Kesh Temple Hymn

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A surviving tablet from around 1700 BCE.

The Kesh Temple Hymn is one of the oldest surviving examples of literature dating back to around 2600 BCE. The work is written as a Sumerian hymn and describes the Temple of Kesh.


I don't own this book, but have read an English translation.



  • It's interesting to see that the phrase "the four corners of the earth," or "heaven" in this case, has such an ancient history.
  • The work is littered with animal similes showing just how big a role animals played in the lives of the authors.


  • I find the format to be difficult to read. But then, I prefer prose over poetry.
  • The work itself is dull. It just goes on and on describing a big building.


  • I understand that repetition is expected in this format, but how many times do they have to repeat the refrain, "Will anyone else bring forth something as great as Keš? Will any other mother ever give birth to someone as great as its hero Ašgi? Who has ever seen anyone as great as its lady Nintur?"



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