Stefano Anastasio and Barbara Arbeid present the photo-archives of archaeologist and photographer John Alfred Spranger (1889-1968)
The importance of early photo-archives for archaeology
Early photo archives are becoming an increasingly important source of information for archaeology. This is, of course, a positive trend: any effort to make “forgotten” data available to the scientific community is to be welcomed.
Early photos may prove a powerful tool for protecting and promoting the value of archaeological heritage.
Hopefully, the current interest in early photo-archives will result in an increasing number of published archives. This will help archaeologists enhance their research, as well as the protection and conservation of the archaeological heritage.
John Alfred Spranger
John Alfred Spranger was born in Florence on 24 June 1889. His father, William, moved to Tuscany from England in the middle of the nineteenth century and was a professor at the Academy of Arts and Drawings in Florence. John Alfred was a leading figure in the cultural milieu of Florence at the beginning of the twentieth century. Both archaeologist and photographer (as well as engineer, topographer, mountain climber, art collector…), he was the author of several photo reportages detailing archaeological monuments and landscapes especially in Italy, Albania, Greece, Canada, Egypt, and Mesopotamia.
In 1913-1914, he participated in the Filippo De Filippi Expedition to the Himalayan Karakoram, as assistant topographer. The photographers of the expedition – Cesare Antilli, Major of the Italian Army, and Giorgio Abetti, a Florentine astronomer – systematically used cameras during the expedition, creating a real reportage, and Spranger surely gained a great passion for photography thanks to this expedition.
Fig. 1. Harry Burton at work in Deir el-Bahari (1929). The photo on the right corresponds to no. 4 marked on the map.
In the 1920s-1930s, he took part in a number of Etruscan excavations in Tuscany and paid great attention to the use of the camera to document the excavation work in progress. During this period, he spent time with Harry Burton, photographer of the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. It was, in fact, in Florence that Burton was hired as a photographer and archaeologist by Theodore M. Davis, who obtained the concession for the excavations in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. During his stay in Florence, Burton spent time with Spranger and both were involved together in a number of Etruscan excavations. Their friendship is witnessed by Spranger in his Egyptian album, where Burton is portrayed in some photos taken in 1929 during the excavations at Deir el-Bahari (see fig. 1). Spranger died in 1968 at Newbury, in England, and was buried in Florence.
The publication of Spranger’s photo-archives
The passion for photography accompanied Spranger for life. He took thousands of photographs, collecting them in refined photo-albums, consistent in shape, size and style, enriched by annotations, topographic maps and plans (most of the original stereograms were recently retrieved at the public library of Vaiano, a small town close to Florence where many documents from Spranger’s family are held today). On Spranger’s death, some albums, i.e. those dedicated to “archaeological subjects” were donated by his heirs to the then Superintendency of Antiquities of Etruria, and are currently held at the Photo-Archive of the Archaeological Museum of Florence. The volume published by Archaeopress presents the photos dedicated to a trip to Egypt in 1929 and a trip to Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1936, as well as to some surveys and excavations carried out in Etruscan archaeological sites in Tuscany between 1932 and 1935.
Fig. 2. The map of the témenos of Ur (1936), with the photo perspectives and camera angles marked and numbered. On the right, photos corresponding to no. 3 (ziqqurat, from NE) and no. 8 (ziqqurat and courtyard of Temple of Nannar, from N).
Spranger’s photos are particularly meaningful, especially because he combined his skills in using the camera with a great expertise in archaeology and topography. He often glued maps of the sites he had surveyed on the albums, on which all perspectives and camera angles were marked and numbered (see an example in fig. 2). As a result of this, he was able to create outstanding “georeferenced” sets of photos for many archaeological sites: Giza, Heliopolis, Menphis, Saqqara, Beni Hasan, Abydos, Dendera, Medinet Habu, Karnak, Luxor, Thebes and Deir el-Bahari, in Egypt Ur, al-Ubaid, Uruk, Nippur, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Birs Nimrud in Mesopotamia the tholos of Casaglia, the tumulus of Montefortini and the necropolis of Casone, Riparbella, La Ripa in Tuscany.
Fig. 3. Excavation of a tomb at the necropolis of La Ripa, in Tuscany (1933).
Cover photo: Page from an album dedicated to the temple of Seti I in Abido, Egypt. On the left is the temple plan, with perspectives and camera angles numbered so as to allow identification of the related photographs, in turn numbered and placed on the right page.
About the authors
Stefano Anastasio has carried out archaeological researches in Italy (Sardinia, Tuscany), Syria, Turkey, Jordan and currently works at the Archaeological Photo Archive of the Superintendency of Florence. His main research interests are the Mesopotamian Iron Age pottery and architecture, the building archaeology and the use of the early photo archives for the study of the Near Eastern archaeology.
Barbara Arbeid is an archaeologist at the Superintendency of Florence, appointed to the archaeological heritage protection service. Her main research interests are the archaeology of Norther Etruria, the Etruscan bronze craftsmanship, the archaeological collecting and photography.
Egitto, Iraq ed Etruria nelle fotografie di John Alfred Spranger Viaggi e ricerche archeologiche (1929-1936) by Stefano Anastasio and Barbara Arbeid. Archaeopress Archaeology, Oxford, 2019.
205x290mm 178 pages highly illustrated throughout in sepia and black & white. Italian text with English summary.
Paperback: ISBN 9781789691269. £35.00.
eBook: ISBN 9781789691276. From £16.00 (+VAT if appl.).
Also available from Archaeopress
The 1927–1938 Italian Archaeological Expedition to Transjordan in Renato Bartoccini’s Archives by Stefano Anastasio and Lucia Botarelli. Archaeopress Archaeology, Oxford, 2015.
210x297mm ii+242 pages extensively illustrated throughout in black & white.
Paperback: ISBN 9781784911188. £40.00.
eBook: ISBN 9781784911195. From £16.00 (+VAT if appl.).
Ceramiche vicinorientali della Collezione Popolani by Stefano Anastasio and Lucia Botarelli. Archaeopress Archaeology, Oxford, 2016.
170x240mm vi+200 pages illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. Italian text with English summary.
Paperback: ISBN 9781784914646. £34.00.
eBook: ISBN 9781784914653. From £16.00 (+VAT if appl.).
Archeologia a Firenze: Città e Territorio Atti del Workshop. Firenze, 12-13 Aprile 2013 edited by Valeria d’Aquino, Guido Guarducci, Silvia Nencetti and Stefano Valentini. Archaeopress Archaeology, Oxford, 2015.
210x297mm iv+438 pages illustrated throughout in black & white. Italian text. Abstracts for all papers in Italian & English.
Paperback: ISBN 9781784910587. £58.00
eBook: ISBN 9781784910594. From £16.00 (+VAT if appl.).
East meets West at the British Museum
A conference on the Rise of Parthia taking place in April 2020
The Parthian empire is by far the least understood of the great empires of antiquity. Until recently our knowledge has been both hazy and Euro-centric. In recent decades, however, new approaches have been adopted and these, together with new archaeological discoveries, are changing our preconceptions. Recognising this, in April 2020 the British Musuem will host leading international scholars presenting their most recent research on the history, culture and archaeology of the early Parthian Empire. Set against the complex political scenario of Iran, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor in the 2nd-1st centuries BC, speakers will address a wide range of issues on the rise of the empire and the relationship of the early Arsacids with their neighbours. Contributions will include re-evaluations of historical sources, analyses of material datasets, numismatics and reports on new work in the field. Specific themes addressed will include diplomacy, religion, sculpture, painting, chronology, ideological motifs, warfare and trade. This will lead to the promulgation of new models and a new understanding of the social, economic and political systems leading to the emergence of the Empire.
The conference will run in conjunction with two British Museum exhibitions – Rivalling Rome: Parthian coins and culture (April – September 2020) in the Museum itself and the touring exhibition Ancient Iraq: New Discoveries, travelling to Nottingham and Newcastle (March-November 2020).
For details about the conference, including how to register, please visit the page on the British Museum website:
For any queries, contact the Organising Committee on [email protected]
Sebastien Rey, Director of the British Museum’s Tello/Ancient Girsu Project and Lead Archaeologist for the Iraq Scheme, provides an introduction and overview for the Tello/Girsu excavations and their place within the Iraq Scheme.
The Iraq Scheme is a programme funded by the UK government, through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, directed by Jonathan Tubb (keeper of the ME department), and delivered through the British Museum, with the aim of building capacity in the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage by training Iraqi archaeologists in cultural heritage management and practical fieldwork skills. The training is intended to provide participants with the expertise and skills they need to face the challenges of documenting and stabilising severely disrupted and damaged heritage sites in preparation for potential reconstruction. The training consists of two months based in London at the British Museum followed by two months hands-on training on site in Iraq. This practical training takes place at the two field projects of the Iraq Scheme, in the south of Iraq at the site of Tello, and in the north at the Darband-i Rania in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
Excavation training at the temple site (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
Tello, the modern Arabic name for the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, is one of the earliest known cities of the world together with Uruk, Eridu and Ur. In the 3rd millennium BC Girsu was considered the sanctuary of the Sumerian heroic god. It was the sacred metropolis and centre of a city-state that lay in the south-easternmost part of the Mesopotamian alluvium. Pioneering explorations carried out between 1877 and 1933 and the decipherment of the cuneiform tablets discovered there revealed to the world the existence of the Sumerians who invented writing 5,000 years ago and may have developed a primitive form of democracy or polyarchy well before the ancient Greeks.
For the Gods of Girsu: City-State Formation in Ancient Sumer (Rey, Sébastien, Oxford, Archaeopress, 2016)
Like the recently liberated Assyrian capitals of northern Mesopotamia, Nimrud or Nineveh, Girsu is a mega-site extensively excavated in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a similar topographical layout shaped by huge excavation pits and spoil heaps. It includes fragile remains of monumental architecture excavated before World War II such as the Bridge of Girsu – the oldest bridge as yet brought to light, which is the focus of site conservation. Tello is therefore a site of the first order, ideal for delivering the training for the Iraqi archaeologists in the context of a fully-fledged research programme.
The story of the renewed field-work at Tello-Girsu, after some eighty years of interruption, is a palimpsest of archaeological layers spanning five thousand years which reflects superimposed or overlapping destinies of gods, demons, and men.
The central protagonist is the mighty god Ningirsu, the tutelary deity of the city who battled fiercely with the demons of the primordial Mountain where both the Tigris and Euphrates originate, and, thus, made possible the introduction of irrigation and agriculture in Sumer. Ningirsu was the god of the thundershowers and floods, and was envisaged originally as the thundercloud. The demigod or demon Imdugud (Anzû), the thunderbird, perceived as a giant lion-headed eagle, was Ningirsu’s avatar or hypostasis, and the emblem of the city.
Other dominant figures of the excavations include the sovereign Gudea who ruled Girsu four-thousand years ago and who, throughout his reign, never ceased to pride himself in his abundant commemorative inscriptions for his zeal in religious behaviour and of having undertaken and completed the construction or renovation of magnificent temples to serve as abodes to the pantheon of Girsu. Adad-nadin-aḫḫe was an enigmatic Babylonian potentate, perhaps the lord of a fiefdom of the fading Seleucid Empire. He built a palace two thousand years after Gudea on the ruined sacred city of Girsu and, truly fascinated by the past, perpetuated the old Sumerian rituals of burying foundation deposits, stamping bricks with his name, in both Aramaic and Greek, and, also, collected Gudea’s statues as holy antiques and embodiments of ancestral kings. Ernest de Sarzec was the last archaeologist-consul of Mesopotamia. Two-thousand years after Adad-nadin-aḫḫe, he resurrected Girsu and its gods only thanks to his fierce desire and determination paying for it with his life.
That Tello/Girsu has a strong connection with the British Museum is proven by the abundant artefacts on display, including a truly unique statue of the ruler Gudea.
Although the god Ningirsu is not represented herein, at least in his anthropomorphic form, the Sumerian galleries are nevertheless charged with his overwhelming divine aura. Many votive artefacts, foundation tablets, and copper figurines of gods were indeed dedicated to the tutelary deity of Girsu. The god appears en majesté in his pre-human form of the tempestbird on the Ninḫursag temple relief from Ubaid, and a votive mace head from Tello, both depicting the lion-headed eagle grasping stags or lions, i.e., mastering the Mesopotamian wilderness. The British Museum also holds the very first rediscovered statue personifying the charismatic ruler Gudea found by William Loftus in 1850 at the site of Tell Hammam which also represents the first Sumerian sculpture to have reached Europe together with the reliefs of the genii accompanying the winged bulls from Khorsabad.
Aerial view of Tell A and the Sacred City of Girsu (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
Excavations in the autumn of 2016 and spring of 2017 at Tello were carried out in the heart of the sacred district of Girsu, at Tell A, also-known as the Mound of the Palace. They led to the discovery of extensive mudbrick walls – some ornamented with pilasters and inscribed cones – belonging to the Ningirsu temple constructed and several times renovated by Sumerian rulers, including Ur-Bau and Gudea. This temple called Eninnu: The-White-Thunderbird dedicated to the heroic god was considered in antiquity as one of the most important sacred places of Mesopotamia, praised for its splendour in many contemporary literary compositions. The search for the Eninnu has mesmerized generations of Assyriologists. Known until now only by cuneiform texts and a plan carved on a statue of a worshipping Gudea, its discovery represents a significant milestone in the history of renewed archaeological research in Iraq.
Of this four-thousand-year-old religious complex, were exposed during the first two seasons what appeared to be the central part of the sanctuary: a decorated entrance featuring buttresses, a peripheral ambulatory with in situ cones, the cella composed of an offering altar facing the podium for the divine cult statue, and passageways marked by colossal inscribed stones.
Drone training at the temple site (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
The results of the last autumn 2017 season were extremely successful. In the Mound of the Palace, we continued to excavate the monumental sacred complex belonging to the god Ningirsu. The main highlights were the discovery of the South gate flanked by two towers and the temenos wall which included a foundation box.
The box was unusually big, 9 courses high, with a large Gudea brick as the cover with the inscription face down. Under the cover, a well-preserved impression of a reed mat in bitumen. The box unfortunately had been opened in antiquity and the copper foundation figurine removed. But, at the bottom of the box, we found the stone tablet still in situ. A white square tablet with the inscription in two columns. The tablet was oriented towards the cella and the podium for the divine cult statue. It was buried in a deposit of pure sand and was placed on a small reed mat. Samples of bitumen and soils from the ritual box have been brought back to the British Museum to be analysed.
Excavating inscribed cones from the walls of the temple (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
More than fifteen inscribed cones were found in situ in the walls of the temple. The recording of the exact location of each cone reveals that they were laid in a complex pattern we are currently analysing this pattern to establish whether it encodes information of magical/religious significance.
Excavations under the temple also led to the discovery of two superimposed monumental platforms, the oldest of which, made of red mudbricks and built in two steps, may be dated to the beginning of the third millennium BC. This is an important discovery since this proto-ziggurat, a precursor to the legendary Tower of Babel, would therefore predate the earliest-known Mesopotamian stepped-terrace by a few hundred years.
Four new soundings were opened in Tell L, situated at the edge of the ancient city in the vicinity of the city wall. They also yielded important results. We have uncovered mudbrick walls, and another foundation box made of fired bricks, unfortunately empty. We have reasons to believe, however, on the basis of inscribed cones in secondary context and others scattered on the surface, that this mound (Tell L) and the one adjacent to it (Tell M) formed a large complex, perhaps a temple gate dedicated to the goddesses Inanna and Nanshe. This new excavation was closely connected to the extensive survey that was carried out in the western residential area, between the Sacred city and Tell L, which yielded important new information on the domestic quarters of the city of Girsu.
Aerial view of the bridge and the city of Girsu in the background (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
New conservation work was initiated on the Bridge of Girsu, discovered and excavated at the end of the 1920s and early 1930s. The preliminary condition assessment of this unique monument of Sumerian architecture, left exposed for 80 years, stressed the urgency of carrying out a larger and more ambitious conservation programme, including preventive excavations.
Since excavation, the site has remained open and exposed, with no identifiable conservation work to address long-term stability or issues of erosion, and no plans to manage the site, or engage with a local or wider audiences.
The objectives of the 2017 autumn season at the bridge site were therefore to understand the structure, record its condition and to test conservation options, as the first steps towards developing a comprehensive conservation plan, with the Iraqi archaeologists involved at every stage.
Conservation training at the bridge site (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
Excavations to establish the condition and stability of this construction led to the discovery of exceptionally well-preserved deposits of the prehistoric Ubaid period, including painted pottery and uninscribed cones, which yield a wealth of information on the origins of Girsu and consequently the birth of urban centres in Mesopotamia.
All the important finds from these excavations have already been safely delivered to the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, while a column base from the Ningirsu temple will be displayed in the nearby museum of Nasiriya.
Tello-Girsu Autumn 2017 team (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
Tello-Girsu Autumn 2017 team & Iraqi participants: Sebastien Rey, Fatma Husain, Jon Taylor, Ashley Pooley, Angelo Di Michele, Joanna Skwiercz, Faith Vardy, Elisa Girotto, Ella Egberts, Dita Auzina, Dani Tagen, Andrew Ginns, Luke Jarvis, Thea Rogerson, John Darlington, Zahid Mohammad Oleiwi, Ali Kamil Khazaal, Toufeek Abd Mohammad, Qasim Rashid.
