Part 1, The Journey to Uruk
The heat of the summer and lack of rain was taking its toll on life for all who lived near the city of Ur. Noticeable rain had not taken place in months. Even the great river, Euphrates, that helped to irrigate the fields was below normal depth. Had something happened to displease the water god, Enki ? Were the god's unhappy over something and punishing the land ? The drought, if not ended soon would bring crop failures and famine to the land. One such who believed the gods were angry was Sargon, a farmer who lived near the city of Uruk. He strongly believed that the gods played a role in all the daily affairs of humans. When things went well, it was their blessing. If things were bad, the gods were angry and needed satisfaction. Sargon was determined to try to do something about it. He would go to the temple of Inanna,, the moon goddess, goddess of love, war and fertility and make a sacrifice.. Her whose principal temple and ziggurat, was in Uruk, where he frequently did business.
Sargon owned a modest farm he had inherited from his father. He was in his early 20s, of medium height plus strong upper body, most achieved form doing work on his farm. As most of the people in the region, he had olive colored skin, with black hair and brown eyes He lived alone and would occasionally get assistance from his brother and nephews, when it came harvest time. He raised, figs and barley. Also, from leather he would trade for or buy, he'd made sandals, very good and sturdy ones. He would monthly go to Uruk, and sell his barley to tavern owners to make beer and sell his and sandals in the market place. This was an all week affair. He would compete with the other fig growers for sales. He would also barter for leather, to make sandals.
Sargon decided to take to the temple and present to the high priestess of Inanna, Rosalandra an offering of barley, for the temple priestess to make beer and also present her with a specially made sandals, in her honor . Bounty from the earth and labor, Inanna had blessed.
The sacrifice Sargon had to offer would be presented to the high priestess of the temple, Rosalandra, daughter to the king of Uruk.
Rosalandra, was well known throughout the land. Her beautiful olive skin, dark black hair and piercing brown eyes, were legendary. It was widely reputed that that Inanna herself, was somewhat jealous of her own high priestess. Also, she had a temperament, that even made the gods of the underworld, shutter. To approach was, in itself an act of courage.
Sargon set off for Uruk for his monthly business trip, which also would coincide with the Bara za Gar festival, the post harvest festival, which climaxed with the Shekunku-festival at Full Moon and also to stay a few days longer, if necessary. He needed to make arrangements to offer his personal sacrifice. This had to be done by appointment, since it was his wish to perform the sacrifice at night at the top of the ziggurat of Inanna.
The summer festival was a popular event, there would be a good crowd present in Uruk. Fortunately for him, it wouldn't be a long journey just a half day, with his horse and cart.
It was the first day of the week long festival activities, when Sargon arrived in Uruk. Before he went to the market square to set up his vendors table, he made a visit to the Great Temple of Inanna. he wanted to make his appointment, to offer his sacrifices to the goddess and have the high priestess intercede to Inanna in his behalf. He spoke to the temple administrator, who was also the chief eunuch of the temple. He was stationed at the base of the stairs of the ziggurat and told him, his appointment to offer his sacrifice with the high priestess, Rosalandra, would take place the fourth night of the week, one hour before midnight . This would be an excellent night, because a full moon, precious to Inanna would be scheduled according to the local astronomers, which the festival was based on.
The week went well for Sargon. He made his stops at the various taverns he had done business with before . Due to the drought, many of the farmers who had done business before with the tavern owners, came up short in supply. Sargon had a small surplus, and actually could have driven up the price. He didn't feel this was fair. The goddess of beer, Ninkasi and the other gods, were punishing man for a sin, not a situation to benefit him. At his vendor's table, protected by a tent from the heat, he sold figs and sandals. Some of the sandals he bartered for leather to make more sandals.
Late afternoon on the fourth day of the festival, he closed his vendor's table early and went to the room at the tavern he had rented for just one night. He, wanted to bathe and change clothes, for tonight was the night of his sacrifice. Time went by slowly . He also went into his fast, a personal mortification of his body, to make himself worthy before Inanna.
