Enūma eliš

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Enûma Eliš ( cuneiform : ????? , eingedeutscht: Enuma Elish), the Babylonian Creation - myth called the 1000 lines were written in cuneiform clay tablets to seven. The poem is in copies from the 9th to the 2nd century BC. Almost completely preserved and written in Akkadian language . The exact time of its creation is unclear, and assessments vary widely on this issue. Translated, Enūma eliš means "When above [heaven was not yet named]", named after the first line of the epic.


When Babylon assumed a dominant position within the cities of Mesopotamia, the city deity Marduk gained importance within the Akkadian pantheon. This was made clear by incorporating Marduk into the myth of the creation of the world. From then on, after some interpretations, the work served to underpin the Babylonian claim to rule ideologically.

During the festivities at the Babylonian festival of Akitu , verses from the Enūma eliš were recited.


The tablets were unearthed in the Aššurbanipal library in Nineveh in the middle of the 19th century . In the meantime, u. a. also found in Sultantepe (Huzirina) and Sippar tablets.

The myth is depicted on Babylonian cylinder seals.


The myth describes how the earth was created. Apsû (“the primordial”) and Tiamat (“who bore them all”; represented as a sea monster) are the first forms of existence, long before creation . Several gods arise, including Laḫmu and Laḫamu , about whom nothing is known except their names. Later, Apsû and Tiamat are overthrown by the gods of the new generations in a battle between the gods.

1st panel

1 to 20 Apsû and Tiamat create the gods. Ea surpasses his father. 21 to 54 The gods disturb their parents. Apsû wants to kill them, Tiamat not. The advisor Mummu agrees with Apsû. 55 to 75 Ea puts Apsû to sleep by incantation, kills him. He arrests the advisor Mummu and sets up his home on the Apsû. 76-109 Ea and his wife Damkina testify there Marduk . His youth, splendor and strength are portrayed. Ea hands him the four winds to frighten Tiamat. 110 to 124 The gods feel disturbed by Marduk's four winds and incite Tiamat to revenge. 125 to 162 “Let's make demons”. Kingu becomes the leader of the eleven demons created by Tiamat. He gets the " Anu dignity " and the destiny plates .

2nd panel

1 to 48 Ea, son of Anu , hears of Tiamat's preparations for war and reports it to Anšar , father of Anu. 49 to 70 Anšar's anger: “Ea, how could you start a war?” Eas defense of his act. 71 to 94 Anšar instructs Ea to defeat Tiamat by incantation. Ea does not come up against Tiamat. 95 to 118 Anšar commissions Anu, but he too fails. 120 to 152 Anšar is at a loss. Ea sends Marduk and instructs him to appease Tiamat by conjuring up. Marduk demands to take Anšar's place after a victory.

3rd panel

1 to 65 Anšar instructs his minister, Kakka , to assemble the gods according to Marduk's request and to inform them of the situation. 65 to 124 Kaka informs the gods of the meeting ordered by Marduk. 125 to 138 The gods gather, celebrate and "determine the fate of Marduk ..."

4th panel

1 to 34 Enthronement of Marduk and test of his power (constellation disappears and appears on his word). "Marduk is king". Mission to defeat Tiamat. 35 to 58 Marduks battle preparation: arrow, bow, club, lightning, the seven winds, storm surge and team of four, companion and armored cloak. 59 to 74 Tiamat and her husband Kingu freeze in front of the hero. 75 to 146 Marduk defeated Tiamat. Marduk removes the fate table from Kingu, binds him and the eleven demons. He reports it to the gods, who then bring him gifts. Marduk splits Tiamat's corpse and creates the sky from one half according to the shape of the Apsû.

5th panel

1 to 66 Marduk establishes the constellations , creates Nannar and gives him instructions. Use Šamaš . Creation from the lower half of the Tiamat: mountains, Euphrates , Tigris and the rest of the earth . Examine everything. 67 to 116 Marduk gives statutes, gives Anu the fate of Kingu. Creates images of the eleven demons in memory. Cheering and submission to the gods: "Marduk was our beloved son in the past, now he is your king, pay attention to his command!" 117 to 157 Marduk's plan to found Babylon and in it his abode and the resting place of the gods before the meeting. Establishment of an evening festival. Gods agree.

6th panel

1 to 16 Marduk tells Ea his plan: He wants to create people out of blood, so that they can bear the toil of the gods and the gods have their rest through it; he wants to divide the gods into two groups. Ea advises: The one guilty of Tiamat's violence should die so that people can be created from his blood. Assembly of gods in front of Marduk: 17 to 34 The gods blame Kingu. Now Ea creates people out of his blood and imposes the service of the gods on them. 35 to 69 division of 600 gods in heaven and in the underworld; 300 of them as guards under the command of Anu in heaven. The divided gods ask Marduk to be allowed to build his sanctuary. Establishment of Babylon and in it of Esagila for Marduk as well as construction of shrines for the other gods in several years. 70 to 91 Marduk asks the gods to feast. Then intercessions in Esagila and confirmation of the establishment of the gods in their positions. Marduk gets his bow. Anu gives the bow three names and places it on the starry sky. 92 to 120 rite of submission to the gods (Anu founds a throne for Marduk and installs him as king in the assembly of gods. Gods recognize him as king under curses). Obligation of the "black-headed" (people) to worship Marduk. The other gods should also be worshiped and cared for, but Marduk is “the god of each one of us!” 121 to 166 “Let's name the 50 names”. Eight of Marduk's 50 names are explained. The gods decide to worship him by three names (heroic son, avenger and provider).

7th panel

1 to 162 explanations for a further 42 names with which the gods worship Marduk. Final warning: The names of Marduk should be handed down. Promise of blessing for his devotees. Final award of Marduk, who "destroyed Tiamat and assumed the royal dignity".

See also

Text output


Web links

Wikisource: Enuma Elish  - Sources and full texts (oldwikisource)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ F. Illerhaus: Marduk's fight against the chaos monster Tiamat. Representations of the Babylonian creation myth and the variety of interpretations. Munich. 2011, p. 5.
  2. AT Khoury, G. Girschek: The religious knowledge of humanity . Freiburg 1999, Volume 1, pp. 118-141.
  3. ^ F. Illerhaus: Marduk's fight against the chaos monster Tiamat. Representations of the Babylonian creation myth and the variety of interpretations. Munich 2011, pp. 7–9.