Th@ s bsta nee of the mma nd ls U ninta Iligible. foil d ia 10 e betw.e~ n Nin Iii a nd Enlit the lane r im persona i

th til

th e river of the

ether workl, the ma n-devou rln

e~ :

N in Iii: "trua, En I Iis thy king. but I .a m tny q u@@ n. EnIii: "If now til a rt my q ueen, Iet my ha nd tou

N in Iii: ~'The IW
heart, The 'wale r'


of thv king, the bright Iwaterl s n na, t he brig ht 'w.ate r' is in

EnIii: 'The IWale 'of my king, let it go toward he let h go towdird .iI rth, let mv 'wat r,' Iike the 'water' of mv ki ng. g ward earth, ~ Eniii, asthe man of the ri\ter of tne nett1er world,
man-devon ring 1-1 avjng

l.ay down in t ha . . . . I-I~ kis~~dher. h cohabited with her, p. 47


kl~~ed h ,t1av 11'18 cohabited w tth he r, ,., e llwate rt of irl azUr t ne king of , , ., he ca used over (n@r, heart,
The em then co nt I eo; IN tth

u nde

orld deity whes

t he begetting of th 1'1rne i's iIlegible; tf1 is time a

om :iI bri

hi impe Non ales.



p:il5S..E!g!!! in decrees

abun anee a nd ttl e king

e Sume tans of he thir millennium 8. C" Ni sp i u;(I1 te r of th ir eou n ry- Its tutela ry deity. lea ing god f the u meri i3I pa ntheon: his te mpl • fkur. th~ ~ 1m rtant emple In sumer, And 'So, ttl bleo;.,lf'lg of prosperity ntial f r the esta blistl me nt other important cit ie s of Su r, such a s .and U , To o •n th bl !!:ssin&. the tute Iii To
re CO cejved as t ravelling to N Ippu

j ust ~ud1 a Ur to. i pp I,Jr 0 t ne moon -ged Na I'IIna (;(1150 known as nand h.c irba aft th t Llt@lary de ity of Ur. n th rs. myth, as I the p r ceding n III-Nj III com position, the c Ies such a s Nip ur and be fu built and lich in an-i al and plant life. a!tnoug st ill n oneJ(i'Ste ...t, d .a nd of the glo of Nlpp ins Nan na's decision

m p le,

u r myttl SO d esen


con inues a

poem to vi~it hls

0 ur


rs City:
nd before hi..,father, in-d: I weu Id go, bela re m father
Id go.

before my fat h

I wau Id

ar Enl I would stand;


..... *:-. '- ~I, to




rnv c -

y rncths r N i n.1 would


Before my ather I wou

And sc he loads p his g~ta pia nes• .a nd an im.a I , On hrs, jo !itOp at fN [l"d h is boat ma two [itiE!:s IN hosa n met a nd greete d arrfves at N ippur: Atd,@ lapi lazuli quay, he q drew up hi boat Atth whit A".;hgjrbab ar drew up i$ bo his beg r, he stati on hi eh a'S'SCI rtment tree'S. m Ur to Nlpp r Nanna m (71, La rsa, E h, and each of thasa din na is te la rv deity, i ally he

of En Iii, Nan n uay, the q Ll1iV

On. t he . , , of t




of EnliL

up his At the wh' q~ay. the A".; gjrba b ar drew up h On tne . - . the fathe s~lf, To th ~ gat keeper of E: "Open the Open the Open tne forth, 0 pe the hcu se, O. , '. wt10 makest the house, Gab!k!!:@ pe • OP!!! n tha the heuse.


e forth. open
protecting &!!: n i

Th-e gate kee per

2010 ~~~

e forth.

