The Babylonian Legends of the Creation

Page: 12

"When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name."

Each line, or verse, falls into two halves, and a well-marked caesura divides each line, or verse, into two equally accented parts. And the half-lines can be further resolved into two halves, each containing a single accented word or phrase. This is proved by tablet Spartali ii, 265A, where the scribe writes his lines and spaces the words in such a way as to show the subdivision of the lines. Thus we have:--

enuma | elish || lâ nabû | shamamu
shaplish | ammatum || shuma | lâ zakrat

Here there is clearly a rhythm which resembles that found in the poems of the Syrians and Arabs, but there are many instances of its inconsistent use in several parts of the text. Both rhyme and alliteration appear to be used occasionally.

The Seven Tablets of Creation.--Translation.


1. When the heavens above were yet unnamed,23

2. And the name of the earth beneath had not been recorded,

3. Apsu, the oldest of beings, their progenitor,

4. "Mummu" Tiâmat, who bare each and all of them--

5. Their waters were merged into a single mass.

6. A field had not been measured, a marsh had not been searched out,

7. When of the gods none was shining,

Portion of a tablet inscribed in Assyrian with a text of the First Tablet of the Creation Series. [K. 5419C.]

8. A name had not been recorded, a fate had not been fixed,

9. The gods came into being in the midst of them.

10. The god Lakhmu and the goddess Lakhamu were made to shine, they were named.

11. [Together] they increased in stature, they grew tall.

12. Anshar and Kishar came into being, and others besides them.

13. Long were the days, the years increased.

14. The god Anu, their son, the equal of his fathers, [was created].

15. The god Anshar made his eldest son Anu in his own image.

16. And the god Anu begat Nudimmud (Ea) the image of himself.

17. The god Nudimmud was the first among his fathers,

18. Endowed with understanding, he who thinketh deeply, the orator

19. Exceedingly mighty in strength above his father Anshar who begat him.

20. Unrivalled amongst the gods his brothers ...

21. The confraternity of the gods was established.

22. Tiâmat was troubled and she ... their guardian.

23. Her belly was stirred up to its uttermost depths.

24. ...........

25. Apsu (the watery abyss) could not diminish their brawl

26. And Tiâmat gathered herself together ...

27. She struck a blow, and their works ...

28. Their way was not good,...

29. At that time Apsu, the progenitor of the great gods,

30. Shouted out and summoned Mummu, the steward of his house, saying

31. "[O] Mummu, my steward, who makest my liver to rejoice,

32. "Come, to Tiâmat we will go."

33. They went, they lay down [on a couch] facing Tiâmat.

34. They took counsel together about the gods [their children].

35. Apsu took up his word and said,

36. To Tiâmat, the holy (?) one, he made mention of a matter, [saying],

37. "... their way ...

38. "By day I find no peace, by night I have no rest.