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The Deluge

“Ut-Napishtim employed many people in the construction of the ship. During four days he gathered the material and built the ship; on the fifth he laid it down; on the sixth he loaded it; and by the seventh day it was finished. On a hull 120 cubits wide was constructed a great deck-house 120 cubits […]

Comparative Myths of the Deluge

“It is interesting to note that Sisuthrus, the hero of this deluge story, was also the tenth Babylonian king, just as Noah was the tenth patriarch. The birds sent out by Sisuthrus strongly recall the raven and dove despatched by Noah; but there are several American myths which introduce this conception. Birds and beasts in […]

Berossus on the Babylonian Account of the Deluge

“More important is his account of the deluge. There is more than one Babylonian version of the deluge: that which is to be found in the Gilgamesh Epic is given in the chapter dealing with that poem. As Berossus’ account is quite as important, we shall give it in his own words before commenting upon it: “ After […]

The Deluge Tale of Utnapishtim and the Search for Immortality

“Gilgamesh now begins a series of wanderings in search of the restoration of his vigor, and this motif is evidently a continuation of the nature myth to symbolize the sun’s wanderings during the dark winter in the hope of renewed vigor with the coming of the spring. Professor Haupt’s view is that the disease from […]

The Legend of the Deluge According to Berossus

” … Berosus, it is true, is not a very ancient authority, for he was not born until the reign of Alexander the Great, but he was a learned man and was well acquainted with the Babylonian language, and with the ancient literature of his country, and he wrote a history of Babylonia, some fragments […]

The Sumerians Considered the Deluge an Historic Event

” … It is, at all events, well known that the Sumerians regarded the Deluge as an historic event, which they were, practically, able to date, for some of their records contain lists of kings who reigned before the Deluge, though it must be confessed that the lengths assigned to their reigns are incredible. After […]

On the Deluge, from Berosus, via Alexander Polyhistor

” … Belus also formed the stars, and the sun and the moon, together with the five planets. (In the second book was the history of the ten kings of the Chaldeans, and the periods of each reign, which consisted collectively of one hundred and twenty-sari, or 432,000 years, reaching to the time of the […]

The Babylonian Account of the Deluge

The story of the Deluge which was related to Gilgamesh by Pir-napishtim runs as follows:– “Hear me, O Gilgamesh, and I will make revelation regarding the hidden doings of the high gods. As thou knowest, the city of Shurippak is situated upon the bank of the Euphrates. The gods were within it: there they assembled together in council. Anu, […]

Deukalion and the Deluge

” … The people, then, allege that it was Deukalion or Sisythus who founded the temple; I mean the Deukalion in whose time the great flood occurred. I have heard the story about Deukalion as the Greeks narrate it from the Greeks themselves. The story runs as follows: The present race of men was not […]

Echoes of the Deluge

“The Kaska people of western Canada, for instance, have the following story (condensed from Teit 1917: 442–3):  “Once there came a great flood, which covered the earth. The people became separated. Some were driven far away. When the flood subsided, people were now widely scattered over the world. When, in their wanderings, they met people from another place, they […]

Ut-Napishtim and the Babylonian Deluge

“Ut-Napishtim was indeed surprised when he beheld Gilgamesh approaching the strand. The hero had meanwhile contracted a grievous illness, so that he was unable to leave the boat; but he addressed his queries concerning perpetual life to the deified Ut-Napishtim, who stood on the shore. The hero of the flood was exceeding sorrowful, and explained […]

Comparative Deluge Myths

Flood myths are found in many mythologies both in the Old World and the New. The violent and deceitful men of the mythical Bronze Age of Greece were destroyed by a flood. It is related that Zeus said on one occasion to Hermes: “I will send a great rain, such as hath not been since the […]

Revelation Revisited

A review of Matt Cardin, “In Search of Higher Intelligence: The Daemonic Muses(s) of Crowley, Leary & RAW.”

