NERGAL AND ERESHKIGAL


Anu made his voice heard and spoke, he addressed his words to Kakka,
"Kakka, I shall send you to Kurnugi.
You must speak thus to Ereshkigal,
Saying, 'It is impossible for you to come up.
In your year you cannot come up to see us
And it is impossible for us to go down.
In our months we cannot go down to see you.
Let your messenger come
And take from the table, let him accept a present for you.
I shall give something to him to present to you.'"

Kakka went down the long stairway of heaven.
When he reached the gate of Ereshkigal, he said,
"Gatekeeper, open the gate to me!"

"Kakka, come in, and may the gate bless you."
He let the god Kakka in through the first gate,
He let the god Kakka in through the second gate,
He let the god Kakka in through the third gate,
He let the god Kakka in through the fourth gate,
He let the god Kakka in through the fifth gate,
He let the god Kakka in through the sixth gate,
He let the god Kakka in through the seventh gate.

He entered into her spacious courtyard,
He knelt down and kissed the ground in front of her.
He straightened up, stood and addressed her,
"Anu your father sent me
To say, 'It is impossible for you to go up;
In your year you cannot go up to see us,
And it is impossible for us to go down;
In our month we cannot go down to see you.
Let your messenger come
And take from the table, let him accept a present for you.
I shall give something to him to present to you,"'

Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spake, she addressed her words to Kakka.
"O messenger of Anu our father, you who have come to us,
May peace be with Anu, Ellil, and Ea, the great gods.
May peace be with Nammu and Nash, the pure Goddesses.
May peace be with the husband of the Lady of Heaven.
May peace be with Ninurta, champion in the land."

Kakka made his voice heard and spake, he addressed his words to Ereshkigal,
"Peace is indeed with Anu, Ellil, and Ea, the great gods.
Peace is indeed with Nammu and Nash the pure.
Peace is indeed with the husband of the Lady of Heaven.
Peace is indeed with Ninurta, champion in the land."
Kakka made his voice heard and spake, he addressed his words to Ereshkigal,
"[ ] may be well with you."

Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spake, she addressed her words to her vizier Namtar,
"O Namtar my vizier, I shall send youto the heaven of our father Anu.
Namtar, go up the long stairway of heaven.
Take from the table and accept a present for me.
Whatever Anu gives to you, you must present to me."

(about 26 lines missing)

(Ea addresses Nergal)
"[ ]
[ ] path [ ]
The gods are kneeling together before him.
The great gods, the lords of destiny.
For it is he who controls the rites, controls the rites of [ ]
The gods who dwell within Erkalla.
Why do you not kneel before him?
I keep winking at you,
But you pretend no to realize,
And..."

(6 lines missing)

(Nergal addresses Ea- apparently expressing a wish to visit Ereshkigal)
"[ ] I will rise to my feet
[ ] you said.
[ ] will double it."

When Ea heard this he said to himself,
"[ ]"

Then Ea made his voice heard and spake, he addressed his words to Nergal.
"My son, you shall go on the journey you want to make,... grasp a sword in your hand.
Go down to the forest of mesu trees.
Cut down mesu trees, tiaru trees, and juniper!
Break off kanaktu trees and simberru trees."

When Nergal heard this, he took an axe up in his hand,
Drew the sword from his belt,
Went down to the forest of mesu trees,
Cut down mesu trees, tiaru trees, and juniper,
Broke off kanaktu trees and simberru trees,
[ ] he made a throne for far-sighted Ea.
He painted it with [ ] as a substitute for silver,
Painted it with yellow paste and red paste as a substitute for gold,
Painted it with blue glaze as a substitute for lapis lazuli.
The work was finished, the chair complete.

Then he (Ea) called out and laid down instructions for him,
"My son, about the journey which you wnat to make: from the moment you arrive,
Follow whatever instructions I give you.
From the moment they bring a chair to you,
Do not go to it, do not sit upon it.
When the baker brings you bread, do not go to it, do not eat the bread.
When the butcher brings you meat, do not go to it, do not eat the meat.
When the brewer brings you beer, do not go to it, do not drink the beer.
When they bring you a foot bath, do not go to it, do not wash your feet.
When she (Ereshkigal) has been to the bath
And dressed herself in a fine robe,
Alowing your to glimpse her body...
You must not do that which men and women do."

Nergal set his face toward Kurnugi,
To the dark house, dwelling of Erkalla's god,
To the house which those who enter cannot leave,
On the road where travelling is one way only,
To the house where those who enter are deprived of light,
Where dust is their food, clay thier bread.
They are clothed, like birds, with feathers.
They see no light, the dwell in darkness.
They moan like doves.

