Music & Ritual: Bridging Material & Living Cultures

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 1

Divinized Instruments and Divine Communication in Mesopotamia

John C. Franklin

This paper assembles and discusses evidence for the divinization of musical instruments in Mesopotamia, with emphasis on sources from the late 3rd and early 2nd millennia. I explore the relationship between such objects and ideas about communicating with the gods. Special attention is given to passages in the Gudea Cylinders,a temple-building narrative from circa 2100 BC, which elaborate in some detail the conception, also known from other more laconic sources, of divinized instruments as “counselors” to the gods in whose temples they serve.

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