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This Tablet I translation was published in 1902 by Leonard William King.[1]


1. When in the height heaven was not named,

2. And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,

3. And the primeval Apsû, who begat them,

4. And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both,—

5. Their waters were mingled together,

6. And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;

7. When of the gods none had been called into being,

8. And none bore a name, and no destinies [were ordained];

9. Then were created the gods in the midst of [heaven],

10. Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being [...].

11. Ages increased, [...],

12. Then Anshar and Kishar were created, and over them [...].

13. Long were the days, then there came forth [...]

14. Anu, their son, [...]

15. Anshar and Anu [...]

16. And the god Anu [...]

17. Nudimmud, whom his fathers [his] begetters [...]

18. Abounding in all wisdom, [...]

19. He was exceeding strong [...]

20. He had no rival [...]

21. (Thus) were established and [were ... the great gods (?)].

22 . But T[iamat and Âpsû] were (still) in confusion [...],

23. They were troubled and [...]

24. In disorder(?) ... [...]

26. And Tiamat roared [...]

25. Apsû was not diminished in might [...]

27. She smote, and their deeds [...]

28. Their way was evil ... [...] ...

29. Then Apsû, the begetter of the great gods,

30. Cried unto Mummu, his minister, and said unto him:

31. "O Mummu, thou minister that rejoicest my spirit,

32. "Come, unto Tiamat let us [go]!"

33. So they went and before Tiamat they lay down,

34. They consulted on a plan with regard to the gods [their sons].

35. Apsû opened his mouth [and spake],

36. And unto Tiamat, the glistening one, he addressed [the word]:

37. "[...] their way [...],

38. "By day I cannot rest, by night [I cannot lie down (in peace)].

39. "But I will destroy their way, I will [...],

40. "Let there be lamentation, and let us lie down (again in peace)."

41. When Tiamat [heard] these words,

42. She raged and cried aloud [...].

43. [She ...] grievously [...],

44. She uttered a curse, and unto [Apsû she spake]:

45. "What then shall we [do]?

46. "Let their way be made difficult, and let us [lie down (again) in peace]."

47. Mummu answered, and gave counsel unto Apsû,

48. [...] and hostile (to the gods) was the counsel Mu[mmu gave]:

49. "Come, their way is strong, but thou shalt destroy [it];

50. "Then by day shalt thou have rest, by night shalt thou lie down (in peace)."

51. Apsû [hearkened unto] him and his countenance grew bright,

52. [Since] he (i.e. Mummu) planned evil against the gods his sons.

53. [...] he was afraid [...],

54. His knees [became weak(?)], they gave way beneath him,

55. [Because of the evil] which their first-born had planned.

56. [...] their [...] they altered(?).

58. Lamentation [...] they sat in [sorrow] '

57. [...] they [...],

59. [...]

p. 12 p. 13

60. Then Ea, who knoweth all that [is], went up and he beheld their muttering.

61. [...]

62. [...] ... his pure incantation

63. [...] ... [...]

64. [...]

65. [...] misery

66. [...]

67. [...]

[Lines 68-82 are wanting.]

83. [...]

84 [...] ...

85. [...] the god Anu,

86. [... an aven]ger.

87. [...]

88. [...] and he shall confound Tiamat.

89. [...] he ...

90. [...] for ever.

91. [...] the evil,

92. [...] ... he spake:

93. "[...] thy [...] he hath conquered and

94. " [...] he [weepeth] and sitteth in tribulation(?).

95. "[...] of fear,

96. "[...] we shall not lie down (in peace).

97. "[...] Apsû is laid waste(?),

98. "[...] and Mummu, who were taken captive, in [...]

99. "[...] thou didst, ...

100. "[...] let us lie down (in peace).

101. "[...] ... they will smite (?) [...].

102. " [...] let us lie down (in peace).

103. "[...] thou shalt take vengeance for them,

104. "[...]unto the tempest shalt thou [...]!"

105. [And Tiamat hearkened unto] the word of the bright god, (and said):

106. "[...] shalt thou entrust! let us wage [war]!"

107. [...] the gods in the midst of [...]

108. [...] for the gods did she create.'

109. [They banded themselves together and] at the side of Tiamat [they] advanced;

110. [They were furious, they devised mischief without resting] night and [day].

111. [They prepared for battle], fuming and raging;

112. [They joined their forces] and made war.

113. [Ummu-Hubu]r, who formed all things,

114. [Made in addition] weapons invincible, she spawned monster-serpents,

115. [Sharp of] tooth, and merciless of fang;

116. [With poison instead of] blood she filled [their] bodies.

117. Fierce [monster-vipers] she clothed with terror,

118. [With splendour] she decked them, [she made them] of lofty stature.

119. [Whoever beheld] them, terror overcame him,

120. Their bodies reared up and none could withstand [their attack].

121. [She set] up vipers, and dragons, and the (monster) [Lahamu],

122. [And hurricanes], and raging hounds, and scorpion-men,

123. And mighty [tempests], and fish-men, and[rams];

124. [They bore] cruel weapons, without fear of [the fight].

125. Her commands [were mighty], [none] could resist them;

126. After this fashion, huge of stature, [she made] eleven (monsters).

127. Among the gods who were her sons, inasmuch as he had given [her support],

128. She exalted Kingu; in their midst [she raised] him [to power].

129. To march before the forces, to lead [the host],

130. To give the battle-signal, to advance to the attack,

131. To direct the battle, to control the fight,

132. Unto him she entrusted; in [costly raiment] she made him sit, (saying):

133. "I have uttered thy spell, in the assembly of the gods I have raised thee to power.

