Enuma Elish - The Babylonian Epic of Creation

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published on 02 March 2011

The Enuma Elish (also known as The Seven Tablets of Creation) is the Mesopotamian creation myth whose title is derived from the opening lines of the piece, `When on High'.  All of the tablets containing the myth, found at Ashur, Kish, Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh, Sultantepe, and other excavated sites, date to c. 1100 BCE but their colophons indicate that these are all copies of a much older version of the myth. As Marduk, the champion of the young gods in their war against Tiamat, is of Babylonian origin, the Sumerian Ea/Enki or Enlil is thought to have played the major role in the original version of the story. The copy found at Ashur has the god Ashur in the main role as was the custom of the cities of Mesopotamia. The god of each city was always considered the best and most powerful. Marduk, the god of Babylon, only figures as prominently as he does in the story because most of the copies found are from Babylonian scribes. Even so, Ea does still play an important part in the Babylonian version of the Enuma Elish by creating human beings.

The story, one of the oldest, if not the oldest in the world, concerns the birth of the gods and the creation of the universe and human beings. In the beginning there was only undifferentiated water swirling in chaos. Out of this swirl, the waters divided into sweet, fresh water, known as the god Apsu, and salty bitter water, the goddess Tiamat. Once differentiated, the union of these two entities gave birth to the younger gods.

These young gods, however, were extremely loud, troubling the sleep of Apsu at night and distracting him from his work by day. Upon the advice of his Vizier, Mummu, Apsu decides to kill the younger gods. Tiamat, hearing of their plan, warns her eldest son, Enki (sometimes Ea) and he puts Apsu to sleep and kills him. From Apsu's remains, Enki creates his home. Tiamat, once the supporter of the younger gods, now is enraged that they have killed her mate. She consults with the god, Quingu, who advises her to make war on the younger gods. Tiamat rewards Quingu with the Tablets of Destiny, which legitimize the rule of a god and control the fates, and he wears them proudly as a breastplate. With Quingu as her champion, Tiamat summons the forces of chaos and creates eleven horrible monsters to destroy her children.

Ea, Enki, and the younger gods fight against Tiamat futilely until, from among them, emerges the champion Marduk who swears he will defeat Tiamat. Marduk defeats Quingu and kills Tiamat by shooting her with an arrow which splits her in two; from her eyes flow the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Out of Tiamat's corpse, Marduk creates the heavens and the earth, he appoints gods to various duties and binds Tiamat's eleven creatures to his feet as trophies (to much adulation from the other gods) before setting their images in his new home. He also takes the Tablets of Destiny from Quingu, thus legitimizing his reign.

After the gods have finished praising him for his great victory and the art of his creation, Marduk consults with the god Ea (the god of wisdom) and decides to create human beings from the remains of whichever of the gods instigated Tiamat to war. Quingu is charged as guilty and killed and, from his blood, Ea creates Lullu, the first man, to be a helper to the gods in their eternal task of maintaining order and keeping chaos at bay. As the poem phrases it, "Ea created mankind/On whom he imposed the service of the gods, and set the gods free." Following this, Marduk "arranged the organization of the netherworld" and distributed the gods to their appointed stations. The poem ends in Tablet VII with long praise of Marduk for his accomplishments.

The Enuma Elish was read and recited widely throughout Mesopotamia but was especially important at the New Year Festival in Babylon. During this festival the statue of Marduk would be taken from the temple and, amidst the revelers, be paraded through the streets of the city, out the gates, to `vacation' in a small house built for this purpose. The Enuma Elish, especially, it is thought, the praise from Tablet VII, would be sung or chanted during this procession.

The following translation comes from "Mesopotamian Creation Stories" by W.G. Lambert and is used under Creative Commons license from the Etana Website:

Enuma Elish (The Babylonian Epic of Creation)

