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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|THE EPIC OF ISHTAR AND IZDUBAR:||1|
|TABLETS AND CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS:||1|
|ISHTAR AND IZDUBAR||1|
|TABLET II—COLUMN I||17|
|TABLET III—COLUMN I||27|
|TABLET IV—COLUMN I||34|
|TABLET VI—COLUMN I||58|
|TABLET VII—COLUMN I||68|
|TABLET VIII—COLUMN I||83|
|TRANSLATION OF THE EXORCISMS||97|
|ACCADIAN HYMN TO ISTAR||99|
|ACCADIAN HYMN TO ISTAR||99|
|ANNALS OF ASSUR-NASIR-PAL (SOMETIMES CALLED SARDANAPALUS)||101|
|ANNALS OF ASSUR-NASIR-PAL||101|
|ASSYRIAN SACRED POETRY||127|
|ASSYRIAN SACRED POETRY||128|
|ELSEWHERE WE FIND||129|
|AN ADDRESS TO SOME DEITY||129|
|ODE TO FIRE||129|
|ASSYRIAN TALISMANS AND EXORCISMS TRANSLATED BY H.F. TALBOT, F.R.S.||129|
|INHERITED OR IMPUTED SINS||130|
|HOLINESS OF THE NUMBER SEVEN||131|
|ANCIENT BABYLONIAN CHARMS||132|
|ANCIENT BABYLONIAN CHARMS||132|
|INSCRIPTION OF TIGLATH PILESER I, KING OF ASSYRIA||136|
|INSCRIPTION OF TIGLATH PILESER I||136|
|THE REVOLT IN HEAVEN||149|
|THE REVOLT IN HEAVEN||151|
|THE LEGEND OF THE TOWER OF BABEL||151|
|LEGEND OF THE TOWER OF BABEL||152|
|AN ACCADIAN PENITENTIAL PSALM||152|
|AN ACCADIAN PENITENTIAL PSALM||153|
|REVERSE OF TABLET||154|
|THE BLACK OBELISK INSCRIPTION OF SHALMANESER II||155|
|BLACK OBELISK OF SHALMANESER||155|
|THE EPIGRAPHS ACCOMPANYING THE SCULPTURES||163|
|INSCRIPTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR||164|
|INSCRIPTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR||164|
|ACCADIAN POEM ON THE SEVEN EVIL SPIRITS||172|
|ACCADIAN POEM ON THE SEVEN EVIL SPIRITS||173|
|CHARM FOR AVERTING THE SEVEN EVIL SPIRITS||175|
|CHALDEAN HYMNS TO THE SUN||176|
|CHALDEAN HYMNS TO THE SUN||177|
|TWO ACCADIAN HYMNS||179|
|TWO ACCADIAN HYMNS||180|
|ACCADIAN PROVERBS AND SONGS||181|
|BABYLONIAN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS CONCERNING PRIVATE PERSONS||182|
|BABYLONIAN PRIVATE CONTRACTS||183|
|THE PARIS MICHAUX STONE||183|
|CONTRACT OF HANKAS||189|
|TRANSLATION OF AN UNEDITED FRAGMENT||192|
|GREAT INSCRIPTION IN THE PALACE OF KHORSABAD||192|
|GREAT INSCRIPTION OF THE PALACE OF KHORSABAD||192|
The Fall of Erech.
The Rescue of Erech.
Coronation of Izdubar.
Ishtar and Her Maids.
Izdubar Falls in Love with Ishtar.
Ishtar’s Midnight Courtship.
The King’s Second Dream.
Izdubar Relates His Second Dream.
Heabani, the Hermit Seer.
Expedition of Zaidu.
Heabani Resolves to Return.
In Praise of Izdubar and Heabani.
The Two Maidens Entice the Seer.
Festival in Honor of Heabani.
Izdubar Slays the Midannu.
Annual Sale of the Maidens of Babylon.
Council in the Palace.
The King at the Shrine of Ishtar.
The King at the Temple of Samas.
Expedition against Khumbaba.
Conflict of the Rival Giants.
Coronation of Izdubar.
The King’s Answer and Ishtar’s Rage.
Ishtar Complains to Anu.
Fight with the Winged Bull of Anu.
The Curse of Ishtar.
Ishtar Weaves a Spell Over Izdubar.
Ishtar’s Descent to Hades.
Effect of Ishtar’s Imprisonment in Hades.
Papsukul Intercedes for Ishtar.
Release of Ishtar.
Tammuz Restored to Life.
Escape of Tammuz from Hades.
The King and the Seer Converse.
Contest with the Dragons.
Heabani Reveals Visions to the King.
Grief of the King Over Heabani.
Burial of the Seer.
Izdubar Enters Hades.
The King’s Adventure.
The King Meets Ur-hea.
Mua Welcomes Izdubar.
The King Becomes Immortal.
Izdubar Falls in Love with Mua.
Accadian Hymn to Istar.
Annals of Assur-Nasi-Pal.
Assyrian Sacred Poetry.
Assyrian Talismans and Exorcisms.
Ancient Babylonian Charms.
Inscription of Tiglath Pileser I.
The Revolt in Heaven.
The Legend of the Tower of Babel.
An Accadian Penitential Psalm.
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser ii.
Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar.
Accadian Poem on the Seven Evil Spirits.
Chaldean Hymns to the Sun.
Two Accadian Hymns.
Accadian Proverbs and Songs.
Babylonian Public Documents.
Babylonian Private Contracts.
Great Inscription of Khorsabad.
[Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.]
TABLET I: COLUMN I
O love, my queen and goddess, come to me;
My soul shall never cease to worship thee;
Come pillow here thy head upon my breast,
And whisper in my lyre thy softest, best.
And sweetest melodies of bright Sami,
Our Happy Fields above dear Subartu;
Come nestle closely with those lips of love
And balmy breath, and I with thee shall rove
Through Sari past ere life on earth was known,
And Time unconscious sped not, nor had flown.
Thou art our all in this impassioned life:
How sweetly comes thy presence ending strife,
Thou god of peace and Heaven’s undying joy,
Oh, hast thou ever left one pain or cloy
Upon this beauteous world to us so dear?
To all mankind thou art their goddess here.
To thee we sing, our holiest, fairest god,
The One who in that awful chaos trod
And woke the Elements by Law of Love
To teeming worlds in harmony to move.
From chaos thou hast led us by thy hand,
Thus spoke to man upon that budding land:
“The Queen of Heaven, of the dawn am I,
The goddess of all wide immensity,
For thee I open wide the golden gate
Of happiness, and for thee love create
To glorify the heavens and fill with joy
The earth, its children with sweet love employ.”
Thou gavest then the noblest melody
And highest bliss—grand nature’s harmony.
With love the finest particle is rife,
And deftly woven in the woof of life,
In throbbing dust or clasping grains of sand,
In globes of glistening dew that shining stand
On each pure petal, Love’s own legacies
Of flowering verdure, Earth’s sweet panoplies;
By love those atoms sip their sweets and pass
To other atoms, join and keep the mass
With mighty forces moving through all space,
Tis thus on earth all life has found its place.
Through Kisar, Love came formless through the air
In countless forms behold her everywhere!
Oh, could we hear those whispering roses sweet,
Three beauties bending till their petals meet,
And blushing, mingling their sweet fragrance there
In language yet unknown to mortal ear.
Their whisperings of love from morn till night
Would teach us tenderly to love the right.
O Love, here stay! Let chaos not return!
With hate each atom would its lover spurn
In air above, on land, or in the sea,
O World, undone and lost that loseth thee!
For love we briefly come, and pass away
For other men and maids; thus bring the day
Of love continuous through this glorious life.
Oh, hurl away those weapons fierce of strife!
We here a moment, point of time but live,
Too short is life for throbbing hearts to grieve.
Thrice holy is that form that love hath kissed,
And happy is that man with heart thus blessed.
Oh, let not curses fall upon that head
Whom love hath cradled on the welcome bed
Of bliss, the bosom of our fairest god,
Or hand of love e’er grasp the venging rod.
Oh, come, dear Zir-ri, tune your lyres and lutes,
And sing of love with chastest, sweetest notes,
Of Accad’s goddess Ishtar, Queen of Love,
And Izdubar, with softest measure move;
Great Samas’ son, of him dear Zir-ri sing!
Of him whom goddess Ishtar warmly wooed,
Of him whose breast with virtue was imbued.
He as a giant towered, lofty grown,
As Babil’s great pa-te-si was he known,
His armed fleet commanded on the seas
And erstwhile travelled on the foreign leas;
His mother Ellat-gula on the throne
From Erech all Kardunia ruled alone.
[Footnote 1: “Samu,” heaven.]
[Footnote 2: “Happy Fields,” celestial gardens, heaven.]
[Footnote 3: “Subartu,” Syria.]
[Footnote 4: “Sari,” plural form of “saros,” a cycle or measurement of time used by the Babylonians, 3,600 years.]
[Footnote 5: From the “Accadian Hymn to Ishtar,” terra-cotta tablet numbered “S, 954,” one of the oldest hymns of a very remote date, deposited in the British Museum by Mr. Smith. It comes from Erech, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, city of Babylonia. We have inserted a portion of it in its most appropriate place in the epic. See translation in “Records of the Past,” vol. v. p. 157.]
[Footnote 6: “Kisar,” the consort or queen of Sar, father of all the gods.]
[Footnote 7: “Zir-ri” (pronounced “zeer-ree"), short form of “Zi-aria,” spirits of the running rivers—naiads or water-nymphs.]
[Footnote 8: “Samas,” the sun-god.]
[Footnote 9: Babil, Babylon; the Accadian name was “Diu-tir,” or “Duran.”]
[Footnote 10: “Pa-te-si,” prince.]
[Footnote 11: “Ellat-gula,” one of the queens or sovereigns of Erech, supposed to have preceded Nammurabi or Nimrod on the throne. We have identified Izdubar herein with Nimrod.]
[Footnote 12: “Kardunia,” the ancient name of Babylonia.]
THE FALL OF ERECH
O Moon-god, hear my cry! With thy pure light
Oh, take my spirit through that awful night
That hovers o’er the long-forgotten years,
To sing Accadia’s songs and weep her tears!
’Twas thus I prayed, when lo! my spirit rose
On fleecy clouds, enwrapt in soft repose;
And I beheld beneath me nations glide
In swift succession by, in all their pride:
The earth was filled with cities of mankind,
And empires fell beneath a summer wind.
The soil and clay walked forth upon the plains
In forms of life, and every atom gains
A place in man or breathes in animals;
And flesh and blood and bones become the walls
Of palaces and cities, which soon fall
To unknown dust beneath some ancient wall.
All this I saw while guided by the stroke
Of unseen pinions:
Then amid the smoke
That rose o’er burning cities, I beheld
White Khar-sak-kur-ra’s brow arise that held
The secrets of the gods—that felt the prore
Of Khasisadra’s ark; I heard the roar
Of battling elements, and saw the waves
That tossed above mankind’s commingled graves.
The mighty mountain as some sentinel
Stood on the plains alone; and o’er it fell
A halo, bright, divine; its summit crowned
With sunbeams, shining on the earth around
And o’er the wide expanse of plains;—below
Lay Khar-sak-kal-ama with light aglow,
And nestling far away within my view
Stood Erech, Nipur, Marad, Eridu,
And Babylon, the tower-city old,
In her own splendor shone like burnished gold.
And lo! grand Erech in her glorious days
Lies at my feet. I see a wondrous maze
Of vistas, groups, and clustering columns round,
Within, without the palace;—from the ground
Of outer staircases, massive, grand,
Stretch to the portals where the pillars stand.
A thousand carved columns reaching high
To silver rafters in an azure sky,
And palaces and temples round it rise
With lofty turrets glowing to the skies,
And massive walls far spreading o’er the plains,
Here live and move Accadia’s courtly trains,
And see! the pit-u-dal-ti at the gates,
And masari patrol and guard the streets!
And yonder comes a kis-ib, nobleman,
With a young prince; and see! a caravan
Winds through the gates! With men the streets are filled!
And chariots, a people wise and skilled
In things terrestrial, what science, art,
Here reign! With laden ships from every mart
The docks are filled, and foreign fabrics bring
From peoples, lands, where many an empire, king,
Have lived and passed away, and naught have left
In history or song. Dread Time hath cleft
Us far apart; their kings and kingdoms, priests
And bards are gone, and o’er them sweep the mists
Of darkness backward spreading through all time,
Their records swept away in every clime.
Those alabaster stairs let us ascend,
And through this lofty portal we will wend.
See! richest Sumir rugs amassed, subdue
The tiled pavement with its varied hue,
Upon the turquoise ceiling sprinkled stars
Of gold and silver crescents in bright pairs!
And gold-fringed scarlet curtains grace each door,
And from the inlaid columns reach the floor:
From golden rods extending round the halls,
Bright silken hangings drape the sculptured walls.
But part those scarlet hangings at the door
Of yon grand chamber! tread the antique floor!
Behold the sovereign on her throne of bronze,
While crouching at her feet a lion fawns;
The glittering court with gold and gems ablaze
With ancient splendor of the glorious days
Of Accad’s sovereignty. Behold the ring
Of dancing beauties circling while they sing
With amorous forms in moving melody,
The measure keep to music’s harmony.
Hear! how the music swells from silver lute
And golden-stringed lyres and softest flute
And harps and tinkling cymbals, measured drums,
While a soft echo from the chamber comes.
But see! the sovereign lifts her jewelled hand,
The music ceases at the Queen’s command;
And lo! two chiefs in warrior’s array,
With golden helmets plumed with colors gay,
And golden shields, and silver coats of mail,
Obeisance make to her with faces pale,
Prostrate themselves before their sovereign’s throne
In silence brief remain with faces prone,
Till Ellat-gula speaks: “My chiefs, arise!
What word have ye for me? what new surprise?”
Tur-tau-u, rising, says, “O Dannat Queen!
Thine enemy, Khum-baba with Rim-siu
With clanging shields, appears upon the hills,
And Elam’s host the land of Sumir fills.”
“Away, ye chiefs! sound loud the nappa-khu!
Send to their post each warrior bar-ru!"
The gray embattlements rose in the light
That lingered yet from Samas’ rays, ere Night
Her sable folds had spread across the sky.
Thus Erech stood, where in her infancy
The huts of wandering Accads had been built
Of soil, and rudely roofed by woolly pelt
O’erlaid upon the shepherd’s worn-out staves,
And yonder lay their fathers’ unmarked graves.
Their chieftains in those early days oft meet
Upon the mountains where they Samas greet,
With their rude sacrifice upon a tree
High-raised that their sun-god may shining see
Their offering divine; invoking pray
For aid, protection, blessing through the day.
Beneath these walls and palaces abode
The spirit of their country—each man trod
As if his soul to Erech’s weal belonged,
And heeded not the enemy which thronged
Before the gates, that now were closed with bars
Of bronze thrice fastened.
See the thousand cars
And chariots arrayed across the plains!
The marching hosts of Elam’s armed trains,
The archers, slingers in advance amassed,
With black battalions in the centre placed,
With chariots before them drawn in line,
Bedecked with brightest trappings iridine,
While gorgeous plumes of Elam’s horses nod
Beneath the awful sign of Elam’s god.
On either side the mounted spearsmen far
Extend; and all the enginery of war
Are brought around the walls with fiercest shouts,
And from behind their shields each archer shoots.
Thus Erech is besieged by her dread foes,
And she at last must feel Accadia’s woes,
And feed the vanity of conquerors,
Who boast o’er victories in all their wars.
Great Subartu has fallen by Sutu
And Kassi, Goim fell with Lul-lu-bu,
Thus Khar-sak-kal-a-ma all Eridu
O’erran with Larsa’s allies; Subartu
With Duran thus was conquered by these sons
Of mighty Shem and strewn was Accad’s bones
Throughout her plains, and mountains, valleys fair,
Unburied lay in many a wolf’s lair.
Oh, where is Accad’s chieftain Izdubar,
Her mightiest unrivalled prince of war?
The turrets on the battlemented walls
Swarm with skilled bowmen, archers—from them falls
A cloud of winged missiles on their foes,
Who swift reply with shouts and twanging bows;
And now amidst the raining death appears
The scaling ladder, lined with glistening spears,
But see! the ponderous catapults now crush
The ladder, spearsmen, with their mighty rush
Of rocks and beams, nor in their fury slacked
As if a toppling wall came down intact
Upon the maddened mass of men below.
But other ladders rise, and up them flow
The tides of armed spearsmen with their shields;
From others bowmen shoot, and each man wields
A weapon, never yielding to his foe,
For death alone he aims with furious blow.
At last upon the wall two soldiers spring,
A score of spears their corses backward fling.
But others take their place, and man to man,
And spear to spear, and sword to sword, till ran
The walls with slippery gore; but Erech’s men
Are brave and hurl them from their walls again.
And now the battering-rams with swinging power
Commence their thunders, shaking every tower;
And miners work beneath the crumbling walls,
Alas! before her foemen Erech falls.
Vain are suspended chains against the blows
Of dire assaulting engines.
Ho! there goes
The eastern wall with Erech’s strongest tower!
And through the breach her furious foemen pour:
A wall of steel withstands the onset fierce,
But thronging Elam’s spears the lines soon pierce,
A band of chosen men there fight to die,
Before their enemies disdain to fly;
The masari within the breach thus died,
And with their dying shout the foe defied.
The foes swarm through the breach and o’er the walls,
And Erech in extremity loud calls
Upon the gods for aid, but prays for naught,
While Elam’s soldiers, to a frenzy wrought,
Pursue and slay, and sack the city old
With fiendish shouts for blood and yellow gold.
Each man that falls the foe decapitates,
And bears the reeking death to Erech’s gates.
The gates are hidden ’neath the pile of heads
That climbs above the walls, and outward spreads
A heap of ghastly plunder bathed in blood.
Beside them calm scribes of the victors stood,
And careful note the butcher’s name, and check
The list; and for each head a price they make.
Thus pitiless the sword of Elam gleams
And the best blood of Erech flows in streams.
From Erech’s walls some fugitives escape,
And others in Euphrates wildly leap,
And hide beneath its rushes on the bank
And many ’neath the yellow waters sank.
The harper of the Queen, an aged man,
Stands lone upon the bank, while he doth scan
The horizon with anxious, careworn face,
Lest ears profane of Elam’s hated race
Should hear his strains of mournful melody:
Now leaning on his harp in memory
Enwrapt, while fitful breezes lift his locks
Of snow, he sadly kneels upon the rocks
And sighing deeply clasps his hands in woe,
While the dread past before his mind doth flow.
A score and eight of years have slowly passed
Since Rim-a-gu, with Elam’s host amassed,
Kardunia’s ancient capital had stormed.
The glorious walls and turrets are transformed
To a vast heap of ruins, weird, forlorn,
And Elam’s spears gleam through the coming morn.
From the sad sight his eyes he turns away,
His soul breathes through his harp while he doth play
With bended head his aged hands thus woke
The woes of Erech with a measured stroke:
O Erech! dear Erech, my beautiful
Accadia’s pride, O bright land of the bard,
Come back to my vision, dear Erech, oh, come!
Fair land of my birth, how thy beauty is marred!
The horsemen of Elam, her spearsmen and bows,
Thy treasures have ravished, thy towers thrown down,
And Accad is fallen, trod down by her foes.
Oh, where are thy temples of ancient renown?
Gone are her brave heroes
beneath the red tide,
Gone are her white vessels that rode o’er the main,
No more on the river her pennon shall ride,
Gargan-na is fallen, her people are slain.
Wild asses shall gallop across thy grand floors,
And wild bulls shall paw them and hurl the dust high
Upon the wild cattle that flee through her doors,
And doves shall continue her mournful slave’s cry.
Oh, where are the gods of
our Erech so proud,
As flies they are swarming away from her halls,
The Sedu of Erech are gone as a cloud,
As wild fowl are flying away from her walls.
Three years did she suffer, besieged by her foes,
Her gates were thrown down and defiled by the feet
Who brought to poor Erech her tears and her woes,
In vain to our Ishtar with prayers we entreat.
To Ishtar bowed down doth
our Bel thus reply,
“Come, Ishtar, my queenly one, hide all thy tears,
Our hero, Tar-u-man-i izzu Sar-ri,
In Kipur is fortified with his strong spears.
The hope of Kardunia, land of my delight,
Shall come to thy rescue, upheld by my hands,
Deliverer of peoples, whose heart is aright,
Protector of temples, shall lead his brave bands.”
Awake then, brave Accad, to
welcome the day!
Behold thy bright banners yet flaming on high,
Triumphant are streaming on land and the sea!
Arise, then, O Accad! behold the Sami!
Arranged in their glory the mighty gods come
In purple and gold the grand Tam-u doth shine
Over Erech, mine Erech, my beautiful home,
Above thy dear ashes, behold thy god’s sign!
[Footnote 1: “O Moon-god, hear my cry!” ("Siu lici unnini!”) the name of the author of the Izdubar epic upon which our poem is based.]
[Footnote 2: “Khar-sak-kur-ra,” the Deluge mountain on which the ark of Khasisadra (the Accadian Noah) rested.]
[Footnote 3: “Khar-sak-kal-ama” is a city mentioned in the Izdubar epic, and was probably situated at the base of Khar-sak-kur-ra, now called Mount Elwend. The same mountain is sometimes called the “Mountain of the World” in the inscriptions, where the gods were supposed to sometimes reside.]
[Footnote 4: “Pit-u-dal-ti,” openers of the gates.]
[Footnote 5: “Masari,” guards of the great gates of the city, etc.]
[Footnote 6: “Ellat-gula,” the queen of Erech, the capital of Babylonia.]
[Footnote 7: “Tur-tan-u” was the army officer or general who in the absence of the sovereign took the supreme command of the army, and held the highest rank next to the queen or king.]
[Footnote 8: “Dannat” (the “Powerful Lady”) was a title applied to the Queen, the mother of Izdubar (Sayce’s ed. Smith’s “Chal. Acc. of Gen.,” p. 184). We have here identified her with Ellat-gula, the Queen of Babylon, who preceded Ham-murabi or Nammurabi, whom the inscriptions indicate was an Accadian. The latter we have identified with Nimrod, following the suggestion of Mr. George Smith.]
[Footnote 9: “Khumbaba” was the giant Elamitic king whom Izdubar overthrew. We identify him with the King of the Elamites who, allied with Rimsin or Rimagu, was overthrown by Nammurabi or Izdubar.]
[Footnote 10: “Rim-siu,” above referred to, who overthrew Uruk, or Karrak, or Erech. He was King of Larsa, immediately south of Erech.]
[Footnote 11: “Nap-pa-khu,” war-trumpet.]
[Footnote 12: “Bar-ru,” army officer.]
[Footnote 13: “Samas,” the sun-god.]
[Footnote 14: “Subartu” is derived from the Accadian “subar” ("high"), applied by the Accadians to the highlands of Aram or Syria. It is probable that all these countries, viz., Subartu, Goim, Lullubu, Kharsak-kalama, Eridu, and Duran, were at one time inhabited by the Accadians, until driven out by the Semites.]
[Footnote 15: “Sutu” is supposed to refer to the Arabians.]
[Footnote 16: “Kassi,” the Kassites or Elamites. The Kassi inhabited the northern part of Elam.]
[Footnote 17: “Goim,” or “Gutium,” supposed by Sir Henry Rawlinson to be the Goyim of Gen. xiv, ruled by Tidal or Turgal ("the Great Son").]
[Footnote 18: “Lul-lu-bu,” a country northward of Mesopotamia and Nizir.]
[Footnote 19: “Kharsak-kala-ma,” the city supposed to lie at the base of Kharsak-kurra, or Mount Nizir, or Mount Elwend. The same city was afterward called Echatana.]
[Footnote 20: “Eridu,” the land of Ur, or Erech.]
[Footnote 21: “Duran,” Babylonia.]
[Footnote 22: “Masari,” guards of the palace, etc.]
[Footnote 23: See Sayce’s translation in the “Chal. Acc. of Gen.,” by Smith, p. 193.]
[Footnote 24: “Sedu,” spirits of prosperity.]
[Footnote 25: “Tar-u-mani izzu Sarri,” son of the faith, the fire of kings, or fire-king.]
[Footnote 26: “Kardunia,” the ancient name of Babylon.]
[Footnote 27: “Sami,” heavens (plural).]
[Footnote 28: “Tamu,” dawn or sunrise, day.]
THE RESCUE OF ERECH BY IZDUBAR
Heabani, weary, eyes his native land,
And on his harp now lays his trembling hand;
The song has ended in a joyous lay,
And yet, alas! his hands but sadly play:
Unused to hope, the strings refuse their aid
To tune in sympathy, and heartless played.
Again the minstrel bows his head in woe,
And the hot tear-drops from his eyelids flow,
And chanting now a mournful melody,
O’er Erech’s fall, thus sang an elegy:
 “How long, O Ishtar, will thy face be turned,
While Erech desolate doth cry to thee?
Thy towers magnificent, oh, hast thou spurned?
Her blood like water in Ul-bar, oh, see!
The seat of thine own oracle behold!
The fire hath ravaged all thy cities grand,
And like the showers of Heaven them all doth fold.
O Ishtar! broken-hearted do I stand!
Oh, crush our enemies as yonder reed!
For hopeless, lifeless, kneels thy bard to thee,
And, oh! I would exalt thee in my need,
From thy resentment, anger, oh, us free!”
With eyes bedimmed with tears, he careful scans
The plain, “Perhaps the dust of caravans
It is! But no!! I see long lines of spears!
A warrior from the lifting cloud appears,
And chariots arrayed upon the plain!
And is the glorious omen not in vain?
What! no?” He rubs his eyes in wild surprise,
And drinks the vision while he loudly cries:
“Oh, joy! our standards flashing from afar!
He comes! he comes! our hero Izdubar!”
He grasps his harp inspired, again to wake
In song—the cry of battle now doth break.
“Nin-a-rad, servant of
our great Nin,
Shall lead our hosts to victory!
God of the chase and war, o’er him, oh, shine!
Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!
“Let Elam fall! the cause
of Accad’s woes,
Revenge of Erech, be the cry!
This land our father’s blessed, our king they chose,
Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!
Our holy fathers sleep upon this plain,
We conquer, or we here will die;
For victory, then raise the cry, ye men!
Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!”
The minstrel ceases, lifts his hands on high,
And still we hear his joyful waning cry:
Now echoed by yon hosts along the sky,
“He comes! Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!
Great Accad’s hosts arrayed with spears and shields
Are coming! see them flashing o’er the fields!
And he! bright flashing as the god’s attire,
Doth lead in burnished gold, our king of fire.
His armor shines through yonder wood and fen,
That tremble ’neath the tread of armed men.
See! from his jewelled breastplate, helmet, fly
The rays like Samas from the cloudless sky!
How martially he rides his sable steed,
That proudly treads and lifts his noble head,
While eagerly he gallops down the line,
And bears his princely load with porte divine;
And now, along the plains there sounds afar
The piercing bugle-note of Izdubar;
For Erech’s walls and turrets are in view,
And high the standards rise of varied hue.
The army halts; the twanging bows are strung;
And from their chariots the chieftains sprung.
The wheeling lines move at each chief’s command,
With chariots in front;
On either hand
Extend the lines of spears and cavalry,
A winged storm-cloud waiting for its prey:
And see! while Accad’s army ready waits,
The enemy are swarming from the gates.
The charge, from either host, the trumpets sound,
And bristling chariots from each army bound:
A cloud of arrows flies from Accad’s bows
That hides the sun, and falls among their foes.
Now roars the thunder of great Accad’s cars,
Their brazen chariots as blazing stars
Through Nuk-khu’s depths with streams of blazing fire,
Thus fall upon the foe with vengeful ire.
The smoking earth shakes underneath their wheels,
And from each cloud their thunder loudly peals.
Thus Accad on their foes have fiercely hurled
Their solid ranks with Nin-rad’s flag unfurled,
The charging lines meet with a fearful sound,
As tempests’ waves from rocks in rage rebound;
The foe thus meet the men of Izdubar,
While o’er the field fly the fierce gods of war.
Dark Nin-a-zu her torch holds in her hand.
With her fierce screams directs the gory brand;
And Mam-mit urges her with furious hand,
And coiling dragons poison all the land
With their black folds and pestilential breath,
In fierce delight thus ride the gods of death.
The shouts of Accad mingle with the cries
Of wounded men and fiery steeds, which rise
From all the fields with shrieks of carnage, war,
Till victory crowns the host of Izdubar.
The chariots are covered with the slain,
And crushed beneath lie dead and dying men,
And horses in their harness wounded fall,
With dreadful screams, and wildly view the wall
Of dying warriors piling o’er their heads,
And wonder why each man some fury leads;
And others break across the gory plain
In mad career till they the mountain gain;
[Footnote 1: The above elegy is an Assyrian fragment remarkably similar to one of the psalms of the Jewish bible, and I believe it belongs to the Irdubar epic (W.A. I. IV. 19, No. 3; also see “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 160).]
[Footnote 2: “Ul-bar,” Bel’s temple.]
[Footnote 3: “Nin-a-rad,” literally “servant of Nin,” or “Nin-mar-ad,” “Lord of the city of Marad.”]
[Footnote 4: “Nin,” the god of the chase and war, or lord.]
[Footnote 5: “Tar-u-ma-ni izzu sar-ri,” “son of the faith, the fire-king.”]
[Footnote 6: “Nuk-khu,” darkness (god of darkness).]
[Footnote 7: “Nin-a-zu,” god of fate and death.]
[Footnote 8: “Mam-mit,” or “Mam-mi-tu,” goddess of fate.]
[Footnote 9: “Dragons,” gods of chaos and death.]
CORONATION OF IZDUBAR
A crowd of maidens led a glorious van;
With roses laden the fair heralds ran,
With silver-throated music chant the throng,
And sweetly sang the coronation song:
And now we see the gorgeous cavalcade,
Within the walls in Accad’s grand parade
They pass, led by the maidens crowned with flowers,
Who strew the path with fragrance;—to the towers
And walls and pillars of each door bright cling
The garlands. Hear the maidens joyful sing!
“Oh, shout the cry! Accadians, joyful sing
For our Deliverer! Oh, crown him King!
Then strew his path with garlands, tulips, rose,
And wave his banners as he onward goes;
Our mighty Nin-rad comes, oh, raise the cry!
We crown Tar-u-ma-ni iz-zu sar-ri!
Away to Samas’ temple
For Accad crowns him, crowns him there!
He is our chosen Sar this glorious day,
Oh, send the Khanga through the air!
Then chant the chorus, all ye hosts above!
O daughters, mothers, sing for him we love!
His glory who can sing, who brings us joy?
For hope and gladness all our hearts employ.
He comes, our hope and strength in every war:
We crown him as our king, our Izdubar!
Away to Samas’ temple
For Accad crowns him, crowns him there!
He is our chosen Sar this glorious day,
Oh, send the Khanga through the air!”
Toward the temple filed the long parade,
The nobles led while Accad’s music played;
The harps and timbrels, barsoms, drums and flutes
Unite with trumpets and the silver lutes.
Surrounded by his chieftains rides the Sar
In purple robes upon his brazen car.
Bedecked with garlands, steeds of whitest snow
The chariot draw in state with movement slow,
Each steed led by a kisib, nobleman,
A score of beauteous horses linked in span.
The army follows with their nodding plumes,
And burnished armor, trumpets, rolling drums,
And glistening spears enwreathed with fragrant flowers,
While scarfs are waving from the crowded towers,
And shouts of joy their welcome loud proclaim,
And from each lip resounds their monarch’s name.
And now before the holy temple stands
The chariot, in silence cease the bands.
Around an altar stand the waiting priests,
And held by them, the sacrificial beasts.
The hero from his chair descends,
And bowing to the priests, he lowly bends
Before the sacred altar of the Sun,
And prays to Samas, Accad’s Holy One.
 “O Samas, I invoke thee, throned on high!
Within the cedars’ shadow bright thou art,
Thy footing rests upon immensity;
All nations eagerly would seek thy heart.
Their eyes have turned toward thee; O our Friend!
Whose brilliant light illuminates all lands,
Before thy coming all the nations bend,
Oh, gather every people with thy hands!
For thou, O Samas, knowest boundaries
Of every kingdom, falsehood dost destroy,
And every evil thought from sorceries
Of wonders, omens, dreams that do annoy,
And evil apparitions, thou dost turn
To happy issue; malice, dark designs;
And men and countries in thy might o’erturn,
And sorcery that every soul maligns.
Oh, in thy presence refuge let me find!
From those who spells invoke against thy King,
Protect one! and my heart within thine, oh, bind!
Thy breath within mine inmost soul, oh, bring!
That I with thee, O Samas, may rejoice.
And may the gods who me created, take
Thy hands and lead me, make thy will my choice,
Direct my breath, my hands, and of me make
They servant, Lord of light of legions vast,
O Judge, thy glory hath all things surpassed!”
The King then rises, takes the sacred glass,
And holds it in the sun before the mass
Of waiting fuel on the altar piled.
The centring rays—the fuel glowing gild
With a round spot of fire and quickly, spring
Above the altar curling, while they sing!
 “Oh, to the desert places may it fly,
This incantation holy!
O spirit of the heavens, us this day
Remember, oh, remember!
O spirit of the earth, to thee we pray,
Remember! Us remember!
“O God of Fire! a lofty prince
A warrior, and son of the blue sea,
Before the God of Fire in thine own land,
Before thy holy fires that from us free
Dread Darkness, where dark Nuk-khu reigns.
Our prince, as monarch we proclaim,
His destiny thy power maintains,
Oh, crown his glory with wide fame!
“With bronze and metal thou
All men, and givest silver, gold.
The goddess with the horned face
Did bless us with thee from of old.
From dross thy fires change gold to purity;
Oh, bless our fire-king, round him shine
With Heaven’s vast sublimity!
And like the earth with rays divine,
As the bright walls of Heaven’s shrine.”
[Footnote 1: “Sar,” king.]
[Footnote 2: “Khanga,” chorus.]
[Footnote 3: One of the Accadian psalms is here quoted from “Chaldean Magic,” by Lenormant, pp. 185, 186. See also “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. pl. 17, col. 2.]
[Footnote 4: Literally, “Right into my marrow, O Lords of breath.”]
[Footnote 5: Literally, “Direct the breath of my mouth!”]
[Footnote 6: Sacred glass, sun-glass used to light the sacred fire.]
[Footnote 7: Incantation to Fire ("Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 137). The Accadian and Assyrian text is found in “C.I.W.A.,” vol. iv. pl. 14, and on tablet K. 49,002, in the British Museum.]
ISHTAR AND HER MAIDS IN THE FAVORITE HAUNT OF IZDUBAR
The king while hunting where a forest grows,
Around sweet hyacinths and budding rose,
Where a soft zephyr o’er them gently flows
From the dark sik-ka-ti where Kharsak glows;
And Sedu softly dances on the leaves,
And a rich odorous breath from them receives;
Where tulips peep with heliotrope and pink,
With violets upon a gleaming brink
Of silver gliding o’er a water-fall
That sings its purling treasures o’er a wall
Of rugged onyx sparkling to the sea:
A spot where Zir-ri sport oft merrily,
Where Hea’s arm outstretched doth form a bay,
Wild, sheltered, where his sea-daughters play;
A jasper rock here peeps above the waves
Of emerald hue; with them its summit laves.
Around, above, this cool enchanting cove
Bend amorous, spicy branches; here the dove
Oft coos its sweetest notes to its own mate,
And fragrance pure, divine, the air doth freight,
To sport with gods no lovelier place is found,
With love alone the mystic woods resound.
Here witching Zi-na-ki oft drag within
The waves unwilling Zi-si; here the din
Of roars of sullen storms is never known
When tempests make the mighty waters groan;
Nor sound of strife is heard, but rippling rills,
Or softest note of love, the breezes fills.
And here the king in blissful dreams oft lies
’Mid pure ambrosial odors, and light flies
The tune in bliss; away from kingly care,
And hollow splendor of the courtly glare;
Away from triumphs, battle-fields afar,
The favorite haunt of huntsman Izdubar.
The Queen of Love the glowing spot surveys,
And sees the monarch where he blissful lays;
And watching till he takes his bow and spear
To chase the wild gazelles now browsing near,
She, ere the king returns, near by arrives
With her two maids; with them for love connives,
Joy and seduction thus voluptuous fly
Her Samkhatu, Kharimtu from the sky,
As gently, lightly as a spirit’s wing
Oft carries gods to earth while Sedu sing.
Thus, they, with lightest step, expectant stood
Within this lovely spot beneath the wood.
Their snowy limbs they bare, undraped now stand
Upon the rock at Ishtar’s soft command.
Like marble forms endued with life they move,
And thrill the air with welcome notes of love.
The its-tu-ri Same mut-tab-ri sang
Their sweetest notes, and the Khar-san-u rang
With songs of thrushes, turtle-doves and jays,
And linnets, with the nightingale’s sweet lays,
Goldfinches, magpies and the wild hoopoes;
With cries of green-plumed parrots and cuckoos,
Pee-wits and sparrows join the piercing cries
Of gorgeous herons, while now upward flies
The eagle screaming, joyful spreads his wings
Above the forest; and the woodchuck rings
A wild tattoo upon the trees around;
And humming-birds whirr o’er the flowering ground
In flocks, and beat the luscious laden air
With emerald and gold, and scarlet, where
These perfect forms with godly grace divine,
In loveliness upon the rock recline.
Sweet joy is slender formed, with bright black eyes
That sparkle oft and dance with joy’s surprise;
Seduction, with her rare voluptuous form,
Enchanteth all till wildest passions warm
The blood and fire the eye beneath her charm;
All hearts in heaven and earth she doth disarm.
The Queen with every perfect charm displayed
Delights the eye, and fills the heart, dismayed
With fear, lest the bright phantom may dissolve
To airy nothingness, till fierce resolve
Fills each who her beholds, while love doth dart
From liquid eyes and captivates the heart.
She is the queen who fills the earth with love
And reigns unrivalled in her realms above.
Beware, ye hearts! beware! who feel the snare
Of Ishtar, lest ye tread upon the air;
When ye her rosy chain of fragrance wear,
When blindness strikes the eye, and deaf the ear
Becomes, and heartstrings only lead you then,
Till ye return to common sense again;
Enthralled mayhap and captive led in chains,
Ye then will leisure have to bear your pains;
Or if perchance a joy hath come to thee,
Through all thy joyous life, then happy be!
[Footnote 1: “Sik-ka-ti,” narrow mountain gorges.]
[Footnote 2: “Khar-sak,” the Deluge mountain, where the ark rested.]
[Footnote 3: “Se-du,” a spirit of the earth, and rivers.]
[Footnote 4: “Zir-ri,” the spirits of the rivers, water-nymphs.]
[Footnote 5: “Hea,” the god of the ocean.]
[Footnote 6: “Zi-na-ki,” pronounced “zee-na-kee,” spirits of purity.]
[Footnote 7: “Zi-si,” corn-gods, or spirits of the corn.]
[Footnote 8: “Sam-kha-tu,” one of the maids of Ishtar, “Joy.”]
[Footnote 9: “Kha-rima-tu,” one of the maids of Ishtar, “Seduction.”]
[Footnote 10: “Its-tu-ri Same mut-tab ri,” “the winged birds of heaven.”]
[Footnote 11: “Khar-san-u,” forest.]
IZDUBAR FALLS IN LOVE WITH ISHTAR, THE QUEEN OF LOVE
The hour has come when Izdubar will seek
The cool enchantment of the cove, and slake
His thirst with its sweet waters bubbling pure,
Where Love has spread for him her sweetest lure,
The maids expectant listening, watch and wait
His coming; oft in ecstacies they prate
O’er his surprise, and softly sport and splash
The limpid waves around, that glowing flash
Like heaps of snowy pearls lung to the light
By Hea’s hands, his Zir-ri to delight.
And now upon the rock each maid reclines,
While Ishtar’s form beneath them brightly shines;
Beside the fountain stands the lovely god,
The graceful sovereign of Love’s sweet abode.
“He comes; the shrubs of yonder jasmine near
Are rustling, oh, he comes! my Izdubar!”
And thus her love she greets: “Why art thou here?
Thou lovely mortal! king art thou, or seer?
We reck not which, and welcome give to thee;
Wouldst thou here sport with us within the sea?”
And then, as if her loveliness forgot,
She quickly grasped her golden locks and wrought
Them round her form of symmetry with grace
That well became a god, while o’er her face
Of sweetest beauty blushes were o’erspread;
“Thou see-est only Nature’s robe,” she said.
“’Tis all I wish while sporting with my maids,
And all alone no care have we for jades;
And if with thee we can in truth confide,
We here from all the world may cosey hide.”
She hurls a glance toward him, smiling naive,
Then bounding from the rock, peeps from a wave;
The waters fondling her surround, embrace
Her charms; and now emerging with rare grace,
She turning says:
“Make haste, my hearts!
Come forth! attend your queen!” and then she parts
The azure waves, to where, in dumb surprise,
The King enchanted stands, and fondly eyes
The Queen divine, while fascinating thrills
Sweep wildly through his breast; as fragrance fills
The rose-tree groves, or gardens of the gods,
Or breezes odorous from the Blest Abodes.
Amid the Dud’im plants he now reclines,
And to his welcome fate himself resigns;
The lovely queen beside him now doth lay,
And leads his soul along the blissful way
That comes to every heart that longs for love,
When purest joy doth bless us from above;
From her soft liquid eyes the love-light speaks,
And her warm hands she lays in his, and wakes
Beneath her touch a thrill of wild desire,
Until his blood now seems like molten fire.
Her eyes half closed begat a passion wild,
With her warm breast, her loves hath beguiled;
She nearer creeps with hot and balmy breath,
And trembling form aglow, and to him saith:
“My lips are burning for a kiss, my love!”
A prize like this, a heart of stone would move,
And he his arms around her fondly placed
Till she reclined upon his breast, embraced,
Their lips in one long thrilling rapture meet.
But hark! what are these strains above so sweet
That float around, above, their love surround?
An-nu-na-ci from forests, mounts around,
And from the streams and lakes, and ocean, trees,
And all that haunt the godly place, to please
The lovers, softly chant and dance around
To cymbals, lyres until the rocks resound,
Of goddess Ishtar chant, and Izdubar,
The Queen of Love wed to the King of War.
And he alarmed starts up and springs away,
And furious cries, to Ishtar’s wild dismay:
“What meanest thou, thou wanton brazen thing?
Wouldst thou on me the direst curses bring?”
And lo! the goddess is transformed! the crown
Of her own silver skies shines like the sun,
And o’er her dazzling robes a halo falls;
Her stately form with glory him appals,
For Heaven’s dazzling splendor o’er her flows,
With rays celestial; o’er her brow there glows
A single star.
“Have I embraced a god?”
He horrified now cries; and she doth nod
“But, oh! wilt thou thy queen forgive?
I love thee! stay! oh, stay! my heart you grieve!”
He springs beyond the mystic circling ring,
And from their sight thus glides the angry King,
Beneath the wood himself he doth disguise
In tattered garments, on his steed he flies;
And when he comes in sight of Erech’s gate,
His beggar’s mantle throws aside; in state
Again enrobed, composed his anxious face,
Through Erech’s gates he rides with kingly grace;
O’er his adventure thus the King reflects:
“Alas my folly leads, my life directs!
’Tis true, the goddess hath seductive charms,
E’en yet I feel her warm embracing arms.
Enough! her love from me I’ll drive away;
Alas! for me, is this unfruitful day!”
[Footnote 1: “Hea,” god of the ocean.]
[Footnote 2: “Zir-ri,” spirits of the river, the sea-daughters of Hea.]
[Footnote 3: “Zir-ru,” water-nymph.]
[Footnote 4: “Mandrake,” the “love-plant.”]
[Footnote 5: “Dud’im” or “dudaim,” [Hebrew: dud’im] or Chald. [Hebrew: ibduchin] and Syr. [Hebrew: ibduch’] the “love-plant” or mandrake; perhaps also originally from “du-du” ("love”) or ex. [Hebrew: du] ("particula"), Arab. “possessorem designante,” et ex rad. Arab. [Hebrew: ddy] ("aegrotavit"), or [Hebrew: dud] or “amare.” See Simoni’s Lex. Man. Heb. et Chald. et Lat., pp. 204-206, and Park’s Heb. Lex., p. 113, note +.]
[Transcriber’s Note: The above “+” is my rendering of a footnote “cross” common in older books.]
[Footnote 6: “An-nu-na-ci,” spirits of the earth.]
ISHTAR’S MIDNIGHT COURTSHIP IN THE PALACE OF IZDUBAR.
As Samas’ car sank in the glowing west,
And Sin the moon-god forth had come full drest
For starry dance across the glistening skies,
The sound of work for man on earth now dies,
And all betake themselves to sweet repose.
The silver light of Sin above bright flows,
And floods the figures on the painted walls,
O’er sculptured lions, softly, lightly falls;
Like grim and silent watch-dogs at the door
They stand; in marble check their leaping roar.
The King within his chamber went his way,
Upon his golden jewelled couch he lay.
The silken scarlet canopy was hung
In graceful drapery and loosely clung
Around his couch, and purple damask cloths
Embroidered with rare skill, preserved from moths
By rich perfumes, to the carved lintel clung
In graceful folds; thus o’er the entrance hung.
Queen Ishtar softly comes, and o’er his dreams
A mystic spell she draws, until it seems
While half awake he lies, that she is yet
Close nestling in his arms, as he had met
Her in the wood, and with her there reclined,
While her soft arms around him were entwined.
Thus while he sleeps she hovers o’er his bed
With throbbing heart, and close inclines her head
Until her lips near touch the sleeping King’s,
But daring not to kiss.
She love thus brings,
All through his dreams; until one misty night,
While he yet restless tossed, the lovely sprite
Sunk him to deeper sleep with her soft lyre
While hanging o’er his couch consumed with fire
That nestling around her heart-strings fiercely burned
Until at last lulled by the strain he turned
Upon his couch at rest, and she now lay
Beside him closely, when she heard him say:
“My love thou art, but canst not be!” No more
He murmurs, then inflamed she sought the door.
“Perchance the su-khu-li sleep not!” she said;
And satisfied, turned where her lover laid;
And to his royal couch she crept again;
Her bliss will have despite of gods and men.
Her hot and burning lips cannot resist
The tempting treasure lying there, nor missed
Shall be the dearest joys of love from her
Who rules all hearts in Heaven, earth, and air.
Her right divine that blessing sweet to take,
She will assert, her burning thirst to slake.
His couch the Heavenly Queen of Love now graces,
And on his breast her glorious head she places;
Embracing him, she softly through her lips
And his, the sweetest earthly nectar sips,
While he in sleep lies murmuring of love,
And she in blissful ecstasy doth move.
Her lips to his, she wildly places there,
Until to him it seems a fond nightmare.
And thus, against his will, she fondly takes
What he her shall deny when he awakes,
The stolen kisses both the lovers thrill:
Unquenched her warm desire would kiss him still,
But his hot blood now warms him in his dream
Which is much more to him than it doth seem;
And clasping her within convulsing arms,
Receives a thrill that all his nerves alarms,
And wakes him from the dreams she had instilled.
“What means this fantasy that hath me filled,
And spirit form that o’er my pillow leans;
I wonder what this fragrant incense means?
Oh, tush! ’tis but an idle, wildering dream,
But how delightful, joyous it did seem!
Her beauteous form it had, its breath perfume;
Do spirit forms such loveliness assume?”
The goddess yet dares not her form reveal,
And quickly she herself doth now conceal
Behind the damask curtains at the door.
When he awoke, sprang to the chamber floor,
As his own maid the queen herself transforms,
Says entering in haste:
“What wild alarms
Thee, Sar?” and then demure awaits reply,
In doubt to hear or to his bosom fly.
“My maid art thou? ’Tis well, for I have dreamed
Of spirits, as a Zi-ru fair it seemed.”
[Footnote 1: “Su-khu-li,” guards of the palace.]
THE KING’S SECOND DREAM AND EARLY RIDE UPON
SUMIR’S PLAIN, AND
HAND-TO-HAND CONFLICT ON THE BANKS OF THE EUPHRATES
The night is fleeing from the light of dawn,
Which dimly falls upon the palace lawn;
The King upon his royal dum-khi sleeps,
And to his couch again Queen Ishtar creeps.
In spite his dream to dismal thoughts she turns,
Her victim tosses, now with fever burns:
He wildly starts, and from his dum-khi springs,
While loud his voice throughout the palace rings:
“Ho! vassals! haste to me! your King!” he cries,
And stamping fiercely while his passions rise.
The sukhu-li and masari rush in:
“What trouble, Sar? have foes here come within?”
Then searching around they in his chamber rush,
And eagerly aside the curtains push.
The King yet paces on the floor with strides
That show the trouble of his mind, and chides
Them all as laggards; “Soon the sun will rise:
My steed prepared bring hence!” he turning cries.
He mounts and gallops through the swinging gates,
Nor for attendance of his vassals waits.
Nor turns his face toward the nam-za-khi,
Who quickly opened for the King to fly
Without the gates; across the plains he rides
Away unmindful where his steed he guides.
The horse’s hoofs resound upon the plain
As the lone horseman with bewildered brain,
To leave behind the phantoms of the night,
Rides fiercely through the early morning light,
Beyond the orange orchards, citron groves,
’Mid feathery date-palms he reckless roves.
The fields of yellow grain mid fig-trees flash
Unseen, and prickly pears, pomegranates, dash
In quick succession by, till the white foam
From his steed’s mouth and quiv’ring flanks doth come;
Nor heeds the whitened flowing mane, but flies,
While clouds of dust him follow, and arise
Behind him o’er the road like black storm clouds,
While Zu the storm-bird onward fiercely goads
The seven raven spirits of the air,
And Nus-ku opens wide the fiery glare
Of pent-up lightnings for fierce Gibil’s hand,
Who hurls them forth at Nergal’s stern command,
And Rimmon rides triumphant on the air,
And Ninazu for victims doth prepare,
The King rides from the road into the wild,
Nor thought of danger, his stern features smiled
As the worn steed from a huge lion shied,
Which turning glanced at them and sprang aside;
Now Zi-pis-au-ni fly before the King.
And yellow leopards through the rushes spring.
Upon Euphrates’ banks his steed he reins,
And views the rosy wilds of Sumir’s plains.
He looked toward the east across the plain
That stretched afar o’er brake and marshy fen,
And clustering trees that marked the Tigris’ course;
And now beyond the plain o’er fields and moors,
The mountain range of Zu o’er Susa’s land.
Is glowing ‘neath the touch of Samas’ hand;
For his bright face is rising in the east,
And shifting clouds from sea and rising mist,
“Hal-ca to yon waiting boat!
Or I will send thy body down this stream!
Ca is-kab-bu! va kal-bu! whence you came!”
The chief disarmed now slunk away surprised,
And o’er the strength of Sar-dan-nu surmised.
The King returns, and rides within the gate
Of Erech, and the council entered late.
[Footnote 1: “Dum-khi,” couch.]
[Footnote 2: “Su-khu-li rabi,” attendants of the King.]
[Footnote 3: “Masari,” guards of the palace.]
[Footnote 4: “Nam-za-ki,” openers of the gates.]
[Footnote 5: “Zu,” the divine bird of the storm-cloud, the god worshipped by Izdubar, the god who stole the tablets of heaven.]
[Footnote 6: The seven wicked spirits in the form of men with faces of ravens.]
[Footnote 7: “Nus-ku,” the gate-keeper of thunder.]
[Footnote 8: “Gibil,” the god of fire and spells and witchcraft.]
[Footnote 9: “Ner-gal,” director of the storms, the giant King of War, the strong begetter.]
[Footnote 10: “Rimmon,” the god of storms and hurricanes.]
[Footnote 11: “Nin-a-zu,” the goddess of fate and death.]
[Footnote 12: “Zi-pis-au-ni,” spirits of the papyri, or reeds.]
[Footnote 13: Mountain range of Zu. The ancient name is unknown, but as Susa takes its name from Zu, the divine bird of the storm-cloud, we have given the mountains of Susiana their probable ancient name.]
[Footnote 14: “Dib-bara” ("the darkening one"), the son of Nuk-khu. He is supposed to have been the viceroy of Khumbaba, and led the attack upon Erech.]
[Footnote 15: “Nuk-hu,” or “Nuk-khu,” the god of darkness and sleep. He is sometimes called “Cus-u.”]
[Footnote 16: “Suk-ha,” wood or grove, or a forest.]
[Footnote 17: “Hal-ca!” “Go!”]
[Footnote 18: “Ca is-kab-bu! va kal-bu!” “Thou fool and dog!” “Ca” ("thou”) is the short form of “cat-ta” or “ca’a”; generally it appears as “at-ta.”]
[Footnote 19: “Sar-dan-nu,” the great King.]
IZDUBAR RELATES HIS SECOND DREAM TO HIS SEERS, WHO CANNOT INTERPRET IT
The counsellors assembled round the throne
Within the council halls of zam-at stone,
Now greet their monarch, and behold his face
With trouble written on his brow, and trace
Uneasiness within that eagle eye,
While he with stately tread, yet wearily
His throne approached; he turned to the mu-di,
And swept a glance upon his khas-iz-i.
Uneasy they all eyed his troubled face,
For he had ridden at a furious pace.
The abuli had told them on that morn,
How he across the plains had wildly torn
To drive away some vision of the night.
One asked, “Hath our Sardan-nu’s dreams been light?
Or hath dread phantoms o’er thy pillow hung?
For trouble on thy countenance hath clung.”
The monarch startled at the question eyes
The councillor, and to him thus replies:
“’Tis true, my counsellors and wisest men,
I dreamed a fearful dream Sat mu-si; when
I have disclosed it, if one clear reveals
Its meaning all and naught from me conceals,
On him will I the greatest wealth bestow:
I will ennoble him, and the sib-zu
A ku-bar-ra for him shall rich prepare;
As my tur-tan-u he shall be, and seer,
Decked with a golden chain shall next preside
At every feast, and break his bread beside
The King, and highest rank he shall attain
’Mong counsellors, and mine own favor gain;
And seven wives to him I will allow,
And a grand palace. This as King I vow,
The scribe it shall enroll above my seal
As Erech’s Sar’s decree beyond repeal.
“I dreamed upon my dum-khi fast asleep,
The stars from heaven fell from yonder deep
To earth; and one, with fierceful heat my back
Did pierce as molten fire, and left its track
Of flames like some huge ball along my spine;
And then transformed, it turned its face to mine;
As some fierce god it glowed before my sight
Till agony was lost in dread affright.
