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


The Zipang Recording Project (ZRP) was launched by the Enheduanna Society in October 2017.

The purpose of the project is to record and make publicly available the Zipang repertoire of re-told Mesopotamian stories. These re-told stories are based closely on academic translations and were developed over twenty years of public performances by the Zipang storytellers. Click here to view a list of written sources for the stories.

The ZRP is generously supported by an Outreach Grant awarded to the Enheduanna Society by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI).

The ZRP will enable these stories to be listened to in English and in Arabic, providing a free and easily accessible introduction to the literature of ancient Iraq.

To download MP3 versions of the stories, click on the Audio link.

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.

The Poor Man of Nippur

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.


Badia Obaid tells 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.