The Exaltation of Inana: Annotated translation

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๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆจ ๐’„ญ ๐’Š ๐’Œ“ ๐’ˆฆ๐’„˜๐’ƒผ ๐’Œ“๐’บ ๐’€€

nin me ลกar2-ra u4 dalla_e3-a
lady me all-of day shine-that
nin me ลกara u dalla ea

1 – Lady of all me, resplendent daylight,

The first two words of the poem, nin and me, are both keywords that play a crucial role throughout the text. On the nature of the me, see this page. The word nin, โ€œlady,โ€ recurs at regular frequencies, mostly to open or close a section of the poem. Note that ลกar2, โ€œall,โ€ can also mean โ€œcountless.โ€ One manuscript renders the line as: โ€œlady of sweet (du10) meโ€; this is likely due to a graphic confusion of the two signs ลกar2 and du10, which look almost identical.


๐’Šฉ ๐’ฃ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’… ๐’Š’ ๐’†  ๐’‰˜ ๐’€ญ ๐’… ๐’€€

munus zi me-lam2 gur3-ru ki-aฤ2 an uraลก-a
woman true terrifying_light carry-that beloved An Urash-of
munus zi melam guru kiaฤ An Uraลกa

2 โ€“ righteous woman, laden with a terrifying light, loved by An and Urash,

An and Urash are the deified forms of heaven and earth, respectively. The me-lam2 is the awe-inducing halo of light that surrounds gods and other supernatural beings. Zgoll (301โ€“302) notes that the signs munus zi, โ€œrighteous woman,โ€ also form an archaic spelling of the word zirru, which was one of Enheduanaโ€™s titles as high priestess. The writing of the word zirru had since changed into nunuz-zi, but it is possible that the older form lingered in the background, instilling a connection between Inana and Enheduana herself.


๐’‰ก ๐’ˆช๐’‰ญ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’Š‘ ๐’†Ÿ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’†ท

nu-gig an-na MUล 3 KEล 2 gal-gal-la
nugig An-of jewels?-bound? great-of
nugig Ana suh? keลกe? galgala

3 โ€“ nugig of An, she of the great jewels,?

The nugig was originally a designation for a wetnurse or midwife, often of high status and sometimes affiliated with a temple. It is used as an epithet for Inana and other goddesses, but its meaning was confused already in antiquity: for the history of the term, see Brisch. The reading of the signs MUล 3 KEล 2 is unclear. Zgoll, Foster, and Black et al. take it to mean โ€œpectoral jewels,โ€ an emblem of power worn on the breast. Attinger understands it as โ€œboundโ€ (keลกe2) โ€œcoronetsโ€ (suh10): the phrase would then mean โ€œshe to whom the great coronets are bound,โ€ that is, โ€œshe who holds the great coronets.โ€


๐’‚‡ ๐’ฃ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’†  ๐’‰˜ ๐’‰† ๐’‚— ๐’ˆพ ๐’บ ๐’ˆ 

aga zi-de3 ki-aฤ2 nam-en-na tum2-ma
crown righteous loves en-ship suitable_for-that
aga zide kiaฤ namena tuma

4  โ€“  she who loves the righteous crown, who is suitable for en-ship,

The en-ship can refer to the position of either a political ruler or a high priestessโ€”en can mean both. The second part of the line is here taken to describe Inana, but it could also describe the crown, as in: โ€œShe who loves the righteous crown that befits the high priestess.โ€ The ambiguity may be intentional, again implying a connection between Inana and Enheduana herself, who was the en of Nanna.


๐’ˆจ ๐’…“ ๐’‰ ๐’‹— ๐’ฒ ๐’…— ๐’‚ต

me imin-bi ลกu_sa2_du11-ga
me seven-its take-that
me iminbi ลกu sa duga

5  โ€“  who has taken hold of its seven me!

โ€œItsโ€ may refer back to enship; alternatively, it can be read as โ€œtheirโ€ (of the gods) or just โ€œthese.โ€ The number โ€œsevenโ€ is not necessarily to be taken literally: it hints at Inanaโ€™s many me (which, as noted in l. 1, are innumerable), but also signposts the poetic structure of the following section, which consists of stanzas of seven lines, introduced by the phrase nin-ฤu10, โ€œmy lady.โ€ Note that the emphasis of the line is on Inana taking her divine powers herselfโ€”the agency is clearly hersโ€”perhaps recalling the story Inana and Enki, which tells of how she tricked Enki into giving her the me.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ˆจ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’†ท ๐’Š• ๐’†Ÿ ๐’‰ ๐’ ๐’‚Š ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

nin-ฤu10 me gal-gal-la saฤ-keลกe2-bi za-e-me-en
lady-my me great-of guardian-their you-are
ninฤu me galgala saฤkeลกebi zaemen

6  โ€“  My lady! Of the great me, you are their guardian:

This is the first appearance of the phrase nin-ฤu10, โ€œmy lady,โ€ which in this section introduces a new stanza.


๐’ˆจ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚Š ๐’… ๐’ˆจ ๐’‹— ๐’ช ๐’‚  ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚Š ๐’‡ฒ

me mu-e-il2 me ลกu-zu-ลกe3 mu-e-la2
me lift me hand-your-to hang
me mueil me ลกuzuลกe me muela

7  โ€“  You have lifted the me, you have hung the me from your hand,

Here as elsewhere, the me are depicted as physical objects, hanging from Inanaโ€™s hand perhaps like beads on a string.


๐’ˆจ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚Š ๐’Œด ๐’ˆจ ๐’ƒฎ ๐’ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‹ฐ

me mu-e-ur4 me gaba-za bi2-tab
me gather me breast-your-at clutch
me mueur me gabaza me bitab

8  โ€“  You have gathered the me, you have clutched the me to your breast.

This heavily patterned couplet (meโ€“verbโ€“meโ€“body partโ€“verb) is also structured by a heavy alliteration on m-, with all but the last verb beginning with mu-.


๐’ƒฒ๐’” ๐’ถ ๐’†ณ ๐’Š ๐’…œ ๐’€ ๐’‚Š ๐’‹ง

uลกumgal-gin7 kur-ra uลก11 ba-e-ลกum2
uลกumgallike mountain-upon venom give
uลกumgalgin kura uลก baeลกum

9  โ€“  Like an uลกumgal, you have deposited venom on the foreign land,

The uลกumgal, often translated โ€œbasiliskโ€ or โ€œdragon,โ€ is a giant horned serpent with fangs and (evidently) a venomous spit. A relief depicting a similar creature, the muลกhuลกลกu, gives us an idea of what they were thought to look like. Note also that the word kur can mean โ€œmountain,โ€ โ€œforeign land,โ€ โ€œenemy,โ€ and just โ€œland.โ€ These multiple meanings are in play throughout the poem.


๐’€ญ ๐’…Ž ๐’ถ ๐’†  ๐’…ฒ ๐’„„ ๐’€€ ๐’ ๐’€ญ ๐’Šบ๐’Šบ๐’‰ช ๐’†ท ๐’€ ๐’‚Š ๐’…† ๐’……

diลกkur-gin7 ki ลกe27_gi4-a-za daลกnan la-ba-e-ลกi-ฤal2
Ishkur-like place shout-that-your-in Ashnan not-exist
Iลกkurgin ki ลกe giaza Aลกnan labaลกiฤal

10  โ€“  like Ishkur, where you shout, Ashnan disappears before you.

Ishkur is the god of storms and Ashnan the goddess of grain. The line thus compares Inanaโ€™s howl to a storm that flattens the farmland, by either bending the grain stalks or wrenching them from the ground.


๐’€€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š’ ๐’†ณ ๐’‰ ๐’‹ซ ๐’‡ฏ๐’บ ๐’‰ˆ

a-ma-ru kur-bi-ta e11-de3
flood mountain-its-from stream
amaru kurbita ede

11  โ€“  Flood that streams down from these mountains,

Since kur can also mean โ€œforeign land,โ€ the line may refer to Inana as a destructive force descending upon the enemy, but the preposition -ta, โ€œfrom,โ€ makes it more likely that mountains are meant.


๐’Š• ๐’†— ๐’€ญ ๐’†  ๐’€€ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆน ๐’‰ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

saฤ-kal an ki-a dinana-bi-me-en
foremost heaven earth-on Inana-their-are
saฤkal an kia Inanabimen

12  โ€“  supreme in heaven and earth: you are their Inana.

The ending of the line is striking, especially since Inana is almost never referred to by name in this poem. Various interpretations are possible. The word Inana could also mean โ€œgoddessโ€ in general, leading to translations such as โ€œyou are their goddess,โ€ or, in Foster, โ€œyou are their warrior goddess.โ€ According to Attinger, the line is an attempt to explain Inanaโ€™s name. In- can be taken as a shortened form of nin, โ€œladyโ€ and An-a means โ€œof heaven.โ€ The line could thus be read: โ€œleader of heaven and earth: this lady-of-heaven (Inana) is you.โ€


๐’‰ˆ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’Š ๐’Œฆ ๐’‚Š ๐’€€๐’€ญ ๐’‚ท

izi bar7-bar7-ra kalam-e ลกeฤ3-ฤa2
fire blaze-that land-upon rain-that
izi barbara kalame ลกeฤa

13  โ€“  Blazing fire raining on the land!

In this section, every seventh line begins with nin-ฤu10, โ€œmy lady,โ€ except this line, where the expected phrase is replaced by another kind of repetition: the threefold repetition of the cuneiform sign ne.


๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‹ง ๐’ˆ  ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’Œจ ๐’Š ๐’„ท๐’‹› ๐’€€

an-ne2 me ลกum2-ma nin ur-ra u5-a
An me give-that lady beast-on ride-that
Ane me ลกuma nin ura ua

14  โ€“  She to whom An gave the me, lady riding on lions,

Here, in l. 128 below, and in l. 23 of the Hymn, the word ur, which generally means โ€œbeastโ€ or โ€œdog,โ€ seems to refer to lions, which is the animal most often associated with Inana. Note also the play on sounds at the end of the line: ura ua.


๐’…— ๐’†ฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’‹ซ ๐’…— ๐’…— ๐’…—

inim ku3 an-na-ta inim du11-du11
word pure An-of-from word speak
inim ku Anata inim dudu

15  โ€“  who, by the holy order of An, gives orders.

The syntactical structure of the line is difficultโ€”see the discussion in Attingerโ€”but however one understands the grammar, it must refer to An empowering Inana to give orders. As in l. 13, the same cuneiform sign, here ka, is used three times in a row, representing different sounds.


๐’‰บ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’†ท ๐’ƒป ๐’ช ๐’€€ ๐’€ ๐’€€ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’ช

biluda gal-gal-la niฤ2-zu a-ba-a mu-un-zu
rites great-of thing-your who know
biluda galgala niฤzu aba munzu

16  โ€“  Who can understand the great rites that are your possession?

Much as with the me, the โ€œritesโ€ mentioned in this line are best understood as activities that must be performed over and over again to keep the cosmos aright: other possible translations of biluda include โ€œdutiesโ€ and โ€œordinances.โ€ The line thus makes the point that Inana plays a crucial, but unfathomable role in maintaining the world orderโ€”including the destruction of enemy lands. Note also the play on the syllable zu, which means first โ€œyourโ€ and then โ€œto knowโ€ (another play on the same syllable comes in l. 27).


๐’†ณ ๐’„ข ๐’„ข ๐’Œ“ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’€‰ ๐’€ ๐’‚Š ๐’‹ง

kur gul-gul u4-de3 a2 ba-e-ลกum2
mountain destroy storm-to strength give
kur gulgul ude a baeลกum

17  โ€“  Destroyer of mountains, you give force to the storm.

This couplet is tightly constructed. In the previous line, the second word was gal-gal, โ€œgreatโ€; here, it is gul-gul, โ€œto destroy.โ€ In the previous line, the second-to-last word was aba,โ€œwhoโ€; here, that same sound is split into two words, a2, โ€œforce,โ€ and the prefix ba– in โ€œyou give.โ€ Note that the description of Inana as “destroyer of mountains” alludes to the myth of Inana and Ebih.


๐’†  ๐’‰˜ ๐’€ญ ๐’‚— ๐’†ค ๐’‡ฒ ๐’Œฆ ๐’ˆ  ๐’‰Ž ๐’ˆช ๐’…” ๐’Š‘

ki-aฤ2 den-lil2-la2 kalam-ma ni2 mi-in-ri
beloved Enlil-of land-in fear impose
kiaฤ Enlila kalama ni minri

18  โ€“  Beloved by Enlil, you impose fear on the land.

Beside โ€œimpose,โ€ ri can also mean โ€œto injectโ€ or โ€œto pour.โ€


๐’€‰ ๐’‰˜ ๐’‚ท ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’†ค ๐’€ ๐’บ ๐’‰ ๐’‚—

a2-aฤ2-ฤa2 an-na-ke4 ba-gub-be2-en
command An-of-at stand
aฤa Anake baguben

19  โ€“  At the command of Enlil, you stand ready.

