Atrahasis and Human Creation
When the Gods did the work they grew weary and decided to create man. This concept appearsin all legalism.This later Akkadian version of the flood story and the creation of humanity and fits betweenthe Sumerian version and the Babylonian version in the Epic of Gilgamesh. This followingoutline is from "
The Treasures of Darkness"
, Yale University. Press, 1967).It begins:When ILU (that is ENLIL) was the boss they (the gods) were burdened with toil, lugged the workbasket; the god's work basket . . . was big, so that the toil was heavy, great the straits.ENLIL, having charge of the earth put the other gods to work digging the Euphrates and Tigrisrivers. Tired of their condition and at the instigation of one of the gods they burned their toolsone night and surrounded ENLIL's house. ENLIL was alarmed and sent for AN and ENKI. After thestriking gods told them that the work was killing them and that they would not continued ENLILburst into tears and offered his resignation. ENKI then proposed a compromise. They wouldcreate man to bear the burden to that the gods would be free.With the birth goddess, NINTUR, ENKI used the flesh and blood of the strike's ringleader (killedby the other gods) to fashion clay into 7 male and 7 female embryos in the "house of destiny".After 9 months humanity was born and put to work.After 1,200 years the
of the growing human population kept ENLIL awake nights. So ENLILand the gods sent a plague which was ended when ENKI told the human Atrahasis to
shift allofferings to the god of the plague
, NAMTAR who became to abashed to harm the peoplefurther.The story of
define how the second thousand years began. As with alltraditions of instrumental music and choir to manipulate other people, Satan is always thesource.After another 1,200 years the noise was back so ENLIL and the gods sent a drought. ENKIadvised Atrahasis to shift all offering to ADAD, the god causing the drought, and the droughtstopped.Soon the noise returned so the gods ceased to perform their duties so all of natures bountydisappeared. This was only ended when ENKI let large quantities of fish into the rivers(accidentally, he maintained).ENLIL, by now enraged, bound his fellow gods by an oath to
humanity by a flood
.ENKI got around this oath and managed to warn Atrahasis by speaking not to him but to thereed hut in which he was lying. Atrahasis built a large boat explaining to the town elders thathe was leaving because of the bad blood between his personal god, ENKI, and ENLIL in whosedomain his town of Shuruppak lay. After having loaded the boat with all kinds of animals andhis family the flood came.The gods were horrified at the destruction of the flood which lasted 7 days and nights. Inaddition they became hungry as no offerings were made to sustain them. When Atrahasis leftthe ship he prepared a sacrifice around which the hungry gods gathered like flies.ENLIL was the exception. He was enraged and ENKI had to defend himself. He blamed ENLIL forpunishing the innocent and guilty alike. Eventually a compromise was reached to keep thehuman population from getting to large. The gods introduced a type of barren woman, createda demon, PASHITTU, who kills children at birth, and established several categories of priestesses for whom childbearing was taboo.The following excerpt is taken from "Myths From Mesopotamia: Gilgamesh, The Flood, andOthers" Translated by Stephanie Dalley. It is related here for educational purposes only.