Babylon (Babylonian, Bab-ilim or Babil, ‘Gate of God’)

 

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Babylonia [2000 – 323 BC] – derives it’s name from the city Babylon.

Babylon (Babylonian, Bab-ilim or Babil, ‘Gate of God’), one of the most important cities of the ancient world, whose location today is marked by a broad area of ruins just east of the Euphrates River, 90 km (56 mi) south of Baghdad, Iraq.

Babylonia was located in what is now southern Iraq. Babylonian literature was well developed in the 3rd millennium B.C. Records have been found of highly developed religion, history and science, including medicine, chemistry, alchemy, botany, zoology, math and astronomy.

In the Old Testament it is called ‘Shinar’ – Akkadia and Sumer as well as ‘the land of the Chaldeans.’

The Babylonians lived in Mesopotamia, a fertile plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

HISTORY
Long periods of the history of the Middle East in antiquity cannot be dated by an absolute chronology or according to a modern system of reckoning. The ‘Sumerian King List’ gives a succession of rulers to the end of the dynasty of Isin, about 1790 BC, but it is quite unreliable for dates prior to the dynasty of Akkad, about 2340 BC. A relative chronology is well established for the era from the beginning of the dynasty of Akkad to the end of the 1st Dynasty of Babylon, about 1595 BC. This period, however, is followed by an obscure period of more than 700 years, during which dates are only approximate. Scholars follow at least three chronological systems for the ancient Middle East: high, middle, or low, depending upon whether the date assigned to the first year of the reign of Hammurabi of Babylon is 1848, 1792, or 1728 BC. The dates in this article and in that on Sumer follow the so-called middle chronology and date the first year of Hammurabi’s reign to 1792 BC.

The Babylonian civilization, which endured from the 18th until the 6th century BC, was, like the Sumerian that preceded it, urban in character, although based on agriculture rather than industry. The country consisted of a dozen or so cities, surrounded by villages and hamlets. At the head of the political structure was the king, a more or less absolute monarch who exercised legislative and judicial as well as executive powers. Under him was a group of appointed governors and administrators. Mayors and councils of city elders were in charge of local administration.

The Babylonians modified and transformed their Sumerian heritage in accordance with their own culture and ethos. The resulting way of life proved to be so effective that it underwent relatively little change for some 1200 years. It exerted influence on all the neighboring countries, especially the kingdom of Assyria, which adopted Babylonian culture almost in its entirety. Fortunately, many written documents from this period have been excavated and made available to scholars. One of the most important is the remarkable collection of laws often designated as the ‘Code of Hammurabi’, which, together with other documents and letters belonging to different periods, provides a comprehensive picture of Babylonian social structure and economic organization.

During the reigns of Hammurabi and his son Samsu-iluna (r. about 1750-1712 BC), who succeeded him, Babylonian civilization reached the zenith of its cultural development and political power. Some of the more important cities of Babylonia began to seek independence, however, and in the reign of Samsu-iluna, the Kassites first invaded the country. Although Samsu-iluna succeeded in beating them off, the Kassites continued to infiltrate Babylonia in the centuries that followed. Samsu-iluna suffered another serious setback when a rebel leader, Iluma-ilum, founded a dynasty in the southern Babylonian district, bordering on the Persian Gulf, commonly known as the Sea-land.

Under Samsu-iluna’s successors Babylonia suffered a serious decline in power and territory. When, about 1595 BC, a Hittite army penetrated as far south as Babylon and carried off Babylonian prisoners and wealth to far-off Anatolia, the kingdom became badly disorganized. Babylonia later fell under the rule of the dynasty of the Sealand, at least for a brief period. Finally, toward the middle of the 16th century BC, a Kassite ruler named Agum (r. about 1570 BC) became master of Babylonia and extended its territory from the Euphrates River to the Zagros Mountains.

Under Kassite rule, Babylonia once again became a power of considerable importance. At the beginning of the 15th century BC, for example, it was one of the four major powers of the Orient, the other three being the Egyptian, Mitanni, and Hittite empires.

After Assyria freed itself of Mitanni domination early in the 14th century BC, its rulers began to interfere in the affairs of Babylonia and sought to control it politically. They were eventually successful, and a weakened Babylonia fell prey to the Elamites, who invaded it from the east, deposed its Kassite king, and practically reduced it to a state of vassalage.

A revolt then broke out in southern and central Babylonia, and a new dynasty, known usually as the 2d Dynasty of Isin, was founded. Toward the end of the 12th century BC, Nebuchadnezzar I (r. about 1125-1103 BC), one of the Isin kings, defeated the Elamites and even attacked Assyria. Soon after, Aramaean nomads began swarming into Babylonia. For about two centuries thereafter the country was in a state of political chaos.

THE CHALDEAN PERIOD
Among the surrounding tribes was one powerful group known as the Chaldeans. They settled in and dominated the district along the Persian Gulf. Beginning in the 9th century BC, the Chaldeans were destined to play an important political role in the history of the Orient; their rulers helped destroy the Assyrian Empire and, at least for a brief period, made Babylonia, or, as it gradually came to be known, Chaldea, the dominant power of Mesopotamia.

One of the outstanding Chaldean kings was Merodach-baladan II (r. 722-710 BC), who fought bitterly and bravely, if unsuccessfully, against four mighty Assyrian monarchs: Tiglath-pileser III (r. 745-727 BC), Shalmaneser V (r. 727-722 BC), Sargon II (r. 722-705 BC), and Sennacherib (r. 705-681 BC), the destroyer of Babylon. Sennacherib’s successors, Esarhaddon (r. 681-669 BC) and Ashurbanipal, retained political control of Babylonia in spite of numerous rebellions and defections. In 626, however, when Assyria was in turmoil and menaced by the Medes, the Scythians, and the Cimmerians, a Chaldean named Nabopolassar (r. 626-605 BC) proclaimed himself king of Babylonia. Allying himself with the Medes, he helped to destroy Assyrian might.

With Assyria no longer to be feared, Egypt began to menace Palestine and Syria. Nabopolassar’s son Nebuchadnezzar II marched against the Egyptians and defeated them at Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned for 43 years, extended Babylonian political control over practically all of Mesopotamia. To students of the Bible he is known as the destroyer of Jerusalem and as the king who took the captive Jews to Babylonia. To archaeologists and historians he is known as the great builder and restorer. He reconstructed Babylon, his capital, in elaborate style and restored many temples throughout Babylonia.

