A šir-gida to Martu (Martu A)
1-12. Hero, august youth, who completely controls the distant mountains as far as their borders! Martu, august youth, who completely controls the distant mountains as far as their borders, who possesses the strength of a savage lion, who occupies a holy dais in the mountains, the pure place! Martu, who possesses the strength of a savage lion, who occupies a holy dais in the mountains, the pure place, who is imbued with great fearsomeness, whom holy An engendered, who appears gloriously with numerous divine powers! His own mother Ninḫursaĝa made his form excel Medim-ša’s so that no one should threaten him. The Anuna, the great gods, enhanced his strength with warrior qualities, and spoke favourably to him. They invested (?) him with authority that accompanies him in battle like a coat of armour, …… to him mace, divine weapon, a great bow, arrows and quiver in his august hands, made his divinity magnificently perfect, and let him …… no adversaries.

13-20. He rears up, he …… the fields. He is greatly august, possessing the strength of a lion, ……. He is endowed with fearsomeness like a raging lion. Like a rampant wild bull, ……. He grasps the seven winds, makes fire ……, subduing all in battle and fight, …… like lightning. Acute fear of him seizes all the wicked, …… a southerly storm. The strength ebbs away from the city that he has cursed.

21-32. For the king, he annihilates all enemy lands that are not compliant to him. Martu, the son of An, extends a hand to the good shepherd whom he has chosen in his holy heart. His name is an august and ineffable name. No one ……. The god with hands pure from purification rites, whose divine powers are resplendent divine powers, annihilates evil and violence, and sets justice in their place. His father who inspired him, his own father, the lord of the gods, the prince who decides destinies, handed the distant sky and the broad earth to this savage god who gives just verdicts, who is knowledgeable in decision-making, an adviser; and he let him have no rivals. He presented to him the pure hills, the lapis-lazuli mountains; he presented to him the Martu lands, the lapis-lazuli mountains.

33-48. He is a lion-headed hero; he is the king’s helper in battle ……. The just man on whom he has returned a …… verdict prays constantly to him. With the sceptre he leads …… to him, and has …… far away. He makes good …… come out of the ……. He sets calves in …… his great ……. …… in cow-pens and sheepfolds ……. He makes fish and birds ……, and makes fresh fruit grow. In the house in which the king …… silver, he ensures that it never ceases. He exceeds ……, and decides great destinies. …… he keeps guard over ……. In the river he causes …… to be available — he drinks the fresh water that it brings. In the fields he produces …… for him — he eats the grain that they bring. He makes …… increase in abundance for him. He is hostile to those who ……. His mind …… is reliable speech, and his exterior …… is glory.

49-59. He does not alter …… for the king, and prolongs his …… days. He hands him the staff for his right hand, and to his side he ties the mace that guides the thousands.
1 line unclear
He sets the king’s feet in a well-ordered position (?), and causes him to have no opponents (?). Mankind also address him …… in the view of his god. …… him whom in his kindly heart he has called to kingship. All day long the protective goddess of justice stands unceasingly by his right side. In holy songs musicians sing of him — the dearly cherished one, the god, the man of the hills, renowned everywhere — and promote his name gloriously. Martu, son of An, it is sweet to praise you!

60. A šir-gida of Martu.

The marriage of Martu
1-8. When the city of Inab already existed, but the city of Kiritab did not yet exist, when the holy crown already existed, but the holy tiara did not yet exist, when the holy herb already existed, but the holy cedar did not yet exist, when holy salt already existed, but holy alkali did not yet exist, when intercourse and kissing already existed, when giving birth in the fields already existed — I was the grandfather of the holy cedar, I was the ancestor of the meš tree, I was the mother and father of the white cedar, I was the relative of the ḫašur cedar.

9-15. At that time there was a princely land among the cities; Inab was this princely land among the cities. The ruler of Inab was Tigi-šem-ala. Now, he had a wife whose name was Šage-gur (Desired-by-the-heart), and a child, who ……, and her name was …….

16-25. The people living around the city hung up nets, the people living around Inab hung up nets, hung up nets, chased gazelles and killed the gazelles as one kills humans. One day, as the evening came, and they had reached the place of rations, they established the rations before the god ……The correct form of this name is not known. The ration of a married man was established as double, the ration of a man with a child was established as triple; the ration of a single man was established as single; but the ration of Martu, though being single, was also established as double.

26-33. Martu went home to his own mother, and spoke to her: “In my city I am among my friends and they all have already married wives; I am there among my mates, and they all have already married wives. Unlike my friends in my city I am single, I am single and I have no children. Yet the imposed share exceeds that of my friends; over and above that of my mates, I received half of theirs.”

34-40. One day, as the evening came, and they had reached again the place of rations, they established the rations before the god ……The correct form of this name is not known. The ration of a married man was established as double, the ration of a man with a child was established as triple; the ration of a single man was established as single; but the ration of Martu, though he was single, was also established as double.

41-52. Martu went home to his own mother, and spoke to her: “My mother, find me a wife to marry and I will bring you my ration.” His own mother replied to Martu: “Su-ḫenuna, my son, I will give you advice; may my advice be heeded. I shall say a word to you; you should pay attention to it. Marry a wife of your choice, marry a wife of your heart’s desire, give me thus a companion, …… me a slave-girl. Having built the houses of (?) your people living around the city, and …… gardens, you will dig the wells of (?) your mates. Martu, …… mates ……”

53-66. At that time a festival was announced in the city; a festival was announced in the city of Inab. (Martu said:) “Come, friends, let us go, let us go there, let us visit the ale-houses of Inab, let us go there.” The god Numušda participated in the festival; his beloved daughter Adĝar-kidug participated in the festival, his wife Namrat, the lovely woman participated in the festival. In the city, bronze šem drums were rumbling, and the seven ala drums resounded as strong men, girdled champions, entered the wrestling house to compete with each other for Numušda in the temple of Inab. There were many coming to Inab, the city where the festival was taking place, to marvel at this. There were many coming to Inab, the city where the festival was taking place, to marvel at this.

