Inanna prepares for her wedding.

Love in the Gipar

English interpretation by Alan Humm

This story, as Thorkild Jacobsen points out in The treasures of darkness (see sources below), is layered on top of an older nature-myth in which Inanna is the “lady of the date clusters,” Eanna is her storehouse, and Dumuzi is the date palm bud—the source of the dates. On top of this is layered the myth of the god and goddess of fertility (we see this in the transition from dates to gems in the first stanza). In any case, it contains within it an illustration of upper class Sumerian wedding rituals.

This translation is, for the most part, a reworking of Jacobsen’s. I have modernized the language and constantly compared it to Samuel Noah Kramer’s offering in ANET (also in sources), occasionally preferring his version, but especially using it in the section that Jacobsen omits (lns. 14–27). Notes are mine, although often citing those of Jacobsen and Kramer. “Love in the Gipar” is Kramer’s title. Jacobsen simply called it “The Uruk text”. All errors are mine, of course.

Notes are ‘mouse hover style’, connected to passages in green.

Please report errors to me (link at end of page). -Alan Humm

Sources:

Jacobsen, Thorkild. (1976). The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kramer, Samuel Noah (1969). Love in the Gipar. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament with Supplement. Pritchard, James B. (Ed.). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Weadock, Penelope N. (January 01, 1975). The Giparu at Ur. Iraq, 37, 2, 101-128.

    
Holy Inanna….
A date-gatherer [will climb] the date palm,
a date-gatherer [will climb] the date palm for holy Inanna.
He brought her the fresh ones!
    He brought her the fresh ones—the dark early-ripening ones,
He brought the fresh ones to Inanna, also the light-colored early-ripening ones.

Then he took them, he took them, he took them to the gem-testing pile;
then he took them, maiden Inanna, he took them to the gem-testing pile.

On the surface of the heap he is gathering lapis lazuli;
10   on the surface of the heap he is gathering lapis lazuli for Inanna.
    
She finds the “buttock beads,” to put on her buttocks!
Inanna finds the “head beads,” to put on her head!
She finds the clear blocks of lapis lazuli, to put around her neck!
She finds the gold filament, to put in her hair!
She finds narrow gold earrings, and puts the on her ears.
She finds bronze ear-clips to put on here ears.
She finds “what drips honey,” to put on her face.
She finds “what covers a royal residence,” to put on her nose.
She finds “the house that…,” to put on her….
20   She finds beautiful cypress and boxwood to put on her navel.
     She finds a sweet “honey well” to put around her genitals.
She finds bright alabaster, to put on her anus.
She finds black…willow, and puts on her vulva,
She finds ornate sandals, and puts the on her feet.

It is sagidda.

She who had gathered lapis lazuli on the heap was met by her lord !
Inanna, who gathered lapis lazuli on the heap, was met by Dumuzi!

Her lord met her in the navel of heaven—the house of Enlil!
An’s herdman, Dumuzi, met her in Eanna,
30   The lord has met her as she stood at the lapis lazuli door that stands in Giparu!
     Dumuzi met her as she stood by the narrow door in the storehouse of Giparu!

She will lead him back to the surface of the heap,
Inanna will lead him back to the surface of the heap.
(him) me she, caressing and amid her croonings, take(?) into(?) its clay plaster (covering).

The maiden, rejoicing, sent a message to her father!
Inanna, dancing, sent a message to her father:

    “Have them rush into my house, (into) my house for me!
    Have them rush into my house, (into) my house, for me—its queen,
    Have them rush into my house, the Giparu, for me!

40       “(And) when they have prepared my fruitful bed for him,
         Have them spread for me my lustrous lapis lazuli (colored) plants on it.
    That is where they will bring the man of my heart,
    That is where they will bring my Amaushumgalanna,

    “He will put his hand in my hand,
    He will put his heart next to my heart.
    Not only is it sweet to sleep with him hand in hand,
    Sweetest of sweet is to the pleasure of joining with him heart to heart.”

Love, Marriage, and Hieros Gamos index Return to Love, Marriage,
and Hieros Gamos index
© Copyright 1995-2011 Alan Humm.
Comments and corrections: