pdf of paper By D. D. Luckenbill University of Chicago

Reprinted for private circulation from The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1, October 1921

It was early in the year 1875 that George Smith first called attention to some fragments of cuneiform tablets in the British Museum on which he had discovered ''the Chaldean account of Genesis". Since King's "The Seven Tablets of Creation" (1902) , almost two decades ago, considerable progress has been marked in our knowledge of Babylonian accounts of beginnings. However, this advance was made, not through new fragments of the "Enuma elish", but through the discovery of older, Sumerian, legends. With the publication of the documents found by the Germans at the ancient capital of Assyria, our interest again returns to the ''Seven Tablets." By a most remarkable chance (the initiated know how tantalizingly fate has dealt with us in these matters), the Ashur texts practically close up the two serious gaps in the Epic of Creation, the one in the first tablet where the creation of the gods is described, the other in the sixth where the creation of mankind is the theme.

Tablet I Creation of the Gods
1 When above the heaven was not named, below the earth was not called by name, but Apsu, the primeval, their progenitor, Mummu and Tiamat, who bore all of them,
5 their waters as one they mingled: (three elements of chaos, Apsu, Mummu, and Tiamat)
reeds were not yet matted together, marshes had not yet appeared, when the gods had not yet been fashioned, not one,
none was called by name, destinies were not fixed :
then the gods were created in their midst.(three elements)
10 Lahmu and Lahamu were fashioned, were called by name; as they grew they became mighty.
Anshar and Kishar were created - they were more than they.
Long were the days; years were added thereto: Anu, their son, rival of his fathers:
15 Anshar made Anu, his first-born, (their) equal.
Then Anu begat Nudimmud (in) his (own) image. Nudimmud became master of his fathers; keen (open-eared), thoughtful, mighty in strength, stronger, by far, than his begetter, his father Anshar:
20 He had no equal among the gods, his brothers. So came into being the brothers, the gods.
They perturbed Tiamat, they overpowered all of their guards, troubling the belly of Tiamat. In ... they mourned ( ?) in the midst of ...
25 Apsu (could) not diminish their uproar, and Tiamat was distressed by their ... ; their deeds ''smote" [them], their way was not good, they ... Then Apsu, the begetter of the great gods,
30 cried to Mummu, his messenger, saying unto him: "Mummu, my messenger, who rejoicest my heavenly abode, come, to Tiamat let us go." They went and before Tiamat they lay down. They consulted on a plan concerning the gods, their sons.
35 Apsu opened his mouth, addressing her, to the shining Tiamat he spoke: "Their way annoys me."
53 Mummu fell upon his neck, took him on his knees, kissed him.
55 Whatever they planned in their assembly to the gods, their first-born was repeated. The gods heard it, they rushed about (?), they kept silent, they sat in sorrow. Then the keen, the wise, the exalted,
60 Ea, perceiving all things, saw their plot, he plotted it, the outline of the whole he set down. He cunningly applied his superior, holy (pure) incantation, he recited it, with water he quieted him. Sleep overcame him, lying in the cave;
65 he caused Apsu to lie down, overcome by sleep. As to Mummu, his manhood was woefully distressed, he (Ea) loosed his (Mummu's) ''bands," tore off his ... , he took away his splendor, he (Mummu) lay there. He bound him, namely Apsu, and slew him.
70 Mummu he locked up, used violence upon him. He established his abode upon Apsu. Mummu he seized, holding him by his rope. After he had bound the two, and overpowered (them), Ea established his triumph over his foes,
75 and rested quietly in his chamber. He dragged him away, namely Apsu, and appointed (him) for shrines: in his place he founded his park( ?). Ea (Lahmu) and Lahamu, his spouse, sat in splendor, in the abode of the fates, the dwelling of canons,
80 the mighty one of the mighty, the chief of the gods, Anshar he begat; in the midst of the Apsu he created Anshar, in the midst of the bright (holy) Apsu he created Anshar. There created him Lahmu, his father. Lahamu, his mother, bore him,
85 the breast of the goddesses suckled him, ' a nurse cared for him, she filled him with terrors. Mighty was his stature, brilliant the glance of his eye, noble his going forth, gracious ( ?) from of old. Lahmu, his begetter, his father, saw him,
90 he rejoiced, he beamed, his heart was full of joy. He caused him to be desired, equality with the gods he gave him in addition. He was exceedingly tall, in all respects greater than they (his parents). Beyond comprehension was the beauty of his members, beyond imagining, hard for the eyes to look upon.
Tablet VI Creation of Humankind
95 Four were his eyes, four his ears; his lips breathed out fire, hke those of the fire-god. There grew for him four ears, and of eyes he had the same number. Exalted was he among the gods ...
100 100 His members ...
1 When Marduk heard the word of the gods, his heart was moved and he devised cunning plans; he opened his mouth, to Ea he spoke, as to that which he had planned in his heart, he gave counsel. "Blood will I bind and bone will I cause to be. I will set up an amelu, man shall be his name,
5 I will create the amelu, man. They (mankind) shall perform the service of the gods, these (the gods) shall be pacified. I will change the 'ways' of the gods, cunningly will I contrive it. All alike shall they be honored, and to their (several ways) let them be assigned." Ea answered him, the word he spoke,
10 or the pacification of the gods, he imparted to him a plan. "Let one of their brothers be offered up, let him be destroyed and let people be formed. Let the gods gather together, let this one be offered up, let them remain." Marduk assembled the great gods, he put forth his plan(?), his command he gave. He opened his mouth, gave the gods their orders: as king to the Anunnaki he addressed the word :
15 "The former (word) which I spoke to you, surely it shall abide; trustworthy are the words I utter; 'Is a 'word' from me. Who was it who created warfare, who let loose Tiamat, who 'joined' battle? Let him be offered up who created warfare.
20 I will let him bear his penalty (sin), 'oblivion' I will cause him to inhabit." Then answered him the Igigi, the great gods : "Son of a king, god of heaven and earth, counselor of the gods, our lord : Kingu it was who created warfare, who let loose Tiamat, who 'joined' battle."
