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Sumerian Mythology

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Author Topic: Sumerian Mythology  (Read 3166 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #75 on: January 15, 2009, 03:18:27 pm »

20. BBI 1.

21. For a discussion and bibliography, cf. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, pp. 11 ff.

22. For a fuller comparative analysis of the Babylonian borrowings from Sumerian literature, cf. my review of A. Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis (Chicago, 1942), in the JAOS 63.69-73.

23. The Chicago Syllabary and the Louvre Syllabary AO 7661 (AS No. 7, 1940).

24. For a transliteration and translation of the text, together with a scientific analysis of its significance for Sumerian grammar, cf. PBS VI 1, pp. 29-53.

25. I. e. GSG. Cf. also the comment in SL. 320. As for the Sumerische Lesestücke which Poebel had prepared to accompany the grammar (cf. AOR 8.27, note 2; the hopes there expressed have not materialized), unfortunately these still remain unpublished.

26. A full discussion of the lexical problems will be found in my study, "The present status of Sumerian lexicology and lexicography," which, it is hoped, will be published in the near future.

27. These are SEM and STVC.

28. Cf. SL 320-323, and add "Inanna Prefers the Farmer" (see p. 100).

29. Edited by James Hastings. 13 vols.; Edinburgh, 1908-1927. Cf. the article, "Cosmogony and Cosmology," in volume 4, pp. 125-179.

30. Edited by L. H. Gray, J. A. MacCulloch, and G. F. Moore; Boston, 1916-1932. In volume IX, Semitic Mythology (1931), Stephen Langdon does make an attempt to sketch some of the Sumerian mythological concepts. However, because of the limited material available at

p. 113

the time and because of the ubiquitous linguistic difficulties, much of the material there outlined is quite untrustworthy and misleading.

31. To date, however, it must be frankly admitted, relatively little of this glyptic material can be interpreted with any approach to certainty. Frequently we can neither identify the gods depicted on the designs, nor interpret even roughly the acts pictured and their implications. It is quite unlikely that, with the limited space and means at their disposal, the seal-cutters attempted to portray a connected story such as that told in "Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Nether World" or in "Inanna's Descent to the Nether World." And if, in order to overcome their limitations, they developed a system of abbreviation and conventionalization, we are not yet in a position to penetrate it. And so, in spite of the fact that so much intelligible Sumerian mythological material has now become available, very few of the cylinder seal designs can be identified with the stories told in our epics and myths. Nevertheless, as plates VI, IX, XI, XIII, and XVIII show, some of this glyptic material is most revealing and instructive. Except for the first two designs on plate XVIII, all the illustrations are taken from Cylinder Seals, a book recently published by Henri Frankfort, of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, who is the leading living authority on the subject.

32. In detail these published texts are as follows: BE XXXI 35, 55 (cf. JAOS 60.246, 254; also AS No. 11, p. 89, note 128); HAV 11, 12; SEM 21, 22; SRT 39; U 9364 (= RA 30.127 ff.).

33. GSG p. 4.

34. AS No. 10.

35. These are CBS 10400, 15150, 29.13.438, 29.13.536, 29.15.993, 29.16.58, 29.16.463; Ni 4249.

36. SEM 21.

37. The Sumerian transliteration of these lines reads:


1. an ki-ta ba-ra-bad-du-a-ba
2. ki an-ta ba-da-sur-ra-a-ba
3. mu-nam-lú-lu6 ba-gar-ra-a-ba
4. u4 an-ni an ba-an-ir10-a-ba
5. den-líl-li ki ba-an-ir10-a-ba
6. dereš-ki-gal-la kur-ra sag-rig7-bi-šè im-ma-ab-rig7-a-ba