67-75. For Numušda, because he was holy (?), Martu too strode around the great courtyard to compete in wrestling at the gate of Inab. They kept looking for strong fighters for him, they kept offering him strong fighters. Martu strode around in the great courtyard. He hit them with a destructive …… one by one. In the great courtyard, in the battle he caused them to be bandaged; in the great courtyard of Inab he lifted the bodies of the dead.

76-83. Rejoicing over Martu, Numušda offered him silver, but he would not accept it. He offered jewels, but he would not accept them. Having done so a second time, having done so a third time (Martu says): “Where does your silver lead? Where do your jewels lead? I, Martu, would rather marry your daughter, I would rather marry your daughter Adĝar-kidug.”
8 lines missing

91-97. (Numušda says:) “You …… the wife with calves as a marriage gift. Milk cows shall feed the calves. In the byre the breeding bull shall lie down. …… cows shall live in the …… and the calves shall stay at their right side. You must give your word thus and only thus, and then I will give you my daughter Adĝar-kidug.”

98-104. “You …… the wife with lambs as a marriage gift. Milk ewes shall feed the lambs. In the sheepfold …… shall lie down. …… ewes shall live in the …… and the lambs shall stay at their left side. You must give your word thus and only thus, and then I will give you my daughter Adĝar-kidug.”

105-111. “You …… the wife with kids as a marriage gift. Milk goats shall feed the kids. In the stall the breeding goat shall lie down. The goats and kids shall live in the …… and the kids shall stay ……. You must give your word thus and only thus, and then I will give you my daughter Adĝar-kidug.”

112-114. He …… great ……. He shouted like ……. At the quay of Inab he …….

115-125. He gratified the elders of Inab with golden torcs. He gratified the old women of Inab with golden shawl ……. He gratified the men and women of Inab with golden ……. He gratified the slaves of Inab with …… and gratified them also with coloured …… cloths. He gratified the slave-girls of Inab with silver jugs.

126-141. The days have multiplied, no decision has yet been made. (Adĝar-kidug’s girlfriend speaks to her:) “Now listen, their hands are destructive and their features are those of monkeys; he is one who eats what Nanna forbids and does not show reverence. They never stop roaming about ……, they are an abomination to the gods’ dwellings. Their ideas are confused; they cause only disturbance. He is clothed in sack-leather ……, lives in a tent, exposed to wind and rain, and cannot properly recite prayers. He lives in the mountains and ignores the places of gods, digs up truffles in the foothills, does not know how to bend the knee, and eats raw flesh. He has no house during his life, and when he dies he will not be carried to a burial-place. My girlfriend, why would you marry Martu?”Adĝar-kidug replies to her girlfriend: “I will marry Martu!”

142. Inab — ulum, alam!


Enki and the world order: c.1.1.3
He presented animals to those who have no city, to those who have no houses, to the Martu nomads.

Enki and the world order: c.1.1.3
Enki presented animals to those who have no city, who have no houses, to the Martu nomads.

Gilgameš, Enkidu and the nether world: c.
“Did you see him who lied to the gods while swearing an oath?” “I saw him.” “How does he fare?” “He drinks …… which has been drunk …… the libation place at the entrance (?) to the nether world.” “Did you see the citizen of Ĝirsu who refused (?) water to his father and his mother?” “I saw him.” “How does he fare?” “In front of each of them are a thousand Martu, and his spirit can neither …… nor ……. The Martu at the libation place at the entrance (?) to the nether world …….” “Did you see the citizens of Sumer and Akkad?” “I saw them.” “How do they fare?” “They drink the water of the …… place, muddy water.” “Did you see where my father and my mother live?” “I saw them.” “How do they fare?” “Both of them drink the water of the …… place, muddy water.”

Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird: c.
After he had stood before the summoned assembly, within the palace that rests on earth like a great mountain Enmerkar son of Utu berated Inana: “Once upon a time my princely sister holy Inana summoned me in her holy heart from the bright mountains, had me enter brick-built Kulaba. Where there was a marsh then in Unug, it was full of water. Where there was any dry land, Euphrates poplars grew there. Where there were reed thickets, old reeds and young reeds grew there. Divine Enki who is king in Eridu tore up for me the old reeds, drained off the water completely. For fifty years I built, for fifty years I was successful. Then the Martu peoples, who know no agriculture, arose in all Sumer and Akkad. But the wall of Unug extended out across the desert like a bird net. Yet now, here in this place, my attractiveness to her has dwindled. My troops are bound to me as a cow is bound to its calf; but like a son who, hating his mother, leaves his city, my princely sister holy Inana has run away from me back to brick-built Kulaba. If she loves her city and hates me, why does she bind the city to me? If she hates the city and yet loves me, why does she bind me to the city? If the mistress removes herself from me to her holy chamber, and abandons me like an Anzud chick, then may she at least bring me home to brick-built Kulaba: on that day my spear shall be laid aside. On that day she may shatter my shield. Speak thus to my princely sister, holy Inana.”

Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird: c.
Holy Lugalbanda answered her: “What Enmerkar son of Utu quoth and what he says, what your brother quoth and what he says, is: “Once upon a time my princely sister holy Inana summoned me in her holy heart from the mountains, had me enter brick-built Kulaba. Where there was a marsh then in Unug, it was full of water. Where there was any dry land, Euphrates poplars grew there. Where there were reed thickets, old reeds and young reeds grew there. Divine Enki who is king in Eridu tore up for me the old reeds, drained off the water completely. For fifty years I built, for fifty years I was successful. Then the Martu peoples, who know no agriculture, arose in all Sumer and Akkad. But the wall of Unug extended out across the desert like a bird net. Yet now, here in this place, my attractiveness to her has dwindled. My troops are bound to me as a cow is bound to its calf; but like a son who, hating his mother, leaves his city, my princely sister holy Inana has run away from me back to brick-built Kulaba. If she loves her city and hates me, why does she bind the city to me? If she hates the city and yet loves me, why does she bind me to the city? If the mistress removes herself from me to her holy chamber and abandons me like an Anzud chick, then may she at least bring me home to brick-built Kulaba: on that day my spear shall be laid aside. On that day she may shatter my shield. Speak thus to my princely sister, holy Inana.””