Tablet I

1   When the heavens above did not exist,
2   And earth beneath had not come into being—
3   There was Apsû, the first in order, their begetter,
4   And demiurge Tia-mat, who gave birth to them all;
5   They had mingled their waters together
6   Before meadow-land had coalesced and reed-bed was to he found —
7   When not one of the gods had been formed
8   Or had come into being, when no destinies had been decreed,
9   The gods were created within them:
10   Lah(mu and Lah(amu were formed and came into being.
11   While they grew and increased in stature
12   Anšar and Kišar, who excelled them, were created.
13   They prolonged their days, they multiplied their years.
14   Anu, their son, could rival his fathers.
15   Anu, the son, equalled Anšar,
16   And Anu begat Nudimmud, his own equal.
17   Nudimmud was the champion among his fathers:
18   Profoundly discerning, wise, of robust strength;
19   Very much stronger than his father's begetter, Anšar
20   He had no rival among the gods, his brothers.
21   The divine brothers came together,
22   Their clamour got loud, throwing Tia-mat into a turmoil.
23   They jarred the nerves of Tia-mat,
24   And by their dancing they spread alarm in Anduruna.
25   Apsû did not diminish their clamour,
26   And Tia-mat was silent when confronted with them.
27   Their conduct was displeasing to her,
28   Yet though their behaviour was not good, she wished to spare them.
29   Thereupon Apsû, the begetter of the great gods,
30   Called Mummu, his vizier, and addressed him,
31   "Vizier Mummu, who gratifies my pleasure,
32   Come, let us go to Tia-mat!"
33   They went and sat, facing Tia-mat,
34   As they conferred about the gods, their sons.
35   Apsû opened his mouth
36   And addressed Tia-mat
37   "Their behaviour has become displeasing to me
38   And I cannot rest in the day-time or sleep at night.
39   I will destroy and break up their way of life
40   That silence may reign and we may sleep."
41   When Tia-mat heard this
42   She raged and cried out to her spouse,
43   She cried in distress, fuming within herself,
44   She grieved over the (plotted) evil,
45   "How can we destroy what we have given birth to?
46   Though their behaviour causes distress, let us tighten discipline graciously."
47   Mummu spoke up with counsel for Apsû—
48   (As from) a rebellious vizier was the counsel of his Mummu—
49   "Destroy, my father, that lawless way of life,
50   That you may rest in the day-time and sleep by night!"
51   Apsû was pleased with him, his face beamed
52   Because he had plotted evil against the gods, his sons.
53   Mummu put his arms around Apsû's neck,
54   He sat on his knees kissing him.
55   What they plotted in their gathering
56   Was reported to the gods, their sons.
57   The gods heard it and were frantic.
58   They were overcome with silence and sat quietly.
59   Ea, who excels in knowledge, the skilled and learned,
60   Ea, who knows everything, perceived their tricks.
61   He fashioned it and made it to be all-embracing,
62   He executed it skilfully as supreme—his pure incantation.
63   He recited it and set it on the waters,
64   He poured sleep upon him as he was slumbering deeply.
65   He put Apsû to slumber as he poured out sleep,
66   And Mummu, the counsellor, was breathless with agitation.
67   He split (Apsû's) sinews, ripped off his crown,
68   Carried away his aura and put it on himself.
69   He bound Apsû and killed him;
70   Mummu he confined and handled roughly.
71   He set his dwelling upon Apsû,
72   And laid hold on Mummu, keeping the nose-rope in his hand.
73   After Ea had bound and slain his enemies,
74   Had achieved victory over his foes,
75   He rested quietly in his chamber,
76   He called it Apsû, whose shrines he appointed.
77   Then he founded his living-quarters within it,
78   And Ea and Damkina, his wife, sat in splendour.
79   In the chamber of the destinies, the room of the archetypes,
80   The wisest of the wise, the sage of the gods, Be-l was conceived.
81   In Apsû was Marduk born,
82   In pure Apsû was Marduk born.
83   Ea his father begat him,
84   Damkina his mother bore him.
85   He sucked the breasts of goddesses,
86   A nurse reared him and filled him with terror.
