So I stumbled onto the Etsy shop of this academic who–in real life–is an expert on cuneiform–and on the side, makes little trinkets with Sumerian on them and OH MAN THIS SHOP HAS MADE MY ENTIRE WEEK

For the price of about thirty bucks, you too can have a clay necklace that says “Like a farting butt, the mouth brings forth too many words” in the oldest written language on earth

Or a necklace that declares “I have ferocious features that exude sexiness”

Or be the ultimate hipster and anti-capitalist before capitalism even existed with “Wanting more riches when already wealthy offends the gods”

Sumerian erotic poetry? Got it. Sumerian drinking songs? Yep. A little something for everyone on your Akitu gift list.


The Epic Of Gilgamesh In Sumerian

The EPIC OF GILGAMESH is the earliest great work of literature that we know of, and was first written down by the Sumerians around 2100 B.C.

Ancient Sumer was the land that lay between the two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, in Mesopotamia. The language that the Sumerians spoke was unrelated to the Semitic languages of their neighbors the Akkadians and Babylonians, and it was written in a syllabary (a kind of alphabet) called “cuneiform”. By 2000 B.C., the language of Sumer had almost completely died out and was used only by scholars (like Latin is today). No one knows how it was pronounced because it has not been heard in 4000 years.

What you hear in this video are a few of the opening lines of part of the epic poem, accompanied only by a long-neck, three-string, Sumerian lute known as a “ngish-gu-di”. The instrument is tuned to G - G - D, and although it is similar to other long neck lutes still in use today (the tar, the setar, the saz, etc.) the modern instruments are low tension and strung with fine steel wire. The ancient long neck lutes (such as the Egyptian “nefer”) were strung with gut and behaved slightly differently. The short-neck lute known as the “oud” is strung with gut/nylon, and its sound has much in common with the ancient long-neck lute although the oud is not a fretted instrument and its strings are much shorter (about 25 inches or 63 cm) as compared to 32 inches (82 cm) on a long-neck instrument.

For anyone interested in these lutes, I highly recommend THE ARCHAEOMUSICOLOGY OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST by Professor Richard Dumbrill.

The location for this performance is the courtyard of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon. The piece is four minutes long and is intended only as a taste of what the music of ancient Sumer might have sounded like.

“The Sumerians” by Grendel Dark


Ancient Civilizations: Lost and Found Entry

Character concepts i made for Artstation’s “Ancient Civilizations” challenge . It was a really fun contest and timing was essential.
I chose Sumerian Civilization as my subject and picked demons gods and demigods from that civilization and reimagined them.

Yigit Koroglu

Texts in ancient languages: a summary

Ancient Greek: As a young lion, venturing for the first time out of the den, drawn to the brightness of Helios and the rustle of leaves, is caught unaware by hunters and runs for his life, bounding over stones with ragged breath, so the late student, suckling of wisdom, hurried to the gymnasium.

Hittite: For the ritual of the late apprentice. When a scribal apprentice is continually late to work, I prepare the following: 3 sour breads, 1 bowl of water, 1 cu[p of … ] a little bit of red string, blue string, a stylus, a snail (?), a piglet, clay models of hands, 2 jugs of beer, a palm frond, fingernail clippings from the apprentice’s master, watercress (?), a stool… (continue for 15 lines)

Akkadian: If a scribal apprentice is accused of being late to work and the accuser produces three witnesses, the scribal apprentice shall have his hands cut off. If the apprentice is accused again, he shall be put to death. But if the accuser cannot produce three witnesses, then he shall be put to death.

Sumerian: The apprentice roams the city during the day. The apprentice always roams the city [during the day. The appre]ntice, the ungrateful (`?) child, always roams the city during the day. When the master asks [ … ] late. The clay is not patted into a tablet. The holy (or shining, or lapis lazuli?) stylus is not taken up. The master [ … ] drinking beer.¹

¹See Attinger who interprets this text not as a schoolmaster’s complaint but as a metaphor for sacred marriage.

Perfume Associations with Ancient Languages

Latin: (amber, leather, rose) Must de Cartier by Cartier, Egoïste by Chanel

Egyptian: (myrrh, cinnamon, neroli, musk) Iceni by Boadicea the Victorious

Ancient Greek: (honey, grape, mimosa) Botrytis by Ginestet, L’Abeille de Guerlain by Guerlain

Old Norse: (birch, sandalwood, bergamot) Eau d’Hermès by Hermes

Sanskrit: (incense, vanilla, spices, rose) Shalimar Indes & Merveilles by Guerlain

Mayan: (agarwood, balsam, tonka bean) Baz by The Spirit of Dubai

Old Church Slavonic: (beeswax, incense, saffron) Sideris by Maria Candida Gentile

Sumerian: (musk, lily, vanilla) Un Lys by Serge Lutens

Old English: (rose, pine tree, incense) Ecstasy by Tiziana Terenzi

You are not your gods’ friend.

Idk how European pagans and witches do things, but in the Mesopotamian tradition our gods are not our pals. We are their servants. We treat them with reverence and give more than we take. We don’t speak to them casually like I see some other pagans do.

Please. For the sake of your well-being and everyone else’s, if you include Sumerian/Babylonian deities in your practice, treat them with the proper respect.


