WHO IS ISHTAR?
Before going too deep on Ishtar, it’s important to know that Ishtar has been attributed many roles and identities (some false identities). More specifically, in Christian circles it is believed that Easter was named after Ishtar and that the celebration with bunnies and eggs is all about the cult worship of her as a fertility goddess. First and foremost, this is false. Ishtar has nothing to do with bunnies or eggs. To read more on this issue then examine a previous post called “Origins of Easter [Where does Easter really come from?]“.
However, it is true that Ishtar was a real Babylonian/Akkadian/Assyrian goddess and those cultures did indeed have celebrations for her. In fact, an entire system of temples were dedicated to her, in and around Nineveh.
Ishtar was one of the oldest deities in the Ancient Near East. Writings about her go back well beyond 2000 BCE. There were even rulers who took on versions of her name, such as Lipit-Ishtar, the fifth king of the First Dynasty of Isin. He who ruled from 1934–1924 BCE. The Isin dynasty was a small ANE dynasty from the region of modern day Iraq. Inscriptions from the same region, as late as the 5th century BCE, also spoke of the the goddess Ishtar. Inscribed on a cylinder, from the Reign of King Nabonidus (556-539 BCE), are the military exploits of the king, who gives credit to various gods for his victories. Among them is Ishtar.
… I mustered my numerous troops, from the country of Gaza on the border of Egypt, (near) the Upper Sea on the other side of the Euphrates, to the Lower Sea, the kings, princes, governors and my numerous troops which Sîn, Shamash and Ishtar my lords had entrusted to me….. (Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar)
ORIGINS OF ISHTAR
However, her original ancient Mesopotamian name was actually as Inanna. She was the daughter of Enki, who was the god of wisdom. Enki was also called the Lord of the earth, which is derived from the two parts of his name, in it’s original Sumerian cuneiform.
Ishtar (Inanna) has also acquired a few different names over the centuries. Since she was adopted by multiple cultures and since languages change over time, Ishtar was known by multiple names. To best understand how the multiple versions of her name appear in the Bible, please refer to the map below which gives the general region where the various names for Ishtar originated.
- Earliest written attestation, as Inanna
- First legend of a goddess going to the underworld
- Goddess of love and war
- Daughter of the king of the gods (Enki)
- circa 3500-2000 BCE
- Common and most universal title in the ANE
- Was known also as the Morning Star
- Associated with Venus and the 6 pointed star
- Later changed to an 8 pointed star
- Known as the queen of heaven
- Goddess of love and war
- Depicted at usually as the daughter of the king of the gods (Anu) but also at times as his consort
- circa 2500-500 BCE
- Used by Egypt and various cultures in the southern Canaanite region such as Phoenicia
- Very similar to Ishtar
- Often referred to as the queen of heaven
- Many believe Astarte influenced Greek mythology but connection is loose
- 3000-? BCE
- Mostly Canaanite usage and near surrounding cultures
- Appears in the Bible often
- Is the consort of Baal rather than Anu or El
- Circa 2000-700 BCE
- Divergent Arabian version that changed many attributes of Ishtar
- Southern Arabian version was female but some northern Arabian tribes had a male version named Attar
- Worshiped as the god/goddess of war and also storms and thunder
- Disappeared altogether after the spread of Islam
- Circa 1500-500 BCE
- Primarily from the Hittite and Ugaritic region but also worshiped in Canaan
- She was a goddess and consort of Baal
- Was well known to the early Hebrew settlers of Canaan
- A common feature of Asherah worship were Asherah poles, one of which was cut down by Gideon in Judges
- Pre 900 BCE
It is easy to see from the map above that Ishtar was a rather popular goddess. One main reason is because so many cultures already had a goddess similar to the original Inanna. As one culture grew to dominate the others, many of these deity stories blended and merged into a more homogeneous legendary figure, which we hear most often as Ishtar.
Even though her identity changed from time to time, most later cultures knew her as the Princess Daughter of the king of the gods, An/Anu. In Canaanite religions she would be the daughter of Ae, El or Baal. As daughter of the highest god, Ishtar was described as spoiled and often ill-tempered. She was told to have wild mood swings and exact cruel revenge on others. She had many lover but some of her relationships we catastrophic.
Interestingly, certain Mesopotamian legends depict Ishtar as the earthly lover of Anu and not his daughter. Like many ancient mythological characters, some details were adjusted from century to century. Thus, while some cultures knew her as the daughter of Anu, other knew her as the consort of Anu.
The later Mesopotamian and Akkadian/Assyrian myths thought of Ishtar as also an astral goddess. Ishtar was initially associated with the 6 pointed star and then an 8 pointed star. This is a very common symbol for her in the era of the biblical patriarchs. She later became associated with the planet Venus.
One of the oldest and well known witnesses to the identity of Ishtar is the mythical story of how she descended into the underworld (akin to Persephone in Greek culture). The legend has been rehashed in multiple cultures but the typical story is that Ishtar goes to the underworld and she is killed. After 3 days and nights she is revived by her rescuers and makes an escape.1 In other versions of the story, she is freed by the ransom of her lover, Dumuzi. In various later stories her lover was named Tammuz, which is a name we see in Ezekiel 8:14-15.
14Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz. 15He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.” (Ezekiel 8:14-15)
It is the legend(s) of her going to the underworld which reveal the story behind some of her symbols. In one such story she descends to the underworld with a measuring line and rod. To understand the bulk of her symbols one should read the “Epic of Gilgamesh“, “Erra and Ishum” and the “Descent of Ishtar“. These ancient legends can be read below.
Additionally, the ancient city of Nineveh had multiple temples over their history that were dedicated to Ishtar. According to Mesopotamian legend, the fertile crescent housed 7 temples dedicated to Inanna (Ishtar). They conducted prayers and rituals as prescribed by ancient customs. One such prayer was recorded in the Hittite region. In the poetry of the prayer, the writer is asking for Ishtar to bring favor upon them.
bring life, health, streng[th], longevity, contentment (?), obedience (and) vigor, (and) to the land of Ḫatti growth of crops (lit., grain), vines, cattle, sheep (and) humans
Other parts of the prayer describes a celebration dedicated to Ishtar which would have occurred in the spring, in which they ask (or conjure) the goddess to return to the temple. This is how Ishtar was likely known and worshiped in the period of the judges and later.
In some ANE cultures the function of the temple prostitute was created by Ishtar. The temples dedicated to Ishtar featured such women. In the Akkadian legend of “Erra and Ishum“, the city of Anu and Ishtar (they are lovers in this story) is called a “city of prostitutes”. Thus, what is obvious about the cultic practices associated with Ishtar is that it was closely related to temple worship and cult sex.
THE SYMBOLS ASSOCIATED WITH ISHTAR
Since we have many carvings, engravings, and drawings of Ishtar, it’s easy to see what symbols she was associated with over the ages. Below is a list of various symbols she was known to be connected with.
- A ring (measuring line) and a rod
- Bird wings and/or feet
- A lion
- A seductive woman
- 8 pointed star, on or off of her staff
- A staff with two snakes on it
- Swords, usually near the bird wings
Some symbols that are best known come from the Burney relief carving which dates back to the 1800’s BCE. Her depiction seems to match an ancient inscription about her that very closely parallels the story above (the Descent of Ishtar). This version of the story describes what she is wearing, which can easily be seen in the carvings.
She placed the shugurra, the crown of the steppe, on her head.
She arranged the dark locks of hair across her forehead.
She tied the small lapis beads around her neck,
Let the double strand of beads fall to her breast,
And wrapped the royal robe around her body.
She daubed her eyes with ointment called “Let him come, let him come,”
Bound the breastplate called “Come, man, come!” around her chest,
Slipped the gold ring over her wrist,
And took the lapis measuring rod and line in her hand.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is depicts her wings and provides understanding of the serpents she is often depicted with.
Irkalla, the Queen of the Underworld had the head of a lioness and the body of a woman; in her arms she carried her pet, a deadly serpent. She summoned Belisari, the lady of the desert who was her scribe, and who came carrying the clay tablets on which all of Irkalla’s decrees would be written down. Behind these two the dead gathered. There was no light in their eyes; they were dressed not in cloth but feathers, and instead of arms and hands they had the wings of birds.
COMMON DEPICTIONS OF ISHTAR
ISHTAR IN THE BIBLE (NOT EXHAUSTIVE)
For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. (1 Kings 11:5)
Ashtoreth is the Canaanite version of Ishtar. By most accounts Ashtoreth is a cross between Astarte (Egyptian) and Inanna (Sumerian). She was, perhaps, one of most mentioned deities in the Old Testament.
The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. (Judges 10:6)
So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only. (1 Samuel 7:4)
It is here that a note on Hebrew grammar is needed. One will notice that the Bible mentions both Ashtoreth and Ashtaroth. Ashtaroth is the plural form of Ashtoreth. In Judges 10:6 the reader should note that Israel served the Baals (plural) and the Ashtaroth (plural).
And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. (2 Kings 23:13)
Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (1 Kings 18:19)
While we think of Israel as being a monotheistic people, it’s important to realize that the general population was rather superstitious and many people within the nation worshiped the Canaanite deities. One of the most notorious was Jezebel who actually had 400 prophets of Asherah. They would have been considered oracles in that they could intercede between Asherah and the ruling elite.
The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. (Jeremiah 7:18)
The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. (Jeremiah 7:18)
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have declared with your mouths, and have fulfilled it with your hands, saying, ‘We will surely perform our vows that we have made, to make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her.’ Then confirm your vows and perform your vows! (Jeremiah 44:25)
The queen of heaven at the time of Jeremiah would have been linked to one of two powers that dominated the ANE: Babylon or Assyria. Both nations hailed Ishtar as the queen of heaven. It was in the latter years of the Babylonian empire that Ishtar was also represented as a lion and appeared on many temples.
Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. (Ezekiel 8:14)
The god Tammuz was a late name for the Sumerian god Dumuzi. Tammuz was just as ancient as the goddess Ishtar. Interestingly, Tammuz is also the 4th month in the Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew calendar was greatly influenced by Babylonian, Assyrian, and Akkadian culture. According to ancient stories, Tammuz or Dumuzi was taken captive by the underworld, to save the life of Inanna, or Ishtar. This is why women lament over him. An entire system of prayers and poems are written about the fate of Tammuz.
ISHTAR IN ANCIENT LITERATURE
There are many texts which make mention of Ishtar. To have them all here would be an entire book in a single article. Thus, the only literature placed below is literature that features her as a main character.
ISHTAR’S DESCENT INTO THE UNDERWORLD
From the Library of Ashurbanipal in the 7th century BC
William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–), 381–384.
To Kurnugi, land of [no return],
Ishtar daughter of Sin was [determined] to go;
The daughter of Sin was determined to go
To the dark house, dwelling of Erkalla’s god,
To the house which those who enter cannot leave,
On the road where travelling is one-way only,
To the house where those who enter are deprived of light,
Where dust is their food, clay their bread.
They see no light, they dwell in darkness,
They are clothed like birds, with feathers.
Over the door and the bolt, dust has settled.
Ishtar, when she arrived at the gate of Kurnugi,
Addressed here words to the keeper of the gate,
“Here gatekeeper, open your gate for me,
Open your gate for me to come in!
If you do not open the gate for me to come in,
I shall smash the door and shatter the bolt,
I shall smash the doorpost and overturn the doors,
I shall raise up the dead and they shall eat the living:
The dead shall outnumber the living!”
The gatekeeper made his voice heard and spoke,
He said to great Ishtar,
“Stop, lady, do not break it down!
Let me go and report your words to queen Ereshkigal.”
The gatekeeper went in and spoke to [Ereshkigal],
“Here she is, your sister Ishtar […]
Who holds the great keppū-toy,7
Stirs up the Apsu in Ea’s presence […]?”
When Ereshkigal heard this,
Her face grew livid as cut tamarisk,
Her lips grew dark as the rim of a kunīnu-vessel.
“What brings her to me? What has incited her against me?
Surely not because I drink water with the Anunnaki,
I eat clay for bread, I drink muddy water for beer?
I have to weep for young men forced to abandon sweethearts.
I have to weep for girls wrenched from their lovers’ laps.
For the infant child I have to weep, expelled before its time.
Go, gatekeeper, open your gate to her.
Treat her according to the ancient rites.”
The gatekeeper went. He opened the gate to her.
“Enter, my lady: may Kutha give you joy,
May the palace of Kurnugi be glad to see you.”
He let her in through the first door, but stripped off (and) took away the great crown on her head.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the great crown on my head?”
“Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
He let her in through the second door, but stripped off (and) took away the rings in her ears.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the rings in my ears?”
(50) “Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
He let her in through the third door, but stripped off (and) took away the beads around her neck.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the beads around my neck?”
“Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
He let her in through the fourth door, but stripped off (and) took away the toggle-pins at her breast.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the toggle-pins at my breast?”
“Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
He let her in through the fifth door, but stripped off (and) took away the girdle of birth-stones around her waist.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the girdle of birthstones around my waist?”
“Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
He let her in through the sixth door, but stripped off (and) took away the bangles on her wrists and ankles.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the bangles on my wrists and ankles?”
“Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
(60) He let her in through the seventh door, but stripped off (and) took away the proud garment of her body.
“Gatekeeper, why have you taken away the proud garment of my body?”
“Go in, my lady. Such are the rites of the Mistress of Earth.”
As soon as Ishtar went down to Kurnugi,
Ereshkigal looked at her and trembled before her.
Ishtar did not deliberate (?), but threatened her.
Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spoke,
Addressed her words to Namtar her vizier,
“Go, Namtar [ ] of my [ ]
Send out against her sixty diseases [ ] Ishtar;
Disease of the eyes to her [eyes],
Disease of the arms to her [arms],
Disease of the feet to her [feet],
Disease of the heart to her [heart],
Disease of the head [to her head],
To every part of her and to [ ].”
After Ishtar the mistress of (?) [ had gone down to Kurnugi],
No bull mounted a cow, [no donkey impregnated a jenny],
No young man impregnated a girl [in the street (?)],
The young man slept in his private room,
The girl slept in the company of her friends.
Then Papsukkal, vizier of the great gods, hung his head, his face [became gloomy];
He wore mourning clothes, his hair was unkempt.
Dejected (?), he went and wept before Sin his father,
His tears flowed freely before king Ea.
“Ishtar has gone down to the Earth and has not come up again.
As soon as Ishtar went down to Kurnugi
No bull mounted a cow, no donkey impregnated a jenny,
No young man impregnated a girl in the street,
The young man slept in his private room,
The girl slept in the company of her friends.”
Ea, in his wise heart, created a person.
He created Good-looks the playboy.
“Come, Good-looks, set your face towards the gate of Kurnugi.
The seven gates of Kurnugi shall be opened before you.
Ereshkigal shall look at you and be glad to see you.
When she is relaxed, her mood will lighten.
Get her to swear the oath by the great gods.
Raise your head, pay attention to the waterskin,
Saying, ‘Hey, my lady, let them give me the waterskin, that I may drink water from it.’ ”
(And so it happened. But)
When Ereshkigal heard this,
She struck her thigh and bit her finger.
“You have made a request of me that should not have been made!
Come, Good-looks, I shall curse you with a great curse.
I shall decree for you a fate that shall never be forgotten.
Bread (gleaned [?]) from the city’s ploughs shall be your food,
The city drains shall be your only drinking place,
The shade of a city wall your only standing place,
Threshold steps your only sitting place,
The drunkard and the thirsty shall slap your cheek.”
Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spoke;
She addressed her words to Namtar her vizier,
“Go, Namtar, knock (?) at Egalgina,
Decorate the threshold steps with coral,
Bring the Anunnaki out and seat (them) on golden thrones,
Sprinkle Ishtar with the waters of life and
conduct her into my presence.”
Namtar went, knocked at Egalgina,
Decorated the threshold steps with coral,
Brought out the Anunnaki, seated (them) on golden thrones,
Sprinkled Ishtar with the waters of life and brought her to her (sister).
He let her out through the first door, and gave back to her the proud garment of her body.
He let her out through the second door, and gave back to her the bangles for her wrists and ankles.
He let her out through the third door, and gave back to her the girdle of birth stones around her waist.
He let her out through the fourth door, and gave back to her the toggle pins at her breast.
He let her out through the fifth door, and gave back to her the beads around her neck.
He let her out through the sixth door, and gave back to her the rings for her ears.
He let her out through the seventh door, and gave back to her the great crown for her head.
“Swear that (?) she has paid you her ransom, and give her back (in exchange) for him.
For Dumuzi, the lover of her youth.
Wash (him) with pure water, anoint him with sweet oil,
Clothe him in a red robe, let the lapis lazuli pipe play (?).
Let party-girls raise a loud lament (?).”
Then Belili tore off (?) her jewelry,
Her lap was filled with eyestones.
Belili heard the lament for her brother, she struck the jewelry [from her body],
The eyestones with which the front of the wild cow was filled.
“You shall not rob me (forever) of my onlybrother!
On the day when Dumuzi comes back up, (and) the lapis lazuli pipe and the carnelian ring come up with him,
(When) male and female mourners come up with him,
The dead shall come up and smell the incense offering.”
THE POEM OF ERRA AND ISHUM: A BABYLONIAN POET’S VIEW OF WAR
Foster’s (B.), From Distant Days: myths, tales and poetry from Ancient Mesopotamia, (CDL Press, 1995).
