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Myths of Babylon and Assyria: Chapter I. The Races and Early Civilization of Babylonia



The Races and Early Civilization of Babylonia

Prehistoric Babylonia--The Confederacies of Sumer and Akkad--Sumerian Racial Affinities--Theories of Mongolian and Ural-Altaic Origins--Evidence of Russian Turkestan--Beginnings of Agriculture--Remarkable Proofs from Prehistoric Egyptian Graves--Sumerians and the Mediterranean Race--Present-day Types in Western Asia--The Evidence of Crania--Origin of the Akkadians--The Semitic Blend--Races in Ancient Palestine--Southward Drift of Armenoid Peoples--The Rephaims of the Bible--Akkadians attain Political Supremacy in Northern Babylonia--Influence of Sumerian Culture--Beginnings of Civilization--Progress in the Neolithic Age--Position of Women in Early Communities--Their Legal Status in Ancient Babylonia--Influence in Social and Religious Life--The "Woman's Language"--Goddess who inspired Poets.

BEFORE the dawn of the historical period Ancient Babylonia was divided into a number of independent city states similar to those which existed in pre-Dynastic Egypt. Ultimately these were grouped into loose confederacies. The northern cities were embraced in the territory known as Akkad, and the southern in the land of Sumer, or Shumer. This division had a racial as well as a geographical significance. The Akkadians were "late corners" who had achieved political ascendency in the north when the area they occupied was called Uri, or Kiuri, and Sumer was known as Kengi. They were a people of Semitic speech with pronounced Semitic affinities. From the earliest times the sculptors depicted them with abundant locks, long full beards, and the prominent distinctive noses and full lips, which we usually associate with the characteristic Jewish type, and also attired in long, flounced robes, suspended from their left shoulders, and reaching down to their ankles. In contrast, the Sumerians had clean-shaven faces and scalps, and noses of Egyptian and Grecian rather than Semitic type, while they wore short, pleated kilts, and went about with the upper part of their bodies quite bare like the Egyptian noblemen of the Old Kingdom period. They spoke a non-Semitic language, and were the oldest inhabitants of Babylonia of whom we have any knowledge. Sumerian civilization was rooted in the agricultural mode of life, and appears to have been well developed before the Semites became numerous and influential in the land. Cities had been built chiefly of sun-dried and fire-baked bricks; distinctive pottery was manufactured with much skill; the people were governed by humanitarian laws, which formed the nucleus of the Hammurabi code, and had in use a system of cuneiform writing which was still in process of development from earlier pictorial characters. The distinctive feature of their agricultural methods was the engineering skill which was displayed in extending the cultivatable area by the construction of irrigating canals and ditches. There are also indications that they possessed some knowledge of navigation and traded on the Persian Gulf. According to one of their own traditions Eridu, originally a seaport, was their racial cradle. The Semitic Akkadians adopted the distinctive culture of these Sumerians after settlement, and exercised an influence on its subsequent growth.

EXAMPLES OF RACIAL TYPES<br> From a drawing by E. Wallcousins

From a drawing by E. Wallcousins

Much controversy has been waged regarding the original home of the Sumerians and the particular racial type which they represented. One theory connects them with the lank-haired and beardless Mongolians, and it is asserted on the evidence afforded by early sculptural reliefs that they were similarly oblique-eyed. As they also spoke an agglutinative language, it is suggested that they were descended from the same parent stock as the Chinese in an ancient Parthian homeland. If, however, the oblique eye was not the result of faulty and primitive art, it is evident that the Mongolian type, which is invariably found to be remarkably persistent in racial blends, did not survive in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, for in the finer and more exact sculpture work of the later Sumerian period the eyes of the ruling classes are found to be similar to those of the Ancient Egyptians and southern Europeans. Other facial characteristics suggest that a Mongolian racial connection is highly improbable; the prominent Sumerian nose, for instance, is quite unlike the Chinese, which is diminutive. Nor can far-reaching conclusions be drawn from the scanty linguistic evidence at our disposal. Although the languages of the Sumerians and long-headed Chinese are of the agglutinative variety, so are those also which are spoken by the broad-headed Turks and Magyars of Hungary, the broad-headed and long-headed, dark and fair Finns, and the brunet and short-statured Basques with pear-shaped faces, who are regarded as a variation of the Mediterranean race with distinctive characteristics developed in isolation. Languages afford no sure indication of racial origins or affinities.

