Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 129

Modern-day poets and singers, who voice their moods and cast the spell of their moods over readers and audiences, are the representatives of ancient magicians who believed that moods were caused by the spirits which possessed them--the rhythmical wind spirits, those harpers of the forest and songsters of ocean.

The following quotations from Mr. R.C. Thompson's translations of Babylonian charms will serve to illustrate their poetic qualities:--

Fever like frost hath come upon the land.
Fever hath blown upon the man as the wind blast,
It hath smitten the man and humbled his pride.
Headache lieth like the stars of heaven in the desert and hath no praise;
Pain in the head and shivering like a scudding cloud turn unto the form of man.
Headache whose course like the dread windstorm none knoweth.
Headache roareth over the desert, blowing like the wind,
Flashing like lightning, it is loosed above and below,
It cutteth off him, who feareth not his god, like a reed ...
From amid mountains it hath descended upon the land.
Headache ... a rushing hag-demon,
Granting no rest, nor giving kindly sleep ...
Whose shape is as the whirlwind.
Its appearance is as the darkening heavens,
And its face as the deep shadow of the forest.
Sickness ... breaking the fingers as a rope of wind ...
Flashing like a heavenly star, it cometh like the dew.

These early poets had no canons of Art, and there were no critics to disturb their meditations. Many singers had to sing and die ere a critic could find much to say. In ancient times, therefore, poets had their Golden Age-- they were a law unto themselves. Even the "minors" were influential members of society.

[264] Herodotus, book i, 179 (Rawlinson's translation).
[265] Isaiah, xlv, 1, 2.
[266] Herodotus, book i, 181-3 (Rawlinson's translation).
[267] History of Sumer and Akkad, L.W. King, p. 37.
[268] Herodotus, book i, 196 (Rawlinson's translation).
[269] Home Life of the Highlanders (Dr. Cameron Gillies on Medical Knowledge,) pp. 85 et seq. Glasgow, 1911.
[270] Translations by R.C. Thompson in The Devils and Spirits of Babylon, vol. i, pp. lxiii et seq.
[271] Bridges which lead to graveyards.

Chapter XI. The Golden Age of Babylonia


Rise of the Sun God--Amorites and Elamites struggle for Ascendancy--The Conquering Ancestors of Hammurabi--Sumerian Cities Destroyed--Widespread Race Movements--Phoenician Migration from Persian Gulf--Wanderings of Abraham and Lot--Biblical References to Hittites and Amorites--Battles of Four Kings with Five--Amraphel, Arioch, and Tidal--Hammurabi's Brilliant Reign--Elamite Power Stamped Out--Babylon's Great General and Statesman--The Growth of Commerce, Agriculture, and Education--An Ancient School--Business and Private Correspondence--A Love Letter--Postal System--Hammurabi's Successors--The Earliest Kassites--The Sealand Dynasty--Hittite Raid on Babylon and Hyksos Invasion of Egypt.

Sun worship came into prominence in its most fully developed form during the obscure period which followed the decline of the Dynasty of Isin. This was probably due to the changed political conditions which brought about the ascendancy for a time of Larsa, the seat of the Sumerian sun cult, and of Sippar, the seat of the Akkadian sun cult. Larsa was selected as the capital of the Elamite conquerors, while their rivals, the Amorites, appear to have first established their power at Sippar.