en2-e2-nu-ru: translated "incantation". en2-e2-nu-ru
was a text convention, an initial rubric, used to identify the
content of the text to follow. This rubric told the ancient scribes
that this text was an incantation text.
2-7: PROBLEM- Geller
2003 explains that "First a 'problem' - usually a victim's
illness or some related misfortune - is identified by a god, usually
Asalluhi [the junior god]. This benevolent god brings the victim's
'problem' to the attention of Enki, his father [the senior god].'
Junior deity intervenes - In the Ur III period the role of 'junior
deity' in these incantations is played by Asalluhi, the son of
Enki whose city was Kuara near Eridu (later the god would be known
by the name Marduk.) Asalluhi in this incantation type invarable
notices the suffering of the patient, the problem, and brings
it to the attention of the 'senior god' (Enki), in earlier incantations
such as this one he would send a messenger although in later compositions
he would appear before Enki personally. (Cunningham 1997).
Restating the problem - In a typical typ III incantation the problem
that is given at the opening of the text is restated to the senior
god. Among other things, this serves perhaps to reinforce that
the scene has changed (from temporal to divine).
DIALOGUE (formulaic answer) - This part of the Typ III incantation
is, as Kramer explains (1989) "the most conventional part"
of the this type of incantation and consists of words like "My
son! What do you now know! How can I add to your knowledge? What
do you now know? How can I increase it? What I know, you know
also. Go, my son!" While the senior god feigns a posture
of equal knowledge with the junior god, this formulaic answer
always precedes the direct transfer of magical knowledge (power)
from the former to the latter.
reference to specific sufferer - In this line we see something
that is *unusual* to incantation texts as a whole, in that this
particular specimen is personalized - it is directed specifically
at the headache demon afflicting the Ur III king Amar-Suen. This
incantation is known also from later exemplars in which the wording
is more general and directed at a nameless sufferer, and this
is far more typical for incantation texts. On this particular
point our text is exceptional therefore.
RITUAL SOLUTION - The centerpiece of this type of incantation,
is when the instructions are given. Because Enki is given as speaking
them, the instructions are imbued with a divine legitimation.
A key understanding here, is that although ostensibly directed
at Asalluhi, Enki's instructions we understand, were likely performed
at the same time by the officiating priest as the incantation
was uttered. The ritual here can therefore be seen as mimetic
ritual - simply meaning that the action corresponds (mimics) the
words of the spoken incantation. So the instructions of Enki represent
the actual practice of the Sumerian ritualist, and each Marduk-Ea
incantation is a rare glimpse.
Concluding Theme/ Analogical language - Kramer 1989, chapter 7:
The author describes this section of the Marduk/Ea incantation
as the "concluding theme", that is, a few lines where
the demon or problem is described with "precative" forms
of the verb, and that these words when spoken are to be understood
as examples of "locutionary" speech, meaning the act
is there in the saying itself; as the author states "powerful
locutionary commands do not so much describe what will happen,
but make it happen. In other words, word and performance are one,
the very essence of magic."
We also see in this 'concluding theme' an example of a simple
analogical relation in line 21: "may (the demon) break up
like a pot." In line 20 we have "May the headache-demon
'split the river-bank" and most likely this is an analogy
to water rushing over the bank - it rapidly departs and is dispersed,
as the demon is to do. T. Collins (D) tells us that one of the
main ways Mesopotamians sought to achieve efficacy in their magic
was through the use of analogical relation - 'something does something
like something'. The analogy may be set up between the current
subject (the demon) and some model from the past (allusions to
mythical characters for example), or the analogy might be simple
like this one, which might be termed a "ritual analogy":
it's possible that the exorcist literary smashed a pot when speaking
Divine Legitimation - According to Cunningham 1997, when a incantation
is concluded in this way it can be seen as a distinct form of
'divine legitimation', demonstrating again that the magical efficacy
come from above. The incantation is not my incantation (is not
mundane), it "is the incantation of Ningirimma" (it
is that of the goddess of incantations - it is divine.) By assigning
a divine origin to his words, the exorcist re-enforced their power.
A) Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. S. N.
Kramer and John Meier (1989)
B) Deliever me from Evil: Mesopotamian Incantations
2500-1500 by Graham Cunningham, 1997 (ISBN: 8876536086)
C) Ur III Incantations from the Frau Professor
Hilprecht Collection-Jena by Jan Van Dijk, M. J. Geller, and Joachim
Oelsner, 2003 (ISBN: 3-447-04707-0)
D) Natural Illness in Babylonian Medical
Incantations by Timothy Joseph Collins (1999)