by George Smith | 1876 | 63,564 words
The Chaldean account of Genesis, containing the description of the creation, the fall of man, the deluge, the tower of Babel, the times of the patriarchs, and Nimrod; Babylonian fables, and legends of the gods; from the cuneiform inscriptions Author: Smith, George, 1840-1876 Subject: Bible; Mythology, Assyro-Babylonian; Creation Publisher: London ...
- God of Pestilence.
- The Plague.
- Seven warrior gods.
- Destruction of people.
- Goddess of Karrak.
- Speech of Elu.
- Sin and destruction of Babylonians.
- Sin and destruction of Erech.
- The great god and Duran.
- Internal wars.
- Itak goes to Syria.
- Power and glory of Lubara.
- Song of Lubara.
- Blessings on his worship.
- God Ner.
- Prayer to arrest the Plague.
THE tablets recording this story (which I formerly called the u war of the gods ") are five in number, but I have only dis covered a few fragments of them. From the indications presented by these fragments I believe the first four tablets had each four columns of writing, and the fifth tablet was a smaller one of two columns to contain the remainder of the story.
The god whose exploits are principally recorded bears a name which I read with much hesitation as Lubara or Dabara and whom I conjecture on some doubtful grounds to be a form of the god Ninip.
The passages I have given in my u History of Assurbanipal" and in "Assyrian Discoveries," pp. 339, 340, 343, serve to show that this deity was the god of pestilence, or the personification of the plague, and the passage in the Deluge table (" Assyrian Discoveries," p. 192, 1. 20), shows this name with the same meaning.
My reading Lubara is taken from the passage, " Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. ii. p. 25, 1. 13.
Lubara has a companion deity named Itak who marches before him, and seven gods who follow him in his destructive course.
The point of the story in these tablets appears to be, that the people of the world had offended Anu god of heaven, and that deity ordered Lubara to go forth and strike the people with the pest. It is evident here that exactly the same views prevailed in Babylonia as those among the Jews, visitations from pestilence or famine being always supposed to be sent by the deity in punishment for some sin.
The whole of this series of tablets may be described as a poetical picture of the destruction caused by a plague, sweeping over district after district, and de stroying everything before it.
The fragment which appears to me to come first in the series is a very mutilated portion of a tablet, containing parts of three columns of writing. Only a fragment of the first column is perfect enough to translate, and the characters on this are so worn that the translation cannot be other than doubtful. It appears to read
- to capture he was turned ....
- the fifth time .... above and below seeking
- seven I? say? strengthened ....
- the words of the account of the seven gods all of them Anu heard and
- he said? to them also to Lubara the warrior of the gods may thy hand move
- like of the people of the nations their pit .... he will strike
- set thy heart also to make a destruction
- the people of the dark races to ruin thou shalt strike with the desolation of the god Ner
- and thy weapon against their swords may thy hand move
- slay them and cast down their weapons.
- He said to Lubara do thou go and
- thy .... like an old man, thy son name? afterwards?
- like a slaughter in the house, name in the house,
- against the seat devised ....
- like in war not ....
This passage appears to describe the forthcoming destruction, the god Anu commanding the slaughter.
The next fragment is of a different character, but appears from its style to belong to this series.
- ..... he ....
- ...... spake to him and he ....
- ...... spake to him and he learned? ....
- Anu at the doing of Hea . .
- the gods of heaven and earth all there were who thus answered
- his will which was like the will of Anu who . . .
- ..... extending from the horizon of heaven to the top of heaven
- ..... looked and his fear he saw
- ..... Anu who hand? over him .... made
- ..... of Hea his calamity made
- ..... strong to later days to ....
- ..... sin of mankind
- ..... triumphantly the net . . he broke
- ..... to heaven he ascended, she thus
- ..... 4,021 people he placed
- ..... the illness which was on the body of the people he placed
- ..... the illness the goddess of Karrak made to cease
The next portion of the legend is a considerable part of one of the tablets, probably the fourth, all four columns of writing being represented. There are many curious points in this tablet, beside the special purpose of the legend, such as the peoples enumerated in the fourth column, the action of the gods of the various cities, &c.
