Hymn to Inanna and Her Self-Praise


Clay cylinder, Late Ur III or early Isin period (c. 2025-1975 B.C.E.)

Inanna (assimilated later with the Akkadian Semitic astral goddess Ishtar) is the Sumerian fertility goddess. Inanna’s city is Uruk, and she was central to the sacred Mesopotamian wedding ceremonies: in a sacred ritual the part of Inanna’s lover Dumuzi is acted out and he brings the harvest to Inanna, goddess of the store-house temple, where she opens her door for him, indicating abundance for the city.

An is the distant father god, usually the embodiment of sky or heaven. He rains fertility upon the earth and his rage thunders in the sky.  Much of what we know about Mesopotamian gods has been found in the clay tablets of the mid-to-late third millennium B.C.E, around 2500-2000 B.C.E.

Column i

Lady. . . , . . .

. . . through(?) the command of An

the holy crown of An has been placed upon (her) head,

the holy ba-garment has been donned upon (her) body,

the holy scepter of An has been placed in her hand.

She has settled herself majestically on (her) seat,

she renders judgments in all land,

she reaches lofty decisions in all lands.

Like a light she is shining down from the sky, . . . Inanna . . . ,

to Ur, the. . .of Ekišnugal.

The. . . nugig, together with her father Suen

utters commands.

In her hands she is keeping the abundance of the land . . . .

— (Translated and published by Ǻke Sjöberg)

FLP 2627

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The Rare Book Department is in the Parkway Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
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