Another theory connects the Sumerians with the broad-headed peoples of the Western Asian plains and plateaus, who are vaguely grouped as Ural-Altaic stock and are represented by the present-day Turks and the dark variety of Finns. It is assumed that they migrated southward in remote times in consequence of tribal pressure caused by changing climatic conditions, and abandoned a purely pastoral for an agricultural life. The late Sumerian sculpture work again presents difficulties in this connection, for the faces and bulging occiputs suggest rather a long-headed than a broad-headed type, and the theory no longer obtains that new habits of life alter skull forms which are usually associated with other distinctive traits in the structure of skeletons. These broad-headed nomadic peoples of the Steppes are allied to Tatar stock, and distinguished from the pure Mongols by their abundance of wavy hair and beard. The fact that the Sumerians shaved their scalps and faces is highly suggestive in this connection. From the earliest times it has been the habit of most peoples to emphasize their racial characteristics so as to be able, one may suggest, to distinguish readily a friend from a foeman. At any rate this fact is generally recognized by ethnologists. The Basques, for instance, shave their pointed chins and sometimes grow short side whiskers to increase the distinctive pear-shape which is given to their faces by their prominent temples. In contrast, their neighbours, the Andalusians, grow chin whiskers to broaden their already rounded chins, and to distinguish them markedly from the Basques. 1 Another example of similar character is afforded in Asia Minor, where the skulls of the children of long-headed Kurds are narrowed, and those of the children of broad-headed Armenians made flatter behind as a result of systematic pressure applied by using cradle boards. In this way these rival peoples accentuate their contrasting head forms, which at times may, no doubt, show a tendency towards variation as a result of the crossment of types. When it is found, therefore, that the Sumerians, like the Ancient Egyptians, were in the habit of shaving, their ethnic affinities should be looked for among a naturally glabrous rather than a heavily-bearded people.

A Central Asiatic source for Sumerian culture has also been urged of late with much circumstantial detail. It breaks quite fresh and interesting ground. Recent scientific expeditions in Russian and Chinese Turkestan have accumulated important archlogical data which clearly establish that vast areas of desert country were at a remote period most verdurous and fruitful, and thickly populated by organized and apparently progressive communities. From these ancient centres of civilization wholesale migrations must have been impelled from time to time in consequence of the gradual encroachment of wind-distributed sand and the increasing shortage of water. At Anau in Russian Turkestan, where excavations were conducted by the Pumpelly expedition, abundant traces were found of an archaic and forgotten civilization reaching back to the Late Stone Age. The pottery is decorated with geometric designs, and resembles somewhat other Neolithic specimens found as far apart as Susa, the capital of ancient Elam, on the borders of Babylonia, Boghaz K in Asia Minor, the seat of Hittite administration, round the Black Sea to the north, and at points in the southern regions of the Balkan Peninsula. It is suggested that these various finds are scattered evidences of early racial drifts from the Central Asian areas which were gradually being rendered uninhabitable. Among the Copper Age artifacts at Anau are clay votive statuettes resembling those which were used in Sumeria for religious purposes. These, however, cannot be held to prove a racial connection, but they are important in so far as they afford evidence of early trade relations in a hitherto unsuspected direction, and the long distances over which cultural influence extended before the dawn of history. Further we cannot go. No inscriptions have yet been discovered to render articulate this mysterious Central Asian civilization, or to suggest the original source of early Sumerian picture writing. Nor is it possible to confirm Mr. Pumpelly's view that from the Anau district the Sumerians and Egyptians first obtained barley and wheat, and some of their domesticated animals. If, as Professor Elliot Smith believes, copper was first used by the Ancient Egyptians, it may be, on the other hand, that a knowledge of this metal reached Anau through Sumeria, and that the elements of the earlier culture were derived from the same quarter by an indirect route. The evidence obtainable in Egypt is of interest in this connection. Large quantities of food have been taken from the stomachs and intestines of sun-dried bodies which have lain in their pre-Dynastic graves for over sixty centuries. This material has been carefully examined, and has yielded, among other things, husks of barley and millet, and fragments of mammalian bones, including those, no doubt, of the domesticated sheep and goats and cattle painted on the pottery. 1 It is therefore apparent that at an extremely remote period a knowledge of agriculture extended throughout Egypt, and we have no reason for supposing that it was not shared by the contemporary inhabitants of Sumer.