With Special Thanks to Vice Minister Dr Qais Hussein Rasheed, State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Iraq
Contacts and website
Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme
For more information on the Iraq Scheme, contact the Director of the Scheme, Jonathan Tubb (Head of the Middle East Department of the British Museum). Email: [email protected]
Tello-Ancient Girsu Project
For more information on the work at Tello, contact Sebastien Rey (Director of the Tello-Ancient Girsu Project). Email [email protected]
Iraq Scheme website
Featured image: Aerial view of the main complex of archaeological mounds of Tello (Tello-Girsu Project, Iraq Scheme, The British Museum)
Sincerest thanks to Sebastien Rey for providing this blog post. Sebastien’s book For the Gods of Girsu: City-State Formation in Ancient Sumer (2016) is available now in paperback and eBook formats. English and Arabic editions available.
Ningirsu or Ninurtanew
e n e n u r i a n
Post by ummia-inim-gina on Jul 29, 2008 20:40:43 GMT -5
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Aug 7, 2008 11:01:23 GMT -5
This is a good question, well, I usually like to find a number of sources for a question this large but as am pressed for time this morning I will refer to my copy of Black and Green to start, and then we can add more insights as we go..
Ningirsu/ According to B&G the name Ningirsu means 'Lord of Girsu" and Ningirsu was prominent from the Early Dynastic period to the OB period as a "local form of the god Ninurta" - local to Girsu (which in turn was a sub-section of the city-state Lagash. Ningirsu was also the city-god of Lagash, as we see in Gudea's devotions and in the myth the building of Ningiru's temple.) He is the son of Enlil and his wife is Bau.
Ninurta/ Ninurta's primary cult center was located in Nippur.
Ninurta is the son of Enlil and his wife was Gula or "because of his association with the god Ningirsu, Bau." Both gods are warrior gods with agricultural aspects. While originally myths tended to feature Ningirsu, such as in the Anzû myth (early versions have Ningirsu fighting the Anzû) some later versions feature instead Ninurta. This is because (as B/G explain) "As Girsu became less important (being absorbed into the empire of the Third Dynasty of Ur), less is heard of Ningirsu, and his myths were attributed to Ninurta."
So we don't have a clear indication of which god was earlier - one was important in Girsu/Lagash, the other in Nippur - and the evidence of who featured in the earlier myths is problematic in the sense of, it may just be a matter that Ninurta's early myths simply haven't been recovered. The available texts seem to suggest that Ningirsu had more early mythological prominence however.
More to come on Ningirsu/Ninurta
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Aug 10, 2008 23:46:02 GMT -5
The myth called The Exploits of Ninurta (ETCSL t.1.6.2) is also sometimes referred to as "Lugal-e" (the first line in to poem), and we have looked at some of its features in the Asag thread. Because the question on we are addressing here relates to the two deities who were the hero of this myth, Ningirsu and Ninurta, I have read through Jacobsen's comments again as they appear in his "The Harps That Once.." (1984, pg. 234) and I see that the author is beneficial here as well, (as expected)..
After discussing the structure of the myth, Jacobsen proceeds to comment on a matter relevant for us here, that is, on the possible origin of this most important Ninurta/Ningirsu myth:
Jacobsen: " As to where and when this composition was put in its present form, one may to a fair degree of probability fix on the city of Girsu in the Lagash area, and a time after, but probably not too long after, the time of the famous ruler Gudea (ca. 2150 B.C.). It will, correspondingly, originally have called its hero by his local name, Ningirsu, rather than by his Nippur name, Ninurta. "
Why does this myth belong to the mythology of Girsu?/
If the extent mythological literature, to include Lugal-e, is by and large the product of the work of the scribal schools of Nippur in the Old Babylonian period, how is it scholars, how is it Jacobsen, figure that this particular myth came from the imaginings and beliefs of early Lagashian theologians and poets? How is it a myth from Girsu?
Here Jacobsen observes closely a particular part of the myth that corresponds to the decision of what was to be done with Diorite, esi, which had been a rebel stone. The relevant part of the text from etcsl reads:
466-478. "Esi (diorite), your army in battle changed sides separately (?). You spread before me like thick smoke. You did not raise your hand. You did not attack me. Since you said, "It is false. The lord is alone the hero. Who can vie with Ninurta, the son of Enlil?" -- they shall extract you from the highland countries. They shall bring (?) you from the land of Magan. You shall shape (?) Strong Copper like leather and then you shall be perfectly adapted for my heroic arm, for me, the lord. When a king who is establishing his renown for perpetuity has had its statues sculpted for all time, you shall be placed in the place of libations -- and it shall suit you well -- in my temple E-ninnu, the house full of grace."
Here we see Ningirsu states, "in my temple E-Ninnu", on which Jacobsen says: " For Girsu as origin of the composition speaks clearly the fact that the section on dolerite directly mentions Ningirsu's temple in the city, Eninnu, and has unmistakable reference to Gudea's statues of Dolerite set up in it. " So, in the myth, that Gudea's Dolerite statues are indirectly referred, suggests to the author this composition must originally have been from Girsu and from persons who knew the E-ninnu.
Secondly, the author has made note of a version of Lugal-e that that still retains the use of the name Ningirsu which may be an original version- if so then originally the myth was about Ningirsu's exploits, but later as the myth was retold in Nippur and copied down there, the Nippurian scribes (more familiar with the name Ninurta) renamed the figure in the myth to their corresponding god. These gods were "identified quite early" the author says. Finally, Jacobsen states: " With a dating slightly after Gudea agrees also the rather wordy and bombastic style in which Ninurta's military prowess is described it has its closest parallel in hymns celebrated by Sulgi, the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ur. (ca. 2050 B.C.) and his martial deeds in those same mountains in which Ninurta fought. "
What Jacobsen observes here corresponds to B and G's more general information above, and the case of Lugal-e gives us an example of a myth that was formulated in Ningirsu's locality, Girsu/Lagash, that later was adopted by Nippur and fitted to their version of that deity.
So, yes, the two gods were identified.
- Was there a shift from Ningirsu to Ninurta?
Yes, their was also a shift. We read from B/G that this occurred when the importance of Girsu was lessoned and it was absorbed into the Ur III empire (ca. 2150 BC), and again the versions of the myths we have were re-worked in Old Babylonian Nippur, whose scribes favored Ninurta (with the one exception of the extent version mentioning instead Ningirsu) Ninurta's name is sometimes used interchangeable with Ningirsu's as a result.
dubsartur (junior scribe)
Post by Mela on Dec 8, 2008 18:16:50 GMT -5
Ninurta (Nin Ur: Lord of the Earth/Plough) in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology was the god of Nippur, identified with Ningirsu with whom he may always have been identical. In older transliteration the name is rendered Ninib and in early commentary he was sometimes portrayed as a solar deity. In Nippur, Ninurta was worshiped as part of a triad of deities including his father, Enlil and his mother, Ninlil. In variant mythology, his mother is said to be the deity Ninhursag.
Ninurta often appears holding a bow and arrow, a sickle sword, or a mace named Sharur: Sharur is capable of speech in the Sumerian legend "Deeds and Exploits of Ninurta" and can take the form of a winged lion and may represent an archetype for the later Shedu.
In another legend, Ninurta battles a birdlike monster called Imdugud (Akkadian Anzu) a Babylonian version relates how the monster Anzu steals the Tablets of Destiny which Enlil requires to maintain his rule. Ninurta slays each of the monsters later known as the "Slain Heroes" (the Dragon, the Gypsum, the Palm Tree King, Lord Saman-ana, the bison-beast, the scorpion-man, the seven-headed serpent), and finally Anzu is eventually killed by Ninurta who delivers the Tablet to his father, Enlil. The consort of Ninurta was Ugallu in Nippur and Bau when he was called Ningirsu.
Electronic legacy material kindly supplied by: Krecher, Joachim and Jagersma, B., (LIT3.TXT, 1996: composite text, translation) Veldhuis, Niek (ninurtamac.doc, 1999: composite text (collation of CBS 13938))
Cuneiform sources CBS 13938 (STVC 34)
dubĝal (scribes assistent)
Post by nocodeyv on Sept 9, 2014 20:38:38 GMT -5
Some additional information regarding Ningirsu/Ninurta, a Mesopotamian deity that I'm very interested in.
From The Building of Ningirsu's Temple, lines 1058-1069, we learn of Ningirsu's daughters, septuplets, who form a coterie of healing goddesses:
Zazaru, Iškur-pa-e, Ur-agrunta-ea, Ḫe-Ĝir-nuna, Ḫe-šaga, Zurĝu and Zarĝu, who are Bau's septuplets, the offspring of Lord Ninĝirsu, his beloved lukur maidens, who create plenty for the myriads, stepped forward to Lord Ninĝirsu with friendly entreaties on behalf of Gudea.
Collectively then, Ningirsu/Ninurta, with Gula and Bau, have a total of 9 children: 8 of them daughters, 1 of them a son, and all of them related to healing, medicine, and health in some way. They are:
From The Temple Hymns, lines 61-68, we learn of two of Ninurta's temple:
O E-me-ur-ana (House which gathers the divine powers of heaven) standing in a great place, the just divine powers which the warrior ……, strength of battle, heroic mace, carrier of the quiver, mighty bustling brick building, your foundation is eternal. Founded by the primeval lord, with decisions which belong to the princely divine powers, holy soil filling the mountain, lifting your head among the princes, magnificent house, the wonder coming from you is like the sun whose glow spreads. E-šu-me-ša (House which …… the divine powers), Enlil has instilled your name with terrifying awesomeness.
According to the entry in "Encyclopedia of Gods" by Michael Jordan, pg. 186-187, there is a further temple in Nippur dedicated to Ninurta:
He wears the horned helmet and tiered skitrt and carries a weapon Šarur that becomes personified in the texts, having its own intelligence and being the chief adversary, in the hands of Ninurta, or Kur. He carries the double-edged scimitar-mace embellished with lions' heads and , according to some authors, is depicted in non-human form as the thunderbird Imdugud (sling-stone), which bears the head of a lion and may represent the hail stones of the god. His sanctuary is the E-padun-tila.
This temple is acknowledged on various sites across the web, and is specifically mentioned in the glossary of "The Oxford World Classics: Myths From Mesopotamia" (2008 reissue) as Ninurta's chief shrine on pg. 326:
Sumerian warrior-god, heroic winner of many famous victories, god of agriculture and pastoral fertility. Son of Elill. Assimilated with Ningirsu. Temple E-padun-tila (previously read E-patu-tila), chief shrine perhaps in Nippur.
This brings the Nippur temple count to three:
1. É-me-ur-ana, the House which Gathers the Divine Powers
2. É-šu-me-ša, the House which . the Divine Powers
3. É-padun-tila, [translation uncertain]
Accepting the idea of assimilation, a number of deities have been proposed as prototypical of Ninurta, or else syncretized with his cult over time. Among these (and this is by no means an exhaustive list), are the warrior-god of Girsu/Lagash, Ningirsu the huntsman god of Larak, Pabilsaĝ the tutelary deity of Marad, Lugal-Marada and the warrior-god of Kish, Zababa. If we collect the temples of these deities a further four can be added:
1. É-ninnu, House of Fifty, in Girsu
2. É-rab-ri-ri, [translation uncertain], in Larak
3. É-igi-kalama, House of the Eye of the Land, in Marad
4. É-mete-ursag, [translation uncertain], in Kish
Factual information aside, I had a question / theory regarding Ningirsu/Ninurta that I wanted to propose as well.
Traditional archaeology has confirmed that Ningirsu's wife is the goddess Bau (Ninisina/Ninnibru), while Ninurta's wife is the goddess Gula (Nintinugga/Ninkarrak). On the surface this presents no problem, as both goddesses, like their male counterparts, were syncretized during the Babylonian empire. However, a little bit of research turned up the four cult-centers for these deities:
Seeing this, a different arrangement seemed much more plausible to me. Girsu is a district of Lagash, so wouldn't it make more sense that Ningirsu, the Lord of Girsu, was married to Gula, the tutelary goddess of Lagash, as they both belong to the same city-state? Meanwhile, Ninurta, the Prince of Nippur, should be married to Bau, Lady of Isin, as the city-state of Isin is less than 50 miles south of Nippur.
Has this ever been proposed, or, can anyone explain to me why the deities were paired differently? Is it all due to the syncretization of Ninurta with other deities leading to a simplification of theology?
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Sept 12, 2014 15:45:49 GMT -5
Thanks very much for the contribution on the god Ninurta - very nice work! First of all, your reading on the daughters of Ninurta and Bau or Gula is interesting, I'm not sure I have ever considered this group of goddesses. Of course it makes some sense that they would be connected to healing considering their relation with Gula.
As for the list of temples related to Ninurta that you have provided, yes this has produced some respectable results! Of course these temples are often invoked in the myths of their respective gods and not all such temple names are obscure therefore. While you have been able to give a sketch of some sanctuaries or temples of Ninurta, any researcher is at a disadvantage here without consulting House Most High. a major work on Mesopotamian temples by Andrew George. The book is available from the resource we discussed earlier. House Most High. is a presentation of the "Temple Lists" which were produced by the ancient Mesopotamian scholar, texts which list the names of temples according to lexical convention (big lists), or else according to theological or topographical considerations. The texts generally date to the Old Babylonian period or later. The index in George's book gives some 39 entries where Ninurta is either mentioned or is directly relevant to the temple name listed in the ancient texts. I have read through these and have chosen the following as most relevant. Numbers follow the entry number given in George's book. I have highlighted those temple names which you already list above and a few additional details can be found in the respective entry in George's book.
423: gišgal.sağ. ğa2 “Foremost Station” seat of Shamash (alternatively Ninurta”) in é.sağ.gil in Babylon.
444: é-gúr-hur-sağ “House which subdues the Mountains” seat of Ninurta’s weapon Kurgigimšaša in é.sağ.gil.
476 [é.hu]r.sağ.an.na : “House of the Mountains.” Temple listed in a litany of Ninurta in the position normally occupied by é.me.ur4.an.na
495 é.i.bi. šu.galam: “House in Front of Šu-galam,” sanctuary found in the standard litany of temple of Ninurta. A shrine of Ninurta at Nippur (see also 524)
520 é.igi.kalam.ma: “House, Eye of the land,” temple of Ninurta as Lugal-Maradda of Marad.
669 é.ku6.nu.gu7: “House where Fish is not Eaten.” Sanctuary of Ninurta listed among gods and other parts of Enlil’s cult-center at Nippur in Ur III offering lists.
723 é -mah: part or by-name of Ninurta’s é-šu-me-ša4 at Nippur or Aššur.
731 é-mah.di: “House most Lofty,” a sanctuary of Ninurta.
753 é.me.du10.du10.ga: “House of Pleasing Me’s” sanctuary of which Ninurta is the divine pa4-šeš.
785 é.me.te.ur.sağ: “House, Worthy of the Hero.” Cella of Zababa in e2.dub.ba at Kiš… Commonly found in the temple names of Ninurta in liturgical texts, usually following e2.dub.ba.
789 é.me.ur4.an.na: “House which Gathers the Me’s of Heaven.” Shrine of Ninurta in e2.šu.me. ša4 at Nippur.
812 é.mu.pad3.da: “House Chosen by Name” a temple of Ninurta and Gula at Hilpu on the Euphrates, know from two votive inscriptions of a Kassite period priest.
874 é.niğ2.érim.hul.e.de3: “Houses which Destroys Evil,” seat of Ninurta’s weapon Kurgimmumu in é.sağ.il at Babylon.
897 é.ninnu “House of Fifty (White Anzu Birds),” temple of Ningirsu at Girsu. In liturgical texts, usually in the standard litany of temple names of Ninurta.
924 é.pa4.ğin2.ti.la [same as É-padun-tila?]: Temple of Ninurta in Babylon (a rebuilding of e2.hur.sağ.ti(l).la)
961 é.sağ.diğir.(re).e.ne: “Foremost House of the Gods,” temple of Ninurta at Dur-Kurigalzu.
1021 é.ša.mah.(a/am3): “Exalted Inner Chamber,” a sanctuary of Ninurta at Nippur
1065 é.šu.me. ša4: Temple of Ninurta in Nippur. Often paired with the é.ša3.mah in the standard litany of temple names of Ninurta.
1229 é.zag.ir9.ra: “House, Sanctuary of the Mighty One.” Temple of Ninurta or a similar god, found in litanies…and in a cultic calendar of Babylon.
** I would be interested in knowing your source for realizing the syncretisms relating to Ninurta and which gods he has taken over especially Lugal-Marada who I had never heard of. This seems to be quite correct based on entry 520 above.
As for the issue of Bau/Baba and Gula:
You may have got a little mixed up here, and it's quite easy to do! All part of the discussing Mesopotamian theology after all. So in order to get to the bottom of these issues, I believe Bau (aka Baba) is in fact at home in Girsu. A wonderful summary of this goddess and her history can be found at the ORRAC project:
For a complex discussion about syncretism with particular attention to the state of Lagash/Girsu, see the following article by Gebhard Selz, a Sumerologist who is the world's expert on Lagash:
Additionally, here is the link for Gula:
Please feel welcome to e-mail again soon, I can make some suggestion in regards choice ANE websites which have been produced by universities such as ORRAC. Thanks again for your contributions, and I encourage you to keep it up
dubĝal (scribes assistent)
Post by nocodeyv on Sept 15, 2014 19:40:24 GMT -5
Thanks for the reply Ushegal, and for letting me know about "House Most High. " I hadn't come across that one yet, but will definitely look into it now. I was actually familiar with ORACC already, having happened upon their site just before finding Enenuru. They've been a great help for collecting fast-facts about the gods.
