“You see them digging canals, working with first crude riggings, farming fields for harvest yields, herding their animals, and girding sacred shrines with flowered shrubs and trees, all of them working like kindred bees,” Kheba pointed to the finely-jointed thousands working without shirking their varied tasks, basking under radiant, Mesopotamian sun, in and around the one great city of ancient Sumeria; with magnificent aria arising as if from earthen angels. “There is no coercion here, and no aversion to labor. Here is Uruk, where each one is neighbor and, though shocked you may be, peace and harmony is not forced by threat of sabre.”
Truly what I saw was beauty in the raw — mundane, but certainly not plain — rain of divine creativity sparked from within early humanity, and all without vanity.
“There is no king, either,” Kheba smiled. “The song the people sing arises from one shared spirit, paired with affection under the protection and direction of Inanna, my sister-companion Cybele, daughter of Father Dyēus.”
In the city now, I felt self-pity and ugly jealousy as I zealously tried to believe what ears and eyes perceived. “Is this true? This hue of golden paradise, or merely some celestial revue? Entertainment of the Jinn for attainment of deific laughter, after which the world will return to its state of decay, churn of dismay, and burn of sin?” I could not help but question with ill-composed facial expression.
Kheba merely laughed at my pathetic suggestion of numinous trickery. “Oh, how I find it humorous that you so bitterly want to disbelieve history largely unknown to you because of your own preconceived notions of humanity, to which you so stubbornly cleave. Or do I misperceive?” She had an attractive glimmer in her eyes, two spies into my heart. “But no, I shouldn’t tease; you’re part is that of student, my love, so be prudent and let your mind be lucent.”
Walking down smooth, stoned streets to the regular, rhythmic beat of hundreds of feet walking amid never-ending talking, while workday went on with ne’er a yawn, I more sensibly inquired, “So it seems they aspired to communism, yet without dogmatism and no need for vulgar populism? No trace of fascism, obviously no vandalism, nor apparently gross masochism? Only egalitarian optimism?”
Kheba actually bent over in guffaw, struggling to draw her breath. “Pshaw! I should claw you raw, little boy, but then I’d have no toy to enjoy; and you play such the magnificent jester, I simply cannot fume and fester… Oh! By the fires of the Abyss and all that’s amiss, truly I love you!” And she laughed again, then calmed to an angelic grin, pulled me close and pressed lips to lips — sweet treat for undeserving man. “Can you not listen to me for sake of learning rather than burning inside always to answer from cancer of your own ignorance? You’re like a dancer in heat but three beats off and always bumbling and stumbling!” After this came yet more laughter… At least Kheba wasn’t angry; she rather found me a feast of comical delight.
“You are now thirty-two hundred years before the world will hear so much of such political musings — all too amusing, really. No, you’re being silly. Even through blurred mental vision, has it never occurred to you that humanity might have had to learn the awful art of suppression, wicked oppression, heinous aggression? Oh, look around you, and like a book keenly read this scene; this is not a perfect community with complete heavenly unity. There are those with more and those with less; those who seem to soar and those who crawl and bawl; most who kindly live, yet some few who brawl. No, my little dove of love, this is not Eden, but she is the Maiden of true Civilization; the occasion for falling from such graceful situation is still centuries in the offing.”
We could see women spinning and weaving, pinning and heaving bundles of cloth; yet some were brewing and others stewing, but all working, none lurking. Between buildings of clay cones and mud bricks, limestone and timber, we strolled seemingly unseen. “There are two men here, father and son, of great feat whom I want you to meet,” Kheba casually spoke. “Metuşelah and Lemek…”
Uruk — One of the earliest (known) sizeable cities; by approx. 3100 BCE “Uruk … was vastly bigger than any community that had existed before … anywhere. It was enclosed by a city wall ten kilometers around, and may have had a population of as many as twenty-five thousand.” (Amanda Podany, The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction, 17)
Innana — patron deity and queen of Uruk; “goddess of both love and war, (and) was worshipped in other cities as well, but Uruk was her home.” (Ibid)
Metuşelah — In the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), one of the ancient patriarchs descended from Adam and his son, Seth; also the grandfather of Noah in the biblical narrative; Metuşelah, or Methuselah, is said to have lived for 969 years.
Lemek — In the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), the son of Metuşelah and father of Noah; Lemek, or Lamech, is said to have lived 777 years.
Note: First Photo, “Ishtar, The Goddess Wisdom Cards,” by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton as found at Land of Goddesses (Recast here as Innana); Second photo, “Mari 5,000 Years Ago, Syria,” by Balage Balogh (Recast here as ancient Uruk)