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 XV - Illness and Wanderings of Izdubar

Illness Header

  • Heabani and the trees.
  • Illness of Izdubar.
  • Death of Heabani.
  • Journey of Izdubar.
  • His dream.
  • Scorpion men.
  • The Desert of Mas.
  • The paradise.
  • Siduri and Sabitu,
  • Urhamsi.
  • Water of death.
  • Ragmu.
  • The conversation.
  • Hasisadra.

Illness FlOF the three tablets in this section, the first one is very uncertain, and is put together from two separate sources; the other two are more complete and satis factory.

 

TABLET VIII.

I am uncertain again if I have discovered any of this tablet ; I provisionally place here some fragments of the first, second, third, and sixth columns of a tablet which may belong to it, but the only .fragment worth translating at present is one I .have given in "Assyrian Discoveries," p. 176. In some portions of these fragments there are references,, as I have there, stated, to the story of Humbaba, but as the fragment appears to refer to the illness of Izdubar I think it belongs here.

COLUMN I.

  1. to his friend ....
  2. 2 and 3 ....
  3.  -
  4. thy name ....
  5. .....
  6. his speech he made ....
  7. Izdubar my father ....
  8. Izdubar ....
  9. .....
  10. joined ....
  11. Heabani his mouth opened and spake and
  12. said to ....
  13. I join him ....
  14. in the ....
  15. the door ....
  16. of ....
  17. 17 and 18 ....
  18.  -
  19. in ....
  20. Heabani .... carried . . .
  21. with the door .... thy . . .
  22. the door on its sides does not . . .
  23. it has not aroused her hearing . . .
  24. for twenty kaspu (140 miles) it is raised .
  25. and the pine tree a bush I see . . .
  26. there is not another like thy tree . . .
  27. Six gars (120 feet) is thy height, two gars (40 feet) is thy breadth ....
  28. thy circuit, thy contents, thy mass . . .
  29. thy make which is in thee in the city of Nipur
  30. I know thy entrance like this . . .
  31. arid this is good . . .
  32. for I have his face, for I ...
  33. I fill
  34. .....
  35. for he took . . .
  36. the pine tree, the cedar, . . .
  37. in its cover . . .
  38. thou also ....
  39. may take . . .
  40. in the collection of everything . . .
  41. a great destruction . . .
  42. the whole of the trees . . .
  43. in thy land Izmanubani . . .
  44. thy bush ? is not strong . . .
  45. thy shadow is not great . . .
  46. and thy smell is not agreeable . . .
  47. The Izmanubani tree was angry . . .
  48. made a likeness ?
  49. like the tree .

The second, third, fourth and fifth columns appear to be entirely absent, the inscription reappearing on a fragment of the sixth column.

COLUMN II.

(Many lines lost.)

  1. The dream which I saw ....
  2. ..... made ? the mountain ....
  3. he struck ....
  4. They like nimgi struck ....
  5. brought? forth in the vicinity ....
  6. He said to his friend Heabani the dream
  7. ..... good omen of the dream . ...
  8. the dream was deceptive ....
  9. all the mountain which thou didst see . .
  10. when we captured Humbaba and we . .
  11. ..... of his helpers to thy ....
  12. in the storm to ....
  13. For twenty kaspu he journeyed a stage
  14. at thirty kaspu he made a halt?
  15. in the presence of Shamas he dug out a pit
  16. Izdubar ascended to over ....
  17. by the side of his house he approached .
  18. the mountain was subdued, the dream .
  19. he made it and ....

COLUMN III.

  1. The mountain was subdued, the dream .
  2. he made it and ....
  3. ..... turban? ....
  4. he cast him down and ....
  5. the mountain like corn of the field .
  6. Izdubar at the destruction set up . ...
  7. Anatu the injurer of men upon him struck,
  8. and in the midst of his limbs he died.
  9. He spake and said to his friend :
  10. Friend thou dost not ask me why I am naked,
  11. thou dost not inquire of me why I am spoiled,
  12. God will not depart, why do my limbs burn.
  13. Friend I saw a third dream,
  14. and the dream which I saw entirely disappeared,
  15. He invoked the god of the earth and desired death.
  16. A storm came out of the darkness,
  17. the lightning struck and kindled a fire,
  18. and came out the shadow of death.
  19. It disappeared, the fire sank,
  20. he struck it and it turned to a palm tree,
  21. ..... and in the desert thy lord was proceeding.
  22. And Heabani the dream considered and said to Izdubar.