The gatekeeper opened his mouth and addressed his words to Nergal,
"I must take back a report about the god standing at the door."
The gatekeeper entered an addressed his words to Ereshkigal,
"May lady, a [ ] has come to see us.
[ ] will identify him."

Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spake to Namtar,
"[ ]"

(Namtar replies)
"Let me identify him,
Let me ... him at the outer gate.
Let me bring back to my lord a description of him."
Namtar went and looked at Erra in the shadow of the door.
Namtar's face went as livid as cut tamarisk.
His lips grew dark as the rim of a kuninu vessle.
Namtar went and addressed his lady,
"My lady, when you sent me to your father,
When I entered the courtyard of Anu
All the gods were kneeling, humbled before him,
All the gods of the land were kneeling humbled before him.
The gods rose to their feet in my presence.
Now 'they' (Nergal) have gone down to Kurnugi."

Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spake, she addressed her words to Namtar,
"My dear Namtar, you should not seek Ellil power,
Nor should you you desire to do heroic deeds.
What, come up and sit on the throne of the royal dais?
You, perform the judgments of the broad Earth?
Should I go up to the heaven of Anu my father?
Should I eat the bread of the Anunnaki?
Should I drink the water of the Anunnaki?
Go and bring the god into my presence!"

Namtar went and let in 'the Gods', Erra.
He let Nergal in through the first, the gate of Nedu.
He let Nergal in through the second, the gate of Enkishar.
He let Nergal in through the third, the gate of Endashurimma.
He let Nergal in through the fourth, the gate of Enuralla.
He let Nergal in through the fifth, the gate of Endukuga.
He let Nergal in through the sixth, the gate of Endushuba.
He let Nergal in through the seventh, the gate of Ennugigi.

He came into the broad courtyard,
And he knelt down, kissed the ground in front of her.
He straightened up, stood and sddressed her,
"Anu your father sent me to see you,
Saying, 'Sit down on that throne,
Judge the cases of the great gods,
The great gods who live within Erkalla!'"

As soon as they brought him to a throne
He did not go to it, and did not sit on it.
When the baker brought him bread, he did not go to it, and did not eat the bread.
When the butcher brought him mean, he did not go to it, and did not eat the meat.
When the brewer brought him beer, he did not go to it, and did not drink the beer.
When they brought him a footbath, he did not go to it, and did not wash his feet.
When she went to the bath,
And dressed herself in a fine robe,
And allowed him to catch a glimpse of her body,
He reisisted his heart's desire to do what men and women do.

(about 13 lines missing)

Nergal [ ]
She went to the bath
And dressed in a fine robe,
and allowed him to catch a glimpse of her body.
He gave in to his heart's desire to do what men and women do.
The two embraced each other
And went passionately to bed.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a first day and a second day.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a third day and a fourth day.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a fifth day and a sixth day.

When the seventh day arrived,
Nergal, without [ ]
Took away after him [ ]
"let me go, and my sister [ ]
Do not make tremble [ ]
Let me go now, and I will return to Kurnugi later."

Her mouth turned dark with rage [ ]

Nergal went and made his voice heard and spake.
He addressed his speech to the gatekeeper,
"Ereshkigal your lady sent me,
Saying, 'I am sending you to the heaven of Anu our father'
So let me be allowed out! The message [ ]."

Nergal came up along the long stairway of heaven.
When he arrived at the gate of Anu, Ellil, and ea,
Anu, Ellil, and Ea saw him and said,
"The son of Ishtar has come back to us,
She (Ereshkigal) will search for him and [ ].
Ea his father must sprinkle him with spring water, and bareheaded,
Blinking and cringing let him sit in the assembly of the gods."

Ereshkigal [ ]
To the bath [ ]
Her body [ ]
She called out [ ]
"The chair [ ]
Sprinkle the room with the water of [ ]
Sprinkle the room with the water of [ ]
Sprinkle the room with the water of [ ]
The [ ] of the two daughters of Lamashtu and Enmesharra,
Sprinkle with the waters of [ ].
The messenger of Any our father who came to see us
Shall eat our bread and drink our water."

Namtar made his voice heard and spake,
Addressed his words to Ereshkigal his lady,
"The messenger of Anu our father who came to see us-
Before daylight he disappeared!"

Ereshkigal cried aloud, grievously,
Fell from the throne to the ground,
Then straightened up from the ground.
Her tears flowed down her cheeks.
"Erre, the lover of my delight-
I did not have enough delight with him before he left!
Erra, the love of my delight-
I did not have enough delight with him before he left."

Namtar made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Ereshkigal,
"Send me to Anu your father, and let me arrest the god!
Let me take him to you, that he may kiss you again!"