The Babylonian revival did not long endure. After Nebuchadnezzar’s death (562 BC), a struggle for power apparently went on among various parties and individuals for several years. In 556 BC Nabonidus, one of Nebuchadnezzar’s governors, became king of Babylonia (r. 556-539 BC). A somewhat enigmatic figure, he in some way antagonized the influential priestly class of Babylon. Nabonidus left the city of Babylon under control of his son Belshazzar and lived for a while in the city of Harran and later in the oasis of Teima, in the Arabian Desert. In 539 BC the Babylonians were defeated by the Persian king Cyrus the Great, who had defeated Media. Nabonidus was captured at Sippar (near modern Baghdad, Iraq), and the Persians entered Babylon without resistance. Babylonia was then annexed to Persia and lost its independence for all time.

THE CODE OF HAMMURABI – LEGAL SYSTEM

The Code of Hammurabi consisted of a collection of the laws and edicts of the Babylonian King Hammurabi, and the earliest legal code known in its entirety. A copy of the code, engraved on a block of black diorite nearly 2.4 m (8 ft) high, was unearthed by a team of French archaeologists at Susa, Iraq, formerly ancient Elam, during the winter of 1901-2. The block, broken in three pieces, has been restored and is now in the Louvre in Paris.

Composition of the Code:

The divine origin of the written law is emphasized by a bas-relief in which the king is depicted receiving the code from the sun god, Shamash. The quality most usually associated with this god is justice. The code is set down in horizontal columns of cuneiform writing: 16 columns of text on the obverse side and 28 on the reverse. The text begins with a prologue that explains the extensive restoration of the temples and religious cults of Babylonia and Assyria. The code itself, composed of 28 paragraphs, seems to be a series of amendments to the common law of Babylonia, rather than a strict legal code. It begins with direction for legal procedure and the statement of penalties for unjust accusations, false testimony, and injustice done by judges; then follow laws concerning property rights, loans, deposits, debts, domestic property, and family rights. The sections covering personal injury indicate that penalties were imposed for injuries sustained through unsuccessful operations by physicians and for damages caused by neglect in various trades. Rates are fixed in the code for various forms of service in most branches of trade and commerce.

A Humane Civil Law:

The ‘Code of Hammurabi’ contains no laws having to do with religion. The basis of criminal law is that of equal retaliation, comparable to the Semitic law of “an eye for an eye.” The law offers protection to all classes of Babylonian society; it seeks to protect the weak and the poor, including women, children, and slaves, against injustice at the hands of the rich and powerful.

The code is particularly humane for the time in which it was promulgated; it attests to the law and justice of Hammurabi’s rule. It ends with an epilogue glorifying the mighty works of peace executed by Hammurabi and explicitly states that he had been called by the gods “to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil.” He describes the laws in his compilation as enabling “the land to enjoy stable government and good rule,” and he states that he had inscribed his words on a pillar in order “that the strong may not oppress the weak, that justice may be dealt the orphan and the widow.” Hammurabi counsels the downtrodden in these ringing words: “Let any oppressed man who has a cause come into the presence of my statue as king of justice, and have the inscription on my stele read out, and hear my precious words, that my stele may make the case clear to him; may he understand his cause, and may his heart be set at ease!”

LEGAL SYSTEM
Law and justice were key concepts in the Babylonian way of life. Justice was administered by the courts, each of which consisted of from one to four judges. Often the elders of a town constituted a tribunal. The judges could not reverse their decisions for any reason, but appeals from their verdicts could be made to the king. Evidence consisted either of statements from witnesses or of written documents. Oaths, which played a considerable role also in the administration of justice, could be either promissory, declaratory, or exculpatory. The courts inflicted penalties ranging from capital punishment and mutilation to flogging, reduction to slavery, and banishment. Awards for damages were from 3 to 30 times the value of the object to be restored.

To ensure that their legal, administrative, and economic institutions functioned effectively, the Babylonians used the cuneiform system of writing developed by their Sumerian predecessors. To train their scribes, secretaries, archivists, and other administrative personnel, they adopted the Sumerian system of formal education, under which secular schools served as the cultural centers of the land. The curriculum consisted primarily of copying and memorizing both textbooks and Sumero-Babylonian dictionaries containing long lists of words and phrases, including the names of trees, animals, birds, insects, countries, cities, villages, and minerals, as well as a large and diverse assortment of mathematical tables and problems. In the study of literature, the pupils copied and imitated various types of myths, epics, hymns, lamentations, proverbs, and essays in both the Sumerian and the Babylonian languages.

WRITING SYSTEM
Babylonians developed an abstract form of writing based on cuneiform symbols. Their symbols were written on wet clay tablets which were baked in the hot sun and many thousands of these tablets have survived to this day. It was the use of a stylus on a clay medium that led to the use of cuneiform symbols since curved lines could not be drawn. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Babylonian’s calculating skills was their construction of tables to aid calculation.

MATHEMATICS
The Babylonians had an advanced number system, in some ways more advanced than our present system. It was a positional system with base 60 rather than the base 10 of our present system. Now 10 has only two proper divisors, 2 and 5. However 60 has 10 proper divisors so many more numbers have a finite form.

For mathematical and arithmetical purposes they used the Sumerian sexagesimal system of numbers, which featured a useful device of so-called place-value notation that resembles the present-day decimal system. Measures of length, area, capacity, and weight, standardized earlier by the Sumerians, remained in use.

The Babylonians divided the day into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes, each minute into 60 seconds. This form of counting has survived for 4000 years.

CREATIONAL STORY – THE ENUMA ELISH
The Babylonian ‘Epic of Creation – Enuma Elish’ is written on seven tablets, each containing between 115 and 170 lines long. Society.

SOCIETY
Babylonian society consisted of three classes represented by the awilu, a free person of the upper class; the wardu, or slave; and the mushkenu, a free person of low estate, who ranked legally between the awilu and the wardu. Most slaves were prisoners of war, but some were recruited from the Babylonian citizenry as well. For example, free persons might be reduced to slavery as punishment for certain offenses; parents could sell their children as slaves in time of need; or a man might even turn over his entire family to creditors in payment of a debt, but for no longer than three years.

SLAVERY
Slaves were the property of their master, like any other chattel.

They could be branded and flogged, and they were severely punished if they attempted to escape. On the other hand, because it was to the advantage of the master that the slaves stay strong and healthy, they usually were well treated. Slaves even had certain legal rights and could engage in business, borrow money, and buy their freedom. If a slave married a free person and had children, the latter were free.

The sale price of a slave varied with the market, as well as with the attributes of the individual; the average price for a grown man was usually 20 shekels of silver, a sum that could buy some 35 bushels of barley.

