Mesopotamian Mythology

The Ancient Gods of Sumer and Babylon...

NAM-SHUB

Sumerian concept

Also known as Nam-šub, Namshub, Namšub

Speech with magical connotations and incantations

This is the word for an incantation or magic spell. Sometimes they can be sung too – one of the oldest known songs in actually a Nam-shub.

The most famous Nam-shub is the Nam-šub of Enki – a spell to corrupt language. Once upon a time all mortals spoke the same language. But as soon as this Nam-shub was uttered, speech was confused, tongues twisted and nobody could understand their neighbor. And that’s where all the world’s languages came from. Just like the Tower of Babel but without the tower.

Nowadays the word Nam-shub is even more notorious thanks to its use by Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash. He took the idea of language discombobulation and ran with it so far that even Enki hasn’t been able to catch up.

Thanks to him, the word Nam-shub has twisted its own meaning, spawned glitches in dictionaries and gone viral all over the internet. No doubt in some Mesopotamian dimension Enki is applauding.

Did you know the Sumerians spoke with an Agglutinative tongue? This is even more terrible than you can imagine, because it is a collection of Morphemes (which are in turn syllables) strung together like a sort of gargling. Nam-Shub-Alub-Ablub. No wonder the Tower of Babel got babbled out of existence.

Nam-shub Facts and Figures

Name: Nam-shub
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Nam-šub, Namshub, Namšub

Gender: Sorry, we don't know
Type: concept
Area or people: Sumer
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

Role: Unknown at present

Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 161

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Article last revised on September 26, 2018 by the Godchecker data dwarves.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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