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Sumerian Mythology

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Author Topic: Sumerian Mythology  (Read 3166 times)
Crissy Herrell
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Posts: 3407

« Reply #75 on: January 15, 2009, 03:17:41 pm »

p. 104


Following is a list of abbreviations used in the notes:

 Musée du Louvre, Paris. Antiquités orientales. (Followed by catalogue number).
 Archiv für Orientforschung (Berlin, 1923--).
 Archiv Orientální (Prague, 1928--).
 Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Assyriological Studies (Chicago, 1931--).
    AS No. 10
 Kramer, Samuel N. Gilgamesh and the huluppu-tree (1938).
    AS No. 11
 Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Sumerian king list (1939).
    AS No. 12
 Kramer, Samuel N. Lamentation over the destruction of Ur (1940).
 Haupt, Paul. Akkadische und sumerische Keilschrifttexte (Leipzig, 1881-1882).
 Altorientalische Texte und Untersuchungen, ed. by Bruno Meissner (Leiden, 1916--).
 Beiträge zur Assyriologie und semitischen Sprachwissenschaft, edited by P. Haupt and F. Delitzsch (Baltimore and Leipzig, 1890-1927).
 Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (Baltimore, 1919--).
 The Babylonian expedition of the University of Pennsylvania. Series A: Cuneiform texts, ed. by H. V. Hilprecht (Philadelphia, 1893-1914).
 Radau, Hugo. Sumerian hymns and prayers to god Nin-ib, from the temple library of Nippur (1911).
 Langdon, Stephen H. Historical and religious texts from the temple library of Nippur (1914).
 Barton, George A. Miscellaneous Babylonian inscriptions (New Haven, 1918--).
 Langdon, Stephen H. Babylonian liturgies (Paris, 1913).
 Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Catalogue of the Babylonian section. (Followed by number.) All CBS numbers listed in the notes are still unpublished.
 British Museum. Cuneiform texts from Babylonian tablets . . . in the British Museum (London, 1896--).
 Poebel, Arno. Grundzüge der sumerischen Grammatik (Rostock, 1923).
 p. 105
 Radau, Hugo. "Miscellaneous texts from the temple library of Nippur," in Hilprecht anniversary volume (Leipzig, 1909):374-457.
 Nies, J. B., and C. E. Keiser. Historical, religious, and economic texts and antiquities (New Haven, 1920).
 Journal of the American Oriental Society (Boston, etc., 1849--).
 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (London, 1834-).
 British Museum. Kouyunjik collection. (Followed by catalogue number.)
 Ebeling, Erich. Keilschrifttexte aus Assur religiösen Inhalts (Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen der Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Bd. 28, Heft 1-4, and Bd. 34, Heft 1--; Leipzig, 1919--).
 Abel, L., and H. Winkler. Keilschrifttexte zum Gebrauch bei Vorlesungen (Berlin, 1890).
 Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatisch-aegyptische Gesellschaft (Berlin, 1896-1908; Leipzig, 1909--).
 Asari atika müzeleri (Museum of the Ancient Orient), Istanbul. Nippur collection. (Followed by catalogue number.) All Ni numbers listed in the notes will be published in SLTN.
 Oxford editions of cuneiform texts (London, 1923--).
    OECT I
 Langdon, Stephen H. Sumerian and Semitic religious and historical texts (London, 1923).
 Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Publications of the Babylonian section (Philadelphia, 1911--).
    PBS I 1
 Myhrman, David W. Babylonian hymns and prayers (1911).
    PBS 1 2
 Lutz, Henry F. Selected Sumerian and Babylonian texts (1919).
    PBS IV I
 Poebel, Arno. Historical texts (1914).
    PBS V
 Poebel, Arno. Historical and grammatical texts (1914).
    PBS VI 1
  Poebel, Arno. Grammatical texts (1914).
    PBS X 1
 Langdon, Stephen H. Sumerian epic of paradise, the flood, and the fall of man (1915).
    PBS X 2
 Langdon, S. H. Sumerian liturgical texts (1917).
    PBS X 4
 Langdon, S. H. Sumerian liturgies and psalms (1919).
 Langdon, S. H. Sumerian grammatical texts (1917).
 Legrain, Leon. Historical fragments (1922).
 Genouillac, Henri de. Premières recherches archéologiques à Kich (2 vols.; Paris, 1924-1925).
 Rawlinson, Sir Henry. The cuneiform inscriptions of Western Asia (5 vols.; London, 1861-1884; vol. 4, 2d ed., 1891).
 p. 106
 Revue d'assyriologie et d’archéologie orientale (Paris, 1884--).
 Thureau-Dangin, François. Die sumerischen und akkadischen Königsinschriften (Leipzig, 1907).
 Reisner, George A. Sumerisch-babylonische Hymnen nach Thontafeln griechischer Zeit (Berlin, 1896).
 Chiera, Edward. Sumerian epics and myths (Oriental Institute publications XV; Chicago, 1934).
 Kramer, Samuel N. "Sumerian literature," in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 85.293-323, 1942.
 Kramer, Samuel N. Sumerian literary texts from Nippur in the Museum of the Ancient Orient (to appear in the near future under the auspices of the American School of Oriental Research at Bagdad and the American Council of Learned Societies).
 Chiera, Edward. Sumerian religious texts (Crozer Theological Seminary. Babylonian publications I; Upland, Pa., 1924).
 Chiera, Edward. Sumerian texts of varied contents (Oriental Institute publications XVI; Chicago, 1934).
 Genouillac, Henri de. Textes religieux sumériens du Louvre, Tomes I-II (Musée du Louvre, Department des antiquités orientales, Textes cunéiformes, Tomes XV-XVI; Paris, 1930).
 Joint Expedition of the British Museum and of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania to Mesopotamia. Ur collection. (Followed by catalogue number.)
 Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler (Leipzig, 1907--).
    VS II
 Zimmern, Heinrich. Sumerische Kultlieder aus altbabylonischer Zeit, 1. Reihe (1912).
    VS X
 Zimmern, Heinrich. Sumerische Kultlieder aus altbabylonischer Zeit, 2. Reihe (1913).
 Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Tontafelsammlung, Vorderasiatische Abteilung. (Followed by catalogue number.)