Concerning Ningirsu/Bau and Ninurta/Gula
I do believe you're right. An early misreading on my part of the alternative titles of the goddesses seems to have lead me to believe that Gula was the goddess of Lagash, while Bau was the goddess of Isin. I fact-checked myself against ORAAC, Kramer, and Saggs though, and all three are in agreement that Bau/Baba is called Nintinugga and belongs to Lagash, while Gula bears the titles Ninkarrak, Ninisina, and Ninnibru and belongs to Isin. All that being said, I'm glad that my subconscious mind was able to recognize the true pairing, though my conscious recollection was in error. I've also bookmarked Gebhard Selz article, and will be reading that as time allows, thanks for the link.
The Assimilation of Ninurta and Other ANE Deities
Concerning the various names of Ninurta that I listed, my primary source is the "Anzû" myth, quoted below from my copy of the Oxford World Classics "Myths from Mesopotamia" pg. 220-221 (italics added by me):
Who was ever created like you?
The mountain's rites are proclaimed (?),
The shrines of the gods of fate granted to you.
They call upon Nisaba for your purification ceremony,
They call your name in the furrow Ningirsu.
They designate for you the entire shepherding of people,
Give your great name as Duku for kingship.
In Elam they give your name as Hurabtil.
They speak of you as Šušinak in Susa.
Your name in Anu's [. . . .] they give as Lord of the Secret.
[. . . .] among the gods, your brothers.
[. . . .] your father.
[. . . .] who marches in front.
They give your name as Pabilsag in E-gal-mah.
Call [. . . .] in Ur.
Give your name as Ninazu in E-kur-mah.
[. . . .] Duranki was your birthplace.
[ In Der ] they speak of you as Ištaran.
[ In Kish ] Zababa.
[. . . .] they call his name.
Your bravery much greater than all the other gods,
[. . . .] your divinity is surpassing:
Wholehearted (?) I praise you!
They give [ your name in ] as Lugal-banda.
In E-igi-kalama they give your name as Lugal-Marad.
Your name in E-sikil they give as warrior Tišpak.
They call you [. . . .] or [. . . .] in E-nimma-anku.
Your name in Kullab they call Warrior of Uruk.
[. . . .] son of Belit-ili your mother.
[. . . .] Lord of the Boundary Arrow.
[. . . .] Panigara.
[. . . .] they call [. . . .] Papsukkal who marches in front.
The narrative goes on for another 20 or so lines, but they are increasingly fragmented in my translation. I myself do recognize Ištaran, Ninazu, Pabilsaĝ, Papsukkal, Tišpak, and Zababa as their own independent deities. Lugal-banda I know from the series of myths he stars in, as well as from his mentions in the Gilgameš cycle. I don't know if Hurabtil, Šušinak, Lugal-Marad, or Panigara are independent deities, and if so, I'm not sure where or what of.
I wanted to add that I've come across two more children of Ningirsu and Bau-Baba. According to the ORAAC website, under their article about Bau-Baba, there's a citation:
Bauer, J. 1998. "Der vorsargonische Abschnitt der mesopotamischen Geschichte." In Mesopotamien. Späturuk- und Frühdynastische Zeit, ed. J. Bauer, R.K. Englund, and M. Krebernik. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, 160/1, pp. 431-564. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag.
The cited source lists Šul-šagana and Igalima as two more sons of the pair. Both of them are gods of justice, the law, and order. A brief scan of the internet turned up a small return regarding either figure, with the most common account being that Šul-šagana's name means "Saw of Ashes," an epithet which I wasn't able to confirm.
That about covers my backlog of information regarding Ningirsu-Ninurta though, hope it has been useful!
dubĝal (scribes assistent)
Post by seeker666utu on Apr 22, 2015 13:53:54 GMT -5
e n e n u r i a n
Post by sheshki on Apr 22, 2015 18:05:31 GMT -5
Ningirsu, literally means Lady of Girsu, but it´s a male deity
( d nin-gir2-su)
Lagash II period
backside, second line
akkording to wikipedia there are several version of his name
d Nin.IB, dNi-nu-ut-t(a), NIN.URTA, Nin-ur-ṭa, Ni-[ur]-ta, Nin-u-ra-as
dubĝal (scribes assistent)
Post by seeker666utu on Apr 23, 2015 14:36:02 GMT -5
Couldn't the name of the city of Girsu be based upon a shortened form of Ningirsu? To be 'inundate/fill up with lightening flashes/swords" thus ningirsu could be read as 'Lady/lord that inundates with lightening (flashes)'? Gisbanda is based upon Ningishzida, so the same could be said of Girsu. It would be an approriate name for a storm god.
So Ninurta could be read 'lord/lady earth/loincloth/secret' (nin-uras), 'lord/lady middle/waist/loins/thighs' or 'lord/lady who flares up with anger'(nin-ib), 'lord/lady (the) warrior' (nin-ur-ta) or the 'lord/lady the one floods the pasture' (nin-u-ra-as) or "fearsome/strong grown man by means of/ for/ from the storm(demon)' (Ni-ut(ud)-ta)? The last one representing how Ninurta evolved from being an IMDUGUD?
e n e n u r i a n
Post by sheshki on Apr 23, 2015 15:32:22 GMT -5
Ningirsu does not seem to be a storm god.
Here is a quote from the "deities" thread taken from the book
A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology
by Gwendolyn Leick,
first published 1991 by Routledge
His name means ‘lord of Girsu’, a city belonging to the district of Lagash.
Ningirsu was an ancient local god he first appears in the Fara god-list
and was worshipped by all the kings of Lagash. Typically, Eannatum
and Uruinimgina call the boundaries of their territory the ‘limits of
Ningirsu’ and any destruction of their land was a sin against its god.
With Uruinimgina’s political success, the god became more widely known
in Sumer. Ningirsu as a city-god is not only a warrior, who calls the
ruler to defend his boundaries, but is also in charge of the fertility of his
‘beloved fields’. Numerous artefacts, such as mace-heads, statues, vases
etc. have been dedicated to Ningirsu several canals and waterways
bore his name. There were of course many festivals in his honour and
he is well represented among the gods chosen for personal names. His
temple was the famous É-ninnu, the reconstruction of which during the
Neo-Sumerian period was described by Gudea. The god appeared to
Gudea in a dream, he was terrifyingly large, with wings and a ‘head like
a god’, his lower body ending in a storm and flanked by lions
(Falkenstein, Soden, 137–82).
Numerous goddesses surround Ningirsu in the Lagash pantheon: his
wife Baba, his sisters Nisaba and Nanše and his mother Gatumdug (his
father is Anu. His emblem or alter ego was the lion-headed eagle Anzu/
The personality of Ningirsu was close to that of Ninurta who replaced
Ningirsu in Akkadian texts of the Old Babylonian period (cf. the myth
of Anzu). They are often mentioned together in god-lists.
Jean 1931, 71–81 Falkenstein, Soden 1953
You forgot one possible translation of Ninurta´s name: nin-urta [BARLEY] wr. urta "ear of barley" Akk. antu
That would be lord/lady ear of barley.
Where the names for cities and gods came from will never be known to us,
but it seems unlikely to me that, in Ningirsu´s case, there is a god called lord of girsu (i´m ignoring his female title here) and then people name a city after him.
The other way around has more logic to it.
His name ‘Lord Earth’ probably derives from the old vegetation-god
Uraš (Jacobsen 1973, 127, suggested ‘Lord Plough’).
He is well known since the Old Sumerian period and closely resembles
the Lagashite god Ningirsu with whom he was eventually identified.
Ninurta instead of Ningirsu features in the Akkadian versions of some
myths (as the one of Anzu from the Old Babylonian period). In Nippur
he was worshipped in the temple E-šumeša. In this city (and in Lagash)
he was called the firstborn son of Enlil, in preference over Nanna, who
was also accorded this title. After the Old Babylonian period, Ninurta’s
popularity waned since Marduk assumed some of his characteristics
(for the precedent of Ninurta’s role in fighting Anzu for the Enuma eliš,
see Lambert, in Hecker, Sommerfeld, 55–60). In Assyria, however, since
late Middle Assyrian times, he was much promoted as a fearsome warrior.
As his name implies, Ninurta was originally an agricultural and rain
deity. The so-called ‘Farmer’s Almanac’, a compilation of the annual
tasks related to the growing of barley, was called the ‘Instructions of
Ninurta’. He was called the ‘farmer of Enlil’ and praised as the ‘lifegiving
semen’, the source of fertility and abundance throughout the
land: ‘you fill the canal, let grow the barley, you fill the pond with carp,
let reed and grass grow in the cranebrake, you fill the forest with game,
let the tamarisk(?) grow in the steppe, you fill the orchard and garden
with honey and wine, cause long life to sprout in the palace’ (Falkenstein,
Soden, 59f). For some reason Ninurta changed from an agrarian god to
the archetypical ‘young god’ or ‘god of wrath’. Several compositions,
mainly from the Neo-Sumerian and Ur III period emphasize this warlike
character of the ‘champion’ (ur.sag) Ninurta: ‘eternal warrior, greatly
respected, with a broad chest, the strength of a lion (…) stepping into
battle (…) the heroic warrior, the right arm of Enlil’ (Sjöberg 1976).
Some of his power derives from the violent floods of springtime in the
Atra-hasis myth he is the one who opens the dikes (see Flood-myths). A
long and complex bilingual composition is called LUGAL UD
ME.LAM.BI NIR.GÁL, ‘king, storm whose splendour is overwhelming’
(also known as lugal.e). The text manages to reconcile both the fertility
and the martial aspects of the god. The myth describes the time when
irrigation was as yet unknown in Sumer and consequently there was no
agriculture to feed the population. After his victory over the demon,
Ninurta makes a stone wall, a gigantic dike to keep the waters of the
Tigris from flowing eastwards. The result of this labour are fruit-filled
fields and orchards and the kings and gods rejoice. When his mother
Ninlil is impatient to congratulate her son in person and travels to the
hills to find him, he presents her with a vast range he had accumulated
over his enemy’s remains. First, however, he provides the barren stones
with vegetation and wildlife and calls it the hursag Ninlil herself from
now on becomes Ninhursag. Finally Ninurta decides the fates of the
stones, the former soldiers of Asag. Some are rewarded for having
behaved decently and are given some posts in his administration, others
are punished by curses an interesting etiological analysis of the properties
of certain minerals (van Dijk 1983). A similar, also bilingual composition
is THE RETURN OF NINURTA TO NIPPUR (or Sum. an-gim dim.ma,
‘created like An’). It begins with a long description of Ninurta’s character
and achievements, especially on the battlefield. He is returning to Nippur
in his chariot which is decorated all over with awe-inspiring trophies,
surrounded by a large and terrifying retinue. The momentum of his
cavalcade threatens the well-being of the country and Nusku, Enlil’s
vizier, tries to persuade the young god to slow down and to dim his
fearsome radiance. He also points out that Enlil will reward him highly
upon his return but that he finds his present style of progress
objectionable. Ninurta does put away his whip and mace, but drives the
rest of the trophies to Nippur. The gods are greatly impressed and even
frightened at the display of booty and his mother, Ninlil, greets him
affectionately. The text ends in a speech of self-glorification by Ninurta,
in which he also refers to his battle with the stones described in lugal.e
(Cooper). Ninurta’s one fault seems to have been arrogance. This is
alluded to in the RETURN TO NIPPUR, and another mythological
fragment tells of an accident in the retrieval of the Tablets of Destiny
(see Anzu-myth). The eaglet (amar-anzu) addresses Ninurta and
complains that because the god had attacked him, he dropped the Tablets
of Destiny into the Apsu. This implies their loss to Ninurta who is
crestfallen. The eaglet accompanies him to the dwelling of Enki in the
Apsu, who receives them in a friendly fashion but does not offer to give
back the Tablets. When Ninurta refuses to leave without them and even
attacks the vizier, Enki fashions a giant turtle out of the Apsu-clay
which attacks the divine hero, biting his toes. Ninurta starts to defend
himself and Enki quickly digs out a pit into which both the god and his
tormentor fall. Only the pleas of Ninurta’s mother Ninmena (Ninlil)
persuade Enki to set him free, by reminding him that he owes her a
Falkenstein, Soden 1953, 59f van Dijk 1962, 19–32 Sjöberg 1976, 411–26 Cooper
1978 van Dijk 1983 Kramer 1984, 231–7
dubĝal (scribes assistent)
The data presented in this paper represents our analysis of the thimbles recorded in the Portable Antiquities Scheme database [circa 2014]. The results are limited by the biases described above in relation to the data itself, the data collection and recording and possibly the fact that thimbles form only a small fraction of the database and maybe there are many more items which are considered to be more important than thimbles to the recorders. Nevertheless, the database is a valuable instrument for learning more about thimbles from the past. It is hoped that it will become even more useful if recording methods are standardized and all recorders enter consistent data into all the fields in the database. At the present time the database is more useful for qualitative rather than quantitative studies.
All images, unless otherwise designated, were downloaded from the PAS website.
1. To the god Nin-girsu ,
2. the powerful warrior
3. of the god Ellilla ( Enlil ) ,
4. to his king,
6. the patesi
7. Of Shirpurla ,
8. who the temple of E-ninnû
(semi-divine king & Ninurta with winged beast symbol)
9. of the god Nin-girsu ( Gudea‘s grandfather)
10. has constructed,
11. for the god Nin-girsu
12. his king,
13. the temple of E-ghud , the temple of the 7 stages,
14. this temple of E-ghud ,
15. from the summit whereof
16. the god Nin-girsu
17. dispenses favorable fortunes,
18. he has constructed.
(1. Besides) the offerings
2. which in the joy of his heart
3. to the god Nin-girsu
( Bau , daughter to Anu , spouse to Ninurta )
4 . to the goddess Bau ,
5 . the daughter of Anna ,
6 . his favorite wife,
7. he presented,
8. for his god
9. Nin-gish-zida ( Enki & Ereshkigal ‘s son- in some texts)
10. he has established others also.
12. the patesi
13. Of Shirpurla
14. from Girsu-ki
15. to Uru-azagga
16. has proclaimed peace.
17. In that year,
1. from the mountains of the country of Mâgan
2. he has caused a rare stone to be brought
3. for his statue
4. he has caused it to be cut.
Here 10 lines have been left blank, it having been intended to fill them up with the name of the statue.
5. On the day of the commencement of the year,
6. the festival of the goddess Bau ,
7. when the offerings are presented,—
8. 1 ox she 1
9. 1 sheep ni, 2
10. 3 sheep she,
1. 6 sheep ush, 3
2. 2 lambs,
3. 7 pat of dates,
4. 7 shab of cream,
5. 7 shoots of a palm,
6. 7 ……
7. 7 ……
8. 1 bird ……
9. 7 swans,
10. 15 cranes,
11. 1 bird (?) …
12. with its 15 eggs (?),
13. 1 tortoise (?)
14. with its 30 eggs (?),
15. 30 garments of wool,
16. 7 garments of …
17. 1 garment of …
18. (such were) the offerings to the goddess Bau
19. in the ancient temple
20. on that day.
1. the patesi
2. of Shirpurla ,
3. after that for his god Nin-girsu
4. his king
5. his favorite temple,
6. the temple of E-ninnû ,
7. he had constructed,
8. (and after that) for the goddess Bau ,
9. his mistress,
10. her favorite temple,
11. the temple of E-sil-sirsira
12. he had constructed,
13. 2 oxen she,
14. 2 sheep ni,
15. 10 sheep she,
16. 2 lambs,
17. 7 pat of dates,
18. 7 shab of cream,
19. 7 shoots of a palm,
20. 7 ……
21. 7 ……
22. 14 ……
1. 14 ……
2. 1 bird ……
3. 7 swans,
4. 10 cranes,
5. 7 birds ……
6. 1 bird (?) ……
7. with its 15 eggs (?),
8. 1 tortoise (?)
9. with its 30 eggs (?),
10. 40 garments of wool,
11. 7 garments of …
12. 1 garment of …
13. (such are) the offerings to the goddess Bau
14. which in the new temple
15 . Gudea
16. the patesi
17. Of Shirpurla ,
18. the constructor of the temple,
19. has added.
No. 8.— Inscription on Statue H of the Louvre
( gods in blue … mixed-breed demigods in teal …)
(Princess Bau , daughter to King Anu , & nephew-spouse Ninurta )
1. To the goddess Bau ,
2 . the good lady,
3 . the daughter of Anna ,
4 . the mistress of Uru-azagga ,
5. the mistress of abundance, the daughter of the bright sky,
6. to his mistress
8. the patesi
9. of Shirpurla .
1. After that the temple of E-sil-sirsira ,
2. her favorite temple,
3. the temple which is the marvel of Uru-azagga
4. he had caused to be constructed,
5. from the mountains of the country of Mâgan ,
6. a rare stone he has caused to be brought
( Bau )
7. for her statue
8. he has caused it to be cut.
1. O divine daughter, beloved by the bright sky,
3. in the temple of E-sil-sirsira
6. by this name he has named (the statue),
7. and in the temple of Uru-azagga
Inscription on a stone serving as the threshold of a Door 1
( gods in blue … mixed-breed demigods in teal …)
2. the powerful warrior
3. of the god Ellilla ( Enlil ) ,
4. for his king,
6. the patesi
7. of Shirpurla
8. has made the dedicatory inscriptions (?),
9. (and) his temple of E-ninnû , which illumines the darkness,
10. has constructed,
11. and restored.
Inscriptions on two unpublished votive tablets
( gods in blue … mixed-breed demigods in teal …)
1. For the goddess Ninni ( Inanna ) ,
2. the mistress of the world,
3. for his mistress,
5. the patesi
6. of Shirpurla
7. her temple of E-anna in Girsu-ki ( Uruk )
8. has constructed.
