I am reseraching on the Rennes Le Chateau and it will take more time for me to blog on that!
The Enûma Eliš is the Babylonian creation myth (named after its opening words). It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 (in fragmentary form) in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq), and published by George Smith in 1876.
The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of text. Most of Tablet V has never been recovered, but aside from this lacuna the text is almost complete. A duplicate copy of Tablet V has been found in Sultantepe, ancient Huzirina, located near the modern town of Şanlıurfa in Turkey.
This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods. Its primary original purpose, however, is not an exposition of theology or theogony, but the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods.
The Enûma Eliš exists in various copies from Babylonia and Assyria. The version from Ashurbanipal’s library dates to the 7th century BC. The composition of the text probably dates to the Bronze Age, to the time of Hammurabi or perhaps the early Kassite era (roughly 18th to 16th centuries BC), although some scholars favour a later date of ca. 1100 BC.
The title, meaning “when on high” is the incipit. The first tablet begins:e-nu-ma e-liš la na-bu-ú šá-ma-mu
šap-liš am-ma-tum šu-ma la zak-rat
ZU.AB-ma reš-tu-ú za-ru-šu-un
mu-um-mu ti-amat mu-al-li-da-at gim-ri-šú-un
A.MEŠ-šú-nu iš-te-niš i-ḫi-qu-ú-šú-un
gi-pa-ra la ki-is-su-ru su-sa-a la she-‘u-ú
e-nu-ma dingir dingir la šu-pu-u ma-na-ma When the sky above was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsû, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both,
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being.
The epic names two primeval gods: Apsû (or Abzu) and Tiamat. Several other gods are created (Ea and his brothers) who reside in Tiamat’s vast body. They make so much noise that the babel or noise annoys Tiamat and Apsû greatly. Apsû wishes to kill the young gods, but Tiamat disagrees. The vizier, Mummu, agrees with Apsû’s plan to destroy them. Tiamat, in order to stop this from occurring, warns Ea (Nudimmud), the most powerful of the gods. Ea uses magic to put Apsû into a coma, then kills him, and shuts Mummu out. Ea then becomes the chief god, and along with his consort Damkina, has a son, Marduk, greater still than himself. Marduk is given wind to play with and he uses the wind to make dust storms and tornadoes. This disrupts Tiamat’s great body and causes the gods still residing inside her to be unable to sleep.
They persuade Tiamat to take revenge for the death of her husband, Apsû. Her power grows, and some of the gods join her. She creates 11 monsters to help her win the battle and elevates Kingu, her new husband, to “supreme dominion.” A lengthy description of the other gods’ inability to deal with the threat follows. Ultimately, Marduk is selected as their champion against Tiamat, and becomes very powerful. He defeats and kills Tiamat, and forms the earth from her corpse. The subsequent hundred lines or so constitute the lost section of Tablet V.
The gods who sided with Tiamat are initially forced to labor in the service of the other gods. They are freed from their servitude when Marduk decides to slay Kingu and create humankind from his blood. Babylon is established as the residence of the chief gods—the chief gods who made much babel or noise. Finally, the gods confer kingship on Marduk, hailing him with fifty names. Most noteworthy is Marduk’s symbolic elevation over Enlil, who was seen by earlier Mesopotamian civilizations as the king of the gods.
Thanks for sharing!