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The American Journal 

OF 

Semitic Languages and Literatures 



Volume XXXV JULY 1919 Number 4 



THE MOUTH OF THE RIVERS 

Bt W. F. Albbight 
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 

According to Babylonian mythology, the flood-hero, Utnapiiti™, 
was given eternal life by the gods after the deluge, and translated to 
the pt ndrdti, or 'mouth of the rivers.' This was certainly the stand- 
ard theory; it is possible that the Sumerians had a rival Adew, that 
the hero lived after the flood in the far south, on the island of Tilmun, 
in the Persian Gulf (see below). Berossus' statement that t6p 
Siffovdpov .... iropevtffdai fitTo. tGsv deSiv oUriffovTa merely impUes 
that Atrahasls was removed from mortal ken, and does not fix the 
place of his converse with the immortals, which might just as easily 
have been Elysium as heaven. 

It is at present quite generally supposed that the pi ndrdti was 
originally the delta of the Two Rivers, which in early times emptied 
into the gulf through separate mouths, and that when the Babylonians 
became better acquainted with the interior of the marshes they 
removed their Elysium to some distant region toward the setting 
sun. Jensen and Haupt have identified the pi ndrdti with the fertile 
plain of Andalusia, the former regarding the Guadiana and the 
Guadalquivir as the streams in question,* the latter fixing on the 

' See KB, VI, 1, 507i 576; Gilgamesch-Epos, p. 37, note. 

161 



162 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

Guadalete and the Rio Santi Petri, which reach the sea at Cadiz.* 
The hypothesis is beautiful, and unquestionably excellent as an 
explanation based on the assumption of a historical nucleus. Even 
if the assumption should prove erroneous, we must ask ourselves 
whether the Assyrians who edited the Ninevite recension took this 
view of the geographical situation or not. Only at this point is one 
justified in raising the objection that the Assyrians could hardly 
have been acquainted with so remote a region as Spain. Granted a 
traveler's tale as the starting-point of the narrative, the mythical 
and legendary embellishments are no greater than in analogous epi- 
sodes in the Odyssey or the Voyages of Sindbad. However, the geo- 
graphical background is apparently quite different, as will be shown 
at the end of the paper, so that there is no need of extending the 
horizon of Babylonian discovery as far as the Pillars of Heracles. 

The pi ndrdti cannot, of course, be placed at the mouth of the 
Euphrates, since this would leave no room for the long overland 
journey of Gilgames, who traversed deserts, mountains, and seas, 
including the dreaded mare tenebrosum of the Babylonians, the nd 
muti. The same reason excludes recent combinations with Bahrein 
or with Persia;^ the other suggestions which have been made are 
not to be taken seriously. No Babylonian could have placed his 
terrestrial paradise in the malaria-breeding swamps of the delta, 
where the temperature often rises to 50° C. in the shade. There is 
naturally no parallel between a garden of the blest in the mat tdmti'" 
(Sea-land) and the Egyptian sht frw (field of rushes), perhaps a 
heavenly reflection of the delta, cooled during the summer by the 
Etesian winds from the Aegean (see, however, below for the true source 
of the refrigerium) . While the "land of the marsh-dwellers" may 
not have been very well known to the predynastic Egyptians, the 
shores of the Persian Gulf were dotted with settlements in Sumerian 
times. Weird legends may have arisen of enchanted spots in the 
marshes, but hardly the myth of a lovely oasis, or of an upland garden, 
with healing and rejuvenating springs. 

» Professor Haupt thinks that Elysium, which unquestionably bears some relation to 
the conception of the pS ndrdti (see below), may originally have been a corruption of 
Erytheia, the Greek name of the Isla de Leon, on which Cadiz is situated. Later Elysium 
was localized in the Canaries or Azores. See provisionally Johns Hopkins Univ. Circulars, 
XXXV, 708-9. 

2 Langdon, Sum. Epic of Paradise, pp. 8—16, esp. p. 16. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 163 

For the solution of our problem we must turn to the incantatory 
literature. The passages directly mentioning the pi ndrdti are CT,^ 
XVI, 46, 183 ff., CT, XVII, 26, 64 ff., and CT, XVII, 38, 30 ff. 
CT, XVII, 26, 64 ff. has (the transliteration follows SGI in the main) 
[''^]ba-an-du-du d-ldl-e '"gamma su-u-me-ti id-ka-min(\)-na-ta a su-ba 
(var. bi)-e-ri (var. ri-e)-ti = pattd alalld kippati liqt-ma, ina pt 
ndrdti kilalU m^ liqt-ma, 'Take a pattii-vessel,^ an aZaHw-vessel,* a 
ladle,* and get water from the mouth of the two rivers.' We read 
similarly in the next passage: [''^']sagur-ra nig udun-gal-ta du-a su-u- 
m£-[ti] id-ka-min-na-ta a m[ ] a u-me-ni[ ] = sa (!) karpatu saharratu 
sa ultu utuni rabttu [illiku] liqi, ina pt nd[rdti ki]lalle mA sdmma (3itT2), 
'Take a saffur^-vessel coming from a large oven, and draw water 
from the mouth of the two rivers.' More remunerative is CT, 
XVI, 46, 183 ff., one of the most puzzling as well as interesting texts 
in cuneiform literature. The Semitic translation may safely be 
omitted, as it is in places very free. 

183. En: TJruduga gis-kin-gt-e ki-el-ta mA-a 

miis-me-bi "^za-gln-a abzu-ta (ni)-ld-a (var. e) 
^Enki-gh {ki)-du-du-a-ta Umduga ge-gdl sig-ga-dm 
ki-dur-a-na ki-gilib'-dm 

1 Note, in addition to tlie abbreviations given in AJSL, XXXIV, 81, n. 1, the fol- 
lowing: ARW = Archiv fUr Religionswissenschaft; vl<Sitr=Haupt, Akkadische und Sumer- 
ische Keilachrifttexte; BKR—TajxatiGm, Beitrdge zur Kenntnis der Babyloniachen Religion^ 
C T = Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum; DEP = D6Ugation 
en Perse; GE = Gilgames'epic; GGAO = Hommel, Geschichte und Geographie des alien Orients; 
ffC5=Thureau-Dangin, Vne relation de la huilikme campagne de Sargon; KAT = Die 
Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament; KB = Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek; JVB=Haupt, 
Das Babylonische Nimrodepos; SBP=Ijangdon, Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms; 
VB= V orderasiatische Bibliothek; Z ATW = ZeitschriftfUr die Altteatamentliche Wissenschaft. 

2 Assyr. paU<i (loan from banduldu]) is tlie synonym of nahbH, 'ampliora,' and madM, 
'pair (SGI, p. 67). As it is given as the equivalent of bunin, 'basin' (Br. 10305), it may 
mean 'bowl.' 

3 AlalM means lit. 'something hanging at the side,' a flasket or bucket (in the plural = 
dul&ti, 'pails'; SGI, p. 166). 

' Kippalu is the Aramaic SJISS > 'bowl, spoon' ; cf . also kappu and kuppu, primarily 
'basin of a fountain.' This kippatu is distinct from kippatu, "vault, arch,' horizon' 
(>i{f1B3). HCS, p. 59, n. 9, renders in our passage 'handle'; "Prends le seau lustral 
(par) la anse et puise de I'eau, etc." 

5 The sagur is an amphora; I shall discuss the word elsewhere. 

• I6J-KVR: for the reading gilib see SGI, pp. 213 f. Langdon (,PSBA, XXXVIII, 56, 
n. 20) would read jinor, in the light of Poebel {Hist. Texts, No. 23, rev. 3, kd-gal IGI-KtjR- 
ZA IGI-KtJR-RA), which may simply be read kd-gal ganzer ('gate of extinction'; kan = 
bdbu, and zer = pasdsu and nil^ilfii, SGI, p. 225) igi^kilr-ra, which one may render freely 
'gate of the subterranean inferno' (.ganzer=e«Uum, 'darkness,' in the Chicago Syl., 1. 212). 
The etymology of gilib Is iinknown; one thinks of gilim, 'destroy.' 



164 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

191. hi-ndra itim '^Engur-dm 

i-kttg (A'JSL, XXXIII, 187)-garCMii-ta siHir gissv}-ld-e s&-bi lii mir-rnu- 

un-da-tu-tu-de 
sa ^B abhor ^Ama-ummgal-an-na-ge 
ri-ba-an-na id-ka-min-a-ta 
199. ''Ka-ge-gdl '^Igi-gS(l)-gdl ''{gijid-sig-sig Uruduga-g^l]'^ 

gis-Mn-bi sA-im-nm-an-'pag ugu-llii, .... nam-svh abzu-a im-moran- 

sum] 
sag lu-gdl-lu pap-gal-la-ge barni-in-gar-[ra] = 

183. Incantation: In Eridu in a pure place the dark kiskanH grows; 

Its aspect is like lapis lazuli branching out from the apsH. 

In the place where Ea holds sway, in Eridu full of abundance' — 

His abode being in the Underworld, 
191. (His) chamber a recess'' of the goddess Engur — 

In his pure house is a grove, shadow-extending, into whose midst no 
man has entered; 

There are Samal and Tammuz. 

Between the mouths of the two rivers 
199. Are the gods Kajjegal and Igi^egal, the [genii of Eridu.] 

That kiskanH one has gathered;^ over the man the incantation of the 
apsH he has recited; 

Upon the head of the man possessed he shall place (it). 

GIS-G£: tor reading see SGI, p. 278. 

2 The restoration is very doubtful; cf. GGAO, p. 276, n. 1. In CT, XXIV, 17, 60 ff., 
and 29, 107 ff., we have the eight names of the ^^ ni-iii., 'porters' of Enkl: Ka-ge-gdl, 
'mouth of fertility' ; Igi-gS-gdl (which must naturally be read in our text instead of Igi- 
tur-gdl), 'eye of fertility'; Ka-na-ab-ul, 'he in whose mouth is the abode of joy'; Igi-na- 
ab-ul; Ka-ba-li-nam-ti-la, 'he in whose mouth is the fat (i.e., luxuriance) of life"; Ka-ba- 
U-HUm-ma, 'he in whose mouth is the fat of prosperity' ; Igi-bi-i'ii-nam-ti-la, 'he in whose 
presence there is life' ; Igi-bi-Sit-silim-ma. The use of ba instead of na in the fifth and 
sixth naipes is evidently to avoid cacophony. The names of the two gud-sig-sig, 'heroes' 
(lit. 'bulls'; gud shows the same development, 'bull,' and 'hero,' as Eg. P) which make 
green' (generally read gud-dub, 'apotropaeic bulls'; cf., however. Prank, Religion, p. 276, 
n. 95), of Enkl are given CT, XXIV, 17, 56-57, as djy^g-ga and <iSig-sig = (DUB\)-gd. 
There probably is, as often suggested, a general relationslilp between the gud-sig-sig and 
the cherubim; among the six genii (gud-sig-sig) of the temple £-Aiir-ra are the S^rfM and the 
serpent-god i^Sagan), the gracious sMu, lamassu, and utukku, so the genus was inclusive 
enough, at least, to cover the conception of the cherubim. 

3 The Semitic has 5a Ea tallaktasu ina Eridu f^egalli maldti, which is, of course, errone- 
ous, as we do not have ki-du-du-a-ni Uruduga-ta; moreover, dm indicates a subordinate 
construction. Ki-du-du means literally 'the place of going about, the scope of control' ; 
cf. DU+DV=l&g. 'guide, control.' 

« Assyr. qi^fu, which means 'cell, room,' or the like, from gafdgu, 'cut,' Ar. yaJS; cf. 
qagi, 'chest (of body)' ? 

« For the meaning of s4-pag, which follows from the context, cf. pag^esSru, 'inclbse. 
cage' (Br. 2052), and ir-pag, 'form a plan' (kapAdu, which also originally meant 'bind, tie,' 
Syr. kappit; see Haupt, JAOS, XXXII, 51.). Assyr. sofcdsM means also primarily 'bind,' 
whence 'impose tax.' 