1. For the god Gal-alim ( Ig-alim , Ninurta‘s son) ,
2. the favorite son
( Ninurta / Ningirsu & spouse Bau )
3 . of the god Nin-girsu ,
4 . for his king,
5 . Gudea
6. the patesi
7. of Shirpurla
8. his temple of E-me-ghush-gal-an-ki
9. has constructed .
Unpublished Inscription on a Brick
( gods in blue … mixed-breed demigods in teal …)
1. For the god Nin-girsu ,
2. the powerful warrior
3. of the god Ellilla ( Enlil ) ,
4. for his king,
6. the patesi
7. of Shirpurla
8. his temple of Eninnû , which illumines the darkness (?) (alien technologies) ,
9. has constructed.
10. In the interior of this temple, a sanctuary of cedar wood,
11. the place of his oracles,
12. he has constructed for him.
Inscription on a Brick 1
( gods in blue … mixed-breed demigods in teal …)
1. For the goddess Ninâ ( Enki ‘ & Ninhursag ‘s daughter) ,
2. the lady of destinies (?),
3. the lady of oracles (?),
4. for his lady,
6. the patesi
7. of Shirpurla
8. has made the dedicatory inscriptions (?).
(ziggurat residences of the giant alien gods)
9. In Ninâ-ki , her favorite city,
10. her temple of E-ud-mâ-Ninâ-ki-tag 2
11. which rises from the Kur-ê 3
12. he has constructed.
75:2 The Sinaitic Peninsula.
76:1 The first column has been translated by Dr. Oppert: Communications à l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, March 1882.
78:1 I give the translation of the lines which follow, as far as col. v. 1. 4, inclusively, only with the greatest reserve.
78:2 The kalû were a class of priests.
79:1 That is, a court of justice.
79:2 That is, the Persian gulf.
79:3 Evidently Amanus in northern Syria.
79:4 The Assyrian urkarinnu. For its explanation see an article by the Rev. C. J. Ball, Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology, xi. p. 143.
80:1 Dr. Hommel has proposed to read this name Dalla. I should prefer to read Tilla, explained by Urdhu in W. A. I., ii. 48, 13.
80:2 It is the tree called ashûhu by the Assyrians .
80:3 The reading is uncertain. Dr. Hommel reads Kasalla, comparing the Kazalla of W. A. I., iv. 34. 31, 33.
81:1 Identified by Dr. Hommel, with much probability, with Tidnu or “the West” (Syria and Canaan) W. A. I., ii. 48, 12, etc.
81:2 Or a “city of Abullât,” or perhaps the city “Abullu-abishu,” W. A. I., ii. 52. 55.
81:3 Perhaps “the land of Mash” or Arabia Petræa, the Mash of Gen. x. 23. From Ki-mas was derived the Assyrian kêmassi, “copper” (W. A. I., ii. 18, 54 iv. 28, 13).
81:4 In the vicinity of the Sinaitic Peninsula.
81:5 The tree called ushu by the Assyrians .
81:6 If this line is not due to an error, the engraver must have omitted something between lines 27 and 28.
81:7 Perhaps Kilzanim is the name of a country. In this case, the engraver must have made some omission here.
82:2 The tree called huluppu in Assyrian . [The Sumerian name may be read ghalup, of which huluppu would be an Assyrian modification.—Ed.]
83:1 [The Sinaitic Peninsula and Midian.]
87:1 Partially translated by Dr. Hommel: Die Vorsemitischen Kulturen, p. 460.
89:1 Literally “his head in his foundations.”
89:2 Découvertes, pl. 9. Translated by Dr. Oppert in a Communication à l’Académie des Inscriptions, June 23d 1882.
90:1 [Perhaps related to gâgunû, “a field.”—Ed.]
90:2 [I should render: “the quay which comes forth from the lord.”—Ed.]
90:3 Perhaps the name of a canal. [I should translate it: “the quay which runs from the white stone of the gate.”—Ed.]
91:1 [The Sinaitic Peninsula.]
91:2 Perhaps Coptos in Egypt.
91:3 The Tilmun of the Assyrians , in the Persian Gulf.
93:1 Perhaps the foundation-cylinders and clay cones with dedicatory inscriptions.
94:1 [“The lady of the place of the maternal deity.”—Ed.]
103:1 Découvertes, pl. 27, No. 3.
105:1 Découvertes, pl. 37, No. 3. See the inscription on a cone supposed to come from Zerghul (W. A. I. i. 5, No. xxiii. 2). The attributes in lines 2 and 3 of the cone oblige us to restore dingir Ninâ , “the goddess Ninâ ( Enki’s daughter) ,” in the first line.
105:2 [“The house of light which illuminates the ship of Ninâ-ki .”—Ed.]
105:3 [“The mountain of the temple.”—Ed.]
1-11In those days, in the days when heaven and earth were created in those nights, in the nights when heaven and earth were created in those years, in the years when the fates were determined when the Anuna gods were born when the goddesses were taken in marriage when the goddesses were distributed in heaven and earth when the goddesses …… became pregnant and gave birth when the gods were obliged (?) …… their food …… for their meals the senior gods oversaw the work, while the minor gods were bearing the toil. The gods were digging the canals and piling up the silt in Harali. The gods, dredging the clay, began complaining about this life.
12-23At that time, the one of great wisdom, the creator of all the senior gods, Enki lay on his bed, not waking up from his sleep, in the deep engur, in the flowing water, the place the inside of which no other god knows. The gods said, weeping: “He is the cause of the lamenting!” Namma, the primeval mother who gave birth to the senior gods, took the tears of the gods to the one who lay sleeping, to the one who did not wake up from his bed, to her son: “Are you really lying there asleep, and …… not awake? The gods, your creatures, are smashing their ……. My son, wake up from your bed! Please apply the skill deriving from your wisdom and create a substitute (?) for the gods so that they can be freed from their toil!”
24-37At the word of his mother Namma, Enki rose up from his bed. In Hal-an-kug, his room for pondering, he slapped his thigh in annoyance. The wise and intelligent one, the prudent, …… of skills, the fashioner of the design of everything brought to life birth-goddesses (?). Enki reached out his arm over them and turned his attention to them. And after Enki, the fashioner of designs by himself, had pondered the matter, he said to his mother Namma: “My mother, the creature you planned will really come into existence. Impose on him the work of carrying baskets. You should knead clay from the top of the abzu the birth-goddesses (?) will nip off the clay and you shall bring the form into existence. Let Ninmah act as your assistant and let Ninimma, Cu-zi-ana, Ninmada, Ninbarag, Ninmug, …… and Ninguna stand by as you give birth. My mother, after you have decreed his fate, let Ninmah impose on him the work of carrying baskets.”
6 lines fragmentary
44-51Enki …… brought joy to their heart. He set a feast for his mother Namma and for Ninmah. All the princely birth-goddesses (?) …… ate delicate reed (?) and bread. An, Enlil, and the lord Nudimmud roasted holy kids. All the senior gods praised him: “O lord of wide understanding, who is as wise as you? Enki, the great lord, who can equal your actions? Like a corporeal father, you are the one who has the me of deciding destinies, in fact you are the me.”
52-55Enki and Ninmah drank beer, their hearts became elated, and then Ninmah said to Enki: “Man’s body can be either good or bad and whether I make a fate good or bad depends on my will.”
56-61Enki answered Ninmah: “I will counterbalance whatever fate — good or bad — you happen to decide.” Ninmah took clay from the top of the abzu in her hand and she fashioned from it first a man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands. Enki looked at the man who could not bend his outstretched weak hands, and decreed his fate: he appointed him as a servant of the king.
62-65Second, she fashioned one who turned back (?) the light, a man with constantly opened eyes (?). Enki looked at the one who turned back (?) the light, the man with constantly opened eyes (?), and decreed his fate allotting to it the musical arts, making him as the chief …… in the king’s presence.
66-68Third, she fashioned one with both feet broken, one with paralysed feet. Enki looked at the one with both feet broken, the one with paralysed feet and …… him for the work of …… and the silversmith and ……. ( 1 ms. has instead: She fashioned one, a third one, born as an idiot. Enki looked at this one, the one born as an idiot, and decreed his fate: he appointed him as a servant of the king.)
69-71Fourth, she fashioned one who could not hold back his urine. Enki looked at the one who could not hold back his urine and bathed him in enchanted water and drove out the namtar demon from his body.
72-74Fifth, she fashioned a woman who could not give birth. Enki looked at the woman who could not give birth, and decreed her fate: he made (?) her belong to the queen’s household. ( 1 ms. has instead: …… as a weaver, fashioned her to belong to the queen’s household.)
75-78Sixth, she fashioned one with neither penis nor vagina on its body. Enki looked at the one with neither penis nor vagina on its body and give it the name “Nibru eunuch (?)”, and decreed as its fate to stand before the king.
79-82Ninmah threw the pinched-off clay from her hand on the ground and a great silence fell. The great lord Enki said to Ninmah: “I have decreed the fates of your creatures and given them their daily bread. Come, now I will fashion somebody for you, and you must decree the fate of the newborn one!”
83-91Enki devised a shape with head, …… and mouth in its middle, and said to Ninmah: “Pour ejaculated semen into a woman’s womb, and the woman will give birth to the semen of her womb.” Ninmah stood by for the newborn ……. and the woman brought forth …… in the midst ……. In return (?), this was Umul: its head was afflicted, its place of …… was afflicted, its eyes were afflicted, its neck was afflicted. It could hardly breathe, its ribs were shaky, its lungs were afflicted, its heart was afflicted, its bowels were afflicted. With its hand and its lolling head it could not not put bread into its mouth its spine and head were dislocated. The weak hips and the shaky feet could not carry (?) it on the field — Enki fashioned it in this way.
92-101Enki said to Ninmah: “For your creatures I have decreed a fate, I have given them their daily bread. Now, you should decree a fate for my creature, give him his daily bread too.” Ninmah looked at Umul and turned to him. She went nearer to Umul asked him questions but he could not speak. She offered him bread to eat but he could not reach out for it. He could not lie on ……., he could not ……. Standing up he could not sit down, could not lie down, he could not …… a house, he could not eat bread. Ninmah answered Enki: “The man you have fashioned is neither alive nor dead. He cannot support himself (?).”
102-111Enki answered Ninmah: “I decreed a fate for the first man with the weak hands, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man who turned back (?) the light, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man with broken, paralysed feet, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the man who could not hold back his urine, I gave him bread. I decreed a fate for the woman who could not give birth, I gave her bread. I decreed the fate for the one with neither penis nor vagina on its body, I gave it bread. My sister, …….” 2 lines fragmentary
112-121Ninmah answered Enki:
9 lines fragmentary
122-128 (Ninmah’s answer continues) “You (?) entered ……. Look, you do not dwell in heaven, you do not dwell on earth, you do not come out to look at the Land. Where you do not dwell but where my house is built, your words cannot be heard. Where you do not live but where my city is built, I myself am silenced (?). My city is ruined, my house is destroyed, my child has been taken captive. I am a fugitive who has had to leave the E-kur, even I myself could not escape from your hand.”
129-139Enki replied to Ninmah: “Who could change the words that left your mouth? Remove Umul from your lap ……. Ninmah, may your work be ……, you …… for me what is imperfect who can oppose (?) this? The man whom I shaped …… after you ……, let him pray! Today let my penis be praised, may your wisdom be confirmed (?)! May the enkum and ninkum …… proclaim your glory ……. My sister, the heroic strength ……. The song …… the writing (?) ……. The gods who heard …… let Umul build (?) my house …….”
140-141Ninmah could not rival the great lord Enki. Father Enki, your praise is sweet!
about 6 lines missing
1-10She …… of the desert. She put the cu-gura, the desert crown, on her head. …… when she went out to the shepherd, to the sheepfold, …… her genitals were remarkable. …… her genitals were remarkable. She praised herself, full of delight at her genitals, she praised herself, full of delight at her genitals. She looked at ……, she looked at ……, she looked at …….
11-27″When I have gratified the lord ……, when I have made …… brilliant, when I have made …… beautiful, when I have made …… glorious, when I have ……, when I have made …… perfect, when I have made …… luxuriant, when I have made …… exuberant, when I have made …… shining (?), when I have made …… return, when I have made …… brilliant, when I have made …… shimmering, I shall direct my steps to the abzu, to Eridug, I shall direct my steps to Enki, to the abzu, to Eridug, and I myself shall speak coaxingly to him, in the abzu, in Eridug, I myself shall speak coaxingly to Enki, in the abzu, in Eridug. …… had her go out …….”
about 21 lines missing
1-5″Inana, …… it is I who ……. I, Inana, personally intend to go to the abzu (1 ms. has instead: intend to go to Eridug). I shall utter a plea to the lord Enki. Like the sweet oil of the cedar, who will …… for my holy …… perfume? It shall never escape me that I have been neglected by him who has had sex.”
6-15On that day the maiden Inana, holy Inana, directed her steps all by herself towards Enki’s abzu in Eridug. On that day, he of exceptional knowledge, who knows the divine powers in heaven and earth, who from his own dwelling already knows the intentions of the gods, Enki, the king of the abzu, who, even before holy Inana had approached within six miles of the abzu (1 ms. has instead: the temple) in Eridug, knew all about her enterprise — Enki spoke to his man, gave him instructions: “Come here, my man, listen to my words.”
1 line fragmentary
about 2 lines missing
1-14″…… she will drink, …… she will eat. Come here! ……. I will ……, …… do. The maiden …… the abzu and Eridug, Inana …… the abzu and Eridug ……. When the maiden Inana has entered the abzu and Eridug, when Inana has entered the abzu and Eridug, offer her butter cake to eat. Let her be served cool refreshing water. Pour beer for her, in front of the Lions Gate, make her feel as if she is in her girlfriend’s house, make her …… as a colleague. You are to welcome holy Inana at the holy table, at the table of An.”
15-26After Enki had spoken thus to him, Isimud the minister followed his master’s instructions closely. He let the maiden into the abzu and Eridug. He let Inana into the abzu and Eridug. When the maiden had entered the abzu and Eridug, when Inana had entered the abzu and Eridug, she got butter cake to eat. They poured cool refreshing water for her, and they gave her beer to drink, in front of the Lions Gate. He made her feel as if she was in her girlfriend’s house, and made her …… as a colleague. He welcomed holy Inana at the holy table, at the table of An.
27-30So it came about that Enki and Inana were drinking beer together in the abzu, and enjoying the taste of sweet wine. The bronze aga vessels were filled to the brim, and the two of them started a competition, drinking from the bronze vessels of Urac.
about 35 lines missing
1-5″I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….” Holy Inana received heroism, power, wickedness, righteousness, the plundering of cities, making lamentations, rejoicing. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….”
6-9Holy Inana received deceit, the rebel lands, kindness, being on the move, being sedentary. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….”
10-13Holy Inana received the craft of the carpenter, the craft of the coppersmith, the craft of the scribe, the craft of the smith, the craft of the leather-worker, the craft of the fuller, the craft of the builder, the craft of the reed-worker. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….”
14-17Holy Inana received wisdom, attentiveness, holy purification rites, the shepherd’s hut, piling up glowing charcoals, the sheepfold, respect, awe, reverent silence. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….”
18-21Holy Inana received the bitter-toothed (?) ……, the kindling of fire, the extinguishing of fire, hard work, ……, the assembled family, descendants. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….”
22-27Holy Inana received strife, triumph, counselling, comforting, judging, decision-making. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter may …… not …….” Holy Inana received ……, ……,
about 78 lines missing
1-4″He has given me righteousness. He has given me the plundering of cities. He has given me making lamentations. He has given me rejoicing.
5-9″He has given me deceit. He has given me the rebel lands. He has given me kindness. He has given me being on the move. He has given me being sedentary.
10-17″He has given me the craft of the carpenter. He has given me the craft of the coppersmith. He has given me the craft of the scribe. He has given me the craft of the smith. He has given me the craft of the leather-worker. He has given me the craft of the fuller. He has given me the craft of the builder. He has given me the craft of the reed-worker.
18-26″He has given me wisdom. He has given me attentiveness. He has given me holy purification rites. He has given me the shepherd’s hut. He has given me piling up glowing charcoals. He has given me the sheepfold. He has given me respect. He has given me awe. He has given me reverent silence.
27-36″He has given me the bitter-toothed (?) ……. He has given me the kindling of fire. He has given me the extinguishing of fire. He has given me hard work. He has given me ……. He has given me the assembled family. He has given me descendants. He has given me strife. He has given me triumph. He has given me counselling.”
about 34-35 lines missing
1-13Enki spoke to the minister Isimud: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Since she said that she would not yet depart from here for Unug Kulaba, that she would not yet depart from here to the place where Utu ……, can I still reach her?” But holy Inana had gathered up the divine powers and embarked onto the Boat of Heaven. The Boat of Heaven had already left the quay. As the effects of the beer cleared from him who had drunk beer, from him who had drunk beer, as the effects of the beer cleared from father Enki who had drunk beer, the great lord Enki turned his attention to the …… building. The lord looked up at the abzu. King Enki turned his attention to Eridug.
