Mythos 22 – Dilmun and Meluhha

 

In the Sumerian mythos, they colonized Sumer (Southern Iraq) after a great flood destroyed the land, however, it was not the flood caused by the Lord of Phantoms, but rather a local Mesopotamian Flood. The land the colonists were from was called Dilmun, and it was still there. Mesopotamian Kingdoms maintained trade and cultural relations with Dilmun until around 2,800 years ago.(1)Jesper Eidema and Flemming Højlundb (1993) “Trade or diplomacy? Assyria and Dilmun in the eighteenth century BC” World Archaeology, Volume 24, Number 3, Pages 441–448 Assuming the Sumerians knew something of their own history, it would appear they colonized Mesopotamia around 4,900 years ago after the massive flooding recorded in the Shuruppak, Kish, and Uruk flood stratum.(2)M. E. L. Mallowan (1964) “Noah’s Flood Reconsidered” Iraq, Volume 26, Pages 62–82 The logographic writing already existed at this time, so the earlier people in the region must have survived enough to teach the colonists their writing system. It is well established that it is easier to rule a literate people using a language and script they already know. It is possible that the Sumerians colonized the homeland of the Akkadians, who were already using a logographic script.

This leads to questions about Dilmun. If Dilmun was the Indus civilization, there should be some corresponding stories found in the Indus mythology, as well as other mythologies found throughout the world. The Sumerians and Akkadians also maintained extensive trade routes with civilizations they called Magan and Meluhha. These civilizations were identified by the later Assyrian King Assurbanipal of Assyria from around 2,650 years ago (668–627 BC):

In my first campaign I marched against Magan; Meluhha. Tarka, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, whom Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, the father who begot me, had defeated, and whose land he brought under his sway.- King Assurbanipal (3)John Hansman (1973) "A "Periplus" of Magan and Meluhha" Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 36, Number 3, Pages 554–587
The Black Mountains of Dankalia, Eritrea

The Black Mountains of Dankalia, Eritrea

Tarka is a known to be Taharqa, one of the Nubian Pharaohs of Egypt, who ruled Egypt and Kush, now known as Sudan, around 2,675 years ago. King Assurbanipal implied that Meluhha is to be found somewhere near Egypt in North East Africa. Sumerians writings from around 4,000 years ago describe Meluhha as the ‘land of the black mountains.'(4)“A praise poem of Shulgi (Shulgi B): translation.” The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature The only other known major civilization known in the Red Sea region at the time was Dʿmt,(5)Siegbert Uhlig, editor (2005) Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha, Page 185 which was in modern Eritrea and Ethiopia.(6)Thurstan Shaw (1995) The Archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns, Page 612 Dʿmt was a trading partner of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Indus. Dʿmt was a Semitic civilization like its decedents Axum, Ethiopia, and the modern Amharic, Tigrinya, and Tigray peoples. There is evidence of a Semitic-speaking presence in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia from at least 4,000 years ago.(7)Nadia Durrani (2005) The Tihamah Coastal Plain of South-West Arabia in its Regional context c. 6000 BC – AD 600, Page 121 Further the mountains of Eritrea do appear to be black from the shore of the Red Sea, which would explain why the Akkadians and later Assyrians would have called it Meluhha; land of the black mountains.(8)“A praise poem of Shulgi (Shulgi B): translation.” The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature

References   [ + ]

1. Jesper Eidema and Flemming Højlundb (1993) “Trade or diplomacy? Assyria and Dilmun in the eighteenth century BC” World Archaeology, Volume 24, Number 3, Pages 441–448
2. M. E. L. Mallowan (1964) “Noah’s Flood Reconsidered” Iraq, Volume 26, Pages 62–82
3. John Hansman (1973) "A "Periplus" of Magan and Meluhha" Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 36, Number 3, Pages 554–587
4, 8. “A praise poem of Shulgi (Shulgi B): translation.” The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
5. Siegbert Uhlig, editor (2005) Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha, Page 185
6. Thurstan Shaw (1995) The Archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns, Page 612
7. Nadia Durrani (2005) The Tihamah Coastal Plain of South-West Arabia in its Regional context c. 6000 BC – AD 600, Page 121