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ENUMA ELISH - Babylonian Creation Myth

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« on: November 19, 2007, 09:00:17 am »

                      









                                                  The Seven Tablets of Creation





by Leonard William King
[1902]


This is an etext of L.W. Kings' authoritative work on the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation myth. This etext includes the complete introduction, and the English text of the Enuma Elish and other related texts, with selected footnotes. The Enuma Elish is the earliest written creation myth, in which the God Marduk battles the chaos Goddess Tiamat and her evil minions. The name 'Enuma Elish' is derived from the first two words of the myth, meaning 'When in the Height'. Tiamat takes the form of a gigantic snake, and Marduk battles and defeats her using an arsenal of super-weapons. After his victory Marduk is made the leader of the Gods by acclamation. Marduk divides Tiamat's corpse into two portions, the upper half becoming the sky and the lower half, the earth. Marduk then creates humanity from his blood and bone.

The Enuma Elish has long been considered by scholars to be primary source material for the book of Genesis. It has also been hypothesized that this is a legend about the overthrow of the matriarchy or records of some cosmic catastrophe.

A complete PDF of this rare book with illustrations can be found at ETANA (Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives). This PDF has numerous typographical errors. A prior etext of this file, scanned at sacred-texts, can be found here.
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                                             The Seven Tablets of Creation





by Leonard William King
Luzac's Semitic text and translation series. vol. xii-xiii
Luzac and Co.
London
[1902]





Preface
PERHAPS no section of Babylonian literature has been more generally studied than the legends which record the Creation of the world. On the publication of the late Mr. George Smith's work, "The Chaldean Account of Genesis," which appeared some twenty-seven years ago, it was recognized that there was in the Babylonian account of the Creation, as it existed in the seventh century before Christ, much which invited comparison with the corresponding narrative in the Book of Genesis. It is true that the Babylonian legends which had been recovered and were first published by him were very fragmentary, and that the exact number and order of the Tablets, or sections, of which they were composed were quite uncertain; and that, although they recorded the creation of the heavens and of the heavenly bodies, they contained no direct account of the creation of man. In spite of this, however, their resemblance to the Hebrew narrative was unmistakable, and in consequence they at once appealed to a far larger circle of students than would otherwise have been the case.

After the appearance of Mr. Smith's work, other scholars produced translations of the fragments which.

p. XII

he had published, and the names of Oppert, Schrader, and Sayce will always be associated with those who were the first to devote themselves to the interpretation of the Creation Legends. Moreover, new fragments of the legends have from time to time been acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum, and of these the most important is the fine text of the Fourth Tablet of the Creation Series, containing the account of the fight between the god Marduk and the dragon Tiamat, which was published in 1887 by Dr. Wallis Budge, and translated by Professor Sayce in the same year. Professor Sayce's translation of the Creation Legends marked a distinct advance upon those of his predecessors, and it was the most complete, inasmuch as he was enabled to make use of the new tablet which restored so much of the central portion of the story. In the year 1890, in his important work Die Kosmologie der Babylonier, Professor Jensen of Marburg gave a translation of the legends together with a transliteration and commentary; in 1895 Professor Zimmern of Leipzig translated all the fragments then known, and a year later Professor Delitzsch of Berlin also published a rendering. Finally, two years ago, Professor Jensen issued a new and revised translation of the Creation Legends in the opening pages of the first part of his work Mythen and Epen, the second part of which, containing his notes and commentary, appeared some months ago.

p. XIII

In the course of the year 1900, the writer was entrusted with the task of copying the texts of a number of Babylonian and Assyrian legends for publication in the series of Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, etc., in the British Museum, and, among the documents selected for issue, were those relating to the Creation of the world. Several of the texts of the Creation Legends, which had been used by previous translators, had never been published, and one tablet, which Mr. George Smith had consulted in 1876, had not been identified by subsequent workers. During my work I was so fortunate as to recognize this tablet, and was enabled to make copies of all the texts, not only of those which were previously known, but also of a number of new duplicates and fragments which I had meanwhile identified. These copies appeared in Cuneiform Texts, Part XIII (1901), Plates 1-41. The most interesting of the new fragments there published was a tablet which restored a missing portion of the text of the Second Tablet of the Creation Series, and of this, on account of its interest, I gave a translation in a note to the plate on which the text appeared. It was not my intention at that time to publish anything further upon the subject of the Creation Legends.

While I was engaged, however, in searching for fragments of other Babylonian legends for publication officially, it was my good fortune to come across a fine duplicate of the Second Tablet of the Creation.

p. XIV

[paragraph continues] Series. A further prolonged search was rewarded by the finding of other fragments of the poem, and a study of these showed me that the earlier portions of the text of the Creation Story, as already known, could be considerably augmented. Among them, moreover, was a fragment of the poem which refers to the Creation of Man; this fragment is extremely important, for in addition to its valuable contents it also settles the disputed question as to the number of Tablets, or sections, of which the Creation Series was composed. In view of the additional information as to the form and contents of the poem which this new material afforded, it was clearly necessary that a new translation of the Creation Legends should be made, and this I undertook forthwith.

The new fragments of the poem which I had identified up to the summer of last year are inscribed upon tablets of the Neo-Babylonian period. At the conclusion of the examination of tablets of this class, I lithographed the newly identified texts in a series of plates which are published in the second volume of the present work. These plates were already printed off, when, at the beginning of the present year, after my return from Assyria, I identified a fresh group of fragments of the poem inscribed, not upon Neo-Babylonian, but upon Assyrian tablets. At that time I was engaged on making a detailed catalogue, or hand-list, of the smaller fragments in the various collections of Assyrian tablets from

p. XV

[paragraph continues] Kuyunjik, and, as a result of previous study of the legends themselves and of the Assyrian commentaries to the Seventh Tablet of the series, I was enabled to identify ten new fragments of the poem which are inscribed upon tablets from the library of Ashur-bani-pal at Nineveh. In order to avoid upsetting the arrangement of the plates in Vol. II, the texts of the new Assyrian fragments are published by means of outline blocks in Appendices I and II to the present volume.