The night had come, as the hours slowly went by. The moon, as predicted was full. The path also predicted of the moon as predicted, would have the full moon over the top of the temple of Inanna. Two hours before midnight, Sargon, loaded up a small cart, he borrowed. On it was several bags of barley and a pair of beautiful hand crafted sandals he had made for Rosalandra. He began his journey on foot, through the torch lit city, to the ziggurat.
About fifteen minutes before his scheduled appointment time he arrived at the Temple of Inanna. At the base of the temple were stationed two eunuchs, who served as guards. He stated his business and the guards called for the administrator to come out. He explained to Sargon the procedure. Some of the barley would be placed in small bags, easier for Sargon to carry up the ziggurat steps. The rest of the barley would be placed in the temple, warehouse, built into the ziggurat. The sandals, he could fasten to the cord, at the waist of his tunic. He was also reminded by the administrator, that he was granted a rare privilege. Common people rarely were allowed to the top of the temple and for that matter even most royalty weren't allowed to meet the high priestess, Rosalinda. This was reserved for the king and a few members of the temple staff. Sargon acknowledged he understood. The fact that she had allowed him to present the sacrifice to her, was rare and a privilege. He was told to wait at the base of the steps, leading to the top of the temple. Sargon, told the administrator, he understood.
Exactly, one hour before midnight he was told to make his ascent up the stairs to the top of the temple. The stairs would take him to three layers of the temple to reach the top. At each layer or platform , the temple would narrow, till you reached the top of the temple. There was the sanctuary, where Rosalandra, resided. Closer to the goddess, Inanna, to communicate with her.
The only light on the steps were from the full moon and at the different platforms, lit torches. The ascent took about ten minutes, finally Sargon reached the top of the temple. it was an amazing site. It was the highest point in Uruk, you could see the surrounding city below, lit by torches. off in the distance, the land around the city. Somewhere out there was his farm. On the right side of him was a small building, the sanctuary, home of the high priestess. The smell of frankincense was coming from the sanctuary as well as the singing of the female temple slaves, odes to Inanna. In the center was a throne, On both sides, oil lit lamps which in front a small table. Sargon assumed this was for placing his sacrifices.
He stood there about fifteen minutes, alone with the sound of singing coming from the sanctuary. All of a sudden it stopped. Two women came out of the sanctuary, followed by a eunuch. He instructed, Sargon to kneel, which he did. Then in a loud, intimidating voice announced, "KNEEL AND BOW DOWN TO THE GROUND. YOU ARE NOW IN THE PRESCENCE OF ROSALANDRA, PRINCESS OF URUK. THE HIGH PRIESTESS, ROSALANDRA. DAUGHTER OF INANNA, GODDESS OF LOVE, FERTILTY AND WAR. LOOK DOWN TILL GIVEN PERMISSION TO RISE !"
From his prostrate position the only thing Sargon could hear, were some slight footsteps of just one person walking, sandals making their sound on the pavement. All was quiet, then came another voice, a woman's voice.
" WHO IS THIS, THAT WISHES FOR ME TO INTERCEDE WITH MY MOTHER, INANNA ? RISE AND STAND BEFORE ME, STATE YOUR NAME, REASON YOU WISH AN AUDIENCE WITH ME AND WHY I SHOULD GRANT YOU YOUR REQUEST, TO SPEAK TO MY MOTHER, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, ON YOU BEHALF. STANDUP NOW, I COMMAND IT. LOOK AT ME WHEN I TALK TO YOU !"
Rising up Sargon found himself standing in front of a woman. She was a few inches shorter than him. She had black hair, that reached just a little below her shoulders. On her head she wore a ceremonial head piece, symbol of her authority, which to the side two gold earrings dangled. A single piece red gown covered her body
Part 2, The Special Sacrifice to Inanna
Rosalandra then began to question Sargon on his sacrifice. " What have you brought to Inanna as a sacrifice ? " Sargon replied, " A gift of my best barley, for libations to Inanna. Also a pair of special sandals for her high priestess, to wear in honor of the goddess."
