The civilization of Babylonia and Assyria

Its remains, language, history, religion, commerce, law, art, and literature

by Morris Jastrow | 1915 | 168,585 words

This work attempts to present a study of the unprecedented civilizations that flourished in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley many thousands of years ago. Spreading northward into present-day Turkey and Iran, the land known by the Greeks as Mesopotamia flourished until just before the Christian era....

Part I

The Later Babylonian Poem Of Creation

THE story of Creation among Babylonians assumed the form of a nature myth, based upon the transition of winter and the rainy season to the spring and dry season. The stormy and rainy winter was pictured as a time of chaos and was symbolized by a monster Tiamat, who with a large body of attendants, likewise monstrous in form, is represented as in control of things. The spring sun driving away the winter becomes the vanquisher of Tiamat ; and after chaos has been overcome, law and order prevail.

Various versions of this nature myth were produced in ancient Babylonia, both in Sumerian and in Akkadian. The one here given celebrating the triumph of Marduk over Tiamat is the form assumed by the story after Marduk as the patron deity of the city of Babylon [1]  had become the head of the pantheon. To Marduk, therefore, as a solar deity the distinction is assigned of being the one strong enough among the gods to dispatch Tiamat and her followers.

The poem is a composite production, and gives evidence of containing elements of a number of independent tales that have been combined to add to the glory of Marduk. [2]

The text in its complete form covered seven tablets. Of these only the fourth has been preserved in full, while of the remaining tablets we have merely larger or smaller fragments.

TABLET I

The poem begins as follows:

"When on high, heaven was not named,
Below, dry land was not named. [3] 
Apsu, their first begetter,
Mummu (and) Tiamat, the mother of all of them, [4]
Their waters combined together.
Field was not marked off, sprout had not come forth.
When none of the gods had yet come forth,
Had not borne a name,
No destinies had been fixed; [5]
Then gods were created in the midst of heaven. [6]
Lakhmu and Lakhamu came forth
Ages increased . . . [7]
Anshar and Kishar were created. [8]
After many days had passed by there came forth . . .
Ami, their son . . .
Anshar and Anu . . .
Anu . . .
Nudimmud [9]  whom his father, his mother, . . .
Of large intelligence, knowing (wise),
Exceeding strong . . .
Without a rival . . .
Then were established."

The following seven lines are too fragmentarily preserved to permit of translation, but it would appear that at this point a description is given of the confusion and disturbance aroused among the monsters of the deep through the creation of the gods, who saw in this rise of the gods a foreshadowing of the end of their own rule. Apsu and Mummu together go to Tiamat in order to consult with her regarding the plan to keep the gods in restraint.

"Then Apsu, the begetter of the great gods,
Cried out, to Mummu, to his messenger, he spoke:

'Oh Mummu, joy of my liver,
Come, unto Tiamat let us go.'

They went, and before Tiamat they crouched,
Hatching a plan with regard to the gods . . .
Apsu opened his mouth and spoke,
Unto Tiainat, the splendid one addressed a word:

' . . . their course against me
By day I have no rest, at night I cannot lie down, I wish to destroy their course,
So that clamor cease and we may again lie down to sleep.'

When Tiamat (heard) this,
She raged and shrieked for (revenge?),
She herself became furiously enraged.
Evil she conceived in her heart.

'All that we have made let us destroy,
That their course may be full of misery so that we may have release. '

Mummu answered and counselled Apsu,
Hostile was the counsel of Mummu.

'Come, their course is strong, destroy it!
Then by day thou wilt have rest,
At night thou wilt lie down.'

Apsu (hearkened), and his face shone;
Evil he planned against the gods, his sons."

The following fifty lines tell of the conflict of Mummu and Apsu against the gods which ends in the capture of the two ; it appears that they are overcome through the agency of Ea, the god of the deep and who, it will be recalled, [10]  is pictured as the god of humanity, teaching mankind knowledge and saving them in distress. It is natural, therefore, to find Ea also in the role of the saviour of the gods, and we may conjecture that we have in this part of the story the old version of the overcoming of chaos through Ea, the patron god of Eridu a version, therefore, which had its rise in the old city that lay at or close to the Persian Gulf. But Tiamat still remains at large.

