The Babylonian Legends of the Creation

Page: 13

39. "Verily I will make an end of their way, I will sweep them away,

40. "There shall be a sound of lamentation; lo, then we shall rest."

41. Tiâmat on hearing this

42. Was stirred up to wrath and shrieked to her husband,24

43. ... unto sickness. She raged all alone,

44. She uttered a curse, and unto [Apsu, spake, saying,],

45. "Whatsoever we have made we will destroy.

46. "Verily their way shall be filled with disaster; lo, then we shall rest."

47. Mummu answered and gave counsel unto Apsu,

48. The counsel of Mummu was ... and dire [in respect of the gods]:

49. "Come, [do thou destroy] their way which is strong.

50. "Then verily by day thou shalt find peace, [and] by night thou shalt have rest."

51. Apsu heard him, his face grew bright,

52. For that they were planning evil against the gods, his children.

53. Mummu embraced his neck ...

54. He took him on his knee, he kissed him ...

55. They (i.e. Mummu and Apsu) planned the cursing in the assembly,

56. They repeated the curses to the gods their eldest sons.

57. The gods made answer ...

58. They began a lamentation...

59. [Endowed] with understanding, the prudent god, the exalted one,

60. Ea, who pondereth everything that is, searched out their [plan].

61. He brought it to nought (?), he made the form of everything to stand still.

62. He recited a cunning incantation, very powerful and holy.

[In the British Museum tablets lines 63-108 are either wanting entirely, or are too broken to translate, and the last 130 lines of the Berlin fragment are much mutilated. The fragments of text show that Ea waged war against Apsu and Mummu. Ea recited an incantation which caused Apsu to fall asleep. He then "loosed the joints" of Mummu, who in some way suffered, but he was strong enough to attack Ea when he turned to deal with Apsu. Ea overcame both his adversaries and divided Apsu into chambers and laid fetters upon him. In one of the chambers of Apsu a god was begotten and born. According to the Ninevite theologians Ea begat by his wife, who is not named, his son Marduk, and according to the theologians of the City of Ashur, Lakhmu begat by his wife Lakhamu a son who is no other than Anshar, or Ashur. A nurse was appointed to rear him, and he grew up a handsome child, to the great delight of his father. He had four ears and four eyes, a statement which suggests that he was two-headed, and resembled the Latin god [Janus].]

109. They formed a band, and went forth to battle to help Tiâmat.

110. They were exceedingly wroth, they made plots by day and by night without ceasing.

111. They offered battle, fuming and raging.

112. They set the battle in array, they uttered cries25 of hostility,

113. Ummu-Khubur,26 who fashioned all things,

114. Set up the unrivalled weapon, she spawned huge serpents,

115. Sharp of tooth, pitiless in attack (?)

116. She filled their bodies with venom instead of blood,

117. Grim, monstrous serpents, arrayed in terror,

118. She decked them with brightness, she fashioned them in exalted forms,

119. So that fright and horror might overcome him that looked upon them,