Narrator invokes Marduk, chief deity of Babylon, and Ishum, vanguard and companion of Erra. Erra is restless and breaks into a soliloquy. He is anxious to fight and campaign, but hesitates through natural inertia. Speaking of himself in the third person, Erra says that what he needs to stir him to action is Ishum’s encouragement O king of all inhabitanted lands, creator of the world,O Hendursagga (1), first born of Enlil [ ]Holder of the sublime scepter (2), herdsman of the black-headed folk, shepherd of mankind,O Ishum, zealous slaughterer (3), whose hands are suited tp brandish fierce weapons,And to make his sharp spear flash, Erra, warrior of the gods, was resteless in his dwelling,His heart urged him to do battle!Says he to his weapons.”Smear yourselves with deadly venom!”To the Seven, warriors unrivalled,”Let your weapons be girded!”He even says to you:”You are the torch, they will see your light (4)”You are the vanguard, the gods will [ ]”You are the stanchion, [zealous] slaughterer!”(So) up, Erra, from laying waste the land”How cheerful your mood will be and joyful your heart!”Erra’s limbs are sluggish, like those of a mortal lacking sleep,”He says to himself, Shall I get up or go to sleep?í”He says to his weapons, Stay in the corners!í”To the Seven, warriors unrivalled, Go back to your dwellings!í”Until you rouse him, he will sleep in his bedrooms,”He will dally with Mami, his mate”.(With a second invocation, now of Ishum, the narrator introduces the terrible Seven, who stand ready to massacre the “black-headed folk” or Mesopotamians)O Engidudu, who patrols at night, ever guiding the noble,Who ever guides young men and women in safety, making light as day,The Seven, warriors unrivalled, their divine nature is different,Their origins are strange, they are terrifying,Whoever sees them is numbed with fear.Their breath of life is death,People are too frightened to appproach it!Yet Ishum is the door, bolted before them.When Anu, the king of the gods, sowed his seed in the earth,She bore him seven gods, he called them the Seven.They stood before him, that he ordain their destinies,He summoned the first to give his instructions,”Wherever you go and spread terror, have no equal.”He said to the second, “Burn like fire, scorch like flame”.He commanded the third, “Look like a lion, let him who sees you be paralysed with fear”.He said to the fourth,”Let a mountain collapse when you present your fierce arms”.He said to the fifth, “Blast like the wind, scan the circumference of the earth”.He said to the sixth.”Go out everywhere (like the deluge) and spare no one”.The seveth he charged with viperous venom,” Slay whatever lives”.After Anu had ordained destinies for all of the Seven,He gave those very ones to Erra, warrior of the gods, saying:”Let them go beside you, when the clamor of human habitations becomes noisome to you,”And you resolve to wreak destruction,”To massacre the black-headed folk and fell the livestock,”Let these be your fierce weaponry, let them go beside you”.The Seven offer the encouragement that Erra needs. . In a rousing call to arms, they extol the heroic excitement of the campaign, the honor, prestige and gratification it brings. The Seven claim vaguely that they are not respected enough, that others are growing more important than they. They bring up the old charge that men make too much noise for the gods to sleep, although this was not the cause Erra had given for his lown lack of sleep. The Seven claim further that there are too many wild animals on the loose. Their final claim no doubt the most important one, is that they are bored and out of training.These are the ones who are in a fury, holding their weapons aloft,They are saying to Erra, “Up, do your duty!”Why have you been sitting in the city like a feeble old man,”Why sitting at home like a helpless child?”Shall we eat woman food, like non-combatants?Have we turned timorous and trembling, as if we can’t fight?”Going to the field for the young and vigorous is like to a very feast,”But the noble who stays in the city can never eat enough.”His people will hold him inlow esteem, he will command no respect,”How could he threaten a campaigner?”However well developed is the strength of the city dweller,”How could he possibly best a campaigner?”However toothsome city bread, it holds nothing to the campfire loaf,”However sweet fine beer, it holds nothing to water from a skin,”The terraced palace holds nothing to the wayside sleeping spot!”Be off to the field, warrior Erra, make your weapons clatter,”Make loud your battle cry that all around they quake,”Let the Igigi-gods hear and extol your name,”Let the Anunna-gods hear and flinch at the mention of your,”Let all the gods hear and bend for your yoke,”Let sovereigns hear and fall prostrate before you,”Let countries hear and bring you their tribute,”Let the lowly hear and perish of their own accord,”Let the mighty hear and his strength diminish,”Let lofty mountains hear and their peaks crumble,”Let the surging sea hear and convulse, wiping out her increase!”Let the stalk be yanked from the tough thicket,”Let reeds of the impenetrable morass be shorn off,”Let men turn cowards and their clamor subside,”Let beasts tremble and return to clay,”Let the gods your ancestors see and praise your valor!”Warrior Erra, why do you neglect the field for the city?”The very beats and cretures hold us in contempt!”O warrior Erra, we will tell you, thought that we say be offensive to you!”Ere the whole land outgrows us,”You must surely hear our words!”Do a kindly deed for the gods of hell, who delight in deadly stillness,”The Anunna-gods cannot fall asleep for the clamor of humankind,Beasts are overrunning the meadows, life of the land,”The farmer sobs bitterly for his field,”Lion and wolf are felling the livestock,”The shepherd, who cannot sleep day and night for the sake of his flocks, is calling upon you,”We too, who know the mountain passes,have forgotten how to go,”Cobwebs are spun over our field gear,”Our fine bow resists and is too strong for us,”The tip of our sharp arrow is bent out of true,”Our blade is corroded for want of a slaughter!”The warrior Erra heard them,What the Seven said pleased him like finest oil.He made ready to speak and said to Ishum:”Why, having heard, did you sit by silent?”Lead the way, let me begin my campaign!”[ ] the Seven, warriors without rival,Make my fierce weapons (the Seven) march by my side,But you be the vanguard and rear guard”.When Ishum heard what he said, he felt pity and said ot the warrior Erra:”O Lord Erra, why have you plotted evil against the gods?”To lay waste the lands and decimate the people”.Erra made ready to speak and said to Ishum, his vanguard:”Keep quiet, Ishum, listen to what I say, as concerns the people of the inhabited world,whom you would spare.”O vanguard of the gods, wise Ishum, whose counsel is always for the best,”I am the wild bull in heaven, I am the lion on earth,”I am king in the land, I am the fiercest among the gods,”I am warrior among the Igigi-gods, mighty one among the Anunna-gods!”I am the smitter of wild beasts, battering ram against the mountain,”I am the blaze in the reed thicket, the broad blade against the rushes,”I am banner for the march, I blast like the wind, I thunder like the storm,”Like the sun, I scan the circumference of the world,”I am the wild ram striding forth in the steppe,”I invade the range and take up my dwelling in the fold,”All the gods are afraid of a fight, so the black-headed folk are contemptuous!”As for me, since they did not fear my name, and I have disregarded Marduk’s command,so he may act according to his wishes”I will make Marduk angry, stir him from his dwelling, and lay waste the people!”The warrior Erra set out for Babylon, city of the king of the gods.He entered Esagila, palace of heaven and earth and stood before him.He made ready to speak, saying to the king of the gods:”Why has your precious image, symbol of your lordship, lost its brilliance?”Your lordly diadem, which made the inner sanctum shine like the outside tower, why is it dimmed?”The king of the gods made ready to speak, saying to Erra, these words,”O warrior Erra, concerning that deed you said you would do,”Once, long ago indeed I grew angry, indeed I left my dwelling and caused the deluge!”When I left my dwelling, the regulation of heaven and earth disintegrated:”The shaking of heaven meant: the positions of the heavenly bodies changed, nor did I restore them,”The quaking of netherworld meant: the yield of the furrow diminished, being thereafter difficult to exploit.”The regulations of heaven and earth disintegrating meant: underground water diminished, high water receded. When I looked again, it was struggle to get enough.”Productivity of living offspring declined, nor did I renew it,”Such that were I a plowman, I could hold all seed in my hand.”I built another house and settled therein (5)”As to my precious image, which had been struck by the deluge that its appearance was sullied,”I commanded fire to make my features shine and cleanse my apparel.”When it had shined my precious image and completed the task,”I donned my lordly diadem and returned.”Haughty were my features, terrifying my glare!”The survivors of the deluge saw what was done,”Shall I raise my weapon and destroy the rest? “I sent those craftsmen down to the depths, I ordered them not to come up,”I removed the wood and gemstone and showed no one where,”Now then, warrior Erra, as concerns that deed you said you would do,”Where is the wood, flesh of the gods, suitable for the lord of the universe,”The sacred tree, splendid stripling, perfect for lordship,”Whose roots thrust down an hundred leagues through the waters of the vast ocean to the depths of hell,”Whose crown brushed Anu’s heaven on high?”Where is the clear gemstone that I reserved for [ ]?”Where is Ninildum, great carpenter of my supreme divinity,”Wielder of the glittering hatchet, who knows that tool,”Who makes it shine like the day and puts it in subjection at my feet?”Where is Kunig-banda, fashioner of god and man, whose hands are sacred?”Where is Ninagal, wielder of the upper and lower millstone”Who grinds up hard copper like hide and who forges tools?”Where are the choice stones, created by the vast sea, to ornament my diadem?”Where are the seven sages of the depths, those sacred fish, who, like Ea their lord, are perfect in sublime wisdom, the ones who cleansed my person?The warrior Erra heard him….. [ ]He made ready to speak, saying to noble Marduk,”[ craftsmen ],”[ tree ],”Clear gemstone [from] its place will I bring up.” When Marduk heard this, he made ready to speak, saying t the warrior Erra:”(When) I rise from my dwelling, the regulation of heaven and earth will disintegrate,”The waters will rise and sweep over the land,”Bright day will turn to darkness, whirlwind will rise and the stars of heaven will be…”Ill winds will blow and the eyesight of living creatures will be darkened,”Demons will riase up and seize [ ],”They will …. the unarmed one who confronts them!”The gods of hell will rise up and smite down living creatures,”Who will keep htem at bay till I gird on my weaponry once more?When Erra heard this, he made himself ready to speak, saying to noble Marduk:”O noble Marduk, while you enter the house, fire cleanses your apparel and you return to your palace,”For that time I will govern and keep strong the regulation of heaven and earth,”I will go up to heaven and issue instructions to the Igigi gods,”I will go down to the depths and keep the Anunna gods in order.”I will despatch the wild demons to the netherworld,”I will brandish my fierce weaponry against them,”I will truss the wings of the ill wind like a bird’s.”At that house you shall enter, O noble Marduk,”I will station Anu and Enlil to the right and left, like bulls.”Noble Marduk heard him, the words which Erra spoke pleased him.
He arose from his dwelling, an inaccessible place,He set out for the dwelling of the Anunna-gods.He entered that house and stood before them.Shamash looked upon him and let his protective radiance fall…Sin looked everywhere, and did not leave the Netherworld,Ill winds rose and the bright daylight was turned to gloom,The clamor of the peoples throughout the land was stilled,The Igigi gods were terrified and went up to heaven,The Anunna gods were frightened and went down to the pit of hell,[ ] the entire circumference [ ][ ] in the dust[ ] let us see”.[ ] its doors.[ ] like the stars of heaven.GapThe gods convene to discuss the situation. Ea, intent upon restoring Marduk to his place, reasons that, even though the original sublime craftsmen cannot return, Marduk authorized reproduction of them to be made that are endowed with wondrous powers by Ea at Marduk’s command. The repairs are proceeding well. Erra, while standing guard at the hour where the work is being done lest harm approach, is taking the opportunity to usurp Marduk’s power by keeping everyone away from him. So vainglorious is Erra’s shouting that Ea resolves to see him humbled.”The diadem [ ]”His heart [ ]”The governor’s [ ]”The awe-inspiring radiance of his divine splendor [ ] his days [ ],”[ ] like rain,”Let Ea in the depths [ ] his springs,”Let Shamash see …. [ ] and let the people [ ]”Let Sin behold, and at his sign, let him [ ] to the land.”Concerning that work, Ea [ ] is expert”.”The warrior Erra became very angry,”Why, because of foam ont he waters, the …. of mankind,”Which I myself created to bring offerings ot he Anunna gods,”Did noble Marduk give up, not at the appointed time?”He plotted to lay waste the alnds and destroy their people!”Ea the king considered and said these words,”Even now that noble Marduk has arisen from his dwelling, he did notcommand those craftsmen to come up.”How can images of them, which I made among mankind,”Approach his sublime divinity, where no god has access?”He himself gave thsoe same human craftsmen great discretion and authority,”He gave them wisdom and perfect dexterity,”They have made his precious image radiant, even finer than before,”Warrior Erra has stationed himself before him, night and day without ceasing,”Besetting the house for making radiant the precious image for the sovereignty of the king and saying,’ Don’t come near the work!’ [He who draws] near it -I will cut short his life and prolong his death agony.’”[ ] let him hasten at the work,”[ ] has no equal.”[ ] Erra was speaking like a mortal,”[ ] was trying to rival the noble one,”[ ] may he be humbled.”The images of the craftsmen made his precious image radiant,[ ] …..They set the…. at his door,[ ] king Shamash girds it on,[ ] he reoccupied his dwelling,[ ] brilliance was reestablished,[All the gods….] were gathered,Erra [ noble] Marduk,”Noble Marduk,[ ]”Godlike, you [ ]”Small to great [ ][ ] Erra….[ ] … his uproar was terrifying,”[ ] … the image,”[ ] of your lordship are raised up and established”.The king of the gods made ready to speak and said,”[ ] and went up to heaven.”[ ] he commanded,”Return to your dwellings!”[ ] … his sign,”[ ] upon your face,”[ ] their peoples.”[ ] you did not turn your back.”He heard him, … said to the king of the gods,”The word of Marduk [ ] of the day”.He said to him [ ]”Come now, [ ]”To destroy the lands [ why did you plot?]?Erra heard him [ ]…He entered [ ].Anu heard in heaven [ ],He bowed his lofty head [ ],Antu, mother of the gods, was aghast [ ],She entered her chamber,Enlil’s [ ]
[ ] father of the gods [ ][ ] Enlil [ ]Among the beasts, all of them [ ]Erra among all the gods [ ]Among the stars of heaven the Fox Star [ ]Was shining bright and its radiance [ ] for him,The stars of all the gods were dazzling [ ],Because they were angry with each other, and noble Marduk [ ] put [ ],”The star of Erra is shining bright and its radiant…. of warfare.”His awe-inspiring brilliance will….. and all people will perish.”The dazzling stars of heaven in his time are dimmed.”…. the ant, does it not rise [ ]?”Among the beasts, the image of their star is the fox,”Endowed with strength, a raging lion [ ],”Enlil is the father of [ ], he has [ ]”.