The Mouth of the Rivers 165 

A study of the situation shows clearly that the kis-kanu was 
imagined to grow in the subterranean fresh-water ocean whence the 
rivers flow, the home of Enki^ or Ea,^ son of Engur.' Eridu, the 
name of Ea's chief cult-city, is employed as a name of the apsH, 
just as Kutii (Kutha), the city of Nergal, is a common name of 
Aralti (Hades), over which Nergal ruled. A great many passages 
could be cited in support of this fact, which has not been sufiiciently 
recognized; a few will do. In BA, V, 589 (No. XIV, pp. 648-49) 
we have an incantation directed to the fire-god Gibil (the Sumerian 
is almost entirely lost) : '^Gibil .... qarrad tizqaru'", sa '^Ea melammS 
izzMi uzdHnus, ina apst elli"' irbii, ina dl Eridu asar SimMi Mnis 
kunna, niirSu ellu"' samU endu; lisdn nUrisu Mma birqi ittariabriq, 
^'^Gibiln'Arsuktmaiimuittanpah, = 'Gihil . . .'. the exalted hero whom 
Ea (Sum. '^Enki-ga-ge, 'of Ea') adorned with terrible brilliance, who 
grew up in the pure apsu, who in Eridu, the place of (determining) 
fates, is unfailingly prepared, whose pure light reaches heaven — his 
bright tongue flashes like lightning; Gibil's light flares up like the 
day.' Similarly Gibil is called (ASKT, p. 78, rev. 8) ur-sag dumu 
abzu-a, 'hero, child of the apsu!' Gibil mar Apst represents fire as 
emanating originally from burning naphtha wells, which the Persians 
regarded as the divine source of fire, where possible erecting their 
pyraea (Pers. atargas) over them. It is perfectly evident that Eridu 
here is the underworld, not the city. An equally convincing passage 
is Gudea, Cyl. B, III, 5-12: itu-bi ud-es-dm im-ta-zal. ^Nin-gir-su 
Erida-ta gin-am zal-ti-sa-sa im-e. kalam-ma ud mu-gdl, e-ninnu ^En- 
zu-u-tud-da sag-im-ma-da-ab-di= 'The third day of the month shown. 
Ningirsu, coming from Eridu, rose in overwhelming splendor {sa = 
masddu, mussudu, labdnu). In the land it became day; the Eninnu 
rivaled in brilliance the child of Enzu.' Ningirsu is here the sun, 

' The name Enki means 'Lord of the underworld' (KA T\ p. 359). Professor Jastrow 
may be right in maintaining that its primary meaning was 'Lord of the earth." Our 
evidence hardly admits of a decision. 

2 Ea means 'house of water,' the personified apsA. In view of Damascius' Aos, the 
name should probably be pronounced Ae, with transposition, as in abzu and Gibil, etc.; 
cf. Sayce, PSBA. XXXIX, 211 f. 

3 Engui is hard to separate from gur, 'flood,' synonym of uru (TEgunu); one is 
tempted to explain it as E-gur, 'house of the inundation.' Similarly (see below), the 
Egyptian name of the watery abyss is nwnw {NUn), properly 'inundation.' Both coun- 
tries being alluvial, water was considered the primordial element, from which the earth 
arose; Engur is the 'mother of heaven and earth.' 



166 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

offspring of the moon, Samas mdr Sin, who ascends each morning 
from the underworld.^ In the incantatory texts Eridu interchanges 
constantly with the aspu. Thus, Maqlu, VII, 115 f., we read amsi 
qdtPa ubbiba zumrt tna m& naqbi ellMi^ sa ina dl Eridi ibbanu = 'l 
have washed my hands and cleansed my body in the pure source 
waters which were created in Eridu.' In CT, XVII, 5, col. 3, 1, etc., 
we have lu-gdl-lu-bi a-gub-ba abzu-kug-ga u-me-ni-el = 'that man with 
lustral water from the holy apsH cleanse.' Of the seven evil spirits 
it is said {CT, XVII, 13, 14-15), nagbu{BAD)-abzu-[ta] imin-na-ine§ 
Uruduga imin-na-mes = 'In the source of the apsu seven are they; 
in Eridu seven are they.' CT, XVI, 32, 154 = 33, 192 = 46, 176, etc., 
associates the incantation of the apsu with that of Eridu (tu-tH, abzu 
Uruduga). In the same strain Marduk {Asari-lti-diig) is called 
indifferently mdru ristu sa apsi and mdru restu sa Eridu. So again 
Surpu II, 149-51 offers Ea liptur sar apsi, apsu liptur hit nimeqi, 
Eridu liptur, bit apsi liptur, setting Eridu in unmistakable parallelism 
with apsA and the bit apsi, the abode of Ea. Evidently the theories 
enunciated from time to time, that Eridu was the home of Baby- 
lonian science (magic) and religion, and the speculations of a more 
dangerous character combining Eridu with Eden, and discovering 
a mysterious sacred garden there, are as unfounded as it would be to 
regard Kutha as a sort of Babylonian Tophet or Gehenna. With 
this collapse fall away incidentally Hommel's views concerning the 
fabulous antiquity of the city, which he even made the prototype 
of Memphis, whose name happens to have the same meaning. 

Such being the case, we must, in the hght of the kiskaniX incanta- 
tion, look for the mouth of the rivers in the underworld, the source of 
terrestrial fresh water. Here, according to an ancient idea, there was 
a mighty river, whence all streams spring, the ndru bdndt kaldmu, 
'river, creatress of everything,'^ corresponding to the Sumerian god- 
dess Engur, ama xi-tud an-ki, 'mother who bore heaven and earth." 



1 It is unnecessary to eissume syncretism here; Nlngirsu, like Ninurta, seems to liave 
been primarily a god ol fertility with intimate solar associations. 

2 King, Creation, I, 200, 1. 

3 CT, XXIV, 20, 18. She is the Oitopaxa ot Berossus, to be read 'Aitopon, since the 
isopsephism demands the excision ol the a, and the final a is inexplixable, short vocalic 
endings being regularly dropped in late Babylonian, and hence omitted in Greek tran- 
scriptions. 'A/iopoK evidently represents Ama-Engur; for the metathesis ct. surinnu for 



The Mouth of the Rivers 167 

This river, also called 3ubur (see below), 'river of fertility,' inter- 
changes with the apsu, just as among the Egyptians the heavenly 
Nile and the Nile in the underworld often take the place of the celes- 
tial ocean and the subterranean ocean, N<in.^ The mouth is then, 
from another point of view, the sources through which this river 
bursts into the upper world.^ The conception is often graphically 
illustrated. The Egyptian Nun is represented as emitting the two 
or four sources of all waters (see below) from his mouth (cf. Muller, 
Egyptian Mythology, p. 47). Similarly the two Nile sources {qrti) 
are hieroglyphically denoted by two serpents pouring water from their 
mouths. The same idea is found among the Greeks; Miss Harrison 
{Themis, p. 368, Fig. 99) reproduces a vase-painting in which the 
river-god Achelous appears as a human-headed bull, pouring the 
water of the river from his mouth, a conception described poetically 
by Sophocles (Trachin, pp. 9 ff.), who says that the Achelous had 
three forms, a bull,^ a brilliant winding serpent, and an ox-headed 
man, down whose dark beard streams of spring water flowed.* 
In late Mesopotamian syncretism (Apoc. 12, 15,)* the dragon of 
chaos emits a river from his mouth to drown the pregnant goddess. 
The river-god often appears as a serpent; nothing is more common 

^unir. TPdTtiat is caUed {Creation Epic, I, 113; II, 19) ummu ffubur pdtiqat kaldmu, 
•Mother Hubur, creator of everything," an appellative which belongs properly to Engur. 
When Apsfl was masculinized, his leminlue attributes passed to his consort, whom they 
fit but poorly, as she primarily embodies the salt water ol the ocean. 

1 As previously remarked, the Egyptian JVAn is parallel to the apsiX (there is, of 
course, no Sumerian nun, 'heavenly ocean,' as Hommel thought), both ol which are located 
in the underworld; cf. Lefgbure, Sphinx, I, 31 ft., and such phrases as mw nti m dvft >r 
iim nf, 'the waters which are in the underworld hearken to him.* 

2 The source of the waters is also conceived of as the vagina of the earth-mother 
Nin-kllr, etc.), who, in the Langdon Epic, bears vegetation after nine months' gestation, 
as Jastrow has happily shown. In another article I shall try to show, following a Unt of 
Barton's, that col. II, 9, obv., of tliis "epic" is to be rendered, literally, 'Prom the place 
of the flowing forth of the waters which open the womb.' As the necessary Illustrative 
matter will be given there, I will content myself here with referring to naqbu, 'source,' 
and Heb. neqebd, 'female,' alluding to the vagina; 'l'^y)2 and "1S3 of the beloved (Cant. 
4:12, 15); cf. also Eisler, Weltenmantel und HimmeUzelt, II, 380, and for the Kinder- 
brunnen in the lap of mother-earth, from which all infants come to be born of women, 
Dieterlch, Mutter Erde°-, pp. 18 ff., 125 f. 

s The conception of the river as a mighty bull Is common; cf. the Egyptian Nile- 
bull Osiris-Apis, the fc' km, 'black bull,' and Enki, the am-gig-abzu, 'black bull of the 
apsA (RA. XXVIII, 216). 

* ^AxeK^v \iyw, \ 6s fi' iv rpifflv itop<ijaiviv i^jirti Tarpds, \ 0otTwi' ivapyiis ravpos, &Wot' aid\os | 
Sp&Kuv ^XtKrds, aXXor' ivSpeiia rvTif) | fiohxpt^pos, iK Si Satrxiov ytvei&Sos \ Kpovvoi Suppatvovro Kptjvalov 
vorov. 

=• Cf. Gunkel, SchSpfung und Chaos, pp. 379-98. 



168 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

than to compare a meandering stream to the sinuous folds of a snake* 
(cf., e.g., for the Nile, the Cephissus, Jordan, and Leontes, etc., 
Renouf, PSBA, XIII, U; for the JJabfir, Layard, Nineveh and 
Babylon, p. 227). This provides a natural explanation of the river- 
name "* ^Sdgan (or MuS)-tin-tir-dub, 'the river (called) Serpent-god 
who destroys the abode of life,' alluding to the destructive floods 
caused by it. However, since we should hardly expect such an 
ill-omened name, Frank {Religion, p. 253) may be correct in reading 
'^Sagan-tin-tir-sig-sig, "Der Schlangengott, der die Lebenswohnung 
grunen macht."^ 

Other evidence for our result may be drawn from philological 
considerations. BAD means both pu, 'mouth,' and naqbu, 'source,'' 
values hard to separate from bad, 'open,' especially in view of the 
similar development of du, 'open'; cf. Gudea, Cyl. A, XIV, 1^20, 
a-gdl du-gdl-a-ta e-a, id-mag-a-diriga ge-gdl-bi bdr-bdr= 'The streams 
which from the sources go forth, the mighty rivers, abounding in 
water, which spread their fertiUty.' A synonym of KA, unu{TE- 
UNU) = p'ii, 'mouth,' is explained {SGI, p. 53) as originally referring 
to the hole in which the foundation-stone was laid. This is sup- 
ported by HCS, 1, 270, {dlu) sa sind d-Ardni lam'u pt dimti tubal ema 
yiri rukkusu, which may be rendered (contrast JAOS, XXXVI, 232), 
'(a city) surrounded by two walls joined at the base {pu) of the 
towers by platforms {t-AbaM) across (for ema cf. VB, IV, No. 15, 
col. VI, 14 f.) the moat.' Maqlu, IV, 35, bP sa dUri, preceded by 
askuppatu, 'threshold,' and followed by titurru, 'bridge,' evidently 
has the same meaning. The proper Sum. expression for 'base of wall' 
may be ur-ingar-ra-ge {SGI, p. 26) = asMrrtt (properly 'ground water'; 
the foundations were carried down to water-level, where work was 
interrupted by the apsu). I find it hard to resist the impression that 
inu=kir, 'mouth' (see below), in the phrase KA-GA-A=pardgu, 

1 Cf. Kuster, Die Schlange in der griech. Kunst und Religion, p. 155, n. 2. 

2 Cf . above on gud-D UB. 

s The Sumerlan value nagbu is an Akkadian loan word. The genuine word was 
perhaps idim, as suggested by the phonetic complement ma, sometimes found; e.g., 
Langdon, Liturgies, PI. LXVI, 19, we have 6 an-sil kiir-ra ki-sii BAD-ma = 'the temple, 
mountain above, abyss beneath. ' In this case the primary meaning of the word may have 
been 'the remote, inaccessible place' (tdtm=n»s<i, rHqu, SGI, p. 21). which is very interest- 
ing in connection with the statement (OE, XI, 205) that the pt iidrali is located ina rHqi. 
See, however, below for less problematical explanations. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 169 

'split/ is the Sem. inu, 'eye, hole, spring,' just as BAD has the Sem. 
value nagbu. However, inu may be our unu — or conversely (?). 
This prepares us to understand the passage in the Langdon Epic, 
obv. II, 11, ka-a-ki-a-ldg-ta a-dug-ki-ta mu-na-ra-gina= 'From the 
flowing springs of the earth, from the place of sweet water, it (the 
water) shall come forth for thee.' In an extended study of the poem, 
to appear elsewhere, it will be shown that this rendering suits the 
context exactly; girman in line 1 may perhaps mean 'twin source' 
(the rivers are called mas-tab-ba, 'twins'). * According to II R. 51, 42, 
the canal Aral^tu had the Sum. name ^''KA ga-'^D6, which I would 
render 'the abundant source of the god of irrigation.' This is the 
name read by a former generation of scholars Gufpande, which was 
supposed to be the biblical Gihdn. Needless to say, the name Ka-ga- 
^Dtl corresponds to naqah nuhsi, 'source of fertility,' in canal names 
(i.e., Ndr Samsuiluna naqab nufjli). As Witzel has pointed out (BA, 
X, 5, 10, n. 1), the ka of a canal, employed in contrast to the kun, 
'dam, reservoir,'^ is the mouth, i.e., the river-source from which the 
canal flows.' From the preceding it appears clear that in Sumerian 
a spring was called 'mouth' instead of 'eye,' as in Semitic. While 
igi, 'eye,' may also have been used in the same way occasionally, its 
usual Semitic equivalent in a topographical sense is pdnu, 'face, 

1 Girman seems to be a form like sagman, 'twins,' lit. 'two head';, gir will then be a 
variant ol kir (KA), 'mouth,' which is not doubtful at all, as SGI, p. 119 might lead one 
to suppose. The apparent interchange of g and k is not untisual; cf. gir and kir=nagar- 
ruru, 'run,' gir and kir = qardcu, 'gnaw, break off' (SGI, p. 92, 119). 

