Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 83

Merodach rested a while, gazing upon the dead body of the dragon. He divided the flesh of Ku-pu[159], and devised a cunning plan.

Then the lord of the high gods split the body of the dragon like that of a mashde fish into two halves. With one half he enveloped the firmament; he fixed it there and set a watchman to prevent the waters falling down[160]. With the other half he made the earth[161]. Then he made the abode of Ea in the deep, and the abode of Anu in high heaven. The abode of Enlil was in the air.

Merodach set all the great gods in their several stations. He also created their images, the stars of the Zodiac, and fixed them all. He measured the year and divided it into months; for twelve months he made three stars each. After he had given starry images of the gods separate control of each day of the year, he founded the station of Nibiru (Jupiter), his own star, to determine the limits of all stars, so that none might err or go astray. He placed beside his own the stations of Enlil and Ea, and on each side he opened mighty gates, fixing bolts on the left and on the right. He set the zenith in the centre.

Merodach decreed that the moon god should rule the night and measure the days, and each month he was given a crown. Its various phases the great lord determined, and he commanded that on the evening of its fullest brilliancy it should stand opposite the sun.[162]

He placed his bow in heaven (as a constellation) and his net also.

We have now reached the sixth tablet, which begins with a reference to words spoken to Merodach by the gods. Apparently Ea had conceived in his heart that mankind should be created. The lord of the gods read his thoughts and said: "I will shed my blood and fashion bone... I will create man to dwell on the earth so that the gods may be worshipped and shrines erected for them. I will change the pathways of the gods...."

The rest of the text is fragmentary, and many lines are missing. Berosus states, however, that Belus (Bel Merodach) severed his head from his shoulders. His blood flowed forth, and the gods mixed it with earth and formed the first man and various animals.

In another version of the creation of man, it is related that Merodach "laid a reed upon the face of the waters; he formed dust, and poured it out beside the reed.... That he might cause the gods to dwell in the habitation of their heart's desire, he formed mankind." The goddess Aruru, a deity of Sippar, and one of the forms of "the lady of the gods", is associated with Merodach as the creatrix of the seed of mankind. "The beasts of the field and living creatures in the field he formed." He also created the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, grass, reeds, herbs and trees, lands, marshes and swamps, cows, goats, &c.[163]