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A Hymn to Tammuz (Cuneiform Texts from the British 
Museum, Tablet 15821, Plate 18) with translation 
and commentary by Professor J. Dyneley Prince, 
Ph. D., Columbia University, New York. 

Transliteration and Translation. 


1. • ama-mu-ra nu-un-ti 

(Lament) for my mighty one who liveth no more. 

2. nu-un-ti ama-mu-ra nu-un-ti 

who liveth no more, for my mighty one who 

liveth no more. 

3. mu-lu nu-un-ti ama-mu-ra nu-un-ti 

— — — — who liveth no more; for my mighty 

one who liveth no more. 

4. — — du mu-ud-na-mu nu-un-ti 

— — — my spouse who liveth no more. 

5. — — — mu mu nu-un-ti 

my who liveth no more. 

6. dimmer gal mu-an-na nu-un-ti 

— — great god of the heavenly year who liveth 

no more. 

7. u-mu-un-e a-ra-li nu-un-ti 

Lord of the lower world who liveth no more. 

8. u-mu-un-e sar-ra lamga hi nu-un-ti 

Lord of vegetation, artificer of the earth, who liveth no more. 

9. lax(?)-ba en dimmer dumu-zi nu-un-ti 

The shepherd, the lord, the god Tammuz who liveth no more. 

10. u-mu-un-e ba-ta(?)-ba nu-un-ti 

The lord who giveth gifts who liveth no more. 

11. mu-ud-na-bi-ta {an-na)-ka nu-un-ti 

With his heavenly spouse he liveth no more. 
13. mu-tin-na nu-un-ti 

(The producer of) wine who liveth no more. 
14. — lum-lum-ka na-am-mal nu-un-ti 

Lord of fructification; the established one who liveth no more. 

Vol. xxx.] A Hymn to Tammuz. 95 

15. u-mu-un (gir)-ka na-dm-mal nu-un-ti 

The lord of power; the established one who liveth no more. 

16. gud kala-a-dim alam-ne-en dib (L\J)-dib (LU)-bi ii-sa (v)-a-dim 

ne-tuS (KU) 
Like a mighty bull is his appearance; the forceful one, 
like an ancient bull he coucheth. 

17. gnd kala-a-dim alam-ne-en ma bir-bi ii-Sa (ty-a-dim ne-tuS 
''(■KU). _ 

Like a mighty bull is his appearance; in his ship of plenty 
like an ancient bull he coucheth. 

18. me-e-zu(?)-da(?) LI ga-a-an-ma-kud 

In accordance with thy word(?) the earth shall be judged. 

19. su-gir-ma LI ga-a-an-ma-kud 

(Thus) the high parts of the earth verily shall be judged. 

20. mu-ln — me-a ga-a-an-ma-ab-gu (KA) 

who ■ — — verily they shall cry out 

for it. 

21. [Suku (PAD) nu]-ku-a-mu ga-a-an-ma-ab-gu (KA) 

For food which they have not to eat they shall verily cry out. 

22. (a) nu-nag-a-mu ga-a-an-ma-ab-gu (KA) 

For water which they have not to drink they shall verily 
cry out. 

23. (ki)-el Sag-ga-mu ga-a-an-ma-ab-gu (KA) 

Verily the maiden who is pleasing shall cry out for it. 

24. (kala) Sag-ga-mu ga-a-an-ma-ab-gu (KA) 

Verily the warrior who is acceptable shall cry out for it. 

25. a(^)-zu gir-e kur dS ba-Sub (JJU) 

thy the mighty one, the land with 

a curse is destroyed. 

26. gir-e kur aS ba-sub (RU) 

the mighty one, the land with a curse is 



27. (gir) kur-ra i-de ugun (DAR) nu ugun (DAR) kur-e 
Power of the land (is he). With (his) gift no gift can vie. 

28. (gir) kur-ra gu (KA) xu-tu-ul-xu-tu-ul-e 

Power of the land (is he). The Word which overcometh 

29. gir ii-mu-un-da u-mu-un-da 
Power he exalteth, exalteth. 

96 D. Prince, [1910. 

30. [hiku (PAD)] nu-kii-a-mu u-mu-un-da 

Food which they have not to eat he raiseth up. 

31. a nu-nag-a-mu u-mu-un-da 

Water which they have not to drink he raiseth up. 