Rosalandra replied, " I hope you, brought your best barley. Anything less, will be unacceptable". Sargon somewhat taken back by her comment, " I would bring nothing but the best, for Inanna ! "
Rosalandra, noticed a tone difference, in his reply told her attendants, " Well looks like we have a man here, who doesn't understand who he is talking to. All of leave us, don't enter unless I summon you !!"
With that command, all in attendance, other than Sargon, rose, walking backwards, made their way to the stairway. At first, closely walking backward in single file. When out of view of the high priestess, began to walk down the stairs. One of the female attendees commented, " That is unusual for her to dismiss us, especially in front of a stranger." The other female attendee replied, " He is attractive, I have to admit and showed a little boldness. If she needs us, she'll call us. I'm just looking forward to relaxing." Giggling, she tells the other attendee, " Talking about barley and beer, I know where we can get some. The temple guards, will let us in. We'll tell them we are taking a special inventory, for the high priestess." Her friend replied, " sounds risky, but fun." They both proceeded to the warehouse area and as instructed, we're going to stay away from the sanctuary area, unless called to it.
After they departed, Rosalandra sat on her ceremonial chair behind the offering table. on both sides of her chair were two incense holders, the sweet smell of incense was rising into the night sky. Due to the full moon, the top of the temple was well lit by moonlight. Midnight was soon approaching and the moon was nearly over the top of the temple.
Rosalandra, told Sargon, " "place the sandals in my hands." She then extended her two hands to receive them. he did as he was commanded. She studied them, with a slight frown, handed them back to him and said, " place your little sacrifice on the table." He takes back the sandals, taken aback by her attitude, but does as commanded and places them on the table.
Rosalandra proceeds to rebuke him, " Is that all you have, a pair of sandals, no gold embroidery, just a pair of sandals, as any common person would wear ! "
Sargon replies, " your Excellency in all due respect, these are excellent sandals. For the protection of your feet, the soles are five layers of leather, a finger and half, ( Sumerian equivalent of 1 1/4 inches). A thick strap and bucket, to secure them. hard work, effort and love for the goddess were applied in making them." Rosalandra, replied, "inadequate sacrifice, you have insulted the goddess and me. I could have purchased these in the common bazaar." She took one of the sandals and threw it from the top of the temple.
As she was berating him, she also looked into his eyes. She could see, a burning intensity in them. Then he did the unimaginable. he approached her without permission, She immediately stood up, still staring at him. Before she could speak, he did.
"Your Excellency," he began, I was always thought that a sacrifice was one that was given with all your best efforts in honor and beseeching the gods. Only they know what is in the heart of the giver. You criticize my offering, but I know the intention it was given with and you say it isn't good enough. You obviously don't know what is in my heart or the spirit of it. THE GODDESS INANNA KNOWS WHAT IS IN MY HEART, YOU DO NOT !!"
Immediately, Rosalandra reacted, violently and slapped his face. Then proceeded to verbally chastise him. " DON'T YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO, I AM THE HIGH PRIESTESS, ROSALANDRA, PRIESTESS OF INANNA, DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF URUK. BY YOUR ACTIONS YOU HAVE SURRENDERED YOUR LIFE. YOUR MISERABLE EXISTENCE WILL SOON BE ENDED!!!"
Sargon, suddenly didn't see a priestess in front of him. He saw someone, who he felt didn't represent the goddess, but only her own pompous needs. She may be the king's daughter, but no true high priestess. She just now had condemned him to death, so in his mind, his next actions wouldn't affect the outcome of his fate.
Sargon, began to speak softly, " it is your command I die, so be it, it is in your authority. However before I do, I have one more gift to present to the goddess Inanna, and I will do it with your assistance."
Rosalandra developed a look of concern, realizing that, maybe foolishly, she had dismissed all her attainders. She took a step back and asked, still with direct eye contact with Sargon. Speaking in a more moderate tone, " What kind of gift are you talking about " ? Stuttering a little, " whhaat, do I have to do with thissssss ?"
