Hymn to King Shulgi

Posted: July 29, 2014 by noxprognatus in Texts


From: History begins at Sumer, by Samuel Noah Kramer, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1981.

Shulgi, the son of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, is one of the more renowned kings of Sumer, whose reign endured for almost half a century. His achievements were many in all fields: as a military commander, temple builder, mecenas of the arts and athlete. It is my belief that Shulgi is the proto-Solomon, a wise and passionate priest-king and beloved by the gods and by his people.

I, the king, a warrior from the (mother´s) womb am I,
I, Shulgi, a mighty man from the day I was born,
A fierce-eyed lion born of a dragon am I,
King of the four corners of the Universe am I,
Herdsman, shepherd of the blackheads am I,
The trustworthy, the god of all the lands am I,
The son born of Ninsun am I,
Called to the heart of holy Anu am I,
He who was blessed by Enlil am I,
Shulgi, the beloved of Ninlil am I,
Truly cherished by Nintu am I,
Endowed with wisdom by Enki am I,
The mighty king of Nanna am I,
The open-mouthed lion of Utu am I,
Shulgi chosen for the vulva of Inanna am I,
A princely donkey all set for the road am I,
A tail-swinging horse on the highway am I,
A noble donkey of Sumugan eager for the course am I,
The wise scribe of Nidaba am I,
Like my heroship, li,e my might,
I am accomplished in wisdom,
I vie with tis wisdom´s true word,
I love justice,
I do not love evil,
I hate the evil word,
I, Shulgi, a mighty king, supreme am I.
Because I am a powerful man rejoicing in his loins,
I enlarged the foothpaths, straightened the highways of the land,
I made travel secure, built there big house [rest houses for travelers]
Planted gardens alongside of them, established resting places there
Settled there friendly folk
So that who comes from below, who comes from above,
Might refresh themselves at the cool of the day,
The wayfarer who travels the highway at night,
Might find refuge there as in a well-built city.
That my name be established unto distant days, that it leave not this mouth,
That my praise be spread wide in the land,
That I be eulogized in all the lands,
I, the runner, rose in my strength, all set for the course,
From Nippur to Ur,
I resolved to traverse as if it were but a distance of one double-hour,
Like a lion that wearies not of its virility I arose,
Put a girdle about my loins,
Swung my arms like a dove feverishly fleeing a snake,
Spread wide the knees like an Anzu bird with eyes lifted toward the mountains.
The inhabitants of the cities that I had founded in the land swarmed all about me,
My blackheaded people, as numerous as ewes, marveled at me,
Like a mountain kid hurrying to its shelter,
When Utu shed his broad light on man´s habitations,
I entered the Ekishnugal, (temple of Nanna)
Filled with abundance the great stall, the house of Sin,
Slaughtered oxen there, multiplied sheep,
Made resound there the drum and the timbrel
Conducted there the tigi-music, the sweet.
I, Shulgi, the multiplier of all things, brought bread offerings there,
Inspiring fear from my royal seat like a lion,
In the lofty palace of Ninegal,
I scoured my knees, I bathed in fresh water,
Bent the knees, ate bread,
Like an owl and a falcon I arose,
Returned triumphantly to Nippur.
On that day, the storm howled, the tempest swirled,
The North Wind and the South Wind roared violently,
Lightning devoured in heaven alongside the seven winds,
The deafening storm made the earth tremble,
Ishkur thundered throughout the heavenly expanse
The rains above embraced the waters below
Its little stones, its big stones lashed at my back.
But I the king was unafraid, uncoweed,
Like a young lion I was set for the spring,
Like a donkey of the steppe I rushed forward,
My heart full of happiness I sped along the course,
Racing like a donkey folad journeying all alone,
Like Utu facing homeward,
I traversed the journey of 15 double hours,
My acolytes gazed at me in wonder,
As in one day I celebrated the esbesh feast both in Ur and Nippur.
With virile Utu, my brother and friend,
I drank beer in the palace founded by Anu,
My minstrels sang fro me the seven tigi-hymns,
My spouse, the maid Inanna, the queen, the luxuriance of heaven and earth,
Seated me by her side at its palace banquet
I exalted myself saying:
“Wheresoever I lift my eyes, thither will you go with me,
Wheresoever my heart moves me, there you will be welcomed”.
Anu set the holy crown upon my head,
Gave me to hold the scepter in the lapis lazuli Ekur,
Raised heaven-high my firmly founded throne on the white dais,
Exalted there the power of my kingship,
So that I bent over all the foreign lands, made secure the Land of Sumer,
And the four corners of the universe, the people with heads bowed called my name,
Chant holy songs,
Pronounce my exaltation saying:
“He that is the noble power of kingship, the cherished one,
Presented by Sin our of the Ekishnugal,
Heroship, night and a good life,
Endowed with noble power by Nunamnir,
Shulgi, the destroyer of all the foreign lands, who makes secure the land of Sumer,
Who in accordance with the me of the universe has no rival,
Shulgi, cherished by the trustworthy son of Anu (Nanna)”

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