Click here for the home page 

The Xenophile Historian

K. U. P.

(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)

Ancient Sumerian Proverbs

These gems of wisdom are more than 4,000 years old, but many of them still have relevance to us today.

In a city that has no watch dogs,
the fox is the overseer.

Who possesses much silver may be happy;
who possesses much barley may be glad;
but he who has nothing at all may sleep.

Flatter a young man, he give you anything;
Throw a scrap to a dog, he'll wag his tail.

The poor men are the silent men in Sumer.

Writing is the mother of eloquence and the father of artists.

Pay heed to the word of your mother as though it were the word of a god.

A sweet word is everybody's friend.

Friendship lasts a day, kinship forever.

For a man's pleasure there is marriage;
on thinking it over, there is divorce.

Conceiving is nice; pregnancy is irksome.

The wife is a man's future;
the son is a man's refuge;
the daughter is a man's salvation;
the daughter-in-law is a man's devil.

If you take the field of an enemy,
the enemy will come and take your field.

Who builds like a lord, lives like a slave.
Who builds like a slave, lives like a lord.

Be gentle to your enemy as to an old oven.

Do not return evil to your adversary; maintain justice for your enemy, do good things, be kind all your days. What you say in haste you may regret later.

Making loans is as [easy] as making love, but repaying them is as hard as bearing a child.

Go up to the ancient ruin heaps and walk around; look at the skulls of the lowly and the great. Which belongs to someone who did evil and which to someone who did good?

A thing which has not occured since time immemorial: a young woman broke wind in her husband's embrace.

Who has not supported a wife or child, his nose has not borne a leash.

Eat no fat and you will not have blood in your excrement.

Commit no crime, and fear [of your god] will not consume you.

Has she become pregnant without intercourse? Has she become fat without eating?

Bride, [as] you treat your mother-in-law, so will women [later] treat you.

If the beer mash is sour, how can the beer be sweet?

He who changes, neglects, transgresses, erases the words of this tablet, may the great gods of heaven and earth, who inhabit the world, all those that are named in this tablet, strike you down, look with disfavor upon you, may they chase you away from both shade and sunlight so that you cannot take refuge in a hidden corner, may food and drink forsake you, and hunger, want, famine and pestilence never leave you, may the bellies of dogs and pigs be your burial place, let tar and pitch be your food, donkey urine your drink, naphtha your ointment, river rushes your covers, and evil spirits, demons, and lurkers select your houses (as their abode).

The gods alone live forever under the divine sun; but as for mankind, their days are numbered, all their activities will be nothing but wind.

You can have a lord, you can have a king, but the man to fear is the tax collector!

Support this site!

© Copyright 2021 Charles Kimball

Return to Chapter 1

Remember to check out the rest of the content on this site.