NOTES ON THE RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY OF THE
By W. St. Chad Boscawen.
Read 11th December, 1875.
[Extracted from TSBA, 4, 1876, pp.
Note: The cuneiform scripts have been omitted from this version.]
In these notes on the religion of the Assyrians which I bring
before the Society, I have selected the subject of the belief in the immortality
of the soul as found in the Assyrian religious system.
Of all the varied beliefs held by the human race, there is none so universally met with as that of a belief in the existence of a future state for the soul of man after death. It is therefore but natural to expect to find this doctrine held by the Assyrians, a people who had reached a high state of civilization.
From time to time Assyriologists have brought forward texts and quotations from texts to show the existence of this belief. Mr. Fox Talbot, in two interesting papers read before this Society, has done much to establish the fact of the existence of such a doctrine. I will, in this paper, endeavour to add some more evidence to that contributed by him and other Assyriologists. The text I have chosen as most fully illustrating this doctrine as held by the Assyrians, is the twelfth Izdubar legend. This legend, which is the last of that famous cycle of Chaldean legends, relates to the state of the soul of Hea-bani, the companion and counsellor of Izdubar, after death. Before proceeding to consider this legend, it will be as well to retrace our steps, and examine the relations of Izdubar and Hea-bani, as related in the preceding tablets.
The first of the Izdubar legends, of which we possess but a very small portion, appears to relate to the siege of Erech by a foreign nation, whose ships had come into the river. In this account we find the gods taking part in the war, and the goddess Istar is spoken of as being able to render no assistance; and the other gods, being overpowered with fear, transformed themselves into flies. We read (K 3200):—
Hi sa Uruk su - bu - ri
The gods of Unik Suhuri (the blessed)
it - tu - ru a - na zu - um - bi - e
turned to flies.
And a few lines on we read that "Istar against the enemy could not hold up her
Of the termination of this siege we know nothing, but probably Izdubar was instrumental in delivering the city, and became king of the land.
After his accession to the throne, Izdubar has a dream, which no one in his court can explain, but some one tells him of a very wise man named Hea-bani, who lives in a wild remote place. Izdubar, on hearing of this, sends his court huntsman, named Zaidu, to go and bring Hea-bani to Erech. In the third tablet of these legends we have an account of this expedition of Zaidu. By the direction of Izdubar he takes two women with him to tempt Hea-bani to leave his den, and come to the corn-t of Izdubar.
Hea-bani sees these women, who stand in the mouth of his den, and he comes and speaks to one of them. She tells him of all the greatness of Izdubar, the bu-va-li e-mu-ki = the giant of strength, and of all the wonders of his city of Erech; and at last she induces him to come and see Izdubar. Having seen [p.269] Izdiibar, lie becomes his companion and friend, aiding him by his counsel and advice, and assisting him in his labours with his strength.
Hea-bani is represented as a satyr, having the body of a man, with the horns and legs of a goat or ox. The figure of Hea-bani occurs very frequently on the seals and gems, and may always be recognized by these characteristics.1
Hea-bani accompanies Izdubar in his labours, assists him to slay the bull sent by the goddess Istar against Izdubar as a punishment for refusing her amours. This occurs in the sixth tablet (W.A.I. IV, 48). Of the seventh tablet, we have so small a portion that of its contents, nothing can be said; but of the eighth we have several fragments. In this tablet Hea-bani, who is accompanying Izdubar on a journey, is slain by some creatures called Mikie and Tambûkku tam-bu-uk-ku; but of the nature of these creatures Ave know nothing as yet. The ninth tablet opens with a lamentation of Izdubar over Hea-bani.
From the Ninth Izdubar Legend (K 3060):—
1.Iz- du -bar a- na Hea -bani ip - ri -su
Izdubar for Hea-bani his friend
2... cir - i -bak- ki -va i - rap - pu -ud zir
....wept and lay out on the ground
3A- na - ku a -mat ul - ki - i Hea -bani va - a
I the advice have taken of Hea-bani also
4. ni - is - sa a - tu i - te - ru - ub ina kar - si - ya
Bitterness entered into my soul
5. mu - ta ab - luh va a - rap - pu - ud zir
Death I feared and lay down on the ground.
6. a - na li - id Hasis - adra ablu Ubaru tu - tu
To find Hasis-Adra son of Uhara-Tutu
7. ur -klia lakh- ta -ku-va klia- an - si al - lik
The way I was taking and joyfully I went.
