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Gilgamesh - Bull of Heaven


Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven

The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature

ETCSL Home Page


A version of unknown provenance, supplemented from Nippur mss.

Segment A

I will sing the song of the man of battle, the man of battle. I will sing the song of lord Gilgamec, the man of battle, I will sing the song of him with the well-proportioned limbs, the man of battle. I will sing the song of the mighty ...... lord, the man of battle.

I will sing the song of the lord with the very black beard, the man of battle. I will sing the song of ...... athletic strength, the man of battle. ...... the king, the man ......; my king ......, my lord ...... garden ....... ...... courtyard, ...... jipar; (1 ms. has instead: ...... his mother who bore him spoke to the lord: "My king ...... in the river, my lord ...... your garden."

2 lines unclear)

unknown number of lines missing

Segment B

2 lines unclear

In the great courtyard, without there being any combat, a man ....... She perceived the canopy, the canopy ......, holy Inana perceived the canopy, from the palace of the abzu, she perceived the canopy ......:

"My wild bull, my ...... man, I shall not let you go! Lord Gilgamec, my wild bull, my ...... man, I shall not let you go! I shall not let you go to dispense justice in the E-ana! I shall not let you go to pronounce verdicts in my holy jipar! I shall not let you go to dispense justice in the E-ana beloved by An! Gilgamec, may you be ......, may you be ......!"

( Gilgamec speaks:) "I shall certainly not try to take over the portion of Inana in your jipar. Ninegal will not ...... because of my valorous strength. But Inana, lady, don't you block my way, either! My wish is to catch (?) mountain bulls, to fill the cow-pens. I wish to catch (?) mountain sheep, to fill the sheepfolds. I wish to ...... silver and cornelian."

The queen spoke with a snort; Inana spoke with a snort: "...... say to you. ...... say to you. ......, Gilgamec."

7 lines damaged

( An speaks:) "Its entrails (?)....... Its hide ....... Its blood ......."

1 line damaged

" Inana, it will muddy the waters; it will ...... cowpats. My one beloved by An, ......."

He let her hold the leash. An ....... "My child, who does it belong to?" (1 ms. has instead: "My child, what use would it be?") "It will stir up the waters, it will leave ...... cowpats ......! If the great bull is let loose, ...... Unug! If the great bull is let loose against Gilgamec, ...... Unug! I will not give her that which bears my own name."

( Inana speaks:) "Maybe it will muddy the waters, and will leave gigantic cowpats -- but let my father give me the Bull of Heaven, so I can kill the lord, so I can kill the lord, so I can kill the lord, lord Gilgamec!"

Great An replied to holy Inana: "My child, the Bull of Heaven would not have any pasture, as its pasture is on the horizon. Maiden Inana, the Bull of Heaven can only graze where the sun rises. So I cannot give the Bull of Heaven to you!"

Holy Inana replied to him: "I shall shout, and make my voice reach heaven and earth!"

He was frightened, he was frightened. (1 ms. adds here: ...... was frightened of Inana.) Great An replied to holy Inana: "I shall give her the Bull of Heaven." (instead of approx. lines 52-54, 1 ms. has: She made her voice reach heaven ......, she made her voice reach earth; she made her voice reach heaven ......, she made her voice reach earth. It covered them like a woollen garment, it was spread over them like a linen garment. ...... who could speak to her? ...... who could speak to her? ...... gave .......)

In masculine fashion, the maiden Inana grasped it by the lapis-lazuli tether. Holy Inana brought the Bull of Heaven out (1 ms. has instead: down). At Unug, the Bull devoured the pasture, and drank the water of the river in great slurps. With each slurp it used up one mile of the river, but its thirst was not satisfied. It devoured the pasture and stripped the land bare. It broke up the palm trees of Unug, as it bent them to fit them into its mouth. When it was standing, the Bull submerged Unug. The very presence (1 ms. has instead: the name) of the Bull of Heaven submerged Kulaba.

His musician ....... As he looked up ......, leaning (?) ......

1 line unclear

(1 ms. has instead: Then lord Gilgamec ...... his musician.) (a second ms. has instead: Gilgamec ...... his musician Lugal-gabajal. "My musician, tune your strings, ...... give me a drink, ....... ...... bronze ...... in your hand ....... His musician .......") (a third ms. has instead: ...... replied to Lugal-gabajal, " Lugal-gabajal, tune your strings; I wish to have a drink!" ( Lugal-gabajal answers:) "...... drink, that is why nothing of yours is important." ...... replied to Lugal-gabajal.) (instead of approx. lines 64-67, a fourth ms. has:

3 lines unclear

...... drink, lord ....... ...... drink, lord .......

7 lines missing or unclear

...... Unug .......)

