Lamastu: An Edition of the Canonical Series of Lamastu Incantations and Rituals and Related Texts from the Second and First Millennia B.C.

Author:Zomer, Elyze
Position::Book review
 
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Lamastu: An Edition of the Canonical Series of Lamastu Incantations and Rituals and Related Texts from the Second and First Millennia B.C. By WALTER FARBER. Mesopotamian Civilizations, vol. 18. Winona Lake, Ind.: EISENBRAUNS, 2014. Pp. xiii + 472, 91 plts. $99.50.

After many decades, Walter Farber's magnum opus on Lamastu has now finally been completed. The study under discussion presents all texts concerning the notorious demoness Lamastu ranging from the third millennium to the first millennium BCE, in both incantations and rituals. Although a brief introduction to Lamastu and her background is offered in "Lamastu, Daughter of Anu: A Sketch" (pp. 1-6), it is clearly stated by the author that he is not presenting a full investigation of the persona of Lamastu, but concentrating solely on the philological record.

"The Lamastu Texts: An Ancient History" (pp. 7-38) contains a general discussion of the corpus of Lamastu texts, noting the interesting features and peculiarities of each period, outlining the evolution of some earlier incantations into the later series. In his introduction to the texts of the third and second millennia BCE, Farber states that Sumerian incantations have been incorporated only if they show a direct relation to the known SB texts, the result being that only TIM 9, 63: 17'-23'//OECT 5, 55 is included, with TIM 9, 63, "obv." 1'-5' and 6-16'; MLVS II pp. 9f. (LB 1005); YOS 11, 89; AMD 1, 278 and 287; and MCL 1614 "obv." being excluded from this edition. YOS 11, 86, 29-38; YOS 11, 88; and CT 42, 36 have also been left out based on their troublesome identification.

The Akkadian evidence of the OB and OA periods is relatively plentiful, containing eight relevant incantations. Farber carefully postulates that starting from the second millennium BCE, the concept of belief in Lamastu was likely rooted in Mesopotamian culture itself. References to Lamastu as a dangerous foreign woman (i.e., Amorite, Sutaean, or Elamite) are in his view better explained from within Mesopotamian social and magico-religious beliefs rather than by resorting to the concept of Lamastu as a product of importation (pp. 8-9).

Regarding the MB period, a helpful schematic sketch of the tablet RS 25.420+ (= "Ug") is offered (pp. 11-12). Farber argues, contra Arnaud 2007: 11 and 62, that RS 25.513 (= "RS") cannot belong to the same tablet as RS 25.420+, since it was written in a quite different hand. Note that of both tablets, besides the excellent copies...

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