Line 2. ibbakki-va, wept. Compare
irappud, lay down, at full length. This was a very strong expression of sorrow. Compare this with the mourning of David, as given in 2 Kings xii, 16.
Line 4. nisatu, bitterness.
The tenth and eleventh tablets of this series are devoted to the journey to, and interview with, Hasis-adra, the Chaldean Noah; but in the twelfth tablet we again find Izdubar lamenting over his friend and companion, Hea-bani.
Of this tablet half the obverse is gone, therefore we commence the translation
in the middle of the narrative; but from the nature of the portion remaining,
and preceding events, it seems to me that the contents may have been as follows:—
The three columns of the obverse contain a lamentation and incantation uttered over the body of Hea-bani. In this, Izdubar appears to be assisted by a seer, or magician, who raises the spirit, or u-tuk-ku, of Hea-bani.
The fourth column contains a dialogue between Izdubar and this seer; and the sixth column (the fifth is lost) an account of the spirit of Hea-bani in Heaven, in peace after its wandering in Hades.
There is something extremely beautiful in this primitive lamentation over the body of a dead warrior and friend. We may see, in the description drawn here of the utter helplessness of the cold dead body, somewhat the same feeling that prompted David to say, "How are the mighty fallen!" The lack of power to use the bow or staff, and above all the "derision by the captives"; which, again, may be compared with the anxiety of David to keep the death of Saul and Jonathan from the ears of the Philistines, "lest the uncircumcised triumph."
The statements in lines 14-17 furnish us with an insight into the domestic life in Assyria or Babylonia, at a very early period. The favourite wife is kissed and exalted, whilst the less fortunate rival is beaten and forced to do the menial work of the house. The same applies to the children, and by the use of maru, it would seem to indicate that this applied equally to girls as well as boys.
"The enfolding of the earth has taken thee.
Oh Darkness! Oh Darkness! Mother Ninazu! Oh Darkness!
Her mighty power, like a cloak, has covered thee."
These lines contain one of the most beautiful similies yet met with in the
Assyrian texts. Mother Ninazu, would be Davkina, or Nin-ki-gal, the wife of Hea,
the Proserpine of the Assyrian Pantheon, the Queen of the Hades, or Underworld.
Nin-a-zu, as the wife of Hea, was the female deification [p.272] of the Earth, and thus explains the expression "irizitu i zabat su," "the Earth took him," A curse (namtar), or fever (asakku) did not take him, but the Earth, his mother, takes him. As his name indicates Hea-bani (Hea makes) is the son of Hea the Earth, and as such, Nin-a-zu is his mother. Even to the Assyrian, Earth was mother!
This idea of death wrapping round Hea-bani like a cloak is very fine.
"The resting-place of Nergal did not take him." This applies to the deceased Hea-bani in his character of a warrior, Nergal being the god of war. The region of Nergal is called "asar takhazukari," "the place of the battle of the heroes" (or renowned). The expression "ra-bi-z," "Nergal," the resting-place of Nergal, is a very beautiful idea. The weary warrior, after the well-fought fights and hard-won victories, goes to the resting-place of the god of war, the place of heroes, and the sixth column of the inscription furnishes us with a description of this Val-halla of the Assyrian pantheon to which Hea-bani is finally admitted.
The description of Heaven as given in this inscription is very curious, as it resembles the accounts met with in the Scandinavian and Norse legends rather than those of Semitic people.
I now give a translation of Columns I and II, with a portion of Column III, it being too mutilated to give in full, and Columns IV and VI in full.
1. Iz- du -bar ..........
2. sum -ma a - na ......
When to .......
3. a - ua a - si - ir - ti at - ta
To happiness thou (art not admitted)
4. zu - ba - ta za- ca - a
a pure dress (thou dost not wear).
5. ki -ma u - ba - ra ta -ma... e -mar
Like the glow
6. sa man bu - u - ri da - a - ba la tap - pa - si ka
with the enlightening of good they do not overspread thee.
7. a - na i - ri - si su lab -khu - ru - ka
To its inheritance they do not choose thee
8. mit-pa- na a - na irzituv la - ta - na -sic
The bow from the ground thou dost not take
9. sa i - na mit - pa - na [nu] raakh -khaz i - lav - vu - ka
Who with the bow to strike gather round thee.
10. sab bi - dhu a - na qatti ka la - ta - na - as - si
A staff in thy hands thou dost not carry.
11. e - kim - mu i - ar - ru - ru - ka
The captive abhors thee (or curses thee).
