man's golden age

by: Samuel Noah Kramer

This tablet (29.16.422 in the Nippur collection of the University Museum) is one of the unpublished pieces belonging to the Sumerian epic poem whose hero Enmerkar ruled in the city of Ereck sometime during the fourth millennium BC. The passage enclosed by the black line describes the blissful and unrivalled state of man in an era of universal peace before he had learned to know fear and before the "confusion of tongues"; its contents, which are very reminiscent of Genesis XI:1, read as follows:

  • In those days there was no snake, there was no scorpion, there was no hyena
  • There was no lion, there was no wild dog, no wolf
  • There was no fear, no terror
  • Man had no rival.
  • In those days the land Shubur (East), the place of plenty, of righteous decrees,
  • Harmony-tongued Sumer (South), the great land of the "decrees of princeship",
  • Uri (North), the land having all that is needful
  • The land Martu (West), reting in security
  • The whole universe, the people in unison
  • The Enlil in one tongue gave praise

From Sumerian Mythology by Samuel Noah Kramer.


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