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This myth has come down to us on two fragments found in 1887 at Tell-el-Amarna, Egypt. One piece is in the British Museum, and was published by Bezold and Budge, the other is in the Berlin Museum, and was published by Winckler and Abel. Translated by Jensen, Ungnad in Gressmann, and Knudtzon.


When the gods prepared a feast,
To their sister Ereshkigal
They sent a messenger:
“Even if we should descend to thee,
Thou wouldst not come up to us,
Therefore send (hither) and take thy portion.” 2 (lit. food)
Ereshkigal sent Namtar, her messenger.
Namtar went up to the high heaven
And entered [. . .] the gods were talking,
They [ ] Namtaru
The messenger of their great sister.

[A number of lines here are illegible, and some are missing altogether. It is, however, easy to divide from what follows that they contained substantially the following. When Namtar entered the hall of the great gods and all arose to receive him with honor, Nergal remained seated. Namtar reported the discourtesy to Erishkigal, who interpreted it as a slight to her, and sends him back to the gods with a threat of vengeance, – she will kill the offender.]

Ea[. . .]
went [. . .]
Go, my sister [. . .]
Saying: “To the god who did not arise before my messenger,
Bring to him this message, I will kill him.”
Namtaru went; he spoke to the go
The gods called him; they spoke with him,
“Behold the god, who did not arise before thee,
Take him before thy lady.”
Namtaru counted them; a god was missing in the rear.
Where is the god, who did not arise More me?”
Behold, Namtar goes away, [he gave his message].
[A number of lines illegible, except as to a few dis-
connected words.]
[. . .] to Ereshkigal. He weeps [. . .]
Before Ea, his father . . . [. . .] me [. . .]
Or life to me. I should not have had fear, [Ea
answered him:]
“I will give thee vii and vii [. . .]
To go with thee: [. . . ba, Mutabriku,]
Sharabdu, [Rabisu, Tirid, Idibtu]
Be[nnu, Sidanu, Mikit, Bel-upri]
Ummu, [Libu . . .]
With thee [shall they go. When Nergal came to the] door
Of Erishkigal, he called, “Porter . . . thy door
[. . . unlock] I would enter before thy lady
Erishkigal. I am sent. The porter went away.
He said to Namtaru, “A god is standing at the en-
trance of the door,
Come, look at him, whether he may enter.” Namtar
went out.
He looked at him [ ] he said
To his lady: “My lady, it is the god who in former
Months disappeared, and did not arise before me.
Bring him [ he shall not] go. I will slay him.”
Namtar went out [. . .] enter, my lord,
Into the house of thy sister [. . .] thy departure.
Nergal answered: “May thy heart rejoice in me.” 1
[About three lines are here missing.]
[. . . he stationed, when he entered the (second) door]
[. . .]ba at the third, Mutabriku 2 at the fourth,
Sharabdu at the fifth, Rabisu at the sixth, Tirid
At the seventh, Idibtu at the eighth, Bennu
At the ninth, Sidanu at the tenth, Mikit
At the eleventh, Belupri at the twelfth,
Ummu at the thirteenth, Libu at the fourteenth
Door he stationed as his [. . .] In the court he cut down
Namtaru. To his warriors he gave command: “The doors
Shall be opened. Look, (else) will I break out upon you
Within the house he seized Ereshkigal
By the hair, bent her down from the throne
To the ground, to cut off her head.
“Kill me not, my brother. I will speak a word with thee.”
Nergal hearkened; his hands relaxed. She wept and sobbed.
“Thou shalt be my husband; I will be thy wife, I
will give thee to seize
Sovereignty over the wide earth. I will set the tablet
Of wisdom in thy hand. Thou shalt be lord,
I will be lady.” When Nergal heard her word,
He seized her, kissed her, and wiped away her tears:
What hast thou wished from me from distant months,
Until now?


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