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Jun 4 07 6:44 PM

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Among the longest and most beautiful of the hymns that have come down to us in cuneiform, this ranks as one of the best products of Mesopotamian religious writing.

21. You climb to the mountains surveying the earth,
22. You suspend from the heavens the circle of the lands.
23. You care for all the peoples of the lands,
24. And everything that Ea, king of the counsellors, had created is entrusted to you.
25. Whatever has breath you shepherd without exception,
26. You are their keeper in upper and lower regions.
27. Regularly and without cease you traverse the heavens,
28. Every day you pass over the broad earth. . . .
33. Shepherd of that beneath, keeper of that above,
34. You, Shamash, direct, you are the light of everything.
35. You never fail to cross the wide expanse of sea,
36. The depth of which the Igigi know not.
37. Shamash, your glare reaches down to the abyss
38. So that monsters of the deep behold your light. . . .
45. Among all the Igigi there is none who toils but you,
46. None who is supreme like you in the whole pantheon of gods.
47. At your rising the gods of the land assemble,
48. Your fierce glare covers the land.
49. Of all the lands of varied speech,
50.. You know their plans, you scan their way.
51.. The whole of mankind bows to you,
52. Shamash, the universe longs for your light. . . .
88. A man who covets his neighbour's wife
89. Will [ . . .] before his appointed day.
90.. A -nasty snare is prepared for him. [ . . .]
91. Your weapon will strike at him, and there will be none to save him.
92. [His] father will not stand for his defense,
93. And at the judge's command his brothers will not plead.
94. He will be caught in a copper trap that he did not foresee.
95. You destroy the horns of a scheming villain,
96. A zealous [. . .] his foundations are undermined.
97. You give the unscrupulous judge experience of fetters,
98. Him who accepts a present and yet lets justice miscarry you make bear his punishment.
99. As for him who declines a present but nevertheless takes the part of the weak,
100.. It is pleasing to Shamash, and he will prolong his life. . . .
124. The progeny of evil-doers will [fail.]
125. Those whose mouth says 'No'-their case is before you.
126. In a moment you discern what they say;
127. You hear and examine them; you determine the lawsuit of the wronged.
128. Every single person is entrusted to your hands;
129. You manage their omens; that which is perplexing you make plain.
130. You observe, Shamash, prayer, supplication, and benediction,
131. Obeisance, kneeling, ritual murmurs, and prostration.
132. The feeble man calls you from the hollow of his mouth,
133. The humble, the weak, the afflicted, the poor,
134. She whose son is captive constantly and unceasingly confronts you.
135. He whose family is remote, whose city is distant,
136. The shepherd [amid) the terror of the steppe confronts you,
137. The herdsman in warfare, the keeper of sheep among enemies.
138. Shamash, there confronts you the caravan, those journeying in fear,
139. The travelling merchant, the agent who is carrying capital.
140. Shamash, there confronts you the fisherman with his net,
141. The hunter, the bowman who drives the game,
142. With his bird net the fowler confronts You.
143. The prowling thief, the enemy of Shamash,
144. The marauder along the tracks of the steppe confronts you.
145. The roving dead, the vagrant soul,
146. They confront you, Shamash, and you hear all.
147. You do not obstruct those that confront you. . . .
148. For my sake, Shamash, do not curse them!
149. You grant revelations, Shamash, to the families of men,
150. Your harsh face and fierce light you give to them. . . .
154. The heavens are not enough as the vessel into which you gaze,
155. The sum of the lands is inadequate as a seer's bowl.......
159. You deliver people surrounded by mighty waves,
160. In return you receive their pure, clear libations. . . .
165. They in their reverence laud the mention of you,
166. And worship your majesty for ever. . . .
174. Which are the mountains not clothed with your beams?
175. Which are the regions not warmed by the brightness of your light?
176. Brightener of gloom, illuminator of darkness,
177. Dispeller of darkness, illuminator of the broad earth.

