translation of the sumerian cuneiform

Extract from The Genius of the Few by Christian and Barbara Joy O'Brien - Page 37 - 39

The Anannage, therefore, were the Sumerian equivalents of the biblical Angels. Only after they had disappeared from the Middle Eastern scene were they worshipped in the religious sense; and they were then so enveloped in supernatural trappings that their intrinsic characteristics were swamped in a morass of pseudo-religious adulation.

Before the advent of Semitic influence, the Sumerians had no shrines, and built no temples. One of the first temples to be built by the Semites was dedicated to Enlil at Nippur (home of our tablets) by the early king, Naram-Sin, of the dynasty of Agade which was Amoritic in origin. In due course we shall suggest that the Anannage, having left Kharsag millenia earlier, departed from Sumer because of the first incursions of Amorites from the Syrian Highlands. The temple at Nippur was built some three centuries after the Anannage had left Sumer, and was named e-kur, 'Mountain House' - and built in a city of the Plains that was two hundred kilometres from the nearest mountain. But there is evidence in the literature that the first e-kur in Nippur was a house, and not a temple - built for Enlil to live in.

The name e-kur would have had a nostalgic flavour of the mountainous area from which the Anannage had come - and which they dearly loved; in fact, it was one of the names given to Enlil's Great House in Kharsag. Our modem house names are frequently chosen with the same nostalgia in mind. Thus we have a situation where the original Mountain House was burned to the ground; its successor in Nippur was destroyed in war; and the third was built as a commemorative temple to a personality, the memory of whom had become blurred with time.

Enlil was the leader of the Anannage in Kharsag, and so equates with the Lord of Spirits, the leader of the Angels. The Lord of Spirits is an expression taken from the later Greek whose word for 'spirit' was pneuma = 'air' or 'wind'. Hence, the Greeks had copied the error of the Babylonians and, at the same time, confirmed the synonymity of the two leader-names.

In the Epics of Kharsag, we first meet the name Anannage in its shortened form of a-nun (nan)-na in the opening lines of the so-called 'Creation Myth' which, for obvious reasons, we have renamed 'The Arrival of the Anannage'. There it is stated:

The general sense of these lines is clear, but the detail is open to comment. It is not usual to preface a-nun-na with two star signs, so we have assumed that one is the aristocratic determinative, and the other is either an = 'heaven' or 'highland: or anu = Anu' who was the supreme commander of the Anannage, living in Eden but outside Kharsag.

From this approach, we derive the translation:

'At Kharsag, where Heaven and Earth met, the Heavenly Assembly, the Great Sons of Anu, arrived - the many Wise Ones:

There are a number of possible variations, but none upsets the main theme. And it has to be remembered that as the Sumerians were accomplished exponents of the 'pun'; the resulting paronomasia may have been intentional, in order to give several meanings by the use of one economical phrase.

For the precise translation, much turns on the interpretation of -

= tu, tur, or uru; tu could mean bear' or beget' or 'enter' - from which we have chosen 'entered', and used its equivalent 'arrived'. Neither tur nor uru have relevant meanings. But if we consult the most archaic form of the sign,

[EN VI:6 VBI Altogether, they were two hundred who descended in the days of Jared, on the summit of Mount Hermon.

To be consistent, in the face of the unequivocal Greek in which Enoch's comment is written, the Sumerian prologue has to be written in English, as:

'At Kharsag, where Heaven and Earth met, the heavenly Assembly, the Great Sons of Anu, descended - the many Wise Ones:

In this context it should be noted that, in the vernacular of Middle Eastern languages, the terms 'son' and 'father' do not necessarily imply a blood relationship, but often an association of subordinate and leader in a group, or institution.

The re-examination of Barton's tablets showed that nine of them referred to a series of overlapping events. These epics were a consistent and intelligible account of a series of developments of paramount importance to the local tribesmen among whom the Anannage settled; of such importance that the memory of them was carried for several millenia in oral, family traditions. Eight of the epics elaborate on individual themes, while the ninth, which starts with the two lines discussed above, forms a precis framework within which the other eight fit. The establishment of this framework has allowed many earlier difficulties of meaning to be elucidated; and often seemingly irrational, mythological elements to be moulded into a credible account of a connected series of very distant events.

The geographical area (Map 1), with which the epics were concerned, was not the Mesopotamian setting around Nippur, but the mountain-girt valleys where modern Lebanon, Syria and Israel now adjoin: this is the same area in which the alternative Hebraic account of Eden is set. The evidence for this will be laid out in Chapter 6.

In this area, the narrative describes the founding of a mountainous settlement within which agricultural, horticultural and arboricultural operations were carried out in a lofty, inter-montane basin, liberally irrigated at all seasons from a reservoir artificially constructed by the damming of a seasonally-flowing river issuing from a mountain ravine.

The particular group of Anannage who founded this Settlement were led by 'Father' Enlil (the Lord of Cultivation) and included Enlil's wife-to-be, Ninlil, also referred to as Ninkharsag (Lady of Kharsag). She appears to have been an agricultural biologist in her own right. The group also included Enki (Lord of the Land) who, in modern terms, would be considered the 'operations manager'; and Utu, or Ugmash (later called Shamash by the Babylonians, Ogmius by the Continental Celts, and Ogma by the Old Irish) who, being concerned with surveying and observations of the Sun, became deified as the Sun-God of the Babylonians and, probably, the eponymous forerunner of Apollo and others.

The group were democratically organized with a Council of Seven within which all major decisions appear to have been taken; and which assembled, periodically, in a Council Chamber within the original Mountain House.

Occasionally, their Supreme Commander - ANU, joined them in their deliberations, in the same manner as is reported by the alternative Hebraic record for the Most High and the Council of the Seven Archangels.

In recounting the narrative of the Kharsag epics, it is appropriate that the oldest tablet gives an account of the meetings at which the decision was taken to settle, there. We shall enumerate this as Epic 1.

by Christian and Barbara Joy O'Brien
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