In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going to go a little off-topic today and write about the history of the first love poem.
Have you ever fallen in love? Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach? If so, have you ever tried to write your feelings on a piece of paper in those times? If you haven’t, don’t worry. Maybe the very first love poem in history gives you the inspiration to start.
The first known love song, also the first love poem, was written on a tablet found in a Mesopotamian city, Nineveh, which is now the Southern part of Iraq.
According to the Sumerian belief, it was a sacred duty for the king to marry a priestess who was believed to be a votary of Inanna, the goddess of love and procreation, in order to ensure fertility and prosperity for the next year. Ceremonies for these marriages were celebrated on New Year’s day by feasts and banquets. The poem was probably recited by the chosen bride at one of these celebrations. As a short note, prior to the discovery of this tablet, The Song of Solomon in the Bible was considered as the oldest love poem.
After the tablet was found in an archeological research in the 19th century, it was taken to the Istanbul Museum in Turkey and kept it untranslated until a famous Sumerologist, Samuel Noah Kramer, found it in a drawer in 1951. So, we’ve known this poem for the last 65 years although it was written almost 4,000 years ago!
Here is the first paragraph of the poem:
Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet,
Lion, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet.
Posted on Feb. 14, 2017