Those who have studied the published texts of the Creation Series will remember that the material used by previous translators of the legends has consisted of some twenty-one tablets and fragments inscribed with portions of the poem. The number of new tablets and fragments belonging to the Creation Series which are here used and translated for the first time reaches the total of thirty-four, but, as I have joined up six of these to other similar fragments, this total has been reduced to twenty-eight. Thus, in place of the twenty-one tablets previously known, forty-nine separate tablets and fragments have now been identified as containing portions of the text of the Creation Series.

The new information, furnished by the recently discovered material regarding the Story of Creation, may here be briefly summarized. Hitherto our knowledge of the contents of Tablets I and II of the series has been very fragmentary. After the

p. XVI

narrative of the creation of the great gods in the opening lines of the poem, and a fragmentary reference to the first symptoms of revolt exhibited by the primeval monsters, Aps and Tiamat, and Mummu, the minister of Aps, there occurred a great gap in the text, and the story began again with the account of how Tiamat prepared to wage war against the gods. Aps and Mummu have at this point entirely disappeared from the narrative, and the ally of Tiamat is the god Kingu, whom she appoints to command her forces. What followed the creation of the great gods, what was the cause of the revolt, what was the fate of Aps and Mummu, and what were the events which led up to Tiamat's preparations for battle, are questions that have hitherto remained unanswered. We now know that the account of the creation of the gods was no fuller than that which has come down to us from Damascius. After the birth of Lakhmu and Lakhamu, Anshar and Kishar, Anu, Bl (i.e., Enlil, or Illil), and Ea (Nudimmud), the text does not proceed to narrate in detail the coming forth of the lesser deities, but plunges at once into the story of the revolt of the primeval forces of chaos. We now know also that it was Aps, and not Tiamat, who began the revolt against the gods; and that, according to the poem, his enmity was aroused, not by the creation of light as has been previously suggested, but by the disturbance of his rest in consequence of the new "way" of the gods, which tended to produce order in place of chaos.

p. XVII

One of the most striking facts which the new fragments furnish with regard to the contents of the legends is the prominent part played by the god Ea in the earlier episodes of the story. After Aps and Mummu had repaired to Tiamat and had hatched with her their plot against the gods, it was the god Ea, who, abounding in all wisdom, detected their plan and frustrated it. The details of Ea's action are still a matter of uncertainty, but, as I have shown in the Introduction, it is clear that Aps and Mummu were overthrown, and that their conqueror was Ea. Moreover, it was only after their downfall, and in order to avenge them, that Tiamat began her preparations for battle. She was encouraged in her determination by the god Kingu, and it was in consequence of the assistance he then gave her that she afterwards appointed him leader of her host.

Another point which is explained by the new fragments concerns the repetitions in Tablets I, II, and III of the lines containing the account of Tiamat's preparations for battle. The lines describing this episode are given no less than four times: in Tablet I, in Tablet II, and twice in Tablet III. We now know that the first description of Tiamat's preparations occurs after the account of her determination to avenge her former allies; and in the Second Tablet the lines are put into the mouth of Ea, who continues to play a prominent part in the narrative, and carries the tidings to Anshar. How Anshar repeated the lines

p. XVIII

to Gaga, his messenger, and how Gaga delivered the message to Lakhmu and Lakhamu, is already well known.

Perhaps the most striking of all the new fragments of the poem here published is that which contains the opening and closing lines of the Sixth Tablet, and, at last, furnishes us with a portion of the text describing the Creation of Man. We now know that, as in the Hebrew narrative, the culminating act of Creation was the making of man. Marduk is here represented as declaring to Ea that he will create man from his own blood, and from bone which he will form; it is important to note that the Assyrian word here used for "bone," issimtu, which has not hitherto been known, corresponds to the Hebrew word 'esem, "bone," which occurs in Gen. ii, 2 3, in connection with the account of the creation of woman. The text thus furnishes another point of resemblance between the Babylonian and the Hebrew stories of Creation. The new fragment also corroborates in a remarkable degree the account given by Berossus of the Babylonian version of the creation of man. According to the writer's rendering of the passage, Marduk declares that he will use his own blood in creating mankind, and this agrees with the statement of Berossus, that Bl directed one of the gods to cut off his (i.e. Bl's) head, and to form mankind from his blood mixed with earth. This subject is discussed at length and in detail in the Introduction, as well as a number of new points.

p. XIX

of resemblance between the Babylonian and the Hebrew accounts of the Creation which are furnished by other recently identified fragments of the poem.

With regard to the extent and contents of the Creation Series, we now know that the Tablets of which the series was composed are seven in number; and we also possess the missing context or frame-work of the Seventh Tablet, which contains addresses to Marduk under his fifty titles of honour. From this we learn that, when the work of Creation was ended, the gods gathered together once more in Upshukkinakku, their council-chamber; here they seated themselves in solemn assembly and proceeded to do honour to Marduk, the Creator, by reciting before him the remarkable series of addresses which form the contents of the last Tablet of the poem. Many of the missing portions of the Seventh Tablet, including the opening lines, it has been found possible to restore from the new fragments and duplicates here published.

In the following pages a transliteration of the text of the Creation Series is given, which has been constructed from all the tablets and fragments now known to be inscribed with portions of the poem, together with a translation and notes. For comparison with the legends contained in the Creation Series, translations have been added of the other Babylonian accounts of the history of Creation, and of some texts closely connected therewith. Among

p. XX

these mention may be made of the extracts from a Sumerian text, and from a somewhat similar one in Babylonian, referring to the Creation of the Moon and the Sun; these are here published from a so-called "practice-tablet," or student's exercise. A remarkable address to a mythical river, to which the creation of the world is ascribed, is also given.

