Necromancy Ritual 1


Language: Akkadian
Medium: clay tablet
Length: 10 lines of writing
Genre: Ritual Instruction
Date: first millennium BCE
Place of Discovery: Baghdad, Iraq
(ancient Babylon)
Date of Discovery: 1880?
Discoverer: unknown
Current Location: British Museum
Inventory Number: BM 36703
Accession Number: 80-6-17

(from Finkel 1983:9)

(adapted from Finkel 1983:9)
x [ . . . . . . . . ] x mi i[Š x x x (x x)] 1 [ . . . . . . ]
x [ x x x (x)] x x x ga Še SAHAR qá-qá-r[í x x (x x)] 2 [ . . . . . . . ] dust of the underworld
GIDIM e-tu-ti li-Š[e-l]a-an-ni UZU.SA UG7 l[i-x-x] 3 May he raise up a ghost of the darkness for me! May he [revivify] the dead man's limbs!
gul-gul gul-gul-la-at a-Ša-as-[si-ka/ki] 4 I call [upon you], O skull of skulls:
Ša ŠÀ gul-gul-la-ta li-pu-la-an-ni 5 May the one who is within the skull answer [me!]
dUTU pe-tu-ú ik-le-t[i (EN)] 6 O Shamash, who opens the darkness!
DU.DU.BI MUŠEN hur-ri NITA u MUNUS SAHAR SILA.LIMMU7.BA SAHAR hal-lul-l[a-a-a] 7 Its ritual: you crush(?) a male and female bird(?), dust from a crossroads, 'dust' of a jumping animal(?) of
Šá-hi-tì Šá EDIN ŠIKA SILA.LIMMU2.BA za-qip-tú ina Ì BUR LU[M x x] 8 the steppe, (and) an upturned potsherd from a crossroads in pûru oil, [ . . . ]
I-niŠ tuŠ-te-mid tuŠ-bat ina Še-rim lu GIDIM lu NAM.[x x] 9 You mix it all together and leave it to stand overnight. In the morning you anoint either the etemmu (figure), and the [ . . . ]
lu gul-gul-la ŠÉŠ-ma ta-Šá-as-si-Šu-ma ip-pa[l-ka] 10 and the skull; and when you call upon him he will answer you.


Discussion Questions



Select Bibliography
Bayliss, Miranda. "The Cult of Dead Kin in Assyria and Babylonia." Iraq 35 (1973) 115-25.
Finkel, Irving L. "Necromancy in Ancient Mesopotamia." Archiv für Orientforschung 29 (1983) 1-17.
Kuemmerlin-McLean, Joanne K. "Magic (OT)." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 4:468-71. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
Scurlock, J. A. "Magic (ANE)." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 4:464-68. New York: Doubleday, 1991.

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Last Modified: 10 September 2009