25 They bound him, before Ea they brought him, punishment they laid upon him, they pierced him to the blood. From his blood he (Ea) made mankind, from the service of the gods he released the gods. After he had created man, Ea organized the service of the gods, they laid it on him (man). This work was not done carefully, through the cunning of Marduk Nudimmud (Ea) [made it acceptable]. Marduk, the king, made a division among the gods, the Anunnaki [he assigned to places] above and below.
30 To Anu he assigned the station ... to guard in the midst (of heaven) .... a watch. He changed the "ways" of earth of heaven and and earth ( ?) After Marduk had issued his commands,
the Anunnaki of heaven
the Anunnaki [of earth]
35 To Marduk their lord they spoke : " O Nannar, lord, who hast established our freedom, what grace have we before thee (how can we find grace before thee) ? Come, let us make a shrine, whose name shall be proclaimed (afar), an abode in which we may have our rest at night.
40 Come, let us make for ourselves a room, ... On the day that we accomplish this, let us rest therein."
When Marduk heard this, like the day, his face became exceedingly bright.
"Build Babylon, whose construction you have desired;
45 Let a city be built, let there be fashioned a covered( ?) shrine.'' The Anunnaki carried the basket, the first year [they made] its bricks. On the approach of the second year they raised aloft the head of Esagila, over against the Apsu, they built the zigurrat (temple-tower) of the upper Apsu, for Marduk, Enlil (and) Ea established his heart's desire therein. In majesty before them towers let it rise up: towers resting on the ground, they looked up at his two horns.
50 After they had completed the construction of Esagila, the Anunnaki, all of them, built themselves shrines. To Esagila which is on the border (edge) of the Apsu, all of them gathered : in the great shrine which they had built for his abode, he caused the gods, his fathers, to sit down at his board (with the words):
"This Babylon, let it be the abode of your dwelling." "We will wait in his place, at his board."^ The great gods sat down, the bowl they set down at their( ?) banquet. After they had put the wine therein,
55 in Esagila [they feasted — and got drunk]. Laws were laid down, canons [fixed]. The station of heaven and earth, among (?) the gods, all of them.
The great gods sat down [on their ways (paths)]. The gods of fate, seven are they, for were stationed.
60 Enhl lifted up his weapon, before them he laid it down; the net which he had made, the gods, his fathers beheld it, they beheld the bow, how cunning was its workmanship; the work which he had done, his fathers praised it. Anu took (it) up, in the assembly of the gods he spoke,
65 the bow he kissed (saying): it is ... and he called off the names of the bow thus: "Longwood is its first (name),
its second ...
Its third name is Bow-star, in heaven ( ?) it ... He fixed its station ... After the fates of (heaven and earth had been decreed) ...
70 and he set up a throne ... Mighty in heaven ... They gathered together ...
( are almost totally gone )
79 He made greater ...
80 to their word ... He opened his mouth ... ''Let him be exalted, the son, let him ... His rule, truly it is resplendent ...
85 Let him exercise sovereignty over us ... In days to come, let ... not be forgotten. Let him establish the regular offerings for his fathers, for their maintenance let him provide. Let him cause (the gods, his fathers,) to smell the incense. 90 An image in heaven .... he has made ... let him appoint ( ?) and ... Let him (them?) not ... He opened his mouth . . . "... let them kiss. Let offerings be brought for their god, their goddess.
95 Let them not forget, their god let them uphold (maintain). Let them adorn their ... , their shrine let them build.
Let them, the gods cleanse (?) the blackheads (the people). We, by whatever name we call (him), he is our god.
We will surely mention his fifty names.
100 His , truly it (they) are splendid, his works, truly they are ever the same. Marduk, who, on his going forth, was proclaimed by his father, Anu, he establishes , he enriches their stalls (?). He it was who bound the flood with his weapon, who saved the totality of the gods, his fathers, in (their) distress.
105 His sonship of the gods, they proclaimed it for him. In his bright light let them walk, they, continuously. (On) the people whom he created, creatures of life(?), the service of the gods he imposed, and these were pacified.
... the star ...
110 May they look upon with favor ( ?), they, upon him. The god, truly his sonship He it is who gladdens the heart of the Anunnaki, who pacifies the Igigi(?) Marduk (Merodach),! truly the mainstay of his land and his people (is he). Him let them praise, let his people have( ?) ...
115 (As) the god Bara, the umpire (decider) he stood (?), the scepter(?) ... wide was his heart, warm his bowels. Sharru (king), god of heaven and earth, whose name was proclaimed by our assembly, the word of his mouth let us cause to be borne to the gods, his fathers.
Truly he is the begetter of the gods of heaven and earth, all of them.
120 The king, whose purification... they have caused to be made. (He is) the river-god, king of all of heaven and earth, whose name we have mentioned : a place for all of the gods who are in heaven and earth, he established as our abode in our need. To the Igigi and the Anunnaki he assigned (their) stations. At his name let the gods tremble, let the holy places shake.
125 (He is) Asar-lu-shar, whose name his father Anu gave him; he, surely he is the light of the gods, powerful torch ( ?), who like every of god and land, who, in the mighty conflict, saved our abode in our distress. Asar-lu-shar, god of hfe, secondly they named (him),
130 who through his creative power, strengthened the perishing gods;
the lord, who with his holy incantation restored to life the dying gods.
Destroyer of ... , hater of ...
... shining god, who ... Bright god, brightener of our path,
135 .... Anshar, Lahmu, Lahamu, ... their ... they called ... we spoke his names." They rejoiced, with gladness they heard their names.
140 In Upshukkinnaku he caused them to throw aside their fetters. "Of the heroic son, our avenger, we, of our patron, will exalt the name." They sat down, in their assembly they proclaimed his worth, in the ... of all of them, they mentioned his name.