e two god 5 fea

rtlow. mu h grain.
mE!! •••

grass and
p, 49


e ... and ineya rd give

e noney an d

d E"lil accedes to his

He gave hi To hew


(I- 2(1 0 F~~


'INW'rN.r~~jJ(I~-II'iI I


exta t Su rneria n p.a ra lIel to the

ugh ends with

reconciliatio n

ove r t hr@!!:h u ndred Ii D@'S,

lete; because of the rUJ me r15 t herefe re often d ifficu It ents of the poem may be


he a i..~god tl iJS set tl is; 1nd 0 bring fontl trees. and gra in esta bli5ih a bu nda "te nd p s perity in the I~nd - For t his

two cu ural beings, t t nis


thers Em@sh and Enten, .a repeclfic d unes. The teilrt is;


d. an d Ii: n I ass lB ns to amaged



pc int at it s impos$ible to rna ke out the es.e d utie$; the IIOWingve ry brief intelligible
eneral direction: bi rth to the lam b. the



much filt: .a nd milk



goat ttl e sheep,

112.1 rt h

rej ite, he wid@

he hOI d them

set LIP t ej r nests p.

111e fi~h


sea, i

mpland he

nad them lay

, he csu s;ed to bea r fru it, multiplv,

an (the gra i n goddess), the lei used rsngth to ;jJpp~ar, mesh rougnt into e"l'listence the tre Idsr @ mad wid@ tha sta bles an d shaapf n th e fa s he multi pi ied the prod LI he. " e ea use d to cover the earth, ne (I eu da nt ha rve-st he ea used to be b ught j" 0 t @ COl used the gr.a na riss to b!! a p@d hi .
ut betwee" t ne two brot h
challenges [ pr:xiti n of ''fa r er of the god~.· And sc they ea en states niSi ease before to NI P I· comp ai


e natu re of their

0 rigin al

d ties


- Seve

sue, a d ti nally Em~h


n s dep let a deity in c:1o~erei ign two god", are g uid ing a lion ;(I nd ;(I wormlike d rI18 olding.a plow in front of hi h lch sprouts apia nt an d 0 ; in f nt of him a deity lead'l a ~ nis a ms, I.,. the lowe r de-s.ign ;(I n plow is trave IIi ng in a beat whos d wtJ prow ends In th e body

to d@pirt a n offering of th I c:nptjo, A worshi pp~r carry Ing a ga z a g d ss no Id ng a vase, from wh ich f1 wate T e WOI"5i ipper sta nds before a" other parha s be idII! tified as In an na in the role

right dby

ms of
omay !!:'5S of



..;}.._ ~.I!!!re m


ut rt is he two deities to
O'5tly, 80th

m tl1 e ir she u Iders

with dub a d bow, wh ill:!! ;iI ra p~ be identified as La

~s faei

n 1m may

inscription'S. wl1 it: h nave 1:!!.i31"!i of gra i n Ie ,god is eq u ipped h is feet. He may [R"Ilrll"-liI'OC. wh ile the

be Ash

in goddess (~


d uced by pe rrni~sion of fran n, C'VIInder Sea 15,

Companv, from

e, and XlXe.)

·0 fa her Entil. knowl

_g iven me, I ere I.Ig ht


atar of abundance,

farm I made


Li ke sh na n, the kindly

igh the gra na ries, strengt h to ap1I~"":n.r<.:l

pear; Now mesh. the . , , . t he hea of the fie Ids,

who knows; not the





t strength. on

At the p lace of the king ,

f r1l@'5.h 's


fl atten ng ph r s IIi,gible. Tnen: but as vet iUnl

of the q uarrel which cunningly dire ed 1:0 wi

rs f l"Il@'!ih and nten:

p roduC:ing water


r of the god'& ne a'S prod u

V son, how dost

hou co



e and

r ha n E.rIl@!i h, ~r Enlit pra i-;e-I


poem e

although not

ting of 108 Ii,.. s Sl is w of the pa!i!i g@s still

s.u menan


the u nNe rse,


n to the Suma rian


fu II u ndersta nd ing mu lat Ion of living c

ay 1'1 ope to overee to the lit~r.aI word.

c 10

Th!!: lord wh osa d eisi En lit who. br.ngs p th nait@rabll! seed of the Iand r y he awn from ea y ea rth from he ha creature whir ml! to and ea 111'1·'eN ipp rJ he stret he
;iI rE

