The Chaldean account of Genesis

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 ...

Chapter XII - Meeting Of Heabani And Izdubar

  • Dream of Izdubar.
  • Heabani.
  • His wisdom.
  • His solitary life.
  • Izdubar's petition.
  • Zaidu.
  • Harimtu and Samliat.
  • Tempt Heabani.
  • Might and fame of Izdubar.
  • Speech of Heabani.
  • His journey to Erech.
  • The midannu or tiger.
  • Festival at Erech.
  • Dream of Izdubar.
  • Friendship with Heabani.

IN this chapter I have included the fragments of what appear to be the second and third tablets. In this section of the story Izdubar conies prominently for ward, and meets with Heabani. I have already noticed the supposed parentage of Izdubar ; the notice of his mother Dannat appears in one of the tablets given in this chapter.

Izdubar, in the Babylonian and Assyrian sculptures, is always represented with a marked physiognomy, and his peculiarities can be seen by noticing the photograph from a Babylonian gem at the beginning of the book, the engraving from an Assyrian sculpture in the last chapter, and the engraving in page 239 showing Izdubar and Heabani struggling with wild animals. In all these cases, and in every other instance where Izdubar is represented, he is indicated as a man with [masses of curls over his head and a large curly beard. So marked is this, and different in cast to the usual Babylonian type, that I cannot help the impression of its being a representation of a dis tinct and probably Ethiopian type.

The deity of Izdubar was Sarturda, from which I suppose he was a native of the district of Amarda or Marad, where that god was worshipped. This district was probably the Amordacia or Mardocrca of Ptolemy, but I do not know where it was situated.

The fragments of the second and third tablets assume by their notices that Izdubar was already known as a mighty hunter, and it appeared a little later that he claimed descent from the old Babylonian kings, calling Hasisadra his u father."


I have recovered a single fragment, which I believe to belong to this tablet; it is K 3389, and it contains part of the third and fourth columns of writing. It appears from this that Izdubar was then at Erech, and he had a curious dream. He thought he saw the stars of heaven fall to the ground, and in their descent they struck upon his back. He then saw standing over him a terrible being, the aspect of his face was fierce, and he was armed with claws, like the claws of lions. The greater part of the description of the dream is lost; it probably occupied columns I. and II. of the second tablet. Thinking that ^he dream portended some fate to himself, Izdubar calls on all the wise men to explain it, and offers a reward to any one who can interpret the dream. Here the fragment K 3389 comes in :


  1. ..... ru kili I ....
  2. ..... he and the princes may he ...
  3. ..... in the vicinity send him,
  4. ..... may they ennoble his family,
  5. ..... at the head of his feast may he set thee
  6. ..... may he array thee in jewels and gold
  7. ..... may he enclose thee
  8. ..... in his .... seat thee
  9. ..... into the houses of the gods may he cause thee to enter
  10. ..... seven wives
  11. ..... cause illness in his stomach
  12. ..... went up alone
  13. ..... his heaviness to his friend
  14. ..... a dream I dreamed in my sleep
  15. ..... the stars of heaven fell to the earth
  16. ..... I stood still
  17. ..... his face
  18. ..... his face was terrible
  19. ..... like the claws of a lion, were his claws
  20. ..... the strength in me
  21. ..... he slew
  22. ..... me
  23. ..... over me
  24. ..... corpse ....

The first part of this fragment appears to contain the honours offered by Izdubar to any one who should interpret the dream. These included the ennobling of his family, his recognition in assemblies, his being invested with jewels of honour, and his wives being increased. A description of the dream of the hero, much mutilated, follows. The conduct of Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, with reference to his dreams, bears some resemblance to that of Izdubar.

After this fragment we have again a blank in the story, and it would appear that in this interval application was made to a hermit named Heabani that he would go to the city of Erech and interpret the dream of Izdubar.

Heabani appears, from the representations on seals and other objects on which he is figured, to have been a satyr or faun. He is always drawn with the feet and tail of an ox, and with horns on his head. He is said to have lived in a cave among the wild animals of the forest, and was supposed to possess wonderful knowledge both of nature and human affairs. Heabani was angry at the request that he should abandon his solitary life for the friendship of Izdubar, and where our narrative reopens the god Samas is persuading him to accept the offer.