The fourth and fifth columns of this tablet are lost. This part of the legend appears to refer to the illness of Izdubar.

COLUMN VI.

  1. My friend . . . the dream which is not . . .
  2. the day he dreamed the dream, the end . . .
  3. Heabani lay down also one day . . .
  4. which Heabani in that evening . . .
  5. the third day and the fourth day which . . .
  6. the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth
  7. when Heabani was troubled . . .
  8. the eleventh and twelfth . . .
  9. Heabani in that evening . . .
  10. Izdubar asked also . . .
  11. is my friend hostile to me . . .
  12. then in the midst of fight . . .
  13. I turn to battle and . . .
  14. the friend who in battle . . .
  15. I in .....

It must here be noted that my grounds for making this the eighth tablet are extremely doubtful, it is possible that the fragments are of different tablets; but they fill up an evident blank in the story here, and I have inserted them pending further discoveries as to their true position.

In the first column Heabani appears to be addressing certain trees, and they are supposed to have the power of hearing and answering him. Heabani praises one tree and sneers at another, but from the mutilation of the text it does not appear why he acts so. I conjecture he was seeking a charm to open the door he mentions, and that according to the story this charm was known to the trees. The fragment of the sixth column shows Heabani unable to interpret a dream, while Izdubar asks his friend to fight.

After this happened the violent death of Heabani, which added to the misfortunes of Izdubar ; but no fragment of this part of the story is preserved.

TABLET IX.

This tablet is. in a somewhat better state than the others, and all the narrative is clearer from this point, not a single column of the inscription being entirely lost. The ninth tablet commences with the sorrow of Izdubar at the death of Heabani.

COLUMN I.

  1. Izdubar over Heabani his seer
  2. bitterly lamented, and lay down on the ground.
  3. I had no judgment like Heabani;
  4. Weakness entered into my soul ;
  5. death I feared, and lay down on the ground.
  6. For the advice of Hasisadra, son of Ubaratutu
  7. The road I was taking, and joyfully I went,
  8. to the neighbourhood of the mountains I took at night.
  9. a dream I saw, and I feared.
  10. I bowed on my face, and to Sin (the moon god) I prayed;
  11. and into the presence of the gods came my supplication ;
  12. and they sent peace unto me.
  13. ..... dream.
  14. ..... Sin, erred in life.
  15. precious stones ... to his hand.
  16. were bound to his girdle
  17. like the time . . . their ... he struck .
  18. he struck . . . fruit ? he broke
  19. and ....
  20. he threw .....
  21. he was guarded . .
  22. the former name ....
  23. the new name ....
  24. he carried ....
  25. to ....

(About six lines lost here.)

The second column shows Izdubar in some fabulous region, whither he has wandered in search of Hasisadra. Here he sees composite monsters with their feet resting in hell, and their heads reaching heaven. These beings are supposed to guide and direct the sun at its rising and setting. This passage is as follows :

COLUMN II.

  1. Of the country hearing him ....
  2. To the mountains of Mas in his course ....
  3. who each day guard the rising sun.
  4. Their crown was at the lattice of heaven,
  5. under hell their feet were placed.
  6. The scorpion-man guarded the gate,
  7. burning with terribleness, their appearance was like death,
  8. the might of his fear shook the forests.
  9. At the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun, they guarded the sun.
  10. Izdubar saw them and fear and terror came into his face.
  11. Summoning his resolution he approached be fore them.
  12. The scorpion-man of his female asked:
  13. Who comes to us with the affliction of god on his body
  14. To the scorpion-man his female answered :
  15. The work of god is laid upon the man,
  16. The scorpion-man of the hero asked,
  17. ..... of the gods the word he said :
  18. ..... distant road
  19. ..... come to my presence
  20. ..... of which the passage is difficult.

The rest of this column is lost. In it Izdubar converses with the monsters and where the third column begins he is telling them his purpose, to seek Hasisadra.

COLUMN III.

(1 and 2 lost.)

  1. He Hasisadra my father
  2. who is established in the assembly of the gods
  3. death and life [are known to him]
  4. The monster opened his mouth and spake
  5. and said to Izdubar
  6. Do it not Izdubar ....
  7. of the country ....
  8. for twelve kaspu (84 miles) [is the journey]
  9. which is completely covered with sand, and there is not a cultivated field,
  10. to the rising sun ....
  11. to the setting sun ....
  12. to the setting sun ....
  13. he brought out ....

