Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 78

The Semitic folks were not so highly thought of in the early Sumerian period. It is not likely that the agricultural people regarded as models of gods the plunderers who descended from the hills, and, after achieving successes, returned home with their spoils. More probably they regarded them as "foreign devils". Other Semites, however, who came as traders, bringing wood, stone, and especially copper, and formed communities in cities, may well have influenced Sumerian religious thought. The god Ramman, for instance, who was given recognition all through Babylonia, was a god of hill folks as far north as Asia Minor and throughout Syria. He may have been introduced by settlers who adopted Sumerian habits of life and shaved scalp and face. But although the old cities could never have existed in a complete state of isolation from the outer world, it is unlikely that their inhabitants modelled their deities on those worshipped by groups of aliens. A severe strain is imposed on our credulity if we are expected to believe that it was due to the teachings and example of uncultured nomads that the highly civilized Sumerians developed their gods from composite monsters to anthropomorphic deities. Such a supposition, at any rate, is not supported by the evidence of Ancient Egypt.

[144] Nehemiah, i, 1.
[145] Esther, i, 6.
[146] Isaiah, xiii, 19-22.
[147] Indian Myth and Legend, pp. 173-175 and 192-194.
[148] Or Rimush.
[149] Genesis, xiv.
[150] That is, the equivalent of Babylonia. During the Kassite period the name was Karduniash.
[151] The narrative follows The Seven Tablets of Creation and other fragments, while the account given by Berosus is also drawn upon.