The Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar

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Songs in Praise of Izdubar and Heabani as Sung by the Khau-ik-i - Alcove 1, Tablet 3: Column 2

Our Izdubar dear Erech raised
    From her distress, when she did mourn;
With joy his glorious name be praised!
    Of a great warrior's daughter born,
And Bel in his own might, him arms,
    To Erech's sons and daughters save;
What other Sar hath glorious charms
    Like his, who saved proud Elam's slave?

                Chorus
No rival hath our mighty Sar,
    Thy cymbals strike and raise the cry!
All hail! All hail! great Izdubar!
    His deeds immortal glorify!

Our Izdubar our sons preserves
    To all our fathers day and night,
And Erech's ruler well deserves
    Our highest praise, whose matchless might
Delights the gods! All hail our Sar!
    Whose firmness, wisdom need no praise!
Queen Daunat's son, our Izdubar,
    His glory to the Sami[1] raise!

                Chorus
Of a great warrior's daughter born,
    The gods clothe him with matchless might;
His glory greets the coming morn,
    Oh, how in him we all delight!

And thus of Seer Heabani they now chant
His birth and history and hyemal haunt.
Who can compare with thee, O Nin![2]
    The son of Bel; thy hands didst lay
Upon Ar-ur-u, thine own queen,
    With glory crowned her on that day.

To her thy strength did give, and blessed
    Her with thy love and a dear son;
With Anu's strength within his breast,
    And Ninip sped then to his throne.

When Queen Ar-u-ru hears her lord
    From Erech's city far has gone,
She bows her head upon the sward,
    With pleading hands in woe doth moan.

And to Heabani she gave birth,
    The warrior, great Ninip's son,
Whose fame is spread through all the earth.
    The queen with her own maids alone
Retired within her palace walls
    For purity in Erech's halls.

Like the corn-god his face concealed,
    Of men and countries he possessed,
Great wisdom by the gods revealed
    As Ner[3] the god, his limbs were dressed.
With wild gazelles he ate his food
    While roaming with them in the night;
For days he wandered in the wood,
    And bu-hir-tser-i[4] him delight.

The Zi-ar-ri[5] Heabani loves,
    That play within the running streams;
With Zi-ti-am-a-ti[6] he roves
    Upon the sands in warm sunbeams.

"The prince returns, O Sar!" the herald said,
And low before the throne he bowed his head;
"Our Zaidu, the bewitcher of all men,
Doth unsuccessful to us come again.
Before the cave the seer confronted him
Three days where Khar-sak's snowy brow doth gleam.
Heabani with his beast in his cave went,
And Zaidu waited, but his courage spent
When he beheld the seer and beast remain
Within the cave, and all his words were vain.
The prince remains without with downcast face,
And beg of thee, his Sar, thy sovereign grace."
The king to all the maidens waves his hand,
Then vanishes from sight the choral band.

Zaidu's Return, with instructions to take two maids to entice the seer from the cave - Alcove 1, Tablet 3: Column 3

Prince Zaidu prostrate bows before the Sar,
Arises, thus narrates to Izdubar:
"Thy sovereign, Zaidu hath his king obeyed,
The royal mission I have thus essayed
As Anu's[7] soldier; I undaunted tried
To urge my mission which the seer denied.
I firmly met the beast that with him came:
Unmanly fear, confess I to my shame,
Came o'er me when I first beheld the beast,
In vain I plead, and in despair I ceased
When he refused, and angry from me passed
Within his cave, where cliffs and rocks are massed;
I climbed, but the wild entrance did not gain,
And for advice have I returned again."