■ Kun^mihru, 'dam' (Br. 2040, etc.), syn. of sikru (ndra siktru, or, by metathesis, 
kasdru, means 'dam a river, or canal'); miliir ndri also^giS-gi-gi or gis-kes-da, 'dam' 
(cf. also Thureau-Dangin, VB, I, 46, n.d., and HCS, 34, n. 5). The fact that kun = 
zibbatu, 'tail,' has led Witzel to explain it falsely as 'end' (BA, VIII, 5, 10, n. 1). We 
would expect the word for 'dam' to be written gis-kun, which is the ideogram for rapastu, 
'shoulder' (from rapdsu, 'be broad,' Ar. yiJ) , as Holma has shown), Heb. Ukem, which 

corresponds in meaning to Sum. gu, 'the ridge of the back behind the neck.' Both sekem 
and gA=kiHdu are tised also for "ridge, bank of a river.' Since gii is a modified form 
otgun, we can hardly separate it from kun=rapaltu, whose ideogram GIS-KUN is simply 
borrowed from *gis-kun, 'dam.' For the passages In which the ka and kuti of a canal are 
contrasted, see Witzel, loc. cit. That my explanation is correct is shown by the kudurru 
of Melisipak, col. II, 19 (BA, VIII, 2, 4), where the mihru, 'dam,' and the namba'u, 
'source,' of the canal Ndr sarri represent the Sumerian kun and ka, respectively, or in 
modem parlance the 'barrage' (weir) and 'sluiceway.' 

' As observed in the preceding note, In BA, Witzel explained ka correctly, but missed 
kun; later, in Babyloniaca, VII, 56, he misinterprets ka, explaining it as 'river-wall,' 
on the basis of Br. 542, KA=sukku. The equation is, however, false; what we have is 
il-dug = usukku, 'sanctuary,' natm-ally identical with usug = eiirtu (SGI, p. 55, mug); 
for the phonetic change cf. Nidaba = Nisaba. Thureau-Dangin's explanation of the pas- 
sage in the text of Utu-gegal Is unquestionably correct. 



170 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

surface'' itself primarily pluralis intensiviks of pu, 'mouth' (Haupt, 
AJSL, XXII, 258). Also Gr. aTOfxa was used of fons as well as of 
ostium; cf. Herodotus i. 202, where he says of the Araxes, (nbiiacn 
bt e^epevyerai TeaaapaKOvra, tuv to. iravra, ttXijc iv6s, is 'iKea re Kai 
Ttvayea hibiboi. Schweighauser (quoted in Creuzer-Bahr, I, 406) 
maintained that i^epevyerai "non de ostiis in mare se exonerantibus 
debere ac cipi, sed de rivis e quadraginta orificiis .... magna vi 
erumpentibus" (contrast, however, article, "Araxes" in Pauly- 
Wissowa).'' Even in Assyrian our usage survived; pidti^ is employed 
by Shalmaneser III {BA, VI, 1, 55; see below) for the sources of the 
Tigris. His predecessor A^Siima^irapli III uses pidti for the mouths 
by \yhich the gdbiir emptied into the Euphrates. 

Evidently, therefore, the id-ka-min-na represent the sources 
(respective source; see below) of the Tigris and Euphrates, the twin 
streams, constantly associated in ancient and modern times alike, 
so closely in fact that the cuneiform ideogram for Mesopotamia is 
BUR-BUR-KI, the land of the (two) rivers (bur),* just as Egypt is the 
P-mri, 'land of the inundation.' Though later identified with north- 
ern Mesopotamia and even with Armenia (by the Assyrians, who 
themselves lived in northern Mesopotamia), we may suppose that 
originally it comprised the whole valley, both Ki-engi, 'the land of 
irrigating ditches and reeds, '^ with the political name Sumer (which 
cannot be derived from it), and Ki-uri, 'the land of timber' (? Mr = 
gusuru; gis is too general and includes shrubs and vines as well as 
trees) — in prehistoric times northern Mesopotamia seems to have 
contained extensive forests, which later disappeared. Our explana- 
tion of BUR-BUR-KI is supported by the fact that bur is a common 
element in old Sumerian river-names. Besides Buranun, 'the mighty 
river,' we have Ildbur, presumably going back to a Sumerian Gabur, 
'river of abundance' ; the valley of the gabfir is still renowned for its 

1 Hence igi is explained by mdtu, 'land' (SGI, p. 19). 

2 Vergil {Aeneid 1. 245) employs os in a similar way; ora ?!o»em = 'nine sources.' 

3 Form like Heb. Jl'l'iB . 

' Barton has a different view of the origin ol the sign (.Bab. Writing, No. 316), but 
I tall to see any cogent evidence for the palm-tree theory. When the sign first meets us 
In the Gudea texts it is clearly S UR+BVR; the assumed earlier forms are very doubtful. 

s This rendering seems still the best; note that the Brussels vocabulary writes. 
Instead of KI-EN-GI or KI-IN-GI, KI-BI-E-GI (BA, X, 70; Pinches, PSBA. XXXV, 
155). While the BI is disconcerting (cf. Pinches), the E may be original. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 171 

luxuriant vegetation; cf. Layard's glowing description (Nineveh 
and Babylon, p. 227). The mythical river Qubur (the u stands for a, 
by vocalic harmony) has the same meaning; Jensen's suggestion 
(KB, VI, 1, 307 f.) that Hubur means "das Nordland" and Delitzsch's 
view {SGI, p. 215) that Gubur has the primary value "tief, Tiefe" 
can hardly be correct.' While_ originally the subterranean river of 
fertility (see above), JJubur becomes later the river of death, as in 
Craig (Rel. Texts, p. 44, 16-17), where the mention of the urulp mutt, 
'way of death,' is followed by ndri Hubur; cf. also op. cit., page 17, 
1, 3, 5, addressed to Tammuz: enHma tallaku uru^ka — enuma 
tebbiru nar Hubur — enHma (so) tallaku gera = 'When thou dost traverse 
thy way — when thou crossest the river JJubur — when thou dost 
traverse the desert.'^ While the subject of the waters of death will 
be treated elsewhere, the gist of my conclusions may be given here. 
As the Babylonians placed both AraM and the apsu in the under- 
world, they naturally found it difficult to fix their geographical bound- 
aries. In the ensuing confusion the river of death was thrown 
together with the. subterranean mother of rivers. While we are not 
concerned here with the origin of the former conception, one can 
hardly doubt that the belief in underground waters, which the dead 
had to pass en route to Hades, played a guiding r61e in its formation. 
The apsH shows a tendency to encroach upon Hades proper, whence 
the latter was regarded as a refrigerium (as in Egyptian eschatolbgy), 
where the shades drank pure water.* The idea expressed in the 

1 Ki-gu-bur-ra is 'the place of the (river) Gubur,' the underworld, and is used allu- 
sively for 'the depth.' Jensen's view is based primarily ujpon the equation ffu-bu-url'i = 
Subartu"!' (II R. 50, col. II, 51), which is, however, almost certainly an erroneous combina- 
tion of the Assyrian scholars. It is not diflBcult to point out how the mistake arose. In 
southern Babylonia there was a city A-7}A-KI or GA-A-KI (Poebel, Hist. Texts, pp. 121f.), 
with the Semitic equivalent Subaru or Su'aru, which legend made the home of the 
young Tanunuz. Since, however, Dumu-zi-abzu (the god's full name) was born and 
reared, according to the theologians, in the apsH, or underworld, Subaru was transplanted 
to the lower world (like Kutli and Eridu) where the Tammuz liturgies unmistakably 
locate it, near the river IJubur. At this point some ingenious lexicographer identified 
Subartu, with the niSbe Subaru, and the river Habur flowing through it, with Subaru 
on the river ffubur in the underworld. We must remember that the (lubur was probably 
fancied to lie in the northern part of the lower world (see below). Cf. also Langdon, 
Liturgies, p. 115; Tammuz and Xshtar, p. 138, n. 9. 

2 Sum. edin = seru, 'desert, steppe,' is also a tropical name of the abode of the dead; 
Oasan-edina= Selii ftri is a goddess of Hades, who In the later hierarchic system Is sub- 
ordinated to Ere§kigal, with the title dupsarrat erbium, 'scribe of Hades.' Originally the 
dead were probably supposed to go westward over the desert to Kumugea, like the sun. 

5 Cf. NE, 17, 45 = 19, 40, and tablet XII, col. VI, 1. 



172 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

Gilgames epic that one had to cross the me muti in order to reach Ely- 
sium at the pi ndrdti is a natural result of the initial confusion. The 
barrier which seemed necessary to keep mortals out of Elysium was 
simply borrowed from the topography of the underworld (see below). 

The quest for sources has always possessed a rare fascination for 
human minds, and river sources seem to have no small degree of 
this seductiveness, as is testified by the age-old search for the sources 
of the Nile and the Ganges. Where the sacral character inherent in 
fountains was increased by the reverence paid in Mesopotamia at all 
times to the waters of the twin rivers, the donors of life and prosperity, 
we may safely expect to find the fountains from which the Euphrates 
and Tigris issue regarded with superstitious veneration. So it has 
been, from the earliest ages to the present day. The sources of the 
Kara Su at Dtimli, several hours north of Erzerum, are considered 
holy both by Christians and by Moslems, who make pilgrimages to 
them from some distance. The cold, crystalline water is thought to 
be, a sovereign remedy for man and beast ahke.^ 

In Assyrian times we find the same worship of the sources. Shal- 
maneser III (860-825) visited the sources of the Tigris at least twice 
(cf . Unger, Zum Bronzetor von Balawat, pp. 57 ff .) and left inscriptions 
to commemorate his presence. In the Obelisk (pp. 69 ff.), he describes 
his first visit (in 853) in the following terms: adi r&s '^^''tni sa ndr 
Diqlat, asar miigO, sa m& Saknu, dlik, kak Assur ina libbi ulil, niqe ana 
ildnfa agbat, naptan fyudiUu askun, galam sarruPa .... ina libbi 
xi§^ziz= 'To the source of the river Tigris, where the waters flow 
forth, I went; the weapon of Assur I cleansed there, sacrifices to my 
gods I offered, a banquet (i.e., a sacramental meal) I made, my royal 
image I set up there.' The second visit (in 845) is celebrated with the 
words: ina r&s "'''" eni sa ndr Diqlat galam sarrMVa ina kdpi sa sadt 
ina gtt naqabiSa abnt=' At the source of the Tigris, on the chff by the 
exit of its source, my royal statue I carved (lit. constructed).' On 
the bronze gates of Balawat the journey in 853 is described in very 
interesting terms {BA, VI, 1, 55): ina pidti sa ndri erub, niqe ana 
ildni aq{q)i, galam sarrMVa xisdziz = '\nto the sources (i.e., into the 
caverns from which the river emerges) of the river I entered; sacri- 
fices to the gods I offered; my royal statue I erected.' Shalmaneser 

I Lehmann-Haupt, ARW. Ill, 4 f . 



The Mouth of the Rivers. 173 

visited the headwaters of both rivers; in his throne-inscription (BA, 
VI, 1, 152, 12 f.) he styles himself dmir-ma endti Sa ndr Diqlat u ndr 
Purdti = 'The one who saw the sources of the Tigris and the Eu- 
phrates' (cf. also the Colossus, 11. 27 f.). 