Realizing that she, too, will have to face the conflict with the gods, Tiamat gathers a new army of followers, described as monstrous serpents of various kinds, fierce and merciless. With these she associates other monsters, and places the entire army under the generalship of Kingu. The gaps in the first tablet at this point can be supplied from Tablets II and III in which the description of Tiamat 's army is repeated.

PLATE LXXVIII

Creation And Deluge

Fig. 1, Third tablet of the Babylonian story of Creation
Fig. 2, Portion of the Babylonian sotry of the Deluge

"They uttered curses and at the side of Tiamat advanced.
In fury and rage they devised plans ceaselessly night and day.
They rushed to the conflict, raging and furious.
They grouped themselves and ranged the battle array.
Ummu-Khubur, [11] creator of all things,
Gathering invincible weapons, she brought forth huge monsters,
Sharp of tooth and merciless of fang.
With poison instead of blood she filled their bodies.
She clothed with terror the terrible dragons,
Decking them with brilliancy, giving them a lofty stature,
So that whoever beheld them would be overcome with terror.
With their bodies reared up, none could withstand their attack.
She brought forth great serpents, dragons and the Lakhami, [12]
Hurricanes, raging dogs and scorpion men,
Mighty tempests, fish men, and rams,
Bearing cruel weapons, fearless in combat,
Mighty in command, irresistible.
In all eleven monsters of this kind she made.
Among the gods, the first born who formed the assembly,
She exalted Kingu, giving him high rank in their midst;
To march in advance and to direct the host;
To be foremost in arming for the attack,
To direct the fight in supreme control,
To his [13]  hand she confided. She decked him out in costly garments:

'I have uttered thy magic formula, in the assembly of the gods I have exalted thee '

The dominion over all the gods was entrusted unto his hands:

'Be thou exalted, my one and only husband;
May the Anunnaki exalt thy name above all the gods !'

She gave him the tablets of fate, to his breast she attached them.

'Oh, thou, thy command will be irresistible!
Firmly established be the utterance of thy mouth!
Now Kingu is exalted, endowed with the power of Anu;
Among the gods, his children, he fixes destinies.
By the word of thy mouth fire will be quenched;
The strong in battle will be increased in strength.'"

TABLET II

In the second tablet the gods learn of the plans of Tiamat and hear the description of the mighty army which she has gathered.

"Tiamat finished her work.
(The evil that) she contrived against the gods her offspring,
To avenge Apsu, Tiamat planned evil.
When she had equipped her army, it was revealed to Ea;
Ea heard the words,
And was grievously afflicted, and overwhelmed with grief.
Days passed by and his anger was appeased.
To Anshar, his father, he took the way.
To Father Anshar who begot him he went.
All that Tiamat had planned he repeated to him.

'Tiamat our mother has taken a dislike for us,
She has assembled a host, she rages furiously.
All the gods are gathered to her,
Aye, even those whom thou hast created, march at her side.'"

It would appear from these words that Tiamat had stirred up a rebellion also among the gods descended from Anshar and Kishar, and succeeded in gathering many of them to her side to proceed with the host of monsters against the gods represented as her own offspring, though this is in contradiction to the other point of view brought forward in the poem according to which Anshar and Kishar are the ancestors of all the gods.

Anshar, upon hearing the description of the terrorinspiring army, is dismayed. He calls upon Ea, who has smitten Mummu and captured Apsu to proceed against Tiamat. Unfortunately the text at this point is again defective, but it is evident that Ea declines the task. Anshar then calls upon another son, Ami, to fight the cause of the gods which is the cause of law and order against choas and lawlessness, represented by Tiamat and her followers.

But this son declines or is unable to carry out the task, and accordingly we find Anshar addressing a third, this time Marduk, who will succeed where others fail.