- ..... his . . thou dost not sweep away
- ..... thou turnest his troop
- ..... dwelling
- ..... thou enterest within it
- ..... thou callest, like a tent
- ..... an appointment has not
- ..... thy ... he gathers
- ..... he draws out his sword
- ..... he fills his bow
- ..... war is made
- ..... like a bird he flies
- ..... and he seeks
- ..... he destroys
- ..... great curse
- ..... strike their hands
- ..... the fire
- ..... taken
- Eluhis fierceness? covered? and
- in his heart he said:
- Lubara is couching at his gate, over the corpses of chiefs and slaves
- thou placest his seat.
- The wicked Babylonians watched it and
- thou art their curse.
- To the floor thou tramplest them and thou didst break through ....
- Warrior Lubara.
- Thou leavest also the land, thou goest out to another
- ..... thou destroyest the land, thou enterest the palace.
- The people see thee and they reach their weapons.
- The high priest the avenger of Babylon hardens his heart,
- like the spoiling of enemies to spoil he sends forth his soldiers.
- Before the face of the people they do evil violently.
- To that city I send thee, thou man
- shalt not fear, do not tremble at a man.
- Small and great at once cast down and
- ..... of evil leaving fear ? thou dost not save any one.
- The collection of the goods of Babylon thou spoilest,
- the people the king gathers, and enters the city,
- shaking the bow, raising the sword
- of the people spoiled who are punished by Anu and Dagon.
- Their swords thou takest,
- their corpses like the pouring down of rain thou dost cast down in the vicinity of the city,
- and their treasures thou openest, thou dost sweep into the river.
- The great lord Merodach saw and angrily poke,
- in his heart he resolved,
- on an unsparing curse his face is set,
- ..... of the river fled not ....
Many lines lost.
- of the lord of the earth ....
- a deluge he did not make ....
- Against Shamas his tower thou destroyest thou dost cast ....
- Of Erech the seat of Ami and Ishtar
- the city of the ladies, Samhati and Harimati,
- of Ishtar. Death they fear they are delivered into thy hands.
- The Suti with the Suti are placed in ....
- slay the house of heaven, the priests, the festival makers,
- who to make the people of Ishtar fear, their manhood turn to ....
- carrying swords, carrying nakldbi, dupe, and zurri
- who to raise the spirit of Ishtar trust ....
- the high priest, hardened, bows his face over them day and night?
- Their foundations, their countenance turn ....
- Ishtar is angry and troubled over the city of Erech,
- the enemies she strikes and like corn on the waters she scatters.
- Dwelling in his .... Parra ....
- he does not lead the expedition?
- The enemies whom thou destroyest do not return to ....
- The great god answered the speech
- The city of Duran to blood ....
- the people who are in the midst of it like reeds are trembling
- like sick? before the waters their pit ....
- and of me thou dost not leave me
- to the Suti
- I in my city Duran judge uprightly
- I do not
- evil? I do not give and ....
- the upright people I leave ....
- a fire is fixed ....
Four other broken lines.
Many lines lost,
- ..... swear and the house ....
- ..... country and father ....
- ..... foundation and fixed ....
- ..... house built now ....
- this all and the portion ....
- the day he brought me fate I ....
- him, his seat also he lays waste? ....
- Afterwards may he waste to another ....
- The warrior Lubara, the just also of Kutha?
- and the unjust also of Kutha,
- who sin against thee also in Kutha,
- who do not sin against thee also in Kutha,
- ..... of the god of Kutha,
- ..... head of the king of Kutha?
Two other mutilated lines.
- The planet Jupiter fearing and ....
- to his might ....
- not rejoicing ....
- who the side carried him, destroyed . ...
- to the seat of the king of the gods may he send and ....
- The warrior Lubara heard also
- the words Itak spoke to him then ....
- and thus spake the warrior Lubara:
- The sea coast with the sea coast, Subarta with Subarta, Assyrian with Assyrian.
- Elamite with Elamite
- Cossean with Cossean
- Sutu with Sutu
- Goim with Goim
- Lulubu with Lulubu
- Country with country, house with house, man with man,
- brother with brother, in the country, close together, arid may they destroy each other,
- and afterwards may the people of Akkad increase, and
- the whole of them may they destroy, and fight against them.
- The warrior Lubara to Itak who goes before him a word spake :
- Go also Itak, in the word thou hast spoken do according to all thy heart.
- Itak to the land of Syria set his face,
- and the seven warrior gods unequalled
- marched after him.
- To the country of Syria the warrior went,
- his hand he also lifted and destroyed the land,
- the land of Syria he took for his country,
- the forests of people .... he broke through the ranks?
- like ....