The various theories which have been propounded regarding the outside source of Sumerian culture are based on the assumption that it commenced abruptly and full grown. Its rude beginnings cannot be traced on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, but although no specimens of the earliest form of picture writing have been recovered from the ruins of Sumerian and Akkadian cities, neither have any been found elsewhere. The possibility remains, therefore, that early Babylonian culture was indigenous. "A great deal of ingenuity has been displayed by many scholars", says Professor Elliot Smith, "with the object of bringing these Sumerians from somewhere else as immigrants into Sumer; but no reasons have been advanced to show that they had not been settled at the head of the Persian Gulf for long generations before they first appeared on the stage of history. The argument that no early remains have been found is futile, not only because such a country as Sumer is no more favourable to the preservation of such evidence than is the Delta of the Nile, but also upon the more general grounds that negative statements of this sort cannot be assigned a positive evidence for an immigration." 1 This distinguished ethnologist is frankly of opinion that the Sumerians were the congeners of the pre-Dynastic Egyptians of the Mediterranean or Brown race, the eastern branch of which reaches to India and the western to the British Isles and Ireland. In the same ancient family are included the Arabs, whose physical characteristics distinguish them from the Semites of Jewish type.

Some light may be thrown on the Sumerian problem by giving consideration to the present-day racial complexion of Western Asia. The importance of evidence of this character has been emphasized elsewhere. In Egypt, for instance, Dr. C. S. Myers has ascertained that the modern peasants have skull forms which are identical with those of their pre-Dynastic ancestors. Mr. Hawes has also demonstrated that the ancient inhabitants of Crete are still represented on that famous island. But even more remarkable is the fact that the distinctive racial type which occupied the Pallithic caves of the Dordogne valley in France continues to survive in their vicinity after an interval of over twenty thousand years. 1 It is note-worthy, therefore, to find that in south-western Asia at the present day one particular racial type predominates over all others. Professor Ripley, who summarizes a considerable mass of data in this connection, refers to it as the "Iranian", and says: "It includes the Persians and Kurds, possibly the Ossetes in the Caucasus, and farther to the east a large number of Asiatic tribes, from the Afghans to the Hindus. These peoples are all primarily long-headed and dark brunets. They incline to slenderness of habit, although varying in stature according to circumstances. In them we recognize at once undoubted congeners of our Mediterranean race in Europe. The area of their extension runs off into Africa, through the Egyptians, who are clearly of the same race. Not only the modern peoples, but the Ancient Egyptians and the Phnicians also have been traced to the same source. By far the largest portion of this part of Western Asia is inhabited by this eastern branch of the Mediterranean race." The broad-headed type "occurs sporadically among a few ethnic remnants in Syria and Mesopotamia". 2

The exhaustive study of thousands of ancient crania in London and Cambridge collections has shown that Mediterranean peoples, having alien traits, the result of early admixture, were distributed between Egypt and the Punjab. 3 Where blending took place, the early type, apparently, continued to predominate; and it appears to be reasserting itself in our own time in Western Asia, as elsewhere. It seems doubtful, therefore, that the ancient Sumerians differed racially from the pre-Dynastic inhabitants of Egypt and the Pelasgians and Iberians of Europe. Indeed, the statuettes from Tello, the site of the Sumerian city of Lagash, display distinctively Mediterranean skull forms and faces. Some of the plump figures of the later period suggest, however, "the particular alien strain" which in Egypt and elsewhere "is always associated with a tendency to the development of fat", in contrast to "the lean and sinewy appearance of most representatives of the Brown race". 1 This change may be accounted for by the presence of the Semites in northern Babylonia.