Exceedingly Rare Sumerian Green Chalcedony Cylinder Seal of King Kurigalzu II, Kassite, 14th Century BC

A chrome chalcedony cylinder seal with seated profile figure and Sumerian cuneiform inscription in eight columns; depicting a seated bearded divine figure facing left, holding a trident, three right-facing locusts above; the eight lines of scholarly Sumerian cuneiform text with a prayer to Ninurta for the prosperity of Kurigalzu’s reign. The seal fitted with an antique gold pin passed through the original longitudinal perforation and a loop to enable it to be worn as a pendant. Translation (by Professor Lambert) for each column:

(1) dkur-da-ru gada gìr / ‘Ninurta, powerful lord’
(2) saĝ kal šà-aš-DU / 'special chief, foremost’
(3) ururu mah an-ta-ğál / 'the lofty city (?) being in heaven’
(4) ur-saĝ dili-ni rib-ba / 'champion on his own standing out’
(5) [diğir] ní-su-ši ri-a / 'the god moving with a halo of terror’
(6) ku-ri-gal-zu / ’(on) Kurigalzu’
(7) nun nì tuku-tuku-zu / 'the prince who reveres you’
(8) bala šà dùg-ga ğar-bi / 'place a reign of sweet heart’.

The extremely rare green variety of chalcedony was only known to the ancients and the Romans, until circa 3rd century AD, when it disappears from history. It is only known from small worked pieces such as beads and intaglios. The source has been recently discovered as being from northern Turkey (Anatolia). The color derives from the presence of chromium.

Keep reading

The Craft of Sigillums

Sigillums, Latin for sigils, have been used in witchcraft for centuries. In short, sigillums are pictographic seals that are charged with a purpose called intents or focuses. These seals can be drawn anywhere to activate them, to use their influence and energies. 

The creation of sigils are numerous. The most used that I’ve seen is the numerology-charting method. This method creates flourish-like, abstract seals that seam arbitrary to the viewer. For that reason, I do not use that method. However, there is nothing wrong with using the method.

Sigils, in their nature, can be very personal. The style and motifs should add the personality of the witch creating the sigil. Random lines and circles, charged with a clear and focused intention can be considered sigils. 

Of course, it’s never a bad idea to have some knowledge on sacred geometry, ancient alphabets and alchemic symbols to help the universe understand your sigil as well. Here’s a list of letters and symbols that can be used for making sigillums.

➰ Hebrew and Greek alphabet - languages of the Old and New Testament

➰ Phoenician and Sumerian - advanced ancient civilizations 

➰ Roman numerals - to use when numbers are important

➰ Alchemy and Zodiac symbols - common in the witch community

➰ Runic alphabet - in rune readings, each rune has a fortune

➰ Formation of dots on dice - also for numerology

➰ Sacred geometry - shapes and patterns studied from nature

➰ Religious symbols - research and respect before use

➰ Motifs in art - search nouveau, medieval, Greek, etc. motifs

➰ Nature - you will ALWAYS find inspiration in nature

➰ Minimalism and line art - to help with simplifying shapes

➰ Malevich’s Suprematism - although includes color, it helps with shapes’ powers

Terracotta relief of the goddess Ishtar (Inanna) holding one of her symbols.  At the bottom right you can see a tiny lion representing her war aspect.  From Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar in eastern Iraq), early 2nd millennium B.C.  Now in the Louvre Museum.


Sumerian insults

The Sumerians were big on putting one another down, and the language has quite a few mean insults! This post will give you some examples of useful Sumerian insults and how to use them, in case you need to tell anyone off in a dead language.

Sumerian insults I’ve found useful include uzuh “unclean person”, igibala “traitor”, and shabarra “bastard”. Less intense ones would be hara “rascal, ruffian”, lutumu “dishonest or unreliable person” or nungarra “foolish, disorderly (adj.)”. Many Sumerian insults refer to a person’s bad activities or behavior, like nibulung “pompous”, ninggu “glutton” and lunamtagga “sinner”.

My personal favorite insults in Sumerian are agaashgi “most awkward person” and sangdu nutuku “idiot”, which literally means “(one) not having a head”.

I don’t know if the Sumerians used any insults regarding specific foreign groups, but lukurra “stranger, enemy” is a pretty common negative word for anyone not Sumerian.

Make sure to know that, to insult just one person, use the subject pronoun zae and the singular verb form -men, as in Zae haramen “you are a rascal”. It’s important to use zae because otherwise it might be interpreted as (ngae) haramen “I am a rascal”, which is not what you mean. To insult several people, just take the noun and add -menzen “you (plural) are”, e.g. Haramenzen “y’all are rascal(s)”. In sentences with the verb “to be” you don’t specifically pluralize nouns (and a video on plural pronouns & verb me forms is coming soon!) Also note that if you’re using an insulting adjective, make sure to attach lu- “person” before it: Zae lunibulungmen “you are (a) pompous (person)”.

Now go forth and insult away!

The World’s First Female Author, Enhedu’anna

This ancient clay tablet from Babylonia is inscribed in Sumerian cuneiform and dates to the 20th-17th centuries BC. It mentions King Sargon’s daughter Enhedu'anna as the author of a hymn to the goddess Inanna. The tablet has lines written first by the teacher in the first column, with 2 students repeating the hymn in columns 2 and 3.

Enhedu’anna was the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BC), founder of the first documented empire in Asia. Enhedu’anna emerges as a genuine creative talent, a poetess as well as a princess, a priestess and a prophetess. She is, in fact, the first named, non-legendary author in history. As such she has found her way into contemporary anthologies, especially of women’s literature.

The Lamassu is a creature from Sumerian legend. The Lamassu is described as a sphinx with the head of a human the body of a lion or sometimes a bull and a the wings of a bird. The Lamassu is a guardian deity and is said to represent the Zodiacs. The Lamassu was often represented in the form of statues left outside of temples and houses for protection. In the popular KingsIsle game Wizard101 the Lamassu is a life spell from the world Mirage and when summoned a huge desert appears and the Lamassu flies out into the center of the desert it then flaps its wings and shoots laser beans out of its eyes at the opponent and then disappears.