The Instructions of Shuruppak is possibly the oldest surviving written text. Shuruppak, a Sumerian king, is certainly the most ancient author known by name . This fragmentary tablet, written in Sumerian, preserves part of a very early version of the collection of proverbs known as The Instructions of Shuruppak. The Instructions of Shuruppak to Ziusudra, Babylonian Wisdom, teachings of ancients.

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Curuppag gave instructions to his son; Curuppagthe son of Ubara- Tutu gave instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: My son, let me give you instructions: Zi-ud-suralet me speak a word to you: Do not neglect my instructions!

The instructions of Shuruppag: translation

Do not transgress the words I speak! The instructions of an old man are precious; you should comply with them! You should not plough a field at 1 ms. You should not make a well in your field: You should not place your house next to a public square: You should not let? You should not cause a quarrel; Stand aside from a quarrel, You should not break into a house; you should not shuruppzk for the money chest?

A thief is a lion, but after he has been caught, he will be a slave. My son, you should not commit robbery; you should not cut yourself with an axe. You should not play around with a married young woman: My son, you should not sit alone instrucfions a chamber with a married woman. You should not boast; then your words will be trusted. You should not deliberate for too shuruppsk You should not sink? After you have apportioned the bones, you will be made to restore the ox, you will be made to restore the sheep.

You should not hire someone’s ox for an uncertain You will not be able to travel through any human dwelling without be being shouted at: You should not commit rape on someone’s daughter; the courtyard will learn of it. You should not drive away a young man; you should not make him turn against the city. You should never remain in his presence; his intentions? The warrior is unique, he alone is the equal of many; Utu is unique, he alone is the equal of many.


Writing and Literature: Before Islam, Christopher Woods

With your life you should always be on the side of the warrior; with your life you should always be on the side of Utu. Curuppagthe son of Ubara- Tutugave these instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura.

Curuppagthe son of Ubara- Tutu gave instructions to his son Zi-ud-sura: If you go after the man who said “I will give it to you”, he will say “I cannot give shuruppaj to you — the bread has just been finished up”. When sleeping, the fool loses something.

Writing and Literature

Then he will quit working with you and, saying “I have to live on something”, he will serve at the palace. The liar, shouting, tears up his garments.

To speak arrogantly is like an abscess: Prayer is cool water instrcutions cools the heart. You should not buy a house-born slave: You should not buy a free man: You shruppak not buy a palace slave girl: You should rather bring down a foreign slave from the mountains, or you should bring somebody from a place where he is an alien; my son, then he will pour water for you where the sun rises and he will walk before you.

He does not belong to any family, so he does not want to go to his family; he does not shhruppak to any city, so he does not want to go to his city.

He cannot knock at the door of Your acquaintance should not Listen therefore to your elder brother, and you should be obedient to your elder sister as if she were your mother.

The poor man inflicts all kinds of illnesses on the rich man. The married man is well equipped; the unmarried instguctions his bed in a haystack?

He who wishes to destroy a house will go ahead and destroy the house; he who wishes to raise up will shiruppak ahead and raise up. The good is in the hands; the evil is in the heart. The heart does not let go of the good; but the heart cannot let go of the evil either.


As if it were a watery og, the heart does not abandon the good. Evil is a shuryppak May his waterskin split in the desert! You should submit to the respected; you should be humble before the powerful. My son, you will then survive? Her inside is illusory? The silver on her is borrowed; the lapis lazuli on her is borrowed 1 ms.

The dress on her is borrowed; the linen garment on her is borrowed.

You should not buy a vicious bull; A donkey which eats A sow suckles its child on the street. A woman who pricked herself begins to cry and holds the spindle which pricked?

She enters every house; she peers insttuctions all streets.

You should not serve things; things should serve you. You should not throw a lump of earth into the money chest? The place where the wife is abducted to Let us with united forces? You should not kill You should not question the words of your mother and your personal god.

The mother, like Utugives birth to the man; the father, like a god, makes shuruppzk bright? The father is like a god: The instructions of the father should be complied with. An unknown place is terrible; to get lost is shameful? On the unfamiliar way at the edge of the mountains, the gods of the mountains are man-eaters. They do not build houses there as men do; they do not build cities there as men do.

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