MUSHKENU
The position of the mushkenu in society can be surmised from a number of legal provisions in the Code of Hammurabi. To cite comparative examples, if a mushkenu was injured in eye or limb, he was indemnified by the payment of a mina (roughly 0.45 kg, or 1 lb, of silver); in the case of an awilu similarly injured, the law of retaliation (lex talionis) was applied; whereas for an injured slave, the indemnity was to be half the slave’s market value. If the injury required surgical treatment, the awilu had to pay a fee of ten shekels, but the mushkenu paid five shekels; and, in the case of a slave, the master had to pay a fee of only two shekels.

FAMILY LIFE
The family was the basic unit of Babylonian society. Marriages were arranged by the parents, and the betrothal was recognized legally as soon as the groom had presented a bridal gift to the father of the bride; the ceremony often was concluded with a contract inscribed on a tablet. Although marriage was thus reduced to a practical arrangement, some evidence exists to show that surreptitious premarital lovemaking was not altogether unknown. The Babylonian woman had certain important legal rights. She could hold property, engage in business, and qualify as a witness. The husband, however, could divorce her on relatively light grounds, or, if she had borne him no children, he could marry a second wife. Children were under the absolute authority of their parents, who could disinherit them or, as mentioned before, could sell them into slavery. In the normal course of events children were loved and, at the death of the parents, inherited their property. Adopted children were not uncommon and were treated with care.

CITIES

The populations of the Babylonian cities cannot be estimated with any reasonable degree of accuracy, because the authorities, so far as extant documents reveal, took no census. The number of inhabitants of a city probably ranged from 10,000 to 50,000. The city streets were narrow, winding, and quite irregular, with high, windowless walls of houses on both sides.

The streets were unpaved and undrained. The average house was a small, one-story, mud-brick structure, consisting of several rooms grouped around a court. The house of a well-to-do Babylonian, on the other hand, was probably a two-story brick dwelling of about a dozen rooms and was plastered and whitewashed both inside and out.

The ground floor consisted of a reception room, kitchen, lavatory, servants’ quarters, and, sometimes, even a private chapel. Furniture consisted of low tables, high-backed chairs, and beds with wooden frames. Household vessels were made of clay, stone, copper, and bronze, and baskets and chests of reed and wood. Floors and walls were adorned with reed mats, skin rugs, and woolen hangings.

Below the house was often located a mausoleum in which the family dead were buried. The Babylonians believed that the souls of the dead traveled to the nether world, and that, at least to some extent, life continued there as on earth. For this reason, pots, tools, weapons, and jewels were buried with the dead.

TECHNOLOGY – FARMING – MAP MAKING
The Babylonians inherited the technical achievements of the Sumerians in irrigation and agriculture. Maintaining the system of canals, dikes, weirs, and reservoirs constructed by their predecessors demanded considerable engineering knowledge and skill.

Preparation of maps, surveys, and plans involved the use of leveling instruments and measuring rods.

Farming was a complicated and methodical occupation requiring foresight, diligence, and skill. A recently translated document written in Sumerian but used as a textbook in the Babylonian schools is a veritable farmer’s almanac; it records a series of instructions and directions to guide farm activities from the watering of the fields to the winnowing of the harvested crops.

Babylonian artisans were skilled in metallurgy, in the processes of fulling, bleaching, and dyeing, and in the preparation of paints, pigments, cosmetics, and perfumes.

MEDICINE
In the field of medicine, surgery was well known and often practiced, judging from the Hammurabi law code, which devotes several paragraphs to the surgeon.

Pharmacology, too, doubtless had made considerable progress, although the only major direct evidence of this comes from a Sumerian tablet written several centuries before Hammurabi.

THE TOWER OF BABEL – GENESIS 11:1-5

In this classic story from the Old Testament of the Bible, the people of the Earth were building a colossal staged temple-tower or multi-storeyed ziggurat – that would reach heaven. But did they really believe they could reach their Gods? Most likely the tower would be used as a place of worship.

Actually, the purpose of the tower was to provide a common religious center as a rallying point, lest the people be scattered. The builders of the tower were in open defiance of God’s command (Genesis 9:1) (53).

In the ninth chapter of Genesis, God commands Noah and his sons to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (9:1 NAS). On the fifth day of the creation of the Earth, God gave this command to the birds and fishes (Gen. 1:20-23). On the sixth day, God reiterated this command to the pinnacles of creation, man and woman (Gen. 1:26-28). Humanity was to subjugate the untamed Earth by dispersing themselves.

The builders in Shinar banded together for a common ecumenical purpose. Genesis 11:6 suggests that this assembly would have given rise to projects of a purely secular nature. The people did not consider that their misguided enthusiasm may have been just a bit shortsighted. Considering the benevolent, omniscient knowledge of God it appears that the long-term consequences of the Tower of Babel might have resulted in a plight similar to the apostate state of humanity (Gen. 6:1-5) prior to the sanctifying flood of the entire Earth (Gen. 6:6-24).

Genesis 9:18-19 and the entire tenth chapter of Genesis contain the Table of the Nations. All of the people alive at the time of Babel were descended solely from the three sons of Noah. Consequently, Shem, Ham and Japheth are the fathers of modern civilization. Hayes remarks that Genesis 10 is specifically written to demonstrate that all humanity descended from these three men (146). As Noah was a virtuous man in the eyes of God (Gen. 6:8-9), it is reasonable to presume that the commandments of God were passed on to his sons.

Genesis chapter 10, verses 5, 20 and 32 also suggest that the land of the Earth was physically divided at this time in response to Babel. Genesis specifies: “. . . the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided . . .” (10:25). Willmington comments that “Peleg” means “division” (53). The coastal outlines of the Earth’s continents suggest the likely prior unification of the various land masses. The terra firma can be viewed as a once-unified puzzle now separated into its various fragments.

It is important to note that although chapter 10 precedes the account of Babel in chapter 11, the events described in both chapters are not rendered in a chronologically consecutive fashion. Accordingly, it must be understood that the tenth chapter of Genesis details events prior, during and after those described in chapter 11. Chapter 12 of Genesis portrays the beginning of God’s redemptive plan commencing with the call of Abram.

Despite the bleak future of Babel, God had promised Himself never to destroy the Earth with a flood again due to the disobedience of mankind (Gen. 8:20-22). God also made a covenant with Noah, his descendents and “every living creature,” that He would never again destroy the Earth with a flood. Genesis 9:8-17 affirms that the rainbow serves as a personal reminder to God of His covenant.

