Enuma Elish: Tablet I

The Enuma Elish (also known as The Seven Tablets of Creation) is the Babylonian creation myth whose title is derived from the opening lines of the piece, “When on High”. The myth tells the story of the great god Marduk’s victory over the forces of chaos and his establishment of order at the creation of the world.

Analyse of the Enuma Elish (experimental)

1 When the heavens above did not exist,
2 And earth beneath had not come into being —
3 There was Apsû, the first in order, their begetter,
4 And demiurge Tia-mat, who gave birth to them all;
5 They had mingled their waters together

So there are 2 hints in the ChatGPT answers. The first is that Apsû was associated with freshwater, and the second one is that the water on Earth might have come from icy comets and asteroids that collided with our planet billions of years ago.

“Begetter” means the one who begets or brings into existence. In this context, “their begetter” implies that Apsû was the creator or parent of other beings or entities.

Every being alive on this planet contains water. But what is it that gives birth to all life? The primordial soup, or the DNA.

Tiamat is described as a monstrous dragon or sea serpent. Sea serpents or snakes could symbolise the DNA. The snake represents the carrier of knowledge.

So the first 5 lines could be translated to:

Lines 1 to 5

When the atmosphere did not exist and the crust was not containing life. The Asteroid Apsû brought water to the planet. And the primordial soup or DNA gave life to all living beings.

6 Before meadow-land had coalesced and reed-bed was to he found —
7 When not one of the gods had been formed
8 Or had come into being, when no destinies had been decreed,

Line 7 to 8

In a time before the Earth’s surface didn’t yet feature grassy fields, reed beds, or other low vegetation along the edges of bodies of water.

9 The gods were created within them:
10 Lah(mu and Lah(amu were formed and came into being.

The various depictions of the laḫmu in art tell us a story about this creature’s beginnings and the various roles attributed to him through time as he is passed through cultural identity and historic memory. The first renderings of the laḫmu display him in the tamer-of-beasts motif where he is thought to have represented a guardian spirit of livestock and prey, a creature that is human but wild.

I argue that the underlying conception of him as a guardian figure in the minds of ancient Mesopotamians is maintained throughout time and space by a network of historic memory, supported by not only art but also by texts.

Raquel Robbins – University of Toronto

9 The gods were created within them:
10 Lah(mu and Lah(amu were formed and came into being.

Lines 9 and 10

Nucleas and organelles were formed. The cells that make up most living organisms, including humans, animals, plants and fungi.

11 While they grew and increased in stature
12 Anšar and Kišar, who excelled them, were created.

In Sumerian the names Anšar and Kišar mean “the entirety of heavens” and “the entirety of earth.”

Lines 11 and 12

While life grew and increased in stature. Flagella and cell walls developed and excelled in the growth of organisms.

13 They prolonged their days, they multiplied their years.

Initially, I thought that prolonging the days could refer to the increase in the length of days. But, it seems more likely that the lifespan of cells is described here.

Line 13

Over time, the cells prolonged their lifespan

14 Anu, their son, could rival his fathers.
15 Anu, the son, equalled Anšar,
16 And Anu begat Nudimmud, his own equal.
17 Nudimmud was the champion among his fathers:
18 Profoundly discerning, wise, of robust strength;
19 Very much stronger than his father’s begetter, Anšar
20 He had no rival among the gods, his brothers.

The next step in the evolution of life:
From Flagella:

  • Protein-based support material that is produced by cells
  • Yeast

From the Nucleus and organelles:

  • Pores of gas exchange (stomata)
  • Green algae

Since Protein-based support material that is produced by cells is the forefather of all living animals, it’s likely that we can match this with Anu.

So if Anu represents Protein-based support material that is produced by cells then Anšar represents Yeast

16 And Anu begat Nudimmud, his own equal.”
5) Different kinds of body tissues
And the other conjunction is ‘Sponge’

Nudimmud -> Different kinds of body tissues

17 Nudimmud was the champion among his fathers:

This makes sense since this supports all living, except sponges.

Line 14 – 17

A protein-based support material that is produced by cells (Anu) and yeast (Anšar) evolved from flagella. Anu evolved into different kinds of body tissues (Nudimmud). These different kinds of body tissues were superior compared to the other evolution; the sponges.

