The Abridged Instructions of Šuruppag

The following is a simplified version of the Instructions of Šuruppag, condensing entries with similar topics and rewording things to be as simple and straightforward as possible as well as discarding those things which are not relevant for Sumerian reconstructionists. This is a proposed foundation for a moral code for Sumerian reconstructionists.

  • Listen to the advise of those who are wiser than you.
  • Do not cause trouble for your neighbor.
  • Do not put your nose in other people’s business.
  • Do not steal anything.
  • Do not engage in sexual misconduct.
  • Do not speak improperly.
  • Do not take unnecessary risks.
  • Do not overextend yourself.
  • Do not drive away your debtors.
  • Do not be arrogant and avoid those who are arrogant.
  • Do not use violence.
  • Do not rape.
  • Do not make enemies unnecessarily.
  • Do not tell lies.
  • Always stay on the side of Utu.
  • Do not allow intoxication to cause you to behave improperly.
  • Do not trust someone by only their words.
  • Children should always come before expanding one’s property.
  • Speak with kindness and you will cultivate sweet things. Bring litigation and you will make enemies.
  • To sacrifice everything for a carefree lifestyle will leave you utterly lacking.
  • Do not give gifts expecting admiration.
  • Do not waste your time worrying excessively.
  • Concern yourself first with matters of heaven for they are greater than the things of earth.
  • Do not allow yourself to become seized by greed.
  • Do not speak insults.
  • Pray regularly.
  • Be kind to laborers; they are the reason you have nice things.
  • Despite your best efforts, fate can still get you.
  • Do not be negligent, care for your family.
  • Food motivates people.
  • Love builds a family, hatred destroys families.
  • Always remain humble.
  • Do not value things over lives and do not allow things to rule you.

Sources Cited

Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Ebeling, J., Flückiger-Hawker, E., Robson, E., Taylor, J., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (, Oxford 1998–2006.