A Babylonian Account of Creation

["Babylonian Account of Creation," translated by W. Muss-Arnolt, in The Library of Original Sources, Oliver J. Thatcher, ed. Vol. 1 (Milwaukee, WI: University Research Extension, 1907), pp. 9-15]
Long ago when the heaven above had not been named and the earth beneath had no name, and only Apsu (the Ocean), the primeval, who begot them, and Tiamat, Confusion, who bore them both, existed--their waters mingled--and when no fields were formed, and no reeds to be seen, where not one of the gods had been called into being and named, and no fates had been decreed, then were created all the gods. Luchmu and Lachamu were the first to be called into being. Ages passed, then Anshar and Kishar were created, and long days before Anu, Bel, and Ha were created. (Apsu and Tiamat having determined to destroy the light and restore the primeval darkness, a struggle ensues.) Anshar opened his mouth and said to Gaga his minister, "Go, Gaga, minister, that rejoicest my spirit, to Luchmu and Lachamu I send thee. Assemble all the gods, seat them at the table to partake of a feast. Let them eat bread and mix wine. Go, Gaga, and stand before them then, and all that I tell thee, repeat to them, saying: Anshar your son has sent me, his heart's command he entrusted to me saying: 'Tiamat, our mother, has turned against us in hatred. With all her might she rages in anger. All the gods have turned to her, even those you created go to her aid. They are banded together and at the side of Tiamat they advance. Cursing the light they follow Tiamat. Furious, without resting by day or by night they prepare for the fray, fuming and raging, they band themselves together and begin the revolt. Tiamat, the mother of the deep, who bore us all, has added invincible weapons, spawning monster serpents, sharp of tooth, unsparing of fang. For

.. let him display his might. a dragon. she exalted among the gods the sons she had born.. all provided with weapons. thy coinmand is (the command of) Anu. their spirits rose and they gave the rule to MardLik their avenger. endowed with awful splendor.. a storm-giant.. thy command is (the command of) Anu. fearless of fight. to order the weapons to strike. adviser of the gods... and the lachamu. overcame their senses. assemble the gods and declare my control of the gods to be supreme. They lost their reason." Then they came together. among the great gods. Whoever is great in valor.. my spouse.. Besides creating thus these eleven. saying: 'May thy command not be annulled. From to-day thy command shall be unalterable. thou art glorious. saying: 'Thou art sent to march at the head of the forces. Thy work is unequalled. And they (the gods) put him (Marduk) in a royal palace. I have given thee the sway over all the gods. Their bodies are immense..' She gave him the tablets of destiny and laid them on his breast. fierce storms. the mead. a scorpion-man.'" When Luchmu and Lacharnu heard this. commanded: 'Let your word overcome the fire god.' She entrusted to him the first place in war and in victory.. established be the word of thy mouth.' Hasten and give him the rule that he may go and fight your enemy.. I have raised thee to power.. O Marduk. they ate bread and mixed wine. indeed. Under the protection of his father he dwelt (lived) in (his) kingdom. they feared and all the gods wailed grievously. and made great of stature. and having obtained power over the gods.. conquer Tiamat and give you life.' I sent Anu but he feared to face her. endowed them with dread splendor. . Thy work is unequalled. and a ram . a fish-man..against Tiamat. thou art glorious among the great gods. The sweet drink. She clothed fierce monster-vipers with terror. your avenger. Enter joyfully into the palace and my rule shall take the place of thine. and made Kingu greatest among them all. all the gods and went into the great hall before Anshar. The word of my mouth not be changed or annulled.' Kingu. He spoke to me and said: 'If I. they became drunk. their attack irresistible.blood she filled their bodies with poison. invincible. Yea. saying: "What has happened that they hate us? We do not understand the conduct of Tiamat. that their appearance might frighten and fill with horror. thy name be magnified in all the world. She seated him on a throne and said: 'I have recited thy spell. They took courage and sat down to the banquet. He has determined to go. in the assembly of the gods. Fierce monster-vipers she clothed with terror.. Let whatever I do be unaltered. merciless. thus exalted.and made. I have called on Marduk. Be thou great. their bodies were filled with wine. the attack to begin. Nudimmud was afraid and turned back. a mad dog. She made a viper. defiant of heart.