Note the symmetry with the previous line: both begin with the sequence word-deity-of, and both have aฤ2as their second sign.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ ๐’‰บ ๐’‰˜ ๐’ช ๐’‚  ๐’†ณ ๐’‰Œ ๐’ƒต๐’ƒต ๐’‚Š

nin-ฤu10 za-pa-aฤ2-zu-ลกe3 kur i3-gigurum-e
lady-my scream-your-at mountain bends
ninฤu zapaฤzuลกe kur igigurume

20  โ€“  My lady! The enemy land bends at your battle cry.

A new section is introduced by the repetition of nin-ฤu10.


๐’‰Ž ๐’ˆจ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‡ ๐’‡ป ๐’• ๐’‰† ๐’‡ฝ ๐’‡ ๐’‡ป

ni2 me-lam2 u18-lu-da nam-lu2-u18-lu
fear terrifying_light storm-from humanity
ni melam uluda namlu-ulu

21  โ€“  When humanity, (fleeing) from fear, terrifying light, and storms

Note the play on u18-lu, which means โ€œstorm,โ€ but which also forms part of the word โ€œhumanity.โ€ The u18-lu is in some texts identified as the south wind, which in southern Iraq was a sandstorm blowing in from the Arabian desert.


๐’ƒป ๐’ˆจ ๐’ƒป ๐’„Š ๐’‰ ๐’…‡ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Š‘ ๐’บ

niฤ2-me-ฤar ฤiri3-bi u3-mu-re-gub
silence feet-their foot-their walk
niฤmeฤar ฤiribi umuregub

22  โ€“  stood before you in silence,

This is the third line in a row to start with the sound ni; note also the similarity with the previous line: ni-me vs. niฤme. The expression ฤiri_gub, โ€œto walk the foot,โ€ is unclear: it might mean โ€œto walkโ€ or โ€œto stand in attendance.โ€ This translation follows Attinger in taking the movement in the previous line as implicit, resulting in humanity standing before Inana in this line, while Zgoll takes the couplet as describing one action: โ€œWhen humanity directed its step to you in silence, through fear, terrifying light, and stormsโ€ฆโ€


๐’ˆจ ๐’‹ซ ๐’ˆจ ๐’„ญ๐’„Š ๐’‰ ๐’‹— ๐’€ ๐’‚Š ๐’Š‘ ๐’‹พ

me-ta me-huลก-bi ลกu_ba-e-re-ti
me-from me-horrific-their take
meta mehuลกbi ลกu baereti

23  โ€“  you took the most terrifying of the me:

That is, Inana takes the most horrific of the cosmic duties upon herself. The sound me has been lurking in the background, as the second syllable of the previous two lines; here it is brought forth and emphasized.


๐’„ฟ ๐’พ ๐’€€๐’…† ๐’Š ๐’†ค ๐’…… ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’‹บ

i-dub er2-ra-ke4 ฤal2_ma-ra-ab-taka4
thresholds tears-of open
idub erake ฤal marabtaka

24  โ€“  the threshold of tears is opened for you.

This and the following two lines end with verbs that include the prefix -ra-, โ€œfor you,โ€ in a subtle form of epistrophe (the repetition of a word at the end of the line).


๐’‚ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ช ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’†ท ๐’‹ป ๐’€ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Š‘ ๐’บ

e2 A-NIR gal-gal-la sila-ba mu-re-du
house sighs great-of road-its-on walk
e anir galgala silaba muredu

25  โ€“  they walk on the road to the house of great grief for you,

Because of the verbal tense, Zgoll argues that the previous two lines should be read as an interjected clause, and that the sentence beginning in l. 21 ends here, leading to a translation such as: โ€œWhen humanity came to stand before youโ€”since you had taken the most terrifying of the me and the threshold of tears had been opened for youโ€”then did they (humanity) walk to the house of great grief for you.โ€


๐’…† ๐’€ž ๐’‹ซ ๐’ƒป ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’‹ซ ๐’‹› ๐’……

igi me3-ta niฤ2 ma-ra-ta-si-ig
front battle-from possession tear_off
igi meta niฤ maratasig

26  โ€“  before battle, (their) possessions are sacked for you.

That is, by Inanaโ€™s power, the grieving people are made to surrender all that they own without putting up a fight. It take l. 24โ€“26 as listing some of the terrifying me that Inana acquired in l. 23: her cosmic duty is to cause grief and loss. L. 23 began with the word me-ta, โ€œof the meโ€; that sound is here repeated as igi me3-ta, โ€œbefore battle,โ€ neatly rounding off the stanza.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€‰ ๐’‰Ž ๐’ ๐’…— ๐’…— ๐’‰Œ ๐’…ฅ ๐’‚Š

nin-ฤu10 a2 ni2-za zu2-zu2 i3-ku2-e
lady-my strength self-your-of teeth? eat
ninฤu a niza zuzu iku

27  โ€“  My lady! The strength you have can eat through teeth.?

A new section is introduced by the repetition of nin-ฤu10. This is a difficult line, and the ancient scribes were clearly confused about. Scribes in Ur added the sign na4 before the first zu, which seems to indicate a pun between na4zu, โ€œobsidian,โ€ and zu, โ€œtooth,โ€ leading to a translation such as: โ€œ(With) your strength, teeth can eat flint.โ€ Scribes in Nippur did not add this sign, so for them, the line may have turned on the irony of teethโ€”which normally do the eatingโ€”being eaten, by the force Inanaโ€™s huge strength.


๐’Œ“ ๐’ŒŒ ๐’ŒŒ ๐’ถ ๐’‰Œ ๐’ŒŒ ๐’ŒŒ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‚—

u4 du7-du7-gin7 i3-du7-du7-de3-en
storm charge-like charge
u dudugin idududen

28  โ€“  You charge like the charging storm,

Note how the sound zuzu of the previous line is here echoed by the repeated dudu. The reduplication of the verbal root (du7-du7) in Sumerian indicates an ongoing movement, and this redoubling is used for full aural effect in this and the following three lines. Note the symmetry of the half-lines, which have four syllables (of which two are identical) and a half-rhyme on -en.


๐’Œ“ ๐’…— ๐’Š ๐’Š ๐’• ๐’…— ๐’…Ž ๐’• ๐’€Š ๐’Š ๐’Š ๐’€ญ

u4 gu3_ra-ra-da gu3_im-da-ab-ra-ra-an
storm growl-with growl
u gu rarada imdabraran

29  โ€“  you roar with the roaring storm,

The line continues the doubled doubling introduced in the previous line, here of ra-ra.


๐’€ญ ๐’…Ž ๐’• ๐’…ฒ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’• ๐’€ญ ๐’„„ ๐’„„ ๐’…”

diลกkur-da ลกe27_mu-da-an-gi4-gi4-in
Ishkur-with shout
Iลกkurda ลกe mudangigin

30  โ€“  you shout with Ishkur.

The formulation recalls l. 10, where Inanaโ€™s shout (ลกe27_gi4) is also compared to Ishkur, the storm god.


๐’…Ž ๐’…†๐’Œจ ๐’…Ž ๐’…†๐’Œจ ๐’• ๐’…Ž ๐’• ๐’Šจ ๐’…‡ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‚—

im-hul-im-hul-da im-da-kuลก2-u3-de3-en
hurricanes-with tire
imhul-imhulda imdakuลกuden

31  โ€“  You exhaust yourself with each hurricane,

That is, Inana tires herself out by roaring and running with every tempest that arises (literally, im-hul means โ€œevil windโ€). The theme of redoubling is marvelously continued here. The reduplication of a noun in Sumerian makes it plural, often a comprehensive plural: kur-kur, for example, can mean โ€œmountainsโ€ or โ€œall the mountains.โ€ The sound effect of the reduplication is particularly strong here, in part because imhul is a relatively long word, and in part because the following verb also begins with im- (note also the repetition of -da).


๐’„Š ๐’ ๐’‰ก ๐’Šจ ๐’…‡ ๐’…Ž ๐’‹›

ฤiri3-za nu-kuลก2-u3 im-si
feet-your-in not-tiredness fill
ฤiriza nukuลกu imsi

32  โ€“  but your feet are filled with tirelessness.

That is, even as she tires herself out, Inana is endlessly refreshed. Attinger (562) suggested that the previous line forms a rhetorical question that is answered here: โ€œAre you exhausted by the hurricanes? No, your feet are inexhaustible.โ€


๐’† ๐’€€ ๐’‰ช ๐’Š ๐’‹ซ ๐’„ฟ ๐’‡ป ๐’…Ž ๐’• ๐’€Š ๐’‰

balaฤ A-NIR-ra-ta i-lu im-da-ab-be2
balaฤ sighs-of-with lamentation speak
balaฤ anirata ilu imdabbe

33  โ€“  With a harp of grief, they perform the lamentation.

The balaฤ was a musical instrument used to accompany ritual lamentations. It began as a stringed instrument, like a harp or lyre, but around the Old Babylonian period it was changed into a kettledrum (see Gabbay). This line is one of several references to the genre of ritual lamentations in the poem; see l. 98 below. It is not clear who is performing the lamentation: the people afflicted by the hurricanes? perhaps the winds themselves, or Ishkur? (see the discussion in Attinger). This translation follows a suggestion by Foster, who takes Inanaโ€™s feet as the subject: their heavy footfall beats out the rhythm along with the balaฤ, and so โ€œintoneโ€ the lamentation.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ฃ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ

nin-ฤu10 da-nun-na diฤir gal-gal-e-ne
lady-my Anuna gods great
ninฤu Anuna diฤir galgalene

34  โ€“  My lady! The Anuna, the great gods,

A new section is again introduced by the repetition of nin-ฤu10. The Anuna are the highest circle of gods in the Sumerian pantheon.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ฃ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ

nin-ฤu10 da-nun-na diฤir gal-gal-e-ne
lady-my Anuna gods great
ninฤu Anuna diฤir galgalene

34  โ€“  My lady! The Anuna, the great gods,

A new section is again introduced by the repetition of nin-ฤu10. The Anuna are the highest circle of gods in the Sumerian pantheon.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ฃ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ

nin-ฤu10 da-nun-na diฤir gal-gal-e-ne
lady-my Anuna gods great
ninฤu Anuna diฤir galgalene

34  โ€“  My lady! The Anuna, the great gods,

A new section is again introduced by the repetition of nin-ฤu10. The Anuna are the highest circle of gods in the Sumerian pantheon.


๐’‹ข ๐’ท ๐’„ท ๐’Š‘ ๐’€€ ๐’ถ ๐’‡ฏ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚Š ๐’…† ๐’… ๐’Š ๐’€ธ  

su-dinmuลกen dal-a-gen7 du6-de3 mu-e-ลกi-ib-ra-aลก
bats fly-that-like mounds-to flutter
sudin dalagen dude mueลกibraลก

35  โ€“  flying like bats, flutter to the ruin mounds because of you,

The word braลก, translated here as โ€œflutter,โ€ is very rare: it is a loanword from Akkadian napruลกu that became an unusual construction in Sumerian. Attinger translates du6 as โ€œcrevasse,โ€ not ruin mound.


๐’…† ๐’„ญ๐’„Š ๐’€€ ๐’ ๐’†ท ๐’€ ๐’ป ๐’„€ ๐’Œ ๐’€€๐’€ญ

igi huลก-a-za la-ba-su8-ge-eลก-am3
eyes furious-your not-stand-that
igi huลกaza labasugeลกam

36  โ€“  as they could not withstand your terrifying gaze.

This line begins a set of three symmetrical units, all focused on Inanaโ€™s wrath: a couplet where the same adjective (huลก, โ€œterrifyingโ€) modifies two different body parts (igi,โ€œeyes,โ€ and saฤ-ki, โ€œfaceโ€), a couplet where the same body part (ลกa3, โ€œheartโ€) is modified by two different adjectives (ib, โ€œangry,โ€ and hul-ฤal2, โ€œwickedโ€), and a tightly symmetrical final line.


๐’Š• ๐’†  ๐’„ญ๐’„Š ๐’€€ ๐’ ๐’Š• ๐’‰ก ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‚ท ๐’‚ท

saฤ-ki huลก-a-za saฤ_nu-mu-un-de3-ฤa2-ฤa2
face furious-your not_oppose
saฤki huลกaza saฤ numundeฤaฤa

37  โ€“  No one can oppose your terrifying visage.

The line has a play on the syllable saฤ, which begins the two halves of the line: first as a part of the word for โ€œface,โ€ then of the word โ€œoppose.โ€ Literally, the gods cannot face Inanaโ€™s face.


๐’Šฎ ๐’Œˆ ๐’€ ๐’ ๐’€€ ๐’€ ๐’€€ ๐’Œˆ ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚— ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚—

ลกa3 ib2-ba-za a-ba-a ib2-te-en-te-en
heart angry-that-your who cool
ลกa ibaza aba ibtenten

38  โ€“  Your angry heartโ€”who can soothe it?

The heart was generally thought to be the seat of the mood and mind, and since an angry heart was a hot heart, to โ€œcoolโ€ someoneโ€™s heart was to calm them, much as in todayโ€™s idiom (e.g. โ€œto chillโ€). Note the three words in a row starting with ib- or ab-.


๐’Šฎ ๐’…†๐’Œจ ๐’…… ๐’†ท ๐’ ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚— ๐’‹ผ ๐’‰ ๐’ˆค ๐’€€๐’€ญ

ลกa3 hul-ฤal2-la-za te-en-te-bi mah-am3
heart wicked-that-your cool-its mighty-is
ลกa hulฤalaza tentebi maham

39  โ€“  Your wicked heartโ€”to soothe it is overwhelming.

