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Hymn To Ishtar

annotated version (Alternate Title)

Sing of the goddess, most awe-inspiring goddess, (1)
Let her be praised, mistress of people,
greatest of the Igigi-gods.
Sing of Ishtar, most awe-inspiring goddess,
let her be praised,
Mistress of women, greatest of the Igigi-gods.

She is the joyous one, clad in loveliness, (5)
She is adorned with allure, appeal, charm.
Ishtar is the joyous one, clad in loveliness,
She is adorned with allure, appeal, charm.

In her lips she is sweetness, vitality her mouth,
While on her features laughter bursts to bloom. (10)
She is proud of the love-charms set on her head,[1]
Fair her hues, full-ranging, and lustrous her eyes.

This goddess,* right counsel is hers,
She grasps in her hand the destinies of all that exists.
At her regard, well-being is born, (15)
Vigor, dignity, good fortune, divine protection.

Whispers,* surrender, sweet shared captivation,
Harmony too she reigns over as mistress.
The girl who invokes(?) finds (in her?) a mother,
Among women(?) one mentions her, invokes her name.* (20)

Who is it that could rival her grandeur?
Her attributes are mighty, splendid, superb.
Ishtar this is, who could rival her grandeur?
Her attributes are mighty, splendid, superb.

She it is who stands foremost among the gods,* (25)
Her word is the weightiest, it prevails over theirs.
Ishtar stands foremost among the gods,
Her word is the weightiest, it prevails over theirs.

She is their queen, they discuss her commands,*
All of them bow down before her: (30)
They go to her (in) her radiance,*
Women and man fear her too.

In their assembly her utterance is noble, surpassing,
She is seated among them as an equal to Anu their king,
She is wise in understanding, reflection, insight. (35)
Together they make their decisions, she and her lord.[2]

There they sit together on the dais
In the temple chamber, delightful abode,
The gods stand in attendance before them,
Their ears awaiting what those mouths will command. (40)

Their favorite king, whom their hearts love most,
Ever offers in splendor his pure offerings,
Ammiditana offers in plenty before them
His personal, pure libation of cattle and fatted stags.*

She has asked of Anu her spouse long life hereafter for him, (45)
Many years of life for Ammiditana
Has Ishtar rendered to him as her gift.

By her command she gave him in submission
The four world regions at his feet,
She harnessed the whole of the inhabited world to his yoke. (50)

What she desires, this song for her pleasure
Is indeed well suited to his mouth,
he performed for her Ea's own word(s).[3]
When he heard this song of her praise,
he was well pleased with him,
Saying, “Let him live long,
may his (own) king always love him.”[4]

O Ishtar, grant long life enduring to Ammiditana,
the king who loves you, (long) may he live! (55)
(Its antiphon)[5]

Explanatory Notes:  [1] The love charm, sometimes a personification (see I.4c, II.26a), may here be something worn, like a necklace or headband (Westenholz, OrNS 46 [1977], 205–207); compare II.2, line 16.<br />[2] Anu is meant. “Lord” may be a term of endearment here; see p. 156 note 1.<br />[3] This refers to the artfulness of the text, which pleases Ea, god of wisdom. See General Introduction D.1 and compare III.29 line 146.<br />[4] “King” may mean the god of Ammiditana's city, Babylon (so Thureau-Dangin).<br />[5] This refers to the lines in the ruled-off section. The poem may have been performed or sung antiphonally.Translation: von Soden, SAHG, 235–237 no. 1; Stephens, ANET3, 383; Labat, Religions, 238–239; Seux, Hymnes, 39–42; Hecker, TUAT II/5, 721–724; Edzard, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 160/4 (2004), 510–515.<br />Literature: Hecker, Epik, 77–85.<br /><br />*Notes to Text: (13) Or “pure one,” Hecker, TUAT II/5, 722 note 13a. (17) With von Soden, ZA 67 (1977), 279; otherwise, “mutual loves.” (20) Construing i-ni-Íi as in(a) iÍÍi. For iÍÍu without a doubled consonant, compare i-Íi-i in line 4. (25) I follow here von Soden's emendation to Ía!-at, ZA 40 (1931), 195 note 4. Collation shows the copy to be exact. Hecker's proposal, Epik, 79 note 2, ga!-sa!-at, seems to me less likely because of the parallelism of the lines, which resembles that of ii. (29) Differently Hecker, Epik, 80 note 3: “Ihre Königin lassen sie immerwieder ihre Weisungen geben.” (31) See Hecker, Epik, 80 note 3; Mayer, OrNS 56 (1987), 201; Wasserman, Style, 86 note 113. (44) Emended by CAD A/1, 336a to as!-li, but there seems to be no basis for this (collation by translator and also Wasserman, Style, 92).<br />
Publication:  Benjamin R. Foster, Before the Muses; 3rd ed., 2005, (pp. 85–88)
Source:  Text: Thureau-Dangin, RA 22 (1925), 170–171;Edition: ibid, 172–177.
See all in category Hymns addressed to deities