Ininna replied in the assembly of the gods [ ],[ ] her words to Anu and Dagan [ ],”Keep quiet, all of you, go into your chamgers,”Cover your lips, do not smell the incense,”Do not debate noble Marduk’s word, do not plead,”Until the days are drawn to a close, the appointed time passed,”The word Marduk speaks is like a mountain where…. he does not change it nor [ ]”,
Ishtar went, they entered the …..She pled with Erra, but he would not agree,Ishum made ready to speak, saying these words to Ishtar,”I have …. that of heaven over what is not of heaven,”Erra is angry and will heed no one,”Let him come to rest in the mountains and I …. the seed of the people which you spoke about to us [ ]”The sublime son of Enlil will not go on campaign without Ishum the vanguard before him”.(Erra is furious. All that he has one is to perform his guard duty and now has been sent home, his services no longer required, without a campaign. This is because he is the most valliant god, no evil rises to oppose him. This he fails to perceive, but, in his blind rage, he resolves to fight his war anyway, to show Marduk and Ea that he is not to be taken so lightly. Erra’s self-praise turns into a self-narrative)He was sitting in the E-meslam, taking up his dwelling,He thought to himself what habe been done,His heart being stung, it could give him no answer,But he asked it what it would have him do.”Lead the way, let me begin the campaign!”The days are drawn to a close, the appointed time has passed,”I give the command and despoil the sun of his protective radiance,”By night I muffle the face of the moon,”I say to the thunderstorm, ‘Hold back your young bulls!’”‘Brush aside the clouds, cut off snow and rain!’”I will make Marduk and Ea mindful!”He who waxed great in the days of plenty, they bury him on a day of drought,”He who came by water, they take him back on a dusty road,”I say to the king of the gods, ‘Take your place in Esagila,’They must do what you commanded, they must carry out your order.’The black-headed folk cry out to you, but do not accept theirentreaties!’”I obliterate the land and reckon it for ruins,”I lay wate cities and turn them into open spaces,”I wreck mountains and fell their wildlife,”I convulse the sea nd destroy its increase,”I bring the stillness of death upon swamp and thicket, burning like fire,”I fell humankind, I leave no living creatues,”Not one do I retain, nor any for seed to [ ] the land,I spare no livestock nor any living creatures,”I dispatch the soldier from one city against another,”Neither son nor father has a care for the other’s well-being,”Mother plots evil against daughter with a leer,”I let yokels into the abodes of gods, where harm must not approach,”I settle the miscreant in the nobleman’s dwelling,”I let outlandish beasts into the shrines,”I block access to any city where they appear,”I send down beasts to the highlands,”Wherever they set foot, they bring the stillness of death to the thoroughfares,”I cause beasts of the steppe not to stay in the steppe, but to traverse the city street,”I make omens unfavorable, I turn holy places into foraging grounds,”I let the demon “Upholder of Evil” into the dwellings of the gods, where no evil should go,”I devastate the king’s palace [ ] and turn it into a ruin, and rob them of happiness,”As [ ] orchards like fire…”I let evil enter [ ]
Erra’s speech continues, as he glories in the horrors of war, anarchy and privation. There follows a gap in the text.”[ ] heeds no one,”What he (?) reasoned [ ]”Lions [ ]”[ ]”I make [ ] go towards [ ]”I confiscate their households and cut short their lives,”I assassinate the righteous man who intercedes,”I set the wicked cutthroat in the highest rank.”I estrange people’s hearts so father listens not to son,”And daughter cavils spitefully to mother.”I make their utterances evil, they forget their gods,”They speak gross blasphemy to their goddesses,”I stir up the robber and so cut off travel absolutely,”People rifle one another’s belongings in the heart of the city.”Lion and wolf fell the livestock.”I aggravate [ ] and she cuts off birth-giving,”I deprive the nurse of the wail of toddler and infant,”I banish the work song of harvest home from the fields,”Shepherd and herdsman forget their field shelters.”I cut the clothes from the bodies of men, the young man I parade naked through the city street,”The young man without clothes I send down to hell,”The ordinary fellow has not so much as a sheep to offer up for his life,”For the nobleman’s divination lambs are few and precious.”The patient yearns for a bit of roast to offer for his recovery,”It does him no good, so he gets up and walks till he dies.”I incapacitate the nobleman’s mount like [ ],”I cut [ ]
fragmentary lines, then gap
(The deed spoken and done, Ishum is remonstrating that Enlil has forsaken his city. Erra, in a frenzy, cries for more, and, having done enough himself, lets loose the Seven. Ishum, distressed at Erra’s overkill, demands the reason for it.)”The strong [ ]”Like the blood [ ]”You homed their weaponry upon the people under special protection, sacred to Anu and Dagan,”You made their blood course like ditchwater in the city streets,”You opened their arteries and the watercourses bear their blood away,”Enlil cried, ‘Woe!’ his heart was hardened,”He [ ] from his dwelling,”An irreversible curse rose to his lips,”He swore that he would not drink from the watercourses,”He was revolted by their blood, and ould not enter Ekur,”Erra said these words to Ishum his vanguard,”The Seven, warriors unrivalled [ ]”For all of them [ ]”Which noble [ ]”O my vanguard [ ]”Who can speak [ ]”Who can [ ] like fire?”Who can [ ] before [ ]”Who can [ ] like [ ]”Who [ ]”Who can [ ] Erra?”The face of a ravening lion [ ]”In the rage of [ ] heart [ ]”Lead the way, let me begin the campaign!”Muster the Seven, warriors unrivalled,”Make them fierce weaponry, go at my side,”And do you be my vanguard and rear guard.”When Ishum heard this speech of his,He felt pity and said to himself,”Alas for my people, victim of Erra’s fury [ ],”Whom the warrior Nergal overwhelmed like th storm of battle against the demons,”As if to kill that conquered god, his arms lose no tension,”As if to snare wicked Anzu, his net is spread!”Ishum made ready to speak, saying to warrior Erra these words.”Why have you plotted evil against god and man?”And why have you remorselessly plotted evil against the black-headed folk?Erra made ready to speak, saying to Ishum his vanguard these words,”You who know the reasoning of the Igigi gods, the counsel of the Anunna gods, would you givve guidance to the black-headed folk, and try to make them understand?”Why are you, indeed, talking like a know-nothing?”You are advising me as if you knew not Marduk’s command!”The king of the gods has risen from his dwelling!”What of all lands has endured?”He has removed his lordly diadem:”King and prince [ ] forget their duties.”He has undone his girdle:”The bond of gaod and man is undone, impossible to tighten it again.”Fierce fire made his precious image glow like the day and heightened his protective splendor,”His right hand grasped the mace, his enormous weapon,”Noble Marduk’s glare is terrifying!”As for me, what you said to me [ ].”O vanguard of the gods, wise Ishum, whose commands are sound,”Why, just now, did you … such speech?”Marduk’s command is not satisfactory to you?”Ishum made ready to speak, saying to the warrior Erra:”O warrior Erra…. [ ]”Mankind [ ]”The livestock [ ]”Swamps and reedbanks [ ]”Now then, what you siad, warrior Erra,”One stood forth and you [ } sven,”You killed seven and did not let go a single one,”Take away the livestock [ ]…”O Erra, when you strike with your weapons,”Mountains totter, the sea convulses,”Such a flash of your stanchion, they look east, as if to see the sun rise!”The palace [ ]
(gap of unknown length)
(Ishum continues: Erra has taken over the universe, even Marduk’s sanctuary. How can he now say that no one respects him?)Ishum made ready to speak, saying to the warrior Erra,”O warrior Erra, you hold the leadrope of heven,”You are master of all the earth, lord to the land!”You convulse the sea, obliterate mountains,”You rule over man and herd beasts.”The primeval sanctuaries are in your hands,”You control Shuanna and command Esagila,”You have gathered to yourself all authority, the gods revere you,”The Igigi gods stand in awe of you, the Anunna gods are in dread of you,”When you set forth counsel, even Anu heeds you,”Even Enlil agrees with you, aside from you, is there opposition?”Except for you, is there battle?”The armor of strife is yours alone!”But you have said to yourself, ‘They hold me in contempt’”.
“O warrior Erra, you are the one who feared not noble Marduk’s name!”You have undone Dimkurkurra, the bond of the world (Babylon)”You changed your divine nature and made yourself a mortal”You girded on your weaponry and entered Babylon.”Inside Babylon, you spoke like a rabble-rouser, as if to take over the city,”The citizenry of Babylon, like reeds in a thicket, had no one in chargeso they rallied around you”He who knew nothing of weapons – his sword was drawn,”He who knew nothing of archery – his bow was taut,”He who knew nothing of fighting – set to the fray,”He who knew nothing of wings – flew off like a bird.”The cripple could surpass the fleet of foot, the weakling could overpower the strong.”They give voice to gross insolence against the governor who provides for their holy places,”With their own hands they blockaded the gate of Babylon their lifeline,”They have torched the santuaries of Babylon like marauders of the land,”You, the vanguard, took their lead!”You aimed your shaft at the innermost wall,’Woe! My heart!’ it exclaims,”You flung the seat of Muhra, its gatekeeper, into the blood of young men and girls,”The inhabitants of Babylon themselves – they the bird, you the decoy -“You snared in a net, caught and killed them, warrior Erra!”You quit the city and have gone out to the outskirts,”You took a lion’s face and have entered the palace.”When the troops saw you, they girded on their weapons,”The heart of the governor, avenger of Babylon, turned to fury,”He issued orders to his army to plunder, as if plundering enemies,”He incited the commander to atrocities,’ You, my man, for that city I am sending you to,’ Fear no god, respect no man!’ Do young and old alike to death!’ Spare no one, not even the baby sucking milk!’ You shall plunder the accumulated wealth of Babylon!’”The royal troops drew up and have invaded the city,”With flashing shafts and outstretched blades,”You homed their weapons upon those under special protection, sacred to Anu and Dagan,”You made their blood course like ditchwater in the city streets,”You opened their arteries and let the watercourses hear their bood away.”When the great lord Marduk saw that, he cried ‘Woe!’ and his heart was hardened,”An irreversible curse rose to his lips,”He swore that he would not drink from the watercourses,”He was revolted by their blood and would not enter Esagila,’Alas for Babylon, whose crown I fashioned luxuriant as a palm’s,but which the wind has scorched,’Alas for Babylon, that I had laden with seed, like an evergreen, but ofwhose delights I could not have what I hoped for!’Alas for Babylon, that I tended like a thriving orchard, but whose fruit Icould not taste!’Alas for Babylon, that I suspended like a gemstone on the neck of thesky!’Alas for Babylon, that I clasped in my hand like the tablet of destinies,not handling it over to anyone else!’”And this too has noble Marduk said,'[ ] from former days [ ]’Let one quit the wharf: he shall cross at two cubit’s depht of water onfoot,’Let one go down sixty fathoms in a well, not one man shall keephimself alive on the water,’Let them still have to punt the fishing boat 100 leagues out in the opensea!’”As for Sippar, the primeval city, through which the lord of the world did not allow the deluge to pass, became it was precious to him,”You destroyed her ramparts against the will of Shamash and threw down her fortifications.”As for Uruk, the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar, the city of courtesans, harlots, and prostitutes for the cult,”Whom Ishtar deprived of husbands and reckoned as her own,”There Sutean nomads, men and women, bandy war whoops!”They turned out the actors and singers of Eanna,”Whose manhood Ishtar changed to womanhood to strike awe into the people,”The wielders of daggers and razors, vintner’s shears and flint knives,”Who take part in abominable acts for the entertainment of Ishtar,”A haughty, remorseless governor you placed over them,”He harassed them and interfered with their rites.”Ishtar was angered, she flew into rage against Uruk,”She stirred up the enemy and swept clean the country, like granules on the water’s face,”The dweller of Parsa had no respite from lamenting the destroyed Eugal-santuary,”The enemy you roused has no desire to stop.”Ishtaran responded thus,’ You turned the city Der into a wasteland,’ You fractured her populace like reeds,’ You extinguished their clamor like the dying hiss of foram on thewater’s face!’And as for me, you did not spare me, but have me over to the Suteannomads”‘For the sake of my city der, I will judge no disputed truth, nor makeany ruling for the land.’I will give no guidance nor aid in understanding,’Men forsook truth and took up violence,’They abandoned justice and were plotting wickedness,’Against but one country I raised up seven winds,’He who did not die in battle will die in an epidemic,’He who did not die in the epidemic, the enemy will plunder him,’He whom the enemy has not plundered, the bandit will murder him,’He whom the bandid did not murder, the king’s weapon will vanquishhim,’He whom the king’s weapon did not vanquish, the prince will slay him,’He whom the prince did not slay, a thunderstorm will wash him away,’He whom the thunderstorm did not wash away, the sun will parch him,’He who has gone out into the world, the wind will sweep him away,’He who has gone into his home, a demon will strike him,’He who has gone up to a high place, will perish of thirst,’He who has gone down to a low place, will perish in the waters’You have obliterated high and low place alike.’The man in charge of the city says to his mother,” If only I had stuck in your womb the day you bore me,” If only our lives had come to an end,” If only we had died together,” For you gave me a city whose walls are destroyed!” Its people are the beasts, their god is who hunts them down. ” He it is whose net is right-meshed: those engaged cannot slip through but die a violent death”‘He who begot a son, saying.”This is my son, when I have reared him, he will requite my pains.”‘I will put that son to death, his father must bury him,’Afterwards I will put that father to death, but he will have none to buryhim.’He who built a house syaing”This is my house, I built it for myself, I shall spend my leisure in it,”On the day fate claims me, I shall fall asleep inside”.’I will put him to death and wreck his home,’Afterwards though it be wreackage, I will give it to another’.”O warrior Erra, you have put the righteous man to death,”You have put the unrighteous man to death,”He who sinned against you, you put him to death,” He who did not sin against you, you put him to death,”The high priest, assiduous with divine offerings, you put to death,”The functionary who served the king you put to death,”The old man on the doorstep you put to death,”The young girls in the bedrooms you put to death,”Even then you found no appeasement whatsoever!”Even then when you told yourself,’They hold me in contempt!’”Even then you said to yourself, O warrior Erra,’I will strike down the mighty, I will terrorize the weak,’I will kill the commander, I will scatter the troops,’I will wreck the temple’s sacred chamber, the rampart’s battlement, the pride of the city I will destroy!’I will tear out the mooring pole so the ship difts away,’I will smash the rudder so she cannot reach the shore,’I will pluck out the mast, I will rip out the rigging.’I will make breasts go dry so babies cannot thrive,’I will block up springs so that even little channels can bring no life-sustaining water,’I will make hell shake and heaven tremble,’I will make the planets shed their splendor, I will wrench out the stars from the sky,’I will hack the tree’s roots, so its branches cannot burgeon,’I will wreck the wall’s foundation so its top tumbles,’I will approach the dwelling of the king of the gods, that no direction be forthcoming.”The warrior Erra heard him.The speech that Ishum made pleased him like finest oil.Thus spoke the warrior Erra.”The Sealand, the Sealand, Subartu Subartu, Assyrian Assyrian,”Elamite Elamite, Kassite Kassite,”Sutean Sutean, Gutian Gutian,”Lullubaean Lullubaean, land land, city city,”House house, man man, brother brother must not spare one another, let them kill each other!Then, afterwards, let the Akkadian arise to slay them all, to rule them, everyone.”The warrior Erra said these words to Ishum, his vanguard:”Go, Ishum, the matter you spoke of, do as you wish”.Ishum set out for the mountain Hehe, the homeland of the Suteans.The Seven, warriors unrivalled, fell in behind him.When the warriors reached the mountain Hehe, he raised his hand, he destroyed the mountain,He recknoned the mountain Hehe as level ground, he cut away the trunks of the cedar forest,The thicket looked as if the deluge had passed over,He laid waste cities and turned them into open spaces,He obliterated mountains and slew their wild life,He convulsed the sea and destroyed its increaseHe brought the stillness of death upon swamp and thicket, burning like fire,He cursed the wildlife and returned to clay.
After Erra was calmed and took up his own abode,All the gods were gazing at his face,All the Igigi-gods and the Anunna-gods stood in awe,Erra made ready to speak, saying to all the gods:”Quiet, all of you learn what I have to say!”No doubt I intended evil in the bygone lapse,”I was angry and wanted to lay waste the people.”Like a hireling, I took the lead ram from the flock,”Like one who did not plant an orchard, I was quick to cut it down,”Like a scorcher of the earth, I slew indiscriminately good and evil.”One would not snatch a carcass from the jaws of a ravaging lion,”So too no one can reason where one is in a frenzy.”Were it not for Ishum, my vanguard, what might have happened?”Where would your provider be, where your high priest?”Where your food offering? You would smell no incense”.Ishum made ready to speak, saying to the warrior Erra these words:”Quiet, warrior, hear what I have to say,”No doubt this is true, now, calm down, let us serve you!”At a time you are angry, where is he who can face you?”When Erra heard this, his face beamed, like radiant daylight his features glowed.He entered E-meslam and took up his abode,He called Ishum to tell him the sign, to give instructions concerning the scattered peoples of Akkad,”Let the people of the country, who had dwindled, become numerous again,”Let short and tall alike traverse its paths,”Let weak Akkadians fell mighty Suteans,”Let one drive off seven like sheep.”You shall make his cities into ruins and his highlands into open ground.”You shall tkae massive booty from them, and put it in Shuanna,”You shall reconcile the angry gods with their own abodes,”You shall make gods of livestock, and grain descend once more to the land.”You shall make mountain deliver its yield, sea its produce,”You shall make the ruined fields deliver produce”Let the governors of all cities haul their massive tribute into Shuanna,”Let the ruined temples lift their heads like the rays of the sun,”Let the governors of all cities make the provider for Esagila and Babylon their lord.” Praise to the great lord Nergal and warrior Ishum for years without number!How it came to pass that Erra grew angry and set ou to lay waste the lands and destroy their peoples,But Ishum, his counsellor calmed him and left a remnant,The composer of its text was Kabit-ilani-Marduk, of the family Dabibi.He revealed it at night, and just as he (the god?) had discoursed it while Kabit was coming awake, he, Kabit-ilani-Marduk, ommitted nothing at all.Not one line did he add.When Erra heard it he approved, what pertained to Ishum his vanguard, satisfied him.All the gods praised this poem, then the warrior Erra spoke thus:”In the sanctuary of the god who honors this poem, may abundance accumulate!”But let the one who neglects it never smell incense.”Let the king who extols my name rule the world,”Let the prince who discourses the praise of my valor have no rival,”Let the singer who chants it not die from pestilence,”But his performance be pleasing to king and prince”The scribe who masters it shall be spared in the enemy country and honored in his own land.”In the sanctum of the learned, where they shall constantly invoke my name, I shall grant them understanding”The house in which this tablet is placed, though Erra be angry and the Seven murderous,”The sword of pestilence shall not approach it, safety abides upon it.”Let this poem stand forever, let it endure till eternity.”Let all lands hear it and praise my valor,”Let all inhabitants witness and extol my name,”
RITUAL AND PRAYER TO ISHTAR OF NINEVEH
Collins, Billie Jean, Ritual and Prayer to Ishtar of Nineveh (1.65), in: Context of Scripture (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–)
§3 […] they cover [her?] with a cloth […] all the singers play [the … –instruments] and sin[g]. […] outside on seven paths […] they go to […] and […]. The diviner [sets (?)] down a table.… red, what are la[id] for soldier breads […] he takes, and the singers pull […] of the path (or: for the paths?).
§4 […] He says as follows “… O Ištar […] I will keep […]ing and for you … [If you are in Nineveh] then come from Nineveh. (But) if you are [in] R[imuši, then come from Rimuši]. If you are in Dunta, then come from Du[nta].