Enmerkar and the lord of Aratta: c.
“Chant to him the holy song, the incantation sung in its chambers — the incantation of Nudimmud: “On that day when there is no snake, when there is no scorpion, when there is no hyena, when there is no lion, when there is neither dog nor wolf, when there is thus neither fear nor trembling, man has no rival! At such a time, may the lands of Šubur and Ḫamazi, the many-tongued, and Sumer, the great mountain of the me of magnificence, and Akkad, the land possessing all that is befitting, and the Martu land, resting in security — the whole universe, the well-guarded people — may they all address Enlil together in a single language! For at that time, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings, Enki, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings — Enki, the lord of abundance and of steadfast decisions, the wise and knowing lord of the Land, the expert of the gods, chosen for wisdom, the lord of Eridug, shall change the speech in their mouths, as many as he had placed there, and so the speech of mankind is truly one.””

The cursing of Agade: c.2.1.5
Its king, the shepherd Naram-Suen, rose as the daylight on the holy throne of Agade. Its city wall { , like a mountain, } { (1 ms. has instead:), a great mountain, } reached the heavens. It was like the Tigris { going to } { (some mss. have instead:) flowing into } the sea as holy Inana opened the portals of its city-gates and made Sumer bring its own possessions upstream by boats. The highland Martu, people ignorant of agriculture, brought spirited cattle and kids for her. The Meluḫans, the people of the black land, brought { exotic wares } { (some mss. have instead:) wares of foreign countries } up to her. Elam and Subir loaded themselves with goods for her as if they were packasses. All the governors, the { temple administrators } { (1 ms. has instead:) generals }, and the accountants of the Gu-edina regularly supplied the monthly and New Year offerings. What a weariness all these caused at Agade’s city gates! Holy Inana could hardly receive all these offerings. As if she were a citizen there, she could not restrain (?) the desire (?) to prepare the ground for a temple.

A praise poem of Šulgi (Šulgi B): c.
When I …… like a torrent with the roar of a great storm, in the capture of a citadel in Elam ……, I can understand what their spokesman answers. By origin I am a son of Sumer; I am a warrior, a warrior of Sumer. Thirdly, I can conduct a conversation with a man from the black mountains. Fourthly, I can do service as a translator with a man of Martu, a man of the mountains ……. I myself can correct his confused words in his own language. Fifthly, when a man of Subir yells ……, I can even distinguish the words in his language, although I am not a fellow-citizen of his. When I provide justice in the legal cases of Sumer, I give answers in all five languages. In my palace no one in conversation switches to another language as quickly as I do.

A praise poem of Šulgi (Šulgi C): c.
Since I am also wise and highly intelligent, (5 lines fragmentary) Also I know the Martu language as well as I do Sumerian. …… mountain people walking in the hills ……, they greet me and I reply to them in the Martu language. Also I know the Elamite language as well as I do Sumerian. …… in Elam ……, they greet me and I reply in Elamite. (4 lines missing or fragmentary) In wrestling and athletics I am ……. I am the shepherd who with nimbly gripping fingers ……. Who can resist me, on the exercise ground as well as in battle? The greatest heroes of the Land, the notable strong men and athletes from the foreign lands, the swift (?) of Sumer, the totality of combatants, …… at my wrists. (1 line unclear)I am powerful in athletics, and I am strong …… in wrestling. I am Šulgi, the good shepherd of Sumer, and no one can equal me!

A praise poem of Išme-Dagan (Išme-Dagan A + V): c.
In accordance with the great destiny decided by Father Enlil, my battle-cry overspreads the remotest parts of the mountains. In the rebel cities no one approaches me or fixes their weapons against me. They bring (?) their tribute spontaneously at Enlil’s command. …… to the mountains. …… nir-igi stone, cornelian, …… stone, { …… their stones } { (some mss. have instead the line:) …… time-consuming labour, ……, labour for the king }. For me the black-headed bring great timbers …… to the Land, while Dilmun bestows lavishly on me its linen, dates and date spadices. The Martu, who know no houses, who know no cities — primitives who live in the hills — bring me row upon row of woolly alum sheep. From the upland mountains, from the …… places, cedar, zabalum, cypress and boxwood were together brought to me. Enlil, my master, who batters the foreign lands into submission, kept the people on a single track, and made them unanimous for me, who am all for Enlil, who am the beloved of E-kur.

Letter from Aradĝu to Šulgi about irrigation work: c.3.1.03
My lord, you have given me instructions about every matter, from the sea and the land of Dilmun, { from the salt waters and the borders of the land of the Martu } { (some mss. have instead:) to the salt waters and the borders of the land of the Martu }, { to } { (1 ms. has instead:) from } the { side (?) } { (1 ms. has instead:) borders (?) } of Simurrum and { the territory of …… } { (1 ms. has instead:) the territory of Subir }:

Letter from Aradĝu to Šulgi about the fortress Igi-ḫursaĝa: c.3.1.06
As to the fortification which my lord sent me back to, the work on it has been put into effect. The approach of the enemy is kept at a distance from the Land. My lord continues to maintain his sublime reputation in the south and the uplands, from the rising to the setting sun, as far as the borders of the entire Land. { The rebellious (?) Martu have turned back …… } { (an Akkadian gloss has instead:) The totality …… }.

Letter from Šulgi to Išbi-Erra about the purchase of grain: c.
From today (?), you are my son who makes me happy. The cities of (?) the province (?), the land of the Martu, Elam — all of them I have placed before you: you are just as important as I am.