1. The extant text of this poem, which we may entitle "The Epic of Enmerkar," is reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: CBS 29.13.194, 29.16.422; PBS V 8; PBS XIII 8; SEM 14, 16; SRT 34. The following pieces may also belong to this composition: BE XXXI 44 (cf. Kramer, JAOS 60.250); CBS 2291, 7859; HAV 9. "The Epic of Enmerkar" is to be kept distinct from another epic tale concerned with the same Enmerkar, which we may entitle "Enmerkar and Enmushkeshdanna." The extant text of the latter poem is reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: Ni 2283; PBS V 9, 10; SEM 13, 18, 19. The following pieces also probably belong to it: CBS 29.16.450; HAV 17; SEM 17. In SL 320 I assumed that we had but one epic composition

p. 107

dealing with the exploits of Enmerkar in the course of subjugating Aratta to Erech. It now seems more likely that we actually have two such epic tales. The first, described in SL as the "larger portion," corresponds to the poem designated above as "The Epic of Enmerkar"; the second, described in SL as the "smaller portion," corresponds to the one designated "Enmerkar and Enmushkeshdanna." Note also that the number of pieces identified as belonging to these two poems is 20, not 25, as stated in SL 320.

2. The transliteration and translation of this passage are as follows:

1. u4-ba muš-nu-gál-la-àm gír nu-gál-la-àm[ka nu-gál-la-àm]
2. ur-maḫ nu-gál-la-àm ur-zir(?) ur-bar-ra nu-gál-la-am
3. ní-te-gá su-zi-zi-i nu-gál-la-àm
4. lú-lu6 gaba-šu-gar nu-um-tuku-àm
5. u4-ba kur-šubur ki-ḫé-me-zi
6. eme-ḫa-mun ki-en-gi kur-gal-me-nam-nun-na-kam
7. ki-uri kur-me-te-gál-la
8. kur-mar-tu-ú-sal-la-ná-a
9. an-ki-nigin-na uku-sag-sì-ga
10. den-líl-ra eme-aš-àm, he-en-na-da-[si(?)-el(?)]

