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Letter from Sîn-iddinam to the god Utu about the distress of Larsa: translation

1-5Say to Utu my lord, the exalted judge of heaven and earth, who cares for the Land, who renders verdicts; just god, who loves to keep man alive, who heeds entreaty, who extends mercy, who knows ...... compassion, who loves justice, who selects honesty, ......:

6-11Repeat to the bearded one, the son of Ningal, ...... a lapis-lazuli beard, who opens the bolts of heaven and earth (1 ms. has instead: who opens the bolts), who creates brightness in darkness; foremost lord who alone is resplendent, whose greatness is unequalled; warrior, son given birth by Ningal, who guards and gathers together the divine powers; just god, prince who determines all the fates, my lord, father of the black-headed: this is what Sîn-iddinam, king of Larsa, your servant, says:

12-20Distress has been caused in your city Larsa, which you have chosen in your heart. The broad squares where days have been passed in merriment have been reduced to (1 ms. has instead: are left (?) in) silence. Your commendable troops who were assembled have been annihilated (?) like reeds from a reed fence splitting apart. Your young men have been harvested like barley at the due time; they have been picked and have been plucked like ripened fruit (?). The people have been smashed like terracotta figurines; they (?) have perished all together. An evil storm took away the little ones from the laps (?) of their mothers. The people ......; their appearance has been (?) changed. Overwhelming troops have been set loose, ...... the Land ...... like flour. O youthful Utu, like an enemy you stand aside from your city Larsa.

21-29The mountain land of Elam where there are no dead in great numbers (?) like ......, and Subir, a heavy cloud, which knows no reverence even towards the gods -- these districts have not been ......; their time has not yet come. The Cimackian does not elect nugig or lukur priestesses for the places of the gods (1 ms. has instead: The Cimackian knows neither his god nor those elected nugig and lukur priestesses) (1 other ms. has instead: The Cimackian ...... neither the nugig nor the nubar priestesses for the places of the gods). His soldiers are numerous like grass; his seed is widespread (1 ms. has instead: is indeed exalted). He who lives in tents, who does not know of the places of the gods: like a wild beast which mounts, he knows nothing of eca flour nor prayers (1 ms. has instead: flour and the offering of prayers). The evil namtar demon and the distressing asag demon have not carried him off (?) (1 ms. has instead: do not approach him). Who ...... a divine oath is committing sacrilege, yet his troops are in good health.

30-33For seven years, in my city there has been no battle and combat, and death (?) has not been imminent (?) (1 ms. has instead: For five years, in my city we have not been extinguished (?) by battle, not oppressed by death). In the open country the lion does not diminish (1 ms. has instead: ......) devouring men. I am treated (1 ms. has instead: I have been bound (?)) like one who does not know how to entreat a god fervently. I serve the great gods daily with prayers, and my fervent entreaties are sublime.

34-44O youthful Utu, for that reason look favourably upon your city Larsa! Say "Alas!" for your city! Say "Alas for the sanctuary!" ......! Extend sympathetic compassion to Larsa! Take heed of the causes of distress, and make ...... leave ...... Larsa! Remove ...... and distress from its midst (?) (1 ms. has instead: within Larsa)! ...... the frightful (?) ...... in Larsa, so that ...... may escape the clutches of death. ...... may its seed be great! May ...... sing your praises!

45-46And as for me, for my reverence give me life! Bestow on me long life as a gift!

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Revision history

05.vii.2001-12.vii.2001 : EFH : adapting translation
19.xi.2001 : JAB : proofreading
22.xi.2001 : GC : tagging
23.xi.2001 : ER : proofreading SGML
23.xi.2001 : ER : converting to HTML 4.0