134. "The dominion over all the gods [have I entrusted unto him].

135. "Be thou exalted, thou my chosen spouse,

136. "May they magnify thy name over all [of them ... the Anunnaki]."

137. She gave him the Tablets of Destiny, on [his] breast she laid them, (saying):

138. "Thy command shall not be without avail, and[the word of thy mouth shall be established]."

139. Now Kingu, (thus) exalted, having received [the power of Anu],

140. [Decreed] the fate among the gods his sons, (saying):

141. "Let the opening of your mouth [quench] the Fire-god;

142. "Whoso is exalted in the battle, let him [display (his) might]!"

When on high the heaven had not been named,[2]
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
Naught but primordial Apsu, their begetter, (And) Mummu[3]
Tiamat, she who bore them all,
Their waters commingling as a single body,[4]
No reed but had been matted, no marsh land had appeared,
When no gods whatever had been brought into being,
Un-named, their destinies yet undermined—
Then it was that the gods were emerged from within them.
Lahmu and Lahamu were came forth, were called by name,
Before they had grown in age and statue.
Anshar and Kishar were shaped, more mighty than the others.
They extended the days, added on the years.
Anu was their heir, rival of his father;
Verily, Anu, Anshar’s first-born, was his equal.
Anu sired his image Nudimmud.[5]
This Nudimmud was the master of his father,[6]
Of broad wisdom, understanding, mighty in strength,
Mightier by far than his grandfather, Anshar.
He had no rival among the gods, his brothers.
The divine brothers[7] banded together,
They disturbed Tiamat as they rushed here and there,
Indeed, they distraught and tormented Tiamat
By their boisterous mirth in the dwelling of Heaven.
Apsu could not diminish their clamor
And Tiamat was dumbfounded at their ways.
Their doings were loathsome to him.
Offensive and overbearing were their ways.
Then Apsu, the begetter of great gods,
Cried out, addressing Mummu, his vizier:
“0 Mummu, my vizier, who rejoices my spirit,
Come hither and let us go to Tiamat!”
They went and sat down before Tiamat,
Exchanging counsel about the gods, their offspring.
Apsu, opening his mouth,
Said unto radiant Tiamat:
“Their ways are truly abominable unto me.
By day I find no relief, nor r
Their ways indeed are most troublesome, but let us practice kindness!”
Then answered Mummu, giving counsel to Apsu;
Rude and ungracious was Mummu’s advice
“Destroy, my father, their rebellious ways.
Then shall you have relief by day and rest by night!”
When Apsu heard this, his face grew luminous
Because of the evil he planned against his godly sons.
He embraced Mummu by the neck
As he sat down on his knees to kiss him.
Now whatever they had plotted between them,
Was repeated unto the gods, their first-born.
When the gods heard this, they were astonished,
Then lapsed into silence and remained speechless.
Superior in wisdom, accomplished and resourceful,
Ea, the all-wise, saw through their design.
Made artful his spell against it, surpassing and holy.
He recited it and made it subsist in the deep,
As he poured sleep upon him. Sound asleep he lay.
When he had made Apsu lie prone, deep in sleep,
Mummu, the advisor, was powerless to stir.
He[8] loosened Apsu’s band, tore off his tiara,
Removed his halo and put it on himself.
Having constrained Apsu, he slew him.
Mummu he bound and locked.
Having thus upon Apsu established his ascendance,
He laid hold of Mummu, holding him by the nose-rope.
After Ea had vanquished and tramped down his foes,
Had assured his triumph over his enemies,
In profound peace he rested in his sacred chamber,
He named it “Apsu,” for shrines he assigned it.
He founded his cult in that same place.
Ea and Damkina, his wife, dwelled there in splendor.
In the chamber of fates, the house of destinies,
A god was engendered, most able and wisest of gods.
In the heart of holy Apsu was Marduk created.
He who begot him was Ea, his father.

Tiamat renewed the conflict and created an army of monsters. This time even the great Ea could not withstand the attack and the gods decided to ask the young Marduk to defend them against Tiamat.


NotesEdit

  1. King, Leonard W. The Seven Tablets of Creation, The First Tablet (1902)
  2. I.e., had not been created. The ancients believed that naming a thing was, in itself, an act of creation.—CSUN, p.10, note 1
  3. Probably an epithet in the sense of “mother.” Not to be confused with the vizier Mummu who is mentioned later.—CSUN, p.10, note 2
  4. I.e. the fresh waters (Apsu) and the salt waters (Tiamat) have not been separated yet—CSUN, p.10, note 3
  5. Another name of Ea (=Enki), the god of the earth and water.—CSUN, p.10, note 4
  6. This motif of the younger gods becoming more powerful than the older gods, and eventually supplanting them, is central to almost all of the mythological cycles of the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. It represents what may be thought of as the ultimate “generation gap.” Here this theme also symbolizes the process of creation, because the forces of nature (the gods) become more differentiated and defined.—CSUN, p.10, note 5
  7. I.e., the younger gods.—CSUN, p.10, note 6
  8. “He” refers to Ea, not Mummu.—CSUN, p.10, note 7
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