In those days there was no snake, there was no scorpion, there was no hyena,
There was no lion, there was no wild dog, no wolf,
There was no fear, no terror,
Man had no rival.

In those days the land Shubur (East), the place of plenty, of righteous decrees,
Harmony-tongued Sumer (South), the great land of the "decrees of princeship,"
Uri (North), the land having all that is needful,
The land Martu (West), resting in security,
The whole universe, the people in unison,
To Enlil in one tongue gave praise.

3. The term Accadian is now generally applied to the Semitic language spoken in the countries commonly known as Assyria and Babylonia; Assyrian and Babylonian, the terms formerly used to designate this language, are the names of the two best-known dialects of the Accadian language.

4. No satisfactory history of Sumer and the Sumerians has as yet been written. However, the interested reader will obtain a relatively adequate orientation in respect to the fundamental pattern of Sumerian history and its basic problems by examining such works as: L. W. King, A History of Sumer and Akkad (London, 1910); The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. I (1923; especially chapters X-XII by Stephen Langdon);

p. 108

[paragraph continues] C. L. Wooley, The Sumerians (Oxford, 1929); E. A. Speiser, Mesopotamian Origins: The Basic Population of the Near East (Philadelphia, 1930); Henri Frankfort, Archaeology and the Sumerian Problem (Oriental Institute Studies in Ancient-Oriental Civilization, No. 4; Chicago, 1932); W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (Baltimore, 1940). The reader will find that the statements formulated in these volumes not infrequently show serious divergences, inconsistencies, and contradictions; he is asked to bear in mind that the pertinent source material is highly complex in character and that its study and interpretation are still in a continuous and progressive state of flux.

5. For a more detailed sketch of the decipherment of the cuneiform system of writing, cf. E. A. Wallis Budge, The Rise and Progress of Assyriology (London, 1925); the reader will also find here an excellent pertinent bibliography. For the decipherment of Sumerian in particular, cf. F. H. Weissbach, Zur Lösung der Sumerischen Frage (Leipzig, 1897). As a matter of historical curiosity it is noteworthy to mention that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, the well-known orientalist, J. Halévy, continued to deny the existence of a Sumerian people and language in Mesopotamia, as late as the first decade of the twentieth century. According to his biased and subjectively motivated views, no people other than the Semites had ever been in possession of Babylonia. As for the so-called Sumerian language, it was merely an artificial invention of the Semites, themselves, devised for hieratic and esoteric purposes.

6. The first forty thousand tablets were discovered by the Arab workers while De Sarzec, the excavator, happened to be away from the mound. They succeeded in getting them all into the hands of dealers, and as a result, there is no important collection in Europe or America which does not have some Lagash tablets. In the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the tablets excavated at Lagash in the course of the years are stacked high in drawer after drawer; it is difficult to estimate their number but it may be close to 100,000.

7. For a detailed description of the Nippur excavations, cf. J. P. Peters, Nippur (2 vols.; New York, 1897); H. V. Hilprecht, The Excavations in Assyria and Babylonia (The Babylonian expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, series D: Researches and Treatises; Philadelphia, 1904); C. S. Fischer, Excavations at Nippur (Berlin, 1907). The tablet material published to date has appeared largely in the two series BE and PBS; cf. Orientalia 27.9-10, 13-14; to be added are BBI, HAV, SEM, SRT, STVC; also Leon Legrain, Babylonian Inscriptions and Fragments from Nippur and Babylon (PBS XV, 1926); Edward Chiera, Sumerian Lexical Texts from the Temple School of Nippur (Oriental Institute Publications XI; Chicago, 1929). For the seals and terra cottas from Nippur, cf. Leon Legrain, The Culture of the Babylonians from Their Seals in the Collections of the Museum (PBS XIV, 1925), and Terra Cottas from Nippur (PBS XVI, 1930).

p. 109

8. For a detailed sketch of the excavations on Sumerian sites, cf. Handbuch der Archäologie im Rahmen des Handbuchs der Altertumwissenschaft I (ed. by Walter Otto; Munich, 1939), pp. 644 ff.; also Seton Lloyd, Mesopotamian Excavations on Sumerian Sites (London, 1936).