Took ca re to mov aw

Took (:(1 re to rno out the .. ,

!-I@ 1-1 e


In order to rnaka ow In the "bond of h ave

bro LI8ht tn@ p k,n:


@xistencl!. th


Int rod ueee la or, d creed the


Upon ti'le pitkax nd b sket he directs th En Iii made his pi c ax @ had, 1-1 is pickax of gold wh head is of 1.3 a uIl, pis

111e pickax of nis ou • of , .. silver and H is pickax whose . - is lapi's lazul i,



Whose teeth is a on a-homed O:llla Tne lord calied u tne pickall!. de

He set tha kind u, the h olv crow n, The hea d of man he pia ted in the


Before EnIii he ( The n na ki w He placed it (t he Tney give tne pic


an?1 covers nis

I nd.

Upon his bla ek-h aded poop Ie he I

stood about hi, it: ka>t:?l a s a gift i t

Tney 'SOothe Enli I IN tth prayer.

to the bla ck-h ad d p opl

Tne picka:lll and t e ba sket b uikl ci es, The steadfast no Sf! tI1!! pickax bu i house th e pi o;:ax sta bl ish ~'S. Tne 'Steadfast no se it eauses to p The house wh ich rebels agai nst th
The hou'ie wi'! ich is not su bmi~'j ive

ki g.

Tne picka:ll!rna ke it su bml ~S~ to he i ng

Of the bad . . . pi nts it c rushe-s

PIucks at th e roo s, te ars at the 0' Tne picka:ll!".; are the ... p ls nts; p Tne picka:lll, i~ fa decreed by fat
The picka x is




l' ..... *:-. '- ..~00, .i3 nd h na n, t ne grai n-god des'S, rs sents a not er variatjo C'Ai ~Ab!!1 motif in N@:iIr lEa mytholOGY. bar and a rd ing to cu r myth. were eated in the reatien d'I.a t h god$ In order that tl1 e An n n ns kt the ch Idren and

myt h

s 3:

La ha , t ha cattle


ne ne ave n-god

An, might have food to eat an d c r, But th@ An u n naki w@r U DOl b Ie to m ke etfuc:.tiv product§; of these

t es

deitie it to re t h ma n WG$ created. All tl1 is is told In an I wh ch, beca use of its s ignific "00 tor the S ot h@ craatlon of rna n, is q oted in fu II 0 p.a age following the introd ction i'!i a no d riboe", the descent of La a rand A$h n

e.dV th i s s
trod uctory

me ria n co
pa{:;!!S 72-

her po~ti e

11 nd the a

CIJ fty

ra I ben

whit h t ney b stow on rna to. En IiI:



In t hcse d.a~ En ki sa "Fathe r E nlit La ha ran

Asl1 na n, 111ey who loIave bee n eated in the u Ikug. l@t us -COl use them to ascend from t e Ou Ikug."

At the pu re we rd of E ki an d En Iii, nd ed fro m t e Dul kllg. lahar and A'Shnan de

For La ha r th!!!y (Enlil.a den ki) sat up tn@ she@: Pia nts, h erbs, and ... hey present t him; p. 54

for Asn nan



Plow .a nd yok@ th!!!y P nt to ha r. La ha r stan ding in hiss ee pfold. A sh e p he rd I ncrea sing the boo unty of he st1ee
he; k.hnan '51:and inc. 01 me {:;the crops, A ma id ki nd Iv an d bou lful is she,

Abu nda nee of heave n .. ,



La h rand Ast1" n cause to appea r,

th!!y b ught
.iI b un d anca,

The dacreas of !! god @v direct. the wa houses th~y mutt p , The contents they fll full. Tne rtoret1 OU
In t

brougt1 tf1 e brearh of Iire,

house of he poe


tn@ dust

ring t hey b in.g abu Tne pair of the • whe re Bri t1eavy i., ease in The plaos wt1!! they the sit they -s;u ply, rh made goo d1e ne
But then

da nee: er t hev sta nd, the use; nd they sata, the


It of An a nd EnIII. much wine and


ta ar and AI§.