Melvin: Divine Instruction Reappears in 1 Enoch

“In contrast, the developments in human civilization according to Genesis 1–11 occur without any level of divine assistance, and indeed, in some cases (e.g., the construction of Babel and its tower) meet with divine opposition. Moreover, the overall tone of Genesis 3–11 is that of an increasing descent of humanity into sin, and the origins […]

Melvin: On the Role of Divine Counsel

“Elements of civilization are also attributed to the semi-divine hero, Gilgamesh. The opening lines of the Epic of Gilgamesh celebrate his great wisdom: “He who saw the Deep, the country’s foundation, [who] knew…, was wise in all matters! [Gilgamesh, who] saw the Deep, the country’s foundation, [who] knew…, was wise in all matters! [He …] […]

Izre’el: Adapa and the South Wind as Mythos

“A Sumerian version of Adapa from the Old Babylonian period has been discovered at Tell Haddad (ancient Meturan) and has been announced by Cavigneaux and al-Rawi (1993: 92-3). The Sumerian version is reported to be similar to the Akkadian version. It includes “an incantation-like passage” at the end, as does the Akkadian version represented by […]

Timeline: Sumer

Timeline: Sumer 5400 BCE: The City of Eridu is founded. 5000 BCE: Godin Tepe settled. 5000 BCE – 1750 BCE: Sumerian civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. 5000 BCE: Sumer inhabited by Ubaid people. 5000 BCE – 4100 BCE: The Ubaid Period in Sumer. 5000 BCE: Evidence of burial in Sumer. 4500 BCE: The Sumerians built their first temple. 4500 BCE: The City of Uruk founded. […]

The Sexual Mingling of Gods and Humans

“Flavius Joseph noted in his Jewish Antiquities the affinities between Genesis 6:1-4 and Greek traditions: “In fact the deeds that tradition ascribes to them resemble the audacious exploits told by the Greeks of the giants.” The sexual encounters between Greek gods and human women (and also between Greek goddesses and human men) are a common […]

Editorial Note on the Apkallu and the Roadmap Ahead

I am breaking the narrative stream to speak directly to the process emerging from our reading on the apkallū, the antediluvian and postdiluvian sages of ancient Mesopotamia. If you are reading along over my shoulder, you noticed that we digressed from Martin Lang, “Mesopotamian Early History and the Flood Story,” in a post titled On the Date of the Flood. Martin […]

On the Apkallu

“During the course of the years studying and teaching the Primeval History as recorded in the literary texts of ancient Mesopotamia, this writer has been struck by certain similarities between the Akkadian apkallu (Sumerian algal / NUN.ME / EN.ME), creatures of the god Ea, the “sages of old,” and the biblical nēpīlîm of Genesis 6 […]

On the Date of The Flood

“I now turn to Berossos’ account of the Flood as the central narrative of book 2. The extant fragments contain the following elements: – Kronos reveals the destruction of mankind in a dream – Xisouthros is told he must bury the tablets in Sippar – He must build a boat and embark together with family, […]

Oannes and the Apkallu, the Seven Sages of Sumeria

“Placed between two other books, Babyloniaca 2 takes on the function of a narrative pivot in Berossos’ work. It has connections with book one and book three, by way of recapitulation (e.g. Oannes and the sages) and anticipation (mention of kings who are treated in book three); and it brings into contact two fundamentally different […]

Was the Birs-i-Nimrud the Historical Tower of Babel?

“At any rate, in Babylonia itself the primitive cult of the mountains could be carried on only artificially. The sacred mountains of the plain were the mounds which marked the sites of ancient temples, or the towers which rose within them in order that the priest might continue on their summits that close communion with […]

Digression on Berossus and the Babyloniaca, Continued

“Finally, there was no justification for Schwartz’ assumption that Berossus borrowed the doctrine of the Great Year from Greek philosophy. As P. Schnabel protested in 1923, Berossus‘ belief in a coming conflagration corresponded exactly to his lengthy account of a past Deluge, the two catastrophes marking the Great Year’s solstices in Cancer and Capricorn. There […]