Letter from Šarrum-bāni to Šu-Suen about keeping the Martu at bay: c.3.1.15
You sent me a message ordering me to work on the construction of the great fortification Murīq-Tidnim. { You presented yourself before me } { (1 ms. has instead:) A messenger presented himself before me }, announcing: “The Martu have invaded the land.” { You instructed me } { (1 ms. has instead:) You have imposed on me as a task (?) } to build the fortification, so as to cut off their route; also, that no breaches of the Tigris or the Euphrates should cover the fields with water.
Letter from Šarrum-bāni to Šu-Suen about keeping the Martu at bay: c.3.1.15

When I was constructing this fortification to the length of 26 danna, and had reached the area between the two mountain ranges, I was informed of the Martu camping within the mountain ranges because (?) of my building work. Simurrum had come to their assistance. So I set off to the area between the mountain ranges of Ebiḫ in order to engage in military action.

Letter from Išbi-Erra to Ibbi-Suen about the purchase of grain: c.3.1.17
I 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.

Letter from Ibbi-Suen to Išbi-Erra about his bad conduct: c.3.1.18
How could you allow Puzur-Numušda, the commander of the fortress Igi-ḫursaĝa, to let the hostile Martu penetrate into my Land? Until now (?) he has not (?) sent to you word (?) about engaging in battle. There are puny men in the Land! Why has he not (?) faced the Martu?

Letter from Ibbi-Suen to Puzur-Šulgi hoping for Išbi-Erra’s downfall: c.3.1.20
{ Now Enlil, my helper, has made the Martu rise from their mountain lands } { (1 ms. has instead:) Now Enlil has …… the Tidnum as …… from their mountain lands }. They will repel Elam and seize Išbi-Erra. To regain the Land will indeed make our might known in all the foreign lands. It is urgent! { Do not be neglectful } { (1 ms. has instead:) Do not all give up }!
Letter from Sîn-illat to Iddin-Dagan about confronting the Martu: c.3.2.01
When I moved opposite Kakkulātum, the Martu rose up from their ambush with their weapons (?). When I ……, I captured 70 (?) …… and brought them into Kakkulātum.

The home of the fish: c.5.9.1
The one whose fins (?) churn the troubled waters, a fish who seizes …… at a glance (?), my kiĝ fish: may he also enter with you, my fish! With a head like a small millstone, …… a dog’s head, (1 line unclear)the fish who does not eat the …… plants, ……, my ĝir-gid fish: may he also enter with you, my fish! With the noise of his entrails ……, my gir fish: may he also enter with you, my fish! The fish who ……, the fish who knows how to escape through a reed barrier, the fish who despite being tasty is an abomination, my ab-suḫur fish: may he also enter with you, my fish! The fish that causes breaches in dykes, with venom in its jaws, my agargar fish: may he also enter with you, my fish! The one whom the merchants ……, my kamar fish: may he also enter with you, my fish! The one whom the Martu fetch away, my nunbar-gid (?) fish: may he also enter with you, my fish!


Dilmun is a trading post on the ‘Lower Sea’. In Mesopotamian mythology, Dilmun is the land of immortality, a favourite meeting place of the gods, which was visited by the hero Gilgamesh in his search for everlasting life. Inscriptions indicate that the ancestors of the Sumerians came from Dilmun, and it was here that they learnt the art of writing. We agree with S.N.Kramer’s observations identifying Dilmun with the Sarasvati-Sindhu (Indus) valley. The God Enki is said to have given his son Inzak dominion over Dilmun. On the Lagash tablet (ca. 2520 BC) is recorded: “The ships of Dilmun from the foreign lands brought me woods”. A document of ca. 1800 BC refers to an expedition “to Dilmun to buy copper there’. Sargon of Assyria (710 BC) notes that “he had received presents from the King of Dilmun, a land which lies like a fish, 60 hours away in the midst of the sea of the rising sun”.

An Assurbanipal clay cylinder states: Dilmun ki s’a qabal ta_mtim s’apli_t (Dilmun is in the midst of the lower sea) (D.D. Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria, ARAB, II 970. A Ungnad, ZA 31 (1917): 34, 1.9. That Dilmun was a continental coastland may be surmised from Sargon II’s great Display inscription: bi_t-ia-kin s’a kis’a_d na_r marrati adi pa_t Dilmun (Bi_t-Iakin which (extends) from the bank of the brackish river to the border of Dilmun)(Luckenbill, ARAB, 54 = 82 =99). Sargon II’s inscription states: Upe_ri s’ar Dilmun s’a ma_la_k 30 be_ru ina qabal ta_mtim s’a nipih s’ams’i ki_ma nu_ni s’itkunu narbasu (Upe_ri, king of Dilmun, whose resting place is 30 double hours away like a fish in the midst of the ocean of the rising sun)(Luckenbill, ARAB, 41,70). During the reign of Sargon of Assyria, Dilmun and Magan are stated to be “on the farther side of the lower sea” and there is also a reference to the ” sea of Magan” (J.Muhly, Copper and Tin, p. 226; W.F. Leeman, Foreign Trade, p. 81, n.11; M. Weitemeyer, Acta Orientalia, 27 (1964): 207; E. Weidner, AfO, 16 (1953): 5, 1.42). The timber for the boats in Bahrain always came from India. The name of the Meluhha-boat is magilum (Enki and the World Order 128).[Boats which plied on the Sindhu river are called mohanna.]

“The Ninevite Gigamesh Epic, composed probably at the end of the second millennium BC, has Utnapishtim settled “at the mouth of the rivers”, taken by all commentators to be identical with Dilmun.” (W.F.Albright, The Mouth of the Rivers, AJSL, 35 (1919): 161-195).

The mouth of the rivers may relate to the Rann of Kutch/Saurashtra lying at the mouth of the Sindhu and Sarasvati rivers. In the Sumerian myth Enki and Ninhursag, which recounts a Golden Age, paradise is described: “The crow screams not, the dar-bird cries not dar, the lion kills not… the ferry-man says not ‘it’s midnight’, the herald circles not round himself, the singer says not elulam, at the outside of the city no shout resounds.” The cry of the sea-faring boatmen in Indian languages on the west-coast is: e_le_lo!