"'Tis well, my son," the Sar to Zaidu said,
"Thy wisdom I commend for thy young head,
Again upon thy mission thou must go.
His might, and strength of purpose, thou dost know,
Before a maiden's charms will flee away;
For he doth love the Zi-Ga-bri[8] that play
Within the mountain gorges.  Turn thy face
Again with manly portance; for I'll grace
Thine embassy with two of our sweet maids,
Who oft shall cheer thee through the mountain glades,
Whom thou shalt lead before Heabani's den
With their bright charms exposed within the glen.
Take Sam-kha-tu and sweet Khar-imatu:
They will entice the seer when he shall view
Their charms displayed before his wondering eyes.
With Sam-kha, Joy, the seer you will surprise;
Khar-im-tu will thy plans successful end,
To her seductive glance his pride will bend.
Sweet Sam-kha's charms are known, she is our Joy,
As Ishtar's aid her charms ne'er cloy;
Kharun-tu with her perfect face and form,
The hearts of all our court doth take by storm:
When joys by our sweet Sam-kha are distilled,
Kharun-tu's love o'ercomes us till we yield.
Thus, armed with Love's Seduction and her Joy,
The greatest powers of earth thou dost employ;
No flesh can face them but a heart of stone,
And all the world doth lie before them prone."

Three days Prince Zaidu sat with Kharun-tu
Before the cave within Heabani's view;
Beside the pool they waited for the seer:
From Erech three days' journey brought them here,
But where hath Joy, sweet Sam-kha, roving gone?
When they arrived at setting of the sun
She disappeared within with waving arms;
With bright locks flowing she displayed her charms.
As some sweet zir-ru did young Sam-kha seem,
A thing of beauty of some mystic dream.
 

Two maidens entice the seer - Alcove 1, Tablet 3: Column 4

Thus in Heabani's cave the maiden went,
And o'er the sleeping seer her form she bent;
O'er him who with gazelles oft eats his food;
O'er him who drinks with bhu-ri[9] in the wood;
O'er him who loves the zir-ri, - of them dreams,
And sports with them within the mountain streams.
And when the gay enticer saw the seer
Unconscious sleeping with sweet Joy so near,
She clasped him to her breast and kissed his brow.
The seer awakes, with wonder eyes her now:
"Thy glory thou hast brought to me!" he saith,
"Sweet Zir-ru comes to me with fragrant breath!"
And with delight he eyes her beauteous form,
His breast warm moved by the enticer's charm.
He springs upon his feet and her pursues:
She laughing flees; to sport with him doth choose.

And now he eyes his hairy body, arms
Compared to Sam-kha's snowy god-like charms,
She give to him her freshness, blooming youth?
She laughing comes again to him, Forsooth!
Her glorious arms she opens, flees away,
While he doth follow the enticer gay.
He seizes, kisses, takes away her breath,
And she falls to the ground perhaps in death
He thinks, and o'er her leans where she now lay;
At last she breathes, and springs, and flees away.
But he the sport enjoys, and her pursues;
But glancing back his arms she doth refuse.
And thus three days and four of nights she played;
For of Heabani's love she was afraid.
Her joyous company doth him inspire
For Sam-kha, joy, and love, and wild desire.
He was not satisfied unless her form
Remained before him with her endless charm.

But when his bhu-ri of the field the sight
Beheld, the wild gazelles fled in affright.
And now without the cave they came in view
Of Zaidu waiting with sweet Kharim-tu,

And when Heabani saw the rounded form
Of bright Kharim-tu, her voluptuous charm
Drew him to her, and at her feet he sate
With wistful face, resigned to any fate.
Kharim-tu, smiling sweetly, bent her head,
Enticing him the tempter coyly said,
"Heabani, like a famous god thou art,
Why with these creeping things doth sleep thy heart?
Come thou with me to Erech Su-bu-ri[10]
To Anu's temple Elli-tar-du-si,
And Ishtar's city where great Izdubar
Doth reign, the glorious giant king of war;
Whose mighty strength above his chiefs doth tower,
Come see our giant king of matchless power."
Her flashing eyes half languid pierce the seer,
Until his first resolves all disappear.
And rising to his feet his eyes he turned
Toward sweet Joy,[11] whose love for him yet burned;
And eyeing both with beaming face he saith,
"With Sam-kha's love the seer hath pledged his faith;
And I will go to Elli-tar-du-si,
Great Anu's seat and Ishtar's where with thee,
I will behold the giant Izdubar,
Whose fame is known to me as king of war;
And I will meet him there, and test the power
Of him whose fame above all men doth tower.
A mid-dan-nu[12] to Erech I will take,
To see if he its mighty strength can break.
In these wild caves its strength has mighty grown;
If he the beast destroys, I will make known
His dream to him e'en all the seer doth know;
And now with thee to Erech I will go.

