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  • Kish
    Kassites Mesopotamia Map Ziggurat Ziggurat Please Help Keep Us On the Web We are a Non Profit Organization and the cost of continuing is becoming more than we can handle Therefore we are asking you to please donate anything you can to help keep us on the web Please Help Click Here Care to express an opinion on a current or past historical event Need to ask a question from our many visitors Just visit our Message Board and leave your message Message Board Weekly Poll Sumerian Kish The once majestic city of Kish is today only ruins It lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers about 8 miles 13 kilometers east of the site of Babylon in what is now Iraq Inscriptions in the ruins state that it was the first city founded after the Flood As the traditional first capital of the Sumerians Kish was an early center of civilization see Babylonia and Assyria In ancient times the area was fertile The Sumerians settled along a bend of the Euphrates River They built a fortified city more than 5 miles 8 kilometers long and almost 2 miles 3 kilometers wide Until as late as the time of King

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  • Sumerian Language
    revival during the 3rd dynasty of Ur the New Sumerian period came to an end about 2000 BC when new inroads of the Semitic peoples from the desert succeeded in destroying the 3rd dynasty of Ur and in establishing the Semitic dynasties of Isin Larsa and Babylon The period of the dynasties of Isin Larsa and Babylon is called the Old Babylonian period after Babylon which became the capital and the most important city in the country During this time the Sumerians lost their political identity and Sumerian gradually disappeared as a spoken language It did however continue to be written to the very end of the use of cuneiform writing This is the last stage of the Sumerian language called Post Sumerian In the early stages of the Post Sumerian period the use of written Sumerian is extensively attested in legal and administrative texts as well as in royal inscriptions which are often bilingual in Sumerian and Babylonian Many Sumerian literary compositions which came down from the older Sumerian periods by way of oral tradition were recorded in writing for the first time in the Old Babylonian period Many more were copied by industrious scribes from originals now lost The rich Sumerian literature is represented by texts of varied nature such as myths and epics hymns and lamentations rituals and incantations and proverbs and the so called wisdom compositions For many centuries after the Old Babylonian period the study of Sumerian continued in the Babylonian schools As late as the 7th century BC Ashurbanipal one of the last rulers of Assyria boasted of being able to read the difficult Sumerian language and from an even later period in Hellenistic times there are some cuneiform tablets that show Sumerian words transcribed in Greek letters Rediscovery Around the time of Christ all knowledge of the Sumerian language disappeared along with that of cuneiform writing and in the succeeding centuries even the name Sumer vanished from memory Unlike Assyria Babylonia and Egypt whose histories and traditions are amply documented in biblical and classical sources there was nothing to be found in non Mesopotamian sources to make one even suspect the existence of the Sumerians in antiquity let alone fully appreciate their important role in the history of early civilizations When the decipherment of cuneiform writing was achieved in the early decades of the 19th century three languages written in cuneiform were discovered Semitic Babylonian Indo European Persian and Elamite of unknown linguistic affiliation Only after the texts written in Babylonian had become better understood did scholars become aware of the existence of texts written in a language different from Babylonian When the new language was discovered it was variously designated as Scythian or even Akkadian that is by the very name now given to the Semitic language spoken in Babylonia and Assyria It was only after knowledge of the new language had grown that it was given the correct name of Sumerian Characteristics The linguistic affinity of Sumerian has not yet been

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  • Sumerian Language
    nearness to someone v to hold to be near to protect prep comitative suffix with copula and mainly in Sargonic date texts dé to pour often with ni to water to increase be full to shape form to instruct to sink dè ashes de 5 di 5 RI to advise to remove earth clods reduplicated de 6 2 e 6 to bring carry ši or ta denote direction to continue on singular ham t u di n lawsuit case judgment decision verdict sentence v to judge decide to conduct oneself to go to escape du to walk to go to come sing marû dù ú n work totality v to build make to mould cast to erect something on the ground to raise up to set up to plant to fasten apply du 7 to be finished complete to be suitable fitting to be necessary to butt gore toss reduplication class regularly followed by rá du 14 quarrel struggle fight ga n milk chamber water ge 2 6 girl gi reed length measure reed 6 cubits 3 meters circular to sprout gi 4 to surround besiege to lock up circle to descend into gi 17 n young man small and thin like a reed adj small gí gé reed mat gi 4 ge 4 to return come back to send back with ši to reject dislike to restore to answer person to whom answer is given resumed by dative prefix and with ni circular motion to go out send gu string thread wool yarn flax hemp snare net orig word for needle circular grass like gú neck nape river bank side other side edge front land pulse chick pea circular u 5 on top of as possible loan from Akkadian cf Orel Stolbova 982 gun occiput neck nape gù n noise sound voice v to exclaim to utter a cry said of an animal throat u 3 4 8 cries screams gu 7 kú n food sustenance fodder angle v to eat swallow consume use to eat up finish off to feed nurse benefit with ni throat ú food á basket house stable e 26 á I myself my u 10 my mine