§5 (O Ištar,) [if you are] in [Mittanni], then come from Mittanni. [If you are in …, then come from.… I]f you are in Dunippa then [come from] Duni[ppa. If you are in Ugarit] then com[e] from Ugarit. [If you are in … then come from …]. Come from Dunanapa. [Come from.… Come from.… Come] from Alalḫaz. [Come from.… Come from] A[murra.] Come from Zīduna. [Come from ….] Come from Nu[ḫašša]. Come from Kulzila. [Come from ….] Come from Zunzurḫa. Come from Aššur. [Come from….] Come from Kašga. Come from every land. [Come from] Alašiya. Come from Ālziya. Come from Papanḫa. [Come from.…] Come from Ammaḫa. Come from Ḫayaša. [Come from ….] Come from Karkiya. [Come] from the lands of Arzauwa. [Come from ….] Come from the land of Maša. [Come] from Kuntara. [Come from.…] Come from Ura. Come from Luḫma. [Come from …]. Come from Partaḫuina. Com[e] from Kašula. [Come from.…]
§6 If (you are) in the rivers and streams [then come from there.] If for the cowherd and shepherds [you …] and (you are) among them, then come away. If (you are) among [the …], if you are with the Sun Goddess of the Earth and the Primor[dial Gods] then come from those.
§7 Come away from these countries. For the king, the queen (and) the princes bring life, health, streng[th], longevity, contentment (?), obedience (and) vigor, (and) to the land of Ḫatti growth of crops (lit., grain), vines, cattle, sheep (and) humans, šalḫitti-, mannitti– and annari–.
§8 Take away from the (enemy) men manhood, courage, vigor and māl, maces, bows, arrows (and) dagger(s), and bring them into Ḫatti. For those (i.e., the enemy) place in the hand the distaff and spindle of a woman and dress them like women. Put the scarf 1 on them and take away from them your favor.2a
§9 But from the women take away motherliness, love (and) mūšni– and bring it into the Ḫatti-land. Afterwards care for the king, the queen, the sons of the king (and) the grandsons of the king in wellbeing, life, health, vigor, (and) long years forever. Sustain it and make it rich. Let the land of Ḫatti, (which is) for you (both) bride and offspring, be a pure land.
§10 I have handed over to you the land of Ḫatti (which) again (has been) damaged. O Ištar of Nineveh, Lady, do you not know how the land of Ḫatti is damaged by this deadly plague?
§11 The diviner breaks one thin loaf for Ištar of Nineveh and crumbles it into the spring. Afterward he again breaks one thin loaf for Ištar of Nineveh and sets it down on the table. He sprinkles oatmeal before the table. Next he sprinkles meal into the spring.
§12 Further, before the table on the oatmeal he sprinkles sweet oil cake (and) meal. He libates wine three times into the spring and libates three times before the table.
§13 The diviner says these words, and when they attract (lit., pull) her with the thick loaf, they fill a KUKUB–vessel with water besides. Then in that place they open up ritual pits,b and the diviner pulls the deity up from there seven times with “ear” loaves. He says, “If the king, queen, or princes — anyone — has done something and has buried it, I am now pulling it from the earth.” He recites the same words again, and they do the same in that place also.
§14 He cuts into one thin loaf and sets it on a pine cone. He pours fine oil on it and the diviner having taken the “ear” bread pulls the deity from the fire fourteen times and says as follows: “I have pulled it from the fire.”
§15 He recites the same words again. He sets down the “ear” bread at the soldier loaves and buries one large bird for Ištar of Nineveh and ḫūwalzi–s. But they burn two birds for unalzi.
§16 When he is finished, the diviner takes up the table and in front of the red headband that lies on the table he holds another, and they bring (it) in to the goddess. The singers play the INANNA-instrument and the cymbals (?) and sing. They bring the god back into the temple.
[The remaining §§ are too fragmentary for translation.]
William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–), 164.
THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH
Kovacs, Maureen Gallery, The Epic of Gilgamesh (Stanford University Press; 1 edition, August 1, 1989)
The Epic of Gilgamesh is, perhaps, the oldest written story on Earth. It comes to us from Ancient Sumeria, and was originally written on 12 clay tablets in cunieform script. It is about the adventures of the historical King of Uruk (somewhere between 2750 and 2500 BCE
He who has seen everything, I will make known (?) to the lands. I will teach (?) about him who experienced all things, … alike, Anu granted him the totality of knowledge of all. He saw the Secret, discovered the Hidden, he brought information of (the time) before the Flood. He went on a distant journey, pushing himself to exhaustion, but then was brought to peace. He carved on a stone stela all of his toils, and built the wall of Uruk-Haven, the wall of the sacred Eanna Temple, the holy sanctuary. Look at its wall which gleams like copper(?), inspect its inner wall, the likes of which no one can equal! Take hold of the threshold stone–it dates from ancient times! Go close to the Eanna Temple, the residence of Ishtar, such as no later king or man ever equaled! Go up on the wall of Uruk and walk around, examine its foundation, inspect its brickwork thoroughly. Is not (even the core of) the brick structure made of kiln-fired brick, and did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plans? One league city, one league palm gardens, one league lowlands, the open area(?) of the Ishtar Temple, three leagues and the open area(?) of Uruk it (the wall) encloses. Find the copper tablet box, open the … of its lock of bronze, undo the fastening of its secret opening. Take and read out from the lapis lazuli tablet how Gilgamesh went through every hardship.
Supreme over other kings, lordly in appearance, he is the hero, born of Uruk, the goring wild bull. He walks out in front, the leader, and walks at the rear, trusted by his companions. Mighty net, protector of his people, raging flood-wave who destroys even walls of stone! Offspring of Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh is strong to perfection, son of the august cow, Rimat-Ninsun;… Gilgamesh is awesome to perfection. It was he who opened the mountain passes, who dug wells on the flank of the mountain. It was he who crossed the ocean, the vast seas, to the rising sun, who explored the world regions, seeking life. It was he who reached by his own sheer strength Utanapishtim, the Faraway, who restored the sanctuaries (or: cities) that the Flood had destroyed! … for teeming mankind. Who can compare with him in kingliness? Who can say like Gilgamesh: “I am King!”? Whose name, from the day of his birth, was called “Gilgamesh”? Two-thirds of him is god, one-third of him is human. The Great Goddess [Aruru] designed(?) the model for his body, she prepared his form … … beautiful, handsomest of men, … perfect … He walks around in the enclosure of Uruk, Like a wild bull he makes himself mighty, head raised (over others). There is no rival who can raise his weapon against him. His fellows stand (at the alert), attentive to his (orders ?), and the men of Uruk become anxious in … Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father, day and night he arrogant[y(?) …
[The following lines are interpreted as rhetorical, perhaps spoken by the oppressed citizens of Uruk.]
Is Gilgamesh the shepherd of Uruk-Haven, is he the shepherd. … bold, eminent, knowing, and wise! Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother(?) The daughter of the warrior, the bride of the young man, the gods kept hearing their complaints, so the gods of the heavens implored the Lord of Uruk [Anu]
“You have indeed brought into being a mighty wild bull, head raised! There is no rival who can raise a weapon against him. His fellows stand (at the alert), attentive to his (orders !), Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father, day and night he arrogantly … Is he the shepherd of Uruk-Haven, is he their shepherd… bold, eminent, knowing, and wise, Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother(?)!”
The daughter of the warrior, the bride of the young man, Anu listened to their complaints, and (the gods) called out to Aruru: “it was you, Aruru, who created mankind(?), now create a zikru to it/him. Let him be equal to his (Gilgamesh’s) stormy heart, let them be a match for each other so that Uruk may find peace!”
When Aruru heard this she created within herself the zikrtt of Anu. Aruru washed her hands, she pinched off some clay, and threw it into the wilderness. In the wildness(?) she created valiant Enkidu, born of Silence, endowed with strength by Ninurta. His whole body was shaggy with hair, he had a full head of hair like a woman, his locks billowed in profusion like Ashnan. He knew neither people nor settled living, but wore a garment like Sumukan.” He ate grasses with the gazelles, and jostled at the watering hole with the animals; as with animals, his thirst was slaked with (mere) water.
A notorious trapper came face-to-face with him opposite the watering hole. A first, a second, and a third day he came face-to-face with him opposite the watering hole. On seeing him the trapper’s face went stark with fear, and he (Enkidu?) and his animals drew back home. He was rigid with fear; though stock-still his heart pounded and his face drained of color. He was miserable to the core, and his face looked like one who had made a long journey. The trapper addressed his father saying:” “Father, a certain fellow has come from the mountains. He is the mightiest in the land, his strength is as mighty as the meteorite(?) of Anu! He continually goes over the mountains, he continually jostles at the watering place with the animals, he continually plants his feet opposite the watering place. I was afraid, so I did not go up to him. He filled in the pits that I had dug, wrenched out my traps that I had spread, released from my grasp the wild animals. He does not let me make my rounds in the wilderness!”
The trapper’s father spoke to him saying: “My son, there lives in Uruk a certain Gilgamesh. There is no one stronger than he, he is as strong as the meteorite(?) of Anu. Go, set off to Uruk, tell Gilgamesh of this Man of Might. He will give you the harlot Shamhat, take her with you. The woman will overcome the fellow (?) as if she were strong. When the animals are drinking at the watering place have her take off her robe and expose her sex. When he sees her he will draw near to her, and his animals, who grew up in his wilderness, will be alien to him.”
He heeded his father’s advice. The trapper went off to Uruk, he made the journey, stood inside of Uruk, and declared to … Gilgamesh:
“There is a certain fellow who has come from the mountains– he is the mightiest in the land, his strength is as mighty as the meteorite(?) of Anu! He continually goes over the mountains, he continually jostles at the watering place with the animals, he continually plants his feet opposite the watering place. I was afraid, so I did not go up to him. He filled in the pits that I had dug, wrenched out my traps that I had spread, released from my grasp the wild animals. He does not let me make my rounds in the wilderness!” Gilgamesh said to the trapper: “Go, trapper, bring the harlot, Shamhat, with you. When the animals are drinking at the watering place have her take off her robe and expose her sex. When he sees her he will draw near to her, and his animals, who grew up in his wilderness, will be alien to him.”
The trapper went, bringing the harlot, Shamhat, with him. They set off on the journey, making direct way. On the third day they arrived at the appointed place, and the trapper and the harlot sat down at their posts(?). A first day and a second they sat opposite the watering hole. The animals arrived and drank at the watering hole, the wild beasts arrived and slaked their thirst with water. Then he, Enkidu, offspring of the mountains, who eats grasses with the gazelles, came to drink at the watering hole with the animals, with the wild beasts he slaked his thirst with water. Then Shamhat saw him–a primitive, a savage fellow from the depths of the wilderness!
“That is he, Shamhat! Release your clenched arms, expose your sex so he can take in your voluptuousness. Do not be restrained–take his energy! When he sees you he will draw near to you. Spread out your robe so he can lie upon you, and perform for this primitive the task of womankind! His animals, who grew up in his wilderness, will become alien to him, and his lust will groan over you.”
Shamhat unclutched her bosom, exposed her sex, and he took in her voluptuousness. She was not restrained, but took his energy. She spread out her robe and he lay upon her, she performed for the primitive the task of womankind. His lust groaned over her; for six days and seven nights Enkidu stayed aroused, and had intercourse with the harlot until he was sated with her charms. But when he turned his attention to his animals, the gazelles saw Enkidu and darted off, the wild animals distanced themselves from his body. Enkidu … his utterly depleted(?) body, his knees that wanted to go off with his animals went rigid; Enkidu was diminished, his running was not as before. But then he drew himself up, for his understanding had broadened. Turning around, he sat down at the harlot’s feet, gazing into her face, his ears attentive as the harlot spoke. The harlot said to Enkidu:
“You are beautiful,” Enkidu, you are become like a god. Why do you gallop around the wilderness with the wild beasts? Come, let me bring you into Uruk-Haven, to the Holy Temple, the residence of Anu and Ishtar, the place of Gilgamesh, who is wise to perfection, but who struts his power over the people like a wild bull.” What she kept saying found favor with him. Becoming aware of himself, he sought a friend. Enkidu spoke to the harlot: “Come, Shamhat, take me away with you to the sacred Holy Temple, the residence of Anu and Ishtar, the place of Gilgamesh, who is wise to perfection, but who struts his power over the people like a wild bull. I will challenge him … Let me shout out in Uruk: I am the mighty one!’ Lead me in and I will change the order of things; he whose strength is mightiest is the one born in the wilderness!”
[Shamhat to Enkidu:]
“Come, let us go, so he may see your face. I will lead you to Gilgamesh–I know where he will be. Look about, Enkidu, inside Uruk-Haven, where the people show off in skirted finery, where every day is a day for some festival, where the lyre(?) and drum play continually, where harlots stand about prettily, exuding voluptuousness, full of laughter and on the couch of night the sheets are spread (!).” Enkidu, you who do not know, how to live, I will show you Gilgamesh, a man of extreme feelings (!). Look at him, gaze at his face– he is a handsome youth, with freshness(!), his entire body exudes voluptuousness He has mightier strength than you, without sleeping day or night! Enkidu, it is your wrong thoughts you must change! it is Gilgamesh whom Shamhat loves, and Anu, Enlil, and La have enlarged his mind.” Even before you came from the mountain Gilgamesh in Uruk had dreams about you.””
Gilgamesh got up and revealed the dream, saying to his mother:
“Mother, I had a dream last night. Stars of the sky appeared, and some kind of meteorite(?) of Anu fell next to me. I tried to lift it but it was too mighty for me, I tried to turn it over but I could not budge it. The Land of Uruk was standing around it, the whole land had assembled about it, the populace was thronging around it, the Men clustered about it, and kissed its feet as if it were a little baby (!). I loved it and embraced it as a wife. I laid it down at your feet, and you made it compete with me.” The mother of Gilgamesh, the wise, all-knowing, said to her Lord; Rimat-Ninsun, the wise, all-knowing, said to Gilgamesh:
“As for the stars of the sky that appeared and the meteorite(?) of Anu which fell next to you, you tried to lift but it was too mighty for you, you tried to turn it over but were unable to budge it, you laid it down at my feet, and I made it compete with you, and you loved and embraced it as a wife.” “There will come to you a mighty man, a comrade who saves his friend– he is the mightiest in the land, he is strongest, his strength is mighty as the meteorite(!) of Anu! You loved him and embraced him as a wife; and it is he who will repeatedly save you. Your dream is good and propitious!”
A second time Gilgamesh said to his mother:
“Mother, I have had another dream: “At the gate of my marital chamber there lay an axe, “and people had collected about it. “The Land of Uruk was standing around it, “the whole land had assembled about it, “the populace was thronging around it. “I laid it down at your feet, “I loved it and embraced it as a wife, “and you made it compete with me.”
The mother of Gilgamesh, the wise, all-knowing, said to her son; Rimat-Ninsun, the wise, all-knowing, said to Gilgamesh:
“”The axe that you saw (is) a man. “… (that) you love him and embrace as a wife, “but (that) I have compete with you.” “” There will come to you a mighty man, “” a comrade who saves his friend– “he is the mightiest in the land, he is strongest, “he is as mighty as the meteorite(!) of Anu!” Gilgamesh spoke to his mother saying: “”By the command of Enlil, the Great Counselor, so may it to pass! “May I have a friend and adviser, a friend and adviser may I have! “You have interpreted for me the dreams about him!” After the harlot recounted the dreams of Gilgamesh to Enkidu the two of them made love.
Enkidu sits in front of her.
[The next 30 lines are missing; some of the fragmentary lines from 35 on are restored from parallels in the Old Babylonian.]
“Why …”(?) His own counsel … At his instruction … Who knows his heart… Shamhat pulled off her clothing, and clothed him with one piece while she clothed herself with a second. She took hold of him as the gods do’ and brought him to the hut of the shepherds. The shepherds gathered all around about him, they marveled to themselves: “How the youth resembles Gilgamesh– tall in stature, towering up to the battlements over the wall! Surely he was born in the mountains; his strength is as mighty as the meteorite(!) of Anu!” They placed food in front of him, they placed beer in front of him; Enkidu knew nothing about eating bread for food, and of drinking beer he had not been taught. The harlot spoke to Enkidu, saying:
Eat the food, Enkidu, it ii the way one lives. Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land.” Enkidu ate the food until he was sated, he drank the beer-seven jugs!– and became expansive and sang with joy! He was elated and his face glowed. He splashed his shaggy body with water, and rubbed himself with oil, and turned into a human. He put on some clothing and became like a warrior(!). He took up his weapon and chased lions so that the shepherds could eat He routed the wolves, and chased the lions. With Enkidu as their guard, the herders could lie down. A wakeful man, a singular youth, he was twice as tall (?) (as normal men
[The next 33 lines are missing in the Standard Version; lines 57-86 are taken from the Old Babylonian.]
Then he raised his eyes and saw a man. He said to the harlot:
“Shamhat, have that man go away! Why has he come’? I will call out his name!” The harlot called out to the man and went over to him and spoke with him.
“Young man, where are you hurrying! Whyy this arduous pace!” The young man spoke, saying to Enkidu:
“They have invited me to a wedding, as is the custom of the people. … the selection(!) of brides(!) .. I have heaped up tasty delights for the wedding on the ceremonial(!) platter. For the King of Broad-Marted Uruk, open is the veil(!) of the people for choosing (a girl). For Gilgamesh, the King of Broad-Marted Uruk, open is the veil(?) of the people for choosing. He will have intercourse with the ‘destined wife,’ he first, the husband afterward. This is ordered by the counsel of Anu, from the severing of his umbilical cord it has been destined for him.”
At the young man’s speech his (Enkidu’s) face flushed (with anger). [Several lines are missing.] Enkidu walked in front, and Shamhat after him. [The Standard Version resumes.]