In the first Appendix the Assyrian commentaries to the Seventh Tablet are examined in detail, and some fragments of texts are described which bear a striking resemblance to the Seventh Tablet, and are of considerable interest for the light they throw on the literary history of the poem. Among the texts dealt with in the second Appendix one of the most interesting is a Babylonian duplicate of the tablet which has been supposed to contain the instructions given by Marduk to man after his creation, but is now shown by the duplicate to be part of a long didactic composition containing moral precepts, and to have nothing to do with the Creation Series. Similarly, in the fourth Appendix I have printed a copy of the text which has been commonly, but erroneously, supposed to refer to the Tower of Babel. The third Appendix includes some hitherto unpublished astrological texts of the period of the Arsacidae, which contain astrological interpretations and explanations of episodes of the Creation story; they indicate that Tiamat, in her astrological character, was regarded as a star or constellation in the neighbourhood of the ecliptic,

p. XXI

and they moreover furnish an additional proof of the identification of her monster brood with at any rate some of the Zodiacal constellations.

During the preparation of this work I have, of course, consulted the translations and renderings of the Creation Legends which have been made by other workers on the subject, and especially those of Professors Jensen, Zimmern, and Delitzsch. I have much pleasure in expressing here my indebtedness to their published works for suggestions which I have adopted from them.

To Mr. R. Campbell Thompson I am indebted for the ready assistance he has afforded me during my search for new fragments and duplicates of the legends.

In conclusion, my thanks are due to Dr. Wallis Budge for his friendly suggestions which I have adopted throughout the progress of the work.

L. W. KING.

LONDON, July 31st, 1902.
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CONTENTS

 
 PAGE
 
PREFACE
 XI
 
INTRODUCTION:--
 XXV
 
    I. DESCRIPTION AND LITERATURE OF THE POEM ENUMA ELISH
 XXV
 
    II. CONTENTS OF THE POEM AND DISCUSSION OF NEW MATERIAL
 XXX
 
    III. COMPOSITION OF THE POEM
 LXVI
 
    IV. DATE AND ORIGIN OF THE BABYLONIAN CREATION LEGENDS
 LXXII
 
    V. INFLUENCE OF THE BABYLONIAN CREATION LEGENDS AND PARALLELS IN HEBREW LITERATURE
 LXXX
 
    VI. AUTHORITIES FOR THE TEXT OF THE POEM ENUMA ELISH AND THE ASSYRIAN COMMENTARIES
 XCVII
 
    VII. RECONSTRUCTION AND ARRANGEMENT OF THE TEXT
 CXX
 
TRANSLITERATIONS AND TRANSLATIONS:--
 
 
    I. THE SEVEN TABLETS OF THE HISTORY OF CREATION.
 
 
        I. THE FIRST TABLET
 2
 
        II. THE SECOND TABLET
 22
 
        III. THE THIRD TABLET
 38
 
        IV. THE FOURTH TABLET
 58
 
        V. THE FIFTH TABLET
 78
 
        VI. THE SIXTH TABLET
 86
 
        VII. THE SEVENTH TABLET
 92
 
        EPILOGUE
 110
 
    II. OTHER ACCOUNTS OF THE HISTORY OF CREATION.
 
 
        I. ANOTHER VERSION OF THE DRAGON-MYTH
 116
 
        II. A REFERENCE TO THE CREATION OF THE CATTLE AND THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD
 122
 
    III. A REFERENCE TO THE CREATION OF THE MOON AND THE SUN
 124
 
    IV. AN ADDRESS TO THE RIVER OF CREATION
 128
 
    V. ANOTHER VERSION OF THE CREATION OF THE WORLD BY MARDUK
 130
 
    VI. THE "CUTHAEAN LEGEND OF THE CREATION"
 140
 
p. XXIV
 
 
APPENDICES:--
 
 
    I. ASSYRIAN COMMENTARIES AND PARALLEL TEXTS TO THE SEVENTH TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 157
 
    II. ON SOME FRAGMENTS OF THE SERIES ENUMA ELISH, AND ON SOME TEXTS RELATING TO THE HISTORY OF CREATION
 182
 
    III. ON SOME TRACES OF THE HISTORY OF CREATION IN RELIGIOUS AND ASTROLOGICAL LITERATURE
 204
 
    IV. SUPPOSED ASSYRIAN LEGENDS OF THE TEMPTATION AND THE TOWER OF BABEL
 219
 
    V. A "PRAYER OF THE RAISING OF THE HAND" TO ISHTAR
 222
 
INDICES, GLOSSARY, ETC.:--
 
 
    I. INDEX TO TEXTS.
 
 
        A. CUNEIFORM TEXTS FROM BABYLONIAN TABLETS, ETC., IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM, PART XIII (1901), PLATES 1-41
 239
 
        B. SUPPLEMENTARY TEXTS, PUBLISHED IN VOL. II, PLATES, I-LXXXIV
 241
 
        C. SUPPLEMENTARY TEXTS, PUBLISHED IN APPENDICES I, II, AND III.
 244
 
    II. INDEX TO REGISTRATION NUMBERS
 245
 
    III. GLOSSARY OF SELECTED WORDS
 251
 
    IV. INDEX TO NAMES OF DEITIES, STARS, PLACES, ETC.
 266
 
PLATES:--
 
 
    I. THE SIXTH TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 VIII
 
    II. THE FIRST TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 XXXV
 
    III. THE SECOND TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 XLIII
 
    IV. THE FOURTH TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 XLVII
 
    V. THE FIFTH TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 LI
 
    VI. THE SEVENTH TABLET OF THE CREATION SERIES
 LXI
 


 

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INTRODUCTION.





THE great Assyrian poem, or series of legends, which narrates the story of the Creation of the world and man, was termed by the Assyrians and Babylonians Enuma elish, "When in the height," from the two opening words of the text. The poem consisted of some nine hundred and ninety-four lines, and was divided into seven sections, each of which was inscribed upon a separate Tablet. The Tablets were numbered by the Assyrian scribes, and the separate sections of the poem written upon them do not vary very much in length. The shortest Tablet contains one hundred and thirty-eight lines, and the longest one hundred and forty-six, the average length of a Tablet being about one hundred and forty-two lines. The poem embodies the beliefs of the Babylonians and Assyrians concerning the origin of the universe; it describes the coming forth of the gods from chaos, and tells the story of how the forces of disorder, represented by the primeval water-gods Aps and Tiamat, were overthrown by Ea and Marduk respectively, and how Marduk, after completing the triumph of the gods over chaos, proceeded to create the world and man. The poem is known to us from portions of several Assyrian and late-Babylonian copies of the work, and from

p. XXVI

extracts from it written out upon the so-called "practice-tablets," or students' exercises, by pupils of the Babylonian scribes. The Assyrian copies of the work are from the great library which was founded at Nineveh by Ashur-bani-pal, king of Assyria from B.C. 668 to about B.C. 626; the Babylonian copies and extracts were inscribed during the period of the kings of the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods; and one copy of the Seventh Tablet may probably be assigned to as late a date as the period of the Arsacidae. All the tablets and fragments, which have hitherto been identified as inscribed with portions of the text of the poem, are preserved in the British Museum.

