Lesson 1, Reading 1:  from Enuma Elish
(neo-Babylonian Creation Story, composed prior to 627 BCE)
 Freely adapted from Ancient Near Eastern Texts translated by N. K. Sandars.

 

Tablet 1
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slaying of Apsu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creation of
Marduk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiamat's Army

 

 

 

 

.

1

When heavens above were yet unnamed,
like those as far beneath the earth,
Apsu was alone, the happy waters,
the first father; and so was Tiamat, the bitter waters.
There was no muck to grow a single reed or rush.
Until those waters mixed together, even the gods 
were nameless, natureless, futureless. Then they
appeared, and mud.

Then Lahmu and Lahumu were named,
but they stayed low  
while Anshar and Kishar overgrew them,
sky and earth stretching to the far distant line where
cloud meets land.

Day on day, year on year passed before Anu,
the empty heaven, heir and successor and first-born
of his father, in his likeness made Nudimmud-Ea
whose intelligence and knowledge were bigger
than the horizon could contain. Of his kind he was
mightier than the rest.

They were all brothers, but the young gods fell
to brawling and hubbub down in the belly of Tiamat,
Heaven shook, it reeled with the noise.
Apsu could not shut them up. They were bad,
disrespectful, brash.

But still Tiamat just lay there ignoring everything.
So Apsu, father of gods, shouted for his advisor,
his flatterer Mummu: 'Yo, counselor, come with me
to Taimat.' And they got down there to her, sat down
and had it out about the kids.. Apsu said,
'They disgust me:

'We suffer day and night without end. I have a mind
to destroy them, all of their kind. Then at last
we will have peace. We will sleep again.'  Tiamat
recoiled at his words, her lonely heart
pounding in a secret agony. She said, 'Why
must we destroy the children that we ourselves
have made? They are still not grown so let's let's wait
a little longer.'

That's when Mummu advised Apsu. He spoke in malice: 'Father, squash those little imps now! Then
you will have peace so you can sleep forever.'
Apsu listened, his mind bent against his sons.
His face warmed with the joy of evil. He embraced,
Mammu, hung on his neck, sat him down
and kissed him.

Apsu's decision was discovered by the children.
They all sat together confused in dead quiet,
until the god who is the source of wisdom, the sharp intelligence that sees and calculates, Nudimmud-Ea,
came up with a plan. He figured out what to do.
He used his art.

He chanted the word that charms the waters; they fell
on Apsu, and he dozed off in their sweetness. Apsu
slept, and Mummu fell in a stupor too, but
Apsu lay undone.

Ea tore off Apsu's flaming glory robe, took his crown,
and dressed himself up as king. Apsu was bound,
and slain. Ea lead away Mummu, the dark advisor,
chained by the nose.

Ea had defeated his enemies, trod them down.
His victory completed, he went to his rest
in that house and shrine where he dwelt in splendor
with his lover Damkina. He slept there with her
in his holy temple over the great abyss where
Apsu's body lay. 

There in the chamber where destinies are made,
the Lord was conceived, sage of gods, most clever.
Deep inside the abyss, in the heart of sacred Anu,
MARDUK was begot. Damkina bore him.
He sucked the teats of goddesses who nursed him
full of awesomeness.

His form was proud; wherever he raised his eyes
great lights flared. He was majestic from the first
and fast grew to full maturity. When Ea saw
his son's perfection he beamed with joy. Godliness
he had multiplied by getting one far superior,
far above the rest.

His limbs were made with skill past understanding,
beyond all comprehension. Four eyes he had
for limitless sight, four ears for hearing all directions;
and when he spoke there burst a tongue of fire.
With titanic limbs, he towered over the highest gods.
His radiant robes were huge enough for ten gods.
Five fierce rays clustered high over his head.

'My son, my son, son of the sun, and heaven's sun!'
Anu created the four winds and put them
in Marduk's hand. "My son, let them blow!"
He made dust and the whirlwind to drive it,
and he made great waves on the sea--all to
stir up Tiamat.

So now the other gods could sleep no more.
Tormented by storms, they conspired in secret.
Then they brought their plot to Tiamat, and said,
'Mother, when Apsu was attacked you did nothing!
You brought no help to him, your husband, so now
the winds howl from all the four quarters
to stir us up! Day and night we get no rest!
Remember Apsu in your heart, your husband;
remember poor beaten Mummu. Avenge them!
Now you are alone and desolate, and our eyes long
for sleep, so rouse yourself, Mother! Pay them back!
Turn them into nothing!'