9. For a list of the large number of publications containing the Sumerian economic documents, cf. Orientalia 27.31-40, and the annual bibliographies in AOF.

10. The greater part of this material has been gathered, transliterated, and translated by the eminent French Assyriologist in his SAK as early as 1907; this volume is still basic and standard. The most significant addition to this material in recent days is C. J. Gadd and L. Legrain, Royal Inscriptions (Publications of the Joint Expedition of the British Museum and of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, to Mesopotamia. Ur Excavations, Texts I., London, 1928).

11. For a list of the publications, cf. Orientalia 27.31-40 and the annual bibliographies in AOF. The mathematical texts, especially, have now found ample treatment; cf. Thureau-Dangin (in RA 24-35) and Otto Neugebauer, Mathematische Keilschrifttexte (Berlin, 1935-1937).

12. The publications involved are CT XV, CT XXXVI, OECT I, PRAK, TRS, VS II, VS X. Small numbers of literary tablets are naturally to be found in other collections. The Yale Babylonian Collection, especially, as Professors Stephens and Goetze inform me, has accumulated quite a number of Sumerian literary tablets, bought from the hands of dealers. No doubt many of these were dug up in Nippur.

13. For a more detailed sketch of the Sumerian epics and myths, cf. SL 318-323.

14. A more detailed discussion of this material will be found in the introduction to SLTN.

15. AS No 12.

16. For the scientific analysis of the contents of the catalogue tablet, cf. Kramer, "Oldest Literary Catalogue," in BASOR 88.10-19.

17. Following are the major studies concerned with the origin and development of the cuneiform system of writing: F. Thureau-Dangin, Recherches sur l’origine de l’ecriture cunéiforme (Paris, 1898); G. A. Barton, The Origin and Development of Babylonian Writing (BA IX); A. Deimel, Liste der archäischen Keilschriftzeichen (Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen der Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Bd. 40; Leipzig, 1922); E. Unger, Die Keilschrift (Leipzig, 1929); A. Falkenstein, Archäische Texte aus Uruk (Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Forschungsgerneinschaft in Uruk-Warka, Bd. 2; Leipzig, 1936).

18. If, proceeding from top to bottom, we examine the first column of the table (fig. 1), we note the following:

No. 1 is the picture of a star; it represents primarily the Sumerian word an, "heaven." The very same sign, however, is used to represent the word dingir, "god."

p. 110

No. 2 represents the word ki, "earth." Obviously it is intended to be a picture of the earth, although the interpretation of the sign is still uncertain.

No. 3 is probably a more or less stylized picture of the upper part of a man's body; it represents the word lu, "man."

No. 4 is a picture of the pudenda; it represents the word sal, "pudenda." The same sign is used to represent the word munus, "woman."

No. 5 is the picture of a mountain; it represents the word kur, whose primary meaning is "mountain."

No. 6 illustrates an ingenious device developed early by the inventors of the Sumerian system of writing, whereby they were enabled to represent pictorially words for which the ordinary pictographic representation entailed a certain amount of difficulty. As the reader will note, the sign for the word geme, "slave-girl," is actually a combination of two signs, that for munus, "woman," and that for kur, "mountain"; that is, of signs 4 and 5 on our table. Literally, therefore, this compound sign expresses the idea "mountain-woman." But since the Sumerians obtained their slave-girls largely from the mountainous regions about them, this compound sign adequately represented the Sumerian word for "slave-girl," geme.

No. 7 is the picture of a head; it represents the Sumerian word sag, "head."

No. 8 is also the picture of a head; the vertical strokes, however, underline the particular part of the head which is intended, that is, the mouth. This sign, therefore, represents the Sumerian word ka, "mouth." The same sign naturally enough represents the word dug, "to speak."

No. 9 is probably the picture of a bowl used primarily as a food-container; it represents the word ninda, "food."

No. 10 is actually a compound sign consisting of the signs for mouth and food (nos. 8 and 9 on our table); it represents the word ku, "to eat."