12. se- e - ni a- na sepi - ka la - ta -mat- ni
A support to thy feet thou dost not use.
13. Ri - ig - ma a - na irzitu vla - ta - sak - kan
A friend on earth thou dost not make.
14. as - sat - ka sa ta - ram - mu la - ta - na - sic
Thy wife whom thou delightest in thou dost not kiss.
15. as - sat - ka sa la - ta - makh - khaz ta - zi - ru
Thy wife whom thou despisest thou dost not beat
16. ma - ra ka sa - ta - ram - mu la - ta - na - sic
Thy child whom thou delightest in thou dost not kiss.
17. ma - ra - ka sa ta - zi - ru la - ta - makli - khaz
Thy child whom thou despisest thou dost not beat.
18. Ta - si - mi - ti irzituv i -is -bat ka
The enfolding of the earth has taken thee.
19. sa zal-mat sa zal-mat um -mu Nin -a- zu sa zal - mat
Oh darkness, Oh darkness, Mother Ninazu, Oh darkness,
20. Elibu sa el - li - e - tuv zu - ba - a - tu ul - tar - tu va
Her mighty power (as) a garment (cloak) covers thee.
All the upper portion is lost.
1. ma - [ra sa] i - ram - mu i - ua - sic
The child who he loves he raises up (or kisses).
2. ma - [ra - sa] i - zi - ru im -khaz
The child who he hates he strikes.
3. Ta - zi - im - ti irzituv i - za -bat- su
The enfolding of the earth has taken him.
4. sa zal-mat [sa zal-mat mn -mu Niu-a- zu sa zal -[mat]
Oh darkness! Oh darkness! Mother Ninazu! Oh darkness!
5. ellipu - sa el - li - e - tu zu - ba - ta ul - tar - tu -su
Her noble strength (like) a cloak covers him.
6. i . pu - ur .........................
7. I - nu Hea - bani ill - tu irzituv a - na
When Hea-bani from the earth to rise (?)
8. Nam -tar ul [is -bat- su] a- sak -ku ul is -bat- su irzituv is -bat- su
Namtar did not take him, a fever did not take him, the earth took him.
9. ra - bi - [is Nergali] la -khad- du - u ul -iz-bat- su irzituv iz-bat- su
The resting-place of Nergal the unconquered did not take him, the earth took him.
10. - sar ta - kha- as zi - ka - ri ul - im -kliaz-su irzituv iz -bat- su
The place of the battle of the heroes did not strike him, the earth took him.
11. I - nu ............ni abli Nin - sun ana ardu-su Hea -baui i - bi - ki
When ..... ni son of in-sun for his servant Hea-bani he wept.
12. a - na , Bit - Elu e - dis - su it - ta - lak
To the temple of Bel alone he went.
13. A- bu Elu Tam-bu - uk - ku a - na irzituv im -khaz an - ni
Father Bel Tamhukku to the earth struck me.
14. Mi - ki - e a - na irzituv im -khaz an - ni - va
Mikie to the earth struck him, me.
The Raising of the Spirit of Hea-Bani.
This curious scene appears to have taken place in the temple of Bel, as we read in Col. II.
(a) I - nu ..... ni abli Nin - sun ana ardu-su Hea -bani i - bi - ki
When ...... Son of Nin-sun for his servant Hea-hani wept.
(b) ........ ana bit Elu e -dis-su it - ta - ru
to the temple of Bel by himself he turned
And thus lays the matter before Bel:—
(c) A- bu Elu Tarn- bu - uk - ku a- na ii-ziti im -khaz- an - ni
Father Bel Tambukku to the ground has struck me.
(d) Mi - ki - e a - na irzituv im - khaz an - ni - va
Mikie to the ground has struck me.
Then by the assistance of one of the priests or magicians of the temple, he has a vision or seance in which the spirit of Hea-bani is raised from the ground, and by the intercession of Izdubar, and by means of prayers and sacrifices, is admitted to peace in Heaven.
Of this Column we possess a small portion of the upper part of it, this I will call No. 1.
1. Hea -bani sa a- na su - li - mi ....
Hea-hani who to rest (was not admitted)
2. Nam - tar ul iz - bat - su
Namtar did not take him, the earth took him
3. i-a - bi - iz Nergali la -kliad- du u ul iz -bat- zu irzituv iz -bat- su
the resting place of Nergal the unconquered did not take him, the earth took him.
4. a - sar ta - kha - as zi - ka - li ........
The place of the battle of the heroes did not take him, the earth took him.