Tiamat listened and approved. 'All right,' she said,
'I'll go along with your advice. We will shake the gods
Who did evil against the gods that begot them.'

They crowded around and joined ranks to march
with Tiamat. Day and night the growling roaring rout
worked themselves up for war. Mother Hubur,
the inventor, made an unfaceable weapon:
enormous serpents with cutting fangs, full of venom
in place of blood. She made the snarling dragons
wear fierce rays like gods: 'Whoever looks on
these will freeze in terror, for once these bodies
are raised, they don't quit.'

She made Horned Worm, Red Fury Dragon,
Lion-shaped Demon, Mad Dog,
Scorpion Man, Howling Storms, Fish Man,
Bull Man.
Her weapons were unmerciful,
her creations unflinching from battle
for her orders were too strong to be disobeyed.
Eleven such creatures she made, but in command
of the gods, her children who convened the council,
she promoted Kingu to be the captain, war-leader,
assembly-leader, troop-musterer, leader of the van:
Supreme Commander.

She said to him: 'Now it is in your hands. I have cast
the spell that binds them in blind obedience to you!
You shall be the greatest for you are my only lover.
You will command the loyalty of all of the Anukki.'

She made him clasp the Tables of Fate to his chest.
'Now and forever your word is irrevocable, what you
say is the law! What comes from your mouth puts out
fires or paralyzes with venom.' Kingu received
the power, that once was Anu's, and they reviewed
the brood of monsters.

 



Apsu
appears to be the "water" above the heavens, and Tiamat the "water" under the underworld. Nothing came into being before these two waters were connected.

Lahmu and Lahumu are unknown (Mr and Mrs Mud?). Anshar is Father Sky, and Kishar Mother Earth.

Anu is also a sky god; he rebels against Apsu and replaces him. Ea is a god of occult knowledge and magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damkina is mother of Marduk.

 

"Lord" is Bel, a word commonly applied to patron gods. Marduk is the chief god of Babylon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The creatures of Tiamat are underworld demons destined to become constellations in the sky.

 

 

Anukki are the underworlld spirits, later named the judges of the underworld.

 

 

 

 

Tablet 2

the gods respond
to Tiamat's threat

 

2

When her creations were complete, Tiamat
was ready for an evil war against her children.
to avenge Apsu. The bad news got back to Ea.
When he learned how things stood he was stunned.
He sat silent until his dark rage had worked itself out.
Then he told Anshar, his grandfather, what Tiamat
was about to do. . .

[omitted: Ea tells Anshar about Tiamat's forces.
Ea tries to face Tiamat but comes back cringing.
Anu tries to face Tiamat but also comes cringing.
]

Anshar said nothing. He stared at the ground.
His hair stood on end. He shook his head at Ea.
All the Anunnaki, the host of gods gathered there,
sat stupefied; thinking. 'What god can fight Tiamat?
Nobody can face her and return alive.'

FInally when he could think of nothing else, Anshar,
the father of gods, rose majestically to speak: 'Who
among us is fiercest in battle. The champion Marduk!
Only he can save us . . .'

[omitted: Marduk strikes a deal with the freightened gods to become their ruler, if he fights Tiamat.]

The Lord exulted. His spirits raced as he said
to the father of gods, 'Creator of gods who decide 
destiny, if I must save you by defeating Tiamat,
then call the Assembly, give me authority so that
when judgments are rendered in Ubshukinna,
the Hall of the Synod, my word shall be the law
forever. I, not you, will decide all things to come,
hereafter. My decrees shall never be annulled.
My works will last to the end of the world.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one can face the  Queen of Underworld and live

 

 

 

Tablet 3

the gods are summoned to council

3

Anshar spoke to Kaka: ''You are the counselor
in whom my heart finds happiness, an honest judge
who speaks fairly. Go to Lahmu and Lahamu,
Go down down to those primeval sediments,
Let them call together the generations of the gods.
Let them all sit down to banquet together.
They should feast and drink new liquor
and confirm Marduk in his destiny as savior!
So now Kaka go!'

Kaka took his way down to Lahmu and Lahamu.
Stooping he kissed the primeval sediments,
he bowed bowed at their feet and gave his message
to those two old gods . . .

[omitted: Kaka relays the message.]