32. Jci-el Mg-ga-mu u-mu-un-da 

The maiden who is pleasing he raiseth up. 

33. kala sag-ga-mu u-mu-un-da 

The warrior who is acceptable he raiseth up. 

34. Tidla mu-lu-zu-ne mu-da-ab-oca-lam-ma 

The mighty one who destroyeth your people. 

35. dimmer ab-u tar mu-lu-zu-ne mu-da-db-xa-lam-ma 

The god Ninib destroyeth even the least among your people. 

36. i-de-bar sag-ga-ni Nina nam-ba-e-bi-bi 
With her gracious aspect Nina speaketh. 

37. sar-bar Sag-ga-ni xu-ub-na-an-ni-bar-ri 

In her gracious rising verily she shineth forth. 

38. (Id) dm-dirig-ga-na ur-ba kala(?) alam 

Where she waxeth full, her procreative power is mighty 
of aspect. 

39. mu-lu-mal PA gubu (KAB) -gub(DTJ)-bi-na Sam-elteq-ga 

The creative one (with) the staff of her left hand, verily 
she established the cleansing uxulu-herb. 

40. gi-sa (Dl)-da-ni im-e-a-an-me 

With her sceptre of judgment she commandeth. 

41. mu-lu-mal li-du-ni im-mi-ir-ri-a-an-me 

The creative one with her firm voice she speaketh to him. 
XLI. er-lim-ma dimmer dumu-zi-da 
XLI lines. A hymn for the god Tammuz. 


The present hymn to Tammuz in Eme-sal is one of a series 
found in Cun. Texts from the British Museum, Vol. xv, plates lOff 
Of these Dr. F. A. Vanderburgh has published in his thesis 
"Sumerian Hymns" (Columbia University Press, 1908) Plates 10, 
15—16, 17, 19 and also Plates 11—12 in the JAOS, 1908. 
I have published Plates 14, 22, and 23 in the AJSL, while 
Dr. Vanderburgh, who is at present preparing for publication 
Plates 7, 8, 9, and 13—12, has aided me with the present 
text by many valuable suggestions. 

Vol. xxx.] A Hymn to Tammuz. 97 


Line 1. ama = AM 'bull' I render 'mighty one.' Note that 
the god Ea is also called a bull in ii, 58, 52. 

Line 3. mu-ud-na = xd'iru 'spouse;' cf. Br. 1304. Here the 
bereaved Istar is probably speaking. 

Line 6. dimmer gal mu-an-na 'great god of the year (lit. 
'name') of heaven,' in contradistinction to the present condition 
of Tammuz as lord of the lower world arali, line 7, whither 
he had been transported, leaving the heavenly (or upper) year 
destitute of vegetation. 

Line 8. u-mu-un-e sar-ra 'lord of (spring) vegetation.' Note 
that sar = 8AH = Jciru 'plantation,' Br. 4315 and see Prince, 
Materials, p. 283. 

The mourning ceremonial for Tammuz took place just before 
the summer solstice which was followed by a season of rejoicing 
at his re-appearance. For this mourning-ceremonial which 
was evidently practised at Jerusalem in the time of Ezekiel, 
cf. Ezek. viii, 14: 

dto db> nam naissn ^>k -ib>k nvr rva *ijhs> nns •?« v» k^i 

;n»n n« xyd3d matr 

Probably also in Zech. xii, 10, the words Tnvi by 1BDB refer 
to the ritual lamentation for Tammuz. 

lamga lei; he was the artificer of the earth, because he was 
the cause of plant life especially. For lamga, cf. Prince op. 
cit. 221. 

Line 9. lax(?)-ba. Although the first sign is obscure, it 
is most probably lax of the combination lax-ba = rehi 'shepherd,' 
IV, 27, la. 

The Sumerian form dumu-zi 'son of life,' i. e., 'life itself 
= the god of life par excellence, is clearly the original of the 
Semitic corrupted name of this god Tammuz, which appears 
also as the name of the fourth month. Note the fuller form 
dumu-zi-da in line 42, showing that the full form of the word 
for 'life' in Sumerian was zid. 

Line 10. ba-ta(?)-ba. This seems clearly ba verbal prefix 
+ the locative infix -to- + the root ba = BA = qdSu 'give, 
bestow,' Br. 107. 