Accordingly, God separated the people to different lands and languages to frustrate their self-destructive plans. Determined to stay faithful to His covenant, this was God’s only merciful alternative in response to the tower. If the people were punished, it was a light affliction administered. The reproof was quite mild compared to the prior worldwide flood (Gen. 7:21-23). Similarly, the rebuke of God at Babel hardly parallels the subsequent fiery obliteration of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24-30).

Although at a casual glance this rebellion appears benign, it has been demonstrated that this autonomous or self-governing spirit would likely prove to be self-destructive. Willmington points out that the first person plural pronouns “us” and “we” occur no less than 5 times in this King James Version rendering of one sentence:

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (Gen. 11:4) (50).

Nowhere in the entire passage referring to the Tower of Babel is there found the slightest indication that the builders considered God’s will in their plans. The Bible goes to great lengths to confirm God’s disdain for society’s self-ruling ecumenical pursuits. The Psalmist writes of God’s intervention into the affairs of humanity:

The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples (Psalm 33:10 NAS).

Archaeologists have long desired to locate the Tower of Babel. They have been unfruitful in their efforts. There may be Scriptural evidence for why the ruins have not been found. The land of Shinar is shown in Zechariah 5:11 as a site for the city of Babylon. The ancient city of Babylon was located some 80 kilometers south of modern-day Baghdad, Iraq (Douglas 111). The Bible confirms that Babel and Babylon were both located in Shinar. Of the history of the Tower of Babel, Hayes states:

This episode (Gen. 11:1-9) was included . . . as the capstone of . . . primeval history. . . . The original story was . . . to explain the existence of multiple language groups with its play on the words Babel (Babylon) and babal (“confuse”) (146).

Babylon is an apostate city frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. From 2nd Kings 17:24 through Zechariah 6:10 there are at least 257 direct references to Babylon (Strong’s 94-95). Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines ancient Babylon as: “. . . a city devoted to materialism and the pursuit of sensual pleasure” (122). In the 18th chapter of the Book of Revelation, Babylon epitomizes mankind’s final organized rebellion against the sovereignty of God and is utterly destroyed. This parallels the destruction of ancient Babylon, overthrown pursuant to the prophecy of the 13th chapter of Isaiah.

Babel’s founder was Nimrod the Hunter (Gen. 10:8-12), who also was a “king of Shinar” (Webster’s 798). Nimrod was a ruthless conqueror of the ancient day with ambitious political aspirations (Willmington 53). Willmington states: “Nimrod’s name means ‘let us revolt'” (53). Genesis 10:9-12 shows that Babel was the first of many cities that Nimrod established.

The Assyrian capital of Nineveh is enumerated (Gen. 10:11) as one of the many cities built by Nimrod. The prophecy of the Book of Jonah records God’s solemn warning to the city to repent of its evil ways. God sent the reluctant prophet Jonah to deliver the admonition. Nineveh immediately repented. However, the prophecy of the Book of Nahum declares that God’s judgment would fall on the subsequently backsliding and unrepentant Nineveh and that they would be pillaged by the Babylonians, Scythians and the Medes.

In Genesis 11:5-7 an exceptionally rare and uncommon event occurred. God personally visited the Tower of Babel to see what was going on. Later, God paid a visit to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ascertain the degree of depravity of their inhabitants. These cities were completely disintegrated by a fiery earthquake metaphorically referred to as a “furnace” (Gen. 19:24-29).

The Tower of Babel is extremely significant to the epic of the Bible. The story is much more than God indiscriminately interrupting an insignificant building project. The Tower of Babel marks the origins of the nations of the Earth.

THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON

The ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The greatness of this achievement serves as an indication of the level of ancient Babylonian art and architecture.

The Hanging Gardens were built on top of stone arches 23 metres above ground and watered from the Euphrates by a complicated mechanical system. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built by King Nebuchadnezzar II about 600 BC, were a mountainlike series of planted terraces.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were a series of terraces filled with plants. Excavations have found an elaborate tunnel and pulley system that apparently brought water from the ground level to the top terrace.

THE BABYLONIAN LEGACY
More than 1200 years had elapsed from the glorious reign of Hammurabi to the subjugation of Babylonia by the Persians. During this long span of time the Babylonian social structure, economic organization, arts and crafts, science and literature, judicial system, and religious beliefs underwent considerable modification, but generally only in details, not in essence. Grounded almost wholly on the culture of Sumer, Babylonian cultural achievements left a deep impress on the entire ancient world, and particularly on the Hebrews and the Greeks. Even present-day civilization is indebted culturally to Babylonian civilization to some extent. For instance, Babylonian influence is pervasive throughout the Bible and in the works of such Greek poets as Homer and Hesiod, in the geometry of the Greek mathematician Euclid, in astronomy, in astrology, and in heraldry.

CONTINUED: BABYLONIAN CALENDARS

ANCIENT AND LOST CIVILIZATIONS

ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ALL FILES

CRYSTALINKS MAIN PAGE
http://web.archive.org/web/20040212085856/http://www.crystalinks.com/babylonian.html

Calendars

The ancient Babylonians used a calendar with alternating 29- and 30-day months. This system required the addition of an extra month three times every eight years, and as a further adjustment the king would periodically order the insertion of an additional extra month into the calendar.

The Babylonians, who lived in what is now Iraq, added an extra month to their years at irregular intervals. Their calendar, composed of alternate 29-day and 30-day months, kept roughly in step with the lunar year. To balance the calendar with the solar year, the early Babylonians calculated that they needed to add an extra month three times every eight years. But this system still did not accurately make up for the accumulated differences between the solar year and the lunar year. Whenever the king felt that the calendar had slipped too far out of step with the seasons, he ordered another extra month. However, the Babylonian calendar was quite confused until the 300’s B.C., when the Babylonians began to use a more reliable system.

BABYLONIA

ANCIENT AND LOST CIVILIZATIONS

ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ALL FILES

CRYSTALINKS MAIN PAGE

Babylonian – Creational Myths – Enuma Elish

The Babylonian ‘Epic of Creation – Enuma Elish’ is written on seven tablets, each are between 115 and 170 lines long.

It sipposedly was written no later than the reign of Nebuchadrezzar in the 12th century B.C.E. But there is also little doubt that this story was written much earlier, during the time of the Sumerians. Drawing some new light on the ancients, Henry Layard found within the ruins of the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, texts that were not unlike the Genesis creation in the Bible. George Smith first published these text in 1876 under the title, The Chaldean Genesis. Akkadian text written in the old Babylonian dialect.

