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View Diary: Aliens, Elves, and the Politics of Utopia (238 comments)

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  •  There are two sides to most stories (0+ / 0-)

    In the Sumerian literature one of my favorites is
    the debate between Silver and Copper:

    One way to think of it is literally; ie what has value.

    Another way to think of it is in terms of the ideas in old books, books covered in rags and carefully stashed away in the restricted stacks of the library for erudite scholars alone to touch. What value do ideas have if nobody gets exposed to them?

    Anyway here is what I thought was the crux of the story; in the original Sumerian there is a lot of the kind of word play that shows the scribes knew their craft.

    "Men caulk tiny, very strong boxes for you, as they do a boat. They cover you over with their oldest rags, and someone digs a hole for you in the middle of the cattle-pen. Or they pour clay on top of you, as on a jar with a sealed mouth, and then, in the darkest place inside the house, someone buries you in the most obscure corner of a grave"

    Recently I found a map of the survey for the abandoned road that goes down my mountain past my house in an old road book from when the first settlers came here and I was able to find out about the people who surveyed it and built it and used it and why

    ...
    SEGMENT A
    unknown no. of lines missing

    1-20 5 lines fragmentary
    (Silver (?) speaks:) "Powerful with huge arms, does he have any rival? He walks carrying the precious hammer stone and anvil stone. He can create ...... and thus make it larger ...
    ...

    99-128Against Strong Copper, the strong heir of Father Enlil, he hurled vile insults, and cast vile curses: "The porters with their arms tied to their work; the potter, digging the hoe in the ground, for days on end extracting the clay with his hands; the ...... worker from daybreak in a pit unfit for washing or bathing; the shipbuilder, caulking a boat, heating up fish oil, with garments not easy to clean; the cook, heating up oil, carrying ...... water, standing by like a witness; the brewer, who does not untie his belt in warm weather, whose hands do not dry the clay; the maltster, never resting in winter, ......; the nest hunter, (?) spreading the nets, working in hollows; the barber, cutting the growth, removing the flourishing roots; the freight waggon oxen shaking their heads; the donkeys submitting their necks to the yoke, ......, carrying firewood; ......."
    ...

    SEGMENT B
    1-149 lines fragmentary
    ...

    28-34Strong Copper answered Silver: "Silver, to make lead shine (?) is not an important achievement. ...

    SEGMENT C
    ...
    18-23"Men caulk tiny, very strong boxes for you, as they do a boat. They cover you over with their oldest rags, and someone digs a hole for you in the middle of the cattle-pen. Or they pour clay on top of you, as on a jar with a sealed mouth, and then, in the darkest place inside the house, someone buries you in the most obscure corner of a grave.

    24-37"When the time of wet ground has arrived for me, you do not supply the copper hoes that chop weeds, so no one concerns themselves with you. When sowing time has arrived for me, you do not supply the copper adzes that make ploughs, so no one concerns themselves with you. When winter time has arrived for me, you do not supply the copper axes that chop firewood, so no one concerns themselves with you. When harvest time has arrived for me, you do not supply the copper sickles that reap grain, so no one concerns themselves with you. For your harvest or winter, you do not supply the copper adzes and chisels which build houses, not even a female lamb, so no one concerns themselves with you.
    ...

    SEGMENT I
    1-129 lines fragmentary
    Silver and Strong Copper having carefully had a debate, Strong Copper had the lead over Silver in Enlil's house -- Father Enlil be praised!...

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 03:31:50 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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