38. The text is copied by Langdon in PBS X 4, 16.

39. The Sumerian transliteration of these lines reads:


1. en-e níg-du7-e pa na-an-ga-àm-mi-in-è
2. en-nam-tar-ra-na-šu-nu-bal-e-dè
3. den-líl-numun-kalam-ma-ki-ta-e11-dè
4. an ki-ta bad-du-dè sag na-an-ga-àm-ma-an-sì
5. ki an-ta bad-du-dè sag na-an-ga-àm-ma-an-sì

p. 114

40. The latter half of this Sumerian poem, translated almost verbatim into Accadian, is known as the twelfth tablet of the Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh"; our Sumerian poem clarifies this Accadian tablet, whose meaning has remained obscure for more than half a century. A full discussion of the problems involved will be found in the critical review of F. M. Th. Böhl, Het Gilgamesj-Epos (Amsterdam, 1941), which I am preparing for the JAOS.

41. TRS 10.36-37. Although treated in this list as the wife of An, her epithet ama-tu-an-ki, "the mother who gave birth to heaven and earth," reveals her original character. Cf. also SEM 116 i 16 (= TRS 71 i 16), where the goddess Nammu is described as ama-palil-ù-tu-dingir-šár-šár-ra-ke4-ne, "the mother, the ancestress, who gave birth to all the gods."

42. For a comparative analysis of the Sumerian concepts of the creation of the universe and those revealed in the Semitic creation epic Enuma elish, cf. my comments in JAOS 63.69-73.

43. Cf. the Sin hymn restored from SRT 9 and TRS 21 (JAOS 60.412).

44. Cf. HAV 4.8-10. It is not improbable that HAV 4 is part of the epic tale "Lugalbanda and Mt. Hurrum" (cf. SL 321, No. 3); the other tablets and fragments belonging to this poem are CBS 7085, 29.16.228; OECT I pl. 19 (Stevenson tablet); SEM 20; TRS 90.

45. Cf. SEM 21.44-46 and its duplicate SRT 39.7-9; also AS No. 10, p. 5, 11.45-47, where line 47 is to be restored to read: dutu gán(?)-nun-ta e11-da-a-ni.

46. Cf. the tablet Kish 1932, 155 (JRAS 62.914-921) ii 2, which can be restored from its duplicates CBS 29.15.364 and 29.16.84 to read: dutu úr-ama-ni-dnin-gal-la sag-íl-la mu-un-du. All these texts are part of the epic tale "Gilgamesh and Huwawa" (cf. SL 321), a scientific edition of which I am now preparing.

47. BBI 4; note also the Pinches bilingual identified by Barton (BBI p. 34).

48. These are CBS 8176, 8315, 10309, 10322, 10412, 13853, 29.13.574, 29.15.611; Ni 2707. The following groups form "joins": CBS 8176 + 8315 + 13853; 10309 + 10412.

49. For the tablets and fragments utilized to reconstruct the text, cf. the two preceding notes.

50. The poem consists of approximately 313 lines of text reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: BL 1; CBS 2244, 2284, 9804, 14026, 29.13.7, 29.13.189, 29.13.223, 29.15.35, 29.15.67, 291.15.74, 29.15.420, 29.15.650; Ni 3047, 4002; SRT 24; STVC 92. The following groups form "joins": 2244 + 29.15.420; 9804 + 29.15.35 + 29.15.74; 29.13.7 + 29.15.650.

51. The poem consists of approximately 308 lines of text reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: BBI 7; CBS 3167, 10431, 13857, 29.13.464, 29.16.142, 29.16.232, 29. 16.417, 29.16.427, 29.16.446, 29.16.448;

p. 115

[paragraph continues] Ni 2705, 3167, 4004; SEM 46; SRT 41; STVC 125. The following groups form "joins": BBI 7 + 29.16.142; 13857 + 29.16.427 +29.16.446 + 29.16.448.

52. Cf. JAOS 54.418 and JAOS 60.239, note 15. To the 11 tablets and fragments there listed, the following 9 are to be added: CBS 8531, 10310, 10335, 29.16.23, 29.16.436 (the number of unpublished pieces in the University Museum is therefore 5, not "at least 6" as stated in JAOS 60.239, note 15); Ni 1117, 2337, 2473, 2742 (2 fragments were identified by me after the publication of JAOS 60.239, note 15).

