RITUAL AGAINST THE DEMON LAMASHTU

MS 2779
MS Short Title RITUAL AGAINST THE DEMON LAMASHTU
Text LAMASHTU DAUGHTER OF ANU, HER FIRST NAME IS THAT, THE SECOND IS: SISTER OF THE GODS OF THE STREETS, THE THIRD IS: DAGGER WHICH SMASHES THE HEAD, ETC. UNTIL, THE SEVENTH IS: BE EXORCISED BY THE GREAT GODS
Description MS in Babylonian on red jasper, Babylonia, 1000-600 BC, 1 plaque, 6,2x4,7x1,2 cm, single column, 10 lines of monumental cuneiform script, 5 illustrations, the main illustration showing the female demon Lamashtu standing on the back of a horse, suckling a piglet and a whelp and with a snake in each hand, with a loop handle.
Commentary

This monster demon was well known in the Ancient Near East for killing or removing new-born babies, slipping unnoticed into the house at their most vulnerable period. She was the daughter of Anu, the head of the Mesopotamian pantheon. Some amulets were designed to be worn by the mother, like the present one, others by the baby, and the biggest examples to be hung on the bed, or on the wall.

A long ritual was used to combat her. A likeness of Lamashtu was placed in a little boat together with items of female apparel and offerings to distract her attention. The model boat was then placed in the swift-flowing Tigris River, and she was borne away to the Underworld, leaving mankind in peace. As a deterrent mothers often wore a bronze head of the god Pazuzu to protect them and force Lamashtu back to the underworld.

Place of origin Babylonia
Dates 1000-600 BC

Location