Open thy mouth. (His) word (command) they set up in their midst as unique (i. e. thy word be firm. But the god that is wedded to evil. be thy command not resisted. speak and it shall done." He (Marduk) spake.e. the rule of the whole universe. We have given thee the kingdom. O Lord. his fathers. When the gods. Thy weapons may never be broken.. indeed. may thy will prevail against all. . Again he spake unto him and his speech was restored unto him (literally "created")." When thou art in the assembly (of the gods). pour out his life's blood. that the god that doeth evil) was destroyed (by) his (power of) speech. and in his mouth (i. saw the effect of his (Marduk's) word.. they spake : Thy work. e. and his (perhaps the evil god's) word shall vanish away (i. O Lord. Speak then again to him and his word shall be restored. thou art.To exalt and to humble be in thy power. (Though with) decorations be filled the shrine of the(se) gods. be greater than that of the (other) gods. The place of their gathering may it now be established in thy place. (where they will say unto thee): "0 Marduk. be made powerless). To destroy and to create. may thy enemies tremble. spare thou the life of him that trusteth in thee. he who has become our avenger (against Tiamat). None among the gods has surpassed thy power. their first-born. all" important) Unto Marduk. Verily.

The four winds he seized. so that she could by no means escape. A weapon unsurpassed they gave him. And the lord raised his mighty weapon. The four winds. the throne. the evil wind. the present of his father. and the reign. To work the destruction of Kirbish-Tiamat. the storm. The bow and the quiver at his side he hung. his fathers. and the hurricane. the whirlwind. .They rejoiced greeting him: "Marduk indeed be (our) king" ! They invested him with the scepter. the east (and) the west. A bow he made himself and took it for his weapon. fixed the fate of the lord (Mardnk). consuming the enemy. to storm behind her. the terrible. The god took up the weapon. The gods. something unequalled. seized it with his right hand. "Go now (they said unto him) and cut asunder the life-thread of Tiamat. The wind from the south (and) the north. the hurricane. He caused the winds. Anu. They led him the road to safety and success. Then he brought to her (Tiamat's) side the net. With destructive (fierce) wrath he filled his bowels. e. The chariot. he had created. he mounted. A net he made to enclose Kirbish-Tiamat. May the winds carry her blood to secret places" (i. the seven winds. the wind whose equal does not exist.. A lightning he caused to go before him. even the seven of them. to issue forth. The falchion he swung that he had made of (the wood) of the terebinth. He created the destructive wind. far away).

..) . His mind distracted. his fathers. beheld him. With her lips she cried out aloud.. The gods. exposed himself to dangers for their sake).. [Knowing?] that Tiamat did not turn her neck (i. the gods beheld him. his helpers. cometh her host. he sought his overthrow. his actions confused.. . the gods beheld him. in order to have his hands free).. Tiamat he saw.. e. . [to fight those?] whose fangs carry poison. walking at his side.He harnessed it and hung the four reins over the side (i. she seized his fist. The lord approached for the fight. . the relentless. (and they said:) "Around thee.. O lord of the gods. e. In that day they beheld him. the host of Tiamat. e. To the place of Tiamat he turned (his face). of the chariot. her husband. they know how to overthrow. terrible [was] the battle.. And the gods. did not turn to flight) But with her lips cried out an abundance of evil. When fright [befell her]. The weapon.. (meaning the fangs of the dragons. the overwhelming.. He took to his way and caused [her] pursuit. When he (Kingu) beheld him.. Of Kingu. Saw [how] the first-born bore their yoke (i.. the swift. his reason became disturbed.

