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Old Babylonian Incantation Against Cattle Disease (1.121)

(204 words)

Author(s): Edzard, D. O.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Old Babylonian Incantation Against Cattle Disease (1.121) (1) There was a whirl[wind] in the sky, ( 2) A fire was kindled, ( 3) And the “peg”1 fell ( 4) On all the cattle. ( 5) It was infected with heat ( 6) The kids and the lambs ( 7) And also the small ones on the nurse’s shoulder.2 ( 8–9) Address my mother Ningirim.3 ( 10) Let the face of the cattle be bright again, ( 11) Let Sumuqan rejoice,4 ( 12) Let the herbs rejoice, ( 13) Let the trail resound5 with merry bleating — ( 14–…

Establishing A New Temple for the Goddess of the Night (1.70)

(3,748 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary This is a four column tablet composed in the period of the Hittite Empire. It is the first of two tablets.1 The second tablet is not preserved, although the first tablet has survived in four recensions. The main tablet describes the procedure for establishing a satellite temple for the Goddess of the Night. Her cult was centered in Kizzuwatna in southeastern Anatolia, and thus many Hurrian offering term…

A “Non-canonical” Incantation (1.167)

(394 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary Incantations were among the earliest literary genres to be fixed in writing. Before they were collected into major canonical series, they circulated in individual formulations, as needed. Sometimes, as here, these were quite short, and to the point, even specifying the source of the problem by name. The name of the client who used the spell was inserted at the appropriate point. The …

The Storm God At LiḫzinaThe name of the town in this text is twice spelled Li ḫzina and twice Ziḫzina. An explanation for this alternation of consonants is not easily forthcoming. (1.69)

(1,085 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary This is a mythological text belonging to the group of Anatolian myths known as the missing deity myths. The original composition dates to the period of the Hittite Old Kingdom. The supreme Storm God is the deity whose absence is the focus of this particular narrative. Presumably the Storm God absented himself in the first column of the tablet, after which chaos ensued for man and live…

From “Evil Spirits” (1.168)

(328 words)

Author(s): Hallo, W. W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary The formation of systematic (“canonical”) series of incantations began as early as Old Babylonian times in the case of the “Evil Spirits” (UDUG-HUL = utukku lemnūtu). Again, the concern was with improper burial and its baneful consequences. The present example is a brief incantation out of a reconstruction of second millennium forerunners running to nearly 1000 lines, and these in t…

Purifying A House: A Ritual for the Infernal Deities (1.68)

(3,266 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Incantations Commentary This text offers a tantalizing glimpse into Hurro–Hittite mythology. The underworld deities, referred to as the Primordial or Ancient Gods, are solicited on behalf of a house possessed of various types of uncleanness, to come up from below the earth and carry the uncleanness back down into the underworld with them. The ritual is completed over two days, the location alternating between the house and various outdoor locales, including,…