No. 11 is a picture of a water stream; it represents the word a, "water." This sign furnishes an excellent illustration of the process by which the Sumerian script gradually lost its unwieldy pictographic character and became a phonetic system of writing. As just said, the sign no. 11 was used primarily to represent the Sumerian word a, "water." However, the Sumerians had another word a which was identical in pronunciation with the word a, "water," but which had the entirely different meaning "in." Now this word "in" is a word denoting relationship and stands for a concept which is very difficult to express pictographically. To the originators of the Sumerian script then came the ingenious idea that instead of trying to invent a necessarily highly complicated picture-sign to represent the word "in," they could use the sign for a, "water," since both words sounded exactly alike. In other words, the early Sumerian scribes came to realize that a sign originally belonging to a given word could be used for another word with an altogether unrelated

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meaning, if the sound of the two words were identical. With the gradual spreading of this practice, the Sumerian script lost its pictographic character and tended more and more to become a purely phonetic script.

No. 12 is a combination of the signs for "mouth" and "water" (nos. 8 and 11); it represents the word nag, "to drink."

No. 13 is a picture of the lower part of the leg and foot in walking position; it represents the word du, "to go," and also the word gub, "to stand."

No. 14 is a picture of a bird; it represents the word mushen, "bird."

No. 15 is a picture of a fish; it represents the word ha, "fish." This sign furnishes another example of the phonetic development of the Sumerian script. For the Sumerian word ha not only had the meaning "fish" but also "may"; that is, the Sumerians had two words ha which were identical in pronunciation but quite unrelated in meaning. And so, early in the development of the script the Sumerian scribes began to use the sign for ha, "fish," to represent the phonetically identical ha, "may," just as in the case of sign no. 11 they used the sign for a, "water," to represent the word a, "in."

No. 16 is a picture of the head and horns of an ox; it represents the word gud, "ox."

No. 17 is a picture of the head of a cow; it represents the word ab, "cow."

No. 18 is the picture of an ear of barley; it represents the word še, "barley."

The signs in the first column which we have examined in detail are from the earliest period in the development of Sumerian writing known to date. Not long after the invention of the pictographic script, however, the Sumerian scribes found it convenient to turn the tablet in such a way that the pictographs lay on their backs. As the writing developed, this practice became standard and the signs were regularly turned 90 degrees. The second column in our tablet gives the pictographic signs in this turned position. To judge from our present data and speaking very roughly, this pictographic script may be dated 3200-2800 B. C. The third column of our table represents what may be termed the "archaic" script, dated roughly 2800-2600 B. C. The fourth column contains the sign-forms of the classical period, 2600-2450 B. C.; the inscriptions of this period contain the purest Sumerian known to date. The Nippur archaic cylinder (plate III), inscribed with the oldest myth known, probably belongs to the very end of this period.

The fifth column contains the sign-forms of the Sargonid period, roughly 2450-2150 B. C.; it is in this period that the Sumerians met with serious defeats at the hands of the Semites and the Guti. A brief renaissance of Sumerian power followed in the Neo-Sumerian period, roughly 2150-2050 B. C. The sixth column represents the Sumerian

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script of this period. With the destruction of the city of Ur, about 2050 B. C., Sumer practically ceased to exist as a political entity. The period that followed, roughly 2050-1700 B. C., is known as the "early post-Sumerian." During this period Sumerian, though no longer a living language, was retained as the literary and religious language of the Semitic conquerors. It is in this period that by far the greater part of our source material was inscribed, though much of it may have been composed considerably earlier; the seventh column contains the sign-forms then used. The last column illustrates the script as used largely in the first millennium B. C. by the royal scribes of Assyria. It is primarily this late, highly conventionalized script which the European scholars of the nineteenth century first studied and deciphered. And illogically enough, to this very day, this is the script with which students of cuneiform begin their studies.

19. For an excellent copy of the text, cf. F. Thureau-Dangin, Les cylindres de Gudea, découverts par Ernest de Sarzec à Tello (Musée du Louvre, Departement des antiquités orientales, Textes cunéiformes, tome VIII; Paris, 1925); for the transliteration and translation, cf. SAK 88-141.

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