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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 80

Then Tiamat, whose commands are unchangeable and mighty, exalted Kingu, who had come to her aid, above all the evil gods; she made him the leader to direct the army in battle, to go in front, to open the attack. Robing Kingu in splendour, she seated him on high and spoke, saying:

"I have established thy command over all the gods. Thou shalt rule over them. Be mighty, thou my chosen husband, and let thy name be exalted over all the spirits of heaven and spirits of earth."

Unto Kingu did Tiamat deliver the tablets of fate; she laid them in his bosom, and said, "Thy commands cannot be changed; thy words shall remain firm."

Thus was Kingu exalted; he was vested with the divine power of Anu to decree the fate of the gods, saying, "Let thy mouth open to thwart the fire god; be mighty in battle nor brook resistance."

Then had Ea knowledge of Tiamat's doings, how she had gathered her forces together, and how she had prepared to work evil against the high gods with purpose to avenge Apsu. The wise god was stricken with grief, and he moaned for many days. Thereafter he went and stood before his father, Anshar, and spake, saying, "Our mother, Tiamat, hath turned against us in her wrath. She hath gathered the gods about her, and those thou didst create are with her also."

When Anshar heard all that Ea revealed regarding the preparations made by Tiamat, he smote his loins and clenched his teeth, and was ill at ease. In sorrow and anger he spoke and said, "Thou didst go forth aforetime to battle; thou didst bind Mummu and smite Apsu. Now Kingu is exalted, and there is none who can oppose Tiamat."[156]

Anshar called his son, Anu, before him, and spoke, saying: "O mighty one without fear, whose attack is irresistible, go now before Tiamat and speak so that her anger may subside and her heart be made merciful. But if she will not hearken unto thee, speak thou for me, so that she may be reconciled."

Anu was obedient to the commands of Anshar. He departed, and descended by the path of Tiamat until he beheld her fuming and snarling, but he feared to approach her, and turned back.

Then Ea was sent forth, but he was stricken with terror and turned back also.[157]

Anshar then called upon Merodach, son of Ea, and addressed him, saying, "My son, who softeneth my heart, thou shalt go forth to battle and none shall stand against thee."

The heart of Merodach was made glad at these words. He stood before Anshar, who kissed him, because that he banished fear. Merodach spake, saying: "O lord of the gods, withdraw not thy words; let me go forth to do as is thy desire. What man hath challenged thee to battle?"

Anshar made answer and said: "No man hath challenged me. It is Tiamat, the woman, who hath resolved to wage war against us. But fear not and make merry, for thou shalt bruise the head of Tiamat. O wise god, thou shalt overcome her with thy pure incantation. Tarry not but hasten forth; she cannot wound thee; thou shalt come back again." The words of Anshar delighted the heart of Merodach, who spake, saying: "O lord of the gods, O fate of the high gods, if I, the avenger, am to subdue Tiamat and save all, then proclaim my greatness among the gods. Let all the high gods gather together joyfully in Upshukinaku (the Council Hall), so that my words like thine may remain unchanged, and what I do may never be altered. Instead of thee I will decree the fates of the gods."


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