Winged Enlil
A favorite view of Enlil

"Winter and Summer, or how Enlil choses the Farmer-God" is one of the longest compositions of this genre. In it, Enlil, the Air/Wind god, has set his mind on bringing forth all sorts of trees and grains, and on establishing abundance and prosperity for the land. For this purpose, two beings, the brothers Emesh (Summer) and Enten (Winter) are created, and Enlil assings to each his specific duties. Enten and Emesh (or Winter and Summer) are the children of Enlil and Ninhursag-Ki, or, as the poet put it:

Enlil, like a big bull, set his foot on the earth to make the good day thrive in abundance to make the fair nights flourish in luxiriance, to make grow tall the plants, to spread wide the grains, to make Summer restrain the heaven, to make Winter hold back the water of overflow at the quay

Enlil, the king of all lands, set his mind. He thrust his penis into the Great Mountains, gave a share to the Highland, the semen of Summer and Winter, the fecundating overflow of the land, he poured into their womb. Wheresover Enlil would thrust his penis, he roared like a wild bull. There at the Mountain He spent the day, rested happily at night, [and the Mountain] delivered herself of Summer and Winter like rich cream, and fed them, like big wild bulls, the clean grass on the mountain terraces, made them grow fat in the mountain meadows.

The next stage of the poem consists of the specific duties assigned to Enten and Emesh by Enlil:

Enten (Winter) made the ewe give birth to the lamb, the goat give birth to the kid, cow and calf to multiply, cream and milk to increase. In the plain, he made rejoice the heart of the wild goat, sheep and donkey. The birds of heaven - in the wide earth he made them set up their nests. The fish of the sea - in the canebrake he made them lay their eggs. In the palm grove and vineyard he made honey and wine abound. The trees, wherever planted, he caused to bear fruit. The gardens he decked out in green, made their plants luxuriant, made grain increase in the furrows. Like Ashnan, the grain goddess, the kindly maid, he made it come forth sturdily.  

Emesh brought into being the trees and fields, made wide the stalls and the sheepfolds, In the farms he multiply produce, bedecked the earth... Caused the abundant harvest to be brought into the houses, the granaries to be heaped high, Cities and habitations to be founded, houses to be built in the land, Temples to rise mountain-high.

 Their mission accomplished, the two brothers decide to go to Nippur, to the House of Life, the temple of Enlil, their father, with offerings. Emesh brings sundry wild and domestic animals, birds and plants as his gift, while Enten chooses precious metals and stones, trees and fish as his offerings. But right at the door of the House of Life, the jealous Enten starts a quarrel with is brother. The arguments go back and forth between them, and finally Emesh challenges Enten´s claim to the position of "farmer of the gods". And so they betake themselves to Enlil´s temple, the Ekur, and each states his cae. Enten complains to Enlil:

" Father Enlil, you have given me charge of the canals, I brought the water of abundance, Farm I made touch farm, heaped high the granaries, Like Ashnan, the kindly maid, I come forth sturdily, Now Emesh, the .... who has to understanding for fields, Has jostled my.... arm and.... shoulder. At the king´s palace..."

Emesh´s version of the quarrel, which begins with several flattering phrases, cunningly directed to win Enlil´s favour, is brief but (as yet) unintelligible. Then Enlil answers Emesh and Enten:

"The life-producing waters of all the lands - Enten (Winter) is in charge of them, Farmer of the gods - he produces everything, Emesh (Summer), my son, how do you compare yourself with your brother Enten!"

The exalted word of Enlil, with meaning profound, whose verdict is unaltered - who dares transgress it?

Emesh bent the knee before Enten, offered him a praise, Into his house he brought nectar, wine and beer, They sate themselves with heart-cheering nectar, wine and beer, Emesh presents Enten with gold, and lapis-lazuli, In brotherhood and companionship, they pour joyous libations...

In the dispute between Emesh and Enten, Enten, the faithful farmer of the gods, having proved himself the victor over Emsh,

... Father Enlil, praise"


Back To The Top

Back To Disputations

Back To Myths