ha precative and affirmative verbal prefix may let indeed ha fish not the usual word for fish but the fish sign may get its syllabic reading of HA from h many a water fish an alternative to the usual ku 6 kua há hi a numerous diverse assorted mixed hà hù a 6 u ten usually written u he hi to mix HI archaic frequency 291 he 2 abundance abundant hu bird earlier word than mušen ia 2 7 9 í five ìa ì n oil fat cream ia 4 i 4 pebble counter ka mouth KA archaic frequency 108 concatenates 2 sign variants ká gate KA 2 archaic frequency 11 concatenates 4 sign variants ka 5 a fox ki n earth place area location ground grain base to rise sprout KI archaic frequency 386 concatenates 2 sign variants prep where wherever whenever behind ku to base found build to lie down reduplication class KU archaic frequency 64 concatenates 3 sign variants ku 6 kua fish kú food a water la abundance luxury wealth youthful freshness and beauty bliss happiness wish desire lá to penetrate pierce force a way into in order to see to know to look after to have a beard cf also lal iš li juniper cedar tree lí true measure fine oil li 9 to glisten shine lu n many much man men people sheep v to be make numerous abundant to multiply to mix to graze pasture reduplication class lú grown man male human being someone anyone no one gentleman lù to disturb agitate trouble to fluster embarrass to stir blend ma to bind ma 3 á to go Akk alaaku iš má boat ma 4 to leave depart go out me mì e n function office responsibility ideal norm the phenomenal area of a deity s power divine decree oracle cult v to be the Sumerian copula to say tell poss suffix our me 3 6 7 9 battle me 6 to act behave mí SAL n woman female this pronunciation of the sign found in compound words and verbs or in enclitic or proclitic position Hallo van Dijk p 85 cf also mu 10 munus compounds are more likely to preserve an older word adj feminine mu n name word year line on a tablet entry oath v to name speak prep because conjugation prefix suggests involvement by speaker used especially before dative infixes preferred for animate and agentive subjects mù ma 5 to mill grind to burn reduplication class mu 5 well formed beautiful plump fattened mu 7 to shout scream roar exorcism mu 10 SAL woman female cf also mí munus na n human being incense adj no modal prefix emphatic in past tense prohibitive in present future tense na 4 na pebble rock ordinary stone stone weight token hailstone na 5 chest box ne e ne en this one that one demonstrative affix nè ní strength vigor violence forces host ni na he she that one human animate pronoun or possessive suffix ní self body one s own ní ne 4 fear respect frightfulness awe nu n image likeness picture figurine statue adj adv no not without negative nu 11 ŠIR light fire lamp alabaster iš pa leaf bud sprout branch wing feather pa 4 5 6 r irrigation ditch small canal dike pú well cistern pool fountain depth ra g h n inundation v to strike stab slay to stir to impress stamp or roll a seal into clay to branch out from the side of a canal to flood overflow to measure to pack haul or throw away with ta re 7 ri 6 rá ir 10 e re 7 er ir to accompany lead to bear to go to drive along or away to stir mix plural hamtu e re 7 er ri v to throw cast to place pour put into to place upon or against with ši to be located to touch to moor a boat to break open to expel remove throw away sweep away with ta to emit to beget to blow said of a storm to inundate to exchange to take to gather glean to plan something ri is hamtu form ri g is marû form ri ri g is plural adj far demonstrative affix that those regarding that where the reference is to something outside the view of the speaker over yonder ru n present gift v to blow to give to send cf rúg rù to be equal in size or rank ru 5 to send forth shoots buds or blossoms to butt to gore sa n sinew tendon cord net mat bundle string of a musical instrument v to roast barley sá n advice v to approach or equal in value to compare with to compete with da sa 4 to name to call by name sa 5 n red ocher adj red red brown sa 7 well formed sa 9 half sa 10 to be equivalent to buy Akkadian loan si n horn s antenna e line ray s light plowland v to stand upright to be straight to be in order to become completely still adj regular normal si su sa sa 5 v to fill up to fill with with da to survey a field to inundate to be full to be sufficient enough to increase to compensate repay replace to grow weak probably reduplication class adj suitable fit si 4 su 4 sa 11 red si 14 a small pot su n body flesh skin animal hide relatives substitute adj naked su 4 to grow to multiply su 9 ša 4 n red ocher v to mourn grieve su x to spread ša to dry up ša 5 to cut break reeds še n barley grain a small length measure barleycorn šè n portion še 10 excrement dung šu n hand share portion bundle strength control v to pour šu 4 g to stand to be deployed set up plural reduplication class ta dá n nature character te de 4 n cheek chin te de 4 ti v to approach meet someone dative to attack assault to be frightened alternating class hamtu stem tè an alkaline plant soapwort cardamon te 8 Á mušen bearded vulture ti side rib arrow tu to interfere tu 5 17 n bath v to wash bathe to pour to make libation probably reduplication class tu 6 exorcism conjuration exorcistic formula tu 7 soup soup pitcher za you singular za to make noise occurs as the verb in compounds with repetitive onomatopoeic syllables symbolizing a repeated monotonous noise or motion za 2 precious stone gemstone bead hailstone pit kernel zé ZÍ to cut to shear cut hair to pluck zi n breathing breath of life throat soul zí stench bile bitter zu sú n wisdom knowledge v to know to understand to inform teach in marû reduplicated form to learn from someone with da to recognize someone with da to be experienced qualified zú su 11 KA tooth teeth prong thorn blade ivory flint chert obsidian natural glass Written Sumerian contains many examples of homonymy differently written signs that at least in the Akkadian transcription appear to have been pronounced the same such as ka mouth and ká gate Also individual signs show many instances of