5. - bu Elu a - mat ul iz - bat - su
Father Bel amat did not take him
6. a - bu iSin tarn- l)u - uk - ki
Father Sin Tambukka
7. Mi - e ki - e .................
8. Hea -bani a - na su - li - ma
Hea-bani to peace (rest)
1. Ra - bi - iz Nergali la -khad- du - u
The resting place of Nergal the unconquered
2. a- sar ta -kha- as zi - ka - ri
The place of the battle of the heroes
3. a - bu Hea
4. a- na qar - ra - di Marduk
To the warrior Marduk
5. qar - ra - du id - Iu - ti
The warrior heroic
6. ip -mis- tak - ka va ............
The divider (?)
7. u - tuk - ku
8. a - uu a - bu su
To his father
9. qar - ra - du id - lu - ti jiarduk
The warrior heroic Marduk
10. ib uis- tak - ka - ba irzituv ip -te - e -va
The divider (?) the earth opened and
11. U - tuk - ku sa Hea - bani ki - i za - ki - ku ultu irzituv
as The Spirit of Hea-bani glass from the earth rose (?)
In Column IV, we have the account of the effect of this raising of the soul (uttuc) of Hea-bani, on Izdubar (?) and the assisting magician overcome with mental exertion and grief; they weep and mourn, and they make an agreement to keep all secret—"Let the earth conceal all thou hast seen." What a curious parallel is here afforded to the interview between Saul and the Witch of Endor. (1 Samuel xxviii, 7-25). Here Saul, overcome with fasting and the excitement of the interview with Samuel, "falls prostate on the ground, and was sore troubled."
1. Ki - ba - a ip - ri ki - ba - a ip - ri
Mysterious friend, mysterious friend,
2. lik - tim irzituv sa ta -mu- ru ki - ba - a
May the earth hide that thou hast seen, mysterious
3. ul -a -gab- ba - ku ip - ri ul -a-gab-ba-ku ip - ri
I will not tell to thee, friend! I will not tell to thee, friend!
4. [E -nuva] lik- tim irzituv sa a-mu- ru a -gab- bi - ka
[When] the earth covers that I have seen I will tell thee.
5. ....... ti - sab bi - ki
........ thou sittest weeping.
6. ...... lu - sib - it - va lu - ub - ki
...... may he sit! May he weep!
7. sa - ri - bu - tu va lib - ba - ka ikh - du - u
shall cause to increase, and thy heart shall rejoice
8. ....tal - la - bi - ri kal -ma- tu e - rib
........ thou growest old the worm enters
9. ....... [sa] - ri - bu - tu lib - ba - ka ikli - du - u
..... [shall] cause to increase; thy heart shall rejoice
10. ..... [ana] e - pi - ri ma- li
to dust all things
11. ....... it - ta - pal si - ikh
........ (when) thou hast passed corruption
12. ......it - ta - pal si - ikli
..... (when) thou hast passed corruption
13. ........ a - ta - mar
..... I shalt see
1. lua ma - . ai li a - lil - va
On a couch reclining and
2. mi pi - zu - ti i - sat - ti
Pure waters he drinks
3. sa ina ta -klia- zi di - e - ku ta - mur
who in the battle was slain (?) thou seest
4. abu-su nmmu-su risa - su ......
his father and his mother his head support
5. assat - su bi - ka madu
and his wife weeps much
6. sa sa - lam - ta -su iua ziru
Those who (are) his friends on the ground
7. ta - mur a - ta - mar
Thou seest (and) thou shalt see
8. e - kim -ma i - ua irzituv
His spoil on the ground
9. sa e - kun - ........ uia-su ki - i - su
of his spoil ........... he has not
10. su - ku - la ad - di - qa ku - si - pat a - ka - li
The captives conquered come after foods
11. sa ma zu - ku da - a ik - kal
which in the tents are eaten
Dippi XII ...... Nak - bi - i - mu ru
The twelfth tablet ...... of the fountain he has seen Hea-bani.
Hea-bani, the hero of this ancient story, is one of the most curious characters
yet met with in the legends of Assyria, and to me seems to bear a close
resemblance to the Greek deity Pan.
Pan was the god of flocks and shepherds amongst the Greeks, and remote wild places, such as reed beds and damp caves were supposed to be his abode. In works of art he is represented as a sensual being, with horns, puck nose, and goat's feet.
The Romans identified Pan with Faunus, who besides having the attributes of the Greek god, was also the inspirer of oracles. Pan was usually called the son of Hermes.