I rooted stood, in terror, for its face
Was horrible; I saw in its feet’s place
A lion’s claws. It sprang, my strength it broke,
And slew me, gloating over me! Awoke,
I sprang, methought I was a corpse ka-ra
Va tal-ka mat sar, talka bu-la sha
Ra-pas-ti sat-ti, ar-id-da! ka-rat
Va hal-li-ka! lik-ru-bu ki-mi-ta!”
The seers in silence stand, perplexed and think;
But from the task at once the wisest shrink.
The King each face soon read:
“Ye tell me no?”
And nodding all, concealed from him their woe,
For they beheld within the dream some fate
Impending o’er him born of godly hate,
And durst not to their monarch prate their fears,
For flatterers of kings are all his seers.
The King impatient eyed them all with scorn,
And hid his thoughts by wildest passions born;
And then at last contemptuous to them said,
“So all my seers of trouble are afraid?
Or else in ignorance you turn away;
’Tis well! I sorely need a seer this day.”
And they now prostrate fall before his throne,
“Forgive thy seers!” one cries, “O mighty One!
For we this dreadful dream do fear portends
Thy harm! a god some message to thee sends!
We know not what, but fear for thee, our Sar,
And none but one can augur it; afar
He lives, Heabani should before the King
Be brought from Za-Ga-bri the na-bu bring!”
“’Tis well! Prince Zaidu for the hermit send,
And soon this mystery your Sar will end.”
The King distressed now to the temple goes
To lay before the mighty gods his woes;
This prayer recites to drive away bad dreams,
While Samas’ holy altar brightly gleams:
 “O Samas! may my prayer bring me sweet rest,
And may my Lord his favor grant to me:
Annihilate the things that me invest!
This day, O God! distressed, I cry to thee!
O goddess! be thou gracious unto me,
Receive my prayer, my sins forgive I pray:
My wickedness and will arrayed ’gainst thee.
Oh, pardon me! O God, be kind this day,
My groaning may the seven winds destroy,
Clothe me with deep humility! receive
My prayers, as winged birds, oh, may they fly
And fishes carry them, and rivers weave
Them in the waters on to thee, O God!
As creeping things of the vast desert, cry
I unto thee outstretched on Erech’s sod;
And from the river’s lowest depths I pray;
My heart cause thou to shine like polished gold,
Though food and drink of Nin-a-zu this day
Be mine, while worms and death thy servant fold.
“O chant our incantation to
the waters pure,
Euphrates’ waters flowing to the sea!
Where Hea’s holy face shines bright on every shore,
O Sabit of Timatu to ye
We pray! may your bright waters glowing shine
As Hea’s face, and heaving breast divine!
“O Sabit, to your father Hea
take our prayer!
And may Dao-ki-na, your bright mother, hear!
With joy, oh shine, as peaceful as the sleeping light,
O ever may your throbbing waves be bright.
O spirit of the Heaven, hear!
Remember us, Remember!
O spirit of the earth, come near!
Remember us, Remember!
O hear us, Hea! hear us, dear Dao-ki-na!
Ca-ca-ma u ca-ca-ma u ca-ca-ma!"
[Footnote 1: “Zam-at” stone, diamond, crystal or lapis lazuli.]
[Footnote 2: “Mu-di,” seers.]
[Footnote 3: “Khas-i-zi,” counsellors.]
[Footnote 4: “Ab-u-li,” guard of the great gates of the city.]
[Footnote 5: “Sat mu-si,” in the night-time, or last night.]
[Footnote 6: “Sib-zu,” embroiderer.]
[Footnote 7: “Ku-bar-ra,” robe of a prince.]
[Footnote 8: “Tur-tan-u,” next in rank to the King.]
[Footnote 9: “Dum-khi” or “dun-khi,” couch.]
[Footnote 10: “Ka-ra! va,” etc., “Speak out! and if thou augurest the death of the King, or if thou augurest life of extended years, I have spoken! Speak out! and cast the lots! may they be propitious with us!”]
[Footnote 11: “Za-Ga-bri,” the mountains of Zu, “Ga-bri” ("mountains"), and “Za,” another form of “zu,” the divine bird of the storm-cloud. They were at one time called the mountains of Susa, now the Kurdistan range of mountains. The name we have given we believe to be the probable ancient one.]
[Footnote 12: “Na-bu,” prophet, seer.]
[Footnote 13: We have here quoted a prayer after a bad dream, the text of which is lithographed in “C.I.W.A.,” vol. iv. 66, 2, and is supposed to be an ancient Accadian prayer. See “Records of the Past,” vol. ix. p. 151.]
[Footnote 14: “Nin-a-zu,” the goddess of darkness and death.]
[Footnote 15: “Mak-hir,” the daughter of the sun, and goddess of dreams.]
[Footnote 16: Literally, “he that shows favor.” The above prayer was translated for the first time by Rev. A.H. Sayce, M.A., in the “Records of the Past,” vol. ix. p. 151. We have followed as literally as possible the original, and have given it its probable place in the epic.]
[Footnote 17: Hea, god of the ocean, the earth’s surface, brightness, etc., and chief protector of men.]
[Footnote 18: “Sab-it,” or “Sabitu” ("seven"), the seven winds, gods of the abyss or ocean.]
[Footnote 19: “Tiamatu,” the abyss or ocean.]
[Footnote 20: “Dao-ki-na” or “Dao-ci-na,” the wife of Hea, and goddess of the ocean.]
[Footnote 21: “Amen and Amen and Amen!” The Assyrian word is “Amanu.” The original “ca-ca-ma” ("Amen”) concludes the incantation; Heb. [Hebrew: amen] See “C.I.W.A.,” vol. iv. pl. 14; also “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 135.]
HEABANI, THE HERMIT SEER
Before a cave within the Gab-ri wild,
A seer is resting on a rock; exiled
By his own will from all the haunts of men,
Beside a pool within a rocky glen
He sits; a turban rests upon his brow,
And meets the lengthened beard of whitest snow.
This morn an omen comes before his eyes,
And him disturbs with a wild eagle’s cries
That fierce attacks a fox before his cave;
For he of beasts is the most cunning knave;
In wait upon the ground the fox hath lain
To lure the bird, which flying deems him slain.
He fiercely seizes it, as swooping down,
The bird with its sly quarry would have flown;
But the a-si quick seized it by the throat,
While the wide wings with frantic fury smote
The beast, and the sharp talons deeply tore
Its foe—both greedy for the other’s gore.
And lo! a voice from yonder sky resounds;
Heabani to his feet now quickly bounds,
And bowing, listens to the voice that comes
In gentleness; upon the winds it roams
From yon blue heights like sighing of the trees;
The seer in reverence upon his knees
Now holy bares his head in Samas’ rays,
While the soft voice to him thus gently says:
“A messenger, Heabani, soon shall come
With offers rich, to leave thy lonely home.
This eagle sought its food and found a snare,
The messenger will come from Izdubar,
To learn from thee the meaning of his dream
Which goddess Ishtar sent,—a snare for him.
Then to the messenger prove not a snare,
As yonder a-si doth the eagle tear.”
The seer in fury tore his beard of snow
“Alas! my days shall end in woe
Within these wilds my happiness is mine,
No other joys I seek, my god divine;
I would upon these rocks lie down to die,
Upon my back here sleep eternally.”
And Samas urging, to him thus replied:
“Heabani, hast thou not some manly pride?
And thinkest thou no joy thou here wilt lose?
The lovely Sam-kha-tu the seer may choose.
Arrayed in trappings of divinity
And the insignia of royalty,
Heabani then in Erech shall be great,
And live in happiness and royal state;
And Izdubar shall hearken, and incline
His heart in warmest friendship, and recline
With thee upon a couch of luxury.
And seat thee on a throne of royalty,
On his left hand, a crown shall grace thy brow.
Kings of the earth shall to thee subject bow
And kiss thy feet, and Izdubar shall give
Thee wealth, and thou in luxury shalt live.
In silence Erech’s men shall bow to thee,
In royal raiment thou shalt happy be.”
Heabani listened to the words that came
From Samas, and his brow was lit with shame
To hear the god of war urge him to go
To earthly happiness—mayhap to woe;
But he within his cave now listless turns
When Samas ceased; then to his rock returns,
And seats himself with calmness on his brow;
His thoughts in happy memories now flow,
And he recalls the blissful days of yore
When he as seer lived on Euphrates’ shore,
As the queen’s bard oft tuned a festive lay,
While soft-eyed maidens dance and cymbals play.
[Footnote 1: “Gab-ri,” mountains.]
[Footnote 2: “A-si,” fox.]
[Footnote 3: “Sam-kha-tu” ("Joy"), one of the maids of Ishtar.]
EXPEDITION OF ZAIDU IN SEARCH OF THE SEER
Prince Zaidu on his steed now hastes away,
Upon the plains he travelled all that day;
Next morn the Za-Gabri he slow ascends,
Along the mountain sides the horseman wends
Beneath the Eri-ni, and cliffs, and sees
The plains and mountains o’er the misty trees
From the wild summit, and old Khar-sak glow
Above them all with its twin crests of snow.
He plunges in the wild to seek the cave;
Three days unceasing sought young Zaidu brave,
And now at last within the glen he rode,
And near approached Heabani’s wild abode.
At last he sees the seer before his home,
And with his monster now toward him come,
That walked subdued beside the hermit seer,
Thus they upon the rocks above appear.
“Why art thou here in warrior’s array?”
The hermit cries. “I know thee not! away!”
“O holy seer, ’tis Zaidu, from our Sar!
The king of Erech, chieftain Izdubar.”
“What seekest thou within my mountain lair?”
Heabani angry cried. “What brings thee here?”
“For thee! if true Heabani is thy name;
I seek the hermit seer of wondrous fame.
My king doth offer thee rich gifts of state,
And sent me to thee here to make thee great.”
“No empty honors do I seek, which void
Of all true happiness, all men have cloyed.
Return then to thy haunts of pleasure, pain,
For thy king’s embassy is all in vain.”
The seer returns within his lonely cave
And leaves the prince alone the beast to brave.
At last it slinks away within the gloom;
No more from their wild home doth either come,
Three days Prince Zaidu watches the dark lair,
But now his courage turns to blank despair:
The seer hath changed his mind since Samas sought
To urge him forth to leave his lonely lot.
The prince the mountain precipice now climbs,
And peers within while clinging to the limbs
Of stunted oaks, and views the mountain lair;
But all in vain his calls ring on the air.
Then mounting wearily his steed he turns
Away, and unsuccessful thus returns.
[Footnote 1: “Eri-ni,” cedar-trees.]
[Footnote 2: A carnivorous animal supposed to have been either a lion or a tiger, more probably a lion.]
HEABANI RESOLVES TO RETURN TO ERECH
As Zaidu sadly turns and rides away,
The hermit from his cave comes forth to pray:
“Alas! hath all these wilds their charms here lost?
And is my breast with wild ambition tost?
My lonely cot I look upon with shame;
Again I long to seek the fields of fame,
Where luxury my remaining years
May crown, and happiness may find—or tears;
’Tis true! I should have welcomed the bar-ru;
But he hath since returned to Subartu."
His harp he took from its dust-covered case,
And kissed its carved and well-remembered face;
And tuning it, he glanced toward the wood,
And sang his farewell ode to solitude:
Farewell, ye mountains, woods
My heart doth long again for joy;
I love your wilds and mossy leas,
But oh, your solitude doth cloy!
I love to see the bur-khi-is
Sweep stately o’er the mossy rocks;
And tsabi in a wild like this,
Hear the tattoo of red woodchucks.
I love the cries of lig-bar-ri
The nes-i calling for their prey;
And leaping of the na-a-li
That fly in wildest fear away.
I love the bu-hir-tser-i
Hear cu-uts-tsi with thunder roll
Across the skies within my view.
I love to see the ca-ca-bi
Peep through the pine-trees o’er my home,
And watch the wild tu-ra-a-khi
And arme welcome, to me come.
Farewell! ye solitudes, farewell!
I will not moulder rotting lie
With no one’s lips to wish me well;
O give me immortality!
But what is fame? A bubble
Upon the breeze, that bursts its shell,
And all our brightest hopes are flown,
And leaves our solitude a hell.
The holy minstrel bows his head in woe,
And sweeps the harpstrings with a movement slow;
Then lifts his eyes toward the setting sun,
His evening invocation thus begun:
O Samas! to the lifting
of my hands
Show favor! unto me thy servant turn!
What man before thy blessed Light withstands?
O thou! what mortal thine own words can learn?
And who can rival them inviolate?
Among the gods no equal thou hast found.
In Heaven who of all the gods is great?
O thou alone! art great through Heaven’s bound!
On earth what man is great?
alas! no one,
For thou alone art great! through earth’s vast bounds.
When wide thy awful voice in Heaven resounds,
The gods fall prostrate to our Holy One;
When on the earth thy voice afar resounds,
The genii bow to thee and kiss the dust.
In thee, O Samas! do I put my trust,
For thy great love and mercy wide abounds!
O my Creator, God, thy watchfulness
O’er me, oh may it never cease!
Keep thou the opening of my lips! the fleece
Of purest snow be my soul’s daily dress.
Guard thou my hands! O Samas, Lord of Light!
And ever keep my life and heart aright!
[Footnote 1: “Bar-ru,” an army officer]
[Footnote 2: “Su-bar-tu,” Syria]
[Footnote 3: “Bur-khi-is,” antelopes]
[Footnote 4: “Tsabi,” gazelles]
[Footnote 5: “Lig-bar-ri,” hyenas]
[Footnote 6: “Nes-i,” lions]
[Footnote 7: “Na-a-li,” spotted stags]
[Footnote 8: “Bu-hir-tser-i,” beasts of the field]
[Footnote 9: “Khar-sa-a-nu sa-qu-u-tu,” forests thick]
[Footnote 10: “Cu-uts-tsi,” storms.]
[Footnote 11: “Ca-ca-bi,” stars.]
[Footnote 12: “Tu-ra-a-khi,” deer.]
[Footnote 13: “Arme,” wild goats.]
[Footnote 14: This prayer is made up from Assyrian fragments now in the British Museum.]
[Footnote 15: See “Records of the Past,” vol. iii. p. 136.]
[Footnote 16: “Genii,” spirits.]
HEABANI’S WISDOM—SONG OF THE KHAU-IK-I
The dark-eyed maids are dancing in the halls
Of Erech’s palace: music fills the walls
Of splendor where the Sar-dan-nu enthroned,
His hours is whiling by the maidens zoned;
A whirling garland chanting forth a song.
Accompanied with harps thus sang the throng:
chant and sing
To Erech’s king our mighty Sar.
When Hea did Heabani bring,
Who now to Erech comes afar,
He taught him then all hidden things
Of Ki or bright Samu above,
That to the Mu-di mystery brings.
Oh, how Heabani we shall love!”
“Then sing with joy
The Khau-ga chant with waving arms,
The Nin-uit sing Au-un-na-ci
Give to our Sar your sweetest charms.
“All knowledge that
Heabani holds it in his glance,
Sees visions inconceivable,
The Zi his wizard eyes entrance.
Sweet peace he brings from troubled dreams,
He comes to El-li-tar-du-si,
From a far road by mountain streams;
Then sing with joy ye Khau-ik-i!
“Then sing with joy
The Khau-ga chant with waving arms,
The Nin-uit sing An-un-na-ci!
Give to our Sar your sweetest charms.
“E’en all that
on the tablet rests,
In Erech’s tower, the Su-bu-ri,
The beautiful, with glorious crests,
He wrote for far posterity.
We plead with him to leave us not,
But Zi-Gab-ri him led away,
When our great Shal-man joy us brought,
And Elam fled to the blue sea.
“Then sing with joy
Il-gi-sa-kis-sat from above,
The Nin-uit sing An-un-na-ci!
Oh, how Heabani we shall love!”
The maidens note their monarch’s moody face,
And turn their songs to him with easy grace,
Of their great ruler tune a joyous lay,
And oft into his eyes hurl glances gay;
And trumpets join the chorus, rolling drums,
And wild applause from all the chieftains comes,
Till the grave seers and councillors now cry
In praise of him they love so tenderly:
With arms upraised the mighty chorus join,
Until his heart is filled with joy divine;
And thus they sing with more than royal praise,
Their love for him in every face doth blaze.
[Footnote 1: “Sar-dan-nu,” the great King.]
[Footnote 2: “Sar,” king.]
[Footnote 3: “Ki,” earth.]
[Footnote 4: “Samu,” heaven.]
[Footnote 5: “Mu-di,” seers or wise men.]
[Footnote 6: “Khau-ik-i,” the choral band.]
[Footnote 7: “Khau-ga,” chorus.]
[Footnote 8: “Nin-uit,” song.]
[Footnote 9: “An-un-na-ci,” spirits of the earth.]
[Footnote 10: “Zi,” spirits of the earth, air, water, etc.]
[Footnote 11: “El-li-tar-du-si,” one of the temples of Erech.]
[Footnote 12: “Su-bu-ri,” the lofty.]
[Footnote 13: “Zi-Gab-ri,” spirits of the mountains.]
[Footnote 14: “Shal-man,” deliverer.]
[Footnote 15: “Il-gi-sa-kis-sat,” spirits of the hosts.]
SONGS IN PRAISE OF IZDUBAR AND HEABANI AS SUNG BY THE KHAU-IK-I
Our Izdubar dear Erech raised
From her distress, when she did mourn;
With joy his glorious name be praised!
Of a great warrior’s daughter born,
And Bel in his own might, him arms,
To Erech’s sons and daughters save;
What other Sar hath glorious charms
Like his, who saved proud Elam’s slave?
No rival hath our mighty Sar,
Thy cymbals strike and raise the cry!
All hail! All hail! great Izdubar!
His deeds immortal glorify!
Our Izdubar our sons preserves
To all our fathers day and night,
And Erech’s ruler well deserves
Our highest praise, whose matchless might
Delights the gods! All hail our Sar!
Whose firmness, wisdom need no praise!
Queen Daunat’s son, our Izdubar,
His glory to the Sami raise!
Of a great warrior’s
The gods clothe him with matchless might;
His glory greets the coming morn,
Oh, how in him we all delight!
And thus of Seer Heabani they now chant
His birth and history and hyemal haunt.
Who can compare with thee,
The son of Bel; thy hands didst lay
Upon Ar-ur-u, thine own queen,
With glory crowned her on that day.
To her thy strength did give,
Her with thy love and a dear son;
With Ami’s strength within his breast,
And Ninip sped then to his throne.
When Queen Ar-u-ru hears her
From Erech’s city far has gone,
She bows her head upon the sward,
With pleading hands in woe doth moan.
And to Heabani she gave birth,
The warrior, great Ninip’s son,
Whose fame is spread through all the earth.
The queen with her own maids alone
Retired within her palace walls
For purity in Erech’s halls.
Like the corn-god his face
Of men and countries he possessed,
Great wisdom by the gods revealed:
As Ner the god, his limbs were dressed.
With wild gazelles he ate his food
While roaming with them in the night;
For days he wandered in the wood,
And bu-hir-tser-i him delight.
The Zi-ar-ri Heabani loves,
That play within the running streams;
With Zi-ti-am-a-ti he roves
Upon the sands in warm sunbeams.
“The prince returns, O Sar!” the herald
And low before the throne he bowed his head;
“Our Zaidu, the bewitcher of all men,
Doth unsuccessful to us come again.
Before the cave the seer confronted him
Three days where Khar-sak’s snowy brow doth gleam.
Heabani with his beast in his cave went,
And Zaidu waited, but his courage spent
When he beheld the seer and beast remain
Within the cave, and all his words were vain.
The prince remains without with downcast face,
And beg of thee, his Sar, thy sovereign grace.”
The king to all the maidens waves his hand,
Then vanishes from sight the choral band.
[Footnote 1: “Sami,” heavens.]
[Footnote 2: “Nin” or “Nin-ip,” the god of the chase and war.]
[Footnote 3: “Ner” or “Nergal,” the giant king of war, the strong begetter.]
[Footnote 4: “Bu-hir-tser-i,” beasts of the field.]
[Footnote 5: “Zi-ar-ri,” spirits of the rivers, water-nymphs.]
[Footnote 6: “Zi-ti-am-a-ti,” spirits of the sea, naiads or water-nymphs.]
ZAIDU’S RETURN, AND HIS INSTRUCTION TO TAKE TWO MAIDS WITH HIM TO ENTICE THE SEER FROM HIS CAVE
Prince Zaidu prostrate bows before the Sar,
Arises, thus narrates to Izdubar:
“Thy sovereign, Zaidu hath his king obeyed,
The royal mission I have thus essayed
As Amu’s soldier; I undaunted tried
To urge my mission which the seer denied.
I firmly met the beast that with him came:
Unmanly fear, confess I to my shame,
Came o’er me when I first beheld the beast,
In vain I plead, and in despair I ceased
When he refused, and angry from me passed
Within his cave, where cliffs and rocks are massed;
I climbed, but the wild entrance did not gain,
And for advice have I returned again.”
“’Tis well, my son,” the Sar to
“Thy wisdom I commend for thy young head,
Again upon thy mission thou must go.
His might, and strength of purpose, thou dost know,
Before a maiden’s charms will flee away;
For he doth love the Zi-Ga-bri that play
Within the mountain gorges. Turn thy face
Again with manly portance; for I’ll grace
Thine embassy with two of our sweet maids,
Who oft shall cheer thee through the mountain glades,
Whom thou shalt lead before Heabani’s den
With their bright charms exposed within the glen.
Take Sam-kha-tu and sweet Khar-imatu:
They will entice the seer when he shall view
Their charms displayed before his wondering eyes.
With Sam-kha, Joy, the seer you will surprise;
Khar-im-tu will thy plans successful end,
To her seductive glance his pride will bend.
Sweet Sam-kha’s charms are known, she is our Joy,
As Ishtar’s aid her charms ne’er cloy;
Kharun-tu with her perfect face and form,
The hearts of all our court doth take by storm:
When joys by our sweet Sam-kha are distilled,
Kharun-tu’s love overcomes us till we yield.
Thus, armed with Love’s Seduction and her Joy,
The greatest powers of earth thou dost employ;
No flesh can face them but a heart of stone.
And all the world doth lie before them prone.”
Three days Prince Zaidu sat with Kharun-tu
Before the cave within Heabani’s view;
Beside the pool they waited for the seer:
From Erech three days’ journey brought them here,
But where hath Joy, sweet Sam-kha, roving gone?
When they arrived at setting of the sun
She disappeared within with waving arms;
With bright locks flowing she displayed her charms.
As some sweet zir-ru did young Sam-kha seem,
A thing of beauty of some mystic dream.
[Footnote 1: “Anu,” the King of Heaven.]
[Footnote 2: “Zi-Gab-ri,” spirits of the mountains.]
THE TWO MAIDENS ENTICE THE SEER
Thus in Heabani’s cave the maiden went,
And o’er the sleeping seer her form she bent;
O’er him who with gazelles oft eats his food;
O’er him who drinks with bhu-ri in the wood;
O’er him who loves the zir-ri,—of them dreams,
And sports with them within the mountain streams.
And when the gay enticer saw the seer
Unconscious sleeping with sweet Joy so near,
She clasped him to her breast and kissed his brow.
The seer awakes, with wonder eyes her now:
“Thy glory thou hast brought to me!” he saith,
“Sweet Zir-ru comes to me with fragrant breath!”
And with delight he eyes her beauteous form,
His breast warm moved by the enticer’s charm.
He springs upon his feet and her pursues:
She laughing flees; to sport with him doth choose.
And now he eyes his hairy body, arms
Compared to Sam-kha’s snowy god-like charms,
She give to him her freshness, blooming youth?
She laughing comes again to him,—Forsooth!
Her glorious arms she opens, flees away,
While he doth follow the enticer gay.
He seizes, kisses, takes away her breath,
And she falls to the ground—perhaps in death
He thinks, and o’er her leans where she now lay;
At last she breathes, and springs, and flees away.
But he the sport enjoys, and her pursues;
But glancing back his arms she doth refuse.
And thus three days and four of nights she played;
For of Heabani’s love she was afraid.
Her joyous company doth him inspire
For Sam-kha, joy, and love, and wild desire.
He was not satisfied unless her form
Remained before him with her endless charm.
But when his bhu-ri of the field the sight
Beheld, the wild gazelles fled in affright.
And now without the cave they came in view
Of Zaidu waiting with sweet Kharim-tu,
And when Heabani saw the rounded form
Of bright Kharim-tu, her voluptuous charm
Drew him to her, and at her feet he sate
With wistful face, resigned to any fate.
Kharim-tu, smiling sweetly, bent her head,
Enticing him the tempter coyly said,
“Heabani, like a famous god thou art,
Why with these creeping things doth sleep thy heart?
Come thou with me to Erech Su-bu-ri
[Footnote 1: “Bhu-ri,” wild-beasts, pets of the hermit seer.]
[Footnote 2: “Su-bu-ri,” the lofty.]
[Footnote 3: “Sam-kha-tu” or “Samkha.”]
[Transcriber’s Note: Footnote 3 looks like it should be two lines down from where it is; this is probably an error.]
[Footnote 4: “Mid-dan-nu,” a carnivorous animal, supposed to be a tiger; the Khorsabad sculpture, however, portrays it as a lion.]
FESTIVAL IN HONOR OF HEABANI, WHO ARRIVES AT ERECH—INTERPRETATION OF THE DREAM
The sounds of wild rejoicing now arise;
“Heabani comes!” resound the joyful cries,
And through the gates of Erech Suburi
Now file the chieftains, Su-khu-li rubi.
A festival in honor of their guest
The Sar proclaims, and Erech gaily drest,
Her welcome warm extends to the famed seer.
The maidens, Erech’s daughters, now appear,
With richest kirtles gaily decked with flowers,
And on his head they rain their rosy showers.
Rejoicing sing, while harps and cymbals play,
And laud him to the skies in their sweet way;
And mingling with their joy, their monarch rode
Before the seer, who stately after strode
Beside his beast, and next the men of fame.
The maids thus chant high honors to his name:
“A prince we make thee, mighty
Be filled with joy and royal cheer!
All hail to Erech’s seer!
Whom day and night our Sar hath
O banish fear! for Hea taught
The seer, his glory wrought.
He comes! whom Samas loves as gold,
To Erech grace, our city old;
All wisdom he doth hold.
Great Hea doth to him unfold
All that remains to man untold;
Give him the chain of gold!
He cometh from the Za-Gab-ri
To our dear Erech Su-bu-ri.
Thy dream he will reveal, O Sar!
Its meaning show to Izdubar,
Victorious king of war.”
Within the council halls now lead the seers
With trepidation and with many fears,
To hear the seer explain their monarch’s dream.
Beside the royal throne he sits supreme
Among the seers, the Sar, his scribe commands
To read his dream recorded as it stands
In Erech’s Gi; who reads it to the seer,
Who answers thus:
“In this there doth appear
A god, whose ardent love will lead to deeds
Of hate against thee, Sar; thy present needs
Are great, O king! as fire this love will burn
Until the wicked seven on thee turn;
And blood, alone, will not their fury sate:
The gods will hurl upon thee some dread fate.”
In silence, Izdubar the warning heard;
His blood with terror froze, and then was stirred
By passions wild, when he recalled the scene
Of Ishtar’s love for him by man unseen;
When she so wildly then proclaimed her love;
And now with hate his inmost soul doth move,
And her bright form to a black dal-khu turned
And furious passions on his features burned.
And then of the first dream he thought, and light
Across his vision broke:
“’Tis true! aright
Thy seer hath read! for Ishtar came to me
In the first dream, her face e’en yet I see!
Aye, more! her lips to mine again then fell!
Her arms I felt around me,—breath too well
I know! of fragrance, while perfume arose
Around my dream and fled not at the close;
As frankincense and myrrh it lingered, when
I woke. Ah yes! the queen will come again!”
Then to his counsellor who wondering stood,
Nor heard his murmuring, but saw subdued
His features were, at first, and then, they grand
Became with settled hate; he raised his hand;
“’Tis true!” he said, “Reward on him bestow!
Then to the waiting feast we all shall go.”
[Footnote 1: “Su-khu-li ru-bi,” attendants of the King.]
[Footnote 2: “Gi,” literally a written tablet, a record.]
[Footnote 3: The seven wicked spirits of the earth, air, and ocean.]
[Footnote 4: “Dal-khu,” an evil spirit, a demon.]
IZDUBAR SLAYS THE MIDANNU IN THE FESTIVE HALL, AND HEABANI DECLARES HIM TO BE A GOD
The guests are seated round the festal board;
Heabani takes his seat beside his lord.
The choicest viands of the wealthy plain
Before them placed and fishes of the main,
With wines and cordials, juices rich and rare
The chieftains all enjoy—the royal fare.
This day, with Izdubar they laugh and joke
’Mid courtesies and mirth, and oft provoke
The ringing merry laughter through the halls.
When all are satisfied within the walls,
Their fill have eaten of the royal fare,
With wine they banish from them every care.
The Su-khu-li with tinkling bells proclaim,
“Our Sar would speak! Our king of mighty fame,”
Who says: “My chieftains, lords, our seer requests
A test of strength before assembled guests;
Unarmed requires your Sar-dan-nu to slay
The Mid-an-nu which he hath brought to-day.
So stand aside, my friends, behold the test!
Your Sar will satisfy his seer and guest.”
The monster now is brought before the king,
Heabani him unchains to let him spring
Upon the giant king. His chieftains stand
In terror looking at their monarch grand,
Who smiling stands, his eyes on the beast fixed;
While they in wildest terror are transfixed.
Heabani claps his hands towards the king,
And the wild beast upon his form doth spring.
The giant grasps its throat in high mid-air,
And holds it ’neath his arm without a fear.
With sullen choking roars it struggling dies,
While shouts of joy from all the guests arise.
The mighty deed of strength the seer appals,
And at the feet of Izdubar he falls:
“Immortal king! illustrious of men!
Thy glorious strength reveals the gods again
On earth. To thee I bow in reverent fear,
A god returned thou art! O Erech, hear!
Of kingdoms thou art blessed with grandest fame,
That thou among thy kings a god can name.”
Again they gathered round the festal board,
And joy and revelry they soon restored.
The revels high are raised o’er sparkling wine;
Through all the night they praise their king divine.
[Footnote 1: “Su-khu-li,” the attendants.]
[Footnote 2: “Mid-an-nu,” carnivorous animal, supposed to be a lion, the pet of the seer.]
[Footnote 3: This feat of Izdubar is portrayed on the bas-relief in the Louvre Museum, Paris, from the Khorsabad sculpture, and is also copied in Sayce’s edition of Smith’s “Chaldean Account of Genesis.” opposite p. 175.]
THE ANNUAL SALE OF THE MAIDENS OF BABYLON
Hail holy union! wedded love on earth!
The highest bliss which crowns us from our birth,
Our joy! the mainspring of our life and aims,
Our great incentive when sweet love inflames
Our hearts to glorious deeds and ever wreathes
Around our brows, the happy smile that breathes
Sweet fragrance from the home of holy love,
And arms us with a courage from above.
O Woman! Woman! weave thy love around
Thy chosen lover, who in thee hath found
A loveliness and purity so sweet,
That he doth watch for coming of the feet
That brings him happiness and thrill his heart—
For one, of all thy kind who can impart
To him the holiest bliss, the sweetest joy,
That e’er can crown his life so tenderly;
He worships thee within a holy fane,
Let not his hope and joy be all in vain!
O thou, sweet Queen! we crown thee in our homes,
And give to thee our love that holy comes
From Heaven to inspire and bless our lives.
For this mankind all hope to take pure wives
To sacredest of all our temples, shrines,
And keep thee pure within sweet love’s confines
That we may worship thee, and daily bring
Devotions to our altar,—to thee sing
Our orisons of praise, and sacred keep
Our homes till we shall softly drop asleep
Within the arms we love so tenderly,
And carry with us a sweet memory
Of purity and bliss that blessed our lives,
And children gave from sweetest of pure wives.
Thou art our all! O holy woman, pure
Forever may thy charms on earth endure!
Oh, trample not upon thy husband’s love!
For true devotion he doth daily prove.
Oh, shackle not his feet in life’s fierce strife,
His weary shoulders burden,—blast his life!
Or palsy those dear hands that work for thee,
And fill his eyes with tears of agony,
Till love shall turn as acid to his teeth,
And thorns shall tear his side with hellish wreath,
And daggers pierce his heart, and ice his soul,
And thou become to him a hated ghoul!
What married woman is untainted, pure?
She, who when married spreads for men no lure,
Bestows caresses on no man but him
Who is her husband; she who doth not trim
Her form to catch the vulgar gaze, nor paints
Herself, or in her husband’s absence taunts
Not her sweet purity; exposes not
Her form undraped, whose veil no freeman aught
Has raised; or shows her face to others than
Her slaves; and loves alone her husbandman;
She who has never moistened her pure lips
With liquors that intoxicate; nor sips
With others joys that sacred are alone
To him, her strength; who claims her as his own.
O Beauty, Purity, my theme inspire!
To woman’s love of old, my muse aspire!
When her sweet charms were equally bestowed,
And fairest of the sex with hopes imbued
Of capturing men of wealth and lives of ease,
When loveliness at public sale doth please
The nobles of the land to wealth bestow
Upon ill-favored sisters, maids of woe,
Who claimed no beauty, nor had lovely charms;
When crones and hags, and maids with uncouth forms,
Secured a husbandman despite of fate,
And love redeemed them from the arms of hate.
The proclamation Izdubar had made
To bring to the great plaza every maid,
For Beltis’ feast and Hergal’s now arrives,
When maidens are selected as the wives
Of noblemen or burghers of the towns
And cities of the kingdom; when wealth crowns
The nobles richest, ever as of old,
With beauty they have purchased with their gold.
The festival, the Sabat-tu hath come!
The Sabat-tu of Elul! hear the hum
Of voices filling Erech’s streets!
The maids are coming, how each gaily prates!
But Love! O where art thou? art thou a thing
That gold may buy? Doth lucre thy bright wing
Unfold to hover over human hearts?
Oh, no! Thy presence to our soul imparts
A sweeter joy than selfishness can give,
Thou givest love that thou mayst love receive;
Nor asking aught of wealth, of rank, or fame.
True love in palace, hovel, is the same
Sweet joy, the holiest of sacred things.
For this we worship Ishtar, for she brings
Us happiness, when we ourselves forget
In the dear arms we love; no coronet
Of power, or countless gold, or rank, or fame,
Or aught that life can give, or tongue can name,
Can reach the heart that loyally doth love,
Nor hopes of heaven, nor fears of hell can move.
Mayhap, this Sabattu, some lover may
All wealth he claims abandon on this day,
For the dear heart that seeming pleads to him,
While her fond glistening eyes shall on him gleam.
A look, a glance; when mingling souls speak love,
Will in his breast undying longings move;
And let us hope that when the youths have lain
Their all before the herald, that no men
Who see their sacrifice will rob their hearts
Of all that gives them joy or bliss imparts;
Or that this day alone will maidens see
Who have not loved, and they will happy be
With him who purchases her as his wife;
Or proud young beauties will enjoy the strife
Of bidders to secure their lovely charms,
And love may bring their husbands to their arms.
The day is sacred, dedicated old
To Love and Strength, when loving arms shall fold
A vigorous husband to a maiden’s breast,
Where she may ever stay and safely rest.
The day of Ishtar, Queen of Love! the day
Of Nergal, the strong god, to whom they pray
For strength to bless with vigor Accad’s sons.
For many anxious years this day atones.
This day their Sar the flesh of birds eats not,
Nor food profaned by fire this day, nor aught
Of labor may perform nor zubat change,
Nor snowy ku-bar-ra anew arrange.
A sacrifice he offers not, nor rides
Upon his chariot this day, nor guides
His realm’s affairs, and his Tur-tan-nu rests.
Of soldiers, and of orders, he divests
His mind; and even though disease may fall
Upon him, remedies he may not call.
The temple he shall enter in the night,
And pray that Ishtar’s favor may delight
His heart; and lift his voice in holy prayer,
In Nergal’s temple rest from every care,
Where he before the holy altar bends
With lifted hands, his soul’s petition sends.
Around the square the palms and cedars shine,
And bowers of roses cluster round divine.
Beneath an arch of myrtles, climbing vines,
And canopy,—with wreathing flowers it shines,
There stands a wondrous garland-wreathed throne,
Where maids are gathered;—each unmarried one.
The timid maids and bold of Babylon
Are each in turn led to the rosy throne;
The crowd of bidders round the herald stand,
The richest and the poorest of the land.
The queen of Accad’s maids doth now appear,
We see the burnished chariot coming near,
Ten beauteous bays with proud steps, nodding plumes
Come first; behind, a train of nobles comes;
And now we see the close-drawn canopy
Thrown back by slaves, who step aside, that she
The queen of beauty crowned with lilies, rose,
May here alight. And see! she queenly goes
With dainty steps between the noblemen,
Who stand on either side the queen
Of beauty of the plains, who first this day
Shall reign upon the throne, and lead the way
For all the maids who shall be bought for gold,
And thus the first upon the throne is sold.
She takes her seat beneath the canopy,
Upon the throne high raised, that all may see;
As she her veil of fine spun gold flings back
From her sweet face and o’er her ringlets black,
Her large dark eyes, soft as a wild gazelle’s,
Upon the richest nobles dart appeals.
Her bosom throbs ’neath gems and snowy lace,
And robes of broidered satin, velvets, grace
Her beauty with their pearly folds that fall
Around her form.
Hark! hear the herald’s call!
“Behold this pearl! my lords and noblemen,
And who will bid for her as wife, my men?”
“Ana-bilti khurassi ash at ka!"
“Akhadu khurassi ana sa-sa!"
“U sinu bilti khurassi!" two cried.
“Sal-sutu bilti!" nobles three replied;
And four, and five, and six, till one bid ten,
A vast amount of gold for noblemen:
But see! the bidders in excitement stand
Around a youth who cries with lifted hand
And features pale and stern, who now began
To bid against a wealthy nobleman,
Whose countless herds graze far upon the plain,
His laden ships that ride upon the main
He counts by scores. He turns his evil eyes
And wolfish face upon the youth and cries,
“Khamisserit!" The lover answering says:
“Esra’a!" “U selasa’a!" then brays
The gray-haired lover. “U irbaha!" cries
The youth, and still the nobleman defies;
Who answers cooly, “Khausa’a;" and eyes
The anxious youth, who wildly “Miha!" cries.
“Mine! mine! she is! though you alapu bid!”
“A fool thou art!” the noble, leaving, said.
“One hundred talents for a maid!” he sneered,
And in the crowd he growling disappeared.
The measures filled with shining gold are brought,
And thus the loveliest of all is bought.
The next in beauty on the throne is sold,
And thus the beautiful are sold for gold.
The richest thus select the beautiful,
The poor must take alone the dutiful
And homely with a dower which beauty bought,
And ugliness with gold becomes his lot.
The ugliest, unsightly, and deformed,
Is now brought forth; with many wriggles squirmed
She to the throne, where beauty late had sat:
Her ugliness distorted thus; whereat
The herald cries:
“Who will this woman take
With smallest dowry? She can cook and bake,
And many household duties well perform,
Although she does not claim a beauty’s charm.
Who wants a wife?”
The ugly crone with blinks
Doth hideous look, till every bidder shrinks.
A sorry spectacle, mis-shapen, gross,
She is, and bidders now are at a loss
How much to ask to take the hag to wife.
At last one cries:
“Five bilti, for relief
Of herald I will take, to start the bid!”
“And four of bilti, I’ll take, with the maid!”
“Three and a half!” one cries with shaking head,
“And she is yours, my man!” the herald said,
And thus she bought a husband and a home.
And so the scare-crows, scraggy ones, now come
In turn; the lean, ill-favored, gawky, bald,
Long-nosed, uncouth, raw-boned, and those with scald
And freckled, frowsy, ricketty and squat,
The stumpy, bandy-legged, gaunt, each bought
A man; though ugly as a toad, they sold,
For every man with her received his gold.
The heaped-up gold which beauteous maids had brought
Is thus proportioned to the bidder’s lot;
The grisly, blear-eyed, every one is sold,
And husbands purchased for a pile of gold,
And happiness diffused throughout the land;
For when the maid refused her husband’s hand
She might return by paying back the gold.
And every maid who thus for wife was sold
Received a bond from him who purchased her,
To wed her as his wife, or else incur
The forfeit of his bond, and thus no maids
In all the land were found as grumbling jades,
Whose fate it was to have no husbandman,
For every woman had a husband then.
[Footnote 1: We have included in Tablet IV Tablets V and VI of the original, as classified by Mr. Sayce.]
[Footnote 2: The above is taken from an Assyrian fragment ("W.A.I.,” ii. 35, No. 4) translated in “Records of the Past,” vol. xi., pp. 159, 160, and presents the Assyrian view of purity and the customs of their people.]
[Footnote 3: Literally, “whose veil no freeman of pure race has raised.” Before slaves and men of mean rank, women of the East are not obliged to veil the face.]
[Footnote 4: Literally, “who has never moistened her teeth with an intoxicating liquor.” “Rec. of the Past,” p. 160, l. 6.]
[Footnote 5: The public sale herein described is taken from the statement of Herodotus (see Herodotus, vol. i., p. 196. Compare “Nic. Dam. Fr.,” 131, and AElian. “Var. Hist.,” iv. 1), who says all the marriageable virgins in all the towns of the empire or kingdom were sold at public auction. The beautiful maidens were sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds were deposited before the herald. The ugly maidens in turn were then put up, and the bidders were called upon to take them as wives with the smallest dowry to be paid from the proceeds of the sales of the beautiful maids, and they were in turn awarded to those who would accept them with the smallest amount as dowry. The numerous contracts for the sales of women now in the British Museum may possibly be records of these transactions.]
[Footnote 6: “Sab-at-tu,” a day of rest for the heart ("W.A.I.,” ii. 32), the Sabbath day, which was dedicated to the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, and their gods, which were known by different names.]
[Footnote 7: “Lain,” to lay, v.a. (pretr. “laid,” part, passive “lain,” from “liggan,” Sax.), “to place along the ground.”—Fenning’s Royal Eng. Dic., London, MDCLXXV.]
[Footnote 8: From the Babylonian Festival Calendar ("C.I.W.A.,” vol. iv., pls. 32, 33); also translated in “Records of the Past,” vol. vii., pp. 162, 163.]
[Footnote 9: “Zubat,” robes.]
[Footnote 10: “Ku-bar-ra,” linen robes.]
[Footnote 11: “And two golden talents!”]
[Footnote 12: “Three talents!”]
[Footnote 13: “Fifteen!”]
[Footnote 14: “Twenty!”]
[Footnote 15: “And thirty!”]
[Footnote 16: “And forty!”]
[Footnote 17: “Fifty!”]
[Footnote 18: “One hundred!”]
[Footnote 19: “One thousand!”]
[Footnote 20: “Five bilti,” about L3,165 sterling, or $15,825.]
COUNCIL IN THE PALACE
The seers on silver couches round the throne;
The hangings of the carved lintel thrown
Aside; the heralds cried: “The Sar! The Sar!
The council opens our King Izdubar!”
The Sar walked o’er the velvets to his throne
Of gold inlaid with gems. A vassal prone
Before the Sar now placed the stool of gold,
Arranged his royal robes with glittering fold
Of laces, fringes rich inwove with pearls,
Embroidered with quaint figures, curious twirls.
Behind the throne a prince of royal blood
Arrayed in courtly splendor, waiting stood,
And gently waved a jewelled fan aloft
Above the Sar’s tiara; carpets soft
From Accad’s looms the varied tilings bright,
In tasteful order, part conceal from sight.
The glittering pillars stand with gold o’erlaid
In rows throughout the room to the arcade,
Within the entrance from a columned hall.
The ivory-graven panels on the wall
On every side are set in solid gold.
The canopy chased golden pillars hold
Above the throne, and emeralds and gems
Flash from the counsellor’s rich diadems.
In silence all await the monarch’s sign:
“This council hath been called, the hour is thine
To counsel with thy King upon a plan
Of conquest of our foes, who ride this plain,
Unchecked around; these Suti should be driven
From Sumir’s plain. Have ye our wrongs forgiven?
Khumbaba hath enjoyed great Accad’s spoils
Too long; with him we end these long turmoils.
What sayest thou, Heabani?—all my seers?
Hath Accad not her chariots and spears?”
Then one among the wisest seers arose
“To save our precious tune which hourly flows,
He should our seer, Rab-sak-i first invite
To lay his plans before the Sar, and light
May break across our vision. I confess
Great obstacles I see, but acquiesce
In any plan you deem may bring success.
The gods, I feel our cause will gladly bless.”
Another spoke, and all agree at last
To hear the seer whose wisdom all surpassed.
Heabani modestly arose and said,
And gracefully to all inclined his head:
“O Sar! thy seer will gladly counsel give
To thee, and all our seers; my thanks receive
For thy great confidence in my poor skill
To crush our foes who every country fill.
I with the Sar agree that we should strike
A blow against the rival king, who like
Our Sar, is a great giant king, and lives
Within a mountain castle, whence he grieves
All nations by his tyranny, and reigns
With haughty power from Kharsak to these plains.
I’ll lead the way, my Sar, to his wild home;
’Tis twenty kas-pu hence, if you will come.
A wall surrounds his castle in a wood,
With brazen gates strong fastened. I have stood
Beneath the lofty pines which dwindle these
To shrubs that grow in parks as ornate trees.
The mighty walls will reach six gars in height,
And two in breadth, like Nipur’s to the sight.
And when you go, take with you many mules;
With men to bring the spoils, and needed tools
To break the gates, his castle overthrow:
To lose no time, to-morrow we should go.
To Erech, pines and cedars we can bring
With all the wealth of Elam’s giant king,
And Erech fill with glorious parks and halls,
Remove these man-u-bani, ruined walls.
Take to your hearts, ye seers, poor Erech’s wrongs!
Her fall, the bards of Elam sing in songs.
I love dear Erech, may her towers shine!”
He seized his harp, thus sung the seer divine:
“O Erech! thy bright
plains I love;
Although from thee thy seer did rove,
My heart remained with thee!
The foe destroyed thy beauteous towers,
Sa-mu forgot to rain her showers,
And could I happy be?
Mine eyes beheld thy fallen
Thy blood warm flowing in thy streets,
My heart was broken then.
I raised mine eyes and saw thy Sar
In glory on his steed of war,
And joy returned again!
I saw the foe in wild dismay
Before him flee that glorious day.
With joy I heard the cry
Of victory resound afar,
Saw Elam crushed ’neath Accad’s car:
I shouted, Victory!
Away! till birds of prey shall
His flesh and haughty Elam bend
Before our mighty Sar!
Beneath his forest of pine-trees
The battle-cry then loudly raise,
We follow Izdubar!
And may the birds of prey
Khumbaba stretched upon the ground,
Destroy his body there!
And Izdubar alone be king,
And all his people joyful sing,
With glory crown him here!
All hail! All hail! our
The amaranti for him bring,
To crown him, crown him here,
As King of Accad and Sutu,
And all the land of Subar-tu!
So sayeth Hea’s seer!”
The counsellors and chieftains wildly cry
Around the throne, “All hail izzu sar-ri
Of Su-bar-tu!” and shouting leave the halls
To summon Accad’s soldiers from the walls
To hear the war proclaimed against their foes,
And Accad’s war-cry from them loud arose.
King Izdubar Heabani warmly prest
Within his arms upon his throbbing breast,
And said, “Let us to the war temple go,
That all the gods their favor may bestow.”
The seer replied, “Tis well! then let us wend
Our way, and at the altar we will bend,—
To Ishtar’s temple, where our goddess queen
Doth reign, seek her propitious favor, then
In Samas’ holy temple pray for aid
To crush our foe;—with glory on each blade,
Our hands will carry victory in war.”
The chiefs, without the temple, join their Sar.
[Footnote 1: “Rab-sak-i,” chief of the high ones, chief of the seers and counsellors; prime minister.]
[Footnote 2: “Twenty kaspu,” 140 miles; each kaspu was seven miles, or two hours’ journey.]
[Footnote 3: “Six gars,” 120 feet; each gar was a twenty-foot measure. Khumbaba’s walls were thus 120 feet high and forty feet thick—much like the walls of Babylon.]
[Footnote 4: “Nipur” was one of the cities of Izdubar’s kingdom, from whence he came to the rescue of Erech.]
[Footnote 5: “Man-u-ban-i,” a tree or shrub of unpleasant odor mentioned by Heabani. See Sayce’s revised edition Smith’s “Chald. Acc. of Genesis,” p. 254. The fragment translated by Mr. Sayce should be placed in another position in the epic.]
[Footnote 6: “Amaranti,” amaranth. “Immortal amaranth.”—“Par. Lost.”]
THE KING WORSHIPS AT THE SHRINE OF ISHTAR
The richest and the poorest here must stay,
Each proud or humble maid must take her way;
To Ishtar’s temple grand, a lofty shrine,
With youth and beauty seek her aid divine.
Some drive in covered chariots of gold,
With courtly trains come to the temple old.
With ribbons on their brows all take their seats,
The richer maid of nobles, princes, waits
Within grand chambers for the nobler maids;
The rest all sit within the shrine’s arcades.
Thus fill the temple with sweet beauties, crones;
The latest maids are the most timid ones.
In rows the maidens sat along the halls
And vestibules, on couches, where the walls
Were carved with mystic signs of Ishtar’s feast;
Till at the inner shrine the carvings ceased.
Amid the crowd long silken cords were strung
To mark the paths, and to the pillows clung.
The King through the great crowd now pressed his way
Toward the inner shrine, where he may pray.
The jewelled maidens on the cushioned seats,
Now babbling hailed the King, and each entreats
For sacred service, silver or of gold,
And to him, all, their sweetest charms unfold.
Some lovely were, in tears besought and cried,
And many would a blooming bride provide;
While others were deformed and homely, old,
As spinsters still remained, till now grown bold,
They raised their bony arms aloft and bawled.
Some hideous were with harshest voices squalled,
And hags like dal-khi from the Under-World,
Their curses deep, growled forth from where they curled.
But these were few and silent soon became,
And hid their ugliness away in shame.
For years some maids had waited day and night,
But beauty hides the ugly ones from sight.
The King astounded, eyed them seated round;
Beneath their gaze his eyes fell to the ground.
“And hath great Accad lost so many sons,
And left so many maids unmarried ones?”
He eyed the image where the goddess stood
Upon a pedestal of cedar wood
O’erlaid with gold and pearls and uk-ni stones,
And near it stands the altar with its cones
Of gold adorned with gems and solid pearls,—
And from the golden censer incense curls.
Beside the altar stands a table grand
Of solid metal carved with skilful hand;
Upon it stands a mass of golden ware,
With wines and fruits which pious hands prepare.
The walls are glistening with gold and gems,
The priestesses all wear rich diadems.
The Sar now eyes the maidens, while they gaze;
Thus they expectant wait, while he surveys.
And see! he takes from them a charming girl
With Ishtar’s eyes and perfect form, the pearl
Of beauty of them all; turns to the shrine,
When in her lap he drops a golden coin,
And says, “The goddess Ishtar, prosper thee!"
She springs, for she from Ishtar’s halls is
“’Tis well! my daughter, I the favor grant!”
And to the priestess said, “Let here be sent
Great coffers filled with gold! for I release
These maids. Let all their weary waiting cease,
The price I’ll send by messengers to thee.”
And all rejoicing sing a psalmody.
A ring of maidens round the image forms;
With flashing eyes they sing, with waving arms,
A wilderness of snowy arms and feet,
To song and dance the holy measure beat;
A mass of waving ringlets, sparkling eyes.
In wildest transport round each maiden flies,
The measure keeps to sacred psalmody,
With music ravishing,—sweet melody.
The priestess leads for them the holy hymn,
Thus sing they, measure keep with body, limb:
"Let length of days, long lasting years,
With sword of power, extend his holy life!
With years extended full of glory, shine,
Pre-eminent above all kings in strife.
Oh, clothe our king, our lord, with strength divine,
Who with such gifts to gods appears!
“Let his great empire’s limits
Now vast and wide, enlarged, and may he reign
(Till it shall spread before his eyes complete)
Supreme above all kings! May he attain
To silver hairs, old age, and nations greet
Our sovereign in his royalty!
“When gifts are ended of Life’s
The feasts of the Land of the Silver Sky,
With bliss, the Blest Abode Refulgent Courts,
May he enjoy through all eternity,
Where Light of Happy Fields with joy transports
And dwell in life eternal, holy there
In presence of the gods with sacred cheer,
With Assur’s gods walk blessed ways!”
When they have ended all their joyful song,
They gratefully around their monarch throng;
And kneeling at his feet, they bathe his hands
With tears of joy, and kiss the ’broidered bands
Of his bright robes, then joyous haste away;
And Erech’s shame was ended on that day.
And now the Sar as his libation pours
The sparkling sacred wine before the doors
That lead to Ishtar’s glorious inner shrine.
He bows before her golden form divine,
"In thy fair shrine I bow to thee,
O Light of Heaven! bright thy majesty
As glowing flames upon the world doth dawn,
Bright goddess of the earth, thy fixed abode!
Who dawned upon the earth a glorious god!
With thee prosperity hath ever gone.
To gild the towers of cities of mankind!
Thou warrior’s god, who rideth on the wind!
As a hyena fierce thou sendest war,
And as a lion comes thy raging car.
Each day thou rulest from thy canopy
That spreads above in glory,—shines for thee;
O come, exalted goddess of the Sun!”
Against the tyrant King I go to war,
Attend mine arms, O Queen! with radiant car
Of battles! ride upon the giant King
With thy bright, fiery chargers! valor bring
To me at rising of the glistening car
Of Samas, send attendants fierce of war!
But goddess Mam-nutu of Fate and Death;
Oh, keep away from me her blasting breath;
Let Samas fix the hour with favor thine,
And o’er mine unknown path, Oh ride divine!
Thy servant strengthen with thy godly power
That he invincible in war may tower,
Against thy chosen city’s greatest foe,
Who brought on Erech all her deepest woe.”
And from the inner shrine with curtains hung,
The Oracle of Ishtar sweetly sung:
“O King of vast unnumbered
Thine enemy Khum-baba do not fear,
My hands will waft the winds for thee.
Thus I reveal!
Khum-baba falls! thine enemy!
Nor aught conceal.
“The harvest month
Array great Accad’s battle lines!
Before thy feet thy Queen descends,
Before thy will thine Ishtar bends,
To fight thine enemy,
To war I go with thee!