polysemy using the same sign or word to mean many things such as star flower remote ancient and joy for the ul sign This raises the question What is a word Before the invention of writing when language was only spoken a word was something other than a dictionary entry More primary than words are objects and actions Early humans faced the task of agreeing on vowel consonant combinations that would point at all the real objects that existed in their world The speech sounds upon which they agreed were of a more limited number than the objects at which they had to point Early humans used words as deictic pointers Context made it clear at what object or action they were pointing Prior to speech invention humans had to be expert at deducing from context the significance of another human s actions expressions or gestures Polysemy could run rampant in early language because listeners would understand from the context at what speakers were using their words to point By inventing multiple homonymous written signs to represent the more diverse concepts shared by particular consonant vowel combinations the Sumerian scribes sought to order organize and separate into separate word signs some of the less related deictic objects of polysemic speech words The entire lexicon of 1 255 Sumerian logogram words and 2 511 Sumerian compound words can be found on the Internet at http www sumerian org sumerlex htm The more complex word structures in Sumerian are CVCV e g gaba breast ga milk ba to give VCVC e g ušub basket uš to support lift ub 4 cavity hole VCCV e g úrgu ferocity ur dog gù to bark VCCVC e g endub cook en lord manager dub to pour heap move in a circle shake VCVCV e g urudu copper ùru luminous object dù to mould cast CVCVC e g adub tablet container ar á storeroom to store dub tablet CVCCV e g éšbu grappling hook for a wrestler iš wood tool bu to pull draw VCVCVC e g urugal the netherworld uru city gal big VCCVCV e g eškiri nose rope halter bridle éše rope kìri muzzle VCCVCVC e g umbisa scribe umbin nail or nail impression on a clay tablet sa head human VCCVCCV e g immindu roasting baking oven im clay ninda bread VCVCCVC e g elamkuš bladder élla kidneys kuš skin CVCCVC e g kankal hard soil uncultivated land ki land nu not kalag kal valuable CVCVCV e g tabira metalworker tab to hold clasp ùru luminous object CVCVCVC e g buranun Euphrates river bu 5 to rush around ra to flood overflow nun noble great CVCVCCV e g kurušda sweet fodder for fattening cattle kuruš plump fat dù to make CVCVCCVC e g muhaldim baker cook mù to mill grind hal to apportion dím to fashion CVCCVCV e g mangaga palm fiber bast man equal partner gag nail peg a k of CVCCVCVC e g dalhamun tornado violent storm dal to fly ha mun mutually opposing or contrasting and CVCCVCVCV e g kingusili greater part kí task sílig hand of five fingers In our transcription the proto Sumerians distinguished between the four vowel sounds known to the Semitic Akkadians from whom we derive our knowledge of Sumerian It is possible that in some cases our vowel u should be transcribed as o 1 making at least five vowels Quickly exhausting the symbolic possibilities of the vowels the proto Sumerians constructed symbolic analogies between what we call consonants which involved impeding one s vocal production in various ways and certain external objects and actions The Sumerians employed the labial dental alveolar and velar stops nasals fricatives and approximates indicated in the lexicon with the important difference from us that they did not distinguish between voiced and voiceless stops like b and p d and t or g and k Our varying use of one or the other transcription represents a pronunciation distinction which has not yet been adequately clarified 2 The structurally organized lexicon makes it easy to see that words having the same consonant are often related in meaning Certain sets of abstract ideas are associated with each consonant Insofar as they can be synthesized from the concrete words found in the lexicon following are the abstract ideas associated with each consonantal phoneme b p cavity receptacle container to take choose allocate choice d t edge side to approach to leave to interact with to act do perform g k throat circle entrance base long narrow to consume to kill to utter m female to cause to be to be to make go out to go transportation to speak n discrete individuality to be high to be awesome self kin to love benefit l happiness abundance food production males r to protect shelter support to send forth emit secrete s skill to be near to enclose bind to be full š quantity portion grain moistness to support suspend h numerousness saliva z to cook roast meat animal teeth to cut breathing Having identified the sets of ideas associated with each proto Sumerian consonant the question arises as to why these particular associations and not others The answer is foreign to the modern mind accustomed as we are to words which are constructed of arbitrary consonants and vowels words which we commit to memory as unbreakable morphemic sequences In modern languages except for a few words which are recognized to originate in sound symbolism meaning is divorced from sound The sounds that make up modern words do not have meanings which everyone acknowledges This was not the case for the inventors of the proto Sumerian language because they were trying to use the mouth and the sounds that it produced to point at objects and actions One can think of these sounds as mouth gestures or mouth pictures What one did with the mouth to produce the consonantal sounds had to have enough logical similarity to the referenced actions or objects to trigger a mental association Thinking is based on stringing together parts which economically represent wholes The mind can recall a whole object or action when presented with just a part of it Proto Sumerian mouth gestures tried to recreate enough features of part of an object or action to enable recalling the whole The proto Sumerians recognized the following articulatory symbolism b p The lips required to produce a bilabial stop were taken to represent the mouth as