Hea-bani, as his name indicates, was the creation of the god Hea or a god who combines in his various titles and attributes, those of several [p.287] classical deities. Primarily he may have been identified with Poseidon or Neptune, but as the god of the lower worlds he resembles Pluto ; again in his character of wisdom and counsel he resembles Hermes. In the Deluge Tablet he is spoken of as "Hea, who knows all things." Hea-bani therefore derives all his wisdom and knowledge from his patron god.
Hea-bani is represented in the text as dwelling in a remote place, three days' journey from Erech, the city of Izdubar, and as living in a cave and associating with the hulu, or cattle of the field, and the simmasi, or creeping things of the field. The exposure of the women before his den, and the subsequent events of the text, are well suited to the nature of the classic god.
The deification of Hea-bani probably followed on his gaining admittance to Heaven, but I have not as yet met with the name in any other texts than the Izdubar legends.
The religion of Assyria was in constitution essentially a nature worship; its pantheon was composed of deifications of nature powers. In this opinion I know I differ considerably from other Assyriologists, Mr. Sayce and M. Lenormant and others being of the opinion that the system was one of solar worship. I will here give a few reasons which have led me to adopt this theory.
1. The first beginnings are the blending of two nature powers, the abyss (abzu) and the sea (tiamat); these produce Moimis,2 who, according to Mr. Smith, is the Mummu of the Creation Tablet,3 and with him I am inclined to agree, whilst Mr. Sayce identifies it with Miani, the waters.4 The creation and introduction of two deifications of force, Lakima and Lakuma,5 into this blended mass, tear it in half, producing the upper and lower expanse or place, viz., Assuri [p.288] and Kisuri. From these spring the first triad of Anu, Bel or Elu, and Ea.6
2. The second line of the first Creation Tablet is thus written and read, saplis ina irsiti snina la zicrat, "Below on the earth a name was not recorded." This indicates the existence of the earth in a state of shapeless waste, as described in Genesis i, 2.
3. In the inscription we find the three divisions of nature thus produced divided between the three gods, Anu, Elu, and Ea. and their titles may thus be clearly and briefly stated:—
(1) That is, sami rapmti suhat Anu sarri, the wide heaven the seat of Anu the king.7
(2) Belu, bel mati, lord of the countries, or the world (all lands).8
(3) .... asih abzu rahu, Hea dwelling in the great deep.9
In the old Accadian cult, from which the Assyrians borrowed so much of their religion and mythology, each of these deities were recognised as the spirit, that is, the "fetish" of each of these divisions.10 Such being the ground-work of the Assyrian system, it was but natural that in its belief in the future life it should admit of two states of being—a happy one in Heaven, a state of torment in Hades; and these we find in the Assyrian inscriptions thus described:—
Heaven, the place of reward for the good, is called "the abode of blessedness,"11 "the land of the silver sky,"12 "the house of life," "the land of life."13 "The wide heaven, the seat of Anu the king." The life of the blessed is described as one of ease; they recline on couches, drinking pure [p.289] liquors, in company with friends and relations,14 feeding on rich foods.15 The warrior here is surrounded with all the spoil he has gained in battle, the captives are paraded before him, and he feasts in tents.16
Such was the Assyrian conception of Heaven; and it is exactly
what we should expect from a people whose one great aim in life was war, the
"pomp and circumstance of glorious war" would find its fulfilment in this conception of
Elysium, "the happy fields."17 Perhaps there is no one tiling which so clearly
indicates the character of a nation as the ideas which its people form of the
future state, either of the blessed or the wicked. The North American Indian,
whose great object in life was to be a great hunter, looks forward to his "happy
hunting ground." With most nations who have attained to any degree of
civilization the conception of Heaven is a reproduction of their ideal of life on
this earth. As the Assyrian life was one of alternate periods of luxurious ease
at home and warlike expeditions abroad, followed by the division of spoil and
captives: so the Elysium is a continuation of these. Such was the Greek, and
the Latin, as well as the Valhalla of the Norseman. In the latter, we find the
deceased reclining on his golden bed, drinking "mead" out of golden cups. As
yet we have, with the exception of the Twelfth Izdubar Legend, and a few notices
in prayers, no direct account of Heaven, but future excavations may produce
other texts which will help to clear up this important point in the Assyrian
If in the accounts of Heaven we have to complain of a lack of material from which to gain our information, we have no reason to do so with regard to the texts relating to Hades. We have two principal texts, viz.,
(1.) The legend of Descent of Istar K 102 W.A.I. IV, 31.