My word is spoken, thou hast heard,
For thee, my favor thou hast stirred.
As I am Ishtar of mine Or divine,
Thine enemy shall fall! Be glory thine!
“Before mine Izdubar
And at thy side direct thy blow.
I go with thee, fear not, my King,
For every doubt and fear, I bring
Relief, to thy heart rest!
Of Sars, I love thee best!”
[Footnote 1: The account given by Herodotus of the worship of Beltis or Ishtar, if true (see Herodotus, i. 199), was one of the darkest features of Babylonian religion. It is probable that the first intention was only to represent love as heaven-born, and that it afterward became sensual in the time of Herodotus. (See Sayce’s edition Smith’s “C.A. of Gen.,” p. 50.) The presence of the women may have been intended at first to present an innocent attraction. See also Rawlinson’s “Ancient Monarchies,” vol. iii. p. 21.]
[Footnote 2: See Herodotus, vol. i. p. 199. Ishtar was called Mylitta or Beltis in the time of Herodotus. We have taken the above description from Herodotus, whose work is mostly confirmed by the cuneiform inscriptions.]
[Footnote 3: The above psalm is found in vol. iii. of Rawlinson’s “British Museum Inscriptions,” pl. 66, and was translated by H.F. Talbot, F.R.S., in vol. i. of the “Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology,” p. 108, and also by M. Lenormant in his “Premieres Civilisations,” p. 177. We have used Mr. Talbot’s transcription.]
[Footnote 4: See terra-cotta tablet numbered “S. 954” in the British Museum; also translation by Rev. A.H. Sayce, M.A., in the “Records of the Past,” vol. v. p. 157.]
[Footnote 5: See fragment in Sayce’s edition Smith’s “Chald. Acc. of Gen.,” p. 220, col. iii.]
[Footnote 6: The harvest month was the month of Sivan, which is mentioned by the Oracle of Ishtar of Arbela. See “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” vol. iv. pl. 68; also “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. pp. 61-62.]
THE KING GOES FROM ISHTAR’S TEMPLE TO THE TEMPLE OF SAMAS
He rose and raised the pendant mystic charms
And kissed them, and the jewels of her arms
And ornaments upon her breast divine,
And then her crown with jewels iridine
He placed upon his brow, and it returned;
And from the shrine in reverence he turned;
To Samas’ temple all the chiefs of war
And seers, pa-te-si, go with Izdubar.
Before the fire he stands where holy burns
The flames of Samas. In a vase he turns
The crimson wine, to Samas, God, he pours
Libation, and his favor thus implores:
“O Samas, why hast thou established, raised
Me in thy heart?—protected? Men have praised
Thee, Holy One! my expedition bless
In thine own will, O God, I acquiesce.
I go, O Samas, on a path afar,
Against Khumbaba I declare this war;
The battle’s issue thou alone dost know,
Or if success attends me where I go.
The way is long, O may thy son return
From the vast pine-tree forest, I would earn
For Erech glory and renown! Destroy
Khumbaba and his towers! he doth annoy
All nations, and is evil to thy sight.
To-morrow I will go, O send thy Light
Upon my standards, and dark Nina-zu
Keep thou away, that I may wary view
Mine enemies, and fix for me the hour
When I shall strike and crush Khumbaba’s power.
To all the gods I humbly pray To Izdubar propitious be! _Assur Samas u Marduk-u, Ana Sar bel-ni-ya lik-ru-bu!"_
And thus the Oracle with sweetest voice
To him replied, and made his heart rejoice:
“Fear not, O Izdubar,
For I am Bel, thy strength in war.
A heart of strength give I to thee!
To trust, we can but faithful be!
As thou hast shown to me.
The sixty gods, our strongest ones,
Will guide thy path where’er it runs;
The moon-god on thy right shall ride,
And Samas on thy left shall guide.
The sixty gods thy will commands
To crush Khumbaba’s bands.
In man alone, do not confide,
Thine eyes turn to the gods,
Who rule from their abodes,
And trust in Heaven where powers abide!”
With joyous heart the Sar comes from the shrine
To bathe his brow in Samas’ rays divine;
Upon the pyramid he stands and views
The scene below with its bright varied hues.
A peerless pile the temple grandly shone
With marble, gold, and silver in the sun;
In seven stages rose above the walls,
With archways vast and polished pillared halls.
A marble portico surrounds the mass
With sculptured columns, banisters of brass,
Now rested from the cushioned seats we rise
And to the stairway turn again our eyes;
The fourth stage plated o’er with beaten gold
We pass, and topaz fifth till we behold
The sixth of azure blue; to seventh glide,
That glows with silvery summit where reside
The gods, within a shrine of silvery sheen
Which brightly glows, and from afar is seen.
Without the temple, burnished silver shines;
Within, pure gold and gems in rare designs.
[Footnote 1: “Assur Samas and Merodac” ("Unto the king, my lord, may they be propitious!"), the response of the priest to the prayer.]
[Footnote 2: See “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 63. These oracles seem to be formulas which are filled in with the monarch’s name, and may apply to any king.]
EXPEDITION AGAINST KHUMBABA, AND BATTLE IN THE BLACK FOREST
At early dawn the shining ranks are massed,
And Erech echoes with the trumpet’s blast;
The chosen men of Erech are in line,
And Ishtar in her car above doth shine.
The blazing standards high with shouts are raised,
As Samas’ car above grand Sumir blazed.
The march they sound at Izdubar’s command,
And thus they start for King Khumbaba’s land;
The gods in bright array above them shine,
By Ishtar led, with Samas, moon-god Sin,
On either side with Merodac and Bel,
And Ninip, Nergal, Nusku with his spell,
The sixty gods on chargers of the skies,
And Ishtar’s chariot before them flies.
Across Cazina’s desert far have come,
The armies now have neared Khumbaba’s home;
Beneath grand forests of tall cedar, pine,
And the dark shades near Khar-sak’s brow divine.
A brazen gate before them high appeared,
And massive walls which their great foe had reared;
The mighty gates on heavy pivots hung,
They broke, and on their brazen hinges swung
With clanging roars against the solid wall,
With Rimsin he allied when Erech fell,
The King of Sarsa, whose great citadel
Was stormed by Nammurabi the great Sar,
Ninrad of Erech, our King Izdubar.
Khumbaba’s ally was by him o’erthrown,
And thus appeared to take Khumbaba’s throne.
And now within his palace came a sound
That roared through all the forest, shook the ground:
“Our foes! our foes! the gate! hear how it rings!”
And from his throne the giant furious springs:
“Ho! vassals! sound the trump! ’tis Izdubar,
To arms! our foes are on us from afar!”
His weapons seizes, drives his men in fear
Before him with his massive sword and spear,
And as a tempest from his lips he pours
His orders, while his warrior steed he spurs
Along his serried lines of bristling spears;
Among the pines the army disappears.
The men of Accad now in squadrons form,
Arrayed to take Khumbaba’s towers by storm;
While Izdubar the forest black surveyed
Of pines and cedars thickly grown, and made
A reconnoitre of his hidden foe.
The road was straight; afar the turrets glow
With Samas’ light, and all the gods arrayed,
Ride o’er the pines and flash through their dark shade.
The glorious blaze of Accad’s glistening spears
One kaspu pass, and now the foe appears;
Beneath the deepest shadows of the pines
Khumbaba stands with solid battle lines
Before the marching host of Izdubar.
The forest echoes with the shouts of war,
As they sweep on with ringing battle cries,
Now loudly echoed from the woods and skies:
“Kar-ro! kar-ra! we follow Izdubar!”
And through the forests fly the bolts of war.
The foe beheld the gods in wrath above,
And Accad’s charging lines toward them move,
But bravely stand to meet the onset fierce,
Their mailed armor, shields, no arrows pierce.
And now in direst conflict meet the mass,
And furious still meets ringing bronze and brass,
Khumbaba on his mighty steed of war,
Above the ranks towers high a giant Sar,
[Footnote 1: “Mag-an” or “Mizir,” Egypt, or the famous mines of Africa.]
[Footnote 2: “Karra! kar-ra!” (cry out) “Hurrah! hurrah!”]
HAND-TO-HAND CONFLICT OF THE RIVAL GIANTS—DEATH OF KHUMBABA
Now the black forest through, the Sar and seer
Sought for their foe, Khumbaba, far and near;
But he had fled when he beheld the gods
In fury rushing from their bright abodes.
Now from the battle-field the King and seer
The farthest limit of the forest near,
And passing on, the Sar thus to his seer:
“The gods have filled our foeman’s heart with fear;
He comes not forth to meet us ’neath his walls.”
But lo! within their sight, far from his halls,
Khumbaba stands beside his steed of snow
Held by his queen, and eyes his coming foe.
Heabani cries: “Behold the enemy!
And with his queen from us disdains to fly!”
And Izdubar turned to Heabani, said:
“My seer, methought this King from us had fled;
His army slain or scattered from us fly;
But by our hands this monarch here must die.”
Heabani eyed Khumbaba, nor replied
Before the Queen, who wrung her hands and cried;
And Izdubar continued:
“He, of war,
It seems, doth lack in skill, and from afar
He scents the battle, while his fighting men
Their raids oft make, and here return again;
His castle we may enter without fear,
And thou his queen mayst have who standeth here,
And now we end the reign of Elam’s throne;
So lend thy hand to strike this monarch prone.
My friend, if I mistake thee not, for war
Thou art prepared, since thou upon the car
Wast wont to ride in former years now gone;
And if he falls, a feast day of the Sun
We will appoint, and may the birds of prey
Surround his carcass on this glorious day:
But stay! this giant I will slay alone,
Although his weight is many gur-ri stone;
This giant’s form the gods have surely made
An enemy well worthy of my blade.”
And Izdubar upon his foe advanced,
Who waiting stood, and at him fiercely glanced,
And naught replied; but raised his glory blade.
Their furious glance, the giant’s queen dismayed.
She wildly eyed the rivals towering high,
And breathless stood, then quickly turned to fly,
As Izdubar upon his heavy shield
Received Khumbaba’s stroke, and then doth wield
His massive blade as lightning o’er his head,
He strikes the giant’s helmet on the mead.
Khumbaba, furious, strikes a mighty blow,
Which staggers Izdubar, who on his foe
Now springs and rains upon him faster blows,
Until his blade with fire continuous glows.
Khumbaba caught his blows on sword and shield
With parries; thrusts returned, and naught would yield;
And thus they fought, the peerless kings of war.
Now Ishtar downward drove his raging car,
And in Khumbaba’s eyes her rays she cast,
The giant turned his glance—it was his last;
Unwary caught, his foe has swung his sword,
Khumbaba’s gory head rolls o’er the sward.
[Footnote 1: Smith’s “Chald. Acc. of Gen.,” Sayce’s edition, p. 223, ls. 35 and 41.]
[Footnote 2: “Gur-ri,” a measurement of weight corresponding to “ton"(?). It [Transcriber’s note: missing, probably “was”] also used as a measurement of ships.]
TABLET V—COLUMN I
CORONATION OF IZDUBAR AS KING OF THE FOUR RACES, AND APPEARANCE OF ISHTAR IN HIS ROYAL PRESENCE, WHO SUES FOR HIS HAND
To Erech’s palaces returns the Sar,
Rich laden with Khumbaba’s spoils of war.
The land of Ur with grandest glories shines—
And gleams with palaces and towers and shrines.
The plain with temples, cities, walls is filled,
And wide canals, and yellow harvests tilled.
Grand Erech to the sight presents no walls
In ruins laid, but glows with turrets, halls;
With splendor proudly shines across the plain.
And now with joy he meets his courtly train;
Their shouts of welcome rend the gleaming skies,
And happiness beams from his people’s eyes.
Within the walls he rides with kingly pride,
And all his chiefs and seers beside him ride;
To his grand palace they now lead the way,
To crown him king of Subartu this day.
Arrayed in splendor on his throne, the Sar
Before him eyes the Kassite spoils of war,
Khumbaba’s crown of gold, and blazing gems,
The richest of the Kassite diadems,
The royal sceptre of all Subartu,
Of Larsa, Ur, Kardunia and Sutu
The Sar upon his brow the crown now bound,
Receives the sceptre while his courts resound
With shouts for Sar-dan-nu of Subartu,
The Sar of Kip-rat arba and Sutu,
Of Sumir, Accad, Nipur, Bar-ili,
And Erech, Larsa, Mairu, and Kus-si,
Of Mal-al-nak, Kitu;—the sky resounds—
For Iz-zu-bar-ili, from earth rebounds;
For Nam-mu-rabi, Bar-bels king of fire.
What king to his great glory can aspire?
The Zig-gur-at-u to the skies
His hands have built, where holy fires
To Samas burn; its flame ne’er dies,
To holiness lead man’s desires.
He opens wide the fiery gates
Of all the gods at Dintir old,
Ka-ding-ir-a. This day completes
His grandeur—may it far be told
Of our great Sar whose godly gate
Wide opens Heaven’s joy for man,
Of Iz-zu-bar-ili the great,
Who rules from Khar-sak to the main.
Within the entrance to the royal rooms,
Queen Ishtar with her train in splendor comes,
Her radiant form with glistening gems ablaze,
And shining crescent with its glorious rays,
Glow with bright Heaven’s unremitting flame;
Thus came the Queen of Love of godly fame.
The richest robe of gods her form enshrines,
With every charm of Heaven and earth she shines;
Of their wide splendors robs the farthest skies,
That she with love her hero may surprise.
Her train she robes with liveries of Heaven,
To her are all the dazzling splendors given.
The glittering court is filled with chiefs and seers,
When Ishtar at the entrance now appears,
The Ner-kalli, her heralds at the door,
As some grand sovereign from a foreign shore.
The goddess proudly enters with her train,
The spirits of the earth, and tossing main,
From mountains, rivers, woods, and running streams;
And every spirit where the sunlight gleams,
Now fill the courts and palaces and halls,
And thousands glowing bright surround the walls;
Each wafting wind brings I-gi-gi that soar
Above An-un-na-ci from every shore,
And herald Ishtar’s presence, Queen of Love,
With music through the halls, around, above.
From lyres and lutes their softest wooings bring,
As Ishtar bows before her lover king.
A halo from the goddess fills the halls,
And shines upon the dazzling jewelled walls.
The Sar and seers in wonder were amazed
At the sweet strains, and glorious light that blazed;
Transfixed in silence stood, as she now spoke,
And sweeter music through the palace woke.
Like fragrant zephyrs, warbling from retreats
Of gardens of the gods, she thus entreats
From Izdubar her welcome, or a glance
Of love; and she the Sar would thus entrance:
“Thy wisdom, Sar, surpasses all mankind,
In thee, O king! no blemish do I find.
The Queen of Heaven favor seeks from thee,
I come with love, and prostrate bend the knee.
My follies past, I hope thou wilt forgive,
Alone I love thee, with thee move and live;
My heart’s affections to thee, me have led,
To woo thee to thine Ishtar’s marriage bed.
O kiss me, my beloved! I adore
Thee! Hear me! I renounce the godly shore
With all its hollow splendor where as queen
I o’er the heavenly hosts, unrivaled reign
In grandest glory on my shining throne;
And yet for thee my heart here pines alone,
I cannot live without my Izdubar!
[Footnote 1: “Kip-rat arba,” the four races or regions.]
[Footnote 2: “Bar-ili,” from “bar,” gate, and “ili,” of the gods—Babel, Bab—originates from the Accadian word “bar,” Semitic “bab;” thus Babel was originally called “bar-ili.” See Taylor and Furst. The latter renders it “Bar-(Bir-)Bel,” “town of Belus.”]
[Footnote 3: “Izzu-bar-ili” we believe to be the original name of Izdubar, afterward shortened to Izdubar, and means literally the fire-king of “bar-ili,” or the “fire-king of the gate of the gods.” This identifies him with Nimrod, the founder of Bar-bet or Babylon.]
[Footnote 4: Ka-ding-ir-a (Acc.), “gate of God”—Pinches.]
[Footnote 5: “Ner-kalli,” or “Ner-ekalli,” chief of the palace.]
[Footnote 6: “I-gi-gi,” pronounced “e-gee-gee,” spirits of heaven.]
[Footnote 7: “Zi-mu-ri,” spirits of the light.]
THE KING’S ANSWER AND ISHTAR’S RAGE
Amazed the sovereign sat upon his throne; And while
she wooed, his heart was turned to stone;
In scorn replied:
“Rise Ishtar, Heaven’s high
Though all thy wealth, possessions I had seen
Now piled before me, all in gems and gold,
Of all the wealth of Heaven there heaped of old,
I nakedness and famine would prefer
To all the wealth divine thou canst confer.
What carest thou for earthly royalty?
The cup of poison shall thy lovers see.
Thou sawest me within a haunt away
From men. I lingered on that direful day,
And took thee for a beauteous zi-re-mu
Or zi-ar-i-a or a zi-lit-tu
And thou didst cause to enter love divine.
As zi-cur-un-i, spirit of the wine,
Thou didst deceive me with thine arts refined,
And love escaped upon the passing wind.
Then to my palace come, and me there seek;
Didst place thy mouth upon my lips, and wake
Within my breast a dream of love and fire,
Till I awoke and checked thy wild desire;
Thou camest with the form of spirits fair,
Didst hover o’er me in my chamber there.
Thy godly fragrance from the skies above,
A sign did carry of the Queen of Love:
I woke, and thou didst vanish, then didst stand
As mine own servant in my palace grand.
Then as a skulking foe, a mystic spell
Didst weave, and scorch me with the fires of hell
While I was wrapped in sleep. Again I woke,
I saw around me dal-khi, sulphurous smoke,
Which thou didst send around my royal bed;
And I believed that I was with the dead,
With dal-khi gloating over me in hell.
My su-khu-li then sought thy presence fell.
Forever may thy wooing cease! for love
Hath fled, may godly praises never move
Upon the lips of holy gods, or men,—
Of thee, the god of Love ne’er speak again!
I loved thee once; with love my heart inflamed
Once sought thee, but my troubles I have blamed
Upon thee, for the dreams which thou didst send.
Go! rest thy heart; and to thy pleasures wend!
“For Tammuz of thy youth thy heart once wailed,
For years his weary form thy love assailed;
Allala next, the eagle, lovest, tore
His wings. No longer could he joyful soar
And float above the forest to the sky.
Thou leavest him with fluttering wings to die.
A lusty lion thou didst love, his might
Destroyed, and plucked his claws in fierce delight,
By sevens plucked, nor heard his piteous cry.
A glorious war-steed next thy love didst try,
Who yielded to thee, till his strength was gone:
For seven kaspu thou didst ride upon
Him without ceasing, gave no food nor drink,
Till he beneath thee to the earth did sink,
And to his mistress, Sil-i-li, the steed
Returned with broken spirit, drooping head.
Thou lovest Tabulu, the shepherd king,
And from his love continuous didst wring
Sem-uk-ki, till he to appease thy love,
The mighty gods of heaven then sought to move
To pity with his daily offerings.
The queen in fury from his presence turned,
In speechless rage the palace halls she spurned;
And proudly from the earth swept to the skies;
Her godly train in terror quickly flies.
[Footnote 1: “Zi-re-mu,” spirit of mercy or grace.]
[Footnote 2: “Zi-lit-tu,” spirit of the mist.]
[Footnote 3: “Seven kaspu,” fourteen hours; each kaspu was two hours.]
[Footnote 4: “Sem-uk-ki,” translated by Sayce “stibium,” antimony; by Talbot, “luetarish semukki,” “thou who didst make evil with thy drugs.”— “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.”, vol. v. p. 110. Sayce’s edition Smith’s “C.A.G.,” p. 229.]
ISHTAR COMPLAINS TO ANU, KING OF HEAVEN, WHO CREATES A WINGED BULL TO DESTROY ISHTAR
Before the throne of Anu, Ishtar cries,
And Anatu, the sovereigns of the skies:
“O Sar, this king my beauty doth despise,
My sweetest charms beholds not with his eyes.”
And Anu to his daughter thus replied:
“My daughter, thou must crush his vaunting pride,
And he will claim thy beauty and thy charms,
And gladly lie within thy glorious arms.”
“I hate him now, O Sar, as I did love!
Against the strength of Anu let him prove
His right divine to rule without our aid,
Before the strength of Anu let him bleed.
Upon this giant Sar so filled with pride,
Let Anu’s winged bull in fury ride,
And I will aid the beast to strike him prone,
Till he in death shall breathe his dying groan.”
And Anu said: “If thou to it shall join
Thy strength, which all thy noble names define
Thy glories and thy power thus magnified,
Will humble him, who has thy power defied,”
And Ishtar thus: “By all my might as queen
Of war and battles, where I proudly reign,
This Sar my hands shall strike upon the plain,
And end his strength and all his boastings vain.
By all the noble names with gods I hold
As queen of war, this giant monarch bold,
Who o’er mine ancient city thinks to reign,
Shall lie for birds of prey upon the plain.
For answering my love for thee with scorn,
Proud monarch! from thy throne thou shalt be torn!”
For Ishtar, Anu from the clouds creates
A shining monster with thick brazen plates
And horns of adamant; and now it flies
Toward the palace, roaring from the skies.
[Footnote 1: “Anu’s winged bull,” Taurus, constellation of the heavens.]
[Footnote 2: “Glories” ("maskhi"). This word is not translated by Mr. Sayce.]
[Footnote 3: “Horns of adamant.” Sayce translates in I. 22, col. v., horns of crystal—“thirty manehs of crystal,” etc. The meaning probably of “zamat stone,” as given by Smith, was a hard substance, such as the diamond or adamant. By some translators it has been rendered onyx, and others lazuli.]
THE FIGHT WITH THE WINGED BULL OF ANU
The gods appear above to watch the fight,
And Erech’s masari rush in affright
To Izdubar, who sits upon his throne,
Before him fall in speechless terror prone.
A louder roar now echoes from the skies,
And Erech’s Sar without the palace flies.
He sees the monster light upon the plain,
And calls Heabani with the choicest men
Of Erech’s spearsmen armed, who fall in line
Without the gates, led by their Sar divine.
And now the monster rushed on Izdubar,
Who meets it as the god of chase and war.
With whirling sword before the monster’s face,
He rains his blows upon its front of brass
And horns, and drives it from him o’er the plain,
And now with spreading wings it comes again,
With maddened fury; fierce its eyeballs glare.
It rides upon the monarch’s pointed spear;
The scales the point have turned, and broke the haft.
Then as a pouncing hawk when sailing daft,
In swiftest flight o’er him drops from the skies,
But from the gleaming sword it quickly flies.
Three hundred warriors now nearer drew
To the fierce monster, which toward them flew;
Into their midst the monster furious rushed,
And through their solid ranks resistless pushed
To slay Heabani, onward fought and broke
Two lines and through the third, which met the shock
With ringing swords upon his horns and scales.
At last the seer it reaches, him impales
With its sharp horns: but valiant is the seer—
He grasps its crest and fights without a fear.
The monster from his sword now turns to fly;
Heabani grasps its tail, and turns his eye
Towards his king, while scudding o’er the plain.
So quickly has it rushed and fled amain,
That Izdubar its fury could not meet,
But after it he sprang with nimble feet.
Heabani loosed his grasp and stumbling falls,
And to his king approaching, thus he calls:
“My friend, our strongest men are overthrown:
But see! he comes! such strength was never known.
With all my might I held him, but he fled!
We both it can destroy! Strike at its head!”
Like Rimmon now he flies upon the air,
As sceptred Nebo, he his horns doth bear,
That flash with fire along the roaring skies,
Around the Sar and seer he furious flies.
Heabani grasps the plunging horns, nor breaks
His grasp; in vain the monster plunging shakes
His head, and roaring, upward furious rears.
Heabani’s strength the mighty monster fears;
He holds it in his iron grasp, and cries:
“Quick! strike!” Beneath the blows the monster dies;
And Izdubar now turned his furious face
Toward the gods, and on the beast doth place
His foot; he raised his gory sword on high,
And sent his shout defiant to the sky:
“’Tis thus, ye foes divine! the Sar proclaims
His war against your power, and highest names!
Hurl! hurl! your darts of fire, ye vile kal-bi!
My challenge hear! ye cravens of the sky!”
[Footnote 1: “Nebo,” the holder of the sceptre of power; also the god of prophecy.]
[Footnote 2: “Around” ("tarka"), or it may mean “between.”]
[Footnote 3: “Kal-bi,” dogs.]
THE CURSE OF ISHTAR, AND REJOICING OF ERECH OVER THE VICTORY
The monarch and his seer have cleft the head
From Anu’s bull prone lying on the mead.
They now command to bring it from the plain
Within the city where they view the slain.
The heart they brought to Samas’ holy shrine,
Before him laid the offering divine.
Without the temple’s doors the monster lays,
And Ishtar o’er the towers the bulk surveys;
She spurns the carcass, cursing thus, she cries:
“Woe! woe to Izdubar, who me defies!
My power has overthrown, my champion slain;
Accursed Sar! most impious of men!”
Heabani heard the cursing of the Queen,
And from the carcass cleft the tail in twain,
Before her laid it; to the goddess said:
“And wherefore comest thou with naught to dread?
Since I with Izdubar have conquered thee,
Thou hearest me! Before thee also see
Thine armored champion’s scales! thy beast is dead,”
And Ishtar from his presence furious fled,
And to her maids the goddess loudly calls
Joy and Seduction from the palace halls;
And o’er her champion’s death she mourning cries,
And flying with her maids, sped to the skies.
King Izdubar his summons sends afar
To view the monster slain by Erech’s Sar.
The young and old the carcass far surround,
And view its mighty bulk upon the ground.
The young men eye its horns with wild delight,
And weigh them on the public scales in sight
Of Erech. “Thirty manehs weighs!” they cry;
“Of purest zamat stone, seems to the eye
In substance, with extremities defaced.”
Six gurri weighed the monster’s bulk undressed.
As food for Lugul-turda, their Sar’s god,
The beast is severed, placed upon the wood.
Piled high upon the altar o’er the fires.
Then to Euphrates’ waters each retires
To cleanse themselves for Erech’s grand parade,
As Izdubar by proclamation bade.
Upon their steeds of war with Izdubar
The chiefs and warriors extend afar
With chariots, and waving banners, spears,
And Erech rings with their triumphant cheers.
Before the chariot of their great Sar,
Who with his seer rides in his brazen car,
The seers a proclamation loud proclaim
And cheer their Sar and seer; and laud the name
Of their great monarch, chanting thus his praise,
While Erech’s band their liveliest marches play:
“If anyone to glory can lay claim
Among all chiefs and warriors of fame,
We Izdubar above them all proclaim
Our Izzu-Ul-bar of undying fame.
Sar gabri la isu,
“He wears the diadem of Subartu,
From Bar-ili he came to Eridu;
Our giant monarch, who of all barri
Can rival him, our Nin-arad rabi?
Sar-dannu ina mati basi,
Sar bu-mas-la e-mu-ki, nesi."
Through the grand halls of Erech far resounds
The feast their Sar proclaimed through all the grounds
Of Erech’s palaces; where he now meets
His heroes, seers and counsellors, and greets
Them in his crowded festal halls.
Grand banquets far are spread within the walls,
And sparkling rarest wines each freely drank,
And revels ruled the hour till Samas sank,
And shadows sweep across the joyous plain,
And Samas sleeps with Hea ’neath the main.
The jewelled lamps are lit within the halls,
And dazzling glory on the feasters falls.
The rays o’er gems and richest garments shone
Upon the lords and ladies round the throne;
While troops of dancing girls around them move
With cymbals, harps and lutes, with songs of love.
Again the board glows with rich food and wines,
Now spread before them till each man reclines
Upon his couch at rest in the far night,
And swimming halls and wines pass from their sight.
[Footnote 1: “Izzu-Ul-bar,” the fire of Bel’s temple.]
[Footnote 2: “The King who has no rival. The powerful giant King.” The royal titles of Izdubar.]
[Footnote 3: “Bar-ili,” temple, or country of the gods.]
[Footnote 4: “Barri,” chieftains, army, soldiers.]
[Footnote 5: “Nin-arad rabi,” “the servant of Nin, the King.”]
[Footnote 6: “Who is the great king (in the land) of all countries, the powerful giant king, the lion!” The royal titles of Izdubar.]
ISHTAR WEAVES A MYSTIC SPELL OVER THE KING AND SEER, AND VANISHES—THE SEER ADVISES THE KING TO SEEK THE AID OF THE IMMORTAL SEER WHO ESCAPES FROM THE FLOOD.
The goddess Ishtar wrapped in darkness waits
Until the goddess Tsil-at-tu the gates
Of sleep has closed upon the darkened plain;
Then lightly to the palace flies the Queen.
O’er the King’s couch she weaves an awful dream,
While her bright eyes upon him furious gleam.
Then o’er Heabani’s couch a moment stands,
And Heaven’s curtains pulls aside with hands
Of mystic power, and he a vision sees—
The gods in council;—vanishing, she flees
Without the palace like a gleam of light,
And wakes the guard around in wild affright.
Next day the seer reveals to Izdubar
How all the gods a council held of war,
And gave to Anu power to punish them
For thus defying Ishtar’s godly claim;
And thus the seer gave him his counsel, well
Considered, how to meet their plottings fell:
“To Khasisadra go, who from the flood
Escaped when o’er the earth the waters stood
Above mankind, and covered all the ground;
He at the river’s mouth may yet be found.
For his great aid, we now the seer must seek,
For Anu’s fury will upon us break.
Immortal lives the seer beside the sea;
Through Hades pass, and soon the seer mayst see.”
Thus Izdubar replied, and him embraced:
“With thee, Heabani, I my throne have graced;
With thee I go, mine own companion dear,
And on the road each other we may cheer,”
“The way is long, my King, and if I live,
With thee I go, but oh, thou must not grieve,
For perils great attend the way, and old
Am I: the suppleness of youth to hold
My strength I need, but it alas! is gone.
My heart is ready, but I fear, my son,
These crippled limbs which Anu’s bull hath left
Of my strong vigor, have thy seer bereft.
Too weak am I, for that long journey hard
To undertake; my presence would retard
Thee,—with these wounds; nor strength have I to last
To guard my body in the mountain fast.
But if thou wilt, my strength is thine, my King!
To do thy will my aged form shall spring
With gladness, and all perils I’ll defy;
If need be, for thee will thy servant die.”
“Heabani, noble one! my chosen seer!
I love thee, bid thy loyal heart good cheer.
He steeds may take to ride through all the way,
With easy journeys on the road each day;
From perils I will guard thee, and defend;
To-morrow then we on our way will wend.”
Equipped for the long journey they appear
Next morn and leave, while Erech’s people cheer
Them on their way across the glowing plain,
To perils dire they go—distress and pain.
[Footnote 1: “Tsil-at-tu,” goddess of darkness, or shades of night.]
ISHTAR’S DESCENT TO HADES—HER FEARFUL RECEPTION
To Hades’ darkened land, whence none return,
Queen Ishtar, Sin’s great daughter, now doth turn;
Inclined her ear and listened through the void
That lay beneath of every path devoid,
The home of darkness, of the Under-World,
Where god Ir-kal-la from the heights was hurled.
The land and road from whence is no return,
Where light no entrance hath to that dark bourne;
Where dust to dust returns, devouring clods;
Where light dwells not in Tsil-lat-tus abodes;
Where sable ravens hovering rule the air;
O’er doors and bolts dust reigneth with despair.
Before the gates of gloom the Queen now stands,
And to the keeper Ishtar thus commands:
“O keeper of the waters! open wide
Thy gate, that I through these dark walls may glide;
But if thou open’st not the gate for me,
That I may enter, shattered thou shalt see
The doors and bolts before thee lying prone,
And from the dust shall rise each skeleton,
With fleshless jaws devour all men with thee,
Till death shall triumph o’er mortality.”
The keeper to the Princess Ishtar said:
“Withhold thy speech! or Allat’s fury dread!
To her I go to bid thee welcome here.”
To Allat then the keeper doth appear:
“Thy sister Ishtar the dark waters seeks—
The Queen of Heaven,” thus Allat’s fury breaks.
“So like an herb uprooted comes this Queen,
To sting me as an asp doth Ishtar mean?
What can her presence bring to me but hate?
Doth Heaven’s Queen thus come infuriate?”
And Ishtar thus replies: “The fount I seek,
Where I with Tammuz, my first love, may speak;
And drink its waters, as sweet nectar-wines,
Weep o’er my husband, who in death reclines;
My loss as wife with handmaids I deplore,
O’er my dear Tammuz let my teardrops pour.”
And Allat said, “Go! keeper, open wide
The gates to her! she hath me once defied;
Bewitch her as commanded by our laws.”
To her thus Hades opened wide its jaws.
“Within, O goddess! Cutha thee receives!
Thus Hades’ palace its first greeting gives.”
He seized her, and her crown aside was thrown.
“O why, thou keeper, dost thou seize my crown?”
“Within, O goddess! Allat thee receives!
’Tis thus to thee our Queen her welcome gives.”
Within the next gate he her earrings takes,
And goddess Ishtar now with fury shakes.
“Then why, thou slave, mine earrings take away?”
“Thus entrance, goddess, Allat bids this day.”
At the third gate her necklace next he takes,
And now in fear before him Ishtar quakes.
“And wilt thou take from me my gems away?”
“Thus entrance, goddess, Allat bids this day.”
And thus he strips the goddess at each gate,
[Footnote 1: “Ir-kal-la,” the King of Hades, who was hurled from the heights of heaven with the evil gods who rebelled with Tiamatu, the goddess of chaos, against the reign of the gods of heaven.]
EFFECT OF ISHTAR’S IMPRISONMENT IN HADES—LOVE DEPARTS FROM THE EARTH—THE EARTH’S SOLEMN DIRGE OF WOE.
When Ishtar, Queen of Love, from Earth had flown,
With her love fled, and left all nature prone;
From Earth all peace with love then fled amain.
In loneliness the bull stalked o’er the plain,
And tossed his drooping crest toward the sky,
In sadness lay upon the green to die;
On the far kine looked weary and bereaved,
And turned toward the gods, and wondering grieved.
The troubled kine then gravely chewed their cud,
And hungerless in the rich pastures stood.
The ass his mate abandoned, fled away,
And loveless wives then cursed the direful day;
And loving husbands kiss their wives no more,
And doves their cooing ceased, and separate soar;
And love then died in all the breasts of men,
And strife supreme on earth was reveling then.
The sexes of mankind their wars divide,
And women hate all men, and them deride;
And some demented hurl aside their gowns,
And queens their robes discard and jewelled crowns,
And rush upon the streets bereft of shame,
Their forms expose, and all the gods defame.
Alas! from earth the Queen of Love has gone,
And lovers ’void their haunts with faces wan
And spurn from them the hateful thought of love,
For love no longer reigns, all life to move.
An awful thrill now speeds through Hades’ doors,
And shakes with horror all the dismal floors;
A wail upon the breeze through space doth fly,
And howling gales sweep madly through the sky;
Through all the universe there speeds a pang
Of travail. Mam-nu-tu appalled doth hang
Upon her blackened pinions in the air,
And piteous from her path leads Black Despair,
“The queen in chains in Hades dying lies,
And life with her,” they cry, “forever dies!”
Through misty glades and darkened depths of space,
Tornadoes roar her fate to Earth’s sweet face;
The direful tidings from far Hades pour
Upon her bosom with their saddest roar;
“Come back, my flowerets, with your fragrant
Come, all my beauties, with your brightest hues;
Come back, my plants and buds and youngling shoots!
Within your mother’s bosom hide your roots.
Oh, children, children! Love hath fled away,
Alas! that life I gave should see this day!
Your queen lies dying in her awful woe,
Oh, why should she from us to Hades go?”
Wide Nature felt her woe, and ceased to spring,
And withered buds their vigor lost, and fling
No more their fragrance to the lifeless air;
The fruit-trees died, or barren ceased to bear;
The male plants kiss their female plants no more;
And pollen on the winds no longer soar
To carry their caresses to the seed
Of waiting hearts that unavailing bleed,
Until they fold their petals in despair,
And dying, drop to earth, and wither there.
The growing grain no longer fills its head,
The fairest fields of corn lie blasted, dead.
All Nature mourning dons her sad attire,
And plants and trees with falling leaves expire.
And Samas’ light and moon-god’s soothing rays
Earth’s love no more attracts; recurring days
Are shortened by a blackness deep profound
That rises higher as the days come round.
At last their light flees from the darkened skies,
The last faint gleam now passes, slowly dies.
Upon a blasted world, dread darkness falls,
O’er dying nature, crumbling cities’ walls.
Volcanoes’ fires are now the only light,
Where pale-faced men collect around in fright;
With fearful cries the lurid air they rend,
To all the gods their wild petitions send.
[Footnote 1: “Mam-nu-tu,” goddess of fate.]
[Footnote 2: “Ur-ru,” the moon-god.]
PAPSUKUL, THE GOD OF HOPE, AND HERALD OF THE GODS,
FLIES FROM THE EARTH
AND INTERCEDES FOR THE RELEASE OF ISHTAR, AND HEA GRANTS HIS PRAYER
O Hope! thou fleeting pleasure of the mind,
Forever with us stay, our hearts to bind!
We cling to thee till life has fled away;
Our dearest phantom, ever with us stay!
Without thee, we have naught but dread despair,
The worst of all our torments with us here;
Oh, come with thy soft pinions, o’er us shine!
And we will worship thee, a god divine:
The ignis fatuus of all our skies
That grandly leads us, vanishes and dies,
And we are left to grope in darkness here,
Without a ray of light our lives to cheer.
Oh, stay! sweet Love’s companion, ever stay!
And let us hope with love upon our way!
We reck not if a phantom thou hast been,
And we repent that we have ever seen
Thy light on earth to lead us far astray;
Forever stay! or ever keep away!
When Papsukul beheld in man’s abodes
The change that spread o’er blasted, lifeless clods,
And heard earth’s wailing through the waning light,
With vegetation passing out of sight,
From the doomed world to Heaven he quickly flies,
While from the earth are rising fearful cries.
To Samas’ throne he speeds with flowing tears,
And of the future dark he pours his fears.
To Sin, the moon-god, Pap-su-kul now cries
O’er Ishtar’s fate, who in black Hades lies;
O’er Earth’s dire end, which with Queen Ishtar dies;
To Hea he appeals with mournful cries:
“O Hea, our Creator,
God and King!
Queen Ishtar now is lying prone.
To Earth, our godly queen again, oh, bring!
I trust thy love, O Holy One!
To all the gods who reign o’er us on high
I pray! thus Hope thine aid implores,
Release our queen! To Hades quickly fly!
Thy Pap-su-kul with faith adores.
“The bull hath left
the lowing kine bereaved,
And sulking dies in solitude;
The ass hath fled away, his mates hath grieved,
And women are no more imbued
With love, and drive their husbands far away,
And wives enjoy not their caress;
All peace and love have gone from earth this day,
And love on earth knows not its bliss.
“The females die through
all the living world,
Among all beasts, and men, and plants;
All love from them on earth have madly hurled,
For blissful love no more each pants;
And Samas’ light is turned away from Earth,
And left alone volcanoes’ fire;
The land is filled with pestilence and dearth,
All life on earth will soon expire.”
When Hea heard the solemn chant of Hope,
From his high throne he let his sceptre drop,
And cried: “And thus, I rule o’er all mankind!
For this, I gave them life, immortal mind;
To earth’s relief, my herald shall quick go,
I hear thy prayer, and song of Ishtar’s woe.”
“Go! At-su-su-namir, with thy bright head!
With all thy light spring forth! and quickly speed;
Towards the gates of Hades, turn thy face!
And quickly fly for me through yonder space.
Before thy presence may the seven gates
Of Hades open with their gloomy grates;
May Allat’s face rejoice before thy sight,
Her rage be soothed, her heart filled with delight;
But conjure her by all the godly names,
And fearless be,—towards the roaring streams
Incline thine ear, and seek the path there spread.
Release Queen Ishtar! raise her godly head!
And sprinkle her with water from the stream;
Her purify! a cup filled to the brim
Place to her lips that she may drink it all.
The herald as a meteor doth fall,
With blazing fire disparts the hanging gloom
Around the gates of that dark world of doom.”
RELEASE OF ISHTAR—HER ATTEMPTS TO BRING TO LIFE TAMMUZ, HER FIRST LOVER
When Allat saw the flaming herald come,
And his bright light dispelling all her gloom,
She beat her breast; and at him furious foams
In rage, and stamping shakes all Hades’ domes,
Thus cursed the herald, At-su-su-namir:
“Away! thou herald! or I’ll chain thee here
In my dark vaults, and throw thee for thy food
The city’s garbage, which has stagnant stood,
With impure waters for thy daily drink,
And lodge thee in my prison till you sink
From life impaled in yonder dismal room
Of torture; to thy fate so thou hast come?
Thine offspring with starvation I will strike!”
At last obedient doth Allat speak:
“Go, Namtar! and the iron palace strike!
O’er Asherim adorned let the dawn break!
And seat the spirits on their thrones of gold!
Let Ishtar Life’s bright waters then behold,
And drink her fill, and bring her then to me;
From her imprisonment, I send her free.”
And Namtar then goes through the palace walls,
And flings the light through all the darkened halls,
And places all the spirits on their thrones,
Leads Ishtar to the waters near the cones.
She drinks the sparkling water now with joy,
Which all her form doth cleanse and purify.
And he at the first gate her robe returns,
And leads her through the second; where he turns,
And gives her bracelets back;—thus at each door
Returns to her her girdle, gems; then o’er
Her queenly brow he placed her shining crown.
With all her ornaments that were her own,
She stands with pride before the seventh gate,
And Namtar bows to her in solemn state:
“Thou hast no ransom to our queen here paid
For thy deliverance, yet thou hast said
Thy Tammuz thou didst seek within our walls,
Turn back! and thou wilt find him in these halls.
To bring him back to life the waters pour
Upon him; they thy Tammuz will restore;
With robes thou mayst adorn him and a crown
Of jewels, and thy maid with thee alone
Shall give thee comfort and appease thy grief.
Kharimtu, Samkha come to thy relief!”
Now Ishtar lifts her eyes within a room
Prepared for her, and sees her maidens come,
Before a weird procession wrapped in palls,
That soundless glide within and fills the halls.
Before her now they place a sable bier
Beside the fount; and Ishtar, drawing near,
Raised the white pall from Tammuz’s perfect form.
The clay unconscious, had that mystic charm
Of Beauty sleeping sweetly on his face,—
Of agony or sorrow left no trace:
But, oh! that awful wound of death was there
With its deep mark;—the wound, and not the scar.
When Ishtar’s eyes beheld it, all her grief
Broke forth afresh, refusing all relief;
She smote her breast in woe, and moaning cried,
Nor the bright waters to his wound applied:
“O Tammuz! Tammuz! turn thine eyes on me!
Thy queen thou didst adorn, before thee see!
Behold the emeralds and diamond crown
Thou gavest me when I became thine own!
Alas! he answers not: and must I mourn
Forever o’er my love within this bourne?
But, oh! the waters from this glowing stream!
Perhaps those eyes on me with love will beam,
And I shall hear again his song of love.
Oh, quickly let these waters to me prove
Their claim to banish death with magic power!”
Then with her maids, she o’er his form doth
The sparkling drops of life—
“He moves! he lives!
What happiness is this my heart receives?
O come, my Tammuz! to my loving arms!”
And on breast his breathing form she warms;
With wondering eyes he stares upon his queen,
And nestling closed his eyes in bliss again.
[Footnote 1: “Asherim,” literally “stone stakes” or “cones,” the symbols of the goddess Asherah or Ishtar (Sayce), but Calmet says that the god Ashima is a deity of very uncertain origin, and that the name “Ashima” may be very well compared with the Persian “asuman” ("heaven"); in “Zend,” “acmano,” so Gesenius in his Man. Lex., 1832. This also, according to the magi, is the name of the angel of death, who separates the souls of men from their bodies, Cal. Dic., p. 106. Cones are to be seen in the British Museum which are probably of the character which represented Elah-Gabalah, the sun-god, adored in Rome during the reign of Heliogabalus. The symbol and worship came from Hamath in Syria.]
TAMMUZ IS RESTORED TO LIFE BY THE WATERS OF LIFE—HIS SONG OF LOVE
The nectared cup the queen placed to his lips,
And o’er his heaving breast the nectar drips,
And now his arms are folded round his queen,
And her fond kisses he returns again;
And see! they bring to him his harp of gold,
And from its strings, sweet music as of old
His skilful hands wake through the sounding domes;
Oh, how his Song of Love wakes those dark rooms!
“My Queen of Love comes
to my arms!
Her faithful eyes have sought for me,
My Love comes to me with her charms;
Let all the world now happy be!
My queen has come again!
Forever, dearest, let me rest
Upon the bosom of my queen!
Thy lips of love are honeyed best;
Come! let us fly to bowering green!
To our sweet bower again.
O Love on Earth! O Love
That dearest gift which gods have given,
Through all my soul let it be driven,
And make my heart its dearest haven,
For Love returns the kiss!
Oh! let me pillow there within
Thy breast, and, oh, so sweetly rest,
My life anew shall there begin;
On thy sweet charms, oh, let me feast!
Life knows no sweeter bliss.
Oh, let me feast upon thy
As honey-bird the nectar sips,
And drink new rapture through my lips,
As honey-bee its head thus drips
In nectarine abyss!
O Love, sweet queen! my heart
My Life I clasp within mine arms!
My fondest charmer, queen divine!
My soul surrenders to thy charms,
In bliss would fly away.
No dearer joy than this I
If love is banished from that life
There bodyless, my soul would pant,
And pine away in hopeless grief,
If love be fled away.
If Love should hide and fold
In bowers of yonder gleaming skies,
Unmeaning then each bard oft sings
Of bliss that lives on earth and dies,—
I want such love as this.
I want thy form, thy loving
Mine arms of love surrounding thee,
And on thy bosom sweetly rest,
Or else that world were dead to me.
No other life is bliss.
If it is thus, my queen, I
With joy to yonder blissful clime;
But if not so, then let me flow
To soil and streams through changing time,
To me would be more bliss.
For then, in blooming flowerets,
Could earth adorn, my soul delight,
And never thus on earth could die;
For though I should be hid from sight,
Would spring again with joy!
And sing as some sweet warbling
Or in the breezes wave as grain,
As yellow sun-birds there have whirred
On earth, could I thus live again,
That beauteous world enjoy!
or waving cane,
Or in the honeysuckles lie,
In forms of life would breathe again,
Enjoy Earth’s sweetest revelry,
And ever spring again!
Each life to me new joys would
In breast of beast or bird or flower,
In each new form new joys would spring,
And happy, ever, Love would soar!
Triumphant filled with joy!
In jujube or tamarisk
Perhaps would come to life again,
Or in the form of fawns would frisk
’Mid violets upon the plain;
But I should live again!
And throb beneath the glistening
In bamboo tufts, or mango-trees,
In lotus bloom, and spring anew,
In rose-tree bud, or such as these
On Earth return again!
And I should learn to love
In beast or singing bird or flower,
For kiss of love in hope could wait;
Perhaps I then would come that hour,
In form I have again!
And love you say, my queen,
Where I can breathe with life anew?
But is it so? My Love, beware!
For some things oft are false, some true,
But I thee trust again!
We fly away! from gates away!
Oh, life of bliss! Oh, breath of balm!
With wings we tread the Silver Way,
To trailing vines and feathery palm,
To bower of love again.”
ESCAPE OF TAMMUZ FROM HADES—HIS DEATH IN
THE CLOUDS—FUNERAL PROCESSION
OF THE GODS—ISHTAR’S ELEGY OVER THE DEATH OF TAMMUZ—HIS REVIVAL IN
HADES, WHERE HE IS CROWNED AS THE LORD OF HADES—ISHTAR’S RETURN BRINGS
LIGHT AND LOVE BACK TO EARTH.
But see! they pass from those dark gates and walls,
And fly upon the breeze from Hades’ halls,
Hark! hark! the sounding harp is stilled! it falls
From Tammuz’s hands! Oh, how its wailing calls
To you bright zi-ni flying through the skies,
See! one sweet spirit of the wind swift flies
And grasps the wailing harp before it ends
Its wail of woe, and now beneath it bends,
With silent pinions listening to its strings,
Wild sobbing on the winds;—with wailing rings
The conscious harp, and trembles in her hands.
A rush of pinions comes from myriad lands,
With moanings sends afar the awful tale,
And mourners brings with every whispering gale.
And see! the queen’s companion fainting sinks!
She lays him on that cloud with fleecy brinks!
And oh! his life is ebbing fast away!
She wildly falls upon his breast, and gray
Her face becomes with bitter agony.
She tearless kneels, wrapt in her misery
And now upon his breast she lays her head,
With tears that gods, alas! with men must shed;
She turning, sobs to her sweet waiting maids,
Who weeping o’er her stand with bended heads:
“Assemble, oh, my maids, in mourning here,
The gods! and spirits of the earth bring near!”
They come! they come! three hundred spirits high,
The heavenly spirits come! the I-gi-gi!
From Heaven’s streams and mouths and plains and vales,
And gods by thousands on the wings of gales.
The spirits of the earth, An-un-na-ci,
Now join around their sisters of the sky.
Hark! hear her weeping to the heavenly throng,
Imploring them to chant their mournful song:
“With your gold lyres, the dirge, oh, sing with
And moan with me, with your sweet melody;
With swelling notes, as zephyrs softly wail,
And cry with me as sobbing of the gale.
O Earth! dear Earth! oh, wail with thy dead trees!
With sounds of mountain torrents, moaning seas!
And spirits of the lakes, and streams, and vales,
And Zi-ku-ri of mountains’ trackless trail,
Join our bright legions with your queen! Oh, weep
With your sad tears, dear spirits of the deep!
Let all the mournful sounds of earth be heard,
The breeze hath carried stored from beast and bird;
Join the sweet notes of doves for their lost love
To the wild moans of hours,—wailing move;
Let choirs of Heaven and of the earth then peal,
All living beings my dread sorrow feel!
Oh, come with saddest, weirdest melody,
Join earth and sky in one sweet threnody!”
Ten thousand times ten thousand now in line,
In all the panoplies of gods divine;
A million crowns are shining in the light,
A million sceptres, robes of purest white!
Ten thousand harps and lutes and golden lyres
Are waiting now to start the Heavenly choirs.
And lo! a chariot from Heaven comes,
While halves rise from yonder sapphire domes;
A chariot incrusted with bright gems,
A blaze of glory shines from diadems.
See! in the car the queen o’er Tammuz bends,
And nearer the procession slowly wends,
Her regal diadem with tears is dimmed;
And her bright form by sorrow is redeemed
To sweeter, holier beauty in her woe;
Her tears a halo form and brighter flow.
Caparisoned with pearls, ten milk-white steeds
Are harnessed to her chariot that leads;
On snow-white swans beside her ride her maids,
They come! through yonder silver cloudy glades!
Behind her chariot ten sovereigns ride;
Behind them comes all Heaven’s lofty pride,
On pale white steeds, the chargers of the skies.
The clouds of snowy pinions rustling rise!
But hark! what is that strain of melody
That fills our souls with grandest euphony?
Hear how it swells and dies upon the breeze!
To softest whisper of the leaves of trees;
Then sweeter, grander, nobler, sweeping comes,
Like myriad lyres that peal through Heaven’s domes.
But, oh! how sad and sweet the notes now come!
Like music of the spheres that softly hum;
It rises, falls, with measured melody,
With saddest notes and mournful symphony.
From all the universe sad notes repeat
With doleful strains of woe transcendent, sweet;
Hush! hear the song! my throbbing heart be still!
The songs of gods above the heavens fill!
“Oh, weep with your sweet
tears, and mourning chant,
O’er this dread loss of Heaven’s queen.
With her, O sisters, join your sweetest plaint
O’er our dear Tammuz, Tammuz slain.
Come, all ye spirits, with your drooping wings,
No more to us sweet joy he brings;
Ah, me, my brother!
Oh, weep! oh, weep! ye spirits
of the air,
Oh, weep! oh, weep! An-un-na-ci!
Our own dear queen is filled with dread despair.
Oh, pour your tears, dear earth and sky,
Oh, weep with bitter tears, O dear Sedu,
O’er fearful deeds of Nin-azu;
Ah, me, my brother!
Let joy be stilled! and every
hope be dead!
And tears alone our hearts distil.
My love has gone!—to darkness he has fled;
Dread sorrow’s cup for us, oh, fill!
And weep for Tammuz we have held so dear,
Sweet sisters of the earth and air;
Ah, me, my sister!
Oh, come ye, dearest, dearest
With grace and mercy help us bear
Our loss and hers; our weeping queen, oh, see!
And drop with us a sister’s tear.
Before your eyes our brother slain! oh, view;
Oh, weep with us o’er him so true;
Ah, me, his sister!
The sky is dead; its beauty
all is gone,
Oh, weep, ye clouds, for my dead love!
Your queen in her dread sorrow now is prone.
O rocks and hills in tears, oh, move!
And all my heavenly flowerets for me weep,
O’er him who now in death doth sleep;
Ah, me, my Tammuz!
Oh, drop o’er him your
fragrant dewy tears,
For your own queen who brings you joy,
For Love, the Queen of Love, no longer cheers,
Upon my heart it all doth cloy.
Alas! I give you love, nor can receive,
O all my children for me grieve;
Ah, me, my Tammuz!
Alas! alas! my heart is dying—dead!
With all these bitter pangs of grief
Despair hath fallen on my queenly head,
Oh, is there, sisters, no relief?
Hath Tammuz from me ever, ever, gone?
My heart is dead, and turned to stone;
Ah, me, his queen!
My sister spirits, O my brothers
My sorrow strikes me to the earth;
Oh, let me die! I now no fate can fear,
My heart is left a fearful dearth.
Alas, from me all joy! all joy! hath gone;
Oh, Ninazu, what hast thou done?
Ah, me, his queen!”
To Hades’ world beyond our sight they go,
And leave upon the skies Mar-gid-da’s glow,
That shines eternally along the sky,
The road where souls redeemed shall ever fly.
Prince Tammuz now again to life restored,
Is crowned in Hades as its King and Lord,
And Ishtar’s sorrow thus appeased, she flies
To earth, and fills with light and love the skies.
[Footnote 1: “Zi-ni,” pronounced “Zee-nee,” spirits of the wind.]
