2021 Reading Log: June (+ Writing Update)

Completed reads for June:

  • The Homeric Hymns
  • The Shield of Heracles, by Hesiod
  • Catalogue of Women (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Astronomy (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Precepts of Chiron (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Great Works (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Idaean Dactyls (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Marriage of Ceyx (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Great Eoiae (fragments), by Hesiod
  • The Melampodia (fragments), Hesiod
  • The Aegimus (fragments), by Hesiod
  • Fragments of Unknown Position, by Hesiod
  • Doubtful Fragments, by Hesiod
  • The Epigrams of Homer
  • The War of the Titans (fragments)
  • The Story of Oedipus (fragments)
  • The Thebais (fragments)
  • The Epigoni (fragments)
  • The Cypria (fragments)
  • The Aethiopis (fragments)
  • The Little Iliad (fragments)
  • The Sack of Ilium (fragments)
  • The Returns (fragments)
  • The Telegony (fragments)
  • The Taking of Oechalia (fragments), by Homer
  • The Margites (fragments), by Homer
  • The Cercopes (fragments), by Homer
  • The Battle of the Frogs and Mice, by Homer
  • The Contest of Homer and Hesiod
  • Inanna’s Descent to the Netherworld (2 versions)
  • Dumuzid’s Dream
  • Dumuzid and Gestin-ana
  • Inanna and Bilulu (fragments)
  • Dumuzid and His Sisters (fragments)
  • Nergal and Ereshkigal
  • Enki and Ninmah
  • Dracula’s Guest, by Bram Stoker
  • Enuma Elish
  • Marduk’s Ordeal (fragments)
  • The Myth of Etana
  • Erra and Ishum
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Death of Gilgamesh
  • Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana
  • Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta
  • Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave
  • Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird
  • The Marriage of Martu
  • The Dialogue of Pessimism
  • Enki Builds the E-engurra
  • Enki and the World Order
  • The Eridu Genesis
  • The Journey of Nanna to Nippur
  • The Herds of Nanna
  • A Song of Praise to Nanna
  • Inanna and Ebih
  • Inanna and Shu-kale-tuda
  • Inanna Seizes the E-ana
  • Inanna and Enki
  • Inanna and Gudam (fragments)
  • Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld
  • The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzid
  • Enlil and Ninlil
  • The Creation of the Pickaxe
  • The Worm and the Toothache
  • How Grain Came to Sumer
  • Enlil and Nam-zid-tara
  • Ninurta and the Turtle
  • The Exploits of Ninurta
  • The Return of Ninurta to Nippur
  • Enki and Ninhursaga
  • Enlil and the Sud (fragments)
  • Ningiszida’s Journey to the Netherworld
  • The Flood Story
  • The Sumunda Grass
  • Pabilsag’s Journey to Nibru (fragments)
  • Gilgamesh and Aga
  • A Dog for Nintinuga
  • An Axe for Nergal
  • The Debate Between Hoe and Plough
  • The Debate Between Grain and Sheep
  • The Debate Between Winter and Summer
  • The Debate Between Bird and Fish
  • The Debate Between Copper and Silver (fragments)
  • The Debate Between Date Palm and Tamarisk (fragments)
  • A Drinking Song
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie
  • The Discourses of Epictetus, by Epictetus
  • The Enchiridion, by Epictetus
  • Fragments, by Epictetus
  • Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions, by Joseph de Maistre

Hesiod, Homer, and fragments are the Evelyn-White translations. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the verse translation, by Temple. The Discourses of Epictetus is the first volume of Matheson’s translation, with the final two books being read online (Higginson). The Enchiridion is the online Higginson.

As you can see, a fair number of ancient and fairly obscure mythological texts this month, especially from Classical Era Greece, and (even older) Mesopotamia. Each was read individually, forcing me to list them individually.

In the writing department, I had a quiet but not unproductive month (real life got in the way a bit). I churned out a 3,900-word science-fantasy piece, The Night of Parmenides, which is my first story explicitly set in my home city of Dunedin. I also did a bit of work on Old Phuul, adding a net 2,000 or so words, after edits. The Old Phuul manuscript now sits at 38,000 words.

2 thoughts on “2021 Reading Log: June (+ Writing Update)

  1. I like the old (c.1915) Morris Jastrow translation of ‘The Descent of Ishtar’ — the famous striptease act if WordPress lets this through.


    To the land of no return, the land of darkness,
    Ishtar, the daughter of Sin directed her thought,
    Directed her thought, Ishtar, the daughter of Sin,
    To the house of shadows, the dwelling, of Irkalla,
    To the house without exit for him who enters therein,
    To the road, whence there is no turning,
    To the house without light for him who enters therein,

    Ishtar on arriving at the gate of the land of no return,
    To the gatekeeper thus addressed herself:

    “Gatekeeper, ho, open thy gate!
    Open thy gate that I may enter!
    If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
    I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
    I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
    I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
    And the dead will outnumber the living.”

    He bade her enter the first gate, which he opened wide, and took the large crown off her head:
    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the large crown off my head?”
    “Enter, O lady, such are the decrees of Ereshkigal. [Ishtar’s sister, goddess of the underworld]]”

    The second gate he bade her enter, opening it wide, and removed her earrings:
    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove my earrings?”
    “Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal.”

    The third gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed her necklace
    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove my necklace? ”
    “Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal.”

    The fourth gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed the ornaments of her breast:
    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the ornaments of my breast? ”
    “Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal.”

    The fifth gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed the girdle of her body studded with birthstones.
    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the girdle of my body, studded with birth-stones?”
    “Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal.”

    The sixth gate, he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed the spangles off her hands and feet.
    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the spangles off my hands and feet?”
    “Enter, O lady, for thus are the decrees of Ereiihkigal.”
    The seventh gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed her loin-cloth.

    “Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove my loin-cloth ?”
    “Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal.”

    Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure,
    With precious stones filled her bosom.
    When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure,
    She scattered the precious stones before her,
    “Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish!

    On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli, playing it for me with the porphyry ring.
    Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women!
    That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense.”


    Liked by 1 person

    • I personally prefer the older (and longer) version:


      The ending, where Inanna/Ishtar goes after her husband for insufficient mourning, is darkly funny. This is definitely not a “nice” goddess.

      There’s also a rather curious continuity issue.

      In the Descent, Inanna’s ostensible reason for visiting Ereshkigal is to pay tribute to the latter’s dead husband, the Bull of Heaven – a death Inanna is indirectly responsible for.

      In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Inanna unleashes the Bull of Heaven because Gilgamesh won’t sleep with her.

      So logically, Descent comes after the Epic.

      Except that Gilgamesh talks about Inanna/Ishtar’s mistreatment of Dumuzid/Tammuz in justifying his sexual rejection. This is the mistreatment that occurs at the end of the Descent.

      So logically, the Epic comes after the Descent.

      Of course,it’s a 4,000-5,000 year old myth, so we can’t really demand story consistency, but it does invite some head-scratching.

      Liked by 1 person

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