But the lord spread out his net. they approached for the battle. made harmless)."] "As thou didst direct thy evil deed against my fathers. Completely her inside burst into two parts. Then opened her mouth Tiamat to crush it (i. Magic words she spake and applied her (?) incantation. made their weapons appeal to the gods of battle. Against Kirbish-Tiamat. But he Marduk caused the evil wind to enter (her mouth) so that she could not shut her lips. ." But Tiarnat upon hearing this. An evil wind. To the fight they approached against one another. The strong winds filled her stomach. saying: "[As thou didst excite rebellion on high. Stand! and I and thou will fight together. where thou art. Tiarnat and the leader of the gods. on whom he takes vengeance he hurled it. Considered herself defeated and lost her balance of mind. They approached each other. Now gather courage and give resistance. . and thy weapons may they be bound (i. to enclose her.. Marduk. he let loose before him.e." But the lord lifted up the hurricane. then. his mighty weapon.Their throng they gather. e. She roared wildly (and) loud. Therefore may be tied down thy army. to swallow the evil wind). They. to seize her from behind.

. And the world (literally : the regions) they filled with their wailing.... wide opened he her mouth... the leader had been killed. Trembled. . He grasped her and destroyed her life. With a cordon they were surrounded which no one can escape.... they sat down in utter prostration. with the bound gods he counted him. and retreated backward.... going at her side... Her host was broken up...So that her heart sank (i................... He grasped his falchion and pierced (split open) her stomach .. They were placed (like birds) in a net........ They bore his punishment....... they were kept in bondage. And the eleven creatures were filled with fear. He took away from him the tablets of fate.... He put their hands in bonds...... He enclosed them and their weapons he broke... After Tiamat... . And Kingu who against [Marduk had been] their [leader?]...... his breast (?) he seized. cut out (her) heart. she lost courage)... He (Marduk) let them escape and spared their life.......e....... upon it he placed himself..... He bound him... Her entrails he tore out... And the gods her helpers...... feared.... Her corpse he threw down... With his seal he doomed him (literally: he sealed him). her throng was scattered... And their opposition beneath himself he trod...

rotten flesh he tore away. he stationed a guard. then. A palace he build like that (i. And crushed the proud foe completely.. The foul. Marduk. he turned back. far away). he gloried. Toward Tiamat. He pushed (in front of it) a bolt.. He fully established the superiority of AN-SAR over the enemy. seeing her (Tiamat's) corpse. He tore from her like of a fish her skin in (its) two halves. even the wind of the north. And the lord trampled on the lower part of Tiamat's body.. . A present. With his unmerciful club he smote her. He cut through the veins of her blood.After he had bound his enemy. circuit) of the primeval sea. The wind. and he performed wonderful deeds. and made it the heavenly dome. like heaven) namely E-shar-ra. whom he had overcome. he caused it to carry to secret places (i. a peace offering he caused to be brought to him. Then the lord quieted down. e. Over the gods in bondage he strengthened the guard. the mighty. And placed it opposite to the primeval sea. e. And commanded him not to let the waters pour out (too freely?). Then the lord measured off the circui (i. the dwelling of god Ea. had thus accomplished the intention of god Ea. file connected the heaven with the (lower) regions. e. He saw it. his face rejoiced. Half of her he stood up.

e. Marduk) established the mansions of the great gods. nor be found lacking. corresponding to them. In the beginning of the month light up in the evening.." . He made the moon-god (Nannaru) brilliant. (its) limits he defined. From the time when the year opens in fixed limits. Bel (and) Ea he caused to inhabit it as their habitation.. He determined (the length of) the year. That none (of the days) might deviate. In the very midst he made the morning firmament (or the zenith?). to mark their bounds. the north pole and the south pole) he established with him (i. with the planet Jupiter). and the annual constellations. e. he fixed. On the fourteenth mayest thou mark the half of the month. The mansion of Bel and Ea (i. show one-half of the disc). And forced open the bolts on the left and the right. That the horns shine to mark the heavens. (For) each of the twelve months three stars he fixed. to mark off the days (saying): "Monthly without ceasing define (the time) with the disc. e. He opened gates at both sides. .. Anum. He founded the mansion of the planet Jupiter. The stars.The palace E-shar-ra which he had built as a heavenly dome. (and) intrusted the night to him.e. He defined him as a night-body.. On the seventh day make half the royal cap (i. He (i.

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