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Dumuzi-Inanna Songs (1.169)

(302 words)

Author(s): Sefati, Yitschak
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Love Poems Commentary The three poems translated below belong to the Sumerian love poetry composed during the Third Dynasty of Ur and early Old Babylonian periods (ca. 2100–1800 BCE). This poetry which is mainly cultic deals with the love affair and marriage of the divine couple, the gods of love and fertility, Dumuzi (the Sumerian name for Tammuz) and Inanna (the Sumerian name for Ishtar). This symbolic mar…

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta (1.170)

(1,525 words)

Author(s): Jacobsen, Thorkild
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; R…

Love by the Light of the Moon (1.169C)

(1,151 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; …

The Song of the Hoe (1.157)

(1,956 words)

Author(s): Farber, Gertrud
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary The ancient scribe seemingly had a humorous purpose in mind when composing this text. It should probably be categorized as a satirical school text composed for use in the Edubba (= school) and for other learned people.1 The composition has no coherent topic or theme. The thread winding through the whole text is the syllable /al/ which is a Sumerian logogram meaning hoe but which also occurs as part of other words or as a grammatical element. Thus the text contains sections in which the hoe is the main topic: a mythological section on creation, a hymnical praise of the hoe, or the description of the hoe’s use in agriculture or when building temples. These sections are only loosely connected as if they had been examples of scholastic exercises. In addition to that, however, /al/ has been abstracted as a syllable and is used throughout the composition in quite imaginative alliterations and puns, some of which still resist all our attempts of understanding. Such poetic devices unfortunately get completely lost when translated literally. The following translation will try therefore to mark them by adding short explanations in parentheses or in the notes, and by marking all words which …

From “Evil Spirits” (1.168)

(328 words)

Author(s): Hallo, W. W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositi…

The Sacred Marriage of Iddin-Dagan and Inanna (1.173)

(3,119 words)

Author(s): Jacobsen, Thorkild
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Commentary This hymn was apparently written under Iddin–Dagan, the third king of the dynasty of Isin, for he is mentioned by name in it. It may even be that it was meant for use at the yearly rite of the sacred marriage in which the king took on the identity of the god Ama–ushumgal–anna and as such married Inanna, who was almost certainly incarnated in the reigning queen, as shown by the epithet Nin–egala (k), “queen of the palace,” by which she is called in connection with this rite. The hymn opens w…

“Man and His God” (1.179)

(1,742 words)

Author(s): Klein, Jacob
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Pious Sufferer Compositions Commentary This Sumerian poem, of about 140 lines, tells a didactic story of a righteous sufferer who remains faithful to his personal god and ultimately is rehabilitated and restored to his former happy status. The poem opens with a brief didactic exhortation, that a man should faithfully praise his god, soothing his heart with lamentations, for “a man without a god would not have anything to eat” (lines 1–10). The rest of the poem is a (fictitious) illustration of this general truth. First the poet intro…

To Nanshe (1.162)

(4,058 words)

Author(s): Heimpel, Wolfgang
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; …

Proverbs Quoted In Other Genres (1.175)

(638 words)

Author(s): Alster, Bendt
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Proverbs Commentary Th…

Enki and Ninmaḫ (1.159)

(2,537 words)

Author(s): Klein, Jacob
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; …

School Dialogues (1.SU.C.6)

(287 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus 6. School Dialogues This section has been included for a very special reason. The…

The Eridu Genesis (1.158)

(1,377 words)

Author(s): Jacobsen, Thorkild
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths …

The Blessing of Nisaba By Enki (1.163)

(1,153 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; …

The Dialogue Between A Supervisor and A Scribe (1.185)

(1,143 words)

Author(s): Vanstiphout, H. L. J.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; School Dialogues Commentary This piece is not unlike the preceding one in that it consists of an altercation between a senior and a junior member of the Eduba. Still, the relationship is subtly different: the senior one is not just a more mature student, but a regular supervisor (an UGULA). He submits the pupil, who is obviously aspiring to higher things at this moment, to a kind of examination which deals not only with the capabilities ensuing from the pupil’s schooling, but also with his moral stance within the Eduba sys…

Shuruppak (1.176)

(1,024 words)

Author(s): Alster, Bendt
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Instructions Commentary In addition to the standard version of this composition, dating around 1900–1800 BCE, an Early Dynastic version dating as early as 2600–2500 BCE, and two partly preserved Akkadian translations, one dating around 1500 BCE, and one dating around 1100 BCE, are known. The excerpts translated here are from the standard version, attested in approximately 80 fragments from Nippur and Ur…

Inanna and Enki (1.161)

(2,974 words)

Author(s): Farber, Gertrud
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; …

The Exaltation of Inanna (1.160)

(2,340 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary This is one of three hymns to the goddess Inanna attributed to Enheduanna in its own text. All three are listed together at the beginning of a literary catalogue, with this composition last (Cohen 1976:131f.). The cycle is a counterpart to The Collection of the Temple Hymns, another cycle attributed to the same author (Sjöberg and Bergmann 1969). If the latter reflects on Sargon, the autho…

Gilgamesh and Akka (1.171)

(1,608 words)

Author(s): Katz, Dina
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Epic Commentary The short narrative describes a conflict between two Mesopotamian cities Kish and Uruk. Akka, the ruler of Kish, demanded of the Urukeans to dig wells. Gilgamesh, Akka’s dependent lord of Uruk, determined to rebel, ignored the advice of Uruk’s assembly of elders and, with the support of his army, freed Uruk from the dominance of Kish and established himself as the independent ruler of Uruk. T…
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