[Footnote 2: “Ah, me, my brother, and, ah, me, my sister! Ah, me, Adonis (or Tammuz), and ah, me, his lady (or queen)!” is the wailing cry uttered by the worshippers of Tammuz or Adonis when celebrating his untimely death. It is referred to in Jer. xxii. 18, and in Ezek. viii. 14, and Amos viii. 10, and Zech. xii. 10, 11. See Smith’s revised edition of “Chal. Acc. of Genesis,” by Sayce, pp. 247, 248.]
[Footnote 3: “Mar-gid-da,” “the Long Road.” We have also given the Accadian name for “The Milky Way.” It was also called by them the “River of Night.”]
[Footnote 4: “Lord of Hades” is one of the titles given to Tammuz in an Accadian hymn found in “C.I.W.A.,” vol. iv. 27, 1, 2. See also translation in “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 131.]
THE KING AND SEER CONVERSING ON THEIR WAY TO KHASI-SADRA—INTERPRETATION OF THE KING’S DREAM IN THE PALACE ON THE NIGHT OF THE FESTIVAL
“The dream, my seer, which I beheld last night
Within our tent, may bring to us delight.
I saw a mountain summit flash with fire,
That like a royal robe or god’s attire
Illumined all its sides. The omen might
Some joy us bring, for it was shining bright.”
And thus the Sar revealed to him his dream.
Heabani said, “My friend, though it did seem
Propitious, yet, deceptive was it all,
And came in memory of Elam’s fall.
The mountain burning was Khumbaba’s halls
We fired, when all his soldiers from the walls
Had fled;—the ni-takh-garri,—on that morn,
Of such deceptive dreams, I would thee warn!”
Some twenty kaspu they have passed this day,
At thirty kaspu they dismount to pray
And raise an altar, Samas to beseech
That they their journey’s end may safely reach.
The tent now raised, their evening meal prepare
Beneath the forest in the open air;
And Izdubar brought from the tent the dream
He dreamed the festal night when Ishtar came
To him;—he reads it from a written scroll:
“Upon my sight a vision thus did fall:
I saw two men that night beside a god;
One man a turban wore, and fearless trod.
The god reached forth his hand and struck him down
Like mountains hurled on fields of corn, thus prone
He lay; and Izdubar then saw the god
Was Anatu, who struck him to the sod.
The troubler of all men, Samu’s fierce queen,
Thus struck the turbaned man upon the plain.
He ceased his struggling, to his friend thus said:
’My friend, thou askest not why I am laid
Here naked, nor my low condition heed.
Accursed thus I lie upon the mead;
The god has crushed me, burned my limbs with fire.’
“The vision from mine eyes did then expire.
A third dream came to me, which I yet fear,
The first beyond my sight doth disappear.
A fire-god thundering o’er the earth doth ride;
The door of darkness burning flew aside;
Like a fierce stream of lightning, blazing fire,
Beside me roared the god with fury dire,
And hurled wide death on earth on every side;
And quickly from my sight it thus did glide,
And in its track I saw a palm-tree green
Upon a waste, naught else by me was seen.”
Heabani pondering, thus explained the dream:
“My friend, the god was Samas, who doth gleam
With his bright glory, power, our God and Lord,
Our great Creator King, whose thunders roared
By thee, as through yon sky he takes his way;
For his great favor we should ever pray.
The man thou sawest lying on the plain
Was thee, O King,—to fight such power is vain.
Thus Anatu will strike thee with disease,
Unless thou soon her anger shalt appease;
And if thou warrest with such foes divine,
The fires of death shall o’er thy kingdom shine.
The palm-tree green upon the desert left
Doth show that we of hope are not bereft;
The gods for us their snares have surely weft,
One shall be taken, and the other left.”
[Footnote 1: “Ni-takh-garri,” “the helpers,” or soldiers of Khumbaba.]
[Footnote 2: “Anatu,” the consort of Anu.]
[Footnote 3: “Weft,” weaved.]
CONTEST WITH THE DRAGONS IN THE MOUNTAINS—THE
SEER IS MORTALLY WOUNDED—
HIS CALM VIEW OF THE HEREAFTER
"O Mam-mitu, thou god of fate and death!
Thou spirit of fierce hate and parting breath,
Thou banisher of joy! O ghastly Law,
That gathers countless forces in thy maw!
A phantom! curse! and oft a blessing, joy!
All Heaven and earth thy hands shall e’er employ.
With blessings come, or curses to us bring,
The god who fails not with her hovering wing;
Nor god, nor man thy coming e’er may ken,
O mystery! thy ways none can explain.”
If thou must come in earthquakes, fire, and flood,
Or pestilence and eftsoons cry for blood,
Thou comest oft with voice of sweetest love,
Our dearest, fondest passions, hopes, to move;
And men have worshipped thee in every form,
In fear have praised thee, sought thy feet to charm.
We reck not if you blessings, curses bring,
For men oft change thy noiseless, ghoulish wing.
And yet, thou comest, goddess Mam-mitu,
To bring with thee the feet of Nin-a-zu,
Two sister ghouls, remorseless, tearless, wan,
We fear ye not; ye bu’i-du, begone!
Sweet life renews itself in holy love,
Your victory is naught! Ye vainly rove
Across our pathway with yours forms inane,
For somewhere, though we die, we live again.
The soul departed shall in glory shine,
As burnished gold its form shall glow divine,
And Samas there shall grant to us new life;
And Merodac, the eldest son, all strife
Shall end in peace in yonder Blest Abode,
Where happiness doth crown our glorious God.
The sacred waters there shall ever flow,
To Anat’s arms shall all the righteous go;
The queen of Anu, Heaven’s king, our hands
Outstretched will clasp, and through the glorious lands
Will lead us to the place of sweet delights;
The land that glows on yonder blessed heights
Where milk and honey from bright fountains flow.
And nectar to our lips, all sorrows, woe,
Shall end in happiness beside the Stream
Of Life, and Joy for us shall ever gleam;
Our hearts with thankfulness shall sweetly sing
And grander blissfulness each day will bring.
And if we do not reach that spirit realm,
Where bodyless each soul may ages whelm
With joy unutterable; still we live,
With bodies knew upon dear Earth, and give
Our newer life to children with our blood.
Or if these blessings we should miss; in wood,
Or glen, or garden, field, or emerald seas,
Our forms shall spring again; in such as these
We see around us throbbing with sweet life,
In trees or flowerets.
This needs no belief
On which to base the fabric of a dream,
For Earth her children from death doth redeem,
And each contributes to continuous bloom;
So go your way! ye sisters, to your gloom!
Far on their road have come the king of fame
And seer, within the land of Mas they came,
Nor knew that Fate was hovering o’er their way,
In gentle converse they have passed the day.
Some twenty kaspu o’er the hills and plain,
They a wild forest in the mountain gain,
In a deep gorge they rode through thickets wild,
Beneath the pines; now to a pass they filed,
And lo! two dragons near a cave contend
Their path! with backs upreared their coils unbend,
Extend their ravenous jaws with a loud roar
That harshly comes from mouths of clotted gore.
The sky overhead with lowering clouds is cast,
Which Anu in his rage above them massed.
Dark tempests fly above from Rimmon’s breath,
Who hovers o’er them with the gods of death;
The wicked seven winds howl wildly round,
And crashing cedars falling shake the ground.
Now Tsil-lattu her black wings spreads o’er all,
Dark shrouding all the forest with her pall,
And from his steed for safety each dismounts,
And o’er their heads now break the ebon founts.
But hark! what is that dreadful roaring noise?
The dragons come! Their flaming crests they poise
Above, and nearer blaze their eyes of fire,
And see! upon them rush the monsters dire.
The largest springs upon the giant Sar,
Who parrying with the sword he used in war,
With many wounds it pierces, drives it back;
Again it comes, renews its fierce attack,
With fangs outspread its victims to devour,
High o’er the monarch’s head its crest doth tower,
Its fiery breath upon his helm doth glow.
Exposed its breast! he strikes! his blade drives through
Its vitals! Dying now it shakes the ground,
And furious lashes all the forest round.
But hark! what is that awful lingering shriek
And cries of woe, that on his ears wild break?
A blinding flash, see! all the land reveals,
With dreadful roars, and darkness quick conceals
The fearful sight, to ever after come
Before his eyes, wherever he may roam.
The King, alas! too late Heabani drags
From the beast’s fangs, that dies beneath the crags
Overhanging near the cave. And now a din
Loud comes from dalkhi that around them spin
In fierce delight, while hellish voices rise
In harsh and awful mockery; the cries
Of agony return with taunting groans,
And mock with their fell hate those piteous moans.
Amazed stands Izdubar above his seer,
Nor hears the screams, nor the fierce dalkhi’s jeer;
Beneath the flashing lightnings he soon found
The cave, and lays the seer upon the ground.
His breaking heart now cries in agony,
“Heabani! O my seer, thou must not die!
Alas! dread Mam-mitu hath led us here,
Awake for me! arouse! my noble seer!
I would to gods of Erech I had died
For thee! my seer! my strength! my kingdom’s pride!”
The seer at last revives and turns his face
With love that death touched not, his hand doth place
With friendly clasp in that of his dear king,
“Grieve not, beloved friend, this thing
Called death at last must come, why should we fear?
‘Tis Hades’ mist that opens for thy seer!
“The gods us brought, nor asked consent, and
They give and take away from all this strife
That must be here, my life I end on earth;
Both joy and sorrow I have seen from birth;
To Hades’ awful land, whence none return,
Heabani’s face in sorrow now must turn.
My love for thee, mine only pang reveals,
For this alone I grieve.”
A teardrop steals
Across his features, shining ’neath the light
The King has lit to make the cavern bright.
“But oh, friend Izdubar, my King, when I
From this dear earth to waiting Hades fly,
Grieve not; and when to Erech you return,
Thou shalt in glory reign, and Zaidu learn
As thy companion all that thine own heart
Desires, thy throne thou wilt to him impart.
The female, Samkha, whom he brought to me
Is false, in league with thine own enemy.
And she will cause thee mischief, seek to drive
Thee from thy throne; but do not let her live
Within the walls of Erech, for the gods
Have not been worshipped in their high abodes.
When thou returnest, to the temple go,
And pray the gods to turn from thee the blow
Of Anu’s fury, the strong god, who reigns
Above, and sent these woes upon the plains.
His anger raised against thee, even thee,
Must be allayed, or thy goods thou shalt see,
And kingdom, all destroyed by his dread power.
But Khasisadra will to thee give more
Advice when thou shalt meet the ancient seer,
For from thy side must I soon disappear.”
The seer now ceased, and on his couch asleep
Spoke not, and Izdubar alone doth weep.
And thus twelve days were past, and now the seer
Of the great change he saw was drawing near
Informed his King, who read to him the prayers,
And for the end each friendly act prepares,
Then said: “O my Heabani, dearest friend,
I would that I thy body could defend
From thy fierce foe that brings the end to thee.
My friend in battle I may never see
Again, when thou didst nobly stand beside
Me; with my seer and friend I then defied
All foes; and must thou leave thy friend, my seer?”
“Alas! my King, I soon shall leave thee here.”
[Footnote 1: We have here quoted an Accadian hymn to the goddess of fate. ("Trans. Soc. of Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 39.)]
[Footnote 2: “Bu’i-du,” ghosts.]
[Footnote 3: Accadian hymn on the future of the just. ("Trans. Soc. of Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 32.)]
[Footnote 4: Assyrian fragmentary hymn ("W.A.I.,” iv. 25, col. v.), translated in “Records of the Past,” vol. xi. pp. 161, 162.]
[Footnote 5: The land of Mas, Mr. Sayce supposes, was situated west of the Euphrates Valley.]
[Footnote 6: “Dragons.” The word for this animal is “tammabuk-ku.” It was probably one of the monsters portrayed on the Babylonian cylinders now in the British Museum.]
HEABANI REVEALS TWO WONDERFUL VISIONS TO THE KING, ONE OF DEATH AND OBLIVION, AND THE OTHER OF HEAVEN, AND DIES IN THE ARMS OF THE KING
“But, oh, my King! to thee I now reveal
A secret that my heart would yet conceal,
To thee, my friend, two visions I reveal:
The first I oft have dreamed beneath some spell
Of night, when I enwrapped from all the world,
With Self alone communed.
By winged thought beyond this present life,
I seeming woke in a Dark World where rife
Was Nothingness,—a darksome mist it seemed,
All eke was naught;—no light for me there gleamed;
And floating ’lone, which way I turned, saw naught;
Nor felt of substance ’neath my feet, nor fraught
With light was Space around; nor cheerful ray
Of single star. The sun was quenched; or day
Or night, knew not. No hands had I, nor feet,
Nor head, nor body, all was void. No heat
Or cold I felt, no form could feel or see;
And naught I knew but conscious entity.
No boundary my being felt, or had;
And speechless, deaf, and blind, and formless, sad,
I floated through dark space,—a conscious blank!
No breath of air my spirit moved; I sank
I knew not where, till motionless I ceased
At last to move, and yet I could not rest,
Around me spread the Limitless, and Vast.
My cheerless, conscious spirit,—fixed and fast
In some lone spot in space was moveless, stark!
An atom chained by forces stern and dark,
With naught around me. Comfortless I lived
In my dread loneliness! Oh, how I grieved!
And thus, man’s fate in Life and Death is solved
With naught but consciousness, and thus involved
All men in hopes that no fruition have?
And this alone was all that death me gave?
That all had vanished, gone from me that life
Could give, and left me but a blank, with strife
Of rising thoughts, and vain regrets, to float;—
Away from life and light, be chained remote!
“Oh, how my spirit longed for some lone crag
To part the gloom beneath, and rudely drag
My senses back! or with its shock to end
My dire existence;—to oblivion send
Me quickly! How I strove to curse, and break
That soundless Void, with shrieks or cries, to wake
That awful silence which around me spread!
In vain! in vain! all but my soul was dead.
And then my spirit soundless cried within:
‘Oh, take me! take me back to Earth again!’
For tortures of the flesh were bliss and joy
To such existence! Pain can never cloy
The smallest thrill of earthly happiness!
’Twas joy to live on earth in pain! I’ll bless
Thee, gods, if I may see its fields I’ve trod
To kiss its fragrant flowers, and clasp the sod
Of mother Earth, that grand and beauteous world!
From all its happiness, alas! was hurled
My spirit,—then in frenzy—I awoke!
Great Bel! a dream it was! as vanished smoke
It sped! and I sprang from my couch and prayed
To all the gods, and thus my soul allayed.
And then with blessings on my lips, I sought
My couch, and dropped away in blissful thought
In dream the second:
“Then the Silver Sky
Came to me. Near the Stream of Life I lie:
My couch the rarest flowers; and music thrills
My soul! How soft and sweet it sounds from rills
And streams, and feathered songsters in the trees
Of Heaven’s fruits!—e’en all that here doth please
The heart of man was there. In a dear spot
I lay, ’mid olives, spices, where was wrought
A beauteous grotto; and beside me near,
Were friends I loved; and one both near and dear
With me reclined, in blissful converse, sweet
With tender thoughts.
Our joy was full, complete!
The ministering spirits there had spread
Before us all a banquet on the mead,
With Heaven’s food and nectar for our feast;
And oh, so happy! How our joy increased
As moments flew, to years without an end!
To Courts Refulgent there we oft did wend.
“Beside a silver lake, a holy fane
There stood within the centre of the plain,
High built on terraces, with walls of gold,
Where palaces and mansions there enfold
A temple of the gods, that stands within
’Mid feathery palms and gesdin bowers green,
The city rises to a dizzy height,
With jewelled turrets flashing in the light,
Grand mansions piled on mansions rising high
Until the glowing summits reach the sky.
A cloud of myriad wings, e’er fills the sky,
As doves around their nests on earth here fly;
The countless millions of the souls on earth,
The gods have brought to light from mortal birth,
Are carried there from the dark world of doom;
For countless numbers more there still is room.
Through trailing vines my Love and I oft wind,
With arms of love around each other twined.
This day, we passed along the Stream of Life,
Through blooming gardens, with sweet odors rife;
Beneath the ever-ripening fruits we walk,
Along dear paths, and sweetly sing, or talk,
While warbling birds around us fly in view,
From bloom to bloom with wings of every hue;
And large-eyed deer, no longer wild, us pass,
With young gazelles, and kiss each other’s face.
“We now have reached the stately stairs of gold,
The city of the gods, here built of old.
The pearled pillars rise inlaid divine,
With lotus delicately traced with vine
In gold and diamonds, pearls, and unknown gems,
That wind to capital with blooming stems
Of lilies, honeysuckles, and the rose.
An avenue of columns in long rows
Of varied splendor, leads to shining courts
Where skilful spirit hands with perfect arts
Have chiselled glorious forms magnificent,
With ornate skill and sweet embellishment.
Their golden sculpture view on every hand,
Or carved images in pearl that stand
In clusters on the floor, or in long rows;
And on the walls of purest pearl there glows
The painting of each act of kindest deed
Each soul performs on earth;—is there portrayed.
“The scenes of tenderness and holy love,
There stand and never end, but onward move,
And fill the galleries of Heaven with joy,
And ever spirit artist hands employ.
The holiest deeds are carved in purest gold,
Or richest gems, and there are stored of old;
Within the inner court a fountain stood,
Of purest diamond moulded, whence there flowed
Into a golden chalice,—trickling cool,
The nectar of the gods,—a sparkling pool,
That murmuring sank beneath an emerald vase
That rested underneath;—the fountain’s base.
“We entered then an arcade arching long
Through saph’rine galleries, and heard the song
That swelling came from temples hyaline;
And passed through lazite courts and halls divine,
While dazzling glories brighter round us shone.
How sweet then came the strains! with grander tone!
And, oh, my King! I reached the gates of pearl
That stood ajar, and heard the joyous whirl
That thrilled the sounding domes and lofty halls,
And echoed from the shining jasper walls.
I stood within the gate, and, oh, my friend,
Before that holy sight I prone did bend,
And hid my face upon the jacinth stairs.
A shining god raised me, and bade my fears
Be flown, and I beheld the glorious throne
Of crystaled light; with rays by man unknown.
The awful god there sat with brows sublime,
With robes of woven gold, and diadem
That beamed with blazing splendor o’er his head.
I thus beheld the god with presence dread,
The King of Kings, the Ancient of the Days,
While music rose around with joyous praise.
With awful thunders how they all rejoice!
And sing aloud with one commingled voice!
“What happiness it was to me, my King!
From bower to temple I went oft to sing,
Or spread my wings above the mount divine,
And viewed the fields from heights cerulean.
Those songs still linger on dear memory’s ear,
And tireless rest upon me, ever cheer.
But from the Happy Fields, alas! I woke,
And from my sight the Heavenly vision broke;
But, oh, my King, it all was but a dream!
“Farewell, my King, my love thou knowest well;
I go the road; in Hades soon shall dwell;
To dwelling of the god Irkalla fierce,
To walls where light for me can never pierce,
The road from which no soul may e’er return,
Where dust shall wrap me round, my body urn,
Where sateless ravens float upon the air,
Where light is never seen, or enters there,
Where I in darkness shall be crowned with gloom;
With crowned heads of earth who there shall come
To reign with Anu’s favor or great Bel’s,
Then sceptreless are chained in their dark cells
With naught to drink but Hades’ waters there,
And dream of all the past with blank despair.
Within that world, I too shall ceaseless moan,
Where dwell the lord and the unconquered one,
And seers and great men dwell within that deep,
With dragons of those realms we all shall sleep;
Where King Etana and god Ner doth reign
With Allat, the dark Under-World’s great queen,
Who reigns o’er all within her regions lone,
The Mistress of the Fields, her mother, prone
Before her falls, and none her face withstands;
But I will her approach, and take her hands,
And she will comfort me in my dread woe.
Alas! through yonder void I now must go!
My hands I spread! as birds with wings I fly!
Descend! descend! beneath that awful sky!”
The seer falls in the arms of Izdubar,
And he is gone;—’tis clay remaineth here.
[Footnote 1:"Gesdin,” the Tree of Life and Immortality.]
[Footnote 2: “Etana,” Lord or King of Hades. He is mentioned in the Creation series of Legends as having reigned before the flood.]
THE GRIEF OF THE KING OVER THE LOSS OF HIS SEER, AND
HIS PRAYER TO THE
MOON-GOD, WHO ANSWERS HIS PRAYER WITH A VISION
The King weeps bitterly with flowing tears
Above his seer when from him disappears
The last faint breath; and then in deepest woe
He cries: “And through that desert must I go?
Heabani, thou to me wast like the gods;
Oh, how I loved thee! must thou turn to clods?
Through that dread desert must I ride alone;
And leave thee here, Heabani, lying prone?
Alas, I leave thee in this awful place,
To find our Khasisadra, seek his face,
The son of Ubara-tutu, the seer;
Oh, how can I, my friend, thus leave thee here?
This night through those dark mountains I must go,
I can no longer bear this awful woe:
If I shall tarry here, I cannot sleep.
O Sin, bright moon-god, of yon awful deep!
I pray to thee upon my face, oh, hear
My prayer! my supplications bring thou near
To all the gods! grant thou to me,—e’en me,
A heart of strength and will to worship thee.
“Oh, is this death like that the seer hath dreamed?
Perhaps the truth then on his spirit gleamed!
If Land of Silver Sky is but a myth,
The other dream is true! e’en all he saith!
Oh, tell me, all ye sparkling stars,
That wing above thy glorious flight,
And feel not Nature’s jars;
But grandly, sweetly fling thy light
To our bright world beneath serene,
Hath mortals on thee known
Or viewed beyond,—that great Unseen,
Their future fate by gods been shown?
“Oh, hear me, all ye gods on high!
To gods who love mankind I pray,
Despairing, oh, I cry!
Oh, drive these doubts and fears away!
And yet—and yet, what truths have we?
O wondrous mortal, must thou die?
Beyond this end thou canst not see,
O Life! O Death! O mystery!
“The body still is here, with feeling dead!
And sight is gone!—and hearing from his head,
Nor taste, nor smell, nor warmth, nor breath of life!
Where is my seer? Perhaps, his spirit rife
E’en now in nothingness doth wander lone!
In agony his thoughts! with spirit prone!
In dread despair!—If conscious then, O gods!
He spake the truth!—His body to the clods
Hath turned! By this we feel, or hear, or see,
And when ’tis gone,—exist?—in agony!
To Hades hath he gone? as he hath thought!
Alas, the thought is torture, where have wrought
The gods their fearful curse! Ah, let me think!
The Silver Sky? Alas, its shining brink
He hath not crossed. The wrathful gods deny
Him entrance! Where, oh, where do spirits fly
Whom gods have cursed? Alas, he is condemned
To wander lone in that dark world, contemned
And from the Light of Happy Fields is barred!
Oh, why do gods thus send a fate so hard,
And cruel? O dear moon-god, moon-god Sin!
My seer hath erred. Receive his soul within
To joys prepared for gods and men! Though seer
He was, he immortality did fear,
As some unknown awakening in space.
Oh, turn upon him thy bright blessed face!
He was my friend! O moon-god, hear my prayer!
Imploring thee, doth pray thine Izdubar!”
And lo! a vision breaks before his eyes!
The moon-god hides the shadows of the skies,
And sweeps above with his soft, soothing light
That streams around his face; he drives the night
Before his rays, and with his hands sweet peace
He spreads through all the skies; and Strife doth cease!
A girdle spans the Heavens with pure light
That shines around the River of the Night,
Within the circling rays a host appears!
The singers of the skies, as blazing spheres!
Hark! Hear their harps and lyres that sweetly sound!
They sing! Oh, how the glowing skies resound!
“O King of Light and Joy and Peace,
Supreme thy love shall ever reign;
Oh, can our songs of bliss here cease?
Our souls for joy cannot restrain,
Sweep! Sweep thy lyres again!
The former things are passed
Which we on earth once knew below;
And in this bright eternal day
We happiness alone can know
Where bliss doth ever flow.”
[Footnote 1: Literally, “the former names,” which appears on a fragment of the epic translated by Mr. Sayce. See Smith’s “C.A. of Gen.,” p. 259, which he has rendered “the former name, the new name.”]
THE KING BURIES HIS SEER IN THE CAVE, AND CONTINUING HIS JOURNEY, HE MEETS TWO FIERY GIANTS WHO GUIDE THE SUN IN THE HEAVENS—THEY MAKE MERRY OVER THE KING, AND DIRECT HIM ON HIS WAY
The King within the cave his seer entombs,
And mourning sadly from the cavern comes;
The entrance closes with the rocks around,
Again upon his journey he is bound.
But soon within the mountains he is lost
Within the darkness,—as some vessel tost
Upon the trackless waves of unknown seas,
But further from the awful cavern flees.
The morning breaks o’er crags and lonely glens,
And he dismayed, the awful wild now scans.
He reins his steed and wondering looks around,
And sees of every side a mystic ground.
Before him stands the peak of Mount Masu,
The cliffs and crags forlorn his eyes swift view,
And cedars, pines, among the rocks amassed,
That weirdly rise within the mountain fast.
Hark! hear that dreadful roaring all around!
What nameless horror thrills the shaking ground?
The King in terror stares! and see! his steed
Springs back! wild snorting,—trembling in his dread.
Behold! behold those forms there blazing bright!
Fierce flying by the earth with lurid light;
Two awful spirits, demons, or fierce gods,
With roaring thunders spring from their abodes!
From depths beneath the earth the monsters fly,
And upward lift their awful bodies high,
Yet higher!—higher! till their crests are crowned
By Heaven’s gates; thus reaching from the ground
To heights empyrean, while downward falls
Each form, extending far ‘neath Hades’ walls.
And see! each god as molten metal gleams,
While sulphurous flame from hell each monster climbs!
Two fiery horrors reaching to the skies,
While wrathful lightning from each monster flies!
Hell’s gate they guard with Death’s remorseless
And hurl the sun around the realms of space
E’en swifter than the lightning, while it goes
Along its orbit, guided by their blows.
Dire tempests rise above from their dread blows,
And ever round a starry whirlwind glows;
The countless stars thus driven whirl around,
With all the circling planets circling round.
The King astounded lifts his staring eyes,
Into his face gray fear, with terror flies;
As they approach, his thoughts the King collects,
Thus over him one of the gods reflects.
“Who cometh yonder with the form of gods?”
The second says: “He comes from man’s abodes,
But with a mortal’s feebleness he walks;
Behold upon the ground alone he stalks.”
One lifts his mighty arm across the sky,
And strikes the sun as it goes roaring by;
The fiery world with whiter heat now glows,
While a vast flood of flame behind it flows,
That curling, forms bright comets, meteors,
And planets multiplies, and blazing stars;
The robe of flames spreads vast across the sky,
Adorned with starry gems that sparkling fly
Upon the ambient ether forming suns
That through new orbits sing their orisons;
Their pealing thunders rend the trembling sky,
The endless anthem of eternity.
The monster turning to the King then says,
When nearer now his awful form doth blaze:
“So thus you see, my son, the gods are strong,
And to provoke great power, is foolish, wrong;
But whither goest thou, thou sad-eyed King,
What message hast thou;—to us here would bring?”
The King now prostrate to the monsters prayed:
“Ye gods or demons, I within your glade
Of horrors, have unwilling come to seek
Our Khasisadra, who a spell can make
To turn the anger of the gods away.
Immortal lives the seer beside the sea,
He knoweth death and life, all secret things;
And this alone your servant to you brings.
The goddess sought my hand, which I denied,
And Anu’s fury thus I have defied;
This all my troubles caused, show me the way
To Khasisadra, this I ask and pray.”
The god’s vast face broke out with wondrous
And laughing, ripples rolled along for miles;
His mouth wide opened its abyss and yawned,
As earthquake gulf, far spreading through the ground.
His roaring laughter shakes the earth around,
“Ho! ho! my son! so you at last have found
The Queen can hate, as well as love her friends,
And on thy journey Ishtar’s love thee sends?
A mortal wise thou wast, to her refuse,
For she can do with man what she may choose.
A mortal’s love, in truth, is wondrous strong,
A glorious thing it is, Life’s ceaseless song!
Within a cave upon the mountain side,
Thou there thy footsteps must to Hades guide,
Twelve kaspu go to yonder mountain gates,
A heart like thine may well defy the fates.
A darkness deep profound doth ever spread
Within those regions black,—Home of the Dead.
Go, Izdubar! within this land of Mas,
Thy road doth lead, and to the west doth pass,
And may the maidens sitting by the walls
Refresh thee, lead thee to the Happy Halls.”
The path they take behind the rising sun
The setting sun they pass,—with wings have flown
The scorpion men, within wide space have gone,
Thus from his sight the monsters far have flown.
[Footnote 1: “Mount Masu,” the Mountains of Masius, or “Mons Masius” of Strabo (vi. 12, Sec.Sec. 4, 14, 2, etc.), may be referred to by the author of the epic. These mountains are now known to the Turks as Jebel Tur and Karaiah Dag.—Rawlinson’s “Ancient Monarchies,” vol. ii. pp. 9 and 25.]
[Footnote 2: Mr. Sayce translates thus: “the path of the sun.”]
[Footnote 3: He also names the monsters “the scorpion men,” and refers to an Assyrian cylinder on which two composite winged monsters are carved, with the winged emblem of the supreme god in the centre above them. The monsters have the feet of lions and the tails of scorpions. See illustration in Smith’s revised edition, by Sayce, “Chald. Acc. of Gen.,” p. 276. The monsters were supposed to fly ahead of the sun, and as it passed guide it along its orbit.]
IZDUBAR ENTERS HADES—THE SONG OF THE DALKHI IN THE CAVERN OF HORRORS—THE KING PASSES THROUGH HADES TO THE GARDEN OF THE GODS, AND SEES THE WONDERFUL FOUNTAIN OF LIFE’S WATERS
In a weird passage to the Under-World,
Where demon shades sit with their pinions furled
Along the cavern’s walls with poisonous breath,
In rows here mark the labyrinths of Death.
The King with torch upraised, the pathway finds,
Along the way of mortal souls he winds,
Where shades sepulchral, soundless rise amid
Dark gulfs that yawn, and in the blackness hide
Their depths beneath the waves of gloomy lakes
And streams that sleep beneath the sulphurous flakes
That drift o’er waters bottomless, and chasms;
Where moveless depths receive Life’s dying spasms.
Here Silence sits supreme on a drear throne
Of ebon hue, and joyless reigns alone
O’er a wide waste of blackness,—solitude
Black, at her feet, there sleeps the awful flood
Of mystery which grasps all mortal souls,
Where grisly horrors sit with crests of ghouls,
And hateless welcome with their eyes of fire
Each soul;—remorseless lead to terrors dire;
And ever, ever crown the god of Fate;
And there, upon her ebon throne she sate
The awful fiend, dark goddess Mam-mitu,
Who reigns through all these realms of La-Atzu.
But hark! what are these sounds within the gloom?
And see! long lines of torches nearer come!
And now within a recess they have gone;
The King must pass their door! perhaps some one
Of them may see him! turn the hags of gloom
Upon him, as he goes by yonder room!
He nearer comes, and peers within; and see!
A greenish glare fills all the cave! and he
Beholds a blaze beneath a cauldron there;
Coiled, yonder lie the Dragons of Despair;
And lo! from every recess springs a form
Of shapeless horror! now with dread alarm
He sees the flitting forms wild whirling there,
And awful wailings come of wild despair:
But hark! the dal-khis’ song rings on the air!
With groans and cries they shriek their mad despair:
Oh, fling on earth, ye demons
Your madness, hate, and fell despair,
And fling your darts at each we mark,
That we may welcome victims here.
Then sing your song of hate,
And hurl your pestilential breath,
Till every soul before us bends,
And worship here the god of Death.
In error still for e’er
They see not, hear not many things;
The unseen forces do not weigh,
And each an unknown mystery brings.
In error still for e’er
They delve for phantom shapes that ride
Across their minds alone,—and they
But mock the folly of man’s pride.
In error still for e’er
They learn but little all their lives,
And Wisdom ever wings her way,
Evading ever,—while man strives!
But hark! another song rings
through the gloom,
And, oh, how sweet the music far doth come!
Oh, hear it, all ye souls in your despair,
For joy it brings to sorrowing ones e’en here!
“There is a Deep Unknown
That all things hidden well doth weigh!
On man’s blind vision rests the bond
Of error still for e’er and aye!
“But to the mighty gods,
For truth to lead you on your way,
And wisdom from their tablets learn,
And ever hope for e’er and aye!”
And see! the hags disperse within the gloom,
As those sweet sounds resound within the room;
And now a glorious light doth shine around,
Their rays of peace glide o’er the gloomy ground.
And lo! ’tis Papsukul, our god of Hope,—
With cheerful face comes down the fearful slope
Of rugged crags, and blithely strides to where
Our hero stands, amid the poisonous air,
“Behold, my King, that glorious Light
That shines beyond! and eye no more this sight
Of dreariness, that only brings despair,
For phantasy of madness reigneth here!”
The King in wonder carefully now eyes
The messenger divine with great surprise,
“But why, thou god of Hope, do I
Thus find thee in these realms of agony?
This World around me banishes thy feet
From paths that welcome here the god of Fate
And blank despair, and loss irreparable.
Why comest thou to woe immeasurable?”
“You err, my King, for hope oft rules despair;
I ofttimes come to reign with darkness here;
When I am gone, the god of Fate doth reign;
When I return, I soothe these souls again.”
“So thus you visit all these realms of woe,
To torture them with hopes they ne’er can know?
Avaunt! If this thy mission is on Earth
Or Hell, thou leavest after thee but dearth!”
“Not so, my King! behold yon glorious sphere,
Where gods at last take all these souls from here!
Adieu! thou soon shalt see the World of Light,
Where joy alone these souls will e’er delight.”
The god now vanishes away from sight,
The hero turns his face toward the light;
Nine kaspu walks, till weird the rays now gleam,
As zi-mu-ri behind the shadows stream.
He sees beyond, umbrageous grots and caves,
Where odorous plants entwine their glistening leaves.
And lo! the trees bright flashing gems here bear!
And trailing vines and flowers do now appear,
That spread before his eyes a welcome sight,
Like a sweet dream of some mild summer night.
But, oh! his path leads o’er that awful stream,
Across a dizzy arch ’mid sulphurous steam
That covers all the grimy bridge with slime.
He stands perplexed beside the waters grime,
Which sluggish move adown the limbo black,
With murky waves that writhe demoniac,—
As ebon serpents curling through the gloom
And hurl their inky crests, that silent come
Toward the yawning gulf, a tide of hate;
And sweep their dingy waters to Realms of Fate.
He cautious climbs the slippery walls of gloom,
And dares not look beneath, lest Fate should come;
He enters now the stifling clouds that creep
Around the causeway, while its shadows sleep
Upon the stream that sullen moves below,—
He slips!—and drops his torch! it far doth
Beneath him on the rocks! Alas, in vain
He seeks a path to bring it back again.
It moves! snatched by a dal-khu’s hand it flies
Away within the gloom, then falling dies
Within those waters black with a loud hiss
That breaks the silence of that dread abyss.
He turns again, amid the darkness gropes,
And careful climbs the cragged, slimy slopes,
And now he sees, oh, joy! the light beyond!
He springs! he flies along the glowing ground,
And joyous dashes through the waving green
That lustrous meets his sight with rays serene,
Where trees pure amber from their trunks distil,
Where sweet perfumes the groves and arbors fill,
Where zephyrs murmur odors from the trees,
And sweep across the flowers, carrying bees
With honey laden for their nectar store;
Where humming sun-birds upward flitting soar
O’er groves that bear rich jewels as their fruit,
That sparkling tingle from each youngling shoot,
And fill the garden with a glorious blaze
Of chastened light and tender thrilling rays.
He glides through that enchanted mystic world,
O’er streams with beds of gold that sweetly twirled
With woven splendor ’neath the blaze of gems
That crown each tree with glistening diadems.
The sounds of streams are weft with breezes, chant
Their arias with trembling leaves,—the haunt
Of gods! O how the tinkling chorus rings!—
With rhythms of the unseen rustling wings
Of souls that hover here where joy redeems
Them with a happiness that ever gleams.
The hero stands upon a damasked bed
Of flowers that glow beneath his welcome tread,
And softly sink with ’luring odors round,
And beckon him to them upon the ground.
Amid rare pinks and violets he lies,
And one sweet pink low bending near, he eyes.
With tender petals thrilling on its stem,
It lifts its fragrant face and says to him,
“Dear King, wilt thou love me as I do thee?
We love mankind, and when a mortal see
We give our fragrance to them with our love,
Their love for us our inmost heart doth move.”
The King leans down his head, it kissing, says,
“Sweet beauty, I love thee? with thy sweet face?
My heart is filled with love for all thy kind.
I would that every heart thy love should find.”
The fragrant floweret thrills with tenderness,
With richer fragrance answers his caress.
He kisses it again and lifts his eyes,
And rises from the ground with glad surprise.
And see! the glorious spirits clustering round!
They welcome him with sweet melodious sound.
We hear their golden instruments of praise,
As they around him whirl a threading maze;
In great delight he views their beckoning arms,
And lustrous eyes, and perfect, moving forms.
And see! he seizes one bright, charming girl,
As the enchanting ring doth nearer whirl;
He grasps her in his arms, and she doth yield
The treasure of her lips, where sweets distilled
Give him a joy without a taint of guilt.
It thrills his heart-strings till his soul doth melt,
A kiss of chastity, and love, and fire,
A joy that few can dare to here aspire.
The beauteous spirit has her joy, and flees
With all her sister spirits ’neath the trees.
And lo! the gesdin shining stands,
With crystal branches in the golden sands,
In this immortal garden stands the tree,
With trunk of gold, and beautiful to see.
Beside a sacred fount the tree is placed,
With emeralds and unknown gems is graced,
Thus stands, the prince of emeralds, Elam’s tree,
As once it stood, gave Immortality
To man, and bearing fruit, there sacred grew,
Till Heaven claimed again Fair Eridu.
The hero now the wondrous fountain eyes;
Its beryl base to ruby stem doth rise,
To emerald and sapphire bands that glow,
Where the bright curvings graceful outward flow;
Around the fountain to its widest part,
The wondrous lazite bands now curling start
And mingle with bright amethyst that glows,
To a broad diamond band,—contracting grows
To uk-ni stone, turquoise, and clustering pearls,
Inlaid with gold in many curious curls
Of twining vines and tendrils bearing birds,
Among the leaves and blooming flowers, that words
May not reveal, such loveliness in art,
With fancies spirit hands can only start
From plastic elements before the eye,
And mingle there the charms of empery.
Beneath two diamond doves that shining glow
Upon the summit, the bright waters flow,
With aromatic splendors to the skies,
While glistening colors of the rainbow rise.
Here ends the tablet, “When the hero viewed
The fountain which within the garden stood.”
[Footnote 1: “La-Atzu,” Hades, hell, the spirit-world.]
[Footnote 2: “Gesdin,” the Tree of Life and Immortality.]
[Footnote 3: See Sayce’s edition Smith’s “Chald. Acc. of Gen.,” p. 264.]
[Footntoe 4: “Eridu,” the Garden of Eden. Idem, pp. 84-86.]
[Footnote 5: “Tablet of the series; when the hero Izdubar saw the fountain.”—Sayce’s edition Smith’s “Chald. Acc. of Gen.,” p. 264, l. 14.]
THE KING’S ADVENTURE AT THE GATE OF THE GARDEN OF THE GODS WITH THE TWO MAIDENS—ONE OF THEM LEADS HIM INTO THE HAPPY HALLS—SONGS OF THE SABITU AND ZI-SI.
A gate half opened shows the silvery sea
Yet distant shining lambent on his way.
And now he sees young Siduri, whose breast
Infuses life; all nature she hath blest,
Whose lips are flames, her arms are walls of fire,
Whose love yields pleasures that can never tire,
She to the souls who joy on earth here miss,
Grants them above a holier, purer bliss.
The maiden sits within a holy shrine
Beside the gate with lustrous eyes divine,
And beckons to the King, who nearer comes,
And near her glows the Happy Palace domes.
And lo! ’tis she his lips have fondly kissed
Within the garden, when like fleeing mist
She disappeared with the bright spirit Seven,
The Sabit, who oft glide from earth to Heaven.
And lo! one of the Seven, Sabitu,
Emerging from the gate doth jealous view
The coming hero who hath kissed her mate,
She angry springs within to close the gate,
And bars it, enters then the inner halls,
And Izdubar to her now loudly calls,
“O Sabitu! what see-est thou, my maid?
Of Izdubar is Sabitu afraid?
Thy gate thou barrest thus before my face.
Quick, open for me! or I’ll force the brass!”
The maid now frightened opens wide the door.
The Sar and Siduri now tread the floor
Of the bright palace where sweet joy doth reign.
Through crystal halls ’neath golden roofs the twain
Next go within a lofty ceilinged hall,
With shining pearled columns, golden wall,
And purple silken hangings at each door,
With precious gems inlaid upon the floor;
Where couches grand are spread for one to rest
Beneath the softened rays that sweet invest
The senses with a thrill of happiness;
Where Siduri with joy all souls doth bless.
The maid sits on a couch and turns her face
Toward the King with that immortal grace
That love to gods and men will e’er bestow.
Their eyes now mingling with a happy glow,
The maiden sweetly says: “Where wouldst thou go?
Within these Happy Halls we joy but know,
And if thou wilt, my King, my heart is thine!
Our love will ever bring us bliss divine.”
“Alas, my maid, thy love to me is dear,
And sad am I that I must go from here.
I came from Erech by advice from one
I loved more than thou canst e’er know, but gone
From me is my Heabani, faithful seer.
Across a desert waste have I come here,
And he has there to dust returned,—to dust—
O how the love of my friend I did trust!
I would that we had never started here,
I now must find the great immortal seer.”
The maiden turns her glowing eyes on him,
Replies: “My King, thou knowest joy may gleam,
Take courage, weary heart, and sing a song!
The hour of sorrow can never be long;
The day will break, and flood thy soul with joy,
And happiness thy heart will then employ!
Each day must end with all its sorrow, woe,
Oh, sing with me, dear heart! I love thee so!”
And lo! the curtains flung aside, now comes
The joyous Sabitu from yonder rooms,
And gathering round, a song they gayly sing,
Oh, how with music the bright walls now ring!
If evil thou hast done, my King,
pray! oh, pray!
And to the gods thy offerings bring,
And pray! and pray!
The sea is roaring at thy feet,
The storms are coming, rain and sleet;
To all the gods,
Oh, pray to them! oh, pray!
all the gods,
Oh, pray to them! oh, pray!
Thy city we will bless, O
With joy, with joy!
And prosper thee in peace and war
With joy, with joy!
And bless thee every day and night,
Thy kingly robes keep pure and bright;
Give thee bright dreams,
O glorious king of war!
thee bright dreams,
O glorious king of war!
And if thy hand would slay
In war, in war!
With thee returning victory goes
In war, in war!
We grant thee victory, my King;
Like marshes swept by storms, we bring
Our power to thee
With victory in war!
power to thee
With victory in war!
And if thou wouldst the waters
The sea, the sea!
We’ll go with thee in every place,
With thee, with thee!
To Hea’s halls and glorious throne,
Where he unrivalled reigns alone,
To Hea go
Upon his throne of snow.
Upon his throne of snow.
And if thine anger rules thy
As fire, as fire!
And thou against thy foes would start
With ire, with ire!
Against thy foes thy heart be hard,
And all their land with fire be scarred,
Destroy thy foes!
Destroy them in thine ire!
Destroy them in thine ire!
And lo! young Siduri hath disappeared,
And with the Zisi crowned she now appeared;
The corn-gods in a crescent round their queen,
She waves before the king her Nusku green,
And sings with her sweet voice a joyful lay,
And all the Zisi join the chorus gay:
A heifer of the corn am
Yoked with the kine we gayly fly,
The ploughman’s hand is strong and drives
The glowing soil, the meadow thrives!
Before the oxen
The harvesters are in the
Our feet are flying with the morn,
We bring thee wealth! it is thine own!
The grain is ripe! oh, cut it down!
The yellow grain
The fruit of death, oh, King,
taste it not!
Taste not! taste not!
With fruit of Life the land is fraught
The fruit of Life we give to thee
And happiness, oh, ever see.
All joy is thine
Through Earth and Heaven’s bound.
joy is thine
Through Earth and Heaven’s bound.
Our corn immortal there is
And ripe! and ripe!
And ever ripens ’neath that sky
As gold! as gold!
Our corn is bearded, thus ’tis known,
And ripens quickly when ’tis grown.
Be joy with thee,
Our love around thee fold!
joy with thee,
Our love around thee fold!
Our King from us now goes,
His royal robe behind him glows
Across the waves where Hea reigns
The waters swollen he soon gains!
To our great seer,
He sails to him afar!
our great seer,
He sails to him afar!
And he will reach that glorious
Amid our fruit-trees he will stand
That day! that day!
Our fruit so sweet the King will eat,
Nor bitter mingle with the sweet.
In our seer’s land
That glows afar away!
our seer’s land
That glows afar away!
The singing spirits from them fled, and he
Alone stood thinking by young Siduri.
The King leaned on his bow, and eyed the maid,
A happy look came in his eyes,—and fled,
For lo! the curtain quick aside is pushed,
And Sabitu within upon them rushed.
She stately glides across the shining floor,
And eyes them both, then turns toward the door.
But Izdubar is equal to the task,
With grace now smiling, of the maid doth ask:
“O Sabitu! wouldst thou tell me the way
To Khasisadra? for I go this day.
If I the sea may cross, how shall I go?
Or through the desert? thou the path mayst know.”
The maiden startled looks upon his face,
And thus she answers him with queenly grace:
“So soon must go? Thou canst not cross the sea,
For thou wilt perish in the waves that way.
Great Samas once the way of me did ask,
And I forbade him, but the mighty task
He undertook, and crossed the mighty deep,
Where Death’s dark waters lie in wait asleep:
His mighty car of gold swept through the skies,
With fiery chargers now he daily flies.
When I approach thee, thou from me wouldst flee?
But if thou must so soon thus go, the sea
Perhaps thou too canst cross, if thou wilt ’void
Death’s waters, which relentless ever glide.
But Izdubar, Ur-Hea, here hath come!
The boatman of the seer, who to his home
Returns. He with an axe in yonder woods
A vessel builds to cross the raging floods.
If thou desirest not to cross with him,
We here will welcome thee through endless time;
But if thou goest, may they see thy face
Thou seekest,—welcome thee, and thy heart bless.”
[Footnote 1: “Siduri,” the “pourer” or “shedder forth,” the “all-bountiful,” the goddess who brings the rain, and mists, and running streams to fill the vegetable world with its productions; the goddess who presides over productive nature. She was also called “the Goddess of Wisdom.”]
[Footnote 2: Seven spirits of the earth and heaven, the daughters of Hea.]
[Footnote 3: “Nusku,” a budding or blooming shrub or branch, the wand of the Queen, used in magical incantations, which was called the plant of Nusku, the divining-rod.]
[Footnote 4: See Accadian songs, “C.I.W.A.,” vol. ii. 15, 16, and translated by Mr. Sayce in “Records of the Past, vol. xi. pp. 154, 155.]
[Footnote 5: “Kara!” cry out, sing, shout.]
[Footnote 6: “Sa-lum-mat-u na-si,” lift up the shadows, or be joyful.]
[Footnote 7: “Our corn is bearded.” This refers to the heads of wheat which are bearded. See translation by Mr. Sayce, “the corn is bearded.” ("Records of the Past,” vol. xi. p. 156.)]
THE KING ON LEAVING THE HAPPY HALLS MEETS UR-HEA, THE BOATMAN OF THE SEER KHASISADRA—THEY BUILD A SHIP AND EMBARK ON AN UNKNOWN SEA, AND ON THEIR VOYAGE PASS THROUGH THE WATERS OF DEATH
And Izdubar turned from the Halls and goes
Toward a fountain in the park, whence flows
A merry stream toward the wood. He finds
An axe beside the fount, and thoughtful winds,
Through groves of sandal-wood and mastic-trees
And algum, umritgana. Now he sees
The sig-a-ri and ummakana, pines,
With babuaku; and ri-wood brightly shines
Among the azuhu; all precious woods
That man esteems are grown around, each buds
Continuous in the softened, balmy air.
He stops beneath a musrilkanna where
The pine-trees spread toward the glowing sea,
Wild mingled with the surman, sa-u-ri.
The King, now seated, with himself communes,
Heeds not the warbling of the birds, and tunes
Of gorgeous songsters in the trees around,
But sadly sighing gazes on the ground:
“And I a ship must build; alas! I know
Not how I shall return, if I thus go.
The awful Flood of Death awaits me there,
Wide-stretching from this shore—I know not where.”
He rests his chin upon his hand in thought,
Full weary of a life that woe had brought;
He says: “When I remember Siduri,
Whose heart with fondest love would comfort me
Within these Happy Halls, why should I go
To pain and anguish, death, mayhap, and woe?
But will I thus desert my kingdom, throne?
For one I know not! What! my fame alone!
Mine honor should preserve! and royal state!
Alas! this Fame is but a dream of—Fate!
“A longing after that which does not cheer
The heart. Applause of men, or thoughtless sneer,
Is naught to me, I am alone! alone!
This Immortality cannot atone
For my hard fate that wrings mine aching heart.
I long for peace and rest, and I must start
And find it, leave these luring bright abodes,—
I seek the immortality of gods.
This Fame of man is not what it doth seem,
It sleeps with all the past, a vanished dream.
My duty calls me to my kingdom, throne!
To Khasisadra go, whose aid alone
Can save my people from an awful fate
That hangs above them, born of Fiends of hate.
And I shall there return without my seer!
I live; and he is dead. Why did I hear
His words advising me to come? Alas!
I sadly all my weary days shall pass;
No one shall love me as my seer, my friend.
“But what said Siduri?—There comes
At last to sorrow, joy will hopeful spring
On wings of Light! Oh, how my heart will sing!
I bless ye all, ye holy spirits here!
Your songs will linger with me, my heart cheer;
Upon my way I turn with joy again!
How true your joyful song! your memory then
Will keep me hopeful through yon darkened way;
How bright this land doth look beside the sea!”
He looks across the fields; the river glows
And winds beside taprani-trees, and flows
By teberinth and groves of tarpikhi
And ku-trees; curving round green mez-kha-i,
Through beds of flowers, that kiss its waves and spring
Luxuriant,—with songs the groves far ring.
Now thinking of the ship, he turns his eyes,
Toward the fountain,—springs up with surprise!
“’Tis he! the boatman comes! Ur-Hea comes!
And, oh! at last, I’ll reach the glistening domes
Of Khasisadra’s palaces,—at last
My feet shall rest,—upon that land be placed.”
And now Ur-Hea nearer makes his way,
And Izdubar addressing him, doth say:
“Ur-Hea is thy name? from yonder sea
Thou comest, from the seer across the way?”
“Thou speakest truth, great Sar, what wouldst
“How shall I Khasisadra reach? The grave
He hath escaped, Immortal lives beyond,
For I to him upon my way am bound;
Shall I the waters cross or take my way
Through yon wide desert, for I start this day?”
“Across the sea we go, for I with thee
Return to him,—I know the winding way.
Thine axe of bronze with precious stones inlaid
With mine, we’ll use beneath the pine-trees’ shade.”
And now, within the grove a ship they made,
Complete and strong as wise Ur-Hea bade.
They fell the pines five gar in length, and hew
The timbers square, and soon construct a new
And buoyant vessel, firmly fixed the mast,
And tackling, sails, and oars make taut and fast.
Thus built, toward the sea they push its prow,
Equipped complete, provisioned, launch it now.
An altar next they raise and thus invoke
The gods, their evil-workings to revoke:
“O Lord of Charms, Illustrious! who gives
Life to the Dead, the Merciful who lives,
And grants to hostile gods of Heaven return,
To homage render, worship thee, and learn
Obedience! Thou who didst create mankind
In tenderness, thy love round us, oh, wind!
The Merciful, the God with whom is Life,
Establish us, O Lord, in darkest strife.
O never may thy truth forgotten be,
May Accad’s race forever worship thee.”
One month and fifteen days upon the sea,
Thus far the voyagers are on their way;
Now black before them lies a barren shore,
O’ertopped with frowning cliffs, whence comes a roar
Of some dread fury of the elements
That shakes the air and sweeping wrath foments
O’er winds and seas.
And see! a yawning cave,
There opens vast into a void dislave,
Where fremed shadows ride the hueless waves.
Dread Ninazu whose deathless fury craves
For hapless victims lashes with a roar
The mighty seas upon that awful shore.
The Fiends of Darkness gathered lie in wait,
With Mammitu, the goddess of fierce hate,
And Gibil with his spells, and Nibiru
The twin-god of black Fate, and grim Nusku
The keeper of red thunders, and Urbat
The dog of Death, and fiend of Queen Belat;
And Nuk-khu, and the black-browed Ed-hutu
The gods of darkness here with Tsi-lat-tu.
And see! Dark Rimmon o’er a crag alone!
And Gibil with his blasting malisoun,
Above with his dark face maleficent,
Who wields a power o’er men omnipotent
Forlore! forlore! the souls who feel that blast
Which sweeps around that black forbidding coast!
Fierce whirling storms and hurricanes here leap,
With blasting lightnings maltalent and sweep
The furious waves that lash around that shore,
As the fierce whirl of some dread maelstrom’s power!
Above the cavern’s arch! see! Ninip stands!
He points within the cave with beckoning hands!
Ur-Hea cries: “My lord! the tablets say,
That we should not attempt that furious way!
Those waters of black death will smite us down!
Within that cavern’s depths we will but drown.”
“We cannot go but once, my friend, that road,”
The hero said, “‘Tis only ghosts’ abode!”
“We go, then, Izdubar, its depths will sound,
But we within that gloom will whirl around,
Around, within that awful whirlpool black,—
And once within, we dare not then turn back,—
How many times, my friend, I dare not say,
’Tis written, we within shall make our way.”
The foaming tide now grasped them with its power,
And billowed round them with continuous roar;
Away! they whirl! with growing speed, till now
They fly on lightnings’ wings and ride the brow
Of maddened tempests o’er the dizzy deep.
So swift they move,—the waves in seeming sleep
Beneath them, whirling there with force unseen.
But see! Updarting with a sulphurous gleen,
The hag of Death leaps on the trembling prow!
Her eyes, of fire and hate, turns on them now!
With famine gaunt, and haggard face of doom,
She sits there soundless in the awful gloom.
“O gods!” shrieked Izdubar in his despair,
“Have I the god of Fate at last met here?
Avaunt, thou Fiend! hence to thy pit of Hell!
Hence! hence! and rid me of thy presence fell!”
And see! she nearer comes with deathless ire,
With those fierce, moveless, glaring eyes of fire!