Whence, then, came these invading Semitic Akkadians of Jewish type? It is generally agreed that they were closely associated with one of the early outpourings of nomadic peoples from Arabia, a country which is favourable for the production of a larger population than it is able to maintain permanently, especially when its natural resources are restricted by a succession of abnormally dry years. In tracing the Akkadians from Arabia, however, we are confronted at the outset with the difficulty that its prehistoric, and many of its present-day, inhabitants are not of the characteristic Semitic type. On the Ancient Egyptian pottery and monuments the Arabs are depicted as men who closely resembled the representatives of the Mediterranean race in the Nile valley and elsewhere. They shaved neither scalps nor faces as did the historic Sumerians and Egyptians, but grew the slight moustache and chin-tuft beard like the Libyans on the north and the majority of the men whose bodies have been preserved in pre-Dynastic graves in the Nile valley. "If", writes Professor Elliot Smith, "the generally accepted view is true, that Arabia was the original home of the Semites, the Arab must have undergone a profound change in his physical characters after he left his homeland and before he reached Babylonia." This authority is of opinion that the Arabians first migrated into Palestine and northern Syria, where they mingled with the southward-migrating Armenoid peoples from Asia Minor." This blend of Arabs, kinsmen of the proto-Egyptians and Armenoids, would then form the big-nosed, long-bearded Semites, so familiar not only on the ancient Babylonian and Egyptian monuments, but also in the modern Jews." 1 Such a view is in accord with Dr. Hugo Winckler's contention that the flow of Arabian migrations was northwards towards Syria ere it swept through Mesopotamia. It can scarcely be supposed that these invasions of settled districts did not result in the fusion and crossment of racial types and the production of a sub-variety with medium skull form and marked facial characteristics.

Of special interest in this connection is the evidence afforded by Palestine and Egypt. The former country has ever been subject to periodic ethnic disturbances and changes. Its racial history has a remote beginning in the Pleistocene Age. Pallithic flints of Chellean and other primitive types have been found in large numbers, and a valuable collection of these is being preserved in a French museum at Jerusalem. In a northern cave fragments of rude pottery, belonging to an early period in the Late Stone Age, have been discovered in association with the bones of the woolly rhinoceros. To a later period belong the series of Gezer cave dwellings, which, according to Professor Macalister, the well-known Palestinian authority, "were occupied by a non-Semitic people of low stature, with thick skulls and showing evidence of the great muscular strength that is essential to savage life". 1 These people are generally supposed to be representatives of the Mediterranean race, which Sergi has found to have been widely distributed throughout Syria and a part of Asia Minor. 2 An interesting problem, however, is raised by the fact that, in one of the caves, there are evidences that the dead were cremated. This was not a Mediterranean custom, nor does it appear to have prevailed outside the Gezer area. If, however, it does not indicate that the kinsmen of the Ancient Egyptians came into contact with the remnants of an earlier people, it may be that the dead of a later people were burned there. The possibility that unidentified types may have contributed to the Semitic blend, however, remains. The Mediterraneans mingled in Northern Syria and Asia Minor with the broad-headed Armenoid peoples who are represented in Europe by the Alpine race. With them they ultimately formed the great Hittite confederacy. These Armenoids were moving southwards at the very dawn of Egyptian history, and nothing is known of their conquests and settlements. Their pioneers, who were probably traders, appear to have begun to enter the Delta region before the close of the Late Stone Age. 3 The earliest outpourings of migrating Arabians may have been in progress about the same time. This early southward drift of Armenoids might account for the presence in southern Palestine, early in the Copper Age, of the tall race referred to in the Bible as the Rephaim or Anakim, "whose power was broken only by the Hebrew invaders". 1 Joshua drove them out of Hebron, 2 in the neighbourhood of which Abraham had purchased a burial cave from Ephron, the Hittite. 3 Apparently a system of land laws prevailed in Palestine at this early period. It is of special interest for us to note that in Abraham's day and afterwards, the landed proprietors in the country of the Rephaim were identified with the aliens from Asia Minor--the tall variety in the Hittite confederacy.