In this mutilated passage, the monster describes the journey to be taken by Izdubar ; there are now many lines wanting, until we come to the fourth column.

COLUMN IV.

  1. in prayer ....
  2. again thou ....
  3. the monster ....
  4. Izdubar ....
  5. go Izdubar ....
  6. lands of Mas ....
  7. the road of the sun ....
  8. 1 kaspu he went ....
  9. which was completely covered with sand, and there was not a cultivated field,
  10. he was not able to look behind him.
  11. 2 kaspu he went ....

This is the bottom of the fourth column;

There are five lines lost at the top of the fifth column, and then the narrative reopens; the text is, however, mutilated and doubtful.

COLUMN V.

  1. 4 kaspu he went ....
  2. which was completely covered with sand, and there was not a cultivated field,
  3. he was not able to look behind him.
  4. 5 kaspu he went ....
  5. which was completely covered with sand, and there was not a, cultivated field,
  6. he was not able to look behind him.
  7. 6 kaspu he went ....
  8. which was completely covered with sand, and there was not a cultivated field,
  9. he was not able to look behind him.
  10. 7 kaspu he went ....
  11. which was completely covered with sand, and there was not a cultivated field,
  12. he was not able to look behind him.
  13. 8 kaspu he went . . . . turned? ....
  14. which was completely covered with sand, and there was not a cultivated field,
  15. he was not able to look behind him.
  16. 9 kaspu he went .... to the north
  17. ..... his face
  18. ..... a field
  19. ..... to look behind him
  20. 10 kaspu? he went? .... him
  21. ..... meeting
  22. ..... 4 kaspu
  23. ..... shadow of the sun
  24. ..... beautiful situation ....
  25. to the forest of the trees of the gods in appearance it was equal.
  26. Emeralds it carried as its fruit,
  27. the branches were encircled to the points covered,
  28. Ukni stones it carried as shoots?
  29. the fruit it carried to the sight were large

Some of the words in this fragment are obscure, but the general meaning is clear. In the next column the wanderings of Izdubar are continued, and he comes to a country near the sea. Fragments of several lines of this column are preserved, but too mutilated to translate with certainty. The frag ments are :

COLUMN VI.

(About six lines lost.)

  1. the pine tree ....
  2. its nest of stone . . . . ukni stone?
  3. not striking the sea .... jet stones
  4. like worms? and caterpillars .... gugmi
  5. a bustard it caught? .... beautiful
  6. jet stone, ka stone .... the goddess Ishtar
  7. ..... he carried
  8. like .... asgege
  9. which .... the sea
  10. was .... may he raise
  11. Izdubar [saw this] in his travelling
  12. and he carried .... that

This tablet brings Izdubar to the region of the sea-coast, but his way is then barred by two women, one named Siduri, and the other Sabitu. His further adventures are given on the tenth tablet, which opens :

TABLET X.

  1. Siduri and Sabitu who in the land beside the sea dwelt
  2. dwelt also ....
  3. making a dwelling, making ....
  4. covered with stripes of affliction in ....
  5. Izdubar struck with disease ....
  6. illness covering his ....
  7. having the brand of the gods on his . . . .
  8. there was shame of face on ....
  9. to go on the distant path his face was set.
  10. Sabitu afar off pondered,
  11. spake within her heart, and a resolution made.
  12. Within herself also she considered :
  13. What is this message
  14. There is no one upright in ....
  15. And Sabitu saw him and shut her place?
  16. her gate she shut, and shut her place?
  17. And he Izdubar having ears heard her
  18. he struck his hands and made ....
  19. Izdubar to her also said to Sabitu :
  20. Sabitu why dost thou shut thy place?
  21. thy gate thou closest ....
  22. I will strike the ....

The rest of this column is lost, but I am able to say it described the meeting of Izdubar with a boat man named Urhamsi, and they commence together a journey by water in a boat on the second column.

Very little of this column is preserved; I give two fragments only here.

COLUMN II.