A Digression on Berossus and the Babyloniaca

“The books written by Berossus, priest of Marduk at Babylon in the early third century B.C., have been lost, and all that we know about them comes from the twenty-two quotations or paraphrases of his work by other ancient writers (so-called Fragmenta), and eleven statements about Berossus (Testimonia) made by classical, Jewish and Christian writers. […]

Sins of Man

“Merodach mourned over the doom pronounced against his city, and apparently with some effect; for after a good many broken and lost lines, the tablet goes on to describe the despatch of the terrible plague-god to Erech, “the seat of Anu and Istar, the city of the choirs of the festival-makers and consecrated maidens of […]

Winds and the Babylonian Concept of Evil

“Hadad, Addu or Dadda, never superseded the native name of Ramânu (Ramman) in Babylonia and Assyria, and remained foreign to the last. Ramânu, however, was sometimes addressed as Barqu or Barak, “the lightning;” and it is possible that antiquarian zeal may have also sometimes imposed on him the Accadian title of Meru. He grew continuously in […]

On the Babylonian Winds

“The primitive inhabitant of Babylonia paid a special worship to the winds. He beheld in them spirits of good and evil. He prayed for (‘the good wind” which cooled the heats of summer and brought moisture to the parched earth, and he saw in the storm and tempest, in the freezing blasts of winter and […]

Nergal, God of Death

“It was as the death-dealing lord of Hades that Nergal first became “the hero of the gods,” “who marches in their front.” The metaphor was taken from the champion who, like Goliath, places himself before his comrades and challenges the enemy to combat. It is thus that we read in the story of the Deluge, when the flood […]

Assyrian Monotheism versus Babylonian Pantheism

“Henceforward “the heaven of Anu” denoted the serene and changeless regions to which the gods fled when the deluge had broken up the face of the lower heaven, and which an Assyrian poet calls “the land of the silver sky.” It was to this spiritualised heaven that the spirit of Ea-bani, the friend of Gisdhubar, ascended, and […]

Moon Gods

“Adar bears the same relation to Mul-lil that Merodach bears to Ea. Each alike is the son and messenger of the older god. But whereas the errands upon which Merodach is sent are errands of mercy and benevolence, the errands of Adar are those that befit an implacable warrior. He contends not against the powers of darkness, like […]

The Zodiacal Organization of the Gilgamesh Epic

“The doctrine of the necessity for ministering to the dead is here enunciated in no uncertain fashion. Unless their bodies are decently buried and offerings of food and drink made at their graves, their lives in the otherworld must be abjectly miserable. The manner in which they meet their end is likewise taken into account, […]

Necklace of Ishtar

“At length the ship came to rest on the summit of Mount Nitsir. There are various readings of this portion of the text, thus: “After twelve (days) the land appeared;” or “At the distance of twelve (kasbu) the land appeared;” or “Twelve (cubits) above the water the land appeared.” However this may be, the ship […]

Mul-lil = Bel

“The “lord of the ghost-world” extended his sway over this nether earth also. He is therefore entitled “the lord of the world,” as well as “king of all the spirits of the earth.” According to one version of the story of the Deluge, it was he who caused the waters of the flood to descend from heaven, […]

The Oracles of Ea

“How a water-god became the demiurge seems at first sight obscure. But it ceases to be so when we remember the local character of Babylonian religion. Ea was as much the local god of Eridu as Merodach was of Babylon, or Assur of Assyria. His connection with the water was due to the position of Eridu […]

The Gilgamesh Epic

“The most important of the various mythological strata underlying the Gilgamesh myth is probably that concerning Eabani, who, as has been said, is a type of primitive man, living among the beasts of the field as one of themselves. But he is also, according to certain authorities, a form of the sun-god, even as Gilgamesh […]

Plato, Timaeus, 360 BCE

” … In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which King Amasis came. The citizens have a deity for their foundress; she is called in the […]

