THE JOURNEY OF NANNA TO NIPPUR


Myth associated with the spring rite of the first fruits which were taken from Ur to Nippur, stopping over all sacred cities on the way to the temple of Enlil, the Ekur in Nippur. The meaning of this ritual act was a religious celebration and sanction of the exchange of products between the cities of the Southern marshes and the farmers in the North (Jacobsen, Thorkild, The Treasures of Darkness, 1976, Yale University). The text dates from the Old Babylonian period, but thought to have been composed during the Third Dynasty of Ur. The text begins with a praise to Nippur, the city of Enlil, Nanna´s father. Nanna decides to visit the city of his mother. To this end he builds a boat and loads it with goods (plants, animals, etc.). During the journey, he stops at various places, and in each one of them is received by the main local deities. Finally, Nanna arrives at Nippur, where he is received by the gatekeeper and taken to his father Enlil. Nanna asks Enlil for a series of things: an early flood on the Euphrates so that he, Nanna can go back to Ur, late barley in the fields, fish in the river, reeds in the canebrakes, honey and wine in the orchards, tamarisks on the steppe, wild boar in the forests and a long life in the palace, all of which Enlil gives to Nanna, upon which the Moon God returns to Ur

1-8 The heroic Nanna-Suen fixed his mind on the city of his mother. Suen Acimbabbar fixed his mind on the city of his mother. Nanna-Suen fixed his mind on the city of his mother and his father. Acimbabbar fixed his mind on the city of Enlil and Ninlil:

9-16 "I, the hero, will set off for my city. I will set off for my city, I will set off to my father. I, Suen, will set off for my city. I will set off for my city, I will set off to my father. I will set off to my father Enlil. I will set off for my city, I will set off to my mother. I will set off to my mother Ninlil. I will set off to my father.

17-27 "The shining city, the pure place .......
6 lines missing
...... very great, ...... very great, ...... very great, ...... very great.

28-36 "My Nibru, where black birch trees grow in a good place, my sanctuary Nibru, where white birch trees grow in a pure place -- my Nibru's shrine is built in a good place. The sanctuary Nibru's name is a good name. My Nibru's shrine is built in a good place. The sanctuary Nibru's name is a good name. Before Dilmun existed, palm trees grew in my city. Before Dilmun existed, palm trees grew in Nibru and the great mother Ninlil was clothed in fine linen."

37-38 Suen set about constructing (?) a barge. He set about constructing (?) a barge and sent for reed matting.

39-48 Nanna-Suen despatched people to Tummal for the barge's reeds. Acimbabbar despatched people to the abzu for the barge's pitch. Nanna-Suen despatched people to Du-acaga for its rushes. Acimbabbar despatched people to the cypress forest for its strakes (?). Nanna-Suen despatched people to the forests of Kug-nuna for its ribbing (?). (3 mss. add 2 lines in a parallel passage: Acimbabbar despatched people to the mountain of fragrant cedar for its beams.)

49-58 Acimbabbar despatched people to the forests of Ebla for its planking. Nanna-Suen despatched people to the fragrant cedar forest for its fir wood. Acimbabbar despatched people to the junipers of Langi for its ....... Acimbabbar despatched people to ...... for its ....... Nanna-Suen despatched people to the mound of ...... for its .......

59-82 When the barge's reeds were brought to Nanna-Suen from Tummal, when the barge's pitch was brought to Acimbabbar from the abzu, when its rushes were brought to Nanna-Suen from Du-acaga, when its strakes (?) were brought to Acimbabbar from the cypress forest; when its ribbing (?) was brought to Nanna-Suen from the forests of Kug-nuna, (3 mss. add 2 lines: when its beams were brought to Acimbabbar from the mountain of fragrant cedar,) when its planking was brought to Acimbabbar from the forests of Ebla, when its fir wood was brought to Nanna-Suen from the fragrant cedar forest; when its ...... was brought to Acimbabbar from the junipers of Langi, when its ...... was brought to Acimbabbar from ......, when its ...... was brought to Nanna-Suen from the mound of ......,
1 line fragmentary
Utu rejoiced at him and put ....... Gibil rejoiced at him.
lines 83-146 missing or fragmentary

147-150 (He declared:) "I am Nanna-Suen, I ......, I will ...... to the house of Enlil. I am Acimbabbar, and I will ...... to the house of Enlil."
5 lines missing

157-166 Nanna-Suen will gather bulls for the cow-pen for the house of Enlil. Acimbabbar will collect (?) fattened sheep for the house of Enlil. Nanna-Suen will purify the cow-pen for the house of Enlil. Acimbabbar will feed meal to the goats for the house of Enlil. Nanna-Suen will ...... porcupines for the house of Enlil.

