2006-01-22

Between-rivers

Gu3-de2-a ensi2 Lagaški-ke4 Ma.du.ridki-da e-ne-am3

'Gudea ensi Lagashk Madrida eneam'



Gudea, prince* of Lagash, is in Madrid


At least a bust of his is. This afternoon we (my S.O and I) were on the National Archaological Museum, in Madrid. I have already been there before, but I enjoyed this visit a lot more, there was considerably less people, and we could enjoy all of the rooms a great deal... I took some pictures, low quality ones with my phone camera, and many more I'm going to take next time, with the good camera, which I didn't take with me because I thought it wasn't allowed to take pics on the museum (doh! I was ready to "steal" some with my cell phone, hehe... :-)

The place is incredible, and some of the thousands of remarkable things we saw were the Lady of Elche bust (which was, probably, the inspiration for Princess Leia look on Star Wars), a complete craneum of a paleo-elephant (which is, without the huge tusks, almost as big as myself, with the tusks is about 4-5 meters long!), a fantastic collection of celtic, gold torques (several of them from my own land! :-), lots of Egyptian mummies, and steles, in coptic, greek, and hieroglyphs (even a stele from the Saite Dinasty!); a cuneiform inscription barely readable (not that it would be any easier, anyway, but I could write you the cuneiform of the Sumeria sentence above, and this one I'm talking about, however...), and weapons, a Corinthian-style helmet, swords and daggers, Ibearian soliferra, arrowheads, etc... There's a fantastic collection of Greek amphorae and crateres with black and red images exposing lots of interesting hoplological information, pretty incredible...

Lots of other jewels on the Museum, though, from Atapuerca (Homo Antecessor) to Medieval times, going through most important segments in Spain History: several rooms for pre-Historic times (pleistocene, oligocene, paleolithis, mesolithic, neolithic (including really incredible Balear Islands info and tombs), early bronze, late bronze, iron, Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, then Rome, Visigoths, Muslims, and finally the first Christian states; plus some Near East info (like our now famous Ensi* of Lagash and the cuneiform text, among others), the big Egyptian room (basically New Empire, Nubian dinasties and some Saite, plus Ptolemaic dinasties material scattered through time) and some info from Sahara (which was once Spanish) pre-History. Very stimulating, indeed...

Not much going on The Libyan at the moment, still slowly writing the Spartan section, while preparing the Battle of Memphis...

In the meantime, I am documenting myself for the Mesopotamian novel (yeah, I have to accept it: I'm going to do it). So, among the host of books I have bought (including the two I got on the Museum store :), I have started to learn Sumerian. The sentence that opens this entry is, I hope, correct Sumerian, and corectly translated as well ("Ma.du.rid" is the approximate name of Madrid into Sumearin, but I am not sure of that, actually).

Yeah, a fascinating language. Not a dead language, mind you, but a resurrected language, even if nobody really speaks it... Cool, indeed. Cuneiform is as hard as I was told, damn it, LOL! Fascinating, though, to be the first known script of Humankind... Why Sumerian? Well, I love languages, it's interesting enough to try, and pretty well known to be the first known language of the planet, plus I have gotten lots of Sumerian texts transliterated (and translated, OK :-) so I can work on them by myself... That will give me the flavor of the civilization, indeed.. Akkadian may come later, who knows? After all, the Epic was written in Assyrian, which was an Akkadian dialect, and I want to learn a semitic language... So if I start Arab, I can add Akkadian and do some comparative learning... :-)

Nod... Sumerian culture is resulting really fascinating... If I can fixate half of the ideas I am having into a coherent story I may get an Early Bronze Age Historical Fiction novel really cool to read... We'll see when the time comes... :-)

You are invited to, in the meantime, stay tuned and contribute to The Libyan... :-)

laters... Kallisti!

* Note: ensi2 is the transcription of translittered Sumerian PA.TE.SI, whose meaning is not yet known, but it's often equated to "prince" (because "king" is lugal, and Gudea is also called "lugal Lagashke", i.e., King of Lagash)... en, however, means "lord", and by context, it is know that it was an important city title, lesser than king...

PS- for those who wonder, if anyone does, my next languages to learn will be: Turkish, Russian, Arab and Finnish, plus going deeper in Esperanto and, maybe, finally get into Japanese. This way I will have: several Romance languages, plus a bit of Latin, a Germanic language, a Celtic language (someday) (which I know right now), plus an Slavic language, a Semitic language, a Fino-Ugrid language and Turkish (which may be Altaic)... I'll be able to, basically (and with care), move around and talk to folks of most Western Eurasia, from Portugal and Spain to Iraq and maybe Iran on the South, and up to Mongolia in the north... Arabian, Russian and Turkish can take you really far away once to move Eastwards from Greece, and they must be delicious! Classical Greek to read AEschillus would be just cool as well! ;-)

1 comment:

Pacal said...

Glad to read that you are doing allright.

If your interested in Sumerian I STRONGLY recomend the following website The Electronic Corpus of Sumerian Literature at http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/ .

It contains translations, transliterations of a great deal of Sumerian Literature. Including the original stories of Gilgamesh (Bilgames in Sumerian). THe site is a must!!

Over all I'm doing allright myself. I've been thinking of doing a brief essay on Ktesias, to ocompany a long list of his fragments I've managed to piece together.

All the best for now.

Pierre