Enheduana again refers to her task (praising and soothing Inana) as mah, โ€œmightyโ€ or โ€œoverwhelming,โ€ in l. 64.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’„ฏ ๐’‰Œ ๐’Šท ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’Šฎ ๐’‰Œ ๐’„พ

nin ur5 i3-sa6 nin ลกa3 i3-hul2
lady liver sweeten lady heart please
nin ur isa nin ลกa ihul

40  โ€“  Lady, will this mood be sweetened? Lady, will this heart be pleased?

The symmetries of the previous lines culminate in this highly compact line, which also rounds off the opening section. After this line, the poem is no longer structured by the repetition of nin-ฤu10 every seven lines. Note that the ur5, โ€œliverโ€ or โ€œbelly,โ€ was another site of emotions, like the heart. It is unclear whether these two sentences are to be taken as questions: Attinger reads the sentence together with the next one, as โ€œLady, the mood may be good, lady, the heart may be happy, but when you become angry, they (the mood and the heart) cannot be cooled.โ€ However, I take there to be a dividing line between these two verses, corresponding to the beginning of a new section, so I follow Zgoll in reading them as rhetorical questions.  


๐’Œˆ ๐’€ ๐’‰ก ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚— ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚— ๐’Œ‰ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’€ญ ๐’‚—๐’ช ๐’ˆพ

ib2-ba nu-te-en-te-en dumu gal dsuen-na
angry-that not-cool child great Suen-of
iba nutenten dumu gal Suena

41  โ€“  Your anger cannot be cooled, great daughter of Suen.

Suen is an alternative name for Nanna. The new section is marked by a chiasm, consisting of an opening couplet (l. 41โ€“42), the destruction of a mountain (l. 43โ€“50), the destruction of a city (l. 51โ€“57), and a repetition of the initial couplet (l. 58โ€“59). But the first words of this line mark a transition from the previous section, by continuing the theme of Inanaโ€™s uncoolable wrath. As noted by Zgoll, the line could also be translated: โ€œAngry and uncoolable great daughter of Suen.โ€


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’†ณ ๐’Š ๐’‹›๐’€€ ๐’‚ต ๐’€€ ๐’€ ๐’€€ ๐’†  ๐’ ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’‰

nin kur-ra diri-ga a-ba-a ki-za ba-an-tum3
lady land-to exceed-that who place-your-from take
nin kura diriga aba kiza bantum

42  โ€“  Lady, greater than the land, who can take away from your dominion?

The line uses the word ki, โ€œplace,โ€ in an unusual metaphorical sense, translated here as โ€œdominion,โ€ following Zgollโ€™s translation โ€œHerrschaftsbereich.โ€ Zgoll also notes the question could equally be translated โ€œwho can escape your dominion?โ€ Note the four words in a row ending in -a at the center of the line.


๐’„ฏ ๐’Š• ๐’†  ๐’ ๐’€ ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ ๐’ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’€ญ ๐’Šบ๐’Šบ๐’‰ช ๐’ƒป ๐’ˆช๐’‰ญ ๐’‰

hur-saฤ ki-za ba-e-de3-gid2-de3 daลกnan niฤ2-gig-bi
mountain place-your extend Ashnan prohibition-its
hursaฤ kiza baedegiden Aลกnan niฤgigbi

43  โ€“  You extended? your dominion over the mountain: Ashnan cannot be found there,

As in l. 17, the destruction of the mountain recalls the myth of Inana and Ebih, which Enheduana also recounts in the Hymn, l. 110โ€“12. As in l. 10, the goddess Ashnan is used to refer metonymically to grain and the harvest: the line literally means โ€œAshnan became its prohibition,โ€ meaning that harvests became impossible. The first part of the line can be understood in multiple ways. Zgoll takes Inana as the subject, extending her dominion over the mountain and thus invading it. Attinger takes the mountain as the subject, extending into Inanaโ€™s dominion: her destruction would thus be punishment for its attempted invasion. Both are possible, and either way, one should note the contrast to the rebellious city described in the next section: an external enemy (whether invader or invaded) v. an internal enemy (the rebel). Inana crushes both, thus cementing her unquestionable power.


๐’†๐’ƒฒ ๐’€€ ๐’€ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚Š ๐’Š‘ ๐’Š‘

abul-a-ba izi mu-e-ri-ri
city_gate-its-on fire put
abulaba izi mueriri

44  โ€“  its city gates were set on fire.

Literally, โ€œfire was put on its city gates.โ€


๐’€€๐’‡‰ ๐’€ ๐’Œ€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€ญ ๐’Œค ๐’Œฆ ๐’‰ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’…˜ ๐’…˜

i7-ba uลก2 ma-ra-an-de2 uฤ3-bi ma-ra-na8-na8
canal-its-in blood pour people-its drink
iba uลก marande uฤbi maranana

45  โ€“  Because of you, blood flows in its canals; because of you, its people drink it.

Two manuscripts have instead โ€œthe people cannot drink,โ€ drawing a different but equally painful consequence from the water having turned to blood.


๐’†  ๐’‹ข ๐’‡ป ๐’‚  ๐’ƒป ๐’‰ ๐’‰Ž ๐’‰ ๐’€€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’บ๐’บ ๐’‚Š

uฤnim-bi ni2-bi-a ma-ra-ab-lah5-e
army-its together bring
uฤnimbi nibia marablahe

46  โ€“  Its army, all together, is brought to you,

This and the next two lines repeat the exact same structure. Zgoll notes that ni2-bi-a, normally โ€œtogether,โ€ can also be read โ€œin their fearโ€ (both here and in the following lines); the ambiguity could easily be intentional.


๐’…— ๐’†Ÿ ๐’‰ ๐’‰Ž ๐’‰ ๐’€€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’‹› ๐’…‹ ๐’‡ท

zu2-keลกe2-bi ni2-bi-a ma-ra-ab-si-il-le
elite_troops-its together split
zukeลกebi nibia marabsile

47  โ€“  its elite troops, all together, are disbanded for you,

The word translated as โ€œelite troopsโ€ literally means โ€œthe bound onesโ€ (perhaps indicating professional soldiers as opposed to conscripts), which makes for an ironic fate: the bound are unbound.


๐’„จ ๐’€‰ ๐’Œ‡ ๐’‰ ๐’‰Ž ๐’‰ ๐’€€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’ป ๐’„€ ๐’Œ

ฤuruลก a2-tuku-bi ni2-bi-a ma-ra-ab-su8-ge-eลก
men strength-have-its together stand
ฤuruลก atukubi nibia marabsugeลก

48  โ€“  its strong men, all together, are presented to you.

The word ฤuruลก specifically means โ€œable-bodied man,โ€ primarily meaning young men.


๐’Œท ๐’€ ๐’†  ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ ๐’ฒ ๐’€ ๐’‚‡ ๐’„ฟ ๐’Œˆ ๐’‹›

iri-ba ki-e-ne-di-ba mir i-ib2-si
city-its-of place-merriment-of-in storm fill
iriba kienediba mir ibsi

49  โ€“  Its cityโ€™s place of play is filled up by the storm,

The ki-e-ne-di or โ€œplace of merrimentโ€ was presumably a locale for dancing and drinking. As always, the words could also be plural: โ€œthe citiesโ€™ places of merriment.โ€


๐’„จ ๐’Šฎ ๐’ƒถ ๐’‰ ๐’ˆ‚ ๐’‚  ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’Šฌ ๐’Š‘ ๐’Œ

ฤuruลก ลกa3-gan-bi heลกe5-eลก2? ma-ra-ab-sar-re-eลก
men best-its bound chase
ฤuruลก ลกaganbi heลกeลก? marabsareลก

50  โ€“  its best men, captive, are driven before you.

It is uncertain how to transliterate the word rendered here as heลกe5-eลก2โ€”other possibilities include lu2ลกe3 and heลกe5ลกe3, as well as LU2xGANA2-eลก2 or LU2xKAR2-ลกe3 (the capital letters indicate that we are unsure how to transliterate the signs). But either way, the meaning is clear enough: โ€œprisoner,โ€ โ€œchained,โ€ or the like. Note that if it can be read heลกe5-eลก2, that would yield three of four words in the line ending in -ลก.


๐’Œท ๐’†ณ ๐’ ๐’Š ๐’‡ท ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’€€๐’€ญ

iri kur za-ra li-bi2-in-du11-ga-am3
city country you-to not-say-that-is
iri kur zara libindugam

51  โ€“  To the city that did not say, โ€œThe country belongs to you,โ€

The second part of the chiastic section begins here, as the text turns from the mountain to the city. Some ancient manuscripts display a different understanding of this line: โ€œthe enemy (kur2) city that did not say, โ€˜(we belong) to you.โ€™โ€


๐’€€ ๐’€€ ๐’Œ‹๐’…— ๐’ ๐’‡ท ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’Œ ๐’€€๐’€ญ

a-a ugu-za li-bi2-in-eลก-am3
father bear-your-to not-say-that-is
aya uguza libineลกam

52  โ€“  that did not say, โ€œTo your father,โ€

The line literally reads, โ€œyour birth father.โ€ While unusual in English, the specification of Nanna as Inanaโ€™s birth father, or โ€œyour father who bore you,โ€ is conventional in Sumerian. Most manuscripts simply write โ€œyour father,โ€ leaving the rest of the sentence implied. I take the implication to be, โ€œ(The country belongs to) your father,โ€ Zgoll has instead โ€œ(The city god is) your father.โ€


๐’…— ๐’†ฌ ๐’ช ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’†  ๐’„Š ๐’ช ๐’ƒถ ๐’… ๐’„„

inim ku3-zu bi2-in-du11 ki ฤiri3-zu he2-eb-gi4
word holy-your speak place foot-your return
inim kuzu bindu ki ฤirizu hebgi

53  โ€“  your holy order was spoken: the place returned to your feet.

This line concludes a fourfold repetition of the structure nounโ€“nounโ€“โ€œyourโ€ (zu and za), a structure that opens the previous two lines (iri kur za-ra and a-a ugu-za) and is found twice here (inim ku3-zu and ki ฤiri3-zu).


๐’Šฎ ๐’‰ฃ๐’‡ฌ ๐’‰ ๐’‹ซ ๐’„Š ๐’ƒถ ๐’… ๐’‹ซ ๐’€ญ ๐’ข ๐’…•

ลกa3-tur3-bi-ta ฤiri3_he2-eb-ta-an-ze2-er
womb-its-from slip
ลกaturbita ฤiri hebtanzer

54  โ€“  Its womb is disturbed,?

I take this reading from Attinger (6), but the line can also be read differently, parsing the signs ลกa3-tur3, โ€œwomb,โ€ instead as ลกa3 tur3, โ€œinside the cattle plen.โ€ Karahashi (93), for example, translates the line as, โ€œYour (?) slipped from its cattle pen,โ€ implying that Inana has withdrawn her protection from the animals and thus, by extension, from the city as a whole. Following Hallo and van Dijk, Foster takes the latter option and translates: โ€œNo one, indeed, had set foot in its sheepfolds.โ€ Zgoll understands ฤiri3, โ€œfoot,โ€ to be an idiomatic expression for โ€œresponsible careโ€; following this logic, Black et al. translate โ€œResponsible care is removed from its sheepfolds.โ€ Here,I side with Attinger in understanding the signs ลกa3-tur3 as โ€œwomb,โ€ since it makes better sense with the following passage, which speaks of the cityโ€™s inhabitants becoming unable to procreate. Attinger takes ฤiri3_ze2-er as an idiomatic expression meaning โ€œto slip,โ€ and so more generally to become displaced, out of order. Zgollโ€™s latest translation also adopts the reading โ€œwomb,โ€ and translates the line by explicating the metaphor: โ€œin its wombs, no new life can flourish.โ€ Either way, it is highly likely that the ambiguity is deliberate, and that the reader can parse the signs as forming either one or two words, yielding different interpretations: whether one chooses to read womb or stall, the other sense lingers in the background, interweaving the welfare of the city and the citizens, food and procreation.


๐’Šฉ ๐’‰ ๐’ฎ ๐’€€ ๐’‰Œ ๐’‹ซ ๐’Šท ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’• ๐’€Š ๐’‰

munus-bi dam-a-ni-ta sa6-ga na-an-da-ab-be2
woman-its spouse-her-with sweet not-speak
munusbi damanita saga nandabe

55  โ€“  its woman does not speak sweet words with her spouse,

Note the implicit connection between eloquence and eroticism: to speak words that are sa6, โ€œsweet,โ€ but also โ€œbeautiful,โ€ is a none-too subtle metonym for sex, as the next line also makes clear.


๐’ˆช ๐’…‡ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€œ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’• ๐’€Š ๐’„„ ๐’„„

ฤi6-u3-na ad_na-an-da-ab-gi4-gi4
nighttime-in not-consult
ฤiuna ad nandabgigi

56  โ€“  at nighttime she does not consult with him,

This line will be echoed later in the text, in l. 140, where Enheduana does consult with Inana at โ€œnight-time,โ€ ฤi6-u3-na.