Translation by W. G. Lambert, in his Babylonian Wisdom Literature
(Oxford, 1960,)I, 127 ff.

"... лошадь захромала, командир убит, конница разбита, армия бежит. Враг вступает в город, пленных не щадя, потому что в кузнице не было гвоздя..."

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#1 [url]

Jun 4 07 6:54 PM


Shamash was the common Akkadian name of the sun-god and god of justice in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu.

The name simply means "sun". Both in early and in late inscriptions Sha-mash is designated as the "offspring of Nannar," i.e. of the moon-god, and since, in an enumeration of the pantheon, Sin generally takes precedence of Shamash, it is in relationship, presumably, to the moon-god that the sun-god appears as the dependent power. Such a supposition would accord with the prominence acquired by the moon in the calendar and in astrological calculations, as well as with the fact that the moon-cult belongs to the nomadic and therefore earlier stage of civilization, whereas the sun-god rises to full importance only after the agricultural stage has been reached. The two chief centres of sun-worship in Babylonia were Sippar, represented by the mounds at Abu Habba, and Larsa, represented by the modern Senkerah. At both places the chief sanctuary bore the name E-barra (or E-babbara) "the shining house" – a direct allusion to the brilliancy of the sun-god. Of the two temples, that at Sippara was the more famous, but temples to Shamash were erected in all large centres – such as Babylon, Ur, Mari, Nippur and Nineveh. Another reference to Shamash is the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu travel to slay Humbaba, each morning they pray and make libation to shammash in the direction of the rising sun for safe travels.

The attribute most commonly associated with Shamash is justice. Just as the sun disperses darkness, so Shamash brings wrong and injustice to light. Hammurabi attributes to Shamash the inspiration that led him to gather the existing laws and legal procedures into a code, and in the design accompanying the code the king represents himself in an attitude of adoration before Shamash as the embodiment of the idea of justice. Several centuries before Hammurabi, Ur-Engur of the Ur dynasty (c. 2600 BC) declared that he rendered decisions "according to the just laws of Shamash."

It was a logical consequence of this conception of the sun-god that he was regarded also as the one who released the sufferer from the grasp of the demons. The sick man, therefore, appeals to Shamash as the god who can be depended upon to help those who are suffering unjustly. This aspect of the sun-god is vividly brought out in the hymns addressed to him, which are, therefore, among the finest productions in the entire realm of Babylonian literature. It is evident from the material at our disposal that the Shamash cults at Sippar and Larsa so overshadowed local sun-deities elsewhere as to lead to an absorption of the minor deities by the predominating one. In the systematized pantheon these minor sun-gods become attendants that do his service. Such are Bunene, spoken of as his chariot driver, whose consort is Atgi-makh, Kettu ("justice") and Mesharu ("right"), who are introduced as servitors of Shamash. Other sun-deities, as Ninurta and Nergal, the patron deities of important centres, retained their independent existence as certain phases of the sun, Ninib becoming the sun-god of the morning and of the spring time, and Nergal the sun-god of the noon and of the summer solstice, while Shamash was viewed as the sun-god in general.

Together with Sin and Ishtar, Shamash forms a second triad by the side of Anu, Enlil and Ea. The three powers, Sin, Shamash and Ishtar, symbolized the three great forces of nature, the sun, the moon and the life-giving force of the earth. At times, instead of Ishtar, we find Adad, the storm-god, associated with Sin and Shamash, and it may be that these two sets of triads represent the doctrines of two different schools of theological thought in Babylonia which were subsequently harmonized by the recognition of a group consisting of all four deities.

The consort of Shamash was known as Aya. She, however, is rarely mentioned in the inscriptions except in combination with Shamash.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

"... лошадь захромала, командир убит, конница разбита, армия бежит. Враг вступает в город, пленных не щадя, потому что в кузнице не было гвоздя..."