"'Thou art my son of strong courage,
. . . draw nigh to the battle!
. . . at sight of thee there shall be peace. '

The Lord rejoiced at the word of his father.
He drew nigh and stood in front of Anshar;
Anshar saw him and his heart was full of joy.
He kissed him on the mouth, and fear departed from him.

'(Oh my father), may the words of thy lips not be taken back,
May I go and accomplish the desire of thy heart!'

Marduk repeats these two lines, after which begins another address of Anshar to his son [14]  in which he calls upon Marduk to "trample swiftly on the neck of Tiamat".

The text then continues.

"'Oh my son, full of all knowledge,
Quiet Tiamat with thy supreme incantation;
Quickly proceed (on thy way)!
Thy blood will not be poured out, thou shalt surely return.'

The lord rejoiced at the word of his father,
His heart exulted and he spoke to his father.

'Oh Lord of the gods, (who fixes) the fate of the great gods,
If I become thy avenger,
Conquering Tiamat, and giving life to thee,
Call an assembly and proclaim the preeminence of my lot!
That when in Upshukkinaku [15]  thou joyfully seatest thyself,
My command in place of thine should fix fates.
What I do should be unaltered,
The word of my lips be never changed or annulled.'"

TABLET III

The third tablet opens with an address of Anshar unto Gaga his messenger, asking the latter to go to the gods that they gather together for a banquet and listen to the message which Anshar sends them. The message itself recounts the rebellious purpose of Tiamat and her brood of monsters, repeats the detailed description of the vipers, dragons, hurricanes, raging hounds, fishmen and the strange host with Kingu at the head which we have already encountered in the epic.

"Then they gathered and went,
The great gods, all of them, who fix fates,
Came into the presence of Anshar, they filled (the assembly hall),
Embracing one another in the assembly (hall),
They prepared themselves to feast at the banquet.
They ate bread, they mixed the wine,
The sweet mead confused (their senses).
Drunk, their bodies filled with drink,
They shouted aloud, with their spirits [16] exalted,
For Marduk, their avenger, they fixed the destiny."

TABLET IV

"They prepared for him a royal chamber,
In the presence of his fathers as ruler he stood.

'Thou art the weightiest among the great gods.
Thy (power of decreeing) fate is unrivalled, thy command is (like that of) Anu.
Oh Marduk, thou art mightiest among the great gods!
Thy power of decreeing fate unrivalled, thy word is like that of Anu! [17]
From now on thy decree will not be altered,
Thine it shall be to raise up and to bring low,
Thy utterance be established, against thy command no rebellion!
None among the gods will transgress the limit (set by the'e).
Abundance is pleasing to the shrines of the gods,
The place of their worship will be established as thy place.
Oh Marduk, thou art our avenger!
We give thee kingship over the entire universe,
Take thy seat in the assembly, thy word be exalted;
Thy weapon be not overcome, may it crush thy enemies.
Oh lord, the life of him who trusts in thee will be spared,
But pour out the life of the god who has planned evil.' [18]

Then they placed in their midst a garment.
To Marduk, their first born, they spoke:

'Thy fate, O lord, be supreme among the gods !
For destruction and creation speak, and it shall be done;
Declare that the garment vanish,
And speak the word again that the garment be intact.'

Then he gave the command, and the garment vanished;
He commanded again, and the garment appeared.
When the gods, his fathers, thus beheld (the power of) his utterance [19]
They rejoiced and paid homage to Marduk, King;
They bestowed on him scepter, throne and palu; [20]
They gave him an invincible weapon "overcoming the enemy". [21]

'Go and cut off the life of Tiamat,
That the wind may carry her blood to hidden spots. '