87   His figure was well developed, the glance of his eyes was dazzling,
88   His growth was manly, he was mighty from the beginning.
89   Anu, his father's begetter, saw him,
90   He exulted and smiled; his heart filled with joy.
91   Anu rendered him perfect: his divinity was remarkable,
92   And he became very lofty, excelling them in his attributes.
93   His members were incomprehensibly wonderful,
94   Incapable of being grasped with the mind, hard even to look on.
95   Four were his eyes, four his ears,
96   Flame shot forth as he moved his lips.
97   His four ears grew large,
93   And his eyes likewise took in everything.
99   His figure was lofty and superior in comparison with the gods,
100   His limbs were surpassing, his nature was superior.
101   'Mari-utu, Mari-utu,
102   The Son, the Sun-god, the Sun-god of the gods.'
103   He was clothed with the aura of the Ten Gods, so exalted was his strength,
104   The Fifty Dreads were loaded upon him.
105   Anu formed and gave birth to the four winds,
106   He delivered them to him, "My son, let them whirl!"
107   He formed dust and set a hurricane to drive it,
108   He made a wave to bring consternation on Tia-mat.
109   Tia-mat was confounded; day and night she was frantic.
110   The gods took no rest, they . . . . . . .
111   In their minds they plotted evil,
112   And addressed their mother Tia-mat,
113   "When Apsû, your spouse, was killed,
114   You did not go at his side, but sat quietly.
115   The four dreadful winds have been fashioned
116   To throw you into confusion, and we cannot sleep.
117   You gave no thought to Apsû, your spouse,
113   Nor to Mummu, who is a prisoner. Now you sit alone.
119   Henceforth you will be in frantic consternation!
120   And as for us, who cannot rest, you do not love us!
121   Consider our burden, our eyes are hollow.
122   Break the immovable yoke that we may sleep.
123   Make battle, avenge them!
124   [ . . ] . . . . reduce to nothingness!
125   Tia-mat heard, the speech pleased her,
126   (She said,) "Let us make demons, [as you] have advised."
127   The gods assembled within her.
128   They conceived [evil] against the gods their begetters.
129   They . . . . . and took the side of Tia-mat,
130   Fiercely plotting, unresting by night and day,
131   Lusting for battle, raging, storming,
132   They set up a host to bring about conflict.
133   Mother H(ubur, who forms everything,
134   Supplied irresistible weapons, and gave birth to giant serpents.
135   They had sharp teeth, they were merciless . . . .
136   With poison instead of blood she filled their bodies.
137   She clothed the fearful monsters with dread,
138   She loaded them with an aura and made them godlike.
139   (She said,) "Let their onlooker feebly perish,
140   May they constantly leap forward and never retire."
141   She created the Hydra, the Dragon, the Hairy Hero
142   The Great Demon, the Savage Dog, and the Scorpion-man,
143   Fierce demons, the Fish-man, and the Bull-man,
144   Carriers of merciless weapons, fearless in the face of battle.
145   Her commands were tremendous, not to be resisted.
146   Altogether she made eleven of that kind.
147   Among the gods, her sons, whom she constituted her host,
148   She exalted Qingu, and magnified him among them.
149   The leadership of the army, the direction of the host,
150   The bearing of weapons, campaigning, the mobilization of conflict,
151   The chief executive power of battle, supreme command,
152   She entrusted to him and set him on a throne,
153   "I have cast the spell for you and exalted you in the host of the gods,
154   I have delivered to you the rule of all the gods.
155   You are indeed exalted, my spouse, you are renowned,
156   Let your commands prevail over all the Anunnaki."
157   She gave him the Tablet of Destinies and fastened it to his breast,
158   (Saying) "Your order may not be changed; let the utterance of your mouth be firm."
159   After Qingu was elevated and had acquired the power of Anuship,
160   He decreed the destinies for the gods, her sons:
161   "May the utterance of your mouths subdue the fire-god,
162   May your poison by its accumulation put down aggression."

