My Blog List

Monday, 8 October 2012

Lord of the Tree.



Mesopotamian mythology.
The earth's crust sealed the land of the dead from the land of the living, but a way could be opened either by digging, or by magic.

The way to the Underworld could be traversed by foot, by boat or by chariot. The textual evidence is supported by models and the discovery of real chariots harnessed to oxen, within the royal graves of Ur.

But the road could only be traveled one way, though the dead may return, either for periodic rites (such as Gehtinanna and Dumuzi) and then return. Escape from the Underworld only if a substitute was found  (Inanna who sent Dumuzi in her place).

Evil spirits and restless ghosts could escape.
There are many 'Babylonian' rituals and prayers recorded to banish these entities back to the Underworld....

Ningishizida

Ningishizida was taken to the Underworld to become a judge.

In the text he is called Dumu, Ishteran, Alla and Lugal-cud-e, names that refer to him as a warrior, his youth, beauty and wisdom.

His grandmother was the Queen of the Underworld...

His connection with serpents, and trees/ fertility and growth make him a very Persephone like, deity.



Here is the story..
The ending is too fragmentary to read, so it is not included.

*


"Arise and get on board, arise, we are about to sail, arise and get on board!"

Woe, weep for the bright daylight, as the barge is steered away!

"I am a young man!
Let me not be covered against my wishes by a cabin, as if with a blanket, as if with a blanket!"

Stretching out a hand to the barge, to the young man being steered away on the barge, stretching out a hand to the young man, Dumu being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Ishtaran of the bright face being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Alla, master of the battle-net, being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Lugal-cud-e being taken away on the barge, stretching out a hand to Ningishzida being taken away on the barge;  his younger sister was crying in lament to him in the boat's bow.

His older sister removed the cover from the boat's cabin

"Let me sail away with you, let me sail away with you. My brother, let me sail on your barge with you, my brother, let me sail away with you.

She was crying a lament to him at the boat's bow:
" Brother, let me sail away with you.
The gudug priest sits in the cabin at your boat's stern."

She was crying a lament to him:
"Let me sail away with you, my brother, let me sail away with you. My young man Damu, let me sail away with you. Ishtaran of the bright visage, let me sail away with you, Alla, master of the battle-net, let me sail away with you. Lugal-cud-e, let me sail away with you. Ningishzida, let me sail away with you. My brother, let me sail on your barge with you, my brother, let me sail away with you. Let me sail on your splendid barge with you, my brother, let me sail away with you".

The evil demon who was in their midst called out to Lugal-ki-bura, look at your sister!"

Having looked at his sister, Lugal-ki-bura said to her:
"He sails with me, he sails with me.
Why should you sail to the underworld?
Lady, the demon sails with me.
Why should you sail  to the underworld?
The thresher sails with me.
Why should you sail to the underworld?
The man who has bound my hands sails with me.
Why should you sail?
The man who has tied my arms sails with me.
Why should you sail?

The river of the nether world produces no water, no water is drunk from it.
Why should you sail?
The fields of the nether world produce no grain, no flour is eaten from it.
Why should you sail?
The sheep of the nether world produce no wool, no cloth is woven from it.
Why should you sail?
As for me, even if my mother digs as if for a canal, I shall not be able to drink the water meant for me. The waters of springtime will not be poured for me as they are for the tamarisks; I shall not sit in the shade intended for me. The dates I should bear like a date palm will not show their beauty for me. I am a field threshed by my demon -- you would scream at it. He has put manacles on my hands -- you would scream at it. He has put a neck-stock on my neck -- you would scream at it."

Ama-cilama (Ningishzida's sister) said to Ningishzida:
"The demon may accept something there should be a limit to it for you.
You are a beloved, there should be a limit to it for you. How they treat you, how they treat you! There should be a limit to it for you. My brother, how they treat you, how haughtily they treat you! -- there should be a limit to it for you. "I am hungry, but the bread has slipped away from me!" -- there should be a limit to it for you. "I am thirsty, but the water has slipped away from me!" -- there should be a limit to it for you."

The evil demon who was in their midst, the clever demon, that great demon who was in their midst, called out to the man at the boat's bow and to the man at the boat's stern:
"Don't let the mooring stake be pulled out, don't let the mooring stake be pulled out, so that she may come on board to her brother, that this lady may come on board the barge."

When Ama-cilama had gone on board the barge, a cry approached the heavens, a cry approached the earth, that great demon set up an enveloping cry before him on the river:

"Urim, at my cry to the heavens lock your houses, lock your houses, city, lock your houses!
Shrine Urim, lock your houses, city, lock your houses!
Against your lord who has left the jipar, city, lock your houses!" ...
----------------

The translation is at: 
http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.7.3&charenc=j#

This page tells you more:
http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/ningizida/