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The Identity of  Sumerian Magan and Meluhha

There are many references to "magan" and "meluhha" in Sumerian literature  the identity of which is still in dispute. On the basis of my identification that Sumerian is Archaic Tamil, I am proposing here that Magan was probably India of those days  and which was  " maa-kaaN" a large territory , a word still in use in the form of " maa-kaaNam" : a large state, or large landmass. I also propose that Meluhha is in fact Meru-aka ,  a land mass  in SEAsian region and from which the Sumerians themselves might have migrated. This word can be compared with place names such Moluccas Island as well as Melakka in Malaysia  and where the straits between Malaysia and Sumatra is named Malacca straits.

One of the references where both lands are mentioned come Gudea Cylinder A as Given by C.J. Gadd  in his  ' A Sumerian- Reading Book".  The following lines are taken from Text XIII pp. 97.

1.  e -nin-gir-su-ka (The temple of ningirsu) du-de (to build)

2. ........... nim ( the Elamite) nim-ta (from Elam) mu-na-tum (brought  to him)

3. INANNA.ERIN -e (the Susian ) INANNA.ERIN-ta (from susa) mu-na-tum (brought to him)

4. ma-gan me-luh-ha (Magan and Meluhha) kur-bi-ta (from their mountains )  gu-gis (a store of wood)

5. mu-na-ab-gal (provided for him) e-nin-gir-su-ka (and the temple of Ningirsu)

6. du-de (to build)  gu-de-a  (for Gudea) uru-ni-gir-su-(KI)-su ( to his city of Girsu)

7. gu-mu-na-si-si (they brought it together)

Thus we see here that  Elam (Nim-ta: from the hills) ma-gan and melluha were territories from  where  TRESS were  brought TOGETHER from their hills. This immediately rules out the possiblity that they were desert lands  and hence land masses in  Arabia.

These lands were with hills that supplied valuable timber, something the Sumerians LACKED as Sumer they occupied was largely on the shores of Tigris and Euphrates, and hence mainly alluvial plains .

Magan as Ta. maa-kaaN:  a large land mass: India ?

In Su.  ma  means "boat: as in ma-gur: a large boat (ship?) This  may correspond to Ta.maa,  maram : tree . It may in fact be a variant of Ta. muu-a: that which grows, perhaps a general term for trees and plants at first but later restricted to trees. The intial boats may be simply logs put together-- kattamaram- and hence a transfer  of meaning from tree to that which is made out of it.

In Su. ma, mah also means "great" corresponding to Ta. maa, makaa and Sk. maha. For ex. in line 18 of the same text we have  " mus-mah-am" meaning " a might dragon";  and in 24.  kar-mah-ka-sur-ra-ge: the main wharf at the boundary Gate . Note kar Ta. karai: banks, wharf.

Su. gan,  corresponds to Ta. kaN,  kaaN, kaaNi: land mass, cultivated land etc.

We have the use of this in this sense in following line in the same text

32. har-sag-urud-gan-ki-mas-ta: from the mountain of copper in the territory of Kimash. Thus here 'gan" means simply "territory"

Thus together "ma-gan" may be " maa-kaaN" :  a large territory and hence an archaic form of "maakaaNa-am"

Now  as it is  also understood as  a terrritory the hills of which contained large trees, and coming as it does after Elam, it may be possible that by "Maa-kaaN" is meant India, and more specifically that part of India along the West coast where probably teak wood was available and hence the coasts of ancient  Tamil Nadu.

Meluhha as Meru-a-ka

The Su. mel which may be a variant of 'mul" means something bright as in dingir.mul: radiant deity. In Ta. we have mul: bright, white; Ta. mel> veL: bright, white, clean . Ta. viL-a-kku: light, that which lights up.

We have also  Ta. meru, muru: bright, glistening, hot etc. In Malay we have "merah" : red

Such meanings point again to perhaps to Volcano , a meaning  also available in Su-meru.

(a)-ka corresonds to Ta. akam: inside, territory etc. as Tamiz-akam etc.

Thus it may be possible that meluhha is a variant of meru-aka, meeru-aka meaning a land of volcanic hills or simply that of blazing sun.

If this derivation is acceptable then it might refer to the Indonesian Archipelago as a whole and  which to this day remains an important source of timber.


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