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The Seven Tablets of Creation, by Leonard William King, [1902], at

p. 116 p. 117


Other Accounts of the History of Creation

I. Another Version of the Dragon-Myth  1


I. The cities sighed, men [...],

2. Men uttered lamentation, [they ...],

3. For their lamentation there was none [to help],

4. For their grief there was none to take [them by the hand].

5. Who was the dragon [...]?

6. Tiamat 2 was the dragon [...]!

7. Bêl in heaven hath formed [...].

8. Fifty kaspu in his length, one kaspu [his height], 3

p. 118 p. 119

9. Six cubits is his mouth, twelve cubits [his ...],

10. Twelve cubits is the circuit of his [ears ...];

11. For the space of sixty cubits he [...] a bird;

12. In water nine cubits deep he draggeth [...].

13. He raiseth his tail on high [...];

14. All the gods of heaven [...].

15. In heaven the gods bowed themselves down before [the Moon-god ...];

16. The border of the Moon-god's robe they hasti[ly grasped]:

17. "Who will go and [slay] the dragon, 1

18. "And deliver the broad land [from ...],

19. "And become king [over ...]?"

20. "Go, Tishhu, [slay] the dragon,

21. "And deliver the broad land [from ...],

22. "And become king [over ...]?"

23. "Thou hast sent me, O lord, [to ...] the raging (creatures) 2 of the river,

24. "But I know not the [...] of the Dragon!"

[The rest of the Obverse and the upper part of the Reverse of the tablet are wanting.]

p. 120 p. 121


1. [And ...] opened his mouth and [spake] unto the god 1[...]:

2 . "Stir up cloud, and storm [and tempest]!

3. "The seal of thy life [shalt thou set] before thy face,

4. "Thou shalt grasp it, and thou shalt [slay] the dragon."

5. He stirred up cloud, and storm [and tempest],

6. He [set] the seal of his life before his face,

7. He grasped it, and [he slew] the dragon.

8. For three years and three months, one day and [one night] 2

9. The blood of the dragon flowed [...]  3


117:1 For the text, see Cuneiform Texts, part xiii, pl. 33 f., Rm. 282; for a previous publication, cf. Delitzsch, Assyrisches Wörterbuch, p. 390 f.; translations have been given by Zimmern in Gunkel's Schöpfung und Chaos, pp. 417 ff., and by Jensen in Schrader's Keilins. Bibl., vi, pp. 44 ff. Strictly speaking, the text is not a creation legend, though it gives a variant form of the principal incident in the history of creation according to the version Enuma elish. In the tablet Rm. 282 the fight with the dragon did not precede the creation of the world, but took place after men had been created and cities had been built; see further the Introduction.

117:2 The form of the name here used is Tâmtu, i.e., the Sea."

117:3 The kaspu is the space that can be covered in two hours travelling, i.e., about six or seven miles. These general dimensions of the size of the dragon are in accordance with the statement made in l. 8f. of the reverse to the effect that after the dragon had been slain his blood flowed for more than three years. The. second measurement in the line is taken by Zimmern to refer to the dragon's breadth, but, as Jensen points out, this is not consistent with the measurement of the mouth given in the following line. Even Zimmern's readings of 60 GAR in l. 10 and 65 GAR in l. 11 do not explain, but render still more anomalous, the ½ GAR in l. 9. Without going into the question of the probable length of the Babylonian cubit, it is obvious that the dragon's breadth can hardly have been given as so many miles, if its mouth only measures so many feet. This difficulty can be got over by restoring sîrûtishu in place of the suggested rupussu at the end of l. 8. We then have a consistent picture of the dragon as a long thin snake, rearing his head on high; his coils might well have been believed to extend for three hundred or three hundred and fifty miles, and the raising of his head in the air to a height of six or seven miles would not be inconsistent with the measurement of his mouth as six cubits, i.e., some ten feet or more across.

119:1 Lines 17-19 are the appeal of the gods to the Moon-god; ll. 20-22 contain the address of the Moon-god to Tishhu; and ll. 23 ff. give Tishhu's answer to the Moon-god.

119:2 Jensen, ri-hu-ut, which he renders as "moisture." The plural, dalhûti, may perhaps be explained by supposing that, according to this version also, the dragon had other creatures to help her in the fight.

121:1 Jensen suggests the restoration ilu B[êl], which he deduces from the traces upon the tablet as published by Delitzsch; for, as he states, the only other restoration possible would be ilu I[shtaar], and this is rendered unlikely by the masculine form of the imperatives in ll. 2 and 4. This would prove that the slayer of the dragon was Bêl, or Marduk, in both the versions of the story. As a matter of fact, the traces are incorrectly given by Delitzsch; they represent the sign AN and not the conflate sign AN +EN (cf. Cun. Txts., pt. xiii, pl. 34), and it is not possible to conclude from the text who is the hero of this version.

121:2 Jensen suggests the restoration u [ . KAS-PU], i.e., "for three years, three months, a day and [ . hours]." The trace of the next character after u is the single diagonal wedge (cf. Cun. Txts., pt. xiii, pl. 34); according to Jensen's restoration this sign can only be the number "10," i.e. X KAS-PU, "twenty hours," a not very probable reading. The diagonal wedge is more probably the beginning of the sign MI, i.e. shu, and the end of the line may be restored as umu IKAN u [shu IKAN]; this may be rendered "one day and one night," or possibly, as Zimmern in his translation suggests, "day and night."

121:3 The lower part of the tablet is taken up with the common colophon found upon tablets from Ashur-bani-pal's palace.

Next: II. A Reference to the Creation of the Cattle and the Beasts of the Field