The Building of Ningirsu's Temple - Cylinder B

Mesopotamia, 2125BCE

House, mooring post of the land, grown so high as to fill the space between heaven and earth, E-ninnu, the true brickwork, for which Enlil determined a good fate, green hill standing to be marvelled at, standing out above all the lands.

The house is a great mountain reaching up to the skies. It is Utu filling the midst of the heaven; E-ninnu is the white Anzud bird spreading its talons upon the mountain land.

All the people were placed (?) before it, the whole country was detailed (?) to it. The Anuna gods stood there in admiration. The ruler, who is wise, who is knowledgeable, kissed the ground before that godly company. He touched the ground in prostration (?), with supplications and prayers; the ruler, the god of his city prayed.

For the bread-consuming house he added more and more bread, for the suppers in need of mutton he added sheep. In front of the house he lined up bowls like ...... abundance .......

He went to the Anuna gods and prayed to them: ´O all you Anuna gods, admired by the land of Lagac, protectors of all the countries, whose command, a massive breach in a dam, carries away any who try to stop it. The worthy young man on whom you have looked will enjoy a long life. I, the shepherd, built the house, and now I will let my master enter his house. O Anuna gods, may you pray on my behalf!´

The true shepherd Gudea is wise, and able too to realize things. His friendly guardian went before him and his friendly protecting genius followed him. For his master, lord Nin-jirsu Gudea gave numerous gifts to the house of yore, the old house, his dwelling place. He went into the E-ninnu to the lord, and prayed to him:

My master Nin-jirsu, lord who has turned back the fierce waters, lord whose commands take precedence, male child of Enlil, warrior, I have carried out faithfully what you have ordered me to do. Nin-jirsu, I have built up your house for you; now I shall let you enter it in joy! My goddess Bau, I have set up your E-mi quarters for you: take up pleasant residence in them.´ His call was heard, his master Lord Nin-jirsu accepted from Gudea his prayer and supplication.

The year ended and the month was completed. A new year started, a month began and three days elapsed in that month. As Nin-jirsu arrived from Eridu, beautiful moonlight shone illuminating the land, and the E-ninnu competed with the new-born Suen.

Gudea made a paste with cornelian and lapis lazuli and applied it to the corners. He sprinkled the floor with precious oil. He made the ......, who worked there (?), leave the house. Syrup, ghee, wine, sour milk, jipar fruit, fig-cakes topped with cheese, dates, ...... and small grapes, things untouched by fire, these were the foods for the gods which he prepared with syrup and ghee.

On the day when the true god was to arrive, Gudea was busy with the evening meal from early morning. Asari cared for the maintenance of the house. Nin-mada took care of its cleaning. King Enki gave oracular pronouncements concerning it. Nin-dub, the chief purification priest of Eridu, filled it with the smoke of incense. The lady of precious rites, Nance, versed in singing holy songs, sang songs for the house.

They sheared the black ewes and milked the udder of the cow of heaven. They cleaned the E-ninnu, they polished it with brooms of tamarisk and ....... The ruler made the whole city kneel down, made the whole land prostrate itself. He levelled what was high, rejected chance utterances (?); the sorcerers´ spittle (?) was removed from the roads. In the city only the mother of a sick person administered a potion. The wild animals, creatures of the steppe, all had crouched together. The lions and the dragons of the steppe were lying in sweet sleep.

The day was for supplication, the night was for prayer. The moonlight ...... early morning. Its master ......

Warrior Nin-jirsu entered the house, the owner of the house had arrived. He was an eagle raising its eyes toward a wild bull. The warrior´s entering his house was a storm roaring into battle. Nin-jirsu entered his house and it became the shrine of Abzu when there is a festival. The owner came out of his house and he was Utu rising over the land of Lagac. Bau´s going to her E-mi quarters was a true woman´s taking her house in hand. Her entering her bedroom was the Tigris at high water. When she sat down beside her ......, she was the lady, the daughter of holy An, a green garden bearing fruit.

The daylight came out, the fate had been decided. Bau entered her E-mi quarters, and there was abundance for the land of Lagac. The day dawned. Utu of Lagac lifted his head over the land.

the purification had been completed, the oracular pronouncements had been taken care of.

Wine was poured from big jars while ...... was heaped up in the E-ninnu. Nin-dub caused the sanctuary to be full of clatter and noise (?) and with fresh bread and hind´s milk available day and night, he woke from sleep the noble one, the beloved son of Enlil, the warrior Nin-jirsu. Nin-jirsu raised his head with all the great powers, and ...... rituals, ...... for (?) the sanctuary E-ninnu.

