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A praise poem of Šulgi (Šulgi A)

1-6. I, the king, was a hero already in the womb; I, Šulgi, was born to be a mighty man. I am a fierce-looking lion, begotten by a dragon. I am the king of the four regions; I am the herdsman and shepherd of the black-headed people. I am a respected one, the god of all the lands.1

7-15. I am a child born of Ninsumun. I am the choice of holy An's heart. I am the man whose fate was decided by Enlil. I am Šulgi, the beloved of Ninlil. I am he who is cherished by Nintur. I am he who was endowed with wisdom by Enki. I am the powerful king of Nanna. I am the growling lion of Utu. I am Šulgi, who has been chosen by Inana for his attractiveness.

16-18. I am a mule, most suitable for the road. I am a horse, whose tail waves on the highway. {I am a stallion of Šakkan, eager to run.} {(1 ms.:) I am a donkey of Šakkan, who loves running.}

19-25. I am a knowledgeable scribe of Nisaba; I have perfected my wisdom just as my heroism and {my strength} {(1 ms. has instead:) my distinction}. Reliable words can reach (?) me. I cherish righteousness but do not tolerate wickedness. I hate anyone who speaks wickedly.

26-35. Because I am a powerful man who enjoys using his thighs, I, Šulgi, the mighty king, superior to all, strengthened (?) the roads, put in order the highways of the Land. I marked out the double-hour distances, built there lodging houses. {I planted gardens by their side and established resting-places} {(1 ms. has instead:) I established gardens (?) and resting-places by their side}, and installed in those places experienced men. Whichever direction one comes from, one can refresh oneself when the time is cool; and travellers and wayfarers who arrive at night can seek haven there as in a well-built city.

36-41. So that my name should be established for distant days and never fall into oblivion, so that my praise should be {uttered} {(1 ms.:) spread} throughout the Land, and my glory should be proclaimed in the foreign lands, I, the fast runner, summoned my strength and, to prove my speed, my heart prompted me to make a return journey from Nibru to brick-built Urim as if it were only the distance of a double-hour.

42-47. I, the lion, never failing in his vigour, standing firm in his strength, fastened the small niĝlam garment firmly to my hips. Like a pigeon anxiously fleeing from a …… snake, I spread my wings; like the Anzud bird lifting its gaze to the mountains, I stretched forward my legs. The inhabitants of the cities which I had founded in the Land lined up for me; the black-headed people, as numerous as ewes, looked at me with sweet admiration.

48-59. I entered the E-kiš-nu-ĝal like a mountain kid hurrying to its habitation, when Utu spreads broad daylight over the countryside. I filled with abundance the temple of Suen, a cow-pen which yields plenty of fat. I had oxen slaughtered there; I had sheep {offered there lavishly} {(some mss.:) butchered there}. I had šem and ala drums resound there {and caused tigi drums play there sweetly.} {(1 ms. has instead the line:) I …… the balaĝ player (?).} I, Šulgi, who makes everything abundant, presented food-offerings there and, like a lion, spreading fearsomeness from (?) the royal offering-place, I bent down (?) and bathed in flowing water; I knelt down and feasted in the Egal-maḫ of Ninegala.

60-69. Then I arose like an owl (?), like a falcon to return to Nibru in my vigour. But a storm shrieked, and the west wind whirled around. The north wind and the south wind howled at each other. Lightning together with the seven winds vied with each other in the heavens. Thundering storms made the earth quake, and Iškur roared in the broad heavens. {The rains of heaven mingled with the waters of the earth.} {(1 ms. has instead:) The rains of heaven competed with the waters of the earth.} Small and large hailstones drummed on my back.

70-78. I, the king, however, did not fear, nor was I terrified. I rushed forth like a fierce lion. I galloped like an ass in the desert. With my heart full of joy, I ran (?) onward. Trotting like a solitary wild ass, I traversed a distance of fifteen double-hours by the time Utu was to set his face toward his house; {my saĝ-ursaĝ priests looked at me with admiration.} {(1 ms. has instead:) …… numerous (?) ……; I prayed in the …… of Enlil and Ninlil.} I celebrated the ešeš festival in both Nibru and Urim on the same day!

79-83. I drank beer in the palace founded by An with my brother and companion, the hero Utu. My singers praised me with songs accompanied by seven tigi drums. My spouse, the maiden Inana, the lady, the joy of heaven and earth, sat with me at the banquet.

84-87. Truly I am not boasting! Wherever I look to, there I go; wherever my heart desires, I reach. {(1 ms. adds at least 10 lines:) By the life of my father holy Lugalbanda, and Nanna the king of heaven and earth, I swear that the words written on my tablet are …….
at least 4 lines missing or unclear
…… since the days of yore, since ………, no king of Sumer as great as I has existed for the people.} An placed a {legitimate and lofty} {(some mss. have:) golden} {(1 ms. has:) good silver} {(1 ms. has:) silver} crown firmly on my head.

88-94. In the lustrous E-kur, I seized the holy sceptre and I lifted my head towards heaven on a shining dais, a throne with firm foundation. I consolidated my kingship, subdued the foreign lands, fortified the Land. May my name be proclaimed among the well-guarded people of the four regions! May they praise it in holy hymns about me! May they glorify my majesty, saying:

95-101. "The one provided with lofty royal power; the one given heroism, power and happy life by Suen of the E-kiš-nu-ĝal; the one endowed with superior strength by Nunamnir; Šulgi, the destroyer of foreign lands, the fortifier of the Land, the purification priest of heaven and earth, who has no rival; {Šulgi, who is cared for by the respected child of An!}"

102. {Nisaba be praised!} {(1 ms. has instead:) Šulgi, be praised (?) by An's respected son!}

Revision history GZ, editor: adapting translation
24.vii.1998: JAB, editor: proofreading
09.x.1998: JAB, editor: minor corrections
11.xii.1998: GZ, editor: SGML tagging
29.i.1999: ER, editor: proofreading SGML
5.ii.1999: ER, editor: web publication
26.ii.1999: ER, editor: minor corrections GC/JE, editor/technical developer: XML/TEI conversion

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