popularising the literature of ancient Iraq through the art of oral storytelling

 
 

From this page you can download MP3 audio versions of ZRP stories.

Simply click on the name of the story in the right-hand column below.

Story 1

This 3000-year-old love story from Sumer is about the coming together of “civilised” people and “wild” people. The name Martu is Sumerian for “nomad”. The story, told by June Peters, resonates with modern-day themes of urbanisation, migration and diversification of the gene pool. [13:34]

Story 2 in English

This story from Sumer is told by June Peters. It is a story of challenges and rivalry explaining the origins of trade and writing. It features the world's first diplomatic letter and ceremonial maces carried in procession as symbols of royal authority. [23:29]

Story 2 in Arabic

This story from Sumer is told by Badia Obaid. It is a story of challenges and rivalry explaining the origins of trade and writing. It features the world's first diplomatic letter and ceremonial maces carried in procession as symbols of royal authority. [18:49]

Story 3

In this story the god Ninurta faces his destiny. Ninurta was worshipped by the ancient Mesopotamians as a god of the thunderstorm, a god of agriculture, and above all as a god of war. June Peters tells how Ninurta fought against an army of stone warriors led by the monstrous Asag. He then created mountains from the defeated stones and, as a beneficient deity of agricuture, made it possible for cultivation to begin. This story was first published in 2001 on a CD produced by Purple Patch Records Ltd. [20:01]

Story 4

This story, told by Fran Hazelton, is about Gilgamesh, the legendary king of the city of Unug in ancient Sumer, his faithful servant Enkidu, and the awesome being Huwawa. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu set off on an expedition to fetch precious cedarwood they found the Cedar Mountains were guarded by the fearsome Huwawa who was protected by seven mysetrious auras. This story was first published in 2001 on a CD produced by Purple Patch Records Ltd. [19:30]

Story 5

Fiona Collins tells the story of the descent of the goddess Inana into the Underworld. This subterranean realm was ruled over by its queen, Inana's sister Ereshkigal. After Inana has ventured into the Underworld, she realises that she will not be allowed to leave this 'land of no return'. This story was first published in 2001 on a CD produced by Purple Patch Records Ltd. [26:26]

Story 6

Fran Hazelton tells the story Gimil Ninurta—a poor man who gives the Mayor of Nippur a goat as a gift. The Mayor tricks Gimil Ninurta by taking his goat and giving him only gristle to eat at the feast. Gimil Ninurta then tricks the Mayor not once, not twice but three times. [12:05]

Story 7 in Arabic

Badia Obaid tells the story of Adapa, a fisherman from Eridu who breaks the wing of the South Wind. He is summoned to the gods in the sky and gains eternal wisdom but not eternal life. His story makes him famous forever. [9:40]

Story 8

John Levitt and Fran Hazelton tell a Sumerian story about a journey made by the moon-god, Nanna-Suen. He travels in a magnificent ceremonial barge from his home city, Urim, to Nibru, the city of his father, the god Enlil. [12:40]

Story 9

Fran Hazelton tells the story of Etana. The image of a man flying on the back of a large bird is well known from the Greek myth of Ganymede. It also exists in Mesopotamian mythology. Etana, the king of the city of Kish, flies to heaven on the back of an eagle to find the herb of birth. [13:44]

Story 10

Fran Hazelton tells the story of Enki and Ninmah. The gods and goddesses are having a party. The god of fresh water and wisdom—Enki—disputes with the womb goddess, Ninmah. To outwit her he invents sexual intercourse as a means of human reproduction. [8:19]