From the time of the first discovery of fragments of the poem considerable attention has been directed towards them, for not only are the legends themselves the principal source of our knowledge of the Babylonian cosmogony, but passages in them bear a striking resemblance to the cognate narratives in the Book of Genesis concerning the creation of the world. The late Mr. George Smith, who was the first to publish an account of the poem, recognized this resemblance and emphasized it in his papers on the subject in 1875. 1 In the following year in
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p. XXVII

his work "The Chaldean Account of Genesis" 1 he gave translations of the fragments of the poem which had been identified, and the copies which he had made of the principal fragments were published. 2 After Smith's death the interest in the texts which he had published did not cease, and scholars continued to produce renderings and studies of the legends. 3




p. XXVIII

In 1883 Dr. Wallis Budge gave an account of a fine Babylonian duplicate of what proved to be the Fourth Tablet of the Creation Series; this document restored considerable portions of the narrative of the fight between Marduk and the dragon Tiamat, and added considerably to our knowledge of the story of Creation and of the order in which the events related in the story took place. 1 In the Hibbert Lectures for 1887 Professor Sayce translated the new fragment of the text, 2 and in the following year published a complete translation 3 of all fragments of the Creation Legends which had up to that time been identified. In 1890 Professor Jensen, in his studies on the Babylonian cosmogony, included a translation of the legends together with a transliteration and a number of valuable philological notes and discussion. 4 In 1895





p. XXIX

Professor Zimmern published a translation of the legends, similar in plan to Sayce's earlier edition; in it he took advantage of some recently identified fragments and duplicates, and put forward a number of new renderings of difficult passages. 1 In 1896 a third German translation of the legends made its appearance; it was published by Professor Delitzsch and included transliterations and descriptions of the various tablets and fragments inscribed with portions of the text. 2 Finally, in 1900 Professor Jensen published a second edition of his rendering of the legends in his Mythen und Epen; 3 this work was the best which could be prepared with the material then available. 4





p. XXX

In the most recent translations of the Creation Series, those of Delitzsch and Jensen, use was made in all of twenty-one separate tablets and fragments which had been identified as inscribed with portions of the text of the poem. 1 In the present work thirty-four
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p. XXXI

additional tablets and fragments, inscribed with portions of the text of the Creation Series, have been employed; but, as six of these join other similar fragments, the number of separate tablets and fragments here used for the first time is reduced to twenty-eight. The total number of separate fragments of the text of the Creation Series is thus brought up to forty-nine. 1 The new material is distributed among the Seven Tablets of the Creation Series as follows:--To the four known fragments of the First Tablet may now be added eight others, 2 consisting of two fragments of an Assyrian tablet and four Babylonian fragments and two extracts inscribed upon Babylonian "practice-tablets." To the three known fragments of the Second Tablet may be added four others, 3 consisting of parts of one Assyrian and of three Babylonian tablets. To the four known fragments of the Third Tablet may be added five other, 4





p. XXXII

consisting of fragments of one Assyrian and one Babylonian tablet and extracts inscribed upon three Babylonian "practice-tablets." To the five known fragments of the Fourth Tablet only one new duplicate can be added, 1 which is inscribed upon a Babylonian "practice-tablet." To the three known fragments of the Fifth Tablet may be added two others, 2 consisting of parts of two Assyrian tablets. Of the Sixth Tablet no fragment has previously been known, and its existence was only inferred from a fragment of the catch-line preserved on copies of the Fifth Tablet; fragments of the text of the Sixth Tablet are published for the first time in the present work from part of a Babylonian tablet. 3 Finally, to the two known fragments of the Seventh Tablet may now be added seven other 4 inscribed upon five Assyrian fragments and portions of two Babylonian tablets.

The new fragments of the text of the First and Second Tablets of the Creation Series throw light on the earlier episodes in the story of Creation, and enable us to fill up some of the gaps in the narrative. By the identification of the Tablet K. 5,419 c, 5 George Smith recovered the opening lines of the First Tablet, which describes the condition of things before Creation






p. XXXIII

when the primeval water-gods, Aps and Tiamat, personifying chaos, mingled their waters in confusion. The text then briefly relates how to Aps and Tiamat were born the oldest of the gods, the first pair, Lahmu and Lahamu, being followed after a long interval by Anshar and Kishar, and after a second interval by other deities, of whose names the text of K. 5,419 c only preserves that of Anu. George Smith perceived that this theogony had been reproduced by Damascius in his summary of the beliefs of the Babylonians concerning the creation of the world. 1 Now, since Damascius mentions Ἴλλινος and Ἀόσ along with Ἀνόσ, it was clear that the text of the poem included a description of the birth of the elder Bel (i.e. Enlil or Illil) and of Ea in the passage in which Anu's name occurs. But as the text inscribed upon the obverse of K. 5,419 c,
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p. XXXIV

and of its Neo-Babylonian duplicate 82-7-14, 402, 1 breaks off at l. 15, the course of the story after this point has hitherto been purely a matter for conjecture. It appeared probable that the lines which followed contained a full account of the origin of the younger gods, and from the fact that Damascius states that Βῆλος, the Creator of the world, was the son of (i.e. Ea) and Δαύκη (i.e. Damkina), it has Seen concluded that at any rate special prominence was given to the birth of Bel, i.e. Marduk, who figures so prominently in the story from the close of the Second Tablet onwards.