The Babylonian god finished his work within the span of 6 tablets of stone. The last and 7th stone exalted the handiwork and greatness of the diety’s work. Thus the comparison must be made that the 7 days of creation found in the Bible, borrowed its theme from the Babylonians and them form the Sumerians.

The Sumerian epic places Anu, Enil and Ninurta as the heroes. The Babylonian epic stars Marduk. The Babylonian epic is the one you are about to read. Though it would be easy to say that this again is mere ‘myth’, what if it is not? What if one is looking here at a technical report, a report on the origins of our Solar System, our planet Earth, and the creation of makind.

The epos is written in a style which is different from every day speach at the time. It uses an extended word variation with literary words that are normally not very frequent. This is characteristic for poetry. In prose texts there is no such inclination to use alternative formulations, like in the bible in Genesis I: ”And God saw …, and God saw …, and God created …, and God created ….” with little variation.

The text is constructed from two-line verses (sentence units). A concept is explained in two lines, a distich (from Greek di ‘two’ and stichos ‘verse’). The two members maintain a relation that one could call ”rhyme in an abstract sense” on the level of meaning. The meaning content of each verse appears in two parallel formulations often separated by leaving a blanc space, the so called parallelismus membrorum. The second part either emphasize the first part in different wording thereby extending the meaning, or the second part is an opposite statement, contrasting the first part. Compare the opening verse:

When above: the heaven has not been named
Nor earth below: pronounced by name

Metre in the strict sense in which Greek and Latin literature is composed (groups of long and short syllables) was not used, but a line often has three to four (rarely five) stresses/beats. End rhyme nor alliteration occurs.

THE FIRST TABLET

When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, 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,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being…
Ages increased,…
Then Ansar and Kisar were created, and over them….
Long were the days, then there came forth…..
Anu, their son,…
Ansar and Anu…
And the god Anu…
Nudimmud, whom his fathers, his begetters…..
Abounding in all wisdom,…’
He was exceeding strong…
He had no rival –
Thus were established and were… the great gods.
But Tiamat and Apsu were still in confusion…
They were troubled and…
In disorder…
Apru was not diminished in might…
And Tiamat roared…
She smote, and their deeds…
Their way was evil…
Then Apsu, the begetter of the great gods,
Cried unto Mummu, his minister, and said unto him:
“O Mummu, thou minister that rejoicest my spirit,
Come, unto Tiamut let us go!
So they went and before Tiamat they lay down,
They consulted on a plan with regard to the gods, their sons.
Apsu opened his mouth and spake,
And unto Tiamut, the glistening one, he addressed the word:
…their way…
By day I can not rest, by night I can not lie down in peace.
But I will destroy their way, I will…
Let there be lamentation, and let us lie down again in peace.”
When Tiamat heard these words,
She raged and cried aloud…
She… grievously…,
She uttered a curse, and unto Apsu she spake:
“What then shall we do?
Let their way be made difficult, and let us lie down again in peace.”
Mummu answered, and gave counsel unto Apsu,
…and hostile to the gods was the counsel Mummu gave:
Come, their way is strong, but thou shalt destroy it;
Then by day shalt thou have rest, by night shalt thou lie down in peace.”
Apsu harkened unto him and his countenance grew bright,
Since he (Mummu) planned evil against the gods his sons.
… he was afraid…,
His knees became weak; they gave way beneath him,
Because of the evil which their first-born had planned.
… their… they altered.
… they…,
Lamentation they sat in sorrow
………………
Then Ea, who knoweth all that is, went up and he beheld their muttering.

[about 30 illegible lines]

… he spake:
… thy… he hath conquered and
… he weepeth and sitteth in tribulation.
… of fear,
… we shall not lie down in peace.
… Apsu is laid waste,
… and Mummu, who were taken captive, in…
… thou didst…
… let us lie down in peace.
… they will smite….
… let us lie down in peace.
… thou shalt take vengeance for them,
… unto the tempest shalt thou…!”
And Tiamat harkened unto the word of the bright god, and said:
… shalt thou entrust! let us wage war!”
… the gods in the midst of…
… for the gods did she create.
They banded themselves together and at the side of Tiamat they advanced;
They were furious; they devised mischief without resting night and day.
They prepared for battle, fuming and raging;
They joined their forces and made war,
Ummu-Hubur [Tiamat] who formed all things,
Made in addition weapons invincible; she spawned monster-serpents,
Sharp of tooth, and merciless of fang;
With poison, instead of blood, she filled their bodies.
Fierce monster-vipers she clothed with terror,
With splendor she decked them, she made them of lofty stature.
Whoever beheld them, terror overcame him,
Their bodies reared up and none could withstand their attack.
She set up vipers and dragons, and the monster Lahamu,
And hurricanes, and raging hounds, and scorpion-men,
And mighty tempests, and fish-men, and rams;
They bore cruel weapons, without fear of the fight.
Her commands were mighty, none could resist them;
After this fashion, huge of stature, she made eleven [kinds of] monsters.
Among the gods who were her sons, inasmuch as he had given her support,
She exalted Kingu; in their midst she raised him to power.
To march before the forces, to lead the host,
To give the battle-signal, to advance to the attack,
To direct the battle, to control the fight,
Unto him she entrusted; in costly raiment she made him sit, saying:
I have uttered thy spell, in the assembly of the gods I have raised thee to power.
The dominion over all the gods have I entrusted unto him.
Be thou exalted, thou my chosen spouse,
May they magnify thy name over all of them the Anunnaki.”
She gave him the Tablets of Destiny, on his breast she laid them, saying:
Thy command shall not be without avail, and the word of thy mouth shall be established.”
Now Kingu, thus exalted, having received the power of Anu,
Decreed the fate among the gods his sons, saying:
“Let the opening of your mouth quench the Fire-god;
Whoso is exalted in the battle, let him display his might!”

