Royal Hymn of Hammurabi

The following Mesopotamian poem appears on an ancient stone statue, which had suffered breaking and chipping before its modern rediscovery. Nearly all of column 3 is missing and hence cannot be included here.

Listen to poem in AkkadianListen to poem in English
Read by Dr. Edwin Hostetter

Column 1 — Original Akkadian Text

enlil etelutam iddikkum atta mannam tuqa
sin asharidutam iddikkum atta mannam tuqa
ninurta kakkam tsiram iddikkum atta mannam tuqa
ishtar qablam u tahazam iddikkum atta mannam tuqa
shamash u adad rabitsuka atta mannam tuqa

Listen to poem in Sumerian

Read by Dr. Edwin Hostetter

Column 2– Original Sumerian Text

namagalzu gubbib
ubdalimmuba saganshe nilbi muzu hepade
undagalla inim harabsasagene kiri shu harabtaggene
aar galgalzu metesh heiine
katarmahzu hesilline

Listen to the poem in Akkadian

Read by Dr. Edwin Hostetter

Column 4– Original Akkadian Text

narbi dunishu ana ahriat umi ushepi
hammurabi
sharrum qarradum dannum
shakish aabi
abub tuqumatim
sapin mat zairi
mubelli tuqmatim
musheppi sahmashatim
mu`abbit muqtabli kima salam titim
mupitti pushqi u washtutim

Read by Sahara Al-Madi

Column 1– English Translation

Enlil has given you lordship–You, whom are you waiting for?
Sin has given you supremacy–You, whom are you waiting for?
Ninurta has given you a noble weapon–You, whom are you waiting for?
Ishtar has given you fight and warfare–You, whom are you waiting for?
Shamash and Adad are your sheriffs–You, whom are you waiting for?

Listen to poem in English

Read by Sahara Al-Madi

Column 2– English Translation

Establish your victory!
Elevate yourself in the four quarters of the world, so that your name may be mentioned!
May the numerous people pray to you! May they prostrate themselves before you!
May they praise your great praises over and over again!
May they glorify your noble glories over and over again!

Listen to the poem in English

Read by Sahara Al-Madi

Column 4– English Translation

The greatness of his power he caused to appear till the end of days.
Hammurabi,
The king, the mighty warrior,
The exterminator of foes,
The flood of battles,
The demolisher of the enemy’s land,
The extinguisher of battles,
Who brings disputes to an end,
The destroyer of soldiers as if they were a figurine of clay,
The one who loosens difficult distresses.

Notes

[Column 1 above reproduces the Akkadian version, which is more intact than its Sumerian counterpart.  Column 2 above reproduces the Sumerian version, which is more intact than its Akkadian counterpart.  Column 4 above reproduces the Akkadian version, which is more intact than its Sumerian counterpart.]
 

Historical Notes

Below is a photograph of columns 4A and 4B of the cuneiform inscription, accompanied by a handwritten copy.  The language on the left side is Sumerian and on the right Akkadian.

The preceding bilingual hymn was composed in the 18th century BCE during the reign of Hammurabi.  It was inscribed, presumably, on a lower portion of the sculpture’s royal robe.  The poem begins by asking the king what help he needs, because the gods and goddesses have already pledged their support.  Hammurabi goes on to receive a further series of deific approvals for future conquest by him.  He eventually fulfills his mission of colonizing the land of the foe throughout the world’s four regions.

Sources

Akın, G., 2016, Kestim Kara Saçlarımı, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul. pg.100.

Büyükbay, T. Zeynep, XII. Uluslararası Türk Sanatı, Tarihi ve Folkloru Kongresi Sanat Etkinlikleri, p.5.

Louie, E., 2019, A Woman’s Voice: Methods and Obstacles of Feminist Translation in Persian, Spanish and Turkish Poetry, A Thesis, pg. 82.
 
Yılmaz, E.,  2016, Yalnızlık ve Kadın Bağlamında Gülten Akın’ın şiirleri, Mecmua Uluslar arası Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, pg. 35-36.

(online) https://siirtutkusu.com/kapici-kadinlar-siiri/, Access date: 14.08.2022.

(online) https://www.siir.gen.tr/siir/g/gulten_akin/kestim_kara_saclarimi.htm, Access Date:14.08.2022.

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Fanni is Radnóti's wife
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Soldiers of that time commonly wore a white head cloth, similar to what is still worn by some peasants in China today.  The implication is that the conscripts were so young that they didn’t know how to wrap their head cloths, and needed help from elders.
Before China’s unification under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. there were several competing smaller kingdoms.  Han and Qin were two of these kingdoms. Han was located east of famous mountain passes that separated that area from the power base of the Qin dynasty, with its capital in Chang’an. The Qin dynasty itself only lasted about 15 years after unification due to its draconian rule, but soldiers under Qin rule retained a reputation as strong fighters.
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The phrase "United Men" is elaborated upon in the Notes section below.

Ghetto


An Italian word meaning “foundry.” It originally referred to a part of the city of Venice where the Jews of that city were forced to live; the area was called “the ghetto” because there was a foundry nearby. The term eventually came to refer to any part of a city in which a minority group is forced to live as a result of social, legal, or economic pressure. Because of the restrictions placed upon them, ghetto residents are often impoverished.

"You’re five nine, I am do-uble two"


A reference to the year 1959 and the year 2020.

"The Currency"


Meaning US dollars - this is drawing attention to the fact that Cuba is effectively dollarized.

"Sixty years with the dom-ino stuck"


This sentence is a reference to the Cold War notion that countries would turn Communist one after the other - like dominos. Cuba was the first domino, but it got stuck - no one else followed through into communism.

رحلنا


رحلنا, or "rahalna," means "we have left."

Habibi


Habibi means "my love."

Ra7eel


Ra7eel, or "raheel," means "departure."

3awda


3awda, or "awda," means "returning."

أهلاً


أهلاً, or "ahalan," means "welcome."

a5 ya baba


a5 ya baba, pronounced "akh ya baba," means "Oh my father."

golpe


Treece translates "golpe" as "beating", which is correct, however misses the secondary meaning of the word: "coup".

Carlos


The “Carlos” referred to in the poem is most likely Carlos Bolsonaro, a politician from Rio de Janeiro and the second son of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s current president. His and his father’s involvement in Marielle’s murder has been questioned and investigated.