'When the pair heard him they muttered, and
all the gods there moaned with distress.
'What a strange and terrible decision--this problem
of Tiamat is too hard for us to decide!' However,
they made ready for the journey, the gods
who determine the nature of the world and
the things to come. They went up to see Anshar.
They filled Ubshukinna, and all greeted each
other with kisses.

In the Hall of the Synod ancient voices were heard.
They sat down to the banquet, they ate the feast,
they drank the new-drawn liquor and the straws
they sucked dripped with intoxicating wine.
Their souls expanded, their bodies grew heavy
and drowsy; This was their state when they decided
the fate of Marduk.

 

 

 

Tablet 4
Marduk battles Tiamat

 

4

[Omitted: the gods make Marduk their king, and he goes into battle.]

He mounted the storm, his terrible chariot,
reins hitched to the side, yoked four in hand
the appalling team with sharp poisoned fangs,
Killer, Pitiless, Trampler, Panic.
They knew arts of plunder and ways of murder.

He posted on his right Batterer, best in the mle;
on his left Battle-fury that blasts the bravest.
Dressed in terrifying armor, and a ghastly crown;
with a magic word clenched between his lips,
the Lord rode out to fight with a healing plant
pressed in his palm.

He went toward the rising sound of Tiamat's rage.
With all the gods besides, and fathers of gods
pressed in behind him, the Lord approached
his enemy.

He looked right at her, scanned the Deep, and saw 
all of the forces of Kingu, but when Kingu saw him
the consort faltered, and in the ranks beside him
the eyes of the gods, once they beheld Marduk,
could see no more.

But Tiamat did not turn her head. She spat defiance
from bitter lips, 'Upstart, you think you are so great?
Are all of us now to scurry out from our holes
to serve your highness?'

The lord raised the hurricane, his great weapon,
and he flung his words at the termagant fury,
'Why have you climbed up here? You arose  
to divide families, make sons forget fathers?
You mothered all, but did not have to mother war!
Why did you make that loser Kingu your lover!
You gave him the rank of Anu--not his by right.
You have disgraced the gods, my ancestors.
Your hostility threatens Anshar, king of all the gods.
Step away from your forces. Stand alone now
and we will fight--you and I in single combat.'

When Tiamat heard him her wits scattered.
She was possessed and shrieked.
Her legs shook from the crotch down.
She blathered spells, muttered curses,
while the gods of war put down their weapons.
The two met: Marduk, that cleverest of gods,
and Tiamat grappled alone in singled fight.

The Lord shot his net to entangle her.
The pursuing wind, Imhullu, came up behind her
and blew in her face. Her mouth gaped open
to suck him down, but the Lord drove Imhullu in,
so that the mouth would not shut. The wind
raged through her belly, and her carcass blew up.
She gaped as he shot the arrow that split the belly,
pierced the gut and cut the womb. That was it
for Tiamat.

Ending her life, he flung her down and straddled
the carcass. Their leader dead, her rout
scattered, her band dispersed. Those gods
who had marched beside her now shook in fear.
To save their own lives, if they could, they fled 
but all of them were surrounded in a tight circle
with no way out.

He threw them in the net, smashed their weapons
Inside the snare, they wept through the holes
and could not hide from the wrath of the god.
All eleven monsters, Tiamat's unholy brood,
the demon band that had marched before her:
they could not move as he tightened the ropes:

But Kingu the usurper, their chief, Marduk bound
and made him give up the stolen Tables of Fate,
He sealed them with his own seal to wear himself
on his breastplate. The adversary vanquished,
the triumph of Anshar was complete and the will
of Ea done.

He turned back to where Tiamat lay bound,
he straddled the legs and smashed her skull.
His mace was merciless. He severed the arteries
and the blood streamed down the north wind
to the unknown ends of the world. When the gods
saw all this they cheered loudly and sent him
thankful tributes.

The lord rested. He gazed at the huge carcass,
thinking how to use it, what to create
from it. He split it apart like a cockle-shell.
With the upper half he constructed the arc of sky.
and set a watch on the waters so that they should
never escape.

He crossed the sky to survey the infinite distance.
He stationed himself above apsu, that apsu
built by Nudimmud over the old abyss which now
he measued out and marked. He stretched.
the immensity of the firmament. He made
Esharra, the Great Palace, to be its earthly image,
And Anu and Enlil and Ea had each
their right stations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the constellations include the underworld demons that the Lord has bound.