When the gods, his fathers, had decreed the fate of the lord,
They brought him on the road leading to peace and success.
He made a bow and took it as his weapon,
He took a spear and fastened it with a cord ( ?),
He raised the club ( ?), taking hold of it with his right hand,
The bow and quiver he hung at his side,
Placed the lightning on his face,
With a burning flame he filled his body,
He made a net to enclose Tiamat therein.
The four winds he took hold of, that nothing whatsoever should escape.
The South Wind, North Wind, East Wind, West Wind,
He brought to the side of the net, the gift of his father Anu.
He created the hostile wind, the tempest and the hurricane,
The fourfold wind and the sevenfold wind, [22] the whirlwind, and the wind without rival.
He sent forth the winds which he had created, the seven of them;
To trouble the spirit of Tiamat, they followed behind him.
Then the lord raised on high the Deluge, [23] his mighty weapon.
He mounted the storm chariot, unequalled in power,
He harnessed and attached to it four horses,
Merciless, overwhelming, swiftly flying.
(Sharp of) teeth, bearing poison.
. . . . .
Then the lord drew nigh, piercing Tiamat with his glance;
He saw the purpose of Kingu, her spouse,
As he (i.e., Marduk) gazed, he (i.e., Kingu) tottered in his gait. [24]
His mind was destroyed, his action upset,
And the gods, his helpers, marching at his side, [25]
Saw (the terror of) the hero and leader.
But Tiamat (uttered a cry) and did not turn her back,
From her lips there gushed forth rebellious words [26]

'. . . coming to thee as lord of the gods,
As in their own sanctuaries they are gathered in thy sanctuary.' [27]

Then the lord raised on high the Deluge, the great weapon,
And against Tiamat, who was foaming with wrath, thus sent forth (his answer).

'Great art thou! Thou hast exalted thyself greatly.
Thy heart hath prompted thee to arrange for battle
. . . . .
Thou hast (exalted) Kingu to be thy husband,
(Thou hast given him power to issue) the decrees of Ana. [28]
(Against the gods, my fathers), thou hast planned evil,
Against the gods, my fathers, thou hast planned evil.
Let thy army be equipped, thy weapons be girded on;
Stand; I and thou, let us join in battle.'

When Tiamat heard this,
She was beside herself, she lost her reason.
Tiamat shouted in a paroxysm of fury,
Trembling to the root, shaking in her foundations.
She uttered an incantation, she pronounced a magic formula. [29]
The gods of battle, appeal [30] to their weapons.
Then stepped forth Tiamat and the leader of the gods, Marduk.
To the fight they advanced, to the battle they drew nigh.
The lord spread his net and encompassed her,
The evil wind stationed behind him he drove into her face.
Tiamat opened her mouth to its full extent.
He drove in the evil wind before she could close her lips.
The terrible winds filled her belly,
Her heart was seized, and she held her mouth wide open.
He drove in the spear and burst open her belly,
Cutting into her entrails, he slit her heart.
He overcame her and destroyed her life;
He cast down her carcass and stood upon it.
When he had thus subjected Tiamat, the leader,
Her host was scattered, her assembly was dissolved;
And the gods, her helpers, who marched beside her,
In fear and trembling turned about,
Taking to flight to save their lives.
But they were surrounded and could not escape.
He captured them and smashed their weapons,
They were cast into the net, and brought into the snare;
. . . . .
After he (i.e., Marduk) had bound and cast down his enemies,
Had battered down the arrogant foe,
Had completely gained the victory of Anshar over the enemy,
The hero Marduk had attained the aim of Nudimmud, [31]
He strengthened his hold over the captive gods. [32]
To Tiamat, whom he had bound, he came back,
And the lord trampled under foot the foundation of Tiamat.
With his merciless weapon he smashed her skull,
He cut the channels of her blood,
And made the north wind carry them to secret places.[33]
His fathers beheld and rejoiced exceeding glad,
Presents and gifts they brought to him.
Then the lord rested and looked at the carcass.
He divided the flesh of the monster, and created marvellous things.
He split her like a fish flattened into two halves;
One half he took and made it a covering for heaven.
He drew a bolt, he stationed a watchman,
Enjoining that the waters be not permitted to flow out.
He passed over the heavens, inspecting the regions (thereof),
And over against the Apsu, [34] he set the dwelling of Nudimmud. [35]
The lord measured the structure of the Deep.
He established E-sharra as a palace corresponding to it
The palace E-sharra which he created as heaven,
He caused Anu, Enlil and Ea to inhabit their districts."