Lines 123-129; and interpolation UET VI/1:

“Let me admire its green cedars. The (peole of the) lands Magan and Dilmun, Let them come to see me, Enki! Let the mooring posts beplaced for the Dilmun boats! Let the magilum-boats of Meluhha transport of gold and silver for exchange…The land Tukris’ shall transport gold from Harali, lapis lazuli and bright… to you. The land Meluhha shall bring cornelian, desirable and precious sissoo-wood from Magan, excellent mangroves, on big ships The land Marhashi will (bring) precious stones, dushia-stones, (to hang) on the breast. The land Magan will bring copper, strong, mighty, diorite-stone, na-buru-stones, shumin-stones to you. The land of the Sea shall bring ebony, the embellishment of (the throne) of kingship to you. The land of the tents shall bring wool… The city, its dwellin gplaces shall be pleasant dwelling places, Dilmun, its dwelling place shall be a pleasant dwelling place. Its barley shall be fine barley, Its dates shall be very big dates! Its harvest shall be threefold. Its trees shall be …-trees.”

We postulate a hypothesis that Dilmun refers to the Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization area and that MAR-TU refer to the people of Marusthali (the present-day Thar-Cholistan on the banks of the Sarasvati river.) In the context of the decipherment of the script inscriptions as lists of bronze-copper weapons, the following analysis based on Uruk texts is significant:

“Almost from the beginning of the excavations in the ruins of the old city of Uruk in Lower Mesopotamia in 1928, work has concentrated on uncovering large parts of the temple area of that city, the holy district of Eanna… It was in these various layers and accumulations of debris covering large parts of the Eanna district that over the years more than four thousand clay tablets and fragments were found… In the Archaic Metals List we again find DILMUN in a line which due to a common denominator proves to be part of an internally cohesive group of entries. The entire list starts out with a sequence of metal vessels and continues with metal tools and weapons. This group opens with a sequence of various daggers, continues with various groups of unidentified objects and from line 23 on shows five entries with the common denominator tun2, ‘axe’. The lines read in tentative translation: ‘big axe’, ‘two-handed axe’, ‘one-handed axe’, ‘x-axe’, and ‘Dilmun axe’. Here most likely the differentiation bears on differences in shape, size or function; the ‘two-handed axe’ may mean a double-edged axe, for instance. Again, if seen as a coherent context DILMUN may be used here as equivalent to ‘Dilmun-type axe’. I do not think it could just refer to the provenance of an axe but rather to specific qualities… three texts clearly are dealing with textiles but only one of them has a context which might be interpreted; tentatively it reads’ 1 bale of DILMUN garment’… as the title following the one containing the sign for DILMUN we find the comosite sign for namesda, the title of the opening line of the Archaic Professions list. It is supposed that this title represents the highest official. Probably without all connotations of the terms ‘ruler’ or ‘king’ it nevertheless should be fairly close. The preceding line contains a number of signs which if translated literally could mean ‘the prince of the good Dilmun-house (or temple)’. The exact meaning is elusive. To sum up, from our texts we do not get an adequate picture of the relations of Babylonia, or the city of Uruk, with Dilmun. On a general level, however, we can conclude that not only did such relations exist already by the end of the fourth millennium BC, but that these contacts apparently were not restricted to trade. To be sure, the exchange of metal and ttextiles may represent the main ties, but the existence of titles containing Dilmun in their name in normal Babylonia contexts like the Professions List point to much closer mutual contacts that would be sustained by occasional trade. The same is suggested by the existence of DILMUN in generic designations for kinds of textiles or metal tools. We certainly are entitled to assume that these relations had existed long before the emergence of writing.” [Hans J. Nissen, The occurrence of Dilmun in the Oldest texts of Mesopotamia, pp. 335-339].

In the Old Babylonian period, some Mesopotamian seals depict a deity holding a crook. (cf. Seal 124 in Macropoli Collection). The deity also appears with his foot on a gazelle, but sometimes on a small pedestal; he wears a long robe or a kilt and on his head a horned headdress or a tall cylindrical hat. He has been identified as the god AMURRU. In texts and cylinder seal impressions his name is written d/AN.MAR.TU or d/MAR.TU, i.e., AMURRU(M), ‘GOD OF THE WEST’ in Akkadian. He is often loosely called the god of the Amorites because of his association in texts with the desert and steppe. He became the son of Anu the sky god and was often associated with Sin the moon god. He was referred to as the warrior god. The association with the desert is remarkable. In the Sarasvati Sindhu valley area, the arid zone on the banks of the Sarasvati river is called MARUSTHALI (now called Thar/Cholistan or Great Indian Desert). And, MARUTS are celebrated in the Rigveda as wind-gods, echoing the phenomenon of the ‘a_ndhi’ or sandstorms common in the region of Thar/Cholistan desert.