 

 

 

Tablet 5
Marduk finishes the heavens
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He makes the earth







He makes
 temples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He makes
Babylon

 

 

 

5

He gave the great gods their starry forms
as constellations, each with a place in the sky
He fixed the year with its divisions, and assigned
to each of the twelve months three
ascendant stars. Then he positioned Nebiru,
so that none of them would ever wander too far.
He made a place for Ea and Enlil to stand together.
Out of the ribs of Tiamat he opened gates to the east
and west, and bolted them open on the right and left.
He gave to Shamash the east where night ends and
and day begins

High on Tiamat's belly he set the zenith. The moon
he made a lustrous jewel of the night, to mark
off the days of the month in a cycle of waxing
and waning light. Then he took the sun
and set him to mark the cycle of the year.
He skimmed froth from the cold sea, heaped up
clouds from wet foam, rain from the spit of Tiamat.
and fog from steam..

He pushed the head of waters down under hills
starting springs to flow: Euphrates and Tigris
ran from her eyes, but the nostrils were shut,
their springs held back..

He piled huge mountains on her breasts and he dug
channels through them to the deep waters.
He arched her tail overhead and locked it in
the wheel of heaven;.The crotch under his feet
he made the sky's fulcrum. Now earth had its form
and sky its base..

When that was done, he founded temples on earth dedicated to Ea.Those gods he had beaten in battle
he brought bound to the father of the gods.
Their weapons broken, he tied all eleven monsters
of Tiamat's creation to the father's foot. He made
images of them that can be seen at Apsu Gate,
He said, 'These are in memory of Tiamat, let her
be remembered.'

All the generations of the Great Gods were full of joy,
with Lahmu and Lahamu; their hearts bounded when they came to meet him. Anshar made him welcome
with ceremony. Anu and Enlil brought presents;
but when his mother Damkina sent her greetingt,
his face glowed.

All the heavenly gods were there, all the Igigi fell
prostrate in front of him, all the Anunnaki kissed
his feet. The whole order came in together
to worship him.. They bowed low and shouted
'He is king indeed!'

They were drunk with the beauty of his manhood
 when they saw him soiled with the dust of battle,
but he bathed and put on clean robes,
for he was their king. A glory was round his head;
in his right hand he held the mace of war, and
in his left grasped the scepter of peace, the bow
was slung on his back; he held the net, and his glory touched the abyss . . .

He mounted the throne raised up in the temple.
Damkina and Ea and all the Great Gods,
all the Igigi shouted, 'In time past Marduk meant
only "the beloved son" but now he is king indeed!'
They shouted, 'GREAT LORD OF THE UNIVERSE!
This is his name, in him we trust.'
They blessed him  with peace and happiness.
'Over our houses you keep unceasing watch,
and anything you ask from us will be done.'

Marduk began to speak to the  assembled gods.
'In the past you lived in the void above the abyss,
but I have made Earth as the mirror of Heaven,
I have consolidated the soil for the foundations,
and there I will build my city, my beloved home.
A holy precinct shall be established with sacred halls
for the presence of the king. When you come up
from the deep to join the Synod you will find lodging
and sleep by night. When others from heaven
descend to the Assembly, they too will find lodging
and sleep by night. This shall be BABYLON,
the home of the gods. The masters of all crafts
shall build it according to my plan.'

When the older gods had heard this, they replied
'You have given Babylon a fortunate name, let it be
our home for ever! Let the fallen gods day after day
serve us; and as long as we do your will let no one else usurp our office.'

Tiamat's conqueror was pleased by this bargain.
He went on giving commands to the gods, 'Work
for me day after day. Enforce my will as law.'

The gods worshipped him as king of the universe.
Tthey cried aloud, 'This great lord was once our son,
and now he is our king.We invoked him once
for very life, he who is the lord, the blaze of light,
the scepter of peace and of war the mace.
'Let Ea be his architect and draw up a great plan.
We will be the bricklayers!'

 

 

 


Nebiru i
s the pole star around which the others move in the sky.

  
Shamash is the god of the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

Tigris and Euphrates
are the major rivers of Babylon.

 

 

 

 

 

the god's art
adorns the temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tablet 6
Marduk makes human kind
 

 

6

Now that Marduk heard what the gods were pledging,
he was moved to create a work of the highest art.
He told Ea the deep thought in his heart.
'Blood to blood I join, blood to bone I form
an original thing named human kind. I will make
Tthe first one of them. Their job will be to serve us.
The gods that fell will rest, I will relieve them
of their work, both our divided companies will be equally blessed
.'