๐’ƒป ๐’†ฌ ๐’Šฎ ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆพ ๐’‰† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’• ๐’€ญ ๐’” ๐’Š‘

niฤ2 ku3 ลกa3-ga-na nam-mu-da-an-bur2-re
thing pure heart-her-in not-reveal
niฤ ku ลกagana nammudanbure

57  โ€“  she does not show him the pure things within her.

Note again the ambiguity of the word ลกa3, which as discussed under l. 54 means โ€œheart,โ€ but also โ€œinsideโ€ and โ€œwomb.โ€ Likewise, the word ku3 can mean โ€œpure,โ€ โ€œshining,โ€ or โ€œholyโ€โ€”in this translation, I primarily use the latter meaning, but all three apply to most contexts: things that were sacred were also thought to be resplendent and pure. In the context of the womanโ€™s interior, however, the meanings โ€œpureโ€ and โ€œshiningโ€ seem more prominent.


๐’…‡ ๐’„ข ๐’ฃ ๐’ฃ ๐’„ฟ ๐’Œ‰ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’€ญ ๐’‚—๐’ช ๐’ˆพ

u3-sun2 zi-zi-i dumu gal dsuen-na
aurochs rear-that child great Suen-of
usun zizi dumu gal Suena

58  โ€“   Rearing aurochs, great daughter of Suen.

The following couplet repeats l. 41โ€“42 and so closes the chiastic structure. The aurochs is a now extinct breed of wild oxen (the name literally means ur-ox). They were larger than domesticated cattle, and they must have been a fearsome sight.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’€ญ ๐’Š ๐’‹›๐’€€ ๐’‚ต ๐’€€ ๐’€ ๐’€€ ๐’†  ๐’ ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’‰

nin an-ra diri-ga a-ba-a ki-za ba-an-tum3
lady heaven-to exceed-that who place-your-from take
nin anra diriga aba kiza bantum

59  โ€“  Lady, greater than heaven, who can take away from your dominion?

In the first appearance of this line, l. 42, Inana was said to exceed the earth, kurโ€”here, symmetrically, she exceeds the skies, an. Note that some manuscripts mix up the two words, writing โ€œheavenโ€ for โ€œearthโ€ and โ€œearthโ€ for โ€œheaven.โ€


๐’ˆจ ๐’ฃ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ƒฒ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ

me zi-de3 nin gal nin-e-ne
me righteous-for lady great ladies-of
me zide nin gal ninene

60  โ€“  Great lady of ladies, who, for the righteous me,

The next sectionโ€”an autobiographical passage in which Enheduana introduces herselfโ€”is again introduced by two of the keywords of the poem, nin and me (see the note to l. 1). As noted by Attinger, the text could also mean that Inana was born according to, not for, the โ€œrighteous me,โ€ since the me were also seen as the underlying patterns that regulate events.


๐’Šฎ ๐’†ฌ ๐’‹ซ ๐’Œ“๐’บ ๐’€€ ๐’‚ผ ๐’Œ‹๐’…— ๐’‰Œ ๐’…• ๐’‹›๐’€€ ๐’‚ต

ลกa3 ku3-ta e3-a ama ugu-ni-ir diri-ga
heart holy-from come_forth mother bear-her-to exceed-that
ลกa kuta ea ama ugunir diriga

61  โ€“  was born from a holy womb, who surpasses her own mother!

Note the repetition of the words ลกa3 and ku3, which were also juxtaposed in l. 57. Again, ลกa3 is used to connote the womb, harkening back to l. 54. It is interesting that the self-referential announcement of the song which comes in l. 63โ€“65 is immediately precede by the theme of birth, especially given that Enheduana will (arguably) later describe herself as โ€œgiving birthโ€ to the poem. On the specification of Ningal as Inanaโ€™s โ€œbirth mother,โ€ ama ugu-ni, see the notes to l. 52. Zgoll notes that there is a pun in this couplet: the text first refers to Inana as nin gal, โ€œgreat ladyโ€; then turns to Inanaโ€™s mother, Ningal, without naming her directly.


๐’ƒฒ ๐’ช ๐’…† ๐’…… ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’†ณ ๐’†ณ ๐’Š

gal-zu igi-ฤal2 nin kur-kur-ra
clever wise lady lands-of
galzu igiฤal nin kurkura

62  โ€“  Clever and prescient lady of the lands,

The translation of igi-ฤal2 as โ€œprescient,โ€ specifically (as opposed to the more general โ€œwiseโ€) follows Zgoll.


๐’ฃ ๐’…… ๐’Œฆ ๐’‡ป ๐’€€ ๐’‚ก ๐’†ฌ ๐’ช ๐’‚ต ๐’€€๐’€ญ ๐’…—

zi-ฤal2 uฤ3 lu-a ลกir3 ku3-zu ga-am3-du11
living people numerous-of song holy-your speak
ziฤal uฤ lua ลกir kuzu gamdu

63  โ€“  of living beings and countless peopleโ€”I will sing your holy song!

Here, the โ€œIโ€ of the poem first appears as an active subject (as opposed to the passive role in the construction nin-ฤu10, โ€œmy ladyโ€). It is also the first time that the text refers to itself, as the narrator announces that she will sing a hymn to Inanaโ€”which is what she is doing. Here and in the following, I translate the word du11 as โ€œsingโ€ when it occurs in connections with hymns and songs, but in fact, it is just the default word for โ€œspeak.โ€ Note that the first part of the line can also be read differently, as by Zgoll: โ€œwho lets there be life for the countless people.โ€


๐’€ญ ๐’ฃ ๐’ˆจ ๐’€€ ๐’บ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‰ ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’ช ๐’ˆค ๐’€€๐’€ญ

diฤir zi me-a tum2-ma gal-bi du11-ga-zu mah-am3
god righteous me-in bring-that greatly speak-that-your mighty-is
diฤir zi mea tuma galbi dugazu maham

64  โ€“  Righteous goddess, to whom the me are brought, it is overwhelming to exalt you.

As in l. 39, Enheduana refers to the task she has set herselfโ€”praising and soothing Inanaโ€”as mah, โ€œmightyโ€ or โ€œoverwhelming.โ€ The phrase literally means, โ€œyour greatly speaking is mighty.โ€ Zgoll interprets this differently, taking it as a description of Inanaโ€™s words: โ€œyour great speech is mighty.โ€ While I consider this less likely, it would make for an interesting interweaving of Enheduanaโ€™s speech (in l. 63 and 65) and Inanaโ€™s (in this line); for a similar interweaving, see l. 153. Attinger interprets the phrase โ€œto whom the meare broughtโ€ instead as โ€œwho was made for the meโ€ (reading tum2 instead as du, for du3).


๐’Šฎ ๐’‹ค ๐’บ ๐’Šฉ ๐’ฃ ๐’Šฎ ๐’Œ“๐’Œ“ ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆจ ๐’ช ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’…—

ลกa3 su3-ra2 munus zi ลกa3 dadag-ga me-zu ga-mu-ra-ab-du11
heart distant woman righteous heart shining me-your speak
ลกa sura munus zi ลกa dadaga mezu gamurabdu

65  โ€“  Distant heart, righteous woman, shining heart! I will sing of your me.

Again, this is a clear instance of self-reference, since this poem is nothing if not a song about the meโ€”as shown by its opening words. To have a โ€œdistant heartโ€ means to be inscrutable, and this was a common description of the godsโ€™ minds in Sumerian and Akkadian literature. Instead of me-zu, โ€œyour me,โ€ some manuscripts have me zi, โ€œrighteous me,โ€ or me ku3, โ€œsacred me.โ€ But note that me-zu would fit well with the pattern of the previous two lines, which also have zu as as the last syllable before the last word.


๐’ˆช ๐’– ๐’†ฌ ๐’‚ท ๐’„ท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’…† ๐’…” ๐’†ญ ๐’Š‘ ๐’‚—

ฤi6-par3 ku3-ฤa2 hu-mu-ลกi-in-ku4-re-en
ฤipar holy enter
ฤipar kuฤa humuลกinkuren

66  โ€“  For you, I entered the holy ฤipar.

For the ฤipar, the home of the high priestesses in the temple complex, see this page. Together with the next line, this is a turning point in the poem, in which the โ€œIโ€ that has been implicit so farโ€”the narrator of the textโ€”announces herself.


๐’‚— ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚— ๐’‚— ๐’ƒถ ๐’ŒŒ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

en-me-en en-he2-du7-an-na-me-en
high_priestess-am Enheduana-am
enmen enheduanamen

67  โ€“  I am the high priestess, I am Enheduana.

Note that in this striking line, Enheduana allows her name (which literally means โ€œhigh priestess, ornament of heavenโ€) to emerge from her title: the words en-men, โ€œI am the high priestess,โ€ are unpacked into the longer phrase, en-heduana-men, โ€œI am Enheduana,โ€ as if one statement follows necessarily from the other. Enheduanaโ€”the implication goesโ€”is naturally suited for her office (he2-du7 can also mean โ€œmay she be suitableโ€).


๐’„€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ฒ ๐’€Š ๐’‰Œ ๐’… ๐’Š’ ๐’‚ฐ ๐’‡ฒ ๐’‰Œ ๐’…—

gima-sa2-ab i3-gur3-ru asilal-la2 i3-du11
carry-that joyful_hymns speak-that
masab iguru asilala idu

68  โ€“  As I carried the basket, as I sang the hymns of joy,

The line refers to a ritual basket, containing offerings for the god. Note the vowel symmetry between the two half-lines: a-a-i-u.


๐’†  ๐’‹ง ๐’‚ต ๐’‰ˆ ๐’… ๐’ƒป ๐’‚ท ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ก ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’‹พ ๐’‚—

ki-si3-ga bi2-ib-ฤar ฤa2-e nu-mu-un-ti-en
funeral_offering stand I not-live
kisiga bibฤar ฤae numuntien

69  โ€“  funeral offerings were presentedโ€”did I no longer live there?

The ki-si3-ga, Akkadian kispu, were offerings regularly presented to the souls of the dead, to keep them fed and happy in the afterlife. The word clearly caused confusion in antiquity, and several manuscripts replace it with different, similar-sounding words (such as kin-sig-ga, โ€œafternoon mealโ€). Some manuscripts have instead: โ€œ(as if) I were dead.โ€


๐’Œ“ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’€ ๐’‹ผ ๐’Œ“ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’• ๐’‰‹

u4-de3 ba-te u4 mu-da-bil2
light-to approach light burn
ude baten u mudabil

70  โ€“  I came toward the lightโ€”the light burned me.

The word u4, here translated โ€œlight,โ€ can also mean โ€œtempest,โ€ hinting at the next line, where the shade becomes a storm. Note the tight construction of this line: two half-lines of four syllables each, both beginning with u. The line introduces two symmetrical couplets, where each line consists of first a positive half-line, then a negative one (matching the previous couplet, where a positive line was followed by a negative one).


๐’„‘๐’ˆช ๐’‰ˆ ๐’€ ๐’‹ผ ๐’‡ ๐’‡ป ๐’• ๐’…Ž ๐’ˆ  ๐’Œ‹๐’Œ†

ฤissu-ne ba-te u18-lu-da im-ma-dul
shadow-to approach storm-with cover
ฤissune baten uluda imandul

71  โ€“  I came toward the shadeโ€”it was covered in a storm.

On the u18-lu, see l. 21. Most manuscripts have not โ€œit was covered,โ€ but โ€œI covered itโ€: Attinger takes this to mean that Enheduana, not intentionally but by her presence, transformed the shade into a storm.


๐’…— ๐’‹ญ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‹— ๐’†ต ๐’€€ ๐’€ ๐’€Š ๐’…—

ka lal3-ฤu10 ลกu uh3-a ba-ab-du11
mouth honey-my hand spittle?-in speak
ka lalฤu ลกu uha babdu

72  โ€“  My honey mouth became froth,?

This crucial but difficult line describes Enheduanaโ€™s loss of eloquence. The main problem is that the phrase ลกu uh3-a is unclear; the translation therefore relies on two manuscripts that replace it with ลกu uh2-a. Since uh2(possibly to be read ahx) means โ€œspit, saliva, mucus,โ€ the phrase is taken to mean that Enheduanaโ€™s poetic skills somehow degenerated into drool. However, this remains a tentative reconstruction.


๐’ƒป ๐’„ฏ ๐’Šท ๐’Šท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’…– ๐’‹ซ ๐’€ ๐’• ๐’„„

niฤ2 ur5 sa6-sa6-ฤu10 sahar-ta ba-da-gi4
thing liver sweeten-that-my dust-toward turn
niฤ ur sasaฤu saharta badagi

73  โ€“  My ability to sweeten moods is turned to dust.