“From the Ur III (2112-2004 BC) and Isin-Larsa (2025-1763) periods, we have a number of textual sources which suggest that an ethnic group of people called MAR-TU were associated with the land of Dilmun– the first of three entities found to be trade partners with Mesopotamia from at least 2500 BC (the others being Makkan and Meluhha). From Drehem, a city near Nippur, we note the occurrence in two texts (dated to AS 2-2044 BC)(CST 254 and TRU 305) of a colophon which reads ‘MAR-TU (and) Diviners coming from Dilmun’ (or MAR-TU Diviners coming from Dilmun)(BUccellati 1966: 249)… In addition, other evidence suggests that the MAR-TU were associated with (sea) fishing (Civil 1961: Buccellati 1966: 90). Thus Buccellati and later Gelb concluded that the MAR-TU existed in the south in the area of the Gulf as far as Bahrain (Gelb 1968: 43; 1980: 2). Finally, this linkage is suggested by a text from Eshnunna, a Mesopotamian city on the Diyala river. In this text most likely dated to Is’aramas’u (c. 1970 BC) MAR-TU are arranged by segmented lineage affiliation (babtum). The total states that twenty-six MAR-TU are e-lu-tum-me, a term perhaps best translated as meaning’ trustworthy’ or ‘reliable’ vis-a-vis the local Eshnunna officials. One MAR-TU from the lineage of Bas’anum is said to be a-ab-ba-ta or ‘from the sea (lands)’ or the land across the sea (Gelb 1968: 43)… the newely discovered Ibla texts mention the MAR-TU principally in connection with metal daggers (Pettinato 180: 9 and commentary) and prisoners of war (Pettinato 1981b: 120, see text TM 75G.309). (Note also the MAR-TU name Iblanum as meaning man from Ibla, Buccellati 1966: 155, 246)… From the early second millennium BC, we have a much wider body of evidence dealing with the MAR-TU. This is due to the greatly increased numbers of MAR-TU escaping the hamad and entering the settled zones. As early as S’u-Sin year (2034 BC) we see that a large defensive wall was being built in central Mesopotamia for the express purpose of keeping out the MAR-TU (the MAR-TU wall (called) the one which keeps Didanum away, Buccellati 1966: 92). Unfortunately, by the early reign of the succeeding king, Ibbi-Si, things had changed:

Reports that hostiel MAR-TU had entered the plains having been received, 144,000 gur grain (representing) the grain in its entirety was brought into Isin. Now the MAR-TU in their entirety have entered the interior of the country taking one by one all the great fortresses. Because of the MAR-TU I am not able to provide… for that grain… (Jacobsen 1953: 40)

According to the year date of Ibbi-Sin 17, some of these MAR-TU apparently came from the Gulf region: ‘The year the MAR-TU, the powerful south wind who, from the remote past, have not known cities, submitted to Ibbi-Sin, the king of Ur.’ (cf. also Gelb’s views, 1961: 36)… Oppenheim’s review of UET V suggests that Ur apparently served as a focal point and port for foreign trade, specifically with Dilmun (Oppenheim 1954: 8, n.8). A number of texts describe this activity as traders called alik Dilmun sailed to Dilmun and exchanged goods. A number of texts (e.g. UET V 286, 297, 549 and 796) clearly demonstrate that individuals with MAR-TU names were involved in the trade (e.g. in UET V 297 a certain Zuabbaum; in UET V 549 a person named Milkudanum; and in UET V 796 Alazum). This then is a clear link between Dilmun and the MAR-TU– a hypothesis already formulated from a number of literary texts and Ur III economic records… It seems clear in summary that the MAR-TU were linked to Dilmun in a political sense (rulers in southern Mesopotamian towns), commercial agents in Mesopotamia (alik Dilmun), and inhabitants of Dilmun itself (Susa Tablet, UET V 716).[Juris Zarins, MAR-TU and the land of Dilmun, 232-249 in: Shaikha Haya Ali Al Khalifa and Michael Rice (eds.) Bahrain through the ages: the archaeology, London, KPI, 1986.]

Sir Henry Rawlinson in 1880 suggested that Dilmun of the Sumerian and Akkadian texts might be identified with Bahrain island. This was on the basis of a stone cone found by Captain Durand during an archaeological survey of Bahrain in 1879, but later lost. The text related to the temple of Inzak, elsewhere known as the god of Dilmun. (Captain Durand, Extracts from Report on the Islands and Antiquities of Bahrain, with notes by Major-General Sir. H.C. Rawlinson, JRAS, N.S. 12 (1880): 189-227, with two maps. Also suggested by Fr. Hommel, Ethnologie und Geographie des Alten Orients, 1904/1926, p. 24, 270.) Since then various identifications have been suggested such as: encompassing Saudi Arabian mainland in the area called Dilmun, Iranian side of the Persian Gulf as constituting Dilmun, Al-Qurna in southern Iraq and the Indus Valley (S.N.Kramer). All these identifications suggest that not all of them are valid for all periods of Mesopotamian history. Throughout Mesopotamian history, however, Dilmun has been an important trade centre, and ‘one of the remote areas which was at times within the reach of Mesopotamian political influence. Noticeable among the early texts mentioning Dilmun is that of Urnanshe who had wood transported to Mesopotamia from Dilmun (ca. 2500 BC). In the same early period copper is known to hae been exported from Dilmun to Sumer. About 2100 BC Urnammu of the 3rd dynasty of Ur reopened the Arabian Gulf trade, this time with direct contact with Magan, from which copper was exported to Mesopotamia. The Dilmun trade flourished in the Larsa period (ca. 2000-1763 BC), but then died out. After an interim of 400 years Kassite influence appears in Dilmun (early 14th century BC). It seems that at this time the only export article was dates. Under Sargon of Assyria (end of 8th century BC) Upe_ri, king of Dilmun, is recorded to have sent tribute to the Assyrian empire. In 544 BC, Dilmun disappears from Mesopotamian history when, according to an administrative document, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, had a governor there. Dilmun is also mentioned in Sumerian literary texts as a famous place of prosperity and happiness, and even of eternal life, with the result that comparisons with the Biblical paradise have been made.’ (Bendt Alster, Dilmun, Bahrain, and the alleged paradise in Sumerian Myth and Literature, in: Daniel T. Potts (ed.), Dilmun: New studies in the archaeology and early history of Bahrain, Berlin, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1983, pp. 39-74). (See also: Daniel Potts, Dilmun: Where and When? Dilmun: Journal of the Bahrain Historical and Archaeological Society, 11 (1983): 15-19; Theresa Howard-Carter, The tangible evidence for the earliest Dilmun, JCS, 33 (1981): 210-223; S.N.Kramer, Quest for Paradise, Antiquity, 37 (1963): 112-113)

On the northern coast of Bahrain, at Barbar, a Sumerian temple, which had been rebuilt three times was found. The dates for the contruction events are estimated to be: beginning of third millennium B.C., middle of the third millennium BC and for the third event, ca. 2200-2000 BC. In the first temple there were two staircases descending to a square well. This was retained in all the three phases. Peder Mortensen suggested, based on the similarity with the Khafajah and al-‘Uaid temples, that the temple was for goddess Ninhursag. The mother-goddess plays an important role in the Sumerian Dilmun myth, Enki and Ninhursag. (Peder Mortensen, Kuml 1956: 189-198, 1970: 385-398).