He (Enkidu) walked down the street of Uruk-Haven,
… mighty… He blocked the way through Uruk the Sheepfold. The land of Uruk stood around him, the whole land assembled about him, the populace was thronging around him, the men were clustered about him, and kissed his feet as if he were a little baby(!). Suddenly a handsome young man … For Ishara the bed of night(?)/marriage(?) is ready, for Gilgamesh as for a god a counterpart(!) is set up. Enkidu blocked the entry to the marital chamber, and would not allow Gilgamreh to be brought in. They grappled with each other at the entry to the marital chamber, in the street they attacked each other, the public square of the land. The doorposts trembled and the wall shook,
[About 42 lines are missing from the Standard Version; lines 103-129 are taken from the Old Babylonian version.]
Gilgamesh bent his knees, with his other foot on the ground, his anger abated and he turned his chest away. After he turned his chest Enkidu said to Gilgamesh:
“Your mother bore you ever unique(!), the Wild Cow of the Enclosure, Ninsun, your head is elevated over (other) men, Enlil has destined for you the kingship over the people.” [19 lines are missing here.]
They kissed each other and became friends. [The Old Babylonian becomes fragmentary. The Standard Version resumes]
“His strength is the mightiest in the land! His strength is as mighty as the meteorite(?) of Anu, The mother of Gilgamesh spoke to Gilgamesh, saying; Rimat-Ninsun said to her son:
“(I!), Rimar-Ninsun… My son… Plaintively … She went up into his (Shamash’s) gateway, plaintively she implored …: “Enkidu has no father or mother, his shaggy hair no one cuts. He was born in the wilderness, no one raised him.” Enkidu was standing there, and heard the speech. He … and sat down and wept, his eyes filled with tears, his arms felt limp, his strength weakened. They took each other by the hand, and.., their hands like … Enkidu made a declaration to (Gilgamesh’). [32 lines are missing here.] “in order to protect the Cedar Forest Enlil assigned (Humbaba) as a terror to human beings, Humbaba’s roar is a Flood, his mouth is Fire, and his breath is Death! He can hear 100 leagues away any rustling(?) in his forest! Who would go down into his forest! Enlil assigned him as a terror to human beings, and whoever goes down into his forest paralysis(?) will strike!” Gilgamesh spoke to Enkidu saying:
“What you say .. .”
[About 42 lines are missing here in the Standard Version; lines 228-249 are taken from the Old Babylonian.]
“Who, my Friend, can ascend to the heavens!” (Only) the gods can dwell forever with Shamash. As for human beings, their days are numbered, and whatever they keep trying to achieve is but wind! Now you are afraid of death– what has become of your bold strength! I will go in front of you, and your mouth can call out: ‘Go on closer, do not be afraid!’ Should I fall, I will have established my fame. (They will say:)’It was Gilgamesh who locked in battle with Humbaba the Terrible!’ You were born and raised in the wilderness, a lion leaped up on you, so you have experienced it all!’ [5 lines are fragmentary]
I will undertake it and I will cut down the Cedar. It is I who will establish fame for eternity! Come, my friend, I will go over to the forge and have them cast the weapons in our presence!” Holding each other by the hand they went over to the forge.
[The Standard Version resumes at this point.]
The craftsmen sat and discussed with one another. “We should fashion the axe… The hatchet should he one talent in weight … Their swords should be one talent… Their armor one talent, their armor …” Gilgamesh said to the men of Uruk: “Listen to me, men… [5 lines are missing here. You, men of Uruk, who know … I want to make myself more mighty, and will go on a distant(!) journey! I will face fighting such as I have never known, I will set out on a road I have never traveled! Give me your blessings! … I will enter the city gate of Uruk … I will devote(?) myself to the New Year’s Festival. I will perform the New Year’s (ceremonies) in… The New Year’s Festival will take place, celebrations … They will keep shouting ‘Hurrah!’ in…”” Enkidu spoke to the Elders: “What the men of Uruk… Say to him that he must nor go to the Cedar Forest– the journey is not to be made! A man who… The Guardian of the Cedar Forest … The Noble Counselors of Uruk arose and delivered their advice toGilgamesh: “You are young, Gilgamesh, your heart carries you off you do not know what you are talking about! …gave birth to you. Humbaba’s roar is a Flood, his mouth is Fire, his breath Death! He can hear any rustling(!) in his forest 100 leagues away! Who would go down into his forest! Who among (even!) the Igigi gods can confront him? In order to keep the Cedar safe, Enlil assigned him as a terror to human beings.” Gilgamesh listened to the statement of his Noble Counselors. [About 5 lines are missing to the end of Tablet II.]
The Elders spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
“Gilgamesh, do not put your trust in (just) your vast strength, but keep a sharp eye out, make each blow strike in mark! ‘The one who goes on ahead saves the comrade.” ‘The one who knows the route protects his friend.’ Let Enkidu go ahead of you; he knows the road to the Cedar Forest, he has seen fighting, has experienced battle. Enkidu will protect the friend, will keep the comrade safe. Let his body urge him back to the wives ()).” “in our Assembly we have entrusted the King to you (Enkidu), and on your return you must entrust the King back to us!” Gilgamesh spoke to Enkidu, raying: “Come on, my friend, let us go to the Egalmah Temple, to Ninsun, the Great Queen; Ninsun is wise, all-knowing. She will put the advisable path at our feet.” Taking each other by the hand, Gilgamesh and Enkidu walked to the Egalmah (“Great Palace”), to Ninsun, the Great Queen. Gilgamesh arose and went to her. “Ninsun, (even though) I am extraordinarily strong (!)… I must now travel a long way to where Humbaba is, I must face fighting such as I have not known, and I must travel on a road that I do not know! Until the time that I go and return, until I reach the Cedar Forest, until I kill Humbaba the Terrible, and eradicate from the land something baneful that Shamash hates, intercede with Shamash on my behalf’ (!) If I kill Humbaba and cut his Cedar let there be rejoicing all over the land , and I will erect a monument of the victory (?) before you!” The… words of Gilgamesh, her son, grieving, Queen Ninsun heard over and over. Ninsun went into her living quarters. She washed herself with the purity plant, she donned a robe worthy of her body, she donned jewels worthy of her chest, she donned her sash, and put on her crown. She sprinkled water from a bowl onto the ground. She… and went up to the roof. She went up to the roof and set incense in front of Shamash, .I she offered fragrant cuttings, and raised her arms to Shamash.
“Why have you imposed–nay, inflicted!–a restless heart on my son, Gilgamesh! Now you have touched him so that he wants to travel a long way to where Humbaba is! He will face fighting such as he has not known, and will travel on a road that he does not know! Until he goes away and returns, until he reaches the Cedar Forest, until he kills Humbaba the Terrible, and eradicates from the land something baneful that you hate, on the day that you see him on the road(?) may Aja, the Bride, without fear remind you, and command also the Watchmen of the Night, the stars, and at night your father, Sin.” _________________ She banked up the incense and uttered the ritual words.’
She called to Enkidu and would give him instructions: “Enkidu the Mighty, you are not of my womb, but now I speak to you along with the sacred votaries of Gilgamesh, the high priestesses, the holy women, the temple servers.” She laid a pendant(?) on Enkidu’s neck, the high-priestesses took… and the “daughters-of-the-gods” … “I have taken … Enkidu… Enkidu to… Gilgamesh I have taken.” “Until he goes and returns, until he reaches the Cedar Forest, be it a month … be it a year.. .” [About 11 lines are missing here, and the placement of the following fragment is uncertain.] … the gate of cedar… Enkidu … in the Temple of Shamash, (and) Gilgamesh in the Egalmah. He made an offering of cuttings … … the sons of the king(!) … [Perhaps some 60 lines are missing here.] “Enkidu will protect the friend, will keep the comrade safe, Let his body urge him back to the wives (?). In our Assembly we have entrusted the King to you, and on your return you must entrust the King back to us!” Enkidu spoke to Gilgamesh saying: “My Friend, turn back!… The road…” [The last lines are missing.]
At twenty leagues they broke for some food, at thirty leagues they stopped for the night, walking Fifty leagues in a whole day, a walk of a month and a half. On the third day they drew near to the Lebanon. They dug a well facing Shamash (the setting sun), Gilgamesh climbed up a mountain peak, made a libation of flour, and said: “Mountain, bring me a dream, a favorable message from Shamash.” Enkidu prepared a sleeping place for him for the night; a violent wind passed through so he attached a covering. He made him lie down, and… in a circle. they… like grain from the mountain… While Gilgamesh rested his chin on his knees, sleep that pours over mankind overtook him. in the middle of the night his sleep came to an end, so he got up and said to his friend: “My friend, did you not call out to me? Why did I wake up? Did you not touch me? Why am I so disturbed? Did a god pass by? Why are my muscles trembling? Enkidu, my friend, I have had a dream– and the dream I had was deeply disturbing(?) in the mountain gorges… the mountain fell down on me (us?) … Wet(?)… like flies(?)… He who was born in the wilderness,
Enkidu, interpreted the dream for his friend: “My friend, your dream is favorable. The dream is extremely important. My friend, the mountain which you saw in the dream is Humbaba. “It means we will capture Humbaba, and kill him and throw his corpse into the wasteland. In the morning there will be a favorable message from Shamash. At twenty leagues they broke for some food, at thirty leagues they stopped for the night, walking fifty leagues in a whole day, a walk of a month and a half. They dug a well facing Shamash Gilgamesh climbed up a mountain peak, made a libation of flour, and said, “Mountain, bring me a dream, a favorable message from Shamash.” Enkidu prepared a sleeping place for him for the night; a violent wind passed through so he attached a covering. He made him lie down, and… in a circle. They … like grain from the mountain… While Gilgamesh rested his chin on his knees, sleep that pours over mankind overtook him. ,, in the middle of the night his sleep came to an end, so he got up and said to his friend: My friend, did you not call out to me? Why did I wake up? Did you not touch me? Why am I so disturbed? Did a god pass by? Why are my muscles trembling? Enkidu, my friend, I have had a dream, besides my first dream, a second. And the dream I had–so striking, so…,so disturbing!’ I was grappling with a wild bull of the wilderness, with his bellow he split the ground, a cloud of dust…to the sky. I sank to my knees in front of him. He holds… that encircled(?) my arm. (My?) tongue(?) hung out(?) … My temples throbbed(?) … He gave me water to drink from his waterskin.” “My friend, the god to whom we go is not the wild bull? He is totally different? The wild bull that you saw is Shamash, the protector, in difficulties he holds our hand. The one who gave you water to drink from his waterskin is your personal) god, who brings honor to you, Lugalbanda. We should join together and do one thing, a deed such as has never (before) been done in the land.”
At twenty leagues they broke for some food,
at thirty leagues they stopped for the night, walking fifty leagues in a whole day, a walk of a month and a half. They dug a well facing Shamash, Gilgamesh climbed up a mountain peak, made a libation of flour, and said: “Mountain, bring me a dream, a favorable message from Shamash.” Enkidu prepared a sleeping place for him for the night; a violent wind passed through so he attached a covering. He made him lie down, and… in a circle. They… like grain from the mountain… While Gilgamesh rested his chin on his knees, sleep that pours over mankind overtook him. In the middle of the night his sleep came to an end, so he got up and said to his friend: “My friend, did you nor call out to me? Why did I wake up? Did you not touch me? Why am I so disturbed? Did a god pass by) Why are my muscles trembling? Enkidu, my friend, I have had a third dream, and the dream I had was deeply disturbing. ,, The heavens roared and the earth rumbled; (then) it became deathly still, and darkness loomed. A bolt of lightning cracked and a fire broke out, and where(?) it kept thickening, there rained death. Then the white-hot name dimmed, and the fire went out, and everything that had been falling around turned to ash. Let us go down into the plain so we can talk it over.” ,,, Enkidu heard the dream that he had presented and said to Gilgamesh (About 40 lines are missing here.) At twenty leagues they broke for some food, at thirty leagues they stopped for the night, walking fifty leagues in a whole day, a walk of a month and a half. They dug a well facing Shamash, Gilgamesh climbed up a mountain peak, made a libation of flour, and said: “Mountain, bring me a dream, a favorable message from Shamash.” Enkidu prepared a sleeping place for him for the night; a violent wind passed through so he attached a covering. He made him lie down, and… in a circle. They… like grain from the mountain… While Gilgamesh rested his chin on his knees, sleep that pours over mankind overtook him. in the middle of the night his sleep came to an end, so he got up and said to his friend: “My friend, did you not call out to me? Why did I wake up? Did you nor touch me? Why am I so disturbed? Did a god pass by? Why are my muscles trembling) Enkidu, my friend, I have had a fourth dream, and the dream I had was deeply disturbing (?). (About 11 lines are missing) “He was… cubits tall… … Gilgamesh Enkidu listened to his dream “The dream that you had is favorable, it is extremely important? My friend, this… Humbaba Eke… Before it becomes light… We will achieve (victory?) over him, Humbaba, against whom we rage, we will.., and triumph over him. In the morning there will be a favorable message from Shamash. At twenty leagues they broke for some food, at thirty leagues they stopped for the night, walking fifty leagues in a whole day, a walk of a month and a half. They dug a well facing Shamash, Gilgamesh climbed up a mountain peak, made a libation of flour, and said: “Mountain, bring me a dream, a favorable message from Shamash.” Enkidu prepared a sleeping place for him for the night; a violent wind passed through so he attached a covering. He made him lie down, and… in a circle. They… like grain from the mountain …
While Gilgamerh rested his chin on his knees, sleep that pours over mankind overtook him. ,, in the middle of the night his sleep came to an end, so he got up and said to his friend: “My friend, did you not call out to me? Why did I wake up? Did you not touch me? Why am I so disturbed? Did a god pass by? Why are my muscles trembling? Enkidu, my friend, I had a fifth(?) dream, and the dream I had was deeply disturbing (?). …His tears were running in the presence of Shamash. ‘What you said in Uruk…, be mindful of it, stand by me… ?” Gilgamesh, the offspring of Uruk-Haven, Shamash heard what issued from his mouth, and suddenly there resounded a warning sound from the sky. “Hurry, stand by him so that he (Humbaba) does nor enter the forest, and does not go down into the thickets and hide (?) He has not put on his seven coats of armor(?) he is wearing only one, but has taken off six.” ,,, They(Gilgamesh and Enkidu ‘)… They lunge at each other like raging wild bulls… One name he bellowed full of… The Guardian of the Forest bellowed …Humbaha like… …”‘One alone cannot ‘Strangers … ‘A slippery path is not feared by two people who help each other.’ ‘Twice three times… ‘A three-ply rope cannot be cut.’ ‘The mighty lioness cubs can roll him over.”‘ Enkidu spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “As soon as we have gone down into the Cedar Forest, let us split open the tree (?) and strip off its branches(?).” Gilgamesh spoke to Enkidu, saying: “Why, my friend, we…so wretchedly (?) We have crossed over all the mountarns together, in front of us, before we have cut down the Cedar. My friend, you who are so experienced in battle, who… fighting, you…’ and (need) not fear death. Let your voice bellow forth like the kettledrum, let the stiffness in your arms depart, let the paralysis in your legs go away. Take my hand, my friend, we will go on together. Your heart should burn to do battle –pay no heed to death, do not lose heart! The one who watches from the side is a careful man, but the one who walks in front protects himself and saves his comrade, and through their fighting they establish fame’” As the two of them reached the evergreen forest they cut off their talk, and stood still.
… They stood at the forest’s edge, gazing at the top of the Cedar Tree, gazing at the entrance to the forest. Where Humbaba would walk there was a trail, the roads led straight on, the path was excellent. Then they saw the Cedar Mountain, the Dwelling of the Gods, the throne dais of Imini. Across the face of the mountain the Cedar brought forth luxurious foliage, its shade was good, extremely pleasant. The thornbushes were matted together, the woods(?) were a thicket … among the Cedars,… the boxwood, the forest was surrounded by a ravine two leagues long, … and again for two-thirds (of that distance), …Suddenly the swords…, and after the sheaths …, the axes were smeared… dagger and sword… alone … Humbaba spoke to Gilgamesh saying:”He does not come (?) … … Enlil.. .” Enkidu spoke to Humbaba, saying: “Humbaba…’One alone.. ‘Strangers … ‘A slippery path is not feared by two people who help each other. ‘Twice three times… ‘A three-ply rope cannot be cut. ‘The mighty lion–two cubs can roll him over.”‘ … Humbaba spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: ..An idiot’ and a moron should give advice to each other, but you, Gilgamesh, why have you come to me! Give advice, Enkidu, you ‘son of a fish,’ who does not even know his own father, to the large and small turtles which do not suck their mother’s milk! When you were still young I saw you but did not go over to you; … you,… in my belly. …,you have brought Gilgamesh into my presence, … you stand.., an enemy, a stranger. … Gilgamesh, throat and neck, I would feed your flesh to the screeching vulture, the eagle, and the vulture!” Gilgamerh spoke to Enkidu, saying: “My Friend, Humbaba’s face keeps changing!· Enkidu spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:’ “Why, my friend, are you whining so pitiably, hiding behind your whimpering? Now there, my friend,… in the coppersmith’s channel …, again to blow (the bellows) for an hour, the glowing (metal)(?) …for an hour. To send the Flood, to crack the Whip.” Do not snatch your feet away, do not turn your back, … strike even harder!”