Art and mythology pictured the sources as springing from a vase 
or vases in the apsH (for the seal cylinders representing the spouting 
vase and the streams see now Ward, Seal Cylinders, pp. 213-18). ' 
The first serious treatment of the sigillographic material was given 
by Hoffman in a learned article (ZA, XI, esp. pp. 273-79), unfor- 
tunately rather defective from the Assyriological point of view. That 
the group really represents the two rivers, sometimes doubted, is 
clear from the cylinder of Sargon the Elder (ca. 2850),^ portraying 
symmetrically two heroes of the Gilgames type holding vases from 
which streams gush, to provide water for vegetation (indicated by 
sprouts) and herds (two buffalos).^ Ward, No. 648, exhibits Ea in 
his subterranean abode, surrounded by the waters of the apsH, the 
escape of which is prevented by two genii, who stand at the gateposts.* 
In No. 649 Ea stands on the goat-fish and the man-fish, symbolizing 
fertility; from his shoulders flow two streams, while in his hands he 
holds the spouting vase. In No. 654 the vase is held by the man- 
fish. The fish beside the streams prove that they represent actual 
water courses. This mystic vase seems to be alluded to Gudea, 
Cyl. A, 25, 17-19, where we read: ^-nad-da mu-dH-de kur-sdr-da mes- 
ku{g)-abzu-a dUg il-la-dm = 'The bed-chamber (of the god) which he 
built was (like) the cosmic mountain (apparently representing the 
northern mountains, in which the entrance to the underworld was 
fancied to lie; see below) in which the pure hero of the apsu (pre- 
sumably Enki-Ea) holds (his) vessel.' The reading dug is due to 
Thureau-Dangin, but the comparison can hardly be with the vessel 
(Th-D), for syntactic reasons alone. In the cylinder of Gudea 

1 The development of the idea may have been assisted by the paronomasia between 
6wru, 'river,' and hur, 'vase, urn,' neither of which have anytliing to do with Assyr. fcflrw, 
'well.' There are many such coincidences between Sumerian and Semitic, which are not 
to be taken seriously (AJSL, XXXIV, 87, n. 1), though in some cases we may have to 
do with unrecognized loan words. 

1 Ward, Nos. 26, 156. The symbolic function of the representation is discussed in an 
article on Gilgames and Engidu, to appear in JAOS. 

* As Ward pointed out, the animals are water buflalos. 

' The l^ ni-dit ^Enhi-gi; see above. 



174 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

(Ward, No. 650; cf. Heuzey, RA, V, 129 ff., and Gudea, Cyl. A, 18, 
14 ff.) Ningirsu appears as lord of the inundation, with spouting 
vases, and two jets of water leaping from his shoulders.' 

If there is any lingering doubt about the significance of the vase, 
and its relation to the pt ndrdti, this should be removed by a com- 
parison of parallel Egyptian conceptions, already suggested by 
Sayce and others.^ The primitive Egyptians believed that the Nile 
issued from one or two caves, called grt or tpht.^ In the conventional 
representation (cf. PSBA, XIII, opp. p. 10, and RT, XXXVII, 24) 
there is depicted a cliff surmounted by the Horus-falcon of Hieracon- 
poHs and the ^^6<-vulture of Elkab, above a cavern encircled by a 
serpent, in which crouches ff^pj, the Nile, holding two vases in his 
hands from which flow two streams — the two Niles. The Nile 
sources are denoted hieroglyphically by two serpents pouring water 
from their mouths (cf. above), properly the snake guardians of the 
sources, according to a well-known motive, also occurring in Arabia 
and Mesopotamia. In the Pyramid Texts the cataract-goddess 
Satis is said to hold four vases, from which the four sources of the 
Nile spring, in Elephantine, south of the cataract (cf. PT, 1116, 1691; 
Roeder, AZ, XLV, 24; Miiller, Egyptian Mythology, pp. 46, 370). 
Later Satis was confounded with the Sirius star, Sothis (Spdt^ 
perhaps 'the fertilizer'; cf. the Iranian Tistrya), and the Nile was 
imagined to spring from a drop falling annually from the rainy star, a 
conception surviving to the present day (cf. Renouf, PSBA, XIII, 9). 
Hntim of Elephantine, the head of the local triad, is also, as might be 
expected, associated with the Nile sources, as is indicated by the 
hieroglyphic writing of his name with a vase. Paronomasia may 
also play a part, combining Hnm with hmnt, 'well, fountain.' The 
goddess of hfe and fertihty, Ifqt, the holy Nile frog, is addressed (cf. 
Spiegelberg, Sphinx, VII, 217) as the whm-'^n}), pr m qrtj, 'the life- 
giver, who goest out from the two sources' ; perhaps there was another 
pun between qrti and qrr, 'frog' (Ar. qurra). The most explicit 
account of Egyptian ideas on the subject is given by Herodotus 

1 The name Ningirsu, Lord of Glrsu (a section of Lagas), seems to liave been com- 
bined by popular etymology with girsi, 'inundation' ; see below. 

2 Cf. Sayce, Gifford Lectures, p. 137, n. 3. 

« Eg. qrt is ultimately connected with Heb. maqdr, 'fountain,' and Ar. i^aqr, 'cavity 
In the rock'; {pjif is related to Ar. kahf, 'cave,' and Assyr. kuppu, 'fountain,' as will be 
shown elsewhere. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 175 

ii. 28, on the authority of a Saite priest, whose testimony was more 
rehable than the father of history judged. According to this con- 
ception the Nile rises at Elephantine from two exceedingly deep pits, 
on the summits of two hills. The two sources are called, according 
to Herodotus, Kpucjn and Mox^i, which have variously been explained 
(Maspero,. Spiegelberg) as *Qrf, *Mwf ('his source, his water'), and 
*Qr-]fpi, *Mw-]fpi ('the source of the Nile, the water of the Nile')- 
The latter restorations are unquestionably preferable to the former, 
in view of the final i. However, the explanation of Mco^i as 'water 
of the Nile' is highly improbable; I would suggest that Mucjn stands 
for *TjLico</)i, a corruption of *Tpht-1fpi (cf. Smendes for NsbnM), 
since tpht is the ordinary synonym of qrt. The Saite priests' remark- 
able statement that the two streams flow in the opposite directions, 
the one toward the north, the other in the direction of Ethiopia, has 
not been taken seriously hitherto, but turns out to be partly correct 
after all. Ch^lu (Le Nile, le Soudan, I'Egypte [Paris, 1891], p. 67), 
called the attention of the world to the curious fact that above the 
first cataract, on the left bank of the Nile, there is a strong counter- 
current, flowing upstream for about a hundred kilometers. Barks 
northward bound avoid this current very carefully, in order not to be 
carried back again. The bearing of this phenomenon upon the pas- 
sage in Herodotus has been noted by Von Bissing and Boussac 
{RT, XXXII, 45; XXXVII, 26). Evidently the prehistoric Egyp- 
tians, whose knowledge of the Upper Nile was very limited, noted this 
fact, and jumped to the conclusion that there were two Niles, rising 
at the cataract and flowing in opposite directions. In modern times 
the Maelstrom has been explained in just as naive a way. When 
the Egyptians became better acquainted with the geography of the 
Nile, our conception had become a fixed tenet of mythology, where 
it survived into Greek times, with the tenacity pecuHar to religious 
beliefs. Of course, no traveler took the idea seriously, but the priests 
and the people clung to it with habitual conservatism. The notion 
that there were four vases, whence as many Niles rose, is merely a 
step in the direction of symmetry— a river for each direction, an 
idea which we will also find in Mesopotamia. 

Returning to the incantatory literature, we will find an abundance 
of material confirming our thesis indirectly. The whole lustrational 



176 The American Journal op Semitic Languages 

system is bound up intimately with the use of ritually. pure water 
from the sources of the rivers or from fountains springing directly 
from the apsu, uncontaminated by exposure to the upper air, and 
defihng contact with men and animals. That the water was often 
only nominally pure goes without saying (see below). The most 
explicit mention of the sources is found in an incantation of the a-giih- 
ba (holy water) type, published by Ebeling {Keilschrifttexte aus Assur 
religiosen Inhalts, No. 34) •} 

1. Ml eUMi me ehhMi mi namrMi 

a-imin-a-rd-imin ^Idigna "^Burammu 
a-ba-ni-sud a-ba-lni-] el-la a-^a-ni-ldg-lag 

10. ^^Asari-lu-dftig [a-ma-\ tu{l)-ka sa baldti lu-ma}),{[)-^cU{?)^ 

'^[Asari{ ?)] Mlu kli-bi-i]t-ka lu-mah-rat 

[ ?«)•] ki-ka naqbu sa ^^Ea Ml Eridu arkat-ka lu-inah-rat( ?)' 

[i-] di-ka ^^Asari-lMtAg me tdmti tdm&ti rapsdti 

mi ndr Idiqlat me ndr Puratti elMti 
15. sa iUu kuppe ana sad ffa^ur ofUni 

a '^Bwanunu a-kug-ga "^Buranunu 

a-kug-ga '^Asari-lii-d'Ag utallil marga 

a-kug-ga me-en a-el-la me-en a-ta-ta-na* me-en 

Or-ldg-laig-ga me-en a-kug-ga ^Buranunu 
20. a-kug-ga '^Asari-lii-dug iUallil marsa = 

1. Pure waters, bright waters, shining waters — 

With waters of the Tigris and Euphrates, seven times seven times, 
One has sprinkled, one has cleansed, one has purified. 

10. O Marduk, may thy [worjd of life be favorable! 
O lord [Marduk], may thy c[omman]d be favorable! 
[Beh]ind thee is the source of Ea, lord of Eridu; may what is behind 

thee be favorable ! 
[At] thy side, Marduk, is the water of the sea, of the wide seas, 
(But) with the pure waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates, 

1 The text has also been studied by Schroder (ZA, XXX, 88 ff.), whose treatment 
differs considerably from mine. The text is not bilingual to the extent that he supposes, 
but merely alternates between Sumerian and Akkadian; the Semitic additions are 
naturally glosses to the original, expansional rather than explanatory. 

2 Schroder reads [?] -«m gw nig-ti-la-sit g^-en-tuk, taking the next line as [a-mat 
ba-la-ti]-ka lu-mal^-rat, translating "(Marduk) mOge das Wort zu seinem Leben anneh- 
men," all of which is very unlikely; nlg-ti-la would be a new word. 

s Schroder's reading is entirely different. LI is surely arkatu, a common value, 
though accidentally omitted by Delitzsch in his "Elmer, aus einem Meere geschOpft." 
I Sum. tan=zam (SGI, p. 1S6); cf. SchrSder. ' 



The Mouth op the Rivers 177 

15. Which go forth from their sources to Mount ga§ur, 

With water of the Euphrates, with holy water of the Euphrates, 

With holy water Marduk has purified the sick man. 

Holy waters are they (resp. ye), bright waters are they, clear waters are 
they 

Pure waters are they — holy waters of the Euphrates. 
20. With holy water Marduk has purified the sick man. 

Schroder has overlooked the fact that a fragment of our incantation, 
corresponding with slight variations to lines 15-19, has been published 
{CT, XXXIV, 17, K. 16350): 

sa istu kuppS ana sad fflasur . . . . ] 
^Buranunu ^Bura{nunu . . . . ] 
a-kug-ga '^Asari-lu-d4g[ ] 
a-kug-ga [ ] 
[a-lag-la]g-g[a . . . . ] 

Other incantations of our type are found in ASKT, 90, XIX, 1 ff. 
(fAsari-alim-nun-na dumu-sag Uruduga-ge a-gub-ba a-kug-ga a-elrla 
a-lag-lag-ga a-imin-a-rd-min-na a-ba-ni-4n-sud, etc. = 'Asari-alim- 
nuna, the eldest son of Eridu [cf. above], with lustra! water, holy 
water, pure water, bright water, twice seven times has sprinkled,' etc.) 
and ASKT, No. 9, 2ff. (a-kug-ga [ ] a ^'Buranunu[ ] a sigga- 
bar-ra sal-[SGl, g^me]zid-de-es-dug, ka-ku{g) ^En-ki-ge na-ri-ga-dm, 
dumu abzu imin-na-ne-ne a-mu-un-kug-ga= 'With holy water [ ] 
water of the Euphrates [ ] water which the wild goat [i.e., Enki] 
faithfully prepared, which the holy mouth of Enki purified,^ the 
brood of the apsH, the seven of them,^ have sprinkled'). 

A similar incantation, of great interest, is given in the series 
Surpu (IX, 110 ff., resp. 122 ff., Zimmern, BKR, Plate LXXIX). 

110. ^n: a en-e kHr-gal-ta si-nam-mi[-sd] 

a ^'^Buranunu-kug-ga-ta si-nam-mil-sd] 

sig-ga abzu-ta nam-isih-ba PA-KAB-DU [ ] 

sig-ga Uruduga-ge lub-ne-in[-sum] 

Biserin ne-in-tag dUga-sur-ra ne-in[-tag] 
115. ^Na-an-na mu-un-tag '^Ki-ki mu-un-ta[g] 

^Eri^ki lugal-abzu-ge el-la mio-un-tag 

1 For the Idea that the water of the sources passes through the mouth ol the wild goat, 
Enki, cf . the Illustrations given above. 

2 CT, XXIV, 16, 29-33 mentions six sons of Enki, one for each sextant. The number 
seven is perhaps due to Semitic influence. 



178 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

lu-gM-lu dunvurdingir^a-na kus-na mu-un-tag 
mu-un-el-la mu-un-lag-la^-ga, etc. = 

110. With water which the lord (Ea) has guided from the great mountain 
(the underworld), 

Water which down the pure Euphrates he had guided, 

The product' of the apsil, for the purpose of lustration ( ?) , 

The product of Eridu, an incantation he performed. 