The next fragments of the story are on a muti lated copy of the last tablet, K 1282. This tablet, as I have before stated, is only a smaller supplemental one to include the end of the story, which could not be written on the fourth tablet.
- When Lubara ....
- the gods all of them ....
- the angels and spirits all ....
- Lubara his mouth opened and ....
- shake also the whole of you ....
- I am placed? and in the first sin ....
- my heart is angry and ....
- like a flock of sheep may ....
- against the setting up of boundaries ....
- like spoiling the country right and ....
- in the mouth of a dog noble?
- and the place ....
Fifteen lines much broken here.
- the land of Akkad its strength ....
- one of thy seven chiefs like ....
- his cities to ruins and mounds thou dost reduce ....
- his great spoil thou dost spoil, to the midst of ....
- the gods of the country strong thou removest afar off ....
- the god Ner and ....
- the productions of the countries ....
- within it they gather .... Four mutilated lines here.
- For years untold the glory of the great lord ....
- When Lubara was angry also to sweep the countries ....
- he set his face
- Itak his adviser quieted him and stayed ....
- collecting his .... to the mighty one of the gods, Merodach son of ....
- in the commencement of the night he sent him, and like in the year ....
- Not any one ....
- ..... and went not down against ....
- his .... also Lubara received and before ....
- ..... Itak went before him rejoicing ....
- ..... all of them placed with him.
- Any one who shall speak of the warrior Lubara
- and that song shall glorify ; in his place, thou wilt guard continually ....
- ..... cover and may he not fall?
- his name shall be proclaimed over the world.
- Whoever my heroism shall recount,
- an adversary may he not meet.
- The prophet who shall cry it out, shall not die by the chastisement;
- higher than king and prince he shall raise his people.
- The tablet writer who studies it and flees from the wicked, shall be great in the land.
- In the places of the people the established places, my name they proclaim,
- their ears I open.
- In the house the place where their goods are placed, when Lubara is angry
- may the seven gods turn him aside,
- may the chastising sword not touch him whose face thou establishest.
- That song for ever may they establish and may they fix the part ....
- the countries all of them may they hear, and glorify my heroism ;
- the people of all the cities may they see, and exalt my name.
Fifth tablet of the exploits of ....
Here we see a picture of Oriental feeling with reference to natural phenomenon or disaster to mankind. It is supposed that some deity or angel stands with a sword over the devoted people and sweeps them into eternity.
What these Babylonians had been guilty of the record is not perfect enough to show. The first fragment shows the anger of Anu at their sin or supposed sin and his command to Lubara to take his weapon, slay the people, and desolate the land like the God Ner. This god Ner was a legendary being believed in at the time of Izdubar, who is mentioned as having a terrible name and being with Etana a dweller in Hades.
The next fragment exhibits the goddess of Karrak as healing the illness of some of the people, 4102 being mentioned as struck with disease.
In the next and largest fragment the story becomes a little more connected, it commences with a descrip tion of preparation for battle, and goes on through speeches and actions to describe the course of Lubara and his plague over Babylon, where he spares neither chief nor slave, and enters even the palace. It is supposed in lines 29-31 that the sin of the Babylonians arose from the chief priest or governor of the city arming the troops and sending them out to plunder the people. For this the plague is sent, and its progress is graphically described. The next city visited belongs to Shamas, being either Larsa, or Sippara, and then the plague reaches Erech. The character of this city is described, the Venus worship, the women of pleasure Samhati and Harimati, the priests and ceremonies, and the progress of the plague over the place. Then the great god the deity of Duran comes forward arid pleads for his city, calling to mind its uprightness and justice, and praying its exemption from the plague.
Cutha is next mentioned in the obscure third column, and then the fourth column describes a prophecy of Lubara that there should be internal war among the Mesopotamian peoples of the sea-coast, Subarti, Assyrians, Elamites, Cosseans, Guti, Goim, and Lulubu, from all which troubles benefit should come to the Akkadians or upper Babylonians.
Then according to his wish Lubara sends Itak his servant, with the seven warrior gods to destroy Syria, and Itak sweeps over the country and de stroys it.
The last tablet deals in generalities pointing out the action of Lubara when his praise was neglected, and telling all the glories and good that should come to those who should spread a song in honour of this deity. On the spread of a plague it is evident that the Babylonians had no better means of arresting it than to pray and praise the supposed terrible deity of the scourge, that he might sheathe his sword of anger.