Her wand is raised! she strikes!
“O gods!” he screams;
He falls beneath that bolt that on them gleams,
And she is gone within the awful gloom.
Hark! hear those screams!
“Accurst! Accurst thy doom!”
And lo! he springs upon his feet in pain,
“Thy curses, fiend! I hurl again!”
And now a blinding flash disparts the black
And heavy air, a moment light doth break;
And see! the King leans fainting ’gainst the mast,
With glaring eyeballs, clenched hands,—aghast!
Behold! that pallid face and scaly hands!
A leper white, accurst of gods, he stands!
A living death, a life of awful woe,
Incurable by man, his way shall go.
But oh! the seer in all enchantments wise
Will cure him on that shore, or else he dies.
And see! the vessel’s prow with shivering turns,
Adown the roaring flood that gapes and churns
Beneath like some huge boiling cauldron black,
Thus whirl they in the slimy cavern’s track.
And spirit ravens round them fill the air,
And see! they fly! the cavern sweeps behind!
Away the ship doth ride before the wind!
The darkness deep from them has fled away,
The fiends are gone!—the vessel in the spray
With spreading sails has caught the glorious breeze,
And dances in the light o’er shining seas;
The blissful haven shines upon their way,
The waters of the Dawn sweep o’er the sea!
They proudly ride up to the glowing sand,
And joyfully the King springs to the land.
[Footnote 1: This remarkable prayer is to be found among a collection of prayers which are numbered and addressed to separate deities. It seems that the prayers were originally Accadian, and were afterward adopted by the Assyrians, and made to apply to one god (Hea). Professor Oppert and Professor Sayce think, however, that they are connected in one hymn to Hea. This may have been so after the Assyrians adopted them, but they are distinct, and addressed to separate gods. The one we have selected is addressed to Hea, the Creator of Mankind, Sayce edition Smith’s “C.A.G.,” pp. 75 to 80. The one we have selected is found at the top of page 77, idem.]
[Footnote 2: “Gibil,” the god of fire, of spells and witchcraft.]
[Footnote 3: “Nibiru,” the god of fate, and ruler of the stars.]
[Footnote 4: “Nusku,” the gatekeeper of thunders.]
[Footnote 5: “Urbat,” the dog of Death.]
[Footnote 6: “Belat” or “Allat,” the Queen of Hades.]
[Footnote 7: “Ed-hutu,” god of darkness.]
[Footnote 8: “Tsi-lat-tu,” shades of night.]
[Footnote 9: “Rimmon,” god of storms.]
[Footnote 10: “Ninip,” god of bravery and war.]
[Footnote 11: “Tablets.” This may mean charts or scrolls similar to the charts used by modern navigators. Babylon communicated with all nations in commerce.]
KHASISADRA ON THE SHORE SEES THE VESSEL COMING, AND RETURNING TO HIS PALACE, SENDS HIS DAUGHTER MUA TO WELCOME IZDUBAR—MEETING OF THE KING AND SAGE
Beneath a ku-tree Khasisadra eyes
The spreading sea beneath the azure skies,
An aged youth with features grave, serene,
Matured with godly wisdom; ne’er was seen
Such majesty, nor young, nor old,—a seer
In purpose high. The countenance no fear
Of death has marred, but on his face sublime
The perfect soul has left its seal through time.
“Ah, yes! the dream was clear, the vision true,
I saw him on the ship! Is it in view?
A speck! Ah, yes! He comes! he comes to me
My son from Erech comes across the sea!”
Back to his palace goes the holy seer,
And Mua sends, who now the shore doth near;
As beautiful as Waters of the Dawn,
Comes Mua here, as graceful as a fawn.
The King now standing on the glistening sand,
Beholds the beauteous Mua where she stands,
With hands outstretched in welcome to the King,
“O thou sweet spirit, with thy snowy wing,
Oh, where is Khasisadra in this land?
I seek the aid of his immortal hand.”
“Great Sar,” said Mua, “hadst thou not a seer,
That thou shouldst come to seek my father here?”
“’Tis true, my daughter dear, a seer had
Whom I have lost,—a dire calamity;
By his advice and love I undertake
This journey. But alas! for mine own sake
He fell by perils on this lengthened way;
He was not strong, and feared that he should lay
Himself to rest amid the mountains wild.
He was a warrior, with him I killed
Khumbaba, Elam’s king who safely dwelt
Within a forest vast of pines, and dealt
Destruction o’er the plains. We razed his walls—
My friend at last before me dying falls.
“Alas! why did my seer attempt to slay
The dragons that we met upon the way,
He slew his foe, and like a lion died.
Ah, me! the cause, when I the gods defied,
And brought upon us all this awful woe;
In sorrow o’er his death, my life must flow!
For this I came to find the ancient seer,
Lead me to him, I pray, if he lives here.”
Then Mua leads him through the glorious land
Of matchless splendor, on the border grand
Of those wide Happy Fields that spread afar
O’er beaming hills and vales, where ambient air
With sweetest zephyrs sweeps a grand estrade,
Where softest odors from each flowering glade
Lull every sense aswoon that breathes not bliss
And harmony with World of Blessedness.
’Neath trees of luring fruits she leads the way,
Through paths of flowers where night hath fled away,
A wilderness of varied crystal flowers,
Where fragrance rests o’er clustering, shining bowers.
Each gleaming cup its nectared wine distils,
For spirit lips each chalice ever fills.
Beyond the groves a lucent palace shone
In grandest splendor near an inner zone;
In amethyst and gold divinely rose,
With glories scintillant the palace glows.
A dazzling halo crowns its lofty domes,
And spreading from its summit softly comes
With grateful rays, and floods the balustrades
And golden statues ’neath the high arcades;
A holy palace built by magic hand
With wondrous architecture, portals grand,
And aurine turrets piled to dizzy heights,
Oh, how its glory Izdubar delights!
Beneath majestic arcades carved, they pass,
Up golden steps that shine like polished glass,
Through noble corridors with sculptured walls,
By lofty columns, archways to the halls
Of glories, the bright harbinger of fanes
Of greater splendor of the Heavenly plains.
Beneath an arch of gems the King espies
A form immortal, he who death defies.
Advancing forth the sage his welcome gives,
The maid now comes, him welcomes to the hall
Of banquets, where are viands liberal,
And fruits, immortal bread, celestial wines
Of vintage old; and when the hero dines,
They lead him to his private chamber room
That overlooks the wondrous garden’s bloom
Across the plain and jasper sea divine,
To Heaven’s mountains rising sapphirine.
Four beauteous streams of liquid silver lead
Across the plain; the shining sea they feed;
The King reclines upon his couch at rest,
With dreams of happiness alone is blest.
[Footnote 1: “Mua,” the waters of the dawn, the daughter of Khasisadra.]
THE KING IS CURED BY THE INCANTATIONS OF KHASISADRA
AND HE BECOMES
When Izdubar awakes, they lead the way
To the bright fount beside the jasper sea.
The seer, with Mua and Ur-Hea, stands
Beside the King, who holily lifts his hands
Above an altar where the glowing rays
Of sacred flames are curling; thus he prays:
“Ye glorious stars that shine on high,
Remember me! Oh, hear my cry,
Su-ku-nu, bright Star of the West!
Dil-gan, my patron star, oh, shine!
O Mar-bu-du, whose rays invest
Dear Nipur with thy light divine,
The flames that shines, upon the Waste!
O Papsukul, thou Star of Hope,
Sweet god of bliss, to me, oh, haste,
Before I faint and lifeless drop!
O Adar, Star of Ninazu,
Be kind! O Ra-di-tar-tu-khu.
Sweet U-tu-ca-ga-bu, dear Star
With thy pure face that shines afar!
“Oh, pardon me! each glorious Star!
Za-ma-ma, hear me! O Za-ma-ma!
Ca-ca-ma u Ca-ca-ma."
“Remember him! O dear Za-ma-ma! Ca-ca-ma u Ca-ca-ma.”
As Izdubar doth end his holy prayer
He kneels, and they now bear his body where
A snowy couch doth rest beneath a shrine
That stands near by the glowing fount divine,
And Khasisadra lifts his holy hands,
His incantation chants, and o’er him stands.
“O Bel, Lord of An-nu-na-ci,
O Nina, Hea’s daughter! Zi!
This Incantation aid,
Remember us, Remember!
“Ye tempests of High Heaven, be still!
Ye raging lightnings, oh, be calm!
From this brave man his strength is gone,
Before thee see him lying ill!
Oh, fill with strength his feeble frame,
O Ishtar, shine from thy bright throne!
From him thine anger turn away,
Come from thy glowing mountains, come!
From paths untrod by man, oh, haste!
And bid this man arise this day.
With strength divine as Heaven’s dome,
His form make pure and bright and chaste!
The evil curse, oh, drive away!
“Go! A-sac-cu-kab-bi-lu, go!
O Nam-ta-ru-lim-nu, oh, fly!
U-tuc-cu-lim-nu from him flow!
A-lu-u-lim-nu, hence! away!
E-ci-mu-lim-nu, go! thou fiend!
Fly, Gal-lu-u-lim-nu, afar!
Fly from his head! his life! I send
Thee, fiend! depart from Izdubar!
Go from his forehead, breast, and heart,
And feet! Avaunt! thou fiend! depart!
Oh, from the Curse, Thou Spirit High!
And Spirit of the Earth, come nigh!
Protect him, may his spirit fly!
O Spirit of the Lord of Lands,
And Goddess of the Earthly Lands,
Protect him! raise with strength his hands!
“Oh, make him as the Holy Gods,
His body, limbs, like thine Abodes,
And like the Heavens may he shine!
And like the Earth with rays divine!
Quick! with the khis-ib-ta to bring
High Heaven’s Charm—bind round his brow!
The sis-bu place around his hands!
And let the sab-u-sat bright cling!
The mus-u-kat lay round him now,
And wrap his feet with rad-bat-bands,
And open now his zik-a-man
The sis-bu cover, and his hands
The bas-sat place around his form!
From baldness and disease, this man
Cleanse, make him whole, head, feet, and hands!
“O Purity, breathe thy sweet charm!
“Restore his health and make his skin
Shine beautifully, beard and hair
Restore! make strong with might his loins!
And may his body glorious shine
As the bright gods!—
Ye winds him bear!
Immortal flesh to his soul joins!
Thou Spirit of this man! arise!
Come forth with joy! Come to the skies!”
And lo! his leprosy has fled away!
He stands immortal,—purged! released from clay!
[Footnote 1: “Su-ku-nu” or “Kak-si-di,” the star of the West.]
[Footnote 2: “Nipur,” the city from which Izdubar came.]
[Footnote 3: “Adar,” the star of Ninazu, the goddess of death, who cursed him with leprosy in the cavern. This star was also called “Ra-di-tar-tu-khu.”]
[Footnote 4: “U-tu-ca-ga-bu,” the star with the white or pure face.]
[Footnote 5: “Za-ma-ma,” another name for Adar. This is the deity for whom Izdubar or Nammurabi built the great temple whose top, in the language of the Babylonians, reached the skies. It was afterward called the “Tower of the Country” or “Tower of Babylon.” This was perhaps the Tower of Babel. He also restored another temple called “Bite-muris,” which was dedicated to the same goddess.]
[Footnote 6: “Amen and amen!” The word “amen” is usually repeated three times.]
[Footnote 7: The response of the priest Khasi-sadra.]
[Footnote 8: “Zi,” spirits.]
[Footnote 9: See “T.S.B.A.,” vol. ii. p. 31.]
[Footnote 10: “A-sac-cu-kab-bi-lu,” evil spirit of the head.]
[Footnote 11: “Nam-ta-ru-lim-nu,” evil spirit of the life or heart.]
[Footnote 12: “U-tuc-cu-lim-nu,” evil spirit of the forehead.]
[Footnote 13: “A-lu-u-lim-nu,” evil spirit of the breast.]
[Footnote 14: “E-ci-mu-lim-nu,” evil spirit of the stomach.]
[Footnote 15: “Gal-lu-u-lim-nu,” evil spirit of the hands.]
[Footnote 16: “Khis-ib-ta,” a strip of parchment or linen on which was inscribed a holy text, a charm like that used by the Jews, a philactery.]
[Footnote 17: “Sis-bu,” the same as the preceding.]
[Footnote 18: “Sab-u-sat,” was perhaps a holy cloth, also inscribed in the same manner.]
[Footnote 19: “Mus-u-kat,” was also of the same character as the preceding.]
[Footnote 20: “Rad-bat-bands,” similar bands to the khis-ib-ta.]
[Footnote 21: “Zik-a-man,” this is unknown, it perhaps was the inner garment.]
[Footnote 22: “Bas-sat,” supposed to be the outside or last covering placed over the person so treated. That some such ceremony was performed in the case of Izdubar seems to be undoubted. See “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 31; also Sayce’s edition Smith’s “C.A. of G.,” p. 290.]
IZDUBAR FALLS IN LOVE WITH MUA, AND OFFERS HER HIS HAND
“O Mua! thou bright Waters of the Dawn!
Oh, where art thou?” one cries as he doth run
Through the bright garden. See! ’tis Izdubar!
Immortal! glorious! our King of War!
And now in love is seeking Mua here.
He scarcely treads the ground as he comes near;
A glow of youth immortal on his cheek,
A form that sorrow, death, will never seek
Within these Happy Fields, his eyes with light
That Love alone may give, show his delight.
A dazzling pillared vista round him shines,
Where golden columns bear the bowering shrines,
With gemmed domes that clustering round him rise,
’Mid fruit-trees, flashing splendors to the skies.
He goes through silver grots along a zone,
And now he passes yonder blazing throne,
O’er diamond pavements, passes shining seats
Whereon the high and holy conclave meets
To rule the empires vast that spread away
To utmost bounds in all their vast array.
Around the whole expanse grand cestes spread
O’er paths sidereal unending lead.
As circling wheels within a wheel they shine,
Enveloping the Fields with light divine.
A noontide glorious of shining stars,
Where humming music rings from myriad cars,
Where pinioned multitudes their harps may tune,
And in their holy sanctity commune.
And see! here Mua comes! she stops and waits
Within a gesdin bower beside its gates.
Around, above her spreads a flowering vine,
And o’er a ruby fountain almandine.
And on a graven garnet table grand,
Carved cups of solid pearl and tilpe stand.
A Zadu reservoir stands near, which rounds
The fount wherein the fragrant nectar bounds.
The ground is strewn with pari gems and pearls,
Wherefrom the light now softly backward hurls
Its rays o’er couches of paruti stone,
Soft cushioned, circling in the inner zone
Beside the shining kami-sadi way,
Where nectar fountains in their splendor play.
The path leads far along Life’s beauteous stream,
That ever through this World of Joy doth gleam.
And see! the hero comes! and now doth near
The maiden, where with Love she waits him here.
She flings a flowering garland, weaves it round
His form as he comes by! He turns around,
And she enwraps his breast and arms, and says:
“Dear Izdubar! and thus my lover strays!
I’ll bind thee with this fragrant chain to keep
Thee ever by my side! thy pleasant sleep
Hath kept my lover from my side too long!”
“O thou sweet spirit, like a warbling song
Thy words are to my heart! I sought for thee,
And thy bright face and presence did not see;
I come to tell thee that I must return,
When from thy father all the past shall learn.”
“And wilt thou go from me to earth again?
No! no! dear Izdubar, I thee enchain!”
“’Tis true, my love, I must return to
My duty calls me to my throne again.”
“Dear Izdubar! my friend! my love! my heart!
I cannot let thee from my soul depart!
Thou shinest in my breast as some bright star!
And shall I let thee from me go afar?”
“But Mua, we immortal are, and we
There might return; and thou on earth shalt see
The glories of my kingdom,—be my queen!
Upon a couch I’ll seat thee, there to reign
With me, my beauteous queen,—beside me sit;
And kings will come to us and kiss thy feet.
With all my wealth I’ll clothe thee, ever love
Thee, fairest of these glorious souls that move
Within this Happy World. My people there
Shall love us,—ever drive away all care!”
When Mua heard him offer thus his hand,
She then unbinds him,—thoughtful now doth stand.
[Footnote 1: “Tilpe,” a precious gem known only to the Babylonians.]
[Footnote 2: “Zadu,” a precious gem known only to the Babylonians.]
[Footnote 3: “Pari,” an unknown gem.]
[Footnote 4: “Paruti,” an unknown gem.]
[Footnote 5: “Kami-sadi” way, a path paved with unknown gems. These precious stones are mentioned on the various inscriptions in the list of precious jewels with gold, diamonds, pearls, etc., taken as spoils from their enemies.]
Sweet Mua lifts her eyes toward the heights
That glow afar beneath the softened lights
That rest upon the mountain’s crystalline.
And see! they change their hues incarnadine
To gold, and emerald, and opaline;
Swift changing to a softened festucine
Before the eye. And thus they change their hues
To please the sight of every soul that views
Them in that Land; but she heeds not the skies,
Or glorious splendor of her home; her eyes
Have that far look of spirits viewing men
On earth, from the invisible mane,
That erstwhile rests upon the mortal eye,—
A longing for that home beyond the sky;
A yearning for that bliss that love imparts,
Where pain and sorrow reach no mortal hearts.
A light now breaks across her beauteous face;
She, turning, says to him with Heavenly grace:
“Dear Izdubar, thou knowest how I love
Thee, how my heart my love doth daily prove;
And, oh, I cannot let thee go alone.
I know not what awaits each soul there gone.
Our spirits often leave this glorious land,
Invisible return on earth, and stand
Amidst its flowerets, ’neath its glorious skies.
Thou knowest every spirit here oft flies
From earth, but none its secrets to us tell,
Lest some dark sorrow might here work its spell.
And, oh, I could not see dark suffering, woe
There spread, with power none to stop its flow!
“I saw thee coming to us struck with fire,
Oh, how to aid thee did my heart desire!
Our tablets tell us how dread sorrow spreads
Upon that world and mars its glowing meads.
But, oh, so happy am I, here to know
That they with us here end all sorrow, woe.
O precious Izdubar! its sights would strike
Me there with sadness, and my heart would break!
And yet I learn that it is glorious, sweet!
To there enjoy its happiness,—so fleet
It speeds to sorrowing hearts to turn their tears
To joy! How sweet to them when it appears,
And sends a gleam of Heaven through their lives!
“No! no! dear heart! I cannot go!
Thee! come, my dear one! quick to us return;
We here again will pair our love, and learn
How sweet it is to meet with joy again;
How happy will sweet love come to us then!”
She rests her head upon his breast, and lifts
Her face for Love’s sweet kiss, and from them drifts
A halo o’er the shining gesdin-trees
And spreads around them Heaven’s holy rays.
He kisses her sweet lips, and brow, and eyes,
Then turns his gaze toward the glowing skies:
“I bless thee, for thy sweetest spirit here!
I bless this glorious land, that brings me near
To one that wafts sweet Heaven in my heart;
From thy dear plains how can my soul depart?
O Mua, Mua! how my heart now sings!
Thy love is sweeter than all earthly things!
I would I were not crowned a king!—away
From this bright land—here would I ever stay!
As thou hast said, I soon will here return;
The earth cannot withhold me from this bourne,
And soon my time allotted there will end,
And hitherward how happy I will wend!”
“And when thou goest, how my love shall there
Guard thee, and keep thy heart with Mua here.
Her form doth disappear
Within the garden, gliding through the air.
He seats himself upon a couch and rests
His head upon his hand, and thought invests
Him round. His memory returns again
To Erech’s throne, and all the haunts of men.
He rises, turns his footsteps to the halls,
And thoughtful disappears within its walls.
[Translated by various Babylonian and Assyrian Scholars]
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The charms translated below will illustrate the superstition of the Assyrians and Babylonians. Like the Jews of the Talmud, they believed that the world was swarming with noxious spirits who produced the various diseases to which man is liable, and might be swallowed with the food and the drink that support life. They counted no less than 300 spirits of heaven and 600 spirits of earth. All this, with the rest of their mythology, was borrowed by the Assyrians from the primitive population of Babylonia, who spoke an agglutinative language akin to the dialects of the Finnic or Tatar tribes. The charms are written in this ancient language, but Assyrian translations are appended in a column to the right of the tablet. The legends are lithographed in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. II, plates 17 and 18. They have been translated by M. Oppert in the “Journal Asiatique” of January, 1873, and an analytical rendering of them is given by M. Fr. Lenormant in his “Etudes Accadiennes” II, I (1874).
The noxious god, the noxious spirit of the neck, the neck-spirit of the desert, the neck-spirit of the mountains, the neck-spirit of the sea, the neck-spirit of the morass, the noxious cherub of the city, this noxious wind which seizes the body (and) the health of the body. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
The burning spirit of the neck which seizes the man, the burning spirit of the neck which seizes the man, the spirit of the neck which works evil, the creation of an evil spirit. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
Wasting, want of health, the evil spirit of the ulcer, spreading quinsy of the gullet, the violent ulcer, the noxious ulcer. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
Sickness of the entrails, sickness of the heart, the palpitation of a sick heart, sickness of bile, sickness of the head, noxious colic, the agitation of terror, flatulency of the entrails, noxious illness, lingering sickness, nightmare. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
[Footnote 1: Literally, “opposition.”]
He who makes an image (which) injures the man, an evil face, an evil eye, an evil mouth, an evil tongue, evil lips, an evil poison. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
[Footnote 1: Here we have a reference to a custom well known in the Middle Ages. A waxen figure was made, and as it melted before the fire the person represented by it was supposed, similarly to waste away. It will be remembered that Horace ("Sat.” i, 8, 30 sq.) speaks of the waxen figure made by the witch Canidia in order that the lover might consume away in the fires of love. Roman and mediaeval sorcery had its origin in that of ancient Accad.]
The cruel spirit, the strong spirit of the head, the head-spirit that departs not, the head-spirit that goes not forth, the head-spirit that will not go, the noxious head-spirit. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
The poisonous spittle of the mouth which is noxious to the voice, the phlegm which is destructive to the ..., the pustules of the lungs, the pustule of the body, the loss of the nails, the removal (and) dissolving of old excrement, the skin which is stripped off, the recurrent ague of the body, the food which hardens in a man’s body, the food which returns after being eaten, the drink which distends after drinking, death by poison, from the swallowing of the mouth which distends, the unreturning wind from the desert. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
[Footnote 1: That would be consumption.]
May Nin-cigal, the wife of Nin-a’su, turn her face toward another place; may the noxious spirit go forth and seize another; may the propitious cherub and the propitious genie settle upon his body. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
[Footnote 1: “Nin-cigal” ("The Lady of the Mighty Earth”) was Queen of Hades and a form of “Allat” or “Istar.” She is also identified with Gula or Bahu (the Bohu or “Chaos” of Gen. i. 2), “The Lady of the House of Death,” and wife of Hea or Nin-a’su.]
May Nebo, the great steward, the recliner (or incubus) supreme among the gods, like the god who has begotten him, seize upon his head; against his life may he not break forth. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
(On) the sick man by the sacrifice of mercy may perfect health shine like bronze; may the Sun-god give this man life; may Merodach, the eldest son of the deep (give him) strength, prosperity, (and) health. Spirit of heaven remember, spirit of earth remember.
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The following is one of the many early Chaldean hymns that were incorporated into a collection which M. Lenormant has aptly compared with the Rig-Veda of India. The concluding lines show that it originally belonged to the city of Erech (now Warka). The date of its composition must be exceedingly remote, and this increases the interest of the astronomical allusions contained in it. The original Accadian text is given, with an interlinear Assyrian translation, as is usually the case with hymns of this kind. The terra-cotta tablet on which it is found is numbered S, 954, being one of those that have been recently brought back from Assyria by Mr. George Smith, who has translated the Reverse in his “Assyrian Discoveries,” pp. 392, 393. I owe a copy of the text to the kindness of Mr. Boscawen. It is of considerable importance for the study of Assyrian grammar.
1 Light of heaven, who like the fire dawnest on
2 Goddess in the earth, in thy fixed abode, 3 who dawnest like the earth, (art) thou. 4 (As for) thee, prosperity approaches thee. 5 To the house of men in thy descending (thou goest). 6 A hyena, which as they go in warlike strength are made to
march, (art) thou.
7 A lion, which into the midst is wont to march, (art) thou. 8 Day (is thy) servant, heaven (thy) canopy. 9 The servant of Istar; heaven (is thy) canopy. 10 Princess of the four cities, head of the sea, heaven (is thy)
11 The exalted of the Sun-god, heaven (is thy) canopy. 12 For the revolver of the seasons sanctuaries I build, a temple I
13 For my father the Moon-god, the revolver of the seasons,
sanctuaries I build, a temple I build.
14 For my brother the Sun-god, the revolver of the seasons,
sanctuaries I build, a temple I build.
15 (As for) me, for Nannaru I build the precinct, for the
revolver of seasons sanctuaries I build, a temple I build.
16 In heaven he laid the hand; for the revolver of seasons
sanctuaries I build, a temple I build.
17 In the beginning (thou art) my begetter; in the beginning
(thou art) my begetter.
18 In the beginning the goddess spoke thus to men: 19 The Lady of heaven, the divinity of the zenith, (am) I. 20 The Lady of heaven, the divinity of the dawn, (am) I. 21 The Queen of heaven, the opener of the locks of the high
heaven, my begetter.
22 Heaven she benefits, earth she enlightens; my begetter. 23 The benefiter of heaven, the enlightener of earth; my
[Footnote 1: The Assyrian rendering has, “art caused to journey.”]
[Footnote 2: The Assyrian mistranslates, “A servant (is) Istar.”]
[Footnote 3: The translation given in the text is extremely doubtful.]
[Footnote 4: Literally, “the brilliant one,” a title of the moon-god, which gave rise to the classical legend of Nannarus.]
[Footnote 5: The Assyrian renders this by “Istar.”]
[Footnote 6: Or perhaps “smites.”]
[Footnote 7: Or perhaps “smiter.”]
1 Thou who on the axis of heaven dawnest, in the
dwellings of the
earth her name revolves; my begetter.
2 (As) Queen of heaven above and below may she be invoked; my
3 The mountains fiercely she hurls-into-the-deep; my begetter. 4 As to the mountains, their goodly stronghold (art) thou, their
mighty lock (art) thou; my begetter.
5 May thy heart rest; may thy liver be magnified. 6 O Lord Anu, the mighty, may thy heart rest. 7 O Lord, the mighty Prince Bel, may thy liver be magnified. 8 O Istar, the Lady of heaven, may thy heart rest. 9 O Lady, Queen of heaven, may thy liver (be magnified). 10 O Lady, Queen of the House of heaven, may thy heart
11 O Lady, Queen of the land of Erech, may thy liver (be
12 O Lady, Queen of the land of the four rivers of Erech, may
thy heart (rest).
13 O Lady, Queen of the Mountain of the World, may thy
liver (be magnified).
14 O Lady, Queen of the Temple of the Resting-place of the
world, may thy heart (rest).
15 O Lady, Queen of Babylon, may thy liver (be magnified). 16 O Lady, Queen of the Memorial of Nan’a, may thy heart
17 O Queen of the Temple, Queen of the gods, may thy liver
18 Prayer of the heart to Istar.
19 Like its original written and translated.
20 Palace of Assur-bani-pal, King of Assyria; 21
Son of Esar-haddon, King of multitudes, King of Assyria,
high-priest of Babylon,
22 King of Sumer and Accad, King of the Kings of Cush and
23 King of the four zones; Son of Sennacherib, 24 King of multitudes, King of Assyria; 25 who to Assur and Beltis, Nebo and Tasmit trusts. 26 Thy kingdom, O light of the gods.
[Footnote 1: The Assyrian mistranslates, “I hurl into the deep.”]
[Footnote 2: The Assyrian mistranslates “I” for “thou.”]
[Footnote 3: “Sadi” in Assyrian, literally “mountain” or “rock,” and apparently connected with the Hebrew “Shaddai,” as in the phrase “El Shad-dai,” “God Almighty.”]
[Footnote 4: Possibly the four rivers of Paradise.]
[Footnote 5: Also called the “Mountain of the East,” Mount Elwand on which the ark rested.]
[Footnote 6: That is the text from which the Assyrian copy was made for the library of Assurbanipal.]
TRANSLATED, WITH NOTES, BY REV. J.M. RODWELL, M.A.
Concerning Assur-nasir-habal or Assur-nasir-pal (i.e., “Assur preserves the son”) we possess fuller historical records than of any other of the Assyrian monarchs, and among these the following inscription is the most important. From it, and from the inscription upon his statue discovered by Mr. Layard [Footnote: Now in the British Museum.] in the ruins of one of the Nimroud temples, we learn that he was the son of Tuklat-Adar or Tuklat-Ninip, that he reigned over a territory extending from the “Tigris to the Lebanon, and that he brought the great sea and all countries from the sunrise to the sunset under his sway.” These inscriptions are published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. I, plates 17 to 27, and were partially translated by Professor Oppert, “Histoire des Empires de Chaldee et d’Assyrie,,” page 73 and following “Extrait des Annales de philosophie chretienne” tom. IX, 1865.
There is considerable difficulty and a consequent divergence of opinion as to the precise date when Assur-nasir-pal ascended the throne. But he most probably reigned from 883 to 858 B.C.
It need scarcely be remarked that Assur-nasir-pal is a different person from the well-known Sardanapalus of classic writers, or Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esar-haddon, who reigned from about B.C. 668 to 625.
It will be seen from the inscription that the campaigns of Assur-nasir-pal took place in the mountains of Armenia, in Commagene and the provinces of the Pontus, inhabited by the Moschi [Footnote: The Mesek of Psalm cxx. 5.] and other tribes. He probably advanced into Media and a portion of western Persia. The countries on the banks of the Euphrates submitted to his arms, and in one of his expeditions he vanquished Nabu-bal-iddin, King of Babylon. Westward, he reduced the southern part of Syria, and advanced to the mountain chains of the Amanus and Lebanon, but though he penetrated as far as to Tyre and Sidon and exacted tribute from both as well as from Byblus and Aradus, he did not subdue Phoenicia. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah, under the sway of Ahab and Jehosaphat, were no doubt too powerful, as is evinced by the armies which they must have maintained for their struggle with the Syrians, [Footnote: See 2 Chron. xvii. and following chapters.] for Assur-nasir-pal to have ventured upon attacking them. This feat was reserved for his successors on the throne of Assyria.
The inscription was found in the ruins of the Temple at the foot of the Pyramid at Nimroud (Calach).
1 To Ninip most powerful hero, great, chief
of the gods,
warrior, powerful Lord, whose onset in battle has not been
opposed, eldest son,
2 crusher of opponents, first-born son of Nukimmut, supporter
of the seven,
noble ruler, King of the gods the producers, governor, he who
rolls along the mass
3 of heaven and earth, opener of canals, treader of the wide earth,
the god who in
his divinity nourishes heaven and earth, the beneficent,
4 the exalted, the powerful, who has not lessened the glory of his
face, head of
nations, bestower of sceptres, glorious, over all cities a
5 valiant, the renown of whose sceptre is not approached, chief of
widespread influence, great among the gods, shading from the
southern sun, Lord of Lords, whose hand the vault of heaven
6 (and) earth has controlled, a King in battle mighty who has
vanquished opposition, victorious, powerful, Lord of
water-courses and seas,
7 strong, not yielding, whose onset brings down the green corn,
smiting the land of the enemy, like the cutting of reeds, the
deity who changes not his purposes,
8 the light of heaven and earth, a bold leader on the waters,
destroyer of them that hate (him), a spoiler (and) Lord
of the disobedient, dividing enemies, whose name in the
speech of the gods
9 no god has ever disregarded, the gatherer of life, the god(?)
whose prayers are good, whose abode is in the city of Calah,
a great Lord, my Lord—(who am) Assur-nasir-pal, the
10 King of multitudes, a Prince unequalled, Lord of all the
four countries, powerful over hosts of men, the possession
of Bel and Ninip the exalted and Anu
11 and of Dakan, a servant of the great gods in the lofty shrine
for great (O Ninip) is thy heart; a worshipper of Bel whose
12 thy great deity is founded, and thou makest righteous his
life, valiant, warrior, who in the service of Assur his Lord
hath proceeded, and among the Kings
13 of the four regions who has not his fellow, a Prince for
admiration, not sparing opponents, mighty leader, who an
14 has not, a Prince reducing to order his disobedient ones,
who has subdued whole multitudes of men, a strong worker,
15 the heads of his enemies, trampling on all foes, crushing
assemblages of rebels, who in the service of the great gods
16 marched vigorously and the lands of all of them his hand
captured, caused the forests of all of them to fall, and
received their tribute, taking
17 securities, establishing laws over all lands, when Assur the
Lord who proclaims my name and augments my Royalty
(Continued on Column II.)
[Footnote 1: Ninip was one of the great gods of the Assyrian Pantheon, often joined with Assur as one of the special deities invoked by the Assyrian kings at the opening of their inscriptions. His name is also written under the symbol used for iron ("parzii"). Thus in later times the planets were connected with special metals.]
[Footnote 2: A goddess, called also Nuha, and the mother of Nebo as well as of Ninip. Fox Talbot (Gloss. 158) compares “nu (= ‘al’) kimmut” with the “al-gum” of Prov. xxx. 31, i.e., “irresistible.”]
[Footnote 3: Planets. Or, “warrior among spirits.” I mention this rendering as the suggestion of Mr. G. Smith, though I prefer that given above.]
[Footnote 4: Literally, “horn.” Cf. Job xvi. 15.]
[Footnote 5: Tigallu. Menant renders this sentence “La massue pour regner sur les villes.”]
[Footnote 6: Cf. Ps. xxiv. 8.]
[Footnote 7: Cf. Ps. xcv. 4; civ. 6; cvii. 35.]
[Footnote 8: Probably the Dagon of Scripture.]
[Footnote 9: Compare the boast in Isaiah xxxvii. 24, “I cut down the tall cedars.”]
[Footnote 10: Goings. Cf. Ps. xl. 2, “He hath established my goings.”]
[Footnote 11: Mouth.]
[Footnote 12: The god Yav may be the Yaveh of the Moabite stone.]
[Footnote 13: Or, shade. This may refer to the eclipse of July 13, 885 B.C.]
[Footnote 14: A federation of States north and northeast of Assyria at the head of the Euphrates. In Tig. iv. 7, 33 of their kings are mentioned.]
[Footnote 15: Literally, “animals of the East.” This looks as if the Assyrians obtained the horse from some Eastern land.]
[Footnote 16: Or, a viceroy.]
[Footnote 17: A mountainous country near the upper Tigris, possibly Kurdistan.]
[Footnote 18: The Hebrew month Ab.]
[Footnote 19: In the text, “Kummuhi” and “Muski.”]
[Footnote 20: Dr. Hincks was of opinion that Lamaman meant “nobody”; and that “Son of Lamaman” was a delicate way of indicating a man was of low origin. Norr. Dict., p. 690.]
[Footnote 21: Assyrian, “Khabur.” This may be the Chebar mentioned in the Prophet Ezekiel. Schultens, however (in his Geogr.), mentions another Chaboras which flows into the Tigris.]
[Footnote 22: In the north of Mesopotamia.]
[Footnote 23: Literally, to my back.]
[Footnote 24: Compare 2 Mace. vii. 7 for a somewhat similar proceeding. The custom may also be alluded to in Mic. iii. 3.]
[Footnote 25: Compare Ps. lxxiv. 3, “Lift up thy feet,” etc.]
[Footnote 26: About 882 B.C.]
[Footnote 27: Near the modern Diarbekir, on the road to the sources of the Supnat.]
[Footnote 28: In Armenia near the sources of the Tigris.]
[Footnote 29: Thus in 2 Kings xxv. 7 we read that the Chaldees “put out the eyes of Zedekiah.” Samson (Judges xvi. 21) was similarly treated. And the custom may be alluded to in Num. xvi. 14. It may be well to compare the treatment of children as recorded in Joshua xi. 14 with what we read in line 118. Horrible and ferocious as was the treatment of the conquered by the Israelites, they at least on that occasion were content with enslaving the children.]
1 and their maidens I dishonored, the city I overthrew,
and burned with fire,
In those days the cities of the land of Nirbi
2 (and) their strong fortresses, I overthrew, demolished,
burned with fire: from Nirbi I withdrew and to the city
3 I approached; the city of Tuskha I again occupied; its
old fort I threw down: its place I prepared, its dimensions
I took; a new castle
4 from its foundation to its roof I built, I completed, I reared:
a palace for the residence of My Royalty with doors of iki
wood I made;
5 a palace of brick from its foundations to its roof I made, I
completed: a complete image of my person of polished
stone I made; the history
6 of my surpassing nation and an account of my conquests
which in the country of Nairi I had accomplished I wrote
upon it; in the city of Tuskha
7 I raised it; on suitable stone I wrote and upon the wall I
fixed it; (then) the men of Assyria, those who from the privation
of food to various countries
8 And to Rurie had gone up, to Tuskha I brought back and
settled there: that city to myself
9 I took; the wheats and barleys of Nirbi I accumulated in
it; the populace of Nirbi who before my arms had fled,
10 returned and accepted my yoke; of their towns,
[Footnote 1: Probably the Lycus or upper Zab.]
[Footnote 2: The term “Hittites” is used in a large sense, as the equivalent of “Syrians,” including the northern parts of Palestine.]
[Footnote 3: About 881 B.C.]
[Footnote 4: A scriptural phrase of frequent occurrence.]
[Footnote 5: Corresponding to the Jewish month Tisri, and to part of our September, called in Accadian “the Holy Altar.”]
[Footnote 6: Cf. Gen. xi. 19, “Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee.”]
[Footnote 7: About 880 B.C.]
[Footnote 8: The Hebrew Sivan.]
[Footnote 9: I.e., in comparison with.]
[Footnote 10: “Am” may be the name of some weight, or figure; v. Norr. Assyr. Dict., pp. 127 and 720.]
[Footnote 11: Menant renders, “j’ai fait etouffer dans le mur.”]
[Footnote 12: About 879 B.C.]
[Footnote 13: Goddesses.]
[Footnote 14: Urasi.]
[Footnote 15: Or, “Assur-sidi-huli” may be taken as the name of the town.]
[Footnote 16: “Urasi"(?).]
[Footnote 17: Compare a similar expression, Job xx. 23, “God shall rain (his fury) upon him while he is eating.”]
[Footnote 18: Cf. 2 Kings x. 8, “Lay ye them (the heads) in two heaps in the entering in of the gate.”]
[Footnote 19: Or, crosses.]
[Footnote 20: On the upper Tigris.]
[Footnote 21: I follow Dr. Oppert in the rendering of this obscure passage. Compare with Ammiba’al the name of the father of Bathsheba, which like many other proper names is indicative of the close relations between Assyria, Phoenicia, Syria, and Judea.]
[Footnote 22: This frequently recurring expression refers to the four races of Syria.]
[Footnote 23: “Tabita” (Heb. “Tebeth”) and “Tasritu” (Heb. “Tisri"). It should be remarked that after the captivity the names of the months were exchanged for the Chaldean; and the old Hebrew names, such as “Abib” (Exod. xiii. 4), “Zif” (1 Kings vi. 37), “Ethanim” (ib. viii. 2), “Bul” (ib. vi. 38), and the titles first, second, third month, etc., were dropped.]
[Footnote 24: This name has also been read as “Nisroch-Salmon.”]
l On the 22d day of the third month, May, in
of Dagan-bel-ussur, withdrew from Calach; I passed the
Tigris at its nearer bank
2 and received a large tribute; at Tabite I made a halt; on the
6th day of the fourth month, June, I withdrew from
Tabite and skirted the banks of Kharmis;
3 at the town of Magarizi I made a halt; withdrew from it
and passed along by the banks of the Chaboras and halted
4 the tribute due from Sadikanni, silver, gold, tin, kam of
copper, oxen, sheep, I received and quitted the place.
5 At the city of Katni I made a halt; the tribute of Sunaya
I received, and from Katni withdrew;
6 at Dar-Kumlimi halted; withdrew from it and halted at
Bit-Halupe, whose tribute
7 of silver, gold, tin, kam of copper, vestments of wool and
linen, oxen and sheep I received, and withdrew from it;
8 at the city of Zirki I made a halt; the tribute of Zirki,
silver, gold, tin, oxen,
9 sheep, I received; withdrew from Zirki; halted at Zupri,
10 of silver, gold, tin, kami, oxen, sheep, I received; withdrew
from Zupri and halted at Nagarabani,
11 whose tribute in silver, gold, tin, kami, oxen, sheep, I
received and withdrew from it;
12 near Khindani, situated on the nearer banks of the Euphrates
13 the tribute of Khindani, silver, gold, tin, kami, oxen, sheep,
I received. From Khindani
14 I withdrew; at the mountains over against the Euphrates
I halted; I withdrew from those mountains and halted at
Bit-Sabaya near the town of Haridi
15 situate on the nearer bank of the Euphrates. From Bit-Sabaya
I withdrew; at the commencement of the town of
16 I made a halt. Anat is situated in the midst of the Euphrates.
From Anat I withdrew. The city of Zuru the
fortified city of
17 Sadudu of the land of Zuhi I besieged: to the numerous
warriors of the spacious land of the Kassi he trusted and
to make war and battle to my presence advanced;
l8 the city I besieged; two days I was engaged in fighting; I
made good an entrance: (then) through fear of my
mighty arms Sadudu and his soldiers
The former city of Calach
which Shalmaneser King of
Assyria going before me, had built—
133 that city was decayed and reduced to a heap of ruins: that
city I built anew; the people captured by my hand of the
countries which I had subdued, Zukhi and Lakie,
134 throughout their entirety, the town of Sirku on the other
side of the Euphrates, all Zamua, Bit-Adini, the Khatti,
and the subjects of Liburna I collected within, I made
135 A water-course from the Upper Zab I dug and called it
Pati-kanik: timber upon its shores I erected: a choice of
animals to Assur my Lord and (for) the Chiefs of my
realm I sacrificed;
136 the ancient mound I threw down: to the level of the water
I brought it: 120 courses on the low level I caused it
to go: its wall I built; from the ground to the summit I
built (and) completed.
[Additional clauses are found on the monolith inscription in the British Museum. They are not, however, of any great importance and amount to little more than directions for the preservation and reparation of the palace, with imprecations upon those who should at any time injure the buildings. On this same monolith is found an invocation to the great gods of the Assyrian Pantheon: namely, to Assur, Anu, Hea, Sin [the Moon], Merodach, Yav Jahve, Jah[?], Ninip, Nebo, Beltis, Nergal, Bel-Dagon, Samas [the Sun], Istar.]
[Footnote 1: Sivan.]
[Footnote 2: 878 B.C.]
[Footnote 3: Heb. “Tammuz,” Assyr. “Duwazu.”]
[Footnote 4: A city in Mesopotamia.]
[Footnote 5: “Burattu.” In Hebrew (Gen. ii. 14). “Phrat.”]
[Footnote 6: Dr. Oppert renders this “Anatho.”]
[Footnote 7: Literally, “from the face of.”]
[Footnote 8: Probably military engines used in sieges.]
[Footnote 9: Or, sadi-stone shining.]
[Footnote 10: “Kaldu.” There are fragments existing in the British Museum of a treaty made between this Nabu-bal-idin, King of Kardunias (Babylonia), and Shalmaneser, son of Assur-nasir-pal. v. “Trans. Soc. Bib. Archaeol.,” i. 77.]
[Footnote 11: The Hebrew Sivan.]
[Footnote 12: Literally, “impaled on stakes.” But Dr. Oppert and Mr. Norris generally adopt the rendering given in the text, I. 108, p. 194.]
[Footnote 13: It will be observed that this city is differently spelled in line 27. Irregularities of this kind are very frequent, especially in the termination of proper names.]
[Footnote 14: See note 3, p. 188.]
[Footnote 15: “Ahuni.” See l. 61, p. 191.]
[Footnote 16: The Hebrew Sivan.]
[Footnote 17: Or, “as it were situated among the storm-clouds of heaven.”]
[Footnote 18: The nature of these engines ("bilsi”) is uncertain.]
[Footnote 19: I.e., stony-hill.]
[Footnote 20: Or, lead.]
[Footnote 21: Possibly “humiliation,” from the Chaldee “rama.”]
[Footnote 22: Airu.]
[Footnote 23: Carchemish. Cf. Jeremiah xlvi. 2.]
[Footnote 24: Tribe(?).]
[Footnote 25: Or, lead.]
[Footnote 26: Some projecting ornament, like “horns of an altar.” Cf. Ps. cxviii. 27; Exod. xxx. 2.]
[Footnote 27: Probably some utensils, as explained by the Hebrew word “unutu” ("anioth").]
[Footnote 28: Or, with Mr. Norris, “the whole of it was not taken.” Dict., p. 558.]
[Footnote 29: The words specified are “sa” or “issa,” “passur,” and probably “ebony”; the others have not been identified.]
[Footnote 30: Probably “in ivory.”]
[Footnote 31: Labnana.]
[Footnote 32: Hazazi.]
[Footnote 33: Prince.]
[Footnote 34: The Inscription is here defaced.]
[Footnote 35: May this be the Hebrew word for garments, “beged"?]
[Footnote 36: Defaced.]
[Footnote 37: Arunte.]
[Footnote 38: Defaced.]
[Footnote 39: Defaced.]
[Footnote 40: Precisely thus: “The King of Assyria brought men from Babylon ... and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel.”—2 Kings xvii. 24.]
[Footnote 41: “Akhari.” Heb. [Hebrew: achari].]
[Footnote 42: Literally, Zurai, Sidunai, Gubalai, Makullat.]
[Footnote 43: See p. 192, note 5.]
[Footnote 44: Ebony.]
[Footnote 45: The mountain chain which divides Syria from Cilicia.]
[Footnote 46: Or, proof.]
[Footnote 47: Literally, sat.]
[Footnote 48: I.e., “the sun is my light.”]
[Footnote 49: Assyr. “Airu,” Heb. “Iyar.” 866 B.C.]
[Footnote 50: Literally, Kumukhaya.]
[Footnote 51: Between Carchemish and the Orontes.]
[Footnote 52: Diarbekr, still known by the name of “Kar-Amid.” Rawlinson’s “Herodotus,” l. 466. The name is of frequent occurrence in early Christian writers.]
[Footnote 53: See p. 188, note 2.]
[Footnote 54: Cf. Is. x. 34, “He shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron”; also Ezek. xxxix. 10.]
[Footnote 55: The inscription is here defaced.]
[Footnote 56: Defaced.]
[Footnote 57: See p. 188, note 2.]
[Footnote 58: The grandfather of Assur-nasir-pal. His reign probably terminated at 889 B.C.]
[Footnote 59: Literally, shepherd. Thus, Isa. xliv. 28, “Cyrus is my shepherd.”]
[Footnote 60: Cf. Ps. xxix. 10, “The Lord (Jhvh) sitteth upon the flood; yea the Lord sitteth King forever.”]
[Footnote 61: This reads like an annexation of a portion of Babylonian territory.]
[Footnote 62: Or upholder, proclaimer of Sin, the moon; of. I. 127.]
[Footnote 63: Assyr. “Nalad.” Cf. the Heb. yalad “born of.”]
[Footnote 64: Precisely thus were the Israelites carried away to Babylon.]
TRANSLATED BY H.F. TALBOT, F.R.S.
The following translations are some of those which I published in the “Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology” in order to show that the Assyrians had a firm belief in the immortality of the soul: a fact which was previously unknown.
I have added specimens of their penitential psalms, and some notices of their numerous superstitions, such as the exorcism of evil spirits, the use of magic knots and talismans, the belief in inherited or imputed sins, and in the great degree of holiness which they attributed to the number Seven. In some of these respects we may evidently see how great an influence was exercised on the mind and belief of the Jews by their long residence at Babylon.
A PRAYER FOR THE KING
1 “Length of days 2 long lasting years 3 a strong sword 4 a long life 5 extended years of glory 6 pre-eminence among Kings 7 grant ye to the King my Lord, 8 who has given such gifts 9 to his gods! 10 The bounds vast and wide 11 of his Empire 12 and of his Rule, 13 may he enlarge and may he complete! 14 Holding over all Kings supremacy 15 and royalty and empire 16 may he attain to gray hairs 17 and old age! 18 And after the life of these days, 19 in the feasts of the silver mountain, the heavenly Courts 20 the abodes of blessedness: 21 and in the Light 22 of the Happy Fields, 23 may he dwell a life 24 eternal, holy 25 in the presence 26 of the gods 27 who inhabit Assyria!”
[Footnote 1: From the “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. i. p. 107. The original is in “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” vol. iii. pl. 66.]
[Footnote 2: The Assyrian Olympus. The epithet “silver” was doubtless suggested by some snowy inaccessible peak, the supposed dwelling-place of the gods.]
SHORT PRAYER FOR THE SOUL OF A DYING MAN [Footnote: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 20.]
1 Like a bird may it fly to a lofty place! 2 To the holy hands of its god, may it ascend!
THE DEATH OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN [Footnote: Ibid., vol. ii. p. 31.]
1 Bind the sick man to Heaven, for from the Earth
being torn away!
2 Of the brave man who was so strong, his strength has departed. 3 Of the righteous servant, the force does not return. 4 In his bodily frame he lies dangerously ill. 5 But Ishtar, who in her dwelling is grieved concerning him 6 descends from her mountain, unvisited of men. 7 To the door of the sick man she comes. 8 The sick man listens! 9 Who is there? Who comes? 10 It is Ishtar daughter of the Moon-god Sin: 11 It is the god (...) Son of Bel: 12 It is Marduk, Son of the god (...). 13 They approach the body of the sick man.
(The next line, 14, is nearly destroyed.)
15 They bring a khisibta from the heavenly treasury. 16 They bring a sisbu from their lofty storehouse: 17 into the precious khisibta they pour bright liquor. 18 That righteous man, may he now rise on high! 19 May he shine like that khisibta! 20 May he be bright as that sisbu! 21 Like pure silver may his garment be shining white! 22 Like brass may he be radiant! 23 To the Sun, greatest of the gods, may he ascend! 24 And may the Sun, greatest of the gods, receive his soul
into his holy hands!
[Footnote 1: Probably a cup or drinking-vessel.]
[Footnote 2: There is a fine inscription not yet fully translated, describing the soul in heaven, clothed in a white radiant garment, seated in the company of the blessed, and fed by the gods themselves with celestial food.]
(These lamentations seem frequently to be incoherent. A few specimens are taken from the same work as the preceding. [Footnote: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 60.])
O my Lord! my sins are many, my trespasses are great; and the wrath of the gods has plagued me with disease and with sickness and sorrow.
I fainted: but no one stretched forth his hand!
I groaned: but no one drew nigh!
I cried aloud: but no one heard!
O Lord! do not abandon thy servant!
In the waters of the great storm, seize his hand!
The sins which he has committed, turn thou to righteousness!
1 O my god! my sins are seven times seven! 2 O my goddess! my sins are seven times seven!
(And then a prayer follows, that those sins may be pardoned as a father and mother would pardon them!)
In heaven who is great? Thou alone
On earth who is great? Thou alone art great!
When thy voice resounds in heaven, the gods fall prostrate!
When thy voice resounds on earth, the genii kiss the dust!
ELSEWHERE [Footnote: Ibid., vol. ii. p. 51.]
O Thou; thy words who can resist? who
can rival them?
Among the gods thy brothers, thou hast no equal!
A PRAYER [Footnote: Idem.]
The god my creator, may he stand by my
Keep thou the door of my lips! guard thou my hands, O Lord of light!
(The original text of this will be found in 4 R 14 l. 6 which is a lithographic copy of the tablet K, 44. A part of it was translated some years ago from a photograph of that tablet; see No. 430 of my Glossary.
Very few Assyrian odes are so simple and intelligible as this is: unfortunately most of them are mystical and hard of interpretation.)
1 O Fire, great Lord, who art the most exalted in
the world, 2 noble Son of heaven, who art the most
exalted in the world, 3 O Fire, with thy bright
flame 4 in the dark house thou dost cause light.
5 Of all things that can be named, Thou dost form
the fabric! 6 Of bronze and of lead, Thou art the
melter! 7 Of silver and of gold, Thou art the refiner!
8 Of ... Thou art the purifier! 9 Of the
wicked man in the night time Thou dost repel the
10 But the man who serves his god, Thou wilt give him light
for his actions!
DEMONIACAL POSSESSION AND EXORCISM
Diseases were attributed to the influence of Evil Spirits. Exorcisms were used to drive away those tormentors: and this seems to have been the sole remedy employed, for I believe that no mention has been found of medicine.
This is a very frequent subject of the tablets. [Footnote: Taken from 2 R pl. 18.] One of them says of a sick man:
1 “May the goddess ... 2 wife of the god ... 3 turn his face in another direction; 4 that the evil spirit may come out of him 5 and be thrust aside, and that Good Spirits and Good Powers 6 may dwell in his body!”
Sometimes divine images were brought into the chamber, and written texts taken from holy books were placed on the walls and bound around the sick man’s brows. If these failed recourse was had to the influence of the mamit, which the evil powers were unable to resist. On a tablet 2 R p. 17 the following is found, written in the Accadian language only, the Assyrian version being broken off:
1 Take a white cloth: In it place the mamit, 2 in the sick man’s right hand. 3 And take a black cloth: 4 wrap it round his left hand. 5 Then all the evil spirits. 6 and the sins which he has committed 7 shall quit their hold of him, 8 and shall never return.
[Footnote 1: A long list of them is given.]
[Footnote 2: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 56.]
The symbolism of the black cloth in the left hand seems evident. The dying man repudiates all his former evil deeds. And he puts his trust in holiness, symbolized by the white cloth in his right hand. Then follow some obscure lines about the spirits—
Their heads shall remove from his head:
their hands shall let go his hands:
their feet shall depart from his feet:
which perhaps may be explained thus—we learn, from another tablet, that the various classes of evil spirits troubled different parts of the body. Some injured the head, some the hands and feet, etc., etc. Therefore the passage before us may mean: “The spirits whose power is over the hand, shall loose their hands from his,” etc. But I can offer no decided opinion on such obscure points of their superstition.
These were supposed to pursue a sick man and torment him. [Footnote: See “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” vol. iv. p. 7.]
1 The mamit for him reveal! The mamit for him unfold! 2 Against the evil spirit, disturber of his body! 3 Whether it be the sin of his father: 4 or whether it be the sin of his mother: 5 or whether it be the sin of his elder brother: 6 or whether it be the sin of someone who is unknown!
[Footnote 1: A holy object, the nature of which has not been ascertained.]
[Footnote 2: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii, p. 58.]