Ea answered Marduk with careful words,
completing the plan for the gods' comfort. He said,
'Let one of our kin be sacrificed--only one need die
for the new creation. Let the gods be called
into the Assembly. There let guilt die, so
the rest may live.'

Marduk called together the great gods. He presided
calmly, He gave instructions, and all of them
listened seriously. The king spoke to the rebel gods:
'Declare on your oath, if ever you can speak the truth,
who started the rebellion? Who stirred up Tiamat?
Who led the battle? Let the instigator of war
be handed over; guilt and retribution are on him
alone and peace will be yours forever.'

The great gods answered the Lord of the Universe,
the king and counselor of gods, 'It was Kingu
who started the trouble, He stirred up the waters
and led her into battle.' They found him guilty.
They bound and held him down in front of Ea,
and they cut his arteries.  From his blood
they created human kind; and Ea imposed servitude
on it. This art was past comprehension, this marvel
conceived by Marduk and by Nudimmud
executed.

Then King Marduk divided the six hundred gods
between heaven and earth: one host below and
one above. Three hundred watched heaven,
watched the law of Anu, and for earth watchers
five times sixty.

When the gods had been allotted their calling,
the Annunnaki, the formerly fallen, spoke
to Marduk: 'Now that you have freed us
from our labor how shall we repay this? Let us build
a temple and call it THE-INN-OF-REST-BY-NIGHT.
There we will sleep at the season of the year that is
the time of the Great Festival. We will call it Parakku,
the Sanctuary.'

When Marduk heard this his face brightened like day:
'Tall Babel Tower shall be built as you desire;
with bricks set in molds and you may call it Parakku,
the Sanctuary.'

The Anunnaki took up the tools. One whole year long
they set bricks in molds. By the second year
they had raised its head ESAGILA. It towered,
the earthly temple, the symbol of infinite heaven.
Inside were lodgings for Marduk and Enlil and Ea.
Majestically in the presence of them all,
the head of the ziggurat looked down to the foot.
When that building was finished the Anunnaki
built chapels for themselves; then all gathered,
and Marduk set out the banquet.

'This is Babylon, "dear city of god," your home!
The length and breadth are ours, posses it, enjoy it,
it is our own.'

When all the gods sat down together there was wine
and feasting and laughter, and after the banquet
in beautiful Esagila they performed the rite 
from which the universe receives its structure,
and the gods of the whole universe are assigned
their places.

When the fifty great gods had sat down
with the Seven who design immutable nature
they raised up three hundred into heaven.
It was then too that Enlil showed the bow of Marduk
and laid it in front of them. He showed the net too.
They praised the workmanship when they saw
the intricacy of the net and the beauty of the bow.

Anu lifted the bow and kissed it. He said before
all the gods, 'This is my daughter.' And this was
the naming of the bow--'One is for Long-wood,
two for the Rain-bow, three is for starry-bow glittering above.' And starry-bow was a god among gods.
When Anu had pronounced the bow's triple destiny
he lifted up the king's throne and set Marduk above
in the gods' Assembly.

They ratified his authority as King of Kings, Lord
of the Universe. Anshar praised him, he called him
ASARLUHI, the name that is first, the highest name.

'We will wait and listen, we worship his name!
His word is the last appeal. His writ will run
from the zenith to the pit. All glory to the son,
our savior! His empire has no end, shepherd of men,
he made them his creatures to the last of time,
They must not forget him. He shall command
sacrifices for the gods, They shall commend
food, for the fathers,and cherish the sanctuary
where the odor of incense and whisper of liturgy
echo on earth the customs of heaven.
Black-headed men will adore him on earth,
the subjected shall remember their god.
At his word they shall worship the goddess.
Let offerings of food not fail.
For god and goddess, at his command.
Let them serve the gods, at his command,
work their lands, build their houses.
Let black-headed men serve the gods on earth
without remission; while as for us,
in the multitude of his names he is our god.
Let us hail him in his names,
let us hail him by his fifty names, one god.'

The Hymn of the Fifty Names of Marduk

MARDUK is One,
he is Son of the Sun,
he is the first, the sunburst.

Pasture and pool,
and the byres full,
torrents of rain that hammered the enemy.

Most shining one,
Son of the Sun,
the gods are walking always in his flame of light.

He created man
a living thing
to labor for ever, and gods go free,

to make to break
to love and to save,
to Marduk all power and praise!

