Skip to main content

She has never given birth

The cow was pregnant, the cow is giving birth, ~(1)
In the paddock of Shamash, the pen of Shamkan.[1]
When he saw her, Shamash began to cry,
When the Pure-rited[2] One saw her, his tears were
~~flowing down.
Why is Shamash crying,
Why are the Pure-rited One's tears flowing down?
"For the sake of my cow, who had never been breeched!"*
"For the sake of my kid, who had never given birth!"* ~(10)
Whom shall I [send with an order to the
~~the daught]er(s) of Anu, seven [and seven],[3]
[May] they [ ] their pots of [ ],
May they bring this baby straight forth!*~(15)
If it be male, like a wild ram,* ~
If it be female, like a wild cow(?) may it come into the world.[4]
(Incantation for a woman in labor)

Explanatory Notes:  [1] Shamkan, the cattle-god, was the son of Shamash (van Dijk, OrNS 41 [1972], 344; Cavigneaux in Abusch, ed., Magic, 261–264); Stol (Birth in Babylonia, 64) suggests that the line means the woman is in Larsa, which had an important temple of Shamash.<br />[2] An epithet of the moon.<br />[3] Compare II.23a, d.<br />[4] Literally: “falls toward the ground,” as Babylonian women often gave birth in a seated position.<br /><br />Translation: Stol, Birth in Babylonia, 64.<br />
Publication:  Benjamin R. Foster, Before the Muses, 3rd edition; 2005, (p. 170)
Source:  Text: van Dijk, VAS 17 34; Edition: van Dijk, OrNS 41 (1972), 343–348.
See all in category Narratives featuring deities