The new fragments of the First Tablet show that the account of the birth of the gods in the Creation Series is even shorter than that given by Damascius, for the poem contains no mention of the birth and parentage of Marduk. After mentioning the birth of Nudimmud (i.e. Ea), 2 the text proceeds to describe his marvellous wisdom and strength, and states that he had no rival among the gods; the birth of no other god is recorded after that of Ea, and, when Marduk is introduced later on, his existence, like that of Mummu and of Gaga, appears to be tacitly assumed. It would seem, therefore, that the reference made by



p. XXXVII

Damascius to Marduk's parentage was not derived from the text of the Creation Series, but was added by him to complete his summary of the Babylonian beliefs concerning the origin of the gods.

This omission of Marduk's name from the earlier lines of the First Tablet and the prominence given to that of Ea may at first sight seem strange, but it is in accordance with the other newly recovered portions of the text of the First and Second Tablets, which indirectly throw an interesting light on the composite character and literary history of the great poem. 1 It will be seen that of the deities mentioned in these earlier lines Nudimmud (Ea) is the only god whose characteristics are described in detail; his birth, moreover, forms the climax to which the previous lines lead up, and, after the description of his character, the story proceeds at once to relate the rebellion of the primeval gods and the part which Ea played in detecting and frustrating their plans. In fact, Ea and not Marduk is the hero of the earlier episodes of the Creation story.

The new fragments of the text show, moreover, that it was Aps and not Tiamat who began the rebellion against the gods. While the newly created gods represented the birth of order and system in the universe, Aps and Tiamat still remained in confusion and undiminished in might. Aps, however, finding the earlier part
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p. XXXVIII

that his slothful rest was disturbed by the new order of beings whom he had begotten, summoned Mummu, 1 his minister, and the two went together to Tiamat, and lying down before her, took counsel with her


p. XXXIX

regarding the means to be adopted to restore the old order of things. It may be noted that the text contains no direct statement that it was the creation of light which caused the rebellion of the primeval gods. 1 Aps merely states his hatred of the alkatu or "way" of the gods, in consequence of which he can get no rest by day or night; and, from the fact that he makes use of the expressions "by day" and "by night," it may be inferred that day and night were vaguely conceived as already in existence. It was therefore the substitution of order in place of chaos which, according to the text of the poem, roused Aps's resentment and led to his rebellion and downfall 2



p. XL

Our knowledge of the part played by Ea in the overthrow of Aps and Mummu is still fragmentary, but we know from l. 60 of the First Tablet that it was he who detected the plot against the gods; it is also certain that the following twenty lines recorded the fate of Aps and his minister, and there are clear indications that it was Ea to whom their overthrow was due. In Tablet II, ll. 53 E, Anshar, on learning from Ea the news of Tiamat's preparations for battle, contrasts the conquest of Mummu and Aps with the task of opposing Tiamat, and the former achievement he implies has been accomplished by Ea. It is clear, therefore, that Ea caused the overthrow of Aps 1 and the capture of Mummu 2 but in what way he brought it about, whether by actual fighting or by "his pure incantation," 3 is still a matter for conjecture. In view of the fact that Anshar at first tried peaceful means for overcoming Tiamat 4 before exhorting Marduk to wage battle against her, the latter supposition is the more probable of the two. The subjugation of Aps by Ea explains his subsequent disappearance from the Creation story. When Aps is next mentioned, it is as "the Deep," 5 and not as an active and Tiamat's malevolent deity.

After the overthrow of Aps, Tiamat remained unconquered, and she continued to represent in her






p. XLI

own person the unsubdued forces of chaos. 1 But, as at first she had not herself begun the rebellion, so now her continuation of the war against the gods was due to the prompting of another deity. The speech in which this deity urges Tiamat to avenge Aps and Mummu occurs in Tablet I, ll. 93-104, and, inasmuch as she subsequently promoted Kingu to be the leader of her forces ''because he had given her support," it may be concluded that it was Kingu who now prompted her to avenge her former spouse. 2 Ea, however, did not cease his active opposition to the forces of disorder, but continued to play the chief rle on the side of the gods. He heard of Tiamat's preparations for battle, he carried the news to Anshar, his father, and he was sent by him against the monster. It was only after both he and Anu had failed in their attempts to approach and appease Tiamat 3 that Anshar appealed to Marduk to become the champion of the gods.

Another point completely explained by the new fragments of the text is the reason for the repetitions which occur in the first three tablets of the series. It will be seen that Tablet I, ll. 109-142, are repeated in Tablet II, ll. 15-48; that Tablet II, ll. 1. 1-48, are
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2007, 09:14:10 am »








p. XLII

repeated in Tablet III, ll. 15-52; and that Tablet III, ll. 15-66, are repeated in the same Tablet, II. 73-124. The lines which are repeated have reference to Tiamat's preparations for battle against the gods, and to Anshar's summons of the gods in order that they may confer power on Marduk as their champion. From the new fragments of the text we now know that the lines relating to Tiamat's preparations occur on the First Tablet in the form of narrative, immediately after she had adopted Kingu's suggestion that she should avenge the overthrow of Aps and Mummu; and that in the Second Tablet they are repeated by Ea in his speech to Anshar, to whom he carried the news. The context of the repetitions in the Third Tablet is already known; Anshar first repeats the lines to his minister Gaga, when telling him to go and summon the gods to an assembly, and later on in the Tablet Gaga repeats the message word for word to Lahmu and Lahamu.

The constant repetition of these lines was doubtless intended to emphasize the terrible nature of the opposition which Marduk successfully overcame; and the fact that Berossus omits all mention of the part played by Ea in the earlier portions of the story is also due to the tendency of the Babylonian priests to exalt their local god at the expense of other deities. The account which we have received from Berossus of the Babylonian beliefs concerning the origin of the universe is largely taken up with a description of

p. XLV

the mythical monsters which dwelt in the deep at a time when the world had not come into being and when darkness and water alone existed. 1 Over these monsters, according to Berossus, reigned a woman named Ὀμόρκα, who is to be identified with Tiamat, 2



p. XLVI

while the creatures themselves represent the monster-brood which Tiamat formed to aid her in her fight against the gods. 1 Compared with the description of the monsters, the summary from Berossus of the incidents related on the Fourth Tablet is not very full; the text states that Βῆλος (i.e. Bel) slew Ὀμόρκα,


p. XLIX

and having cleft her in twain, 1 from one half of her he made the earth, and from the other the heavens, while he overcame the creatures that were within her, i.e. the monsters of the deep.