a whole that is as a cavity or receptacle while as prehensile organs which furthermore demarcate the entrance to each person their sound came to represent taking or allocating d t A dental alveolar stop is produced with the tip of the tongue closed against the upper incisors and or the alveolar ridge and with the sides of the tongue pressed against the upper molars The closure of the oral cavity on all sides led to the meaning edge side which led to associated verbal meanings such as interaction between two parties or between one party and an edge or boundary Since chewing with the molars is the mouth s primary activity this phoneme also meant to act do perform g k A velar stop is produced with the back of the tongue closed against the velum or palate Of the stops it is the farthest back so its meanings derive mainly from association with the throat Such meanings include entrance long narrow to consume to kill and to utter The production of this phoneme at the base of the oral cavity is what led to the meaning site base m This is a bilabial nasal resonant in which the oral cavity closed by the lips provides a resonating chamber for the voice which is directed out through the nasal cavity The idea of a chamber may have led to the idea of a woman in her child bearing capacity and thence to the meanings to cause to be and to go out It should be noted that ama means mother in many other languages besides Sumerian and thus presumably derives from baby talk But because its baby talk counterpart meaning father ada shows no signs of having influenced the meaning of d t we should retain the vocal mechanics explanation for m n The resonating cavity of this alveolar nasal resonant is foreshortened by the tip of the tongue touching the alveolar ridge The light touch of the tip of the tongue inspired the idea of discrete individuality while its position at the roof of

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  • Sumerian Laws
    the garden shall be and remain the property of the owner and with these dates he shall pay the vendor for the latter s money and the interests accrued as the written agreement calls for but what remains of dates after that shall be and remain the property of the owner 8 When a shepherd of small cattle after having driven the herd from pasture and when the whole troop has passed within the city gates drives his cattle to another rnan s field within the city walls and pastures it there that shepherd shall take care of the field which he has given to his flock as pasture and shall give to the owner of the field for every day the amount of sixty qa 9 If a man sell a slave girl for money and another party proves just claims to her and takes her away from her present owner the seller shall return the money to the buyer to exactly the same amount that his receipt calls for if in the meanwhile she has borne children he shall in addition pay for each child one half shekel 10 If a man after having promised either verbally or in writing a certain dowry to his daughter loses part of his property he can give his daughter a dowry in accordance with the property as it is now and neither father in law nor son in law shall go to law on that account 11 If a man has given his daughter a dowry and the dlaughter dies without an issue the dowry reverts to the house of her father 12 If a woman whose dowry her husband has taken charge of remains childless and loses her husband her dowry shall be returned to her in full out of the late husband s estate If her husband during his lifetime has presented her part of his property she shall retain this also and still receive her own dowry in full But if she had no dowry the judge shall examine into the condition of her husband s estate and then give her a proper share in accordance with her late husband s property Ancient Mesopotamian Laws 1 BE it enacted forever and for all future days If a son say to his father You are not my father he the father can cut off his the son s locks make him a slave and sell him for money If a son say to his mother You are not my mother she can cut off his locks turn him out of town or at least drive him away from home deprive him of citizenship and of inheritance but his liberty he loses not If a father say to his son You are not my son the latter has to leave house and field and he loses everything If a mother say to her son You are not my son he shall leave house and furniture If a wife be unfaithful

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  • Literary and other historical sources For Sumeria
    for here the lengths of reign of single rulers are given as more than 100 and sometimes even several hundred years One group of versions of the king list has adopted the tradition of the Sumerian Flood story according to which Kish was the first seat of kingship after the Flood whereas five dynasties of primeval kings ruled before the Flood in Eridu Bad tibira Larak Sippar and Shuruppak These kings all allegedly ruled for multiples of 3 600 years the maximum being 64 800 or according to one variant 72 000 years The tradition of the Sumerian king list is still echoed in Berosus It is also instructive to observe what the Sumerian king list does not mention The list lacks all mention of a dynasty as important as the 1st dynasty of Lagash from King Ur Nanshe to UruKAgina and appears to retain no memory of the archaic florescence of Uruk at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC Besides the peaceful pursuits reflected in art and writing the art also provides the first information about violent contacts cylinder seals of the Uruk Level IV depict fettered men lying or squatting on the ground being beaten with sticks or otherwise maltreated by standing figures They may represent the execution of prisoners of war It is not known from where these captives came or what form war would have taken or how early organized battles were fought Nevertheless this does give the first albeit indirect evidence for the wars that are henceforth one of the most characteristic phenomena in the history of Mesopotamia Just as with the rule of man over