Cedar one has felled; ^oswr-wood one has felled; 
115. Nanna^ has felled it; Kiki^ has felled it; 

Ea, the king of the pure apsA, has felled it; 

(With it) he has touched' the body of the man, son of his god, 

And has cleansed him, has purified him, etc. 

' Cf. Br. 7011, sig = banA. 

2 Nanna and Kiki are otherwise not mentioned (was the original reading an-na an-na, 
ki-a, ki-af). It is possible that Nanna is a? reflection of the moon-god Nanna(r), the 
carpenter of heaven ilamga-gal-an-na-ge), especially since in the curious incantation IV 
R. 25, col. Ill, 42 fl. the new moon is said to have risen at its creation from the 5a^ur- 
forest. So far as I know, the passage has not been translated recently, so it may be worth 
while to give the Sumerlan text with a translation: 

42. -fin; ud an-dim-me-en ud-sar el-la su-dU-a me-en 

an-pa-^ (var. an-^-a) gil-sd kiir-kiir-ra-g& 

su-liyn an-ta-gdl nam-nir-ra dH-a nir gab-til 
48. me-ldm nigin SIG-\-ALAM nl-gus-ri-a 

gir-gal mul-mul ud-sar kvfg-gi-eS data 

an-dim-me-en ki-dim-me-en 
54. ud-sar ne-e an-sdr ki-sdr dim-me-en 

ud-sar ne-e gis tir-gis ga-sur-ra-ta mu-un-6 

ud-sar nig-^dingir; Sem. binut ili)-dim-dim-ma nam-lii-gdl-lu mu-un-dim-ma 
60. ud-sar sit-da sal-zid-de-es-dug-ga 

kin dQuskin-banda dim-e-da-gi 

ud-sar ne-e ka-nu-dii-u-da na-bil {SGI, na-izi) nu-gur {SGI, p. 217) 
66. u-nu-kii-e a-nu-[nag-ga] = 

42 When heaven was created and the crescent moon was finished. 

Rising in heaven over all the lands. 

Equipped with splendor, adorned with majesty, hero perfect of breast, 
48. Haloed with radiance, enveloped In form with terror. 

Gloriously shining forth, the new moon brightly gleaming. 

In heaven it was created ; in earth it was created. 
54. The new moon {azqaru annu — should we read ud-sar-gibil-e f) was created in the 
expanse of lieaven and earth; 

The new moon arose from the gaSur-forest. 

New moon, handiworlc of the gods, made by manldnd, 
60. New moon, fashioned with perfect and constant care 

By the craft of GuSkinbanda, who constructed thee — 

(Even) the new moon without "mouth-opening" cannot smell incense, 
66. Nor can it eat or drink. 

LI. 58 it. show that the incantation is intended to demonstrate the efilcacy of the cere- 
mony of the pit pi, by which the image of a god was consecrated (see below and BKR, 
p. 139, in this case the cult bark of the moon-god, evidently constructed of cedar from Mt. 
JHa§ur, just as the bark of the Egyptian sun-god AmOn was built of Cedar of Lebanon. 
Col. IV goes on to give the formulas accompanying the ceremony itself. 

3 There is a paronomasia between tag, 'fell,' and tag, 'touch,' etymologically, of course, 
identical. 



The Mouth op the Rivers 179 

Before entering upon a discussion of the lustrational praxis, it is 
imperative that some problems which press themselves upon our 
attention in the foregoing incantations be solved. Their solution will, 
I think, throw light on a whole series of conceptions closely related 
to our subject. Mount JJaSur in the Ebeling incantation must be 
identified with the Assyrian Kasiari^ (Delitzsch, Parodies, p. 259), 
the MaaMv 6po$ of Strabo xi. 14. 2, and the Ma§ of Gen. 10:23 (for 
Assyr. Mdsu see below), the modern Tur '^Abdin north of Nagibina- 
Nisibis. This location agrees perfectly with the words, 'pure waters 
of the Tigris and Euphrates, which go forth from their sources to 
Mount gasur,' since the two rivers skirt this chain in flowing south- 
ward.^ Mount tJalur, with the appellative sad erini, 'the cedar 
mountain,' is mentioned between JJamanu, Amanus, and Labnanu, 
Lebannon, in the list of mountains II R. 61, No. 1, obv. 4.' The cedar 
mountain is also mentioned Surpu, IX, 42 ff.: '" erin-gal kur-gal-ta 
mu-a, kur-ki-el-la-ta nam-tar-ra, kur-gis-ga-sur-ra-ta an-us-sa, ir-si-im- 
bi a-sdg-ga dtrig-ga= 'Great cedar, sprung from the great mountain 
(i.e., which takes root in the underworld), whose destiny is set in the 
mountains, a pure place, in the mountain of the fyasur-tree it reaches 
heaven; its fragrance floats over the plain.' In the Irra myth we 
read {KB, VI, 1, 68, 26 f.): sadd SAR-SAR imtdnt qaqqarsu (cf. 
qaqqaris imnii), sa qisti ^'^Hasur uktappira gupnusa= 'The mountain (s) 
of SAR-SAR^ he leveled to the ground; he destroyed the trunks of 
the trees of the 5a§ur forest.'^ It is generally supposed that the 
hasur was a particular species of cedar, which is possible, but not 
probable. Such passages as KB, II, 22, 76 (Tiglath-pileser IV), 
gusure erini st}}'uti sa M eres }j,asuri ana ugguni tdbu = 'great cedar 

1 It is hard to decide which of the two forms is more original (cf . dug sagur=sakar, etc.). 
The interchange of J and k Is not uncommon in Asianic territory. 

2 Mount KaSjari may have included Qaraja Dagh, southwest of Diiarbekr, referred 
by the Greeks to the Taurus. 

3 In the ZO-myth the bird makes his perch on Ga-sur nu-su-kilr-ra-gk {CT, XV, 42 
and 43), 'Ha§ur, the unknown among mountains,' in the far north, corresponding to 
the Iranian HarS, berezaitl. 

' KGB-SAB-SAB is probably a variant of KI)B-SAB, 'earth-mountain,' and here 
refers to the cosmic world-mountain in the north (the Heb. lyTQ "in . which is pre- 
sumably an adaptation of sad kiliati), confused by the Assyrians with kur. Hades, and 
hence called Sad Aralt (see Delitzsch, Paradies, pp. 11711., and below). Geographically 
it refers to the encircling mountain chain formed by the Zagros and Taurus. 

^ The current translations are wrong; imtdnt qaqqarsu = qaqqaris imn&; gupnu, 
'trunk of tree,' must be distinguished from gapnu, 'vine' (,HCS, p. 39, n. 2). 



180 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

beams which like the fragrance of i^aSur were good to smell,' prove 
nothing; the 'fragrance of fiasur' is merely an archaistic expression. 
The early Sumerians must have drawn part, at least, of their cedar 
from Mount Masius,^ whence it was floated down the Tigris to 
Babylonia in rafts; cf. Gudea, Cyl. A, col. 22, 3, (^) sa-tu-bi erin-a 
ga-su-ur-ra Su-ge-tag-ga-dm'= 'the satu (of the temple) was adorned with 
cedar of JJaSur.' The Tur is now fairly well forested (Sachau, 
Reise in Syrien und Mesopotamien, pp. 408 f. and 418), chiefly with 
dwarf oak, dwarf fir, and bushes (astragalus, etc.). In ancient times 
it must have contained cedar forests, in its upper reaches, at least. 
It is a well-known fact that climatic changes, assisted by the enter- 
prise of man, have completely changed the character of the forests 
in these regions. In the Lebanon, for example, cedar has retired to 
the summits, being replaced by dwarf oak, juniper, and underbrush. 
We are now able to take up a passage from the Tammuz liturgy, 
Cr, XV, 26, 22ff.:2 

22. Or-u-a ea(l)-al-ld svb^-da 
id*-da id*-da e*-sig-gi-da 
1. me-e^ dumu e^-da e*-sig-gi-dam^ 
''Dor-mu' &*-da ^-Ag-gi-dam^ 
gudu {BA, X, 96, 211) e*-da e^-sig-gi-dam^' » 
zag-mu e"erin-dm gab-mu «^'^M,-'Ar-man-dm? 
5. e-me'"-da zag-si-mu tHefrin-a-ru^^-dm 
oihrin-a-ru^^-am ga-svrW-ra-ka^^ 
mu-gig-gi Tilmun-a-ka{iy^ 
i-di-mu egir-bi zid^^-sal-im-ma-ni-dtig 
sak-ki-mu men'^-dala-6'' sal-im-ma-ni-dug 

1 On the other hand the cedar forest of the Gllgames epic is probably to be sought, 
with Gressmann and Clay, in Syria; cf. also Poebel, Hist. Texts, p. 224. 

' For previous studies of these difficult texts see Zinimern, Sumerisch-Babylonische 
Tamuzlieder, No. 7 (fundamental); Langdon, SBP, 33411.; Witzel, RA, X, 16611. 

^ DU+DU; cf. SGI, p. 248. 

* The variant has i (.NI) for all these signs — a bad piece of phonetic spelling. 

s Variant ma-a. « Variant da. 

' Variant '^Da-mu-mu. 

s Variant inserts here the line ^Esir (KA-DI) i-da i-sig-gi-da. 

» Variant na. i= Variant kam. 

" Variant um-me. " Variant omits this line. 

" So variant. " Variant zi-da. 

1^ Or para; cf. Yale Syl., 1. 107, para=agu sarri, 'royal tiara.* 

^6 Variant so. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 181 

10. d-dis-kus (a)-(wM)'-w egir gis erin-na-ka sal-im-ma-ni-dug 
■murgu-mu TUG-GAB-gad-dit-a sal-im-ma-ni-dug 
mcfi iu-mu-mu i-ne-sii nad-da= 

22. Sated with lamentation for the shepherd (am I), 

Who in the river, in the river, was cast,' 
1. Alas for the child, who in the river was cast. 

(My) Damu, who in the river was cast, 

The pasis-prince {OLZ, XVIII, 134) who in the river was cast. 

" On my right is a cedar, on my left'' is a cypress; 
5. My pregnant' mother is a consecrated cedar, 

A cedar of JIalur, 

A dark tree of Tilmun.' 

My face behind it is continually propitious;' 

My forehead, decorated with a shining tiara, is propitious; 
10. My arm, rising one cubit* behind the cedar, is propitious; 

My shoulder, adorned with a Unen mantle, is propitious." 

Alas for my child — ^now' he lies (dead). 

Lines 4-11 are evidently addressed by the image of the god, 
through the mouth of a lector, to his worshipers, comforting them for 
their distress with reassuring words; the time is at hand when the 
god will be reborn from the holy cedar, now pregnant with him. 
Though now lying dead in his cedar coflSn, he will return in due season, 

' Variant so. 2 Variant me-e. 

' So wltli Langdon and Witzel. The orthography cannot be taken seriously in most 
of the Tammuz liturgies. 

< So with Zimmem and Witzel; gab is tor guh, kab. 

s Zag-si='iull of side, pregnant'; hence zag, properly 'side,' comes to mean 'womb'; 
cf. Br. 6489, = r^mM, and Br. 6516, zag-lal=sassilru (from Sum. si-Mr, lit. 'the inclosure 
of the bowels'; contrast SGI, p. 163). 

• Mu =muS, 'tree,' as often; Langdon's rendering of the line is hardly to be taken 
seriously. 

' Sal-dug (SGI, gSme-dug) here probably has the meaning 'treat kindly, be favorable 
toward,' as, e.g., CT, XV, 17, 16, a-a-zu igi-gM-la mu-e-si-in-bar sal-zid-ma'ra-ni-in-dug = 
'Thy father beholds thee with a glad eye; constant favor to thee he shows'; cf.i also 
ASKT,x>. 128, 75-76, sal-dug-ga^Nu-dim-mud-da me-cn = 'the merciful one of Nudimmud 
am I' {ri[m]nU Nudimmud andku). In these passages the other meaning 'prepare, maVe 
ready, adorn' does not fit. 

8 This expression surely means that the image of the god was ithyphallic; <£ is a 
euphemism for uS, like Pers. daat, Heb. iai, and Assyrian q&tu (GE, VI, 69; I shall show 
elsewhere that Jiardatu has the sense 'vulva,' a conclusion which Professor Haupt and 
myself reached independently, on different grounds). As Tammuz is said to be lying 
dead in his cedar coflfln, he cannot be compared directly to Hermes or Min, but rather to 
the ithyphallic corpse of Osiris, who begot Horus (Harpocrates) posthumously by Isis. 
One cubit is, of course, the length of the forearm. 

' }-ne-sii = inanna. 