Justin Martyr, speaking of the Jewish exorcists, says “They use magic ties or knots.” A similar usage prevailed among the Babylonians. [Footnote 7: Ibid., p. 54.] The god Marduk wishes to soothe the last moments of a dying man. His father Hea says: Go my son!
1 Take a woman’s linen kerchief 2 bind
it round thy right hand! loose it from the left hand!
3 Knot it with seven knots: do so twice:
4 Sprinkle it with bright wine: 5
bind it round the head of the sick man: 6 bind
it round his hands and feet, like manacles and fetters.
7 Sit down on his bed: 8 sprinkle holy water
over him. 9 He shall hear the voice of Hea, 10
Davkina shall protect him! 11 And Marduk, Eldest
Son of heaven, shall find him a happy
[Footnote 1: One of the principal goddesses, the wife of the god Hea.]
[Footnote 2: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. p. 84.]
To cure diseases they seem to have relied wholly on charms and incantations.
The first step was to guard the entrance to the sick man’s chamber.
A tablet says:
“That nothing evil may enter, place at the door the god (...) and the god (...).”
That is to say, their images. I believe these were little figures of the gods, brought by the priests, perhaps a sort of Teraphim.
The following line is more explicit: “Place the guardian statues of Hea and Marduk at the door, on the right hand and on the left.” But they added to this another kind of protection:
1 Right and left of the threshold of the door, spread
texts and sentences.
2 Place on the statues texts bound around them.
These must have been long strips like ribbons of parchment or papyrus. The following line is still clearer:
“In the night-time bind around the sick man’s head a sentence taken from a good book."
[Footnote 10: Similar to these were the phylacteries of the Jews, which were considered to be protections from all evil. Schleusner in his Lexicon of the New Testament says that they were “Strips of parchment on which were written various portions of the Mosaic law, for the Jews believed that these ligaments had power to avert every kind of evil, but especially to drive away demons. as appears from the Targum on the Canticles,” etc. We see that the Babylonian precept was to bind holy sentences “around the head” and others “right and left of the threshold of the door.”
Cf. Deut. xi. 18: “Ye shall lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes.
“And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates.”]
Innumerable are the evidences of this opinion which are found on the tablets. Two or three instances may suffice here:
THE SONG OF THE SEVEN SPIRITS [Footnote: “Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch.,” vol. ii. 2 p. 58.]
1 They are seven! they are seven! 2 In the depths
of ocean they are seven! 3 In the heights of heaven
they are seven! 4 In the ocean stream in a Palace
they were born. 5 Male they are not: female
they are not! 6 Wives they have not! Children
are not born to them! 7 Rule they have not!
Government they know not! 8 Prayers they hear not!
9 They are seven, and they are seven! Twice over
This wild chant touches one of the deepest chords of their religious feeling. They held that seven evil spirits at once might enter into a man: there are frequent allusions to them, and to their expulsion, on the tablets. One runs thus:
1 The god (...) shall stand by his bedside:
2 Those seven evil spirits he shall root out, and
them from his body.
3 And those seven shall never return to the sick man again!
But sometimes this belief attained the grandeur of epic poetry. There is a fine tale on one of the tablets [Footnote 2: “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” vol. iv. pl. 5.] of the seven evil spirits assaulting heaven, and the gods alarmed standing upon the defensive, no doubt successfully, but unluckily the conclusion of the story is broken off.
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The following are specimens of the imprecatory charms with which the ancient Babylonian literature abounded, and which were supposed to be the most potent means in the world for producing mischief. Some examples are given in the first volume of the “Records of the Past,” pp. 131-135 of the exorcisms used to avert the consequences of such enchantments. The original Accadian text is preserved in the first column with an interlinear Assyrian translation: the short paragraphs in Column III also give the Accadian original; but elsewhere the Assyrian scribe has contented himself with the Assyrian rendering alone. The charms are rhythmic, and illustrate the rude parallelism of Accadian poetry. The Assyrian translations were probably made for the library of Sargon of Agane, an ancient Babylonian monarch who reigned not later than the sixteenth century B.C.; but the copy we possess was made from the old tablets by the scribes of Assur-bani-pal. The larger part of the first column has already been translated by M. Francois Lenormant in “La Magie chez les Chaldeens” p. 59. The tablet on which the inscription occurs is marked K 65 in the British Museum Collection and will be published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, plates 7, 8.
1 The beginning—The baneful charm
like an evil demon
acts against the man.
2 The voice that defiles acts upon him. 3 The maleficent voice acts upon him. 4 The baneful charm is a spell that originates sickness. 5 This man the baneful charm strangles like a lamb. 6 His god in his flesh makes the wound. 7 His goddess mutual enmity brings down. 8 The voice that defiles like a hyena covers him and subjugates
9 Merodach favors him; and 10 to his father Hea into the house he enters and cries: 11 “O my father, the baneful charm like an evil demon acts
against the man.”
12 To the injured (man) he (Hea) speaks thus: 13 “(A number) make: this man is unwitting: by means of
the number he enslaves thee.”
14 (To) his son Merodach he replies 15 “My son, the number thou knowest not; the number let
me fix for thee.
16 Merodach, the number thou knowest not; the number let
me fix for thee.
17 What I know thou knowest. 18 Go, my son Merodach. 19 ... with noble hand seize him, and 20 his enchantment explain and his enchantment make known. 21 Evil (is to) the substance of his body, 22 whether (it be) the curse of his father, 23 or the curse of his mother, 24 or the curse of his elder brother, 25 or the bewitching curse of an unknown man.” 26 Spoken (is) the enchantment by the lips of Hea. 27 Like a signet may he be brought near. 28 Like garden-herbs may he be destroyed. 29 Like a weed may he be gathered-for-sale. 30 (This) enchantment may the spirit of heaven remember,
may the spirit of earth remember.
31 Like this signet he shall be cut, and the sorcerer 32 the consuming fire-god shall consume. 33 By written-spells he shall not be delivered. 34 By curses and poisons he shall not be moved. 35 His property (and) ground he shall not take. 36 His corn shall not be high and the sun shall not remember (him).
[Footnote 1: The Accadian word is translated by the Assyrian “siptu” ("lip"), and may be translated “beginning” or “fresh paragraph.”]
[Footnote 2: In the Assyrian version, “curse.”]
[Footnote 3: In the Assyrian, “goes against.”]
[Footnote 4: In the Assyrian, “(is) the cause of sickness.”]
[Footnote 5: The Accadian god identified with Merodach by the Assyrian translator was “Silik-mulu-khi” ("the protector of the city who benefits mankind"). He was regarded as the son of Hea.]
[Footnote 6: The verbs throughout are in the aorist, but the sense of the original is better expressed in English by the present than the past tense.]
[Footnote 7: That is, the sorcerer’s.]
[Footnote 8: The sorcerer.]
[Footnote 9: The sorcerer.]
1 On the festival of the god, the king unconquerable,
2 may the man (by) the enchantment, (with) eldest
3 (by) sickness, the loss of the bliss of prosperity, of joy (and)
4 (by) the sickness which exists in a man’s skin, a man’s flesh
(and) a man’s entrails,
5 like this signet be brought near and 6 on that day may the consuming fire-god consume; 7 may the enchantment go forth and to (its) dwelling-place betake
8 Like this vineyard he shall be cut off, and the
sorcerer 9 the consuming fire-god shall consume.
10 Despite the holidays of a plague
that returns not, 11 despite the shrine of the god,
the king unconquerable, 12 may the man, (by) the
enchantment, (with) eldest son (and) wife,
13 (by) sickness, the loss of the bliss of prosperity,
of joy (and)
14 (by) the sickness which exists in a man’s skin, a man’s flesh, a
15 like this garden-stuff be rooted out, and 16 on that day may the consuming fire-god consume. 17 May the enchantment go forth and to (its) dwelling-place betake
18 Like this weed he shall be gathered for sale,
and the sorcerer 19 the consuming fire-god shall
consume. 20 Before him, despite his blessedness that
is not, 21 despite the canopy of a covering that
departs not, 22 may the man (by) the enchantment,
(with) eldest son (and) wife, 23 (by) sickness,
the loss of the bliss of prosperity, of joy (and)
24 (by) the sickness which exists in a man’s skin, a man’s flesh,
a man’s entrails,
25 like this weed be plucked, and 26 on that day may the consuming fire-god consume. 27 May the enchantment go forth and to (its) dwelling-place
28 Like this thread he shall be stretched, and the
sorcerer 29 the consuming fire-god shall consume.
30 Despite his adoration that is not, 31 despite
the clothing of the god, the King unconquerable, 32
may the man, (through) the enchantment, (with) eldest
33 (by) sickness, the loss of the bliss of prosperity, of joy (and)
34 (by) the sickness which exists in a man’s skin, a man’s
flesh, a man’s entrails,
35 like this thread be stretched, and 36 on that day may the consuming fire-god consume. 37 May the enchantment go forth and to (its) dwelling-place
38 Like this goat’s-hair cloth he shall be
stretched, and the
39 the consuming fire-god shall consume. 40 Despite the goat’s-hair that is not, 41 despite the canopy of the covering (that departs not), 42 may the man (through) the enchantment, (with) eldest son
43 (by) sickness, the loss of the bliss of prosperity, of joy (and)
44 (by) the sickness which exists in a man’s skin, a man’s flesh,
a man’s entrails,
45 like this goat’s-hair cloth be stretched, and 46 on that day the man may the consuming fire-god consume. 47 May the enchantment go forth and to (its) dwelling-place
48 Like these boards he shall be stretched,
and the sorcerer 49 the consuming fire-god shall
consume. 50 O son of the macebearer, despite produce
unproduced, 51 despite the clothing of the god, the
King unconquerable, 52 may the man (by) the enchantment,
(with) eldest son and
53 (by) sickness, the loss of prosperity, of joy (and) of gladness, 54 (by) the sickness which exists in a man’s skin, a man’s flesh,
a man’s entrails,
55 like these boards be stretched, and 56 on that day may the consuming fire-god consume. 57 May the enchantment go forth and to (its) dwelling-place
(The first part of Column III is mutilated. It becomes legible in the middle of a list of magical formulae.)
30 The chiefest talisman, the mighty talisman, the
talisman, the talisman is the binder, with enchantment.
31 The repetition of the enchantment (is) baneful to man. 32 The curses of the gods. 33 ... the binder with enchantment. 34 (With enchantment) his hands (and) his feet he binds. 35 Merodach, the son of Hea, the prince, with his holy hands
cuts the knots.
36 May the enchantment cause this talisman to the desert
among the wild beasts to go forth.
37 May the baneful enchantment seize upon others. 38 May this man rest (and) open (his eyes). 39 To the blessed hand of his god may he be committed. 40 Conclusion of the formulae for averting sorcery.
41 For the raising of the mighty foundation thus
burned up straight,
42 like fire have I burned up (and) have delivered the oracle.
[Footnote 10: Or, “have laid the witchcraft.”]
1 The noble cupbearer of Hea, the scribe
of Merodach (am) I. 2 Like fire have I blazed (and)
I rejoice; 3 (like) fire have I burned (and)
I grow; 4 the corn I purify and make heavy. 5
Like fire have I blazed (and) will rejoice; 6 (like)
fire have I burned (and) will grow; 7 the corn will
I purify and make heavy. 8 O nadir (and) zenith,
the light of god and man, 9 may the store he collected
be delivered. 10 May the store of (his) heart whoever
he be, ye his god
and his goddess, be delivered.
11 May his gate be kept fast. On that day 12 may they enrich him, may they deliver him.
13 May the rejoicing of the warrior fire-god
14 rejoice with thee. May lands and rivers 15
rejoice with thee. May Tigris and (Euphrates)
16 rejoice with thee. May the seas and (the ocean)
17 rejoice with thee. May the forest, the daughter
18 rejoice with thee. May all the production (of the earth) 19 rejoice with thee. May the hearts of my god and my goddess,
20 rejoice with thee. May the hearts of the
26 (The tablet) beginning: ...
Tablet (copied from)
the old (tablets of Chaldea).
Country of (Assur-bani-pal)
King of (Assyria).
[Footnote 1: Or, “rest.”]
[Footnote 2: The words translated “rejoicing” and “rejoice” properly signify “rest” and that may be their meaning here.]
TRANSLATED BY SIR H. RAWLINSON, K.C.B., D.C.L., ETC.
This inscription of Tiglath Pileser I is found on an octagonal prism and on some other clay fragments discovered at Kalah-Shergat and at present in the British Museum. The text is published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. I, pp. ix-xvi. Four translations of this inscription, made simultaneously in 1857 by Sir H. Rawlinson, Mr. Fox Talbot, Dr. Hincks, and Dr. Oppert, were published in that year under the title of “Inscription of Tiglath Pileser I, King of Assyria, B.C. 1150.” Dr. Oppert has also given a revised translation in his “Histoire de l’Empire de Chaldee et d’Assyrie,” 8vo, Versailles, 1865, extracted from the “Annales de la Philosophie chretienne” of the same year, 5e Series, p. 44 and foll. The translations simultaneously published were submitted to the Asiatic Society in that year as a test of the advance made in Assyrian interpretations and the close approximation made by scholars in their interpretation of Assyrian texts. The notes contain some of the different readings of the other Assyrian scholars at that time and give a few of the principal varieties of reading some of the words. It was generally considered a very triumphant demonstration of the sound basis on which the then comparatively recent Assyrian researches were placed and a confutation of certain opinions then prevalent, that no certain or accurate advance had been made in the decipherment of Assyrian inscriptions. On the whole for its extent and historical information relating to the early history of Assyria this inscription is one of the most important of the series showing the gradual advance and rise of Assyria, while as one of the first interpreted it presents considerable literary interest in respect to the details of the progress of Assyrian interpretation. It is also nearly the oldest Assyrian text of any length which has been hitherto discovered and is very interesting from its account of the construction of the temples and palaces made by the King in the early part of his reign. S.B.
Ashur, the great Lord, ruling supreme over the gods; the giver of sceptres and crowns; the appointer of sovereignty. Bel, the Lord; King of the circle of constellations; Father of the gods; Lord of the world. Sin; the leader the Lord of Empire the powerful the auspicious god; Shamas; the establisher of the heavens and the earth; ...; the vanquisher of enemies; the dissolver of cold. Vul; he who causes the tempest to rage over hostile lands and wicked countries. Abnil Hercules; the champion who subdues heretics and enemies, and who strengthens the heart. Ishtar, the eldest of the gods; the Queen of Victory; she who arranges battles.
[Footnote 1: Aratnaki. (Fox Talbot.)]
[Footnote 2: The moon.]
[Footnote 3: The sun.]
[Footnote 4: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 5: Ninev. (Fox Talbot.) Ao. (Dr. Oppert.)]
[Footnote 6: Ninip-Sumdan. Dr. Oppert.]
[Footnote 7: Or source.]
The great gods, ruling over the heavens and the earth, whose attributes I have recorded and whom I have named; the guardians of the kingdom of Tiglath Pileser, the Prince inspiring your hearts with joy; the proud Chief whom in the strength of your hearts ye have made firm, (to whom) ye have confided the supreme crown, (whom) ye have appointed in might to the sovereignty of the country of Bel, to whom ye have granted pre-eminence, exaltation, and warlike power. May the duration of his empire continue forever to his royal posterity, lasting as the great temple of Bel!
Tiglath Pileser the powerful king; supreme King of Lash-anan; King of the four regions; King of all Kings; Lord of Lords; the supreme; Monarch of Monarchs; the illustrious Chief who under the auspices of the Sun god, being armed with the sceptre and girt with the girdle of power over mankind, rules over all the people of Bel; the mighty Prince whose praise is blazoned forth among the Kings: the exalted sovereign, whose servants Ashur has appointed to the government of the country of the four regions (and) has made his name celebrated to posterity; the conqueror of many plains and mountains of the Upper and Lower Country; the conquering hero, the terror of whose name has overwhelmed all regions; the bright constellation who, according to his power has warred against foreign countries (and) under the auspices of Bel, there being no equal to him, has subdued the enemies of Ashur.
[Footnote 1: “Various tongues.” Talbot.]
[Footnote 2: Or, “as he wished.”]
[Footnote 3: Or, “has made them obedient to Ashur.”]
Ashur (and) the great gods, the guardians of my kingdom, who gave government and laws to my dominions, and ordered an enlarged frontier to their territory, having committed to (my) hand their valiant and warlike servants, I have subdued the lands and the peoples and the strong places, and the Kings who were hostile to Ashur; and I have reduced all that was contained in them. With a host of kings I have fought ... and have imposed on them the bond of servitude. There is not to me a second in war, nor an equal in battle. I have added territory to Assyria and peoples to her people. I have enlarged the frontier of my territories, and subdued all the lands contained in them.
[Footnote 1: The preamble concludes here.]
[Footnote 2: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 3: Literally, “a sixty.”]
In the beginning of my reign 20,000 of the Muskayans and their 5 kings, who for 50 years had held the countries of Alza and Perukhuz, without paying tribute and offerings to Ashur my Lord, and whom a King of Assyria had never ventured to meet in battle betook themselves to their strength, and went and seized the country of Comukha. In the service of Ashur my Lord my chariots and warriors I assembled after me ... the country of Kasiyaia a difficult country, I passed through. With their 20,000 fighting men and their 5 kings in the country of Comukha I engaged. I defeated them. The ranks of their warriors in fighting the battle were beaten down as if by the tempest. Their carcasses covered the valleys and the tops of the mountains. I cut off their heads. The battlements of their cities I made heaps of, like mounds of earth, their movables, their wealth, and their valuables I plundered to a countless amount. 6,000 of their common soldiers who fled before my servants and accepted my yoke, I took them, and gave them over to the men of my own territory.
[Footnote 1: Sirki citizens. (Fox Talbot.)]
[Footnote 2: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 3: Mount Kasiyaia. (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 4: As slaves.]
Then I went into the country of Comukha, which was disobedient and withheld the tribute and offerings due to Ashur my Lord: I conquered the whole country of Comukha. I plundered their movables, their wealth, and their valuables. Their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and ruined. The common people of Comukha, who fled before the face of my servants, crossed over to the city of Sherisha which was on the further banks of the Tigris, and made this city into their stronghold. I assembled my chariots and warriors. I betook myself to carts of iron in order to overcome the rough mountains and their difficult marches. I made the wilderness (thus) practicable for the passage of my chariots and warriors. I crossed the Tigris
[Footnote 1: Dummuk. (Dr. Oppert.)]
[Footnote 2: Sharisha. (Fox Talbot.) Siris. (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 3: Bridge. (Fox Talbot.)]
[Footnote 4: Aliens. (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 5: Nami River. (Fox Talbot.) Blood River. (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 6: Tirikali fil Tirikali. (Fox Talbot.) Kiliantiru eldest son of Campineiyusan, (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 7: Literally, “three sixties.”]
The city of Urrakluiras their stronghold which was in the country of Panari, I went toward. The exceeding fear of the power of Ashur, my Lord, overwhelmed them. To save their lives they took their gods, and fled like birds to the tops of the lofty mountains. I collected my chariots and warriors, and crossed the Tigris. Shedi Teru the son of Khasutkh King of Urrakluiras on my arriving in his country submitted to my yoke. His sons, the delight of his heart, and his favorites, I condemned to the service of the gods: 60 vessels of iron; trays and bars of copper ... with 120 cattle, and flocks he brought as tribute and offerings. I accepted (them) and spared him. I gave him his life, but imposed upon him the yoke of my empire heavily forever. The wide spreading country of Comukha I entirely conquered, and subjected to my yoke. At this time one tray of copper and one bar of copper from among the service offerings and tribute of Comukha I dedicated to Ashur my Lord, and 60 iron vessels with their gods I offered to my guardian god, Vul.
[Footnote 1: Sadiyantim. (Dr. Hincks.) Tiri-dates. (Fox Talbot.)]
[Footnote 2: Kuthakin. (Fox Talbot.) Kha-thukhi. (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 3: “Nirmah mamkhar.” (Dr. Hincks.)]
[Footnote 4: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 5: “Yem.” (Fox Talbot.)]
From among my valiant servants, to whom Ashur the Lord gave strength and power, in 30 of my chariots, select companies of my troops and bands of my warriors who were expert in battle, I gathered together. I proceeded to the extensive country of Miltis, which did not obey me; it consisted of strong mountains and a difficult land. Where it was easy I traversed it in my chariots: where it was difficult I went on foot. In the country of Aruma, which was a difficult land, and impracticable to the passage of my chariots, I left the chariots and marched in front of my troops. Like ... on the peak of the rugged mountains, I marched victoriously. The country of Miltis, like heaps of stubble, I swept. Their fighting men in the course of the battle like chaff I scattered. Their movables, their wealth and their valuables I plundered. Many of their cities I burned with fire. I imposed on them religious service, and offerings and tribute.
[Footnote 1: Eshtish. (Fox Talbot.)]
[Footnote 2: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 3: Hostages. Fox Talbot. For further and subsequent various readings see the edition of 1857.]
Tiglath Pileser, the illustrious warrior, the opener of the roads of the countries, the subjugator of the rebellious ... he who has overrun the whole Magian world.
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
I subdued the extensive country of Subair, which was in rebellion. The countries of Alza and Purukhuz, which deferred their tribute and offerings, the yoke of my empire heavily upon them I imposed, decreeing that they should bring their tribute and offerings into my presence in the city of Ashur. While I was on this expedition, which the Lord Ashur, committing to my hand a powerful rebel subduing army, ordered for the enlargement of the frontiers of his territory, there were 4,000 of the Kaskaya and Hurunaya rebellious tribes of the Kheti who had brought under their power the cities of Subarta, attached to the worship of Ashur, my Lord (so that) they did not acknowledge dependence on Subarta. The terror of my warlike expedition overwhelmed them. They would not fight, but submitted to my yoke. Then I took their valuables, and 120 of their chariots fitted to the yoke, and I gave them to the men of my own country.
[Footnote 1: Hittites.]
[Footnote 2: Two “soss.”]
In the course of this my expedition, a second time I proceeded to the country of Comukha. I took many of their cities. Their movables, their wealth, and their valuables I plundered. Their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and overthrew. The soldiers of their armies, who from before the face of my valiant servants fled away, they would not engage with me in the fierce battle: to save
Tiglath Pileser, the powerful king, the vanquisher of the disobedient, he who has swept the face of the earth.
In profound reverence to Ashur my Lord, to the country of Kharia, and the far-spreading tribes of the Akhe, deep forests, which no former King (of Assyria) had ever reached, the Lord Ashur invited me to proceed. My chariots and forces I assembled, and I went to an inaccessible region beyond the countries of Itni and Aya. As the steep mountains stood up like metal posts, and were impracticable to the passage of my chariots, I placed my chariots in wagons, and (thus) I traversed the difficult ranges of hills. All the lands of the Akhe and their wide-spreading tribes having assembled, arose to do battle in the country of Azutapis. In an inaccessible region I fought with them and defeated them. The ranks of their (slain) warriors on the peaks of the mountains were piled up in heaps; the carcasses of their warriors filled the ravines and high places of the mountains. To the cities which were placed on the tops of the mountains I penetrated victoriously: 27 cities of Kharia, which were situated in the districts of Aya, Suira, Itni, Shetzu, Shelgu, Arzanibru, Varutsu, and Anitku, I took; their movables, their wealth, and their valuables I plundered; their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and overthrew.
The people of Adavas feared to engage in battle with me; they left their habitations, and fled like birds to the peaks of the lofty mountains. The terror of Ashur my Lord overwhelmed them; they came and submitted to my yoke; I imposed on them tribute and offerings.
The countries of Tsaravas and Ammavas, which from the olden time had never submitted, I swept like heaps of stubble; with their forces in the country of Aruma I fought, and I defeated them. The ranks of their fighting men I levelled like grass. I bore away their gods; their movables, their wealth, and their valuables I carried off. Their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and overthrew, and converted into heaps and mounds. The heavy yoke of my empire I imposed on them. I attached them to the worship of Ashur my Lord.
I took the countries of Itsua and Daria, which were turbulent and disobedient. Tribute and offerings I imposed on them. I attached them to the worship of Ashur.
In my triumphant progress over my enemies, my chariots and troops I assembled; I crossed the lower Zab. The countries of Muraddan and Tsaradavas, which were near Atsaniu and Atuva, difficult regions, I captured; their warriors I cut down like weeds. The city of Muraddan, their capital city, and the regions toward the rising sun, I took possession of. Their gods, their wealth, and their valuables, one soss bars of iron, 30 talents of iron, the abundant wealth of the Lords, of their palaces, and their movables, I carried off. This city I burnt with fire, I destroyed and overthrew. At this time this iron to the god Vul, my great Lord and guardian, I dedicated.
In the might and power of Ashur my Lord, I went to the country of Tsugi, belonging to Gilkhi, which did not acknowledge Ashur my Lord. With 4,000 of their troops, belonging to the countries Khimi, Lukhi, Arirgi, Alamun, Nuni, and all the far-spread land of the Akhi, in the country of Khirikhi, a difficult region, which rose up like metal posts, with all their people I fought on foot. I defeated them; the bodies of their fighting men on the tops of the mountains I heaped in masses. The carcasses of their warriors I strewed over the country of Khirikhi like chaff. I took the entire country of Tsugi. Twenty-five of their gods, their movables, their wealth, and their valuables I carried off. Many of their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and overthrew. The men of their armies submitted to my yoke. I had mercy on them. I imposed on them tribute and offerings. With attachment to the worship of Ashur, my Lord, I intrusted them.
[Footnote 1: That is, “I caused them to worship Ashur.”]
At this time 25 of the gods belonging to those countries, subject to my government, which I had taken, I dedicated for the honor of the temple of the Queen of glory, the great ancestress of Ashur my Lord, of Anu, and of Vul, the goddess who is the guardian of all the public temples of my city of Ashur, and of all the goddesses of my country.
Tiglath-Pileser, the powerful King; the subduer of hostile races; the conqueror of the whole circle of kings.
At this time, in exalted reverence to Ashur, my Lord, by the godlike support of the heroic “Sun,” having in the service of the great gods, ruled over the four regions imperially; there being found (to me) no equal in war, and no second in battle, to the countries of the powerful Kings who dwelt upon the upper ocean and had never made their submission, the Lord Ashur having urged me, I went. Difficult mountain chains, and distant (or inaccessible) hills, which none of our Kings had ever previously reached, tedious paths and unopened roads I traversed. The countries of Elama, of Amadana, of Eltis, of Sherabili, of Likhuna, of Tirkakhuli, of Kisra, of Likhanubi, of Elula, of Khastare, of Sakhisara, of Hubira, of Miliatruni, of Sulianzi, of Nubanashe, and of Sheshe, 16 strong countries, the easy parts in my chariots, and the difficult parts in wagons of iron, I passed through; the thickets of the mountains I cut down; bridges for the passage of my troops I prepared; I crossed over the Euphrates; the King of Elammi, the King of Tunubi, the King of Tuhali, the King of Kindari, the King of Huzula, the King of Vanzamuni, the King of Andiabi, the King of Pilakinna, the King of Aturgina, the King of Kulibartzini, the King of Pinibirni, the King of Khimua, the King of Paeiteri, the King of Vairam, the King of Sururia, the King of Abaeeni, the King of Adaeeni, the King of Kirini, the King of Albaya, the King of Vagina, the King of Nazabia, the King of Amalziu, the King of Dayeni, in all 23 Kings of the countries of Nairi, in their own provinces having assembled their chariots and troops, they came to fight with me. By means of my powerful servants I straitened them. I caused the destruction of their far-spreading troops, as if with the destroying tempest of Vul. I levelled the ranks of their warriors, both on the tops of the mountains and on the battlements of the cities, like grass. Two soss  of their chariots I held as a trophy from the midst of the fight; one soss  of the kings of the countries of Nairi, and of those who had come to their assistance, in my victory as far as the upper ocean I pursued them; I took their great castles; I plundered their movables, their wealth and their valuables; their cities I burnt with fire, I destroyed and overthrew, and converted into heaps and mounds. Droves of many horses and mules, of calves and of lambs, their property, in countless numbers I carried off. Many of the kings of the countries of Nairi fell alive into my hands; to these kings I granted pardon; their lives I spared; their abundance and wealth I poured out before my Lord, the sun-god. In reverence to my great gods, to after-times, to the last day, I condemned them to do homage. The young men, the pride of their royalty, I gave over to the service of the gods; 1,200 horses and 2,000 cattle I imposed on them as tribute, and I allowed them to remain in their own countries.
[Footnote 1: Literally, to make war and do battle.]
[Footnote 2: Or, brought them into difficulties.]
[Footnote 3: One hundred and twenty.]
[Footnote 4: Sixty.]
Tseni, the King of Dayani, who was not submissive to Ashur my Lord, his abundance and wealth I brought it to my city of Ashur. I had mercy on him. I left him in life to learn the worship of the great gods from my city of Ashur. I reduced the far-spreading countries of Nairi throughout their whole extent, and many of their kings I subjected to my yoke.
In the course of this expedition, I went to the city of Milidia, belonging to the country of Khanni-rabbi, which was independent and did not obey me. They abstained from engaging in the rude fight with me; they submitted to my yoke, and I had mercy on them. This city I did not occupy, but I gave the people over to religious service, and I imposed on them as a token of their allegiance a fixed tribute of ...
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
Tiglath-Pileser, the ruling constellation; the powerful; the lover of battle.
In the service of my Lord Ashur, my chariots and warriors I assembled; I set out on my march. In front of my strong men I went to the country of the Aramaeans, the enemies of my Lord Ashur. From before Tsukha, as far as the city of Qarqamis belonging to the country of Khatte, I smote with one blow. Their fighting men I slew; their movables, their wealth, and their valuables in countless numbers I carried off. The men of their armies who fled from before the face of the valiant servants of my Lord Ashur, crossed over the Euphrates; in boats covered with bitumen skins I crossed the Euphrates after them; I took six of their cities which were below the country of Bisri; I burnt them with fire, and I destroyed and overthrew; and I brought their movables, their wealth, and their valuables to my city of Ashur.
[Footnote 1: Carchemish.]
[Footnote 2: The Hittites.]
Tiglath-Pileser, he who tramples upon the Magian world; he who subdues the disobedient; he who has overrun the whole earth.
My Lord Ashur having urged me on, I took my way to the vast country of Muzri, lying beyond Elammi, Tala, and Kharutsa; I took the country of Muzri throughout its whole extent; I subdued their warriors; I burnt their cities with fire, I destroyed and overthrew; the troops of the country of Comani hastened to the assistance of the country of Muzri: in the mountains I fought with them and defeated them. In the metropolis, the city of Arin, which was under the country of Ayatsa, I besieged them; they submitted to my yoke; I spared this city; but I imposed on them religious service and tribute and offerings.
At this time the whole country of Comani which was in alliance with the country of Muzri, all their people assembled and arose to do battle and make war. By means of my valiant servants I fought with 20,000 of their numerous troops in the country of Tala, and I defeated them; their mighty mass broke in pieces; as far as the country of Kharutsa, belonging to Muzri, I smote them and pursued; the ranks of their troops on the heights of the mountains I cut down like grass; their carcasses covered the valleys and the tops of the mountains; their great castles I took, I burnt with fire, I destroyed, and overthrew into heaps and mounds.
The city of Khunutsa, their stronghold, I overthrew like a heap of stubble. With their mighty troops in the city and on the hills I fought fiercely. I defeated them; their fighting men in the middle of the forests I scattered like chaff. I cut off their heads as if they were carrion; their carcasses filled the valleys and (covered) the heights of the mountains. I captured this city; their gods, their wealth, and their valuables I carried off, and burnt with fire. Three of their great castles, which were built of brick, and the entire city I destroyed and overthrew, and converted into heaps and mounds, and upon the site I laid down large stones; and I made tablets of copper, and I wrote on them an account of the countries which I had taken by the help of my Lord Ashur, and about the taking of this city, and the building of its castle; and upon it I built a house of brick, and I set up within it these copper tablets.
[Footnote 1: “The stone foundation.”]
In the service of Ashur my Lord, my chariots and warriors I assembled, and I approached Kapshuna, their capital city; the tribes of Comani would not engage in battle with me; they submitted to my yoke, and I spared their lives. The great castle of the city and its brick buildings I trampled under foot; from its foundations to its roofs I destroyed it and converted it into heaps and mounds, and a band of 300 fugitive heretics who did not acknowledge my Lord Ashur, and who were expelled from inside this castle, I took this band and condemned to the service of the gods, and I imposed upon the people tribute and offerings in excess of their former tribute; and the far-spreading country of Comani throughout its whole extent I reduced under my yoke.
There fell into my hands altogether between the commencement of my reign and my fifth year 42 countries, with their kings, from beyond the river Zab, plain, forest, and mountain, to beyond the river Euphrates, the country of the Khatte and the upper ocean of the setting sun. I brought them under one government; I placed them under the Magian religion, and I imposed on them tribute and offerings.
[Footnote 1: Hittites.]
I have omitted many hunting expeditions which were not connected with my warlike achievements. In pursuing after the game I traversed the easy tracts in my chariots, and the difficult tracts on foot. I demolished the wild animals throughout my territories.
[Footnote 1: A very difficult paragraph.]
Tiglath-Pileser, the illustrious warrior, he who holds the sceptre of Lashanan; he who has extirpated all wild animals.
The gods Hercules and Nergal gave their valiant servants and their arrows as a glory to support my empire. Under the auspices of Hercules, my guardian deity, four wild bulls, strong and fierce, in the desert, in the country of Mitan, and in the city Arazik, belonging to the country of the Khatte, with my long arrows tipped with iron, and with heavy blows I took their lives. Their skins and their horns I brought to my city of Ashur.
[Footnote 1: Hittites.]
Ten large wild buffaloes in the country of Kharran, and the plains of the river Khabur, I slew. Four buffaloes I took alive; their skins and their horns, with the live buffaloes, I brought to my city of Ashur.
Under the auspices of my guardian deity Hercules, two soss of lions fell before me. In the course of my progress on foot I slew them, and 800 lions in my chariots in my exploratory journeys I laid low. All the beasts of the field and the flying birds of heaven I made the victims of my shafts.
[Footnote 1: A very doubtful sentence.]
From all the enemies of Ashur, the whole of them, I exacted labor. I made, and finished the repairs of, the temple of the goddess Astarte, my lady, and of the temple of Martu, and of Bel, and Il, and of the sacred buildings and shrines of the gods belonging to my city of Ashur. I purified their shrines, and set up inside the images of the great gods, my Lords. The royal palaces of all the great fortified cities throughout my dominions, which from the olden time our kings had neglected through long years, had become ruined. I repaired and finished them. The castles of my country, I filled up their breaches. I founded many new buildings throughout Assyria, and I opened out irrigation for corn in excess of what my fathers had done. I carried off the droves of the horses, cattle, and asses that I obtained, in the service of my Lord Ashur, from the subjugated countries which I rendered tributary, and the droves of the wild goats and ibexes, the wild sheep and the wild cattle which Ashur and Hercules, my guardian gods, incited me to chase in the depths of the forests, having taken them I drove them off, and I led away their young ones like the tame young goats. These little wild animals, the delight of their parents’ hearts, in the fulness of my own heart, together with my own victims, I sacrificed to my Lord Ashur.
The pine, the ..., and the algum tree, these trees which under the former kings my ancestors, they had never planted, I took them from the countries which I had rendered tributary, and I planted them in the groves of my own territories, and I bought fruit trees; whatever I did not find in my own country, I took and placed in the groves of Assyria.
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 2: Or “orchards.”]
I built chariots fitted to the yoke for the use of my people in excess of those which had existed before. I added territories to Assyria, and I added populations to her population. I improved the condition of the people, and I obtained for them abundance and security.
[Footnote 1: Or “throughout my territories.”]
Tiglath-Pileser, the illustrious prince, whom Ashur and Hercules have exalted to the utmost wishes of his heart; who has pursued after the enemies of Ashur, and has subjugated all the earth.
The son of Ashur-ris-ili, the powerful King, the subduer of foreign countries, he who has reduced all the lands of the Magian world.
The grandson of Mutaggil-Nabu, whom Ashur, the great Lord, aided according to the wishes of his heart and established in strength in the government of Assyria.
The glorious offspring of Ashur-dapur-Il, who held the sceptre of dominion, and ruled over the people of Bel; who in all the works of his hand and the deeds of his life placed his reliance on the great gods, and thus obtained a prosperous and long life.
The beloved child of Barzan-pala-kura, the king who first organized the country of Assyria, who purged his territories of the wicked as if they had been ..., and established the troops of Assyria in authority.
[Footnote 1: Or, “heart of hearts.”]
[Footnote 2: Lacuna.]
At this time the temple of Anu and Vul, the great gods, my Lords, which, in former times, Shansi-Vul, High-priest of Ashur, son of Ismi Dagan, High-priest of Ashur, had founded, having lasted for 641 years, it fell into ruin. Ashur-dapur-Il, King of Assyria, son of Barzan-pala-kura, King of Assyria, took down this temple and did not rebuild it. For 60 years the foundations of it were not laid.
In the beginning of my reign, Anu and Vul, the great gods, my Lords, guardians of my steps, they invited me to repair this their shrine. So I made bricks; I levelled the earth, I took its dimensions; I laid down its foundations upon a mass of strong rock. This place throughout its whole extent I paved with bricks in set order, 50 feet deep I prepared the ground, and upon this substructure I laid the lower foundations of the temple of Anu and Vul. From its foundations to its roofs I built it up, better than it was before. I also built two lofty cupolas in honor of their noble godships, and the holy place, a spacious hall, I consecrated for the convenience of their worshippers, and to accommodate their votaries, who were numerous as the stars of heaven, and in quantity poured forth like flights of arrows. I repaired, and built, and completed my work. Outside the temple I fashioned (everything with the same care) as inside. The mound of earth (on which it was built) I enlarged like the firmament of the rising stars, and I beautified the entire building. Its cupolas I raised up to heaven, and its roofs I built entirely of brick. An inviolable shrine for their noble godships I laid down near at hand. Anu and Vul, the great gods, I glorified inside, I set them up on their honored purity, and the hearts of their noble godships I delighted.
[Footnote 1: Very doubtful.]
[Footnote 2: The shrine.]
Bit-Khamri, the temple of my Lord Vul, which Shansi-Vul, High-priest of Ashur, son of Ismi-Dagan, High-priest of Ashur, had founded, became ruined. I levelled its site, and from its foundation to its roofs I built it up of brick, I enlarged it beyond its former state, and I adorned it. Inside of it I sacrificed precious victims to my Lord Vul.
At this time I found various sorts of stone in the countries of Nairi which I had taken by the help of Ashur, my Lord, and I placed them in the temple of Bit-Khamri, belonging to my Lord, Vul, to remain there forever.
[Footnote 1: The particular sorts cannot be identified.]
Since a holy place, a noble hall, I have thus consecrated for the use of the great gods, my Lords Anu and Vul, and have laid down an adytum for their special worship, and have finished it successfully, and have delighted the hearts of their noble godships, may Anu and Vul preserve me in power. May they support the men of my Government. May they establish the authority of my officers. May they bring the rain, the joy of the year, on the cultivated land and the desert during my time. In war and in battle may they preserve me victorious. Many foreign countries, turbulent nations, and hostile Kings I have reduced under my yoke; to my children and descendants may they keep them in firm allegiance. I will lead my steps, firm as the mountains, to the last days before Ashur and their noble godships.
The list of my victories and the catalogue of my triumphs over foreigners hostile to Ashur, which Anu and Vul have granted to my arms, I have inscribed on my tablets and cylinders, and I have placed them to the last days in the temple of my Lords Anu and Vul, and the tablets of Shamsi-Vul, my ancestor, I have raised altars and sacrificed victims (before them), and set them up in their places.
In after-times, and in the latter days ..., if the temple of the great gods, my Lords Anu and Vul, and these shrines should become old and fall into decay, may the prince who comes after me repair the ruins. May he raise altars and sacrifice victims before my tablets and cylinders, and may he set them up again in their places, and may he inscribe his name on them together with my name. As Anu and Vul, the great gods, have ordained, may he worship honestly with a good heart and full trust.
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
Whoever shall abrade or injure my tablets and cylinders, or shall moisten them with water, or scorch them with fire, or expose them to the air, or in the holy place of god shall assign them a position where they cannot be seen or understood, or who shall erase the writing and inscribe his own name, or who shall divide the sculptures, and break them off from my tablets,
Anu and Vul, the great gods, my Lords, let them consign his name to perdition; let them curse him with an irrevocable curse; let them cause his sovereignty to perish; let them pluck out the stability of the throne of his empire; let not offspring survive him in the kingdom; let his servants be broken; let his troops be defeated; let him fly vanquished before his enemies. May Vul in his fury tear up the produce of his land. May a scarcity of food and of the necessaries of life afflict his country. For one day may he not be called happy. May his name and his race perish in the land.
In the month of Kuzallu on the 29th day, in the High-Priesthood of Ina-iliya-hallik, (entitled) Rabbi-turi.
[Footnote 1: Doubtful and faulty in text.]
[Footnote 2: Chisleu.]
TRANSLATED BY H. FOX TALBOT, F.R.S.
This curious narrative is found on a cuneiform tablet in the British Museum. The original text is published in Plate 42 of Delitzsch’s work, “Assyrische Lesestucke.” I gave a translation of it in the “Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology,” Vol. IV, pp. 349-362.
This tablet describes the revolt of the gods or angels against their Creator. It seems to have been preceded by an account of the perfect harmony which existed in heaven previously. And here I would call to mind a noble passage in Job, chap, xxxviii, which deserves particular attention, since it is not derived from the Mosaic narrative but from some independent source, namely, that when God laid the foundations of the world, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” By “the sons of God” in this passage are to be understood the angels. In the beginning, therefore, according to this sacred author, all was joy and harmony and loyalty to God. But this state of union and happiness was not to last. At some unknown time, but before the creation of man, some of the angels ceased to worship their Creator: thoughts of pride and ingratitude arose in their hearts, they revolted from God, and were by his just decree expelled from heaven. These were the angels of whom it is said in the book of Jude that “they kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation.” [Footnote: Jude 6.] The opinions of the fathers and of other religious writers on this mysterious subject it were useless to examine, since they admit that nothing can be certainly known about it. The opinion that one-third of the heavenly host revolted from their Creator is founded on Rev. xii. 3, where it is said: “And there appeared a dragon in heaven, having seven heads ... and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth. And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out—he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him,”
The Revelation of St. John was written in the first century, but some of the imagery employed may have been far more ancient, and for that reason more impressive to the religious mind of the age.
The war between Michael and the dragon bears much resemblance to the combat of Bel and the dragon recounted on a Chaldean tablet. [Footnote: See G. Smith, p. 100 of his Chaldean Genesis.] And it is not unworthy of remark that the Chaldean dragon had seven heads, like that spoken of in the Revelation. [Footnote: See 2 R 19, col. ii. 14, and my Assyrian Glossary, No. 108.]
At the creation harmony had prevailed in heaven. All the sons of God, says Job, shouted for joy. What caused the termination of this blissful state? We are not informed, and it would be in vain to conjecture. But the Babylonians have preserved to us a remarkable tradition, which is found in the tablet of page 42, and has not, I believe, been hitherto understood. It is unlike anything in the Bible or in the sacred histories of other countries. While the host of heaven were assembled and were all engaged in singing hymns of praise to the Creator, suddenly some evil spirit gave the signal of revolt. The hymns ceased in one part of the assembly, which burst forth into loud curses and imprecations on their Creator. In his wrath he sounded a loud blast of the trumpet and drove them from his presence never to return.
(The first four lines are broken. They related, no doubt, that a festival of praise and thanksgiving was being held in heaven, when this rebellion took place.)
5 The Divine Being spoke three times, the commencement
of a psalm.
6 The god of holy songs, Lord of religion and worship 7 seated a thousand singers and musicians: and established
a choral band
8 who to his hymn were to respond in multitudes ... 9 With a loud cry of contempt they broke up his holy song 10 spoiling, confusing, confounding, his hymn of praise. 11 The god of the bright crown  with a wish to summon his
12 sounded a trumpet blast which would wake the dead, 13 which to those rebel angels prohibited return, 14 he stopped their service, and sent them to the gods who
were his enemies.
15 In their room he created mankind. 16 The first who received life dwelt along with him. 17 May he give them strength, never to neglect his word, 18 following the serpent’s voice, whom his hands had made. 19 And may the god of divine speech  expel from his five
thousand  that wicked thousand
20 who in the midst of his heavenly son, had shouted evil
21 The god Ashur, who had seen the malice of those gods who
deserted their allegiance
22 to raise a rebellion, refused to go forth with them.
(The remainder of the tablet, nine or ten lines more, is too much broken for translation.)
[Footnote 1: The Assyrian scribe annotates in the margin that the same god is meant throughout, under all these different epithets.]
[Footnote 2: They were in future to serve the powers of evil.]
[Footnote 3: It will be observed that line 15 says that mankind were created to fill up the void in creation which the ungrateful rebellion of the angels had caused. A friend has supplied me with some striking evidence that the mediaeval church also held that opinion, though it was never elevated to the rank of an authorized doctrine.]
[Footnote 4: See note 4. This is another epithet.]
[Footnote 5: The total number of the gods is, I believe, elsewhere given as 5,000.]
TRANSLATED BY W. ST. CHAD BOSCAWEN
This legend is found on a tablet marked K, 3,657, in the British Museum. The story which the tablet contains appears to be the building of some great temple tower, apparently by command of a king. The gods are angry at the work, and so to put an end to it they confuse the speech of the builders. The tablet is in a very broken condition, only a few lines being in any way complete.
The late Mr. George Smith has given a translation of the legend in his work on Chaldean Genesis, and I have published the text and translation in the fifth volume of “Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology.”
1 ... them the father. 2 (The thoughts) of his heart were evil 3 ... the father of all the gods he turned from. 4 (The thoughts) of his heart were evil 5 ... Babylon corruptly to sin went and 6 small and great mingled on the mound. 7 ... Babylon corruptly to sin went and 8 small and great mingled on the mound.
[Footnote 1: Lacunae.]
[Footnote 2: A title of Anu.]
[Footnote 3: Refers to the king who caused the people to sin.]
[Footnote 4: The verb used here is the same as in Gen. xi. 7, [Hebrew: bll].]
1 The King of the holy mound ... 2 In front and Anu lifted up ... 3 to the good god his father.., 4 Then his heart also ... 5 which carried a command ... 6 At that time also ... 7 he lifted it up ... 8 Davkina. 9 Their (work) all day they founded 10 to their stronghold in the night 11 entirely an end he made. 12 In his anger also the secret counsel he poured out 13 to scatter (abroad) his face he set 14 he gave a command to make strange their speech 15 ... their progress he impeded 16 ...the altar
(Column III is so broken only a few words remain, so I have omitted it.)
[Footnote 1: A title of Anu.]
[Footnote 2: Lacunae.]
[Footnote 3: All these broken lines relate to council of gods?]
[Footnote 4: The tower.]
[Footnote 5: “Uttaccira—melic-su-nu,” “make hostile their council.”]
[Footnote 6: Lacunae.]
COLUMN IV [Footnote: Relates to the destruction of the tower by a storm.]
1 In (that day) 2 he blew and ... 3 For future time the mountain ... 4 Nu-nam-nir went ... 5 Like heaven and earth he spake ... 6 His ways they went ... 7 Violently they fronted against him  8 He saw them and to the earth (descended) 9 When a stop he did not make 10 of the gods ... 11 Against the gods they revolted 12 ... violence ... 13 Violently they wept for Babylon 14 very much they wept. 15 And in the midst
(The rest is wanting.)
[Footnote 1: Lacunae.]
[Footnote 2: The god of “no rule,” or lawlessness.]
[Footnote 3: The builders continued to build.]
[Footnote 4: Lamentations of the gods for the Babylonians.]
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The following psalm for remission of sins is remarkable alike for its deeply spiritual tone and for its antiquity. As it is written in Accadian, its composition must be referred to a date anterior to the seventeenth century B.C., when that language became extinct. An Assyrian interlinear translation is attached to most of the lines; some, however, are left untranslated. The tablet is unfortunately broken in the middle, causing a lacuna in the text. Similarities will be noticed between the language of the psalm and that of the Psalms of the Old Testament, and one passage reminds us strongly of the words of Christ in St. Matthew xviii. 22. Seven, it must be remembered, was a sacred number among the Accadians. Accadian poetry was characterized by a parallelism of ideas and clauses; and as this was imitated, both by the Assyrians and by the Jews, the striking resemblance between the form of Accadian and Hebrew poetry can be accounted for.
Some of the lines in the middle of the psalm have been previously translated by Mr. Fox Talbot, in the “Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology,” Vol. II, p. 60, and Prof. Schrader in his “Hollenfahrt der Istar,” pp. 90-95.
A copy of the text is given in the fourth volume of the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” plate 10.
OBVERSE OF TABLET
1 The heart of my Lord was wroth: to his
place may he
2 From the man that (sinned) unknowingly to his place may
(my) god return.
3 From him that (sinned) unknowingly to her place may
(the) goddess return.
4 May God who knoweth (that) he knew not to his place
5 May the goddess who knoweth (that) he knew not to
her place return.
6 May the heart of my god to his place return.
7 May the heart of my goddess to his place return.
8 May my god and my goddess (unto their place) return.
9 May god (unto his place) return.
10 May the goddess (unto her place return).
11 The transgression (that I committed my god) knew it.
12 The transgression (that I committed my goddess knew it).
13 The holy name (of my god I profaned?).
14 The holy name (of my goddess I profaned?).
(The next three lines are obliterated.)
18 The waters of the sea (the waters of my tears)
do I drink. 19 That which was forbidden by my god
with my mouth I ate. 20 That which was forbidden
by my goddess in my ignorance
I trampled upon.
21 O my Lord, my transgression (is) great, many (are) my
22 O my god, my transgression (is) great, my sins (are
23 O my goddess, my transgression (is) great, my sins (are
24 O my god that knowest (that) I knew not, my transgression
(is) great, my sins (are many).
25 O my goddess, that knowest (that) I knew not,
[Footnote 1: Literally, “of my lord his heart.”]
[Footnote 2: The Accadian throughout has the word “mother” before “goddess.”]
[Footnote 3: Accadian, “extended the hand.”]
[Footnote 4: Accadian, “in tears [water of the eye] I dissolved myself.”]
1 I cried aloud; there was none that would hear
me. 2 I am in darkness (and) trouble: I lifted
not myself up. 3 To my god my (distress) I referred;
my prayer I addressed. 4 The feet of my goddess
I embraced. 5 To (my) god, who knew (though) I knew
not, (my prayer)
6 To (my) goddess, who knew (though I knew not, my
prayer) I addressed.
(The next four lines are lost.)
11 How long O my god (shall I suffer?). 12 How
long O my goddess (shall I suffer?). 13 How long
O my god, who knewest (though) I knew not,
shall (thy) strength (oppress me?).
14 How long O my goddess, who knewest (though) I knew
not, shall thy heart (be wroth?).
15 Of mankind thou writest the number and there is none that
16 Of mankind the name (that) is fully proclaimed how can I
17 Whether it be afflicted or whether it be blessed there is
none that knoweth.
18 O Lord, thy servant thou dost not restore. 19 In the waters of the raging flood seize his hand. 20 The sin (that) he has sinned to blessedness bring back. 21 The transgression he has committed let the wind carry
22 My manifold affliction like a garment destroy. 23 O my god, seven times seven (are my) transgressions, my
transgressions are before (me).
24 (To be repeated) 10 times. O my goddess, seven times
seven (are my) transgressions.
25 O god who knowest (that) I knew not, seven times seven
(are my) transgressions.
26 O goddess who knowest (that) I knew not, seven times
seven (are my) transgressions.
27 My transgressions are before (me): may thy judgment
give (me) life.
28 May thy heart like the heart of the mother of the setting
day to its place return.
29 (To be repeated) 5 times. Like the mother of the setting
day (and) the father of the
[Footnote 1: Or more literally, “hiding.” The verb that follows means “to lift self up so as to face another.”]
[Footnote 2: In the Assyrian “quiet.”]
[Footnote 3: A rubrical direction.]
[Footnote 4: A rubrical direction.]
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
This inscription is engraved on an obelisk of black marble, five feet in height, found by Mr. Layard in the centre of the Mound at Nimroud, and now in the British Museum. Each of its four sides is divided into five compartments of sculpture representing the tribute brought to the Assyrian King by vassal princes, Jehu of Israel being among the number. Shalmaneser, whose annals and conquests are recorded upon it, was the son of Assur-natsir-pal, and died in 823 B.C., after a reign of thirty-five years. A translation of the inscription was one of the first achievements of Assyrian decipherment, and was made by Sir. H. Rawlinson; and Dr. Hincks shortly afterward (in 1851) succeeded in reading the name of Jehu in it. M. Oppert translated the inscription in his “Histoire des Empires de Chaldee et d’Assyrie,” and M. Menant has given another rendering of it in his “Annales des Rois d’Assyrie” (1874). A copy of the text will be found in Layard’s “Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Character” (1851).
1 Assur, the great Lord, the King of all 2
the great gods; Anu, King of the spirits of heaven
3 and the spirits of earth, the god, Lord of the
world; Bel, 4 the Supreme, Father of the gods,
the Creator; 5 Hea, King of the deep, determiner
of destinies, 6 the King of crowns, drinking in
brilliance; 7 Rimmon, the crowned hero,
Lord of canals; the Sun-god 8 the Judge of heaven
and earth, the urger on of all; 9 (Merodach), Prince
of the gods, Lord of battles; Adar,
10 (Lord) of the spirits of heaven and the spirits of earth,
the exceeding strong god; Nergal,
11 the powerful (god), King of the battle; Nebo, the bearer
of the high sceptre,
12 the god, the Father above; Beltis, the wife of Bel, mother
of the (great) gods;
13 Istar, sovereign of heaven and earth, who the face of heroism
14 the great (gods), determining destinies, making great my
15 (I am) Shalmaneser, King of multitudes of men, prince
(and) hero of Assur,
[Footnote 1: Or, “fertility.”]
[Footnote 2: Or, “the countries the whole of them.”]
19 the noble offspring of Tiglath-Adar 20 who
has laid his yoke upon all lands hostile to him, and
21 has swept (them) like a whirlwind. 22 At the
beginning of my reign; when on the throne 23 of
royalty mightily I had seated myself, the chariots
24 of my host I collected. Into the lowlands
of the country
25 I descended. The city of Aridu, the strong city 26 of Ninni, I took. In my first year 27 the Euphrates in its flood I crossed. To the sea of the
28 I went. My weapons on the sea I rested. Victims 29 for my gods I took. To mount Amanus  I went up. 30 Logs of cedar-wood and pine-wood I cut. To 31 the country of Lallar I ascended. An image of my Royalty
in the midst (of it) I erected.