THE SECOND TABLET

Tiamat made weighty her handiwork,
Evil she wrought against the gods her children.
To avenge Apsu, Tiamat planned evil,
But how she had collected her forces, the god unto Ea divulged.
Ea harkened to this thing, and
He was grievously afflicted and he sat in sorrow.
The days went by, and his anger was appeased,
And to the place of Ansar his father he took his way.
He went and, standing before Ansar, the father who begat him,
All that Tiamat had plotted he repeated unto him,
Saying, “Tiamat our mother hath conceived a hatred for us,
With all her force she rageth, full of wrath.
All the gods have turned to her,
With those, whom ye created, thev go at her side.
They are banded together and at the side of Tiamat they advance;
They are furious, they devise mischief without resting night and day.
They prepare for battle, fuming and raging;
They have joined their forces and are making war.
Ummu-Hubur, who formed all things,
Hath made in addition weapons invincible; she hath spawned monster-serpents,
Sharp of tooth, and merciless of fang.
With poison, instead of blood, she hath filled their bodies.
Fierce monster-vipers she hath clothed with terror,
With splendor she hath decked them; she hath made them of lofty stature.
Whoever beholdeth them is overcome by terror,
Their bodies rear up and none can withstand their attack.
She hath set up vipers, and dragons, and the monster Lahamu,
And hurricanes and raging hounds, and scorpion-men,
And mighty tempests, and fish-men and rams;
They bear cruel weapons, without fear of the fight.
Her commands are mighty; none can resist them;
After this fashion, huge of stature, hath she made eleven monsters.
Among the gods who are her sons, inasmuch as he hath given her support,
She hath exalted Kingu; in their midst she hath raised him to power.
To march before the forces, to lead the host,
To give the battle-signal, to advance to the attack.
To direct the battle, to control the fight,
Unto him hath she entrusted; in costly raiment she hath made him sit, saving:.
I have uttered thy spell; in the assembly of the gods I have raised thee to power,
The dominion over all the gods have I entrusted unto thee.
Be thou exalted, thou my chosen spouse,
May they magnify thy name over all of them
She hath given him the Tablets of Destiny, on his breast she laid them, saying:
‘Thy command shall not be without avail, and the word of thy mouth shall be established.’
Now Kingu, thus exalted, having received the power of Anu,
Decreed the fate for the gods, her sons, saying:
‘Let the opening of your mouth quench the Fire-god;
Whoso is exalted in the battle, let him display his might!'”
When Ansar heard how Tiamat was mightily in revolt,
he bit his lips, his mind was not at peace,
…, he made a bitter lamentation:
… battle,
… thou…
Mummu and Apsu thou hast smitten
But Tiamat hath exalted Kingu, and where is one who can oppose her?
… deliberation
… the … of the gods, -Nudimmud.

[A gap of about a dozen lines occurs here.]

Ansar unto his son addressed the word:
“… my mighty hero,
Whose strength is great and whose onslaught can not be withstood,
Go and stand before Tiamat,
That her spirit may be appeased, that her heart may be merciful.
But if she will not harken unto thy word,
Our word shalt thou speak unto her, that she may be pacified.”
He heard the word of his father Ansar
And he directed his path to her, toward her he took the way.
Ann drew nigh, he beheld the muttering of Tiamat,
But he could not withstand her, and he turned back.
… Ansar
… he spake unto him:

[A gap of over twenty lines occurs here.]

an avenger…
… valiant
… in the place of his decision
… he spake unto him:
… thy father
” Thou art my son, who maketh merciful his heart.
… to the battle shalt thou draw nigh,
he that shall behold thee shall have peace.”
And the lord rejoiced at the word of his father,
And he drew nigh and stood before Ansar.
Ansar beheld him and his heart was filled with joy,
He kissed him on the lips and his fear departed from him.
“O my father, let not the word of thy lips be overcome,
Let me go, that I may accomplish all that is in thy heart.
O Ansar, let not the word of thy lips be overcome,
Let me go, that I may accomplish all that is in thy heart.”
What man is it, who hath brought thee forth to battle?
… Tiamat, who is a woman, is armed and attacketh thee.
… rejoice and be glad;
The neck of Tiamat shalt thou swiftly trample under foot.
… rejoice and be glad;
The neck of Tiamat shalt thou swiftly trample under foot.
0 my son, who knoweth all wisdom,
Pacify Tiamat with thy pure incantation.
Speedily set out upon thy way,
For thy blood shall not be poured out; thou shalt return again.”
The lord rejoiced at the word of his father,
His heart exulted, and unto his father he spake:
“O Lord of the gods, Destiny of the great gods,
If I, your avenger,
Conquer Tiamat and give you life,
Appoint an assembly, make my fate preeminent and proclaim it.
In Upsukkinaku seat yourself joyfully together,
With my word in place of you will I decree fate.
May whatsoever I do remain unaltered,
May the word of my lips never be chanced nor made of no avail.”