The word โ€œthing,โ€ niฤ2, is generally used to mean โ€œpossession,โ€ as in l. 16. But here, it seems to refer to something that Enheduana is able to do, not something she owns, leading to the translation โ€œabilityโ€: a thing she has, but she also exercises. For ur5, โ€œliver,โ€ in the meaning of โ€œmood,โ€ see l. 40, where it also juxtaposed with sa6, โ€œto sweeten.โ€ The English word โ€œturnโ€ captures an ambiguity in the Sumerian. The primary sense of the text is that Enheduanaโ€™s words are turned to dust, in the sense that it is directed at it. As noted by Attinger, this is a pun on the phrase an-ta gi4, โ€œto turn towards heaven,โ€ meaning โ€œto pray to a godโ€โ€”that is exactly what Enheduana seems unable to do, since Nanna ignores her. But just as clearly, the line suggests that Enheduanaโ€™s words have turned to dust, in the sense that they have become dust. This would normally be written sahar-ra, not sahar-ta, but the connotation is undeniably present.


๐’‰† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’‚—๐’ช ๐’ˆ— ๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ

nam-ฤu10 dsuen lugal-an-ne2
fate-my Suen Lugal-Ane
namฤu Suen Lugal-Ane

74  โ€“  My fate, Suen, this Lugal-Ane:?

The meaning of the line is unclear, which is especially problematic, because it has consequences for how one understands the entire stanza (l. 74โ€“80). I follow Foster and Black et al. in taking Nanna as the addressee of the entire stanza, meaning that Enheduana here turns from Inana to her father (before turning back to Inana in l. 81), which would explain why Inana is referred to in the third person in l. 77โ€“80. The word โ€œfate,โ€ nam, is often used as a euphemism for death: one can thus take the identification of Lugal-Ane with Enheduanaโ€™s fate as suggesting that he will be the death of her. Black et al., however, take them as two separate objects (โ€œSuen, tell An about Lugal-Ane and my fate!โ€), while Foster sees the line as a rhetorical question (โ€œis this Lugalanne my destiny?โ€). But Zgoll and Attinger understand the line entirely differently. They see these words as still directed to Inana, meaning that both Suen and Lugal-Ane are described as Enheduanaโ€™s fate: โ€œTell An about my fate (which concerns) Suen and Lugal-Ane.โ€ Such a reading is certainly possible, and it makes for a less awkward grammatical parsing of this line. But I would note that the word nam, โ€œfate,โ€ and Lugal-Ane are also juxtaposed in l. 77, where there is no mention of Nanna.


๐’€ญ ๐’Š ๐’…— ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€Š ๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ ๐’„ฉ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ƒฎ ๐’‚Š

an-ra du11-mu-na-ab an-ne2 ha-ma-du8-e
An-to speak An loosen
Anra dumunab Ane hamadue

75  โ€“  tell An about it! May An resolve it for me!

Note the play between the two verbs of this line, du11 โ€œsay,โ€ and du8, โ€œunknotโ€: Enheduana uses this aural link to emphasize that one would lead directly to the other. The metaphor of โ€œunknottingโ€ a problem is a common metaphor, both in cuneiform sources and beyond (the English word โ€œsolutionโ€ comes from Latin solvere, โ€œto unfastenโ€).


๐’€€ ๐’• ๐’‡ด ๐’€ญ ๐’Š ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€Š ๐’‰ ๐’€ญ ๐’‚Š ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚Š ๐’ƒฎ ๐’‚Š

a-da-lam an-ra ba-an-na-ab-be2 an-e mu-e-du8-e
now An-to speak An loosen
adalam Anra banaben Ane medue

76  โ€“  Tell An about it now, he will resolve it for us.

In cuneiform sources, An holds a position of supreme moral authority in the pantheon. It was common in prayers and invocations to ask one godโ€”typically a minor god with whom one had a personal connectionโ€”to intercede on oneโ€™s behalf with the most powerful gods. Note the heavy emphasis on the vowel a in the first half of the line.


๐’‰† ๐’ˆ— ๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ ๐’Šฉ ๐’‚Š ๐’€ ๐’€Š ๐’‹ผ๐’€€ ๐’Š‘

nam lugal-an-ne2 munus-e ba-ab-kar-re
fate Lugal-Ane woman tear_away
nam Lugal-Ane munuse babkare

77  โ€“  The woman will tear off this fate, Lugal-Ane.?

The โ€œwomanโ€ refers to Inana. I understand this line analogously to l. 74: Lugal-Ane would again be equated with Enheduanaโ€™s fate, and Enheduana would be petitioning for Inana to remove this fate from her, taking away Lugal-Aneโ€™s threat to her life. Zgoll, Foster and Black et al. see the line as asking Inana to remove Lugal-Aneโ€™s fate from him, taking away his victories; while Attinger takes it to mean that Inana is Lugal-Aneโ€™s fate, that is, that she will be his death: โ€œLugala-Aneโ€™s fate is a woman who will tear him away from himself.โ€ Note that, for both Zgoll and Attinger, this line marks the beginning of Anโ€™s order to Inana, explaining why she is referred to in the third person (see notes to l. 74).


๐’†ณ ๐’€€ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š’ ๐’„Š ๐’‰Œ ๐’‚  ๐’‰Œ ๐’ˆฟ

kur a-ma-ru ฤiri3-ni-ลกe3 i3-na2
land flood foot-her-at lie
kur amaru ฤiriniลกe ina

78  โ€“  Mountains and floods lie at her feet.

The two words kur, โ€œmountainโ€ (or โ€œlandโ€) and amaru, โ€œflood,โ€ are also juxtaposed in l. 11.


๐’Šฉ ๐’‰ ๐’…” ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆค ๐’Œท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’• ๐’€Š ๐’‡ง ๐’‚Š

munus-bi in-ga-mah iri mu-da-ab-tuku4-e
woman-this also?-mighty city shake
munusbi ingamah iri mundabtukue

79  โ€“  The woman is mighty, she makes cities tremble before her.

Attinger takes the word iri, โ€œcity,โ€ to refer to Ur specifically, but most commentators see it as a more general description.


๐’บ ๐’€ ๐’Šฎ ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆพ ๐’„ฉ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ˆป ๐’‰ˆ

gub-ba ลกa3-ga-na ha-ma-se9-de3
stand heart-her-in calm
guba ลกagana hamasede

80  โ€“  Stand by me! May her heartโ€™s contents be reconciled with me.

This rather convoluted English translation reflects a much more straightforward Sumerian expression, literally: โ€œmay that which is in her heart be becalmed towards me.โ€ I take the imperative โ€œstandโ€ as referring to Nanna, as do Black et al.; Foster sees it as a description of Inana (โ€œShe stands paramountโ€). Both Zgoll and Attinger read it as Anโ€™s order to Inana (โ€œStep forward!โ€); they also take this to be the last line of Anโ€™s speech.


๐’‚— ๐’ƒถ ๐’ŒŒ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚— ๐’€€ ๐’Š ๐’ช ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’…—

en-he2-du7-an-na-me-en a-ra-zu ga-mu-ra-ab-du11
Enheduana-am prayer say
Enheduanamen arazu gamurabdu

81  โ€“  I am Enheduana. I will recite a prayer to you!

As noted in l. 63, the word du11, โ€œspeak,โ€ must often be translated with different verbs in English, such as โ€œsing,โ€ โ€œintone,โ€ or, as here, โ€œrecite.โ€ However one interprets the previous stanza, here Enheduana is clearly addressing Inana again.


๐’€€๐’…† ๐’‚ท ๐’‰ ๐’„ญ ๐’‚ต ๐’ถ

er2-ฤa2 kaลก du10-ga-gen7
tears-my beer sweet-like
erฤa kaลก dugagen

82  โ€“  My tears, which are like sweet beer,

For the description of tears as โ€œsweet,โ€ and more generally for why expressions of grief were thought to please the gods, see the discussion of ritual laments.


๐’†ฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆน ๐’Š ๐’‹— ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‰Œ ๐’Š‘ ๐’‡ ๐’ฒ ๐’ช ๐’‚ต ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’…—

ku3 dinana-ra ลกu_ga-mu-ni-re-bar di-zu ga-mu-ra-ab-du11
holy Inana-to release judgment-your speak
ku Inanara ลกu gamunirebar dizu gamurabdu

83  โ€“  I will let flow free for you, holy Inana. I will say to you: โ€œThe decision is yours!โ€

This line introduces a metaphor that will become crucial to the poem as a whole: Enheduana describes her own situation as an unresolved court case, which Nanna has not settled, and which Enheduana therefore asks Inana to decide in his stead (Zgollโ€™s edition contains a thorough study of the legal metaphors in the poem). The word โ€œdi-zu,โ€ โ€œ(It is) your decision,โ€ is replaced in other manuscripts by โ€œJudge!โ€ (di ku5), โ€œGreetings!โ€ (silim-ma), and โ€œRise!โ€ (zi-zi-i). Note also the echo of l. 24, which also describes the flow of tears as being โ€œopened.โ€


๐’€ญ ๐’€ธ ๐’ฝ ๐’Œ“ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’Šจ ๐’…‡ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‚—

ddil-im2-babbar na-an-kuลก2-u3-de3-en
Dilimbabbar not-trouble
Dilimbabbar nankuลกuden

84  โ€“  I cannot make Dilimbabbar care.?

Dilimbabbar is another of Nannaโ€™s name; it can also be read Ashimbabbar. This is a difficult line. The word kuลก2-u3can mean โ€œto exert oneself, to worry about, to trouble, to be troubled.โ€ Foster seems to parse the verb as โ€œI do not trouble him for meโ€ (with an indicative negative nu- assimilating to a dative -a-); Foster renders it as โ€œI cannot make him .  .  . exert himself for me.โ€ Attinger takes the verb to be subjunctive, leading to the translation, โ€œI do not want to bother Dilimbabbar,โ€ which, while grammatically sound, appears somewhat pat. He notes that this as a polite indication to Inana that an appeal to Nanna would be useless, since he has proved to be uninterested in the case, but such niceties seem to me at odds with the drama of the situation. Zgoll and Black et al. take a different approach, seeing the line as a reassurance to Inana: โ€œDo not be anxious about Dilimbabbar.โ€


๐’‹— ๐’ˆ› ๐’€ญ ๐’†ฌ ๐’‚ต ๐’†ค ๐’ƒป ๐’‰† ๐’ˆ  ๐’‰Œ ๐’‰Œ ๐’‰ฝ

ลกu-luh an ku3-ga-ke4 niฤ2-nam-ma-ni i3-kur2
ritual An holy-of anything-his transform
ลกuluh An kugake niฤ namani ikur

85  โ€“  The rituals of holy An, all that belongs to him, have been disturbed,

The rituals in question, the ลกuluh, are specifically rituals of purification, which were used to cleanse priests and objects of all impurities. The word translated as โ€œdisturbed,โ€ kur2, means more generally โ€œto be or to make something different, strange, or hostile.โ€


๐’€ญ ๐’• ๐’‚ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’„ฉ ๐’€ ๐’• ๐’€ญ ๐’‹ผ๐’€€

an-da e2-an-na ha-ba-da-an-kar
An-from Eana tear_away
Anda Eana habadankar

86  โ€“  he has wrested the Eana from An:

The implicit subject must be Lugal-Ane. The Eana temple stood in the city of Uruk, which lay close to Ur (c. 35 miles), so this line implies that Lugal-Ane has conquered both cities. Since the Eana was the shared temple of An and Inana (see the Hymn, l. 106โ€“7), Lugal-Aneโ€™s defilement of this temple should obviously concern Inana was as well. Note the heavy emphasis on the vowel a.


๐’€ญ ๐’‡ฝ ๐’„– ๐’†ท ๐’‹ซ ๐’‰Ž ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’€ ๐’• ๐’‹ผ

diฤir lu2 gu-la-ta ni2_ba-ra-ba-da-te
gods one great not-hold_in_awe
diฤir lu gulata ni barabadate

87  โ€“  the greatest of the gods he does not fear.

Note the symmetry of the half-lines, which have six syllables each, and the half-rhyme of their endings, -ata and -ate.


๐’‚ ๐’‰ ๐’†ท ๐’†ท ๐’‰ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’„„ ๐’„ญ ๐’‡ท ๐’‰ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’Œ€

e2-bi la-la-bi ba-ra-mu-un-gi4 hi-li-bi ba-ra-mu-un-til
house-this charm-its not-satisfy delight-its not-complete
ebi lalabi baramungi hilibi baramuntil

88  โ€“  This temple, with whose charm he was not sated, whose delights he had not exhausted:

The word here translated as โ€œtemple,โ€ e2, literally means โ€œhouse.โ€ The implicit subject of this line must be An, even though it is Lugal-Ane in both the preceding and the following line. Note the neatness of the lineโ€™s construction, with lalabi echoing hilibi, and baramungi echoing baramuntil.


๐’Š• ๐’†— ๐’€ญ ๐’†  ๐’€€ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆน ๐’‰ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

saฤ-kal an ki-a dinana-bi-me-en
foremost heaven earth-on Inana-their-are
saฤkal an kia Inanabimen

89  โ€“  this house he transformed into a house of evil.

The verb includes a particle meaning โ€œagainst him,โ€ that is, โ€œto Anโ€™s detriment.โ€


๐’‹ฐ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’…† ๐’…” ๐’†ญ ๐’Š ๐’ˆพ ๐’Šฒ ๐’ˆ  ๐’‰Œ ๐’„ท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‹ผ

tab mu-ลกi-in-ku4-ra-na ninim-ma-ni hu-mu-te
equal enter-that-his-in envy-his approach
tab muลกinkurana ninimani humunte

90  โ€“  As he became equal to me, envy followed him.?

