Hymn of Ugarit, the oldest song in the world

HYMN OF UGARIT; A SEAL OF THE QUEEN UQNITUM GIVES US AN IDEA OF A MUSICAL PERFORMANCE SUCH AS THE ONE THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE ROYAL PALACE OF URKESH.

QUEEN OF UQNITUM

Ugarit (present-day Ras Shamra) was an ancient port city, located on the Mediterranean coast north of Syria a few kilometers from the modern city of Latakia, in the Asian region known as the Levant. Today, this city is doomed by war and extreme suffering.

AT THE URKESH PALACE.

A singer and a lyre musician sitting on a stool, shown in the act give pleasure and distraction to the queen and her entourage.

 

THE MYSTERIOUS TABLET OF UGARIT

A tombstone found in Ugarit, dating from 1400-1250 BC, contains in the upper part the text of Hurrian’s Hymn. In the lower part it contains a series of numbers and technical terms that have been interpreted as a punctuation making the melody to which the anthem would have been sung. This is therefore the oldest known musical score in history. It is significant that it is used to represent a hymn composed in hurrita – at a time when the hurrita was beginning to disappear, as a last attempt to preserve something that was considered especially valuable.

IN THIS DARK AND DARK TIME IN WHICH WE LIVE TODAY (ALTHOUGH WE THINK THAT OUR TECHNOLOGICAL ERA IS THE ERA OF LIGHT), PERHAPS WE SHOULD LOOK WITH HUMILITY TO THE PAST AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND ALL THAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN.

THE WORDS OF THE SONG

Here is a simplified version of Thiel’s translation.

I (bring x?) In the form of lead on the right foot (of the divine throne) I (purify?) And change (sinfulness). (Once the sins are) is no longer covered and no longer needed modification, I feel good for having achieved the sacrifice. (Once I have) was made to love (the deity), she will love me in her heart, the offer that I bring can completely cover my sin with what the sesame oil of the third of May must work in my name in the fear that I can…. The barren can become fertile, The grain can sprout. She, the wife, will take care of the children and the father. She, who has not yet given birth children will come to her.

SURUPPAK

Suruppak, a city that you know and that is located on the banks of the Euphrates, that city was very old, and there were gods in it. The hearts of the great gods drove them to raise the flood. The father of all, Anu, ordered the oath [not to reveal what was spoken there], the brave Enlil was his counselor, Ninurta, his assistant, Ennuge, his irrigator. Ea (the wise prince) was also with them under the oath [of silence], so he repeated his parliament to the reed hut:

“Shack of reeds, shack of reeds! Wall, wall! Oh, Man of Suruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu! Demolish (this) house and build a ship! Renounce your riches and seek life; spurn your belongings and save living beings! Have all living things board the ship. The boat you have to build must have the same dimensions: its length must correspond to its width. Build him a roof like the Apsu.”