published by Barton in Miscellaneous Babylonian Inscrip- tions, No. 8. A new copy of the text (it cried to heaven for one) was given by Langdon in Le poeme sumerien, Plates VII and VIII

1 In the mountain of heaven and earth, when, above(?), the gods, the Anunna, were born, green and the grain-god had not (yet) sprouted, had not (yet) become green; his people, with Takku, had not (yet) been formed,
5 for Takku they (his people) had not (yet) heaped up a temple platform. A ewe had not (yet) bleated, a lamb had not yet been dropped, a she-goat had not (yet) baaed, a kid had not (yet) been dropped. The ewe had not (yet) borne her lamb, the she-goat had not (yet) borne her kid.
10 The grain of the grain-god and the fold (flocks) the Anunna - the great gods are they- knew not (yet) ; shesh-grain of thirty days there was none, shesh-grain of sixty days there was none, turtur-grain, kurra-grain, shining adam-grain, there was none.
15 There was no living in dwellings. Takku had not (yet) been born, had not (yet) worn the crown, the lord, the god of the horned tiara, the all-powerful lord, had not (yet) been born, the sun-god, brightness bringing, had not (yet) gone forth. Mankind, when they were created (on the day of their begetting),
20 food and sleep they knew not of, garments for their covering they knew not of. The people brought all kinds( ?) of reeds from the marshes( ?) like sheep they ate grass with their mouths(?), water of the gardens [from the ditches] they drank.
(Rest of it is too broken)
1 The opening lines, of which there may have been one or two more than the numbering shows, are too fragmentary to permit of any attempts at restoration. Mankind (1. 3) and the gods Enki and ''Father" Enhl (11. 4 and 5), representing the ''gre?.t gods, the Anunna," are the dramatis personae. )
In a favorable month a tablet was (in) a favorable month, it was a joyous one, the . . . . for ... Enki and Enlil uttered an incantation ....
flocks and grain (the grain-god) in the favorable month they ... for ...
10 The flocks ... the fold.
Grass of the plain in abundance they gave them, grain ... they put before them, shepherds ( ?) and under-shepherds they gave them. The flocks stood in their fold,
15 the shepherd brought abundance to the fold. The grain stood in the ear, the "green maiden" brought abundance. In the fields the head was lifted on high, abundance (of rain) came from heaven,
20 flocks and grain ''blossomed forth."
The gatherings (of people) were blessed with abundance, the (whole) land was blessed wifh renewal of life. The law of their gods they promulgated, the storehouses of the land they filled with food,
25 the favors shown the land was abundant.
The prostrate ... , trampled in the dust, lords they became ( ?), rich abundance was theirs. Both of them in ... stood.