Note that the word ku4, โ€œto enterโ€ or โ€œto make into,โ€ appears in two lines in a row. I understand the line to mean, literally, โ€œin the (moment) he became equal to me, his envy approached (him).โ€ That is, in usurping Enheduanaโ€™s position, Lugal-Ane was motivated by envy (inim), which continues to follow or โ€œdraw nearโ€ to him even as he makes himself her equal by forcefully taking over her role. But other translators interpret it differently. Zgoll and Black et al. see it as referring to a kind of deception: โ€œWhile he entered before me as if he was a partner (tab), really he approached out of envy.โ€ Attinger sees Enheduana as the object of the second verb, that is, the person to whom the envy โ€œdraws nearโ€: โ€œWhen he entered at my side (tab), I fell victim to his jealousy.โ€ Foster has a very different and in my view untenable interpretation, taking inim to mean โ€œlust,โ€ and the line as a reference to sexual violence (โ€œhe dared approach me in his lustโ€). But there is no suggestion elsewhere in Sumerian sources that the (admittedly rare) word inim can mean sexual desire.


๐’€ญ ๐’„ข ๐’ฃ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‡ฝ ๐’ƒถ ๐’…Ž ๐’Šฌ ๐’Š‘ ๐’‡ฝ ๐’ƒถ ๐’…Ž ๐’ˆช ๐’†ช ๐’‰

dsun2 zi-ฤu10 lu2 he2-em-sar-re lu2 he2-em-mi-dab5-be2
aurochs righteous-my man chase man seize
sun ziฤulu hemsare lu hemidabe

91  โ€“  My righteous Aurochs! May you chase this man, may you seize him!

The use of the divine determinative (the superscript d before the first word) makes clear that sun2 is here used as an epithet of the goddess: โ€œ(Divine) Aurochs.โ€


๐’†  ๐’ฃ ๐’Šฎ ๐’…… ๐’†ท ๐’…— ๐’‚ท ๐’‚Š ๐’€€ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

ki zi-ลกa3-ฤal2-la-ka ฤe26-e a-na-me-en
place life_giving-of-in I what-am
ki ziลกaฤalaka ฤe anamen

92  โ€“  In this life-giving landโ€”what am I?

In her desperate situation, Enheduana asks where there is a place for her in the land of livingโ€”and if so, what that place is.


๐’†  ๐’„ ๐’…†๐’Œจ ๐’ˆช๐’‰ญ ๐’€ญ ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’ ๐’†ค ๐’Œ ๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ ๐’„ฉ ๐’€ ๐’€Š ๐’‹ง ๐’ˆฌ

ki-bal hul-gig dnanna-za-ke4-eลก an-ne2 ha-ba-ab-ลกum2-mu
rebel_land hateful Nanna-your-of-like An give
kibal hulgig Nannazakeลก Ane hababลกumu

93  โ€“  Like a rebel land hated by your Nanna: may An deliver it.

The word translated as โ€œdeliver,โ€ ลกum2, here refers to passing something over to others. In this context, it would mean that An delivers it to destruction, giving it over so that it is no longer under divine protection.


๐’Œท ๐’‰ ๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ ๐’„ฉ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’‹› ๐’…‹ ๐’‡ท

iri-bi an-ne2 ha-ba-ra-si-il-le
city-this An split
iribi Ane habarasile

94  โ€“  This cityโ€”may An tear it to pieces,

Note the balance of the half-lines, which have five syllables each and a symmetrical sequence of vowels: i-i-i-a-e / a-a-a-i-e.


๐’€ญ ๐’‚— ๐’†ค ๐’‡ท ๐’‰† ๐’„ฉ ๐’€ ๐’• ๐’€ญ ๐’‹ป ๐’‰ˆ

den-lil2-le nam_ha-ba-da-an-ku5-de3
Enlil curse
Enlile nam habadankude

95  โ€“  may Enlil curse it.

As in l. 18โ€“19, Enlil appears alongside An, as the two main gods of the pantheon.


๐’Œ‰ ๐’€€๐’…† ๐’…†๐’Š’ ๐’• ๐’‰ ๐’‚ผ ๐’‰Œ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆน๐’ฒ ๐’‚Š

dumu er2_pad3-da-bi ama-ni na-an-se25-e
child cry-that-its mother-their not-calm
dumu er padabi amani nansede

96  โ€“  Its crying childrenโ€”may their mother not comfort them.

The expression er2 pad3 may refer, not exactly to crying, but to the welling up on tears in oneโ€™s eyes.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’€€ ๐’‰ช ๐’†  ๐’ƒป ๐’Š

nin A-NIR ki_ฤar-ra
lady sighs set_up-that
nin anir? ki ฤara

97  โ€“  Lady! When their grief has been set up,

That is, when the city establishes the rituals of lamentation, in response to the destruction wrought upon by the gods.


๐’„‘ ๐’ˆฃ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ช ๐’Š ๐’ช ๐’†  ๐’‰ฝ ๐’Š ๐’ƒถ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’… ๐’‹บ

ฤiลกma2 A-NIR-ra-zu ki kur2-ra he2-bi2-ib-taka4
boat sigh-of-your place other-in abandon
ma anirazu? ki kura hebibtaka

98  โ€“  your boat of grief should be left in a foreign land.

With l. 97, this couplet explicates the logic of ritual laments, for which see this page: when humans acknowledged the power of the gods through ostentatious grieving, the gods were expected to turn their destruction elsewhere. Note the parallel between anir ki ฤara and anirazu ki kura.


๐’‚ก ๐’†ฌ ๐’‚ท ๐’†ค ๐’Œ ๐’‰Œ ๐’‚ฆ ๐’„€ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‚—

ลกir3 ku3-ฤa2-ke4-eลก i3-ug5-ge-de3-en
song holy-my-for die
ลกir kuฤakeลก iugeden

99  โ€“  Will I die because of my holy song?

It is unclear what precisely this line refers to, but perhaps it means that Enheduana fears that she will be put to death because of her previous service as high priestess.


๐’‚ท ๐’‚Š ๐’€ญ ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‡ท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’€ญ ๐’‹ป

ฤa2-ednanna-ฤu10 en3-ฤu10_ba-ra-an-tar
I Nanna-my not-examine
ฤae Nannaฤu enฤu barantar

100  โ€“  Me! My Nanna has not enquired about me.

In other words, Nanna has not shown interest in her case. Instead of โ€œhas not enquired,โ€ one manuscript writes โ€œhas not made a decision.โ€


๐’†  ๐’ˆœ ๐’†ท ๐’ƒถ ๐’… ๐’„ข ๐’„ข ๐’‚Š

ki lul-la he2-eb-gul-gul-e
place false destroy
ki lula hebgulgulen

101  โ€“  This false land has completely destroyed me.

The word translated here as โ€œfalse,โ€ lul, can also mean โ€œcriminalโ€ or โ€œrenegade.โ€ The expression recalls the earlier phrase ki zi-ลกa3-ฤal2-la, โ€œlife-giving land.โ€


๐’€ญ ๐’€ธ ๐’ฝ ๐’Œ“ ๐’‚Š ๐’ฒ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…—

ddil-im2-babbar-e di-ฤu10 ba-ra-bi2-in-du11
Dilimbabbar verdict-my not-speak
Dilimbabbare diฤu barabindu

102  โ€“  Dilimbabbar has not pronounced my verdict.

For the name Dilimbabbar, see l. 84 above.


๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’‰† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‡ท ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’‰† ๐’ˆฌ

bi2-in-du11 nam-mu li-bi2-in-du11 nam-mu
speak what_then not-speak what_then
bindu nammu libindu nammu

103  โ€“  If he pronounced itโ€”what then? If he did not pronounce itโ€”what then?

Dilimbabbarโ€™s verdict in the figurative court case no longer matters to Enheduana, either because it is too late (she is already on the verge of death), or because she has turned for support to Inana instead.


๐’…‡ ๐’ˆ  ๐’บ ๐’บ ๐’€ ๐’‚ ๐’‹ซ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’Œ“๐’บ

u3-ma gub-gub-ba e2-ta ba-ra-e3
victorious stand house-from come_out
uma gubguba eta barane

104  โ€“  Standing victorious, he stepped out of the temple.

The implicit subject of the line must again be Lugal-Ane. The word translated here as โ€œvictoriousโ€ means more precisely โ€œhaving achieved oneโ€™s desires.โ€ As observed by Attinger, the traditional reading of the line as โ€œhe forced me out of the temple,โ€ is complicated (if not, in my view, made entirely impossible) by the way most manuscripts write the final verb. This is another well-balanced line, with half-lines of five syllables each and a symmetrical vowel sequence: u-a u-u-a / e-a a-a-e.


๐’‹† ๐’„ท ๐’ถ ๐’€Š ๐’‹ซ ๐’€ ๐’Š ๐’€ญ ๐’Š‘ ๐’‚Š ๐’ฃ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’…Ž ๐’ˆช ๐’…ฅ

simmuลกen-gen7 ab-ta ba-ra-an-dal-e zi-ฤu10 im-mi-ku2
swallow-like window-from make_fly life-my eat
simgen abta barandalen ziฤu immiku

105  โ€“  Like a swallow, he made me fly through the windowโ€”my life has been devoured.

Other manuscripts have instead โ€œhe has devoured my life.โ€


๐’„‘ ๐’„‰ ๐’†ณ ๐’Š ๐’†ค ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’‚„ ๐’‚Š ๐’‚—

ฤiลกkiลกi16 kur-ra-ke4 bi2-in-du24-e-en
thorn land-of-to decree
kiลกi kurake binduen

106  โ€“  Have you dispatched me to the thorns of foreign lands?

Again, Attinger observes that the traditional reading of this lineโ€”โ€œHe has made me walk through the thorns of foreign landsโ€โ€”is rendered improbable by the way the word is written. Instead, the line seems to be a question addressed to Inana.


๐’‚‡ ๐’ฃ ๐’‰† ๐’‚— ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’• ๐’€ญ ๐’‹ผ๐’€€

aga zi nam-en-na mu-da-an-kar
crown righteous en-ship-of tear_away
aga zi namena mudankar

107  โ€“  He wrested the righteous crown of the high priestess from me,

The phrase aga zi nam-en-na, โ€œrighteous crown of en-ship,โ€ refers back to l. 4, where the same three words appear together. One manuscript has โ€œgarmentโ€ instead of โ€œcrown.โ€


๐’„ˆ ๐’€ ๐’• ๐’Š ๐’ˆ  ๐’€ญ ๐’‹ง ๐’€€ ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’ŒŒ ๐’ˆ  ๐’€ญ ๐’…—

ฤiri2 ba-da-ra ma-an-ลกum2 a-ra-ab-du7 ma-an-du11
knife dagger give suit say
ฤiri badara manลกum arabdu mandu

108  โ€“  he gave me a knife and dagger. โ€œThey suit you,โ€ he said.

Lugal-Aneโ€™s taunting action can be interpreted in different ways. The suggestion may be that Enheduana should commit suicide, or that she will have to defend herself while in exile. Note that the โ€œknife and dagger,โ€ ฤiri2 ba-da-ra, were also the traditional attributes of the gender-bending ritual performers with whom Enheduana also compares herself in the Hymn, l. 250: perhaps Lugal-Ane is rebuking Enheduana for her โ€œmasculineโ€ behavior? Note the neat construction of the last three words: the third word combines the prefix of the first (man-) with the ending of the second (-du).


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’†— ๐’†— ๐’†ท ๐’€ญ ๐’‰Œ ๐’†  ๐’‰˜

nin kal-kal-la an-ne2 ki_aฤ2
lady precious An love
nin kalkala Ane kiaฤ

109  โ€“  Precious lady, beloved by An!

Once again, the word nin serves to mark the beginning of a new section. This fifth and penultimate section is framed by the three-fold repetition of the phrase โ€œlady, beloved by An.โ€


๐’Šฎ ๐’†ฌ ๐’ช ๐’ˆค ๐’€€๐’€ญ ๐’†  ๐’‰ ๐’„ฉ ๐’ˆ  ๐’„„ ๐’„„

ลกa3 ku3-zu mah-am3 ki-bi_ha-ma-gi4-gi4
heart holy-your mighty-is return
ลกa kuzu maham kibi hamagigi

110  โ€“  Your holy heart is mightyโ€”may it return to me!

In the Sumerian idiom, the heart โ€œreturning to its placeโ€ means a restoration of affection.


๐’Šฉ๐’‘๐’ฎ ๐’†  ๐’‰˜ ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฒ๐’” ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’…—

nitlam ki-aฤ2 duลกumgal-an-na-ka
spouse beloved Ushumgal-An-of
nitlam kiaฤ Uลกumgal-Anaka

111  โ€“  Beloved wife of Ushumgal-An,

Uลกumgal-Anโ€”literally โ€œthe basilisk of heavenโ€โ€”is an epithet of Inanaโ€™s lover, Dumuzi.


๐’€ญ ๐’Œซ ๐’€ญ ๐’‰บ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‰ ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

an-ur2 an-pa nin gal-bi-me-en
horizon zenith lady great-of-are
anur anpa nin galbimen

112  โ€“  you are the greatest lady from horizon to zenith.