53. The poem consists of close to 200 lines of text reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: BBI 8; BE XXXI 15; CBS 7344, 7916, 15161, 29.15.973; HAV 6; Ni 2308, 4036, 4094; SEM 38, 54, 55, 56, 57; SRT 25, 44. The following groups form "joins": CBS 7344 + 7916 + SEM 5 + SEM 77; CBS 29.15.973 + SEM 38. All in all, therefore, we now have 17 pieces belonging to the myth, and the statement in SL 322 no. 5 is to be modified accordingly (the number 9 there given resulted from the fact that the four fragments constituting the first "join" mentioned above were counted as one while the 5 pieces Ni 2308, 4036, 4044, SEM 38, and SRT 41 were not identified until after the publication of SL). The first 70 lines of the poem were transliterated and translated by Chiera in SRT pp. 26 ff.

54. PBS X 1, 1; cf. also Langdon, Semitic Mythology, chapter V.

55. TRS 62; cf. JAOS 54.417; obv. 1 and rev. 1 of this text correspond respectively to PBS X 1, 1 iii 21 and iv 43 (the two texts have a considerable number of variants).

56. The Sumerian transliteration of these lines reads:


1. dnin-ḫur-sag-gá-ke4 a-šà-ga ba-ni-in-ri
2. a-ša-ga šu ba-ni-in-ti a-d en-ki-ga-ka
3. u4-1-àm itu-1-a-ni
4. u4-2-àm itu-2-a-ni
5. u4-3-àm itu-3-a-ni
6. u4-4-àm itu-4-a-ni
7. u4-5-àm
8. u4-6-àm
9. u4-7-àm
10. u4-8-àm
11. u4-9-àm itu-9-a-ni nam-munus-a-ka
12. ià-?-gim ià-?-gim ià-dùg-nun-na-gim
13. dnin-tu ama-kalam-ka ìa-?-gim
14. dnin-sar in-tu-ud

57. For the tablets and fragments utilized in the reconstruction of its text, cf. the two preceding notes.

58. We may have here a prototype of the "forbidden fruit" motif of Genesis III.

p. 116

59. The extant text of the poem is reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: CBS 29.15.38; Ni 4006; PBS X 2, 1; SRT 44; STVC 78-80 (these three fragments form a "join"); TRS 36; cf. JAOS 54.413 and SEM p. 5, which are to be modified accordingly.

60. The poem consists of 128 lines of text reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: BE XXXI 20; CBS 2167, 2216, 4916, 10314, 10350, 29.13.207, 29.15.337, 29.16.184, 29.16.251; HRETA 23; Ni 4031; OECT I pls. 1-4; PBS I 2, 105; PBS X 2, 20; SEM 81-85; TRS 54, 94. Cf. also JAOS 54.416; JAOS 60.242, note 26, where the number 6 should read 9; SL 322 no. 8, where the number 21 should read 22.

61. PBS V 25.

62. PBS II, 1.

63. Ni 4151.

64. Ni 2724.

65. The Sumerian transliteration of these lines reads:


1. mu-á-mà mu-á-mà
2. kug-dinanna-ra dumu-mu-úr ga-na-ab-sì . . .
3. nam-en nam-si nam-dingir aga-zi-maḫ gišgu-za-nam-lugal
4. kug-dinanna-ke4 šu ba-ti
5. mu-á-mà mu-á-mà
6. kug-dinanna-ra dumu-mu-úr ga-na-ab-sì . . .
7. pa-maḫ ebur-šubur bara-maḫ nam-sibad nam-lugal
8. kug-dinanna-ke4 šu ba-ti

66. The Sumerian transliteration of these lines reads:


1. mu-á-mà mu-á-mà
2. kug-dinanna-ra dumu-mu-úr ga-na-ab sì . . .
3. nam-nagar nam-tibira nam-dub-sar nam-sumug nam-ašgab nam-lú-? nam-dím nam-ad-ke4
4. kug-dinanna-ke4 šu ba-ti

