Babylonian and Assyrian Literature eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about Babylonian and Assyrian Literature.

ACCADIAN HYMN TO ISTAR

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.

ACCADIAN HYMN TO ISTAR

OBVERSE

1 Light of heaven, who like the fire dawnest on the world,
     (art) thou.
2 Goddess in the earth, in thy fixed abode, 3 who dawnest[1] 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;[2] heaven (is thy) canopy. 10 Princess of the four cities, head of the sea,[3] heaven (is thy)
     canopy.
11 The exalted of the Sun-god, heaven (is thy) canopy. 12 For the revolver of the seasons sanctuaries I build, a temple I
     build.
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[4] 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,[5] 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;[6] my begetter. 23 The benefiter of heaven, the enlightener[7] of earth; my
     begetter.

[Footnote 1:  The Assyrian rendering has, “art caused to journey.”]

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Babylonian and Assyrian Literature from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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