A HYMN TO ISTAR (or ISHTAR)

[Extracted from Sayce, Lectures on the origin and growth of religion of the ancient Babylonians, pp. 268-70.]


The light of heaven, who blazeth like the fire, art thou,
O goddess (istaritum), when thou fixest thy dwelling-place in the earth;
Thou who art strong as the earth!
Thee, the path of justice approaches thee
When thou enterest into the house of man.
A hyna, who springs to seize the lamb, art thou!
A lion, who stalks in the midst, art thou!
By day, O virgin, adorn the heaven!
O virgin Istar, adorn the heaven!
Thou who art set as the jewelled circlet of moonstone adorn the heaven!
Companion of the Sun-god, adorn the heaven!
To cause enlightenment to prevail 1 am I appointed, alone am I appointed.
By the side of my father the Moon-god to cause enlightenment to prevail am I appointed, alone am I appointed.
By the side of my brother the Sun-god to cause enlightenment
to prevail am I appointed, alone am I appointed.
My father Nannaru has appointed me; to cause enlightenment to prevail am I appointed.
In the resplendent heaven to cause enlightenment to prevail am I appointed, alone am I appointed.
In the beginning was my glory, in the beginning was my glory.
In the beginning was I a goddess (istaritum) who marched on high.
Istar the divinity of the evening sky am I.
Istar the divinity of the dawn am I.
Istar the opener of the bolts of the bright heaven is my (name of) glory.
My glory extinguishes the heaven, it spoils the earth.
The extinguisher of the heaven, the spoiler of the earth is my glory.
That which glows in the clouds of heaven, whose name is renowned in the world, is my glory.
As queen of heaven above and below may my glory be addressed.
My glory sweeps away the mountains altogether.
Thou art 1 the mighty fortress of the mountains, thou art their mighty bolt, my glory.
May thy heart rest, may thy liver be tranquil.
O lord (Bel) Anu the mighty one, may thy heart be at rest.
O lord (Bel), the mighty mountain Mul-lil, may thy liver be tranquil.
O goddess (istaritum), lady of heaven, may thy heart be at rest.
O mistress, lady of heaven, may thy liver be tranquil.
O mistress, lady of E-Ana, may thy heart be at rest.
O mistress, lady of the land of Erech, may thy liver be tranquil.
O mistress, lady of the land of the city of precious stones, may thy heart be at rest.
O mistress, lady of the mountain of mankind, may thy liver be tranquil.
O mistress, lady of the temple of the pasturage of mankind, may thy heart be at rest.
O mistress, lady of Babylon, may thy liver be tranquil.
O mistress, lady of the name of Nana, may thy heart be at rest.
O lady of the temple, lady of spirits, may thy liver be tranquil.
(COLOPHON.) Tearful supplication of the heart to Istar.
Like its old copy written and published. Palace of Assur-banipal, king of Assyria.