Line 13. I assume that some word meaning 'producer,' i. e. 
'of wine' has been erased here. 

Note the ES. form mu-tin-na for ges-tin. See Prince, op. 
cit, p. 247 = kardnu 'wine.' 

VOL. XXX. Part I. 7 

98 D. Prince, [1910- 

Line 14. On lum = LUM, see Prince, op. cit., p. 227. 

na-dm-mal seems to consist of the abstract prefix nam- + mal 
= GA = sahanu, Prince, p. 231. 

Line 15. This line evidently contains gir-emuqu 'power,' 
Br. 9184 -+- the genitive suffix -ha. 

Line 16. The second sign here must clearly be read kala 
owing to the following vowel of prolongation -a, and not lig, 
as is frequently the case. The suffix I read dim and not gim, 
as the hymn is in ES. 

On alam, see Prince, 29. This is not a certain reading for 
the sign QALAM. Note that Hrozny reads this sign with 
value alana, probably associating it with Sem. lanu 'appearance,' 
Br. 7299, which seems to be its meaning here. 

The suffix ne-en seems to consist of the demonstrative ele- 
ment ne- + the verbal -en, seen in men 'to he.' 

Note that the combination dib (LU)-dib (LJJ)-bi has the 
meanings sitpuru, Br. 10740; Mbuqu, Br. 10741; and Sitmarrn, 
Br. 10742. Hence my translation. 

u-sa(U)-a-dim consists of sa=XJ=labtrn 'ancient,' Br. 9465, 
+ the prolonging vowel -a + the suffix dim (GIM) = 'like unto.' 

tuS (KU) = aMbu 'sit, dwell', Br. 10523. The god is con- 
ceived of as sitting, i. e., couching like a powerful bull resting. 
The couchant attitude is no doubt suggested by the fact that 
the god's power is temporarily at rest in the lower world. 

Line 17. ma = elippu 'ship,' Br. 3683. This is his ritual 
ship of state or wealth; bir = cibtu 'wealth,' Br. 2029, probably 
referring to the ceremonial of carrying the image of a god in 
a small symbolical ship. 

Line 18. me-e-zu(?)-da 'in accordance with thy word;' me 
= qulu 'utterance', Br. 10370. LI means ergitu 'earth,' Br. 1104; 
perhaps this is correct here in connection with the verb-root 
tar-hud = ddnu 'judge,' Br. 364. The prefix ga although pre- 
cative properly, I render here as 'shall,' expressive of the singer's 
hope and thus also in the following lines. 

Line 19. su-gir I render as 'highlands'; see Br. 233 =Elam- 
tu = ma = matu 'land', Prince, 228. This combination seems 
to be in genitive apposition to the following LI = ercitu (see 
just above on line 18). 

Line 20. me-a here is perhaps the cognate accusative of 
gu (KA) and means 'they cry a crying' = 'they cry lustily 
for it' 

Vol. xxx.] A Hymn to Tammuz. 99 

Line 21. Saku (PAD) = kurmatu 'food,' Br. 9929. In nu- 
ku-a-mu, kit = akalu 'eat,' Br. 882, passim. I supply this muti- 
lated line from kindred passages. Note also below line 30. 

Line 22. Note the parallelism here with line 21. nag = Satu 
'drink,' Prince 251. 

Line 23. ki-el = ardatu 'maid-servant.' For full discussion, 
see Prince 204. In Sag-ga-mu, Sag = damqu, Br. 7291 + the 
relative suffix -mu, in this case probably not the -mu of the 
first person, but the indeterminative relative possessive -mu 
discussed Prince, p. XXI. 

Line 25. as" = arratu 'curse,' see Prince, 41. Sub (RU) = ma- 
qdtu 'overwhelm,' Br. 1432. Literally: 'the land he over- 
whelmeth (with) a curse.' I render it passively "is destroyed" 
here, because the curse is negative on the part of Tammuz, 
consisting in his absence. 


Line 27. The first sign here must be gir = emuqu 'power' 
fully discussed, Prince, 149. (gir) kur-ra seems to me to be 
an epithet of the god. i-de I take as prepositional; cf.Br. 4005: 
maxar; here = 'before' or 'in comparison with.' ugun (DAR) 
= the abstract prefix u-+gun = biltu 'gift, tribute.' See Prince, 
341. In the last part of the line pap must be = nakdru; here 
«='vie with,' Br. 1143. 

