The Erra Epic – Tablet 1 - 02
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Erra Epic - Source: Foster’s (B.) Distant Days: myths, tales and poetry from Ancient Mesopotamia
When Anu, the king of the gods, sowed his seed in the earth, She bore him seven gods, he called them the Seven. They stood before him, that he ordain their destinies, He summoned the first to give his instructions,
"Wherever you go and spread terror, have no equal."
He said to the second, "Burn like fire, scorch like flame".
He commanded the third, "Look like a lion, let him who sees you be paralyzed with fear".
He said to the fourth, "Let a mountain collapse when you present your fierce arms".
He said to the fifth, "Blast like the wind, scan the circumference of the earth".
He said to the sixth. "Go out everywhere (like the deluge) and spare no one".
The seventh he charged with viperous venom," Slay whatever lives".
After Anu had ordained destinies for all of the Seven, He gave those very ones to Erra, warrior of the gods, saying:
"Let them go beside you, when the clamor of human habitations becomes noisome to you,
"And you resolve to wreak destruction,
"To massacre the black-headed folk and fell the livestock,
"Let these be your fierce weaponry, let them go beside you".
The Seven offer the encouragement that Erra needs. . In a rousing call to arms, they extol the heroic excitement of the campaign, the honor, prestige and gratification it brings.
The Seven claim vaguely that they are not respected enough, that others are growing more important than they.
They bring up the old charge that men make too much noise for the gods to sleep, although this was not the cause Erra had given for his own lack of sleep.
The Seven claim further that there are too many wild animals on the loose. Their final claim no doubt the most important one, is that they are bored and out of training.
These are the ones who are in a fury, holding their weapons aloft, They are saying to Erra,
"Up, do your duty!
"Why have you been sitting in the city like a feeble old man,
"Why sitting at home like a helpless child?
"Shall we eat woman food, like non-combatants? Have we turned timorous and trembling, as if we can’t fight?
"Going to the field for the young and vigorous is like to a very feast,
"But the noble who stays in the city can never eat enough.
"His people will hold him in low esteem, he will command no respect,
"How could he threaten a campaigner?
"However well developed is the strength of the city dweller,
"How could he possibly best a campaigner?
"However toothsome city bread, it holds nothing to the campfire loaf,
"However sweet fine beer, it holds nothing to water from a skin,
"The terraced palace holds nothing to the wayside sleeping spot!
"Be off to the field, warrior Erra, make your weapons clatter,
"Make loud your battle cry that all around they quake,
"Let the Igigi-gods hear and extol your name,
" Let the Anunna-gods hear and flinch at the mention of your,
"Let all the gods hear and bend for your yoke,
" Let sovereigns hear and fall prostrate before you,
"Let countries hear and bring you their tribute,
" Let the lowly hear and perish of their own accord,
"Let the mighty hear and his strength diminish,
" Let lofty mountains hear and their peaks crumble,
" Let the surging sea hear and convulse, wiping out her increase!
" Let the stalk be yanked from the tough thicket,
" Let reeds of the impenetrable morass be shorn off,
" Let men turn cowards and their clamor subside,
" Let beasts tremble and return to clay,
" Let the gods your ancestors see and praise your valor!
"Warrior Erra, why do you neglect the field for the city?
"The very beats and creatures hold us in contempt!
"O warrior Erra, we will tell you, thought that we say be offensive to you!
"Ere the whole land outgrows us,
"You must surely hear our words!
"Do a kindly deed for the gods of hell, who delight in deadly stillness,
"The Anunna-gods cannot fall asleep for the clamor of humankind, Beasts are overrunning the meadows, life of the land,
"The farmer sobs bitterly for his field,
"Lion and wolf are felling the livestock,
"The shepherd, who cannot sleep day and night for the sake of his flocks, is calling upon you,
"We too, who know the mountain passes, have forgotten how to go,
"Cobwebs are spun over our field gear,
"Our fine bow resists and is too strong for us,
"The tip of our sharp arrow is bent out of true,
"Our blade is corroded for want of a slaughter!"
The warrior Erra heard them, What the Seven said pleased him like finest oil.
He made ready to speak and said to Ishum:
"Why, having heard, did you sit by silent?
"Lead the way, let me begin my campaign!
"[ ] the Seven, warriors without rival, Make my fierce weapons (the Seven) march by my side, But you be the vanguard and rear guard".
When Ishum heard what he said, he felt pity and said to the warrior Erra:
"O Lord Erra, why have you plotted evil against the gods?
"To lay waste the lands and decimate the people".
Erra made ready to speak and said to Ishum, his vanguard:
"Keep quiet, Ishum, listen to what I say, as concerns the people of the inhabited world, whom you would spare.
"O vanguard of the gods, wise Ishum, whose counsel is always for the best,
"I am the wild bull in heaven, I am the lion on earth,
"I am king in the land, I am the fiercest among the gods,
"I am warrior among the Igigi-gods, mighty one among the Anunna-gods!