The creation of the Universe, which thus begins after the overthrow of Tiamat by the formation of the heavens, is continued in the fifth tablet which describes the constellations and the fixing of seasons, the division of the year into months, and of days into night and day. All this is done at the instance of Marduk whose work is essentially that of one who establishes order in place of chaos, rather than that of a creator.

TABLET V

"He made stations for the great gods,
The stars, their counterparts, the twin stars he fixed.
He fixed the year and divided it into divisions.
For the twelve months he fixed three stars. [36]
Also for the days of the year (he had fashioned) pictures [37]
He founded the station of Nibir [38]  to regulate their limits,
That none might err or go astray.
He placed the station of Enlil and Ea [39]  with him. [40]
He opened great gates to both sides,
He supplied a strong bolt to the left and the right.
In the midst (of the heavens) he fixed the zenith,
He caused Sin [41] to shine forth, entrusting to him the night;
He assigned to him the control of the night for counting the days;
Each month without interruption he covered him with a crown." [42]

Marduk thereupon addresses the moon-god, though it is evident that the original address was made by Anu, god of the heavens -and as such the one in supreme control of everything above.

"'At the beginning of the month in rising over the land
Thou wilt show a horn for a period of six days.
On the seventh day the crown will be divided ( ?).
On the fourteenth day thou shalt stand opposite, it being the half (of the month).
When the sun-god in the foundation of heaven (is opposite) thee.'"

At this point unfortunately the tablet again becomes defective, and there is little of it remaining until we reach the end. We can only conjecture that the chief constellations were included in the description of the heavens, and all the courses fixed for the planets, as well as the positions for the stars. At the close of the tablet the gods gather around Marduk and formulate the complaint that, while order has been established and the position of the gods represented by the stars fixed in the heavens, the universe was empty. There was no one to do homage to the gods.

Curiously enough this complaint of the gods is assigned in the sixth tablet as the reason for the creation of man, which Marduk undertakes in order to satisfy the craving of the gods for worship. It is most unfortunate that this tablet also is badly mutilated, so that only the first ten lines and a few of the closing lines furnish an intelligible sequence. It begins as follows:

TABLET VI

"Upon ( Marduk 's) hearing the word of the gods,
His heart led him to create (marvellous things) [43]
He opened his mouth and (spoke) to Ea [44]
(What) he had conceived in his heart he imparted to him;

'My blood I will take and bone I will (form).
I will set up man that man . . .
I will create man to inhabit (the earth),
That the worship of the gods be fixed, that they may have shrines.
But I will alter the ways of the gods, I will change . . .
They shall be joined in concert, unto evil shall they . . . '

Ea answered him and spoke."

The answer of Ea is too imperfectly preserved to warrant even a conjecture. If the last two lines of Marduk 's address to Ea indicate his intention to punish the gods because of their complaint, while granting what they desire, it may be, as has been suggested, that Ea dissuaded Marduk from this purpose ; but until some fortunate chance may enable us to fill the gap in this important tablet it is idle to indulge in conjectures. Nor is it certain that this Babylonian version of creation contained any account of the actual formation of the earth, of verdure, trees and mountains and of animals.

The main purpose of the poem was to celebrate the triumph of Marduk over Tiamat ; everything else is incidental, and even in describing the establishment of order in the heavens the chief thought was to emphasize the control of Marduk over the gods. At the same time, from other fragments of creation tales, we know that to Marduk (and in other versions to other gods) the detailed creation of everything on earth, including verdure and animals, was ascribed. [45]

At the close of the sixth tablet there is a description of the return of Marduk after his labors to the assembly hall of the gods in Upshukkinnaku. They rejoice at his return and gather to do him honor.

