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Babylonian Mythology

Pantheon of the Gods

Etana

Creation Myth

Dumuzi and Enkimdu

Tiamat and Marduk

Explanation of ideals

Gilgamesh

Professional Criticism concerning mythology

List of ideals/ characteristics

About the Author

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Pantheon of the Gods

Name of God

Sphere of Influence

Enlil

Lord of the Air

Ea

Water

Marduk

organized the universe

Anshar

Whole Sky

Shamash

sun-god

Ishtar

some thought her a war-goddess or love goddess

Ninurta

Orion-hunter and warrior

Adad

god of lightning and the tempest

Gibil

god of fire

Nusku

fire-god

Apsu

masculine underworld ocean

Tiamat

bearer of the skies

Lakhmu and Lakhamu

first two to be born

Kishar

Whole Earth

Anu

sky god and god of monarchs

Aruru

mother and womb goddess

Nammu

associated with fresh water and on of the "The Pure Goddesses"

 

Creation Myth

The myth of creation is presented in a series of seven tablets focusing on Marduk. The myth was to prove Marduk's position as the greatest of all gods. The first tablet describes how the earth wasn't named yet. Apsu, the sweet water, and Tiamat, the salt water, only existed. From them comes great gods such as Anu and Ea whom procreate Marduk. Tiamat then makes her son, Kingu, her husband because of the conflict between the younger gods and primeval deities.

The second and third tablets are about preparations for combat and of the monsters created by Tiamat to help her. She wanted revenge after Ea kills Apsu. On the fourth tablet, Marduk is given supreme power and prepares for combat. He kills Tiamat and makes one half of her body the sky and the other, the earth.

The fifth tablet explains the placing of the stars, the length of the years, the divisions and signs of the zodiac, and the birth of the moon. The sixth tablet describes the creation of mankind. Mankind was created by mixing Kingu's blood with the earth. Marduk gave the gods their respective places in heaven and on earth and in return the gods built him his own temple, Esagila. The seventh tablet is devoted to the explanation of the fifty names of Marduk.

 

Tiamat and Marduk

Tiamat and her younger gods wanted to wage war against the other gods because their clamor disturbed her. She also wants revenge for Ea killing Apsu so she gave birth to all these ferocious animals. Many gods tried to kill Tiamat, but only Marduk could defeat her. Marduk nets her and throws a wind at her along with an arrow that pierced her stomach. The arrow cut through her insides, splitting the heart. Marduk then divides her body into two; one half for the sky and the other half forming the earth. The victory of Marduk had re-established peace and order in the world of the gods.

 

Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh ruled during the first Sumerian dynasty of Uruk and is said to be the son of a goddess. Two thirds of his body is god and the other third is man. He built the city and is credited with having great energy and enthusiasm. However, the gods create Enkidu to divert his energy, but then a temple prostitute civilizes Enkidu and he becomes friends with her. So, she sends the Great Bull of Heaven against Gilgamesh and Enkidu. They overcome the bull but then Ishtar makes the gods kill Enkidu.

Gilgamesh then goes to look for the secret of immortality and he meets Utanapishtim, the only man to become immortal. Enlil sent this flood but Utanapishtim escaped. He was angry and so made him immortal. Gilgamesh can have immortality if he can stay awake for six days and seven nights. However, he fell asleep for six days. Utanapishtim gives him a plant to eat when he gets old to renew his youth. On his way home he stops to bathe in a pool of cold water and a snake that lives there eats the plant.

Gilgamesh returns to his city and tells himself to enjoy life. He wants to rejoice in the power and importance of the city he has built.

 

List of Ideals/Characteristics

Marduk

bravery

Tablets of Creation

immortality

gods

earth

man

heavens

a science of magic that controls the gods and forces of universe

multiple births

to serve the heavenly ones

fertility ideas

kingship

 

Etana

Etana is thought of as "a shepherd who ascended to heaven." He was supposed to bring kingship to mankind, however, he didn't have a son to continue the dynasty. Etana gets the plant of birth from Ishtar in heaven. He is carried by an eagle to heaven and gets the plant because Etana's son's name is on the Sumerian King List.

 

Dumuzi and Enkimdu

Inanna iis supposed to pick between Dumuzi and Enkimdu for a husband. Dumuzi is a shepherd and Enkimdu is a farmer. Inanna prefers Enkimdu at first, but Dumuzi boasts about his valuable produce from his flocks and herds. The two rivals quarrel, but Enkimdu gives in and lets his flocks pasture anywhere on his land. Enkimdu is invited to Inanna and Dumuzi's wedding. He promises to bring farm products for them as gifts.

 

Explanation of Ideals

The Babylonians thought Marduk was important because he killed Tiamat and created earth and the heavens. He had bravery for killing her and people respected him for that. Tablets of Creation are very important because they explain how earth and mankind came around. People didn't want to disturb the gods because the gods could do something evil back to you and you didn't want that. The Babylonians believed in science of magic that controls the gods and forces of the universe. People who used the science for evil purposes were sorcerers and got the death penalty. Multiple births were good to have because birth to them was weird. Kingship was also important because they needed order in their dynasty.

 

Professional Criticism concerning the mythology

Most myths are found on the clay tablets. The texts consist of sophisticated poetic compositions recounting the deaths of a small number of deities. They also have folklore motifs and legends of semi-divine heroes. The texts are mostly fragmentary and their precise interpretation is disputed.The heart of Babylon was Esagila which contains Marduk's temple. The ziggurat of Babylon was E-temen-an-ki.

 

About the Author

Hi! My name is Kristen and I made this page for a mythology project for school. I'm from Fairfield, NJ and am 15 years old. I play field hockey and dance at West Essex. I'd like to say hi to my friends here at W.E.: Katherine, Andrea, Maria, Monica, Meredith, Kelly, Lena, Adam, Josh, Amanda, Elaine, and Becky.

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