  1. Urharnsi to him also said to Izdubar
  2. Why should I curse thee ....
  3. and thy heart is tried ....
  4. there is shame of face on ....
  5. thou goest on the distant path ....
  6. ..... burning and affliction ....
  7. ..... thus thou ....
  8. Izdubar to him also said to Urhamsi
  9. ..... my hand has not ....
  10. ..... my heart is not ....
  11. ..... shame of face on ....

Here again there are many wanting lines, and then we have some fragments of the bottom of the column.

  1. ..... said to Izdubar
  2. ..... and his lower part
  3. ..... the ship
  4. ..... of death
  5. ..... wide
  6. ..... ends
  7. ..... to the river
  8. ..... ship
  9. ..... in the vicinity
  10. ..... boatman
  11. ..... he burned
  12. ..... to thee

Here there are many lines lost, then recommencing the story proceeds on the third column.

COLUMN III.

  1. the friend whom I loved .
  2. I am not like him ....
  3. Izdubar to him also said to Ur-hamsi
  4. Again Ur-hamsi why ....
  5. what brings (matters) to me if it . . . .
  6. if carried to cross the sea, if not carried [to cross the sea]
  7. Ur-hamsi to him also said to Izdubar
  8. Thy hand Izdubar ceases ....
  9. thou hidest in the place of the stones thou . . .
  10. in the place of the stones hidden and they . . .
  11. Take Izdubar the axe in thy hand ....
  12. go down to the forest and a spear of five gar . . .
  13. capture and make a burden of it, and carry it ...
  14. Izdubar on his hearing this,
  15. took the axe in his hand ....
  16. he went down to the forest and a spear of five gar ....
  17. he took and made a burden of it, and carried it [to the ship]
  18. Izdubar and Urhamsi rode in the ship
  19. the ship the waves took and they ....
  20. a journey of one month and fifteen days. On the third day in their course
  21. took Urhamsi the waters of death ....

COLUMN IV.

  1. Urhamsi to him also said to Izdubar
  2. the tablets? Izdubar ....
  3. Let not the waters of death enclose thy hand ....
  4. the second time, the third time, and the fourth time Izdubar was lifting the spear ....
  5. the fifth, sixth, and seventh time Izdubar was lifting the spear ....
  6. the eighth, ninth, and tenth time Izdubar was lifting the spear ....
  7. the eleventh and twelfth time, Izdubar was lifting the spear ....
  8. on the one hundred and twentieth time Izdu bar finished the spear
  9. and he broke his girdle to ....
  10. Izdubar seized the
  11. on his wings a cord he ....
  12. Hasisadra afar off pondered,
  13. spake within his heart and a resolution made.
  14. Within himself also he considered:
  15. Why is the ship still hidden
  16. is not ended the voyage ....
  17. the man is not come to me and ....
  18. I wonder he is not ....
  19. I wonder he is not ....
  20. I wonder ....

Here there is a blank, the extent of which is uncertain, and where the narrative recommences.it is on a small fragment of the third and fourth column of another copy. It appears that the lost lines record the meeting between Izdubar and a person named Ragmu-seri-ina-namari. I have conjectured that this individual was the wife of Hasisadra or Noah; but there is no ground for this opinion; it is possible that this individual was the gatekeeper or guard, by whom Izdubar had to pass in going to reach Hasisadra.

Izdubar and Hasisadra

Izdubar, Composite Figures, and Hasisadra (Noah) in the Ark;
From an early Babylonian Cylinder.

It is curious that, whenever Izdubar speaks to this being, the name Ragmua is usecj, while, whenever Izdubar is spoken to, the full name Ragmu-seri-ina-namari occurs. Where the story re-opens Izdubar is informing Ragmu of his first connection with Heabani and his offers to him when he desired him to come to Erech.

COLUMN III. (fragment).

  1. for my friend ....
  2. free thee ....
  3. weapon ... .
  4. bright star ....

COLUMN IV. (fragment).

  1. On a beautiful couch I will seat thee,
  2. I will cause thee to sit on a comfortable seat on the left,
  3. the kings of the earth shall kiss thy feet.
  4. I will enrich thee and the men of Erech I will make silent before thee,
  5. and I after thee will take all ....
  6. I will clothe thy body in raiment and ....
  7. Ragmu-seri-ina-namari on his hearing this
  8. his fetters loosed ....

The speech of Ragmu to Izdubar and the rest of the column are lost, the narrative recommencing on Column V. with another speech of Izdubar.

COLUMN V. (fragment).