14-18Enki spoke to Isimud the minister: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where are the office of en priest, the office of lagal priest, divinity, the great and good crown, the royal throne?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
F19-20″Where are the noble sceptre, the staff and crook, the noble dress, shepherdship, kingship?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
21-22″Where are the office of egi-zi priestess, the office of nin-dijir priestess, the office of icib priest, the office of lu-mah priest, the office of gudu priest?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
23-24″Where are constancy, ……, ……, going down to the underworld, coming up from the underworld, the kur-jara priest?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
25-26″Where are the sword and club, the cultic functionary saj-ursaj, the black garment, the colourful garment, the …… hair-style, the …… hair-style?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
27-28″Where are ……?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
29-30″Where are the standard, the quiver, sexual intercourse, kissing, prostitution, …… running (?)?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
31-32″Where are forthright speech, deceitful speech, grandiloquent speech, ……, the cultic prostitute, the holy tavern?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
33-34″Where are the holy nijin-jar shrine, ……, the hierodule of heaven, loud musical instruments, the art of song, venerable old age?” “My master has given them to his daughter.”
about 33-36 lines missing
1-21…… king …… in the house of Enki should not forget a word. …… full of advice, loud voiced, knowing much ……. They said: “By the bolt of the temple door, a frog spoke.” He showed him to a place. Enki grasped the frog by his right paw. He showed him into his holy ……. He received …… the halub tree and his box-tree. He gave …… to the bird of heaven. He gave …… to the fish of the subterranean waters.
11 lines fragmentary
about 10-15 lines missing
1-7The prince spoke to his minister Isimud, Enki addressed the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached the …… Quay.” “Go now! The enkum are to take the Boat of Heaven away from her!”
8-19The minister Isimud spoke to holy Inana: “My lady! Your father has sent me to you. Inana, your father has sent me to you. What your father said was very serious. What Enki spoke was very serious. His important words cannot be countermanded.” Holy Inana replied to him: “What has my father said to you, what has he spoken? Why should his important words not be countermanded?” “My master has spoken to me, Enki has said to me: “Inana may travel to Unug, but you are to get the Boat of Heaven back to Eridug for me”.”
20-33Holy Inana spoke to the minister Isimud: “How could my father have changed what he said to me? How could he have altered his promise as far as I am concerned? How could he have discredited his important words to me? Was it falsehood that my father said to me, did he speak falsely to me? Has he sworn falsely by the name of his power and by the name of his abzu? Has he duplicitously sent you to me as a messenger?” Now as these words were still in her mouth, he got the enkum to seize hold of the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana adressed her minister Nincubur: “Come, my good minister of E-ana! My fair-spoken minister! My envoy of reliable words! Water has never touched your hand, water has never touched your feet!”
34-41So Inana got hold again of the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven and then for the second time the prince spoke to his minister Isimud, Enki addressed the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached the holy …….” “Go now! The fifty giants of Eridug are to take the Boat of Heaven away from her!”
42-53The minister Isimud spoke to holy Inana: “My lady! Your father has sent me to you. Inana, your father has sent me to you. What your father said was very serious. What Enki spoke was very serious. His important words cannot be countermanded.” Holy Inana replied to him: “What has my father said to you, what has he spoken? Why should his important words not be countermanded?” “My master has spoken to me, Enki has said to me: “Inana may travel to Unug, but you are to get the Boat of Heaven back to Eridug for me”.”
54-67Holy Inana spoke to the minister Isimud: “How could my father have changed what he said to me? How could he have altered his promise as far as I am concerned? How could he have discredited his important words to me? Was it falsehood that my father said to me, did he speak falsely to me? Has he sworn falsely by the name of his power and by the name of his abzu? Has he duplicitously sent you to me as a messenger?” Now as these words were still in her mouth, he got the fifty giants of Eridug to seize hold of the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana adressed her minister Nincubur: “Come, my good minister of E-ana! My fair-spoken minister! My envoy of reliable words! Water has never touched your hand, water has never touched your feet!”
68-75So Inana got hold again of the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven and then for the third time the prince spoke to his minister Isimud, Enki addressed the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached the UL.MA hill.” “Go now! The fifty lahama of the subterranean waters are to take the Boat of Heaven away from her!”
76-87The minister Isimud spoke to holy Inana: “My lady! Your father has sent me to you. Inana, your father has sent me to you. What your father said was very serious. What Enki spoke was very serious. His important words cannot be countermanded.” Holy Inana replied to him: “What has my father said to you, what has he spoken? Why should his important words not be countermanded?” “My master has spoken to me, Enki has said to me: “Inana may travel to Unug, but you are to get the Boat of Heaven back to Eridug for me”.”
88-101Holy Inana spoke to the minister Isimud: “How could my father have changed what he said to me? How could he have altered his promise as far as I am concerned? How could he have discredited his important words to me? Was it falsehood that my father said to me, did he speak falsely to me? Has he sworn falsely by the name of his power and by the name of his abzu? Has he duplicitously sent you to me as a messenger?” Now as these words were still in her mouth, he got the fifty lahama of the subterranean waters to seize hold of the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana adressed her minister Nincubur: “Come, my good minister of E-ana! My fair-spoken minister! My envoy of reliable words! Water has never touched your hand, water has never touched your feet!”
102-109So Inana got hold again of the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven and then for the fourth time the prince spoke to his minister Isimud, Enki addressed the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached the Field Hill.” “Go now! All the great fish together …… are to take the Boat of Heaven away from her!”
110-121The minister Isimud spoke to holy Inana: “My lady! Your father has sent me to you. Inana, your father has sent me to you. What your father said was very serious. What Enki spoke was very serious. His important words cannot be countermanded.” Holy Inana replied to him: “What has my father said to you, what has he spoken? Why should his important words not be countermanded?” “My master has spoken to me, Enki has said to me: “Inana may travel to Unug, but you are to get the Boat of Heaven back to Eridug for me”.”
122-135Holy Inana spoke to the minister Isimud: “How could my father have changed what he said to me? How could he have altered his promise as far as I am concerned? How could he have discredited his important words to me? Was it falsehood that my father said to me, did he speak falsely to me? Has he sworn falsely by the name of his power and by the name of his abzu? Has he duplicitously sent you to me as a messenger?” Now as these words were still in her mouth, he got all the great fish together …… to seize hold of the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana adressed her minister Nincubur: “Come, my good minister of E-ana! My fair-spoken minister! My envoy of reliable words! Water has never touched your hand, water has never touched your feet!”
136-143So Inana got hold again of the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven and then for the fifth time the prince spoke to his minister Isimud, Enki addressed the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached …….” “Go now! ……, the guardians of Unug, are to take the Boat of Heaven away from her!”
144-155The minister Isimud spoke to holy Inana: “My lady! Your father has sent me to you. Inana, your father has sent me to you. What your father said was very serious. What Enki spoke was very serious. His important words cannot be countermanded.” Holy Inana replied to him: “What has my father said to you, what has he spoken? Why should his important words not be countermanded?” “My master has spoken to me, Enki has said to me: “Inana may travel to Unug, but you are to get the Boat of Heaven back to Eridug for me”.”
156-169Holy Inana spoke to the minister Isimud: “How could my father have changed what he said to me? How could he have altered his promise as far as I am concerned? How could he have discredited his important words to me? Was it falsehood that my father said to me, did he speak falsely to me? Has he sworn falsely by the name of his power and by the name of his abzu? Has he duplicitously sent you to me as a messenger?” Now as these words were still in her mouth, he got the ……, the guardians of Unug, to seize hold of the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana adressed her minister Nincubur: “Come, my good minister of E-ana! My fair-spoken minister! My envoy of reliable words! Water has never touched your hand, water has never touched your feet!”
170-178So Inana got hold again of the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven and then for the sixth time the prince spoke to his minister Isimud, Enki addressed the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached the Id-surungal …….” “Go now! The Id-surungal …… are to take the Boat of Heaven away from her! …… from holy Inana.”
179-190The minister Isimud spoke to holy Inana: “My lady! Your father has sent me to you. Inana, your father has sent me to you. What your father said was very serious. What Enki spoke was very serious. His important words cannot be countermanded.” Holy Inana replied to him: “What has my father said to you, what has he spoken? Why should his important words not be countermanded?” “My master has spoken to me, Enki has said to me: “Inana may travel to Unug, but you are to get the Boat of Heaven back to Eridug for me”.”
191-205Holy Inana spoke to the minister Isimud: “How could my father have changed what he said to me? How could he have altered his promise as far as I am concerned? How could he have discredited his important words to me? Was it falsehood that my father said to me, did he speak falsely to me? Has he sworn falsely by the name of his power and by the name of his abzu? Has he duplicitously sent you to me as a messenger?” Now as these words were still in her mouth, he got the Id-surungal …… to seize hold of the Boat of Heaven. …… from holy Inana. Holy Inana adressed her minister Nincubur: “Come, my good minister of E-ana! My fair-spoken minister! My envoy of reliable words! Water has never touched your hand, water has never touched your feet!”
206-217So Inana got hold again of the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven and then
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…… Unug ……
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…… the Boat of Heaven. Nincubur ……, …… the Boat of Heaven. A seventh time ……
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The great princely scion, holy ……. Holy Inana …… the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana at that time …….
218-223Her minister Nincubur spoke to holy Inana: “My lady, today you have brought the Boat of Heaven to the Gate of Joy, to Unug Kulaba. Now there will be rejoicing in our city, now there will be rejoicing in our city. …… barges on our river …….”
224-248Holy Inana replied to her: “Today I have brought the Boat of Heaven to the Gate of Joy, to Unug Kulaba. It shall pass along the street magnificently. The people shall stand in the street full of awe. ”
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…… in joy. …… the old men of the city …… comfort, …… the old women …… counsel, …… the young men …… strength of arms, …… the children …… joy. …… Unug.
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“…… festival …… the Boat of Heaven. He shall recite great prayers. The king shall slaughter bulls, shall sacrifice sheep. He shall pour beer from a bowl. He shall have the cem and ala drums sound, and have the sweet-sounding tigi instruments play. The foreign lands shall declare my greatness. My people shall utter my praise.”
249-256When she had …… the Boat of Heaven to the Gate of Joy at Unug Kulaba, it passed magnificently along the street. It reached the maiden’s house, and she …… its place. …… the purified well, her principal well. Inana …… the divine powers which had been presented to her, and the Boat of Heaven, at the Jipar Gate. At the Agrun Chamber ……. Holy Inana …… the Boat of Heaven …….
257-266The prince addressed his minister Isimud, Enki spoke to the Sweet Name of Heaven: “Isimud, my minister, my Sweet Name of Heaven!” “Enki, my master, I am at your service! What is your wish?” “Where has the Boat of Heaven reached now?” “It has just now reached the White Quay.” “Go now, …… admiration. …… admiration …… the Boat of Heaven. Holy Inana ……. …… admiration ……. ”
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1-5″Inana, you have brought with you the office of en priest, you have brought with you the office of lagal priest, you have brought with you divinity, you have brought with you the great and good crown, you have brought with you the royal throne.
6-10″You have brought with you the noble sceptre, you have brought with you the staff and crook, you have brought with you the noble dress, you have brought with you shepherdship, you have brought with you kingship.
11-15″You have brought with you the office of egi-zi priestess, you have brought with you the office of nin-dijir priestess, you have brought with you the office of icib priest, you have brought with you the office of lu-mah priest, you have brought with you the office of gudu priest.
16-21″You have brought with you constancy, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you going down to the underworld, you have brought with you coming up from the underworld, you have brought with you the kur-jara priest.
22-27″You have brought with you sword and club, you have brought with you the cultic functionary saj-ursaj, you have brought with you the black garment, you have brought with you the colourful garment, you have brought with you the …… hair-style, you have brought with you the …… hair-style.
28-34″You have brought with you ……, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you …….
35-40″You have brought with you the standard, you have brought with you the quiver, you have brought with you sexual intercourse, you have brought with you kissing, you have brought with you prostitution, you have brought with you …… running (?).
41-46″You have brought with you forthright speech, you have brought with you deceitful speech, you have brought with you grandiloquent speech, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you the cultic prostitute, you have brought with you the holy tavern.
47-52″You have brought with you the holy nijin-jar shrine, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you the hierodule of heaven, you have brought with you loud musical instruments, you have brought with you the art of song, you have brought with you venerable old age.
53-59″You have brought with you heroism, you have brought with you power, you have brought with you wickedness, you have brought with you righteousness, you have brought with you the plundering of cities, you have brought with you making lamentations, you have brought with you rejoicing.
60-64″You have brought with you deceit, you have brought with you the rebel lands, you have brought with you kindness, you have brought with you being on the move, you have brought with you being sedentary.
65-72″You have brought with you the craft of the carpenter, you have brought with you the craft of the coppersmith, you have brought with you the craft of the scribe, you have brought with you the craft of the smith, you have brought with you the craft of the leather-worker, you have brought with you the craft of the fuller, you have brought with you the craft of the builder, you have brought with you the craft of the reed-worker.
73-81″You have brought with you wisdom, you have brought with you attentiveness, you have brought with you holy purification rites, you have brought with you the shepherd’s hut, you have brought with you piling up glowing charcoals, you have brought with you the sheepfold, you have brought with you respect, you have brought with you awe, you have brought with you reverent silence.
82-88″You have brought with you the bitter-toothed (?) ……, you have brought with you the kindling of fire, you have brought with you the extinguishing of fire, you have brought with you hard work, you have brought with you ……, you have brought with you the assembled family, you have brought with you descendants.
89-94″You have brought with you strife, you have brought with you triumph, you have brought with you counselling, you have brought with you comforting, you have brought with you judging, you have brought with you decision-making.
95-108″You have brought with you the establishing of plans (?), the attractiveness of women, you have brought with you …… to handle the perfect divine powers, you have brought with you …… small ……, you have brought with you …… exalted ……, you have brought with you the holy tigi, holy lilis, ub, meze and ala drums, you have brought with you the …… of holy An, you have brought with you the …… of holy An, you have brought with you the …… of holy An, you have brought with you the …… of holy An, you have brought with you the …… of holy An, you have brought with you the …… of holy An, you have brought with you all of the ……, …… beer.”
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115-125Where the woman …… joy ……, she named it with the name “The house Ganzer is rebuilt”. Where the trader said “Fifty shekels” but when he brought (?) it there was less, she named that place with the name “Potsherds and scrap metal (?)”. Where the boat ……, she named it with the name “……”. Where the boat came to dock at the quay, she named that place with the name “White Quay”. Where ……, she named that place with the name “Blue Quay”.
126-128Enki spoke to holy Inana: “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will establish …… in my abzu for the woman.”
129-130 (Inana speaks:) “Why has this one now entered here? …… taking the divine powers from me?”
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(A third deity speaks:) “May the …… in your name!”
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“May there be …… a festival! May …… pass their time …… at the gate of your Jipar! May the citizens of your city, Inana, the citizens of Unug, live ……! And as for you, Enki — may …… your city, Eridug ……, and has indeed restored …….”
1-5From the great heaven she set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven the goddess set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven Inana set her mind on the great below. My mistress abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld. Inana abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld.
6-13She abandoned the office of en, abandoned the office of lagar, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-ana in Unug, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-muc-kalama in Bad-tibira, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the Giguna in Zabalam, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-cara in Adab, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the Barag-dur-jara in Nibru, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the Hursaj-kalama in Kic, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-Ulmac in Agade, and descended to the underworld. (1 ms. adds 8 lines: She abandoned the Ibgal in Umma, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-Dilmuna in Urim, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the Amac-e-kug in Kisiga, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-ecdam-kug in Jirsu, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-sig-mece-du in Isin, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the Anzagar in Akcak, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the Nijin-jar-kug in Curuppag, and descended to the underworld. She abandoned the E-cag-hula in Kazallu, and descended to the underworld.)
14-19She took the seven divine powers. She collected the divine powers and grasped them in her hand. With the good divine powers, she went on her way. She put a turban, headgear for the open country, on her head. She took a wig for her forehead. She hung small lapis-lazuli beads around her neck.
20-25She placed twin egg-shaped beads on her breast. She covered her body with a pala dress, the garment of ladyship. She placed mascara which is called “Let a man come, let him come” on her eyes. She pulled the pectoral which is called “Come, man, come” over her breast. She placed a golden ring on her hand. She held the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line in her hand.
26-27Inana travelled towards the underworld. Her minister Nincubura travelled behind her.
28-31Holy Inana said to Nincubura: “Come my faithful minister of E-ana, my minister who speaks fair words, my escort who speaks trustworthy words (1 ms. has instead: I am going to give you instructions: my instructions must be followed I am going to say something to you: it must be observed).
32-36″On this day I will descend to the underworld. When I have arrived in the underworld, make a lament for me on the ruin mounds. Beat the drum for me in the sanctuary. Make the rounds of the houses of the gods for me.
37-40″Lacerate your eyes for me, lacerate your nose for me. (1 ms. adds the line: Lacerate your ears for me, in public.) In private, lacerate your buttocks for me. Like a pauper, clothe yourself in a single garment and all alone set your foot in the E-kur, the house of Enlil.
41-47″When you have entered the E-kur, the house of Enlil, lament before Enlil: “Father Enlil, don’t let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don’t let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don’t let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason’s stone. Don’t let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter’s wood. Don’t let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”
48-56″If Enlil does not help you in this matter, go to Urim. In the E-mud-kura at Urim, when you have entered the E-kic-nu-jal, the house of Nanna, lament before Nanna: “Father Nanna, don’t let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don’t let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don’t let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason’s stone. Don’t let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter’s wood. Don’t let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”
57-64″And if Nanna does not help you in this matter, go to Eridug. In Eridug, when you have entered the house of Enki, lament before Enki: “Father Enki, don’t let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don’t let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don’t let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason’s stone. Don’t let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter’s wood. Don’t let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”
65-67″Father Enki, the lord of great wisdom, knows about the life-giving plant and the life-giving water. He is the one who will restore me to life.”