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#2 [url]

Feb 5 09 12:08 PM

Prayer of Ashurbanipal to Shamash (the sun god)

This text is in reality a hymn of praise to the god Shamash, to which has been appended a prayer for the well-being of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, 668-633 BC. This composition has a feature in its final lines which is unusual for hymns and prayers, but which is reminiscent of numerous royal inscriptions from very early times in Mesopotamia; a blessing is pronounced on whoever makes proper use of the piece, and a corresponding curse is added for its misuse. Duplicate copies of the text are preserved on two tablets found in the German excavations at Ashur.

O light of the great gods, light of the earth, illuminator of the world-regions,
... exalted judge, the honored one of the upper and lower regions,
... Thou dost look into all the lands with thy light.
As one who does not cease from revelation, daily thou dost determine the decisions of heaven and earth.
Thy [rising] is a flaming fire; all the stars in heaven are covered over.
Thou art uniquely brilliant; no one among the gods is equal with thee.
With Sin, thy father, thou dost hold court; thou dost deliver ordinances.
Anu and Enlil without thy consent establi sh no decision.
Ea, the determiner of judgment in th emidst of the Deep, depends upon thee.
[literally "looks upon thy face"]
The attention of all the gods is turned to thy bright rising.
They inhale incense; they receive pure bread-offeri ngs.
The incantation priests [bow down] under thee in order to cause signs of evil to pass away.
The oracel priests [stand before] thee in order to make the hands worthy to bring oracles.
[I am] thy [servant], Ashurbanipal, the exercising of w hose kingship thou didst command in a vision,
[The worshiper of] thy bright divinity, who makes glorious the appurtenances of thy divinity,
[The proclaimer of] thy greatness, who glorifies thy praise to widespread peoples.
Judge his case; turn his fate to prosperity.
[Keep] him in splendor; daily let him walk safely.
[Forever] may he rule over thy people whom thou hast given him in righteousness.
[In the house] which he made, and within which he caused thee to dwell in joy,
May he rejoice in his heart, in his disposition may he be happy, may he be satisified in living.
Whoever shall sing this psalm, (and) name the name of Ashurbanipal,
In abundance and righteousness may he rule over the people of Enlil.
Whoever shal l learn this text (and) glorify the judge of the gods,
May Shamash enrich his ...; may he make pleasing his command over the people.
Whoever shall cause this song to cease, (and) shall not glorify Shamash, the light of the great gods,
Or shall change the name of Ashurbanipal, the exercise of whose kingship Shamash in a vision commanded, and then shall name another royal name,
May his playing on the harp be displeasing to the people; may his song of rejoicing be a thorn and a thistle.

"... лошадь захромала, командир убит, конница разбита, армия бежит. Враг вступает в город, пленных не щадя, потому что в кузнице не было гвоздя..."

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#3 [url]

Feb 5 09 12:10 PM

Hymn to Shamash (the Sun-God)

Shamash is praised as a universal god. He shines on all the earth and even on the nether world. He enjoys the worship and devotion of all types of mankind even those in foreign lands. Appearing alternately with this thought throughout the hymn is the proclamation of the sun-god's interest in justice and righteousness. He punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous. The text is made up out of many fragments, all found in the library of Ashurbanipal, 668-633 BC.

• Igigi is a collective name for the great gods of heaven.
• Kubu might also be translated as Kusud or Kusig.
• Anunnaki is a collective name for the gods, sometimes appearing to mean all the gods of heaven and earth, sometimes the gods of the earth and the nether world, and again only the gods of the nether world.
• "Bag of weights" may also be translated "capital".
• In the following line, "Those who make appeal - it is put before thee;", literally means "those who make their mouth full"
• In the following line, "Quickly thou dost interpret their statements."; literally, "Thou dost hasten; thou dost loosen the issue of their mouths"

