“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.