32 In my second year to the city of Tel-Barsip I approached.
33 of Akhuni the son of Adin I captured. In his city I shut
him up. The Euphrates
34 in its flood I crossed. The city of Dahigu, a choice city
of the Hittites
35 together with the cities which (were) dependent upon it I
captured. In my third year Akhuni
36 the son of Adin, from the face of my mighty weapons fled,
and the city of Tel-Barsip,
[Footnote 1: Or, “the descendings.”]
[Footnote 2: That is, the Mediterranean.]
[Footnote 3: Namely, in sacrifice.]
[Footnote 4: “Khamanu” in Assyrian.]
37 his royal city, he fortified. The Euphrates
I crossed. 38 The city unto Assyria I restored.
I took it. (The town)
which (is) on the further side
39 of the Euphrates which (is) upon the river ’Sagurri, which
40 of the Hittites call the city of Pitru, 41 for myself I took. At my return 42 into the lowlands of the country of Alzi I descended. The
country of Alzi I conquered.
43 The countries of Dayaeni (and) Elam, (and) the city of
Arzascunu, the royal city
44 of Arame of the country of the Armenians, the country
of Gozan (and) the country of Khupuscia.
45 During the eponymy of Dayan-Assur from the city of
Nineveh I departed. The Euphrates
46 in its upper part I crossed. After Akhuni the son of Adin
47 The heights on the banks of the Euphrates as his stronghold
[Footnote 1: Pethor in the Old Testament.]
55 I approached. Gi’ammu, their Governor,
I smote. 56 To the city of Tel-abil-akhi I descended.
57 The Euphrates in its upper part I crossed. 58
The tribute of the Kings of the Hittites 59 all
of them I received. In those days Rimmon-idri
60 of Damascus, Irkhulina of Hamath, and the Kings
61 of the Hittites and of the sea-coasts to the forces
62 trusted, and to make war and battle 63 against me came. By the command of Assur, the great
Lord, my Lord,
64 with them I fought. A destruction of them I made. 65 Their chariots, their war-carriages, their war-material I
took from them.
66 20,500 of their fighting men with arrows I slew. 67 In my seventh year to the cities of Khabini of the city of
Tel-Abni I went.
68 The city of Tel-Abni, his stronghold, together with the
cities which (were) dependent on it I captured.
69 To the head of the river, the springs of the Tigris, the
place where the waters rise, I went.
70 The weapons of Assur in the midst (of it) I rested. Sacrifices
for my gods I took. Feasts and rejoicing
71 I made. An image of my Royalty of large size I constructed.
The laws of Assur my Lord, the records
72 of my victories, whatsoever in the world I had done, in the
midst of it I wrote. In the middle (of the country) I set
[Footnote 1: This is the Ben-hadad of Scripture whose personal name seems to have been Rimmon-idri.]
[Footnote 2: Or, “furniture of battle.”]
[Footnote 3: Or, “the place of the exit of the waters situated.” The tablet is still to be seen near the town of Egil.]
FACE A, base
73 In my eighth year, Merodach-suma-iddin King of
Gan-Dunias 74 did Merodach-bila-yu’sate
his foster-brother against him
75 strongly had he fortified (the land). To exact punishment 76 against Merodach-suma-iddin I went. The city of the
waters of the Dhurnat I took.
77 In my ninth campaign a second time to the land
[Footnote 1: That is, Chaldea.]
[Footnote 2: Or, “to return benefits.”]
[Footnote 3: The Tornadotus of classical geographers.]
[Footnote 4: Or, “the Lord of sin.”]
[Footnote 5: This is the primitive Chaldea. The Caldai or Chaldeans afterward overran Babylonia and gave their name to it among classical writers.]
[Footnote 6: Or, “I made.”]
FACE B, base
96 In my seventeenth year the Euphrates I crossed.
land of Amanus I ascended. Logs
97 of cedar I cut. In my eighteenth year for the sixteenth
time the Euphrates I crossed. Hazael
98 of Damascus to battle came. 1,221 of his chariots, 470 of
his war-carriages with
99 his camp I took from him. In my nineteenth campaign for
the eighteenth time the Euphrates I crossed. To the land
100 I ascended. Logs of cedar I cut. In my 20th year for
the 20th time the Euphrates
101 I crossed. To the land of Kahue I went down. Their
cities I captured. Their spoil
102 I carried off. In my 21st campaign, for the 21st time the
Euphrates I crossed. To the cities
103 of Hazael of Damascus I went. Four of his fortresses
I took. The tribute of the Tyrians,
104 the Zidonians (and) the Gebalites I received. In my 22d
campaign for the 22d time the Euphrates
105 I crossed. To the country of Tabalu I went down. In
those days (as regards) the 24
106 Kings of the country of Tabalu their wealth I received.
107 the mines of silver, of salt and of stone for sculpture I
went. In my 23d year
108 the Euphrates I crossed. The city of Uetas, his strong
109 (which belonged) to Lalla of the land of the Milidians
I captured. The Kings of the country of Tabalu
110 had set out. Their tribute I received. In my 24th year,
the lower Zab
111 I crossed. The land of Khalimmur I passed through. To
the land of Zimru
112 I went down. Yan’su King of the Zimri from the face
113 of my mighty weapons fled and to save his life
114 ascended (the mountains). The cities of ’Sikhisatakh,
115 (and) Bit-Sedi, his strong cities, I captured. His fighting
men I slew.
116 His spoil I carried away. The cities I threw down, dug
up, (and) with fire burned.
117 The rest of them to the mountains ascended. The peaks
of the mountains
118 I attacked, I captured. Their fighting men I slew. Their
spoil (and) their goods
119 I caused to be brought down. From the country of Zimru
I departed. The tribute of 27 Kings
120 of the country of Par’sua I received. From the country
of Par’sua I departed. To
121 the strongholds of the country of the Amadai, (and)
the countries of Arazias (and) Kharkhar I went down.
122 The cities of Cua-cinda, Khazzanabi, Ermul,
123 (and) Cin-ablila with the cities which were dependent
on them I captured. Their fighting men
[Footnote 1: The King counts his passage of the river on his return from Syria the seventeenth time of his crossing the Euphrates.]
[Footnote 2: The Tubal of the Old Testament, and Tibareni of classical geographers.]
[Footnote 3: The Parthia of classical authors.]
[Footnote 4: These seem to be the Madai or Medes of later inscriptions. This is the first notice that we have of them. It will be observed that they have not yet penetrated into Media but are still eastward of the Parthians.]
FACE C, base
124 I slew. Their spoil I carried away.
The cities I threw
down, dug up (and) burned with fire. An image of my
125 in the country of Kharkhara I set up. Yan’su son of
Khaban with his abundant treasures
126 his gods, his sons, his daughters, his soldiers in large numbers
I carried off. To Assyria I brought (them). In my
127 the Euphrates at its flood I crossed. The tribute of the
Kings of the Hittites, all of them, I received. The country
128 I traversed. To the cities of Cati of the country of the
Kahuians I descended. The city of Timur, his strong
129 I besieged, I captured. Their fighting men I slew. Its
spoil I carried away. The cities to a countless number I
threw down, dug up,
130 (and) burned with fire. On my return, the city of Muru,
the strong city of Arame the son of Agu’si,
131 (as) a possession for myself I took. Its entrance-space
I marked out. A palace, the seat of my Majesty, in the
middle (of it) I founded.
132 In my 26th year for the seventh time the country of the
Amanus I traversed. For the fourth time to the cities
133 of the country of the Kahuians I went. The city of Tanacun,
the strong city of Tulca I approached. Exceeding
134 of Assur my Lord overwhelmed him and (when) he had
come out my feet he took. His hostages I took. Silver,
135 iron, oxen, (and) sheep, (as) his tribute I received. From
the city of Tanacun I departed. To the country of
136 I went. The men collected themselves. An inaccessible
mountain they occupied. The peak of the mountain I
137 I took. Their fighting men I slew. Their spoil, their
oxen, their sheep, from the midst of the mountain I
138 Their cities I threw down, dug up (and) burned with
fire. To the city of Khazzi I went. My feet they took.
Silver (and) gold,
139 their tribute, I received. Cirri, the brother of Cati to the
sovereignty over them
140 I set. On my return to the country of Amanus I ascended.
Beams of cedar I cut,
141 I removed, to my city Assur I brought. In my 27th
year the chariots of my armies I mustered. Dayan-Assur
142 the Tartan, the Commander of the wide-spreading army,
at the head of my army to the country of Armenia I
143 I sent. To Bit-Zamani he descended.
[Footnote 1: The Ellasar of Genesis, now Kalah Shergat.]
[Footnote 2: “Turtanu” ("chief prince”) in Assyrian.]
[Footnote 3: Or, “the chiefs of his young warriors.”]
[Footnote 4: The word properly means “baggage.” and sometimes signifies “standard,” which may be the translation here.]
[Footnote 5: That is, he died as was fated.]
FACE D, base
153 fled, and the children of ’Surri together
with the soldiers,
the rebels, (whom) they had taken they delivered to me.
154 Those soldiers on stakes I fixed. ’Sa’situr of the country
of Uzza my feet took. To the kingdom
155 over them I placed (him). Silver, gold, lead, bronze,
iron, (and) the horns of wild bulls to a countless number
156 An image of my Majesty of great size I made. In the
city of Cinalua his royal city in the temple of his gods I
set it up. In
157 my 29th year (my) army (and) camp I urged, I sent.
To the country of Cirkhi I ascended. Their cities I
158 dug up, (and) burned with fire. Their country like a
thunderstorm I swept. Exceeding
159 fear over them I cast. In my 30th year when in the city
of Calah I was stopping, Dayan-Assur
160 the Tartan, the Commander of the wide-spreading army
at the head of my army I urged, I sent. The river Zab
161 he crossed. To the midst of the cities of the city of
Khupusca he approached. The tribute of Datana
162 of the city of the Khupuscians I received. From the midst
of the cities of the Khupuscians
163 I departed. To the midst of the cities of Maggubbi of
the country of the Madakhirians he approached. The
[Footnote 1: The mountainous country near the sources of the Tigris.]
[Footnote 2: That is in the person of his commander-in-chief, Dayan-Assur.]
[Footnote 3: The modern Van.]
[Footnote 4: Parthia.]
[Footnote 5: This refers to his assuming the eponymy a second time after completing a reign of thirty years. At this period the Assyrian kings assumed the eponymy on first ascending the throne, and the fact that Shalmaneser took the same office again in his thirty-first year shows that a cycle of thirty years was in existence.]
[Footnote 6: The Gozan of the Old Testament.]
[Footnote 7: Haran or Harran in the Old Testament; called Carrhae by the classical geographers.]
[Footnote 8: Andia was afterward incorporated into Assyria by Sargon.]
I The tribute of ’Su’a of
the country of the Guzanians:
silver, gold, lead, articles of bronze, sceptres for the King’s
hand, horses (and) camels with double backs: I received.
II The tribute of Yahua son of Khumri: silver, gold,
bowls of gold, vessels of gold, goblets of gold, pitchers
of gold, lead, sceptres for the King’s hand, (and) staves:
III The tribute of the country of Muzri: camels with double
backs, an ox of the river ’Saceya, horses, wild asses,
elephants, (and) apes: I received.
IV The tribute of Merodach-pal-itstsar of the country of the
’Sukhians: silver, gold, pitchers of gold, tusks of the
wild bull, staves, antimony, garments of many colors,
(and) linen: I received.
V The tribute of Garparunda of the country of the Patinians:
silver, gold, lead, bronze, gums, articles of bronze, tusks
of wild bulls, (and) ebony: I received.
[Footnote 1: Jehu.]
[Footnote 2: Omri.]
[Footnote 3: This is the Armenian Muzri, not Egypt.]
[Footnote 4: This would seem from the sculpture to mean a rhinoceros. Lenormant, however, identifies it with the Yak.]
[Footnote 5: Nomadic tribes in the southwest of Babylonia.]
[Footnote 6: The word means literally “pieces of strong wood.”]
TRANSLATED BY REV. J.M. RODWELL, M.A.
Babylonian inscriptions are by no means so replete with interest as the Assyrian. The latter embrace the various expeditions in which the Assyrian monarchs were engaged, and bring us into contact with the names and locality of rivers, cities, and mountain-ranges, with contemporary princes in Judea and elsewhere, and abound in details as to domestic habits, civil usages, and the implements and modes of warfare. But the Babylonian inscriptions refer mainly to the construction of temples, palaces, and other public buildings, and at the same time present especial difficulties in their numerous architectural terms which it is often impossible to translate with any certainty. They are, however, interesting as records of the piety and religious feelings of the sovereigns of Babylon, and as affording numerous topographical notices of that famous city; while the boastful language of the inscription will often remind the reader of Nebuchadnezzar’s words in Dan. iv. 30: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” Compare column vii, line 32.
The reign of Nebuchadnezzar extended from B.C. 604 to 561. In B.C. 598 he laid siege to Jerusalem (2 Kings xxiv.) and made Jehoiachin prisoner, and in 588 again captured the city, and carried Zedekiah, who had rebelled against him, captive to Babylon (2 Kings xxv.). Josephus gives an account of his expeditions against Tyre and Egypt, which are also mentioned with many details in Ezek. xxvii.-xxix.
The name Nebuchadnezzar, or more accurately Nebuchadrezzar (Jer. xxi. 2, 7, etc.), is derived from the Jewish Scriptures. But in the inscriptions it reads Nebo-kudurri-ussur, i.e., “may Nebo protect the crown”; a name analogous to that of his father Nebo(Nabu)-habal-ussur. ("Nebo protect the son”) and to that of Belshazzar, i.e., “Bel protect the prince.” The phonetic writing of Nebuchadnezzar is "An-pa-sa-du-sis," each of which syllables has been identified through the syllabaries. The word “kudurri” is probably the [Hebrew: kether] of Esther vi. 8, and the [Greek: kidaris] of the Greeks. The inscriptions of which a translation follows was found at Babylon by Sir Harford Jones Bridges, and now forms part of the India House Collection. It is engraved on a short column of black basalt, and is divided into ten columns, containing 619 lines.
It may be worth while to remark that in the name given to the prophet Daniel, Belteshazzar, i.e., Balat-su-ussur ("preserve thou his life"), and in Abednego ("servant of Nebo"), we have two of the component parts of the name of Nebuchadnezzar himself.
1 Nebuchadnezzar 2 King of Babylon, 3 glorious Prince, 4 worshipper of Marduk, 5 adorer of the lofty one, 6 glorifier of Nabu, 7 the exalted, the possessor of intelligence, 8 who the processions of their divinities 9 hath increased; 10 a worshipper of their Lordships, 11 firm, not to be destroyed; 12 who for the embellishment 13 of Bit-Saggatu and Bit-Zida 14 appointed days hath set apart, and 15 the shrines of Babylon 16 and of Borsippa 17 hath steadily increased; 18 exalted Chief, Lord of peace, 19 embellisher of Bit-Saggatu and Bit-Zida, 20 the valiant son 21 of Nabopolassar 22 King of Babylon am I.
23 When he, the Lord god my maker made me, 24 the god Merodach, he deposited 25 my germ in my mother’s (womb): 26 then being conceived 27 I was made. 28 Under the inspection of Assur my judge 29 the processions of the god I enlarged, 30 (namely) of Merodach great Lord, the god my maker. 31 His skilful works 32 highly have I glorified; 33 and of Nebo his eldest son 34 exalter of My Royalty 35 the processions (in honor of) his exalted deity 36 I firmly established. 37 With all my heart firmly 38 (in) worship of their deities I uprose 39 in reverence for Nebo their Lord.
40 Whereas Merodach, great Lord, 41 the head of
My ancient Royalty, 42 hath empowered me over multitudes
of men, 43 and (whereas) Nebo bestower of thrones
in heaven and
44 for the sustentation of men, 45 a sceptre of righteousness 46 hath caused my hand to hold; 47 now I, that sacred way 48 for the resting-place of their divinities, 49 for a memorial of all their names, 50 as a worshipper of Nebo, Yav and Istar, 51 for Merodach my Lord I strengthened. 52 Its threshold I firmly laid, and 53 my devotion of heart he accepted, and 54 him did I proclaim 55 ... Lord of all beings, and 56 as Prince of the lofty house, and 57 thou, (O Nebuchadnezzar) hast proclaimed the name of
58 who has been beneficent unto thee. 59 His name, (O god,) thou wilt preserve, 60 the path of righteousness thou hast prescribed to him. 61 I, a Prince, and thy worshipper 62 am the work of thy hand; 63 thou hast created me, and 64 the empire over multitudes of men 65 thou hast assigned me, 66 according to thy favor, O Lord, 67 which thou hast accorded 68 to them all. 69 May thy lofty Lordship be exalted! 70 in the worship of thy divinity 71 may it subsist! in my heart 72 may it continue, and my life which to thee is devoted
(Continued on Column II.)
[Footnote 1: Two of the principal temples of Babylon. The former occurs below, Col. ii. 40, where it is followed by the epithet, “Temple of his power.” Dr. Oppert always renders it “la Pyramide et la Tour.”]
[Footnote 2: Literally, “the goings.” Compare Ps. lxviii. 24: “They have seen thy goings, O God,” i.e., processions.]
[Footnote 3: Of this line Mr. Norris (Dict., p. 166) states “that he cannot suggest any rendering.”]
[Footnote 4: It seems as if the hand were addressed.]
[Footnote 5: I.e., “in making me their ruler.”]
1 mayest thou bless!
2 He, the Chief, the honorable, 3 the Prince of the gods, the great Merodach, 4 my gracious Lord, heard 5 and received my prayer; 6 he favored it, and by his exalted power, 7 reverence for his deity 8 placed he in my heart: 9 to bear his tabernacle 10 he hath made my heart firm, 11 with reverence for thy power, 12 for exalted service, 13 greatly and eternally.
14 The foundation of his temple it was 15 which
from the upper waters 16 to the lower waters 17
in a remote way, 18 in a spot exposed to winds,
19 in a place whose pavements had been broken, 20
low, dried up, 21 a rugged way, 22 a difficult
path, 23 I extended. 24 The disobedient I stirred
up, 25 and I collected the poor and 26 gave full
directions (for the work) and 27 in numbers I supported
them. 28 Wares and ornaments 29 for the women I
brought forth, 30 silver, molten gold, precious stones,
31 metal, umritgana and cedar woods, 32 (however
their names be written) 33 a splendid abundance,
34 the produce of mountains, 35 sea clay, 36
beautiful things in abundance, 37 riches and sources
of joy, 38 for my city Babylon, 39 into his presence
have I brought 40 for Bit-Saggatu 41 the temple
of his power, 42 ornaments for Dakan 43 Bit-Kua,
the shrine 44 of Merodach, Lord of the house of the
gods, 45 I have made conspicuous with fine linen
46 and its seats 47 with splendid gold, 48 as
for royalty and deity, 49 with lapis lazuli and alabaster
blocks 50 I carefully covered them over; 51
a gate of passage, the gate Beautiful, 52 and
the gate of Bit-Zida and Bit-Saggatu 53 I caused
to be made brilliant as the sun. 54 A fulness of
the treasures of countries I accumulated; 55 around
the city it was placed as an ornament, 56 when at
the festival of Lilmuku at the beginning of the
57 on the eighth day (and) eleventh day, 58 the divine Prince, Deity of heaven and earth, the Lord
59 they raised within it. 60 (The statue) of the god El, the beauty of the sphere, 61 reverently they bring; 62 treasure have they displayed before it, 63 a monument to lasting days, 64 a monument of my life.
65 They also placed within it
(Continued on Column III.)
[Footnote 1: Mr. Norris conjectures “amber.”]
[Footnote 2: Dagon.]
[Footnote 3: “Sassanis.” The root is probably identical with the Hebrew “shesh,” “fine linen”; thus in Ex. xxvi. I: “Thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen.”]
[Footnote 4: These are found still in the ruins of Babylon.]
[Footntoe 5: Compare the Beautiful Gate of the Jewish Temple.]
[Footnote 6: Mr. Norris in his Dictionary professes his inability to master the first words of this line, p. 580. The same remark applies to line 58. The above rendering is suggested to me by Mr. G. Smith.]
1 his altar, an altar of Royalty; 2 an altar
of Lordship, 3 (for) the Chief of the gods, the
Prince Merodach, 4 whose fashion the former Prince
5 had fashioned in silver, 6 with bright gold
accurately weighed out 7 I overlaid. 8 Beautiful
things for the temple Bit-Saggatu 9 seen at its
very summit, 10 the shrine of Merodach, with statues
and marbles 11 I embellished 12 as the stars of
heaven. 13 The fanes of Babylon 14 I built, I adorned.
15 Of the house, the foundation of the heaven and
earth, 16 I reared the summit 17 with blocks of
noble lapis lazuli: 18 to the construction of
Bit-Saggatu 19 my heart uplifted me; 20 in abundance
I wrought 21 the best of my pine trees 22 which
from Lebanon 23 together with tall Babil-wood
I brought, 24 for the portico of the temple of Merodach:
25 the shrine of his Lordship 26 I made good, and
interior walls 27 with pine and tall cedar woods:
28 the portico of the temple of Merodach, 29 with
brilliant gold I caused to cover, 30 the lower thresholds,
the cedar awnings, 31 with gold and precious stones
32 I embellished: 33 in the erection of Bit-Saggatu
34 I proceeded: I supplicated 35 the King of
gods, the Lord of Lords: 36 in Borsippa, the
city of his loftiness, 37,38 I raised Bit-Zida:
a durable house 39 in the midst thereof I caused
to be made. 40 With silver, gold, precious stones,
41 bronze, ummakana and pine woods, 42 those
thresholds I completed: 43 the pine wood portico
44 of the shrine of Nebo 45 with gold I caused to
cover, 46 the pine wood portico of the gate of the
47 I caused to overlay with bright silver. 48 The bulls and columns of the gate of the shrine 49 the thresholds, the sigari of ri-wood, conduits 50 of Babnaku wood and their statues 51 with cedar wood awnings 52 of lofty building, 53 and silver, I adorned. 54 The avenues of the shrine 55 and the approach to the house, 56 of conspicuous brick 57 sanctuaries in its midst 58 with perforated silver work. 59 Bulls, columns, doorways, 60,61 in marble beautifully I built; 62,63 I erected a shrine and with rows 64 of wreathed work I filled it: 65 the fanes of Borsippa 66 I made and embellished; 67 the temple of the seven spheres 68 ... 69 with bricks of noble lapis lazuli 70 I reared its summit: 71 the tabernacle of Nahr-kanul 72 the chariot of his greatness
(Continued on Column IV.)
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
1 the tabernacle, the shrine Lilmuku, 2 the festival of Babylon, 3,4 his pageant of dignity 5 within it, I caused to decorate 6 with beryls and stones.
7 A temple for sacrifices, the lofty citadel 8 of Bel and Merodach, god of gods, 9 a threshold of joy and supremacy 10 among angels and spirits, 11 with the stores of Babylon, 12 with cement and brick, 13 like a mountain I erected.
14 A great temple of Ninharissi 15 in the centre of Babylon 16 to the great goddess the mother who created me, 17 in Babylon I made. 18 To Nebo of lofty intelligence 19 who hath bestowed (on me) the sceptre of justice, 20 to preside over all peoples, 21 a temple of rule over men, and a site for this his temple 22,23 in Babylon, of cement and brick 24 the fashion I fashioned.
25,26 To the Moon-god, the strengthener of my hands 27 a large house of alabaster as his temple 28 in Babylon I made. 29 To the sun, the judge supreme 30 who perfects good in my body, 31 a house for that guide of men, even his house’ 32,33 in Babylon, of cement and brick, 34 skilfully did I make.
35 To the god Yav, establisher of fertility 36 in my land, Bit-Numkan as his temple 37 in Babylon I built.
38 To the goddess Gula, the regulator 39 and benefactress of my life, 40 Bit-Samit, and Bit-haris the lofty, 41,42 as fanes in Babylon, in cement and brick 43 strongly did I build.
44 To the divine Lady of Bit Anna, 45 my gracious mistress, 46 Bit-Kiku in front of her house 47 so as to strengthen the wall of Babylon 48 I skilfully constructed.
49,50 To Ninip the breaker of the sword of my foes 51 a temple in Borsippa I made; 52 and to the Lady Gula 53 the beautifier of my person 54 Bit-Gula, Bit-Tila, Bit-Ziba-Tila, 55 her three temples 56 in Borsippa I erected: 57 to the god Yav who confers 58 the fertilizing rain upon my land, 59,60 his house (also) in Borsippa I strongly built: 61 to the Moon-god who upholds 62 the fulness of my prosperity 63 Bit-ti-Anna as his temple, 64 on the mound near Bit-Ziba 65 I beautifully constructed: 66,67 Imgur-Bel and Nimetti-Belkit 68 the great walls of Babylon, 69 ... I built, 70 which Nabopolassar 71 King, King of Babylon, the father who begat me, 72 had commenced but not completed their beauty
(Continued on Column V.)
[Footnote 1: Wife of the sun.]
[Footnote 2: In I Mich. iv. 5. Gula is said to be the wife of the southern sun.]
[Footnote 3: Or, “the favorer of my praises.”]
[Footnote 4: The goddess Anna is identical with the Nana whose image was by her own command restored by Assurbanipal to the temple of Bit-Anna after an absence in Elam of 1,635 years. See Smith’s “Assurb.,” pp. 234, 235.]
[Footnote 5: Lacuna.]
1 Its fosse he dug 2 and of two high embankments 3 in cement and brick 4 he finished the mass: 5,6 an embankment for pathways he made, 7,8 Buttresses of brick beyond the Euphrates 9,10 he constructed, but did not complete: 11,12 the rest from ... 13 the best of their lands I accumulated: 14 a place for sacrifice, as ornament, 15,16 as far as Aibur-sabu near Babylon 17 opposite the principal gate 18 with brick and durmina-turda stone 19 as a shrine of the great Lord, the god Merodach 20 I built as a house for processions. 21,22 I his eldest son, the chosen of his heart, 23,24 Imgur-Bel and Nimetti-Bel 25,26 the great walls of Babylon, completed: 27 buttresses for the embankment of its fosse, 28 and two long embankments 29 with cement and brick I built, and 30 with the embankment my father had made 31,32 I joined them; and to the city for protection 33,34 I brought near an embankment of enclosure 35 beyond the river, westward. 36 The wall of Babylon 37,38 I carried round Aibur-sabu 39 in the vicinity of Babylon: 40 for a shrine of the great Lord Merodach 41,42 the whole enclosure I filled (with buildings) 43 with brick made of kamina-turda stone 44 and brick of stone cut out of mountains. 45,46 Aibur-sabu from the High gate, 47,48 as far as Istar-Sakipat I made, 49,50 for a shrine for his divinity I made good, 51 and with what my father had made 52,53 I joined, and built it; 54,55,56 and the access to Istar-Sakipat I made, 57,58 which is Imgur-Bel and Nimetti-Bel, 59 the great gates, the whole temple of the gods, 60,61 in completeness near to Babylon 62 I brought down; 63,64 the materials of those great gates 65 I put together and
(Continued on Column VI.)
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 2: An ornamental piece of water near Babylon.]
1 their foundations opposite to the waters 2,3 in cement and brick I founded, 4 and of strong stone of zamat-hati, 5 bulls and images, 6 the building of its interior 7 skilfully I constructed: 8,9,10 tall cedars for their porticos I arranged, 11 ikki wood, cedar wood, 12 with coverings of copper, 13 on domes and arches: 14,15 work in bronze I overlaid substantially on its gates, 16,17 bulls of strong bronze and molten images 18 for their thresholds, strongly. 19 Those large gates 20 for the admiration of multitudes of men 21 with wreathed work I filled: 22 the abode of Imzu-Bel 23 the invincible castle of Babylon, 24 which no previous King had effected, 25 4,000 cubits complete, 26 the walls of Babylon 27 whose banner is invincible, 28 as a high fortress by the ford of the rising sun, 29 I carried round Babylon. 30 Its fosse I dug and its mass 31 with cement and brick 32,33 I reared up and a tall tower at its side 34 like a mountain I built. 35,36 The great gates whose walls I constructed
(Continued on Column VII.)
1 King of Babylon 2 whom Merodach, the Sun, the great Lord, 3 for the holy places of his city 4 Babylon hath called, am I: 5 and Bit-Saggatu and Bit-Zida 6 like the radiance of the Sun I restored: 7 the fanes of the great gods 8 I completely brightened. 9 At former dates from the days of old 10 to the days ... 11 of Nabopolassar King of Babylon 12 the exalted father who begat me, 13 many a Prince who preceded me 14,15 whose names El had proclaimed for royalty 16 for the city, my city, the festivals of these gods 17 in the perfected places 18 a princely temple, a large temple did they make 19 and erected it as their dwelling-places. 20,21 Their spoils in the midst they accumulated, 22 they heaped up, and their treasures 23 for the festival Lilmuku 24 of the good Lord, Merodach god of gods 25 they transferred into the midst of Babylon; 26,27 when at length Merodach who made me for royalty 28 and the god Nero his mighty son, 29 committed his people to me 30 as precious lives. 31 Highly have I exalted their cities; 32 (but) above Babylon and Borsippa 33 I have not added a city 34 in the realm of Babylonia 35 as a city of my lofty foundation.
36 A great temple, a house of admiration for men, 37,38 a vast construction, a lofty pile, 39,40 a palace of My Royalty for the land of Babylon, 41 in the midst of the city of Babylon 42,43 from Imgur Bel to Libit-higal 44 the ford of the Sun-rise, 45 from the bank of the Euphrates 46 as far as Aibur-sabu 47 which Nabopolassar 48 King of Babylon the father who begat me 49,50 made in brick and raised up in its midst, 51 but whose foundation was damaged 52 by waters and floods 53,54 at Bit-Imli near Babylon, 55,56 and the gates of that palace were thrown down, 57,58 of this the structure with brickwork I repaired 59 with its foundation and boundary wall, 60 and a depth of waters I collected: 61,62 then opposite the waters I laid its foundation 63 and with cement and brick
(Continued on Column VIII.)
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
1,2 I skilfully surrounded it; 3,4 tall cedars for its porticos I fitted; 5,6 ikki and cedar woods with layers of copper, 7 on domes and arches 8,9 and with bronze work, I strongly overlaid its gates 10 with silver, gold, precious stones, 11,12 whatsoever they call them, in heaps; 13 I valiantly collected spoils; 14 as an adornment of the house were they arranged, 15 and were collected within it; 16,17 trophies, abundance, royal treasures, 18 I accumulated and gathered together. 19 As to the moving of My Royalty 20 to any other city, 21 there has not arisen a desire: 22 among any other people 23 no royal palace have I built: 24 the merchandise and treasures of my kingdom 25,26,27 I did not deposit within the provinces of Babylon: 28 a pile for my residence 29,30 to grace My Royalty was not found: 31 Therefore with reverence for Merodach my Lord, 32,33 the exterior and interior in Babylon 34 as his treasure city 35,36 and for the elevation of the abode of My Royalty 37 his shrine I neglected not: 38 its weak parts which were not completed, 39 its compartments that were not remembered, 40 as a securely compacted edifice 41,42 I dedicated and set up as a preparation for war 43,44 by Imgur Bel, the fortress of invincible Babylon, 45 400 cubits in its completeness, 46 a wall of Nimitti-Bel 47 an outwork of Babylon 48,49 for defence. Two lofty embankments, 50 in cement and brick, 51 a fortress like a mountain I made, 52 and in their sub-structure 53 I built a brickwork; 54 then on its summit a large edifice 55 for the residence of My Royalty 56,57 with cement and brick I skilfully built 58 and brought it down by the side of the temple: 59 and in the exact middle, on the second day 60 its foundation in a solid depth 61,62 I made good and its summit I carried round; 63 and on the 15th day its beauty
(Continued on Column IX.)
1 I skilfully completed 2 and exalted as an abode of Royalty. 3,4 Tall pines, the produce of lofty mountains, 5 thick asuhu wood 6,7 and surman wood in choice pillars 8 for its covered porticos I arranged. 9 ikki and musritkanna woods 10 cedar and surman woods 11 brought forth, and in heaps, 12 with a surface of silver and gold 13 and with coverings of copper, 14,15 on domes and arches, and with works of metal 16 its gates I strongly overlaid 17 and completely with zamat-stone 18 I finished off its top. 19,20 A strong wall in cement and brick 21 like a mountain I carried round 22,23 a wall, a brick fortress, a great fortress 24 with long blocks of stone 25,26 gatherings from great lands I made 27,28 and like hills I upraised its head. 29,30 That house for admiration I caused to build 31 and for a banner to hosts of men: 32 with carved work I fitted it; 33 the strong power of reverence for 34 the presence of
(Continued on Column X.)
1,2 For thy glory, O exalted Merodach 3 a house have I made. 4 May its greatness advance! 5 May its fulness increase! 6,7 in its midst abundance may it acquire! 8 May its memorials be augmented! 9 May it receive within itself 10 the abundant tribute 11,12 of the Kings of nations and of all peoples! 13,14 From the West to the East by the rising sun 15 may I have no foemen! 16 May they not be multiplied 17,18 within, in the midst thereof, forever, 19 Over the dark races may he rule!
[Footnote 1: Compare Dan. i. 2, “He brought the vessels into the treasure-house of his god.”]
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The following poem is one of the numerous bilingual texts, written in the original Accadian with an interlinear Assyrian translation, which have been brought from the library of Assur-bani-pal, at Kouyunjik. The seven evil spirits who are mentioned in it are elsewhere described as the seven storm-clouds or winds whose leader seems to have been the dragon Tiamat ("the deep”) defeated by Bel-Merodach in the war of the gods. It was these seven storm-spirits who were supposed to attack the moon when it was eclipsed, as described in an Accadian poem translated by Mr. Fox Talbot in a previous volume of “Records of the Past.” Here they are regarded as the allies of the incubus or nightmare. We may compare them with the Maruts or storm-gods of the Rig-Veda (see Max Mueller, “Rig-Veda-Sanhita: the Sacred Hymns of the Brahmans translated and explained,” Vol. I). The author of the present poem seems to have been a native of the Babylonian city of Eridu, and his horizon was bounded by the mountains of Susiania, over whose summits the storms raged from time to time. A fragment of another poem relating to Eridu is appended, which seems to celebrate a temple similar to that recorded by Maimonides in which the Babylonian gods gathered round the image of the sun-god to lament the death of Tammuz.
A copy of the cuneiform text will be found in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pl. 15. M. Fr. Lenormant has translated a portion of it in “La Magie chez les Chaldeens" pp. 26, 27.
1 (In) the earth their borders were taken, and that
came not forth.
2 From the earth he came not forth, (and) their power was
3 The heaven like a vault they extended and that which had
no exit they opened.
4 Among the stars of heaven their watch they kept not, in
watching (was) their office.
5 The mighty hero to heaven they exalted, and his father
he knew not.
6 The Fire-god on high, the supreme, the first-born, the
mighty, the divider of the supreme crown of Anu!
7 The Fire-god the light that exalts him with himself he
8 Baleful (are) those seven, destroyers.
9 For his ministers in his dwelling he chooses (them).
10 O Fire-god, those seven how were they born, how grew
11 Those seven in the mountain of the sunset were born.
12 Those seven in the mountain of the sunrise grew up.
13 In the hollows of the earth have they their dwelling.
14 On the high-places of the earth are they proclaimed.
15 As for them in heaven and earth immense (is) their habitation.
16 Among the gods their couch they have not.
17 Their name in heaven (and) earth exists not.
18 Seven they are: in the mountain of the sunset do they rise.
19 Seven they are: in the mountain of the sunrise did they set.
20 Into the hollows of the earth do they penetrate.
21 On the high places of the earth did they ascend.
22 As for them, goods they have not, in heaven and earth they
are not known.
23 Unto Merodach draw near, and this word may he say
24 Of those baleful seven, as many as he sets before thee,
their might may he give thee,
25 according to the command of his blessed mouth, (he who
is) the supreme judge of Anu.
26 The Fire-god unto Merodach draws near, and this word
he saith unto thee.
27 In the pavilion, the resting-place of might, this word he
28 to his father Hea to his house he descends, and speaks:
29 O my father, the Fire-god unto the rising of the sun has
penetrated, and these secret words has uttered.
30 Learning the story of those seven, their places grant thou
31 Enlarge the ears, O son of Eridu.
32 Hea his son Merodach answered:
33 My son, those seven dwell in earth;
34 those seven from the earth have issued.
[Footnote 1: That is, the god of fire.]
[Footnote 2: The Assyrian has, “Unto heaven that which was not seen they raised.”]
[Footnote 3: The Assyrian adds; “the first-born supreme.”]
[Footnote 4: In the Accadian text, “they knew not.”]
[Footnote 5: In the Accadian, “cause the foot to dwell.”]
[Footnote 6: In the Assyrian, “learned.”]
[Footnote 7: In the Accadian text, Merodach, the mediator and protector of mankind, is called “protector of the covenant.”]
[Footnote 8: That is, the fire-god.]
[Footnote 9: Hea, the god of the waters, was the father of Merodach, the sun-god.]
[Footnote 10: “Eridu,” the “Rata” of Ptolemy, was near the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris, on the Arabian side of the river. It was one of the oldest cities of Chaldea.]
35 Those seven in the earth were born, 36 those
seven in the earth grew up. 37 The forces of the
deep for war have drawn near. 38 Go, my son Merodach!
39 (for) the laurel, the baleful tree that breaks
in pieces the
40 the name whereof Hea remembers in his heart. 41 In the mighty enclosure, the girdle of Eridu which is to
42 to roof and foundation may the fire ascend and to (work)
evil may those seven never draw near.
43 Like a broad scimitar in a broad place bid (thine) hand
44 In circling fire by night and by day on the (sick) man’s
head may it abide.
45 At night mingle the potion and at dawn in his hand let
him raise (it).
46 In the night a precept in a holy book, in bed, on the
sick man’s head let them place.
47 The hero (Merodach) unto his warriors sends: 48 Let the Fire-god seize on the incubus. 49 Those baleful seven may he remove and their bodies may
50 During the day the sickness (caused by) the incubus (let
51 May the Fire-god bring back the mighty powers to their
52 May Nin-ci-gal  the wife of (Hea) establish before her the
bile (of the man).
53 Burn up the sickness ... 54 May Nin-akha-kuddu  seize upon his body and abide upon
55 according to the word of Nin-akha-kuddu, 56 (in) the enclosure of Eridu. 57 (In) the mighty girdle of the deep and of Eridu may she
remember his return (to health).
58 In (her) great watch may she keep (away) the incubus
supreme among the gods (that is) upon his head, and in
the night may she watch him.
59 (By) night and day to the prospering hands of the Sun-god
may she intrust him.
60 (In) Eridu a dark pine grew, in a holy place it
was planted. 61 Its (crown) was white crystal which
toward the deep spread. 62 The ...  of Hea (was)
its pasturage in Eridu, a canal
full (of waters).
63 Its seat (was) the (central) place of this earth. 64 Its shrine (was) the couch of mother Zicum.  65 The ... of its holy house like a forest spread its shade;
there (was) none who within entered not.
66 (It was the seat) of the mighty the mother, begetter of Anu. 67 Within it (also was) Tammuz.
(Of the two next and last lines only the last word, “the universe,” remains.)
[Footnote 1: Literally, “warlike expedition.”]
[Footnote 2: In the Accadian, “day (and) night.”]
[Footnote 3: “Masal” (mashal), as in Hebrew, “a proverb.”]
[Footnote 4: Literally, “tablet.”]
[Footnote 5: It is evident that the poem was to be used as a charm in case of sickness. Compare the phylacteries of the Jews.]
[Transcriber’s Note: The following footnote (6) is illegible in many places. Illegible areas are marked with a ’’.]
[Footnote 6: “Nin-ci-gal” ("the Lady of the Empty Country”) was Queen of s, and identified with Gula, or , “chaos” ["bohu”] of Gen-*, *, “the Lady of the House of Death.”]
[Footnote 7: In the Accadian, “the sick head (and) sick heart.” Then follows a lacuna.]
[Footnote 8: Apparently another name of Nin-ci-gal.]
[Footnote 9: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 10: Compare the Greek idea of Delphi as the central [Greek: omphalos] or “navel” of the earth.]
[Footnote 1: Zicum, or Zigara, was the primeval goddess, “the mother of Anu and the gods.”]
[Footnote 2: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 3: That is, of Zicum.]
[Footnote 4: Tammuz, called “Du-zi” ("the [only] son”) in Accadian, was a form of the sun-god. His death through the darkness of winter caused Istar to descend into Hades in search of him.]
For the sake of completeness a charm for averting the attack of the seven evil spirits or storm-clouds may be added here, though the larger part of it has already been translated by Mr. Fox Talbot in “Records of the Past,” Vol. Ill, p. 143. It forms part of the great collection of magical formulae, and is lithographed in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pl. 2, col. v, lines 30-60.
1 Seven (are) they, seven (are) they! 2 In the
channel of the deep seven (are) they! 3 (In) the
radiance of heaven seven (are) they! 4 In the channel
of the deep in a palace grew they up. 5 Male they
(are) not, female they (are) not. 6 (In) the
midst of the deep (are) their paths. 7 Wife they
have not, son they have not. 8 Order (and) kindness
know they not. 9 Prayer (and) supplication hear
they not. 10 The cavern in the mountain they
enter. 11 Unto Hea (are) they hostile. 12 The throne-bearers
of the gods (are) they. 13 Disturbing the lily
in the torrents are they set. 14 Baleful (are) they,
baleful (are) they. 15 Seven (are) they, seven (are)
they, seven twice again (are) they. 16 May the spirits
of heaven remember, may the spirits of
[Footnote 1: The Accadian text, “Female they are not, male they are not.” This order is in accordance with the position held by the woman in Accad; in the Accadian Table of Laws, for instance, translated in “Records of the Past,” vol. iii. p. 23, the denial of the father by the son is punished very leniently in comparison with the denial of the mother.]
TRANSLATED BY FRANCOIS LENORMANT
The sun-god, called in the Accadian Utu and Parra (the latter is of less frequent occurrence), and in the Semitic Assyrian Samas, held a less important rank in the divine hierarchy of the Chaldaic-Babylonian pantheon, afterward adopted by the Assyrians, than the moon-god (in the Accadian Aku, Enizuna, and Huru-ki; in the Assyrian Sin), who was even sometimes said to be his father. His principal and most common title was “Judge of Heaven and Earth,” in the Accadian dikud ana kia, in the Assyrian dainu sa same u irtsiti. The most important sanctuaries of the deity were at Larsam, in southern Chaldsea, and Sippara, in the north of Babylonia.
Some few fragments of liturgical or magical hymns addressed to Shamas have come down to us. These are five in number, and I give a translation of them here. They have all been studied previously by other Assyriologists, but I think the present interpretation of them is superior to any which has as yet been furnished.
The following are the chief bibliographical data concerning them:
I. The primitive Accadian text, accompanied by an interlinear Assyrian version published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pl. 20, No. 2. I put forth a first attempt at a translation in my “Magie chez les Chaldeens" (p. 165), and since then M. Friedrich Delitzsch has given a much better explanation of it ("G. Smith’s Chaldaeische Genesis," p. 284). Of this hymn we possess only the first five lines.
II. The primitive Accadian text, with an interlinear Assyrian version, is published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pl. 19, No. 2. M. Delitzsch has given a German translation of it in “G. Smith’s Chaldaeische Genesis” p. 284, and a revised one in English has just appeared in Prof. Sayce’s “Lectures upon Babylonian Literature,” p. 43.
III. A similar sacred text, published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pl. 28, No. I, in which the indications as to the obverse and reverse of the tablet are incorrect and ought to be altered. The two fragments left to us, separated by a gap, the extent of which it is at present impossible to estimate, belong to an incantatory hymn destined to effect the cure of the king’s disease. Interpretations have been attempted in my “Premieres Civilisations” (Vol. II, p. 165 et seq.), and in the appendices added by M. Friedrich Delitzsch to his German translation of G. Smith’s work, already cited.
IV. The primitive Accadian text with an interlinear Assyrian version, published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pi. 17, col. I. This hymn, like the preceding one, is intended to be recited by the priest of magic in order to cure the invalid king. I gave a very imperfect translation of it in my “Magie chez les Chaldeens” (p. 166).
V. We possess only the Semitic Assyrian version of this text; it was published in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, pl. 17, col. 2. As yet, no one has produced a complete translation of this hymn; but a few passages have been quoted by M. Friedrich Delitzsch ("G. Smith’s Chaldaeische Genesis” p. 284) and myself ("La Magie chez les Chaldeens” p. 164, and pp. 179, 180, of the English edition, 1877).
I refer the reader to the various publications above mentioned for a convincing proof of the entirely revised character of the translations here submitted to him, and I think he will grant that I have made some progress in this branch of knowledge, since my first attempts many years ago.
1 Magical incantation. 2 Sun, from the foundations
of heaven thou art risen; 3 thou hast unfastened
the bolts of the shining skies; 4 thou hast opened
the door of heaven. 5 Sun, above the countries thou
hast raised thy head. 6 Sun, thou hast covered the
immensity of the heavens and
the terrestrial countries.
(The fragments of the four following lines are too mutilated to furnish any connected sense; all the rest of the hymn is entirely wanting.)
SECOND HYMN [Footnote: See also Lenormant, “Chaldean Magic,” p. 180.]
1 Lord, illuminator of the darkness, who piercest
2 merciful god, who settest up those that are bowed down,
who sustainest the weak,
3 toward the light the great gods direct their glances, 4 the archangels of the abyss, every one of them, contemplate
eagerly thy face.
5 The language of praise, as one word, thou directest it. 6 The host of their heads seeks the light of the Sun in the
7 Like a bridegroom thou restest joyful and gracious. 8 In thy illumination thou dost reach afar to the boundaries
9 Thou art the banner of the vast earth. 10 O God! the men who dwell afar off contemplate thee and
11 The great gods fix ... 12 Nourisher of the luminous heavens, who favorest ... 13 He who has not turned his hands (toward thee ... 14 ....
[Footnote 1: In the Assyrian version, “The archangels of the earth.” ]
[Footnote 2: In the Assyrian version, “The eager language.”]
[Footnote 3: The Assyrian version has simply, “of the sun.” ]
[Footnote 4: “Like a wife thou submittest thyself, cheerful and kindly.”— Sayce.]
[Footnote 5: In the Assyrian version, “Thou art the illuminator of the limits of the distant heavens.”]
[Footnote 6: Here occurs a word which I cannot yet make out.]
[Footnote 7: Lacunae.]
1 Thou who marchest before ... 2 With Anu
and Bel ... 3 The support of crowds of men, direct
them! 4 He who rules in heaven, he who arranges,
is thyself. 5 He who establishes truth in the thoughts
of the nations, is
6 Thou knowest the truth, thou knowest what is false. 7 Sun, justice has raised its head; 8 Sun, falsehood, like envy, has spoken calumny. 9 Sun, the servant of Anu and Bel  is thyself; 10 Sun, the supreme judge of heaven and earth is thyself. 11 Sun, ...
(In this place occurs the gap between the two fragments on the obverse and on the reverse of the tablet.)
12 Sun, the supreme judge of the countries, is thyself. 13 The Lord of living beings, the one merciful to the countries, is thyself. 14 Sun, illuminate this day the King, son of his god, make him shine! 15 Everything that is working evil in his body, may that be driven elsewhere. 16 Like a cruse of ... purify him! 17 Like a cruse of milk, make him flow! 18 May it flow like molten bronze! 19 Deliver him from his infirmity! 20 Then, when he revives, may thy sublimity direct him! 21 And me, the magician, thy obedient servant, direct me!
[Footnote 1: Lacunae.]
[Footnote 2: In the Accadian, “Ana and Mulge”]
[Footnote 3: Meaning the pious king.]
[Footnote 4: Here follows an incomprehensible word.]
1 Great Lord, from the midst of the shining heavens
2 valiant hero, Sun, from the midst of the shining heavens,
at thy rising,
3 in the bolts of the shining heavens, in the entrance which
opens heaven, at thy rising
4 in the bar of the door of the shining heavens, in ...
at thy rising,
5 in the great door of the shining heavens, when thou
6 in the highest (summits) of the shining heavens, at the
time of thy rapid course,
7 the celestial archangels with respect and joy press around
8 the servants of the Lady of crowns lead thee in a festive
9 the ... for the repose of thy heart fix thy days;
10 the multitudes of the crowds on the earth turn their eyes
often toward thee;
11 the Spirits of heaven and earth lead thee.
12 The ... thou crushest them with thy strength,
13 ... thou discoverest them,
14 ... thou causest to seize,
15 ... thou directest.
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 2: In the Assyrian version, “of the Lady of the gods.”]
[Footnote 3: Lacunae.]
(I am obliged here to pass over five lines which are too mutilated for me to attempt to translate them with any degree of certainty.)
21 The Lord, as to me, has sent me; 22 the great
god, Hea, as to me, has sent me. 23 Settle what
has reference to him, teach the order which
concerns him, decide the question relating to him.
24 Thou, in thy course thou directest the human race; 25 cast upon him a ray of peace, and let it cure his suffering. 26 The man, son of his god, has laid before thee his shortcomings
and his transgressions;
27 his feet and his hands are in pain, grievously defiled by
28 Sun, to the lifting up of my hands pay attention; 29 eat his food, receive the victim, give his god (for a support) to
30 By his order let his shortcomings be pardoned! let his
transgressions be blotted out!
31 May his trouble leave him! may he recover from his disease! 32 Give back life to the King! 33 Then, on the day that he revives, may thy sublimity envelop him! 34 Direct the King who is in subjection to thee! 35 And me, the magician, thy humble servant, direct me!
[Footnote 1: There is no Assyrian version of this line; we have only the Accadian.]
[Footnote 2: The invalid on behalf of whom the invocation is recited.]
[Footnote 3: The pious man.]
[Footnote 4: From this verse onward the Assyrian version is wanting.]
FIFTH HYMN [Footnote: Cf. also “Chaldean Magic,” pp. 185, 186.]
1 Magical incantation. 2 I have invoked thee,
O Sun, in the midst of the high
3 Thou art in the shadow of the cedar, and 4 thy feet rest on the summits. 5 The countries have called thee eagerly, they have directed
their looks toward thee, O Friend;
6 thy brilliant light illuminates every land, 7 overthrowing all that impedes thee, assemble the countries, 8 for thou, O Sun, knowest their boundaries. 9 Thou who annihilatest falsehood, who dissipatest the evil
10 of wonders, omens, sorceries, dreams, evil apparitions, 11 who turnest to a happy issue malicious designs, who annihilatest
men and countries
12 that devote themselves to fatal sorceries, I have taken
refuge in thy presence.
13 ... 14 Do not allow those who make spells, and are hardened, to
15 Frighten their heart... 16 Settle also, O Sun, light of the great gods. 17 Right into my marrow, O Lords of breath, that I may rejoice, even I. 18 May the gods who have created me take my hands! 19 Direct the breath of my mouth! my hands 20 direct them also, Lord, light of the legions of the heavens,
Sun, O Judge!
21 The day, the month, the year... 22 ... conjure the spell! 23 ... deliver from the infirmity!
[Footnote 1: Here I am obliged to omit a line, which I cannot yet make out.]
[Footnote 2: Lacunae.]
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The two following hymns, both of which are unfortunately mutilated, are interesting from their subject-matter. The first is addressed to the sun-god Tammuz, the husband of Istar, slain by the boar’s tusk of winter, and sought by the goddess in the underground world. It is this visit which is described in the mythological poem known as the “Descent of Istar into Hades” ("Records of the Past,” Vol. I, p. 143). The myth of Tammuz and Istar passed, through the Phoenicians, to the Greeks, among whom Adonis and Aphrodite represent the personages of the ancient Accadian legend. Tammuz is referred to in Ezek. viii. 14. (See “Records of the Past,” Vol. IX, p. 147.) The second hymn treats of the world-mountain, the Atlas of the Greeks, which supports the heaven with its stars, and is rooted in Hades. Under its other name, “Kharsak-kurra,” or “Mountain of the East,” it was identified with the present Mount Elwend, and was regarded as the spot where the ark had rested, and where the gods had their seat. A reference is made to it in Isa. xiv. 13. Both hymns illustrate the imagery and metaphor out of which grew the mythology of primeval Babylonia, and offer curious parallels to the Aryan hymns of the Rig-Veda. The cuneiform texts are lithographed in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. IV, 27, I, 2.
1 O shepherd, Lord Tammuz, Bridegroom of Istar!
2 Lord of Hades, Lord of Tul-Sukhba! 3 Understanding
one, who among the papyri the water drinks
4 His brood in the desert, even the reed, he created not. 5 Its bulrush in his canal he lifted not up. 6 The roots of the bulrush were carried away. 7 O god of the world, who among the papyri the water drinks
[Footnote 1: The early Accadian kings frequently call themselves “shepherds.” According to Berosus, Alorus, the first antediluvian king of Babylonia, gave himself the same title. Compare the Homeric [Greek: poimaen laon].]
[Footnote 2: “Khamir,” literally “red” or “blushing one,” in reference to the glow of the setting sun.]
[Footnote 3: Or, “was not green.”]
[Footnote 4: Lacuna.]
1 O mighty mountain of Bel, Im-kharsak, whose
heaven, whose root (is) the holy deep!
2 Among the mountains, like a strong wild bull, it lieth down.
3 Its horn like the brilliance of the sun is bright.
4 Like the star of heaven it is a prophet and is filled with
5 O mighty mother of Beltis, daughter of Bit-Esir: splendor
of Bit-kurra, appointment of Bit-Gigune, handmaid of
[Footnote 1: “Wind of the mountain.”]
[Footnote 2: That is, Dilbat, “the prophet,” or Venus, the morning-star.]
[Footnote 3: “The temple of the East.”]
[Footnote 4: “The temple of the land of forests.”]
[Footnote 5: Lacuna.]
TRANSLATED BY REV. A.H. SAYCE, M.A.