Implications of the Gilgamesh Epic

“Among the traditions concerning his birth is one related by Ælian (Historia Animalium, XII, 21) of Gilgamos (Gilgamesh), the grandson of Sokkaros. Sokkaros, who, according to Berossus, was the first king to reign in Babylonia after the deluge, was warned by means of divination that his daughter should bear a son who would deprive him […]

Spence on the Gilgamesh Epic

“The Gilgamesh epic ranks with the Babylonian myth of creation as one of the greatest literary productions of ancient Babylonia. The main element in its composition is a conglomeration of mythic matter, drawn from various sources, with perhaps a substratum of historic fact, the whole being woven into a continuous narrative around the central figure […]

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Sacred Number 7

“Seven, too, was a sacred number, whose magic virtues had descended to the Semites from their Accadian predecessors. When the Chaldaean Noah escaped from the Deluge, his first act was to build an altar and to set vessels, each containing the third of an ephah, by sevens, over a bed of reeds, pine-wood and thorns. […]

On the Tower of Babel and the Confusion of Tongues

“Many attempts have been made to attach the legend of the confusion of tongues to certain ruined towers in Babylonia, especially to that of E-Sagila, the great temple of Merodach, and some remarks upon this most interesting tale may not be out of place at this point. The myth is not found in Babylonia itself, […]

Points of Correspondence Between Genesis and the Enuma Elish

” … It would be tempting to trace the framework of the Seven Days of Creation, upon which the narrative in Genesis is stretched, to the influence of the Seven Tablets of Creation, of which we now know that the great Creation Series was composed. The reasons for the employment of the Seven Days in […]

Death is a Mystery

“Lastly, the twelfth tablet of the Assyrian version of the Gilgamesh Epic is of a purely didactic character, bearing evidence of having been added as a further illustration of the current belief that there is no escape from the nether world to which all must go after life has come to an end. Proper burial […]

A Serpent Steals the Plant of Immortality in the Eleventh Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh

THE ELEVENTH TABLET. ” … When Uta-Napishtim had finished the story of the Deluge, he said to Gilgamish, “Now, as touching thyself; who will gather the gods together for thee, so that thou mayest find the life which thou seekest? Come now, do not lay thyself down to sleep for six days and seven nights.” But in […]

Death is the Fate of Mankind in the 10th Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh

THE TENTH TABLET. “In the region to which Gilgamish had come stood the palace or fortress of the goddess Siduri, who was called the “hostess,” or “ale-wife,” and to this he directed his steps with the view of obtaining help to continue his journey. The goddess wore a veil and sat upon a throne by […]

Gilgamesh Sees the Tree of the Gods in the 9th Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh

THE NINTH TABLET. “In bitter grief Gilgamish wandered about the country uttering lamentations for his beloved companion, Enkidu. As he went about he thought to himself, “I myself shall die, and shall not I then be as Enkidu? Sorrow hath entered into my soul, Because I fear death do I wander over the country.” His […]

Gilgamesh Recites the Iniquities of the Goddess Ishtar, the Sixth Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh

THE SIXTH TABLET. “The scene now returns to Erech, whither the heroes returned after their glorious exploit. As Gilgamish was washing himself and dressing himself in splendid attire the goddess Ishtar saw his comeliness and desired him to be her lover, saying, Go to, Gilgamish, do thou be (my) bridegroom, Give me freely the fruit […]

The Friendship of Enkidu and Gilgamesh, the 2d Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh

” … When Enkidu saw the beasts forsake him his knees gave way, and he could not run as of old; but when he came to himself he returned to the harlot. She spoke to him flattering words, and asked him why he wandered with the wild beasts in the desert, and then told him […]

Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Nameless Harlot

THE EPIC OF GILGAMISH. “The narrative of the life, exploits and travels of Gilgamish, king of Erech, filled Twelve Tablets which formed the Series called from the first three words of the First Tablet, SHA NAGBU IMURU, i.e., “He who hath seen all things.” The exact period of the reign of this king is unknown, but […]