The words translated as โ€œhorizonโ€ and โ€œzenithโ€ literally mean โ€œheaven-foundation,โ€ an-ur2, and โ€œheaven-top,โ€ an-pa.


๐’€ญ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ฃ ๐’ˆพ ๐’†ค ๐’‰ˆ ๐’„˜ ๐’„‘ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒป ๐’Š‘ ๐’Œ

da-nun-na-ke4-ne gu2-ฤiลก_ma-ra-an-ฤar-re-eลก
Anuna submit
Anunakene guฤiลก maranฤareลก

113  โ€“  The Anuna have submitted to you.

This is the first of three lines in quick succession to begin with the name of the โ€œAnuna,โ€ marking Inanaโ€™s superiority over the other gods of the pantheon.


๐’…‡ ๐’Œ… ๐’• ๐’‹ซ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’Œ‰ ๐’• ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

u3-du2-da-ta nin ban3-da-me-en
birth-from lady-junior-are
ududata nin bandamen

114  โ€“  From birth, you were a minor lady,

Intriguingly, the line implies that Inana was not always held to be a major figure in the pantheonโ€”perhaps to explain why the goddess needs to be exalted.


๐’€ญ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ฃ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ ๐’€€ ๐’ถ ๐’€ ๐’‚Š ๐’‰ˆ ๐’‹›๐’€€ ๐’‚ต

da-nun-na diฤir gal-gal-e-ne a-gen7 ba-e-ne-diri-ga
Anuna gods great how exceed-that
Anuna diฤir galgalener agen baenediriga

115  โ€“  but nowโ€”how you surpass the great Anuna gods!

The Sumerian language is very sparing with conjunctions like โ€œandโ€ or โ€œbut,โ€ so the words โ€œbut nowโ€ are not there in the original, though the sentiment is clearly the same.


๐’€ญ ๐’€€ ๐’‰ฃ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…ป ๐’…ป ๐’‰ ๐’‹ซ ๐’†  ๐’‹ข ๐’Œ’ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€ ๐’‰ˆ

da-nun-na-ke3-ne nundum-nundum-bi-ta ki su-ub_ma-ra-AK-ne
Anuna lips-their-with place kiss
Anunakene nundum-nundumbita ki sub marakne?

116  โ€“  The Anuna kiss the ground for you.

Literally, โ€œrub the place with their lips.โ€


๐’ฒ ๐’‰Ž ๐’‚ท ๐’‰ก ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’Œ€ ๐’ฒ ๐’‰ฝ ๐’ฒ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ถ ๐’…† ๐’‚ท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’†ธ ๐’†ธ

di ni2-ฤa2 nu-mu-un-til di kur2 di-ฤu10-gen7 igi-ฤa2 mu-un-ni10-ni10
case self-my not-complete case hostile case-my-like face-my encircle
di niฤa numuntil di kur diฤugen igiฤa munnini

117  โ€“  The trial against me is not over. A hostile verdict surrounds me, as if it were my verdict.

As noted under l. 83, Enheduana interprets the ambiguity of her situation (exiled, but still alive) as an open court case: she feels a negative verdict looming toward her, but insists that the matter is not yet fully resolved, giving Inana time to intervene. Note that the word here translated as โ€œtrialโ€ and โ€œverdictโ€ is the same, di.


๐’„‘ ๐’ˆฟ ๐’„€ ๐’†ธ ๐’ˆพ ๐’‹— ๐’‰ก ๐’Œ ๐’ˆช ๐’‡ฒ

ฤiลกna2 gi-rin-na ลกu_nu-um-mi-la2
bed resplendent? not-defile
na girina ลกu numila

118  โ€“  I have not defiled? the flourishing? bed,

It is unclear what this line refers to, in part because the expressions gi-rin-na, here translated โ€œflourishing,โ€ and ลกu_la2, here translated โ€œdefile,โ€ are unclear. Zgoll translates that later expression literally, as โ€œI have not stretched out my hands over the resplendent bed,โ€ which Foster takes to be a description of prayer: โ€œMy hands are no longer clasped together on the godโ€™s bed.โ€ Attinger argues that the subject of the line is Lugal-Ane (โ€œhe has not defiledโ€). The new translation by Zgoll follows him on this point, but it seems to me unlikely. One manuscript has โ€œmy flourishing? bed.โ€ Note the balance of the half-lines, which have the same syllable structure: one, then three.


๐’…— ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’€ญ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ƒฒ ๐’‡ฝ ๐’Š ๐’‰ก ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ˆพ ๐’”

inim du11-ga dnin-gal lu2-ra nu-mu-na-bur2
word spoken Ningal anyone-to not-reveal
inim duga Ningal lura numunabur

119  โ€“  I have not revealed Ningalโ€™s speech to anyone,

Again, the meaning of this line is unclear. As high priestess of Nanna, Enheduana would have had a special connection to Ningalโ€”see this page.


๐’‚— ๐’Œ“๐’Œ“ ๐’‚ต ๐’€ญ ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’ˆจ ๐’‚—

en dadag-ga dnanna-me-en
high_priestess shining Nanna-am
en dadaga Nannamen

120  โ€“  I am the shining high priestess of Nanna.

Though the previous two lines are unclear, it is possible to see them as averring that Enheduana has not betrayed her profession, meaning that she is still Nannaโ€™s legitimate priestess, even as she has been cast into exile.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’†  ๐’‰˜ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Šฎ ๐’ช ๐’„ฉ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ˆป ๐’‰ˆ

nin ki-aฤ2 an-na-ฤu10 ลกa3-zu ha-ma-se9-de3
lady beloved An-of-my heart-your calm
nin kiaฤ Anaฤu ลกazu hamasede

121  โ€“  My lady, beloved by An, may your heart be reconciled with me!

The phrase โ€œMy lady, beloved by An,โ€ introduces a new section: a final paean to Inanaโ€™s greatness.


๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ ๐’€ญ ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’‡ท ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’ ๐’€€ ๐’„ฐ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’‚ต

he2-zu he2-zu-am3 dnanna li-bi2-in-du11-ga za-a-kam bi2-in-du11-ga
know know Nanna not-speak yours speak
hezu hezuam Nanna libinduga zakam binduga

122  โ€“  May it be known, may it be known! Nanna has not spoken, so he has said: โ€œIt is yours.โ€

The line returns to the theme of the open court case, for which see l. 83 and 117: because Enheduanaโ€™s situation is ambiguous, Nanna must not have decided her case one way or the other, effectively leaving the matter to Inana. Attinger has an alternative, much more convoluted, and in my view unnecessary parsing of the line: โ€œThe โ€˜It is well known, it is well knownโ€: I did not say, โ€˜(It is) about Nanna,โ€™ I said, โ€˜(It is) about you.โ€


๐’€ญ ๐’ถ ๐’ˆค ๐’€€ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

an-gen7 mah-a-za he2-zu-am3
heaven-like mighty-that-your know
angen mahaza hezuam

123  โ€“  That you are as mighty as heavenโ€”may it be known.

The following section enumerates Inanaโ€™s majestic traits, which each line ending in he2-zu-am3, โ€œmay it be knownโ€ (this structure is called an epistrophe). Attinger translates this expression instead as โ€œIt is well known.โ€


๐’†  ๐’ถ ๐’‚ผ ๐’€€ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

ki-gen7 daฤal-a-za he2-zu-am3
earth-like broad-that-your know
kigen daฤalaza hezuam

124  โ€“  That you are as wide as the earthโ€”may it be known.

It is a traditional trope in cuneiform literature to describe the gods as being as large as the earth and the heavens.


๐’†  ๐’„ ๐’„ข ๐’„ข ๐’‡ป ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

ki-bal gul-gul-lu-za he2-zu-am3
rebel_land destroy-that-your know
kibal gulguluza hezuam

125  โ€“  That you destroy the rebel landโ€”may it be known.

From this line onward (until the end of the list, in l. 132), the ancient manuscripts order the lines differently; accordingly, Zgoll and Delnero also structure the section differently (see the overview in Delnero, 2094โ€“96). For the sake of convenience, I follow Zgoll, whose line ordering has been most widely adopted; though it should be noted that Delneroโ€™s ordering is based on a larger selection of manuscripts.


๐’†ณ ๐’Š ๐’…— ๐’Œค ๐’‚Š ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

kur-ra gu3_de2-e-za he2-zu-am3
land shout-that-your know
kura gu deza hezuam

125a  โ€“  That you roar against the enemy landโ€”may it be known.

This line further complicates the different line orderings described above. Zgoll decided to count this line as 125a, presumably because it is placed after l. 125 in some manuscripts, but last in several others, suggesting (to her) that it was treated as an extraneous addition. Delnero (I think rightly) argues that there is not sufficient evidence for discounting the line, and in his new ordering, he gives it the number 133. However, as a result, the two editions yield different line counts from here and on to the end of the poem, which has 153 lines by Zgollโ€™s count and 154 by Delneroโ€™s. Again, I follow Zgoll for the sake of convenience and ease of comparison across translations.


๐’Š• ๐’„‘ ๐’Š ๐’Š ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

saฤ ฤiลก_ra-ra-za he2-zu-am3
head beat-that-your know
saฤ ฤiลก raraza hezuam

126  โ€“  That you smash headsโ€”may it be known.

The phrase saฤ ฤiลก ra is also used in the more general, less graphic sense, โ€œto kill.โ€


๐’Œจ ๐’ถ ๐’‡ฟ ๐’…ฅ ๐’…‡ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

ur-gen7 ad6 gu7-u3-za he2-zu-am3
beast-like corpse eat-that-you know
urgen ad guza hezuam

127  โ€“  That you devour corpses like a lionโ€”may it be known.

On the meaning of ur as โ€œbeastโ€ or โ€œlion,โ€ see l. 14.


๐’…† ๐’„ญ๐’„Š ๐’€€ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

igi huลก-a-za he2-zu-am3
eye furious-that-your know
igi huลกaza hezuam

128  โ€“  That your eyes are furiousโ€”may it be known.

The word igi can also mean โ€œface,โ€ but in l. 130, it does seem to refer to eyes.


๐’…† ๐’„ญ๐’„Š ๐’‰ ๐’… ๐’… ๐’„ฟ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

igi huลก-bi il2-il2-i-za he2-zu-am3
eye furious-this lift-that-you know
igi huลกbi ililiza? hezuam

129  โ€“  That you lift these furious eyesโ€”may it be known.

One advantage of Zgollโ€™s ordering of the section is that it puts the three lines beginning with igi next to each other, in a neat crescendo.


๐’…† ๐’ฏ ๐’ฏ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

igi gun3-gun3-na-za he2-zu-am3
eye iridescent-that-your know
igi gungunaza hezuam

130  โ€“  That your eyes are iridescentโ€”may it be known.

The word gun3-gun3, which is often applied to eyes, means โ€œshining, multi-colored, dappled, beautiful.โ€


๐’‚— ๐’ˆพ ๐’‰ก ๐’Šบ ๐’‚ต ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

uru16-na nu-ลกe-ga-za he2-zu-am3
towering-that disobedient-that-your know
uruna nuลกegaza hezuam

131  โ€“  That you are obstinate and defiantโ€”may it be known.

The word nu-ลกe-ga, here translated as โ€œdefiant,โ€ literally means, โ€œone who does not obey.โ€


๐’…‡ ๐’ˆ  ๐’บ ๐’บ ๐’ ๐’ ๐’ƒถ ๐’ช ๐’€€๐’€ญ

u3-ma gub-gub-bu-za he2-zu-am3
victorious stand-that-your know
uma gubgubuza hezuam

132  โ€“  That you stand triumphantโ€”may it be known.

Note the parallel to l. 104, where Lugal-Ane was said to stand triumphant, using the same expression: the implication is that Inana will rob him of his victory.


๐’€ญ ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’‡ท ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’ ๐’€€ ๐’„ฐ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’บ ๐’Œ‹ ๐’น ๐’‚ต

dnanna li-bi2-in-du11-ga za-a-kam bi2-in-du11-ga
Nanna not-speak yours speak
Nanna libinduga zakam binduga

133  โ€“  Nanna has not spoken, so he has said: โ€œIt is yours.โ€

The line repeats the second part of l. 122.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œˆ ๐’„– ๐’…‹ ๐’‚— ๐’‰Œ ๐’ˆค ๐’‚—

nin-ฤu10 ib2-gu-ul-en i3-mah-en
lady-my make_great make_mighty
ninฤu ibgulen imahen

134  โ€“  My lady, this has made you great, this has made you mighty.

By letting Inana decide the case for him, Nanna has allowed Inana to become a ruler among gods, paving the way for her exalted position in the pantheon. One can also translate it as โ€œhe has made you, he has made you mighty.โ€


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’†  ๐’‰˜ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’‚‡ ๐’‚‡ ๐’ ๐’‚ต ๐’€€๐’€ญ ๐’…—

nin ki-aฤ2 an-na-ฤu10 mir-mir-za ga-am3-du11
lady beloved An-of-my wrath-your speak
nin kiaฤ Anaฤu mirmirza gamdu

135  โ€“  My lady, beloved by Anโ€”I will sing of your wrath.

This is the third and final repetition of the phrase, โ€œMy lady, beloved by An,โ€ marking the beginning of the climactic section of the poem.


