Tablet 3 Text 1

(01) Enuru Incantations
1 (02) The Namtar spirit was wandering about in heaven, (03) the Asag demon was prowling around like a storm on earth, (04) the evil Udug demon was running amok in the street, (1) while evil Alad envelops him like the Ulu demon. (2) These demons agitated the distraught man, and struck that man. (3) He did not know his own anatomy, where illness crouched.

1 Namtar, the spirit of fate and death, was traveling about through heaven. The Asag, the eagle Djini, was prowling the earth like a storm. An evil demon was rampaging through the street while evil Alad surrounded him like the Ulu demon. A distressed man was agitated and struck by each of these demons. He didn’t even know his own body where illness settled.

*This paragraph sets the stage for something bad to happen. Death was in heaven and probably being given instructions. The powerful Asag caused destruction where it wandered. I’m thinking this is a metaphor for a sand storm. Ulu are unknown to me.

2 (4) I am Enki’s man, (5) I am Damgalnunna’s man, (6) the great lord Enki has sent me. (7) It is I who was approaching the sick man, (8) when I entered his house, (9) and it was I who placed my hand upon his head, (10) and was carefully examining the sinews of his limbs, (11) and I who recreated the incantation of Eridu for him. (12) After I have administered the incantation to the sick man […]

2 I am the agent of Enki and his wife Damgalnunna who lives with him in the Apsu. I was sent by Enki, as a doctor for the sick man. I came into the sick man’s house, examined him, treated him, and spoke the incantations over him. *The writer identifies himself as an agent of Enki and his wife perhaps the next paragraph would have alluded to Asalluhi, we’ll simply have to wait for more texts to be translated. The writer states that he is a qualified medical practitioner / exorcist. It reads more like a medical journal than a religious text to me.

It is interesting to note that the incantations themselves are only refered to, and not listed. Perhaps the text would have continued on to say them, but I don’t think so. This was probably written by an Akkadian speaking man who used Sumerian as a scholarly as well as a sorcerous language. If the incantation were to be found I suspect it would be written in Akkadian so as to lessen it’s power for storage.

3 (13) They are the messengers of Enlil, lord of the lands. (14) The evil Udug of the steppe killed the victim, (15) as the evil Ala covered him like a garment. (16) While the evil ghost and evil Galla seized his body, (17) and while the Dimme and Dima infected his body, (18) the lil demons, inhospitable winds of the steppe, swept along, (19) approached the distraught man’s side, (20) and set the grievous Asag disease in his body

3 The inhospitable wind demon of the steppe defeated the victim while the evil Ala surrounded him like a set of clothes. The evil Galla and ghost took hold of his body, and the Dimme and Dima infected his body. With this done, the wind swept along. These are the messengers of Enlil, lord of the gods, and they placed the Asag disease in him. * I am equating the demon (Udug) of the steppe and the wind (lil) of the steppe. As I see it this is a description of a coordinated demonic strike on a victim. The Ala holds the victim still while the wind plunges in the knife. The Galla possesses the corpse and the Dimme and Dima ate away at the prize. If any of this is mistranslated I would suspect that it is the translation of the word “killed”, the reason being that you don’t heal a dead man.

The note that Enlil is ultimately responsible speaks to the time that this was penned down. Enki is now less responsible for bad things, and Enlil is more responsible. Perhaps this is related to Enlil’s connection to spirits and demons, and Enki’s connection to raw magic.

4 (21) Since his body contained the evil of the broken oath, (22) the demons injected his bad blood separately. (23) Since his body contained the Namtar demon with its evil, (24) or since his body contained its venomous evil, (25) or since his body contained an evil curse, (26) or since his body contained the evil of punishment, (27) or since the venom of misdeed hung over him, (28) thus have the demons wrought evil, approached the distraught man’s side, (20) and set the grievous Asag disease in his body.

4 The man’s body had been tainted by a broken oath, and so the demons each injected poison into his blood. His body either contained Namtar demon as the result of a curse laid upon him. This punishment was done to him because of a misdeed. This is how the demons have done this to him and infected him with the Asag disease. *Our doctor diagnoses the causes of the disease before proceeding. The demons each injected poison in addition to the other things that they have done. Why did they do this? Because the man had angered a god or a sorcerer who has cursed them. There seems to be no blame upon the individual who had been the recipient of the broken oath from earlier.