Sargon replied, " YOUR CHASTISEMENT !" With that he moved the table offering table out of the way, to make more room. After moving it, he picked up one of the sandals he had made, after moving it, he took the one remaining sandal and started to slap the palm of his left hand with it. Commenting, " this will work, nicely. Rosalandra, seeing him slap his palm, knew he had something special planned for her.
In a somewhat desperate voice, said, " YOU CAN'T TOUCH ME. ANYONE WHO TOUCHES ME IS PUT TO DEATH, IMMEDIATELY." Sargon, replied, " by who, YOU ? You sent everyone away, with orders not to disturb you. I'm already condemned so this really doesn't matter. At least I will die knowing my final act was the finest gift to present to the goddess. The reddened sit area on her high priestess."
Rosalandra in a raised, tone, " DON'T EVEN THINK OF IT, YOU CAN"T," ( as he approached her ), first placing the sandal on her ceremonial chair, and took her right arm, above the elbow".
Oddly, while she verbally protested, she really made no effort to run away. While she was indignant about the possibility of what may now that take, she also was somewhat intrigued and curious.
With her right upper arm in his grasp, causing her ceremonial head piece to fall off her head, exposing now her full head of dark black hair. Sargon was surprised, she really didn't struggle as much as he thought she would. It was now midnight the moon directly above the temple. "NOW THE REAL SACRIFICE WAS GOING TO BEGIN ," Sargon said in a low voice.
The Sacrifice is Offered
Seating himself on the high priestess ceremonial chair, in the momentum of sitting he placed Rosalandra 's front side over his lap, leaving her back side facing up towards him. In a swift move, he pulled her a little forward and placed her in between is thighs, using his strong legs to lock her in. Her torso and upper body leaning over his left leg and her legs locked right below her knees in a gripe lock , This left her buttocks pointing upward between his left and right thigh. This was to be the object of his sacrifice to Inanna.
She yelled loudly, " YOU CANNOT DO THIS !" WHEN THIS IS OVER YOU'LL DIE THE WORSE DEATH IMAGINABLE !! He replied, " go ahead and scream, in fact since I'm going to die anyhow, I'm going to make this my moment". With that he started to reach down to the floor and slowly peeled upwards her only clothing, her red gown.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING ? STOP NOW !!! OHHHHHHH, I'll PLUCK your EYES OUT. YOU'LL BE SKINNED ALIVE !!!!"
Quietly, Sargon, continued to slowly peel her gown up, first exposing the back of her ankles, then muscle calves, continually moving the gown upward, the back of her thighs exposed, finally the object of sacrifice, her bared buttocks
As she tried to squirm in this position, uttering curses and threats, the top of the temple became light, with light from the full moon, now directly above, Sargon and Rosalandra
Sargon, reached over to the table next to the chair, where he had lain the sandals he had brought to the temple for sacrifice. Now they were going to serve that purpose, in a manner he had not originally designed.
Taking one sandal, he looked down on his ready target, the uncovered, fully exposed, upturned, buttocks, which resembled in their shape the moon above. Both of her gluteal orbs, were round and full, almost circular in their shape. Her bottom was now directly below, the full moon.
Sargon delivered the first blow, to the right side of Rosalandra's bottom, " WHAP, " with a sound responding from her, " AAAUGH !" Then an admonishment from her, "STOP NOW"! Then came to the left side of her bottom from the sandal a harder delivery, "WHHHAAAP" ! " NOO," she yelled. he noticed a little pink developed on each of her beautiful bottom orbs. This only lead to him wishing to appease the goddess Inanna more, with the sacrifice he was offering with the help of her high priestess.