  1. ..... me
  2. ..... on my back
  3. And Shamas opened his mouth
  4. and spake and from heaven said to him:
  5. ..... and the female Samhat (delightful) thou shalt choose
  6. they shall array thee in trappings of divinity
  7. they shall give thee the insignia of royalty
  8. they shall make thee become great
  9. and Izdubar thou shalt call and incline him towards thee
  10. and Izdubar shall make friendship unto thee
  11. he shall cause thee to recline on a grand couch
  12. on a beautiful couch he shall seat thee
  13. he will cause thee to sit on a comfortable seat a seat on the left
  14. the kings of the earth shall kiss thy feet
  15. he shall enrich thee and the men of Erech he shall make silent before thee
  16. and he after thee shall take all ....
  17. he shall clothe thy body in raiment and ....
  18. Heabani heard the words of Shamas the warrior
  19. and the anger of his heart was appeased
  20. ..... was appeased

Here we are still dealing with the honours which Izdubar promises to the interpreter of his dream, and these seem to show that Izdubar had some power at Erech at this time ; he does not, however, appear to have been an independent king, and it is probable that the next two columns of this tablet, now lost, contain negotiations for bringing Heabani to Erech, the subject being continued on the third tablet.


This tablet is far better preserved than the two previous ones ; it gives the account of the successful mission to bring Heabani to Ur, opening with a broken account of the wisdom of Heabani.


  1. ..... knows all things
  2. ..... and difficult
  3. ..... wisdom of all things
  4. ..... the knowledge that is seen and that which is hidden
  5. ..... bring word of peace to . . . .
  6. ..... from a far off road he will come and I rest and ....
  7. ..... on tablets and all that rests ....
  8. ..... and tower of Erech Suburi
  9. ..... beautiful
  10. ..... which like ....
  11. ..... I strove with him not to leave ....
  12. ..... god? who from ....
  13. ..... carry ....
  14. ..... leave ....

(Many lines lost.)


  1. Izdubar did not leave .....
  2. Daughter of a warrior .....
  3. their might .....
  4. the gods of heaven, lord .....
  5. thou makest to be sons and family ? .....
  6. there is not any other like thee .....
  7. in the depth made .....
  8. Izdubar did not leave, the son to his father day and night .....
  9. he the ruler also of Erech .....
  10. he their ruler and .....
  11. made firm ? and wise .....
  12. Izdubar did not leave Dannat, the son to his mother .....
  13. Daughter of a warrior, wife of .....
  14. their might the god .... heard and ....
  15. Aruru strong and great, thou Aruru hast made .....
  16. again making his strength, one day his heart .....
  17. he changed and the city of Erech .....
  18. Aruru on hearing this, the strength of Anu made in. the midst .....
  19. Aruru put in her hands, she bowed her breast and lay on the ground
  20. ..... Heabani she made a warrior, begotten of the seed of the soldier Ninip
  21. ..... covered his body, retiring in com panionship like a woman,
  22. the features of his aspect were concealed like the corn god
  23. possessing knowledge of men and countries, in clothing clothed like the god Ner
  24. with the gazelles he eat food in the night
  25. with the beasts of the field he consorted in the day
  26. with the creeping things of the waters his heart delighted
  27. Zaidu catcher of men
  28. in front of that field confronted him
  29. the first day the second day and the third in the front of that field the same
  30. the courage of Zaidu dried up before him
  31. and he and his beast entered into his house and
  32. ..... fear dried up and overcome
  33. ..... his courage grew before him
  34. ..... his face was terrible


  1. Zaidu opened his mouth and spake and said to .....
  2. My father the first leader who shall go .....
  3. in the land o .....
  4. like the soldier of Anu .....
  5. shall march over the country .....
  6. and firmly with the beast .....
  7. and firmly his feet in the front of the field .....
  8. I feared and I did not approach it
  9. he filled the cave which he had dug
  10. .....
  11. I ascended on my hands to the ....
  12. I did not reach to the
  13. ..... and said to Zaitlu
  14. ..... Erech, Izdubar
  15. ..... ascend his field
  16. ..... his might
  17. ..... thy face
  18. ..... the might of a man
  19. .....
  20. ..... like a chief
  21. ..... field
  22. three lines of directions
  23. -
  24. -
  25. -
  26. According to the advice of his father ....
  27. Zaiclu went
  28. he took the road and in the midst of Erech he halted
  29. ..... Izdubar ....
  30. the first leader who shall go ....
  31. in the land of ....
  32. like the soldier of Aim ....
  33. shall march over the country ....
  34. and firmly with the beast ....
  35. and firmly his feet ....
  36. I feared and I did .not approach it
  37. he filled the cave which he had dug
  38. .....
  39. I ascended on my hands
  40. I was not able to reach to the covert.
  41. Izdubar to him also said to Zaidu :
  42. go Zaidu and with thee the female Harimtu, and Samhat take,
  43. and when the beast ... in front of the field
  44. directions to the female how to entice Heabani.
  45. -
  46. -
  47. Zaidu went and with him Harimtu, and Samhat he took, and
  48. they took the road, and went along the path.
  49. On the third day they reached the land where the flood happened.
  50. Zaidu and Harimtu in their places sat,
  51. the first day and the second day in front of the field they sat,
  52. the land where the beast drank of drink,