(2.) A small fragment printed in W.A.I, IV, 49 No. 2.
And we have also a number of notices of the land, of the departed in mythological fragments in the British Museum Collection.
The kingdom of the Underworld was, as I have stated, the realm of the god Hea,
and the Hades of Assyrian legends was placed in the Underworld, and was ruled
over by a goddess Nin-ki-gal, or the Lady of the Great
The description of this land, given in the Tablet of the Descent of Istar, is one of the finest pieces of writing yet met with in Assyrian texts.
1. To the land of no return, the regions of corruption.
4. The house of corruption, dwelling of the god Irkalla.
5. To the house whose entrance has no exit.
6. By the road whose going (has) no return.
7. To the house at whose entrance they bridle in the light.
8. A place where much dust is their food, their nourishment mud.
9. Where light they see not, in darkness they dwell, and—
10. Its chiefs also like birds are clothed with feathers.
11. Over the door and threshold much dust.
The Assyrian idea of Hades appears to me to be derived from
the ruins of some vast city, or house, which had as it were sunk down into the
underworld, and became the "city of the lost." Seven walls encircle it, each with its gate (babu)
and porter (nigab), its outer wall being a watery moat, filled with the "waters
of death which cleanse not the hands." The porter of this gate is called "the
porter of the waters."
The deceased as he arrived at each gate of Hades was deprived of some article of dress, as was the goddess Istar in her descent. I have little doubt but that we shall find that the objects mentioned in the Istar Tablet as being taken from her, and the order in which they were taken, had a mystic meaning, but as yet I do not see my way to explanation.
The deceased here symbolised by Istar arrives at last at the innermost circle of this labyrinth. Here is situated the palace of Nin-ki-gal, and the palace of justice, resembling the Hall of the Forty-two Accusers in the Ritual of the Egyptians. [p.291] From the statements in lines 20-37, it would appear that the deceased was kept waiting at the gate until the punishment which was to be given to him was decided by the court of Nin-ki-gal.
The Palace of Justice, in which the judgment of the deceased takes place, is situated in the innermost circle. Here is the throne on which the judge sat and delivered the judgment. But the most important point is, here rose the stream of the "waters of life" (mie-balati). This raises the important question, Was the Hades here described merely a place of punishment, or, was it a place of waiting, in which the deceased underwent a judgment, and if this were favourable, was given to drink of the "waters of life" and rose to Heaven, if unfavourable he was consigned to one of the circles of the doomed, there to undergo his punishment? To answer this question decisively as yet seems to me impossible, but I think there appear indications of the Hades being other than a place of torment. The release of Hea-bani by aid of Hea and Marduk, and of Istar by the aid of the Phantom, seem to leave some indications of a chance of release. And in a hymn to Marduk, of which I have given a translation, he is called the "vivificator," and he who raises the dead to life. But, until we obtain more inscriptions, the question must remain in an unsettled state.
Of the nature of the punishment we know nothing more than that fire formed an element, as well as perpetual hunger and thirst.
W.A.I. II. 1 7. .
By these two quotations we learn that Nin-ki-gal was called
Allat, and was the
wife of Hea.
Allat, like Istar, is used in the inscriptions in a very general sense, and denotes the begetter, the wife, and is applied to other goddesses. [p.292] Nin-ki-gal was the wife of Ilea, Nin-a-zu being an Accadian name of Hea. Hea, as his common Accadian name indicated, En-ki, was the earth, or the god of the earth, that is, in a Plutonic sense.
But Hea is one of the most complex of the Assyrian deities in his characteristics, but by aid of his female consorts in each of these characters, we can gain some idea of his powers.
(1). He is associated with a goddess Dav-ki-na, the lady of the earth, that is, the material earth, and she may be identified with the Greek, the earth mother, and Demeter.
(2). He is associated with Nin-ki-gal, and here he may be identified with the Greek god Aides, Nin-ki-gal, "the lady of the great land," being the Assyrian Persephone.
(3). A third character of Hea was the god of wisdom, and here he does not appear to have any companion goddess, without we here connect him with Bau, void.
