Hymn of the Righteous Sufferer

(ca. 1770–600 BCE)

The Hymn of the Righteous Sufferer is an ancient work from Mesopotamia. As with most ancient works, little is known about its specific origins. We do not know who wrote it or when it was written. In fact, we do not even have the entire text. Some scholars place it in the second millennium BCE, but others place it in the middle of the first millennium BCE At best, we can place it in about 1770–600 BCE. These gaps in our knowledge notwithstanding, this text must have been very popular, because fragments of it have been found in both Assur, in what is now Iraq, and Sultantepe, in what is now the Urfa (or Sanhurfa) province of Turkey.

The Hymn of the Righteous Sufferer was written to celebrate the god Marduk, who was the primary Babylonian deity. Marduk held a central position in this polytheistic culture because he ruled over all other gods and is credited with creating humans. Although the Sumerians recognized Marduk as a lesser god, his popularity grew throughout the latter...