Prelude to the Epic of Gilgamesh

So I've hit a major milestone in my reading of Ancient Literature, in that I've cracked open the Epic of Gilgamesh. I haven't really started on the text proper because I'm reading the Penguin classics edition, and there are copious notes at the beginning about how the tablets were found, and some of the context …

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In Which it is Learned That Sumerian Kings Thought Very Highly of Themselves Part III (Sumerian Praise Poetry)

I got a little tired of having a bunch of posts with the same title, so I went ahead and finished what I was reading. I went through about three other dynasties in the Sumerian/Akkadian/Babylonian citystates, all the way up to contemporaries of Hammurabi. (I was beginning to wonder when he'd show up.) The trend …

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In Which it is Learned That Sumerian Kings Thought Very Highly of Themselves Part II (Sumerian Praise Poetry)

King Shulgi and his kin continue to entertain as I've read through most of his stuff, his son's and onward into the next dynasty. A lot of it continues to be the same material. Praising gods, talking about how awesome the king is and how successfully he was at smiting his enemies, but there have …

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In Which it is Learned That Sumerian Kings Thought Very Highly of Themselves Part I (Sumerian Praise Poetry)

This week I went back to the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature to look at their entry on praise poetry. This is a little different from my regular entries because it's a little less clear exactly when a lot of these were written, and there's quite a bit to read, perhaps unsurprisingly. A lot …

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The King of Uruk Demands Tribute!

Another couple of weeks. I really need to get back on the ball. But at least the wait was less long than last time. This week I got into a translation of the Sumerian tablets chronicling the story of Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta. As with all the other Sumerian tablets we've looked at, …

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The Lagash Kings’ List, and Utu-Hegal’s Victory

This week I've got a couple of documents for us. The Rulers of Lagash which was an abbreviated King's List from that city, as well as The Victory of Utu-Hegal, which chronicles the victory of a legendary king who brought the right to rule his lands back to Sumer from the king of the Gutians. …

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A Sumerian List of Kings

Our survey of the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian literature continues, this time with an interesting document, the Sumerian Kings' List. It's relevant mainly because of how it depicts the Sumerian perspective of their own history, and while in terms of style, it's very dry and to the point, it has some parts of record …

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A Tale of Temple Construction

Going back into strictly Sumerian stuff, I've dived into a document at the ETCSL called "The Building of Ningirsu's Temple" This one is actually a pretty long document, which was written on a pair of cylinders. It's notable as it goes somewhat in-depth into the sorts of things that actually go into the building of …

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