Little doubt need remain that the Arabians during their sojourn in Palestine and Syria met with distinctive types, and if not with pure Armenoids, at any rate with peoples having Armenoid traits. The consequent multiplication of tribes, and the gradual pressure exercised by the constant stream of immigrants from Arabia and Asia Minor, must have kept this part of Western Asia in a constant state of unrest. Fresh migrations of the surplus stock were evidently propelled towards Egypt in one direction, and the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates in another. The Semites of Akkad were probably the conquerors of the more highly civilized Sumerians, who must have previously occupied that area. It is possible that they owed their success to the possession of superior weapons. Professor Elliot Smith suggests in this connection that the Arabians had become familiar with the use of copper as a result of contact with the Egyptians in Sinai. There is no evidence, however, that the Sumerians were attacked before they had begun to make metal weapons. It is more probable that the invading nomads had superior military organization and considerable experience in waging war against detached tribal units. They may have also found some of the northern Sumerian city states at war with one another and taken advantage of their unpreparedness to resist a common enemy The rough Dorians who overran Greece and the fierce Goths who shattered the power of Rome were similarly in a lower state of civilization than the peoples whom they subdued.


(British Museum)
Photo. Mansell

The Sumerians, however, ultimately achieved an intellectual conquest of their conquerors. Although the leaders of invasion may have formed military aristocracies in the cities which they occupied, it was necessary for the great majority of the nomads to engage their activities in new directions after settlement. The Semitic Akkadians, therefore, adopted Sumerian habits of life which were best suited for the needs of the country, and they consequently came under the spell of Sumerian modes of thought. This is shown by the fact that the native speech of ancient Sumer continued long after the dawn of history to be the language of Babylonian religion and culture, like Latin in Europe during the Middle Ages. For centuries the mingling peoples must have been bi-lingual, as are many of the inhabitants of Ireland, Wales, and the Scottish Highlands in the present age, but ultimately the language of the Semites became the prevailing speech in Sumer and Akkad. This change was the direct result of the conquests and the political supremacy achieved by the northern people. A considerable period elapsed, however, ere this consummation was reached and Ancient Babylonia became completely Semitized. No doubt its brilliant historical civilization owed much of its vigour and stability to the organizing genius of the Semites, but the basis on which it was established had been laid by the ingenious and imaginative Sumerians who first made the desert to blossom like the rose.

The culture of Sumer was a product of the Late Stone Age, which should not be regarded as necessarily an age of barbarism. During its vast periods there were great discoveries and great inventions in various parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The Neoliths made pottery and bricks; we know that they invented the art of spinning, for spindle-whorls are found even in the Gezer caves to which we have referred, while in Egypt the pre-Dynastic dead were sometimes wrapped in finely woven linen: their deftly chipped flint implements are eloquent of artistic and mechanical skill, and undoubted mathematical ability must be credited to the makers of smoothly polished stone hammers which are so perfectly balanced that they revolve on a centre of gravity. In Egypt and Babylonia the soil was tilled and its fertility increased by irrigation. Wherever man waged a struggle with Nature he made rapid progress, and consequently we find that the earliest great civilizations were rooted in the little fields of the Neolithic farmers. Their mode of life necessitated a knowledge of Nature's laws; they had to take note of the seasons and measure time. So Egypt gave us the Calendar, and Babylonia the system of dividing the week into seven days, and the day into twelve double hours.

The agricultural life permitted large communities to live in river valleys, and these had to be governed by codes of laws; settled communities required peace and order for their progress and prosperity. All great civilizations have evolved from the habits and experiences of settled communities. Law and religion were closely associated, and the evidence afforded by the remains of stone circles and temples suggests that in the organization and division of labour the influence of religious teachers was pre-eminent. Early rulers, indeed, were priest-kings--incarnations of the deity who owned the land and measured out the span of human life.