Perhaps what I took as a sandstorm metaphor was meant to refer more to a plague. I would have to know more about the Asag disease.

5 (29) The evil man, evil eye, evil mouth, and evil tongue, (30) the evil […] worked woe in him. (31) They roared at him from the mountain like wind in a porous pot. (32) The destructive acts bound the mouth, (33) and the spells through their evil seized the tongue.

5 An evil man with an evil eye spoke dark words that howled down from the mountain like wind through the holes in a pot. This spell worked havoc on the afflicted man. It caused his tongue to be seized and bound his mouth taking away his voice. *Here we definitely have a sorcerer. It is specifically an evil man rather than a demon or a god. The use of the evil eye and the words binding the target sound more like manipulation of magic than manipulation of demons. The presence of demons suggests that perhaps practitioners of the arts were simply assumed to know both. The fact that this is something I have been arguing for years, and this section conveniently points in my favored direction makes it possible that I am simply reading too far into the texts. I will have to read on to find more evidence.

The disease that is afflicting him is taking hold of his tongue. Perhaps a tooth problem or tetanus. Tooth problems were treatable, but could get really bad. Tetanus attacks the joints and shuts the mouth. I don’t think this was treatable. I also suspect that he had a fever.

6 (34) As the great lord Enki left, there was the Evil god. (35) The demons plagued that man at the main crossroad.

6 Enki had departed, and in his place was Enlil a hostile god who did not want anything good for the afflicted man. At the crossroads he was set upon by demons who served this god. *You will note a similarity between P6 and P3, and also P5 and P1 I see these as building upon the earlier paragraphs to add more detail. This makes the evil god Enlil. This makes sense as he was earlier noted as the one behind the other demons.

I changed it from “evil” to “hostile” as I think the sense of evil as inherently evil is too ingrained in the modern psyche. This was not a concept shared by the Sumerians, Akkadians, or Babylonians.

7 (36) I am Enki’s man, (37) I am his messenger. (38) To heal the man in his illness, (39) the great lord Enki sent me. (40) Since he made his holy incantation into my incantation, […]

7 Lord Enki acts through me. I am his messenger, and I came to heal the afflicted man’s illness. Enki taught me his incantation, and I have made it my own. With this incantation I am able to help this man. […]

*We have a break in the text here. I think it may have said something brief about how he healed the ailments in addition to the incantations. I have read that the incantation followed by physical treatment was the common practice.

3 lines restored
(a) Causing his pure mouth to be my pure mouth, (b) his pure spell to be my pure spell, (c) his pure prayer to be my pure prayer.

8 Enki has given me the words to say, and he has given me his clean mouth to say them with. I am able to cast his pure spell and pray with his purity. No hint of uncleanliness can touch my mouth. * After adapting the patch in the text it is interesting to look back at my commentary. My guess was reasonable, it was simply wrong. Instead of talking about another stage of treatment he talked about cleanliness. Having a pure mouth obviously had a lot to do with hygiene to our modern eyes, but in this instance it had more to do with ritual purification. The beneficial hygienic aspects are a happy coincidence. Again though, this section seems to indicate a doctor rather than simply a wielder of magic. Demons being simply another vector for disease to spread through.

From a magical standpoint this section tells us that ritual purification is important in the casting of this type of magic. At the very least, a modern practitioner might want to brush their teeth before starting a spell. More likely they would want to have regular dental visits.

9 (41) That which surely attacked the limbs is in the sick man’s body. (42) It is an effective incantation, the word of Enki. (43) They were the evil ones who were indeed uprooted.

9 The demons that hindered the sick man’s limbs was in his body. I used the incantation of Enki. The incantation was effective and the malicious entities were uprooted from the sick man’s body.

*Again it would be instructive to know what that incantation was exactly. This is definitely useful in it’s own right, but it doesn’t answer certain fundamental questions.

9 (44) In my hand I raised the manu wood, the exalted instrument of heaven. (45) Pisangunu, the herald of Kulaba, walks behind me while I enjoy good health. (46) As the good Udug walked with him on my right side, (47) and the good Lamma walked with him on my left side, (48) Geshtin-anna, the great scribe of Arali, recited with each one of them the liturgy of the holy incantation. Ningirsu, the lord of the weapon, surely adjured you.