Line 28. xu-tu-id xu-tu-id-e by repetition means 'to over- 
come disease thoroughly.' Note xutul = xatu Sa mur<;i, Br. 2056: 
'overcome disease.' Here Tammuz is the life giving Word, a 
conception which has many parallels in early Semitic literature 
and which culminated in the Word of the Gospel of St. John. 

Line 29. I must regard -da here as a verb = naSu 'lift up;' 
see Br. 6654 = Saqu 'be lofty.' 

Lines 30 — 33 incl. are parallel with lines 21 — 24 incl. above. 

Line 34. The suffix -zu-ne ought to mean "your people" 
(midu = niSu, Br. 1339). See Prince, p. XXIII § 10 on -zu-ne 
which can sometimes but incorrectly mean 'their.' xa-lam-ma 
must signify 'destroy'; see Br. 11850: xa-lam = xidluqu 'destroy.' 

Line 35. The god ab-u = Ninib, Br. 3836. 

Line 36. i-de =naplusu 'look, aspect,' Bi\ 4010. bar=namaru 
'shine forth,' Br. 1775. i-de-bar is a combination which means 
'aspect' in this connection. Sag = damqu 'gracious,' Br. 7291. 
nam-ba-e-bi-bi; the prefix nam is not necessarily negative; cf. 

100 D. Prince; A Hymn to Tammuz. [1910. 

Prince, p. XXIX § 34: it merely serves here to strengthen 
the ordinary fra-prefix. bi-bi = qibu 'speak', Prince, 57. 

Line 37. sar = nipxu 'rising,' as of the sun or a planet, 
DW 474. sar-bar is a synonym or a parallel of i-de-bar of 
the preceding line. I render the precative force of xu- in 
xu-ub-nani-bar-ri as 'verily she shineth forth;' note that bar 
= namdru 'shine forth,' Br. 1775. jntu 'open out,' Br. 1791. 

Line 38. (7a) really = 'place ;' here probably = 'where, wher- 
ever.' um-dirig — 'fullness,' with abstract prefix am + dirig 'be 
full,' Prince, 81. I render ur- here as bultu 'procreative 
power,' Br. 11258 + the 3 p. suffix -ba. The sign after BA 
is probably lig or kala, as it seems to be pronounced in this 
hymn (note above line 16 LIG -a = lmla-a). kala(?) + alam 
must mean 'mighty of aspect.' 

Line 39. mu-lu-mal 'she who' (relative mulu) + mal = Sakdnu 
'establish, make,' Br. 5421. This must be an epithet applied 
to Nina. PA can only indicate the goddess's sceptre of power; 
Br. 5573: xattu 'sceptre, staff.' kab = gubu = Sumelu 'left 
hand,' Br. 2684. I believe that DU = gub is a gloss giving 
the reading of KAB =gub{u). Sam-nag-ga; this nag = elteq 
= uxulu 'a cleansing plant like a soap,' DW. 43; the prefix 
Sam = II is the determinative for 'plant.' kit here must 
= nadti 'put in a specified place,' Br. 10 542. 

Line 40. In gi-sa (DJ)-dan-ni, gi = l veed,' Prince, 138; sa 
(DI) = milku 'counsel, judgment,' Br. 9531 ; da is probably the 
infixed postposition before the suffix -ni 'her.' me = qalu 
'speak,' Br. 10361. 

Line 41. li-du appears in U-du an-na = elUum Sa zamari 
'high voice in singing.' It is probable that LI was pronounced 
ngu(b), a cognate of me = qalu 'speak.' dn in li-du = k&nu 
'firm,' Br. 4884. In im-mi-ir-ri-a-an-me, 'unto him' is contained 
in the -r- element. 

It should be noted that in lines 36 — 41 the goddess Nina, 
the consort of Tammuz, is represented as being the revivifying 
power acting against the destructive force of Ninib. Nina is 
thus associated with Tammuz in this hymn as a life-giver after 
the winter solstice. While she and Tammuz are away, all 
vegetation ceases. 

Line 41. er-lim-ma; the second syllable is really lib, probably 
pronounced Urn in conjunction with the following -ma.