to q uarrel

n the far sand Ids, In the arg e nSiIJec, ea deity e lied it".; a h ~eme nts an d of its oPPO nt. Fi nally En Iii and Enk i intervened,

t:t1!! po!!m

ry and r simplicity af th ~ m IXt remark ble co moos itio ns grou p. Tne e ro is En k the 8 wate r~8od of t one of the fou r creat ng de iti s of Su mer; h is eou ntarpa is PO'5f!id • Th@ laes of ou r '5tcry district wh' h i-s; p~rh a to be i ent ifi~d with ea tl1 e Pe rsia G IJ If an d wh idl ., hi5torica I tl m act ... Ity" lay eu ts ide of a d ascription Dilmu n a
Both for i -racy of

I@ th is

in IOU r e ti e e iIJmer" 10 est G is Di 1miLl'r .a r she s, the r ins - h a




is a p~re plate, th e nd Oil mu is a dean pi aes. the lan.d Oi Imu

is a

'lien uttered

no cries,

not t he cry of the- ki e.


nate ed not the Ia mb,


kid~ k i Iii ng dog.

e gra i n-de-vo Llring b

... not tts; yo~ ng. tne head,

ys not ~1 dim sick~

savs not -I am sick- ea ded, woman II_;ays not ~I old




an old rna


id is not ... in th@ c , th ~ river Lrtte rs no . . . .

eer d es not ... ,

r utte

"'0 wail,

water. nki for

ha sun-g Utu to un, As a r suit: ri nks tle wate r of a bunda., e,



ttl water of abun da nee.

r Witte r, behold t ney a rf! bacoma lis

ing er n in!! rna nths, the months of ke ,

r •


fat like good buner,

u ..... *:-. '- ..~.. , fat.

PLATE )(11

Th is is a P ot the univ than 2S

raph of i3I Muse u m) pu bl is ago unde the

in the Niflpur bv Stephen ta n

• ~Sumerlan Epic
the time (If its P phic::al '51:ud ies a nd the conte nderstcod, Th

the Flood a
Sumerian relativelv d tfficu It interpret se ientific publicaf

Fall of

the result

TI1-e last 1



il!:5C1'~tI(JI' S!"I!" cpposIliI!: Pile;!,)



Ni nsa r i tu m is i


by he
goddess N in k u

r n ne
Nin r,

d ¥ of h gives bi rt h to too, is ten imp re ated by E" ki an godds of pia nts, th is pia nt-god gra nd m the r Nin h g, who off~r; tutu re lat lensh I ittl en kl, Pa rt m udl broke" I fa il wt1 ate , Uttu follows it i~ in t ur impregn t by Enki and p the pia nts; t h Enki, i

s n g

fjn allv is born ttu, he new.a pp@ars h r gre ad\!'lee pe rtine t to e r passage is bre en, nd et to eernpreh "d, II detail, As a r 5U It t d iffe rent plan s sp

nd, lies stretch d


nki: "Wh t is ttl is, what is t is

L~ng,his ts the ' t for njm a nd he i has aatsn a II t iII be re called, is nes, C~ rses Enkl.





..;}.._ ~.-


~d5 in

of the hLII'Sag rapidly



laI deity for eac h of E: kl's pa i ns. Thls 'S 0 ur poem ru ns as. follow'S:
N inh u rsa,c: I'My



Enki: "My, .. hurts; me." N I.,h U rsag: "To the god

N in h u rsa,c: I'My


En ki: "My hip hu rts me, N I.,h U rsag : "To the god
N inh u rsa,c: I'My

int~ II gave birth



hat h u rts thaa

Nin'3utu I ga

En ki: "My toot h h LJ rts m . N I.,h U rsag: "To the godd tt'ui!e!'
N in h u rsag: My brother.

hat hurts the ~


E.,ki: "MV meet h hum N i., h u rsag i "To the godd thee!' N I.,h U rsag: "My brother. En ki: "My , - . hu rt5i me,"
N inh u rsa,c: I'To

-s Ni., kasi I gave birth

hat t1 u res the e "
ElZi I gave

the god

bin" f r tha

N I.,h U rsag: "My brother. En ki: "My -side hurts me.

hat t1 u res the e "