… may they be expelled…. head fell … and it/he confronted him…
The ground split open with the heels of their feet, as they whirled around in circles Mt. Hermon and Lebanon split. The white clouds darkened, death rained down on them like fog. Shamash raised up against Humbaba mighty tempests’– Southwind, Northwind, Eastwind, Westwind, Whistling Wind, Piercing Wind, Blizzard, Bad Wind, Wind of Simurru, Demon Wind, Ice Wind, Storm, Sandstorm– thirteen winds rose up against him and covered Humbaba’s face. He could nor butt through the front, and could not scramble out the back, so that Gilgamesh’a weapons were in reach of Humbaba. Humbaba begged for his life, saying to Gilgamesh: “You are young yet, Gilgamesh, your mother gave birth to you, and you are the offspring of Rimnt-Nlnsun (?) … (It was) at the word of Shamash, Lord of the Mountain, that you were roused (to this expedition). O scion of the heart of Uruk, King Gilgamesh! … Gilgamesh… Gilgamesh, let me go (?), I will dwell with you as your servant (?) As many trees as you command me I will cut down for you, I will guard for you myrtle wood…, wood fine enough for your palace!” Enkidu addressed Gilgamesh, saying: “My friend, do not listen to Humbaba, [io lines are misring Apparently Humbaba sees thar Gilgamrsh is influenced by Enkidu, and moves to dissuade Enkidu.] “You understand the rules of my forest, the rules…, further, you are aware of all the things so ordered (by Enlil).” I should have carried you up, and killed you at the very entrance to the branches of my forest. I should have fed your flesh to the screeching vulture, the eagle, and the vulture. So now, Enkidu, clemency is up to you. Speak to Gilgamesh to spare my life!” Enkidu addressed Gilgamesh, saying: My friend, Humbaba, Guardian of the Cedar Forest, grind up, kill, pulverize(?), and destroy him! Humbaba, Guardian of the Forest, grind up, kill, pulverize(?), and destroy him! Before the Preeminent God Enlil hears… and the …gods be filled with rage against us. Enlil is in Nippur, Shamash is in Sippar. Erect an eternal monument proclaiming… how Gilgamesh killed(?) Humbaba.” When Humbaba heard… [Abour l0 linrs are misiing.] … the forest. and denunciations(?) have been made. But you are sitting there like a shepherd… and like a ‘hireling of his mouth.’ Now, Enkidu, clemency is up to you. Speak to Gilgamesh that he spare my life!” Enkidu spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “My friend, Humbaba, Guardian of the Forest, grind up, kill, pulverize(?), and destroy him! Before the Preeminent God Enlil hears, and the … gods are full of rage at us. Enlil is in Nippur, Shamash is in Sippar. Erect an eternal monument proclaiming… how Gilgamesh killed(?) Humbaba.” Humbaba heard … [About 10 lines are missing.] “May he not live the longer of the two, may Enkidu not have any ‘share'(?) more than his friend Gilgamesh!” Enkidu spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “My friend, 1 have been talking to you but you have not been listening to me,” You have been listening to the curse of Humbaba!” … his friend … by his side .. they pulled out his insides including his tongue. … he jumped(?). …abundance fell over the mountain, …abundance fell over the mountain. They cut through the Cedar, While Gilgamesh cuts down the trees, Enkidu searches through the urmazallu. Enkidu addressed Gilgamesh, saying: “My friend, we have cut down the towering Cedar whose top scrapes the sky. Make from it a door 72 cubits high, 24 cubits wide, one cubit thick, its fixture, its lower and upper pivots will be out of one piece. Let them carry it to Nippur, the Euphrates will carry it down, Nippur will rejoice. …” They tied together a raft… Enkidu steered it… while Gilgamesh held the head of Humbaba.
He washed out his marred hair and cleaned up his equipment(?), shaking out his locks down over his back, throwing off his dirty clothes and putting on clean ones. He wrapped himself in regal garments and fastened the sash. When Gilgamesh placed his crown on his head, a princess Ishtar raised her eyes to the beauty of Gilgamesh. “Come along, Gilgamesh, be you my husband, to me grant your lusciousness.’ Be you my husband, and I will be your wife. I will have harnessed for you a chariot of lapis lazuli and gold, with wheels of gold and ‘horns’ of electrum(?). It will he harnessed with great storming mountain mules! Come into our house, with the fragrance of cedar. And when you come into our house the doorpost(?) and throne dais(?)’will kiss your feet. Bowed down beneath you will be kings, lords, and princes. The Lullubu people’ will bring you the produce of the mountains and countryside as tribute. Your she-goats will bear triplets, your ewes twins, your donkey under burden will overtake the mule, your steed at the chariot will be bristling to gallop, your ax at the yoke will have no match.” Gilgamesh addressed Princess Ishtar saying: “What would I have to give you if I married you! Do you need oil or garments for your body! Do you lack anything for food or drink! I would gladly feed you food fit for a god, I would gladly give you wine fit for a king, … may the street(?) be your home(?), may you be clothed in a garment, and may any lusting man (?) marry you! …an oven who… ice, a half-door that keeps out neither breeze nor blast, a palace that crushes down valiant warriors, an elephant who devours its own covering, pitch that blackens the hands of its bearer, a waterskin that soaks its bearer through, limestone that buckles out the stone wall, a battering ram that attracts the enemy land, a shoe that bites its owner’s feet! Where are your bridegrooms that you keep forever’ Where is your ‘Little Shepherd’ bird that went up over you! See here now, I will recite the list of your lovers. Of the shoulder (?) … his hand, Tammuz, the lover of your earliest youth, for him you have ordained lamentations year upon year! You loved the colorful ‘Little Shepherd’ bird and then hit him, breaking his wing, so now he stands in the forest crying ‘My Wing’! You loved the supremely mighty lion, yet you dug for him seven and again seven pits. You loved the stallion, famed in battle, yet you ordained for him the whip, the goad, and the lash, ordained for him to gallop for seven and seven hours, ordained for him drinking from muddled waters,’ you ordained far his mother Silili to wail continually. You loved the Shepherd, the Master Herder, who continually presented you with bread baked in embers,
and who daily slaughtered for you a kid.
Yet you struck him, and turned him into a wolf, so his own shepherds now chase him and his own dogs snap at his shins. You loved Ishullanu, your father’s date gardener, who continually brought you baskets of dates, and brightened your table daily. You raised your eyes to him, and you went to him: ‘Oh my Ishullanu, let us taste of your strength, stretch out your hand to me, and touch our vulva. Ishullanu said to you: ‘Me! What is it you want from me! Has my mother not baked, and have I not eaten that I should now eat food under contempt and curses and that alfalfa grass should be my only cover against the cold? As you listened to these his words you struck him, turning him into a dwarf(?), and made him live in the middle of his (garden of) labors, where the mihhu do not go up, nor the bucket of dates (?) down. And now me! It is me you love, and you will ordain for me as for them!” When Ishtar heard this, in a fury she went up to the heavens, going to Anu, her father, and crying, going to Anrum, her mother, and weeping: “Father, Gilgamesh has insulted me over and over, Gilgamesh has recounted despicable deeds about me, despicable deeds and curses!” Anu addressed Princess Ishtar, saying: “What is the matter? Was it not you who provoked King Gilgamesh? So Gilgamesh recounted despicable deeds about you, despicable deeds and curses!” Ishtar spoke to her father, Anu, saying: “Father, give me the Bull of Heaven, so he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling. If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven, I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living!” Anu addressed princess Ishtar, saying: “If you demand the Bull of Heaven from me, there will be seven years of empty husks for the land of Uruk. Have you collected grain for the people! Have you made grasses grow for the animals?” Ishtar addressed Anu, her father, saying: “I have heaped grain in the granaries for the people, I made grasses grow for the animals, in order that they might eat in the seven years of empty husks. I have collected grain for the people, I have made grasses grow for the animals.” When Anu heard her words, he placed the noserope of the Bull of Heaven in her hand.
Ishtar led the Bull of Heaven down to the earth.
When it reached Uruk It climbed down to the Euphrates… At the snort of the Bull of Heaven a huge pit opened up, and 100 Young Men of Uruk fell in. At his second snort a huge pit opened up, and 200 Young Men of Uruk fell in. At his third snort a huge pit opened up, and Enkidu fell in up to his waist. Then Enkidu jumped out and seized the Bull of Heaven by its horns. the Bull spewed his spittle in front of him, with his thick tail he flung his dung behind him (?). Enkidu addressed Gilgamesh, saying: “My friend, we can be bold(?) … How shall we respond… My friend, I saw… And my strength… I will rip out… I and you, we must share (?) I shall grasp the Bull I will fill my hands (?) .. In front… … between the nape, the horns, and… thrust your sword.” Enkidu stalked and hunted down the Bull of Heaven. He grasped it by the thick of its tail and held onto it with both his hands (?), while Gilgamesh, like an expert butcher, boldly and surely approached the Bull of Heaven. Between the nape, the horns, and… he thrust his sword. After they had killed the Bull of Heaven, they ripped out its heart and presented it to Shamash. They withdrew bowing down humbly to Shamash. Then the brothers sat down together. Ishtar went up onto the top of the Wall of Uruk-Haven, cast herself into the pose of mourning, and hurled her woeful curse: “Woe unto Gilgamesh who slandered me and killed the Bull of Heaven!” When Enkidu heard this pronouncement of Ishtar, he wrenched off the Bull’s hindquarter and flung it in her face: “If I could only get at you I would do the same to you! I would drape his innards over your arms!” Ishtar assembled the (cultic women) of lovely-locks, joy-girls, and harlots, and set them to mourning over the hindquarter of the Bull. Gilgamesh summoned all the artisans and craftsmen. (All) the artisans admired the thickness of its horns, each fashioned from 30 minas of lapis lazuli! Two fingers thick is their casing(?). Six vats of oil the contents of the two he gave as ointment to his (personal) god Lugalbanda. He brought the horns in and hung them in the bedroom of the family head (Lugalbanda?). They washed their hands in the Euphrates, and proceeded hand in hand, striding through the streets of Uruk. The men of Uruk gathered together, staring at them. Gilgamesh said to the palace retainers: “Who is the bravest of the men) Who is the boldest of the males! Gilgamesh is the bravest of the men, the boldest of the males! She at whom we flung the hindquarter of the Bull of Heaven in anger, Ishtar has no one that pleases her… in the street (?) Gilgamesh held a celebration in his palace. The Young Men dozed off, sleeping on the couches of the night. Enkidu was sleeping, and had a dream. He woke up and revealed his dream to his friend.
“My friend, why are the Great Gods in conference? (In my dream) Anu, Enlil, and Shamash held a council, and Anu spoke to Enlil: ‘Because they killed the Bull of Heaven and have also slain Humbaba, the one of them who pulled up the Cedar of the Mountain must die!’ Enlil said:’Let Enkidu die, but Gilgamesh must not die!’ Bur the Sun God of Heavenl replied to valiant Enlil: ‘Was it not at my command that they killed the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba! Should now innocent Enkidu die!’ Then Enlil became angry at Shamash, saying: ‘it is you who are responsible because you traveled daily with them as their friend!”‘ Enkidu was lying (sick) in front of Gilgamesh. His tears flowing like canals, he (Gilgamesh) said: “O brother, dear brother, why are they absolving me instead of my brother)” Then Enkidu said:) “So now must 1 become a ghost, to sit with the ghosts of the dead, to see my dear brother nevermore!” In the Cedar Forest where the Great (Gods dwell, I did not kill the Cedar.”
Enkidu addressed Gilgamesh,
saying to Gilgamesh, his Friend: “Come, Friend,… The door…
Enkidu raised his eyes,…and spoke to the door as if it were human:
“You stupid wooden door, with no ability to understand… ! Already at 10 leagues I selected the wood for you, until I saw the towering Cedar … Your wood was without compare in my eyes. Seventy-two cubits was your height, 14 cubits your width, one cubit your thickness, your door post, pivot stone, and post cap … I fashioned you, and I carried you; to Nippur… Had I known, O door, that this would he your gratitude and this your gratitude…, I would have taken an axe and chopped you up, and lashed your planks into…
in its … I erected the…
and in Uruk…they heard But yet, O door, I fashioned you, and I carried you to Nippur! May a king who comes after me reject you, may the god… may he remove my name and set his own name there!” He ripped out.., threw down. He(Gilgamesh) kept listening to his words, and retorted quickly, Gilgamesh listened to the words of Enkidu, his Friend, and his tears flowed. Gilgamesh addressed Enkidu, raying: ‘Friend, the gods have given you a mind broad and … Though it behooves you to be sensible, you keep uttering improper things! Why, my Friend, does your mind utter improper things? The dream is important but very frightening, your lips are buzzing like flies. Though there is much fear, the dream is very important. To the living they (the gods) leave sorrow, to the living the dream leaves pain. I will pray, and beseech the Great Gods, I will seek…, and appeal to your god. … Enlil, the Father of the Gods, …Enlil the Counselor…you. I will fashion a statue of you of gold without measure, do nor worry…, gold… What Enlil says is not… What he has said cannot go back, cannot …, What… he has laid down cannot go back, cannot… My friend,… of fate goes to mankind.” just as dawn began to glow, Enkidu raised his head and cried out to Shamash, at the (first) gleam of the sun his tears poured forth. “I appeal to you, O Shamash, on behalf of my precious life (?), because of that notorious trapper who did not let me attain the same as my friend May the trapper not get enough to feed himself . May his profit be slashed, and his wages decrease, may… be his share before you, may he not enter … but go out of it like vapor(?)!” After he had cursed the trapper to his satisfaction, his heart prompted him to curse the Harlot. “Come now, Harlot, I am going to decree your fate, a fate that will never come to an end for eternity! I will curse you with a Great Curse, may my curses overwhelm you suddenly, in an instant! May you not be able to make a household, and not be able to love a child of your own (?)! May you not dwell in the … of girls, may dregs of beer (?) stain your beautiful lap, may a drunk soil your festal robe with vomit(?), … the beautiful (?) … of the potter. May you never acquire anything of bright alabaster, may the judge. .. may shining silver(?), man’s delight, not be cast into your house, may a gateway be where you rake your pleasure,’ may a crossroad be your home may a wasteland be your sleeping place, may the shadow of the city wall be your place to stand, may the thorns and briars skin your feet, may both the drunk and the dry slap you on the cheek, … in your city’s streets (?), may owls nest in the cracks of your walls! may no parties take place… … present(?). and your filthy “lap” … may.., be his(?) Because of me… while I, blameless, you have… against me. When Shamash heard what his mouth had uttered, he suddenly called out to him from the sky: “Enkidu, why are you cursing the harlot, Shamhat, she who fed you bread fit for a god, she who gave you wine fit for a king, she who dressed you in grand garments, and she who allowed you to make beautiful Gilgamesh your comrade! Now Gilgamesh is your beloved brother-friend! He will have you lie on a grand couch, will have you lie on a couch of honor. He will seat you in the seat of ease, the seat at his left, so that the princes of the world kiss your feet. He will have the people of Uruk go into mourning and moaning over you, will fill the happy people with woe over you. And after you he will let his body bear a filthy mat of hair, will don the skin of a lion and roam the wilderness.” As soon as Enkidu heard the words of valiant Shamash, his agitated heart grew calm, his anger abated. Enkidu spoke to the harlot, saying: “Come, Shamhat, I will decree your fate for you. Let my mouth which has cursed you, now turn to bless you! May governors and nobles love you, May he who is one league away bite his lip (in anticipation of you), may he who is two leagues away shake our his locks (in preparation)! May the soldier not refuse you, but undo his buckle for you, may he give you rock crystal(!), lapis lazuli, and gold, may his gift to you be earrings of filigree(?). May… his supplies be heaped up. May he bring you into the … of the gods. May the wife, the mother of seven (children), be abandoned because of you!” Enkidu’s innards were churning, lying there so alone. He spoke everything he felt, saying to his friend: “Listen, my friend, to the dream that I had last night. The heavens cried out and the earth replied, and I was standing between them. There appeared a man of dark visage– his face resembled the Anzu,” his hands were the paws of a lion, his nails the talons of an eagle!– he seized me by my hair and overpowered me. I struck him a blow, but he skipped about like a jump rope, and then he struck me and capsizcd me like a raft, and trampled on me like a wild bull. He encircled my whole body in a clamp. ‘Help me, my friend” (I cried), but you did not rescue me, you were afraid and did not.. .” “Then he… and turned me into a dove, so that my arms were feathered like a bird. Seizing me, he led me down to the House of Darkness, the dwelling of Irkalla, to the house where those who enter do not come out, along the road of no return, to the house where those who dwell, do without light, where dirt is their drink, their food is of clay, where, like a bird, they wear garments of feathers, and light cannot be seen, they dwell in the dark, and upon the door and bolt, there lies dust. On entering the House of Dust, everywhere I looked there were royal crowns gathered in heaps, everywhere I listened, it was the bearers of crowns, who, in the past, had ruled the land, but who now served Anu and Enlil cooked meats, served confections, and poured cool water from waterskins. In the house of Dust that I entered there sat the high priest and acolyte, there sat the purification priest and ecstatic, there sat the anointed priests of the Great Gods. There sat Etana, there sat Sumukan, there sat Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Netherworld. Beletseri, the Scribe of the Netherworld, knelt before her, she was holding the tablet and was reading it out to her Ereshkigal. She raised her head when she saw me—- ‘Who has taken this man?’