9 I raised the Manu wood staff, a renown tool of heaven, in my hands. The herald of Kulab, Pisangunu, walks behind me and so my health is good. To my right is the good demon, and to my left is the good Lamma. Dumuzi’s sister Geshtin-anna, the great scribe of the underworld, chanted the incantation with each of these spirits. As Ninurta, master of weaponry, solemnly instructed you. * Knowing what a Manu wood staff is made of would be greatly useful to a modern Sumerian magical practitioner. I know I would like to have one.

Oh, and in case anyone doesn’t know,Kulab is the city where Gilgamesh came from originally. It is located within Uruk. Uruk grew to encompass Kulab in much the same way that Chicago came to envelop the cities in northern Illinois.

10 (50) May they who are the evil ones not approach my body, (51) nor go behind me, nor enter my house, (52) nor climb on my roof, nor slip into my dwelling. (53) Be you adjured by heaven, be you adjured by earth.

10 “May those with bad intentions not approach me from the front or from behind. May they not come into my house, climb my roof, or enter my door. You are instructed by heaven and by earth,” we chanted. *This looks to be the incantation he was talking about. The tone of these lines changed so I attempted to keep it close to the original. It is interesting that it is not invoking any god or demon here, but rather invoking by heaven and earth. Gods were mentioned in the previous line, but more for them to lend their strength to the chant rather than to give the chant authority. A distinct difference.

Instructing them thus is like saying, “You know the order of the universe, obey the rules.”

(54) Incantation: the Asag: binding of illness […]

Incanation: An incantation against the Asag, and the binding of the diseases that they cause.

*The Sumerians seem to have placed the titles at the ends of their compositions.

List of demons and gods

(1) Ala: A demon I don’t know. Perhaps a shortened version of Alad, a male protective spirit. The suffix suggests lesser spirit.
(2) Alad: A male protective spirit.
(3) Arali: another name for the underworld. Also another name for Ereshkigal.
(4) Asag: A winged eagle headed demon similar to an angel or a Djini in Assyrian art. They were considered to be particularly powerful. Like the Alad we see the glimmerings of two sides to them. Evil Asag when named in incantations are demons of sickness. When shown in art they seem to be more similar to the incantation priests themselves.
(5) Damgalnunna: The wife of Enki who lives with him in the deep. Not much is said about her in the myths. She is the mother of Asalluhi, potentially a Sumerian form of Marduk, though Marduk is also mentioned in these texts separately from Asalluhi.
(6) Dimme and Dima: More demons I don’t know anything about.
(7) Enki: Lord of wisdom, magic and fresh water. He lives in the abyss, a place accessible by way of Eridu, his city. Enki is also the main god of T/S.
(8) Enlil: Wind god and head of the pantheon. He is more beneficial in earlier texts than this one. He is master of spirits and as such is a lord over demons.
(9) Galla: Demon of the underworld. Their chief duty is to bring the dead to the underworld. They get over enthusiastic about this and will attempt to bring as many into the underworld as they can. They are harmful, but not evil by nature.
(10) Geshtin-anna: Dumuzi’s sister. Here she is presented as the scribe of the underworld.
(11) Gidim: Ghost. a spirit who has died, but was not properly buried. Here it would benefit greatly from taking a victim and killing it. This would allow it a way to be burried and so enter the underworld on another’s ticket as it were.
(12) Lamma: something like a Djini.
(13) Lil: this means wind, spirit, or wind spirit. By nature it was the servant of Enlil.
(14) Namtar: God of fate and death, and minister of Ereshkigal.
(15) Pisangunu: the herald of Kullab. Not an entity I am familiar with. I know I have heard the name before though.
(16) Udug: Any demon.
(17) Udug of the steppe: I equate this to be a form of wind demon. As such it would be subservient to Enlil.
(18) Ulu demon: The direct transliteration of Ulu demon is U18-Lu-Gin7. Checking this with the lexicon gets: U18 (huge), Lu (male, person, or any of a number of other definitions.) and Gin7 (Similar to, like.) like a huge male demon.