'Enki and the World Order' is one of the longest and best preserved of the extant Sumerian narrative poems. The poem begins with a hymn of praise addressed to Enki; some of it is destroyed and unintelligible, but generally speaking, it seems to exalt Enki as the god who watches over the universe and is responsible for the fertility of field and farm, flock and herd. It continues to follow the same motif at some length, with Enki now praising himself, now being praised by the gods. Next, a badly damaged passage seems to describe the various rites and rituals performed by some of the more important priests and spiritual leaders of Sumer in Enki's Abzu-shrine. The scene shifts again to reveal Enki in his boat, passing from city to city to 'decree the fates' and render proper exaltation to each. Two inimical lands are not so fortunate; he destroys them and carries off their wealth.

Enki now turns from the fates of the various lands which made up the Sumerian inhabited world and performs a whole series of acts vital to the earth's fertility and productiveness. He fills the Tigris with life-giving water, then appoints the god Enbilulu, the 'canal inspector,' to make sure that the Tigris and Euphrates function properly. He 'calls' the marshland and the canebrake, supplies them with fish and reeds, and again appoints a deity for them. He erects his own shrine by the sea and places the goddess Nanshe in charge of it. Similarly, he 'calls' the earth's plow, yoke, and furrow, the cultivated field, the pickaxes and brick Mould; be turns to the high plain, covers it with vegetation and cattle, stall and sheepfolds; he fixes the borders and cities and states; finally he attends to 'woman's task,' particularly the weaving of cloth. For each realm a deity is appointed.

The poem comes to an end in yet another key as the ambitious and aggressive Inanna complains that she has been slighted and left without any special powers and prerogatives. Enki reassures her with a recitation of her own insignia and provinces.

Enki, the king of the Abzu, overpowering in his majesty, speaks up with authority:

'My father, the king of the universe,

Brought me into existence in the universe,

My ancestor, the king of all the lands,

Gathered together all the, me's, placed the me's in my hand.

From the Ekur, the house of Enlil,

I brought craftsmanship to my Abzu of Eridu.

I am the fecund seed, engendered by the great wild ox, I am the f irst born son of An,

I am the "great storm" who goes forth out of the "great below," I am the lord of the Land,

I am the gugal of the chieftains, I am the father of all the lands,

I am the "big brother" of the gods, I am he who brings full prosperity,

I am the record keeper of heaven and earth,

I am the car and the mind of all the lands,

I am he who directs justice with the king An on An's dais,

I am he who decrees the fates with Enlil in the "mountain of wisdom," He placed in my hand the decreeing of the fates of the "place where the sun rises,"

I am he to whom Nintu pays due homage,

I am he who has been called a good name by Ninhursag,

I am the leader of the Anunnaki,

I am he who has been born as the first son of the holy An.

After the lord had uttered (his) exaltedness,

After the great Prince had himself pronounced his praise,

The Anunnaki came before him in prayer and supplication:

'Lord who directs craftsmanship,

Who makes decisions, the glorified; Enki priase!'

For a second time, because of his great joy,:

Enki, the king of the Abzu, in his majesty, speaks up with authority

'I am the lord, I am one whose command is unquestioned, I am the

foremost in all things,

At my command the stalls have been built, the sheepfolds have been


When I approached heaven a rain of prosperity poured down from


When I approached the earth, there was a high flood,

When I approached its green meadows,

The heaps and mounds were piled up at my word.

[After the almost unintelligible description of Enki's rites, Enki proceeds

to decree the fates of a number of cities. Ur is one example.]

He proceeded to the shrine Ur,

Enki, the ki-ng of the Abzu decrees its fate:

City possessing all that is appropriate, water-washed, ftrm-standing ox,

Dais of abundance of the highland, knees open, green like a mountain,

Hashur-grove, wide of shade-he who is lordly because of his might

Has directed your perfect me's,

Enlil, the "great mountain," has pronounced your lofty -name in the universe.

City whose fate has been decreed by Enlil,

Shrine Ur, may you rise heaven high

[Enki next stocks the land with various items of prosperity: A deity

is placed in charge of each. For example:]

He directed the plow and the . . . yoke,

The great prince Enki put the 'horned oxen' in the . . . Opened the holy furrows,

Made grow the grain in the cultivated field.

The lord who do-ns the diadem, the ornament of the high plain, The robust,,the farmer of Enlil,

Enkimdu, the man of the ditch and dike, Enki placed in charge of them.

The lord called the cultivated field, put there the checkered grain, Heaped up its . . . grain, the checkered grain, the innuba-grain into piles,

Enki multiplied the heaps and mounds,

With Enlil he spread wide the abundance in the Land,

Her whose head and side are dappled, whose face is honey-covered, The Lady, the procreatress, the vigour of the Land, the 'life' of the black-heads,

Ashnan, the nourishing bread, the bread of all,

Enki placed in charge of them.

He built stalls, directed the purification rites,

Erected sheepfolds, put there the best fat and milk,

Brought joy to the dining halls of the gods,

In the vegetation-like plain he made prosperity prevail.


