Land from which there is no return

The Sumerians had a very hazy idea about any other life than this. For them there was no Hell and no Paradise; the spirit of man lived after death, but at best in a ghostly and miserable world:

Earth is their food, their nourishment clay;
Ghosts like birds flutter their wings there,
On the gates and the gate-posts the dust lies undisturbed.

Such was the ‘Land from which there is no return’, to which a man might win if respect were paid to his corpse; but if he were not duly buried, if no offerings of food and drink were placed in the grave to satisfy his needs, then his spirit must haunt the streets and byways of this world and vampire-like attack benighted travelers in search of food.

The offerings made to the dead were for their comfort, but were also a protection for the living.

cf. Leonard Woolley

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply