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


Here are the ZRP stories currently available to watch on video.

The Marriage of Martu

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 resonates with modern-day themes of urbanisation, migration and diversification of the gene pool. This is an illustrated story told by June Peters.

The Poor Man of Nippur

This video shows Fran Hazelton telling 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.


This video shows Badia Obaid telling the story of Adapa in Arabic. Adapa is 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.