The Enûma Eliš: An Adaptation

Part three of the Babylonian epic…

Part One

Part Two

Tiamat, the mother of monsters, gathered her brood of fatherless children to her left. The divine host united under Qingu gathered to her right as Qingu himself, took his place as her side. Their pledge to subdue their kindred was heard throughout the abode of the gods and when Ea, the cunning one, heard their words, he grew silent and contemplated what was to come as his anger cooled.

Ea clothed himself in darkness and moved in secret until he entered into the presence of his father. 

Ea, who is Nudimmud; Ea, who is Enki spoke: O father, my begetter! Tiamat, Mother Hubur, has gathered our kindred — even those who call you “father” — to her side. They strive to smite our ruin and wipe us out of existence.

Ea spoke: the gods assembled within Tiamat’s presence to contrive every way imaginable of bringing an end to those who dwelt among them. They elected from themselves, the host of the heavenly dwelling who would strike fear in the hearts of the enemies they had made.

Tiamat said let all who gaze upon my children know only terror. Let all who gaze upon them know only fear. Let all who gaze upon them find themselves feeble in the face of their coming doom.

Tiamat fashioned within herself eleven creatures who knew no father: Bashmu, the venomous serpent; Ushumgallu, the great dragon; Mushmakkhu, the exalted serpent; Mushushu, the furious snake; Lakhmu, the hairy one; Ugallu, the great beast; Uridimmu, the mad lion; Girtablullu, the scorpion-man; Umu Dabrutu, the violent storms; Kulullu, the fish-man; Kusarikku, the bull-man.

From among the gods, she chose the foremost among them, Qingu, whose might would rival that of the champion of the gods. He was consecrated in the assembly of the gods and upon his chest, Tiamat placed the Tablet of Destiny that bore the secret spell of divine order. She decreed him her consort and lent her power to him. She set a throne before him, and entrusted him with the power of divine rule.

Before him and the assembly of the gods, she spoke her words as an unalterable spell: who is like unto you, O exalted one among the gods? To you I have given power and majesty, the gods shall look to you as my consort and their leader. Your word is as a divine utterance; that which issues from your mouth shall be a holy decree.

Imbued with the power of divine rule and the holy word, Qingu addressed the gods assembled before him.

He rose from his throne and spoke: may the words you speak be propitious, may they subdue the four-faced god. May you bring all who oppose you to heel.

Anshar heard these words and spoke in anger: you have heaped this ruin upon us when you cast your spell upon our forefather and slew him! You have bound the one who hated us from the beginning, though he did us no harm, and have brought him low. You have taken our lives in your hands! What have you to say for yourself, O cunning son?

Ea spoke: O my father, you discern truth and decree what is to come. Weigh what I have done and find me worthy. I rose up and slew the one who would do us harm. I rose up as the savior of our kindred and slew our forefather who would destroy us and wipe us out of existence. What did I do that another would not to save himself and his kindred?

Anshar pondered these words and found them to be true. He spoke: O, my son, your deeds are worthy for a god who loves his kindred. Go now, and put an end to what you have set into motion.

Ea hid his radiance and shrouded himself in darkness as he went forth through the darkness to Tiamat’s great dwelling. 

The hordes who gathered to her and to the call of her champion grew in numbers and filled Ea with dread. The might of Tiamat’s gathered forces was greater than Ea had foreseen and he knew that Tiamat’s will was resolute and that nothing would appease her anger. 

He turned and hurried back to the halls of his father. He stooped low and bowed before his father’s throne.

Ea spoke: What I have set into motion cannot be undone. Tiamat has gathered all who are willing to follow her appointed champion to her side. Her fatherless children and our kindred stand by her side. They heed her voice and await her command. In my fear, I turned and fled. Send another to her to reason with her and still her forces to rest. Her wiles will be no match for another’s might.

Anshar grew angry and spoke aloud to his son, Anu: Stand fast, my son! You are strong and none may resist you. Go now, stand before Tiamat and reason with her, cool her anger with your words, and still all to rest.

Anu heeded his father’s word and left his presence. He hid his radiance and shrouded himself in darkness as he went forth through the darkness to Tiamat’s great dwelling. 

Anu’s heart was filled with fear when he saw the throng standing before Tiamat and Qingu. He fled to his father’s presence and stood before him.

Anu spoke: What Ea has set into motion cannot be undone. Tiamat has gathered all who are willing to follow her appointed champion to her side. Her fatherless children and our kindred stand by her side. They heed her voice and await her command. In my fear, I turned and fled. Send another to her to reason with her and still her forces to rest. Her wiles will be no match for another’s might.

Anshar grew silent again and dismissed Ea and Anu from his presence. 

The Igigi and Anunnaki, those who had not rallied to Tiamat’s side over the death of Apsu and the capture of Mummu, came together in a great assembly. They sat in silence for nothing could be said to still their kindred’s fears; nothing could be done to cool Tiamat’s anger. All turned to Anshar for guidance though he too, remained silent and could not be moved to action. 

Ea departed the assembly of the Igigi and Anunnaki. He descended to Apsu’s discarded form, the place of his own holy abode. Ea descended to his holy chambers. Within the deep, within his holy abode, Ea called his son, Marduk, to his side. 

Ea spoke: O my radiant son, listen to me: our great mother has gathered our kindred to her side and has brought forth monsters who would blot us out of existence. Go to our forefather, Anshar. Let him look upon you so that he may take comfort in your presence. Let him take comfort in your words, let him take comfort in your valiant might that none may resist.

Marduk heeded his father’s word and departed the holy abode. Marduk heeded his father’s word and ascended to the dwelling of his forefather, Anshar. Marduk heeded his father’s word and stood before Anshar’s throne. 

Marduk spoke: O father of my fathers, tell me what is your wish? Speak your word and whatever you ask will be yours!

Anshar took comfort in his words and his fear departed from him. 

Marduk spoke: Who dares to stand against you? Who dares to attack your children, my kindred? Do not be troubled, I will rise up and bring an end to that which my father set into motion. Tiamat, our mother shall be stilled to rest!

Anshar was moved by these words and stood up from his dais. He spoke: Go my son, let your word quell Tiamat’s rage. Utter your secret spell which none may withstand. Speak your propitious word and bring about the end of this strife.

Marduk spoke: O my father, lord god among the gods, I ask this boon of you if I become your champion and overcome our foe: gather the assembly together, gather the Igigi and the Anunnaki. If I bind the one that devises wickedness against us, gather the assembly of the Holy Ones and name me as your successor. May your word become mine, may the decree that issues from my mouth be destiny set into motion; may I ordain fate.

One thought on “The Enûma Eliš: An Adaptation

  1. Pingback: The Enûma Eliš: An Adaptation | West of Eridu, East of Kur

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s