Tablet II

1   Tia-mat gathered together her creation
2   And organised battle against the gods, her offspring.
3   Henceforth Tia-mat plotted evil because of Apsû
4   It became known to Ea that she had arranged the conflict.
5   Ea heard this matter,
6   He lapsed into silence in his chamber and sat motionless.
7   After he had reflected and his anger had subsided
8   He directed his steps to Anšar his father.
9   He entered the presence of the father of his begetter, Anšar,
10   And related to him all of Tia-mat's plotting.
11   "My father, Tia-mat our mother has conceived a hatred for us,
12   She has established a host in her savage fury.
13   All the gods have turned to her,
14   Even those you (pl.) begat also take her side
15   They . . . . . and took the side of Tia-mat,
16   Fiercely plotting, unresting by night and day,
17   Lusting for battle, raging, storming,
18   They set up a host to bring about conflict.
19   Mother H(ubur, who forms everything,
20   Supplied irresistible weapons, and gave birth to giant serpents.
21    They had sharp teeth, they were merciless.
22   With poison instead of blood she filled their bodies.
23   She clothed the fearful monsters with dread,
24   She loaded them with an aura and made them godlike.
25    (She said,) "Let their onlooker feebly perish,
26   May they constantly leap forward and never retire."
27   She created the Hydra, the Dragon, the Hairy Hero,
28   The Great Demon, the Savage Dog, and the Scorpion-man,
29   Fierce demons, the Fish-man, and the Bull-man,
30   Carriers of merciless weapons, fearless in the face of battle.
31   Her commands were tremendous, not to be resisted.
32   Altogether she made eleven of that kind.
33   Among the gods, her sons, whom she constituted her host,
34   She exalted Qingu and magnified him among them.
35   The leadership of the army, the direction of the host,
36   The bearing of weapons, campaigning, the mobilization of conflict,
37   The chief executive power of battle supreme command,
38   She entrusted to him and set him on a throne.
39   "I have cast the spell for you and exalted you in the host of the gods,
40   I have delivered to you the rule of all the gods.
41   You are indeed exalted, my spouse, you are renowned,
42   Let your commands prevail over all the Anunnaki."
43   She gave him the tablet of Destinies and fastened it to his breast,
44   (Saying) "Your order may not he changed; let the utterance of your mouth be firm."
45   After Qingu was elevated and had acquired the power of Anuship
46   He decreed the destinies for the gods. her sons:
47   "May the utterance of your mouths subdue the fire-god,
48   May your poison by its accumulation put down aggression."
49   Anšar heard; the matter was profoundly disturbing.
50    He cried "Woe!" and bit his lip.
51    His heart was in fury, his mind could not be calmed.
52   Over Ea his son his cry was faltering.
53   "My son, you who provoked the war,
54   Take responsibility for whatever you alone have done!
55   You set out and killed Apsû,
56   And as for Tia-mat, whom you made furious, where is her equal?"
57   The gatherer of counsel, the learned prince,
58    The creator of wisdom, the god Nudimmud
59   With soothing words and calming utterance
60   Gently answered [his] father Anšar
61   "My father, deep mind, who decrees destiny,
62   Who has the power to bring into being and destroy,
63   Anšar, deep mind, who decrees destiny,
64   Who has the power to bring into being and to destroy,
65   I want to say something to you, calm down for me for a moment
66   And consider that I performed a helpful deed.
67   Before I killed Apsû
68   Who could have seen the present situation?
69   Before I quickly made an end of him
70   What were the circumstances were I to destroy him?
71   Anšar heard, the words pleased him.
72   His heart relaxed to speak to Ea,
73   "My son, your deeds are fitting for a god,
74   You are capable of a fierce, unequalled blow . . [ . . . ]
75   Ea, your deeds are fitting for a god,
76   You are capable of a fierce, unequalled blow . . [ . . . ]
77   Go before Tia-mat and appease her attack,
78   . . [ . . . ] . . . her fury with [your] incantation."
79   He heard the speech of Anšar his father,
80   He took the road to her, proceeded on the route to her.
81   He went, he perceived the tricks of Tia-mat,
82   [He stopped], fell silent, and turned back.
83   [He] entered the presence of august Anšar
84   Penitently addressing him,
85   "[My father], Tia-mat's deeds are too much for me.
86   I perceived her planning, and [my] incantation was not equal (to it).
87   Her strength is mighty, she is full of dread,
88   She is altogether very strong, none can go against her.
89   Her very loud cry did not diminish,
90   [I became afraid] of her cry and turned back.
91   [My father], do not lose hope, send a second person against her.
92   Though a woman's strength is very great, it is not equal to a man's.
93   Disband her cohorts, break up her plans
94   Before she lays her hands on us."
95   Anšar cried out in intense fury,
96   Addressing Anu his son,
97   "Honoured son, hero, warrior,
98   Whose strength is mighty, whose attack is irresistible
99   Hasten and stand before Tia-mat,
100   Appease her rage that her heart may relax
101   If she does not harken to your words,
102   Address to her words of petition that she may be appeased."
103   He heard the speech of Anšar his father,
104   He took the road to her, proceeded on the route to her.
105   Anu went, he perceived the tricks of Tia-mat,
106   He stopped, fell silent, and turned back.
107   He entered the presence of Anšar the father who begat him,
108   Penitently addressing him.
109   "My father, Tia-mat's [deeds] are too much for me.
110   I perceived her planning, but my [incantation] was not [equal] (to it).
111   Her strength is mighty, she is [full] of dread,
112   She is altogether very strong, no one [can go against her].
113   Her very loud noise does not diminish,
114   I became afraid of her cry and turned back.
115   My father, do not lose hope, send another person against her.
116   Though a woman's strength is very great, it is not equal to a man's.
117   Disband her cohorts, break up her plans,
118   Before she lays her hands on us."
119   Anšar lapsed into silence, staring at the ground,
120   He nodded to Ea, shaking his head.
121   The Igigi and all the Anunnaki had assembled,
122   They sat in tight-lipped silence.
123   No god would go to face . . [ . . ]
124   Would go out against Tia-mat . . . . [ . . ]
125   Yet the lord Anšar, the father of the great gods,
126   Was angry in his heart, and did not summon any one.
127   A mighty son, the avenger of his father,
128   He who hastens to war, the warrior Marduk
129   Ea summoned (him) to his private chamber
130   To explain to him his plans.
131   "Marduk, give counsel, listen to your father.
132   You are my son, who gives me pleasure,
133   Go reverently before Anšar,
134   Speak, take your stand, appease him with your glance."
135   Be-l rejoiced at his father's words,
136   He drew near and stood in the presence of Anšar.
137   Anšar saw him, his heart filled with satisfaction,
138   He kissed his lips and removed his fear.
139   "My [father] do not hold your peace, but speak forth,
140   I will go and fulfil your desires!
141   [Anšar,] do not hold your peace, but speak forth,
142   I will go and fulfil your desires!
143   Which man has drawn up his battle array against you?
144   And will Tia-mat, who is a woman, attack you with (her) weapons?
145   ["My father], begetter, rejoice and be glad,
146   Soon you will tread on the neck of Tia-mat!
147   [Anšar], begetter, rejoice and be glad,
148   Soon you will tread on the neck of Tia-mat!
149   ["Go,] my son, conversant with all knowledge,
150   Appease Tia-mat with your pure spell.
151   Drive the storm chariot without delay,
152   And with a [ . . ] which cannot be repelled turn her back."
153   Be-l rejoiced at his father's words,
154   With glad heart he addressed his father,
155   "Lord of the gods, Destiny of the great gods,
156   If I should become your avenger,
157   If I should bind Tia-mat and preserve you,
158   Convene an assembly and proclaim for me an exalted destiny.
159   Sit, all of you, in Upšukkinakku with gladness,
160   And let me, with my utterance, decree destinies instead of you.
161   Whatever I instigate must not be changed,
162   Nor may my command be nullified or altered."