With his divine duties, namely to guide the hand of the righteous one; to force the evil-doer´s neck into a neck stock; to keep the house safe; to keep the house pleasant; to instruct his city and the sanctuaries of Jirsu; to set up an auspicous throne; to hold the sceptre of never-ending days; to raise high the head of Nin-jirsu´s shepherd, Gudea, as if he wore a blue crown; and to appoint to their offices in the courtyard of E-ninnu the skin-clad ones, the linen-clad ones and those whose head is covered, Gudea introduced Ig-alim, the Great Door (ig gal), the Pole (dim) of Jirnun, the chief bailiff of Jirsu, his beloved son to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to keep the house clean; to let hands always be washed; to serve water to the lord with holy hands; to pour beer into bowls; to pour wine into jars; to make emmer beer in the brewery fizz like the water of the Papsir canal, the house of pure strength; to make certain that faultless cattle and goats, grain-fed sheep, fresh bread and hind´s milk are available day and night; to wake from sleep the noble one, Enlil´s beloved son, warrior Nin-jirsu by offering (?) food and drink, Gudea introduced Cul-caga, the lord of the pure hand-washings (cu-luh), the first-born son of E-ninnu to Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to carry the seven-headed mace; to open the door of the an-kara house, the gate of battle; to hit exactly with the dagger blades, with the mitum mace, with the ´´floodstorm´´ weapon and with the marratum club, its battle tools; to inundate Enlil´s enemy land, Gudea introduced Lugalkurdub, the warrior Carur, who in battle subdues all the foreign lands, the mighty general of the E-ninnu, a falcon against the rebel lands, his general, to lord Nin-jirsu.

After the heavenly mitum mace had roared against the foreign lands like a fierce storm - the Carur, the flood storm in battle, the cudgel for the rebel lands - after the lord had frowned at the rebellious land, the foreign country, hurled at it his furious words, driven it insanethe text here seems to be corrupt, and there may be some lines missing,

With his divine duties, Gudea introduced the lord´s second general, Kur-cuna-buruam to the son of Enlil.

With his divine duties, namely to send entreaties on behalf of the land of Lagac; to perform supplications and prayers for it, propitious ones; to greet pleasantly the warrior departing for Eridu; and until (?) Nin-jirsu comes from Eridu, to keep the throne of the built-up city firm; to pray, with hand placed before the nose, together with Gudea, for the life of the true shepherd, Gudea introduced his adviser, Lugal-sisa, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to request; to command; to co-operate with the one speaking straightforwardly; to ...... the one speaking evil; to inform Nin-jirsu, the warrior sitting on a holy dais in the E-ninnu, Gudea introduced Cakkan, the wild ram, the minister of the E-duga, his ......, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to clean with water; to clean with soap; to ...... with oil from white bowls and with (?) soap; to urge him to sweet sleep on his bed strewn with fresh herbs; to let him enter the E-duga, his bed chamber, from outside (?) and to make him not wish to leave it, Gudea introduced Kinda-zid, the man in charge of the E-duga, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to yoke up the holy chariot decorated with stars; to harness the donkey stallion, Pirij-kase-pada, before it; to ...... a slender donkey from Eridu ......; to have stallions joyfully transport their owner Nin-jirsu, Gudea introduced En-signun, who roars like a lion, who rises like a flood storm, Nin-jirsu´s hurrying bailiff, his donkey herd, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely, to make the fat abundant; to make the cream abundant; to see that the fat and the milk of the holy goats, the milking goats, and the hind, the mother of Nin-jirsu, do not cease to flow in the E-ninnu sanctuary, Gudea introduced En-lulim, the herdsman of the hinds, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to tune properly the sweet-toned tigi instrument; to fill the courtyard of E-ninnu with joy; to make the algar and miritum, instruments of the E-duga, offer their best in the E-ninnu to the warrior with an ear for music, Gudea introduced his beloved musician, Ucumgal-kalama, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to soothe the heart, to soothe the spirits; to dry weeping eyes; to banish mourning from the mourning heart; to ...... the heart of the lord that rises like the sea, washes away like the Euphrates, that hits like a flood storm, that has overflowed with joy after inundating a land which is Enlil´s enemy, Gudea introduced his balaj drum,Lugal-igihuc, to lord Nin-jirsu.