1. the land where the creeping things of the water rejoiced his heart.
2. And he Heabani had made for himself a mountain
3. with the gazelles he eat food,
4. with the beasts he drank of drink,
5. with the creeping things of the waters his heart rejoiced.
6. Samhat the enticer of men saw him
7 to 26. details of the actions of the female Samhat and Heabani.
27. And Heabani approached Harimtu then, who before had not enticed him.
28. And he listened .... and was attentive,
29. and he turned and sat at the feet of Harimtu.
30. Harimtu bent down her face,
31. and Harimtu spake; and his ears heard
32. and to him also she said to Heabani :
33. Famous Heabani like a god art thou,
34. Why dost thou associate with the creeping things in the desert ?
35. I desire thy company to the midst of Erech Suburi,
36. to the temple of Elli-tardusi the seat of Anu and Ishtar,
37. the dwelling of Izdubar the mighty giant,
38. who also like a bull towers over the chiefs.
39. She spake to him and before her speech,
40. the wisdom of his heart flew away and dis appeared.
41. Heabani to her also said to Harimtu :
42. I join to Samhat my companionship,
43. to the temple of Elli-tardusi the seat of Anu and Ishtar,
44. the dwelling of Izdubar the mighty giant,
45. who also like a bull towers over the chiefs.
46. I will meet him and see his power,


  1. I will bring to the midst of Erech a tiger,
  2. and if he is able he will destroy it.
  3. In the desert it is begotten, it has great strength,
  4. ..... before thee
  5. ..... everything there is I know
  6. Heabani went to the midst of Erech Suburi
  7. ..... the chiefs . . . made submission
  8. in that day they made a festival
  9. ..... city
  10. ..... daughter
  11. ..... made rejoicing
  12. ..... becoming great
  13. ..... mingled and
  14. ..... Izdubar rejoicing the people
  15. went before him
  16. A prince thou becomest glory thou hast
  17. ..... fills his body
  18. ..... who day and night
  19. ..... destroy thy terror
  20. ..... the god Samas loves him and
  21. ..... and Hea have given intelligence to his ears
  22. he has come from the mountain
  23. to the midst of Erech he will ponder thy dream
  24. Izdubar his dream revealed and said to his mother
  25. A dream I dreamed in my sleep
  26. ..... the stars of heaven
  27. ..... struck upon my back
  28. ..... of heaven over me
  29. ..... did not rise over it
  30. ..... stood over.....
  31. ..... him and
  32. ..... over him
  33. ..... his ....
  34. ..... princess
  35. ..... me
  36. ..... I know
  37. ..... to Izdubar
  38. ..... of heaven
  39. ..... over thy back
  40. ..... over thee
  41. ..... did not rise over it
  42. ..... my.....
  43. ..... thee

There is one other mutilated fragment of this and the next column with part of a relation respecting beasts and a fragment of a conversation between Izdubar and his mother.

The whole of this tablet is curious, and it certainly gives the successful issue of the attempt to bring Heabani to Erech, and in very fragmentary condition the dream of the monarch.

I have omitted some of the details in columns III. and IV. because they were on the one side obscure, and on the other hand appeared hardly adapted for general reading.

It appears that the females Samhat and Harimtu prevailed upon Heabani to come to Erech and see the exploits of the giant Izdubar, and he declared that he would bring a Midannu, most probably a tiger, to Erech, in order to make trial of the strength of Izdubar, and to see if he could destroy it.

The Midannu is mentioned in the Assyrian texts as a fierce carnivorous animal allied to the lion and leopard ; it is called Midannu, Mindinu, and Mandinu.

In the fifth column, after the description of the festivities which followed the arrival of Heabani, there appears a break between lines 15 and 16, some part of the original story being probably omitted here. I believe that the Assyrian copy is here defective, at least one line being lost. The portion here omitted probably stated that the following speech was made by the mother of Izdubar, who figures prominently in the earlier part of these legends.

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