Tablet III

1   Anšar opened his mouth
2   And addressed Kaka, his vizier,
3   "Vizier Kaka, who gratifies my pleasure,
4   I will send you to Lah(mu and Lah(amu.
5   You are skilled in making inquiry, learned in address.
6   Have the gods, my fathers, brought to my presence.
7   Let all the gods be brought,
8   Let them confer as they sit at table.
9   Let them eat grain, let them drink ale,
10   Let them decree the destiny for Marduk their avenger.
11   Go, be gone, Kaka, stand before them,
12   And repeat to them all that I tell you:
13   " Anšar, your son, has sent me,
14   And I am to explain his plans.
15-52   = II, 11*-48   (* instead of ' "My father,' put ' "Thus,' )
53   I sent Anu, but he could not face her.
54   Nudimmud took fright and retired.
55   Marduk, the sage of the gods, your son, has come forward,
56   He has determined to meet Tia-mat.
57   He has spoken to me and said,
58-64   = II, 156*-162   (* begin with quotation marks: "If )
65   Quickly, now, decree your destiny for him without delay,
66   That he may go and face your powerful enemy."
67   Kaka went. He directed his steps
68   To Lah(mu and Lah(amu, the gods his fathers.
69   He prostrated himself, he kissed the ground before them,
70   He got up, saying to them he stood,
71-124. = II, 13-66
125   When Lah(h(a and Lah(amu heard, they cried aloud.
126   All the Igigi moaned in distress,
127   "What has gone wrong that she took this decision about us?
128   We did not know what Tia-mat was doing."
129   All the great gods who decree destinies
130   Gathered as they went,
131   They entered the presence of Anšar and became filled with [joy],
132   They kissed one another as they . [ . . ] in the assembly.
133   They conferred as they sat at table,
134   They ate grain, they drank ale.
135   They strained the sweet liquor through their straws,
136   As they drank beer and felt good,
137   They became quite carefree, their mood was merry,
138   And they decreed the fate for Marduk, their avenger.

