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MIDDLE EAST MYTHOLOGY The region extending from the southeastern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea

(including countries in southwest Asia and northeast Africa). Islamic mythology Islamic and pre-Islamic religion and mythology. Islam was promulgated by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century AD. The term islam literally means 'surrender', as in 'surrender to the will of Allah'. Allah (Arabic: God) is viewed as the sole God, creator, sustainer, and restorer of the world. His will, revealed to his messenger Muhammed, is made known through the sacred scriptures, the Qur'an (Koran). Pre-Islamic Arab and Persian traditions, which were essentially pagan, developed a wonderful body of myth and folklore. Jinns, efrits, demigods, saintly men and women, and great heroes played their part in sparkling collections of folkloric tales and fables. It is only natural that people, throughout history, would borrow these entertaining beings and attach them their own heros, and Islamic literature, therefore, is rich in such material. Judaic mythology The mythology and religion of the Jewish people. It is the complex expression of a religious and ethnic community, a way of life as well as a set of basic beliefs and values, which is discerned in patterns of action, social order, and culture as well as in religious statements and concepts. Judaic myths grew from many sources. The primary source is the Bible; it covers a period between polytheism and monotheism, thus allowing a rich environment for myths. After that, much of the mythological material was retained, and elaborated on, in the two Talmuds, the midrashic literature, and the mystical literature, mostly as expressed in the Zohar. More exists in the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in various texts written in Aramaic and Greek but pertaining to Judaism. Jews were a literate people from an early date. They committed much of their traditions, beliefs, legends and tales to writing, creating a vast body of myth and folklore. They maintained a constant exchange between the mystical and the practical parts of life. The Talmud itself, the cornerstone of Jewish scholarship, is divided into two parts: Halakha, the body of practical laws and traditions, and the Aggada, a body of tales and legends that explains the Bible homiletically. The two systems cannot be truly separated in spirit; teaching, law, folklore, the wondrous tale and the formal myth are all interwoven into one great tradition. Mesopotamian mythology Ancient Akkadian, Babylonian and Sumerian mythology. The beliefs and practices of the Sumerians and Akkadians, and their successors, the Babylonians and Assyrians. They inhabited ancient Mesopotamia in the millennia before the Christian era. These religious beliefs and practices form a single stream of tradition. Sumerian in origin, Mesopotamian religion was added to and subtly modified by the Akkadians in subsequent years.

Mesopotamia was a region between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates in western Asia. In general terms, it constitutes the greater part of what is now Irag. It was one of the cradles of human civilization. The name is Greek, meaning "Land Between the Rivers."

Persian mythology The mythology of Ancient Persia (Iran). The beliefs and practices of the culturally and linguistically related group of ancient peoples who inhabited the Iranian Plateau and its borderlands, as well as areas of Central Asia from the Black Sea to Khotan (modern Ho-t'ien, China). Much of the information about Persian (old-Iranian) gods can be found in the religious texts from Zarathustra such as the Avesta, and in later sources such as the Bundahishn and the Denkard. The original Avesta dates back to 1400 - 1200 BCE but it was destroyed by Alexander the Great when he invaded Persia. The current version dates from the 13th or 14th century, and contains only a fragment of the original text. MIDDLE EASTERN CREATION MYTHS Assyria: The Annunaki [sky gods: Anu (sky), Enlil (earth), Shamash (sun), and Ea (water)], created the earth and the heavens. When they were finished, they looked carefully at their creation and concluded that something was missing. They decided that mankind was needed to till the fields and celebrate religious festivals. So it was that the first humans [Ulligarra (abundance) and Zalgarra (plenty)] were created. Aruru, the "lady of the gods", was given sway over their destinies. Babylonian From the mixing of Apsu (sweet water) and Tiamat (salt water) there arose the gods, Mummu (the waves), and Lakhmu and Lakhamu (gigantic twin serpents). The serpents produced Anshar (heaven) and Kishar (earth). From these two came Anu, Enlil, and Ea, as well as all the other gods of the sky, earth, and underworld. Apsu and Tiamat became angered because of the noise made by such a large group of gods, and began talking about killing off their progeny so they could get some rest. When Ea, the allknowing, learned of this he used his magic to capture Apsu and Mummu. Tiamat was furious and raised a large army of gods and freaks to battle Ea and his cohorts. Anu and Ea became frightened and Ea created Marduk to battle Tiamat. Marduk promised to do so if he were granted supremacy over all the other gods. All the gods agreed and Marduk, armed with bow and arrows, lightning, the winds, a hurricane, and a special net sallied forth to battle Tiamat. When they clashed, Marduk caught Tiamat in his special net, and as she opened her mouth to swallow him, loosed the hurricane into her mouth. As she swelled from the hurricane within her, Marduk slew her with an arrow into her belly. Then he cast the net again capturing her army within it. These he chained and cast into the underworld. From her corpse the world is created. He was then proclaimed God of the Gods. Sumerian In the beginning there was only darkness and water(Nammu). Out of this Chaos there came many odd creatures: men with wings, two faces, or both; creatures that were male and female combined; humans

with goat feet; others who were part horse and part man. These creatures were ruled over by Omorka, the (female) moon. Omorka split in two, the halves were sky and earth, and destroyed all of the odd beings that existed. Then these halves, Anu and Ki gave birth to Enlil, the Air and the Storms. The trauma of the birth separated Anu from Ki, heaven from earth. Earth,Ki,gave birth to Ninlil. The Air and Storm god Enlil had a son from Ninlil known in Heaven as Sin, and on earth as Nanna, the Moon god.Sin produced two children, Utu, the Sun god, and the fertility goddess, Venus named Inanna. Nammu alos produced Enki the fresh water god. Nammu, Enlil and Enki worked together to produce plants and animals. Men and women were created by the combined efforts of Nammu, Ki, and Enki.

THE FLOOD Middle Eastern generally: In this region, it is common to believe that the earth was originally covered with water, and that there is now a layer of water beneath the earth. Hebrews also have a layer of water above the earth.