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Enki's journey to Nibru: translation

1-8In those remote days, when the fates were determined; in a year when An brought about abundance, and people broke through the earth like herbs and plants -- then the lord of the abzu, king Enki, Enki, the lord who determines the fates, built up his temple entirely from silver and lapis lazuli. Its silver and lapis lazuli were the shining daylight. Into the shrine of the abzu he brought joy.

9-17An artfully made bright crenellation rising out from the abzu was erected for lord Nudimmud. He built the temple from precious metal, decorated it with lapis lazuli, and covered it abundantly with gold. In Eridug, he built the house on the bank. Its brickwork makes utterances and gives advice. Its eaves roar like a bull; the temple of Enki bellows. During the night the temple praises its lord and offers its best for him.

18-25Before lord Enki, Isimud the minister praises the temple; he goes to the temple and speaks to it. He goes to the brick building and addresses it: "Temple, built from precious metal and lapis lazuli; whose foundation pegs are driven into the abzu; which has been cared for by the prince in the abzu! Like the Tigris and the Euphrates, it is mighty and awe-inspiring (?). Joy has been brought into Enki's abzu.

26-32"Your lock has no rival. Your bolt is a fearsome lion. Your roof beams are the bull of heaven, an artfully made bright headgear. Your reed-mats are like lapis lazuli, decorating the roof-beams. Your vault is a bull (some mss. have instead: wild bull) raising its horns. Your door is a lion who seizes a man (1 ms. has instead: is awe-inspiring). Your staircase is a lion coming down on a man.

33-43"Abzu, pure place which fulfils its purpose! E-engura! Your lord has directed his steps towards you. Enki, lord of the abzu, has embellished your foundation pegs with cornelian. He has adorned you with ...... and (?) lapis lazuli. The temple of Enki is provisioned with holy wax (?); it is a bull obedient to its master, roaring by itself and giving advice at the same time. E-engura, which Enki has surrounded with a holy reed fence! In your midst a lofty throne is erected, your door-jamb is the holy locking bar of heaven. "

44-48"Abzu, pure place, place where the fates are determined -- the lord of wisdom, lord Enki, (1 ms. adds the line: the lord who determines the fates,) Nudimmud, the lord of Eridug, lets nobody look into its midst. Your abgal priests let their hair down their backs.

49-61"Enki's beloved Eridug, E-engura whose inside is full of abundance! Abzu, life of the Land, beloved of Enki! Temple built on the edge, befitting the artful divine powers! Eridug, your shadow extends over the midst of the sea! Rising sea without a rival; mighty awe-inspiring river which terrifies the Land! E-engura, high citadel (?) standing firm on the earth! Temple at the edge of the engur, a lion in the midst of the abzu; lofty temple of Enki, which bestows wisdom on the Land; your cry, like that of a mighty rising river, reaches (?) king Enki.

62-67"He made the lyre, the aljar instrument, the balaj drum with the drumsticks (some mss. have instead: the lyre, the aljar instrument, the balaj drum of your sur priests ) (1 ms. has instead: your lyre and aljar instrument, the balaj drum with the drumsticks) (1 ms. has instead: the lyre, the aljar instrument, the balaj drum and even the plectrum (?)), the harhar, the sabitum, and the ...... miritum instruments offer their best for his holy temple. The ...... resounded by themselves with a sweet sound. The holy aljar instrument of Enki played for him on his own and seven singers sang (some mss. have instead: tigi drums resounded).

68-70"What Enki says is irrefutable; ...... is well established (?)." This is what Isimud spoke to the brick building; he praised the E-engura with sweet songs (1 ms. has instead: duly).

71-82As it has been built, as it has been built; as Enki has raised Eridug up, it is an artfully built mountain which floats on the water. His shrine (?) spreads (?) out into the reed-beds; birds brood (1 ms. adds: at night) in its green orchards laden with fruit. The suhur carp play among the honey-herbs, and the ectub carp dart among the small gizi reeds. When Enki rises, the fishes rise before him like waves. He has the abzu stand as a marvel, as he brings joy into the engur.

83-92Like the sea, he is awe-inspiring; like a mighty river, he instils fear. The Euphrates rises before him as it does before the fierce south wind. His punting pole is Nirah (some mss. have instead: Imdudu); his oars are the small reeds. When Enki embarks, the year will be full of abundance. The ship departs of its own accord, with tow rope held (?) by itself. As he leaves the temple of Eridug, the river gurgles (?) to its lord: its sound is a calf's mooing, the mooing of a good cow.

93-95Enki had oxen slaughtered, and had sheep offered there lavishly. Where there were no ala drums, he installed some in their places; where there were no bronze ub drums, he despatched some to their places.

96-103He directed his steps on his own to Nibru and entered the Giguna, the shrine of Nibru. Enki reached for (?) the beer, he reached for (?) the liquor. He had liquor poured into big bronze containers, and had emmer-wheat beer pressed out (?). In kukuru containers which make the beer good he mixed beer-mash. By adding date-syrup to its taste (?), he made it strong. He ...... its bran-mash.

104-116In the shrine of Nibru, Enki provided a meal for Enlil, his father. He seated An at the head of the table and seated Enlil next to An. He seated Nintud in the place of honour and seated the Anuna gods at the adjacent places (?). All of them were drinking and enjoying beer and liquor. They filled the bronze aga vessels to the brim and started a competition, drinking from the bronze vessels of Urac. They made the tilimda vessels shine like holy barges. After beer and liquor had been libated and enjoyed, and after ...... from the house, Enlil was made happy in Nibru.

117-129Enlil addressed the Anuna gods: "Great gods who are standing here! Anuna, who have lined up in the place of assembly! My son, king Enki, has built up the temple! He has made Eridug rise up (?) (1 ms. has instead: come out) from the ground like a mountain! He has built it in a pleasant place, in Eridug, the pure place, where no one is to enter -- a temple built with silver and decorated with lapis lazuli, a house which tunes the seven tigi drums properly, and provides incantations; where holy songs make all of the house a lovely place -- the shrine of the abzu, the good destiny of Enki, befitting the elaborate divine powers; the temple of Eridug, built with silver: for all this, father Enki be praised!

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Revision history

22.ii.1999-10.iii.1999 : GZ: adapting translation : JAB : proofreading : GZ : SGML tagging
10.ix.1999 : ER : proofreading SGML
10.ix.1999 : ER : converting to HTML 4.0
7.ix.2001 : ER : header and footer reformatted; substantive content of file not changed