Festival for Heabani, Interpretation of the Dream - Alcove 1, Tablet 3: Column 5

The sounds of wild rejoicing now arise;
"Heabani comes!" resound the joyful cries,
And through the gates of Erech Suburi
Now file the chieftains, Su-khu-li rubi.[13]
A festival in honor of their guest
The Sar proclaims, and Erech gaily drest,
Her welcome warm extends to the famed seer.
The maidens, Erech's daughters, now appear,
With richest kirtles gaily decked with flowers,
And on his head they rain their rosy showers.
Rejoicing sing, while harps and cymbals play,
And laud him to the skies in their sweet way;
And mingling with their joy, their monarch rode
Before the seer, who stately after strode
Beside his beast, and next the men of fame.
The maids thus chant high honors to his name:
"A prince we make thee, mighty seer!
Be filled with joy and royal cheer!
        All hail to Erech's seer!

Whom day and night our Sar hath sought,
O banish fear! for Hea taught
        The seer, his glory wrought.

He comes! whom Samas loves as gold,
To Erech grace,our city old;
        All wisdom he doth hold.

Great Hea doth to him unfold
All that remains to man untold;
        Give him the chain of gold!

He cometh from the Za-Gab-ri
To our dear Erech Su-bu-ri.
        Heabani glorify!

Thy dream he will reveal, O Sar!
Its meaning show to Izdubar,
        Victorious king of war."

Within the council halls now lead the seers
With trepidation and with many fears,
To hear the seer explain their monarch's dream.
Beside the royal throne he sits supreme
Among the seers, the Sar, his scribe commands
To read his dream recorded as it stands
In Erech's Gi;[14] who reads it to the seer,
Who answers thus:
                  "In this there doth appear
A god, whose ardent love will lead to deeds
Of hate against thee, Sar; thy present needs
Are great, O king! as fire this love will burn
Until the wicked seven[15] on thee turn;
And blood, alone, will not their fury sate:
The gods will hurl upon thee some dread fate."
In silence, Izdubar the warning heard;
His blood with terror froze, and then was stirred
By passions wild, when he recalled the scene
Of Ishtar's love for him by man unseen;
When she so wildly then proclaimed her love;
And now with hate his inmost soul doth move,
And her bright form to a black dal-khui[16] turned
And furious passions on his features burned.
And then of the first dream he thought, and light
Across his vision broke:
                         "'Tis true! aright
Thy seer hath read! for Ishtar came to me
In the first dream, her face e'en yet I see!
Aye, more! her lips to mine again then fell!
Her arms I felt around me, breath too well
I know! of fragrance, while perfume arose
Around my dream and fled not at the close;
As frankincense and myrrh it lingered, when
I woke. Ah yes! the queen will come again!"

Then to his counsellor who wondering stood,
Nor heard his murmuring, but saw subdued
His features were, at first, and then, they grand
Became with settled hate; he raised his hand;
"'Tis true!" he said, "Reward on him bestow!
Then to the waiting feast we all shall go."
 

Izdubar slays the Midannu, Heabani declares Izdubar to be a god - Alcove 1, Tablet 3: Column 6

The guests are seated round the festal board;
Heabani takes his seat beside his lord.
The choicest viands of the wealthy plain
Before them placed and fishes of the main,
With wines and cordials, juices rich and rare
The chieftains all enjoy - the royal fare.
This day, with Izdubar they laugh and joke
'Mid courtesies and mirth, and oft provoke
The ringing merry laughter through the halls.
When all are satisfied within the walls,
Their fill have eaten of the royal fare,
With wine they banish from them every care.
The Su-khu-li[l7] with tinkling bells proclaim,
"Our Sar would speak! Our king of mighty fame.
Who says: "My chieftains, lords, our seer requests
A test of strength before assembled guests;
Unarmed requires your Sar-dan-nu to slay
The Mid-an-nu[18] which he hath brought to-day.
So stand aside, my friends, behold the test!
Your Sar will satisfy his seer and guest."
The monster now is brought before the king,
Heabani him unchains to let him spring
Upon the giant king.  His chieftains stand
In terror looking at their monarch grand,
Who smiling stands, his eyes on the beast fixed;
While they in wildest terror are transfixed.