Indus valley type seals and cubical chert weights were found. (T.G. Bibby, Kuml 1970: 345-353; cf. Michael Roaf, Weights on the Dilmun standard, Iraq 44 (1982): 137:141). A bronze mirror handle was also found in the Barbar temple suggesting a link with the Kulli culture in South Baluchistan (N.Rao, Kuml 1969: 218-220). “….as far as the third millennium BC is concerned, the cultural relations with the early civilizations in the Indus valley and southern Iran seem to have been much more outspoken than those with Mesopotamia. (M.Tosi, Dilmun, Antiquity, 45 (1971): 21-25). Yet, as far as the early second millennium BC is concerned, a cultural setting has certainly been found within which the identification of Dilmun with Bahrain makes good sense… There is now wide agreement among most, but not all scholars, that from the middle of the third millennium BC, Magan and Meluhha are to be found east of Mesopotamia along the coast of the Arabian Gulf or the Arabian Sea, whereas later, from the middle of the secon dmillennium BC, Egypt, Nubia or Ethiopia must be considered. (I.J.Gelb, Makkan and Meluhha in Early Mesopotamian Sources, RA 64 (1970): 1-8; E. Sollberger, The Problem of Magan and Meluhha, Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology 8-9 (1968-69): 247-250; John Hansman, A Periplus of Magan and Meluhha, BOAS 36 (1973): 554-587; E.C.L. During Caspers and A. Govindakutty, R. Thapar’s Dravidian Hypothesis for the Location of Meluhha, Dilmun and Makan, JESHO 21 (1978): 114-145.) The cuneiform texts certainly give the impression that at least originally they (Makan and Meluhha) were located in the same direction as Dilmun, but farther away– and later, remembrance of this direction was demonstrably kept alive, which makes the matter rather complicated. Archaeologically it makes sense to speak of Bahrain as a station on the way to Magan and Meluhha if these two were located east of Bahrain, as the most important cultural relations of Bahrain were Indus and Iran rather than Egypt. The use of Indus measuring standards in Bahrain clearly testifies to this, and was taken for granted by the Mesopotamian traders… The most important suggestins that have been made for Magan are Makran on the Iranian coast, and the Oman peninsula. As copper has been found in the Oman, the latter possibility seems highly likely. This, however, has been questioned by W. Heimpel, according ot whom diorite statues of Naramsin and Gudea said to be made of stones from Magan cannot have come from Oman, because diorite stones big enough for these statues are reported not to exist in Oman. As a possible source he suggests a position 50 miles NNE of Bandar Abbas on the northern side of the Arabian Gulf. Meluhha is to be found along the coast of Baluchistan and the Indus valley.

“…there was a temple of Enzak, the god of Dilmun, on Failaka… it was Failaka that was Dilmun?…the so-called a_lik Dilmun, the sea-faring merchants of Ur… The returning merchants used to offer a share of their goods or a silver model of their boat to the temple of the goddess Ningal, and he texts tell about partnerships and the sharing of profit and losses in a way which would not fit such an easy travel as thaf from Ur to Failaka. The distance from Aba_da_n to Failaka is no more than 60 nautical miles (111 km.) and could hardly be considered a great enterprise… Another possibility would be to suggest that Dilmun was a designation not only of Bahrain, but also of other parts of the Arabian Gulf area, among which Failaka would be counted… Dilmun is likely to the name of a rather large geographical area, including Bahrain, Failaka, Tarut, and certain parts of the Arabian littoral (During Caspers and Govindakutty, JESHO 21 (1978): 130; cf. the map in D.O.Edzard and G.Farber, Repertoire Geographique des Textes Cuneiformes 2, Wiesbaden, 1974)…” (Bendt Alster, opcit., 1983, p. 41).


Ephesian Artemis must be identified with Astarte, the Semitic moongoddess; and that the legend of Semiramis was a euhemerised version of the story of Istar, the dove into which Semiramis was changed being the dove of Istar and of Venus. Smyrna was also identified with Semiramis. The Greek Amazons were seen to be the priestesses of the Asiatic goddess, and the conception of the Centaurs was traced to Babylonian sculptures. The Eastern origin of the Dionysiac cult was manifest; but its suggested derivation from India was disposed of by the identification of Dionysus with the Assyrian sun-god, who, according to Lenormanr, bore the title of dianitu. The mother of Dionysus was Semele, daughter of Cadmus the Phoenician; and Semele has been identified by Dr. Neubauer with the Phoenician goddess Samlath, and the Edomite “Samlah of the Vineland.”

These connexions, which may be considered as established, prepare us for further researches in the same direction. Of these, perhaps, the most important is Prof. Sayce’s comparison of Ares with the Babylonian deity who provisionally bears the name of Adar, but whose real name is believed to have been Uras. Uras is identified with Ares, not only because he was the warrior god of the Babylonians, as Ares was of the Greeks, but because in the Greek myth Ares is said to have slain Adonis by taking the form of a wild boar. Now, Adar or Uras is called “the Lord of the pig,” a title originating, in Prof. Sayce’s opinion, out of a totemistic worship of that animal. Moreover, the Roman identified their war god Mars with the Greek Ares; and it would appear that Rimmon, the Syrian sun-god, was worshipped under the Accadian title of Matu (Martu) and was also called “the pig” The prototype of Ares may thus be connected with the probable prototype of Mars, whose cult may have reached Italy through Cumae, which, according to Strabo, was a colony of the Aeolian Cyme, whose alleged foundation by the Amazons connects it with Eastern mythologies.