68-72When Inana travelled on towards the underworld, her minister Nincubura travelled on behind her. She said to her minister Nincubura: “Go now, my Nincubura, and pay attention. Don’t neglect the instructions I gave you.”
73-77When Inana arrived at the palace Ganzer, she pushed aggressively on the door of the underworld. She shouted aggressively at the gate of the underworld: “Open up, doorman, open up. Open up, Neti, open up. I am all alone and I want to come in.”
78-84Neti, the chief doorman of the underworld, answered holy Inana: “Who are you?” “I am Inana going to the east.” “If you are Inana going to the east, why have you travelled to the land of no return? How did you set your heart on the road whose traveller never returns?”
85-89Holy Inana answered him: “Because lord Gud-gal-ana, the husband of my elder sister holy Erec-ki-gala, has died in order to have his funeral rites observed, she offers generous libations at his wake — that is the reason.”
90-93Neti, the chief doorman of the underworld, answered holy Inana: “Stay here, Inana. I will speak to my mistress. I will speak to my mistress Erec-ki-gala and tell her what you have said.”
94-101Neti, the chief doorman of the underworld, entered the house of his mistress Erec-ki-gala and said: “My mistress, there is a lone girl outside. It is Inana, your sister, and she has arrived at the palace Ganzer. She pushed aggressively on the door of the underworld. She shouted aggressively at the gate of the underworld. She has abandoned E-ana and has descended to the underworld.
102-107″She has taken the seven divine powers. She has collected the divine powers and grasped them in her hand. She has come on her way with all the good divine powers. She has put a turban, headgear for the open country, on her head. She has taken a wig for her forehead. She has hung small lapis-lazuli beads around her neck.
108-113″She has placed twin egg-shaped beads on her breast. She has covered her body with the pala dress of ladyship. She has placed mascara which is called “Let a man come” on her eyes. She has pulled the pectoral which is called “Come, man, come” over her breast. She has placed a golden ring on her hand. She is holding the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line in her hand.”
114-122When she heard this, Erec-ki-gala slapped the side of her thigh. She bit her lip and took the words to heart. She said to Neti, her chief doorman: “Come Neti, my chief doorman of the underworld, don’t neglect the instructions I will give you. Let the seven gates of the underworld be bolted. Then let each door of the palace Ganzer be opened separately. As for her, after she has entered, and crouched down and had her clothes removed, they will be carried away.”
123-128Neti, the chief doorman of the underworld, paid attention to the instructions of his mistress. He bolted the seven gates of the underworld. Then he opened each of the doors of the palace Ganzer separately. He said to holy Inana: “Come on, Inana, and enter.”
129-133And when Inana entered, (1 ms. adds 2 lines: the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line were removed from her hand, when she entered the first gate,) the turban, headgear for the open country, was removed from her head. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
134-138When she entered the second gate, the small lapis-lazuli beads were removed from her neck. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
139-143When she entered the third gate, the twin egg-shaped beads were removed from her breast. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
144-148When she entered the fourth gate, the “Come, man, come” pectoral was removed from her breast. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
149-153When she entered the fifth gate, the golden ring was removed from her hand. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
154-158When she entered the sixth gate, the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line were removed from her hand. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
159-163When she entered the seventh gate, the pala dress, the garment of ladyship, was removed from her body. “What is this?” “Be satisfied, Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”
164-172After she had crouched down and had her clothes removed, they were carried away. Then she made her sister Erec-ki-gala rise from her throne, and instead she sat on her throne. The Anuna, the seven judges, rendered their decision against her. They looked at her — it was the look of death. They spoke to her — it was the speech of anger. They shouted at her — it was the shout of heavy guilt. The afflicted woman was turned into a corpse. And the corpse was hung on a hook.
173-175After three days and three nights had passed, her minister Nincubura (2 mss. add 2 lines: , her minister who speaks fair words, her escort who speaks trustworthy words,) carried out the instructions of her mistress (1 ms. has instead 2 lines: did not forget her orders, she did not neglect her instructions).
176-182She made a lament for her in her ruined (houses). She beat the drum for her in the sanctuaries. She made the rounds of the houses of the gods for her. She lacerated her eyes for her, she lacerated her nose. In private she lacerated her buttocks for her. Like a pauper, she clothed herself in a single garment, and all alone she set her foot in the E-kur, the house of Enlil.
183-189When she had entered the E-kur, the house of Enlil, she lamented before Enlil: “Father Enlil, don’t let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don’t let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don’t let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason’s stone. Don’t let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter’s wood. Don’t let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”
190-194In his rage father Enlil answered Nincubura: “My daughter craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”
195-203Thus father Enlil did not help in this matter, so she went to Urim. In the E-mud-kura at Urim, when she had entered the E-kic-nu-jal, the house of Nanna, she lamented before Nanna: “Father Nanna, don’t let your daughter be killed in the underworld. Don’t let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don’t let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason’s stone. Don’t let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter’s wood. Don’t let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”
204-208In his rage father Nanna answered Nincubura: “My daughter craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”
209-216Thus father Nanna did not help her in this matter, so she went to Eridug. In Eridug, when she had entered the house of Enki, she lamented before Enki: “Father Enki, don’t let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don’t let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don’t let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason’s stone. Don’t let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter’s wood. Don’t let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”
217-225Father Enki answered Nincubura: “What has my daughter done? She has me worried. What has Inana done? She has me worried. What has the mistress of all the lands done? She has me worried. What has the hierodule of An done? She has me worried.” (1 ms. adds 1 line: Thus father Enki helped her in this matter.) He removed some dirt from the tip of his fingernail and created the kur-jara. He removed some dirt from the tip of his other fingernail and created the gala-tura. To the kur-jara he gave the life-giving plant. To the gala-tura he gave the life-giving water.
226-235Then father Enki spoke out to the gala-tura and the kur-jara: ” (1 ms. has instead the line: One of you sprinkle the life-giving plant over her, and the other the life-giving water.) Go and direct your steps to the underworld. Flit past the door like flies. Slip through the door pivots like phantoms. The mother who gave birth, Erec-ki-gala, on account of her children, is lying there. Her holy shoulders are not covered by a linen cloth. Her breasts are not full like a cagan vessel. Her nails are like a pickaxe (?) upon her. The hair on her head is bunched up as if it were leeks.
236-245″When she says “Oh my heart”, you are to say “You are troubled, our mistress, oh your heart”. When she says “Oh my liver”, you are to say “You are troubled, our mistress, oh your liver”. (She will then ask:) “Who are you? Speaking to you from my heart to your heart, from my liver to your liver — if you are gods, let me talk with you if you are mortals, may a destiny be decreed for you.” Make her swear this by heaven and earth.
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246-253″They will offer you a riverful of water — don’t accept it. They will offer you a field with its grain — don’t accept it. But say to her: “Give us the corpse hanging on the hook.” (She will answer:) “That is the corpse of your queen.” Say to her: “Whether it is that of our king, whether it is that of our queen, give it to us.” She will give you the corpse hanging on the hook. One of you sprinkle on it the life-giving plant and the other the life-giving water. Thus let Inana arise.”
254-262The gala-tura and the kur-jara paid attention to the instructions of Enki. They flitted through the door like flies. They slipped through the door pivots like phantoms. The mother who gave birth, Erec-ki-gala, because of her children, was lying there. Her holy shoulders were not covered by a linen cloth. Her breasts were not full like a cagan vessel. Her nails were like a pickaxe (?) upon her. The hair on her head was bunched up as if it were leeks.
263-272When she said “Oh my heart”, they said to her “You are troubled, our mistress, oh your heart”. When she said “Oh my liver”, they said to her “You are troubled, our mistress, oh your liver”. (Then she asked:) “Who are you? I tell you from my heart to your heart, from my liver to your liver — if you are gods, I will talk with you if you are mortals, may a destiny be decreed for you.” They made her swear this by heaven and earth. They …….
273-281They were offered a river with its water — they did not accept it. They were offered a field with its grain — they did not accept it. They said to her: “Give us the corpse hanging on the hook.” Holy Erec-ki-gala answered the gala-tura and the kur-jara: “The corpse is that of your queen.” They said to her: “Whether it is that of our king or that of our queen, give it to us.” They were given the corpse hanging on the hook. One of them sprinkled on it the life-giving plant and the other the life-giving water. And thus Inana arose.
282-289Erec-ki-gala said to the gala-tura and the kur-jara: “Bring your queen ……, your …… has been seized.” Inana, because of Enki’s instructions, was about to ascend from the underworld. But as Inana was about to ascend from the underworld, the Anuna seized her: “Who has ever ascended from the underworld, has ascended unscathed from the underworld? If Inana is to ascend from the underworld, let her provide a substitute for herself.”
290-294So when Inana left the underworld, the one in front of her, though not a minister, held a sceptre in his hand the one behind her, though not an escort, carried a mace at his hip, while the small demons, like a reed enclosure, and the big demons, like the reeds of a fence, restrained her on all sides.
295-305Those who accompanied her, those who accompanied Inana, know no food, know no drink, eat no flour offering and drink no libation. They accept no pleasant gifts. They never enjoy the pleasures of the marital embrace, never have any sweet children to kiss. They tear away the wife from a man’s embrace. They snatch the son from a man’s knee. They make the bride leave the house of her father-in-law (instead of lines 300-305, 1 ms. has 2 lines: They take the wife away from a man’s embrace. They take away the child hanging on a wet-nurse’s breasts). (1 ms. adds 3 lines: They crush no bitter garlic. They eat no fish, they eat no leeks. They, it was, who accompanied Inana.)
306-310After Inana had ascended from the underworld, Nincubura threw herself at her feet at the door of the Ganzer. She had sat in the dust and clothed herself in a filthy garment. The demons said to holy Inana: “Inana, proceed to your city, we will take her back.”
311-321Holy Inana answered the demons: “This is my minister of fair words, my escort of trustworthy words. She did not forget my instructions. She did not neglect the orders I gave her. She made a lament for me on the ruin mounds. She beat the drum for me in the sanctuaries. She made the rounds of the gods’ houses for me. She lacerated her eyes for me, lacerated her nose for me. (1 ms. adds 1 line: She lacerated her ears for me in public.) In private, she lacerated her buttocks for me. Like a pauper, she clothed herself in a single garment.
322-328″All alone she directed her steps to the E-kur, to the house of Enlil, and to Urim, to the house of Nanna, and to Eridug, to the house of Enki. (1 ms. adds 1 line: She wept before Enki.) She brought me back to life. How could I turn her over to you? Let us go on. Let us go on to the Sig-kur-caga in Umma.”
329-333At the Sig-kur-caga in Umma, Cara, in his own city, threw himself at her feet. He had sat in the dust and dressed himself in a filthy garment. The demons said to holy Inana: “Inana, proceed to your city, we will take him back.”
334-338Holy Inana answered the demons: “Cara is my singer, my manicurist and my hairdresser. How could I turn him over to you? Let us go on. Let us go on to the E-muc-kalama in Bad-tibira.”
339-343At the E-muc-kalama in Bad-tibira, Lulal, in his own city, threw himself at her feet. He had sat in the dust and clothed himself in a filthy garment. The demons said to holy Inana: “Inana, proceed to your city, we will take him back.”
344-347Holy Inana answered the demons: “Outstanding Lulal follows me at my right and my left. How could I turn him over to you? Let us go on. Let us go on to the great apple tree in the plain of Kulaba.”
348-353They followed her to the great apple tree in the plain of Kulaba. There was Dumuzid clothed in a magnificent garment and seated magnificently on a throne. The demons seized him there by his thighs. The seven of them poured the milk from his churns. The seven of them shook their heads like ……. They would not let the shepherd play the pipe and flute before her (?).
354-358She looked at him, it was the look of death. She spoke to him (?), it was the speech of anger. She shouted at him (?), it was the shout of heavy guilt: “How much longer? Take him away.” Holy Inana gave Dumuzid the shepherd into their hands.
359-367Those who had accompanied her, who had come for Dumuzid, know no food, know no drink, eat no flour offering, drink no libation. They never enjoy the pleasures of the marital embrace, never have any sweet children to kiss. They snatch the son from a man’s knee. They make the bride leave the house of her father-in-law.
368-375Dumuzid let out a wail and turned very pale. The lad raised his hands to heaven, to Utu: “Utu, you are my brother-in-law. I am your relation by marriage. I brought butter to your mother’s house. I brought milk to Ningal’s house. Turn my hands into snake’s hands and turn my feet into snake’s feet, so I can escape my demons, let them not keep hold of me.”
376-383Utu accepted his tears. (1 ms. adds 1 line: Dumuzid’s demons could not keep hold of him.) Utu turned Dumuzid’s hands into snake’s hands. He turned his feet into snake’s feet. Dumuzid escaped his demons. (1 ms. adds 1 line: Like a sajkal snake he …….) They seized …….
2 lines fragmentary
Holy Inana …… her heart.
384-393Holy Inana wept bitterly for her husband.
4 lines fragmentary
She tore at her hair like esparto grass, she ripped it out like esparto grass. “You wives who lie in your men’s embrace, where is my precious husband? You children who lie in your men’s embrace, where is my precious child? Where is my man? Where ……? Where is my man? Where ……?”
394-398A fly spoke to holy Inana: “If I show you where your man is, what will be my reward?” Holy Inana answered the fly: “If you show me where my man is, I will give you this gift: I will cover …….”
399-403The fly helped (?) holy Inana. The young lady Inana decreed the destiny of the fly: “In the beer-house and the tavern (?), may there …… for you. You will live (?) like the sons of the wise.” Now Inana decreed this fate and thus it came to be.
404-410…… was weeping. She came up to the sister (?) and …… by the hand: “Now, alas, my ……. You for half the year and your sister for half the year: when you are demanded, on that day you will stay, when your sister is demanded, on that day you will be released.” Thus holy Inana gave Dumuzid as a substitute …….
411-412Holy Erec-ki-gala — sweet is your praise.
Sumerian necklaces and headgear discovered in the royal (and individual) graves of the Royal Cemetery at Ur (Source/Photographer:JMiall)
Scepter, tomb PG 1236. Royal Cemetery at Ur (Author:Gary Todd)
Plate from PG 789. Royal Cemetery at Ur
*1) Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/), Oxford 1998-.
BOOK II: THE HISTORY OF BABYLONIA
THE study of the origins of states is fraught with no less difficulty than the investigation of the origins of animate nature. The great wall before every investigator of the beginnings of things, with its inscription, "Thus far shalt thou come and no farther," stands also before the student of the origins of the various early kingdoms of Babylonia. It may always be impossible to achieve any picture of the beginnings of civilization in Babylonia which will satisfy the desire for a clear and vivid portrayal. Whatever may be achieved by future investigators it is now impossible to do more than give outlines of events in the dim past of early Babylonia.
If we call up before us the land of Babylonia, and transport ourselves backward until we reach the period of more than four thousand five hundred years before Christ, we shall be able to discern here and there signs of life, society, and government in certain cities. Civilization has al-ready reached a high point, the arts of life are well advanced, and men are able to write down their thoughts and deeds in intelligible language and in permanent form. All these presuppose a long period of development running back through millenniums of unrecorded time.. At this period there are no great kingdoms, comprising many cities, with their laws and customs, with subject territory and tribute-paying states. Over the entire land there are only visible, as we look back upon it, cities dissevered in government, and perhaps in inter-course, but yet the promise of kingdoms still un born. In Babylonia we know of the existence of the cities Agade, Babylon, Kutha, Kish, Gishban, Shirpurla (afterward called Lagasb), Guti, and yet others less famous. In each of these cities worship is paid to some local god who is considered by his faithful followers to be a Baal or Lord, the strongest god, whose right it is to demand worship, also, from dwellers in other cities. 315 This belief be-comes an impulse by which the inhabitants of a city are driven out to conquer other cities and so extend the dominion of their god. If the inhabit-ants of Babylon could conquer the people of Kutha, was it - hot proof that the stronger god was behind their armies, and should not other peoples also worship him? But there were other motives for conquest. There was the crying need for bread-the most pressing need of all the ages. It was natural that they who had the poorer parts of the country should seek to acquire the better portions either to dwell in or to exact tribute from. The desire for power, a thoroughly human impulse, was also joined to the other two influences at a very early date. The ruler in Babylon must needs conquer his nearest neighbor that he may get himself power over men and a name among them. Impelled by religion, by hunger, and by ambition, the peoples of Babylonia, who have dwelt apart in separate cities, begin to add city to city, concentrating power in the hands of kings. Herein lies the origin of the great empire which must later dominate the whole earth, for these little kingdoms thus formed later unite under the headship of one kingdom and the empire is founded.