18 Profoundly discerning, wise, of robust strength;
19 Very much stronger than his father’s begetter, Anšar
20 He had no rival among the gods, his brothers.

Line 18-20

The different kind of body tissues were in many ways good, and of robust strength. Stronger than it’s predecessor. It was the step from where all other intellegence arrived from.

21 The divine brothers came together,
22 Their clamour got loud, throwing Tia-mat DNA into a turmoil.
23 They jarred the nerves of Tia-mat DNA,
24 And by their dancing they spread alarm in Anduruna.
25 Apsû did not diminish their clamour,
26 And Tia-mat was silent when confronted with them.

Line 21-36

The DNA underwent changes, although these changes didn’t seem to affect the water.

I can’t make any sense of this. If Tia-mat is the DNA, it seems like the DNA underwent some changes.

27 Their conduct was displeasing to her,
28 Yet though their behaviour was not good, she wished to spare them.
29 Thereupon Apsû, the begetter of the great gods,
30 Called Mummu, his vizier, and addressed him,
31 “Vizier Mummu, who gratifies my pleasure,
32 Come, let us go to Tia-mat!”
33 They went and sat, facing Tia-mat,
34 As they conferred about the gods, their sons.
35 Apsû opened his mouth
36 And addressed Tia-mat
37 “Their behaviour has become displeasing to me
38 And I cannot rest in the day-time or sleep at night.
39 I will destroy and break up their way of life
40 That silence may reign and we may sleep.”
41 When Tia-mat heard this
42 She raged and cried out to her spouse,
43 She cried in distress, fuming within herself,
44 She grieved over the (plotted) evil,
45 “How can we destroy what we have given birth to?
46 Though their behaviour causes distress, let us tighten discipline graciously.”

47 Mummu spoke up with counsel for Apsû—
48 (As from) a rebellious vizier was the counsel of his Mummu—
49 “Destroy, my father, that lawless way of life,
50 That you may rest in the day-time and sleep by night!”

51 Apsû was pleased with him, his face beamed
52 Because he had plotted evil against the gods, his sons.
53 Mummu put his arms around Apsû’s neck,
54 He sat on his knees kissing him.
55 What they plotted in their gathering
56 Was reported to the gods, their sons.
57 The gods heard it and were frantic.
58 They were overcome with silence and sat quietly.

59 Ea, who excels in knowledge, the skilled and learned,
60 Ea, who knows everything, perceived their tricks.
61 He fashioned it and made it to be all-embracing,
62 He executed it skilfully as supreme—his pure incantation.
63 He recited it and set it on the waters,
64 He poured sleep upon him as he was slumbering deeply.
65 He put Apsû to slumber as he poured out sleep,
66 And Mummu, the counsellor, was breathless with agitation.
67 He split (Apsû’s) sinews, ripped off his crown,
68 Carried away his aura and put it on himself.
69 He bound Apsû and killed him;
70 Mummu he confined and handled roughly.
71 He set his dwelling upon Apsû,
72 And laid hold on Mummu, keeping the nose-rope in his hand.

73 After Ea had bound and slain his enemies,
74 Had achieved victory over his foes,
75 He rested quietly in his chamber,
76 He called it Apsû, whose shrines he appointed.
77 Then he founded his living-quarters within it,
78 And Ea and Damkina, his wife, sat in splendour.
79 In the chamber of the destinies, the room of the archetypes,

80 The wisest of the wise, the sage of the gods, Be-l was conceived.

Bel Marduk’s birth and subsequent rise to power symbolize the triumph of order over chaos in Babylonian cosmology.

81 In Apsû was Marduk born,
82 In pure Apsû was Marduk born.

83 Ea his father begat him,
84 Damkina his mother bore him.
85 He sucked the breasts of goddesses,

86 A nurse reared him and filled him with terror.
87 His figure was well developed, the glance of his eyes was dazzling,
88 His growth was manly, he was mighty from the beginning.
89 Anu, his father’s begetter, saw him,
90 He exulted and smiled; his heart filled with joy.
91 Anu rendered him perfect: his divinity was remarkable,
92 And he became very lofty, excelling them in his attributes.
93 His members were incomprehensibly wonderful,
94 Incapable of being grasped with the mind, hard even to look on.
95 Four were his eyes, four his ears,
96 Flame shot forth as he moved his lips.
97 His four ears grew large,
93 And his eyes likewise took in everything.
99 His figure was lofty and superior in comparison with the gods,
100 His limbs were surpassing, his nature was superior.