We need not assume that Neolithic man led an idyllic existence; his triumphs were achieved by slow and gradual steps; his legal codes were, no doubt, written in blood and his institutions welded in the fires of adversity. But, disciplined by laws, which fostered humanitarian ideals, Neolithic man, especially of the Mediterranean race, had reached a comparatively high state of civilization long ages before the earliest traces of his activities can be obtained. When this type of mankind is portrayed in Ancient Sumeria, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Crete we find that the faces are refined and intellectual and often quite modern in aspect. The skulls show that in the Late Stone Age the human brain was fully developed and that the racial types were fixed. In every country in Europe we still find the direct descendants of the ancient Mediterranean race, as well as the descendants of the less highly cultured conquerors who swept westward out of Asia at the dawn of the Bronze Age; and everywhere there are evidences of crossment of types in varying degrees. Even the influence of Neolithic intellectual life still remains. The comparative study of mythology and folk beliefs reveals that we have inherited certain modes of thought from our remote ancestors, who were the congeners of the Ancient Sumerians and the Ancient Egyptians. In this connection it is of interest, therefore, to refer to the social ideals of the early peoples who met and mingled on the southern plains of the Tigris and Euphrates, and especially the position occupied by women, which is engaging so much attention at the present day.

It would appear that among the Semites and other nomadic peoples woman was regarded as the helpmate rather than the companion and equal of man. The birth of a son was hailed with joy; it was "miserable to have a daughter", as a Hindu sage reflected; in various countries it was the custom to expose female children after birth and leave them to die. A wife had no rights other than those accorded to her by her husband, who exercised over her the power of life and death. Sons inherited family possessions; the daughters had no share allotted to them, and could be sold by fathers and brothers. Among the peoples who observed "male right", social life was reflected in the conception of controlling male deities, accompanied by shadowy goddesses who were often little else than figures of speech.

The Ancient Sumerians, on the other hand, like the Mediterranean peoples of Egypt and Crete, reverenced and exalted motherhood in social and religious life. Women were accorded a legal status and marriage laws were promulgated by the State. Wives could possess private property in their own right, as did the Babylonian Sarah, wife of Abraham, who owned the Egyptian slave Hagar. 1 A woman received from her parents a marriage dowry, and in the event of separation from her husband she could claim its full value. Some spinsters, or wives, were accustomed to enter into business partnerships with men or members of their own sex, and could sue and be sued in courts of law. Brothers and sisters were joint heirs of the family estate. Daughters might possess property over which their fathers exercised no control: they could also enter into legal agreements with their parents in business matters, when they had attained to years of discretion. Young women who took vows of celibacy and lived in religious institutions could yet make business investments, as surviving records show. There is only one instance of a Sumerian woman ascending the throne, like Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt. Women, therefore, were not rigidly excluded from official life. Dungi II, an early Sumerian king, appointed two of his daughters as rulers of conquered cities in Syria and Elam. Similarly Shishak, the Egyptian Pharaoh, handed over the city of Gezer, which he had subdued, to his daughter, Solomon's wife. 1 In the religious life of ancient Sumeria the female population exercised an undoubted influence, and in certain temples there were priestesses. The oldest hymns give indication of the respect shown to women by making reference to mixed assemblies as "females and males", just as present-day orators address themselves to "ladies and gentlemen". In the later Semitic adaptations of these productions, it is significant to note, this conventional reference was altered to "male and female". If influences, however, were at work to restrict the position of women they did not meet with much success, because when Hammurabi codified existing laws, the ancient rights of women received marked recognition.

There were two dialects in ancient Sumeria, and the invocatory hymns were composed in what was known as "the women's language". It must not be inferred, however, that the ladies of Sumeria had established a speech which differed from that used by men. The reference would appear to be to a softer and homelier dialect, perhaps the oldest of the two, in which poetic emotion found fullest and most beautiful expression. In these ancient days, as in our own, the ideal of womanhood was the poet's chief source of inspiration, and among the hymns the highest reach of poetic art was attained in the invocation of Ishtar, the Babylonian Venus. The following hymn is addressed to that deity in her Valkyrie-like character as a goddess of war, but her more feminine traits are not obscured:--

Hymn to Ishtar

To thee I cry, O lady of the gods,
Lady of ladies, goddess without peer,
Ishtar who shapes the lives of all mankind,
Thou stately world queen, sovran of the sky,
And lady ruler of the host of heaven--
Illustrious is thy name . . . O light divine,
Gleaming in lofty splendour oer the earth--
Heroic daughter of the moon, oh! hear;
Thou dost control our weapons and award
In battles fierce the victory at will
O crown'd majestic Fate. Ishtar most high,
Who art exalted over all the gods,
Thou bringest lamentation; thou dost urge
With hostile hearts our brethren to the fray;
The gift of strength is thine for thou art strong;
Thy will is urgent, brooking no delay;
Thy hand is violent, thou queen of war
Girded with battle and enrobed with fear . . .
Thou sovran wielder of the wand of Doom,
The heavens and earth are under thy control.