MARUKKA is Two
hammering out the whole creation
to ease the gods in tribulation.

MARUTUKKU is Three,
his praises are heard on every hand,
the armed child who shields the land.

BARASHAKUSHU is Fourth,
who stood at need to bridle earth,
his spirit stoops, his heart is love.

LUGALDIMMERANKIA is Five,
King of the Cosmos!
Over the universe he is acclaimed
by that Great Company his wrath had shamed
Almighty God!

NARI is Six, the Deliverer,
he is our conscience, for once
in our trouble he brought us peace
and a safe haven;
Anunnaki, Igigi, from the pit
and in heaven,
hearing this name secretly quake.

ASARULUDU is Seven,
the Great Magician, this title came from Anu;
in time of peril, their good leader,

By the deadly duel he fetched them rest.

NAMTILLAKU is Eight,
in the shadow of death he discovered life;
it was as thought they were made
all new; conjured from death at his word until
the reckless rout submit to his will.

NAMRU is Nine, the gods go a-walking
in the furnace of his beauty.

Voices of older days have spoken; Lahmu, Lahamu, Anshar have spoken, each of them uttered three names; they said to the children, 'Three names he has from each of us, three names he needs from you.'

As once before in Synod in Ubshukinna, at the place of decision, the young gods eagerly talked together,
'He is the hero, our son, our avenger, we will praise the name of our defender.'  They sat down together to shape his destiny, and all of them chanted his names in the Sanctuary.

 

 

 

 

The reason for human beings to exist is only to serve the gods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the tower of Babel
 (cf Genesis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the bow of heaven
(cf. Genesis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babylonians referred to themselves as "the black-headed men."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hymn of the priests of Marduk

 

 

 

 

 

Tablet 7

 

7

The Hymn, continued.

ASARU cultivates the sown,
conducts water by small channels
for seed-time, for shooting green
and harvest grain.

ASARUALIM, the gods in fear and hope
at Council turn to him.
He is the light, ASARUALIM NUNNA,
light of the glory of his father;
he is the law of Anu and Enlil and Ea,
he is fullness and plenty,
the gods grow fat on his bounty.

TUTU is life renewed
that sweetens the sanctuary; should wrath
once more rouse up their company
he teaches them to repeat the charm
that lulls to sleep,
he has no peer in that Assembly.

ZIUKKINNA lives in every god,
he made the skies their happiness,
he holds them to their bliss;
below the clouds dull men
remember him,

for this is ZIKU the kernel of life,
sweet breath of grace, abundance,
benevolence, unbelievable wealth
changing famine to plenty;
we breathed his sweetness
in our extremity.
We will speak of the mighty,
we ill sing the song of his glory.

AGAKU, the love and the wrath,
with living words he quickens the dead,
he pitied fallen gods,
remitted the labor laid on the adversary.
For your relief he made mankind, his words
endure, he is kind, he has power
of life, it is in the mouth
of black-headed men who remember him.

But also this is TUKU,
they mutter his anathemas
who overwhelmed evil
with mysterious words.

As SHAZU he made the heart,
he sees the marrow,
no sinner escapes his scrutiny.
He formed the Assembly, improved security;
he oversees justice and subdues rebellion,
and he has rooted out malice--
wherever he goes the wrong and the right
stand separated.

As one who reads the heart this too
is ZISI, a name that hushed the rebel horde,
out of the body of older gods
drove freezing fear, freeing his fathers, for

SUHRIM is the missile
that extinguished them,
the abject band that cringe from him,
their schemes forestalled, and flying
in the wind.
Be glad you gods, be glad!

He is SUHGURIM who can destroy,
but is an open court to hear all causes;
old gods created new, the enemy erased
and to the children's children
nothing is left of them
or what they did; his name alone
answers the summons of the world.

ZAHRIM, the destroyer, lives!
Iniquity is dead, he has found out
the enemy; when the gods fled
he brought them home, each
to his own, and by this name is known.

ZAHGURIM, savior destroyer,
terrible title, his enemy fallen
as it were on the field of battle.

ENBILULU, health to the gods and wealth!
He called their names, he called
for hecatombs roast in flames,
he planned the pastures,
sank wells and freed the waters.

He is EPADUN gathering moisture
from sky and earth to wash down the furrows,
watering ploughland with sluices
with damns and dikes in irrigation.

Enbilulu is hymned as GUGAL,
in the orchards of the gods
he watches the canals, he fills
the store-room with sesame, emmer,
abundant grain.