67. In detail the reconstruction of the lines of the text is as follows (the line numbering is approximate): 1-3, broken; 4-30 = PBS I 1, I (= A) i; 31-50, broken; 51-65 = Ni 2724; 63-89 = A ii; 90-99, broken; 100-144, restored from repeated passages; 145-159 = A iii; 160-171, restored from repeated passages; 172-181, broken; 182-234, restored from repeated passages; 227-270 = A iv; 271-285, restored from repeated passages; 286-305, broken; 306-349 = A v; 350-367, restored from repeated passages; 368-391, broken; 392-402 = A vi; 403-413, broken; 413-421 = Ni 4151 obv.; 413-824 = PBS V 25.

68. PBS X 4, 14.

69. SEM 116.

70. CBS 2168.

p. 117

71. The Sumerian transliteration of these lines reads:


1. ama-ni(!) mud-mu-gar-ra-zu ì-gál-la-àm ?-dingir-ri-e-ne kéš-da-ì
2. ša-im-ugu-abzu-ka ù-mu-e-ni-šár
3. sig7-en-sig7-dùg im mu-e-gur4-gur4-ri-ne za-e me-GIM ù-meni-gál
4. dnin-maḫ-e an-ta-zu ḫé-ag-e
5. dnin-? dšu-zi-an-na dnin-ma-da dnin-bara dnin-bara
6. dnin-zadim dsar-sar-GABA dnin-nigín-na
7. tu-tu-a-zu ḫa-ra-ab-gub-bu-ne
8. ama-mu za-e nam-bi ù-mu-e-tar dnin-maḫ-e ?-bi ḫé-kéš
9. . . . dù-dù nam-lú . . . -ke4 nam-lú-lu6-àm . . .

72. The Louvre tablet is published in TRS 71; for the University Museum tablet, cf. notes  68-70.

73. In detail the reconstruction of the lines of the text is as follows: 1-35 = A (= SEM 116 + PBS X 4, 14 + CBS 2168) i; 6-21 = B (= TRS 71) i; 35-63 = B ii; 58-136 = A ii, iii, iv; 84-104 = B iii; 115-132 = B iv. Cf. SL 322 no. 6 and JAOS 54.418, which are to be modified accordingly.

74. For a more detailed comparison of the Semitic poem and its Sumerian forerunners, cf. my comment in JAOS 63.69-73.

75. Cf. ATU 14.

76. The text of this epic, known to Babylonians by the name lugal (or lugal-e)-u4-me-lám-bi-nir-gál, is reconstructed from the following tablets and fragments: AO 4135 (= RA 11.82); BE XXIX 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13; BE XXXI 8, 32; CBS 1205, 2161, 2166, 2347, 7842, 7994, 8243, 13876, 15086, 29.13.583, 29.13.699, 29.16.223, 29.16.422, 29.16.439, 29.16.453; K 133 (= ASKT pp. 79 ff.; for duplicate, cf. ATU 14, p. 264); K 1299 (= ATU I 4, p. 361); K 2862 + (= 4R pl. 13 + additions); K 2863 (= 4R pl. 23, no. 2); K 2871 (= MVAG VIII pl. 13; cf. pp. 676 ff.); KAR 13, 14, 17, 25, 363; Ni 1183, 2339, 2743, 2764; SBH 71; SEM 25, 32, 36, 38; SRT 18, 20, 21; VAT 251 (KGV pl. 60). In addition to these 49 pieces, 30 published and 19 unpublished, which can now be placed in their proper position in the epic, we have the following pieces which probably belong to the poem but are still unplaceable: CBS 8476, 10321, 13103, 15088, 15120; BE XXIX 12; K 4827 (= MVAG VIII pl. 1); cf. also my comment to BE XXXI 9 in JAOS 60.239. The following groups form "joins": 29.16.242 + 29.16.439; 1205 + BE XXIX 8; 7842 + SEM 38. Particularly significant and gratifying is the placing of BE XXIX 2, and 3, which describe the misfortune that befell "the land" after Ninurta had succeeded in destroying Kur; they begin with approximately line 261 of the epic. For the confusion involved the listing of the gišal texts as part of this epic (SEM p. 3), cf. my comment in JAOS 60.239, note 15.

