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Letter from Ishbi-Erra to Ibbi-Suen about the purchase of grain: translation

1-2Say to Ibbi-Suen, my lord: this is what Icbi-Erra, your servant, says:

3-6You ordered me to travel to Isin and Kazallu to purchase grain. With grain reaching the exchange rate of one shekel of silver per gur, 20 talents of silver have been invested for the purchase (2 mss. have instead: ......) of grain.

7-12I heard news that the hostile Martu have entered inside your territories. I entered with 72,000 gur of grain (1 ms. has instead: 72,000 gur of grain was brought) -- the entire amount of grain -- inside Isin. Now I have let the Martu, all of them, penetrate inside the Land, and one by one I have seized all the fortifications therein. Because of the Martu, I am unable to hand over (2 mss. have instead: I am unable to make ......) this grain for threshing. They are stronger than me, while I am condemned to sitting around.

13-16Let my lord repair 600 barges (2 mss. have instead: boats) of 120 gur draught each; 72 solid boats, 20 ......, 30 ......, placing (?) 50 ...... and 60 (?) boat doors on the boats (?), may he also ...... all the boats.

17-21Let them bring it up (1 ms. has instead: May he make them go out) by water, along the Kura and the Palictum watercourses, to the grain heaps (?) that are spread out. And I myself intend to go (?) (1 ms. has instead: come out) and meet them (?). The place there where the boats moor will be under my responsibility. Let them load up huge amounts of grain (?), the entire amount of grain; it should reach (?) you.

22-23If you have not got enough grain, I myself shall have grain brought in to you.

24-28My lord has become distressed about the battles in Elam. But the Elamites' grain rations have quickly been exhausted, so do not slacken your forces! Do not fall head first into their slavery, nor follow at their heels!

29-30I have at my disposal enough grain to meet the needs of your palace and of all the cities (1 ms. has instead: all your cities) for 15 years.

31-33That I should guard for you (2 mss. have instead: To guard) (1 ms. adds: the city of) Isin, and Nibru: let it be my responsibility. (1 ms. has instead: my lord, is this my responsibility?) My lord should know this!

(end of shorter version)

34-37My lord, I am without fear! I will not delay (?); I will not ...... in their midst. Each one of Isin's and Nibru's gods may search there for faces (?); I have indeed looked for them. Their widespread people, their population ......, huge ......, are indeed healthy; the true seed is indeed great there (1 ms. has instead: precious).

38-41Urim, your holy city, rivalling heaven and earth, whose great prince you are ......, of which the appearance is precious, which dispenses the divine powers and makes the foundations (?) and the plans firm both in the south and in the uplands, will surely escape from the grasp and will cry .......

42-45Elam, a raging dog, a destroyer, will not defile E-kic-nu-jal, the sanctuary which covers heaven and earth, which has no ....... Its protective spirits shall not be split apart! My lord: the loudest roarer (?), the runner, has taken flight (?)!

46-51May An, Enlil and Enki, who have loved Ibbi-Suen from the womb, look upon him approvingly. ...... is indeed placed there; they have changed (?) their appearance. With the ...... and (?) the city-gates of Urim opening, they cry "Aee!" If ...... says, "Who is my lord?" -- You are the king to whom Enlil has given ...... no rival!

52-55Your heart should not fret over this, ......! For ...... has avenged (?) ......; he has made its foundations firm for you. Let your heart be glad over ...... and (?) its seed. As long as my lord is alive, he will exercise kingship over Urim.

56-58Do not suddenly reject anything that is sent as a message (?) to my lord! Before Utu, I will not change my word (?).

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Revision history

25.v.2001-31.v.2001 : EFH : adapting translation
20.x.2001 : JAB : proofreading
24.x.2001 : GC : tagging
2.xi.2001 : ER : proofreading SGML
2.xi.2001 : ER : converting to HTML 4.0