THE THIRD TABLET

Ansar opened his mouth, and
Unto Gaga, his minister, spake the word.
“O Gaga, thou minister that rejoicest my spirit,
Unto Lahmu and Lahamu will I send thee.
… thou canst attain,
… thou shalt cause to be brought before thee.
… let the gods, all of them,
Make ready for a feast, at a banquet let them sit,
Let them eat bread, let them mix wine,
That for Marduk, their avenger they may decree the fate.
Go, Gaga, stand before them,
And all that I tell thee, repeat unto them, and say:
‘Ansar, vour son, hath sent me,
The purpose of his heart he hath made known unto me.
The purpose of his heart he hath made known unto me.
He saith that Tiamat our mother hath conceived a hatred for us,
With all her force she rageth, full of wrath.
All the gods have turned to her,
With those, whom ye created, they go at her side.
They are banded together, and at the side of Tiamat they advance;
They are furious, they devise mischief without resting night and day.
They prepare for battle, fuming and raging;
They have joined their forces and are making war.
Ummu-Hubur, who formed all things,
Hath made in addition weapons invincible; she hath spawned monster-serpents,
Sharp of tooth and merciless of fang.
With poison, instead of blood, she hath filled their bodies.
Fierce monster-vipers she hath clothed with terror,
With splendor she hath decked them; she hath made them of lofty stature.
Whoever beboldeth them, terror overcometh him,
Their bodies rear up and none can withstand their attack.
She hath set up vipers, and dragons, and the monster Lahamu,
And hurricanes, and raging bounds, and scorpion-men,
And mighty tempests, and fish-men, and rams;
They bear merciless weapons, without fear of the fight.
Her commands are miahty; none can. resist them;
After this fashion, huge of stature, hath she made eleven monsters.
Among the gods who are her sons, inasmuch as he hath given her support,
She hath exalted Kingu; in their midst she hath raised him to power.
To march before the forces, to lead the host,
To give the battle-signal, to advance to the attack,
To direct the battle, to control the fight,
Unto him hath she entrusted; in costly raiment she hath made him sit, saying:
I have uttered thy spell; in the assembly of the gods
I have raised thee to power,
The dominion over all the gods have I entrusted unto thee.
Be thou exalted, thou my chosen spouse,
May they magnify thy name over all of them … the Anunnaki.”
She hath given him the Tablets of Destiny, on his breast she laid them, saying:
Thy command shall not be without avail, and the word of thy mouth shall be established.”
Now Kingu, thus exalted, having received the power of Anu,
Decreed the fate for the gods, her sons, saving:
Let the opening of your mouth quench the Fire-god;
Whoso is exalted in the battle, let him display his might!”
I sent Anu, but he could not withstand her;
Nudimmud was afraid and turned back.
But Marduk hath set out, the director of the gods, your son;
To set out against Tiamat his heart hath prompted him.
He opened his mouth and spake unto me, saying: “If I, your avenger,
Conquer Tiamat and give you life,
Appoint an assembly, make my fate preeminent and proclaim it.
In Upsukkinaku seat yourself joyfully together;
With my word in place of you will I decree fate.
May whatsoever I do remain unaltered,
May the word of my lips never be changed nor made of no avail.”‘
Hasten, therefore, and swiftly decree for him the fate which you bestow,
That he may go and fight your strong enemy.
Gaga went, he took his way and
Humbly before Lahmu and Lahamu, the gods, his fathers,
He made obeisance, and he kissed the ground at their feet.
He humbled himself; then he stood up and spake unto them saying:
“Ansar, your son, hath sent me,
The purpose of his heart he hath made known unto me.
He saith that Tiamat our mother hath conceived a hatred for us,
With all her force she rageth, full of wrath.
All the gods have turned to her,
With those, whom ye created, they go at her side.
They are banded together and at the side of Tiamat they advance;
They are furious, they devise mischief without resting night and day.
They prepare for battle, fuming and raging;
They have joined their forces and are making war.
Ummu-Hubur, who formed all things,
Hath made in addition weapons invincible; she hath spawned monster-serpents,
Sharp of tooth and merciless of fang.
With poison, instead of blood, she hath filled their bodies.
Fierce monster-vipers she hath clothed with terror,
With splendor she hath decked them, she hath made them of lofty stature.
Whoever beboldeth them, terror overcometh him,
Their bodies rear up and none can withstand their attack.
She hath set up vipers, and dragons, and the monster Lahamu,
And hurricanes, and raging hounds, and scorpion-men,
And mighty tempests, and fish-men, and rams;
They bear merciless weapons, without fear of the fight.
Her commands are mighty; none can resist them;
After this fashion, huge of stature, hath she made eleven monsters.
Among the gods who are her sons, inasmuch as he hath given her support,
She hath exalted Kingu; in their midst she hath raised him to power.
To march before the forces, to lead the host,
To give the battle-signal, to advance to the attack, To direct the battle, to control the fight,
Unto him hath she entrusted; in costlv raiment she hath made him sit, saving:
I have uttered thy spell; in the assembly of the gods I have raised thee to power,
The dominion over all the gods have I entrusted unto thee.
Be thou exalted, thou my chosen spouse,
May they magnify thy name over all of them…the Anunnaki.
She hath given him the Tablets of Destiny on his breast she laid them, saving:
Thy command shall not be without avail, and the word of thy mouth shall be established.’
Now Kingu, thus exalted, having received the power of Anu,
Decreed the fate for the gods, her sons, saying:
‘Let the opening of your mouth quench the Fire-god;
Whoso is exalted in the battle, let him display his might!’
I sent Anu, but he could not withstand her;
Nudimmud was afraid and turned back.
But Marduk hath set out, the director of the gods, your son;
To set out against Tiamat his heart hath prompted him.
He opened his mouth and spake unto me, saying:
‘If I, your avenger,
Conquer Tiamat and give you life,
Appoint an assembly, make my fate preeminent and proclaim it.
In Upsukkinaku seat yourselves joyfully together;
With my word in place of you will I decree fate.
May, whatsoever I do remain unaltered,
May the word of my lips never be changed nor made of no avail.’
Hasten, therefore, and swiftly decree for him the fate which you bestow,
That he may go and fight your strong enemy!
Lahmu and Lahamu heard and cried aloud
All of the Igigi [The elder gods] wailed bitterly, saying:
What has been altered so that they should
We do not understand the deed of Tiamat!
Then did they collect and go,
The great gods, all of them, who decree fate.
They entered in before Ansar, they filled…
They kissed one another, in the assembly…;
They made ready for the feast, at the banquet they sat;
They ate bread, they mixed sesame-wine.
The sweet drink, the mead, confused their…
They were drunk with drinking, their bodies were filled.
They were wholly at ease, their spirit was exalted;
Then for Marduk, their avenger, did they decree the fate.