Zazaru, Ickur-pa-ed, Ur-agrunta-ea, He-girnuna, He-caga, Zurju and Zarju, who are Bau´s septuplets, the offspring of lord Nin-jirsu, his beloved lukur maidens, who create plenty for the myriads, stepped forward to lord Nin-jirsu with friendly entreaties on behalf of Gudea.

With his divine duties, namely to see that the great fields grow rich; to see that the levees and ditches of Lagac will be full to the brim; to see that Acnan, the bright and long one, the pure stalk, will raise its head high in the furrows in Gu-edina, the plain befitting its owner; to see that after the good fields have provided wheat, emmer and all kinds of pulses, the numerous grain heaps - the yield of the land of Lagac - will be heaped up, Gudea introduced Jicbar-ed, Enlil´s surveyor, the farmer of Gu-edina, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to make sure that Imin-catam, the messenger of Gu-edina, informs Nin-jirsu about the amount of carp and perch yielded by the marshes, and about the quantity of new shoots of reed yielded by the green reedbeds, Gudea introduced Lama, the inspector of the fisheries of Gu-edina, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to administer the open country, the pleasant place; to give directions concerning the Gu-edina, the pleasant open country; to make its birds propagate (?); to have them lay their eggs in nests (?); to have them rear their young; to see that the multiplication of the beasts of Nin-jirsu´s beloved countryside does not diminish,Gudea introduced Dimgal-abzu, the herald of Gu-edina, to lord Nin-jirsu.

With his divine duties, namely to erect cities; to found settlements; to build guard-houses for the wall of the Iri-kug; to have its divine resident constable, the mace of white cedar with its enormous head, patrol around the house, Gudea introduced Lugal-ennu-irikugakam to lord Nin-jirsu.

Holy An made the location appropriate. Enlil wound (?) a turban (?) round its top. Nin-hursaj looked at it approvingly. Enki, the king of Eridu, drove in its foundation pegs. The true lord with a pure heart, Suen, made its powers the largest in heaven and on earth. Nin-jirsu chose it among shrines of sprouting seeds with his heart. Mother Nance cared for it especially among the buildings of the land of Lagac. But it was the god of most reliable progeny who built the house and made its name famous.

The mighty steward of Nance, the accomplished shepherd of Nin-jirsu, is wise, and able too to realize things; the man in charge of building the house, Gudea the ruler of Lagac, was to make presents for the house.

Gudea, the ruler in charge of building the house, presented it with the chariot ´´It makes the mountains bow down´´, which carries awesome radiance and on which fearsomeness rides and with its donkey stallion, Ud-gu-dugduga, to serve before it; with the seven-headed mace, the fierce battle weapon, the weapon unbearable both for the North and for the South, with a battle cudgel, with the mitum mace, with the lion-headed weapon made from nir stone, which never turns back before the highlands, with dagger blades, with nine standards, with the ´´strength of heroism´´, with his bow which twangs like a mes forest, with his angry arrows which whizz like lightning flashes in battle and with his quiver, which is a like a lion, apirij lion, or a fierce snake sticking out its tongue - strengths of battle endued with the power of kingship.

Along with copper, tin, slabs of lapis lazuli, refined silver and pure Meluha cornelian, he set up (?) huge copper cauldrons, huge ...... of copper, shining copper goblets and shining copper jars worthy of An, for laying (?) a holy table in the open air ...... at the place of regular offerings (?). Nin-jirsu gave his city, Lagac ....... He set up his bed within the bedchamber, the house´s resting place; and everyone (?) rested like birds in the streets with the son of Enlil.

With his duties, namely to fill the channels with flowing water; to make the marshes full with carp and perch (?) and to have the inspector of fisheries and the inspector of dykes stand at their posts; to fill the great waters with boats carrying grain; to see that tons, heaps and tons - the yield of the land of Lagac - will be piled up; to see that cattle-pens and sheepfolds will be erected; to see that lambs abound around healthy ewes; to have the rams let loose on the healthy ewes; to see that numerous calves stand beside healthy cows; to see that breed bulls bellow loudly among them; to have the oxen properly yoked and to have the farmers and ox drivers stand beside them; to have donkeys carry packsaddles and to have their drivers, who feed them, follow behind them; to see that large copper ...... will be strapped onto jackasses; to see that the principal mill will produce (?); to ...... the house of Nin-jirsu´s young slave women; to ......; to set ...... right; to see that the courtyard of the E-ninnu will be filled with joy; to see that the ala drums and balaj drum will sound in perfect concert with the sim drums, and to see that his beloved drum Ucumgal-kalama will walk in front of the procession, the ruler who had built the E-ninnu, Gudea, himself entered before lord Nin-jirsu.