man with the rule of higher powers over man it is difficult to make any statements about the earliest attested forms of religion or about the deities and their names without running the risk of anachronism Excluding prehistoric figurines which provide no evidence for determining whether men or anthropomorphic gods are represented the earliest testimony is supplied by certain symbols that later became the cuneiform signs for gods names the gatepost with streamers for Inanna goddess of love and war and the ringed post for the moon god Nanna A scene on a cylinder seal a shrine with an Inanna symbol and a man in a boat could be an abbreviated illustration of a procession of gods or of a cultic journey by ship The constant association of the gatepost with streamers with sheep and of the ringed post with cattle may possibly reflect the area of responsibility of each deity The Sumerologist Thorkild Jacobsen sees in the pantheon a reflex of the various economies and modes of life in ancient Mesopotamia fishermen and marsh dwellers date palm cultivators cowherds shepherds and farmers all have their special groups of gods Both Sumerian and non Sumerian languages can be detected in the divine names and place names Since the pronunciation of the names is known only from 2000 BC or later conclusions about their linguistic affinity are not without

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  • Sumerian and Akkadian Myths
    to destroy the gods She placed her consort Kingu Task at the head of it and gave him absolute powers When news of these developments reached the gods there was consternation Ea was sent to make Tiamat desist and then Anu but to no avail Finally Anshar god of the horizon and king of the gods thought of young Marduk Marduk proved willing to fight Tiamat but demanded absolute authority Accordingly a messenger was sent to the oldest of the gods Lahmu and Lahamu Silt to call the gods to assembly and in the assembly the gods conferred absolute authority on Marduk tested it by seeing whether his word of command alone could destroy a constellation and then again make it whole hailed him king and set him on the road of security and obedience a formula of allegiance that based his power and authority on the pressing need for protection of the moment In the ensuing encounter with Tiamat s forces Kingu and his army lost heart when they saw Marduk Only Tiamat stood her ground seeking first to throw him off his guard by flattery about his quick rise to leadership but Marduk angrily denounced her and the older generation The sons had to withdraw for the fathers were acting treacherously and now you who gave birth to them bear malice to the offspring At this Tiamat furious attacked but Marduk loosed the winds against her pierced her heart with an arrow and killed her Kingu and the gods who had sided with her he took captive Having thus won a lasting victory for his suzerain King Anshar he gave thought to what he might do further Cleaving the carcass of Tiamat he raised half of her to form heaven ordered the constellations the calendar the movements of Sun and Moon and keeping control of atmospheric phenomena for himself made the Earth out of the other half of her arranging its mountains and rivers Having organized the various administrative tasks he put their supervision in Ea s hands to Anu he gave the tablets of fate he had taken from Kingu His prisoners he paraded in triumphal procession before his fathers and as a monument to his victory he set up images of Tiamat s monsters at the gate of his parental home The gods were overjoyed to see him Anshar rushed toward him and Marduk formally announced to him the state of security he had achieved He then bathed dressed and seated himself on his throne with the spear Security and Obedience named from his mandate at his side By now however the situation had subtly altered The old fear and urgent need for protection was gone but in its stead had come a promise held out by Marduk s organizational powers so when the gods reaffirmed their allegiance to him as king they used a new formula benefits and obedience From then on Marduk would take care of their sanctuaries and they in turn would obey him Marduk then announced his intention of building a city for himself Babylon with room for the gods when they come there for assembly His fathers suggested that they move to Babylon themselves to be with him and help in the administration of the world he had created Next he pardoned the gods who had sided with Tiamat and had been captured charging them with the building tasks Grateful for their lives they prostrated themselves before him hailed him as king and promised to do the building Pleased with their willingness Marduk magnanimously wanted to relieve them even from this chore and planned to create man to do the toil for them At the advice of his father Ea he then had them indict Kingu as instigator of the rebellion Kingu was duly sentenced and executed and from his blood Ea created man Then Marduk divided the gods into a celestial and a terrestrial group assigned them their tasks in the cosmos and allotted them their stipends Thus freed from all burdens the gods wanted to show their gratitude to Marduk and as a token they took of their own free will for one last time spade in hand to build Babylon and Marduk s temple Esagila In the new temple the gods then assembled and distributed the celestial and terrestrial offices The great gods went into session and permanently appointed the seven gods of destinies or better of the decrees who would formulate in final form the decrees enacted by the assembly Marduk then presented his weapons and Anu adopted the bow as his daughter and gave it a seat among the gods Lastly Marduk was enthroned and after the gods had prostrated themselves before him they bound themselves by oath touching their throats with oil and water and formally gave him kingship appointing him permanently lord of the gods of heaven and earth After this they solemnly named his 50 names expressive of his power and achievements The myth ends with a plea that it be handed on from father to son and told to future rulers that they may heed Marduk it is the song of Marduk who bound Tiamat and assumed the kingship The motifs from which this myth is built up are in large measure known from elsewhere The initial generation of the gods is a variant form of the genealogy of Anu in the great god list An Anum The threat to annihilate the disturbers of sleep are known from the Atrahasis and the Sumerian Flood traditions The battle of Marduk with Tiamat seems to stem from western myths of a battle between the thunder god and the sea The organization of the universe after victory recalls the organization of conquered territory in Lugal e The killing of a rebel god to create man to take over the gods toil is found in the Atrahasis myth and without the rebel aspect in a bilingual creation myth found in Assur New and original however is

