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Babylonian Creation Myth

Still looking for the fifth tablet....

  • The Babylonian Creation Myth
  • When there was no heaven,
  • No earth, no height, no depth, no name
  • When Apsu was alone,
  • The sweet water, the first begetter; and Tiamat
  • The bitter water, and that
  • Return to the womb, her Mummu,
  • When there were no gods —
  • When sweet and bitter
  • Mingled together, no reed was plaited, no rushes
  • Muddied the water,
  • The gods were nameless, natureless, futureless, then
  • From Apsu and Tiamat
  • In the waters gods were created, in the waters
  • Silt precipitated,
  • Lahmu and Lahamu,
  • Were named; they were not yet old,
  • Not yet grown tall
  • When Anshar and Kishar overtook them both,
  • The lines of the sky and earth
  • Stretched where horizons meet to
  • separate
  • Cloud from silt.
  • Days on days, years
  • On years passed till Anu, the empty heaven,
  • Heir and supplanter,
  • First-born of his father, in his own nature
  • Begot Nudimmud-Ea,
  • Intellect, wisdom, wider than heaven’s horizon,
  • The strongest of all the kindred.

— from The Babylonian Creation Myth

The Babylonian Creation Myth, also known as the “Enûma Eliš, is the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words, “When on high…”). Recovered in fragments by English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) in 1849, the poem was found in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq) and published in 1876. With about a thousand lines, the poem is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. Only the fifth tablet has never been recovered. As one of the most important sources for the Babylonian worldview, the epic centers on Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods.

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  • The Babylonian Creation Myth
  • When there was no heaven,
  • No earth, no height, no depth, no name
  • When Apsu was alone,
  • The sweet water, the first begetter; and Tiamat
  • The bitter water, and that
  • Return to the womb, her Mummu,
  • When there were no gods —
  • When sweet and bitter
  • Mingled together, no reed was plaited, no rushes
  • Muddied the water,
  • The gods were nameless, natureless, futureless, then
  • From Apsu and Tiamat
  • In the waters gods were created, in the waters
  • Silt precipitated,
  • Lahmu and Lahamu,
  • Were named; they were not yet old,
  • Not yet grown tall
  • When Anshar and Kishar overtook them both,
  • The lines of the sky and earth
  • Stretched where horizons meet to
  • separate
  • Cloud from silt.
  • Days on days, years
  • On years passed till Anu, the empty heaven,
  • Heir and supplanter,
  • First-born of his father, in his own nature
  • Begot Nudimmud-Ea,
  • Intellect, wisdom, wider than heaven’s horizon,
  • The strongest of all the kindred.

— from The Babylonian Creation Myth

The Babylonian Creation Myth, also known as the “Enûma Eliš, is the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words, “When on high…”). Recovered in fragments by English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) in 1849, the poem was found in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq) and published in 1876. With about a thousand lines, the poem is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. Only the fifth tablet has never been recovered. As one of the most important sources for the Babylonian worldview, the epic centers on Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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