The following is a selection from an interesting collection of Accadian songs and proverbs, gjven in a mutilated reading-book of the ancient language which was compiled for the use of Assyrian (or rather Semitic Babylonian) students. These sentences were drawn up at a time when it was necessary for the scribes to be familiar with the old language of Accad, and to be able to translate it into Assyrian, and hence these phrases are of very great philological value, since they indicate often analogous words and various verbal forms. The Assyrian translation and the Accadian texts are arranged in parallel columns. Some of the proverbs must be taken from an agricultural treatise of the same nature as the “Works and Days” of Hesiod. Copies of the texts will be found in the “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” Vol. II, 15, 16.
1 Door and bolt are made fast. 2 Oracle to oracle:
to the oracle it is brought. 3 The cut beam he
strikes: the strong beam he shapes. 4 The resting-place
of the field which (is) in the house he
5 Within the court of the house he feels himself small. 6 A heap of witnesses as his foundation he has made strong. 7 Once and twice he has made gains; yet he is not content. 8 By himself he dug and wrought. 9 For silver his resting-place he shall buy. 10 On his heap of bricks a building he builds not, a beam he
set not up.
11 A house like his own house one man to another consigns. 12 If the house he contracts for he does not complete, 10
shekels of silver he pays.
13 The joists of his wall he plasters. 14 In the month Marchesvan, the 30th day (let him choose)
15 (Let him choose it, too,) for the burning of weeds. 16 The tenant of the farm two-thirds of the produce on his
own head to the master of the orchard pays out.
[Footnote 1: That is, “compared.”]
[Footnote 2: Accadian “izzi ribanna,” Assyrian “igar kasritu” ("heap of covenant"), like the Hebrew “Galeed,” Aramaic “Yegar-sahadutha” (Gen. xxxi. 47).]
[Footnote 3: That is, “the more a man has, the more he wants.”]
[Footnote 4: That is, “if you want a thing done, do it yourself.”]
[Footnote 5: October.]
26 (If) evil
thou hast done,
(to) the sea forever
... thou goest.
23 My city bless:
among my men
fully prosper me.
26 Bless everything;
and to (my) dress be favorable.
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 2: I have translated this line from the Accadian, the Assyrian text being wanting, and the words “a recent lacuna” being written instead. This makes it clear that the scribe who copied the tablet for Assur-bani-pal’s library did not understand Accadian and could not therefore supply the translation.]
[Footnote 3: Lacunae.]
[Footnote 4: This seems to be quoted from a hymn describing the return of Oannes to the Persian Gulf.]
[Footnote 5: See “Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia,” vol. i. 25, 10.]
EDITED BY MM. OPPERT AND MENANT
These translations are taken from a French work published by Dr. Oppert and M. Menant; [Footnote: The title of the work is “Documents juridiques de l’Assyrie et de la Chaldee,” par J. Oppert et J. Menant, Paris, 1877.] the versions have been revised, in some essential points, for the “Records of the Past,” by Dr. Oppert, who holds himself personally responsible for the exact representation of the sense of these documents; but on account of the unusual difficulty of these texts, the reader may easily be convinced that for a long time yet, and particularly in details of minor importance, there will remain room enough for a conscientious improvement of all previous translations.
THE STONE OF ZA’ALEH
This document, engraved on a small broken slab of basalt, is dated from the first year of the reign of Marduk-idin-akhe. It was discovered long ago in the small mound of Za’aleh, on the left bank of the Euphrates, a few miles northwest of Babylon. The text forms two columns of cursive Babylonian characters; the first column is extremely damaged. Though defaced, this contract offers some interest by its differing from other documents of the aforesaid reign. It has been published in the first volume of the collection of the British Museum ("W.A.I.,” pl. 66), and translated for the first time by Dr. Oppert, “Expedition en Mesopotamie” t. i, p. 253.
Covenant which in the town of Babylon, in the month Sebat, in the first year of Marduk-idin-akhe, the mighty King, the men of M ..., have agreed:
The waters of the river ..., and the waters of the canals did not go through....
[Footnote 1: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 2: Lacuna of several lines.]
.... and all the streams which exist at the mouth of the river Salmani. Therefore, Aradsu, son of Erisnunak, has agreed to (aforesaid things) for the times to come, in giving his signature to this tablet.
Bit-Karra-basa, son of Hea-habal-idin, Governor of the town of Isin; Babilayu, son of Sin-mustesir, Chief; Malik-akh-idinna, son of Nigazi, Chief of the ru-bar; Tab-asap-Marduk, son of Ina-e-saggatu-irbu, a Scribe; Zikar-Nana, son of ... Bin, sabil; Nabu-mumaddid-zir, a servant, son of Zikar-Ea, a Governor; and Nabu-idin-akhe, son of Namri, have fixed it in the furnitures of the house.
In the town of Babylon, on the 30th of Sebat (January), in the first year of Marduk-idin-akhe, the mighty King.
The Masters of the Royal Seal have granted approbation.
[Footnote 1: Lacuna of several lines.]
[Footnote 2: Unknown dignity.]
This monument is so called from the name of the traveller by whom it was brought over to France in 1800. It was discovered near the Tigris, not far from the ruins of the ancient city of Ctesiphon. It is an ovoid basalt stone of seventeen inches in height, by twenty-four in circumference. The upper part is decorated with symbolical figures spread over nearly one-third of the monument; one of the sides is divided in two parts. At the top the moon crescent and the sun are represented; in a somewhat lower place there are four altars; two on the right support tiaras; the other two are adorned with two symbolical figures. In the middle a winged goat kneeling; the lower part of the animal is hidden by the image of another altar.
This monument is now kept since 1801 in the “Cabinet des Medailles” at Paris (No. 702). Since that epoch it has always attracted the attention of scholars; it was published by M. Millin in 1802, “Monuments inedits” t. I, pl. viii, ix. Muenter first attempted to explain the symbolical figures ("Religion der Babylonier," p. 102, pl. III). Sir Henry Rawlinson has also published the inscription again, in “W.A.I.,” Vol. I, p. 70. The sense of this text has been fixed for the first time, in 1856, by M. Oppert’s translation in the “Bulletin Archeologique de l’Atheneum Francais” After this translation, Mr. Fox Talbot gave one in 1861, in the “Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society,” Vol. XVIII, p. 54.
20 hin of corn is the quantity for seeding an arura. The field is situated near the town of Kar-Nabu, on the bank of the river Mekaldan, depending of the property of Kilnamandu.
The field is measured as follows: Three stades in length toward the East, in the direction of the town of Bagdad; three stades in length toward the West, adjoining the house of Tunamissah; 1 stade 50 fathoms in breadth toward the North, adjoining the property of Kilnamandu; 1 stade 50 fathoms up in the South, adjoining the property of Kilnamandu.
Sirusur, son of Kilnamandu, gave it for all future days to Dur-Sarginaiti, his daughter, the bride of Tab-asap-Marduk, son of Ina-e-saggatu-irbu (the pretended), who wrote this; and Tab-asap-Marduk, son of Ina-e-saggatu-irbu, who wrote this in order to perpetuate without interruption the memory of this gift, and commemorated on this stone the will of the great gods and the god Serah.
[Footnote 1: Or the great U, namely, of the field in question.]
[Footnote 2: Dr. Oppert’s first translation of this passage, which is to be found in almost all documents of this kind, has been corrected in “L’Etalon des mesures assyriennes,” p. 42. The field of Kilnamandu was a rectangle of 1-5/6 stades in breadth and 3 stades long, viz., 5-1/2 square stades, amounting to 19.64 hectares, or 48-1/2 English acres. The Stone of Micheux is the only one which affords a valuation of the land.
The arura (great U) is valued at 88 hectares, 207 acres in the Babylonian system; a hin is almost 3 litres, or 5 pints and a quarter; 20 hins, therefore, are somewhat more than 13 gallons. The fertility of the Babylonian soil was renowned in antiquity. See Herodotus i. 193.]
[Footnote 3: A fathom, 10-1/3 feet, is the sixtieth part of a stade, 620 feet.]
[Footnote 4: This word is explained in a syllabary copied by Dr. Oppert in 1855, but which has never been published. The three signs of the ideogram ("Bit-gigunu-a”) are rendered by “kallatu” ("a bride"), and this very important statement put the translator on the track of the right interpretation.]
Whosoever in the process of time, among the brothers, the sons, the family, the men and women, the servants both male and female, of the house of Kilnamandu, either a foreigner, or a guest, or whosoever he may be (or anyone else), who will destroy this field, who will venture to take away the boundary-stone, or will vindicate it: whether he consecrate this field to a god, or earn it for his superior, or claim it for himself, or change the extent, the surface, or the limits, that he reaps new harvests (crops); or who will say of the field with its measures, “There is no granter;” whether he call forth malediction and hostility on the tablets; or establish on it anyone other who change these curses, in swearing: “The head is not the head;” and in asserting: There is no evil eye; whosoever will carry elsewhere those tablets; or will throw them into the water; will bury them in the earth; will hide them under stones; will burn them with fire, will alter what is written on them, will confine them into a place where they might not be seen; that man shall be cursed:
May the gods Anu, El, Hea, the Great Goddess, the great gods, inflict upon him the utmost contumely, extirpate his name, annihilate his family.
May Marduk, the great Lord of eternity without end, bind him in fetters which cannot be broken.
May Samas, the great Judge of heaven and earth, judge his unpunished misdeeds, and surprise him in flagrant deeds.
May Sin, the brilliant (Nannar), who dwells in the sacred heavens, clothe him in leprosy as in a garment, and give him up to the wild beasts that wander in the outsides of the town.
May Istar, the Queen of heaven and earth, carry him off, and deliver him for avenge to the god and the king.
May Ninip, son of the zenith, son of El the sublime, take away his lands, funds, and limits.
May Gula, the great Queen, the wife of Ninip, infilter into his bowels a poison which cannot be pushed out, and may he void blood and pus like water.
May Bin, the great Guardian of heaven and earth, the son of the warrior Anu, inundate his field.
May Serah destroy his firstborn; may he torture his flesh, and load his feet with chains.
May Nabu, the supreme Watcher, strike him with misfortune and ruin, and blast his happiness that he not obtain it, in the wrath of his face.
May all the great gods whose names are recorded on this tablet, curse him with irrevocable malediction, and scatter his race even to the last days.
[Footnote 1: This seems to be a usual formula.]
(This monument is equally engraved on a black basalt stone; it offers the same arrangement as the stone of Michaux. The analogous documents show that numerous inaccuracies have been committed.
In the upper part there occur the same altars, tiaras, birds, as well as the above-mentioned goat, dog, scorpion, and snake. The surface of the basso-relievo is also covered with Cuneiform writing.
The inscriptions are arranged in four columns, and take both sides of the monument. The first column originally finished at the 30th line; it seems to have been completed by four lines, which contain one of the essential articles of the contract, but which evidently are not in their right place, and had been actually forgotten in the original engraving.
On the margins and the bassso-relievo many additions and repetitions are to be read, which also prove the engraver’s carelessness or precipitation.)
20 hins of corn are sufficient to seed an arura, a field in the land of Zunire, on the bank of the river Zirzirri, belonging to the house of Ada.
Marduk-idin-akhe, King of Babylon, has thus sentenced according to the laws of the country of Assur. Bin-zir-basa, his Minister, has favored Marduk-ilusu, son of Ina-e-saggatu-irbu, who has written this to the King of Babylon: I say, He has loaded me with favors, and I proclaim that this rating has been made according to the epha of the King of Babylon.
20 hin of corn are sufficient to seed an arura. Bin-zir-basa, the Lieutenant (of the King) has invested him with it, and (the measurer of lands) has thus measured it for the time to come.
In the length above toward the North, turned to the river Zirzirri, adjoining the house of Ada, and the field of the house of the Satraps. In the length below, toward the South of the river Atab-du-Istar, adjoining the house of Ada. In breadth above toward the East, adjoining the limits of Bit-ulbar. In breadth below toward the West, adjoining the house of Ada.
According to the law of Marduk-idin-akhe, King of Babylon, servant of the gods of the City of the eternal fire, it was so measured by Bel-zir-kini, son of Zikar-Istar, the measurer of the field.
In the town of Dindu, in the month of Tebet, on the 28th day (December) in the 10th year of Marduk-idin-akhe, King of Babylon.
In the presence of Bet-ulbar-sakimu, son of Bazi, Chief of the ru-bar of the countries;
in the presence of Babilai, son of Sin-mustesir, Chief of the head Rulers of the country;
in the presence of Hea-Kudurri-ibni, son of Zikar-Ea, Governor of the provinces;
in the presence of Bel-nasir-habal, son of the Chief of the rubar of the orders in the provinces;
in the presence of Takisa-belit, son of Riu-simti;
in the presence of Uballitsu, son of Karistiya-napasti;
in the presence of Bel-idin-akh, son of Suti;
in the presence of Sukamuna-idin, son of Meliharbat;
in the presence of Isu-il, son of Habliya;
in the presence of Bel-akhesu, son of Meliharbat;
in the presence of Nis-bet-ulbar, son of Ulamhala;
in the presence of Sumidu, son of Marduk-kabuya, Prefect of the house of Ada;
in the presence of E-saggatu-bunuya, hazan of the house of Ada;
in the presence of Babrabtatutai, son of Sar-Babil-Assurissi;
in the presence of Sadu-rabu-kabuya, Judge;
in the presence of Marduk-nasir, son of Gamilu.
Whoever in the process of time, among the brothers, the sons, among the near relations, the allies of the family of the house of Ada, would claim this land, would nourish against it bad designs, or would suggest them; whoever would utter these words, “There is no giver,” who would say, “There is no sealer,” or whosoever will say, “I deny that there is a master of the house of Ada, that there is a Chief in the house of Ada; that there is a hazan of the house of Ada; or that there is either a speculator for the house of Ada; or a gitta of the house of Ada; or a sumtalu; or a lubattu; or an aklu; or a kisirtu in the house of Ada;” or he will say, “The confiscation has been pronounced;” whether he say: “This field has no measurer,” or say, “This seal is not of a sealer” (who has the right to); or whoever will take possession of this field; or consecrate it to the gods; or claim it for himself; or alter its surface, circumference and limits; or construct buildings on this land, and in the middle of this field (that man will be cursed):
The gods who are inscribed on this tablet, all those whose name is commemorated herein, will curse him with irrevocable curses.
May the gods Anu, Bel, Hea, these great gods, torment him and overwhelm him; that ...
May Marduk, the great Lord of eternity without limits, fetter him with inextricable bonds.
May Nebo, the supreme minister, overthrow the surface, circumference, and limits of his properties.
May Bin, the great Lord of heaven and earth, cause the streams of his river to overflow ... have his progeny circumcised, and load his feet with a heavy chain.
May Sin, who turns around heaven, envelop his body with leprosy as in a garment.
May Samas, the bright Judge of heaven and earth, judge his lawsuit, and have him seized in deed doing.
May Istar, the goddess of heaven and earth, deliver him to the vengeance of the gods and of the King.
May Gula, the Sovereign Lady, the great wife of Ninip, infilter into his bowels with a poison that will not leave him, and may he void pus and blood like water.
May Ninip, the god of boundaries, filium camelas inire cogat.
May Nergal, the god of arms and bows, break his arrows.
May Zamal, the King of battles, prevent him in the midst of the fray from taking a prisoner.
May Turda, the Keeper of the images of the great gods, walking in the right ways of the gods, besiege his door during the night.
May Iskhara, the goddess of the ancient customs, not hear him in the battles.
May Malik, the great Master of Heaven, while he sins cause him to be slain in the act.
May all the gods that are on this stone, whose name is commemorated, curse him with irrevocable curses.
(The lines at the end of the first column read as follows:)
If anybody swears thus: This head is not a head ... or institutes here an outlaw or a causer of mischief, immerse them in the waters, bury them in the earth, hide them under a heap of stones, destroy them by fire.
(On the edge of the second column:)
May the gods whose image is on this table, and whose name is invoked, curse him with irrevocable curses.
(On the edge of the fourth column:)
The horses ... the Master of the house of Ada may dispose of them after him. 30 horses, 25 buffaloes, 3 mares in the fields are not inclosed in the decree of the King of Babylon; Bin-zir-basa has ascribed it for the benefit of Mahanitu, after Marduk-ilusu, son of Ina-e-saggatu-irbu.
The Chief of the rubar of the house of Ada has said it (named and pronounced) to Marduk-ilusu, son of the Scribe of Marduk-idin-akhe, King of Babylon, and Ina-e-saggatu-irbu, the Scribe, the field, this one has ... owner of the house of Ada, has given it for the days to come, and has yielded it up.
(A great many short inscriptions are placed over the basso-relievos.
1. The smallest of them is placed over a kind of lyre. It reads:
In sum, an epha and a half.
2. Entangled between the branches of an object difficult to design and the horns of a goat, occurs a sentence which has not been translated.
3. The word “nase” is written between and the altar supporting a triangular object.
4. A legend of three lines is engraved between the mentioned altar, and a horned animal.)
So that he may not devastate the land
of Zunire, nor the
dwellings which are belonging to the Governor of Zunire.
5. Under an undetermined object, opposite to the nose of the above-mentioned fantastical animal is written a sentence composed of a perpendicular line and four lines parallel to the circumference.)
That he will not acknowledge either the
kisirtu or the tribute
of this house, or the Prefect, or the hazan of the house of Ada.
6. Below the preceding one.
Either the author of the treaty, or the
hazan of the land of
7. Included between the roost and the back of the dog occurs another sentence which has not been translated.
8. Across the symbolical figures [commencement obscure]:
That he might not watch upon the streets of Bit-Ada.
9. Between the scorpion and the back of the snake.
That he may pay the rent of the land.
10. Over the head of the snake.
That in his abode, there may not be any
power, any judge,
[Footnote 1: Twenty hins are equal to 60 litres, 13-1/4 gallons.]
[Footnote 2: Great U, the standard agrarian measure.]
[Footnote 3: The country is unknown; the river Zirzirri is also mentioned elsewhere.]
[Footnote 4: This name signifies, “In the Pyramid he will increase.”]
[Footnote 5: The valuations of the estates are made by the quantity of corn required to seed them, as it is the case in rabbinical literature, where the unity is a beth-sea, or the surface seeded by a sea. Therefore the epha of the king (royal epha) is quite in its place: the epha is varying from 32 to 36 pints.
The text itself states the royal endowment of a perhaps conquered land.]
[Footnote 6: There is no valuation of the field. An error crept into the French transliteration; “us” is not “a stade,” but the word “length.”]
[Footnote 7: This is the city generally read “Agade.”]
[Footnote 8: Person already mentioned in the Za-aleh Stone.]
[Footnote 9: The god Sukamanu occurs elsewhere.]
[Footnote 10: The “hazan” seems to be a superintendent.]
[Footnote 11: By an error, this line is omitted in the French work; the Assyrian words are not yet understood.]
[Footnote 12: In the text is nu.]
[Footnote 13: Lacuna.]
[Footnote 14: The passage is very obscure; if Dr. Oppert’s idea is correct, there is an allusion to the detested custom of circumcision, the performance of which was regarded as an affliction.]
[Footnote 15: See Lev. xx. 15.]
[Footnote 16: “Gara anna.”]
[Footnote 17: In the French work, this passage has been left untranslated.]
[Footnote 18: Lacunae.]
[Footnote 19: Here are two very obscure words.]
(The fourth monument of the reign of Marduk-idin-akhe is a black basalt stone of nearly the same size and arrangement as the preceding. At the top we also see analogous symbols disposed in a similar way. The inscription has but two colums, and occupies but one side of the monument; on the other, the image of the King is engraved, and near the garment of the King, represented by the basso-relievo, the three lines of the beginning are repeated at the end of the document.)
By this table, the author of the everlasting limits has forever perpetuated his name.
25 hins of corn are sufficient to seed an arura, in a field lying on the bank of the river Besim, belonging to Hankas.
In length above toward the North, adjoining the property of Hankas; in length below toward the South, adjoining the property of Imbiyati; in breadth above toward the West, adjoining the property of Hankas; in breadth below toward the East, limited by the river Besim.
Such is what Marduk-nasir, Captain of the King, has received from the hands of Nis-Bel, son of Hankas. He has paid the price for it. Sapiku son of Itti-Marduk-balat, son of Zikar-Ea, is the measurer of the field.
1 Chariot with its team of horses 100 silver 6 Harnesses 300 " 1 Ass from Phoenicia 30 "
6 Harnesses, 1 Ass from Phoenicia 50 "
1 Mule 15 silver
1 Cow (pregnant) 30 "
30 Measures of corn, 60 Measures of 12 epha 137 "
1 Hemicorion, 10 Shovels of 4 epha 16 "
2 Dogs, good 12 "
9 Greyhounds from the East 18 "
1 Hunting dog 1 "
1 Shepherd dog 1 "
1 Dog (bloodhound) 6 "
Total 616 (weights of) silver.
Such is what Nis-Bel, son of Hankas, has paid in the hands of Marduk-nasir, Captain of the King, as equivalent of the price of a field of 25 hins of (grain).
At any epoch whatever, in the days to come (or process of time) either an aklu, or a no-servant, or a farmer, or a husbandman, or a workman, or any other guardian who presents himself, and who settles in the house of Hankas, and will endeavor to lay waste this field, will earn its first-fruits, will turn it over, will plough it (mix up the earth), will have it put under water, who will occupy this property by fraud or violence and will settle in its territories, either in the name of the god, or in the name of the King, or in the name of the representative of the Lord of the country, or in the name of the representative of the house, or in the name of any person whatever, whoever he may be, who will give it, will earn the harvest of the land, will say, “These fields are not granted as gifts by the King”; whether he pronounce against them the holy malediction or he swears by these words, “The head is not the head”; and establish anyone therein, in saying, “There is no eye”; or who will carry away this tablet, or will throw it into the river, or will break it into pieces, or will bury it under a heap of stones, or will burn it by fire, or will bury it in the earth, or will hide it in a dark place, that man (shall be cursed):
May the god Anu, Bel, Hea, the great gods, afflict him and curse him with maledictions which are not (retracted).
May the god Sin, the splendid in the high heaven, envelop all his members with incurable leprosy until the day of his death; and expel him to the farthest limits like a wild beast.
May Samas, the Judge of heaven and earth, fly before him; that he change into darkness the light of the day.
May Istar, the Sovereign, the Queen of the gods, load him with infirmities and anguish of illness like arrows, may she increase (day and night his pains,) so that he runs about like a dog, in the ways of his town.
May Marduk, the King of heaven and earth, the Lord of the eternity without end, entangle his weapons with bonds which cannot be broken.
May Ninip, the god of crops and boundaries, sweep away its limits and tread upon his crops, and remove its limit.
May Gula, the mother (nurse), the great Lady, infect his bowels with a poison, and that he void pus and blood like water.
May Bin, the supreme Guardian of heaven and earth, inundate his field like a ...
May Serah suffocate his first-born.
May Nabu, the holy minister of the gods, continually pour over his destinies laments and curses; and blast his wishes.
May all the great gods whose name is invoked on this table, devote him to vengeance and scorn, and may his name, his race, his fruits, his offspring, before the face of men perish wretchedly.
By this table, the author of the everlasting limits has forever perpetuated his name.
[Footnote 1: See at the end.]
[Footnote 2: These 25 hins represent 75 litres, 16 gallons and a half, for seeding a surface of 207 acres.]
[Footnote 3: The great U, or arura.]
[Footnote 4: Again in this deed no statement is given in account of the measurings. The space is determined merely by the indication of the boundaries.
This document is also the charter of a royal donation: it is not clear whether the below-mentioned objects are the price, or if, what is much more verisimilar, they are only the accessoria of the field.]
[Footnote 5: Measurer is expressed by “masi-han.”]
[Footnote 6: Cf. I Kings x. 29: “A chariot ... of Egypt for 600 shekels of silver; and a horse for 150.”]
[Footnote 7: It is a question here of the utensils used for measuring, viz., thirty of one kind, and sixty of another.]
[Footnote 8: The quality of the dogs is somewhat uncertain.]
[Footnote 9: There is evidently a fault in the total number, 616 instead of 716.
A weight of silver may be an obolus, the 360th part of a mina.]
[Footnote 10: The “akli,” who were at the royal court, may have been legists.]
[Footnote 11: All these are formulae solennes, as in the Roman law.]
[Footnote 12: Obscure.]
Five-sixths of an artaba of corn sows an arura, a field situated on the Euphrates.
....adjoining ... wide ... adjoining ... a field in great measure ... Zirbet-u-Alzu ... and for the days to come he has given ... this table ... sin-idin ... son of Tuklat-habal-Marduk, Governor of the town of Nisin. Bani-Marduk, son of Tuklat ... Malik-kilim, son of Tuklat ... Chief of ... An-sali ... son of Zab-zib-malik ... Malik-habal-idin, of the town of Balaki ... Chief of Sin-idin-habal ... May he cause him to perish ... and his offering.
[Footnote 1: The artaba was 3 epha, 18 hins; the mentioned quantity of 15 hins necessary to seed this very fertile field is only 79 pints.]
[Footnote 2: Dr. Oppert copied this text twenty years ago; he does not know whether since that time any other piece of the stone has been discovered.]
TRANSLATED BY DR. JULIUS OPPERT
The document of which I publish a translation has been copied with admirable precision by M. Botta in his “Monuments de Ninive” There are four specimens of this same text in the Assyrian palace, which bear the title of Inscriptions of the Halls, Nos. iv, vii, viii, and x.
There is another historical document in the palace of Khorsabad containing more minute particulars, and classed in a chronological order, which I translated in my “Dur-Sar-kayan,” 1870, and in the “Records of the Past,” Vol. VII.
The several copies of this document have been united in one sole text in a work which I published in common with M. Menant in the “Journal Asiatique,” 1863.
I published my translation of the “Great Inscriptions of Khorsabad,” in the “Annales de Philosophie Chretienne,” July and August, 1862, tom. V (New Series), p. 62; then in my “Inscriptions des Sargonides,” p. 20 (1862). The same text was inserted in the work which I edited in communion with my friend M. Joachim Menant, entitled “La Grande Inscription des Salles de Khorsabad,” “Journal Asiatique,” 1863. Some passages have been since corrected by me in my “Dur-Sarkayan,” Paris, 1870, in the great work of M. Victor Place, and these corrections have been totally admitted by M. Menant in a translation which he has given in his book, “Annales des Rois d’Assyrie,” Paris, 1874, p. 180. As the reader may easily convince himself in collating it with my previous attempts, this present translation is now amended according to the exigencies of the progressing science of Assyriology, as it is now understood.
1 Palace of Sargon, the great King, the powerful
King of the legions, King of Assyria, Viceroy of the gods
at Babylon, King of the Sumers and of the Accads, favorite
of the great gods.
2 The gods Assur, Nebo, and Merodach have conferred
me the royalty of the nations, and they have propagated
the memory of my fortunate name to the ends of the earth.
I have followed the reformed precepts of Sippara, Nipur,
Babylon, and Borsippa; I have amended the imperfections
which the men of all laws had admitted.
3 I have reunited the dominions of Kalu, Ur, Orchoe,
Larsa, Kullab, Kisik, the dwelling-place of the god Laguda;
I have subdued their inhabitants. As to the laws
of Sumer and of the town of Harran, which had fallen
into desuetude from the most ancient times, I have restored
to fresh vigor their forgotten customs.
4 The great gods have made me happy by the constancy
their affection, they have granted me the exercise of my
sovereignty over all kings; they have re-established obedience
upon them all. From the day of my accession there
existed no princes who were my masters; I have not, in
combats or battles, seen my victor. I have crushed the
territories of the rebels like straws, and I have struck them
with the plagues of the four elements. I have opened innumerable
deep and very extensive forests, I have levelled
their inequalities. I have traversed winding and thick
valleys, which were impenetrable, like a needle, and I
passed in digging tanks dug on my way.
5 By the grace and power of the great gods, my Masters,
have flung my arms; by my force I have defeated my enemies.
I have ruled from Iatnan, which is in the middle
of the sea of the setting sun, to the frontiers of Egypt and
of the country of the Moschians, over vast Phoenicia, the
whole of Syria, the whole of guti muski of distant Media,
near the country of Bikni, to the country of Ellip, from Ras
which borders upon Elam, to the banks of the Tigris, to
the tribes of Itu, Rubu, Haril, Kaldud, Hauran, Ubul,
Ruhua, of the Litai who dwell on the borders of the Surappi
and the Ukne, Gambul, Khindar, and Pukud. I have
reigned over the suti hunters who are in the territory of
Iatbur, in whatever it was as far as the towns of Samhun,
Bab-Dur, Dur-Tilit, Khilikh, Pillat, Dunni-Samas, Bubi,
Tell-Khumba, which are in the dependency of Elam, and
Kar-duniyas Upper and Lower, of the countries of Bit-Amukkan,
Bit-Dakkur, Bit-Silan, Bit-Sa’alla, which together
form Chaldea in its totality, over the country of Bit-Iakin,
which is on the sea-shore, as far as the frontier of
Dilmun. I have received their tributes, I have established
my Lieutenants over them as Governors, and I have reduced
them under my suzerainty.
6 This is what I did from the beginning of my reign
fifteenth year of reign:
I defeated Khumbanigas, King of Elam, in the plains of
7 I besieged and occupied the town of Samaria, and
27,280 of its inhabitants captive. I took from them 50
chariots, but left them the rest of their belongings. I
placed my Lieutenants over them; I renewed the obligation
imposed upon them by one of the Kings who preceded
8 Hanun, King of Gaza, and Sebech, Sultan of
allied themselves at Rapih to oppose me, and fight against
me; they came before me, I put them to flight. Sebech
yielded before my cohorts, he fled, and no one has ever
seen any trace of him since. I took with my own hand
Hanun, King of Gaza.
9 I imposed a tribute on Pharaoh, King of Egypt;
Queen of Arabia; It-amar, the Sabean, of gold, sweet smelling
herbs of the land, horses, and camels.
10 Kiakku of Sinukhta had despised the god Assur,
submission to him. I took him prisoner, and seized
his 30 chariots and 7,350 of his soldiers. I gave Sinuhta,
the town of his royalty, to Matti from the country of Tuna,
I added some horses and asses to the former tribute and
appointed Matti as Governor.
11 Amris of Tabal, had been placed upon the throne
his father; I gave to him a daughter and I gave him Cilicia
which had never submitted to his ancestors. But he did
not keep the treaty and sent his ambassador to Urzaha,
King of Armenia, and to Mita, King of the Moschians,
who had seized my provinces. I transported Amris to
Assyria, with his belongings, the members of his ancestors’
families, and the magnates of the country, as well as 100
chariots; I established some Assyrians, devoted to my government,
in their places. I appointed my Lieutenant Governor
over them, and commanded tributes to be levied
12 Jaubid of Hamath, a smith, was not the legitimate
of the throne, he was an infidel and an impious man, and
he had coveted the royalty of Hamath. He incited the
towns of Arpad, Simyra, Damascus, and Samaria to rise
against me, took his precautions with each of them, and
prepared for battle. I counted all the troops of the god
Assur; in the town of Karkar which had declared itself
for the rebel, I besieged him and his warriors, I occupied
Karkar and reduced it to ashes. I took him, himself, and
had him flayed, and I killed the chief of the rioters in each
town, and reduced them to a heap of ruins. I recruited
my forces with 200 chariots and 600 horsemen from among
the inhabitants of the country of Hamath and added them
to my empire.
13 Whilst Iranzu of Van lived, he was subservient
to my rule, but fate removed him. His subjects
placed his son Aza on the throne. Urzaha the Armenian
intrigued with the people of Mount Mildis, Zikirta, Misiandi,
with the nobles of Van, and enticed them to rebellion;
they threw the body of their Master Aza on the top of the
mountains. Ullusun of Van, his brother, whom they had
placed on his father’s throne, did homage to Urzaha, and
gave him 22 fortresses with their garrisons. In the anger
of my heart I counted all the armies of the god Assur, I
watched like a lion in ambush and advanced to attack these
countries. Ullusun of Van saw my expedition approaching,
he set out with his troops and took up a strong position
in the ravines of the high mountains. I occupied Izirti the
town of his royalty, and the towns of Izibia and Armit, his
formidable fortresses, I reduced them to ashes. I killed
all that belonged to Urzaha the Armenian, in these high
mountains. I took with my own hand 250 royal members
of his family. I occupied 55 royal towns of which 8 were
ordinary towns and 11 impregnable fortresses. I reduced
them to ashes. I incorporated the 22 strong towns, that
Ullusun of Van had delivered to him with Assyria. I occupied
8 strong cities of the country of Tuaya and the districts
of Tilusina of Andia; 4,200 men, with their belongings,
were carried away into slavery.
14 Mitatti, of Zikirta, had secured himself against
he and the men of his country had fled into the forests;
no trace of them was to be seen. I reduced Parda, the
town of his royalty to ashes; I occupied twenty-three great
towns in the environs, and I spoiled them. The cities of
Suandakhul and Zurzukka, of the country of Van, took
the part of Mitatti; I occupied and pillaged them. Then I
took Bagadatti of the Mount Mildis, and I had him flayed.
I banished Dayaukku and his suite to Hamath, and I made
them dwell there.
15 Then Ullusun heard in his high mountains of my
exploits: he departed in haste like a bird, and kissed my
feet; I pardoned his innumerable misdeeds, and I blotted
out his iniquities. I granted pardon to him; I replaced
him upon the throne of his royalty. I gave him the two
fortresses and the 22 great towns that I had taken away
from Urzaha and Mitatti. I endeavored to restore peace
to his country. I made the image of my Majesty: I wrote
on it the glory of the god Assur, my Master, I erected many
fac-similes of it in Izirti, the town of his royalty.
16 I imposed a tribute of horses, oxen, and lambs
King of the river country, in Hupuskia, the town of his
17 Assurlih, of Kar-Alla, Itti, of Allapur, had sinned
Assur and despised his power. I had Assurlih flayed. I
banished the men of Kar-Alla, whoever they were, and Itti,
with his suite, I placed them in Hamath.
18 I took the inhabitants of the towns of Sukkia,
Ahitikna, Pappa, Lallukni away from their homes; I made
them dwell at Damascus in Syria.
19 I occupied the 6 towns of the country of Niksamma,
with my own hand Nirisar, Governor of the town of Surgadia;
I added these towns to the satrapy of Parsuas.
20 Bel-sar-usur was King of the town of Kisisim;
I had him
transported to Assyria with all that he possessed, his treasure,
the contents of his palace; I put my Lieutenant in as
Governor of the town, to which I gave the name of Kar-Marduk.
I had an image made of my Majesty and erected
it in the middle of the town. I occupied 6 towns in the
neighborhood and I added them to his government.
21 I attacked and conquered Kibaba, Prefect of the
Kharkhar, I took him and the inhabitants of his country
captive, I rebuilt this city and made the inhabitants of the
provinces, that my arm had conquered, live there. I placed
my Lieutenant as Governor over them. I named the town
Kar-Sarkin; I established the worship of the god Assur,
my Master, there. I erected an image of my Royal self.
I occupied 6 towns in the environs, and added them to his
22 I besieged and took the towns of Tel-Akhi-tub,
Bagai, and Anzaria; I transported the inhabitants of them
to Assyria. I rebuilt them; I gave them the names of
Kar-Nabu, Kar-Sin, Kar-Ben, Kar-Istar.
23 To maintain my position in Media, I have erected
in the neighborhood of Kar-Sarkin. I occupied
34 towns in Media and annexed them to Assyria and I
levied annual tributes of horses upon them.
24 I besieged and took the town of Eristana, and
towns in the country of Bait-Ili; I carried away the
25 The countries of Agag and Ambanda, in
the Arabs of the East, had refused their tributes, I destroyed
them, laid them waste, and burnt them by fire.
26 Dalta of Ellip was subject to me, and devoted
to the worship
of Assur; 5 of his towns revolted and no longer recognized
his dominion. I came to his aid, I besieged and
occupied these towns, I carried the men and their goods
away into Assyria with numberless horses.
27 Urzana, of the town of Musasir, had attached himself
Urzaha the Armenian, and had refused me his allegiance.
With the multitude of my army, I covered the city of Musasir
as if it were with ravens, and he to save his life, fled
alone into the mountains.
28 I entered as a Ruler into Musasir. I seized
as spoil Urzana’s
wife, sons and daughters, his money, his treasures, all
the stores of his palace whatever they were, with 20,100
men and all that they possessed, the gods Haldia and Bagabarta,
his gods, and their holy vessels in great numbers.
29 Urzaha, King of Armenia, heard of the defeat of
and the carrying away of the god Haldia his god, he cut
off his life by his own hands with a dagger of his girdle.
I held a severe judgment over the whole of Armenia. I
spread over the men, who inhabit this country, mourning
30 Tarhunazi, of the town of Melid, sought for revenge.
sinned against the laws of the great gods, and refused his
submission. In the anger of my heart, I crushed like
briars Melid, which was the town of his kingdom, and the
neighboring towns. I made him, his wife, sons and daughters,
the slaves of his palace whoever they were, with 5,000
warriors, leave Tel-Garimmi; I treated them all as booty.
I rebuilt Tel-Garimmi; I had it entirely occupied by some
archers from the country of Khammanua, which my hand
had conquered, and I added it to the boundaries of this
country. I put it in the hands of my Lieutenant, and I
restituted the surface of the dominion, as it had been in
the time of Gunzinan, the preceding King.
31 Tarhular, of Gamgum, had a son Muttallu, who had
his father by the arms, and sat on the throne against
my will, and to whom they had intrusted their country.
In the anger of my heart, I hastily marched against the
town of Markasi, with my chariots and horsemen, who
followed on my steps, I treated Muttallu, his son and the
families of the country of Bit-Pa’alla in its totality, as
captives, and seized as booty the gold and silver and the
numberless treasures of his palace. I reinstated the men of
Gamgum and the neighboring tribes, and placed my Lieutenant
as Governor over them; I treated them like the
32 Azuri, King of Ashdod, determined within himself
render no more tributes; he sent hostile messages against
Assyria to the neighboring kings. I meditated vengeance
for this, and I withdrew from him the government over
his country. I put his brother Akhimit on his throne.
But the people of Syria, eager for revolt, got tired of Akhimit’s
rule, and installed Iaman, who like the former, was
not the legitimate master of the throne. In the anger of
my heart, I did not assemble the bulk of my army nor
divide my baggage, but I marched against Ashdod with
my warriors, who did not leave the trace of my feet.
33 Iaman learnt from afar of the approach of my expedition;
he fled beyond Egypt toward Libya (Meluhhi), and no
one ever saw any further trace of him. I besieged and
took Ashdod and the town of Gimtu-Asdudim; I carried
away captive Iaman’s gods, his wife, his sons, his daughters,
his money, and the contents of his palace, together
with the inhabitants of his country. I built these towns
anew and placed in them the men that my arm had conquered.
34 I placed my Lieutenant as Governor over them,
treated them as Assyrians. They never again became
guilty of impiety.
35 The King of Libya lives in the middle of the
desert, in an
inaccessible place, at (a month’s) journey. From the most
remote times until the renewal of the lunar period his
fathers had sent no ambassadors to the kings, my ancestors,
to ask for peace and friendship and to acknowledge the
power of Merodach. But the immense terror inspired by
my Majesty roused him, and fear changed his intentions.
In fetters of iron he threw him (Iaman), directed his steps
toward Assyria and kissed my feet.
36 Muttallu, of Commagene, a fraudulent and hostile
did not honor the memory of the gods, he plotted a conspiracy,
and meditated defection. He trusted upon Ar-gisti,
King of Armenia, an helper who did not assist him,
took upon himself the collection of the tributes and his
part of the spoil, and refused me his submission. In the
anger of my heart, I took the road to his country with the
chariots of my power, and the horsemen who never left
the traces of my feet. Muttallu saw the approach of my
expedition, he withdrew his troops, and no one saw any
further trace of him. I besieged and occupied his capital
and 62 large towns all together. I carried away his wife,
his sons, his daughters, his money, his treasure, all precious
things from his palace, together with the inhabitants of his
country as spoil, I left none of them. I inaugurated this
town afresh; I placed in it men from the country of Bit-Iakin,
that my arm had conquered. I instituted my Lieutenant
as Governor, and subdued them under my rule. I
previously took from them 150 chariots, 1,500 horsemen,
20,000 archers, 1,000 men armed with shields and lances,
and I confided the country to my Satrap.
37 While Dalta, King of Ellip, lived, he was submissive
devoted to my rule, the infirmities of age however came
and he walked on the path of death. Nibie and Ispabara,
the sons of his wives, claimed both the vacant throne of
his royalty, the country and the taxes, and they fought a
battle. Nibie applied to Sutruk-Nakhunti King of Elam
38 Merodach-Baladan, son of Iakin, King of Chaldaea,
fallacious, the persistent in enmity, did not respect the
memory of the gods, he trusted in the sea, and in the retreat
of the marshes; he eluded the precepts of the great
gods, and refused to send his tributes. He had supported
as an ally Khumbanigas, King of Elam. He had excited
all the nomadic tribes of the desert against me. He prepared
himself for battle, and advanced. During twelve
years, against the will of the gods of Babylon, the town
of Bel which judges the gods, he had excited the country
of the Sumers and Accads, and had sent ambassadors to
them. In honor of the god Assur, the father of the gods,
and of the great and august Lord Merodach, I roused my
courage, I prepared my ranks for battle. I decreed an
expedition against the Chaldeans, an impious and riotous
people. Merodach-Baladan heard of the approach of my
expedition, dreading the terror of his own warriors, he fled
before it, and flew in the night time like an owl, falling back
from Babylon, to the town of Ikbibel. He assembled together
the towns possessing oracles, and the gods living
in these towns he brought to save them to Dur-Iakin, fortifying
its walls. He summoned the tribes of Gambul,
Pukud, Tamun, Ruhua, and Khindar, put them in this place,
and prepared for battle. He calculated the extent of a
plethrum in front of the great wall. He constructed a
ditch 200 spans wide, and deep one fathom and a half.
The conduits of water, coming from the Euphrates, flowed
out into this ditch; he had cut off the course of the river,
and divided it into canals, he had surrounded the town,
the place of his revolt, with a dam, he had filled it with
water, and cut off the conduits. Merodach-Baladan, with
his allies and his soldiers had the insignia of his royalty
kept as in an island on the banks of the river; he arranged
his plan of battle. I stretched my combatants all along
the river dividing them into bands; they conquered the
enemies. By the blood of the rebels the waters of these
canals reddened like dyed
39 I imposed tributes on the countries of Bet-Iakin,
and low part, and on the towns of Samhun, Bab-Dur, Dur-Tilit,
Bubi, Tell-Khumba, which are the resort of Elam.
I transplanted into Elam the inhabitants of the Commagene,
in Syria, that I had attacked with my own hand,
obeying the commands of the great gods my Masters, and
I placed them on the territory of Elam, in the town of
Sakbat. Nabu-Pakid-Ilan was authorized to collect the
taxes from the Elamites in order to govern them; I claimed
as a pledge the town of Birtu. I placed all this country
in the hands of my Lieutenant at Babylon and my Lieutenant
in the country of Gambul.
40 I returned alone to Babylon, to the sanctuaries
of Bel, the
judge of the gods, in the excitement of my heart and the
splendor of my appearance; I took the hands of the great
Lord, the august god Merodach, and I traversed the way
to the chamber of the spoil.
41 I transported into it 154 talents 26 minas 10
gold russu; 1804 talents 20 minas of silver; ivory,
a great deal of copper, iron in an innumerable quantity,
some of the stone ka, alabaster, the minerals pi digili,
flattened pi sirru for witness seals, blue and purple stuffs,
cloth of berom and cotton, ebony; cedar, and cypress wood,
freshly cut from the fine forests on Mount Amanus, in
honor of Bel, Zarpanit, Nebo, and Tasmit, and the gods
who inhabit the sanctuaries of the Sumers and Accads; all
that from my accession to the third year of my reign.
42 Upir, King of Dilmun who dwells at the distance
parasanges in the midst of the sea of the rising sun and
who is established as a fish, heard of the favor that the gods
Assur, Nebo, and Merodach had accorded me; he sent
therefore his expiatory gift.
43 And the seven Kings of the country of Iahnagi,
country of Iatnan (who have established and extended
their dwellings at a distance of seven days’ navigation in
the midst of the sea of the setting sun, and whose name
from the most ancient ages until the renewal of the lunar
period, none of the Kings my fathers in Assyria and
Chaldea had heard), had been told of my lofty achievements
in Chaldea and Syria, and my glory, which had
spread from afar to the midst of the sea. They subdued
their pride and humbled themselves; they presented themselves
before me at Babylon, bearing metals, gold, silver,
vases, ebony wood, and the manufactures of their country;
they kissed my feet.
44 While I endeavored to exterminate Bet-Iakin and
Aram, and render my rule more efficacious in the country
of Iatbur, which is beyond Elam, my Lieutenant, the Governor
of the country of Kue, attacked Mita, the Moschian,
and 3,000 of his towns; he demolished these towns, destroyed
them, burnt them with fire, and led away many
captives. And this Mita the Moschian, who had never
submitted to the Kings my predecessors and had never
changed his will, sent his envoy to me to the very borders
of the sea of the rising sun, bearing professions of allegiance
45 In these days, these nations and these countries
hand has conquered, and that the gods Assur, Nebo, and
Merodach have made bow to my feet, followed the ways
of piety. With their help I built at the feet of the musri,
following the divine will and the wish of my heart, a town
that I called Dur-Sarkin to replace Nineveh.
Nisroch, Sin, Samas, Nebo, Bin, Ninip, and their great
spouses, who procreate eternally in the lofty temple of the upper
46 I built in the town some palaces covered with
the skin of
the sea-calf, and of sandal wood, ebony, the wood of mastic
tree, cedar, cypress, wild pistachio nut tree, a palace of
incomparable splendor, as the seat of my royalty. I
placed their dunu upon tablets of gold, silver, alabaster,
tilpe stones, parut stones, copper, lead, iron, tin, and
khibisti made of earth. I wrote thereupon the glory of the gods.
Above I built a platform of cedar beams. I bordered the
doors of pine and mastic wood with bronze garnitures,
and I calculated their distance. I made a spiral staircase
similar to the one in the great temple of Syria, that is
called in the Phoenician language, Bethilanni. Between
the doors I placed 8 double lions whose weight is 1 ner 6
soss, 50 talents of first-rate copper, made in honor of
Mylitta ... and their four kubur in materials from
Mount Amanus; I placed them on nirgalli. Over them I
sculptured artistically a crown of beast of the fields, a bird
in stone of the mountains. Toward the four celestial regions,
I turned their front. The lintels and the uprights
I made in large gypsum stone that I had taken away with
my own hand, I placed them above. I walled them in
and I drew upon me the admiration of the people of the
47 From the beginning to the end, I walked worshipping
god Assur, and following the custom of wise men, I built
palaces, I amassed treasures.
48 In the month of blessing, on the happy day, I
in the midst of them, Assur, the father of the gods, the
greatest sovereign of the gods and the Istarat who inhabit
Assyria. I presented vessels of glass, things in
chased silver, ivory, valuable jewels and immense presents,
in great quantities, and I rejoiced their heart. I exhibited
sculptured idols, double and winged, some ...
winged, some ... winged, serpents, fishes, and birds,
from unknown regions and abysses, the ... in high
mountains, summits of the lands that I have conquered
with my own hand, for the glory of my royalty. As a worshipper
of the gods and the god Assur, I sacrificed in their
presence, with the sacrifice of white lambs, holy holocausts
of expiation, in order to withdraw the gifts that had not
been agreeable to the gods.
49 He has granted me in his august power, a happy
long life, and I obtained a constantly lucky reign.
I have entrusted myself to his favor.
50 The great Lord Bel-El, the Master of the lands,
the lofty tracts; the gods and Istarat inhabit Assyria;
their legions remain there in pargiti, and martakni.
51 With the Chiefs of provinces, the Satraps, wise
Astronomers, Magnates, the Lieutenants and Governors
of Assyria, I have ruled in my palace, and administered
52 I have bid them take gold, silver, gold and silver
precious stones, copper, iron, considerable products of
mountains the mines of which are rich, cloth of berom and
cotton, blue and purple cloth, amber, skins of sea-calves,
pearls, sandal-wood, ebony, horses from higher Egypt,
asses, mules, camels, oxen. With all these numerous
tributes I have rejoiced the heart of the gods.
53 May Assur, the father of the gods, bless these
giving to his images a spontaneous splendor. May he
watch over the issue even to the remote future. May the
sculptured bull, the protector and god who imparts perfection,
dwell in day and in night-time in his presence, and
never stir from this threshold!
54 With the help of Assur, may the King who has built
palaces, attain an old age, and may his offspring multiply
greatly! May these battlements last to the most remote
future! May he who dwells there come forth surrounded
with the greatest splendor; may he rejoice in his corporal
health, in the satisfaction of his heart accomplish his
wishes, attain his end, and may he render his magnificence
seven times more imposing!
[Footnote 1: Orchoe, the Erech of the Bible, is certainly the Warka of the present day; Sippara, Sofeira; Nipur, Niffar; Larsam, Senkereh. Ur (the Ur of the Bible) is Mugheir; Kullab and Erikhi are unknown. (See “Exped. en Mesopot.,” i. p. 255 et seq.)]
[Footnote 2: The old empire Bal-bat-ki. The syllabaries explain this ideogram by “Assur,” but it is very awkward that in these texts the identification with Assur occurs nowhere. I therefore transcribe “Sumer,” which was the true name of the people and the language named wrongly Accadian. The term of “Sumerian” is supported by MM. Menant, Eneberg, Gelzer, Praetorius, Delitzsch, Olshausen, and other scholars.]
[Footnote 3: “Itanus,” or Yatnan, in the island of Crete, became afterward the name of the island of Cyprus.]
[Footnote 4: For the words in italics no satisfactory translation has as yet been found.]
[Footnote 5: The “Pekod” of the Bible (Jer. i. 21; Ezek. xxiii. 23).]
[Footnote 6: Which belongs to Elam.]
[Footnote 7: Lower Chaldea. Nearly all the names of the Elamite towns are Semitic (see Gen. x. 22), but the Susian ones are not.]
[Footnote 8: Tiglatpileser, whom Sargon would not acknowledge.]
[Footnote 9: This is the word “siltan,” the Hebrew “shilton” ("power"), the Arabic “sultan.”]
[Footnote 10: Raphia, near the frontier of Egypt.]
[Footnote 11: Khilakku. It seems to be identical with the “Sparda” of Persian, the “Sepharad” of Obadiah.]
[Footnote 12: The condition of Jaubid before his accession.]
[Footnote 13: Or Minni.]
[Footnote 14: It seems not to be Paphos.]
[Footnote 15: Parthia(?).]
[Footnote 16: The same name as Belshazzar.]
[Footnote 17: This Agag is very possibly the country of Haman the Agagite, if we must not read Agaz.]
[Footnote 18: Ambanda is perhaps the Median “Kampanda.”]
[Footnote 19: We find in the inscriptions of Van, the god Haldi as god of the Armenians, which proves more forcibly than ever that the syllabary of the Armenian inscriptions is the same as the Assyrian syllabary.]
[Footnote 20: See Isaiah xx. 1.]
[Footnote 21: Meluhhi is not Meroe, but Libya, and especially the Marmarica. The name seems to be the “Milyes” of Herodotus.]
[Footnote 22: “Asdudim” seems to be a Hebraic plural.]
[Footnote 23: Meluhhi. This is the only passage where small gaps occur.]
[Footnote 24: This is one of the most important passages of the text; the period is the Chaldean eclipse period of 1,805 years, and ended in 712 B.C. Instead of this passage, the stele of Larnaca, now in Berlin, has, “from the remotest times, the beginning of Assyria, until now.” The commencement of the period, 2517 B.C., coincided very nearly with the capture of Babylon by the Medes. This date commences the real history; previous to this time reigned the 86 princes during twelve lunar periods of 1,805, and twelve solar periods of 1,460 years, viz., 39,180 years. The very event may have happened eleven years afterward, 2506 B.C. The Deluge happened, according to the Chaldeans, in 41697 B.C.]
[Footnote 25: This royal name is still found in the Armenian texts of Van.]
[Footnote 26: The inscriptions of this prince are translated in the seventh volume.]
[Footnote 27: Elam. We are now certain of this identification.]
[Footnote 28: The same who occurs in the Ptolemaic canon (721-709).]
[Footnote 29: From 721 to 709 B.C.]
[Footnote 30: 32 m. 91 cm., 39 yds.]
[Footnote 31: 54 m. 85 cm., 65 yds.]
[Footnote 32: 4 m. 94 cm., 17-1/2 ft.]
[Footnote 33: Unexplained.]
[Footnote 34: “Timin,” not “cylinder.”]
[Footnote 35: Only two years after the commencement of the war.]
[Footnote 36: 12,544. pd. troy 68.]
[Footnote 37: 152,227. pd. troy, 75. A royal silver drachm is nearly 3s., a royal mina L9; the state drachm and mina is the half of it. A silver talent is always very close to L270 sterling.]
[Footnote 38: Sargon speaks of his third “year” and not of his third campaign, in order to mark what he had already accomplished before the year 717.]
[Footnote 39: One hundred and ten English miles.]
[Footnote 40: This is the second passage where Sargon alludes to this period ending under his reign.]
[Footnote 41: “Karduniyas.”]
[Footnote 42: Or “Dur-Sarkayan.” The King passes rapidly over some other peculiarities which he inserts in other texts, namely, the measures of the town, and the ceremonies of its edification. The circuit is given as containing 3-1/3 ners (miles) 1 stadium 3 canes 2 spans, or 24,740 spans, and Botta’s measurings afford 6,790 metres (7,427 yds.). This statement gives for the span, with a slight correction in the fourth decimal, 27,425 cm. (10.797 ins., and for the cubit 5,485 cm. 21.594 ins.).]
[Transcriber’s Note: Above, the author seems to be using the European decimal point “,”, in the metric measurements, and the American decimal point in the Imperial measurements, “.".]
[Footnote 43: At this time the palace of Nineveh was still in ruins. It was rebuilt by Sennacherib.]
[Footnote 44: This is my former transcription of the divine name which is now pronounced Hea. But I think sincerely that the latter is not better than the former one.]
[Footnote 45: This assimilation is not quite certain.]
[Footnote 46: One thousand ten talents 602 cwt. English.]
[Footnote 47: Obscure.]
[Footnote 48: A very difficult passage; the name of the god Nergal does not interfere with the object.]
[Footnote 49: The Hebrew “Astaroth,” which signifies “goddesses.” Compare Judges x. 6.]
[Footnote 50: Obscure.]
[Footnote 51: It is not clear what animals are meant.]