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Assurbanipal’s Coronation Hymn (1.142)

(648 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Commentary This text should be read together with the Middle Assyrian Coronation Ritual Prayer and the Late Piece of Constructed Mythology (see text COSB.1.146 below). Assurbanipal’s Coronation Hymn (1.142) ( 1) May Shamash, king of heaven and earth, raise you to shepherdship over the four regions! May Assur, who gave you the [scepter], prolong your days and years!Spread your land wide at your feet!May Sherua extol your name to your personal god!1 ( 5) Just as grain …

The Weidner Chronicle (1.138)

(1,682 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Excavations at Ashur yielded a damaged tablet which was announced by E. F. Weidner in 1926 and so is called after him. Since then four smaller pieces of other copies have been identified and recently an almost complete tablet was recovered from Sippar, adding greatly to the interpretation of the text, although many uncertainties and gaps remain. The composition is set in the form of a letter from a king of Babylon to a king of Isin in the 19th century bce, but p…

An Assurbanipal Hymn for Shamash (1.143)

(428 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns An Assurbanipal Hymn for Shamash (1.143) (1) Light of the great gods, resplendent illuminator of the universe, Lofty judge, shepherd of the celestial and earthly regions,As if they were cuneiform signs you watch over all lands with your light!You are one who does not become tired by divination, daily making the decisions for the denizens of heaven and earth! ( 5) At your coming out, blazing fire, all the stars of heaven become invisible! You alone are supremely brillia…

An Assurbanipal Prayer for Mullissu (1.144)

(520 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns An Assurbanipal Prayer for Mullissu (1.144) (1) […] … […] […] she provides […][…] … she is in authority, does not … […][…], who grants scepter, throne, and a long reign, ( 5) [who makes] their offspring abundant, fashions totality, […]. at its mention the Igigi tremble.[At its …] who made the Anunnaki tremble.[Humanity], — mankind, the black-headed people, beseech you for their lives!Merciful, sparing [sovereign], who grants clemency, ( 10) [who makes joyful] the wa…

The Zukru Festival See  Emar  373. (1.123)

(4,094 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary In a culture that generally observed two axes in the turn of the year, at spring and autumn, the term “new year” is often too loosely applied. Nevertheless, the Israelite feasts of Unleavened Bread and Booths and the Mesopotamian akītu festival do occupy these key turning points in the annual cycle, with special significance for public religious commitments. Emar’s zukru festival provides a first early Syrian representative of this practice, att…

A Hymn to Nanaya With A Blessing for Sargon II (1.141)

(588 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns A Hymn to Nanaya With A Blessing for Sargon II (1.141) Subject: 1 Sam 2:8; Ps 113:7 Obverse I.1´ [… she grasps in her hand] the naked sword, [the emblem of Nergal], and the pointed axe, appropriate to the [Pleiades].Right and left, battle is set in lines. I.5´ She is the foremost of the gods, whose play is combat, she who leads the coalition of the seven demons. Musicians of wide repertoire are seated before her, performers on the lyre, the harpsichord, the clapp…

A Late Piece of Constructed Mythology Relevant to the Neo-Assyrian and Middle Assyrian Coronation Hymn and Prayer (1.146)

(564 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns A Late Piece of Constructed Mythology Relevant to the Neo-Assyrian and Middle Assyrian Coronation Hymn and Prayer (1.146) (1) […] … [… Their faces were turned away […Bēlet-ilī, their lady, was frightened by their silence;she spoke out to Ea, the exorcist: ( 5) “The toil of the gods has become wearisome to them! … […]. belt. […]Their faces are turned away, and enmity has broken out!Let us create a figure of clay and impose the toil on itand relieve them from their exerti…

Nergal and Ereshkigal (1.110)

(818 words)

Author(s): Dalley, Stephanie
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Nergal and Ereshkigal When the gods organized a banquet,1They sent a messengerTo their sister Ereshkigal.“We cannot come down to you,And you cannot come up to us.So send someone to fetch a share of the food for you!”Ereshkigal sent Namtar her vizier,“Go up, Namtar, to high heaven!”He went into [where] the gods were [sitting],( 10) And they [bowed (?)] and greeted Namtar,The messenger of their eldest sister.They bowed respectfully (?) when they saw him and …The high gods …

“At the Cleaners” (1.156)

(483 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Humorous Texts “At the Cleaners” (1.156) (1) “Come on fuller, let me give you instructions! Wash my garment! Don’t ignore my instructions anddon’t carry out your own methods!You should set the hem and the lining in place; ( 5) you should stitch the front to the inside; you should pick the thread of the border;you should soak the thin part in beer;you should carry out a filtering operation with a sieve;you should loosen the hem of the lining; ( 10) you should … it in clean water; you sho…

Etana (1.131)

(3,534 words)

