Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 81

Then Anshar called unto his counsellor, Gaga, and addressing him, said: "O thou who dost share my desires, thou who dost understand the purpose of my heart, go unto Lachmu and Lachamu and summon all the high gods to come before me to eat bread and drink wine. Repeat to them all I tell you of Tiamat's preparations for war, of my commands to Anu and Ea, who turned back, fearing the dragon, of my choice of Merodach to be our avenger, and his desire to be equipped with my power to decree fate, so that he may be made strong to combat against our enemy."

As Anshar commanded so did Gaga do. He went unto Lachmu and Lachamu and prostrated himself humbly before them. Then he rose and delivered the message of Anshar, their son, adding: "Hasten and speedily decide for Merodach your fate. Permit him to depart to meet your powerful foe."

When Lachmu and Lachamu heard all that Gaga revealed unto them they uttered lamentations, while the Igigi (heavenly spirits) sorrowed bitterly, and said: "What change hath happened that Tiamat hath become hostile to her own offspring? We cannot understand her deeds."

All the high gods then arose and went unto Anshar, They filled his council chamber and kissed one another. Then they sat down to eat bread and drink sesame wine. And when they were made drunk and were merry and at their ease, they decreed the fate for Merodach.

In the chamber of Anshar they honoured the Avenger. He was exalted as a prince over them all, and they said: "Among the high gods thou art the highest; thy command is the command of Anu. Henceforth thou wilt have power to raise up and to cast down. None of the gods will dispute thy authority. O Merodach, our avenger, we give thee sovereignty over the entire Universe. Thy weapon will ever be irresistible. Smite down the gods who have raised revolt, but spare the lives of those who repose their trust in thee."

Then the gods laid down a garment before Merodach, saying: "Open thy mouth and speak words of command, so that the garment may be destroyed; speak again and it will be brought back."

Merodach spake with his mouth and the garment vanished; he spake again and the garment was reproduced.

All the gods rejoiced, and they prostrated themselves and cried out, "Merodach is King!"

Thereafter they gave him the sceptre and the throne and the insignia of royalty, and also an irresistible weapon[158] with which to overcome his enemies, saying: "Now, O Merodach, hasten and slay Tiamat. Let the winds carry her blood to hidden places."

So was the fate of Merodach decreed by the gods; so was a path of prosperity and peace prepared for him. He made ready for battle; he strung his bow and hung his quiver; he slung a dart over his shoulder, and he grasped a club in his right hand; before him he set lightning, and with flaming fire he filled his body. Anu gave unto him a great net with which to snare his enemies and prevent their escape. Then Merodach created seven winds--the wind of evil, the uncontrollable wind, the sandstorm, and the whirlwind, the fourfold wind, the sevenfold wind, and the wind that has no equal--and they went after him. Next he seized his mighty weapon, the thunderstone, and leapt into his storm chariot, to which were yoked four rushing and destructive steeds of rapid flight, with foam-flecked mouths and teeth full of venom, trained for battle, to overthrow enemies and trample them underfoot. A light burned on the head of Merodach, and he was clad in a robe of terror. He drove forth, and the gods, his fathers, followed after him: the high gods clustered around and followed him, hastening to battle.