[50 lines are missing here] …I (?) who went through every difficulty, remember me and forget(?) not all that I went through with you. “My friend has had a dream that bodes ill?” The day he had the dream … came to an end. Enkidu lies down a first day, a second day, that Enkidu … in his bed; a third day and fourth day, that Enkidu … in his bed; a fifth, a sixth, and seventh, that Enkidu … in his bed; an eighth, a ninth, a tenth, that Enkidu … in his bed. Enkidu’s illness grew ever worse. Enkidu drew up from his bed, and called out to Gilgamesh …: “My friend hates me … while he talked with me in Uruk as I was afraid of the battle he encouraged me. My friend who saved me in battle has now abandoned me! I and you …
[About 20 lines are missing]
At his noises Gilgamesh was roused … Like a dove he moaned … “May he not be held, in death … O preeminent among men …” To his friend … “I will mourn him (?) I at his side …”
Just as day began to dawn Gilgamesh addressed his friend, saying: “Enkidu, your mother, the gazelle, and your father, the wild donkey, engendered you, four wild asses raised you on their milk, and the herds taught you all the grazing lands. May the Roads of Enkidu to the Cedar Forest mourn you and not fall silent night or day. May the Elders of the broad city of Uruk-Haven mourn you. May the peoples who gave their blessing after us mourn you. May the men of the mountains and hills mourn you. May the… May the pasture lands shriek in mourning as if it were your mother. May the …, the cypress, and the cedar which we destroyed (?) in our anger mourn you. May the bear, hyena, panther, tiger, water buffalo(?), jackal, lion, wild bull, stag, ibex, all the creatures of the plains mourn you. May the holy River Ulaja, along whose banks we grandly used to stroll, mourn you. May the pure Euphrates, to which we would libate water from our waterskins, mourn you. May the men of Uruk-Haven, whom we saw in our battle when we killed the Bull of Heaven, mourn you. May the farmer …,who extols your name in his sweet work song, mourn you. May the … of the broad city, who … exalted your name, mourn you. May the herder …, who prepared butter and light beer for your mouth, mourn you. May …, who put ointments on your back, mourn you. May …, who prepared fine beer for your mouth, mourn you. May the harlot, … you rubbed yourself with oil and felt good, mourn you. May …,… of the wife placed(!) a ring on you …, mourn you May the brothers go into mourning over you like sisters;
… the lamentation priests, may their hair be shorn off on
Enkidu, your mother and your father are in the wastelands, I mourn you …” “Hear me, O Elders of Uruk, hear me, O men! I mourn for Enkidu, my friend, I shriek in anguish like a mourner. You, axe at my side, so trusty at my hand– you, sword at my waist, shield in front of me, you, my festal garment, a sash over my loins– an evil demon!) appeared and took him away from me! My friend, the swift mule, fleet wild ass of the mountain, panther of the wilderness, Enkidu, my friend, the swift mule, fleet wild ass of the mountain, panther of the wilderness, after we joined together and went up into the mountain, fought the Bull of Heaven and killed it, and overwhelmed Humbaba, who lived in the Cedar Forest, now what is this sleep which has seized you? You have turned dark and do not hear me!” But his (Enkidu’s) eyes do not move, he touched his heart, but it beat no longer. He covered his friend’s face like a bride, swooping down over him like an eagle, and like a lioness deprived of her cubs he keeps pacing to and fro. He shears off his curls and heaps them onto the ground, ripping off his finery and casting it away as an abomination. Just as day began to dawn, Gilgamesh … and issued a call to the land: “You, blacksmith! You, lapidary! You, coppersmith! You, goldsmith! You, jeweler! Create ‘My Friend,’ fashion a statue of him. … he fashioned a statue of his friend. His features … …,your chest will be of lapis lazuli, your skin will be of gold.”
[10 lines are missing here.’]
“I had you recline on the great couch, indeed, on the couch of honor I let you recline, 1 had you sit in the position of ease, the seat at the left, so the princes of the world kissed your feet. I had the people of Uruk mourn and moan for you, I filled happy people with woe over you, and after you (died) I let a filthy mat of hair grow over my body, and donned the skin of a lion and roamed the wilderness.” Just as day began to dawn, he undid his straps … I… carnelian,
[85 lines are missing here.’]
…to my friend. … your dagger to Bibbi …”
[40 lines are missing here.]
” … the judge of the Anunnaki.” When Gilgamesh heard this the zikru of the river(!) he created’… Just as day began to dawn Gilgamesh opened(!) … and brought out a big table of sissoo wood. A carnelian bowl he filled with honey, a lapis lazuli bowl he filled with butter. He provided … and displayed it before Shamash.
[All of the last column, some 40-50 lines, is missing.]
Over his friend, Enkidu, Gilgamesh cried bitterly, roaming the wilderness. “I am going to die!–am I not like Enkidu?! Deep sadness penetrates my core, I fear death, and now roam the wilderness– I will set out to the region of Utanapishtim, son of Ubartutu, and will go with utmost dispatch! When I arrived at mountain passes at nightfall,’ I saw lions, and I was terrified! I raised my head in prayer to Sin, to … the Great Lady of the gods my supplications poured forth, ‘Save me from… !”‘ He was sleeping in the night, but awoke with a start with a dream: A warrior(!) enjoyed his life– he raised his axe in his hand, drew the dagger from his sheath, and fell into their midst like an arrow. He struck … and he scattered them, The name of the former … The name of the second …
(26 lines are missing here, telling of the beginning of his quest.]
The Scorpion-Beings The mountain is called Mashu. Then he reached Mount Mashu, which daily guards the rising and setting of the Sun, above which only the dome of the heavens reaches, and whose flank reaches as far as the Netherworld below, there were Scorpion-beings watching over its gate. Trembling terror they inspire, the sight of them is death, their frightening aura sweeps over the mountains. At the rising and setting they watch over the Sun. When Gilgamesh saw them, trembling terror blanketed his face, but he pulled himself together and drew near to them. The scorpion-being called out to his female:
“He who comes to us, his body is the flesh of gods!” The scorpion-being, his female, answered him: “(Only) two-thirds of him is a god, one-third is human.”
The male scorpion-being called out, saying to the offspring of the gods: “Why have you traveled so distant a journey? Why have you come here to me, over rivers whose crossing is treacherous! I want to learn your … I want to learn …”
[16 lines are missing here. When the text resumes Gilgamesh is speaking.]
“I have come on account of my ancestor Utanapishtim, who joined the Assembly of the Gods, and was given eternal life. About Death and Life I must ask him!” The scorpion-being spoke to Gilgamesh …, saying: “Never has there been, Gilgamesh, a mortal man who could do that(?). No one has crossed through the mountains, for twelve leagues it is darkness throughout– dense is the darkness, and light there is none. To the rising of the sun … To the setting of the sun … To the setting of the sun … They caused to go out…”
[67 lines are missing, in which Gilgamesh convinces the scorpion-being to allow him passage.]
“Though it be in deep sadness and pain, in cold or heat … gasping after breath … I will go on! Now! Open the Gate!” The scorpion-being spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “Go on, Gilgamesh, fear not! The Mashu mountains I give to you freely (!), the mountains, the ranges, you may traverse … In safety may your feet carry you. The gate of the mountain …” To the rising of the sun … To the setting of the sun … To the setting of the sun … They caused to go out…”
[67 lines are missing, in which Gilgamesh convinces the scorpion-being to allow him passage.]
“Though it be in deep sadness and pain, in cold or heat … gasping after breath … I will go on! Now! Open the Gate!” The scorpion-being spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “Go on, Gilgamesh, fear not! The Mashu mountains I give to you freely (!), the mountains, the ranges, you may traverse … In safety may your feet carry you. The gate of the mountain …” As soon as Gilgamesh heard this he heeded the utterances of the scorpion-being. Along the Road of the Sun L he journeyed– one league he traveled …, dense was the darkness, light there was none. Neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Two leagues he traveled …, dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
[22 lines are missing here.]
Four leagues he traveled …, dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Five leagues he traveled …, dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Six leagues he traveled …, dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Seven leagues he traveled .. dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Eight leagues he traveled and cried out (!), dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Nine leagues he traveled … the North Wind. It licked at his face, dense was the darkness, light there was none, neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see. Ten leagues he traveled … … is near, … four leagues. Eleven leagues he traveled and came out before the sun(rise). Twelve leagues he traveled and it grew brilliant. …it bears lapis lazuli as foliage,
bearing fruit, a delight to look upon.
(25 lines are missing here, describing the garden in detail.]
… cedar … agate … of the sea … lapis lazuli, like thorns and briars … carnelian, rubies, hematite,… like… emeralds (!) … of the sea, Gilgamesh … on walking onward, raised his eyes and saw …
The tavern-keeper Siduri who lives by the seashore, she lives… the pot-stand was made for her, the golden fermenting vat was made for her. She is covered with a veil … Gilgamesh was roving about… wearing a skin,… having the flesh of the gods in his body, but sadness deep within him, looking like one who has been traveling a long distance. The tavern-keeper was gazing off into the distance, puzzling to herself, she said, wondering to herself: “That fellow is surely a murderer(!)! Where is he heading! …” As soon as the tavern-keeper saw him, she bolted her door, bolted her gate, bolted the lock. But at her noise Gilgamesh pricked up his ears, lifted his chin (to look about) and then laid his eyes on her. Gilgamesh spoke to the tavern-keeper, saying: “Tavern-keeper, what have you seen that made you bolt your door, bolt your gate, bolt the lock! if you do not let me in I will break your door, and smash the lock! … the wilderness.” … Gilgamesh The tavern-keeper Siduri who lives by the seashore, she lives… the pot-stand was made for her, the golden fermenting vat was made for her. She is covered with a veil … Gilgamesh was roving about… wearing a skin,… having the flesh of the gods in his body, but sadness deep within him, looking like one who has been traveling a long distance. The tavern-keeper was gazing off into the distance, puzzling to herself, she said, wondering to herself:
“That fellow is surely a murderer(!)! Where is he heading! …”
As soon as the tavern-keeper saw him, she bolted her door, bolted her gate, bolted the lock. But at her noise Gilgamesh pricked up his ears, lifted his chin (to look about) and then laid his eyes on her. Gilgamesh spoke to the tavern-keeper, saying: “Tavern-keeper, what have you seen that made you bolt your door, bolt your gate, bolt the lock! if you do not let me in I will break your door, and smash the lock! … the wilderness.” … Gilgamesh … gate Gilgamesh said to the tavern-keeper:
“I am Gilgamesh, I killed the Guardian! I destroyed Humbaba who lived in the Cedar Forest, I slew lions in the mountain passes! I grappled with the Bull that came down from heaven, and killed him.” The tavern-keeper spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
“lf you are Gilgamesh, who killed the Guardian, who destroyed Humbaba who lived in the Cedar Forest, who slew lions in the mountain passes, who grappled with the Bull that came down from heaven, and killed him, why are your cheeks emaciated, your expression desolate! Why is your heart so wretched, your features so haggard! Why is there such sadness deep within you! Why do you look like one who has been traveling a long distance so that ice and heat have seared your face! … you roam the wilderness!” Gilgamesh spoke to her, to the tavern-keeper he said:
“Tavern-keeper, should not my cheeks be emaciated? Should my heart not be wretched, my features not haggard? Should there not be sadness deep within me! Should I not look like one who has been traveling a long distance, and should ice and heat not have seared my face! …, should I not roam the wilderness? My friend, the wild ass who chased the wild donkey, panther of the wilderness, Enkidu, the wild ass who chased the wild donkey, panther of the wilderness, we joined together, and went up into the mountain. We grappled with and killed the Bull of Heaven, we destroyed Humbaba who lived in the Cedar Forest, we slew lions in the mountain passes! My friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hard- ship with me, Enkidu, whom I love deeply, who went through every hardship with me, the fate of mankind has overtaken him. Six days and seven nights I mourned over him and would not allow him to be buried until a maggot fell out of his nose. I was terrified by his appearance(!), I began to fear death, and so roam the wilderness. The issue of my friend oppresses me, so I have been roaming long trails through the wilderness. The issue of Enkidu, my friend, oppresses me, so I have been roaming long roads through the wilderness. How can I stay silent, how can 1 be still! My friend whom I love has turned to clay. Am I not like him? Will I lie down, never to get up again?”‘ Gilgamesh spoke to the tavern-keeper, saying:
So now, tavern-keeper, what is the way to Utanapishtim! What are its markers Give them to me! Give me the markers! If possible, I will cross the sea; if not, I will roam through the wilderness.” The tavern-keeper spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
“There has never been, Gilgamesh, any passage whatever, there has never been anyone since days of yore who crossed the sea. The (only) one who crosses the sea is valiant Shamash, except for him who can cross! The crossing is difficult, its ways are treacherous– and in between are the Waters of Death that bar its approaches! And even if, Gilgamesh, you should cross the sea, when you reach the Waters of Death what would you do! Gilgamesh, over there is Urshanabi, the ferryman of Utanapishtim. ‘The stone things’ L are with him, he is in the woods picking mint( !). Go on, let him see your face. If possible, cross with him; If not, you should turn back.” When Gilgamesh heard this he raised the axe in his hand, drew the dagger from his belt, and slipped stealthily away after them. Like an arrow he fell among them (“the stone things”). From the middle of the woods their noise could be heard. Urshanabi, the sharp-eyed, saw… When he heard the axe, he ran toward it. He struck his head … Gilgamesh.’ He clapped his hands and … his chest, while “the stone things” … the boat … Waters of Death … broad sea in the Waters of Death … … to the river … the boat … on the shore. Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi (?), the ferryman, … you.” Urshanabi spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:’
“Why are your cheeks emaciated, your expression desolate!
Why is your heart so wretched, your features so haggard? Why is there such sadness deep within you! Why do you look like one who has been traveling a long distance so that ice and heat have seared your face! Why … you roam the wilderness!” Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi, saying: “Urshanabi, should not my cheeks be emaciated, my expression desolate! Should my heart not be wretched, my features not haggard Should there not be sadness deep within me? Should I not look like one who has been traveling a long distance, and should ice and heat not have seared my face! … should I not roam the wilderness? My friend who chased wild asses in the mountain, the panther of the wilderness, Enkidu, my friend, who chased wild asses in the mountain, the panther of the wilderness, we joined together, and went up into the mountain. We grappled with and killed the Bull of Heaven, we destroyed Humbaba who dwelled in the Cedar Forest, we slew lions in the mountain passes! My friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hard- ship with me, Enkidu, my friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hardship with me, the fate of mankind has overtaken him. Six days and seven nights I mourned over him and would not allow him to be buried until a maggot fell out of his nose. I was terrified by his appearance(!), I began to fear death, and so roam the wilderness. The issue of my friend oppresses me, so I have been roaming long trails through the wilderness. The issue of Enkidu, my friend, oppresses me, so 1 have been roaming long roads through the wilderness. How can I stay silent, how can I be still! My friend whom I love has turned to clay; Enkidu, my friend whom I love, has turned to clay! Am I not like him! Will I lie down, never to get up again!” Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi, saying: “Now, Urshanabi! What is the way to Utanapishtim? What are its markers! Give them to me! Give me the markers! If possible, I will cross the sea; if not, I will roam through the wilderness!” Urshanabi spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “It is your hands, Gilgamesh, that prevent the crossing! You have smashed the stone things,’ you have pulled out their retaining ropes (?). ‘The stone things’ have been smashed, their retaining ropes (!) pulled out! Gilgamesh, take the axe in your hand, go down into the woods, and cut down 300 punting poles each 60 cubits in length. Strip them, attach caps(?), and bring them to the boat!” When Gilgamesh heard this he took up the axe in his hand, drew the dagger from his belt, and went down into the woods, and cut 300 punting poles each 60 cubits in length. He stripped them and attached caps(!), and brought them to the boat. Gilgamesh and Urshanabi bearded the boat, Gilgamesh launched the magillu-boat’ and they sailed away. By the third day they had traveled a stretch of a month and a half, and Urshanabi arrived at the Waters of Death. Urshanabi said to Gilgamesh: “Hold back, Gilgamesh, take a punting pole, but your hand must not pass over the Waters of Death … ! Take a second, Gilgamesh, a third, and a fourth pole, take a fifth, Gilgamesh, a sixth, and a seventh pole, take an eighth, Gilgamesh, a ninth, and a tenth pole, take an eleventh, Gilgamesh, and a twelfth pole!” In twice 60 rods Gilgamesh had used up the punting poles. Then he loosened his waist-cloth(?) for… Gilgamesh stripped off his garment and held it up on the mast(!) with his arms. Utanapishtim was gazing off into the distance, puzzling to himself he said, wondering to himself:
“Why are ‘the stone things’ of the boat smashed to pieces! And why is someone not its master sailing on it? The one who is coming is not a man of mine, … I keep looking but not… I keep looking but not … I keep looking…” lines are missing here.]