Heabani claps his hands towards the king,
And the wild beast upon his form doth spring.
The giant grasps its throat in high mid-air,
[19]And holds it 'neath his arm without a fear.
With sullen choking roars it struggling dies,
While shouts of joy from all the guests arise.
The mighty deed of strength the seer appals,
And at the feet of Izdubar he falls:
"Immortal king! illustrious of men!
Thy glorious strength reveals the gods again
On earth.  To thee I bow in reverent fear,
A god returned thou art!  O Erech, hear!
Of kingdoms thou art blessed with grandest fame,
That thou among thy kings a god can name."
Again they gathered round the festal board,
And joy and revelry they soon restored.
The revels high are raised o'er sparkling wine;
Through all the night they praise their king divine.

Annual Sale of Maidens of Babylon - Alcove 1, Tablet 4: Column 1[20]

Hail holy union! wedded love on earth!
The highest bliss which crowns us from our birth,
Our joy! the mainspring of our life and aims,
Our great incentive when sweet love inflames
Our hearts to glorious deeds and ever wreathes
Around our brows, the happy smile that breathes
Sweet fragrance from the home of holy love,
And arms us with a courage from above.

O Woman! Woman! weave thy love around
Thy chosen lover, who in thee hath found
A loveliness and purity so sweet,
That he doth watch for coming of the feet
That brings him happiness and thrill his heart -
For one, of all thy kind who can impart
To him the holiest bliss, the sweetest joy,
That e'er can crown his life so tenderly;
He worships thee within a holy fane,
Let not his hope and joy be all in vain!

O thou, sweet Queen! we crown thee in our homes,
And give to thee our love that holy comes
From Heaven to inspire and bless our lives.
For this mankind all hope to take pure wives
To sacredest of all our temples, shrines,
And keep thee pure within sweet love's confines
That we may worship thee, and daily bring
Devotions to our altar, - to thee sing
Our orisons of praise, and sacred keep
Our homes till we shall softly drop asleep
Within the arms we love so tenderly,
And carry with us a sweet memory
Of purity and bliss that blessed our lives,
And children gave from sweetest of pure wives.

Thou art our all! O holy woman, pure
Forever may thy charms on earth endure!
Oh, trample not upon thy husband's love!
For true devotion he doth daily prove.
Oh, shackle not his feet in life's fierce strife,
His weary shoulders burden, - blast his life!
Or palsy those dear hands that work for thee,
And fill his eyes with tears of agony,
Till love shall turn as acid to his teeth,
And thorns shall tear his side with hellish wreath,
And daggers pierce his heart, and ice his soul,
And thou become to him a hated ghoul!

[21]What married woman is untainted, pure?
She, who when married spreads for men no lure,
Bestows caresses on no man but him
Who is her husband; she who doth not trim
Her form to catch the vulgar gaze, nor paints
Herself, or in her husband's absence taunts
Not her sweet purity; exposes not
Her form undraped, whose veil no freeman aught
Has raised;[22] or shows her face to others than
Her slaves; and loves alone her husbandman;
She who has never moistened her pure lips
With liquors that intoxicate;[23] nor sips
With others joys that sacred are alone
To him, her strength; who claims her as his own.

O Beauty, Purity, my theme inspire!
To woman's love of old, my muse aspire!
When her sweet charms were equally bestowed,
And fairest of the sex with hopes imbued
Of capturing men of wealth and lives of ease,
When loveliness at public sale[24] doth please
The nobles of the land to wealth bestow
Upon ill-favored sisters, maids of woe,
Who claimed no beauty, nor had lovely charms;
When crones and hags, and maids with uncouth forms,
Secured a husbandman despite of fate,
And love redeemed them from the arms of hate.