Ereshkigal made her voice heard and spake,
Addressed her words to Namtar her vizier,
"Go, Namtar, you must speak to Anu, Ellil, and Ea!
Set your face towards the gate of Anu, Ellil, and Ea,
To say, 'Ever since I was a child and a daughter,
I have not known the playing of other girls,
I have not known the romping of children.
That god whome you sent to me and who has impregnated me- let him sleep with me again!
Send that god to us, and let him spend the night with me as my lover!
I am unclean, and I am not pure enough to perform the judging of the great gods,
The great gods who dwell within Erkalla.
If you do not send that god to me
According to the rites of Erkalla and the great Earth
I shall raise up the dead, and they will eat the living.
I shall make the dead outnumber the living!'"

Namtar came up the long stairway of heaven.
When he arrived at the gate of Anu, Ellil, and Ea,
Anu, Ellil, and Ea saw him and said,
"What have you come for, Namtar?"

"Your daughter sent me,
To say, 'Ever since I was a child and a daughter,
I have not known the playing of other girls,
I have not known the romping of children.
That god whome you sent to me and who has impregnated me- let him sleep with me again!
Send that god to us, and let him spend the night with me as my lover!
I am unclean, and I am not pure enough to perform the judging of the great gods,
The great gods who dwell within Erkalla.
If you do not send that god to me
According to the rites of Erkalla and the great Earth
I shall raise up the dead, and they will eat the living.
I shall make the dead outnumber the living!'"

Ea made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Namtar,
"Enter, Namtar, the court of Anu,
Search out your wrongdoer and bring him!"

When he entered the court of Anu,
All the gods were kneeling humbly before him,
All the gods of the land were kneeling humbled before him.
He went straight up to one, but did not recognize that god,
Went straight up to a second and a third, but did not recognize that god either.

Namtar went, and addressed his words to his lady,
"My lady, about your sending me up to the heaven of Anu your father:
May lady, there was only one god who sat bearheaded, blinking, and cringing at the assembly of the gods."

"Go, seize that god and bring him to me!
Ea his father sprinkled him with spring water,
And he is sitting in the assembly of all the gods bearheaded, blinking, and cringing."

Namtar came up the long stairway of heaven.
When he reached the gate of Anu, Ellil, and Ea,
Anu, Ellil, and Ea saw him and said,
"What have you come for, Namtar?"

"Your daughter sent me,
To say, 'Seize that god and bring him to me.'"

"Then enter, Namtar, the courtyard of Anu, and search out your wrongdoer and take him."

He went straight up to one god, but did not recognize him,
Went straight up to a second and third, but did not recognize him either.

Then [ ] made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Ea,
"Let Namtar, the messenger who has come to us,
Drink our water, wash, and anoint himself."

(15 lines missing)

"He is not to strip off [ ]
Erra, [ ]
I shall [ ]"

Namtar made his voice heard and spake, addressed his words to Erra,
"Erra, [ ]
All the rites of the great Underworld [ ]
When you go from [ ]
You shall carry the chair [ ]
You shall carry [ ]
You shall carry [ ]
You shall carry [ ]
You shall carry [ ]
You shall carry [ ]
[ ]
Do not grapple with him lest he bind your chest."

Erra took to heart the speech of Namtar.
He [ ] oiled his strap and slung his bow.
Nergal went down the long stairway of heaven.
When he arrived at the gate of Ereshkigal he said,
"Gatekeeper, open [ ]!"

He struck down Nedu, the doorman of the first gate, and did not let him grapple with him.
He struck down the second doorman, and did not let him grapple with him.
He struck down the third doorman, and did not let him grapple with him.
He struck down the fourth doorman, and did not let him grapple with him.
He struck down the fifth doorman, and did not let him grapple with him.
He struck down the sixth doorman, and did not let him grapple with him.
He struck down the seventh doorman, and did not let him grapple with him.
He entered her wide courtyard,
And went up to her and laughed.
He seized her by her hairdo,
And pulled her from the throne.
He seized her by her tresses
[ ].

The two embraced each other
And went passionately to bed.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a first day and a second day.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a third day.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a fourth day.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a fifth day.
They lay there, queen Ereshkigal and Erra, for a sixth day.

When the seventh day arrived,
Anu made his voice heard and spoke,
Addressed his words to Kakka, his vizier,
"Kakka, I shall send you to Kurnugi,
To the home of Ereshkigal who dwells within Erkalla,
To say, "That god, whom I sent you,
Forever [ ]
Those above [ ]
Those below [ ]

(about 20 - 25 lines missing at end)

 

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