It will be seen that the greater number of the texts formed parts of several large groups of magical tablets, and that certain sections were employed in more than one group. As they appear here they
are the result of the editing of the scribes of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria about B. C 669-625 who had them copied and arranged for his royal library at Nineveh. There is little doubt however that the sources from which they were compiled were Babylonian. The prayers and formulae inscribed on the tablets, which bore the title of "Prayers of the Lifting of the Hand", were drawn up for use in the private worship, either of the king himself, or of certain of his subjects. Some of the tablets are inscribed with single prayers, and these appear to have been copied from the larger compositions
for the use of special individuals on special occasions. As examples of this class of text K 223, K 2808, and K 2836 may be mentioned, which contain Ashurbanipal's personal petitions for the deliverance of Assyria from the evils which had fallen upon the land in consequence of an eclipse of
the moon. Unlike the prayers of many Semitic nations the compositions here given are accompanied by an interesting series of directions for the making of offerings and the performance of religious ceremonies, and they show a remarkable mixture of lofty spiritual conceptions and belie fin the efficacy of incantations and magical practices, which cannot always be understood.
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