Author(s): Dalley, Stephanie
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Epic Commentary The story centers on a king of Kish who is attested in the Sumerian king list as a quasi–historical character. Presumably the legend had its origin in Kish, although the patron deities of Kish, Zababa and Ishtar, play no part, for the sun–god Shamash alone is involved. The length and ending of the story are still disputed; if it was a three–tablet composition in its “Standard” form, it should consist of about 450 lines in all. Tablets of the Old Babylonian version co…

An Assyrian Elegy (1.119)

(525 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Lamentations and Elegies Commentary Akkadian poets rarely speak of themselves in the first person (for a notable exception see Foster 1983), so it is doubly curious that in this short poetic dialogue, the chief speaker is a woman who has died in childbirth - from all indications a young bride experiencing her first delivery. Her interlocutor is also apparently a woman, perhaps her mother, perhaps a midwife. T…

Divination (1.AK.A.4)

(1,202 words)

Author(s): Guinan, Ann K.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus 4. Divination According to a first millennium text from Assurbanipal’s library, Enmedurannki, an antediluvian king of Sippar, learned oil and liver divination — the secrets of heaven and earth — directly from Shamash and Adad. He in turn taught these arts to learned men in the cities of Sippar, Nippur, and Babylon.1 While the sources that attest to Mesopotamian divinatory practices span three millennia, it was not until the second millennium that a writte…

The Theogony of Dunnu (1.112)

(982 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary The city of Dunnu (m), whose name is a generic term for “fort, fortress,” is equated in a lexical text with the “pristine heavenly city” (URU-SAG-AN-NA), and in a date formula with the “ancient capital city” or rather perhaps the “bolt” (URU-SAG-MAH) of the kingdom of Isin. Its fall in 1795 bce ushered in the fall of Isin to Larsa in the following year. In the present text, it is even called an “eternal city” (ālu ṣātu; line 6), built by…

Nergal and Ereshkigal (1.109)

(3,560 words)

Author(s): Dalley, Stephanie
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary Two very different versions of this story are extant. The earlier one was found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, dating from the fifteenth or fourteenth centuries bce, and is told in a highly abbreviated manner in about ninety lines. Nergal visits the Underworld accompanied by demons, seizes the throne of Ereshkigal, queen of the Underworld, by force, and remains thereafter as king. The version known from Sultantepe of the seventh century bce and from Uruk in the L…

Dialogue Between A Man and His God (1.151)

(643 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Just Sufferer Compositions Commentary This is the earliest Akkadian treatment of the problem of theodicy, the theme of the just sufferer that reaches a literary climax of sorts in the Biblical Book of Job. The present treatment is known from a single text of Old Babylonian date. Like later ones, it is primarily concerned with suffering in the form of illness, assumed to be punishment for sins known or unk…

The Adapa Story (1.129)

(660 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Epic Commentary In Mesopotamian tradition, Adapa was the first of the semi-divine sages (apkallu) who served as counselors (ummānu) to the ante-diluvian kings, bringing the arts of civilization to humanity. In a late formulation of this tradition, each of these kings had his own counselor, and Adapa served Alulim, the first king. He was identified as Oannes in the Greek version of the tradition as preserved…

Two Kissu Festivals See  Emar  385 and 387. (1.126)

(1,651 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The most often copied ritual texts from the diviner’s collection are also among the most mysterious. Emar’s kissu festivals serve a cluster of deities at the nearby village of Šatappi, though the language and procedure share the common stock of the larger center, especially of the installations for the storm god’s high priestess and for the mašʾartu. The festivals are found in several combinations on individual tablets, gathered once as a fu…

Love Lyrics of Nabu and Tashmetu (1.128)

(693 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Love Poems Love Lyrics of Nabu and Tashmetu (1.128) Subject: Cant 6:11; 7:13 (1) Let anyone trust in whom he trusts; as for us we trust in Nabu, are filled with awe by Tashmetu! ( 4) What belongs to us is ours; Nabu is our lord and Tashmetu the mountain of our trust! Ditto. _________________ ( 6) Say to the one of the wall, to the one of the wall, to Tashmetu: “Grant safety from disaster! Settle down in the cella!” ( 8) Let the pure scent of juniper incense circulate in the sanctuary! Ditto. ______…

Assyrian Eponym Canon (1.136)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary From the nineteenth century bce onwards, Assyrian documents bear dates in the form “day X, month Y, līmu Personal Name.” The līmu, “eponym,” was an official who gave his name to the year. Little is known about the operation of the system before the first millennium bce and nothing of its origin. (It may be compared with the systems of archons in Greece and consuls in Rome.) For the system to operate, scribes had to have lists…

The Babylonian Theodicy (1.154)

(1,853 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Just Sufferer Compositions Commentary Formally, this classic statement of the theme of theodicy comes closest to the biblical book of Job, for it is cast in the form of a dialogue, albeit the sufferer has only one “friend” to put up with as interlocutor, and that friend is unnamed. A further formal parallel to biblical poetry in general is provided by the strophic structure which, like Ps. 119, features successive stanzas of equal length whose initial signs spell out…
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