The Instructions of Shuruppak

Well, I’m off to a strong start on The Stupidest Awesome Idea. I just finished The Instructions of Shuruppak, a collection of pithy wisdom from the 26th century B.C.

I’m with Shuruppak about half the time:

You should not loiter about where there is a quarrel…

You should not speak improperly; later it will lay a trap for you…

You should not pass judgment when you drink beer…

Lots of basic stuff like that. But the third tablet gets kind of Tory for my tastes:

The poor man inflicts all kinds of illnesses on the rich man…

By moving along (?) at the side of the mighty men of your city, my son, you will certainly ascend…

To have authority, to have possessions and to be steadfast are princely divine powers…

You should … bring down a foreign slave from the mountains, or you should bring somebody from a place where he is an alien … He does not belong to any family, so he does not want to go to his family; he does not belong to any city, so he does not want to go to his city. … [H]e will not be presumptuous with you.

I love that the oldest thing ever written is basically “you kids these days…why, in my day…”

Next up, Kesh Temple Hymns.