Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 90

Perhaps it was due to the monotheistic tendency, if not to the fusion of father-worshipping and mother-worshipping peoples, that bi-sexual deities were conceived of. Nannar, the moon god, was sometimes addressed as father and mother in one, and Ishtar as a god as well as a goddess. In Egypt Isis is referred to in a temple chant as "the woman who was made a male by her father Osiris", and the Nile god Hapi was depicted as a man with female breasts.

[152] The elder Bel was Enlil of Nippur and the younger Merodach of Babylon. According to Damascius the elder Bel came into existence before Ea, who as Enki shared his attributes.
[153] This is the inference drawn from fragmentary texts.
[154] A large portion of the narrative is awaiting here.
[155] A title of Tiamat; pron. ch guttural.
[156] There is another gap here which interrupts the narrative.
[157] This may refer to Ea's first visit when he overcame Kingu, but did not attack Tiamat.
[158] The lightning trident or thunderstone.
[159] The authorities are not agreed as to the meaning of "Ku-pu." Jensen suggests "trunk, body". In European dragon stories the heroes of the Siegfried order roast and eat the dragon's heart. Then they are inspired with the dragon's wisdom and cunning. Sigurd and Siegfried immediately acquire the language of birds. The birds are the "Fates", and direct the heroes what next they should do. Apparently Merodach's "cunning plan" was inspired after he had eaten a part of the body of Tiamat.
[160] The waters above the firmament.
[161] According to Berosus.
[162] This portion is fragmentary and seems to indicate that the Babylonians had made considerable progress in the science of astronomy. It is suggested that they knew that the moon derived its light from the sun.
[163] The Seven Tablets of Creation, L.W. King, pp. 134, 135.
[164] The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, T.G. Pinches, p. 43.
[165] The Seven Tablets of Creation, L. W. King, vol. i, pp. 98, 99.
[166] Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., iv, 251-2.
[167] Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, i, 3, 8.
[168] Isaiah, li, 8.
[169] Campbell's West Highland Tales, pp. 136 et seq.
[170] The Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great, E. A. Wallis Budge, pp. 284, 285.
[171] Campbell's West Highland Tales.
[172] Nehemiah, ii, 13.
[173] The Tempest, i, 2, 212.
[174] Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, vol. iv, p. 176 et seq.
[175] From unpublished folk tale.
[176] Beowulf, translated by Clark Hall, London, 1911, p. 18 et seq.
[177] Beowulf, translated by Clark Hall, London, 1911, p. 69, lines 1280-1287.
[178] Egyptian Myth and Legend, pp. 260, 261.
[179] Egyptian Myth and Legend, pp. 8, 9.
[180] Indian Myth and Legend, pp. xli, 149, 150.
[181] Isaiah, li, 9.
[182] Psalms, lxxiv, 13, 14. It will be noted that the Semitic dragon, like the Egyptian, is a male.
[183] Job, xxvi, 12, 13.
[184] Psalms, lxxxix, 10.
[185] Isaiah, xxvii, I.
[186] Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms, p. 204.
[187] Custom and Myth, pp. 45 et seq.
[188] Translation by Dr. Langdon, pp. 199 et seq.
[189] The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, T.G. Pinches, pp. 118, 119.

Chapter VIII. Deified Heroes: Etana and Gilgamesh


God and Heroes and the "Seven Sleepers"--Quests of Etana, Gilgamesh, Hercules, &c.--The Plant of Birth--Eagle carries Etana to Heaven--Indian Parallel--Flights of Nimrod, Alexander the Great, and a Gaelic Hero--Eagle as a God--Indian Eagle identified with Gods of Creation, Fire, Fertility, and Death--Eagle carries Roman Emperor's Soul to Heaven--Fire and Agricultural Ceremonies--Nimrod of the Koran and John Barleycorn--Gilgamesh and the Eagle--Sargon-Tammuz Garden Myth--Ea-bani compared to Pan, Bast, and Nebuchadnezzar--Exploits of Gilgamesh and Ea-bani--Ishtar's Vengeance--Gilgamesh journeys to Otherworld--Song of Sea Maiden and "Lay of the Harper"--Babylonian Noah and the Plant of Life--Teutonic Parallels--Alexander the Great as Gilgamesh--Water of Life in the Koran--The Indian Gilgamesh and Hercules--The Mountain Tunnel in various Mythologies--Widespread Cultural Influences.

One of the oldest forms of folk stories relates to the wanderings of a hero in distant regions. He may set forth in search of a fair lady who has been taken captive, or to obtain a magic herb or stone to relieve a sufferer, to cure diseases, and to prolong life. Invariably he is a slayer of dragons and other monsters. A friendly spirit, or a group of spirits, may assist the hero, who acts according to the advice given him by a "wise woman", a magician, or a god. The spirits are usually wild beasts or birds--the "fates" of immemorial folk belief--and they may either carry the hero on their backs, instruct him from time to time, or come to his aid when called upon.