The actual account of the creation of the world by Marduk, as related in the Creation Series, begins towards the end of the Fourth Tablet, 2 where the narrative closely agrees with the summary from Berossus. Marduk is there related to have split Tiamat into halves, and to have used one half of her as a covering for heaven. The text then goes on to state that he founded heaven, which is termed E-shara, a mansion like unto the Deep in structure, and that he caused Anu, Bl, and Ea to inhabit their respective districts therein. The Fifth Tablet does not begin with the account of the creation of the earth, but records the fixing of the constellations of the Zodiac, the founding of the year, and Marduk's charge to the Moon-god and the Sun-god, to the former of whom he entrusted the night, his instructions relating to the phases of the Moon, and the relative positions of the Moon and the Sun during the month. The new fragments of the Fifth Tablet contain some interesting variants to this portion of the text, 3 but,
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2007, 09:15:16 am »








p. L

with the exception of the last few lines of the text, they throw no light on what the missing portions of the Tablet contained. In view, however, of the statement of Berossus that from one half of Tiamat Bl formed the earth, we may conjecture that an account of the creation of the earth occurred upon some part of the Fifth Tablet. It is also probable that the Fifth Tablet recorded the creation of vegetation. That. this formed the subject of some portion of the poem is certain from the opening lines of the Seventh Tablet, where Marduk is hailed as "Asari, 'Bestower of planting,' '[Founder of sowing],' 'Creator of grain and plants,' 'who caused [the green herb to spring up]!'"; and the creation of plants and herbs would naturally follow that of the earth.

From the new fragment of the Sixth Tablet, No. 92,629, we know that this portion of the poem related the story of the creation of man. As at the

p. LIII

beginning of his work of creation Marduk is said to have "devised a cunning plan" 1 while gazing upon the dead body of Tiamat, so now, before proceeding to man's creation, it is said that "his heart prompted him and he devised [a cunning plan]." 2 In the repetition of this phrase we may see an indication of the importance which was ascribed to this portion of the story, and it is probable that the creation of man was regarded as the culmination of Marduk's creative work. It is interesting to note, however, that the creation of man is not related as a natural sequel to the formation of the rest of the universe, but forms the solution of a difficulty with which Marduk has been met in the course of his work as Creator. To overcome this difficulty Marduk devised the "cunning plan" already referred to; the context of this passage is not very clear, but the reason for man's creation may be gathered from certain indications in the text.

We learn from the beginning of the Sixth Tablet that Marduk devised his cunning plan after he had "heard the word of the gods," and from this it is clear that the Fifth Tablet ends with a speech of the gods. Now in Tablet VI, l. 8, Marduk states that he will create man "that the service of the gods may be established"; in l. 9. f., however, he adds that



p. LIV

he will change the ways of the gods, and he appears to threaten them with punishment. It may be conjectured, therefore, that after Marduk had completed the creation of the world, the gods came to him and complained that there were no shrines built in their honour, nor was there anyone to worship them. To supply this need Marduk formed the device of creating man, but at the same time he appears to have decided to vent his wrath upon the gods because of their discontent. It is possible, however, that Ea dissuaded Marduk from punishing the gods, though he no doubt assisted him in carrying out the first part of his proposal. 1

In ll. 5 ff. of the Sixth Tablet Marduk indicates the means he will employ for forming man, and this portion of the text corroborates in a remarkable manner the account given by Berossus of the method employed by Bl for man's creation. The text of the summary from Berossus, in the form in which it has come down to us, 2 is not quite satisfactory, as the



p. LV

course of the narrative is confused. The confusion is apparent in the repetition of the description of man's creation and in the interruption of the naturalistic explanation of the slaying of Omorka. An ingenious but simple emendation of the text, however, was suggested by von Gutschmidt which removes both these difficulties. The passage which interrupts the naturalistic explanation, and apparently describes a first creation of man, he regarded as having been transposed; but if it is placed at the end of the extract it falls naturally into place as a summary by Eusebius of the preceding account of man's creation which is said by Alexander Polyhistor to have been given by Berossus in the First Book of his History. 1 By adopting this emendation we obtain the text.
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2007, 09:16:21 am »








p. LVI

a clear and consecutive account of how Bl, after the creation of heaven and earth, perceived that the land was desolate; and how he ordered one of the gods to cut off his (i.e. Bl's) head, and, by mixing the blood which flowed forth with earth, to create men and animals.

This passage from Berossus has given rise to considerable discussion, and more than one scholar has attempted to explain away the beheading of Bl, the Creator, that man might be formed from his blood. Gunkel has suggested that in the original legend the blood of Tiamat was used for this purpose; 1 Stucken, 2 followed by Cheyne, 3 has emended the text so that it may suggest that the head of Tiamat, and not that of Bel, was cut off; while Zimmern would take the original meaning of the passage to be that the god




p. LVII

beheaded was not Bel, but the other deity whom he addressed. 1 In l. 5 of the Sixth Tablet, however, Marduk states that he will use his own blood for creating man; 2 the text of this passage from Berossus is thus shown to be correct, and it follows that the account which he gave of the Babylonian beliefs concerning man's creation does not require to be emended or explained away.



p. LVIII

Jensen has already suggested 1 that the god whom Bel addressed was Ea, and the new fragment of. the Sixth Tablet proves that this suggestion is correct. In the Sixth Tablet Marduk recounts to Ea his intention of forming man, and tells him the means he will employ. We may therefore conclude that it was Ea who beheaded Marduk at his request, and, according to his instructions, formed mankind from his blood. Ea may thus have performed the actual work of making man, but he acted under Marduk's directions, and it is clear from Tablet VII, ll. 29 and 32, that Marduk, and not Ea, was regarded as man's Creator.