167-175 Acimbabbar will ...... long-tailed bush-rats for the house of Enlil. Nanna-Suen will gather (?) little kuda birds for the house of Enlil. Acimbabbar will bring small ubi birds from the pond for the house of Enlil. Nanna-Suen will bring small azagun birds from the ...... for the house of Enlil.

176-185 Acimbabbar will ...... suhur carp for the house of Enlil. Nanna-Suen will ...... ectub carp for the house of Enlil. Acimbabbar will pour the oil of rushes onto the water for the house of Enlil. Nanna-Suen will fill baskets with eggs for the house of Enlil. Acimbabbar will cause old reed and fresh reed to thrive for the house of Enlil.

186-197 Nanna-Suen will cause six hundred ewes to give birth to lambs for the house of Enlil, for he will cause their rams to be let loose among them, and he will distribute them along the banks of the Id-surungal. Acimbabbar will cause six hundred she-goats to give birth to kids for the house of Enlil, for he will cause their bucks to be let loose among them, and he will distribute them along the banks of the Id-surungal. Nanna-Suen will cause six hundred cows to give birth to calves for the house of Enlil, for he will cause their bulls to be let loose among them, and he will distribute them along the banks of the Id-surungal.

198-202 Enegir lay ahead of the offerings, Urim lay behind them. She brought out of the house what should not come out of the house, what should not come out of the house -- Ningirida brought out of the house what should not come out of the house: "Welcome, welcome, welcome o boat! O boat of Suen, welcome, welcome o boat!"

203-208 She laid out flour before the barge and spread bran. At her feet stood a covered bronze gakkul vat. (1 ms. adds 1 line: With her fingers she pulled out the boxwood bung (?) for him (declaring):) "I shall rub precious oil on this peg. May ghee, syrup and wine be abundant in your midst, may the suhur carp and the ectub carp rejoice at the prow of your boat!" But the boat did not give her its cargo: "I am going to Nibru!"

209-213 Larsa lay ahead of the offerings, Enegir lay behind them. She brought out of the house what should not come out of the house, what should not come out of the house -- the lovely Cerida brought out of the house what should not come out of the house: "Welcome, welcome, welcome o boat! O boat of my father, welcome, welcome o boat!"

214-219 She laid out flour before the barge and spread bran. At her feet stood a covered bronze gakkul vat. (1 ms. adds 1 line: With her fingers she pulled out the boxwood bung (?) for him (declaring):) "I shall rub precious oil on this peg. May ghee, syrup and wine be abundant in your midst, may the suhur carp and the ectub carp rejoice at the prow of your boat!" But the boat did not give her its cargo: "I am going to Nibru!"

220-224 Unug lay ahead of the offerings, Larsa lay behind them. She brought out of the house what should not come out of the house, what should not come out of the house -- holy Inana brought out of the house what should not come out of the house: "Welcome, welcome, welcome o boat! O boat of my father welcome, welcome o boat! (1 ms. adds 1 line: O boat of Suen welcome, welcome o boat!)"

225-230 She laid out flour before the barge and spread bran. At her feet stood a covered bronze gakkul vat. (1 ms. adds 1 line: With her fingers she pulled out the boxwood bung (?) for him (declaring):) "I shall rub precious oil on your peg. May ghee, syrup and wine be abundant in your midst, may the suhur carp and the ectub carp rejoice at the prow of your boat!" But the boat did not give her its cargo: "I am going to Nibru!"

231-235 Curuppag lay ahead of the offerings, Unug lay behind them. She brought out of the house what should not come out of the house, what should not come out of the house -- Ninunuga brought out of the house what should not come out of the house: "Welcome, welcome, welcome o boat! O boat of Suen welcome, welcome o boat!"

236-241 She laid out flour before the barge and spread bran. At her feet stood a covered bronze gakkul vat. (1 ms. adds 1 line: With her fingers she pulled out the boxwood bung (?) for him (declaring):) "I shall rub precious oil on this peg. May ghee, syrup and wine be abundant in your midst, may the suhur carp and the ectub carp rejoice at the prow of your boat!" But the boat did not give her its cargo: "I am going to Nibru!"

242-246 Tummal lay ahead of the offerings, Curuppag lay behind them. She brought out of the house what should not come out of the house, what should not come out of the house -- the fair Ninlil brought out of the house what should not come out of the house: "Welcome, welcome, welcome o boat! O boat of the princely son welcome, welcome o boat!"

247-252 She laid out flour before the barge and spread bran. At her feet stood a covered bronze gakkul vat. ( 1 ms. adds 1 line: With her fingers she pulled out the boxwood bung (?) for him (declaring):) "I shall rub precious oil on this peg. May ghee, syrup and wine be abundant in your midst, may the suhur carp and the ectub carp rejoice at the prow of your boat!" But the boat did not give her its cargo: "I am going to Nibru!"