Lord Gilgamec ....... Inana ...... the Bull of Heaven. At Unug, the Bull ......, and drank the water of the river in great slurps. With each slurp it used up one mile of the river, but its thirst was not satisfied. It devoured the pasture and stripped the land bare. (1 ms. adds here: His lady ....... Gilgamec ...... said, "My mother ......, my sister ......, will ...... the cattle to their tethering stakes, will ...... the sheep to their tethering stakes, will ...... to their tethering stakes." Gilgamec ......, "Bull of Heaven, you, yes you, ......; you, yes you -- you do not ......." Gilgamec .......)

5 lines unclear

"They will throw your corpse in the deserted streets, and throw your intestines in the broad square. They will send your carcass to the knacker's, and I shall share out your meat in baskets to the widows' sons who are citizens of my city ....... I shall make flasks of your two horns for pouring fine oil to Inana in E-ana."

Inana watched from the top of the ramparts. The Bull bellowed in the dust, and Gilgamec walked (?) at its head as Enkidu climbed up the rope of its ....... Their fellow-citizens came along ....... It covered them with dust, like a young calf unused to the yoke. Enkidu stood behind the Bull and went round ....... (1 ms. has instead: He put ...... and seized its tail.) He spoke to his master Gilgamec:

"Ho! magnificent one, extending your staff of office, born of noble lineage, splendour of the gods, furious bull standing ready for battle, who is respected as the great lord Gilgamec of Unug! Your mother was truly skilled in bearing children, and your nurse was truly skilled in suckling her charges! (1 ms. adds: Lord born of noble lineage, ......) Do not fear -- the warrior without strength ...... himself (?). There where the road is straight ....... ...... axe ....... "

4 lines unclear

A version from Me-Turan

Segment A

I will sing the song of the man of battle, the man of battle. I will sing the song of lord Gilgamec, the man of battle, I will sing the song of the lord with the very black beard, the man of battle. I will sing the song of him with the well-proportioned limbs, the man of battle. I will sing the song of him in his prime (?), the man of battle. I will sing the song of him who batters the wicked, the man of battle. The king, the lord, having ...... as his mother who bore him ......, wishing to wash (?) in the river.

My lord, entering the garden planted with junipers, as you set to work; the lord, coming from the jipar, sheared the wool of the fleecy sheep ......; ...... he sat down ....... The king ...... bending ...... with the oar; the prince covered ...... with the oar, as if it was of flourishing reed. You covered their wicked ones, as if ......, with water. He gave ...... to his mother who bore him. In the wide courtyard ......, Gilgamec .......

1 line unclear

In the great courtyard .......

Then ...... the canopy ....... Holy Inana perceived the canopy, from the palace of the abzu, she perceived the canopy:

"My wild bull, my man, I shall not let you ......! Gilgamec, I shall not let you ......! I shall not let you dispense justice in my E-ana! I shall not let you pronounce verdicts in my holy jipar! I shall not let you dispense justice in the E-ana beloved by An! Gilgamec, may you ......, may I ......."

The king ...... these words, the king ...... to his mother who bore him. Gilgamec ...... to Ninsun ......: "O mother who bore me, how ......! By the door of the great gate ...... From the crenellations of the wall ......: "My wild bull, my man, I shall not let you go ......! Gilgamec, I shall not let you go ......! You dispensed justice in my E-ana -- I shall not let you go! You pronounced verdicts in my holy jipar -- I shall not let you go, in his beloved ...... E-ana!"

When he had spoken thus to the mother who bore him, the mother who bore him replied to Gilgamec:

approx. 8 lines missing

Segment B

Holy Inana ....... An ....... ...... the bond of heaven. An ...... to holy Inana: "My child, ......." Inana replied .......:

19 lines fragmentary

unknown number of lines missing

Segment C

It is uncertain if this segment belongs here

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Segment D

4 lines fragmentary

"My musician, Lugal-gabajar, perform your song, tune your strings! Give me beer to drink! Fill my bronze jug again! ......" Lugal-gabajar replied to his master, Gilgamec: "My master, you may eat, and you may drink -- but as for me, how does this matter concern me?"

To defeat the Bull, ......, Gilgamec, to defeat the Bull, ....... ...... his harness of fifty (text: five-sixths) minas. ...... his sword weighing seven talents and thirty minas. ...... his battle axe. "My mother who bore me ......."

His sister ....... His mother who bore him ...... Pectur, his little sister ....... Gilgamec ...... "My mother who bore me, in the house (?) of Enki (?) ....... Pectur, the little sister, ......, will bring back the cattle to their tethering stakes ......, will bring back the sheep to their tethering stakes ......."