182 The Amebican Journal of Semitic Languages 

bringing with him another year of fertility. The erin-a-ru is per- 
haps a cedar trunk set up in the temple, hke the rfd-pillar of Osiris 
or the pine of Attis; the name indicates that it was a maggebd (cf. 
Isa. 6:13), like the wooden post of ASerd (cf. nd-ru-a, 'stele'), and 
perhaps the gis-a-am of Gilgames.' It is very important to note that 
Tammuz is implicitly identified with the river into which he is cast, 
just as Osiris is with the Nile.^ As the lord of vegetation, Tammuz 
sends the inundation, whence he receives the name Umun-me-ir-si = 
Ml girs^} The repeated invocations in the Tammuz liturgies to the 
illu,'^ identify the river with the various forms of Tammuz, Ninazu, 
lord of healing, NingiSzida, Lamga, Esir (KA-DI), Ama-usumgal-ana, 
etc. The purpose of this enumeration is not simply litanic, but is 
to insure the due appearance of the inundation by enlisting the whole- 
hearted support of the god of vegetation, in all his forms and emana- 
tions. 

Befofe considering the significance of the reference to gasur in 
our liturgy, we must dispose of Tilmun. The consensus of opinion 
has long inclined to the identification of Tilmun with the TuXoj of 
Ptolemy, the modern Bahrein, in spite of the opposition of Delitzsch 
(Parodies, p. 178), and now of Langdon {Sum. Epic of Paradise, 
pp. 8-11). It seems to me that the combination is perfectly certain, 
to judge from several converging lines of evidence.* Thus Sargon II 

• For the giS-a-am of Gilgames see my paper, Gilgames and Engidu, to appear In 
JAOS; the ideogram cannot be made the basis for botanical conclusions (Holma, Kleine 
Beitrage, pp. 58 f.). There is perhaps confusion between gis-a-am = ildaqqu (for *«t- 
daqqu), the scion or shoot figuring in the Tammuz-Gilgames cult, and GIS-AM =atirtu, 
etc., some sort of odoriferous herb. 

2 The analogies between Tammuz and Osiris will be discussed elsewhere in more 
detail. So far as our knowledge goes, the two cults are independent. 

8 A sharp distinction must be drawn between the two titles of Tammuz, Umun-li-bi- 
ir-si (standard dialect En-ni [m] gir-si, not En-ligir-si, as sometimes given; cf. also the 
anomalous writing ni-mi-ir, Langdon, Liturgies, No. 13, 4, p. 174, n. 1) and Umun-me- 
ir-si (which would be in the standard dialect En-gir-si), especially since the signs NIMGIR 
and MIR are often confused. Umun-libir-si is explained by ausApinu (Br. 6967, 
M. 4951, Brussels Voc., col. I, 26; cf. Meissner, RA, X, 212) =S3^a01tD , 'bridal 
attendant' (cf. Tammuz and Ishtar, p. 28, n. 2, and the references there given). For 
mersi = girsA, 'flood,' Cf. esp. Langdon, Liturgies, p. 96, n. 1, who gives also the writing 
gir-sHg). The word means properly 'full flood,' which would be in Assyrian mtlu kisiati 
{a-uba). 

' For the reading illu of A-KAL, lit. 'mighty water,' see SGI, p. 273. Witzel is 
certainly correct in emphasizing the necessity of this explanation, though I am not 
inclined to follow him much farther in his exegesis (e.g., his rendering of B 21/2 is wrong; 
"gallum 3" in M.-A. is nllum). Langdon's reading a-ri(b) and rendering 'alas,' are both 
improbable; when the same Interpretation is applied to d-kalag, 'mighty of strength,' in a 
hymn praising the power of EUil in swelling words, it becomes absurd (SBP, pp. 222 f.). 

5 So also recently Jastrow, AJSL, XXXIII, 104, and Olmstead, ibid., p. 313, n. 6. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 183 

says (Prunkinschrift, p. 144): Uperi sar Tilmun sa seldsd berS ina 
qabal tamti nipih Samsi ktma nuni sitkunu narbagu = 'Vperi king of 
Tilmun, which lies as a lair like a fish thirty double-leagues in the 
midst of the sea of the rising sun, etc' The comparison with a fish 
reminds one forcibly of the modern name of the largest of the Bahrein 
islands, Samak, 'fish,' a name due to its oval shape; it is about thirty 
miles long by ten in width. The thirty Mre given as the distance of 
Tilmun from the mainland cannot be taken very precisely. It would 
be a very slow bark that could not make five miles an hour or ten 
miles a Mru. Even at this modest speed thirty Mre would be three 
hundred miles, nearly the distance from Batu-ein to the mouth of 
the Euphrates in Sargon's reign. The ancient Mediterranean galleys 
were capable of 6 to 8 miles an hour, and the triremes are supposed 
to have made 8 to 10. The Babylonian /MZwfca was, of course, slower. 

That Tilmun was an island and not a continental district, as 
Langdon thinks, is clear from a statement of Esarhaddon (Clay, 
Misc. Ins., No. 42, 9 f.) : sa elt 61 Qurru sa qabcd tdmW" eltt u Tilmun sa 
qabal tamti^ sapltt niri b&Misu MMnw-)na = '(Esarhaddon), who placed 
the yoke of his rule over the city of Trye, which is in the midst of the 
upper sea, and over Tilmun, which is in the midst of the lower sea.' 

A basalt stone discovered in Bahrein by Captain Durand (JRAS 

[1880], opp. p. 193) reads ekal Rtmu^ arad ^^Inzag ayil Aqiru'", a very 

ancient tribal name, which Rawlinson identified plausibly with 

classical S27upK and modem "^Uqair {ibid., p. 223). Inzag, as observed 

repeatedly, is the Enzag given CT, XXV, 35, obv. 20, as the name of 

Ndbu-Muiati in Tilmun. Tilmun, to surmise from the Greek form 

Tylos, was afterwards pronounced *Tilyu, *Tilu, probably being 

felt as an archaic nominative form (cf. a§§u = assum = ana sum, 

Dili! by).i As the^sland is covered with burial mounds (Durand, 

1 Hommel and Sayce (see now PSBA, XXXIX, 209 f.) maintain tliat in Tilmun and 
La^mun (name of QarpSnlt In Tilmun; CT, XXV, 35, obv. 12) we have the Arabic 
nunnatlon. This is doubtless possible for La^amun, who cannot be separated from the 
goddess La^amu In the creation epic, but it is just as possible that the n Is simply dissimila- 
tion for m. La^amu may have been an old goddess of fertility; cf. the sea-demons 
Lal(mu (with the same name as her consort), from whose name the Arabic Jwjm, 'sharls,' 
may be derived. As for rigamun, which Sayce explains in the same way, deriving it from 
03?") , 'to thunder,' it is merely a Sumerian word for 'hiirrlcane,' from ri(,zdqu) and gamun 
{mitiurtu), lit. 'a blowing together,' as shown conclusively by the ideogram. The 
ancients thought it quite possible for all the winds to blow together; cf. Poebel, No. 1, 
col. V, 1, im-gul-im-gul ni-gur-gur-gdl dii-a-bi dis-bi ni~l/ig-gi-es = "The terrible storms all 
rushed together'; cf. also Odys. v. 317, and especially 11. 304 f., iiri<rir«pxoii<ri S' SeXXoi | 
vajfToiuv kvkiuav. 



184 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

op. ciL, Jouannin, DEP, VIII, Les tumuli de Bahrein), it must have 
been regarded as a sacred place. 

Bahrein is famous for its springs of fresh water, bubbling up at 
several points off the coast, as well as at various places in the island, 
though here inclined to be brackish. Durand describes the fountain 
of Adari in the following terms: "The spring is from 30 to 35 feet 
deep, and rises so strongly that a diver is forced upward on nearing 
the bottom. The water, where it rises from this deep spring, whose 
basin artificially banked is about 22 yards broad by 40 long, is as clear 
as crystal, with a slightly green tinge." It may not.be too venture- 
some to suggest that this is the very fountain referred to {ASKT, 
p. 127, 35ff.): 

p^Mr-ror^e im-gil-nu im-mi-mir 
ina Mrti sade qaMtu amliuh 
pUhMr-Tilmuna-ka sag-gd ar-ba-ni-inr-[lag] 
ina Mrti sadt Tilmun qaqqadu amst = 

In a fountain of the mountains 1 have poured* mud; 

In a fountain of Mount^ Tilmun I have washed my head. 

IStar is here the embodiment of the 'word of Ellil,' the storm wind; 
cf. ibid., lines 25 ff.: a-M-M-a-mu nu-si-gi,^ izi ll-la-mu nu-te-en = 
'the waters which I muddy will not become clear; the fire which I 
kindle will not go out' (m^ addcdfpu ul isdkH, isdtu ustdfjazu ul ih&li). 
Because of this phase of IStar's activity Ereskigal calls her (in the 
A§§<ir recension of the Descent of I§tar, obv. 27) ddlihat apst mafjar 
Ea= 'she who stirs up the apsH before Ea.' Apart from the theo- 
logical view of I§tar as the goddess of the fertihzing waters in their 
destructive aspect as well as in their benignity, these phrases seem 
to reflect a popular fancy that the silt in the rivers was caused by 
I§tar's washing her hair in the sources. The fountain of Tilmun 
was presumably given as an illustration on account of its relative 
familiarity. 

1 Since mir = moJ<ljM, 'pour' (mti^u, 'libation'), its other equivalent mii& 'hurricane,' 
probably meant primarily 'downpour,' or the lilce. In an article on Egypto-Semltlc 
etymology to appear in AJSL, I have connected mt^i with Eth. 'aif), 'flood,' and Eg. 
i'llt, 'inundation,' taking the root-value to be 'pour.' 

2 The Siunerians do not seem to have had any specific word for 'island' ; nanga = nag& 
means 'district.' It may be noted that there is a mountain on the island of Samak, 
6ebel Duljan, 'the hill of smoke,' which rises about 400 feet from sea-leve!. 

» Phonetic writing of sig. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 185 

Perhaps we can now explain the significance of Tilmun in our 
Tammuz liturgy. According to Durand (op. cit, p. 191) the Arabs 
believe that the fresh-water springs of Bahrein come by an under- 
ground route from the Euphrates, a perfectly natural idea, not nearly 
so fanciful as the classical legend of Alpheus and Arethusa. Pliny 
seems to have a similar story in mind when he states that the Eu- 
phrates is said to reappear in southern Arabia.^ JJaSur and Tilmun 
in the liturgy evidently, therefore, represent the two extremities of 
the twin rivers; JJasur their source, Tilmun their mouth. As god of 
vegetation Tammuz incarnates himself in all plant life, in the cedar of 
JJasur at the northern horizon, whence the rivers flow, and in the 'dark 
tree' of Tilmun, on the southern horizon, where the rivers reappear 
for a last glance at the upper world. 

After the excursus, let us return to the subject of lustration. The 
holy water, supposed by a sacramental fiction to come directly from 
the apsii,, was drawn from ceremonial la vers called abzu (apsH), 
a-gtib-ba (egubbD,=karpat Milti, natiktu), a-am; the tdmtu constructed 
by Agum the Second (col. Ill, 33) is hardly lustrational in character, 
in spite of its similarity to Heb. iam, because of its clear cosmogonic 
associations in the text. Aps^ were made by TJr-Nina {VB, I, 4d) 
and Btlr-Sin {VB, I, 198c, 12).^ Where possible, the water may have 
been conducted to the temple in clay pipes from some neighboring 
welP or spring. The faucets which became thereby necessary to con- 
trol the flow were called garsar^, 'cocks' (JAOS, XXXV, 396 ff.).* 
In such cases the water might fairly be considered the direct gift of 
Engur, who is addressed {CT, XVI, 7, 255) as nin a-gub-ba lag-lag-ga, 
'lady of the pure lavers' (Sem. bilit agubbe el[luti]). Ordinarily, 
however, the water must have been brought into the temple through 
a canal from the river, as in Mandaean temples (Brandt, Manddische 
Rel., p. 97). 

Mandaean cult and ritual has, as might be expected, preserved 
a very strong Babylonian coloring. The Mandaeans were not 

' Pliny vi. 159. 2 por abzu-banda, etc., see Index to VB, I. 

'Of. IV R. 26, 7, 33, a-p4 kus-nu-tag-ga dUg sagur-ra M-me-nt-st = 'With well-wate'" 
which no skin (Sem. hand) has touched. All a aagtir-vessel.' 

* Domestic coclis were certainly not unknown, even to the Sumerians {dar-lugal = 
bSDiri; the kurk-a, however, was a wild bird living in the mountains), though poultry 
do not seem to have been raised on a large scale until the Persian period, when a better 
breed may have been introduced from India (cf. Peters, J40S, XXXIII, 363 ff.). 



186 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

contented, however, with transmitting the ideas of their ancestors; 
they carried the principle of lustration by water to an extreme, finally 
developing the Gnostic doctrine of the unconditioned necessity and 
efficacy of baptism. Both the Babylonians and their heirs shared 
the belief in the sacred nature of running water (Mand. i<3""l!^", 
like Syr. i^HT, 'stream,' combined by popular etymology with the 
river Jordan), a conception perfectly natural in a country where 
standing water generally becomes brackish. No one may urinate 
or spit in a river, nor can it be used to dispose of sewage; cf. Surpu 
III, 59, rridmU ndri sdnu u ndri qdra = 'a ban incurred by pissing or 
spitting in a river,' and Brandt {op. cit., p. 68, n. 2). From a sani- 
tary viewpoint these regulations might well be copied by modem 
nations, along with many other long-neglected taboos of a more 
primitive age. 