The temple towered upwards in full grandeur, unparallelled in fearsomeness and radiance. Like a boat it ...... and ....... Its owner, warrior Nin-jirsu, came out as the daylight on the dais of Jirnun. Its ...... resting on supports was like the blue sky in all its splendour. Its standards and their caps (?) were Nin-jirsu himself emanating fearsomeness; their leather straps stretched out in front of them were bathing snakes with yellow mouths. Its owner, warrior Nin-jirsu, stood like Utu in his most fascinating blue chariot. Its throne, standing in the guenahall, was An´s holy seat which is sat upon joyfully. Its bed, standing in the bedroom, was a young cow kneeling down in its sleeping place. On its quilt (?), strewn with fresh herbs, motherBau was resting comfortably with lord Nin-jirsu.

Large bronze plates (?) offered all sorts of food (?). In the good house ...... were cooked in shining bronze vessels (?). Its pure bowls standing in the great dining-hall were troughs in various sizes that never lack water, and the goblets beside them were the Tigris and Euphrates continually carrying abundance.

He had everything function as it should in his city. Gudea had built the E-ninnu, made its powers perfect. He brought fat and cream into its dairy and provided its ...... with bread (?). He had debts remitted and made all hands clear. When his master entered the house, for seven days the slave woman was allowed to became equal to her mistress and the slave was allowed to walk side by side with his master. But the ritually unclean ones could sleep only at the border of his city. He silenced the evil-speaking tongue and locked up evil.

He paid attention to the justice of Nance and Nin-jirsu. He provided protection for the orphan against the rich, and provided protection for the widow against the powerful. He had the daughter become the heir in the families without a son. A day of justice dawned for him. He set his foot on the neck of evil ones and malcontents.

Like Utu, he rose on the horizon for the city. He wound (?) a turban (?) on his head. He made himself known by the eyes of holy An. He entered the shrine of E-ninnu with raised head like a bull and sacrificed there faultless oxen and kids. He set bowls in the open air and filled them full with wine. Ucumgal-kalama was accompanied by tigi drums, and ala drums roared for him like storm. The ruler stepped onto the outer wall (?) and his city looked up to him in admiration.

(6 lines missing)

... made abundance come forth for him. The earth produced mottled barley for him. Lagac thrived in abundance with the ruler.

For the warrior who entered his new house, for Nin-jirsu, he arranged a rich banquet. He seated An at the place of honour for him, he seated Enlil next to An and Nin-mah next toEnlil.

(13 lines missing or unclear)

Rejoicing over the the house, the owner determined a fate for the brickwork of E-ninnu: ´O brickwork of E-ninnu, let there be a good fate determined, brickwork of E-ninnu, let there be a fate determined, brickwork of E-ninnu, let there be a good fate determined! House! Mountain founded by An, built in grandeur!´

(16 lines missing)

...determined a fate for the brickwork of E-ninnu: ´O brickwork of E-ninnu, let there be a fate determined, brickwork of E-ninnu, let there be a good fate determined! House ...... embers (?) ...... embracing heaven. ...... holy .......´

(15 lines missing or unclear)

On your behalf, numerous cow-pens will be erected and many sheepfolds be renewed! The people will lie down in safe pastures, enjoying abundance under you. The eyes ofSumer and all the countries will be directed toward you. An will elevate your house of Anzud for you.´

(14 lines missing or unclear)

Grown as tall as Gilgamec. No one shall remove its throne set up there. Your god Nin-jiczida is the grandson of An; your divine mother is Ninsun, the bearing mother of good offspring, who loves her offspring; you are a child born by the true cow. You are a true youth made to rise over the land of Lagac by Nin-jirsu; your name is established from below to above. Gudea, nobody ...... what you say. You are ...... a man known to An. You are a true ruler, for whom the house has determined a good fate. Gudea, son of Nin-jiczida, you will enjoy a long life!

The house reaches up to heaven like a huge mountain and its fearsomeness and awesome radiance have settled upon the land. An and Enlil have determined the fate of Lagac; Nin-jirsu´s authority has become known to all the countries; E-ninnu has grown so high as to fill the space between the heaven and the earth. Nin-jirsu be praised!

This is the end of the hymn ´´The building of Nin-jirsu´s house´´.
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Mesopotamia, Ancient World


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