Adored art thou in every sacred place,
In temples, holy dwellings, and in shrines,
Where is thy name not lauded? where thy will
Unheeded, and thine images not made?
Where are thy temples not upreared? O, where
Art thou not mighty, peerless, and supreme?

Anu and Bel and Ea have thee raised
To rank supreme, in majesty and powr,
They have established thee above the gods
And all the host of heaven . . . O stately queen,
At thought of thee the world is filled with fear,
The gods in heaven quake, and on the earth
All spirits pause, and all mankind bow down
With reverence for thy name . . . O Lady Judge,
Thy ways are just and holy; thou dost gaze
On sinners with compassion, and each morn
Leadest the wayward to the rightful path.

Now linger not, but come! O goddess fair,
O shepherdess of all, thou drawest nigh
With feet unwearied . . . Thou dost break the bonds
Of these thy handmaids . . . When thou stoopest oer
The dying with compassion, lo! they live;
And when the sick behold thee they are healed.

Hear me, thy servant! hearken to my prayr,
For I am full of sorrow and I sigh
In sore distress; weeping, on thee I wait.
Be merciful, my lady, pity take
And answer, "T is enough and be appeased".

How long must my heart sorrow and make moan
And restless be? How long must my dark home
Be filled with mourning and my soul with grief?
O lioness of heaven, bring me peace
And rest and comfort. Hearken to my prayr!
Is anger pity? May thine eyes look down
With tenderness and blessings, and behold
Thy servant. Oh! have mercy; hear my cry
And unbewitch me from the evil spells,
That I may see thy glory . . . Oh! how long
Shall these my foes pursue me, working ill,
And robbing me of joy? . . . Oh! how long
Shall demons compass me about and cause
Affliction without end? . . . I thee adore--
The gift of strength is thine and thou art strong--
The weakly are made strong, yet I am weak . . .
O hear me! I am glutted with my grief--
This flood of grief by evil winds distressed;
My heart hath fled me like a bird on wings,
And like the dove I moan. Tears from mine eyes
Are falling as the rain from heaven falls,
And I am destitute and full of woe.

. . . . . . . . .

What have I done that thou hast turned from me?
Have I neglected homage to my god
And thee my goddess? O deliver me
And all my sins forgive, that I may share
Thy love and be watched over in thy fold;
And may thy fold be wide, thy pen secure.

. . . . . . . . .

How long wilt thou be angry? Hear my cry,
And turn again to prosper all my ways--
O may thy wrath be crumbled and withdrawn
As by a crumbling stream. Then smite my foes,
And take away their power to work me ill,
That I may crush them. Hearken to my prayr!
And bless me so that all who me behold
May laud thee and may magnify thy name,
While I exalt thy power over all
Ishtar is highest! Ishtar is the queen!
Ishtar the peerless daughter of the moon!


4:1 The Races of Europe, W. Z. Ripley, p. 203.
6:1 The Ancient Egyptians, by Elliot Smith, p. 41 et seq.
7:1 The Ancient Egyptians, p. 140.
8:1 Crete the Forerunner of Greece, C. H. and H. B. Hawes, 1911, p. 23 et seq.
8:2 The Races of Europe, W. Z. Ripley, p. 443 et seq.
8:3 The Ancient Egyptians, pp. 144-5.
9:1 The Ancient Egyptians, p. 114.
10:1 The Ancient Egyptians, p. 136.
11:1 A History of Palestine, R. A. S. Macalister, pp. 8-16.
11:2 The Mediterranean Race(1901 trans.), G. Sergi, p. 146 et seq.
11:3 The Ancient Egyptians, p. 130.
12:1 A History of Civilization in Palestine, p. 20 et seq.
12:2 Joshua, xi. 21.
12:3 Genesis, xxiii.
16:1 Genesis, xvi. 8, 9.
17:1 1 Kings, xvi. 16.
Next: Chapter II. The Land of Rivers and the God of the Deep


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