The proclamation Izdubar had made
To bring to the great plaza every maid,
For Beltis' feast and Hergal's now arrives,
When maidens are selected as the wives
Of noblemen or burghers of the towns
And cities of the kingdom; when wealth crowns
The nobles richest, ever as of old,
With beauty they have purchased with their gold.

The festival, the Sabat-tu[25] hath come!
The Sabat-tu of Elul! hear the hum
Of voices filling Erech's streets!
The maids are coming, how each gaily prates!
The day and hour has come for them to stand
And meet the bidders from all Sumir's land;
The day that ends their maidenhood, and brings
Them joy or not.  Oh, how the poor young things
With throbbing hearts approach yon gathering throng
To hear their fate pronounced; but is it wrong?
The custom old, Accadia thinks is good,
They all are young and fresh with maidenhood;
The ugly ones as well, shall husbands have,
And their young lives from shame thus they will save.
No aged maids shall pass from yonder throng
With bitterness, their heart's unuttered song
For some dear love to end their joyless woe,
And longings unallayed that e'er may flow.

But Love! O where art thou? art thou a thing
That gold may buy? Doth lucre thy bright wing
Unfold to hover over human hearts?
Oh, no! Thy presence to our soul imparts
A sweeter joy than selfishness can give,
Thou givest love that thou mayst love receive;
Nor asking aught of wealth, of rank, or fame.
True love in palace, hovel, is the same
Sweet joy, the holiest of sacred things.
For this we worship Ishtar, for she brings
Us happiness, when we ourselves forget
In the dear arms we love; no coronet
Of power, or countless gold, or rank, or fame,
Or aught that life can give, or tongue can name,
Can reach the heart that loyally doth love,
Nor hopes of heaven, nor fears of hell can move.

Mayhap, this Sabattu, some lover may
All wealth he claims abandon on this day,
For the dear heart that seeming pleads to him,
While her fond glistening eyes shall on him gleam.
A look, a glance; when mingling souls speak love,
Will in his breast undying longings move;
And let us hope that when the youths have lain[26]
Their all before the herald, that no men
Who see their sacrifice will rob their hearts
Of all that gives them joy or bliss imparts;
Or that this day alone will maidens see
Who have not loved, and they will happy be
With him who purchases her as his wife;
Or proud young beauties will enjoy the strife
Of bidders to secure their lovely charms,
And love may bring their husbands to their arms.

The day is sacred, dedicated old
To Love and Strength, when loving arms shall fold
A vigorous husband to a maiden's breast,
Where she may ever stay and safely rest.
The day of Ishtar, Queen of Love! the day
Of Nergal, the strong god, to whom they pray
For strength to bless with vigor Accad's sons.
For many anxious years this day atones.

[27]This day their Sar the flesh of birds eats not,
Nor food profaned by fire this day, nor aught
Of labor may perform nor zubat[28] change.
Nor snowy ku-bar-ra[29] anew arrange.
A sacrifice he offers not, nor rides
Upon his chariot this day, nor guides
His realm's affairs, and his Tur-tan-nu rests.
Of soldiers, and of orders, he divests
His mind; and even though disease may fall
Upon him, remedies he may not call.
The temple he shall enter in the night,
And pray that Ishtar's favor may delight
His heart; and lift his voice in holy prayer,
In Nergal's temple rest from every care,
Where he before the holy altar bends
With lifted hands, his soul's petition sends.

Around the square the palms and cedars shine,
And bowers of roses cluster round divine.
Beneath an arch of myrtles, climbing vines,
And canopy, with wreathing flowers it shines,
There stands a wondrous garland-wreathed throne,
Where maids are gathered; each unmarried one.
The timid maids and bold of Babylon
Are each in turn led to the rosy throne;
The crowd of bidders round the herald stand,
The richest and the poorest of the land.