Tablet IV

1   They set a lordly dais for him
2   And he took his seat before his fathers to receive kingship.
3   (They said,) "You are the most honoured among the great gods,
4   Your destiny is unequalled, your command is like Anu's.
5   Marduk, you are the most honoured among the great gods,
6   Your destiny is unequalled, your command is like Anu's.
7   Henceforth your order will not be annulled,
8   It is in your power to exalt and abase.
9   Your utterance is sure, your command cannot be rebelled against,
10   None of the gods will transgress the line you draw.
11   Shrines for all the gods needs provisioning,
12   That you may be established where their sanctuaries are.
13   You are Marduk, our avenger,
14   We have given you kingship over the sum of the whole universe.
15   Take your seat in the assembly, let your word be exalted,
16   Let your weapons not miss the mark, but may they slay your enemies.
17   Be-l, spare him who trusts in you,
18   But destroy the god who set his mind on evil."
19   They set a constellation in the middle
20   And addressed Marduk, their son,
21   "Your destiny, Be-l, is superior to that of all the gods,
22   Command and bring about annihilation and re-creation.
23   Let the constellation disappear at your utterance,
24   With a second command let the constellation reappear."
25   He gave the command and the constellation disappeared,
26   With a second command the constellation came into being again.
27   When the gods, his fathers, saw (the effect of) his utterance,
28   They rejoiced and offered congratulation: "Marduk is the king!"
29   They added to him a mace, a throne, and a rod,
30   They gave him an irresistible weapon that overwhelms the foe:
31   (They said,) "Go, cut Tia-mat's throat,
32   And let the winds bear up her blood to give the news."
33   The gods, his fathers, decreed the destiny of Be-l,
34   And set him on the road, the way of prosperity and success.
35   He fashioned a bow and made it his weapon,
36    He set an arrow in place, put the bow string on.
37   He took up his club and held it in his right hand,
38   His bow and quiver he hung at his side.
39   He placed lightning before him,
40   And filled his body with tongues of flame.
41   He made a net to enmesh the entrails of Tia-mat,
42   And stationed the four winds that no part of her escape.
43   The South Wind, the North Wind, the East Wind, the West Wind,
44   He put beside his net, winds given by his father, Anu.
45   He fashioned the Evil Wind, the Dust Storm, Tempest,
46   The Four-fold Wind, the Seven-fold Wind, the Chaos-spreading Wind, the . . . . .Wind.
47   He sent out the seven winds that he had fashioned,
48   And they took their stand behind him to harass Tia-mat's entrails.
49   Be-l took up the Storm-flood, his great weapon,
50   He rode the fearful chariot of the irresistible storm.
51   Four steeds he yoked to it and harnessed them to it,
52   The Destroyer, The Merciless, The Trampler, The Fleet.
53   Their lips were parted, their teeth bore venom,
54   They were strangers to weariness, trained to sweep forward.
55   At his right hand he stationed raging battle and strife,
56   On the left, conflict that overwhelms a united battle array.
57   He was clad in a tunic, a fearful coat of mail,
58   And on has head he wore an aura of terror.
59   Be-l proceeded and set out on his way,
60   He set his face toward the raging Tia-mat.
61   In his lips he held a spell,
62   He grasped a plant to counter poison in his hand,
63   Thereupon they milled around him, the gods milled around him,
64   The gods, his fathers, milled around him, the gods milled around him.
65   Be-l drew near, surveying the maw of Tia-mat,
66   He observed the tricks of Qingu, her spouse.
67   As he looked, he lost his nerve,
68   His determination went and he faltered.
69   His divine aides, who were marching at his side,
70   Saw the warrior, the foremost, and their vision became dim.
71   Tia-mat cast her spell without turning her neck,
72   In her lips she held untruth and lies,
73   "[ . ] . . . . . . . . . . . . .
74   In their [ . ] . they have assembled by you."
75   Be-l [lifted up] the Storm-flood, his great weapon,
76   And with these words threw it at the raging Tia-mat,
77   "Why are you aggressive and arrogant,
78   And strive to provoke battle?
79   The younger generation have shouted, outraging their elders,
80   But you, their mother, hold pity in contempt.
81   Qingu you have named to be your spouse,
82   And you have improperly appointed him to the rank of Anuship.
83   Against Anšar, king of the gods, you have stirred up trouble,
84   And against the gods, my fathers, your trouble is established.
85   Deploy your troops, gird on your weapons,
86   You and I will take our stand and do battle."
87   When Tia-mat heard this
88   She went insane and lost her reason.
89   Tia-mat cried aloud and fiercely,
90   All her lower members trembled beneath her.
91   She was reciting an incantation, kept reciting her spell,
92   While the (battle-)gods were sharpening their weapons of war.
93   Tia-mat and Marduk, the sage of the gods, came together,
94   Joining in strife, drawing near to battle.
95   Be-l spread out his net and enmeshed her;
96   He let loose the Evil Wind, the rear guard, in her face.
97   Tia-mat opened her mouth to swallow it,
98   She let the Evil Wind in so that she could not close her lips.
99   The fierce winds weighed down her belly,
100   Her inwards were distended and she opened her mouth wide.
101   He let fly an arrow and pierced her belly,
102   He tore open her entrails and slit her inwards,
103   He bound her and extinguished her life,
104   He threw down her corpse and stood on it.
105   After he had killed Tia-mat, the leader,
106   Her assembly dispersed, her host scattered.
107   Her divine aides, who went beside her,
108   In trembling and fear beat a retreat.
109    . . . . to save their lives,
110   But they were completely surrounded, unable to escape.
111   He bound them and broke their weapons,
112   And they lay enmeshed, sitting in a snare,
113   Hiding in corners, filled with grief,
114   Bearing his punishment, held in a prison.
115   The eleven creatures who were laden with fearfulness,
116   The throng of devils who went as grooms at her right hand,
117   He put ropes upon them and bound their arms,
118   Together with their warfare he trampled them beneath him.
119   Now Qingu, who had risen to power among them,
120   He bound and reckoned with the Dead Gods.
121   He took from him the Tablet of Destinies, which was not properly his,
122   Sealed it with a seal and fastened it to his own breast.
123   After the warrior Marduk had bound and slain his enemies,
124   Had . . . . the arrogant enemy . . . ,
125   Had established victory for Anšar over all his foes,
126   Had fulfilled the desire of Nudimmud,
127   He strengthened his hold on the Bound Gods,
128   And returned to Tia-mat, whom he had bound.
129   Be-l placed his feet on the lower parts of Tia-mat
130   And with his merciless club smashed her skull.
131   He severed her arteries
132   And let the North wind bear up (her blood) to give the news.
133   His fathers saw it and were glad and exulted;
134   They brought gifts and presents to him.
135   Be-l rested, surveying the corpse,
136   In order to divide the lump by a clever scheme.
137   He split her into two like a dried fish:
138   One half of her he set up and stretched out as the heavens.
139   He stretched the skin and appointed a watch
140   With the instruction not to let her waters escape.
141   He crossed over the heavens, surveyed the celestial parts,
142   And adjusted them to match the Apsû, Nudimmud's abode.
143   Be-l measured the shape of the Apsû
144   And set up Ešarra, a replica of Ešgalla.
145   In Ešgalla, Ešarra which he had built, and the heavens,
146   He settled in their shrines Anu, Enlil, and Ea.