O illuminator of [darkness ...],
Destroyer of [evil ...] above and below,
O Shamash, illuminator of [darkness ...],
Destroyer of [evil ...] above and below,
Cast down like a net [over the land] are thy rays;
Over the mighty mountains ... of the sea.
At thy appearance [all] princes are glad;
All the Igigi rejoice over thee.
They are always kept hidden [in] thy ...;
In the brilliance of thy light their path [is obscured].
... constantly look at thy radiance.
The four world regions like fire ....
Opened wide is the gate which entirely ....
The bread-offerings of all the Igigi ....
O Shamash, at thy rising ... are bowed down.
... O Shamash ...,
O shining one, who opens the darkness, who ...,
Who intensifies the noonday heat ... the grain fields.
The mighty mountains are covered with thy brightness.
Thy brilliance fills the extent of the land.
(When) thou art risen over the mountains thou dost scan the earth.
Thou art holding the ends of the earth
suspended from the midst of heaven.
The people of the world, all of them, thou dost watch over.
1Whatever Ea, the counselor-king, has willed to create,
thou art guarding altogether.
Those endowed with life, thou likewise dost tend;
Thou indeed art their shepherd both above and below.
Faithfully thou dost continue to pass through the heavens;
The broad earth thou dost visit daily.
... the sea, the mountains, the earth, and th eheavens.
Like a ... steadfastly thou goest every day.
The lower region, belonging to the prince Kubu (and) the Anunnaki,
thou dost guard.
The upper world, consisting of all inhabited places,
thou dost lead aright.
Shepherd of the lower world, guardian of hte upper,
Guide, light of everything, O Shamash, art thou.
Thou dost constantly pass over the vast wide seas,
Whose innermost depths even the Igigi do not know.
... thy gleaming rays go down into the Deep;
The monsters of the sea look upon thy light.
... when thou art bound with a cord,
when thou art clothed with a storm-cloud,
... thy protection is cast down on the lands.
As thou art [not] troubled in the daytime,
and thy face is not darkened,
So thou art satiated at night; thou causest [thy light] to burn.
Over stretches of unknown distance and for countless hours,
O Shamash, thou dost keep awake;
by day thou dost go and by night thou dost [return].
There is not among all the Igigi one who wearies (himself) except thee.
(Yet) none among the gods of all the world who is exuberant like thee.
At thy rising the gods of the land assemble;
By thy frightful brilliance the land is overwhelmed.
Of all countries (even) those different in language,
Thou knowest their plans; thou art observant of their course.
All mankind rejoices in thee;
O Shamash, all the world longs for thy light.
By the cup of the diviner, by the bundle of cedarwood,
Thou dost instruct the oracle priest and the interpreter of dreams.
... of spells are bowed down before thee;
[Before] thee are bowed down both the wicked and the just.