๐’‰ˆ ๐’„ฏ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’พ ๐’‹— ๐’ˆ› ๐’‹› ๐’‰ˆ ๐’…” ๐’ฒ

ne-mur mu-dub ลกu-luh si_bi2-in-sa2
coal pile ritual prepare
nemur mudub ลกuluh si binsa

136  โ€“  I have piled up the coals, I have performed the ritual.

On the ลกuluh as rituals of purification, see l. 85. In this context, si sa2 specifically means โ€œto perform without fault.โ€


๐’‚  ๐’ฎ ๐’†ฌ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€ญ ๐’…… ๐’Šฎ ๐’ช ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ˆป ๐’‰ˆ

eลก2-dam-ku3 ma-ra-an-ฤal2 ลกa3-zu na-ma-se9-de3
Eshdamku be_available heart-your not-calm
eลกdamku maranฤal ลกazu namasede

137  โ€“  The Holy Inn is ready for you. Will your heart not be reconciled with me?

The Holy Inn was a temple to Inana in the city of Girsu, but here it probably refers more generally to one of Inanaโ€™s cult centers; see George (83) and Zgoll (426โ€“28).


๐’…Ž ๐’ˆ  ๐’‹› ๐’…Ž ๐’ˆ  ๐’‹›๐’€€ ๐’‚ต ๐’‹ซ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’Œฆ ๐’ƒฒ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’Œ…

im-ma-si im-ma-diri-ga-ta nin UN-gal ma-ra-du2-ud
fill exceed-that-after lady queen? give_birth
imasi imadirigata nin ungal ? maradu

138  โ€“  As my heart was filled, overfilledโ€”lady, queenโ€”I gave birth to it for you.

Zgoll identifies the first part of the lineโ€”which literally reads โ€œit was full for me, it was exceeding for meโ€โ€”as a Sumerian idiomatic expression of overwhelming sorrow, with the heart as the implicit subject. The implicit object of the last verb refers to the poem itself, as made clear by the following lines: the narrator is here describing how she produced the text we have been reading so far. Crucially, however, the manuscripts write the last sign differently, leading to four different descriptions of Enheduanaโ€™s authorship. Four manuscripts have du11, โ€œto speak,โ€ or โ€œto singโ€ (see note to l. 63); three manuscripts have du3, โ€œto createโ€; one manuscript has du2, โ€œto give birthโ€; and one manuscript has du8, โ€œto release.โ€ Since all four meanings of the sound du make sense in this contextโ€”authorship can be understood as both creation, recitation, birth, and releaseโ€”the ambiguity may well be intentional. Zgoll (490) defends the reading du2, โ€œgive birth,โ€ in part because of the parallelism to l. 544 of the Temple Hymns, where Enheduanaโ€™s authorship is also described through the metaphor of birth.


๐’ƒป ๐’ˆช ๐’…‡ ๐’ˆพ ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€ญ ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’€€๐’€ญ

niฤ2 ฤi6-u3-na ma-ra-an-du11-ga-am3
thing nighttime-in speak-that-is
niฤ ฤiuna marandugam

139  โ€“  That which I sang to you at nighttime,

The mention of the ฤi6-u3-na, โ€œdead of night,โ€ alludes back to l. 56 and the description of the rebel woman. The link between the scenes establishes the rebel woman as Enheduanaโ€™s foil: where the woman cannot speak beautiful words to her spouse and so cannot give birth, Enheduana does speak eloquently to Inana, and so gives birth to the poem.


๐’‘๐’†ช ๐’€ญ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’†ค ๐’‹— ๐’„ท ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Š ๐’€Š ๐’„„ ๐’„„

gala an-bar7-ke4 ลกu_hu-mu-ra-ab-gi4-gi4
gala midday repeat
gala anbarka ลกu humurabgigi

140  โ€“  may a gala repeat to you at midday.

On the gala, see this page.


๐’ฎ ๐’†ช ๐’€ ๐’ ๐’†ค ๐’Œ ๐’Œ‰ ๐’†ช ๐’€ ๐’ ๐’†ค ๐’Œ

dam dab5-ba-za-ke4-eลก dumu dab5-ba-za-ke4-eลก
spouse seized-your-for child seized-your-for
dam dabazakeลก dumu dabazakeลก

141  โ€“  Because of your captive spouse, because of your captive child,

It is unclear which spouse and child are meant. This line is also found in the genre of ritual lamentations, and seems to be a deliberate allusion to that genre (see Zgoll 431), indicating that the gala has taken over as the narrator of the text (see l. 144). Note the heavy alliteration on d.


๐’Œˆ ๐’€ ๐’ช ๐’Œˆ ๐’„– ๐’ŒŒ ๐’Šฎ ๐’ช ๐’‰ก ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚— ๐’‹ผ ๐’‚—

ib2-ba-zu ib2-gu-ul ลกa3-zu nu-te-en-te-en
anger-your make_great heart-your not-cool
ibazu ibgul ลกazu nutenten

142  โ€“  your anger grows, your heart is not soothed.

It is again unclear how this line fits into the narrative of the poem. If Enheduana identifies herself as Inanaโ€™s child (or spouse?) in the preceding line, it might mean that Inana goes from raging against Enheduana to raging on her behalf, but this is highly uncertain. Attinger suggests that the second part of the line is a question, paralleling l. 137: โ€œWill your heart not be soothed?โ€ Note the tight construction of the line: the repetition of ib- and -zu and the syllable structure 3-2//2-3.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’„˜ ๐’Œ‡ ๐’‰ช ๐’…… ๐’„˜ ๐’‚— ๐’ˆพ ๐’†ค

nin gu2-tuku nir-ฤal2 gu2-en-na-ke4
lady powerful authoritative assembly
nin gutuku nirฤal guenake

143  โ€“  The powerful lady, who is respected in the assembly,

Once more, the word nin introduces a new section: the epilogue of the poem. Note that the two words of each half-line begin with the same syllables: ni- and gu-.


๐’€ฌ๐’€ฌ ๐’Š ๐’ˆพ ๐’‹— ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’…† ๐’…” ๐’‹พ

sizkur2-ra-na ลกu_ba-an-ลกi-in-ti
prayer-her receive
sizkurana ลกu banลกinti

144  โ€“  received her prayer.

Enheduana refers to herself in the third person, suggesting that the narrator is now the gala who repeated Enheduanaโ€™s hymn on the day after its composition. This is a striking moment in the text, as the grammatical structure reflects Enheduanaโ€™s transformation from character to composer, narrator to author. As noted by Zgoll, sizkur2is specifically a prayer and an offering performed together.


๐’Šฎ ๐’†ฌ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆน ๐’†  ๐’‰ ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€Š ๐’„„

ลกa3 ku3 dinana ki-bi_ba-an-na-ab-gi4
heart holy Inana-of return
ลกa ku Inana kibi banabgi

145  โ€“  Inanaโ€™s holy heart returned to her.

For the idiomatic expression of the heart returning to its place, signaling a restoration of affection, see l. 110. Because Inana is clearly the subject of this line and l. 149, it is assumed that she is also the subject of the intervening lines, though any of these could also refer to Enheduana, since she is now likewise referred to in the third person. As noted by Hallo and van Dijk (62), โ€œit is hard to tell whether the narrator .  .  . is speaking of one or the other,โ€ an ambiguity that is particularly clear in l. 151.


๐’Œ“ ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆพ ๐’„ญ ๐’†ท ๐’†ท ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’‹ค ๐’‹ค ๐’„ญ ๐’‡ท ๐’ˆ  ๐’Š ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’ƒฎ ๐’ƒฎ

u4 ba-an-na-du10 la-la ba-an-su3-su3 hi-li ma-az ba-an-du8-du8
light be_pleasant charm spread delight lust release
u banadu lala bansusu hili maz bandudu

146  โ€“  The light pleased her: she was spreading charm, she was exuding passionate delight.

The juxtaposition of la-la, โ€œcharm,โ€ and hi-li, โ€œdelight,โ€ refers back to l. 88 and the description of the Eana temple, perhaps suggesting that the damage done by Lugal-Ane has been reversed. Note also that the u4, โ€œlight,โ€ being pleasant in this line contrasts with its appearance in l. 70, where it turned burning hot, again indicating a resolution of the crisis. Note the aural patterning of the verbs: banaduโ€”bansusuโ€”bandudu.


๐’Œ“๐’€ญ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’Œ“๐’บ ๐’€€ ๐’ถ ๐’†ท ๐’†ท ๐’€ ๐’€ญ ๐’…

iti6 e3-a-gen7 la-la ba-an-gur3
moonlight come_forth-like charm carry
iti eagen lala bangur

147  โ€“  Like the moonlight shining forth, she was laden with charm.

This line refers back to the very beginning of the poem: iti6 e3-a, โ€œmoonlight shining forth,โ€ mirrors u4 dalla e3-a (l. 1), โ€œresplendent daylightโ€; and la-la ba-an-gur3, โ€œshe was laden with charm,โ€ mirrors me-lam2 gur3-ru, โ€œladen with a terrifying lightโ€ (l. 2). Note especially the transition from daylight at the beginning of the poem to moonlight at its end. As pointed out to me by Fumi Karahashi (personal communication), this shift from day to night also reflects the dual aspect of Inana’s planet Venus, which appears at dawn and at dusk.


๐’€ญ ๐’‹€๐’†  ๐’…†๐’‚ ๐’ฃ ๐’‰ˆ ๐’Œ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’Œฆ ๐’Œ“๐’บ

dnanna u6 zi-de3-eลก mu-un-e3
Nanna admiration properly come_forth
Nanna u zideลก mune

148  โ€“  Nanna rightly expressed his admiration for her,

Note the parallel between the writing of the word iti6, โ€œmoonlight,โ€ at the beginning of the previous line (UD-dล Eล -KI) and of the name Nanna, at the beginning of this line (dล Eล -KI).


๐’‚ผ ๐’‰Œ ๐’€ญ ๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ƒฒ ๐’†ท ๐’Š ๐’†ƒ ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€ญ ๐’Šฎ ๐’€ธ

ama-ni dnin-gal-la-ra ลกudu3_mu-na-an-ลกa3-aลก
mother-her Ningal-to greet?
amani Ningalara ลกudu munanลกaลก

149  โ€“  she blessed her mother Ningal,

The manuscripts from Ur have instead: โ€œHer mother Ningal blessed her.โ€


๐’„‘ ๐’† ๐’ˆพ ๐’†ค ๐’ฒ ๐’ˆ  ๐’ˆฌ ๐’ˆพ ๐’€Š ๐’‰

ฤiลก-ka2-na-ke4 silim-ma mu-na-ab-be2
doorframe greetings say
ฤiลกkanake silima munabe

150  โ€“  the doorframe said to her: โ€œWelcome!โ€

The mention of the doorframe at the very end of the poem is significant: the line is also a threshold of the text itself.


๐’‰ก ๐’ˆช๐’‰ญ ๐’Š ๐’…— ๐’‚ต ๐’‰Œ ๐’ˆค ๐’€€๐’€ญ

nu-gig-ra du11-ga-ni mah-am3
nugig-to say-that-her mighty-is
nugigra dugani maham

151  โ€“  Her speech to the nugig was mighty.

Note that the mention of the nugig again refers back to the beginning of the text: it was mentioned in the third line of the poem and appears again here, in the third-to-last line. As noted in l. 3, it originally designated a wetnurse or midwife, but came to refer more generally to high-status women associated with the temple, and it was used as an epithet of Inana and other goddesses. Crucially, its use in this line is ambiguous: does it refer to Inana, as it does in l. 3? In that case, the line would describe Enheduanaโ€™s recitation of the poem to Inana. Or does nugig refer to Enheduana, in which case the line would describe Inanaโ€™s order that Enheduana be restored as high priestess? Different translators have taken different views, but the ambiguity seems to me deliberate (see Helle, 61), as it shows the goddess and the priestess exalting one another.


๐’†ณ ๐’„ข ๐’„ข ๐’€ญ ๐’• ๐’ˆจ ๐’€ ๐’€€

kur gul-gul an-da me ba-a
mountain destroy An-with me alloted
kur gulgul Anda me ba

152  โ€“  Destroyer of mountains, to whom the me were allotted by An,

The phrase kur gul-gul, โ€œdestroyer of mountains,โ€ parallels l. 17, and again alludes to Inanaโ€™s battle against Mount Ebih.


๐’Šฉ๐’Œ† ๐’ˆฌ ๐’„ญ ๐’‡ท ๐’„˜ ๐’Œ“๐’บ ๐’€ญ ๐’ˆน ๐’  ๐’Šฉ

nin-ฤu10 hi-li gu2_e3 dinana za3-mi2
lady-my delight covered Inana praise
ninฤu hili gu e Inana zami

153  โ€“  My lady, wrapped in delight: Inana be praised!

The phrase nin-ฤu10 isrepeated one final time to mark the end of the poem. It is conventional for Sumerian hymns to end with the name of the deity followed by za3-mi2, meaning โ€œ(to) the deity (let there be) praise.โ€


The translation and commentary was carried out by Sophus Helle. If you find any mistakes in the text, or if you have additions to the commentary, please contact me at email at sophushelle dot com.