TABLET VII

The seventh tablet is entirely taken up with the names bestowed upon Marduk by the gods. The names themselves constitute attributes of Marduk, though no doubt designating originally local gods whose cult was absorbed by that of Marduk. In this way by assigning to Marduk the power of all the other gods he becomes supreme ; and as we have seen, views about Marduk in Babylonia and about Ashur in Assyria form the closest approach to be found in Babylonian-Assyrian religion to a monotheistic conception of divine government. [46]

"Asari, the source of planting (the founder of sowing),
Creator of grain and flour, (causing the verdure to spring forth).
Asaru-alim, honored in the house of counsel (abounding in counsel).
To him the gods pay homage, (and of him they stand in dread).
Asaru-alim-nunna, the mighty, the light (of his father who begat him),
Who prescribes the laws for Anu, Enlil (and Ea),
Who provides for them, who fixes (their bounds),
Who provides abundance, brings out . . .
Tutu, 'the creator who renews them,'
May their sanctuaries be purified, may (they be pacified).
May he bring about an incantation, that the gods (may be calmed).
When they attack in fury may he repulse (their advance)!
Be he exalted even in the assembly of the gods.
None among the gods is like to him."

In this way the text proceeds somewhat monotonously, describing the manifold attributes and powers of Marduk. Towards the close of the tablet an interesting reference is made to the manner in which, after all the other gods had paid homage, Enlil and Ea stepped forward and bestowed their names, and with their names their power, upon the favorite Marduk.

"Nibiru [47]  be his name, the one who seized the inside; [48]
May he maintain the stars of heaven in their path,
Shepherding all the gods like sheep!
May he keep Tiamat enchained,
Crushing and putting an end to her life.
In the future of mankind, when the days grow old,
May one hear this without ceasing, may it survive forever! [49]
Since he created the region (of heaven), and formed the earth,
Lord of the worlds, father Enlil [50]  called him,
The name which all the Igigi proclaimed.
Ea heard and his liver rejoiced,

'He whose name his fathers have made glorious,
Be he like I am, Ea be his name!
All my commands be in his control,
All my decrees let him pronounce!'

By the name 'fifty' [51]  did the great gods
Confer upon him fifty names to make his path supreme."

The poem closes with an epilogue, calling upon all mankind ever to bear in mind the great deeds of Marduk, and to hand down the memory thereof from father to son to the end of days.

"Let them be remembered, let the older (man) speak of them! [52]
Let the wise and the intelligent reflect on them together,
Let father repeat and teach them to his son!
Let pastor and shepherd open their ears,
To rejoice in Marduk, the lord of the gods,
That his land may be fertile and prosper.
His word (i.e., Marduk 's) is firm, his command unchangeable.
What he utters no god annuls,
He casts a glance and turns not his neck.
In his wrath no god can withstand him,
But wide is his heart, broad is his mind;
The sinner and evil-doer before him ..."

The remaining six lines are again too fragmentary for translation, but it is evident that the epilogue closed with the glorification of Marduk 's justice tempered with mercy.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

See above, p. 211 seq.

[2]:

See an article by the writer on "The Composite Character of the Babylonian Creation Story" in the Noldeke Festschrift II, pp. 969-982. For a complete edition, of the text together with an English translation and commentary, see L. W. King, The Seven Tablets of Creation (2 vols. London, 1902) ; also Cuneiform Texts, Part XIII, Plates 1-41. For the relationship of the Babylonian versions of Creation to the Biblical tale, see Jastrow, "Hebrew and Babylonian Views of Creation", being chapter II of the author's Hebrew and Babylonian Traditions (New York, 1914).

[3]:

"To have a name," according to ideas widely prevalent in antiquity, was to exist. Hence, to express the idea of non-existence of heaven and earth it was said that they were not named."

[4]:

These three terms, Apsu (deep), Mummu (water), and Tiamat (sea), are synonymous, each one representing the name of the Being symbolizing primeval chaos in some version. The combination of the three names and the endeavor to establish a relationship between them are indications of the composite character of the poem.

[5]:

One of the functions of the gods is to determine the fate of individuals, as well as the future in general. See p. 217 and p. 278.

[6]:

 The late origin of this form of the poem is shown by the transfer of all the gods to the heavens a reflection of astrological views. See above, p. 209.