At the very earliest period whose written records have come down to us the name of Babylonia was Kengi--that is, "land of canals and reeds." 316 Even then the waters of the river were conveyed to the fields and the cities in artificially constructed canals, while the most characteristic form of vegetable life was the reed, growing in masses along the water courses. More than four thousand five hundred years before Christ there lived in this land of Kengi a mail who writes his name En-shag-kusll ana, 317 who calls himself lord of Kengi. We know very little indeed of him, but it seems probable that his small dominion contained several cities, of which Erech was probably the capital, and Nippur was certainly its chief religious center. Even at this early time there was a temple at Nippur dedicated to the great god Enlil, over which there was set a chief servant of the god, who con-trolled the temple worship, protected its sanctity if necessary, and was accounted its ruler. The title of this ruler of the temple, this chief priest, was patesi. 318 Naturally enough the man who held such an important religious post often gained political power. If the god whom he represented was a god whose power had been shown in the prosperity of his worshipers in war or in trade, it was natural enough that neighboring cities should come under his glorious protection, and that his patesi should stand in the relation of governor to them. Now En-shag-kush-ana was the patesi of Enlil, and the honor of that god was in his keeping. We do not know of what race he was. He may have been Sumerian, he may have been a Semite, or he may have been of mixed race, for that mixture of blood had already begun is shown clearly enough by contemporary monuments. But what-ever his own blood was his people were Sumerians and the civilization over which he ruled was likewise Sumerian. But even at this early time the Sumerian vitality was dying out, and the day was threatening when a new and more virile people would drive the Sumerians out of their heritage and possess it in their room. Some individuals of this race were already settled in the Sumerian territory in the south, and others of them already possessed the great northern domain, which once had belonged to the Sumerians. Out of this period to which En-shag-kush-ana belongs we hear several echoes of the conflict that was already begun for the possession of all Babylonia. To about this period there belongs a little broken inscription written by another lord of Kengi, who has been trying to reconquer part of northern Babylonia which was already in the possession of these new invaders. These invaders were Semites, whose original home was probably Arabia, but who were now for some time settled northwest of Babylonia and probably in Mesopotamia. They coveted the rich alluvial soil on which the Babylonians were living as well as the fine cities which already dotted it here and there. The Sumerians had prob. ably once possessed this very land in which they were now dwelling, but had been driven from it by their resistless advance. It seems probable that the city of Gishban was one of their earliest possessions, and that to it they later added Kish, which became the chief city of their growing kingdom. While En-shag-kush-ana was lord over the Sumerian kingdom in the south the kingdom of Kish was threatening to overwhelm the whole of Babylonia. It was a successor of his, or per-haps a predecessor, who attacked Enne-Ugun, the king of Kish. Victory came to the Sumerians, and the king, whose name is yet unknown, came home, bearing with him the spoil of the conquered Semite--"his statue, his shining silver, the utensils, his property" 319 --and set them up as an offering in the sanctuary of the great god Enlil, who bad given him the victory. Well might the king of Kengi boast of a victory which must for a time at least stay the progress of the invading Semite.
It was, however, only a temporary reverse for this people. The Semites had the fresh power of a new race, and soon produced a leader able to strike the one blow needed to destroy forever the Sumerian commonwealth. There was a patesi of Gisbban, called Ukush, and it was his son Lugalzaggisi who, when he had come to the rule over Kish and Gishban, went down into southern Babylonia and overwhelmed it. It was probably easily accomplished, for the work of the Sumerians was done. Yet theirs had been a noble career, and the people who had invented a system of writing that served their conquerors for thousands of years were a people who had left a deep impress on the world's history. About 4000 B. C. Lugalzaggisi made Erech the capital of the now united Babylonia, and Nippur readily became the chief center of its religious life. The language of the Sumerians was used by their conqueror in which to celebrate his conquest, and to their gods did he give thanks for his victories. It was they who had called him to the rule over Kengi and appointed unto him a still greater dominion. His words glow with feeling as he says: "When Enlil, lord of the lands, invested Lugalzaggisi with the kingdom of the world, and granted him success before the world, when he filled the land with his power, (and) subdued the country from the rise of the sun to the setting of the sun-at that time he straightened his path from the lower sea of the Tigris and Euphrates to the upper sea, and granted him the dominion of everything(?) from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun, and caused the countries to dwell in peace." 320 Lugalzaggisi made a small empire at one stroke, and his boastful inscription begins with a long list of titles "Lugalzaggisi, king of Erech, king of the world, priest of Ana, hero of Nidaba, son of Ukush, patesi of Gishban, hero of Nidaba, he who was favorably looked upon by the faithful eye of Lu-galkurkura (that is, Enlil), great patesi of Enlil." 321 The power of his name extended even to the shores of the Mediterranean, though, of course, he did not attempt to rule over so vast a territory.
Lugalzaggisi was succeeded on the throne by his son, Lugal-kisalsi, 322 and it appeared for a time as though the Sumerian kingdom was blotted out forever, and that no more than peaceful absorption into the Semitic life could await it. But a kingdom slowly built up during the ages often makes more than one effort to retain its life, and this was to be the case with the Sumerian kingdom.
Perhaps while Lugal-kisalsi was still alive a reaction began. The nucleus for it was found in an ancient kingdom, the kingdom of Shirpurla, whose chief city was Sungir, 323 in southern Babylonia. Who had laid the foundations of either city or kingdom is unknown to us. We come upon them both in full power and dignity, about 4500 B. C. Urukagina then is king of Shirpurla, and he is engaged in the building and restoration of temples and the construction of a canal to supply his city with water. 324 But it is only a glimpse that we catch of his operations in the far distant past, and then he disappears and for some time, perhaps a generation or more, we hear nothing of his city or kingdom. Then there appears a new king in Sungir, Ur-Nina. Like Urukagina, he also was a builder of temples, for which he brought timber all the way from Magan-the Sinaitic peninsula. There is no mention in any of his little inscriptions of war, and in his time uninterrupted peace seems to have prevailed. 325 He was succeeded by his son, Akurgal, none of whose inscriptions have come down to us. After him came his son, Eannatum, 326 who felt sorely the increasing pressure of the Semitic hordes, and determined to strike a blow against Gishban and its domination of Babylonia. The Sumerians won, and the bloody battle remained long famous in the annals of a dying people. Upon his return, covered with honor, Eannatum set up in the temple of his god Niu-Sungir a splendid stele 327 in commemoration of his victory. Upon one of its white limestone faces stand two goddesses, before whom lies a great heap of weapons and of booty taken from the Semites. Above them is the totem, or coat of arms of the city--a double-headed eagle above two demi-lions placed back to back. On the other side of the stele is Eannatum standing upright in his war chariot, with a great spear in his hand, followed by his troops and charging upon the enemy. The plain is covered with the bodies of his enemies, and vultures fight with each other and devour the mangled heads, legs, and arms of the defeated enemy. Rude though it undoubtedly is, yet the execution bears witness to high civilization, for such execution could only be the result of long practice in the plastic art. By this one stroke Eannatum had freed Ur and Uruk from the Semitic invader and had imparted a fresh lease of life to the almost expiring Sumerian commonwealth. The new energy of victory was shown at once. Elam was invaded and Sumerian supremacy almost entirely reestablished over the whole of Babylonia and its tributary lands. The simple records of his deeds makes Eannatum one of the greatest conquerors of the far distant past. He was succeeded by his brother, En-anna-tuma I, and he by his son, Entemena, who has left us a beautiful silver vase with a brief inscription as well as fragments of vases which he presented to the great god Enlil at Nippur. After him came his son, En-anna-tuma II, who remains up to this time but a shadowy personality before us. With him we lose sight of the little kingdom of Shirpurla for a considerable period, and all our interest is transferred again to Semitic kingdoms in the north.
At about 3800 B. C. we catch a glimpse of an-other conqueror in Babylonia. At Nippur 328 there have been found sixty-one fragments of vases bearing the name of the king Alusharshid. 329 From the fragments of these vases a complete inscription has been made out, which reads: "Alusharshid, king of the world, presented (it) to Bel from the spoil of Elam when he had subjugated Elam and Bara'se." This inscription makes known the important fact that a king, living probably at Kish, had conquered part of the land of Elam and the unknown land of Bara'se (or Para'se), from which he brought back fine marble vases and dedicated them to the gods of Babylonia. It is significant that these vases are dedicated to gods at Nippur and Sippar, 330 for in this we find indications of a kingdom which included northern Babylonia, Nip-Pull, Sippar, and extended its influence even over the land of Elam. And with these few faint rays of light from the north and its kingdom darkness again closes in upon early Babylonia.
Once more, at about the same period, do we get sight of a bright light in the gray dawn of history, and this time it is, not from Babylonia, but from Guti, the mountain country of Kurdistan, from which the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers came down to Assyria and Babylonia. Here reigned a king whose words are thus read: "Lasirab (?) the mighty king of Guti. has made and pre-sented (it.) Whoever removes this inscribed stone and writes (the mention of) his name thereupon his foundation may Guti, Ninna, and Sin tear up, and exterminate his seed, and may whatsoever he undertakes not prosper." 331 In itself brief and un-important, this little text introduces us to another land under Semitic influences at a very early period.
Manishtusu, 332 another king of the same period, has left us a mace head and a stele as memorials of his sovereignty, yet we have few clews to his personality.
Far away also from northern Babylonia, in the mountain country of the northeast, there existed at about this same period another Semitic kingdom, of which Anu-banini was king. His was the kingdom of Lulubi, and he a Semitic ruler. At Ser-i-Pul, on the borderland between Kurdistan and Turkey, his carved image has been found with an inscription calling down curses on whom-so-ever should disturb "these images and this in-scribed stone." 333
Here, then, are several signs of Semitic power and culture in northern Babylonia and its neigh-boring lands. Some one of these centers of influence might become the center of a great kingdom that should again attack the Sumerians in the south. But this was reserved for a city which had up to this time produced no great conqueror. Out of the city of Agade came a man of Semitic stock great enough to essay and accomplish the task of ending finally the political influence of the Sumerians. His name is Shargani-shar-ali, but he is also called Shargina, and is best known to us as Sargon I. Most of that which is told of him comes to us in a legendary text-hardly the place to which one would commonly go for sober history. But a little sifting of this source speedily reveals its historic basis. The text, 334 two mutilated copies of which are in existence, belongs to a much later date than that of the king himself. It was probably written in the eighth century B. C., and purports to be a copy of an inscription which was found upon a statue of the great king. The story begins in this way: "Shargina, the powerful king, the king of Agade am I. My mother was poor, my father I knew not the brother of my father lived in the mountains. My town was A2upirani, which is situated on the bank of the Euphrates. My mother, who was poor, conceived me and secretly gave birth to me she placed me in a basket of reeds, she shut up the mouth of it with bitumen, she abandoned me to the river, which did not over-whelm me. The river bore me away and brought me to Akki, the irrigator. Akki, the irrigator, received me in the goodness of his heart. Akki, the irrigator, reared me to boyhood. Akki, the irrigator made me a gardener. My service as a gardener was pleasing unto Ishtar and I became king, and during. four years held royal sway. I commanded the black-headed people and ruled them" In the fragmentary lines which follow the king mentions some of the important places conquered in his reign, and among them names Duril and Dilmun, the latter an island in the Persian Gulf. Unhappily this account does not enable. us to construct a very clear idea of his campaigns, and we are forced to fall back upon a source which at first sight seems even less likely to contain veritable historical material than the legendary tab let which we have just cited. This is an astrological tablet 335 in which the writer tries to prove by historical examples that portents are valuable as indicating the issue of some campaign. Each campaign was preceded by some portent, and after it is told the writer explains that Sargon invaded Elam and conquered the Elamites, or that he marched into the west and mastered the four quarters of the world or that he overcame an up. rising of his own subjects in Agade. The fact that these details occur in an astrological text makes one wary of placing much reliance upon them. On the other hand, they are perfectly reasonable in themselves, and we should accept them at once from any other inscription.
It has been maintained by some that Shargina, or Sargon, and his great deeds are purely legendary, 336 and by others that his deeds have been simply projected backward 337 from some later king, and have therefore no historical value. There is, however, no valid reason for doubting the main facts concerning the king's achievements. That he actually existed is placed beyond all doubt by the discovery of several of his own inscriptions. 338 One of these reads thus: "Shargani-char-ali, son of Itti-Bel, the mighty king of Agade and of theàof Bel, builder of Ekur, temple of Bel in Nippur," 339 and so bears witness not only to his historical existence, but also to his work as a builder. Of that tangible evidence has been found at Nippur. Far down in the mound is found the remains of a "pavement consisting of two courses of burned bricks of uniform size and mold. Each brick measures about fifty centimeters square and is eight centimeters thick." 340 Most of the bricks in this pavement are stamped, and a number of them contain the inscription of Shargani. shar-ali, who is thus shown to have laid down this massive construction, in which later his son also participated. No good reason for doubting that he was a great conqueror, east, south, and west, has been brought forward. On the other hand, when these same omen tablets refer to his son and successor they can be tested by texts of the king referred to, and prove to be worthy of credence. The allusions to these expeditions show that they were raids intended to gain plunder with which to increase the wealth and beauty of his home cities. It is not to be supposed that he succeeded in extending his dominion over lands so distant as northern Syria, but that the securing of great cedar beams from the Lebanon was the chief object of that expedition. A use for these cedar beams was soon found in buildings, 'The great temple of Ekur to the god Bel in Nippur and the temple of Eulbar to the goddess Anunit in Agade were built by him. 341 Other allusions to buildings erected by him are also to be found in later inscriptions. In warlike prowess he was the model for an Assyrian king who bore his name centuries later in building skill he was emulated by a long line of Babylonian kings even unto Nabonidus, who sought diligently to find the foundation stones which he had laid. In the omen tablet there is evidence of credulous faith in the signs of heaven, but that is surely no reason for doubting all that is told therein of Sargon. A lonesome figure he is, in the dull gray dawn of human history, stalking across the scene, bringing other men to reverence the name of Ishtar, and making his own personality dreaded.
Sargon was succeeded by his son, Naram-Sin (about B. C. 3750), who seems to have maintained in large degree the glory of his father's reign. The records of his reign are fragmentary, but every little piece bears witness to its importance. He is asserted to have invaded the city of Apirak, and to have carried the people into slavery after he had killed their king, Rish-Adad. 342 His chief warlike expedition known to us was into the land of Magan, 343 which appears to lie in Arabia, near the Peninsula of Sinai. But he was still more famous as a builder, for he rebuilt temples in Nippur 344 and in Agade, and erected at his own cost the temple to the sun god in Sippar. 345 Be-sides these temples this great king laid the foundations and erected the enormous outer wall of Nippur-the great wall Nimit-Marduk. He first dug for his foundations about five meters below the level of the ground down to the solid clay. Upon this he "built of worked clay mixed with cut straw and laid up en masse with roughly sloping or battered sides to a total height of about 5.5 meters. Upon the top of this large base, which is about 13.75 meters wide, a wall of the same enormous width" 346 was raised. The bricks were "dark gray in color, firm in texture, and of regular form. In quality they are unsurpassed by the work of any later king." 347 Each of these bricks bore the stamped name and titles of the king. A king who could and did construct such massive fortifications must have possessed a kingdom of great political importance, of whose extent, however, it is now impossible to form a very clear idea. His chief city, or at least his original home city, was Agade, but he calls himself King of the Four Quarters of the World, in token of the world-wide dominion which he deemed himself to have attained. It is small wonder that a king who had thus won honor among men as a builder of mighty works and an organizer of a great kingdom should be deified 348 by his followers and worshiped as a creator. Nothing is known of the successors of Naram-Sin except of his son, Bingani-shar-ali. The kingdom of Sargon and his son vanishes from our view as rapidly as it came, leaving not even a trace of its effects.
Sargon I had had as one of his vassals Lugal-ushumgal, 349 patesi of Shirpurla, and it seems quite probable that after the end of the dynasty of Sargon and Naram-Sin the hegemony returned to the famous old city which had once stood at the head in the earlier day of the entire Sumerian domination. Whether that be the case or not, when we next get a clear view of Babylonia, long after the days of the kings of Agade, it is Shir-purla that we find in the chief place. Of the patesis of Shirpurla at this early date two are known to us as men of power and distinction, Ur-Bau (about 3200 B. C.) and Gudea (about 3000 B. C.). We possess a long inscription of the former, containing six columns, 350 engraved upon the back of a small statue of the king, which has been wrought with considerable skill out of dark green diorite. Like other inscriptions of the same period, it contains but little material for historical purposes. There is no word of battle and war all is peace serene in these ancient texts. It is not, however, to be supposed that the lot of these kingdoms was thus happy. It must always be remembered that even unto the end the kings of Babylonia did not write accounts of their wars. From other sources we know well that Nebuchadrezzar was a great soldier, but in only a single one of his own inscriptions does he speak of aught else but building of palaces and temples and dedications to the gods. Ur-Bau had, doubtless, his fair share of the tumults of a very disturbed age.
The inscriptions of Gudea are similar to those of Ur-Bau in their subjects, but they give us incidentally a glimpse into a wider field. Ur-Bau was succeeded on the throne by Nammaghani, his son-in-law, who was, perhaps, followed by Ur-nin-gal, and then comes a break in the list to be filled by one or more kings yet unknown to us. After this lacuna comes the mighty Gudea, a king great enough to prove that even yet the Sumerian factor could not be eliminated from the world's history. Like Ur-Bau, he was a great builder, and of his wonderful work his inscriptions are full. In the building of his temples Gudea was directed by a divine vision. The goddess Nina appeared to him in a dream and showed him the complete model of a building 351 which he should erect in her honor. In the execution of this plan he brought from Magan (northeastern Arabia) the beautiful hard dolerite out of which his statues were carved. From the land of Melukhkha (northwestern Arabia and the Peninsula of Sinai) were brought gold and precious stones. These lands were not far from his own, but it is more surprising to read that he brought from Mount Amanus, in northwestern Syria, great beams of cedar, and in other neighboring mountains quarried massive stones for his temples. All these facts throw a bright light upon the civilization of his day. That was no ordinary civilization which could achieve work requiring such skill and power as the quarrying or the cutting of these materials and the transportation of them over such distances. A long period for its development must be assumed. Centuries only and not merely decades would suffice as the period of preparation for such accomplishments. But it is also to be observed that the securing of these materials must have involved the use of armed force. The sturdy inhabitants of the Amanus would not probably yield up their timber without a struggle. One little indication there is of Gudea's prowess in arms, for he conquered the district of Anshan, in Elam. 352 This single allusion to conquest is instructive, for it was probably only representative of other conquests by the same builder and warrior. But in spite of this inference the general impression made by his reign is one of peace, of progress in civilization, of splendid ceremonial in the worship of the gods, and of the progress of the art of writing. As a warrior he is not to be com-pared with Sargon of Agade as an exponent of civilization he far surpasses him. The successor of Gudea was Urningirsu, himself followed after an interval by Akurgal II, Lukani, and Ghalalama. 353 But these later patesis were no longer free to do their own will as Gudea had been. With him had again passed away the independence of the ancient kingdom of Shirpurla.
