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The prayers used in royal building inscriptions, do not as far as we know have a ritual element. , Dominique Collon, Ancient Near Eastern Art (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995), 60–62, with a photo of the famous Tell Asmar votive statues; on presentation scenes, see her Near Eastern Seals (Interpreting the Past; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990), 46–47. We should not neglect to mention the fact that some cylinder seal legends (inscriptions) contained actual prayers in Sumerian and Akkadian.

25 In order for a definition of prayer to be useful in Mesopotamia, it needs to specify that “benevolent supra-human being,” for the present purposes, refers to any supra-human being to whom a text directs itself and about whom the text assumes, implicitly or explicitly, sufficient power to aid the speaker. Because the text expresses hope for a beneficent response, one might find words of deference or honor addressed to the supra-human power at the beginning of the communication (see below, for example, on the structure of the incantation-prayer).

24 See Black and Green for a convenient summary of the most important of these. 10 READING AKKADIAN PRAYERS AND HYMNS: AN INTRODUCTION tions of such communication as well as the actual texts that contain these communications are well-attested. Many of these powerful beings could be both benevolent and malevolent toward a human. 25 In order for a definition of prayer to be useful in Mesopotamia, it needs to specify that “benevolent supra-human being,” for the present purposes, refers to any supra-human being to whom a text directs itself and about whom the text assumes, implicitly or explicitly, sufficient power to aid the speaker.

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