Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 117

This myth may be an echo of Nergal's raid against Eresh-ki-gal. Or, being associated with Cuthah, it may have been composed to encourage burial in that city's sacred cemetery, which had been cleared by the famous old king of the evil demons which tormented the dead and made seasonal attacks against the living.

[224] Ea addresses the hut in which his human favourite, Pir-napishtim, slept. His message was conveyed to this man in a dream.
[225] The second sentence of Ea's speech is conjectural, as the lines are mutilated.
[226] The Muses' Pageant, W.M.L. Hutchinson, pp. 5 et seq.
[227] Indian Myth and Legend, pp. 107 et seq.
[228] Vana Parva section of the Mahábhárata (Roy's trans.), p. 425.
[229] Indian Myth and Legend, p. 141.
[230] Book of Leinster, and Keating's History of Ireland, p. 150 (1811 ed.).
[231] Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, A. Wiedemann, pp. 58 et seq.
[232] Pinches' The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 42.
[233] The problems involved are discussed from different points of view by Mr. L.W. King in Babylonian Religion (Books on Egypt and Chaldaea, vol. iv), Professor Pinches in The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, and other vols.
[234] Primitive Constellations, vol. i, pp. 334-5.
[235] Indian Myth and Legend, chap. iii.
[236] Professor Macdonell's translation.
[237] Indian Wisdom.
[238] "Varuna, the deity bearing the noose as his weapon", Sabha Parva section of the Mahábhárata (Roy's trans.), p. 29.
[239] Indian Myth and Legend, pp. 38-42.
[240] Early Religious Poetry of Persia, J.H. Moulton, pp. 41 et seq. and 154 et seq.
[241] The Elder Edda, O. Bray, p. 55.
[242] The Elder Edda, O. Bray, pp. 291 et seq.
[243] Celtic Myth and Legend, pp. 133 et seq.
[244] Tennyson's The Passing of Arthur.
[245] Job, x, 1-22.
[246] The Elder Edda, O. Bray, pp. 150-1.
[247] Indian Myth and Legend, p. 326.
[248] The Religion of Ancient Rome, Cyril Bailey, p. 50.
[249] The Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great (Ethiopic version of the Pseudo Callisthenes), pp. 133-4. The conversation possibly never took place, but it is of interest in so far as it reflects beliefs which were familiar to the author of this ancient work. His Brahmans evidently believed that immortality was denied to ordinary men, and reserved only for the king, who was the representative of the deity, of course.
[250] Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, Morris Jastrow, pp. 358-9.
[251] The Mahàbhàrata (Sabha Parva section), Roy's translation, pp. 25-7.
[252] A History of Sumer and Akkad, L.W. King, pp. 181-2.
[253] Genesis, xxxv, 2-4.
[254] The Religion of Ancient Egypt, W.M. Flinders Petrie, p. 72.
[255] Sabha Parva section of the Mahàbhàrata (Roy's trans.), p. 29.
[256] Egyptian Myth and Legend, p. 214.
[257] Canto iv:--
Last eventide
Brian an augury hath tried....
The Taghairm called; by which afar
Our sires foresaw the events of war.
Duncraggan's milk-white bull they slew....
[258] 1 Samuel, xxiii, 9-11.
[259] 1 Kings, xix, 19 and 2 Kings, ii, 13-15.
[260] The Burial Customs of Ancient Egypt, John Garstang, pp. 28, 29 (London, 1907).
[261] Herod., book i, 198.
[262] Records of the Past (old series), xi, pp. 109 et seq., and (new series), vol. i, pp. 149 et seq.
[263] L.W. King's The Seven Tablets of Creation.

Chapter X. Buildings and Laws and Customs of Babylon


Decline and Fall of Sumerian Kingdoms--Elamites and Semites strive for Supremacy--Babylon's Walls, Gates, Streets, and Canals--The Hanging Gardens--Merodach's Great Temple--The Legal Code of Hammurabi--The Marriage Market--Position of Women--Marriage brought Freedom--Vestal Virgins--Breach of Promise and Divorce--Rights of Children--Female Publicans--The Land Laws--Doctors legislated out of Existence--Folk Cures--Spirits of Disease expelled by Magical Charms--The Legend of the Worm--"Touch Iron"--Curative Water--Magical Origin of Poetry and Music.

The rise of Babylon inaugurated a new era in the history of Western Asia. Coincidentally the political power of the Sumerians came to an end. It had been paralysed by the Elamites, who, towards the close of the Dynasty of Isin, successfully overran the southern district and endeavoured to extend their sway over the whole valley. Two Elamite kings, Warad-Sin and his brother Rim-Sin, struggled with the rulers of Babylon for supremacy, and for a time it appeared as if the intruders from the East were to establish themselves permanently as a military aristocracy over Sumer and Akkad. But the Semites were strongly reinforced by new settlers of the same blended stock who swarmed from the land of the Amorites. Once again Arabia was pouring into Syria vast hordes of its surplus population, with the result that ethnic disturbances were constant and widespread. This migration is termed the Canaanitic or Amorite: it flowed into Mesopotamia and across Assyria, while it supplied the "driving power" which secured the ascendancy of the Hammurabi Dynasty at Babylon. Indeed, the ruling family which came into prominence there is believed to have been of Canaanitic origin.