  1. .... to me
  2. .... i . . . my ... I wept
  3. .... bitterly I spoke
  4. .... my hand
  5. .... ascended to me
  6. .... to me
  7. .... leopard of the desert

COLUMN V.

  1. Izdubar opened his mouth and said to Ragmu
  2. .... my presence?
  3. .... not strong
  4. .... my face
  5. .... fay down in the field,
  6. .... of the mountain, the leopard of the field,
  7. Heabani my friend .... the same.
  8. No one else was with us, we ascended the mountain.
  9. We took it and the city we destroyed.
  10. We conquered also Humbaba who in the forest of pine trees dwelt.
  11. Again why did his fingers lay hold to slay the lions.
  12. Thou wouldst have feared and thou wouldst not have . . all the difficulty.
  13. And he did not succeed in slaying the same
  14. his heart failed, and he did not strike .... over him I wept,
  15. he covered also my friend like a corpse in a grave,
  16. like a lion? he tore? him
  17. like a lioness? placed .... field
  18. he was cast down to the face of the earth
  19. he broke? and destroyed his defence? . .
  20. he was cut off and given to pour out? . .
  21. Ragmu-seri-ina-namari on hearing this

Here the record is again mutilated, Izdubar further informs Ragmu what he did in conjunction with Heabani. Where the story reopens on Column VI.

Izdubar relates part of their adventure with Hum- baba.

COLUMN VI.

  1. .... taking
  2. .... to thee
  3. .... thou art great
  4. .... all the account
  5. .... forest of pine trees
  6. .... went night and day
  7. .... the extent of Erech Suburi
  8. .... he approached after us
  9. .... he opened the land of forests
  10. .... we ascended
  11. .... in the midst like thy mother
  12. .... cedar and pine trees
  13. .... with our strength
  14. .... silent
  15. .... he of the field
  16. .... by her side
  17. .... the Euphrates

Here again our narrative is lost, and where we again meet the story Izdubar has spoken to Hasisadra and is receiving his answer.

  1. I was angry ....
  2. Whenever a house was built, whenever a treasure was collected
  3. Whenever brothers fixed ....
  4. Whenever hatred is in ....
  5. Whenever the river makes a great flood.
  6. Whenever reviling within the mouth ....
  7. the face that bowed before Shamas
  8. from of old was not ....
  9. Spoiling and death together exist
  10. of death the image has not been seen.
  11. The man or servant on approaching death,
  12. the spirit of the great gods takes his hand.
  13. The goddess Mamitu maker of fate, to them their fate brings,
  14. she has fixed death and life ;
  15. of death the day is not known.

This statement of Hasisadra closes the tenth tablet and leads to the next question of Izdubar and its answer, which included the story of the Flood.

The present division of the legends has its own peculiar difficulties; in the first place it does not appear how Heabani was killed. My original idea, that he was killed by the poisonous insect tambukku, 1 find to be incorrect, and it now appears most likely either that he was killed in a quarrel with Izdubar, as seems suggested by the fragment in p. 246, or that he fell in an attempt to slay a lion, which is implied in the passage p. 259.

In the ninth tablet I am able to make a correction to my former translation ; I find the monsters seen by Izdubar were composite beings, half scorpions, half men. The word for scorpion has been some time ago discovered by Professor Oppert, and I find it occurs in the description of these beings ; also on a fragment of a tablet which I found at Kouyunjik the star of the scorpion is said to belong to the eighth month, in which, of course, it should naturally appear.

This assists in explaining a curious tablet printed in "Cuneiform Inscriptions," vol. iii. p. 52, No. 1, which has been misunderstood. This tablet speaks of the appearance of comets, one of which has a tail "like a lizard (or creeping thing) and a scorpion."

The land of Mas or desert of Mas over which Izdubar travels in this tablet is the desert on the; west of the Euphrates; on the sixth column the frag ments appear to refer to some bird with magnificent feathers like precious stones, seen by Izdubar on his journey.

Scorpion men

Composite Figures (Scorpion Men);
From an Assyria Cylinder.

I have altered my translation of the passage in pp. 255, 256, which I now believe to relate that Izdubar tit the direction of Urhamsi made a spear from one of the trees of the forest before going across the waters of death which separated the abode of Hasisadra from the world of mortals. I do not, however, understand the passage, as from the mutilated condition of the inscription it does not appear what he attacked with it.

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