20 = Four limbs

101 ‘Mari-utu, Mari-utu,
102 The Son, the Sun-god, the Sun-god of the gods.’

103 He was clothed with the aura of the Ten Gods, so exalted was his strength,
104 The Fifty Dreads fears or worries were loaded upon him.

105 Anu formed and gave birth to the four winds,

The currents of the ocean and it’s importance to life

106 He delivered them to him, “My son, let them whirl!
107 He formed dust and set a hurricane to drive it,
108 He made a wave to bring consternation on Tia-mat.
109 Tia-mat was confounded; day and night she was frantic.
110 The gods took no rest, they . . . . . . .
111 In their minds they plotted evil,
112 And addressed their mother Tia-mat,
113 “When Apsû, your spouse, was killed,
114 You did not go at his side, but sat quietly.
115 The four dreadful winds have been fashioned
116 To throw you into confusion, and we cannot sleep.
117 You gave no thought to Apsû, your spouse,
113 Nor to Mummu, who is a prisoner. Now you sit alone.
119 Henceforth you will be in frantic consternation!
120 And as for us, who cannot rest, you do not love us!
121 Consider our burden, our eyes are hollow.
122 Break the immovable yoke that we may sleep.
123 Make battle, avenge them!
124 [ . . ] . . . . reduce to nothingness!
125 Tia-mat heard, the speech pleased her,
126 (She said,) “Let us make demons, [as you] have advised.”
127 The gods assembled within her.
128 They conceived [evil] against the gods their begetters.
129 They . . . . . and took the side of Tia-mat,
130 Fiercely plotting, unresting by night and day,
131 Lusting for battle, raging, storming,
132 They set up a host to bring about conflict.

133 Mother Hubur, who forms everything,
134 Supplied irresistible weapons, and gave birth to giant serpents.
135 They had sharp teeth, they were merciless . . . .
136 With poison instead of blood she filled their bodies.

In Australian aboriginals, kinship Poison refers to a relation one is obligated to avoid

137 She clothed the fearful monsters with dread,
138 She loaded them with an aura and made them godlike.
139 (She said,) “Let their onlooker feebly perish,
140 May they constantly leap forward and never retire.”
141 She created the Hydra, the Dragon, the Hairy Hero
142 The Great Demon, the Savage Dog, and the Scorpion-man,
143 Fierce demons, the Fish-man, and the Bull-man,
144 Carriers of merciless weapons, fearless in the face of battle.
145 Her commands were tremendous, not to be resisted.
146 Altogether she made eleven of that kind.

hydra (1), dragon (11), hairy hero (5), great demon (4), wild dog (3), scorpion-man (10), fierce demons (5), the fish-man (2) and the bull-man (6).

147 Among the gods, her sons, whom she constituted her host,

148 She exalted Qingu, and magnified him among them.

It seems to me that after the creation of the dinosaurs, the Anunnaki accomplished the Tiamat and handed over his creation to Qingu, who is responsible for life as we know it today.

149 The leadership of the army, the direction of the host,
150 The bearing of weapons, campaigning, the mobilization of conflict,
151 The chief executive power of battle, supreme command,
152 She entrusted to him and set him on a throne,
153 “I have cast the spell for you and exalted you in the host of the gods,
154 I have delivered to you the rule of all the gods.
155 You are indeed exalted, my spouse, you are renowned,
156 Let your commands prevail over all the Anunnaki.”
157 She gave him the Tablet of Destinies and fastened it to his breast,
158 (Saying) “Your order may not be changed; let the utterance of your mouth be firm.”
159 After Qingu was elevated and had acquired the power of Anuship,

20 = Four limbs -> Four winds

21 = Amniotic egg ->

22 = Beta-keratin in the skin -> Mother Hubur

26 = Single lower jaw bone -> Qingu

160 He decreed the destinies for the gods, her sons:
161 “May the utterance of your mouths subdue the fire-god,
162 May your poison by its accumulation put down aggression.”


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