The Incantation of Nudimmud

‘The Incantation of Nudimmud’ appears in the Sumerian epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta (lines 136-55). In Sumerian, Nudimmud meant ‘Begetter of mankind’ and was another name for the god Enki. In the East Semitic language Enki’s name was Ea,┬áin West Semitic (including Hebrew) Ayah or Yah. Ea/Yah was the personal name of God, the Creator of the universe and begetter of mankind.

Enmerkar was a renowned priest-king of the city of Uruk (= ‘Erech’ in Genesis 10:10), Enmerkar being the Sumerian name of the ‘mighty man’ whom the Hebrews knew as Nimrod. In the epic he threatens the city of Aratta with a curse of devastation similar to the curse that accompanied the confusion of language when Babel was cursed and abandoned.

“Once, there being no snake, no scorpion,
no hyena, no lion,
no dog, no wolf,
no fear, no terror,
Man had no rival.

Once, the lands of western Iran,
bilingual Sumer, that great land with the me of dominion,
Akkad, the land with everything as it should be,
Arabia, lying in safe pastures,
the whole universe, the people well protected,
addressed Enlil in the same tongue.

Then the contending lord,
the contending prince,
the contending king,
Enki, the contending lord,
the contending prince,
the contending king,
the contending lord,
the contending prince,
the contending king,
Enki, lord of abundance,
lord of unfailing command,
lord of wisdom, shrewd one of the land,
leader of the gods,
imbued with understanding,
the lord of Eridu,
changed the speech in their mouths,
as many as were put there [in those lands],
the speech of man that had been one.”

Problems of translation and interpretation are discussed by Jacob Klein in S. Graziani (ed.), Studi sul Vicino Oriente Antico dedicata alla memoria di Luigi Cagni, Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples, pp 563-584 (2000).