Sargon then proceeded to perform, the most needed sacrifice. " most fast, and alternating, between her right and left gluteal orbs, " Whaaap , WHHHHHAAAAAP, WHAMMMMMP,
WHHHHHHHAAAP, With an occasion delivery in the center of her gluteal cleft, WHHHOOOOP, WHHHAAAAAP !!!!! These were all in correspondence to Rosalandara's , priestly announcements, " Noooo, NOOOOOOO, OHHHHHHH, DONNNNN'T, WHY ARE YOU, OHHHHH, DOING THIS TO ME. STOOOOOP, I Forgive, OHHHHHHH, IT BURNS, NO one HAS ever !!!!!!! "
Then a phenomenon occurred, the moon above the temple, had turned bright red. Followed by lightning, then for the first time in months, it began to rain. Not only was it raining, there were no clouds in the sky. The moon had turned a brought red. It was a sign from Inanna. The top of the temple was light with red moon light. Despite the rain, a crowd gathered at the base of the temple of Inanna. They all were looking upward at the top of the temple, sounds were coming from the top, intermittent, popping sounds. The King of Uruk awoke, a hurried to the temple. He alone as not only king, but high priest could ascend the temple. he began the long walk up the stairs and the popping noise continued, getting louder. As he reached the top of the temple, he couldn't believed his eyes.
His daughter, Rosalandra, was face down, her body bent over a stranger's knee. Her bottom was the target of the thick embroidered sandal. Unlike earlier, she had stopped struggling and was moving her body in rhythm to the sandal descending on her bottom. Instead of resisting, she was now enjoying her experience.
Both Sargon and Rosalandra had not noticed the king. In a loud voice, the king shouted, " LET THE GODS BE PRAISED ! INNANA HAS INTERCEDED WITH ISHKUR, THE RAIN GOD ! WE HAVE RAIN. A GREAT SACRIFICE HAS TAKEN PLACE !"
Sargon stopped immediately. Rosalandra looked up and in a low voice, said, "Father, Ieeeee , ahhhhh ! " Sargon arose and immediately laid prostrate on the ground in front of the king. The king looked down at Sargon, then at Rosalandra. The rain kept coming down at a moderate pace. The king was a man of intelligence and could see something unique had occurred.
He told Sargon, to rise. Slowly he did. Head still down, the king told him, " Look at me". Sargon did as instructed. Then the king, turned to Rosalandra. " As high priestess of Inanna, explain to me what has happened ? " Rosalandra replied, " Your majesty, my father, a miracle." She then turned to Sargon, still speaking to the king, " a miracle has occurred, rain with no clouds, the red moon. An offering was made to Inanna, and she was pleased".
Deep down inside, what had happened also pleased Rosalandra. She had never met anyone with such courage as Sargon. The experience on the temple with him, though unheard of in the annals of sacrifices, made her feel an affection to him, which lead her to speak.
"Father this is a REAL man. A leader, something Uruk will need in the future."
Sargon was stunned, he expected Rosalandra to not only admonish him, but request his death
The king then spoke to Sargon. " You have impressed my daughter, that is NOT easy. No one ever has, except me. Where are you from ? What is your trade ?"
Sargon replied, " A farmer, and leather worker. I came here to offer a sacrifice to Inanna, with the help of the high priestess, Princess Rosalandra, your majesty."
The king said, "enough". Looking at both of them he pronounced, " INANNA, QUEEN OF URUK, DAUGHTER OF THE MOON HAS SPOKEN. LET IT BE KNOWN IN URUK AND SURROUNDIN LANDS. SARGON AND ROSALANDRA ARE TO BE MARRIED AT THE NEXT FULL MOON. ALSO TO COMMEROTE THIS MIRACLE OF RAIN WITH NO CLOUDS UNDER THE LIGHT OF A RED MOON, THIS SHALL BE KNOWN AS THE FEAST OF THE RED MOON. AS LONG AS PHYSICALLY ABLE, PRINCE SARGON AND PRINCESS ROSALANDRA WILL PERFORM THIS SACRIFICE AT THE TOP OF THE TEMPLE AS HUSBAND AND WIFE !"
Sargon and Rosalandra were married as the king degreed. Sargon in his time became King of Uruk. With Rosalandra at his side, they bore many children. However on the anniversary of their first sacrifice, even as king and queen, they both mounted the top of the Temple of Inanna and for the years to come as they were able, rededicated her sacrifice on the Feast of the Red Moon. By the way, Rosalandra kept the special sandal hidden away. Only brought out on the night of their special sacrifice.