The first love poem is Sumerian

28 Oct
The tablet that holds the world’s oldest love poem, “Istanbul #2461” at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. (All Mesopotamia, 2012)

Love has been celebrated in song, dance and literature since humans set foot on Earth, but because nothing was put in writing for a while, the world’s oldest love poem only dates back to 2025 BC.

The poem is the celebration of a ritual that took place each Mesopotamian new year, an event that took place around the Spring Equinox. It was written on the tablet found for King Shu-sin (2037-2029 BC), the fourth ruler of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The 29 lines are written in Sumerian and celebrate the sacred marriage between the Sumerian king and the Sumerian goddess of love and war, Inanna.

You can find a more detailed explanation of the ritual here, and an English translation of the poem here.

The tablet on which the poem is written is housed at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum in Turkey.

Sources & further reading:

“The World’s Oldest Love Poem”

“Inanna and the Sacred Marriage” by Johanna Stuckey:

Picture and another English translation:

*This post has been updated to reflect the latest information and links available online dealing with the subject.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Sumerian, Tablets


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One response to “The first love poem is Sumerian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: