Cover image for The Standard Babylonian Myth of Nergal and Ereškigal By M. Luukko and Simonetta Ponchia

The Standard Babylonian Myth of Nergal and Ereškigal

M. Luukko and Simonetta Ponchia

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$44.00 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-952-10-1342-3

192 pages
10" × 7"
2013
Distributed by Penn State University Press for Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project

State Archives of Assyria Cuneiform Texts

The Standard Babylonian Myth of Nergal and Ereškigal

M. Luukko and Simonetta Ponchia

The Myth of Nergal and Ereškigal, preserved in two versions, a Middle-Babylonian one from Tell el-Amarna and a much longer Standard Babylonian one probably composed in Assyria in the early first millennium BCE, tells the story of why and how Nergal, son of Ea, the god of wisdom, descended into the Netherworld by the “ladders of heaven,” fell in love with Ereškigal, queen of the Netherworld, and eventually deposed her and usurped her throne. Like all Mesopotamian myths, the story is replete with enigmatic details, puns and intertextual allusions making it a heavily encoded text with hidden levels of interpretation. In allegorical reading, the myth was a complement to the Descent of Ištar (SAACT 6), and the mission of Nergal could be associated with that of the king as a heavenly savior sent to the rescue of the sinners.

 

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The Myth of Nergal and Ereškigal, preserved in two versions, a Middle-Babylonian one from Tell el-Amarna and a much longer Standard Babylonian one probably composed in Assyria in the early first millennium BCE, tells the story of why and how Nergal, son of Ea, the god of wisdom, descended into the Netherworld by the “ladders of heaven,” fell in love with Ereškigal, queen of the Netherworld, and eventually deposed her and usurped her throne. Like all Mesopotamian myths, the story is replete with enigmatic details, puns and intertextual allusions making it a heavily encoded text with hidden levels of interpretation. In allegorical reading, the myth was a complement to the Descent of Ištar (SAACT 6), and the mission of Nergal could be associated with that of the king as a heavenly savior sent to the rescue of the sinners.

This volume provides an in-depth analysis of the myth and the most complete reconstruction of the Standard Babylonian version yet presented. The reconstructed text is given both in cuneiform and in up-to-date transliteration and translation, complete with a critical apparatus, philological commentary, and a full glossary and sign list. The Introduction also contains an edition and discussion of the Amarna version and an extensive study of the god Nergal in Assyrian sources. Ideal both as a textbook for classroom use and as a resource for non-Assyriologists wishing to study the myth first-hand.

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INTRODUCTION

Synopsis of the Content

Problems of Interpretation

Motifs and Narrative Technique

Tradition in Brief

The Names of Nergal and Ereškigal

Nergal in Third and Second Millennium Mesopotamia

Nergal and Ereškigal in God Lists

Nergal and Ereškigal in Sources outside Mesopotamia

Texts and Contexts

The God Nergal in Assyrian Sources

The Role of Ereškigal in Neo-Assyrian Sources

Nergal and Ereškigal in the Light of Contemporary Neo-Assyrian Culture Manuscripts

The Middle-Babylonian Version from Tell el-Amarna

Bibliography

CUNEIFORM TEXT

TRANSLITERATION

TRANSLATION

COMMENTARY

GLOSSARY AND INDICES

SIGN LIST

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