The queen of Accad's maids doth now appear,
We see the burnished chariot coming near,
Ten beauteous bays with proud steps, nodding plumes
Come first; behind, a train of nobles comes;
And now we see the close-drawn canopy
Thrown back by slaves, who step aside, that she
The queen of beauty crowned with lilies, rose,
May here alight.  And see! she queenly goes
With dainty steps between the noblemen,
Who stand on either side the queen
Of beauty of the plains, who first this day
Shall reign upon the throne, and lead the way
For all the maids who shall be bought for gold,
And thus the first upon the throne is sold.

She takes her seat beneath the canopy,
Upon the throne high raised, that all may see;
As she her veil of fine spun gold flings back
From her sweet face and o'er her ringlets black
Her large dark eyes, soft as a wild gazelle's,
Upon the richest nobles dart appeals.
Her bosom throbs 'neath gems and snowy lace,
And robes of broidered satin, velvets, grace
Her beauty with their pearly folds that fall
Around her form.
             Hark! hear the herald's call!
"Behold this pearl! my lords and noblemen,
And who will bid for her as wife, my men?
"Ana-bilti khurassi ash at ka![30]
"Akhadu khurassi ana sa-sa![31]
"U sinu bilti khurassi![30] two cried.
"Sal-sutu bilti![31] nobles three replied;
And four, and five, and six, till one bid ten,
A vast amount of gold for noblemen.

But see! the bidders in excitement stand
Around a youth who cries with lifted hand
And features pale and stern, who now began
To bid against a wealthy nobleman,
Whose countless herds graze far upon the plain,
His laden ships that ride upon the main
He counts by scores. He turns his evil eyes
And wolfish face upon the youth and cries,
"Khamisserit!"[32]  The lover answering says:
"Esra'a!"[33]  "U selasa'a!"[34] then brays
The gray-haired lover.  "U irbaha!"[35] cries
The youth, and still the nobleman defies;
Who answers cooly, "Khausa'a;"[36] and eyes
The anxious youth, who wildly "Miha!"[37] cries.
"Mine! mine! she is! though you alapu[38] bid!"
"A fool thou art!" the noble, leaving, said.
"One hundred talents for a maid!" he sneered,
And in the crowd he growling disappeared.
The measures filled with shining gold are brought,
And thus the loveliest of all is bought.

The next in beauty on the throne is sold,
And thus the beautiful are sold for gold.
The richest thus select the beautiful,
The poor must take alone the dutiful
And homely with a dower which beauty bought
And ugliness with gold becomes his lot.
The ugliest, unsightly, and deformed,

Is now brought forth; with many wriggles squirmed
She to the throne, where beauty late had sat:
Her ugliness distorted thus; whereat
The herald cries:
                  "Who will this woman take
With smallest dowry?  She can cook and bake,
And many household duties well perform,
Although she does not claim a beauty's charm.
Who wants a wife?"
                The ugly crone with blinks
Doth hideous look, till every bidder shrinks.
A sorry spectacle, mis-shapen, gross,
She is, and bidders now are at a loss
How much to ask to take the hag to wife.
At last one cries:
               "Five bilti,[39] for relief
Of herald I will take, to start the bid!"
"And four of bilti, I'll take, with the maid!"
"Three and a half!" one cries with shaking head,
"And she is yours, my man!" the herald said,
And thus she bought a husband and a home.
 
And so the scare-crows, scraggy ones, now come
In turn; the lean, ill-favored, gawky, bald,
Long-nosed, uncouth, raw-boned, and those with scald
And freckled, frowsy, ricketty and squat,
The stumpy, bandy-legged, gaunt, each bought
A man; though ugly as a toad, they sold,
For every man with her received his gold.
The heaped-up gold which beauteous maids had brought
Is thus proportioned to the bidder's lot;
The grisly, blear-eyed, every one is sold,
And husbands purchased for a pile of gold,
And happiness diffused throughout the land;
For when the maid refused her husband's hand
She might return by paying back the gold.
And every maid who thus for wife was sold
Received a bond from him who purchased her,
To wed her as his wife, or else incur
The forfeit of his bond, and thus no maids
In all the land were found as grumbling jades,
Whose fate it was to have no husbandman,
For every woman had a husband then.