Tablet V

1   He fashioned heavenly stations for the great gods,
2   And set up constellations, the patterns of the stars.
3   He appointed the year, marked off divisions,
4   And set up three stars each for the twelve months.
5   After he had organized the year,
6   He established the heavenly station of Ne-beru to fix the stars' intervals.
7   That none should transgress or be slothful
8   He fixed the heavenly stations of Enlil and Ea with it.
9   Gates he opened on both sides,
10   And put strong bolts at the left and the right.
11   He placed the heights (of heaven) in her (Tia-mat's) belly,
12   He created Nannar, entrusting to him the night.
13   He appointed him as the jewel of the night to fix the days,
14   And month by month without ceasing he elevated him with a crown,
15   (Saying,) "Shine over the land at the beginning of the month,
16   Resplendent with horns to fix six days.
17   On the seventh day the crown will be half size,
18   On the fifteenth day, halfway through each month, stand in opposition.
19   When Šamaš [sees] you on the horizon,
20   Diminish in the proper stages and shine backwards.
21   On the 29th day, draw near to the path of Šamaš,
22   . [ . . ] the 30th day, stand in conjunction and rival Šamaš.
23   I have ( . . . . ] . the sign, follow its track,
24   Draw near . . ( . . . . . ) give judgment.
25   . [ . . . . ] . Šamaš, constrain [murder] and violence,
26   . [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ] . me.
*   *   *   *   *   *
35   At the end [ . . .
36   Let there [be] the 29th day [ . . . "
37   After [he had . . . . ] the decrees [ . . .
38   The organization of front and . [ . . .
39   He made the day [ . . .
40   Let the year be equally [ . . .
41   At the new year [ . . .
42   The year . . . . . [ . . .
43   Let there be regularly [ . . .
44   The projecting bolt [ . . .
45   After he had [ . . .
46   The watches of night and day [ . . .
47   The foam which Tia-mat [ . . .
48   Marduk fashioned [ . . .
49   He gathered it together and made it into clouds.
50   The raging of the winds, violent rainstorms,
51   The billowing of mist—the accumulation of her spittle—
52   He appointed for himself and took them in his hand.
53   He put her head in position and poured out . . [ . . ] .
54   He opened the abyss and it was sated with water.
55   From her two eyes he let the Euphrates and Tigris flow,
56   He blocked her nostrils, but left . .
57   He heaped up the distant [mountains] on her breasts,
58   He bored wells to channel the springs.
59   He twisted her tail and wove it into the Durmah(u,
60   [ . . . ] . . the Apsû beneath his feet.
61   [He set up] her crotch—it wedged up the heavens—
62   [(Thus) the half of her] he stretched out and made it firm as the earth.
63   [After] he had finished his work inside Tia-mat,
64   [He spread] his net and let it right out.
65   He surveyed the heavens and the earth . . [ . ] .
66   [ . . ] their bonds . . . . . . .
67   After he had formulated his regulations and composed [his] decrees,
68   He attached guide-ropes and put them in Ea's hands.
69   [The Tablet] of Destinies which Qingu had taken and carried,
70   He took charge of it as a trophy (?) and presented it to Anu.
71   [The . ] . of battle, which he had tied on or had put on his head,
72   [ . ] . he brought before his fathers.
73   [Now] the eleven creatures to which Tia-mat had given birth and . . . ,
74   He broke their weapons and bound them (the creatures) to his feet.
75   He made images of them and stationed them at the [Gate] of the Apsû,
76   To be a sign never to be forgotten.
77   [The gods] saw it and were jubilantly happy,
78   (That is,) Lah(mu, Lah(amu and all his fathers.
79   Anšar [embraced] him and published abroad his title, "Victorious King,"
80   Anu, Enlil and Ea gave him gifts.
81   Mother Damkina, who bore him, hailed him,
82   With a clean festal robe she made his face shine.
83   To Usmû, who held her present to give the news,
84   [He entrusted] the vizierate of the Apsû and the care of the holy places.
85   The Igigi assembled and all did obeisance to him,
86   Every one of the Anunnaki was kissing his feet.
87   They all [gathered] to show their submission,
88   [ . . . ] . they stood, they bowed down, "Behold the king!"
89   His fathers [ . . . ] . and took their fill of his beauty,
90   Be-l listened to their utterance, being girded with the dust of battle.
91   . [ . . . . . . . . . . . . ] . . . . . . .
92   Anointing his body with . [ . . . ] cedar perfume.
93   He clothed himself in [his] lordly robe,
94   With a crown of terror as a royal aura.
95   He took up his club and held it in his right hand,
96      . . . ] . he grasped in his left.
97   [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]
98      . . . ] . he set his feet.
99   He put upon . [ . . .
100   The sceptre of prosperity and success [he hung] at his side.
101   After [he had . . . ] the aura [
102   He adorned(?) his sack, the Apsû, with a fearful [ . . ]  
103   Was settled like . [ . . .
104   In [his] throne room [ . . .
105   In his cella [ . . .
106   Every one of the gods [ . . .
107   Lah(mu and Lah(amu . [ . . . . . . . ] .
108   Opened their mouths and [addressed] the Igigi gods,
109   "Previously Marduk was our beloved son,
110   Now he is your king, heed his command!"
111   Next, they all spoke up together,
112   "His name is Lugaldimmerankia, trust in him!"
113   When they had given kingship to Marduk,
114   They addressed to him a benediction for prosperity and success,
115   "Henceforth you are the caretaker of our shrine,
116   Whatever you command, we will do!"
117   Marduk opened his mouth to speak
118   And addressed the gods his fathers,
119   "Above the Apsû, the emerald (?) abode,
120   Opposite Ešarra, which I built for you,
121   Beneath the celestial parts, whose floor I made firm,
122   I will build a house to be my luxurious abode.
123   Within it I will establish its shrine,
124   I will found my chamber and establish my kingship.
125   When you come up from the Apsû to make a decision
126   This will be your resting place before the assembly.
127   When you descend from heaven to make a decision
128   This will be your resting place before the assembly.
129   I shall call its name 'Babylon', "The Homes of the Great Gods",
130   Within it we will hold a festival: that will be the evening festival.
131   [The gods], his fathers, [heard] this speech of his,
132   . [ . . . . . . . . . . . . ] . they said,
133   "With regard to all that your hands have made,
134   Who has your [ . . . ]?
135   With regard to the earth that your hands have made,
136   Who has your [ . . . 1?
137   In Babylon, as you have named it,
138   Put our [resting place] for ever.
139   . [ . . . . . . . . . ] let them our bring regular offerings
140   . [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ] . .
141   Whoever [ . . . ] our tasks which we . [ . . .
142   Therein [ . . . . . ] its toil . [ . . .
143   [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]
144   They rejoiced [ . . . . . . . . . . . ] . . [ . . .
145   The gods . [ . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]
146   He who knows [ . . . . . . . . . ] . them
147   He opened [his mouth showing] them light,
148   . . [ . . . . . . . . . ] his speech . [ . ]
149   He made wide [ . . . . . . . . ] . them [ . . .
150   And . [ . . . . . . . . . . . . ] . . . . .
151   The gods bowed down, speaking to him,
152   They addressed Lugaldimmerankia, their lord,
153   "Formerly, lord, [you were our beloved] son,
154   Now you are our king, . . [ . . . ]
155   He who . [ . ] . [ . ] preserved [us]
156   . . [. . . ] the aura of club and sceptre.
157   Let him conceive plans [ . . . . ] . . [ . . . ]
158   [ . ] . . [ . . . . . . that] we . [ . . ."

