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A praise poem of Ur-Namma (Ur-Namma C): translation

1-16City of the finest divine powers, lofty royal throne-dais! Shrine Urim, pre-eminent in Sumer, built in a pure place! City, your well-founded great wall has grown out of the abzu! City, beautiful as the sky, endowed with beauty, colourfully decorated in a great place! Shrine Urim, well-founded jipar, dwelling of An and Enlil! Your lofty palace is the E-kic-nujal, in which the fates are determined! Your pilasters heavy with radiance tower over all the countries! Its terrace like a white cloud is a spectacle in the midst of heaven. Its ...... like flashing lightning shines (?) inside a shrine. Like a single bull under the yoke, ....... Suen's beloved pure table; E-kic-nujal, Suen's beloved pure table. The king, ornament of the royal offering place, occupies the august courtyard; Ur-Namma the exalted, whom no one dares to oppose, ....... Urim, the wide city .......
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17-30......, the authoritative, praised himself exultantly: Under Ur-Namma, king of Urim, for whom a favorable destiny was determined, the roads have been made passable. An opens his holy mouth, and because of me rain is produced. He directs it downward into the earth, and abundance is brought for me. Enlil treats me kindly, ....... Enki treats me kindly, bestowing early floods, grain and dappled barley. Nintud formed me; I am peerless. ...... brought me up well; I am the king of the Land. I am ......; under my rule the cattle-pens and sheepfolds are extended wide. Utu endowed me with eloquence (?); my judgments create concord in Sumer and Akkad. Ningubalag has given me strength. In the whole extent of heaven and earth, no one can escape from a battle with me.

31-42I am Ur-Namma, king of Urim, the protecting genius of my city. I strike against those guilty of capital offences, and make them tremble. The fear I cause ....... My judgments make Sumer and Akkad follow a single path. I place my foot on the necks of thieves and criminals. I clamp down on evildoers, who will be caught like snakes. I ...... fugitives, and their intentions will be set right. I make justice apparent; I defeat wickedness. As if I were fire, even my frowning is enough to create concord. My word ....... ...... the lands, the foreign countries ...... Urim ....... Their food offerings make Nanna rejoice in E-kic-nujal.

43-49After my seed had been poured into the holy womb, Suen, loving its appearance (?), made it partake of Nanna's attractiveness. Coming forth over the Land like Utu, Enlil called me by an auspicious name, and Nintud assisted at my birth. As I came forth from the womb of my mother Ninsun, a favorable destiny was determined for me.

50-56In me, Ur-Namma, the lands of Sumer and Akkad have their protecting genius. I am a source of joy for the Land; my life indeed creates! ......, the fields are resplendent (?) under my rule. In the fields growing with ......, ...... did not multiply under my rule. In the desert, the roads are made up as for a festival, and are passable because of me. The owner of the fields ......; it rises (?) up to his chest. I have freed the sons of the poor from their duty of going to fetch firewood.

57-69After the storm ......, and the month had been completed (?) for me, Enlil chose me by extispicy on a day very auspicious for him. He spoke fairly to Sumer, and caused me to arise (?) from my family (?). Because of my broad understanding and wisdom, An the king entrusted ...... into my hands. I am the foremost one of Sumer. I am ...... good ....... I am ....... I am ...... of the Land.
3 lines fragmentary
I, the lord, .......

70-78I, Ur-Namma, born on high, ...... shining. The people line up in front of me. Enlil has given me the task of keeping the Land secure, with unscathed (?) troops. I am clad in linen in the jipar. I lie down on the splendid bed in its delightful bedchamber. I cause the people to eat splendid food; I am their Enkimdu (i.e. the god of irrigation and cultivation) . I am the good shepherd whose sheep multiply greatly. I open the ...... of the cattle-pens and sheepfolds. I am peerless. ...... the pastures and watering-places of shepherds (?).

79-85Since I have been adorned (?) with their rulership, no one imposes taxes on my abundant crops which grow tall. My commands bring about (?) joy in the great fortresses of the mountains. The joy of my city and the territory (?) of Sumer delights me. I release water into the canals of Sumer, making the trees grow tall on their banks. I have lifted the yoke of its male prostitutes.
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86-100I returned ...... to Urim. I made ...... return (?) to his country ...... like ....... I loaded its grain on barges, I delivered it to its store-houses. I returned its ...... citizens to their (?) homes. I ...... their earth-baskets. I ...... the savage hands of the Gutians, the ....... After I had made the evil-doers return (?) to their ......, I restored (?) the walls that had been torn down; my outstanding mind ....... ...... the shrine of Urim ....... I am the foremost workman (?) of Enlil; I am the one who ...... food offerings.
7 lines fragmentary or missing

101-110...... at a banquet with me in the city. ...... joyful dance ....... I have brought abundance to Enlil's temple on the king's canal: I have directed ships both to the wine quay of Enlil and to the lapis-lazuli quay of Nanna. Alcohol and syrup have been poured out before Enlil. To me, the shepherd Ur-Namma, let life be given as a reward! For Nanna, my master, I have built his temple; as if it were a verdant hillside, I have set up the E-kic-nujal in a great place. I have surrounded (?) its terrace with a gold and lapis-lazuli fence.

111-115I am the creature of Nanna! I am the older brother of Gilgamec! I am the son borne by Ninsun, a princely seed! For me, kingship came down from heaven! Sweet is the praise of me, the shepherd Ur-Namma!

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Revision history

21.iv.1999 : GZ : adapting translation
23.vii.1999 : JAB : proofreading
20.xii.1999 : GZ : corrections
19.v.2000 : JAB : proofreading
19.v.2000 : GC : tagging
26.v.2000 : ER : proofreading SGML
26.v.2000 : ER : converting to HTML 4.0
7.ix.2001 : ER : header and footer reformatted; substantive content of file not changed