Babylonian holy water survived in the Mand. b^iTl353i<7J = 
iC^S"^, Assyr. namba'u, 'fountain,' which Zimmem, in an article 
on the Mandaean pehtd and mambuhd, in the Noldeke Festschrift 
(pp. 959-67), has happily combined with the holy water employed in 
the ceremonial known as mis pi, 'mouth- washing,' associated with the 
pit pt, 'mouth-opening,' Mand. pehtd (from HflSl). As the actual 
sources were inaccessible, the mamMhd was symbolized by a foaming 
beaker of mineral water; in practice the water doubtless came from 
the river. Some scholars may wish to associate this flask with the 
gargar (cf. Langdon, Tammuz and Ishtar, p. 136, n. 2), but for various 
reasons I adhere to the explanation cited above. The eguhbu incan- 
tations may be almost exactly dupUcated in Mandaean; cf., e.g., 

ZMDG, LXi, 160-61: ]'c iinxjK i^^-'n iiPMS »rTz ar^ni siaiTun 

which, to bring out the similarity, may be translated into Assyrian 
as follows: nU baldti! mt baldti attunu (Sum. a namtila men), istu 
asri rapsi tallikH-ma (ki dagaldta duo), istu subti sa bdlati (tintir) muta 
tubbalu. mi baldti istu subti Sa baldti, damquti lilliku-ma itdbu, limntiti 
{ktma karpati) lit),tappu= 'In the name of life! Ye are the living 
waters, which have come from a wide place, carrying death away 
from the house of life. O living waters from the house of life, let 
the good come and be well, but let the bad be shattered (like a pot).' 



The Mouth of the Rivers 187 

In Egypt, as might be expected from the similarity of the environ- 
ment, we find a strikingly parallel, though absolutely independent, 
system. The best treatment of the subject is given by Chassinat in an 
important article, "La raise k mort rituelle d'Apis" (RT, XXXVIII, 
1916, 33-60), dealing primarily with the ritual drowning of the Nile 
bull, a practice designed to raise to a higher level of divinity a 
bull endowed with sufficient vigor to reach the allotted span of 
twenty-five years. Originally the ceremony was doubtless sym- 
bolical. 

The Egyptians placed the two qrti, from which the Nile sprang, 
at the first cataract, called the qbhw, primarily 'the pourer,' like 
Assyr. natbaktu {HCS, 50, 326). The qbhw was thus the place where 
the divine waters came forth from the dvy't (underworld) in all their 
coolness and purity (the stem qbh means also 'to cool'; cf. Haupt, 
AJSL, XXIII, 242). The qbhw thus became the refrigerium of the 
shades, where they loved to resort during the heat of the day. In 
the Pyramid Texts the qbhiv-lake is the place to which the kings go 
first after death, to be purified by Hntoi and Satis (cf. PT, 1116a; 
also 13016, 1979a, etc.). Thus it is said of Seti I, qbhnf htpnf hrt 
hnmnf RF imi pt = 'he reached his qbhw, his sun set, and he joined 
R6'= in heaven.'' The happy denizens of paradise are called the 
imiw qbhw (Chassinat, p. 51, n. 4). The related Babylonian con- 
ceptions will be considered below. 

Just as in Babylonia, the lustratory ritual required water of 
untainted purity from the qbhw for its holiest purifications. Since 
the impracticability of this was equally evident, the same substitutes 
were found. The temple possessed a sacred basin called qbhw, 
hnmt qbhw, 'qbhw-well,' or s qbhw, 'qbhw-pool,' without the determina- 
tive for mountainous region accompanying the word for 'cataract.' 
When the Ethiopian Pianhi entered Heliopolis, he washed in the 
qbhw-pool, which is described as the water of Ntin (=apsij,), with 
which R6'= himself washes his face (cf. Chassinat, ibid., p. 55, n. 4). 
Chassinat thinks that the qbhw drew its water from the Nile by a 
subterranean canal, which is perfectly possible, though the Baby- 
lonians do not seem to have taken so much trouble to maintain the 
ritualistic fiction. 

1 Chassinat's Interpretation of the passage will hardly hold. 



188 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

Just as the Egyptians had a ceremonial qbhw^ in their temples, 
the Babylonians must have had a pt ndraii in theirs, though not 
necessarily, of course, in every temple. The idea that the lustral 
water was drawn from the muddy mouths of the rivers, which at 
that time reached the sea separately, is preposterous, and can no 
longer be maintained in the hght of the foregoing remarks. It 
follows, moreover, from a mere comparison of CT, XVII, 26, 64 ff. 
(see above) and CT, XVII, 39, 51 ff . : M-a-gub-ba-sii u-me-ni-Sub 
[. . . . e] l-la Uruduga-ge u-me-ni-gub [ ] abzu-ta u-me-ni-ag 
[nam-sub-dug]-ga-zu u-me-ni-sub .... [*" ba-an-du]-du d Idl-e ''* gam- 
ma m-Vr-m^-ti {sa\-^a a u-^me-ni-de = 'Into the font of holy water put 
it; the pure [ ] of Eridu set down; [ ] from the apsu bring; thy 
g[ood incantation] perform .... take the "pattij,, alalM, and ladle; 
into the midst of it (the agubbu) pour the water.' As will be noted, 
the same utensils figure as in the case of the pi ndrdti incantation, 
and the ceremonies must, therefore, have been parallel. 

Having thus indicated the main lines of proof for our thesis 
regarding the ritual pi ndrdti, let us turn again to the geographical 
idea. This conception tended to become generalized. It cannot 
be shown definitely that the Babylonians had developed the notion 
of a single source of all terrestrial rivers, but it is highly probable 
that they did. The Mandaeans believed that the source of the 
rivers lay on the northern mountains, which separate the earth from 
the world of light, thus grafting Iranian ideas on the Babylonian. 

Both Egyptians (see above) and Babylonians (at least in germ)^ 
evolved the theory of four great rivers, flowing from a common 
source to water the four quarters. The early Babylonians seem to 
have thought, like some of the classical writers,' that the Tigris and 
Euphrates had the same origin, an idea no more fantastic than the 
early Egyptian conception of the source of the Nile. Under similar 
circumstances the Hindus developed the idea that the celestial 

1 Chassinat promises (p. 55, n. 1) to prove the identity of qblfw and the fans of Pliny 
vill. 46 in a future article. The 0p4ap from which the Apis-bull drank (Plutarch De Is. el 
Osir. v) also belongs here. 

2 For the Babylonians, we have indirect testimony in the grouping together of four 
rivers or four river-gods, whose names do not seem to have any particular Interest ; cf . 
Hommel, OLZ, IX, 658-63, and Pinches, Exp. Times, XXIX, 181-84, who are a Uttle 
too much inclined to draw on the imagination for missing facts. 

3 Cf. Lehmann-Haupt, Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie (1899), p. 288. 



The Mouth of the Rivebs 189 

Ganges, descending from Mount Meru, is divided into four mighty 
rivers to irrigate the four quarters.^ Elsewhere seven streams appear, 
one for each dvipa (see below) .^ The Babylonian conception was 
combined with Iranian motives by the Mandaeans (Brandt, op. cit., 
p. 65), who enumerate four great rivers flowing from the north, the 
Euphrates, Tigris, Jaxartes, and Oxus,' a scheme perhaps independent 
of the biblical. It may be added that the latter is based, as I believe 
with Weinheimer (ZATW, XXXII, 33-37), upon a similar conflation 
of the fundamental Mesopotamian conception with corresponding 
Egyptian. The subject will be treated at length in another article. 
It is still more difficult to fix the relations existing between the 
Babylonian conceptions discussed above and the Avestan cosmology; 
cf. Carnoy, JAOS, XXXVI, 300-320, whose work is useful as a 
general introduction to the problem — comparative questions demand 
other methods for their solution. The source of the waters in the 
Iranian system is the maiden Ardvisiira Andhita (lit. 'the great 
stream, the unblemished'), the personification of a mythical fountain, 
through which flow all terrestrial waters from the summit of Mount 
Hukairya down to the sea VourukaSa (Varka§), pouring out over 
the seven quarters of the earth. Ardvt, who in her cult-aspect is the 
goddess of fecundity, like Ea, represents the life-giving springs and 
river-sources which are forced up from the subterranean zrayah 
vourukaMa, 'the sea with far-(extended) bays' (Bartholomae, Wort., 
col. 1429), the analogue of the apsii, by the pressure of the returning 
floods from above, which empty around its circumference, causing 
the center to boil up (cf. Yak 5, 4, and Yasna 65, etc.). The celestial 
waters are sent up through special channels to the top of Mount 
Hukairya, whence they are carried over the earth by the rain clouds. 
The cyclic theory of aqueous distribution is certainly not primitive, 
nor is it Babylonian, so far as our limited knowledge of Babylonian 

1 Yisnu Purdntt (ed. Hall), II, 119 fl. 

2 Cf . Jensen, Kosmologie, pp. 177-84. The seven keHars of the Persians, and the 
seven' dvtpas of the Hindiis are ultimately Babylonian. The seven tubuqdti of the latter 
seem originally, however, to have represented the stages of the cosmic ziqqUrat {KAT', 
pp. 61S fl.). 

» The "iSWBSn and the 53X1X4) are evidently corruptions of the Pahlavi Khi&rt or 
AiArt, Jazartes, and Arang (Av. Banha), Araxes or Oxus; for the Pahlavi forms cf. 
West, Pahlavi Texts', Part I, pp. 77, 80. Brandt made no attempt to Identify the names; 
I do not know whether it has been accomplished by others since or not. 



190 The American Joubnal of Semitic Languages 

philosophy goes. It is, however, very interesting to see what a 
naive but consistent philosophy could do with a set of cosmological 
postulates essentially Mesopotamian in character, whatever their 
origin may have been. 

We may now take up the question of the pt ndrdti in the Gilgames 
epic. According to Jensen's view, almost universally adopted, the 
hero crosses the desert, passes through a tunnel under Lebanon- 
Antilibanus (Ma§u), arrives at the garden of Siduri (Ba'^alat of Byb- 
los) on the Phoenician coast, traverses the Mediterranean, and 
finally reaches his goal in Andalusia. As remarked above, this 
certainly gives a symmetrical interpretation of the data, and may in 
part, at least, have been the view of epic geography which prevailed 
in Assyrian times, perhaps even when the poem was composed, 
between 2300 and 2000 b.c. The original geographical background 
must, however, have been different. Mount Mdsu is Mount Masius, 
and the tunnel may be the tunnel at the source of the Tigris (see 
below). In an article to appear soon, entitled "Mesopotamian 
Vine-Deities," it will be shown that the garden of Siduri was localized 
beyond Mount Ha§ur, in Armenia or Asia Minor. The sea naturally 
represents the Mediterranean ; the ini mUti, while of mythical origin 
(see above), are geographically, perhaps, the Black Sea, which as 
the "A^evos had a reputation as somber as its color. It goes without 
saying that we cannot expect the least accuracy in marine geography; 
even the Homeric Greeks were very hazy as to the relation between 
the Mediterranean and Euxine, as is evident from the Odyssey. 

How did the flood-hero come to be associated with the pi ndrdti f 
Like most deluge-heroes, Utnapisti™ landed after the Flood on a 
northern mountain, a detail which is by no means a mere coincidence, 
as will be shown elsewhere. In the vicinity he continued to live, 
instructing his sons (JAOS, XXXVIII, 60-65), introducing viti- 
culture, etc. Since Atrahasis, the prototype of Hidr-Elias, never dies, 
but lives forever, he is supposed to dwell here eternally, beyond the 
northern mountains, where the Mandaeans placed the land of 
the blessed (cf. Brandt, op. cit, pp. 60 f.). In the same region was the 
pi ndrdti, where Ea, Sama§, and Tammuz (see above) spent their 
leisure hours. Hither also, just as to the Egyptian g6/iw, deified 
kings may have wended their way, in the early Babylonian system 



The Mouth of the Rivers 191 

(against which the epic reacts). We may safely assume that the 
divine monarchs of Akkad and XJt were not thrust into Aralu, the 
Land of No-return, with the plebeian shades, but enjoyed the society 
of the gods at the pt ndrdti, the Babylonian Elysium. It is interest- 
ing, in this connection, to note that, on the Gudea cylinder, the king 
is led to the god of the spouting vases; there may be an allusion to 
the future hope of the king. The expression, used of the death of 
kings, SaddSu imid, 'he ascended his mountain,' perhaps referred to 
the surmounting by the royal shade of Mount Aralu in the far north, 
a geographical term probably due to the misunderstanding of the 
Sum. k'&r, Hades. ^ 

In the Poebel tablet we appear to have a rival theory, in which the 
postdiluvian home of the hero is placed on Tilmun. As pointed out 
before, this is the exact opposite of the pi ndrdti conception. Accord- 
ing to this view, Sumerian civilization originated in the south, as in 
the Cannes legend. We may suppose that this was the theory held 
in the cities of southern Babylonia, since it was more favorable to 
their claims of antiquity than the other, which is probably, however, 
correct. 