Aplu, the old form of the name of Apollo, may be identified with Ablu, “the son ” of heaven, which was one of the appellations of the sun-god Tammuz; and also that the story of Perseus and Andromeda, a lunar eclipse myth, is a Greek version of the combat between Bel-Merodach and the dragon Tiamat.

Some of the most obvious correspondences, which, however, are not free from difficulty, present themselves when we attempt to trace the Western extensions of the woiship of the great Babylonian goddess, Istar, who seems to have absorbed the functions of several local deities. She is clearly the Athtor who was worshipped on the southern coast of Arabia; and it is commonly asserted that she became the Phoenician Ashtoreth, called Astarte by the Greeks, who was the prototype both of Artemis and of Aphrodite. Prof. Sayce takes this view. He considers that the EpheBian Artemis and the Cyprian Aphrodite are both lineal descendants of the same deity, the Babylonian Istar, who bore two characters—that of the warrior maiden,and of the deity of love.

These two conceptions, he thinks, became divorced, and arrived on the shores of Greece by separate routes. The gentler Babylonians seized rather on the softer side of the nature of Istar, while the fiercer Assyrians naturally laid hold of her warlike aspect. It may be admitted that the name of Istar, originally an Accadian word whose meaning is unknown, took the feminine suffix in Phoenician, and became Ashtoreth; but we have no evidence which will explain how the worship of Istar, the evening star, could have been transformed into the worship of Ashtoreth, who was undoubtedly the moon. And it is difficult to understand how the functions of Sin, the male Accadian moon-god, were transferred, among the western Semites, to a female deity who was originally only the planet Venus. Possibly the connexion between Istar, the evening star, and Ashtoreth, the moon, may be rather nominal than real, some such title as the “Lady of the Heavens” or the “Queen of the Night,” or whatever the name may have meant, being applied in one region to the moon and in another to the planet Venus. This seems less difficult than to suppose a confusion between two planetary bodies so widely different.

The Accadians conceived the moon as a male deity, which effectually prevented her from being regarded as the spouse of the sun—a function assigned to the planet Venus; whereas in Syria, where the moon was thought to be a female, she would become the Queen of Night, and the sun-god would naturally be regarded as her spouse. A further difficulty is introduced by the fact that the planet Venus was called by the Greeks ‘A^poSi’n?? aonjp, and that the Bomans identified the Greek Aphrodite with their Venus, who is also the evening star, like the Babylonian Istar. Aphrodite, however, seems, like Artemis, to be the moon rather than the evening star, though the Babylonian and Assyrian conquests of Cyprus may have commingled some elements of the worship of Istar with the worship of the Phoenician Astarte. Artemis and Aphrodite are not, however, the only descendants of the Asiatic goddess. Thus, Greek legend described the wandering Astarte, under the name of Europa, the “broad-faced ” moon, crossing the seas seated on the Bull of Anu.

It may be objected that it is improbable that so many distinct Western deities—Apollo, Ares, Mars, Dionysus, Perseus, Adonis, and Attys —should have been obtained from the Babylonian sun-god; and that it is equally unreasonable to refer Artemis, Aphrodite, Semele, Semiramis, Smyrna, Cybele, and Europa to Istar or Astarte. This objection is answered by anticipation in Prof. Sayce’s volume. He shows that nearly every Babylonian city had its independent sun-god, known by different names or rather epithets, such as the son of heaven, the mighty, the exalted, the lord, the very glorious, or the beloved. These local sun-gods, who were ultimately identified by the Babylonians as forms of the same god, had their local names and their local legends, which passed independently to the Greeks, who attributed them to different deities. Thus, the same sun-god, born of Ea, who was worshipped as Merodach at Babylon, was reverenced by the people of Eridu under the name of Tammuz, the Accadian Du-muzi, the “son of life”; and at Nipur as TJras (Ares), the “lord of light.” Meri, the sun-god of Muru, became at Damascus Ramanu or ltimmon, “the exalted one ” ; in Assyria he was called Ablu (Apollo), the “son” of heaven; one of his Accadian names was Matu or Martu (Mars); in Tyre he was Melcarth, the “king of the city” (Melicertes); and at Gebal he was Adoni, “my lord” (Adonis).

“We may, I think, divide the Hellenic deities into two classes : those who seem to be purely Aryan, and those whose names, connexions, and myths point to a Semitic or Accadian source. Now it is curious to observe that the purely Hellenic deities are ranged by Homer on the side of the Greeks, while those which seem to be of Asiatic origin espouse the cause of Troy. Thus Athena and Hera, the moBt purely Hellenic deities, are represented as the protagonists on the Hellenic side; while Apollo, Ares, and Aphrodite, who were ultimately of Phoenician or Babylonian origin, all fight in the Trojan camp. In the case of Zeus and Poseidon, Semitic conceptions seem to have been engrafted on Aryan names and cults; and we find they are mainly neutral, though inclining somewhat to the Trojan cause.

Many of those elements in the Greek mythology which Mr. Lang considers to be mere survivals of primitive savagery may be more reasonably explained by reference to their Babylonian or Phoenician sources. A translated mythology must inevitably have been more or less mistranslated. Thus the so-called incestuous legends of the Greek pantheon, at which prudery is shocked, are no proof that the primitive Greeks lived in habitual incest, which would be contrary to the whole spirit of Aryan civilisation. These legends can be more rationally explained by an evolution which took place in Babylonian theology. Owing to the different position occupied by women among the Accadians and the Semites, Babylonian goddesses, who in the Accadian period were reverenced as the mothers of certain gods, came to be regarded under Semitic influences as their wives. Hence the family relationships of the celestial bodies and the powers of nature were represented in turn as either conjugal, fraternal, or parental. When the naturemyths current in different cities came to be harmonised into a coherent system, it is obvious that some of these traditional relationships would become apparently incestuous. It is easy to see, for instance, how the moon might thus come to be regarded as at once the parent, the wife, and the sister of the sun.


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