THE FOURTH TABLET

They prepared for him a lordly chamber,
Before his fathers as prince he took his place.
“Thou art chiefest among the great gods,
Thy fate is unequaled, thy word is Anu!
0 Marduk, thou art chiefest among the great gods,
Thy fate is unequaled, thy word is Anu!
Henceforth not without avail shall be thy command,
In thy power shall it be to exalt and to abase.
Established shall be the word of thy mouth,
irresistible shall be thy command,
None among the gods shall transgress thy boundary.
Abundance, the desire of the shrines of the gods,
Shall be established in thy sanctuary, even though they lack offerings.
O Marduk, thou art our avenger!
We give thee sovereignty over the whole world.
Sit thou down in might; be exalted in thy command.
Thy weapon shall never lose its power; it shall crush thy foe.
O Lord, spare the life of him that putteth his trust in thee,
But as for the god who began the rebellion, pour out his life.”
Then set they in their midst a garment,
And unto Marduk,- their first-born they spake:
“May thy fate, O lord, be supreme among the gods,
To destroy and to create; speak thou the word,
and thy command shall be fulfilled.
Command now and let the garment vanish;
And speak the word again and let the garment reappear!
Then he spake with his mouth, and the garment vanished;
Again he commanded it, and. the garment reappeared.
When the gods, his fathers, beheld the fulfillment of his word,
They rejoiced, and they did homage unto him, saying, ” Marduk is king!”
They bestowed upon him the scepter, and the throne, and the ring,
They give him an invincible weapony which overwhelmeth the foe.
Go, and cut off the life of Tiamat,
And let the wind carry her blood into secret places.”
After the gods his fathers had decreed for the lord his fate,
They caused him to set out on a path of prosperity and success.
He made ready the bow, he chose his weapon,
He slung a spear upon him and fastened it…
He raised the club, in his right hand he grasped it,
The bow and the quiver he hung at his side.
He set the lightning in front of him,
With burning flame he filled his body.
He made a net to enclose the inward parts of Tiamat,
The four winds he stationed so that nothing of her might escape;
The South wind and the North wind and the East wind and the West wind
He brought near to the net, the gift of his father Anu.
He created the evil wind, and the tempest, and the hurricane,
And the fourfold wind, and the sevenfold wind,
and the whirlwind, and the wind which had no equal;
He sent forth the winds which he bad created, the seven of them;
To disturb the inward parts of Tiamat, they followed after him.
Then the lord raised the thunderbolt, his mighty weapon,
He mounted the chariot, the storm unequaled for terror,
He harnessed and yoked unto it four horses,
Destructive, ferocious, overwhelming, and swift of pace;
… were their teeth, they were flecked with foam;
They were skilled in… , they had been trained to trample underfoot.
… . mighty in battle,
Left and right….
His garment was… , he was clothed with terror,
With overpowering brightness his head was crowned.
Then he set out, he took his way,
And toward the raging Tiamat he set his face.
On his lips he held …,
… he grasped in his hand.
Then they beheld him, the gods beheld him,
The gods his fathers beheld him, the gods beheld him.
And the lord drew nigh, he gazed upon the inward parts of Tiamat,
He perceived the muttering of Kingu, her spouse.
As Marduk gazed, Kingu was troubled in his gait,
His will was destroyed and his motions ceased.
And the gods, his helpers, who marched by his side,
Beheld their leader’s…, and their sight was troubled.
But Tiamat… , she turned not her neck,
With lips that failed not she uttered rebellious words:
“… thy coming as lord of the gods,
From their places have they gathered, in thy place are they! ”
Then the lord raised the thunderbolt, his mighty weapon,
And against Tiamat, who was raging, thus he sent the word:
Thou art become great, thou hast exalted thyself on high,
And thy heart hath prompted thee to call to battle.
… their fathers…,
… their… thou hatest…
Thou hast exalted Kingu to be thy spouse,
Thou hast… him, that, even as Anu, he should issue deerees.
thou hast followed after evil,
And against the gods my fathers thou hast
contrived thy wicked plan.
Let then thy host be equipped, let thy weapons be girded on!
Stand! I and thou, let us join battle!
When Tiamat heard these words,
She was like one posessed, .she lost her reason.
Tiamat uttered wild, piercing cries,
She trembled and shook to her very foundations.
She recited an incantation, she pronounced her spell,
And the gods of the battle cried out for their weapons.
Then advanced Tiamat and Marduk, the counselor of the gods;
To the fight they came on, to the battle they drew nigh.
The lord spread out his net and caught her,
And the evil wind that was behind him he let loose in her face.
As Tiamat opened her mouth to its full extent,
He drove in the evil wind, while as yet she had not shut her lips.
The terrible winds filled her belly,
And her courage was taken from her,
and her mouth she opened wide.
He seized the spear and burst her belly,
He severed her inward parts, he pierced her heart.
He overcame her and cut off her life;
He cast down her body and stood upon it.
When be had slain Tiamat, the leader,
Her might was broken, her host was scattered.
And the gods her helpers, who marched by her side,
Trembled, and were afraid, and turned back.
They took to flight to save their lives;
But they were surrounded, so that they could not escape.
He took them captive, he broke their weapons;
In the net they were caught and in the snare they sat down.
The … of the world they filled with cries of grief.
They received punishment from him, they were held in bondage.
And on the eleven creatures which she had
filled with the power of striking terror,
Upon the troop of devils, who marched at her…,
He brought affliction, their strength he…;
Them and their opposition he trampled under his feet.
Moreover, Kingu, who had been exalted over them,
He conquered, and with the god Dug-ga he counted him.
He took from him the Tablets of Destiny that were not rightly his,
He sealed them with a seal and in his own breast he laid them.
Now after the hero Marduk had conquered and cast down his enemies,
And had made the arrogant foe even like
And had fullv established Ansar’s triumph over the enemy
And had attained the purpose of Nudimmud,
Over the captive gods he strengthened his durance,
And unto Tiamat, whom be bad conquered, be returned.
And the lord stood upon Tiamat’s hinder parts,
And with his merciless club he smashed her skull.
He cut through the channels of her blood,
And he made the North wind bear it away into secret places.
His fathers beheld, and they rejoiced and were glad;
Presents and gifts they brought unto him.
Then the lord rested, gazing upon her dead body,
While he divided the flesh of the … , and devised a cunning plan.
He split her up like a flat fish into two halves;
One half of her he stablished as a covering for heaven.
He fixed a bolt, he stationed a watchman,
And bade them not to let her waters come forth.
He passed through the heavens, he surveyed the regions thereof,
And over against the Deep he set the dwelling of Nudimmud.
And the lord measured the structure of the Deep,
And he founded E-sara, a mansion like unto it.
The mansion E-sara which he created as heaven,
He caused Anu, Bel, and Ea in their districts to inhabit.

THE FIFTH TABLET

He (Marduk) made the stations for the great gods;
The stars, their images, as the stars of the Zodiac, he fixed.
He ordained the year and into sections he divided it;
For the twelve months he fixed three stars.
After he had … the days of the year … images,
He founded the station of Nibir [the planet Jupiter]
to determine their bounds;
That none might err or go astray,
He set the station of Bel and Ea along with him.
He opened great gates on both sides,
He made strong the bolt on the left and on the right.
In the midst thereof he fixed the zenith;
The Moon-god he caused to shine forth, the night he entrusted to him.
He appointed him, a being of the night, to determine the days;
Every month without ceasing with the crown he covered him, saying:
“At the beginning of the month, when thou shinest upon the land,
Thou commandest the horns to determine six days,
And on the seventh day to divide the crown.
On the fourteenth day thou shalt stand opposite, the half….
When the Sun-god on the foundation of heaven…thee,
The … thou shalt cause to …, and thou shalt make his…
… unto the path of the Sun-god shalt thou cause to draw nigh,
And on the … day thou shalt stand opposite, and the Sun-god shall…
… to traverse her way.
… thou shalt cause to draw nigh, and thou shalt judge the right.
… to destroy…”

[Nearly fifty lines are here lost.]

The gods, his fathers, beheld the net which he had made,
They beheld the bow and how its work was accomplished.
They praised the work which he had done…
Then Anu raised the … in the assembly of the gods.
He kissed the bow, saving, ” It is…!”
And thus he named the names of the bow, saving,
“‘Long-wood’ shall be one name, and the second name shall be …,
And its third name shall be the Bow-star, in heaven shall it…!”
Then he fixed a station for it…
Now after the fate of…
He set a throne…
…in heaven…
[The remainder of this tablet is missing.]

THE SIXTH AND SEVENTH TABLETS

BABYLON

CREATION INDEX

ANCIENT AND LOST CIVILIZATIONS

ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ALL FILES

CRYSTALINKS MAIN PAGE http://history-world.org/bab2.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wknVNxndwIU

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