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The Babylonian Legends of Creation, by E. A. Wallis Budge, [1921], at

The Seven Tablets of Creation.--Translation.


1. When the heavens above were yet unnamed, 23

2. And the name of the earth beneath had not been recorded,

3. Apsu, the oldest of beings, their progenitor,

4. "Mummu" Tiâmat, who bare each and all of them--

5. Their waters were merged into a single mass.

6. A field had not been measured, a marsh had not been searched out,

7. When of the gods none was shining,

Portion of a tablet inscribed in Assyrian with a text of the First Tablet of the Creation Series. [K. 5419C.]
Click to enlarge

Portion of a tablet inscribed in Assyrian with a text of the First Tablet of the Creation Series. [K. 5419C.]

8. A name had not been recorded, a fate had not been fixed,

9. The gods came into being in the midst of them.

10. The god Lakhmu and the goddess Lakhamu were made to shine, they were named.

11. [Together] they increased in stature, they grew tall.

12. Anshar and Kishar came into being, and others besides them.

13. Long were the days, the years increased.

14. The god Anu, their son, the equal of his fathers, [was created].

15. The god Anshar made his eldest son Anu in his own image.

16. And the god Anu begat Nudimmud (Ea) the image of himself.

17. The god Nudimmud was the first among his fathers,

18. Endowed with understanding, he who thinketh deeply, the orator

19. Exceedingly mighty in strength above his father Anshar who begat him.

20. Unrivalled amongst the gods his brothers ...

21. The confraternity of the gods was established.

22. Tiâmat was troubled and she ... their guardian.

23. Her belly was stirred up to its uttermost depths.

24. ...........

25. Apsu (the watery abyss) could not diminish their brawl

26. And Tiâmat gathered herself together ...

27. She struck a blow, and their works ...

28. Their way was not good,...

29. At that time Apsu, the progenitor of the great gods,

30. Shouted out and summoned Mummu, the steward of his house, saying

31. "[O] Mummu, my steward, who makest my liver to rejoice,

32. "Come, to Tiâmat we will go."

33. They went, they lay down [on a couch] facing Tiâmat.

34. They took counsel together about the gods [their children].

35. Apsu took up his word and said,

36. To Tiâmat, the holy (?) one, he made mention of a matter, [saying],

37. "... their way ...

38. "By day I find no peace, by night I have no rest.

39. "Verily I will make an end of their way, I will sweep them away,

40. "There shall be a sound of lamentation; lo, then we shall rest."

41. Tiâmat on hearing this

42. Was stirred up to wrath and shrieked to her husband, 24

43. ... unto sickness. She raged all alone,

44. She uttered a curse, and unto [Apsu, spake, saying,],

45. "Whatsoever we have made we will destroy.

46. "Verily their way shall be filled with disaster; lo, then we shall rest."

47. Mummu answered and gave counsel unto Apsu,

48. The counsel of Mummu was ... and dire [in respect of the gods]:

49. "Come, [do thou destroy] their way which is strong.

50. "Then verily by day thou shalt find peace, [and] by night thou shalt have rest."

51. Apsu heard him, his face grew bright,

52. For that they were planning evil against the gods, his children.

53. Mummu embraced his neck ...

54. He took him on his knee, he kissed him ...

55. They (i.e. Mummu and Apsu) planned the cursing in the assembly,

56. They repeated the curses to the gods their eldest sons.

57. The gods made answer ...

58. They began a lamentation...

59. [Endowed] with understanding, the prudent god, the exalted one,

60. Ea, who pondereth everything that is, searched out their [plan].

61. He brought it to nought (?), he made the form of everything to stand still.

62. He recited a cunning incantation, very powerful and holy.

[In the British Museum tablets lines 63-108 are either wanting entirely, or are too broken to translate, and the last 130 lines of the Berlin fragment are much mutilated. The fragments of text show that Ea waged war against Apsu and Mummu. Ea recited an incantation which caused Apsu to fall asleep. He then "loosed the joints" of Mummu, who in some way suffered, but he was strong enough to attack Ea when he turned to deal with Apsu. Ea overcame both his adversaries and divided Apsu into chambers and laid fetters upon him. In one of the chambers of Apsu a god was begotten and born. According to the Ninevite theologians Ea begat by his wife, who is not named, his son Marduk, and according to the theologians of the City of Ashur, Lakhmu begat by his wife Lakhamu a son who is no other than Anshar, or Ashur. A nurse was appointed to rear him, and he grew up a handsome child, to the great delight of his father. He had four ears and four eyes, a statement which suggests that he was two-headed, and resembled the Latin god Janus.]

109. They formed a band, and went forth to battle to help Tiâmat.

110. They were exceedingly wroth, they made plots by day and by night without ceasing.

111. They offered battle, fuming and raging.

112. They set the battle in array, they uttered cries 25 of hostility,

113. Ummu-Khubur, 26 who fashioned all things,

114. Set up the unrivalled weapon, she spawned huge serpents,

115. Sharp of tooth, pitiless in attack (?)

116. She filled their bodies with venom instead of blood,

117. Grim, monstrous serpents, arrayed in terror,

118. She decked them with brightness, she fashioned them in exalted forms,

119. So that fright and horror might overcome him that looked upon them,

120. So that their bodies might rear up, and no man resist their attack,

121. She set up the Viper, and the Snake, and the god Lakhamu,

122. The Whirlwind, the ravening Dog, the Scorpion-man,

123. The mighty Storm-wind, the Fish-man, the horned Beast (Capricorn?)

124. They carried the Weapon 27 which spared not, nor flinched from the battle.

125. Most mighty were Tiâmat's decrees, they could not be resisted,

126. Thus she caused eleven [monsters] of this kind to come into being,

127. Among the gods, her first-born son who had collected her company,

128. That is to say, Kingu, she set on high, she made him the great one amongst them,

129. Leader of the hosts in battle, disposer of the troops,

130. Bearer of the firmly grasped weapon, attacker in the fight,

131. He who in the battle is the master of the weapon,

132. She appointed, she made him to sit down in [goodly apparel]

133. [Saying], "I have uttered the incantation for thee. I have magnified thee in the assembly of the gods.

134. "I have filled his [sic, read 'thy'] hand with the sovereignty of the whole company of the gods.

135. "Mayest thou be magnified, thou who art my only spouse,

136. "May the Anunnaki make great thy renown over all of them."

137. She gave him the TABLET OF DESTINIES, she fastened it on his breast, [saying],

138. "As for thee, thy command shall not fall empty, whatsoever goeth forth from thy mouth shall be established."

139. When Kingu was raised on high and had taken the heavens (literally, the god Anutum)

140. He fixed the destinies for the gods his sons,

141. Open your mouths, let the Fire-god 28 be quenched,

142. He who is glorious in battle and is most mighty, shall do great deeds.

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