Utanapishtim said to Gilgamesh: “Why are your cheeks emaciated, your expression desolate! Why is your heart so wretched, your features so haggard! Why is there such sadness deep within you! Why do you look like one who has been traveling a long distance so that ice and heat have seared your face! … you roam the wilderness!” Gilgamesh spoke to Utanapishtim saying: “Should not my cheeks be emaciated, my expression desolate! Should my heart not be wretched, my features not haggard! Should there not be sadness deep within me! Should I not look like one who has been traveling a long distance, and should ice and heat not have seared my face! … should I not roam the wilderness) My friend who chased wild asses in the mountain, the panther of the wilderness, Enkidu, my friend, who chased wild asses in the mountain, the panther of the wilderness, we joined together, and went up into the mountain. We grappled with and killed the Bull of Heaven, we destroyed Humbaba who dwelled in the Cedar Forest, we slew lions in the mountain passes! My friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hard- shin with me Enkidu, my friend, whom I love deeply, who went through every hardship with me, the fate of mankind has overtaken him. Six days and seven nights I mourned over him and would not allow him to be buried until a maggot fell out of his nose. I was terrified by his appearance(!), I began to fear death, and so roam the wilderness. The issue of my friend oppresses me, so I have been roaming long trails through the wilderness. The issue of Enkidu, my friend, oppresses me, so I have been roaming long roads through the wilderness. How can I stay silent, how can I be still! My friend whom I love has turned to clay; Enkidu, my friend whom I love, has turned to clay! Am I not like him! Will I lie down never to get up again!” Gilgamesh spoke to Utanapishtim, saying: “That is why (?) I must go on, to see Utanapishtim whom they call ‘The Faraway.’” I went circling through all the mountains, I traversed treacherous mountains, and crossed all the seas– that is why (!) sweet sleep has not mellowed my face, through sleepless striving I am strained, my muscles are filled with pain. I had not yet reached the tavern-keeper’s area before my clothing gave out. I killed bear, hyena, lion, panther, tiger, stag, red-stag, and beasts of the wilderness; I ate their meat and wrapped their skins around me.’ The gate of grief must be bolted shut, sealed with pitch and bitumen ! As for me, dancing… For me unfortunate(!) it(?) will root out…” Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
“Why, Gilgamesh, do you … sadness? You who were created (!) from the flesh of gods and mankind who made … like your father and mother? Have you ever… Gilgamesh … to the fool … They placed a chair in the Assembly, … But to the fool they gave beer dregs instead of butter, bran and cheap flour which like … Clothed with a loincloth (!) like … And … in place of a sash, because he does not have … does not have words of counsel … Take care about it, Gilgamesh, … their master… … Sin… … eclipse of the moon … The gods are sleepless … They are troubled, restless(!) … Long ago it has been established… You trouble yourself… … your help … If Gilgamesh … the temple of the gods … the temple of the holy gods, … the gods … … mankind, they took … for his fate. You have toiled without cease, and what have you got! Through toil you wear yourself out, you fill your body with grief, your long lifetime you are bringing near (to a premature end)! Mankind, whose offshoot is snapped off like a reed in a canebreak, the fine youth and lovely girl … death. No one can see death, no one can see the face of death, no one can hear the voice of death, yet there is savage death that snaps off mankind. For how long do we build a household? For how long do we seal a document! For how long do brothers share the inheritance? For how long is there to be jealousy in the land(!)! For how long has the river risen and brought the overflowing waters, so that dragonflies drift down the river!’ The face that could gaze upon the face of the Sun has never existed ever. How alike are the sleeping(!) and the dead. The image of Death cannot be depicted. (Yes, you are a) human being, a man (?)! After Enlil had pronounced the blessing,’” the Anunnaki, the Great Gods, assembled. Mammetum, she who forms destiny, determined destiny with them. They established Death and Life, but they did not make known ‘the days of death’”.
The Story of the Flood
Gilgamesh spoke to Utanapishtim, the Faraway: “I have been looking at you, but your appearance is not strange–you are like me! You yourself are not different–you are like me! My mind was resolved to fight with you, (but instead?) my arm lies useless over you. Tell me, how is it that you stand in the Assembly of the Gods, and have found life!” Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “I will reveal to you, Gilgamesh, a thing that is hidden, a secret of the gods I will tell you! Shuruppak, a city that you surely know, situated on the banks of the Euphrates, that city was very old, and there were gods inside it. The hearts of the Great Gods moved them to inflict the Flood. Their Father Anu uttered the oath (of secrecy), Valiant Enlil was their Adviser, Ninurta was their Chamberlain, Ennugi was their Minister of Canals. Ea, the Clever Prince(?), was under oath with them so he repeated their talk to the reed house: ‘Reed house, reed house! Wall, wall! O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu: Tear down the house and build a boat! Abandon wealth and seek living beings! Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings! Make all living beings go up into the boat. The boat which you are to build, its dimensions must measure equal to each other: its length must correspond to its width. Roof it over like the Apsu. I understood and spoke to my lord, Ea: ‘My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered I will heed and will do it. But what shall I answer the city, the populace, and the Elders!’ Ea spoke, commanding me, his servant:
‘You, well then, this is what you must say to them: “It appears that Enlil is rejecting me so I cannot reside in your city (?), nor set foot on Enlil’s earth. I will go down to the Apsu to live with my lord, Ea, and upon you he will rain down abundance, a profusion of fowl, myriad(!) fishes. He will bring to you a harvest of wealth, in the morning he will let loaves of bread shower down, and in the evening a rain of wheat!”‘ Just as dawn began to glow the land assembled around me- the carpenter carried his hatchet, the reed worker carried his (flattening) stone, … the men … The child carried the pitch, the weak brought whatever else was needed. On the fifth day I laid out her exterior. It was a field in area, its walls were each 10 times 12 cubits in height, the sides of its top were of equal length, 10 times It cubits each. I laid out its (interior) structure and drew a picture of it (?). I provided it with six decks, thus dividing it into seven (levels). The inside of it I divided into nine (compartments). I drove plugs (to keep out) water in its middle part. I saw to the punting poles and laid in what was necessary. Three times 3,600 (units) of raw bitumen I poured into the bitumen kiln, three times 3,600 (units of) pitch …into it, there were three times 3,600 porters of casks who carried (vege-table) oil, apart from the 3,600 (units of) oil which they consumed (!) and two times 3,600 (units of) oil which the boatman stored away. I butchered oxen for the meat(!), and day upon day I slaughtered sheep. I gave the workmen(?) ale, beer, oil, and wine, as if it were river water, so they could make a party like the New Year’s Festival. … and I set my hand to the oiling(!).
The boat was finished by sunset. The launching was very difficult. They had to keep carrying a runway of poles front to back, until two-thirds of it had gone into the water(?). Whatever I had I loaded on it: whatever silver I had I loaded on it, whatever gold I had I loaded on it. All the living beings that I had I loaded on it, I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat, all the beasts and animals of the field and the craftsmen I had go up. Shamash had set a stated time: ‘In the morning I will let loaves of bread shower down, and in the evening a rain of wheat! Go inside the boat, seal the entry!’ That stated time had arrived. In the morning he let loaves of bread shower down, and in the evening a rain of wheat. I watched the appearance of the weather– the weather was frightful to behold! I went into the boat and sealed the entry. For the caulking of the boat, to Puzuramurri, the boatman, I gave the palace together with its contents. Just as dawn began to glow there arose from the horizon a black cloud. Adad rumbled inside of it, before him went Shullat and Hanish, heralds going over mountain and land. Erragal pulled out the mooring poles, forth went Ninurta and made the dikes overflow. The Anunnaki lifted up the torches, setting the land ablaze with their flare. Stunned shock over Adad’s deeds overtook the heavens, and turned to blackness all that had been light. The… land shattered like a… pot. All day long the South Wind blew …, blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water, overwhelming the people like an attack. No one could see his fellow, they could not recognize each other in the torrent. The gods were frightened by the Flood, and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu. The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall. Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth, the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed:
‘The olden days have alas turned to clay, because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods! How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods, ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!! No sooner have I given birth to my dear people than they fill the sea like so many fish!’ The gods–those of the Anunnaki–were weeping with her, the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief(?), their lips burning, parched with thirst. Six days and seven nights came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land. When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding, the flood was a war–struggling with itself like a woman writhing (in labor). The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up. I looked around all day long–quiet had set in and all the human beings had turned to clay! The terrain was as flat as a roof. I opened a vent and fresh air (daylight!) fell upon the side of my nose. I fell to my knees and sat weeping, tears streaming down the side of my nose. I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea, and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land). On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. When a seventh day arrived I sent forth a dove and released it. The dove went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a swallow and released it. The swallow went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a raven and released it. The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back. It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me. Then I sent out everything in all directions and sacrificed (a sheep). I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat. Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place, and (into the fire) underneath (or: into their bowls) I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle. The gods smelled the savor, the gods smelled the sweet savor, and collected like flies over a (sheep) sacrifice. Just then Beletili arrived. She lifted up the large flies (beads) which Anu had made for his enjoyment(!): ‘You gods, as surely as I shall not forget this lapis lazuli around my neck, may I be mindful of these days, and never forget them! The gods may come to the incense offering, but Enlil may not come to the incense offering, because without considering he brought about the Flood and consigned my people to annihilation.’ Just then Enlil arrived. He saw the boat and became furious, he was filled with rage at the Igigi gods: ‘Where did a living being escape? No man was to survive the annihilation!’ Ninurta spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying: ‘Who else but Ea could devise such a thing? It is Ea who knows every machination!’ La spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying: ‘It is yours, O Valiant One, who is the Sage of the Gods. How, how could you bring about a Flood without consideration Charge the violation to the violator, charge the offense to the offender, but be compassionate lest (mankind) be cut off, be patient lest they be killed. Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that a lion had appeared to diminish the people! Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that a wolf had appeared to diminish the people! Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that famine had occurred to slay the land! Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that (Pestilent) Erra had appeared to ravage the land! It was not I who revealed the secret of the Great Gods, I (only) made a dream appear to Atrahasis, and (thus) he heard the secret of the gods. Now then! The deliberation should be about him!’ Enlil went up inside the boat and, grasping my hand, made me go up. He had my wife go up and kneel by my side. He touched our forehead and, standing between us, he blessed us: ‘Previously Utanapishtim was a human being. But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods! Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.’ They took us far away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers.” “Now then, who will convene the gods on your behalf, that you may find the life that you are seeking! Wait! You must not lie down for six days and seven nights.” soon as he sat down (with his head) between his legs sleep, like a fog, blew upon him. Utanapishtim said to his wife:
“Look there! The man, the youth who wanted (eternal) life! Sleep, like a fog, blew over him.” his wife said to Utanapishtim the Faraway: “Touch him, let the man awaken. Let him return safely by the way he came. Let him return to his land by the gate through which he left.” Utanapishtim said to his wife: “Mankind is deceptive, and will deceive you. Come, bake leaves for him and keep setting them by his head and draw on the wall each day that he lay down.” She baked his leaves and placed them by his head and marked on the wall the day that he lay down. The first loaf was dessicated, the second stale, the third moist(?), the fourth turned white, its …, the fifth sprouted gray (mold), the sixth is still fresh. the seventh–suddenly he touched him and the man awoke. Gilgamesh said to Utanapishtim:
“The very moment sleep was pouring over me you touched me and alerted me!” Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “Look over here, Gilgamesh, count your loaves! You should be aware of what is marked on the wall! Your first loaf is dessicated, the second stale, the third moist, your fourth turned white, its … the fifth sprouted gray (mold), the sixth is still fresh. The seventh–suddenly he touched him and the man awoke. Gilgamesh said to Utanapishtim: “The very moment sleep was pouring over me you touched me and alerted me!” Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “Look over here, Gilgamesh, count your leaves! You should be aware of what is marked on the wall! Your first loaf is dessicated, the second stale, the third moist, your fourth turned white, its … the fifth sprouted gray (mold), the sixth is still fresh. The seventh–at that instant you awoke!” Gilgamesh said to Utanapishtim the Faraway: “O woe! What shall I do, Utanapishtim, where shall I go! The Snatcher has taken hold of my flesh, in my bedroom Death dwells, and wherever I set foot there too is Death!” Home Empty-Handed Utanapishtim said to Urshanabi, the ferryman: “May the harbor reject you, may the ferry landing reject you! May you who used to walk its shores be denied its shores! The man in front of whom you walk, matted hair chains his body, animal skins have ruined his beautiful skin. Take him away, Urshanabi, bring him to the washing place. Let him wash his matted hair in water like ellu. Let him cast away his animal skin and have the sea carry it off, let his body be moistened with fine oil, let the wrap around his head be made new, let him wear royal robes worthy of him! Until he goes off to his city, until he sets off on his way, let his royal robe not become spotted, let it be perfectly new!” Urshanabi took him away and brought him to the washing place. He washed his matted hair with water like ellu. He cast off his animal skin and the sea carried it oh. He moistened his body with fine oil, and made a new wrap for his head. He put on a royal robe worthy of him. Until he went away to his city, until he set off on his way, his royal robe remained unspotted, it was perfectly clean. Gilgamesh and Urshanabi bearded the boat, they cast off the magillu-boat, and sailed away. The wife of Utanapishtim the Faraway said to him: “Gilgamesh came here exhausted and worn out. What can you give him so that he can return to his land (with honor) !” Then Gilgamesh raised a punting pole and drew the boat to shore. Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: “Gilgamesh, you came here exhausted and worn out. What can I give you so you can return to your land? I will disclose to you a thing that is hidden, Gilgamesh, a… I will tell you. There is a plant… like a boxthorn, whose thorns will prick your hand like a rose. If your hands reach that plant you will become a young man again.” Hearing this, Gilgamesh opened a conduit(!) (to the Apsu) and attached heavy stones to his feet. They dragged him down, to the Apsu they pulled him. He took the plant, though it pricked his hand, and cut the heavy stones from his feet, letting the waves(?) throw him onto its shores. Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi, the ferryman, saying:
“Urshanabi, this plant is a plant against decay(!) by which a man can attain his survival(!). I will bring it to Uruk-Haven, and have an old man eat the plant to test it. The plant’s name is ‘The Old Man Becomes a Young Man.’” Then I will eat it and return to the condition of my youth.” At twenty leagues they broke for some food, at thirty leagues they stopped for the night. Seeing a spring and how cool its waters were, Gilgamesh went down and was bathing in the water. A snake smelled the fragrance of the plant, silently came up and carried off the plant. While going back it sloughed off its casing.’ At that point Gilgamesh sat down, weeping, his tears streaming over the side of his nose. “Counsel me, O ferryman Urshanabi! For whom have my arms labored, Urshanabi! For whom has my heart’s blood roiled! I have not secured any good deed for myself, but done a good deed for the ‘lion of the ground’!” Now the high waters are coursing twenty leagues distant,’ as I was opening the conduit(?) I turned my equipment over into it (!). What can I find (to serve) as a marker(?) for me! I will turn back (from the journey by sea) and leave the boat by the shore!” At twenty leagues they broke for some food, at thirty leagues they stopped for the night. They arrived in Uruk-Haven. Gilgamesh said to Urshanabi, the ferryman: “Go up, Urshanabi, onto the wall of Uruk and walk around. Examine its foundation, inspect its brickwork thoroughly– is not (even the core of) the brick structure of kiln-fired brick, and did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plan! One league city, one league palm gardens, one league lowlands, the open area(?) of the Ishtar Temple, three leagues and the open area(?) of Uruk it encloses.
INANNA PREFERS THE FARMER
“O my sister, the much possessing shepherd,
O maid Inanna, why dost thou not favor?
His oil is good, his date-wine is good,
The shepherd, everything his hand touches is bright,
O Inanna, the much-possessing Dumuzi . . .,
Full of jewels and precious stones, why dost thou not favor?
His good oil he will eat with thee,
The protector of the king, why dost thou not favor?”
“The much-possessing shepherd I shall not marry,
In his new . . . I shall not walk,
In his new . . . I shall utter no praise,
I, the maid, the farmer I shall marry,
The farmer who makes plants grow abundantly,
The farmer who makes the grain grow abundantly.”
A break of about twelve lines follows, in which Inanna continues to give the reasons for her preference. Then the shepherd-god Dumuzi steps up to Inanna, protesting her choice–a passage that is particularly remarkable for its intricately effective phrase-pattern:
“The farmer more than I, the farmer more than I, The farmer what has he more than I?
If he gives me his black garment, I give him, the farmer, my black ewe,
If be gives me his white garment, I give him, the farmer, my white ewe,
If he pours me his first date-wine, I pour him, the farmer, my yellow milk,
If he pours me his good date-wine, I pour him, the farmer, my kisim-milk
If he pours me his ‘heart-turning’ date-wine, I pour him, the farmer, my bubbling milk,
If he pours me his water-mixed date-wine, I pour him, the farmer, my plant-milk,
If he gives me his good portions, I give him, the farmer, my nitirda-milk,
If he gives me his good bread, I give him, the farmer, my honey-cheese,
If he gives me his small beans, I give him my small cheeses;
More than he can eat, more than he can drink,
I pour out for him much oil, I pour out for him much milk;
More than I, the farmer, what has be more than I?”Follow four lines whose meaning is not clear; then begins Enkimdu’s effort at appeasement:
“Thou, O shepherd, why dost thou start a quarrel?
O shepherd, Dumuzi, why dost thou start a quarrel?
Me with thee, O shepherd, me with thee why dost thou compare?
Let thy sheep eat the grass of the earth,
In my meadowland let thy sheep pasture,
In the fields of Zabalam let them eat grain,
Let all thy folds drink the water of my river Unun.”
“I, the shepherd, at my marriage do not enter, O farmer, as my friend,
O farmer, Enkimdu, as my friend, O farmer, as my friend, do not enter.”
“Wheat I shall bring thee, beans I shall bring thee,
Beans of . . . I shall bring thee,
The maid Inanna (and) whatever is pleasing to thee,
The maid Inanna . . . I shall bring thee.”
Footnotes & References
1. [One should note that the idea of 3 days in death before a resurrection is not unique to the New Testament. 1]↩