The logo of the Melammu Project

The Melammu Project

The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

  The Melammu Project
   General description
   Search string
   Browse by topic
   Search keyword
   Submit entry
   Open search
   Thematic search
   Digital Library
   Submit item
   Ancient texts
   Submit link
  Contact us

  The Newsletter
  To Project Information >


Death of Tammuz (1)

Printable view
Topics (move over topic to see place in topic list)

04 Religious and philosophical literature and poetry

12 Assyrian Identity

12 Assyrian Identity

03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

10th century CE
Islamic philosophers and scholars

Ibn Waḥshīya, Nabatean Agriculture 296-297:
Abū Bakr ibn Waḥshīya says: This month of Tammūz is, according to the Nabateans as I found it in their books, called by the name of a man about whom there is a long and amazing story. They claim that he was killed time after time in horrible ways. In fact, all their months are called by the names of excellent and learned men of the past, who belonged to those Nabateans who lived in the clima of Bābil before the Chaldeans. This Tammūz, namely, was neither Chaldean, nor Canaanite, nor Hebrew, nor one of the Jarāmiqa, but one of the ancient ḥasāsin. … All Sabians, both Babylonian and Harranian, weep and lament for Tammūz till our days in the month called Tammūz in a feast of theirs which is attributed to Tammūz. They read long litanies, especially the women who, both here and in Harran, weep and lament together for Tammūz and rave long ravings about him. Yet I have noticed that neither of the two groups possesses any true information concerning Tammūz and the reason for their weeping for him. … I read in it (= Nabatean books) that Tammūz was a man about whom there is a story and that he was killed in a horrible way only once, and there is no more to his story. They have no knowledge about him except that they say: “So we have known our forefathers to weep and lament during this feast ascribed to Tammūzā.” So I say that this is a memorial feast which they held for Tammūz in the ancient times and which has continued until present although the story about him has been forgotten because of the remoteness of his time. In our times, no one of them knows what his story was and why they actually weep for him.

Source (list of abbreviations)
Ibn Waḥshīya, Nabatean Agriculture 296-297


Hämeen-Anttila 2002, 98Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko. “Continuity of Pagan Religious Traditions in Tenth-Century Iraq.” In: A. Panaino and G. Pettinato (eds.). Ideologies as Intercultural Phenomena. Melammu Symposia 3. Milan: Universita di Bologna & IsIAO 2002, 89-108. [PDF]

Amar Annus

URL for this entry:

No pictures