It is with the first two of these that we are most concerned, and Dav-ki-na and
Nin-ki-gal may evidently be identified with Demeter and Persephone, "the mother
and daughter," though in no case is Nin-ki-gal called the daughter of Dav-ki-na,
but both are wives of Hea. Mr. Gladstone has pointed out, in his work on the "Mythology of Homer," the strong indications of the Eastern influence in the
conception of Aides and its queen Persephone; this he attributes to Phoenician
influence; this is probably right; but may the Phoenicians not have received
the idea from Assyria? The god Tammuz is evidently the Dum-zi,
the Son of Lie, to seek whom Istar descends into Hades. He also states that the
entrance to the underworld was in "the East, by the ocean river, at a full day's
sail from the Euxine, in the country of the cloud-capped Kimmerioi." The
Kimmerioi are evidently the Gi-mir-ra-ai with whom
Essarhaddon fought in the north-east of Assyria.
These people, during the period of depression in Assyria, in the eighth century B.C. had come down from the shores of [p.293] the Euxine and penetrated as far as Armenia. May they not in the early days have been connected with the primitive Accadi, or "highlanders," whose traditions centred round the Kar-sak-Kurra "Mountain of the World," situated in Armenia? From these Accadi the Assyrians received their traditions; may not the Gimirrai have done so? Or perhaps at that period at which the mythology of Homer was settled, the Gimirrai may have been in Armenia, the land of the "Karsak Kurra," and hence the placing there the entrance to the Underworld.
The existence of a palace, the "Hekal mat Nu-ga," as is also found in the Greek conception of Hades.
In a magical text I find the following notice of the porter of Hades:—Ne-gab, porter of the earth. In place of ... the Accadian has kurra, with the post position ge, which denotes lower, under, so that we must read, Negab, porter of the Underworld.
In another text the seven gates of Hades are referred to as the "seven doors (dalti) of the Underworld."
W.A.I. IV, 49, 2.
This fragment, which appears to be a portion of the Seventh Izdubar Legend, relates to the descent of Istar into Hades to obtain revenge on Izdubar for refusing her offer of marriage, as narrated in the sixth tablet.
1. .........til - ra - an - ni
........I turn myself
2. ....... [a - na qaq- qa] - ri i - di - ya
........ To the land of my desire
3. .......a - ti mu - sab Ir - kal - la
........ the abode of the god Irkalla
4. ....... e - ri - bu -su la - a - tzu - u
..... Its entrance (has) no exit
5. .......la - ta - ai rat
........ no return
6. ....... zu - raw - niu - ti lui - u - ra
...... They bridle in the light
7. ....... va - a - cal - si - na di - id - dim
....... and their food mud
8. ....... zu - bat gap - pi
....... are clothed with wings
9. ..... va ilia e - dim - ti as - ba
..... in darkness they dwell
10. .......a - e - ru - bu a - na - kii
...... which I will enter
11. ..... ana ku - um - niu - su a gn u
..... To its palace I hasten.
12. na - su - ut a - gi - e sa ul - tu immi pa - na i - bi - In ma - a - tu
wearing crowns who from former days ruled the land
13. a - nuv u Elu is tak - ka - nu su me - e si - i - ri
Anu and Bel have appointed it waters stagnant
14. is - tak - ka -nu Ka - zu - ti it - tak - ku -u mie na - da - ti
they have appointed they pour out the waters of streams
15. a - na bit ip - ri su e - ru - bu a - na - ku
To the house of the earth, which I will enter
16. as - bu e - nu - u - la - ga - ru
the abode of the afflicted and
17. as - bu i -sib- bu D.P. rnaku - kim
the abode captives great men
18. as - bu ukli -sib absuti sa ili rabau
The dwelling counsellors of the wise things of the great gods
19. mi - e a - sib Ner
waters the seat of the god Ner
2. idi, desire, may be compared with Heb. amans, or perhaps
from idu to know.
6. zummu. Bridle in or hold back. Cf. Targum, bridle.
8. diddu, mud.
11. Kummu, palace or building, a word of frequent occurrence. Cf. W.A.I. IV, 2.
Ina na - kab ab - si - i ina ku - um - mi
In the fountain of the deep in a palace.
Here the Accadian has e-nun, a royal house Aga, I hasten, perhaps Arab. fugit.
13. Siri, stagnant. Heb. horrirlus, foedus.
14. Ittahku, pour out, from Heb.
A Hymn to Marduk.
This Hymn, which is found on a tablet, K 2962, printed in W.A.I. IV, 29, is in praise of the god Marduk the Babylonian Demiurgus. It is very much broken, but some portions can be restored.