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  • Sumerian Shuruppak
    Sufferer Prayer to Shamash Prayer to Every God Reforms of Urukagina Sumerian Creation Sumerian Inscription Sumerian King List Sumerian Proverbs The Art of Sumeria Sumerian Art Harpist from Ur by Liliana Osses Adams Other Mesopotamian Peoples Akkad Amorites Assyrians Babylonians Chaldeans Hittites Kassites Mesopotamia Map Ziggurat Ziggurat Please Help Keep Us On the Web We are a Non Profit Organization and the cost of continuing is becoming more than we can handle Therefore we are asking you to please donate anything you can to help keep us on the web Please Help Click Here Care to express an opinion on a current or past historical event Need to ask a question from our many visitors Just visit our Message Board and leave your message Message Board Weekly Poll Sumerian Shuruppak Shuruppak or modern Tall Fa rah is an ancient Sumerian city located south of Nippur in what is now south central Iraq and originally on the bank of the Euphrates River Excavations there in the first half of the 20th century uncovered three levels of habitation extending in time from the late prehistoric period to the 3rd dynasty of Ur c 2112 2004 BC The most distinctive finds were ruins

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  • Sumerian Legend of Creation
    name a special fate Sit joyfully together in Ubshu ukkinakku And let me my own utterance fix fate instead of you Whatever I create shall never be altered The decree of my lips shall never be revoked never changed Hurry and decree your destiny for him quickly So that he may go and face your formidable enemy Kakka set off and went on his way And before Lahmu and Lahamu the gods his fathers Prostrated himself and kissed the earth in front of them Then straightened up and stood and spoke to them Anshar your son has sent me He has told me to report his personal message To say Tiamat who bore us is rejecting us She has convened a council and is raging out of control The gods have turned to her all of them Even those whom you begot have gone over to her side Have crowded round and rallied beside Tiamat Fierce scheming restlessly night and day Working up to war growling and raging They have convened a council and created conflict Mother Hubur who fashions all things Contributed an unfaceable weapon she bore giant snakes Sharp of tooth and unsparing of fang She filled their bodies with venom instead of blood She cloaked ferocious dragons with fearsome rays And made them bear mantles of radiance made them godlike chanting this imprecation Whoever looks upon them shall collapse in utter terror Their bodies shall rear up continually and never turn away She stationed a horned serpent a mushussu dragon and a lahmu hero An ugallu demon a rabid dog and a scorpion man Aggressive umu demons a fish man and a bull man Bearing merciless weapons fearless in battle Her orders were so powerful they could not be disobeyed In addition she created eleven more likewise Over the gods her offspring who had convened a council for her She promoted Qingu and made him greatest among them Conferred upon him leadership of the army command of the assembly Raising the weapon to signal engagement to rise up for combat Overall command of the whole battle force And she set him upon a throne I have cast the spell for you and made you greatest in the gods assembly I have put into your power rule over all the gods You shall be the greatest for you are my only lover Your commands shall always prevail over all the Anunnaki Then she gave him the Tablet of Destinies and made him clasp it to his breast Your utterance shall never be altered Your word shall be law When Qingu was promoted and had received the Anu power And had decreed destinies for the gods his sons he said What issues forth from your mouths shall quench Fire Your accumulated venom shall paralyze the powerful I sent Anu but he was unable to face her Nudimmud panicked and turned back Then Marduk sage of the gods your son came forward He wanted of his own free will to confront Tiamat He addressed his words to me If indeed I am to be your champion To defeat Tiamat and save your lives Convene the council name a special fate Sit joyfully together in Ubshu ukkinakku And let me my own utterance fix fate instead of you Whatever I create shall never be altered The decree of my lips shall never be revoked never changed Hurry and decree your destinies for him quickly So that he may go and face your formidable enemy Lahmu and Lahamu listened and cried aloud All the Igigi groaned dreadfully How terrible Until he Anshar decided to report to us We did not even know what Tiamat was doing They milled around and then came All the great gods who fix the fates Entered into Anshar s presence and were filled with joy Each kissed the other in the assembly There was conversation they sat at the banquet Ate grain drank choice wine Let sweet beer trickle through their drinking straws Their bodies swelled as they drank the liquor They became very carefree they were merry And they decreed destiny for Marduk their champion TABLET IV They founded a princely shrine for him And he took up residence as ruler before his fathers who proclaimed You are honoured among the