The civilization of Shirpurla was, as we have seen, a high one. From the indications which we possess at present it would seem a far higher civilization than that of Agade, which had overcome it for a time. But it was not a Semitic civilization. All these inscriptions of the kings and of the patesas of Shirpurla are written in the Sumerian and not in a Semitic language. This also would seem to point to the conclusion that the Semites entered Babylonia from the north and not from the south.
From Shirpurla the power passed to Ur, 354 a city admirably situated to achieve commercial and historical importance. The river Euphrates flowed just past its gates, affording easy transportation for stone and wood from its upper waters, to which the Lebanon, rich in cedars, and the Amanus were readily accessible. The wady Rummein came close to the city and linked it with central and southern Arabia, and along that road came gold and precious stones, and gums and perfumes to be converted into incense for temple worship. Another road went across the very desert itself, and, provided with wells of water, conducted trade to southern Syria, the Peninsula of Sinai, and across into Africa. This was the shortest road to Africa, and commerce between Ur and Egypt passed over its more difficult but much shorter route than the one by way of Haran and Palestine. Nearly opposite the city the Shatt-el-Hai emptied into the Euphrates, and so afforded a passage for boats into the Tigris, thus opening to the commerce of Ur the vast country tributary to that river. Here, then, were roads and rivers leading to the north, east, and west, but there was also a great outlet to the southward. The Euphrates made access to the Persian Gulf easy. No city lay south of Ur on that river except Eridu, and Eridu was no competitor in the world of commerce, for it was devoted only to temples and gods-a city given up to religion.
In a city so favorably located as Ur the development of political as well as commercial superiority seems perfectly natural. Even before the days of Sargon the city of Ur had an existence and a government of its own. To that early period belong the rudely written vases of serpentine and of stalagmite which bear the name and titles of Lugal-kigub-nidudn 355 (about 3900 B. C.), king of Erech, king of Ur. We know nothing of his work in the upbuilding of the city, nor of that of his son and successor, Lugal-kisalsi. They are but empty names until further discovery shall add to the store of their inscribed remains. After their work was done the city of Ur was absorbed now into one and now into another of the kingdoms, both small and great, which held sway over southern Babylonia.
About a thousand years after this period the city of Ur again seized a commanding position through the efforts especially of two kings, Ur-Gur 356 and Dungi. The former has left many evidences of his power as well in inscriptions as in buildings. Most probably by conquest Ur-Gur welded into one political whole the entire land of northern and southern Babylonia, and assumed a title never borne before his day. He calls himself king of Sumer and Accad. In that title he joined together two words each of which contained a history extending far back into the past. The word Sumer, derived from Sungir, as we have already seen, 357 stood for the ancient Sumerian civilization, while Accad had come from Agade, 358 the city that was once the leader in the new Semitic movement which was, to supersede it. In this new kingdom we may see the first clear move made toward the formation of the great empire that was to come later.
All over this kingdom which he had thus formed did Ur-Gur build great structures for protection, for civil use, or for the worship of the gods. In his own chief city of Ur he built the great temple to the moon god in the city of Erech he erected a temple to the goddess Nina. At Larsa also there are found unmistakable evidences that it was he who built there the shrine of the sun god. When these cities are dug up in a systematic fashion we shall be able to obtain some conception of his activity in this matter. At present we are able to form a more complete picture of his works in Nippur than in Ur. In Nippur he built a great ziggurat, or pyramidal tower, whose base was a right-angled parallelogram nearly fifty-nine meters, long and thirty-nine meters wide. Its two longest sides faced northwest and southeast respectively, and the four corners pointed approximately to the four cardinal points. Three of these stages have been traced and exposed. It is scarcely possible that formerly other stages existed above. The lowest story was about six and a third meters high,. while the second (receding a little over four meters from the edge of the former) and the third are so utterly ruined that the original dimensions can no more be given. The whole ziggurat appears like an immense altar." 359 The defensive walls of Ur were also built by Ur-Gur, who seemed to be building for all time. Of his wars and conquests we hear no word, but, as has been said before in a similar instance, it is not probable that his reign was thus peaceful. It was probably built by the sword, and to the sword must be the appeal per-haps in frequent instances.
Ur-Gur was succeeded by his son, Dungi, 360 who was also indefatigable in building operations. He completed the temple of the moon god in Ur, and built, also, in Erech, Shirpurla, and Kutha. These two names of Ur-Gur and Dungi are all that re. main of what was perhaps a considerable dynasty in Ur. Their buildings and their titles would seem to indicate that they held at least nominal sway over a considerable part of Babylonia. It is probable, however, that they were contented with the regular receipt of tribute, and did not attempt to control all the life of the cities subject to them. Each of these cities had its own local ruler, who submitted to the superior force of a great king, who was to him a sort of suzerain, but on the least show of weakness any one of these rulers was ready to set up his own independence, and, if be were strong enough compel also his neighbors to accept him as suzerain. When the dynasty of Ur-Gur and Dungi was no longer able to maintain its position in Babylonia there were not wanting men strong enough to seize it.
After some time, when we again are able, by the means of monumental material, to see the political life of Babylonia we find that the supremacy has passed into the hands of the city of Isin. The kings of Isin whose names have comedown to us are Ishbigarra, 361 Ur-Ninib, 362 Libit Ishtar, 363 Bur Sin I, 364 and Ishme-Dagan, 365 who ruled about 2500 B. C. The chief title used by them is king of Isin, but some of them use the greater title, king of Sumer and Accad. All of them use the names of other cities in addition to that of Isin, such as Nippur, Ur, Eridu, and Erech. Their inscriptions give no hint of the life of these cities or of the never-ending struggles for supremacy that must have been going on. To their titles they add only an occasional allusion to building or to restoration. Ishme-Dagan is the last man of this dynasty to bear the title of king of Sumer and Accad his son, En-annatuma, 366 acknowledges his dependence upon a king of Ur who begins a new dynasty in that famous old city.
The third dynasty of Ur consists of Dungi II, Gungunu, Bur Sin II, Gamil Sin, and Ine-Sin. 367 They began to reign about 2400 B. C. as kings of Ur, and to that add the curious title "King of the Four Quarters (of the world)." Where was the Kingdom of the Four Quarters of the World, and why do the kings use such a title? It appears much earlier in an inscription of Naram-Sin, and is applied also to Sargon after his three campaigns in the west, while an inscription of Dungi bears the same curious legend. Again and again in later centuries is the title borne by kings of Babylonia and Assyria. It has been thought to be the name of some kingdom with a definite geo-graphical location and a capital city. It has been located at several places in northern Babylonia, but without satisfactory reason. The title is rather the claim to a sort of world-wide dominion. Well indeed might Sargon use it after he had made expeditions into the west and laid the whole civilized world tributary at his feet. The use of the title by these kings may also imply some successful raids in the far west. 368 If there were any such, no account of them has come down to us. Besides the usual records of their building we have from this dynasty only hundreds of contract tablets, now scattered in museums nearly all over the world. These tablets, uninteresting in them-selves, are yet the witnesses of an extraordinary development in commercial lines. The land of Babylonia was waxing rich and laying the foundations for great power in the world of trade when its political supremacy was ended. The end of the dynasty, and with it the end of the dominion of Ur, is clouded in the mists of the past.
At about this same period there was also in existence a small kingdom called the kingdom of Amnanu, 369 with its chief city Erech. The names of three of its sovereigns have come down to us upon brief inscriptions, 370 the chiefest of them being apparently Sin-gashid. Unlike the kingdoms founded in Ur and in other cities, this kingdom of Amnanu seems to have exerted but small influence upon the historical development of the country. The name of the kingdom disappears, and is attached to no later king until it is suddenly used again by Shamashshumukin (667-647 B. C.), 371 but apparently without any special significance, 372 and rather as a reminiscence of ancient days.
After Ur, in the progress of the development of empire in Babylonia, came the dominion unto Larsa, the modern Senkereh, on the bank of the canal Shatt-en-Nil. The names of two of the chief kings of this dynasty are Nur-Adad 373 and his son, Sin-iddin, 374 but the order in which they stand is still uncertain. Both of these kings built in Ur, and Sin-iddin also founded a temple to the sun god in Larsa, and dug a new canal between the Tigris and the Shatt-en-Nil. This work of canal building, which became so important and so highly prized in the later history, begins there-fore at this early period. The king who built canals saved the land from flood in the spring and from drought in the summer and was a real public benefactor. The names of the other kings who ruled in Larsa and had dominion in Babylonia at this time are either wholly unknown to us or are exceedingly difficult to place in correct order.
The times were sorely disturbed and it is easy to understand why the Babylonian records are in such disorder as to make it difficult to understand the exact order of events. At this time a new factor in Babylonian history was making itself felt. Babylonia had long been the battle ground between the ancient Sumerians and the Semites. The day had now come when a new people the Elamites must enter the lists for the possession of the deeply coveted valley. The rulers of Elam appear to have made many attempts to get a hold upon parts of Babylonia. One of them was Rim-Anum, 375 who actually did get control at about this time of some parts of the country, and was referred to in business documents as Rim-Anum the king. As no historical texts have come down to us from his reign, it is impossible to say how long he ruled or what influence he had upon the country.
To this same period of Elamite invasions be-longs Kudur-Nankhundi, 376 who made a raid into Babylonia 2285 B. C., reached Erech and plundered its temples, carrying away into captivity a statue of the goddess Nana. His influence upon the land was apparently very slight, for apparently no documents exist which are dated in his period. It is probable that he was not successful in establishing any dominion over the country at all. But his failure would not daunt other princes the prize was great and men would not fail in its winning for want of a trial.
Probably soon after Kudur-Nankhundi the successful raid was made. The Babylonian inscriptions have preserved for us no mention of the king's name who swept down into the valley and carried all before him. The Hebrews among their traditions preserved the name of Chedor-laomer 377 (Kudur-Lagamar) as the Elamite who invaded the far west. To him or to other Elamite invaders the weak kingdom of Sumer and Accad was able to offer no effectual resistance, and the kings of Larsa were quickly dispossessed. The Elamites in a few short years had swept from east to west, destroying kingdoms whose foundations extended into the distant past. Their success reminds one of the career of the Persians in a later day.
Under the rule of these Elamite conquerors Kudur-Mabuk 378 was prince of E-mutbal, in western Elam. His authority and influence were ex. tended into Babylonia, and perhaps even farther west. He built in Ur a temple to the moon god as a thank offering for his success.
He was succeeded by his son, Eri-Aku, 379 who was still more Babylonian than his father. He ex-tended the city of Ur, rebuilding its great city walls "like unto a mountain," restored its temples, and apparently became a patron of that city rather than of Larsa, though he still calls himself king of Larsa. The Elamite people were now become in the fullest sense masters of all southern Babylonia. Eri-Aku calls himself "exalter of Ur, king of Larsa, king of Sumer and Accad," and so claims all the honors which had belonged to the kings of native stock who had preceded him. This invasion and occupation of southern Babylonia by the Elamites prepared the way for the conquest of southern Babylonia by the north and the establishment of a permanent order of things in the land so long disturbed.
With Larsa ends the series of small states, of whose existence we have caught mere glimpses, during a period of more than two thousand years. As Maspero has well said: "We have here the mere dust of history rather than history itself here an isolated individual makes his appearance in the record of his name, to vanish when we at-tempt to lay hold of him there the stem of a dynasty which breaks abruptly off, pompous preambles, devout formulas, dedications of objects or buildings, here or there the account of some battle or the indication of some foreign country with which relations of friendship or commerce were maintained-these are the scanty materials out of which to construct a connected narrative." But, though we have only names of kings of various cities and faint indications of their deeds, we are able, nevertheless, out of these materials to secure in some measure an idea of the development of political life and of civilization in the land.
As has been already said, the civilization of southern Babylonia, in the period 4000-2300 B. C., was at the foundation Sumerian. But during a large part of this time it was Sumerian influenced by Semitic civilization. The northern kingdom even about 3800 B. C. was Semitic. Intercourse was free and widely extended, as the inscriptions of Sargon and Naram-Sin and the operations of Gudea have conclusively shown. The Sumerian civilization was old, and the seeds of death were in it the Semitic civilization, on the other hand, was instinct with life and vigor. The Semite had come out of the free airs of the desert of Arabia and had in his veins a bounding life. It was natural that his vigorous civilization should permeate at first slowly and then rapidly into the senile culture of the Sumerians. The Sumerian inscriptions early begin to give evidence of Semitic influence. Here it is a word borrowed from the Semitic neighbors, there it is a name of man or god. This influence increased. Toward the end of the period the Semitic words are frequent, the Semitic idiom is in a fair way to a complete peaceful conquest, and political contest would bring about the final triumph of Semitism, though not the extermination of Sumerian influence. It remained until the very end of Babylon itself, and the rise of the Indo-European world powers. The conservatism of religious customs gave to the old language and the old literature, now become sacred, a new life. The temples still bore Sumerian names when Babylon's last conqueror entered the magnificent gates.
Concerning the political development we know altogether too little for dogmatic conclusions. The whole may be summed up in the following manner: The earliest indications show us the city as the center of government. The chief man in the city is its king, or, if there be no title of king, he is called patesi. When the surrounding country is annexed his title remains the same he is still king of the city. But after a time a new custom comes into vogue. Ur-Ba'u is king of Ur, but he is more, he is also king of Sumer and Accad. By that expression we are introduced to the conception of a government which controlled not only segregated cities, but a united country, northern and southern Babylonia. The position of the capital was indeed fluctuating. The capital depends altogether on the king and his place of origin. The kingdom has its governmental center in Ur, but Ur is not its permanent capital. The capital is later found in Isin, and the kings of Isin are then kings of Sumer and Accad when they have conquered and bear rule in the north and south. This old title lives on through the centuries, and later kings in other cities are proud to carry it on their inscriptions.
This union of all Babylonia under one king was not the means of creating a national unity strong enough to resist the outside invader. Sumerian civilization seemed to have reached the end of its development as a political factor. The raids of the Elamites scattered and broke its power, and the time was ready for a man strong enough to conquer the petty kings of Larsa, take the title of king of Sumer and Accad and make a strong kingdom.
[Illustration: 454.jpg THE ISLE OF KONOSSO, WITH ITS INSCRIPTIONS]
It is very curious to find the pyramids reappearing in Egyptian tomb-architecture in the very latest period of Egyptian history. We find them when Egyptian civilization was just entering upon its vigorous manhood, then they gradually disappear, only to revive in its decadent and exiled old age. The Ethiopian pyramids are all of much more elongated form than the old Egyptian ones. It is possible that they may be a survival of the archaistic movement of the XXVIth Dynasty, to which we have already referred.
These are not the latest Egyptian monuments in the Sudan, nor are the temples of Naga and Mesawwarat the most ancient, though they belong to the Roman period and are decidedly barbarian as to their style and, especially, as to their decoration. The southernmost as well as latest relic of Egypt in the Sudan is the Christian church of Soba, on the Blue Mie, a few miles above Khartum. In it was found a stone ram, an emblem of Amen-Ra, which had formerly stood in the temple of Naga and had been brought to Soba perhaps under the impression that it was the Christian Lamb. It was removed to the garden of the governor-general&rsquos palace at Khartum, where it now stands.
The church at Soba is a relic of the Christian kingdom of Alua, which succeeded the realm of the Candaces. One of its chief seats was at Dongola, and all Nubia is covered with the ruins of its churches. It was, of course, an offshoot of the Christianity of Egypt, but a late one, since Isis was still worshipped at Philse in the sixth century, long after the Edict of Theodosius had officially abolished paganism throughout the Roman world, and the Nubians were at first zealous votaries of the goddess of Philo. So also when Egypt fell beneath the sway of the Moslem in the seventh century, Nubia remained an independent Christian state, and continued so down to the twelfth century, when the soldiers of Islam conquered the country.
Of late pagan and early Christian Egypt very much that is new has been discovered during the last few years. The period of the Lower Empire has yielded much to the explorers of Oxyrrhynchus, and many papyri of interest belonging to this period have been published by Mr. Kenyon in his Catalogue of the Greek Papyri in the British Museum, especially the letters of Flavius Abinaeus, a military officer of the fourth century. The papyri of this period are full of the high-flown titles and affected phraseology which was so beloved of Byzantine scribes. &ldquoGlorious Dukes of the Thebaid,&rdquo &ldquomost magnificent counts and lieutenants,&rdquo &ldquoall-praiseworthy secretaries,&rdquo and the like strut across the pages of the letters and documents which begin &ldquoIn the name of Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the God and Saviour of us all, in the year x of the reign of the most divine and praised, great, and beneficent Lord Flavius Heraclius (or other) the eternal Augustus and Auto-krator, month x, year x of the In diction.&rdquo It is an extraordinary period, this of the sixth and seventh centuries, which we have now entered, with its bizarre combination of the official titulary of the divine and eternal Caesars Imperatores Augusti with the initial invocation of Christ and the Trinity. It is the transition from the ancient to the modern world, and as such has an interest all its own.