1. [Sar] ma - a - ti be - el ma - ta - a
King of countries Lord of the land (par excellence)
2. [ablu ris] - tu - u sa E - a
Eldest son of Hea
3. [sa sami] u u-zitu su - tu - ru
who heaven and earth turns (or regulates)
5. ....... i - lu sa ih
...... god of gods
6. Same u irzituv sa sa - ni - na la - i - su - u la - i - su - u
Lord (?) of heaven and earth who an equal has not
7. ardu sa A - uu ii Elu
Servant of Anu and Elu
8. ri - mi - nu - u ina ili
Merciful (one) amongst the gods
9. ri - mi - nu - ii sa mi - ta bill - In - da i - ram - mn
Merciful one who dead to life raises
10. Mardnk sar - ru sami u uzitu
Marduk king of heaven and earth
11. Sar Ba - bi -lim be - el Bit Sag - ga - al
King of Babylon and Lord of Bit Saggal
12. Sar Bit - zi - da be- el Bit -Makli- ti - la
King of Bit Zida Lord of Bit Makhtila
13. Same n Irsitn kn - um - mu
Heaven and Earth supporting
14. E -ma Same u Irsitn u - nm - mu
The circuit of Heaven and Earth supporting
15. Eni - sa ba - la - dim ku - um - mu
The eye sight of life supporting
16. i -mat ba - la - dhu ku - um - mu
The strength of life supporting
17. sar elu - gu (?) abzu ku - um - mu
Noble king of oracles of the deep supporting
18. a - mi - lu - tu ni - si ni - sat qaqadu
among mankind the man who raised a head
20. kip - rat ir - bit - ti ma - la ba - sa - a
the four races the whole of them.
21. Ilgi sa - kis -sat sami - u - irzituv
The Spirits of the Hosts of Heaven and Earth
22. ma - la ba - sa - a
the whole of them.
The rest of the obverse is very much broken, but the Hymn is continued on the reverse.
1. at - ta - va
Thou also art
2. at - ta - va la - mas - su
Thou also (art) the powerful one
3. at - ta - va mu - bal - lad
Thou also (art) the life-giver
4. at - ta - va mu - sal - li im
Thou also (art) the prosperer.
5. Ri - mi - nu - u ina ili
Merciful one among the gods.
Col. I, Line 3. Asirte. Compare Heb. felicitas.
" " 4. Zacã, pure. Compare Heb. punis.
" " 5. Ubara, perhaps borrowed from the Accadian Ubara, as in Ubara-Tutu, and has the meaning of the glow.
" " 7. Lab-khurit-ka, they do not choose thee. Compare Heb. delegit.
" " 8. Lata-na-sic, thou dost not raise. Compare Heb. removit, or perhaps Heb. momordit. in the sense of take firm hold of.
Col. I, Line 9. Makh-khaz, strike. Compare Heb. concussit.
Ilav-vu-ka, gather round thee, probably from lavu to cling. Heb. deglutire, or serbere.
" " 10. La-ta-na-si. Heb. sustulit.
" " 12. Seni, a support. Compare Heb. fulcrum.
" " 14. Tarammu, thou delightest in, from ramu, to raise, perhaps more correctly rendered whom thou exaltest, and compare Heb. elevare.
Ta-na-si-k, kiss. Compare Heb. osculatus est.
" " 15. Ta-ziru. Compare W.A.I. II, 10, izru, shall turn from, repudiate.
Col. II, Line 9. Rahis, resting place. Compare Heb. root recubuit.
Col. Ill, Line 3. Nergal, the god of war, meaning the great man.
" " 7. U-tuk ku, a borrowed Accadian word.
" " 10. Ipteva, opened, aperuit.
" " 11. Zakku, glass, or a transparent object. Compare Heb. in Job xxviii, 17, vitrum, crystallus.
Col. IV, Line 8. Kalmatu, worm. See list of worms, Delitzsch, Assyrische Studien, pp. 79, 85.
1 Cullimore, Oriental Cylinders, Plate XVIII, 93, 94, 95; XIX, 98; XXI, 105, 110; XXII, 169.
2 Damascius, Cory, 318.
3 Chaldean Genesis.
4 Academy, March 20th, 1875.
5 Compare Heb. לחם.
6 See Cory, 318, Damascius.
7 W.A.I. IV, 5-50.
8 W.A.I. IV, 1, Col. iii, 30.
9 Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. iv, pt. 1, p. 153.
10 Lenormant, "La Magie."
11 W.A.I. III, iii.
13 Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. iv, pt. 1, p. 153.
14 Twelfth Izdubar Legend, col. iv.
15 W.A.I. Ill, 66, iii.
16 Twelfth Izdubar Legend.
17 W.A.I. Ill, 66, iii.