253-257 Nibru lay ahead of the offerings, Tummal lay behind them. At the Shining Quay, the quay of Enlil, Nanna-Suen finally docked the boat. At the White Quay, the quay of Enlil, Acimbabbar finally docked the boat.

258-264 He stepped up to the cultic building of his father who begot him and called out to the porter of his father who begot him: "Open the house, porter, open the house! Open the house, Kalkal, open the house! Kalkal, doorkeeper, open the house! Doorman, doorkeeper, open the house! Porter, open the house! Kalkal, open the house!

265-274 "I, Nanna-Suen, have gathered bulls for the cow-pen for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Acimbabbar, have collected (?) fattened sheep for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, shall purify the cow-pen for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Acimbabbar, shall feed meal to the goats for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, have ...... porcupines for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house.

275-283 "I, Acimbabbar -- I, Acimbabbar -- have ...... long-tailed bush-rats for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, have gathered (?) little kuda birds for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Acimbabbar, have brought small ubi birds from the pond for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, have brought small azagun birds from the pond for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house.

284-293 "I, Acimbabbar, ...... suhur carp for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, ...... ectub carp for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Acimbabbar, shall pour the oil of rushes onto the water for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, have filled baskets with eggs for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house. I, Acimbabbar, have caused old reed and fresh reed to thrive for the house of Enlil; porter, open the house.

294-305 "I, Nanna-Suen, have caused six hundred ewes to give birth to lambs for the house of Enlil, for I have caused their rams to be let loose among them, and I have distributed them along the banks of the Id-surungal; porter, open the house. I, Acimbabbar, have caused six hundred she-goats to give birth to kids for the house of Enlil, for I have caused their bucks to be let loose among them, and I have distributed them along the banks of the Id-surungal; porter, open the house. I, Nanna-Suen, have caused six hundred cows to give birth to calves for the house of Enlil, for I have caused their bulls to be let loose among themm, and I have distributed them along the banks of the Id-surungal; porter, open the house.

306-308 "Porter, open the house! Kalkal, open the house! I will give you that which is in the prow of the boat as a first offering, and I will give you that which is in the stern of the boat as a last offering."

309-318 Rejoicing, the porter rejoicing, the porter rejoicing opened the house. Kalkal, the doorkeeper, rejoicing, the porter rejoicing opened the house. Kalkal, in charge of the bolt-handle, rejoicing, the porter rejoicing, opened the house. At the house of Enlil, ......, Nanna-Suen made the offerings. Enlil, rejoicing over the offerings, offered bread to Suen, his son.

319-325 Enlil rejoiced over Suen and spoke kindly: "Give sweet cakes to my little fellow who eats sweet cakes. Give sweet cakes to my Nanna who loves eating sweet cakes. Bring out from the E-kur the bread allotment and first quality bread for him. Pour out for him the finest beer, my pure ....... May the ...... of the towering tilimda vessels, standing on the ground, ....... Order pure sweet cake, syrup, crescent (?) cake and clear water for him."

326-330 Suen replied to his father who begot him: "Father who begot me, I am indeed satisfied with what you have given me to eat. O Great Mountain, father who begot me, I am indeed satisfied with what you have given me to drink. Wherever you lift your eyes, there is kingship. O Enlil, your abundance is .......

331-339 "Give to me, Enlil, give to me -- I want to set off for Urim! In the river give me the carp-flood -- I want to set off for Urim! In the fields give me speckled barley -- I want to set off for Urim! In the marshes give me kuda carp and suhur carp -- I want to set off for Urim! In the reedbeds give me old reed and fresh reed -- I want to set off for Urim! In the forests give me the ibex and wild ram -- I want to set off for Urim! In the high plain give me the macgurum tree -- I want to set off for Urim! In the orchards give me syrup and wine -- I want to set off for Urim! In the palace give me long life -- I want to set off for Urim!"

340-348 He gave to him, Enlil gave to him -- and he set off for Urim. In the river he gave him the carp-flood -- and he set off for Urim. In the field he gave him speckled barley -- and he set off for Urim. In the pond he gave him kuda carp and suhur carp -- and he set off for Urim. In the reedbeds he gave him old reed and fresh reed -- and he set off for Urim. In the forests he gave him the ibex and wild ram -- and he set off for Urim. In the high plain he gave him the macgurum tree -- and he set off for Urim. In the orchards he gave him syrup and wine -- and he set off for Urim. In the palace he gave him long life -- and he set off for Urim.

349-352 My king, on your throne, for Enlil, may Nanna-Suen make you be born for seven days. On your holy throne, for the great mother Ninlil, may the lord Acimbabbar make you be born for seven days.

Source: The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, UK.

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