[7]:

Defective lines are indicated by leaders, (...).

[8]:

An-Shar (the totality of what is above) and Ki-Shar (the totality of what is below) are " theological " abstractions, rather than popular figures of deities in the system of the pantheon as perfected by the priests of Babylonia. Anshar and Kishar are, according to this system, the ancestors of all the gods.

[9]:

A designation of Ea, the god of the deep.

[10]:

Above, p. 210.

[11]:

A title of Tiamat, signifying probably ' mother of totality. ' The name points to another version, combined with our tale.

[12]:

Here a collective name for a group of monsters.

[13]:

That is, unto Kingu she entrusted the destinies of the army, forming in part, at least, descriptions of constellations in the heavens.

[14]:

Indication of another version.

[15]:

The "Walhalla" of the gods where they assemble to determine destinies.

[16]:

Literally, "liver."

[17]:

This trait of repeating certain particularly emphatic lines is, as we have seen above, p. 433, characteristic of this composition.

[18]:

I.e., Tiamat, who organized the rebellion against the highest gods.

[19]:

Meaning, of course, the result of his utterance.

[20]:

Some symbol of royal power, perhaps a crown.

[21]:

 We know from other sources that the weapons of the gods bore symbolical names, just as did the blades among the Arabs of the Middle Ages.

[22]:

 I.e., the wind blowing four and seven days, respectively.

[23]:

One of the terms for an inundating rain-storm, and used in the description of the deluge. See below, p. 446, seq.

[24]:

The mere sight of Marduk terrifies Kingu and bewilders Tiamat.

[25]:

I.e., the whole army of Tiamat and Kingu.

[26]:

No doubt curses hurled against Marduk.

[27]:

These two lines, obscure because of the break in the first part of line 73, evidently represent the curse intended to annihilate Marduk. The god, however, is undismayed.

[28]:

I.e., To Kingu had been assigned by Tiamat the right belonging to Anu as supreme arbiter.

[29]:

As a last resort to overwhelm Marduk, to bring him within her power through the force of her magic formula. See above, p. 244, seq.

[30]:

 Literally, ask, which suggests that possibly some oracles were sought through their weapons.

[31]:

Which Nudimmud (or Ea) was unable to carry out.

[32]:

I.e., he made sure of their being unable to get away.

[33]:

 Apparently we have in these lines a second description of the way in which Marduk overcame Tiamat. They may be taken, therefore, as another proof of the dovetailing of several originally distinct versions into our story.

[34]:

I.e., personification of the deep.

[35]:

I.e., Ea, the god of waters.

[36]:

Each star presiding over four months.

[37]:

I.e., the constellations.

[38]:

I.e., Jupiter, who as the brightest planet is the leader.

[39]:

Variant, Anu.

[40]:

Anu, Enlil and Ea represent three divisions of the ecliptic.

[41]:

The moon-god.

[42]:

The crescent of the new moon.

[43]:

Conjectural restoration niklati, proposed by King on the basis of Tablet IV, 136.

[44]:

Ea is always introduced as the god of humanity who loves and protects mankind ; and in the version of creation which arose in Eridu, the seat of which Ea was the patron, it is Ea who is also the creator of man. All other gods, however, must yield to Marduk, though there is a trace of the older version where Marduk is introduced as telling Ea of his purpose.

[45]:

See Jastrow, Hebrew and Babylonian Traditions, p. 92.

[46]:

See above, p. 217 and 229, seq.

[47]:

I.e., Jupiter.

[48]:

Sc of Tiamat.

[49]:

I.e., the story of Marduk's conquest of Tiamat.

[50]:

Enlil, the old god of Nippur, confers his own name upon Marduk.

[51]:

As the last of fifty names, they called Marduk "fifty" which was transferred presumably from the god Ninib or Ningorsin, who was symbolized as "fifty", and whose temple at Lagash was known as E-ninnu, i.e., "house of fifty". See above, p. 200.

[52]:

I.e., hand the memory of Marduk 's deeds down to the younger generation.

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