The origin of the story of Gilgames' journey to the Mouth of the 
Rivers is more difficult to explain. The episode is, moreover, bound 
up so indissolubly with the rest of the epic that a solution would carry 
us far beyond the scope of this paper. Among different motives 
which may, with more or less certainty, be pointed out, are the west- 
ward voyage of the solar hero, the expedition of the storm-god in 
search of the Mesopotamian analogue of the s6ma (a motive which 
appears in various modified forms, as I will try to show elsewhere), 
the journey of a wise king to draw wisdom from the fountain-head, 
etc. The geographical nomenclature, which takes us northward, is 
probably drawn from the second-mentioned source. With the well- 
known flexibility of early romance, the direction of the route is 
fancied to be westward, in accordance with the harrdn Samsi. 

1 See above. AralA is a loan from Sumerian Arali (syn. of Urugal=Irkalla), written 
ideograpWcaily &-KtJB-US(BAD), 'the liouse of the mountain of the dead.' Perhaps 
one may venture to suggest that Arali stands for ar(i)-ari (by dissimilation; cf. lurtula 
for turtHra, Larak tor Lalag [Poebel, Hist. Texts, p. 43], etc.), from ari, 'lay waste,' 
whence a-ri-a and dr — namiitu, 'ruin,' meaning thus primarily 'desolation'; cf. the 
development of the name Gehenna. It may be added that Mr, Hades, was perhaps 
originally applied to the burial mound or maiisoleum. 



192 Th6 American Journal of Semitic Languages 

Originally, the Mouth of the Rivers was placed simply beyond the 
northern mountains, in some conveniently inaccessible region. 
Later, when Armenia became better known, the need was felt for a 
new localization, and Elisyum was placed beyond the seas (the 
Mediterranean and the Euxine), ina ruqi} We may fix the date of 
the shift with reasonable probability during the great expansion of 
the Babylonian Empire under the dynasty of Akkad (2850-2650 b.c). 
There can be little doubt that the deeds of the Akkadian monarchs 
became the centers of legendary cycles, fragments of which are found 
in the Cappadocian ( ?) story of the sar tamJjnri and in the omen texts, 
which transfer Sargon's voyage across the Persian Gulf to the 
Mediterranean (Poebel, Hist. Texts, pp. 238 f.), a highly romantic 
venture for that period. The mythical account of Sargon's birth 
is so familiar as to require no comment. I have little doubt, for 
reasons to be given hereafter, that the Sargon and Gilgames cycles 
have exerted a mutual influence. It is even possible that the iter ad 
ostia fiuminum has been modified by attraction into the Sargon cycle, 
just as the iter ad paradisum, transferred from Gilgames to Alexander, 
made a volte-face from west to east, carrying Eden with it, as will be 
shown in another place. 

Hartmann {ZDMG, LXVII, 749-51) has recently pointed out 
some facts indicating that the primary location of the pt ndrdti has 
perpetuated itself with the most singular tenacity into mediaeval 
and even modern times. He observes that the Syrians and their 
Moslem epigoni make Alexander cross Mount Masius and enter the 
land of darkness en route to Paradise though the tunnel at the source 
of the Tigris, called by Muqaddast (ed. De Goeje, p. 146) i-A^ 
,j-o Jd! j3 L^JLia.i> j-JcJl «yU-Uail . Following up this clue, Hart- 
mann suggests that the famous ^■jSiJ\ «*^ of the Qur'an is to be 

identified with the source of the Tigris. While the association of 
the tunnel in the Gilgames and Alexander romances with the sources 
of the Tigris is very ancient, and was perhaps originally intended, 
the 'juncture of the two seas' is at the best only a reminiscence of the 
pi ndrdti, or of its Aramaean rendering, whatever that may have 
been. To the Arab the two seas were the fresh-water ocean and the 

" This is the regular expression for a distant region; cf. also above on idim, 'sotirce,' 
and for Ut-napiiti'" r-dqu, JAOS, XXXVIII, 60 f. Our processes are rarely susceptible 
of unitary explanation. 



The Mouth of the Rivers 193 

salt-water ocean, as appears, e.g., from Sura 35:13, ic***--; l^j 
Ls-t JkX IjjSj Mr^ j«jLw vcjiji i«>j*x Ijj6 ^jIj^sdJI. In some 

remote spot the upper waters and the nether waters, like Apsti and 
Ti'amat, were fancied to unite in their purity to create life, a con- 
ception which may be found, with various modifications, in many 
ancient systems, notably in the Babylonian, and the Rabbinic. At 
all events we may reject the view that Mohammed thought of 
Gibraltar (Friedlander, after Jensen), of the source of the Tigris, or 
of any other definite terrestrial location. 

It is the province of another study to show how the source of the 
rivers united with the healing spring, under the auspices of the water 
of life, giving birth to the fountain of youth. The ramifications of 
the latter have been well treated by Hopkins (JAOS, XXVI, 1-67, 
411-15); previous discussions are very unsatisfactory. Before 
closing, however, we must dispose of the kiskanu, as promised above. 

The function of the kiSkanu in the incantations (see above) may 
best be understood by comparing the formulae Surpu IX, in which 
the plants employed by the physician (resp. magician) are described 
in the most extravagant terms. Thus the martakal^ is lauded with 
the words (Surpu IX, 9 ff.) : 

En: ^in-nu-us ii-el abzu-ta mii-a 
an-su pa-zu ki-s-d -ur-zu, etc. = 

Incantation. Poppy( ?), bright plant, which grows up from the apsH; 
In heaven thy blossom (dru), in earth thy root, etc. 

Similar expressions are used of the tamarisk, cedar, cypress, and reed, 
intended to overawe the demons by enhancing the magical powers of* 
each plant, following the principle of "bluff." The mythical proto- 
type of these plants is the all-embracing world-tree, which has dis- 
appeared from Babylonian mythology, leaving very few traces. The 
kiskanH has often been identified with the world-tree, but there is 
no good reason to regard it as mythical, though, to judge from the 

1 Martakal (whence, during the Kossean period, maUakal, like mailu, 'daughter,' for 
mariu, whence again maltakal. according to the phonetic law localized by Ylvisaker in 
Babylonia) may possibly be the poppy, since irrH., 'opium' (Haupt, ZA, XXX, 60-66), is a 
syn. of marru, 'bitter,' whence martu (for marratu), 'gall' ^xoM, also used (or 'opium' 
(ibid., p. 64), and martakal may be one of the few compoimds (martu+akalu) like iamaS- 
Sammu, 'sesame,' lit. 'sun-plant' (Haupt). Sum. innui may be connected with innu, 
'straw' (SGI). 



194 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

giS-gdn-abzu of Gudea, Cyl. A, XXI, 22, and our incantation, it may 
have been in a special sense the plant of the apsu} Thompson 
(Devils, I, Iviii) has given strong reasons for identifying the kiskanij, 
with astragalus gummifer, from which tragacanth is obtained, possess- 
ing valuable emollient and demulcent properties. It is still sold in 
the bazaars of Bagdad. The astragalus grows in the mountainous 
districts of the East, arid is common in the Ttir "^Abdin (see above). 
Thompson is guilty of an extraordinary sHp in admitting that it 
might grow in the swamps near Eridu. Like another "paradise" 
plant, the sidr, 'lotus,' more accurately zizyphus spina Christi (cf. 
Baudissin, ZDMG, LXVI, 184 f.), the astragalus does not grow in 
swampy regions. It is just as erroneous to maintain that the kiskanu 
grew at Erech as it would be to place the gis-tir-ga-sUr {haSur-ioresi) 
in the mdt Tdmtim, or to localize the kur-geStin (Wienberg) of Gudea, 
Cyl. A, XXVIII, 11, 24, etc., in the vicinity of Laga§. As shown 
above, Eridu is here a synonjon of apsH. 

While the kiskanH is thus apparently a real plant of healing, there 
was a mythical plant in the apsH, through whose virtues the old 
might hope to be rejuvenated, the §am nibitti (GE, XI, 295), perhaps 
an abbreviated rendering of a Sumerian *u-mu-sd-dingir-e-ne-ge, 
'plant given a name (i.e., destiny) by the gods.'' In order to secure 
it, Gilgames dived down into the apsu with stones tied to his body 
to facilitate his descent; when he lost it, the thief was a serpent, 
itself living in a well which communicated with the apsii.^ 

The best foreign parallel to these Babylonian conceptions is the 
Avestan Gaokerena, which is described {Yast 12, 17) as 'that tree 
of the eagle which stands in the midst of the lake Vourukasa (apsii), 
which stores up good remedies, powerful remedies, which is called 
Vispdbis (which heals all), upon which the seed of all plants is found.' 
The meaning of Gaokerena is obscure; the commentators explain it 

1 The etymology of (gis) kin Is unknown. Hommel's explanation as Orakelbaum 
{QOAO, pp. 276, 367, n. 4) Is based upon a fortuitous coincidence in writing with gis-gar= 
usurtu, 'plan, outline' (cf. VB, I, 208, n. g). Nor can giskimmu (Clay, Misc. Inscriptions, 
p. 69, n. 2 ; read gi-is-ki-im-ma-su) be brought in here, as this is merely an archaistic spell- 
ing of the common iskimmu, 'sign, portent' (from Sum. izkim, originally perhaps gizkim). 

2 The usual rendering "plant of promise, Kraut der Verheissung" is impossible; 
nibtt ildni means 'named by the gods.' 

3 The interpretation of this important episode has been made possible by Morgen- 
stern's happy combinations (ZA, XXIX, 284-301) and by my reading (GB, XI, .306) 
quluptu (resp. quliptu), 'slough of a serpent' (see KB, VI, 2, 2, 12, and 4, 39), from qaldpu, 
'peel,' discussed in an article sent to ZA, and received by Professor Bezold two years ago. 



The Mouth of the Rivees 195 

as the "white haoma," whatever that may mean. The presence of 
the eagle identifies the Gaokerena with the Indo-European world- 
tree; the final statement shows that it is the prototype of all plants, 
according to a well-known Iranian cosmogonic principle. The 
residuum smacks so strongly of Babylonian medicine that we may 
safely refer it to the cycle of conceptions illustrated by the kiskanH 
incantation.* The etymologaster may compare giS-kin and gaokrn; 
for his comfort it may be added that Sum. sem (pronounced perhaps 
sow) 'aromatic plant,' has recently been compared with sdma-haoma. 
The latter, however, has a perfectly good etymology from su, so, 
'press out, extract.' 

As might be expected, later Mesopotamian syncretism makes 
much of the tree of life at the source. For the Mandaeans cf. 
Brandt (op. cit., pp. 196 f .) ; the Mandaean ideas will be treated in 
another connection. Similarly, the little-known sect of the ^jaA&.i>j.| 
(Fltigel, Fihrist, p. 341) believed that the Demiurge raised a mound 
(read jjJI?— cf. Baudissin, ZDMG, LXVI, 183), on which he 
planted a lotus, by which the Euphrates rose from the nether waters 
(vdJ(> J^e. (jw-i (vi' |»-Ja*i! tfylv«JI ^g**^. 'v^ J^l ^<i i i^T^b 

s.jlw (Jl<JI). 

Among the Manichaeans the tree of healing seems to have held a 
most important place, to infer from a prayer preserved in the Fihrist 
(p. 333, 11. 17 f.), where Mdni himself is (metaphorically) identified 
with it: fj'<a£-y x^LudJl J^al LbijLje ^Lo JLJI L^| ool ^-*wi 

l^ JjLi. ^ ^\ ■UfJhjtJ\ Sy^\ sLi.^ 'Praised art thou, 

resplendant Mdnt, our guide, root of splendor and branch of life, the 
mighty tree full of healing.' 

We may appropriately conclude with a passage which furnishes 
a text for our investigation, representing the culmination of the 
sjTicretistic processes touched upon in this paper: Kal Uei^if fioi 
iroTafiov vdaros fw^s \ainrpbv us KpixxraXKov, eKiropevbuevov e/c tov 
Bpbvov TOV Oeov .... Kal rov irorafiov ivrevdev Kal hieidev ^vKov f w^s 
.... Kal TO, (l)vWa TOV ^{)\ov eh BepaTrelav tuv kdv&v. 

1 The Gaokerena is, like tlie kiikanu, a tree of healing rather than of life; contrast, 
Delitzsch, Parodies, p. 115. The tree of life may be primarily a Semitic conception: 
cf. the Eg. hi 'nj of the Pyramid Texts and the Aisyr. sam bdldfi, to say nothing of the 
Hebrew O'^'H fs ■