According to Berossus, man was formed from the blood of Bl mixed with earth. The new fragment of the Sixth Tablet does not mention the mixing of the blood with earth, but it is quite possible that this detail was recounted in the subsequent narrative. On the other hand, in the Babylonian poem Marduk declares that, in addition to using his own blood, he will create bone for forming man. Berossus makes no mention of bone, but it is interesting to note that issimtu, the Assyrian word here used for "bone," 2 is doubtless the equivalent of the Hebrew word 'esem,



p. LIX

[paragraph continues] "bone," which occurs at the end of the narrative of the creation of woman in Gen. ii, 23.

The blood of Bl, according to Berossus, was employed not only in man's creation but in that of animals also, and it is possible that this represents the form of the legend as it was preserved upon the Sixth Tablet. Though, in that case, the creation of animals would follow that of man, the opening lines of the Sixth Tablet prove that man's creation was regarded as the culmination of Marduk's creative work. The "cunning plan," which Marduk devised in order to furnish worshippers for the gods, concerned the creation of man, and if that of animals followed it must have been recorded as a subsidiary and less important act. 1 In this connection it may be noted that the expression τὰ δυμάμενα τὸν ἀέρα φέρειν, which Berossus applies to the men and animals created from the blood of Bel, was probably not based on any description or episode in the Creation story as
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2007, 09:17:30 am »








p. LX

recorded on the Seven Tablets, but was suggested by the naturalistic interpretation of the legend furnished by Berossus himself.

With reference to the creation of man, it was suggested by George Smith that the tablet K. 3,364 was a fragment of the Creation Series, and contained the instructions given to man after his creation by Marduk. This view has been provisionally adopted by other translators of the poem, but in Appendix II 1 I have shown by means of a duplicate, No. 33,851, that the suggestion must be given up. Apart from other reasons there enumerated, it may be stated that there would be no room upon the Sixth Tablet of the Creation Series for such a long series of moral precepts as is inscribed upon the tablets K. 3,364 and No. 33,851. It may be that Marduk, after creating man, gave him some instructions with regard to the worship of the gods and the building of shrines in their honour, but the greater part of the text must have been taken up with other matter.

The concluding lines of the Sixth Tablet are partly preserved, and they afford us a glimpse of the filial scene in the Creation story. As the gods had previously been summoned to a solemn assembly that they might confer power upon Marduk before he set out to do battle on their behalf, so now, when he had vanquished Tiamat and had finished his work of instructions to


p. LXIII

creation, they again gathered together in Upshukki-naku, their council-chamber, and proceeded to magnify him by every title of honour. We thus obtain the context or setting of the Seventh, and last, Tablet of the Creation Series, the greater part of which consists of the hymn of praise addressed by the gods to Marduk as the conqueror of Tiamat and the Creator of the world.
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2007, 09:18:47 am »








The hymn of the gods takes up lines 1-124 of the Seventh Tablet, and consists of a series of addresses in Creation which Marduk is hailed by them under fifty titles of honour. The titles are Sumerian, not Semitic, and each is followed by one or more Assyrian phrases descriptive of Marduk, which either explain the title or are suggested by it. Of the fifty titles which the hymn contained, the following list of eleven occur in the first forty-seven lines of the text:--

Asari: ilu Asar-ri, Tabl. VII, l. 1; p. 92 f.

Asaru-alim: ilu Asaru-alim, Tabl. VII, l. 3; p. 92 f.

Asaru-alim-nuna: ilu Asaru-alim-nun-na, Tabl. VII, l. 5; p. 92 f.

Tutu: ilu Tu-tu, Tabl. VII, l. 9; p. 92 f.

Zi-ukkina: ilu Zi-ukkin-na, var. ilu Zi-ukkin, Tabl. VII, l. 15; p. 94f.

Zi-azag: ilu Zi-azag, Tabl. VII, l. 19; p. 36 f.; var. ilu Na-zi-azag-g[a], p. 161.

Aga-azag: ilu Aga-azag, Tabl. VII, l. 25; p. 96 f.

Mu-azag: ilu Mu(i.e. KA + LI)-azag, Tabl. VII, l. 33; var. ilu Mu(i.e. SHAR)-azag, p. 173.

p. LXIV

Shag-zu: ilu Shag-zu, Tabl. VII, l. 35; p. 98 f.

Zi-si: ilu Zi-si, Tabl. VII, l. 41; p. 100 f.

Sub-kur: ilu Suh-kur, Tabl. VII, l. 43; p. 100 f .

In the gap in the text of the Seventh Tablet, between ll. 47 and 105, occur the following ten titles of Marduk, which are taken from the fragments K. 13,761 and K. 8,519 (and its duplicate K. 13,337), and from the commentary K. 4,406:--

Agi[l . . . . ]; ilu A-gi[l- . . . . ], Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.; var. ilu Gil[ ], p. 163.

Zulummu: ilu Zu-lum-mu, Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.

Mummu: ilu Mu-um-mu, Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.

Mulil: ilu Mu-lil, Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.

Gishkul: ilu Gish-kul, Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.

Lugal-ab[ . . . . ]: ilu Lugad-ab-[ . . . . ], Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.

Pap-[ . . . . ]: ilu Pap-[ . . . . ], Tabl. VII (K. 13,761); p. 102 f.

Lugal-durmah: ilu Lugal-dur-mah, Tabl. VII (K. 8,519), and K. 4,406, Rev., col. ii, l. 8; pp. 104f., 165.

Adu-nuna: ilu A-du-nun-na, Tabl. VII (K. 8,519) and K. 4,406, Rev., col. ii, l. 23; pp. 104f., 166.

Lugal-dul(or du)-azaga: ilu Lugal-dul-azag-ga, Tabl. VII (K. 8,519); p. 106 f.

p. LXV

Four other titles, occurring in the concluding portion of the text of the Seventh Tablet, are:--

Nibiru: ilu Ni-bi-ru, var. [ilu] Ne-bi-ri, Tabl. VII, l. 109; p. 108 f.

Bl-mtti: be-el mtti, var. ilu Bl mtti, Tabl. VII, l. 116, p. 110 f.; cf. also EN KUR-KUR (i.e. bl mtti), p. 168.

Ea: ilu E-a, Tabl. VII, l. 120; p. 100 f.

Hansha: Hansh A-AN, var. Ha-an-sha-a, Tabl. VII, l. 123, p. 110 f.; cf. also ilu Hansh, p. 178.