great gods Your destiny is unequalled your word has the power of Anu O Marduk you are honoured among the great gods Your destiny is unequalled your word has the power of Anu From this day onwards your command shall not be altered Yours is the power to exalt and abase May your utterance be law your word never be falsified None of the gods shall transgress your limits May endowment required for the gods shrines Wherever they have temples be established for your place O Marduk you are our champion We hereby give you sovereignty over the whole universe Sit in the assembly and your word shall be pre eminent May your weapons never miss the mark may they smash your enemies O lord spare the life of him who trusts in you But drain the life of the god who has espoused evil They set up in their midst one constellation And then they addressed Marduk their son May your decree O lord impress the gods Command to destroy and to recreate and let it be so Speak and let the constellation vanish Speak to it again and let the constellation reappear He spoke and at his word the constellation vanished He spoke to it again and the constellation was recreated When the gods his fathers saw how effective his utterance was They rejoiced they proclaimed Marduk is King They invested him with sceptre throne and staff of office They gave him an unfaceable weapon to crush the foe Go and cut off the life of Tiamat Let the winds bear her blood to us as good news The gods his fathers thus decreed the destiny of the lord And set him on the path of peace and obedience He fashioned a bow designated it as his weapon Feathered the arrow set it in the string He lifted up a mace and carried it in his right hand Slung the bow and quiver at his side Put lightning in front of him His body was filled with an ever blazing flame He made a net to encircle Tiamat within it Marshalled the four winds so that no part of her could escape South Wind North Wind East Wind West Wind The gift of his father Anu he kept them close to the net at his side He created the imhullu wind evil wind the tempest the whirlwind The Four Winds the Seven Winds the tornado the unfaceable facing wind He released the winds which he had created seven of them They advanced behind him to make turmoil inside Tiamat The lord raised the flood weapon his great weapon And mounted the frightful unfaceable storm chariot He had yoked to it a team of four and had harnessed to its side Slayer Pitiless Racer and Flyer Their lips were drawn back their teeth carried poison They know not exhaustion they can only devastate He stationed on his right Fiercesome Fight and Conflict On the left Battle to knock down every contender Clothed in a cloak of awesome armour His head was crowned with a terrible radiance The Lord set out and took the road And set his face towards Tiamat who raged out of control In his lips he gripped a spell In his hand he grasped a herb to counter poison Then they thronged about him the gods thronged about him The gods his fathers thronged about him the gods thronged about him The Lord drew near and looked into the middle of Tiamat He was trying to find out the strategy of Qingu her lover As he looked his mind became confused His will crumbled and his actions were muddled As for the gods his helpers who march ed at his side When they saw the warrior the leader their looks were strained Tiamat cast her spell She did not even turn her neck In her lips she was holding falsehood lies wheedling How powerful is your attacking force O lord of the gods The whole assembly of them has gathered to your place But he ignored her brandishments The Lord lifted up the flood weapon his great weapon And sent a message to Tiamat who feigned goodwill saying Why are you so friendly on the surface When your depths conspire to muster a battle force Just because the sons were noisy and disrespectful to their fathers Should you who gave them birth reject compassion You named Qingu as your lover You appointed him to rites of Anu power wrongfully his You sought out evil for Anshar king of the gods So you have compounded your wickedness against the gods my fathers Let your host prepare Let them gird themselves with your weapons Stand forth and you and I shall do single combat When Tiamat heard this She went wild she lost her temper Tiamat screamed aloud in a passion Her lower parts shook together from the depths She recited the incantation and kept casting her spell Meanwhile the gods of battle were sharpening their weapons Face to face they came Tiamat and Marduk sage of the gods They engaged in combat they closed for battle The Lord spread his net and made it encircle her To her face he dispatched the imhullu wind so that she could not close her lips Fierce winds distended her belly Her insides were constipated and she stretched her mouth wide He shot an arrow which pierced her belly Split her down the middle and split her heart Vanquished her and extinguished her life He threw down the corpse and stood on top of her When he had slain Tiamat the leader He broke up her regiments her assembly was scattered Then the gods her helpers who had marched at her side Began to tremble panicked and turned tail Although he allowed them to come out and spared their lives They were surrounded they could not flee Then he tied them up and smashed their weapons They were thrown into the net and sat there ensnared They cowered back filled with woe They had to bear his punishment confined to prison And as for the dozens of creatures covered in fearsome rays The gang of demons who all marched on her right He fixed them with nose ropes and tied their arms He trampled their battle filth Beneath him As for Qingu who had once been the greatest among them He defeated him and counted him among the dead gods Wrested from him the Tablet of Destinies wrongfully his Sealed it with his own seal and pressed it to his breast When he had defeated and killed his enemies And had proclaimed the submissive foe his slave And had set up the triumphal cry of Anshar over all the enemy And had achieved the desire of Nudimmud Marduk the warrior Strengthened his hold