Tablet VI

1   When Marduk heard the gods' speech
2   He conceived a desire to accomplish clever things.
3   He opened his mouth addressing Ea,
4   He counsels that which he had pondered in his heart,
5   "I will bring together blood to form bone,
6   I will bring into being Lullû, whose name shall be 'man'.
7   I will create Lullû—man
8   On whom the toil of the gods will be laid that they may rest.
9   I will skilfully alter the organization of the gods:
10   Though they are honoured as one, they shall be divided into two."
11   Ea answered, as he addressed a word to him,
12   Expressing his comments on the resting of the gods,
13   "Let one brother of theirs be given up.
14   Let him perish that people may be fashioned.
15   Let the great gods assemble
16   And let the guilty one be given up that they may be confirmed."
17   Marduk assembled the great gods,
18   Using gracious direction as he gave his order,
19   As he spoke the gods heeded him:
20   The king addressed a word to the Anunnaki,
21   "Your former oath was true indeed,
22   (Now also) tell me the solemn truth:
23   Who is the one who instigated warfare,
24   Who made Tia-mat rebel, and set battle in motion?
25   Let him who instigated warfare be given up
26   That I may lay his punishment on him; but you sit and rest.
27   The Igigi, the great gods, answered him,
28   That is, Lugaldimmerankia, the counsellor of the gods, the lord,
29   "Qingu is the one who instigated warfare,
30   Who made Tia-mat rebel and set battle in motion."
31   They bound him, holding him before Ea,
32   They inflicted the penalty on him and severed his blood-vessels.
33   From his blood he (Ea) created mankind,
34   On whom he imposed the service of the gods, and set the gods free.
35   After the wise Ea had created mankind
36   And had imposed the service of the gods upon them—
37   That task is beyond comprehension
38   For Nudimmud performed the creation with the skill of Marduk—
39   King Marduk divided the gods,
40   All the Anunnaki into upper and lower groups.
41   He assigned 300 in the heavens to guard the decrees of Anu
42   And appointed them as a guard.
43   Next he arranged the organization of the netherworld.
44   In heaven and netherworld he stationed 600 gods.
45   After he had arranged all the decrees,
46   And had distributed incomes among the Anunnaki of heaven and netherworld,
47   The Anunnaki opened their mouths
48   And addressed their lord Marduk,
49   "Now, lord, seeing you have established our freedom
50   What favour can we do for you?
51   Let us make a shrine of great renown:
52   Your chamber will be our resting place wherein we may repose.
53   Let us erect a shrine to house a pedestal
54   Wherein we may repose when we finish (the work)."
55   When Marduk heard this,
56   He beamed as brightly as the light of day,
57   "Build Babylon, the task you have sought.
58   Let bricks for it be moulded, and raise the shrine!"
59   The Anunnaki wielded the pick.
60   For one year they made the needed bricks.
61   When the second year arrived,
62   They raised the peak of Esagil, a replica of the Apsû.
63   They built the lofty temple tower of the Apsû
64   And for Anu, Enlil, and Ea they established its . . as a dwelling.
65   He sat in splendour before them,
66   Suveying its horns, which were level with the base of Ešarra.
67   After they had completed the work on Esagil
68   All the Anunnaki constructed their own shrines.
69   300 Igigi of heaven and 600 of the Apsû, all of them, had assembled.
70   Be-l seated the gods, his fathers, at the banquet
71   In the lofty shrine which they had built for his dwelling,
72   (Saying,) "This is Babylon, your fixed dwelling,
73   Take your pleasure here! Sit down in joy!
74   The great gods sat down,
75   Beer-mugs were set out and they sat at the banquet.
76   After they had enjoyed themselves inside
77   They held a service in awesome Esagil.
78   The regulations and all the rules were confirmed:
79   All the gods divided the stations of heaven and netherwor1d.
80   The college of the Fifty great gods took their seats,
81   The Seven gods of destinies were appointed to give decisions.
82   Be-l received his weapon, the bow, and laid it before them:
83   His divine fathers saw the net which he had made.
84   His fathers saw how skilfully wrought was the structure of the bow
85   As they praised what he had made.
86   Anu lifted it up in the divine assembly,
87   He kissed the bow, saying, "It is my daughter!"
88   Thus he called the names of the bow:
89   "Long Stick" was the first; the second was, "May it hit the mark."
90   With the third name, "Bow Star", he made it to shine in the sky,
91   He fixed its heavenly position along with its divine brothers.
92   After Anu had decreed the destiny of the bow,
93   He set down a royal throne, a lofty one even for a god,
94   Anu set it there in the assembly of the gods.
95   The great gods assembled,
96   They exalted the destiny of Marduk and did obeisance.
97   They invoked a curse on themselves
98   And took an oath with water and oil, and put their hands to their throats.
99   They granted him the right to exercise kingship over the gods,
100   They confirmed him as lord of the gods of heaven and netherworld.
101   Anšar gave him his exalted name, Asalluh(i
102   "At the mention of his name, let us show submission!
103   When he speaks, let the gods heed him,
104   Let his command be superior in upper and lower regions.
105   May the son, our avenger, be exalted,
106   Let his lordship be superior and himself without rival.
107   Let him shepherd the black-heads, his creatures,
108   Let them tell of his character to future days without forgetting.
109   Let him establish lavish food offerings for his fathers,
110   Let him provide for their maintenance and be caretaker of their sanctuaries,
111   Let him burn incense to rejoice their sanctums.
112   Let him do on earth the same as he has done in heaven:
113   Let him appoint the black-heads to worship him.
114   The subject humans should take note and call on their gods,
115   Since he commands they should heed their goddesses,
116   Let food offerings be brought [for] (?) their gods and goddesses,
117   May they (?) not be forgotten, may they remember their gods,
118   May they . . . their . . , may they . . their shrines.
119   Though the black-heads worship some one, some another god,
120   He is the god of each and every one of us!
121   Come, let us call the fifty names
122   Of him whose character is resplendent, whose achievement is the same.
123   (1) MARDUK
As he was named by his father Anu from his birth,
124   Who supplies pasturage and watering, making the stables flourish.
125   Who bound the boastful with his weapon, the storm flood,
126   And saved the gods, his fathers, from distress.
127   He is the son, the sun-god of the gods, he is dazzling,
128   Let them ever walk in his bright light.
129   On the peoples that he created, the living beings,
130   He imposed the service of the gods and they took rest.
131   Creation and annihilation, forgiveness and exacting the penalty
132   Occur at his command, so let them fix their eyes on him.
133   (2) Marukka: he is the god who created them
134   Who put the Anunnaki at ease, the Igigi at rest.
135   (3) Marutukku: he is the support of land, city, and its peoples,
136   Henceforth let the peoples ever heed him.
137   (4) Meršakušu: fierce yet deliberating, angry yet relenting,
138   His mind is wide, his heart is all-embracing.
139   (5) Lugaldimmerankia is the name by which we all called him,
140   Whose command we have exalted above that of the gods his fathers.
141   He is the lord of all the gods of heaven and netherworld,
142   The king at whose injunctions the gods in upper and lower regions shudder.
143   (6) Narilugaldimmerankia is the name we gave him, the mentor of every god,
144   Who established our dwellings in heaven and netherworld in time of trouble,
145   Who distributed the heavenly stations between Igigi and Anunnaki,
146   Let the gods tremble at his name and quake on their seats.
147   (7) Asalluh(i is the name by which his father Anu called him,
148   He is the light of the gods, a mighty hero,
149   Who, as his name says, is a protecting angel for god and land,
150   Who by a terrible combat saved our dwelling in time of trouble.
151   (8) Asalluh(i-Namtilla they called him secondly, the life-giving god,
152   Who, in accordance with the form (of) his (name), restored all the ruined gods,
153   The lord, who brought to life the dead gods by his pure incantation,
154   Let us praise him as the destroyer of the crooked enemies.
155   (9) Asalluh(i-Namru, as his name is called thirdly,
156



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