[Who] penetrates into the sea except thee?
For the good and the wicked (alike) thou dost set up judgment.
[line 3 is too incomplete for translation]
Pours over him, and sleep ...
Thou dost hold back the evildoer, who is not ...
Thou dost bring up ... which holds judgments.
By the true judgment, O Shamash, which thou hast spoken ...
Glorious are thy pronouncements; they are not changed ...
Thou dost stand by the traveler whose road is difficult;
To the seafarer who fears the waters thou dost give [courage].
(Over) roads which are not proven thou dost [guide] the hunter;
He follows along the high places just like the sun.
[The merchant with his] pouch thou dost save from the flood.
(seventeen broken lines omitted)
Spread out is thy wide net [to catch the man]
Who has coveted the wife of his comrade ...
On an unlucky day ...
(line omitted)
1When thy weapon is turned on him [he has] no saviors.
In his trial his father will not stand by him;
To the word of the judge even his brothers do not answer;
By a bronze trap will he be caught unawares.
The horn of the perpetrator of abomination thou dost destroy.
He who manipulates the calculating of an account -
his foundation will be changed.
The unrighteous judge thou dost make to see imprisonment.
The receiver of a bribe who perverts (justice)
thou dost make to bear punishment.
He who does not accept a bribe (but) intercedes for the weak,
Is well-pleasing to Shamash (and) enriches (his) life.
The solicitous judge who pronounces a judgment of righteousness,
Shall prepare a palace;
the abode of princes (shall be) his dwelling.
He who invests money at an exorbitant rate of reckoning -
what does he gain?
He will make himself lie for the profit
and then lost (his) bag of weights.
He who invests his money at liberal rates of reckoning,
yielding one shekel for three,
Is well-pleasing to Shamash, (and) enriches his life.
He who handles the scales in falsehood,
He who deliberately changes the stone weights
(and) lowers [their weight,]
Will make himself lie for the profit
and then lose [his bag of weights.]
He who handles the scales in truth, much ...
As much as possible ...
He who handles the measure ...
(six broken lines omitted)
He is well-pleasing to Shamash (and) enriches his life.
He will expand (his) family; he will acquire wealth.
Like the water of eternal springs, there shall be enduring seed
For the doer of good deeds, who is not crafty in accounts.
He who changes the least (thing) in an offering of ...
Those who do evil - their seed shall not endure.
Those who make appeal - it is put before thee;
Quickly thou dost interpret their statements.
Thou dost hearken;
thou dost support them;
thou dost reinstate the right of
him who has been badly treated.
Each and every one is kept by thy hand;
Thou dost guide all their omens aright;
what is bound thou dost loosen.
Thou hearkenest, O Shamash,
to prayer, supplication, and adoration;
To devotion (and) kneeling,
to reciting of prayers and prostration.
In his hollow voice the feeble man calls out to thee;
The miserable, the weak, the mistreated, the poor man
Comes before thee faithfully with psalms (and) offerings.
When his family is distant, his city is far away,
From the fear of the (open) field, the shepherd comes before thee.
The shepherd boy in confusion, the shepherd among enemies
O Shamash, comes before thee.
The caravan which marches in fear,
The traveling trader, the peddler carrying the bag of weights,
O Shamash, comes before thee. The net fisherman,
The hunter, the fighter and guard against animals
In the hiding place, the bird-catcher comes before thee.
The burglar, the thief, the enemy of the king,
The vagabond in the roads of the desert, comes before thee.
The wandering dead, the fleeting ghosts
Came before thee, O Shamash ...
1Thou didst not exclude; they came before thee ...
(three broken lines omitted)
[To guide] their omens [aright] thou art sitting on a throne.
In all directions thou dost investigate their past.
Thou dost open the ears of the whole world.
For the wings of the glance of thine eyes
the heavens are not sufficient;
For a divination bowl all the countries are not enough.
On the twentieth day thou dost rejoice; in joy and gladness
Thou dost eat and drink.
Their pure wine (and) beer of the quay tavern-keeper
They pour out for thee.
Beer of the qual tavern-keeper thou dost receive.
Those whom ... and flood surround thou indeed dost spare;
Their bright, pure outpourings thou dost accept.
Thou dost drink their mixture, the wine;
The wishes which they conceive thou indeed dost cause to be realized.
Those who are submissive - thou dost release their bans;
Those who do homage - thou dost accept their prayers.
They then fear thee; they honor thy name;
They praise thy greatness forever.
The foolish of tngue who speak evil,
Who, like clouds, have no face or countenance,
Those who traverse the wide earth,
Those who tread upon the high mountains,
The monsters of the sea which are full of terror,
The product of the sea (and) what belongs in the Deep,
The spawn of the river which it produces from itself,
(all) O Shamash are in thy presence.
Which are the mountains
that have not clothed themselves with thy brilliance?
Which are the world regions
that do not warm themselves by the glow of thy light?
O brightener of gloom, who makes darkness to shine,
O opener of darkness, who makes the broad earth to shine,
Who makes the day bright
(and) sends down burning heat on the earth in the midday,
Who like a fire heats the broad earth,
Who makes the days dshort, who makes nights long,
...cold (and) frost, rain (and) snow,
(twenty more fragmentary lines)

"... лошадь захромала, командир убит, конница разбита, армия бежит. Враг вступает в город, пленных не щадя, потому что в кузнице не было гвоздя..."

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