over the captive gods And to Tiamat whom he had ensnared he turned back The Lord trampled the lower part of Tiamat With his unsparing mace smashed her skull Severed the arteries of her blood And made the North Wind carry it off as good news His fathers saw it and were jubilant they rejoiced Arranged to greet him with presents greetings gifts The Lord rested and inspected her corpse He divided the monstrous shape and created marvels from it He sliced her in half like a fish for drying Half of her he put up to roof the sky Drew a bolt across and made a guard hold it Her waters he arranged so that they could not escape He crossed the heavens and sought out a shrine He levelled Apsu dwelling of Nudimmud The Lord measured the dimensions of Apsu And the large temple Eshgalla which he built in its image was Esharra In the great shrine Esharra which he had created as the sky He founded cult centres for Anu Ellil and Ea TABLET V He fashioned stands for the great gods As for the stars he set up constellations corresponding to them He designated the year and marked out its divisions Apportioned three stars each to the twelve months When he had made plans of the days of the year He founded the stand of Neberu to mark out their courses So that none of them could go wrong or stray He fixed the stand of Ellil and Ea together with it Opened up gates in both ribs Made strong bolts to left and right With her liver he located the Zenith He made the crescent moon appear entrusted night to it And designated it the jewel of night to mark out the days Go forth every month without fail in a corona At the beginning of the month to glow over the land You shine with horns to mark out six days On the seventh day the crown is half The fifteenth day shall always be the mid point the half of each month When Shamash looks at you from the horizon Gradually shed your visibility and begin to wane Always bring the day of disappearance close to the path of Shamash And on the thirtieth day the year is always equalized for Shamash is responsible for the year A sign shall appear sweep along its path Then always approach the and judge the case the Bowstar to kill and rob 15 lines broken At the New Year s Festival Year May The bolt of the exit From the days The watches of night and day The spittle of Tiamat Marduk He put into groups and made clouds scud Raising winds making rain Making fog billow by collecting her poison He assigned for himself and let his own hand control it He placed her head heaped up Opened up springs water gushed out He opened the Euphrates and the Tigris from her eyes Closed her nostrils He piled up clear cut mountains from her udder Bored waterholes to drain off the catchwater He laid her tail across tied it fast as the cosmic bond And the Apsu beneath his feet He set her thigh to make fast the sky With half of her he made a roof he fixed the earth He the work made the insides of Tiamat surge Spread his net made it extend completely He heaven and earth their knots to coil When he had designed its cult created its rites He threw down the reins and made Ea take them The Tablet of Destinies which Qingu had appropriated he fetched And took it and presented it for a first reading to Anu The gods of battle whom he had ensnared were disentangled He led them as captives into the presence of his fathers And as for the eleven creatures that Tiamat had created he Smashed their weapons tied them at his feet Made images of them and had them set up at the door of Apsu Let this be a sign that will never in future be forgotten The gods looked and their hearts were full of joy at him Lahmu and Lahamu and all his fathers Embraced him and Anshar the king proclaimed that there should be a reception for him Anu Enlil and Ea each presented him with gifts Damkina his mother exclaimed with joy at him She made him beam inside his fine house He Marduk appointed Usmu who had brought his greetings present as good news To be vizier of the Apsu to take care of shrines The Igigi assembled and all of them did obeisance to him The Anunnaki each and every one kissed his feet The whole assembly collected together to prostrate themselves they stood they bowed Yes King indeed his fathers took their fill of his manliness They took off his clothes which were enveloped in the dust of combat the gods were attentive to him With cypress they sprinkled his body He put on a princely garment A royal aura a splendid crown He took up a mace and grasped it in his right hand his left hand He set a mushussu dragon at his feet Placed upon Slung the staff of peace and obedience at his side When the mantle of radiance And his net was holding fearful Apsu A bull In the inner chamber of his throne In his cellar The gods all that existed Lahmu and Lahamu Made their voices heard and spoke to the Igigi Previously Marduk was just our beloved son But now he is your king Take heed of his command Next they spoke and proclaimed in unison LUGAL DIMMER ANKIA is his name Trust in him When they gave kingship to Marduk They spoke an oration for him for blessing and obedience Henceforth you shall be the provider of shrines for us Whatever you command we shall perform ourselves Marduk made his voice heard and spoke Addressed his words to the gods his fathers Over the Apsu the sea green dwelling In front of Esharra which I created for you Where I strengthened the ground beneath it for a shrine I shall make my house to be a luxurious dwelling for myself And shall found his cult centre within it And I shall establish my private quarters and confirm my kingship Whenever you come up from the Apsu for an assembly Your night s resting place shall ve in it receiving you all I hereby name it Babylon home of the great gods We shall make it the centre of religion The gods his fathers listened to this command of his Who has your More than you by yourself have created Babylon whose name you have just pronounced Found there our night s resting place forever let them bring

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/sumerian_legend_of_creation.htm (2016-02-11)
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