Skip to main content

The Birth-Legend of Sargon

A Pseudo-Autobiography of Sargon of Akkade (Alternate Title)

Sargon, great king, king of Akkade, am I:
~~my mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not.
My father's family dwells in the uplands;
~~my city was Azupiranu, which lies on the bank of the Euphrates.
My mother the high priestess conceived me, bore me in secret,
~~in a reed basket she placed me, sealed my lid with bitumen.
She set me down on the river, whence I could not ascend;
~~the river bore me up, brought me to the irrigator Aqqi.
The irrigator Aqqi lifted me up as he dipped his pail,
~~the irrigator Aqqi brought me up as his adopted son.
The irrigator Aqqi set me to work in a date-grove,
~~during my work in the date-grove the goddess Ishtar loved me.
[Fifty]-four years I exercised kingship,
~~ruled and governed the black-headed folk.
I cut [through] mighty mountains with picks of copper,
~~many times I ascended the upper mountains.
Many times I traversed the lower mountains,
~~three times I circumnavigated the entire ocean.
(Remainder fragmentary)

Explanatory Notes:  The opening of this composition is in the form of pseudo-autobiography, written many centuries after the death of the subject. The remainder of the text is fragmentary and defies reconstruction, so that no further generic ascription is currently possible.
Source:  CT 13 42–43
Date:  1200-700 BC
Language:  Akkadian
Medium:  clay tablet
Find Spot:  Nineveh; Babylon