p. 118

77. Cf. SL 321, no. 9, and BASOR 88.7. For the corrected reading Ebih, cf. RA 31-84 ff.

78. These are PBS X 4, 9; PBS XII 47; SEM 90, 103, 106, 107, 109; STVC 42.

79. These are CBS 4256, 29.16.32; Ni 2711, 3052, 4042.

80. SL 294-314.

81. PBS V 22-24.

82. BE XXXI 33-34.

83. RA 34.93-134.

84. SEM 50, 49, 48.

85. Cf. RA 36.78 for nos. 10 and 11; no. 12 will appear in SLTN.

86. For no. 13 cf. BASOR 79.22-23; for no. 14 cf. SL pl. 10.

87. Following is the transliteration and translation of the marked passage on no. 8 of plate XX, which contains the very beginning of the poem:


1. an-gal-ta ki-gal-šè geštug-ga-ni na-an-gub
2. AN an-gal-ta ki-gal-šè geštug-ga-ni na-an-gub
3. dinanna an-gal-ta ki-gal-šè geštug-ga-ni na-an-gub
4. nin-mu an mu-un-šub ki mu-un-šub kur-ra ba-e-a-e11
5. dinanna an mu-un-šub ki mu-un-šub kur-ra ba-e-a-e11
6. nam-en mu-un-šub nam-nin mu-un-šub kur-ra ba-e-a-e11


From the "great above" she set her mind toward the "great below,"
The goddess, from the "great above" she set her mind toward, the "great below,"
Inanna, from the "great above" she set her mind toward the "great below."

My lady abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, to the nether world she descended,
Inanna abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, to the nether world she descended,
Abandoned lordship, abandoned ladyship, to the nether world she descended.


Following is a transliteration and translation of the marked passage on no. 13 which describes the death of the goddess:


1. kug-dereš-ki-gal-la-ke4 gišgu-za-na i-ni-in-tuš
2. da-nun-na di-kud-imin-bi igi-ni-šè di mu-un-ši-in-kud
3. i-bí mu-ši-in-bar i-bí-úš-a-kam
4. inim-ma-ne-ne inim-LIPIŠ-gig-ga-àm
5. [munus]-tu-ra uzu-níg-sìg-šè ba-an-tu
6. uzu-níg-sìg-ga giškak-ta hi ba-da-an-lá
7. u4-3 gi6-3 um-ta-zal-la-ta


The pure Ereshkigal seated herself upon her throne, p. 119
The Anunnaki, the seven judges, pronounced judgment before her,
They fastened their eyes upon her, the eyes of death.
At their word, the word which tortures the spirit,
The sick ["woman"] was turned into a corpse,
The corpse was hung from a stake.
After three days and three nights had passed,

The poem then continues with the efforts of Inanna's messenger, Ninshubur, to have the gods bring her back to life. Enki intervenes and Inanna is resurrected. The last three lines of this resurrection passage read:


1. 60 ú-nam-ti-la 60 a-nam-ti-la ugu-na bí-in-šub-bu-uš
2. dinanna ba-gub
3. dinanna kur-ta ba-e11-dè


Sixty times, the food of life, sixty times, the water of life, they sprinkled upon it (Inanna's dead body),
Inanna arose.
Inanna ascends from the nether world.

88. PBS V 1; for Poebel's transliteration, translation, and commentary, cf. PBS IV 1, pp. 9-70.

89. SEM 58; for Chiera's transliteration and translation, cf. SRT pp. 14-23.

90. The text is reconstructed from SEM 92-93 and SRT 3.



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