From the above lists it will be seen that the recovered portions of the text of the Seventh Tablet furnish twenty-five out of the fifty names of Marduk. From the list of the titles of Marduk preserved on K. 2,107 + K. 6,086, 1 and from No. 54,228, a parallel text to the Seventh Tablet, 2 seven other names may be obtained, which were probably among those occurring in the missing portion of the text; these are:--

Lugal-en-ankia: ilu Lugal-en-an-ki-a, K. 210, col. ii, l. 19; p. 173.

Gugu: ilu Gu-gu, K. 2,107, col. ii, l. 22; p. 173.

Mumu: ilu Mu-mu, K. 2,107, col. ii, l. 23; p. 173.

Dutu: ilu Du-tu, K. 2,107, col. ii, l. 24; p. 173.

 



p. LXVI

Dudu: ilu Du-du, K. 2,107, col. ii, l. 25; p. 173.

Shag-gar(?): Shag-gar, No. 54,228, Obv., l. 13; p. 177.

En-bilulu: ilu En-bi-lu-lu, No. 54,228, Obv., l. 14; p. 178. 1

By these titles of honour the gods are represented as conferring supreme power upon Marduk, and the climax is reached in ll. 116 ff. of the Seventh Tablet, when the elder Bl and Ea, Marduk's father, confer their own names and power upon him. Marduk's name of Hansh, "Fifty," by which he is finally addressed, in itself sums up and symbolizes his fifty titles. At the conclusion of these addresses there follows an epilogue 2 of eighteen lines, in which the study of the poem is commended to mankind, and prosperity is promised to those that rejoice in Marduk and keep his works in remembrance.
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2007, 09:19:47 am »








The story of the Creation, in the form in which it has come down to us upon tablets of the seventh and later centuries before Christ, is of a distinctly



p. LXVII

composite character, and bears traces of a long process of editing and modification at the hands of the Babylonian priests. Five principal strands may be traced which have been combined to form the poem; these may be described as (1) The Birth of the gods; parts (2 ) The Legend of Ea and Aps; (3) The Dragon-Myth; (4) The actual account of Creation; and (5) The Hymn to Marduk under his fifty titles. Since the poem in its present form is a glorification, of Marduk as the champion of the gods and the Creator of the world, it is natural that more prominence should be given to episodes in which Marduk is the hero than is assigned to other portions of the narrative in which he plays no part. Thus the description of Tiamat and her monster-brood, whom Marduk conquered, is repeated no less than four times, 1 and the preparations of Marduk for battle and his actual fight with the dragon take up the greater part of the Fourth Tablet. On the other hand, the birth of the older gods, among whom Marduk does not figure, is confined to the first twenty-one lines of the First Tablet; and not more than twenty lines are given to the account of the subjugation of Aps by Ea. That these elements should have been incorporated at all in the Babylonian version of the Creation story may be explained by the fact that they serve to enhance the position of prominence subsequently attained by


p. LXVIII

Marduk. Thus the description of the birth of the older gods and of the opposition they excited among the forces of disorder, was necessarily included in order to make it clear how Marduk was appointed their champion; and the account of Ea's success against Aps served to accentuate the terrible nature of Tiamat, whom he was unable to withstand. From the latter half of the Second Tablet onwards, Marduk alone is the hero of the poem.

The central episode of the poem is the fight between Marduk and Tiamat, and there is evidence to prove that this legend existed in other forms than that under which it occurs in the Creation Series. The conquest of the dragon was ascribed by the Babylonian priests to their local god, and in the poem the death of Tiamat is made a necessary preliminary to the creation of the world. On a fragment of a tablet from Ashur-bani-pal's library we possess, however, part of a copy of a legend 1 which describes the conquest of a dragon by some deity other than Marduk. 2 Moreover, the fight is there described as taking place, not before creation, but at a time when men existed and cities had been built. In this version



p. LXIX

men and gods are described as equally terrified at the dragon's appearance, and it was to deliver the land from the monster that one of the gods went out and slew him. This fragmentary tablet serves to prove that the Dragon-Myth existed in more than one form in Babylonian mythology, and it is not improbable that, many of the great cities of Babylonia possessed local versions of the legend in each of which the city-god figured as the hero. 1
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2007, 09:28:27 am »








In the Creation Series the creation of the world is narrated as the result of Marduk's conquest of the dragon, and there is no doubt that this version of the story represents the belief most generally held during the reigns of the later Assyrian and Babylonian kings. We possess, however, fragments of other legends in which the creation of the world is not connected with the death of a dragon. In one of these, which is written both in Sumerian and Babylonian, 2 the great Babylonian cities and temples are described as coming into existence in consequence of a movement in the waters which alone existed before the creation of the world. Marduk in this



p. LXX

version also figures as the Creator, for, together with the goddess Aruru, 1 he created man by laying a reed upon the face of the waters and forming dust which he poured out beside it; according to this version also he is described as creating animals and vegetation. In other legends which have come down to us, not only is the story of Creation unconnected with the Dragon-Myth, but Marduk does not figure as the Creator. In one of these "the gods" generally are referred to as having created the heavens and the earth and the cattle and beasts of the field; 2 while in another the creation of the Moon and the Sun is ascribed to Anu, Bel, and Ea. 3

From the variant accounts of the story of Creation and of the Dragon-Myth, which are referred to in the preceding paragraphs, it will be clear that the priests of Babylon made use of independent legends in the composition of their great poem of Creation 4; by





p. LXXI

assigning to Marduk the conquest of the Dragon 1 and the creation of the world they justified his claim to the chief place among the gods. As a fit ending to the great poem they incorporated the hymn to Marduk, consisting of addresses to him under his fifty titles. This portion of the poem 2 is proved by the Assyrian commentary, R. 366, etc., 3 as well as by fragments of parallel, but not duplicate, texts 4 to have been an independent composition which had at one time no connection with the series Enuma elish. In the poem the hymn is placed in the mouth of the gods, who at the end of the Creation have assembled together in Upshukkinaku; and to it is added the epilogue of eighteen lines, which completes the Seventh Tablet of the series.
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