The Babylonian Legends of the Creation

Page: 27

133. They (i.e., the gods) treated him with contempt, he turned not his back [in flight],

134. No god could resist his wrath at its height.

135. His heart is large, his bowels of mercy are great.

136. Of sin and wickedness before him ...

137. The first comer utters his complaint of humiliation before him.

[Lines 138-142 are too fragmentary to translate.]


1. There are in the British Museum several fragments of Neo-Babylonian copies of the Seven Tablets of Creation, the exact position of which is at present uncertain. One of these (S. 2013) is of some importance because it speaks of one object which was in the "upper Tiâmat" [Cuneiform], and of another which was in the "lower Tiâmat" [Cuneiform]. This shows that the Babylonians thought that one half of the body of Tiâmat, which was split up by Marduk, was made into the celestial ocean, and the other half into the terrestrial ocean, in other words, into "the waters that were above" and "the waters that were beneath" the firmament respectively.

2. When George Smith published his Chaldean Account of Genesis in 1876, he was of opinion that the Creation Tablets in the British Museum contained descriptions of the Temptation of Eve by the serpent and of the building and overthrow of the Tower of Babel. The description of Paradise in Genesis ii seems to show traces of Babylonian influence, and the cylinder seal, Brit. Mus. No. 89,326, was thought to be proof that a Babylonian legend of the Temptation existed. In fact, George Smith printed a copy of the seal in his book (p. 91). But it is now known that the tablet which was believed to refer to man's eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (K. 3, 473 + 79-7-8, 296 + R. 615) describes the banquet of the gods to which they invited Marduk. In like manner the text on K. 3657, which Smith thought referred to the Tower of Babel, is now known to contain no mention of a tower or building of any sort. It was also thought by him that K. 3364 contained a set of instructions which God gave to Adam and Eve after their creation, but it is now known and admitted by all Assyriologists that the text on this tablet contains moral precepts and has nothing to do with the Creation Series. Enquiries are from time to time made at the Museum for tablets which deal with the Temptation of Eve, and the destruction of the Tower of Babel, and the Divine commands to Adam and Eve; it is perhaps not superfluous to say that nothing of the kind exists.

Lost of the name of the Stars or Signs of the Zodiac, with a List Showing the Month that was Associated with Each Star in the Persian Period.

BY SIDNEY SMITH, M.A., and C.J. GADD, M.A., Assistants in the Department.

 No. 77,821 (85-4-30, 15).

1 Nisannu (kakkab) (amel) Agru.... The Labourer.
2 Airu " Kakkab u (kakkab) Alap shame The Star and the Bull of heaven.
3 Simanu " Re'u kinu shame u (kakkab) tu'ame rabuti The faithful shepherd of heaven and the Great Twins.
4 Duuzu " AL.LUL. (shittu)[Cuneiform].

9. It is probable that the idea of this Tablet is perpetuated in the "Preserved Tablet" of the Ḳur'ân (Surah x, 62), on which the destiny of every man was written at or before the creation of the world. Nothing that is written (maktûb) there can be erased, or altered, or fail to take effect.