"Bull of Heaven, you -- you, ......, yes, you! You crush them ......, and I crush them ....... If you crush them, ...... They shall consign your hide to the streets ....... They shall consign your intestines to the broad square ....... The widows' sons of my city shall each take their share of your meat in baskets. They shall consign your carcass to the knacker's, and I shall turn your two horns into flasks for pouring fine oil to Inana in E-ana."

The Bull ...... in the dust. Gilgamec ...... and Enkidu ....... Their fellow-citizens ....... ...... with dust, like a young calf unused to the yoke. Enkidu stood by (?) the Bull's head and spoke to Gilgamec:

"Ho! magnificent one, extending your staff of office, born of noble lineage, splendour of the gods, furious-hearted bull, standing ready for battle, warrior, ...... your hand ....... The people ......, the people ......."

When Enkidu had spoken thus to Gilgamec, Gilgamec himself smote its skull with his axe weighing seven talents. The Bull reared up so high, so high that it overbalanced. It spattered like rain, it spread itself out like the harvested crop.

The king took his knife in his hand, just as if he were a master chef. He hit Inana with a haunch, he made her flee away like a pigeon, and demolished those ramparts. Standing by (?) the Bull's head, the king wept bitter tears: "Just as I can destroy you, so shall I do the same to her (?)."

As he spoke, he consigned its hide to the streets, he consigned its intestines to the broad square, and the widows' sons of his city each took their share of its meat in baskets. He consigned its carcass to the knacker's, and turned its two horns into flasks for pouring fine oil to Inana in E-ana.
For the death of the Bull of Heaven: holy Inana, it is sweet to praise you!


Fragment of an earlier version from Nippur, dating to the Third Dynasty of Ur

Segment A

unknown number of lines missing

Seed of the jipar (= Gilgamec?) ......; he sat on the ......; that which was in the marsh, my king, to bend that which was in the marsh with the oar, the lord covered it with water with the oar, as if they were flourishing reeds. That which exceeded, as if it was a reed (?) ......, he covered with water. In the wide courtyard ...... of the temple of Inana Gilgamec .......

My king, entering the garden of junipers, as you set to work, the seed of the jipar ...... the sheep of the queen (?) ...... sheared (?) the wool; he sat on the ....... He leant (?) over the marsh; my king leant (?) over the marsh; he bent it with the oar.

The lord covered it with water as if they were flourishing reeds; that which exceeded, as if it was a reed (?) ......, he covered it with water.

unknown number of lines missing

Segment B

I (?) shall not try to take over the portion of Inana in the jipar; ...... shall not cover my valiant arm with a garment (?)!


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Main Index

Sumerian Tablets The Isin King List The Sumerian King list The Tablet of Adapa Akkadian Advice Akkadian Precepts A tigi for Bau to Gudea Adab for Bau to Luma The Cursing of Agade Dumuzid's dream Dumuzid and Enkimdu Dumuzid and Geshtin-ana Enki builds the E-engurra Enki and Ninhursag Enki and Ninmah Enki and the World Order Enlil in the E-kur Enlil and Ninlil Enlil and Sud Enmerkar and En-sughgir-ana Enmerkar and Lord Aratta Ereshkigal The Eridu Genesis The Farmer"s instruction Sumerian Flood Story Gilgamesh and Aga Gilgamesh - Bull of Heaven The Deadth of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh and Enkidu Gilgamesh and Huwawa The Heron and the Turtle The History of the Tummal How Grain came to Sumer A tigii to Inana Inana and Bilulu Inana to the Nether world A balbale to Inana - Dumuzid Inana and Ebih Inana and Enki Inana and Iddin-Dagan A Mythic Narrative Inana Inana and Shu-kale-tuda Inscription Umma and Lagash Instructions of Shuruppag The Lament of Eridug The Lament for Nibru The Lament for Sumer - Urim The Lament for Unug The Lament for Ur The Lament for Urim Letter from Ibbi-Suen Lugulbanda The Marriage of Martu Contracts from Mesopotamia Laws from Mesopotamia The Myth of Etana The Myth of Anzu Nanna-Suen's journey to Nibru Building of Ningirsu's temple Ningishzida to the Netherworld A shir-gida to Nininsina Nininsina and the Gods The exploits of Ninurta Ninurta and the Turtle 3 Ox-drivers from Adab Pabilsaj's journey to Nibru Praise Poem of Shulgi Poem of Utu-Hejal Proverbs from Ki-en-gir Rulers of Lagash The Sargon legend The Shumunda grass Return of Ninurta to Nibru Lugulbanda in the Cave The death of Ur-Nammu Praise poem of Ur-Nammu A tigi to Enlil for Ur-Namma THE TEMPLE HYMNS Sumerian Mythology


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