And he is HEGAL,
heaping up wealth for all people,
into the world he sends sweet rain
and greenness...

As SIRSIR he seized the carcass,
he carried off Chaos meshed in his snare,
and heaped on her mountains.
Overseer of the world and faithful shepherd,
where his brow is furrowed,
like s shock of hair the corn
waves up; where the vast ocean
rises in anger, he vaults her as a bridge
thrown over the place where duel was fought.

He is also called MALAH, and many another;
the sour sea is his skiff who captains the hulk.

A heap of grain is GIL, barley and sesame
doled out for the land's good.

This is GILMA, the unquenchable fire
that tempers the eternity of their dwelling,
and for their safety is braced as the hoop holding the barrel.

This is AGILMA,
who from the tearing surf creates
over the waters clouds
to guard the unchanging sky.

ZULUM cuts into clay,
allots the acres, grants the tithes.

This MUMMU is the creative word,
the life of the universe.

GISHNUMUNAB, the seed, created
races of men from the world's quarters.
From the wreck of Tiamat's rout,
from the stuff of fallen gods
he made mankind.

He is LUGALABDUBUR
who came as king to confront Chaos,
her forces wither before him for he is steadfast,
the foundations are firm in every direction.

PAPALGUENNA, Lord of Lords,
most sublime god, he rules his brothers.

LUGALDURMAH, at the navel of the world
where heaven and earth are held
by the cord; where the high gods gather,
his greatness ranks higher than all.

ARANUNNA< Counselor, with his father EA
peerless in his sovereign manner,
he created gods.

DUMUDUKU is the bright mountain,
Dumuduku, the presence in the temple,
at the place of decision where nothing is decided
except with him.

LUGALLANNA, he is strong
with the charge of heaven,
conspicuous among gods
even more than Anshar who called him out,
called one from all.

LUGALUGGA, King Death!
He took them at the crisis, at the maelstrom;
the encompassing intellect, the mid full-stretched.

IRKINGU, in the battle-fury he bore away the bungler;
he created law and law now rules creation.

KINMA, advisor and leader,
his name strikes terror in gods,
the roar of the tornado.

ESIZKUR, up there he sits
in the chapel of prayer, at the Great Festival,
when the gods all come, presents are given, duties imposed.
Unless he is by nothing is created
subtle or beautiful, but when he would
man was made in the quarters of the world,
without him the gods
would not know their hour.

He is GIBIL, the furnace in which the point
is tempered; lightnings forged
the weapons[ of war against Tiamat;
the gods will never sound
the reaches of his mind.

His name is also ADDU,
wet weather and the welcome storm,
the kindly roar of thunder
hovering over earth.
After the storm the clouds break up
at his word, and under heaven
all people daily have their bread from him.

ASHARU guides the gods of Fate;
all other gods he guards.

As NEBIRU he projected the stars
in their orbit, the wandering gods obey
the laws of passage.
Nebiru, at the still centre,
is the god they adore;
of this starry one they say

'He who once crossed the firmament tirelessly
now is the nub of the universe,
and all the other gods hold course
on him; he shall fold
the gods like a flock
and conquer Tiamat.
Let her life be narrow and short,
let her recede into the future
far-off from man-kind,
till time is old, keep her
for ever absent.'

Because he had molded matter and created the ether, his father, named him
Bel Matati, Lord of this World.
With his own name he signed him when the gods of heaven ended the hymn.

Now too Ea having heard rejoiced,
'The Great Gods have glorified my son, he is Ea, names by my name, he will execute my will and direct my rites.'

HANSHA!

With fifty names the gods proclaimed him.

HANSHA!

With fifty they names him, the one who is first and fares farthest!

Epilogue

Remember the Titles of Marduk! Rulers will recite them, wise men and sages discuss them, father to son repeat them, even shepherds and herdsmen shall hear them.

Let people rejoice in Marduk! The prince of the gods. Man and earth will prosper, for his rule is strong, his command is firm, none of the gods can alter his will. Where his eyes have fixed they do not fail.

There is no god can bear his anger. His intellect is vast and his benevolence. Sinners and such trash he will blast from his presence--but not so the wise teacher whose words we have heard. He wrote them down, he saved them for time to come.

Let the Igigi who built his dwelling, let the gods speak: this was the song of Marduk who defeated Tiamat and became king.

Instructor: gutchess@englishare.net 
Copyright  2007