References



[1] "Sami," heavens.

[2] "Nin" or "Nin-ip," the god of the chase and war.

[3] "Ner" or "Nergal" the giant king of war, the strong begetter.

[4] "Bu-hir-tser-i," beasts of the field.

[5] "Zi-ar-i," spirits of the rivers, water-nymphs.

[6] "Zi-ti-am-a-ti," spirits of the sea, naiads or water-nymphs.

[7] "Anu," the King of Heaven

[8] "Zi-Gab-ri," spirits of the mountains.

[9] "Bhu-ri," wild-beasts, pets of the hermit seer.

[10] "Su-bu-ri," the lofty.

[11] Joy, "Sam-kha-tu" or "Samkha."

[12] "Mid-dan-nu," a carnivorous animal, supposed to be a tiger; the Khorsabad sculpture, however, portrays it as a lion.

[13] "Su-khu-li ru-bi," attendants of the King.

[14] "Gi," literally a written tablet, a record.

[15] The seven wicked spirits of the earth, air, and ocean.

[16] "Dal-khu," an evil spirit, a demon.

[17] "Su-khu-li," the attendants.

[18] "Mid-an-nu," carnivorous animal, supposed to be a lion, the pet of the seer.

[19] This feat of Izdubar is portrayed on the bas-relief in the Louvre Museum, Paris, from the Khorsabad sculpture, and is also copied in Sayce's edition of Smith's "Chaldean Account of Genesis," opposite 175.

[20] We have included in Tablet IV   Tablets V and VI of the original, as classified by Mr. Sayce.

[21] The above is taken from an Assyrian fragment ("W. A. I." ii. 35, No. 4) translated in "Records of the Past," vol. xi., pp. 159, 160, and presents the Assyrian view of purity and the customs of their people.

[22] Literally, "whose veil no freeman of pure race has raised." Before slaves and men of mean rank, women of the East are not obliged to veil the face.

[23] Literally, "who has never moistened her teeth with an intoxicating liquor."  "Records of the Past," p. 160, L. 6.

[24] The public sale herein described is taken from the statement of Herodotus (see Herodotus, vol. i., p. 196;. Compare "Nic. Dam. Fr.," 131, and AElian. "Var. Hist.," iv. I), who says all the marriageable virgins in all the towns of the empire or kingdom were sold at public auction.  The beautiful maidens were sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds were deposited before the herald. The ugly maidens in turn were then put up, and the bidders were called upon to take them as wives with the smallest dowry to be paid from the proceeds of the sales of the beautiful maids, and they were in turn awarded to those who would accept them with the smallest amount as dowry. The numerous contracts for the sales of women now in the British Museum may possibly be records of these transactions.

[25] "Sab-at-tu," a day of rest for the heart ("W. A. I.," ii. 32), the Sabbath day, which was dedicated to the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, and their gods, which were known by different names.

[26] "Lain," to lay, v.a. (pretr. "laid," part. passive "lain," from "liggan," Sax.), "to place along the ground." - Fenning's Royal Eng. Dic., London, MDCLXXV.

[27] From the Babylonian Festival Calendar ("C I. W. A.," vol. iv., pls. 32, 33) - also translated in "Records of the Past," vol. vii., pp. 162, 163.

[28] "Zubat," robes.

[29] "Ku-bar-ra," linen robes.

[30] "And two golden talents!"

[31] "Three talents!"

[32] "Fifteen!"

[33] "Twenty!"

[34] "And Thirty!"

[35] "And Forty!"

[36] "Fifty!"

[37] "One hundred!"

[38] "One thousand!"

[39] "Five bilti," about £3,165 sterling, or $15,875 (In the value of currency in 1900)


Last Update:    07/14/2001
Copyright (c) 2001 by Bruce J. Butterfield.
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