Eridu Genesis

Eridu Genesis
Eridu Genesis

“Eridu Genesis” provides a partial English translation of a Sumerian creation and flood myth. This 1981 version was written by Thorkild Jacobsen and was where he coined the term “Eridu Genesis.” It contains transliteration line numbers in the footnotes and there are many missing segments.

Text: Partial translation, collation (partial), transcript

SUMERIAN  ⟶  ENGLISH a

Line # Translation
P. 515
COLUMN I
Note: translation line numbers added by redactor
Missing 36 lines
1-6 Nintur was paying attention: Let me bethink myself of my humankind, (all) forgotten as they are; and mindful of mine, Nintur’s, creatures let me bring them back, let me lead the people back from their trails.
7-12 May they come and build cities and cult-places, that I may cool myself in their shade; may they lay the bricks for the cult-cities in pure spots, and may they found places for divination in pure spots!
13-16 She gave directions for purification, and cries for quarter, the things that cool (divine) wrath, perfected divine service and the august offices, said to the (surrounding) regions: “Let me institute peace there
17-22 When An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursaga fashioned the darkheaded (people) they had made the small animals (that come up) from (out of) the earth come from the earth in abundance and had let there be, as befits (it), gazelles, (wild) donkeys, and fourfooted beasts in the desert.
P. 518
COLUMN II
Missing 3 lines
1-3 [. . .]
4-7 ….. and let me have him advise; let me have him oversee their labor, and let him teach the nation to follow unerringly like cattle!
8-13 When the royal scepter was coming down from heaven, the august crown and the royal throne being already down from heaven, he (i.e., the king) regularly performed to perfection the august divine services and offices, laid the bricks of those cities in pure spots. They were named by name and allotted half-bushel baskets.
14-19 The firstling of those cities, Eridu, she gave to the leader Nudimmud, the second, Badtibira, she gave to the Prince and Sacred One the third, Larak, she gave to Pabilsag, the fourth, Sippar, she gave to the gallant, Utu. the fifth, Shuruppak, she gave to Sud.
20-25 These cities, which had been named by names, and been allotted half-bushel baskets, dredged the canals, which were blocked with purplish (wind-borne) clay, and they carried water. Their cleaning of the smaller canals established abundant growth.
P. 522
COLUMN III
Missing 14 lines
15-25 That day Nintur wept over her creatures and holy Inanna was full of grief over their people; but Enki took counsel with his own heart. An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursaga had the gods of heaven and earth swear by the names An and Enlil. At that time Ziusudra was king and lustration priest. He fashioned, being a seer, (a statue of) the god of giddiness (inducing ecstasy) and stood in awe beside it,
COLUMN IV
wording (his wishes) humbly.
2-6 As he stood there regularly day after day he heard something that was not a dream appearing: conversation a swearing (of) oaths by heaven and earth, a (confirming) touching of throats and the gods bringing their thwarts up to Ki-ur.
7-8 And as Ziusudra stood there beside it he went on hearing: “Step up to the wall to my left and listen!
P. 523
9-23 Let me speak a word to you at the wall and may you grasp what I say, May you heed my advice! By our hand a flood will sweep over (the cities of) the half-bushelbaskets, and the country, the decision, that mankind is to be destroyed, has been made, a verdict, a command by the assembly, cannot be revoked, an order of An and Enlil is not known ever to have been countermanded, their kingship, their term, has been uprooted they must bethink themselves (of that) Now ………………… What I have to say to you…………………”
P. 524
COLUMN V
1-9 All evil winds, all stormy winds gathered into one and with them, the Flood was sweeping over (the cities of) the half-bushel baskets for seven days and seven nights. After the flood had swept over the country, after the evil wind had tossed the big boat about on the great waters, the sun came out spreading light over heaven and earth.
10-22 Ziusudra then drilled an opening in the big boat. and the gallant Utu (the sun-god) sent his light into the interior of the big boat. Ziusudra, being a king, stepped up before Utu kissing the ground (before him). The king was butchering oxen, was being lavish with the sheep barley cakes, crescents together with ………………. he was crumbling for him juniper, ……………………….. the pure plant of the mountains he filled on the fire and with a ………. clasped to the breast he ………….
P. 525
COLUMN VI
1-7 “You here have sworn by the life’s breath of heaven, the life’s breath of earth, that he verily is allied with you yourself; you there, An and Enlil, have sworn by the life’s breath of heaven, the life’s breath of earth, that he is allied with all of you, He will disembark the small animals that come up from the earth!”
8-18 Ziusudra, being king, stepped up before An and Enlil kissing the ground, And An and Enlil did well by him, were granting him life like a god’s, were making lasting breath of life, like a god’s descend into him. That day they made Ziusudra, preserver as king of the name of the small animals and the seed of mankind, live toward the east over the mountains in Mount Tilmun.
19 . . . . . . . . .
Source(s)a Jacobsen, JBL 100, 513–529., 515–525 launch  .

Original source data

PAGE IMAGES a

Cite this page

MLA Modern Language Association (8th ed.)

OMNIKA Foundation Contributors. “”Eridu Genesis”: English Translation by Thorkild Jacobsen.” OMNIKA – World Mythology Index, OMNIKA Foundation, 23 Jun. 2020, omnika.org/stable/718. Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

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APA American Psychological Association (6th ed.)

OMNIKA (2020, June 23). “Eridu Genesis”: English Translation by Thorkild Jacobsen. Retrieved from https://omnika.org/stable/718

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CMS Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.)

OMNIKA Foundation Contributors. “”Eridu Genesis”: English Translation by Thorkild Jacobsen.” Las Vegas, NV: OMNIKA Foundation. Created June 23, 2020. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://omnika.org/stable/718.

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