He filled the Ehur, the house of Enlil, with possessions,

Enlil rejoiced with Enki, Nippur was joyous,

He fixed the borders, demarcated them with boundary stones,

Enki, for the Anunnaki,

Erected dwelling places in the cities,

Set up kids for them in the countryside,

The hero, the bull who comes forth out of the hashur (forest), who roars lion-like,

The valiant Utu, the bull who stands secure, who proudly displays his power,

The father of the great city, the place where the sun rises, the great herald of holy An,

The judge, the decision-maker of the gods,

Who wears a lapis lazuli beard, who comes forth from the holy heaven,

the .. . heaven,

Utu, the son born of Ningal,

Enki placed in charge of the entire universe.

Translation by Samuel Noah Kramer, in his The Sumerians. Their History, Culture and Character (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963), PP. 17483; introductory material paraphrased and summarized by M. Eliade from Kramer, OP. Cit., PP. 171-4

You Might Also Like:

World History related image
Read More

World History

Welcome to our World History section, a vast treasure trove of historical knowledge that takes you on a captivating journey through the annals of human civilization. Our collection spans a wide spectrum of topics, providing an exhaustive resource for history enthusiasts, students, and curious minds ...
Read More

A Complete History Of The European Middle Ages

The Middle Ages Date: 1992 During the decline of the Roman Empire, the migrations of a strong, rude people began to change the life of Europe. They were the German barbarians, or Teutonic tribes, who swept across the Rhine and the Danube into the empire. There they accepted Christianity. The union o...
Read More

A Day In The Life Of A Battle Of Britain Pilot

The following would have been a typical day in the life of a Battle of Britain pilot The sequences are based on the works of different authors with the exception that the names have been changed. This is just to give you an idea as to how a pilot may have spent his day at the height of the battle. ...
Read More

A General Survey Of The Slave Plantation

The American Civil War, Frederick Douglass Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 A General Survey of the Slave Plantation by Frederick Douglass It was generally supposed that slavery in the State of Maryland existed in its mildest form, and that it was totally divested of those harsh and terrible peculiari...
Read More

A. P. Hill

The American Civil War, A. P. Hill Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 b. Nov. 9, 1825, Culpeper, Va., U.S.d. April 2, 1865, Petersburg, Va. Confederate general during the U.S. Civil War who was particularly active in the fighting around Washington, D.C. His force, called the "Light Division," was cons...
Read More


The American Civil War, Abolition, The Movement Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 There can be no doubt that antislavery, or "abolition" as it came to be called, was the nonpareil reform. Abolition was a diverse phenomenon. At one end of its spectrum was William Lloyd Garrison, an "immediatist," who de...
Read More

Abraham Lincoln

The American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln American Civil War history with slideshows, photos, music, major battles like Gettysburg as well as personalities like Lincoln, Grant, Lee and the Black Regiments Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 He was an unusual man in many ways. One minute he would wrestle wi...
Read More


European Absolutism And Power Politics Introduction Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France is remembered best as a strong-willed monarch who reportedly once exclaimed to his fawning courtiers, "L'etat, c'est moi" (I am the state). Whether or not he really said these words, Louis has been regarded by histor...
Read More

Absolutism As A System

Absolutism As A System L'Etat, C'Est Moi Date: 1998 Absolutism As A System Unlimited royal authority, as advocated by Bossuet and Hobbes, was the main characteristic of absolutism. It was demonstrated most obviously in political organization but also served to integrate into government most econom...
Read More

Absolutism, Case Against

The Case Against AbsolutismAuthor: Wallbank;Taylor;Bailkey;Jewsbury;Lewis;HackettDate: 1992The Case Against AbsolutismThe Enlightenment's highest achievement was the development of a tightlyorganized philosophy, purportedly based on scientific principles andcontradicting every argument for absolute ...
Read More

Accession Of Solomon

Accession Of Solomon Author: Milman, Henry Hart Accession Of Solomon B.C. 1017 Introduction After many weary years of travail and fighting in the wilderness and the land of Canaan, the Jews had at last founded their kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capital. Saul was proclaimed the first king; afterwa ...
Read More


A History of Ancient Greece The Glory That Was Greece Author: Jewsbury, Lewis Date: 1992 The Acropolis Acropolis (Greek akros,"highest"; polis,"city"), term originally applied to any fortified natural stronghold or citadel in ancient Greece. Primarily a place of refuge, the typical acropolis was con...
Read More

Aegean Civilization

A History of Ancient Greece Author: Robert Guisepi Date: 1998 AEGEAN CIVILIZATION The earliest civilization in Europe appeared on the coasts and islands of the Aegean Sea. This body of water is a branch of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded by the Greek mainland on the west, Asia Minor (now Turkey...
Read More

Aemilius Paulus

AEMILIUS PAULUS by Plutarch Almost all historians agree that the Aemilii were one of the ancient and patrician houses in Rome; and those authors who affirm that king Numa was pupil to Pythagoras, tell us that the first who gave the name to his posterity was Mamercus, the son of Pythagoras, who, for ...
Read More

Africa In The Age Of The Slave Trade

Africa And The Africans In The Age Of The Atlantic Slave Trade Various Authors Edited By: R. A. GuisepiAfrican Societies, Slavery, And The Slave TradeEuropeans in the age of the slave trade sometimes justified enslavementof Africans by pointing out that slavery already existed on that continent.Howe...
Read More